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Was Bush Spy Pick on Agency Hit Team?

"Look out kid, They keep it all hid.”
                       Bob Dylan “Subterranean Homesick Blues”

             
Aug 24 2004-Venice,FL. 
by Daniel Hopsicker

THE MAN PICKED by President George W Bush to head America’s Central Intelligence Agency is even more of an intelligence insider than has so far been revealed...

Although membership in a secret society would seem to  compromise a bit anyone being considered to lead an Agency which is itself a secret society, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Republican Porter J Goss of Sanibel Island Florida is a member of the secret society “Book & Snake” at Yale. 

President George W Bush's nominee to head the nation's flagship intelligence agency also appears to be visible in a photograph taken in 1963 in a Mexico City nightclub of members of  the CIA’s secret assassination squad known as “Operation Forty."

The twin discoveries come as news reports indicate that Democrats have decided not to make a serious issue of Goss’s appointment. The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee went so far as to warn fellow Democrats Sunday against trying to block the nomination.

“Democrats should ask tough questions of Goss at Senate confirmation hearings next month, but my view is this is the wrong fight," Rep. Jane Harman, D-CA., said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
 

Heavy on the Secret Sauce

Could the skittishness about scrutinizing Goss be due to a secret past that would have difficulty passing closer scrutiny?

No questions have yet been raised about the propriety of confirming as CIA Director someone who may have belonged to an assassination squad which was reportedly a joint collaboration between the CIA and the Mob.

But questions have already been asked about the influence of secret societies on America’s supposedly democratic institutions, especially since both major Presidential candidates belong to a secret society, too: "Skull & Bones."

Because no matter which candidate wins the Presidential election this November, it will be safe to exchange a discreet secret handshake in national security meetings in America for  years to come.

We first learned that Porter  Goss owned multiple decoder rings from Kris Millegan, scholar of secret societies and editor of the recent “Fleshing Out Skull & Bones” (Trine Day 2003). 

Millegan unearthed a document listing “Book & Snake’s Class of 1960 roster. On the list, which also names deceased Secretary of Defense Les Aspin, is the name “Porter Johnston Goss.’ 

News that America's new Top Spook is a previously-undisclosed member of a secret society who will be chatting in the Oval Office with a boss who is also a member of a secret society raises a question of undue influence...  

Or, at the very least, of piling on.

If being able to sing several verses of “The Whiffenpoof Song” is a prerequisite for a top job in American national security, the Founding Fathers should have enshrined it in the Constitution. 

Because if it is not, the question is: what gives?

(continued below)

 
 

 

 
 
 
More Secrets in the Secret Sauce

The notion that a young Porter Goss is visible in a photograph taken in a Mexico City nightclub on January 21 1963 was first broached to us in a letter from someone who noticed what he felt was a more than passing resemblance…

“I saw a photo of Porter Goss taken in the 1970’s after he was elected to the Sanibel City Council and he looks virtually identical to the Mexico City Operation Forty person!” the letter asserted.

We paid little heed, however, until a profile of the CIA nominee in the New York Times ran a picture of Goss taken in 1984. Even separated by two decades from the time the Mexico City picture was taken, we found the resemblance uncanny.

If  Goss is in the picture, it dovetails nicely with what is known of his CIA career. But it would be a 40-year old 'mistake' come back to haunt him. Because, we learned, there weren’t supposed to have been any pictures…

According to numerous news accounts, the CIA recruited Goss during his junior year at Yale, where he completed his bachelor's degree in ancient Greek in 1960.  "During his junior year, he met a CIA recruiter through his ROTC commanders,” reported the September 24, 2002 Orlando Sentinel, in a story headlined “TERRORISM FIGHT KEEPS REP. GOSS IN POLITICAL FRAY.” 

“It is true I was in CIA from approximately the late 50's to approximately the early 70's,” Goss told recent antagonist Michael Moore. 
 


"Guido, meet the General. General, meet Guido."

The Mexico City nightclub photo reveals a mixed group of apparent Cuban exiles, Italian wise guys, and square-jawed military intelligence types. It was discovered among keepsakes kept in the safe of the widow of CIA pilot and drug smuggler Barry Seal (third from left). It appears on the cover of “Barry & ‘the boys:’ The CIA, the Mob & America’s Secret History” (MadCow Press, Eugene OR. 2001). 

Goss appears second on the left. He is seated between notorious CIA pilot and drug smuggler Barry Seal (third left) and the equally-notorious CIA assassin Felix Rodriguez (front left), a Cuban vice cop under the corrupt Mob-run Batista regime who later became an Iran Contra operative and a confidant of the first George Bush. 

The only one of the spook celebrants displaying any hint of tradecraft (seated on the other side of the table covering his face with his sport coat) is Frank Sturgis, most famous as one of the Watergate burglars. 

Beside him sits (front right) William Seymour, New Orleans representative of the Double-Chek Corporation, a CIA front used to recruit pilots (like Seal), and a man who many Kennedy assassination researchers believe impersonated Lee Harvey Oswald on several occasions when the lone nut gunman was out of the country and so unable to impersonate himself. 

As we saw it, the photo was in a yellowed frame, the kind used by nightclub photographers to create instant keepsakes. Seal’s widow Debbie Seal kept it in her safe, where it was overlooked by a 7-man team from the State Department which arrived at her house in 1995 to comb through her records. 

It bears the name of a nightclub in Mexico City, and is stamped January 22, 1963, which, if you’re counting,  was exactly ten months to the day before the Kennedy assassination. 

Barry Seal was then a young-looking 24-year old. Porter Goss was the same age.


"You don't have the negative too do you?"

