A History of America’s National Reconnaissance Office – part 4

11 06 2012

By Trowbridge H. Ford

Whenever a new administration takes over in Washington, especially that of the other party, there is a vast change in the Executive Branch because of policy needs, the demands of favor, and the needs of individuals.The new President will need a group of like-minded specialists to satisfy the demands of current administration and future policy changes, the needs and expectations of party enthusiasts and special interests who have invested so much of their time and resources in his election, and those who burned themselves out at various posts while trying to keep his predecessor in office.  The shakeup in the White House is so chaotic that it is almost impossible to satisfy basic security concerns while the transformation is taking place.
 
Given this situation, the replacements of administrative personnel are usually seen as normal and most predictable.  Consequently, when Dr. Alexander H. Flax resigned as director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in March 1969, it was hardly even mentioned, much less raising any eyebrows.  Flax had been director for 3 ½ years demanding years – ones in which the NRO finally completed the objective of the Apollo program of sending men to the moon, and safely returning them to earth just before Christmas 1968 – just when the new Nixon administration has organizing itself to take power the next month. The public would hardly have been surprised if Flax took advantage of the Pentagon’s revolving door relationship with its industrial complex, and opted for a cushy position in the private sector.  
 
From the very outset when Richard Nixon was elected President in November 1968, though, his administration was ideally suited to take advantage of all the capabilities of the NRO. ‘Tricky Dick’ seemed just the man to want the services of an agency officially unknown, and whose abilities were only really known by a most small circle. It was not until five years later – in the middle of the Watergate scandal – that the media finally discovered its very existence, and it took another generation before officialdom – when it wanted to clean up its image – formally acknowledged its existence. The Nixon administration appeared to offer opportunities that Flax could hardly afford to turn down despite its stated intentions of ending America’s war in Vietnam.
 
And Flax did not offer his resignation, only to learn almost immediately that it was dejá vue all over again. Instead of using the NRO to help achieve peace – what the voters expected from Nixon since the Democratic candidate, Hubert Humphrey, had promised to continue LBJ’s campaign there to a successful conclusion – the Republican administration, thanks to input by the new National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, and his military assistant, Colonel Alexander Haig, opted to snatch victory from defeat by launching a massive aerial bombardment of the whole area to destroy the ability of the North Vietnamese and their alleged surrogates, the Viet-Cong, to continue fighting.
 
Of course, they have maintained most false claims about what was afoot, once the gambit ended in total failure.  Kissinger wrote in 1979: “The Nixon Administration entered office determined to end our involvement in Vietnam.” (Quoted from Robert J. McMahon, ed., Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War, p. 425.)  According to Kissinger, the reason why it didn’t do so successfully was because the American public and Washington’s commitments further afield did not permit the time and effort that General de Gaulle had been allowed to withdraw from Algeria. Haig, in Inner Circles, played dumb about the whole matter, acting as if he were merely a White House errand boy who prepared the President’s daily intelligence briefing, merely alluding to a paper he prepared for the President which Kissinger was enthusiastic about, and Nixon “…ordered us to put it into effect.” (p. 196)
 
Nixon’s first chief of staff, in his amended, published The Haldeman Diaries, described a most secret meeting held in Brussels during Nixon’s first visit to Europe on February 24, 1969:  “At the meeting K, his deputy, Al Haig, and a Pentagon planning officer worked out guidelines for a proposed plan for bombing North Vietnamese sanctuaries in Cambodia.  P had decided on the plane to Belgium to order the bombing as a response to the North Vietnamese countrywide offensive that they launched the day before we left.” (p. 33)  The plan included the items that Haig and Lt. Col. Dewitt Smith had recommended to Army Chief of Staff General Harold K. Johnson five years earlier, but had been rejected at the time because they were too risky. (See Haig, pp. 137-9.)
 
While implementing the plan was postponed for three weeks in order to override State Department opposition, Operation Breakfast – the codename apparently befitting Haig’s morning intelligence duties – was kicked off on March 16th, a Sunday, after a dutiful church service.  Two days later, Haldeman reported, “K’s ‘Operation Breakfast’ a great success.  He came beaming in with a report, very productive.  A lot more secondaries than had been expected.  Confirmed early intelligence.  Probably no reaction for a few days, if ever.” (p. 41)  The next phase of the secret war, Operation Lunch, the military incursion into Cambodia, followed in due course, but one would never know from reading Haig’s account.
 
Of course, Haldeman was referring to a North Vietnamese reaction, but there had already been a response.  Flax tendered his resignation just then, knowing that the Nixon administration had the tiger again by the tail, and he wanted no longer to be a part of it.  Haldeman, along with other administration leaders, also did not anticipate the increasingly hostile press coverage of the accelerating operation, thanks to leaks to the media about it.  Soon the Washington Post and New York Times reporters, especially William Beecher, were barred from the White House, and Haig, who was now regularly consulting with Nixon in the Old Executive Office Building where they both had offices, was busily involved in determining their source.
 
To implement the secret Kissinger-Haig plan, the White House created a “backchannel” with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thereby circumventing not only SOD Melvin Laird, Secretary of State William Rogers, and the Cabinet but also NSA and the CIA.  “Using special codes, teletypes, and secure terminals located at the Pentagon and in the White House Situation Room,”  Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin wrote in Silent Coup: The Removal of a President, “the president and his national security adviser could send and receive messages to selected American officials and members of foreign governments around the world without alerting the rest of the United States government.” (p. 8)
 
Of course, the secret war needed the NRO to collect the aerial intelligence, and to provide the necessary communications for the successful completion of what the agenda called for – disrupting the transmission of men and materiel along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the ousting of the North Vietnamese from their Cambodian sanctuary, pursuing those who fled into Laos, the mining of Haiphong Harbor, etc. – and a second set of false reports about results in order to keep others in the dark about what was going on.  Haig, in characteristic style, explained the campaign as the result of the North Koreans shooting down a US Navy EC-121 reconnaissance plane on April 14th (p. 204ff.), a month after the bombing of Cambodia had started.   
 
For all intents and purposes, Rear Admiral Rembrandt C. Robinson – the top assistant to Admiral Thomas H. Moorer – the CNO who would soon become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs – was the NRO’s deputy director under the new arrangements.  While Robinson was said to be running, later along with Yeoman Chuck Radford, a liaison office, connecting the JCS with the NSC – he was actually seeing to the implementation of what had been agreed to by Kissinger and Haig regarding the secret war.  Robinson may well have been the Pentagon planner present at Brussels at its inception.  The Admiral was a go-for-broke type who would stop at nothing to win the war in Vietnam      
 
As Admiral Robert O.Welander – Robinson’s replacement to the White House when the operation had to be closed down – explained to John D. Ehrlichman, the President’s Assistant on Domestic Affairs, and David R. Young, an aide to Kissinger, on December 23, 1971, his joint-position had existed for about ten years, and he took over from Admiral Robert Ginsburg who had held the position in the LBJ administration:  “I’m a two-way avenue of communications. I try and explain things to the (NSC) staff.  I mean some of the formal military positions, things of that sort.  I’m an in-house military expert; if they need some things done quickly.  I can go ahead and punch into the organization over there much more quickly and hopefully effectively, than if we go down through the formal mechanism.”
 (Quoted from Colodny and Gettlin, p. 447.) 
  
