Tuesday 3 February 2004

How CIA Operatives Managed to Salvage Deadliest Operations despite Watergate's Wake

by Trowbridge H. Ford

While it would have been nice if CIA's independent operations, especially programmed killings by Manchurian Candidates, had ceased with the disappearance of Agency operatives William King Harvey, Richard M. Helms, and E. Howard Hunt, they, unfortunately, resumed as part of its effort to revitalize covert operations, once the fallout from Watergate had been overcome. By then, the Agency had managed to find ways to salvage the capability to create them. It was then just a question of whether conditions would become bad enough, yet safe enough, for it, especially former DCI George Bush, DDO Theodore Shackley, DDI Ray Cline, director of the Office of Security Robert Gambino, veteran agent Thomas Clines, and others to resort to using them again.

During the interim, Hunt was confined for a term in the federal penitentiary in Danbury, Connecticut for managing the break-in, 'Executive Action' man Harvey went into a deadly tailspin pursuing his increasingly talkative, former Mafia colleagues, and DCI Helms was appointed American Ambassador to Teheran, the furthest place Nixon could find to exile him to in the hope of saving his Presidency but to no avail. By October 1978, with the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, it was thought naively that the possibilities of creating their replacements had been foreclosed. In fact, by the time Reagan was in the White House, Helms and Hunt even were in the process of making something of a comeback despite appearances to the contrary.

The real problems for the Agency started when William Colby, who had replaced DCI James Schlesinger, began cooperating unprecedentedly with congressional committees investigating Watergate. Schlesinger had immedilately fired 1,500 agents, 1,000 of them from the Operations Directorate, and had ordered DD Colby to prepare a report on CIA's illegal activities, what became known as the "Family Jewels" (Christopher Andrew, For the President's Eyes Only, p. 388), hardly what Nixon had envisioned when he appointed him DCI. Nixon then turned to veteran Colby in the hope that he would stop the rot, but he hardly proved more satisfactory, making public during congressional interrogations covert assassination plots, and domestic operations. "He insisted he was trying to save the CIA by showing it to operate under the law and the authority of elected politicians." (Martin Walker, "CIA chief who 'came clean' is presumed drowned," The Guardian, April 30, 1996, p. 1)

Actually, it took a bit of doing by Gerald Ford, America's only non-elected President, to reduce the damage to this level. As soon as Colby leaked information to Seymour Hersh of The New York Times that CI Chief James Angleton had been conducting domestic counterintelligence operations for years, leading to his dismissal, Ford was forced to appoint a commission under Vice President Nelson Rockefeller to investigate CIA activities within the United States. (Mark Riebling, Wedge, p. 323ff.) To counter any unexpected blowback from an examination of the illegal surveillance program MH-CHAOS - what could lead to Operation MK-ULTRA, and Harvey's assassination program - Ford called Helms back from Iran, in the hope that he could save the Agency. Ford had long been in the Agency's pocket because of his sexual excesses, especially his paedophilia. (For more, see Cathy O'Brien's often reprinted TRANCE, p. 82ff.) The President had been softened up for drastic action by a feeble assassination attempt by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a most unrepentant disciple of CIA-connected Charles Manson's - what would have made Rockefeller President if successful.

The former DCI had done everything he could think of to help before he had gone - e.g., had Sidney Gottlieb of the Technical Services Staff destroy the main records of the mind-control programs, canceled Dr. Stephen Aldrich's Project OFTEN to find just the right substance to "...simulate a heart attack or stroke in the targeted individual" (Quoted from John Marks, The Search for the 'Manchurain Candidate', p. 227), transferred what needed to be preserved of CHAOS to Richard Ober's International Terrorism Group in the wake of the court injunction against contract agents, especially Victor Marchetti, publishing their complaints about it without Agency approval (Angus Mackenzie, Secret: The CIA's War at Home, p. 41ff.), and briefed Schlesinger, albeit unsuccessfully, about how to limit the fallout. In fact, Schlesinger was so remiss that he failed to inform Ford of Colby's report on the "Family Jewels", what his successor hurriedly tried to amend on January 3, 1975.

