Monday, November 3, 2014

A Generation's Buried Secrets Uncovered

Bagley's testimony at HSCA
Every generation has its own secrets it would like to keep buried. What do those secrets reveal about our forefathers? Were they complicit in high crimes or only misdemeanors? Did they have good intentions that, only in retrospect, appear to be unforgivable? There were many secrets buried in the backyards of Tennent "Pete" Bagley's family members. Not even he knew what they were, because his many uncles had undoubtedly taken oaths of confidentiality not to discuss their business with family members without clearances. Pete must have wondered about such secrets before he would come face-to-face with the biggest test of his career. 

On June 8, 1962, Yuri Nosenko, a security officer in Geneva with the Soviet delegation attending a disarmament conference, passed a note to an American diplomat, who immediately contacted the second secretary at the American Embassy in Bern, Switzerland. That diplomat was actually Pete Bagley, then 36-years-old, a C.I.A. agent clandestinely assigned to the  Soviet division. 

(Read Part I and Part II, PART III, Part IV)

Part V
The Big Picture
By Linda Minor
One Memorandum Dredges Up Much History

Memo to Mr. Bielefeldt, C/FDD at CIA
Approximately six weeks after John F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas, Texas, Lee H. Wigren of C/SR/CI/ Research section the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) typed a memo addressed to the attention of "Mr. Bielefeldt," in the CIA section called C/FDD -- the Foreign Documents Division.
Wigren's research department for counterintelligence (CI) was ultimately headed by Tennent "Pete" Bagley:
Bagley was the chief counterspy for the Soviet Russia [SR] division, and had been stationed in Switzerland (eventually to become station chief) during the time [March 1959] that Oswald was due to attend Albert Schweitzer College.[ 69 ] Bagley had been transferred from Berne to Langley where he gained a rapid promotion to become C/SR/CI.
Pete Bagley's Baggage: Uncle Josephus

Pete Bagley, CIA

In 1950, when he joined the CIA, Pete Bagley was a youthful 26 years old. He undoubtedly had been groomed from birth for the role he was to play in international spy games. His given names came from his mother's father, Tennent Harrington, cashier of the Colusa County Bank in California. As a teen, his mother, Marie Louise Harrington, traveled frequently with with her maternal aunt and uncle, Commander William D. Leahy, to Washington, D.C., and was introduced to an array of naval officers there.

Although she may have met Lieutenant Commander David Worth Bagley, whom she married in 1918, in Washington, one wedding  announcement indicates they had in fact met in Newport, R.I., the upper crust resort to which Marie Louise had traveled with a paternal aunt and uncle, Admiral Albert Parker Niblack.

In Pete's parents' wedding announcement in the Washington Post (right) toward the end of WWI, the groom, David Worth Bagley, was revealed as a brother of Adelaide Bagley Daniels, wife of Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels.

As a matter of fact, Daniels (editor of a Democrat-financed newspaper in Raleigh, N.C.) had published in 1898 a biography of his wife's older brother, Ensign Worth Bagley, the first Navy officer killed in action during the Spanish-American War, and Adelaide would name David's brother Worth Bagley Daniels after the war hero.

Secretary Daniels first entered appointive political office in 1893 when another southerner, M. Hoke Smith, a railroad reformer and champion of  farmers, selected him to work in Grover Cleveland's Interior Department, a position he would hold for only a year. After purchasing controlling interest in the Raleigh News and Observer and in 1905, however, he perfected his political writing skill and was chosen in 1912 to head the "publicity bureau" of the Wilson campaign. Since Wilson's campaign was controlled by Edward M. House of Texas, Daniels no doubt had acquired the attention of the "Colonel" himself. After the campaign he was rewarded with the job as Secretary of the Navy, probably because of his wife's close ties to Naval officers.

Although Daniels left office in 1921, his propaganda efforts continued. His wife worked with Mrs. Robert Lansing, wife of the Secretary of State, in sponsoring the first National Conference of Church Women in Washington, D.C. in 1920. The Interchurch World Movement's division for "Women's Activities," organized by Adelaide Worth Daniels and Eleanor Foster Lansing and other wives in the administration of Woodrow Wilson, also had help from Mesdames John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Henry P. Davison. This "women's work" allowed their husbands to gather unofficial intelligence through the State Department, the Rockefeller Foundation, the American and International Red Cross Societies, and Protestant church-related foreign missionary groups, which allied themselves with Friends' organizations, the YMCA, and "war work councils". There was no official civilian intelligence agency in those days.