While Robinson was responding to NSC commands with NRO missions, Haig was increasingly trying to determine the source of the growing number of leaks, especially because his former boss, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, had commissioned a study of why policy-making had gone so badly in Vietnam – a work Haig had been asked to join but had declined, unlike many former colleagues in the process, especially Daniel Ellsberg.  When the FBI finally declined to investigate more suspected leakers after having bugged 17 persons, most of them members of the NSC, over an 18-month period without any positive results, Haig saw to the hiring of The Plumbers aka Special Investigations Unit, and their installation in the Executive Office Building to continue the work
 
The Plumbers’ background has never been adequately examined, and the reason seems to be Harvey’s leadership of it. It was the descendant of his old ZR/RIFLE group in the Agency’s Division D which had expanded its “black bag” experts to plant bugs and photograph documents in foreign embassies into official assassination efforts (James Bamford, Body of Secrets, p. 479) – the authority that Harvey, now aka Harvey Lowmeyer, had used is getting rid of MLK and RFK.  Fred Emery, in Watergate, made no attempt to explain the group’s origin, just the decision by the Nixon White House to hire it to do its “black bag” operation. (p. 53ff.)  The CIA’s approval of the switch seems to have been made by DCI Richard Helms who was trying to separate Nixon’s covert operations from the Agency’s one, and slimming down its ranks to get rid of its most dangerous operators, especially Harvey, E. Howard Hunt, G, Gordon Liddy, and James McCord.
 
The troubles with the Kissinger-Haig-NRO secret war were manifold.  The North Vietnamese and the Viet-Cong were unwilling to negotiate anything more than the cessation of hostilities, and the withdrawal of American forces, as their unwillingness to let the Soviets negotiate some kind of lesser settlement indicated. Washington only added to these problems by opening the door to Red China, and talking to Moscow about a treaty to limit nuclear weapons, thinking falsely that these efforts would undermine their assistance of the Vietnamese.  And American losses continued to mount, as the media indicated – the NYT even publishing the photographs of service men killed since the Nixon administration had taken office.  Then NSA Kissinger was growing increasingly pessimistic about what the secret war was achieving.
 
These developments, especially the negotiations with the communist powers, drove the JCS to start using the “backchannel” to spy on what Kissinger and Haig were up to, especially as the secret war wound down. Admiral Welander and Yeoman Radford instead of being conduits to the NRO became spies for Admiral Moorer, chairman of the JCS.  “Military officers sensed that they were merely being used as instruments,” Colodny and Gettlin wrote, “to further Nixon’s own ends; their belief that this was the case was furthered by the events of ensuing months, during which they saw themselves being ignored, cut out, and circumvented on all the important issues – the conduct of the war, troop withdrawals, the peace negotiation, and SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty), just to name the most important ones.” (p. 10)
 
This spying – which started for real in October 1970 –  was discussed by Nixon, Attorney General John Mitchell, Haldeman and Ehrlichman at a meeting at the White House on December 21, 1971 where they interviewed Welander’s assistant, as James Rosen recounted in “Nixon and the Chiefs,” on KeepMedia on April 1, 2002:  ” ‘Under the implied approval of his supervisor,’ Ehrlichman said at another point in the conversation, Radford ‘has systematically stolen documents out of Henry’s briefcase, Haig’s briefcase, people’s desks – anyplace and every place in the NSC apparatus, that he could get his hands on – and then duplicated them and turned them over to the Joint Chiefs, through his boss’.”  While the President was interested in seeking a prosecution of those thought responsible, especially Haig, the Attorney General talked him out of doing so for fear of disastrous blowback.
 
Instead, the liaison office was immediately closed, and the files Welander had were handed over to Haig who understandably handed those relating to the spying to Ehrlichman while keeping the rest himself. Welander was transferred to a sea command as far away from Washington as could be found, and Radford was reassigned to Oregon’s Naval Reserve Training Center.  Admiral Robinson, while revealing nothing about his being a NRO conduit during the secret war when he was interviewed, was conveniently killed in a helicopter crash in the Tonkin Gulf in May 1972, leaving Haig in the confident position of denying in an uncharacteristic footnote Silent Coup‘s claims only about him:  “…I do so now by stating categorically that any suggestion that this officer committed any act of disloyalty whatsoever to the United States or his Commander-in-Chief while serving in the White House is totally false.” (p. 245)
 
Officially, during this time, the NRO was busily occupied positioning its new generation of satellites, Rhyolites, constructed in TRW’s M-4 facility in Redondo Beach, California, and making arrangements around the globe for the secure retrieval of their take.  The satellites – the size of a minibus, and equipped with a solar-powered, dish-shaped antenna aimed towards the earth – were designed to pick up microwave and satellite communications on a continual basis – what the Soviets were increasingly relying upon in communicating across their vast country – and down-loading what they recorded without any encryption to avoid any additional weight in securing their positioning in space. In order for the satellites to work continuously, they had to be placed in geosynchronous orbit – 22,380 miles above the equator, and at a longitude where a secure place existed below.
 
Flax’s replacement, Dr. John L. McLucas, was the ideal director for the job, as he had spent his previous, relevant career in the private sector, and, cconsequently, knew nothing about the NRO’s ongoing operations, especially its secret war in Southeast Asia.  McLucas, the former CEO and President of MITRE Corp., had been involved in developing communication systems for national air security, and McLucas, in becoming Air Force undersecretary too, just thought
his function was to smooth relations between the public and private providers of satellites, as he explained to researchers for the Defense Acquisition History Project shortly before he died:  “So I saw it as mainly dealing with hardware and with the people who were necessary to procure and upgrade the hardware.”
 
McLucas left the positioning of the new satellites to subordinates, and their real challenge was to find a place where they could conveniently and securely download their take in the far Pacific. Australia offered the best sites possible, and as long as it was governed by politicians friendly to America’s venture in Vietnam, it was no problem. The site selected was at Pine Gap, near Ayers Rock, smack-dab in the middle of the continent.  “Like a vacuum cleaner,” Helen Caldicott wrote in Missile Envy, “they suck up a wide spectrum of Soviet and Chinese military communications and radar emissions and beam them back to Pine Gap.” (p. 127)  Pine Gap also received photographs and electronic transmissions from the latest satellites in the KH series, KH-8, and 9 (BIG BIRD).
 
For the purposes of this article, though, the most relevant program at Pine Gap was the CIA’s Pyramider project, about which Dr. Caldicott wrote:  “It communicated with foreign agents using sensing mechanisms placed in strategic locations around the world, and backup communications for overseas systems.  The Pyramider program was supposed to ensure ‘maximum undetectability’.” (ibid. Pyramider was part of the program that DCI Helms was using to ferret out alleged spies among the anti-war ranks worldwide, and to pave the way for the secret operations by rogue agent William King Harvey et al. Of course, no system ensures undetectability, especially if someone in it decides to talk. What, for example, would have been the protection against Dr. Flax himself telling tales – and well he might, given his unexpected, abrupt resignation – and who really were the leakers that Colonel Haig was now so worried about?
 