The sensitive nature of this picture was confirmed to us by a person who had known and worked with Seal since 1964, an individual who had obviously been close with the Louisiana native, the basis for the hit song in the 'mid-60's by buddy Johnny Rivers, called  "Secret Agent Man.”

Seal’s will had named this man executor of his estate.  And his reaction to seeing the picture was instantaneous and shocked. “Where did you get that?” he demanded. “I didn’t know there were any…Where did this picture come from? ”

Seated with Seal in that nightclub in Mexico City in 1963 are men whose lives and careers comprise a large part of America’s recent secret history, we learned. Arrayed around the table were members of the CIA’s much-whispered about assassination squad, Operation Forty, first helmed by then-Vice President Richard Nixon. 

Barry Seal was one of them. Perhaps so was Porter Goss. 

There are many intriguing connections hinted at by Goss’s presence in the photo: at the time it was taken the CIA's covert action chief in Mexico City was David Atlee Phillips, AKA Maurice Bishop, who reportedly met with Oswald in Dallas before the assassination. 

Other connections: in the well-received “Deadly Secrets,”  authors Warren Hinkle and William Turner name Rafael 'Chi Chi' Quintero, Lois Posada Carriles, Felix Rodriguez and Frank Sturgis as members of Operation Forty, under the overall control of E. Howard  Hunt. 

Sturgis, a member of the team that broke into Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in 1972, later admitted to having been part of Operation Forty. 

More famous names: Thomas Clines, the notorious Edwin Wilson and "Blond Ghost" Ted Shackley, Mr. Spook himself… all involved with Operation Forty, as was Barry Seal.

“Yeah, Barry was Op Forty,” Gerald Hemming confirmed to us. “He flew in killer teams inside the island (Cuba) before the invasion to take out Fidel.”

CIA Colonel William Bishop showed author Dick Russell a series of photographs of "Latin-looking individuals. On the backs of the pictures were the words "Special talent 1960-65, Ice pick man ... Butcher... Sniper and demo [demolition] expert ... Propaganda ... Knife man... Pilot and navigator ... Mutilator." 

“Bishop said, ‘We weren't playing a nice game.’”
 

"It Depends on Your Definition of ‘Is’”

When nephew Chuck Giancana wrote about Mob Boss Sam Giancana’s strategic move to Mexico in early 1963, he too touched on Operation Forty. "It was to be an all-out, no-holds-barred Latin American push. Mooney (Giancana) settled into a lavish Mexico City apartment and went right to work, drawing on the expertise and mammoth resources of the recently-formed CIA team of assassins and operatives specifically trained for Latin American clandestine operations. CIA insiders jokingly dubbed the team the White Hand, an allusion to the Mafia killer progenitors the Black Hand."
 

 “Rep. Porter J. Goss has disclosed precious few details of his CIA employment from roughly 1960 to 1971,” reported a profile in the Associated Press. Reuters called him a “mystery man,” and said he had been “close-mouthed about his past.” 

“He worked in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Mexico-tumultuous countries during that decade of the Cold War,” Reuters reported. 

During a 2002 interview with The Washington Post, Goss joked that he performed photo interpretation and "small-boat handling," which led to "some very interesting moments in the Florida Straits." 

He acknowledged he had recruited and run foreign agents and said he would be uncomfortable traveling to Cuba but wouldn't say more. 

America’s vaunted free press shows no inclination to press him on the matter. And when a citizen becomes a little too inquisitive, disinformation appears to be the order of the day: In a Metro section Q&A in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Aug 20 2004) a reader asks:

“I know both President Bush and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) were members of Skull and Bones, the secret society at Yale University, when they were students.”

“Bush's nominee for CIA director, Rep. Porter Goss (R-FL.), also is a Yale graduate. Was he, too, a member of Skull and Bones?” 

“Goss, who graduated from Yale in 1960, had no affiliation with Skull and Bones, said his spokeswoman, Julie Almacy,” the paper’s editors replied. 


"You're not cleared for that information."

Nothing about “Book & Snake." Not even points for a good guess. The party line rings out from everywhere... “With a prep-school education and a Greek major at Yale, Goss passed up the conventional life to be a CIA spook,” reads one typical wire service account. 

Actually, the facts lean heavily towards the proposition that with “a prep school education and a Greek major at Yale,” Goss’s choice to become a CIA spook was an entirely conventional one. 

In testimony before Congress on February 9, 2004, Chief Weapons Inspector David Kay noted that "closed orders and secret societies, whether they be religious or governmental, are the groups that have the hardest time reforming themselves in the face of failure without outside input."

When was the last time anyone heard a weapons inspector mention secret societies?

The appointment of Porter Goss reveals that what passes for American civic life may in reality be just an elaborate game of Inside Baseball. For example, Goss found himself paired with fellow Floridian, Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, then the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, leading the joint congressional inquiry into the attacks. 

They share another unique distinction: both men were having breakfast on the morning of September 11th with a man who had reportedly wired $100,000 to Mohamed Atta, said news accounts. "When the news [of the attacks on the World Trade Center] came, the two Florida lawmakers who lead the House and Senate intelligence committees were having breakfast with the head of the Pakistani intelligence service.”

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall during that negotiation. 

After the CIA-backed coup against Castro collapsed at the Bay of Pigs, President Kennedy fired CIA chief Allen Dulles. That same year another young Ivy League graduate entered the high-stakes espionage game being played out between the Florida Keys and the coast of Cuba...

Porter Goss, product of a patrician Connecticut upbringing, graduating from an elite preparatory school and Yale University. This is probably all just coincidence. 

But then again... maybe its not.

 

“Man in a trench coat, Badge out, laid off, 
Says he's got a bad cough… Wants to get paid off. 
The pump don't work, 'Cause the Vandals took the handles

 

 
 
 
 

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