This blog discussed the Dulles family's role in world missions a year ago, under the caption "John Birch Society Warning to JFK in 1958." It should be recalled that the wife of Wilson's Secretary of State, Mrs. Robert "Eleanor Foster" Lansing, was a sister of Edith Foster Dulles, whose sons John Foster and Allen Dulles were being trained to exert the same missionary zeal in the 1940's and 50's over world affairs and intelligence as these sisters' father, John Watson Foster, had done in the 1870's, 80's and 90's. Protestant fundamentalists were the original settlers of American colonies. Through their control of institutions such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton, they also controlled the purse strings of charitable and missionary efforts abroad. It was simple enough to set up front groups through which to spy on suspected dissidents.

Josephus Daniels returned to "public service" in 1933 to become President Roosevelt's Ambassador to Mexico, a post he held in Mexico City at the time Leon Trotsky was living in asylum at nearby Coyoacan. Did Daniels have a role in having Trotsky murdered in August 1940 by an "ice-ax-wielding assassin"?

 Had young Pete Bagley ever heard stories told by his uncle about those days in Mexico? Daniels died in 1948. Pete was then 24 years old, but he would have been a teenager in 1940 when he read about Trotsky's death.The convicted assassin Jacques Mornard van den Dresch finished serving his prison sentence in 1960 and went to Cuba with a Czech passport. Mexican officials by then claimed he was a Spaniard, though he had earlier claimed to be Persian-born of Belgian parents. Pete Bagley must have wondered what his uncle had known. But we can no longer ask him. He died in March 2014.

Talbot Bielefeldt's Own Skeletons  

By 1963, however, Pete Bagley was not looking back to Trotsky's murder in Mexico in 1940. He had a more current assassination to solve. Having been in charge of Soviet counterintelligence since 1959, it was his office which tasked Lee Wigren to obtain an "analysis of the Soviet press reaction" to the assassination of President Kennedy. Was there a reason Wigren addressed his questions to Talbot Bielefeldt, whose expertise was not Russian, but Japanese?

J. Bagnall
Exactly who was Talbot Bielefeldt? We do know from the above memo that he worked in the Foreign Documents Division of the CIA, and therefore his boss would have been John J. Bagnall. who also seems to have something to do with "Project USJPRS".

In February 1962 E. Howard Hunt, who had been attempting to find work for his wife Dorothy, was advised to check with Bagnall to see if he could find work for her in JUSPB [sic]; the writer must have been referring to, USJPRS, the U.S. Joint Publications Research Service:
JPRS was established in March 1957 as part of the United States Department of Commerce’s Office of Technical Services, about six months before the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1. Acting as a unit within the Central Intelligence Agency, JPRS staffers prepared translations for the use of U.S. Government officials, various agencies, and the research and industrial communities. During the Cold War, the reports were primarily translations rather than analysis or commentary, with an emphasis on scientific and technical topics. Over time, however, that scope expanded to cover environmental concerns, world health issues, nuclear proliferation, and more.
Writer, Leo Sarkisian, who worked with Voice of America, was once photographed at a party with the Bielefeldts and other CIA officials who worked with foreign translations.

Nixons at Fullerton Union
Talbot's family in 1920 was living in Placentia, California, a Quaker community, the same small town where Richard Nixon’s family lived at that time. Though Talbot was ten years older than Richard, he did have siblings the same age as the Nixon boys. Talbot and his younger siblings attended Fullerton Union High School, where Richard Nixon was a student in 1927-28, though the Nixons had moved to Whittier after 1920. Did they cross paths before Nixon came to prominence during the Red Scare wave?

Though Talbot’s parents were born in Iowa, both sets of his grandparents immigrated to Iowa from Hanover, Germany. His father and grandfather tried their hands at mining near Silverton, Colorado for a time, but moved to Maryland after a scarlet fever plague killed several family members. Talbot and his two closest siblings were born while the Bielefeldts lived in a large house on the Miles River in the Chesapeake region, and his name likely came from Talbot County, where it was located.