To complement what was going on at Pine Gap, DCI Helms created the National Underwater Reconnaissance Office (NURO).  The joint CIA-Navy project was organized much like the NRO, with the Navy taking the place of the Air Force, and its management being directed in the Agency’s direction.  The impetus behind the NURO’s creation was the Navy’s attack sub Halibut finding a stricken Soviet Golf attack submarine on the Pacific Ocean floor – loaded with nuclear weapons, “crypto-codes”, and its communication systems – and the CIA was going all-out to build a vessel to retrieve it. 
 
In 1970, the Halibut was given the assignment to tap the Soviet cable in the Sea of Okhotsk to its port on the Kamchatka Peninsula, Petropavlovsk.  To facilitate such operations, the Navy built three stations to transmit very-low-frequency (VLF) messages to the probing subs: the biggest one on the Northwest Cape of Western Australia, a second one at Jim Creek, Washington, and a third at Cutler, Maine. 
 
To insure the security of the new NURO’s operations, its CIA-led leadership carried out Operation Kittyhawk – a disinformation one to persuade Moscow falsely that it had SIGINT operations by the Americans under control.  In June 1966, KGB agent Igor Kochnov made himself available to the Agency as a continuing agent in place by offering his services to CI chief James Angleton over the phone.  To help settle disputes, and coordinate operations between the Bureau and the Agency, he was recruited, and allowed to handle a Soviet defector, former Red Banner fleet officer Nicholas Shadrin aka Nikolai Artamonov codenamed LARK, who was working for the Office of Naval Intelligence. 
 
While Shadrin helped settle their disputes over another defector, Yuri Nosenko, Mark Riebling wrote in Wedge, “Shadrin also began to pass doctored naval secrets to the Soviets.” (p. 232)  The kind of doctored information he was supplying was the difficulty the Halibut was having in finding the cable in the Sea of Okhotsk, the worries the Americans had about her being discovered in Soviet waters, the infrared guidance system that Soviet cruise missiles had which were so threatening to American carriers, etc.   (For just how hopeless The Sword and The Shield:  The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB is as a source, note that Mitrokhim has no information about Kochnov, and Shadrin ‘s contribution is limited to his false claim that he could discover Nosenko’s whereabouts! (p. 387)
 
As with the NRO’s secrets about SIGINT operations during the Vietnam war, NURO’s secret operations against Soviet SIGINT were betrayed in late 1967 by Chief Warrant Officer John Walker, a communications watch officer on the staff of the commander of the Atlantic Fleet’s submarines who walked into the Soviet Embassy in Washington to offer his services shortly after fellow spy Robert Lipka had left NSA.  “He had access to reports on submarine operations, technical manuals, and daily key lists,” Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew wrote in Blind Man’s Bluff, “that were used to unscramble all the messages sent through  the military’s most widely used coding machines.” (p. 351)  As expected, the Mitrokin Archive has nothing to say about what the eighteen years of spying by him, his recruit Jerry Whitworth, and three members of his family contributed to Soviet security.
 
The success of the Walker spy ring was well demonstrated when the Halibut finally went on its first NURO mission to tap the cable in the Sea of Okhotsk in October 1971 just when the SALT talks with Moscow were entering their most difficult stages. The Soviets knew that the submarine would be looking for a sign along the coast somewhere, warning mariners not to anchor because a cable lay underneath – what  Captain James Bradley, the Navy’s top underwater spy, was convinced existed because of his experience on ships as a youth on the Mississippi. 
 
After more than a week’s search, lo and behold, the Halibut discovered a sign, stating in Russian:  “Do Not Anchor. Cable Here.”  In placing the tap on the cable – what enabled Washington periodically to read the routine communications between Moscow and its submarines in the Pacific – submariners discovered a mass of destroyed cruise missiles, small pieces of which they carefully recovered in the hope of coming up with a complete homing device of the cruise missiles.  While the Navy’s Department of Energy lab reconstructed a missile, its engineers were never able to put together the homing device.  In sum, despite the NURO’s massive efforts, it really never came up with anything important because of the spying by the Walkers.  
  
When Nixon was nearing the end of his life, former DCI Helms told Cambridge history Christopher Andrew in an interview in April 1992 his side of the story in dealing with the former President’s White House.  (See his For the President’s Eyes Only, p. 350ff., and notes.)  Of course, Helms wanted readers to believe that Nixon was the guiding hand behind Operation Chaos, claiming that the only way the Agency could prove to the President that domestic dissent was not inspired by foreign communist powers was by investigating all anti-war persons, and all contacts they had had with any foreign person.  In putting all the onus of the program on the President, though, Helms never expressed any real opposition to it nor threatened to resign because it was completely swamping his agency.
 
Then Helms was worried about the legacy Harvey had left in immobilizing other agencies while he had carried out the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy.  Agents of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) had repeatedly had their drug-trafficking investigations, particularly those of James Earl Ray and his courier Charlie Stein, stopped because of NRO wiretapping which showed that CIA agents were involved.  These concerns became a crisis when Nixon ordered on June 5, 1970 Vice Admiral Noel Gayler, NSA’s director, “…to program for coverage the communications of U. S. citizens using international facilities.”  (“James Bamford Statement on NSA Surveillance,” February 3, 2006, cryptome.org)  Same as now, NSA needed neither a warrant nor probably cause for the wire-tapping in Operation Minaret.
 
This presidential directive set off alarm bells at CIA, and it moved immediately to limit any damage from new wire-tapping, especially those of sources working with the BNDD. Of course, the Agency and Bureau both had been supportive of the program when it was started back in 1967 – only to be closed down a month later when the FBI was unable to find any connection between the Vietnam Veterans against the War and the Communist Party – only to be resumed in 1968 after MLK and RFK had conveniently departed the political scene.  The CIA was worried about investigators learning about the hiatus and wondering why, especially since February 1970 when Director Hoover broke off all contact with Langley – what would show that the Agency was using the BNDD as a cover for Harvey activities, and a firewall against dangerous blowback.
 
Two weeks after Nixon had ordered warrantless eavesdropping on foreign communications of Americans by NSA, BNDD agents carried out the biggest drug-bust in history – Operation Eagle during which 150 suspects were rounded up from cities around the country.  “As many as 70 percent of those arrested had once belonged to the Bay of Pigs invasion force,” Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall wrote in Cocaine Politics, “unleashed by the CIA against Cuba in April 1961.” (p. 26)  The others were connected to the Mafia, especially the crime families of Santos Trafficante, Carlos Marcello, and Sam ‘Momo’ Giancana.  Of course, their arrests, prosecutions and imprisonment not only took them out of circulation but also rendered their terrorist activities for the Agency a dead letter.  
 