The next morning at a meeting in the White House, Helms similarly advised Ford, calling for bringing the FBI within the scope of the commission's inquiry, a focus which would expose its illegal COINTELPRO Operation, and thereby blunt potential criticism: "They overlap," Helms explained deceptively, "and you may as well get to the bottom of it." ("Memorandum of Conversation," Ford papers) Helms had laid the groundwork for making the most of the meeting by having had breakfast with NSA Henry Kissinger, and his deputy General Brent Scowcroft beforehand, as Max Holland explained in a Sept. 18, 1998 article, "Getting Closer to the Truth about the Death of JFK," in The Boston Globe: "Helms said all these stories were just the tip of the iceberg. If they come out, blood will flow. For example, Robert Kennedy personally managed the operation on the assassination of Castro." (A27) Little wonder that Ford responded with every assurance to Helms about containing the scandal's consequences: "I have only the most admiration for you and for your work. Frankly, we are in a mess. I want you to tell me whatever you want. I believe the CIA is essential to the country. It has to exist and perform its functions." (op. cit.)

Of course, in so advising the President, the former DCI overlooked MK-ULTRA, and cleaned up the origin of the assassination plots. The former had been carried on without the knowledge, or approval of any President before possibly Nixon, and the latter had been instituted behind the backs of Eisenhower and the Kennedys, and had been continued in 1963 against Castro despite the express orders of Attorney General Kennedy to the contrary. (Jonathan Vankin and John Whelan, The 60 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time, p. 3ff.) Moreover, Helms had lied about Agency domestic spying before the National Press Club in 1971, explaining reassuringly, but most dishonestly: "We do not target American citizens. The nation must to a degree take it on faith that we who lead the CIA are honorable men, devoted to the nation's service." (www. levity.com/aciddreams) Ford was so impressed by such lies that he had greater confidence in Helms, and the Agency serving the national interest than he had in his proposed Blue Ribbon Panel.

In saying this, one must appreciate that CIA has always been more willing to keep Ford informed, and gain his approval than any elected President. While the former Congressman's inside account of the Warren Commission for the October 4, 1964 issue of Life magazine, and his co-authoring of Protrait of the Assassin, the polemic against Lee Harvey Oswald as JFK's assassin, come most readily to mind, the Agency had just gotten him to approve of Project Jennifer, the dangerous, $300 million effort to raise a sunken Soviet nuclear submarine from the Pacific Ocean seabed by the Hughes Tool Company-built Glomar Explorer, what could have resulted in another eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with Moscow, or just disastrous nuclear explosions in the middle of the ocean. No sooner had Ford been confirmed as Vice President than Colby briefed him on the status of the seven-year project (Andrew, p. 399), reminiscent of how CIA had gotten JFK on board for the Bay of Pigs invasion. Nixon apparently had not approved of the former, nor Eisenhower of the latter. The favorite ploy by the Agency to get Presidents behind its projects is to brief successors about what their predecessors are said to have been informed of, and approved.

On January 16, 1975, to reduce the chances of the commission wandering from the straight, and narrow laid out by the former DCI, the President blurted out at a White House luncheon for the NYT's editorial leadership that the Agency had been carrying out assassinations, and that they had been ordered by previous Presidents - what would "blacken the reputation of every President since Truman" (Quoted from Andrew, p. 405.) - though there is no evidence that he talked to anyone but Helms and Colby about the matter. Since the Commission's charter concerned domestic operations, the President was engaging in just the kind of rumor-mongering he said he feared, and abhored. Little wonder that the claim soon leaked out, leading CBS's Daniel Shorr to question ultimately Colby about the targets involved. The CIA had not assassinated anyone within the country, he answered, though he declined to say whether the Agency may have seen to the assassination the Congo's Patrice Lumumba. In sum, the purpose of this Machiavellian ploy by the President, Colby's disclaimer notwithstanding, was to change the whole focus of the inquiry from what the Agency independently had done domestically to what Presidents, particularly JFK, allegedly ordered it to do overseas.

