The Use of Business Contacts in Intelligence Operations

The Barbara J
The Cold War led the United States to battle the spread of Communism into the  hemisphere.   When the Cold War erupted after World War II, the United States tapped into the unsung soldiers of the victory over the AXIS  from the OSS, to become the foundation of the CIA .  These behind the scenes intelligence operatives formed the backbone of the United States operations against the spread of communism into our hemisphere.

To fight this battle, the newly formed agency needed to penetrate foreign countries and get boots onto the ground.  To do this, a marriage began between the corporate elite in the United States, who were threatened by everything that Communism stood for, and the Central Intelligence Agency.  Corporate America was eager to join in support of this endeavor.  They had everything to gain by favorable relationships with dictators in the region, through imbalanced agreements that made dictators wealthy and corporations increase their profits.  They  had everything to lose from the spread of communism.  It was only natural, that the CIA would enter into relationships, providing their agents cover and their operations a place to launch(1).

One such example of a company that was used in this capacity was Zapata Oil.  Zapata Oil was founded by George H. W.  Bush with the help of a “former” CIA Staff Employee Thomas James Devine (2).   There have been many allegations that Zapata Offshore Company was involved in supporting the operations for the Bay of Pigs invasion(3).  The Zapata Oil Company was building rigs forty miles off of the coast of Cuba during this time period (4).  During the late 1950’s the CIA attempted to use assets in the petroleum industry to use to launch attacks on Cuban petroleum assets (5).

It appears that the CIA in its “Offical History of the Bay of Pigs: Part III” found such ventures to be less than successful.  One such mission against the Cuban petroleum industry was conducted by one of the ships used in the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Barbara J , in its attack on a refinery at Santiago de Cuba.  This attack was considered to be one of the more successful attacks, but it managed to only stop production for less than 48 hours(6).

Richard M. Bissell Jr.
Richard M. Bissell Jr.
In reviewing this document, an interesting statement appears.  It certainly demonstrates that someone outside of the CIA had made contact with Joseph Caldwell King, the Chief of the Western Hemisphere in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Richard M. Bissell, the Deputy Director of Plans, wanted this contact developed as seen below.

In a discussion of planned para-military operations against Cuba, it was reported that on 14 July 1960,Chief, Western Hemisphere Division was approached “by [ 29 ]. He [Chief, WH/D] indicated that [ 29 ] will be willing to cooperate, perhaps even carry the ball on certain selected [sabatoge] targets. DD/P gave permission to push this contact immediately.” (7) 

Many have taken circumstantial evidence about the Bay of Pigs to tie it to George H. W.  Bush.  It is easy to draw such conclusions, since the Operational name for the Bay of Pigs was Operation Zapata, the name of his company.  In addition, he had a habit of naming his aircraft and his boats after his wife, Barbara.  Another ship used in the Bay of Pigs was Houston, the home for his company.  Again,this is all circumstantial.  However, one must wonder who the redacted name [ 29 ] is since this document was released in 1998.  It clearly would mean that it is someone still alive at the time.  Many CIA agents are not redacted in the document, including David Atlee Phillips and the entire group of CIA staff that worked under him in preparation for the Bay of Pigs.  With the use of the ship Barbara J one begins to wonder if the this person, [ 29 ],  was either George H. W.  Bush or maybe Thomas James Devine.   In any case, the circumstantial evidence, while plentiful, is not concrete evidence, despite what many hypothesize.

Thomas James Devine is one of the biggest pieces of solid evidence that the CIA was involved in the Zapata Oil business (8).  A CIA memorandum of 1968 (9) indicates that when Devine left the CIA in 1953, as he joined Zapata Oil, to go into private business.  When the Zapata Oil operations were sold, Thomas Devine was cleared to become a “cleared and witting commercial asset under project WUBRINY on June 12, 1963.  While he was cleared in June, he was operational two months earlier.  WU/BRINY 1 (10) who researchers have identified as Thomas Devine, met with George De Morenshidlt and Clemard James Charles  and on Thursday, April 25 (11) and on Friday, April 26 (12)with at the Knickerbocker Club, in NYC .  WU/BRINY1 reports in on meeting with them again on Monday, April 29.  WU/BRINY 1 appears to have had a chance meeting with DeMorenshidlt and Charles,  at the National Airport (NARA Record Number: 104-10164-10088) in Washington, DC , on May 9.  On May 15,   another meeting with DeMorenchidlt occurred in  presence of two other CIA assets WU/BRINY 2 and Frank Stone who oversaw the operation (13), at the Sheraton East hotel on May 21, 1963.