Of particular concern to Langley was the activities of the Florida-based financial conglomerate, the World Finance Corporation (WFC).  Headed by Guillermo Hernández Cartaya, a member of the Operation 40 group which planned to take over Cuba in the wake of Castro’s demise, the WFC was riddled with CIA agents, noticeably Juan Restoy, Ricardo Morales, and Mario Escandar, and Agency fronts.  The arrests and indictments were an effective diversion from what were their primary responsibilities – murders, decoy operations, terrorist bombings and underworld enforcement – and after the crisis had passed, they largely escaped prison on legal technicalities. Of course, the CIA leader of all these anti-Castro Cubans was E. Howard Hunt, the eccentric writer who was now an employee of the Mullen Company, and back then thought that domestic dissent in Cuba, triggered into action by a small invasion force, could easily lead to his ouster. 
 
The arrest of some Agency assets and the transfer of others had been just in time as the disarray of Washington’s intelligence services had reached a new low in cooperation.  At the same time that Nixon ordered the warrantless eavesdropping by the NSA, it seemed that the FBI, CIA, NSA, and DIA had agreed to a new level of cooperation in meeting the unprecedented domestic unrest by agreeing to the Huston Plan – what the President’s liaison with the agencies Tom Charles Huston had proposed – but Director Hoover refused to go along with the program which would leave him responsible for any illegal activities, and broke off not only all liaison with them but also with the Secret Service, the IRS, and the individual armed services intelligence services.  “By cutting off liaison,” Curt Gentry wrote in J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets, “Hoover hoped to distance the FBI, and his own reputation, from the inevitable holocaust.” (p. 655)
 
Hardly a week later, the fat was in the fire when the New York Times announced that the Pentagon study of the conduct of the Vietnam war had been leaked to the press. While Nixon first thought that it would be a boon to his re-election since it showed the double-dealing of JFK and LBJ, he soon changed his mind when State Department memoranda showed the deep involvement of Henry Cabot Lodge and the Agency’s Lt. Col. Lucien Conein in Diem’s overthrow.  Then the effort to get leaker Daniel Ellsberg by criminal due process was completely frustrated by the FBI taps that had been ordered to discover the leaker of the Nixon-Kissinger-Haig secret war –  the DOJ could not use them without showing that they had earlier been trying to get his friends, especially Morton Halperin.
 
Charles Colson, Nixon’s special counsel, was ultimately obliged to have the Plumbers break into the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, Dr. Lewis Fielding who had refused to tell the Bureau the findings of his examination of his patient, hoping to find the information themselves – setting off a process which dragged into White House operations just those people the Agency was trying to distance itself from.  Hunt.- thought to have been the “mastermind” of the Bay of Pigs Operation – turned out to be the leader of Cartaya’s group, the people who had just been arrested by the BNDD.  More important, Hunt promised to provide “the right resources”, as Fred Emery explained in Watergate, to turn Ellsberg’s betrayal into a political triumph.  Then Hunt was consulting with Conein, another operative involved, along with Ted Shackley, and was working for Harvey on how to make it look as if JFK had been more involved in Diem’s overthrow that thought.
 
From the NRO’s point of view, the most damaging aspect of the Plumbers’ work was Hunt’s forging cables to prove the Kennedys had personally conspired in the assassination of South Vietnam’s President Diem – what President Nixon not only demanded, but deliberately referred to in his September 16th news conference, taking the initiative way from opponents using the release of The Pentagon Papers against the administration
 
Thanks to input from Conein, and help from Plumber secretary Kathleen Chenow, Hunt was able to put together forged cables – the Gemstone Papers – which falsely claimed that the US Embassy had asked for instructions about possible asylum for Diem and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, if they were overthrown.  More important, as Fred Emery wrote in Watergate, a forged cable back to Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge in Saigon declared:  “At highest level meeting today decision reluctantly made that neither you nor General Harkins should intervene in behalf of Diem or Nhu in event they seek asylum.” (Quoted from p. 72.)
 
While Hunt was unable to publish an article, based upon his forgeries, in the last issue of Life magazine, Conein took advantage of them when he appeared in December on the NBC-TV program “White Paper: Vietnam HIndsight” – what led NYT reporter Neil Sheehan, who had leaked The Pentagon Papers, to connect Daniel Ellsberg to the break-in, and to conclude that Conein’s statements left no doubt about the extent of the Kennedy administration’s involvement in the assassination of the South Vietnamese leaders.  And there was no denial from any former JFK officials or former Ambassador Lodge about having either said or seen any of the material claimed, and neither the NSA nor the NRO have raised any questions or complaints since about their alleged existence.
 
Little wonder that when the Agency learned early in 1972 that disgruntled agent Victor Marchetti, a former assistant to the DDCI who regularly attended planning and intelligence meetings attended by DCI Helms, was writing an article and a book about the Agency’s corruption, independence and incompetence in conducting foreign operations, its leadership pushed the panic button to stop them.  After having stolen the material from the office of a New York publisher, and placed Marchetti under surveillance, the Agency went successfully to court to get an injunction against the book’s publication, claiming that he was bound to secrecy, and obliging him to permit prepublication censorship before it appeared. 
 
After a series of court hearings about what had to be removed, and two years later, the book, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, finally appeared, with only the Agency’s claim to secrecy for 27 items regarding SIGINT satellite intelligence, as Angus Mackenzie concluded in Secrets: The CIA’s War at Home, standing up in court.  The NRO’s work was still the Republic’s deepest secrets.          
 
 

 
 




Why America’s NSA and Britain’s GCHQ Had Gareth Williams Assassinated

4 11 2011

By Trowbridge H. Ford
 
The National Security Agency’s new Director in 1999, Air Force General Michael Hayden, had a long career in its surveillance operations but his primary qualification for office was his adherence to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement – one which sought direct religious experience with Christ through Pentecostal and evangelical experience.  It was a millinarian type of religious group, reminiscent of the crusading orders of the Middle Ages, and best exemplified in the modern world by the Knights of Malta, the great recruiting agency of many of today’s New World Order people. Its capacity to find essential professionals, and fit them into key government positions goes far beyond what Yale University’s Skull and Bones Society can accomplish.  While Hayden was attending Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University, he studied American history – getting an M.A. on the impact of the Marshall Plan upon Europe, the first step in the West’s renewal after the catastrophic collapse in WWII. “Like many of his religious and conservative classmates,” James Bamford wrote, “Hayden rejected the antiwar movement and the social revolution and instead would embrace the military.” (1)
 
CIA Director George Tenet became interested in Hayden’s potential to ignite NSA in an fightback against the continuing stalemate over Palestine, and growing Muslim hostility toward America.  “The CIA chief liked what he heard and Hayden flew back to Korea virtually assured that he had the job as director of the NSA.” (2)  It recalled Henry Kissinger’s hiring of lowly Major Alexander Haig as his military aide as the Nixon administration was gearing up to pull off a surprising victory in the Vietnam War despite the apparent hopelessness of the struggle, and all the campaign rhetoric about negotiating peace with the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong.  Despite appearances, both military men were well versed in the operation of America’s covert government, whatever was required at a given moment. It looked like new Tonkin Gulf incidents were required if any new initiative was to be established.
 