The ploy's success was dramatically demonstrated when DCI Colby testified before the Senate's Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities about its assassination attempts, highlighted by showing the poison dart gun the Agency had developed for Lumumba's execution - what some critics of the Warren Report were now claiming was used by the so-called 'Umbrella Man' in Dealey Plaza to finish off JFK. No one, it seems, had been killed by this means. The Rockefeller Commission, according to its remit only to investigate CIA's minor transgressions, had dumped the whole question of its "Family Jewels" in Congress's lap after Colby had acknowledged that the Agency had tested the effect of LSD on unwitting subjects, resulting in the suicide of Dr. Frank Olson, a CIA researcher in biological warfare. (Andrew, p. 404ff.) Then there were revelations about MH-CHAOS, the Agency's domestic spying operation on anti-war dissidents, and its assistance to the White House Plumbers. The Committee chairman, Senator Frank Church, was soon proclaiming, like Helms, that Olson's death was only "the tip of the iceberg", and that the Agency "may have been behaving like a rogue elephant on the rampage." (Quoted from p. 411.)

Actually, its prospects were not as bad as they seemed, though, as previous Presidents, and prospective ones were now more on trial than the Agency. Advisers to Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy were hard pressed about what their deceased bosses had ordered, though Harvey, Helms, and former DDP Richard Bissell were obliged to give perfunctory explanations of what they had attempted. Truman, the most outspoken critic of the Agency, had recently conveniently died, and former DCI Allen Dulles had made sure that his outburst against it after the JFK assassination was rendered as benign as possible for posterity by placing, behind his back, reassuring material about operations during his watch in his papers. (See Andrew, p. 171, esp. notes 89, 91 and 92, p. 572.) DCI John McCone testified that he had never heard of any officially sanctioned efforts to assassinate Castro ("Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders": 94th Congress, lst Session, Report No. 94-465, p. 100), but Agency veterans contended that he had been outside the loop in such matters. All the while, the press was clamoring about Church's presidential ambitions in making such claims. Needless to say, by the time it was over, people were more apt to suspect that JFK had been killed by the Cuban dictator in retaliation for his alleged efforts against him rather than the Agency had removed him, and others from the political scene.

Since Colby had set the cover up in place, he was dismissed as DCI, once the Church Committee publicly released its report despite Ford's objections, and was replaced by George H. W. Bush. For cosmetic purposes, he had Ford sign presidential orders prohibiting Agency involvement in unwitting drug experiments, and assassinations, though the President was free to change the policy in any individual case. Shortly afterwards, American mercenary, and former CIA agent Michael Townley of Chile's secret service (DINA) assassinated former Allende cabinet minister Orlando Letelier, and his American coworker Ronni Moffitt in downtown Washington. (Mary Helen Spooner, Soldiers in a Narrow Land, p. 125ff.) Instead of agreeing to a statute to prevent the subversion of democratically-elected governments, and clandestine support of dictatorial ones by CIA - what the Pike Committee in the House had also supported in its report on Agency institutional excesses - Bush, put on notice by Nixon not to become another Colby (Mackenzie, p. 63), saw to the implementation of secrecy contracts throughout the intelligence community which would guarantee no more devastating leaks - what the Agency conveniently claimed CounterSpy was responsible for by listing Richard Welch's name in an issue after the Athens station chief had been assassinated.

Actually, Bush was much more concerned about US Navy psychologist Lt. Com. Thomas Narut, while working in a naval hospital in Naples, having informed a NATO conference in Oslo that his work involved training service personnel, even convicted murderers in the stockade, to become "assassins" (Sunday Times, July 6, 1975, p. 1), an allusion too close for comfort, given the career of former Marine Lee Harvey Oswald. The process called for dehumanizing the "enemy", and subjecting candidates to images of people being injured and killed in violent ways.

Narut's revelation gave credence to conspiracy theorist Mae Brussel's recent article, "Why Was Patricia Hearst Kidnapped?", indicating that the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), from its leader Donald "General Field Marshal Cinque" DeFreeze on down, was just a secret government creation, thanks to contributions by the Vacaville Medical Facility, its Black Cuture Association, the Stanford Research Institute, the US Navy, and others. The SLA, according to Brussell, was not truly Black, revolutionary, or an army. Because of her claims, though, she was subjected to such threats that she was obliged to close down her 11-year talk show on Carmel station KLRB. Her final thoughts about how American covert government had used drugs, especially LSD, to highjack the Beat Generation's radicalism, and its leadership musicians, especially John Lennon, were reserved for a November 1976, unpublished manuscript, "Operation Chaos".