The Knickerbocker Club

Thomas Devine met again met with DeMorenshidlt May 21, 1963 alone (14) at the offices of WUSALINE (Train, Cabot and Associates) (15), an investment banking firm a known CIA front involved heavily in Latin America.  The point of all of this is to demonstrate the use of the business cover for many of its operatives in Latin America, and that on paper people may have left the CIA on paper, they were also operating for the CIA in business capacities as well.

Many have hypothesized that all of the contacts with DeMorenshildt in this time period have sinister implications around the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  DeMorenshidlt had been in contact with Lee Harvey Oswald for six months prior to his first contact with Thomas Devine.  The attempted assassination of General Edwin Walker on April 10, 1963 allegedly by Lee Harvey Oswald, was two weeks prior to the first meeting with Devine on April 25.  DeMorenshildt admitted to discussing the attempt on General Walker with Lee  in his testimony before the Warren Commission(16).

Those who would speculate that his meetings with Thomas Devine were positive meetings have not read the contact reports completely.  They are ignoring the fact that Thomas Devine himself, was not impressed with DeMorenshildt.  After his second meeting with George DeMorenshildt  and Charles on April 26th he reported that “both men have an element of bluff in their presentation(17).”  He continues to point out that “deMor was a “paper grabber” stating that every available handout in the office…was sought by deMor…”  The meeting of April 26th triggered a trace report request by Frank Stone who Devine reported to.  If the CIA were actually running George DeMorenshildt or employing him in an operational capacity, they would not have requested the trace.  The trace brought back hits in his 201 file with information filed by WH/Mexico(18).  The contents are further revealed in a contact report filed by Stone when he communicated the information to Devine.  He reports to him that there was a lot of “derogatory information” and that DeMorenshildt had written to the State Department that he was sending a manuscript to Russia about his trip to Mexico that contained “derogatory” information about the United States.  He had apparently offered to remove the objectionable materials.  Devine apparently believed that DeMorenshildt was looking to blackmail with the manuscript, and may be open to selling it.  The contact report ends with Stone informing Devine of this information so he would be prepared should they meet again and that he should “handle himself accordingly(19).”  It cannot be denied that George DeMorenshidlt had made contact with the CIA, it appears to be from these contact reports, that he was not an asset under their control, nor was he viewed in a favorable light.  There is another manuscript that DeMorenshildt would later write about Lee Harvey Oswald.  Seeing Thomas Devine’s interpretation of his propensity to “bluff” and possibly “blackmail” one has to wonder if what he was looking to do with his material on Oswald.

George DeMorenshildt
George DeMorenshildt

George DeMorenschildt would also be in contact with the Department of Defense during this time.  On May 7, 1963 DeMorenschidlt made contact with Dorothe Matlock (20), of the Office of the Army Chief of Staff for Intelligence (21).  She testified to the HSCA that her official title was Assistant Director of the Office of Intelligence.  She was responsible for being the liaison between the Department of Defense and the CIA, as well as being responsible for the debriefing of working with the Interagency Defector Committee with CIA agent Tony Czajkowski (22).  This agency was heavily involved in Cuban domestic contacts, and the debriefing of Cubans who have come to the US.  Some believe that the contact between Mrs. Matlock and DeMorenshidlt, was for him to report on Oswald.  The HSCA did interview her on her interactions with DeMorenshildt.  Based on this report there is evidence that after meeting with DeMorenshildt at this time, that her office wanted to distance themselves from DeMorenshildt and Charles, but recommended that operations be put into contact with them (23).  Matlock also had suspicions about DeMorenshildt to the point that she contacted the FBI about him.