When Talbot was five years old, his family had moved from the east coast to the west, settling in North Orange County, where three more children were born. Talbot's father turned to farming and by 1930 owned a prosperous citrus ranch in Placentia. It is likely Talbot's exposure to the German language stuck with him. Then, at Stanford in the early 1920's, he gravitated toward internationalism. The summer before his senior year, he spent a month in Japan with a group of young men his age. Although there is no independent evidence of the fact, his wedding announcement in 1936 revealed:
Mr. Bielefeldt, who is postmaster at Placentia, is a graduate of Stanford University. He was a faculty member of American schools in the Orient, in China and Japan.
Fernanda Eliscu in Winterset, 1936
His new wife, Eugenie Pfeil, was the daughter of two stage actors, who used the names Carl Anthony and Fernanda Eliscu (born in Romania). After Carl's death in 1930, Fernanda began making movies, her first being the "photoplay," Winterset, written and produced by Maxwell Anderson in 1936. Talbot took his new wife back home to Placentia, where he had been assigned a commission by the President as Postmaster of his hometown.

A week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Talbot enlisted in the Navy and served six years, first being assigned to the Japanese Language School on the campus of University of California at Berkeley. By September 1944 he had risen to the rank of Lieutenant Commander and there are indications he was involved in cryptology. From there it was only natural that he would join the Central Intelligence Agency when it was created in 1947.

Excerpt from Roger Dignman in Deciphering the Rising Sun: Navy and Marine Corps Codebreakers, Translators and Interpreters in the Pacific War.

As shown in the excerpt above, W. A. Talbot Bielefeldt was among the first men chosen for the Japanese Language School held in California, along with someone called "Gerald J. Bagnall".  Could  Gerald have been a disguised "John"? This first class preceded the selection of Roger Pineau, who attended the same school after it was moved to Colorado because of internment of Japanese taking place at the original location.

According to the CIA's website:
With the creation of the Central Intelligence Group there commenced a process of accretion of functions taken from the wartime agencies and from departments which were anticipating reductions in budget under peacetime conditions. The Strategic Services Unit was transferred from the Department of the Army and became the Office of Special Operations - charged with espionage and counterespionage functions. The Washington Document Center was taken over from the Navy and shortly after that the Army's German Military Documents Center at Fort Holabird joined this unit and together became the Foreign Documents Division. The Foreign Broadcast Information Service, an organization with worldwide bases for monitoring all non-coded radio traffic, which had originally been under the Federal Communications Commission, was transferred from the Army and became the Foreign Broadcast Information Division. During World War II the Army and Navy and OSS and occasionally other agencies had all approached US businesses and institutions in search of foreign intelligence information. An early agreement was reached that this domestic collection should be performed as a service of common concern by Central Intelligence with other agencies participating as they desired, and this became the Contact Division. Another illustration of the type of functions taken on is the division of responsibilities with the Department of State on biographic intelligence. The list would be much too long if we attempted to enumerate all of the functions acquired in this method.
In December 1953 Talbot was rated at the salary level GS-14 in the C.I.A., and his name appeared on a list of 96 CIA employees cleared for Top Security, who were "certified to meet the standards required" to attend lectures at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. On that list were also the names Thomas W. Braden, C. Tracy Barnes, E. Howard Hunt, and Cord Meyer, Jr., but many more names were redacted, even upon the list's release in 1998.

Two years after receiving clearance to attend the Industrial College, Talbot wrote the following memorandum to Bruce Solie of the CIA's Security Analysis Group (SAG):
click to enlarge
Re: Orr, Paul & Violet
William A. Hyde was in Washington this last week-end, visiting his daughter and son-in-law, Sylvia and John Hoke, 763 Kennedy, N.E. The latter invited [REDACTED] and me over to meet him on Saturday night, 17 December, since we three were friends at Stanford.

Why would Solie's security group have been curious about William Hyde and his eldest daughter, Sylvia Hyde Hoke? And who, pray tell, were Paul and Violet Hyde?

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