With the possibility of such operations having gone wrong, it was only a matter of time before the House of Representatives appointed a select committee to investigate the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr., though Helms still tried to stop them, according to federal prosecutor Richard Sprague, by claiming that they would embarrass the Kennedys, an obvious allusion to their alleged efforts against Castro, and for the suspect civil rights leader. The former DCI still helped prevent inquiries into the conspiracies against RFK, and former Alabama governor George Wallace. Of course, by this time, almost all the principals in these conspiracies were beyond the recall, thanks to death, retirement, or amnesia, of any congressional body, though its investigations led to the premature deaths of a few more - e. g., JFK's leading killer Mafioso Chuckie Nicoletti, Oswald handler George de Mohrenschildt (Anthony Summers, Conspiracy, p. 492), and former Cuban President Carlos Prio.

The committee seemed more interested in investigating every diversion, especially when it came to Helms, and every red-herring, particularly about who murdered MLK, instead of determining who probably conspired to kill them. Rather than question Helms about his relations with Harvey, and what they were attempting at home, and in the Caribbean, the committee was more interested in how the Agency endlessly interrogated defector Yuri Nosenko in the hope of showing that the KGB had still somehow assassinated JFK in retaliation for his alleged efforts against Castro, and in the process avoided questions about MK-ULTRA operations, what Marchetti claimed were still going on. (Marks' files, National Security Archives, Washington)

In the King case, the committee studiously avoided Harvey's (aka Bill Boxley and William Wood) infilltration of Jim Garrison's investigation of the Dallas assassination in order to pursue the wrong people, and to discredit Jules Ricco Kimble aka Raoul (CIA Memorandum, September 7, 1967, "Memorandum #6: Garrison and the Kennedy Assassination"), an operation so sensitive that the District Attorney's assistant Thomas Bethell stopped keeping his diary of the investigation in order to avoid having to make mention of it. Of course, the committee was unconcerned about more Domestic Contact Service activity when it came time to discredit, and disavow Harvey himself at the end of April 1968 - just before 'the Fat Man' went to Toronto to pay off James Earl Ray, and send him on his way to Southern Africa to join white mercenaries, what DCI Helms felt important enough to write Senator Richard Russell, and Representative Mendel Rivers about. ("Garrison Investigator 'Bill Boxley'," http:mcadams.posc.mu.edu)

Despite, or perhaps also because of the cover ups, morale at the Agency continued to plummet. Helms was finally convicted of lying when he denied to Senator Stuart Symington of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Febuary 1973 that the Agency had played a role in Allende's overthrow in Chile, but the chastened Senate settled for a suspended sentence, and a fine which the Association of Foreign Intelligence Officers paid. Of course, by this time DCI Bush had long been replaced by Admiral Stansfield Turner of the Carter administration who sought an Agency which ran on a stricter, more scientific basis, typified by passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, much to the horror of Operations Directorate veterans. According to them, Agency propagandist Edward Jay Epstein wrote in a 1985 article for Commentary, "Who Killed the CIA? The Confessions of Stansfield Turner," the former Navy admiral had done it. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and Ayatollah Khomeini's takeover of the American Embassy in Teheran so demoralized the Agency that its veterans were openly insulting Carter's DCI. (Riebling, p. 342)

Little wonder that Agency insider Bush then decided to run for the Presidency, and CIA veterans quit its ranks in droves to join his race for the White House. During 1978, Bush set aside time from his oil business in Houston to visit secretly former DCIs (Webster G. Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin, George Bush: The Unofficial Biography, David Icke E - Magazine, Chapter 16), the leading one being Helms who had just come back from Teheran, and would soon become a leading contact in the resumption of mind-control operations. The former DCI was the only one who knew how to revive the capability with possible candidates. DDO Shackley became a Bush "speech writer", obviously the cover for covert operations. The "Blond Ghost", Miami station chief when Harvey was running 'Executive Action' operations against Castro (ZR/RIFLE), was his ideal replacement in any mind-control operations. Former DDI Cline justified the use of MK-ULTRA operations to meet the allegedly growing Soviet threat. Cline's son-in-law, Stefan Halper, became Bush's "muck-raking" staff director, which included former director of the Office of Security, Robert Gambino. He knew everything about security precautions against various individuals as the President travelled around the country. "According to one estimate," Tarpley and Chaitkin have written, "at least 25 former intelligence officials worked directly for the Bush campaign."