While Tenet certainly mentored Hayden, it is worth remembering that Tenet was mentored by former DCI Richard Helms, so much so that he had Helms’ official portrait at the Langley headquarters moved into his office so that every DCI would see him as a model. It is also worth remembering that Helms had such a bitter hatred of his rival William Colby that he ultimately volunteered in his unexpected memoirs, A Look Over My Shoulder – even an allusion to such treachery – that Colby hurt Western intelligence more than the notorious KGB spy, Kim Philby.(3) It seems most likely that Tenet, while Deputy Director when Colby was assassinated, was given the nod by Helms to arrange the killing – what resulted in DCI John Deutch to suddenly resign when he learned about it, clearing the way for Tenet to take over officially. After Deutch’s departure, an inquiry was started to see if he should be prosecuted for having classified materials on his laptops, what seems like a belated effort to explain it away, but Attorney General Janet Reno refused to prosecute him, and President Bill Clinton pardoned him for the alleged offense on his last day in office.
 
Hardly had Hayden taken over at Fort Meade than he showed Tenet that he was the right person to run NSA.  The bombing campaign of Serbia was in full swing but NATO’s planes were not hitting anything of value in Slobodan Milosevic’s military arsenal, thanks to a Turkish informer within its ranks informing Belgrade of intended targets through the Chinese Embassy. NSA learned of this through its capture of microwave communications to the Chinese through its eavesdropping satellites and ground-based stations, most likely in Bad Aibling in Germany and Menwith Hill in Yorkshire – what seemed like a resumption of Operation Shamrock under modern conditions.
 
Then CIA played dumb with its maps, acting as if the Embassy was a Yugoslav military facility. On May 7, 1999, NATO bombers hit the facility with five bombs, killing three residents.  For good measure, NSA’s Keyhole laser satellites were used the following August to trigger an earthquake in the qanat system of Izmit, Turkey to punish its Nationalist leadership for betraying NATO secrets to Yugoslav President Milosevic. The mission was a good example of what former SoD Robert Gates said about former Los Alamos intelligence chief Danny “(Stillman’s) ability to adapt the latest advance in science to solve unmanageable problems and to analyze foreign technologies made him an invaluable asset to the Intelligence Community.”(5)
 
The earthquake was intended to so embarrass Turkey’s government during the relief effort that it would be overthrown, either at the polls or by its military – what occurred during the 2002 elections when Bulent Ecevit’s government was soundly trounced. It was a brilliant use of new technology to take advantage of ancient technology to fulfill Washington’s goals.
 
Given such achievements, Washington wasn’t too concerned about what Al-Qaeda was up to, helping explain why both Tenet and Hayden were kept at their posts after George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in the 2000 presidential poll. It was more concerned about the exposure of satellite abilities to gain vital information, and to deliver devastating reprisals than deliberately stopping any of its small scale operations. “In the few years between 1991 and 1994,” Bamford wrote, “the number of spy satellites dropped by nearly half.”(6)  He failed to add that the remaining ones were far more versatile and powerful than the ones they replaced. As a result, the Al-Qaeda calls emanating from and received by its headquarters in Yemen were ignored, resulting in the 1998 devastating bombings of US embassies in East Africa, and the attack on the USS Cole the following year when it docked in Aden to refuel.(7) 
 
NSA was still almost paranoid about its operations being leaked somehow, and did not want to take any unnecessary risks by going to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for a warrant.
 
Director Hayden based his decision upon three factors –  fears that NSA would be seen “as America’s secret and powerful ‘boogeyman’ “,  that NSA officials would again be threatened with prosecutions for eavesdropping on Americans, and fears that its activities would be leaked to the press and America’s foes. The best way to avoid the first two concerns, Bamford wrote tellingly, “…was to keep his agency’s operations as far away from U.S. territory as possible. If a terrorist in the U.S. was communicating with his masters in a foreign country, Hayden reasoned, that was the FBI’s responsibility, not his.”(8) The ability of the Bureau to meet its responsibility was seriously impaired, though Hayden didn’t mention it, by the continued spying for the Russians by its agent Robert Hanssen – what was finally disclosed in February 2001, and he pleaded guilty to 19 counts of espionage in July after colleagues, like in the Ronald Pelton case, recognized his voice in a conversation long before with his KGB handler in Washington on a NSA tape recording.      
 
The wheels for a payback now for Al-Qaeda’s operations far away from America’s shores had started turning soon after Hayden started working at Fort Meade.  Rich Taylor, NSA’s Deputy Director for Operations, wanted to fix the agency’s aimless, eavesdropping operations by adopting project Thinthread: “The first and most important issue for NSA/CSS (Central Security Service),” Bamford quoted, “is to reform our management and leadership system…we have good people in a flawed system.”(9) 
 
Thinthread called for the encryption of all messages and phone calls entering and leaving the States – so as not to need a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Security Court (FISC) – except the headers of such messages which would show their origin or destination. It would solve the problem of getting an FISA warrant without engaging in undue search and seizure while obtaining probable cause to continue eavesdropping without committing anything illegal.
 
Tests of the proposal in 1998 had proven quite successful    Also, NSA needed to strengthen its ties with strategic partners, especially the other members of the Five Eyes group, Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand.
 
Hayden wanted nothing to do with the proposal, preferring instead a program called Trailblazer. Instead of running the risks of trying to catch terrorists, concerns that the Bureau should be involved in, Hayden wanted to catch foreigners before they even got involved in the process. It essentially collected everything it could get its hands on, hoping that super computers could make sense of the mass of information collected – “…the origins and destinations of phone calls and e-mails.” (10) While Taylor and Hayden continued to argue about which system to adopt, it peaked in the fall of 2000, with the Director going for Trailblazer, and Taylor heading for the exit.
 
While Hayden then asked for bids from defense contractors for working on Trailblazer, there was no big time response by NSA’s contractors – Boeing, IBM, SAIC, Computer Science Corporation, and Litton – persuading Hayden and Tenet that some big time event was necessary to shake up the country for more direct action.
 
The last operational hurdle to such action was the continued presence of the Bureau’s counter-terrorist expert in New York, John O’Neill.  He was responsible for getting to the bottom of the first terrorist attack on the WTC in 1993, and was certain that Muslim terrorists would try it again.  He was committed to stopping them, the last thing that Tenet and Hayden wanted, so he was sidelined from the planning of the covert operation for fear, it seems, that leaks from it would jeopardize what CIA and NSA had in mind.(11)  
 
The plan that Tenet and Hayden had in mind was to catch the now well-identified 19 hijackers in the act of hijacking the four planes on September 11.To prevent the hijackers from getting wind of the plan, leader Mohamed Atta – whose calls from the States, especially the San Diego area, were never passed on by NSA to other security agencies (12) –  and four of his associates, were allowed to board the first plane leaving from Boston without any accompanying CIA agents. 
 