The whole picture of the preceding evidence is one in which multiple intelligence agencies utilized business contacts to accomplish their objectives.  We have evidence of joint relationships between the CIA and Zapata Oil in relation to sabotage of Cuban petroleum facilities,  The Bay of Pigs,   as well as evidence of recommended operational contact with Clemard Charles James and the desire to overthrow Papa Doc Duvalier, something Charles would be arrested for later on.  It is clear that business contacts were very important and were explored.  What is even more clear, is that George DeMorenshildt was not well liked by those in the intelligence circles.  It is also clear, that many who believe he was in on the conspiracy, have used the Haiti meetings to promote that he was a CIA handler for Oswald.  The historical record would indicate that this is not so, based on the manner in which the intelligence circles reacted to his attempts to get support for his Haiti scheme.  These same circles, in particular the propaganda machine set up for the Bay of Pigs, would come into play around the accused assassin and a trip to Mexico City.

Matt “The Hitman” Scheufele


(1) Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation: Volume III, PG 56


(3) The Kennedy Assassination: The Nixon-Bush Connection

(4) King, Nicholas (1980). George Bush: A Biography. Dodd Mead. ISBN 0-396-07919-9.

(5) Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation: Volume II pg. 234

(6) The Official History of the Bay of Pigs: Part III Appendix E Attack on Petroleum Refiner£ at Santiago de Cuba 13-14 March 1961



(9) Memorandum for DO/Security Subject: Thomas James Devine

(10) Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the …  By Russ Baker, pg 105


(12) Contact Report WUBRINY Haitian Operation

(13) Contact Report WUBRINY – George DeMorenshildt 15 May 1963

(14) Contact Report George DeMorenshidlt 21 May 1963

(15) Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the …By Russ Baker, pg. 106

(16) Warren Commission Hearings, Volume IX Page 249

(17) Contact Report WUBRINY Haitian Operation 26 April 1963

(18) Memorandum for DO/COEO 9 MAY 1963

(19) Contact Report WUBRINY – George DeMorenshildt 15 May 1963

(20) HSCA Report, Volume XII Current Section: V. De Mohrenschildt’s Activities in Haiti

(21) The Dorothe K. Matlack Human Intelligence Training Facility

(22) THE JFK CASE: THE TWELVE WHO BUILT THE OSWALD LEGEND (Part 8: The CIA-Army Intelligence Mambo) By Bill Simpich

You are correct! He was outside just before he went home!

One of the pieces of evidence that is used in debates about the location of Lee Harvey Oswald at the time of the assassination is Captain Will Fritz’s handwritten notes about the interrogation of Lee Harvey Oswald.  An argument that has been around since the assassination is that Lee Oswald was on the steps in the famous Altgens-6 photograph.  One thing that is not debatable is that Cpt. Fritz’s notes do not support this argument.

What is important to understand is that there were two FBI Agents in the room at the time of the interrogation.  They filed reports as well as Fritz who filed his own report.  When examining these reports, you can clearly see that Lee Harvey Oswald did not claim to be “out with Bill Shelley in front” at the time of the assassination as some would have you believe.

Captain Fritz’s Interrogation Notes

The order of the questions he asked Lee Harvey Oswald is very important.  It is consistent with the FBI report and Fritz’s reporting of the interrogation.   Fritz’s report reads like this:

“I asked him what part of the building he was in at the time the President was shot, and he said that he was having his lunch about that time on the first floor. Mr. Truly had told me that one of the police officers had stopped this man immediately after the shooting somewhere near the back stairway, so I asked Oswald where he was when the police officer stopped him. He said he was on the second floor drinking a coca cola when the officer came in. I asked him why he left the building, and he said there was so much excitement he didn’t think there would be any more work done that day, and that as this company wasn’t particular about their hours, that they did not punch a clock, and that he thought it would be just as well that he left for the rest of the afternoon.”

In examining this, one can say that Fritz omitted that Oswald said he was out front with Shelley.  Some might even draw the conclusion that this is evidence that Fritz was in on it and ignored Oswald’s claims to have been out front.  This does not hold water.  FBI agent James W. Bookout was also in the room and present during the interrogation of Oswald.  His report reads, interestingly enough, closer to Fritz’s notes than Fritz’s report does.

FBI Agent Bookout’s Report

Fritz’s notes, like Bookout’s report,  reads strikingly similar in the following order; 2nd floor coke when officer came in; to 1st floor had lunch; out front with Bill Shelley; left work.  All in the exact same order as Fritz’s notes.  It is important to note that during this interrogation, Oswald had not made reference to eating lunch with two other employees in the depository which comes into play in another questioning session, quite different from the order he expressed here.