In case any "dirty" covert action was needed, Shackley had an ideal candidate, Theodore Kaczynski aka The Unabomber. The maths genuis had been tested by Dr. Henry Murray for the Agency while attending Harvard back in the early '60s - when Shackley was running the Operation 40 leadership from Miami to topple Castro. Murray used a battery of tests to see if the candidate could stand up to pressure, handle drugs, lie convincingly, read a person's character by the nature of his clothing, and the like. (Marks, pp. 18-9) No sooner did Kaczynski fail his test than Shackley failed his when JFK was assassinated, moving on to Laos. By June 1969 Kaczynski had deteriorated so psychologically at the University of California at Berkeley because of its cults, drugs, and violent politics that he retired, ultimately to the wilds of Lincoln, Montana in the solitary pursuit of his "social causes".

While at Berkeley, though, a contact for the Agency, James William Kilgore, had apparently tried to recruit Kaczynski to the SLA cause (Vankin & Whelan, pp. 472-4) while working with CIA-connected Colston Westbrook's Black Cultural Association. No one would suspect that this now twice-tested CIA potential psychopath, once as an agent, and then as an agent provocateur, had been plugged back into The Company, not even conspiracy theorist Brussell - and she never did. (For the growing red-herring that Dr. Murray may have made Kaczynski into a Manchurian Candidate, see the controversy that Alston Chase caused by his article, "Harvard and the Making of the Unabomber," in the June 2000 issue of The Atlantic.) Once Kaczynski allegedly started his bombing campaign, he and Kilgore eluded all law-enforcement efforts to find them for the next 18 years - until after the Oklahoma City bombing which finally forced the FBI's hand. Recently, Kilgore was found in South Africa, and was extradited to America after a plea-bargain was arranged for commiting forgery, and weapons violations - what prevents a wider examination of his nefarious activities.

On June 23, 1978, after living most of seven years alone, and without bothering anyone except his family back in Illinois, Kaczynski was persuaded by his brother David, who ultimately tipped off the Bureau about his capabilities, to return to civilized life by becoming a press operator at Foam Cutting Engineers outside Chicago. (Court chronology at his trial - the almost totally ignored or distorted period of his life.) David became his supervisor, and had apparently convinced Ted, as he had done after living an anchorite's life in Texas, that he could finally find a satisfactory female relationship with the plant supervisor, Ellen Tarmichael. In doing so, David became a co-conspirator in the project, as Vankin and Whelan have suggested. (p. 470) No sooner did Ted take up with her than the relationship started falling apart, thanks apparently to too much ingestion of LSD. Ted responded to Ellen's refusal of his advances by circulating a lewd limerick around the plant about her. On August 23, 1978, David fired Ted, with Tarmichael's approval. Kaczynski then went into a deadly tailspin, one in which he was apparently stuffed with more LSD.

Others seem to have anticipated this eventuality because even before Kaczynski suffered this most unexpected humiliation, a bomb having all his ultimate hallmarks exploded at Northwestern University, injuring campus security officer Terry Marker when he was obliged to open it. On May 26th, while Kaczynski was still trying to find a university audience for his anti-technology manifesto in the Chicago area, a woman found a package addressed to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Professor E. J. Smith from Northwestern's Buckley Crist in a parking lot of the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois, and made an arrangement to have it returned to the apparent sender. Who she is, and what the arrangement was were never clarified. Crist was suspicious of the unknown package, though, resulting in the explosion which seriously injured Marker. Professor Smith later declared that he had never seen the package. It seems that the incident was a set up, probably even including Tarmichael, to help create a false legend about Kaczynski.

Little wonder that when Kaczynski was finally arrested on April 3, 1996, Tarmichael was quick off the mark to exploit prosecution leaks about her relationship with the Unabomber to improve her alibi of not being responsible for anything he did. Two weeks later, an "exasperated" Tarmichael came forward to deny any significant link, especially a romantic one, with the accused. ("Woman downplays any ties to Kaczynski," Minneapolis Star Tribune,April 19, 1996) As for Ted's alleged reaction to her rejection, she responded disingenuously: "I have never seen these poems, nor have I been informed about their content." With a complete lack of law enforcement interest in how Kaczynski started becoming a mad bomber, it was to be expected that Tarmichael concluded thus: "It should be noted that the first mail bomb attributed to the Unabomber exploded a month before I ever met Ted Kaczynski." ("To attribute" means "to regard as caused by." Whether this was true was never tested in court, as Kaczynski was only charged in the incidents which resulted in death.)