The 15 agents were on the other three flights, under the direction of Barbara Olson, wife of Solicitor General Ted Olson, and they were to overpower the hijackers as the planes neared LA.  The link between the Agency and NSA was the close association that Tenet had with Hayden.(13)  To give more propitious effect to the ploy, NSA’s associate agency, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), conducted a training exercise of a plane crashing into one of its buildings 50 minutes after American Airline’s Flight 77, carrying Olson and three of the agents, had already taken off from Washington’s Dulles Airport.
 
The covert operation, of course, ended up as a complete tragedy after the hijackers turned out to be suicide bombers. The best evidence that it had gone wrong was when the President stayed put in the Florida kindergarten while the operation was still going on, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had Air Force fighters shoot down the last hijacked plane in western Pennsylvania before it could crash into the Capitol or the White House.
 
The most important act in damage-control was preventing the full disclosure of the planes’ passenger lists – what left out the names of the 19 suicide bombers, and the unarmed 15 agents who had futilely tried to stop them – what permitted conspiracy theorists to go wild about who was really on the planes, who or what piloted them, why the buildings around the WTC really collapsed, etc. The most damaging evidence that Washington, especially NSA, could not suppress was all the telephone calls, especially those of Barbara Olson, that passengers on the planes made and received before they died. 
 
At least her husband finally admitted to Bamford:  “I, by this time, had made the calculation that these were suicide persons, bent on destroying as much of America as they could.”(14)
 
Hayden acted as if the tragedy was another Pearl Harbor, and it was, though President Roosevelt was dealing with a desperate imperial Japan while NSA only had been confronted by 19 suicide bombers – what Japan lost hundreds of from Okinawa during the final days of WWII through Kamikazi attacks.  NSA’s incredibly cautious approach to eavesdropping on them had directly led to the attacks, and now Hayden would go for broke in making sure that it was not repeated.
 
While much has been written about what ensued, the only aspect to be considered in this article is what NSA, the Bureau and GCHQ could legally do in the process, though it should be noted that Tenet and Hayden combined when it came time to make sure that Iran did not take advantage of the West’s showdown with Saddam by either helping him in his difficulties, or, more likely, try to take part of Iraq’s Shia-dominated area during the struggle – what was prevented by NSA seeing that the NRO caused the earthquake in the qanat areas surrounding Bam with the chemical laser aboard its Misty radar satellite, leaving Iran with more than enough troubles of its own.
For NSA and the FBI, anything went when it came to warrantless eavesdropping as Hayden, an American historian of sorts, thought that the post 9/11 emergency justified the overriding of all of the protections that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution provided against undue searches of one’s home, person and possessions as the tapping of phone lines and cellphones didn’t amount to this, especially since NSA’s lawyers agreed.  And the Bureau was willing to go along with such sentiments after presiding FISA court judge Royce C. Lamberth approved all the surveillance it wanted to get the culprits of the attacks, and Attorney General John Ashcroft’s subordinate John C.Yoo agreed independently with Hayden’s lawyers about what the emergency permitted.(15) While others disapproved of what they knew or suspected was happening, there was nothing they could do to really challenge it, much less stop it.
 
In Britain, there have never been any serious restrictions on what its intelligence community, particularly GCHQ, can do. Actually, given its policy of ever eavesdropping if it serves the national interest, the legal provisions of the Official Secrets Acts are all against employees and members of the public leaking secrets.  And any employee who wants to or is required to work for American agencies can do so without risking any legal penalty, as Bamford explained:  “Hayden suggested that such activity was not prohibited by federal law. Instead it was prohibited only by presidential executive order, and executive orders can be canceled or changed at the whims of a president.  ‘By executive order,’ Hayden said, ‘it is illegal for us to ask others to do what we cannot do ourselves, and we don’t do it’.”(16)
 
The crisis over what became known as NSA’s Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) occurred when it came time for its renewal, March 11, 2004. Underlings of Ashcroft and Yoo at the Justice Department, James Comey and Jack Goldsmith, decided that it was an abomination to the Constitution, and recommended that it not be renewed. This led to a political firefight between the White House and the headless Department of Justice because Ashcroft was then in the hospital, suffering from gallstone pancreatitis.  “Without Comey’s signature,” Bamford wrote, “the NSA would have to immediately pull the plug on the operation or possibly face criminal charges.” (17)
 
With the public totally oblivious of what was going on, the White House and Ashcroft’s subordinates fought it out in a manner reminiscent of ‘Tricky Dick’ Nixon’s ‘Saturday Night Massacre’.  While Bush reauthorized the program without Justice Department approval, he seemed to agree to changes in it which would bring it back within the law.  In the end, the changes only amounted to getting rid of the most egregious violations of FISA, and their continued justification.
 
Hayden’s protection of his secret, illegal operations started to fray a few months later when New York Times reporter James Risen, who helped break the spying for the Soviets by the Bureau’s Robert Hanssen, called, asking Hayden about his warrantless eavesdropping on Americans.(18)  Of course, Hayden panicked over the call, denying that anything untoward was going on at NSA, but he believed TSP’s days were numbered.  While Bamford seemed completely uninterested in who was Risen’s source, it was  Russell Tice, but the newspaper was unwilling to pursue it because it could not find anyone else to back up his claims, and word got out that Tice was a bit paranoid, leading to his being fired by NSA in May 2005. Perhaps,Tice was deliberately chosen to kill the story, once his lack of credibility was determined.
 
In any case, more than a year later Thomas A. Drake – a  NSA software purchaser executive who supported what Taylor had tried to get Hayden to do, especially the adoption of Thinthread rather than the most expensive wild goose chase that Trailblazer promised – apparently started whistle-blowing too on NSA. With Thinthread, Drake thought that NSA could have prevented the 9/11 attacks, and by 2002 he was telling anyone who would listen just that. 
 
Supported by NSA’s math specialist William Binney and communication analyst J. Kirk Wiebe, Drake soon got Diane Roark, a Republican aide to the House Intelligence Committee, taking his complaints seriously. Drake testified before congressional committees about his complaints, and worked with the DoD’s Inspector General for two and a half years to obtain official action regarding them but without any evidence of success in his December 2004 report. On his supporters’ advice, he not only contacted reporter Siobhan Gorman of The Baltimore Sun but apparently also the NYT.(19)
 
The Times article ultimately appeared on December 16, 2005, and a little over a year later, Attorney General Gonzales announced that the warrantless eavesdropping program had ended.  Once again, all eavesdropping would be subject to FISC warrants, as the President, this time, had refused to reauthorize TSP when it was needed for it to continue. NSA would not need to apply for a warrant, though, in foreign-to-foreign communications except when one end of it reached a U.S. phone, and then NSA had three days to apply to the court with an emergency application for the tap to be legal.
 
Shortly thereafter, Hayden left NSA, replaced as Director by General Keith Alexander while joining former NSA Director Mike McConnell, National Intelligence Director, as his deputy.  Because of the blow-back from the murder of Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, who was repeatedly raped first, and her family in Iraq, National Intelligence made a meal of the kidnapping of two of the soldiers involved by getting the Justice Department to sign a emergency FISA request, certifying that it had probable cause for the Bureau to put the suspected kidnappers names on the watch list, and targeting their activities.
 