Further substantiating that Oswald did not claim to be outside during the assassination is Bill Shelley’s testimony when questioned by Mr. Ball in during his Warren Commission Testimony.  The questions are strikingly similar to Frtiz’s handwritten notes.  Oswald made claims about seeing weapons in the Book Depository, and Mr. Ball questioned him about it.  In reference to the claim that Oswald was outside at the time of the assassination Shelley is asked the following questions:

Mr. BALL. On November 22, 1963, the day the President was shot, when is the last time you saw Oswald?
Mr. SHELLEY. It was 10 or 15 minutes before 12.
Mr. BALL. Where?
Mr. SHELLEY. On the first floor over near the telephone.
Mr. BALL. Did you ever see him again?
Mr. SHELLEY. At the police station when they brought him in.
Mr. BALL. Did you see him in the building at any time after 12?
Mr. BALL. Did you at anytime after the President was shot see Oswald in the building?
Mr. SHELLEY. No, sir.
Mr. BALL. Did you at anytime after the President was shot tell Oswald to go home?
Mr. SHELLEY. No, sir.
Mr. BALL. Did you tell anybody to go home?
Mr. BALL. You didn’t tell anybody to leave the building at all?
Mr. SHELLEY. No, sir.

It is very clear, that Mr. Shelley was not with Lee Harvey Oswald on the steps of the School Book Depository Building before, during or after the assassination of President Kennedy.  The line of questioning would be consistent with the story that Oswald was trying to spin to the investigators.  That he went outside after the assassination, met with Will Shelley outside of the building and decided to go home because Shelley had told him there would be no work for the rest of the day.

Usually, when confronted with testimony that refutes that Oswald was on the steps, accusations arise that witnesses were intimidated into saying things at the time of their testimony before the Warren Commission.  Thankfully, we have eyewitness testimony given by Mr. Shelley, and many other witnesses within hours of the assassination through depositions.  Please consider that there are no witnesses in any deposition that place Oswald outside at the time of the shooting.  Not a single one.  But let’s focus on Mr. Shelley and his statements to the police.


The police had two statements taken by Mr. Shelley.  The first statement was about his location at the time of the assassination and his actions in that time period.  Based on his Warren Commission testimony he was in the police station when Oswald was brought in.  It appears to me based on the affidavit, that they were questioning Oswald and he had attempted to indicate that Shelley had sent him home.  Since I do not have access to who was present when Shelley gave his  statement, I am making the assumption that the discrepancy between Captain Fritz’s report and FBI Agent Bookout is simply explained by the fact that Fritz determined Shelley had not interacted with Oswald because he had this affidavit.  I have not found any evidence that Bookout was present for Shelley’s interview or affidavit, so his report contains the information that Oswald claimed to have gone outside with Shelley after the assassination.  In neither affidavit does Shelley place Oswald outside with him at any point in time.

It is abundantly clear that in the second affidavit the focus of the investigation had changed.  They had begun investigating Lee Harvey Oswald’s story that started in the first interrogation and the claim that Oswald made about being sent home by Shelley, when he went outside after the assassination. It is clear from his statement that Lee Harvey Oswald was not with him after noon.  It is also clear that he did not send him home.

Sadly, when it comes to researching the Kennedy Assassination, many researchers find a piece of evidence without researching it completely.  This appears to be the case with Cpt. Frtiz’s handwritten notes on the interrogation of Lee Harvey Oswald.  When looking at the document, in context, with other primary sources, it does not hold water that Lee Harvey Oswald claimed to have been outside during the assassination.  Too much misinformation is being spread in people’s zeal to promote Oswald’s innocence, and other such theories, without checking the context of the information.  It is making it more challenging than ever to find the truth with so many outlandish incompletely researched claims circulating on the internet.

Matt “The Hitman” Scheufele

Fritz’s Handwritten Notes

Interrogation of Lee Harvey Oswald

FBI Agent Bookout’s Report

Testimony of William Shelley

Affadavit in Fact William Shelley #1

Affadavit in Fact William Shelley #2