With such hutzpa by apparently another conspirator, it was hardly surprising that the Bureau, which had always thought that the Unabomber originated in the Chicago area, but somehow could not get a line on the controversial Kaczynski for 18 years, took similar liberties with its inquiries, especially the questioning of university colleagues, particularly Northwestern's Donald Saari. In the spring of 1978, Kaczynski visited his office on several occasions, trying to convince him of his anti-technology views. ("Prisoner of Rage," New York Times, May 26, 1996) Saari urged him to try people at the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois for a more receptive audience. Kaczynski did so, but without success, exclaiming later to Saari: "I'll get even."

Though this apparently happened on May 26th, neither Saari nor the FBI did anything about his threat despite the fact that he had advertised the need for them in the Saturday Review in 1970. Ted's threat occurred after the first bomb had already exploded. Moreover, the Unabomber couldn't bomb straight, as Kaczynski's threat was against the people who ran the parking lot where the first bomb was found, not at Northwestern. (And how often in the history of the Post Office has a returned package ended up unopened in a parking lot which has no connection with either the sender or receiver? Apparently, some unknown party wanted to make as wide criminal connections as possible with Kaczynski's alleged threatening behavior.)

When Carter went ahead with plans to sign the SALT-II treaty with the Soviets despite the loss of SIGINT listening stations in Khomeini's Iran, the Unabomber allegedly placed another bomb on May 9, 1979 at Northwestern, injuring civil engineering student John Harris when he opened the Phillies cigar box containing the crude bomb in a lounge. The following November, right after the American Embassy had been overrun, and the staff taken hostage (Christopher Andrew, For the President's Eyes Only, p. 449), another Unabomber bomb was found, it seems, and destroyed by the postal system before it could explode. By the middle of the month, when the President's hopes of a quick release of the hostages, as had occurred the previous February, proved unfounded, Kaczynski apparently put his act together, exploding a bomb on an American Airlines flight bound for Washington from Chicago which caused a fire in the baggage compartment, and 18 passengers suffering smoke inhalation. The Unabomber's testing as a psychopath had proven most promising.

The reason for these attacks was to convince the White House that terrorism, especially from Teheran, was becoming pervasive, what resulted in Carter overreacting to the threat. He had just set himself up for such overreaction by pardoning the Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Collazo who had tried to assassinate Truman in 1950, and four others who had shot up the Congress five years later - what intelligence agencies had considered isolated attacks. Instead of the President taking the hostage crisis in stride, he set up a "command post" in the White House to make sure that the hostages were released before election day. As Jeffrey Simon has convincingly shown in The Terrorist Trap, the President handed the election initiative to Reagan by so concentrating on their plight. (p. xff, esp. 128-39.) Carter was boxed into a 'Rose Garden strategy' for his re-election, one which almost guaranteed his defeat.

While Bush had hopes of replacing Carter, his campaign seems more like a 'stalking horse' to make sure that Reagan, the popular California governor, succeeded the former peanut farmer from Georgia. Reagan was a great defender of America's national security state, having refused to permit Harvey's absurd extradition of E. E. Bradley, suspected of being one of the "tramps" in the railway yard beside Dealey Plaza, during Jim Garrison's investigation; to suspect that Sirhan Sirhan, RFK's alleged assassin, was anything more than a foreign-born loner; or to participate, though a member, on the Rockefeller Commission to make sure that it got nowhere.

Despite some support among Republican faithfuls, Bush dropped out of the campaign on May 26, 1980, only to be selected as Reagan's running mate after former President Ford had refused, as expected, at the party convention in July, thanks to his good relationship with Reagan campaign manager, and former OSS officer William Casey. From that moment on, the Republican campaign became obsessed with the possibility that Carter, who was about 10 percentage points behind in the polls, would somehow pull off an "Ocober Surprise" - the release of the 52 American hostages held in Teheran - and steal the election. To make this most unlikely, Bush now had a spy on Carter's NSC, Donald Gregg, who had worked under Shackley in Saigon, thereby insuring knowing beforehand every possible action by the President. Gregg, as CIA's liaison with the Pike Committee, had helped discredit its findings, and was thick as flies with its discharged covert operatives, especially Che Guevara's killers Felix Rodriguez and Gustavo Villoldo.