Then McConnell, thanks to input from Hayden, panicked Congress into passing the FISA Amendment Act which replaced the expiring Protect America Act – giving legal immunity to telecoms which engage in eavesdropping so that there would be no new Shamrock scandal, weakened the authority of its court, and gave NSA a freer hand in targeting suspected terrorists abroad.(20) It and the Bureau would still have to get an FISA order to target Americans and green card residents living in the States.
 
Despite Senator Obama’s campaign pledge that he would straighten out the whole warrantless eavesdropping mess if elected President, he has done nothing of the sort.  If anything, he has made it worse, claiming it is necessary in the war on terror while protecting ‘state secrets’ .(21) One can only speculate what secrets he had in mind.  The murder of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko in London comes readily to mind back in November 2006. The CIA was going through another terrible period in its history with the forced resignation of Director Porter Goss in May 2006, and Hayden taking over at the end of the month, starting a period during which the National Security Archive released the Agency’s Family Jewels, many of which concerned Helms’ violation of its Charter – MH-CHAOS, Shamrock, MK-Ultra and the stirring up of the Hungarian Uprising.
 
On the day Litvinenko was apparently poisoned, the George Washington University institution released the worst files, highlighted by a bit of the NYT front page where a Seymour Hersh article described Watergate’s fallout at Helms’ expence.(22)  The Agency’s staff needed something to stem the flow of damaging revelations, and Hayden’s presence there deflected attention away from its cause. 
 
NSA certainly had an interest in shutting up Litvinenko, who has threatening everyone he knew anything about, starting with Italy’s Romano Prodi with blackmail – what could go all the way back to the non-nuclear showdown with the Soviets after triggering it by assassinating Sweden’s Prime Minister Olof Palme. Not only would the leaderships of Washington and London risk being implicated in this claims but also the double agent spying on Moscow which neither of them wanted aired again. Little wonder that he was killed in a most confusing way, particularly where he was poisoned, by what, by whom, and for what reason.(23)  The poison was most notable for its delayed, devastating effect. 
 
Edward Epstein, famous for helping cover up previous CIA-NSA plots, conveniently claimed that Litvinenko must have poisoned himself with the polonium-210 for some unknown reason.
 
The plot was intended to implicate Russian President Vladimir Putin in the assassination, but he stood his ground without flinching, protecting the alleged assassin Andrei Lugovoy, and making the plotters even more eager to punish the now Russian Prime Minister. They, headed by CIA’s director of operations Stephen Kappes, started a new assault on Moscow by building up a ‘false flag’ operation, dealing with illegal agents called New Rodina, based upon what the KGB had done with their original operation to genuinely do the same with real illegals back in the 1970s under Yuri Andropov. The covert operation was the leading one in President Obama’s secret agenda, explaining why he did nothing about warrantless eavesdropping, and why he was so supportive of Leon Panetta to be DCI. 
 
Panetta, as head of OMB and as Chief of Staff during the Clinton administration, knew about the convenient assassinations, particularly that of Colby, and now wanted to move on in a more coherent, structured way.  Of course, liberal Democrats like California’s Dianne Feinstein just cleared the way for his getting started by claiming she would only support his confirmation if he kept Kappes on, and when DNI Admiral Dennis Blair tried to interfere with what Panetta was doing with his resident agents in places like London, he was given the door after Leon blew his customary cool over the matter.
 
The sleeper cell contained 10 Russians, and their Canadian handler Robert Christopher Metsos.  For several years, the ten tried to integrate as well as they could into American society, reminiscent of how illegal KGB agent Vilyam Fisher ran the most effective VOLUNTEER group in NYC during the late 1940s.  “Under his later alias ‘Rufolp Abel’, Fisher was to become one of the best-known of all Soviet illegals, whose career was publicized by the KGB as a prime example of the success and sophistication of its operations in the West during the Cold War.”(24) While Andrew characteristically debunked Abel’s achievements, the so called Manhattan 11 group never really got started, just sleeping away along America’s east coast, and collecting their pay while awaiting instructions about doing something significant.  It seems that all but Metsos thought that they were there to infiltrate really sleeper groups for Moscow.
 
When it came time to entrap them, just before President Dmitri Medvedev came to Washington for a fence-mending meeting with President Obama, the Bureau set up Anna Chapman, the only one connected to Britain, by having her send deeply encrypted messages by a computer wireless network she had been given to another of the sleepers, at the suggestion of an FBI agent feigning to be a Russian Embassy official, about getting a false passport. The messages were sent on sophisticated laptops which the Bureau had provided, and had software to encrypt and decrypt them – what prevented Bureau agents from being involved in any illegal wiretapping.
 
When Chapman ultimately refused to go ahead with the exchange, thanks to advice from her father, a former KGB agent, Chapman and the others were arrested as foreign agents, and the media went wild over the story.(25) 
 
The Bureau soon learned that it would be in difficulty if it went ahead with these most serious prosecutions as the evidence could be quickly shown to be fraudulent, charging them instead with only failing to register with the Attorney General as agents of a foreign power, and for money laundering with the secret payments they received. Then Prime Minister Putin surprisingly agreed to exchange them for four real spies being held by the Russians.
 
The weakness of the evidence was manifest when the Bureau on Halloween released the videos of Operation Ghost Stories, showing ten of the sleepers doing most ordinary things or deliberately contrived ones when no known Russian handler was ever exposed – only Bureau agents posing to be so. Sleepers are said to be shown engaging in tradecraft when there is no evidence of their actually doing so, and making exchanges when only they, particularly Metsos, are identified.
 
The best example of the contrivance that the Bureau engaged in is shown in the 7:40 minute-long video of sexy Anna Chapman walking around a department store on January 29, 2010, allegedly communicating with her Russian handler outside. The stacked videos of her are quite clearly ones of the store’s, looking for shoplifters. Chapman certainly looks like one while aimlessly walking around it rather than engaged in any wireless conversation. At the same time, the man outside – with his face blacked out – is endlessly talking to someone on his cellphone. There seems to be no conversation between them at all, and the handler could not be a Russian official as the FBI would have loved to have displayed his face if he had been one.  Ghost Stories indeed!  
 
The Bureau’s concerns were that spy prosecutions would be seen as the result of a deliberate fishing expedition for years to get around the law  – what did violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution about unreasonable searches and seizures, and that the “wall” between intelligence and criminal squads had been broken through during the process.
 
“The FBI then decided to allow only agents and analysts assigned to intelligence duties access to FISA materials, not the criminal investigators.” (26)  For good measure, anyone who reviewed transcripts of domestic electronic surveillance must sign a certification that court approval was required before they were handed over to criminal prosecutors.  None of this was done, and the Bureau’s leaderhip would be in serious trouble if it were exposed by someone with inside credibility.
 
And that person was Gareth Williams, GCHQ’s whiz kid software man who could encrypt messages to remain secret during any transmission or decode any such message received, and who was on secondment to MI6 to help out its spies to get what they wanted. While it seems a bit of a stretch that he was actually involved in helping entrap the Manhattan 11, it seems quite clear that he knew that he was in no trouble whatever the Bureau had done.(27) 
 
When that became important was when a couple visited his safe flat in Mayfair right after the case broke. The couple could have been Putin’s agents, seeking approval for the spy swap. Then it could have been her former husband Alex Chapman, and her former roommate Lena Savitskaya who knew only about the MI6 flat, not who had occupied it, explaining why they knocked on other doors first to find out where it was in the building, once they had gained entrance. The meeting resulted in their adopting a plan to embarrass NSA/GCHQ as much as possible, with Gareth apparently supplying the funds up front to get it started.
 
Williams went back to the States in July, and started asking questions about what NSA had really been doing when it came of warrantless eavesdropping, especially after it became clear of Thomas Drake’s plight for whistle-blowing about the problems at NSA.(28)  He faced 35 years in prison for continuing to air his complaints through reporter Gorman who had now moved on to The Wall Street Journal  – what he had even tried to get Seymour Hersh to go along with, but without success. Drake’s problems just made Williams want to get to the bottom of the covert operations more, so much so that he apparently disclosed his aims to a GCHQ colleague and her husband who were at Fort Meade in his stead, forcing MI6 to transfer them to Denver on another alleged covert mission so that they could not be involved in any further developments.
 
The assassination of Williams and its cover up were the main problems. He was apparently poisoned by death cap mushrooms, amanita phalloides, just before he left to go back to Britain on 10th August, either by their being placed in the food at his apartment there or while he was eating out somewhere. Shortly after he returned, he suffered the vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, etc. which are characteristic of this kind of poisoning, but he seems not to have taken it seriously at first.
 
Almost everyone has had such experiences, and almost never have suspected that they were the results of deliberate, deadly poisoning, especially when they soon stopped – what also happened in this case.  The only problem was that this was the second stage of the poisoning, and not just getting over some cook’s alleged revenge. It apparently ended on the 14th after Williams bought some medication at Harrods’ Dispensing Pharmacy to deal with the resumption of the problems(29), but by now it was too little too late.  Taking pills like rifampicin, antamanide, paclitaxed and the like orally are no substitute for them taken intravenously, especially if one has not at first cleaned out one’s gut some way.
 
The plight of Williams is seen in the video tapes of him, both apparently taken on the 14th though the police say that one, the one outside Harrods, was on the 15th.  Both show a very jaundiced, feverish soul, dragging himself around as best he can. His pallor at the Holland Park Station is that of a person going into the final stage of phallotoxin poisoning where the cells of the liver are dropping dead.(30) The police want, it seems, to explain away Williams having bought £90-worth of medication on the 14th, making it look like it was for women’s toiletries – the cause of his alleged cross dressing – because they found a bill from the pharmacy at the flat but no signs of the medications. They want to maintain the myth that he was a perfectly healthy person until he surprisingly died for some unknown reason.
 
When Williams realized he was dying, perhaps on the night of the 14th, there was nothing he could do about it which would make it any better physically or mentally.  Calls to family and friends would have only alarmed them, and alerted them that he was being murdered for some alleged betrayal. Going to a hospital or a doctor would end with results even worse. So he just allowed himself to die, slowly in his flat. The death could have occurred any time after the 15th, as the process usually takes between six and sixteen days after ingesting the poison.  Williams hoped that the murder scene would be seen as such by the police when they finally discovered it.
 
It seems that Williams dead or dying was discovered by British covert agents, helping out NSA in the process. They were the ones who let themselves into the flat, found Williams’ body, moved it into the carryall, zipped it up and padlocked it, recovered all his medicines, and then let themselves out, locking the door behind them. They hoped that investigators would see it as the result of some sex game, gone wrong.  The only thing they overlooked was leaving the receipt for Williams’ medical assistance.
 
It was most interesting that NSA immediately and unprecedentally denied that his death had anything to do with its operations.(31)  An alleged former CIA officer in London was sure that it had nothing to do with his work. Now the investigation of the murder is in a state of suspended animation, letting the Bureau agents see if they can connect the Mediterranean-looking couple to the killing – apparently a lead to Alex Chapman and his female associate – and if they can’t, Williams will be written off as an accidental self-killing, like that of former GMP Chief Constable Mike Todd.    
 
 
References
 
1. James Bamford, The Shadow Factory:  The Ultra-Secret from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, p. 29. For more on the Catholic movement, see this link:
http://www.nsc-chariscenter.org/AboutCCR/
2.  Ibid., p. 30.
3.  For more belated discussion about the deadly controversy in Helm’s memoirs,  see Thomas Troy’s review of it in Studies in Intelligence, and the cover-up response to it:
http://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/sci-studies/vol48no1/article.08.html
http://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/sci-studies/vol48no4/exception.html
4.  For more, see:  http://mirror.robert-marquardt.com/cryptome/001/usa-disasters.htm
5.  Quoted the back of the dustcover of Thomas C. Reed and Danny B. Stillman, The Nuclear Express.
6.  James Bamford, Body of Secrets: How America’s NSA and Britain’s GCHQ Eavesdrop on the World, p. 549.
7.  Bamford, op. cit., p. 8.
8.  Ibid., pp. 31-2.
9.  Quoted in ibid.,p. 41.
10  Bamford, The…, p. 329.
11. For more, see Trowbridge H. Ford, “O’Neill: A Voice in the Wilderness?,” Eye Spy!, Issue Thirteen, pp. 22-23.
12. Bamford, The…, pp. 40-1.
13. For more, see Trowbridge H, Ford, “The Prelude: US Intelligence – 11 September 2001,” Eye Spy!, Issue Eight, pp. 26-33.
14. Quoted from Bamford, The…, pp. 90-1.
15.  Ibid., pp. 115-6.
16.  Ibid., p. 38.
17.  Ibid., p. 281.
18.  Ibid., p. 287.
19.  For more, see James O’Rourke’s article: http://politicsorpoppycock.com/2010/07/14/act-of-honor-or-betrayal/
20.  Bamford, The…, p. 307.
21.  For more, see this link: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/04/05
22.  http://www.gwu.edu/~asarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB222(index.htm  And remember that Hayden was DCI when Studies in Intelligence printed the exchange which attempted to rehabilitate Helms
23.  For more, see these links:
http://cryptome.org/mi6-litvinenko.html
http://codshit.blogspot.com/2008/07/why-and-how-alexander-litvinenko-was.html
24. Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield, p.148
25.  See, e. g., this link: http://www.cbsnews/com/stories/2010/06/28/world/main6627393.shtml
26.  Bamford, The…, p. 67.
27.  Ibid., p. 38.
28.  See O’Rourke, op. cit.
29.  For its existence – what some investigators deny – see this link: http://www.londontoolkit.com/whattodo/harrods.htm
30.  http://www.thisislondom.co.uk/standard-23874697-last-images-of-spy-in-bag-gareth-williams.do
31.  http://blog.wshingtonpost.com/spy-talk/2010/09/gareth_williams_death_not_spy-.html