Loran Eugene Hall

Loran Eugene Hall

Loran Eugene Hall was born in Newton, Kansas, on 4th January 1930. He joined the U.S. Army and later became a mercenary who joined the rebels led by Fidel Castro. Hall fell out with Castro and in 1959 he spent several months in prison. In the prison at the same time was Santo Trafficante.

On his release he moved to the United States and along with Gerry P. Hemming was a member of the anti-Castro group, Interpen (Intercontinental Penetration Force). Hall also joined Hemming, Frank Sturgis and David Ferrie in the International Anti-Communist Brigade.

In an interview he gave to the Select House Committee on Assassinations Hall admitted that "I was a radical right wing. I was a reactionary... almost every meeting that I ever went to I heard somebody plotting or talking about somebody should blow Kennedy's head off."

In 1962 Hall and Hemming met John Rousselot, a congressman with ties to the John Birch Society. Rousselot gave Hall and Hemming the name of Robert Morris, a Dallas attorney and former counsel to the Senate Internal Security Committee. Morris put the two men into contact with Lester Logue, who provided them with money. It is believed that this money originally came from Haroldson L. Hunt. Hall later told HSCA investigators that he participated in several raids on shipping around Cuba in February and March 1963 and was wounded in the leg.

In April 1963 Gerry P. Hemming introduced Hall to John Martino. A few days later Hall met Santo Trafficante, Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli at a Miami Beach hotel. Hall later reported that Giancana gave Eddie Bayo $15,000 as a down payment for a raid on Cuba. Bayo claimed that two officers in the Red Army based in Cuba wanted to defect to the United States. Bayo added that these men wanted to pass on details about atomic warheads and missiles that were still in Cuba despite the agreement that followed the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Bayo's story was eventually taken up by several members of the anti-Castro community. William Pawley became convinced that it was vitally important to help get these Soviet officers out of Cuba. To help this happen he contacted James Eastland, the chairman of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee.

Pawley also contacted Ted Shackley, head of the CIA's JM WAVE station in Miami. Shackley decided to help Pawley organize what became known as Operation Tilt. He also assigned Rip Robertson to help with the operation. David Sanchez Morales, another CIA agent, also became involved in this attempt to bring out these two Soviet officers.

In June, 1963, a small group, including Eddie Bayo, John Martino, William Pawley, Rip Robertson and Richard Billings, a journalist working for Life Magazine, secretly arrived in Cuba. They were unsuccessful in their attempts to find these Soviet officers and they were forced to return to Miami. Bayo remained behind and it was rumoured that he had been captured and executed. However, his death was never reported in the Cuban press. Larry Hancock, argues in his book, Someone Would Have Talked, that there were uncorroborated reports that Bayo did return and was seen in Florida in the months following Operation Tilt. John Martino later told Gerry P. Hemming that the assassination of Fidel Castro was the real object of the Bayo-Pawley operation. When interviewed by the Select House Committee on Assassinations Hall admitted that he carried out missions against Cuba on behalf of the CIA with Rip Robertson in 1963.

Hall did not take part in the Bayo-Pawley raid as he became involved in a project to overthrow the government of Haiti. According to the author of The Road to Dallas, the invasion of Haiti involved John Martino, Irving Davidson, Roland Masferrer and Carlos Marcello. Kaiser also speculates that the "involvement of both Martino and Davidson suggests that while Masferrer reportedly hoped to establish an anti-Castro base in Haiti after overthrowing Duvalier, mob interests were looking forward to building some new casinos there."

Hall re-established contact with Santo Trafficante in Florida in 1963. In his book, The Road to Dallas, the historian, David Kaiser claims: "Loran Hall had been involved in many discussions of assassination plots against Castro - including one failed attempt known as the Bayo-Pawley raid in the previous June - and had also heard a good deal of talk about assassinating President Kennedy."

During this time Hall travelled with William Seymour and Lawrence Howard. Michael Rohde, a lawyer who met them during this period, described Hall and Seymour as "two extremely dangerous, committed individuals."

On 25th September, 1963, a Cuban exile, Silvia Odio had a visit from three men who claimed they were from New Orleans. Two of the men, Leopoldo and Angelo, said they were members of the Junta Revolucionaria. The third man, Leon, was introduced as an American sympathizer who was willing to take part in the assassination of Fidel Castro. After she told them that she was unwilling to get involved in any criminal activity, the three men left.

Silvia Odio discovered after the assassination of John F. Kennedy that Leon was Lee Harvey Oswald. Odio gave evidence to the Warren Commission and one of its lawyers commented: "Silvia Odio was checked out thoroughly... The evidence is unanimously favorable... Odio is the most significant witness linking Oswald to the anti-Castro Cubans."

On 16th September, 1964, FBI agent Leon Brown interviewed Loran Hall on behalf of the Warren Commission. Brown claims that Hall admitted that he, Lawrence Howard and William Seymour made a visit to a woman who could have been Silvia Odio. However, when Hall was re-interviewed on 20th September and was shown a photograph of Odio, he claimed she was not the woman he met in New Orleans.

The FBI interviewed Silvia Odio again on 1st October, 1964. They showed her photographs of Loran Hall, William Seymour, Lawrence Howard and Celio Castro Alga. She claimed that " none of these individuals were identical with the three persons... who had come to her apartment in Dallas in the last week of September, 1963." Her sister, Annie Odio, who was also in the apartment at the time, also stated that "none of the photographs appeared similar to the three individuals in her recollection."

The author, Anthony Summers, suggests that the visit had "been a deliberate ploy to link Junta Revolucionaria, a left-wing exile group, with the assassination". Hall later gave evidence before the Select House Committee on Assassinations and denied he had told the FBI that he had visited Odio on 25th September, 1963.

In 1975 Harry Dean claimed he had been an undercover agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1962 he infiltrated the John Birch Society. He later reported that General Edwin Walker and John Rousselot had hired two gunman, Hall, and Eladio del Valle, to kill President John F. Kennedy. However, Dean was unable to provide any evidence to back up his claim.

Hall denied that he been involved in the assassination. However, in an interview he gave to the The Dallas Morning News (17th September, 1978), he was approached by right-wing activists working with CIA operatives, who wanted him to join the conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy. According to Hall, he refused the contract.

In an interview with Alan J. Weberman in April 1977, about Gerry P. Hemming, Hall stated that "Hemming is a CIA punk, OK? I've known the SOB for fourteen years. He turned his own goddam crews in so he wouldn't have to go to Cuba. He's fingered me on my own goddam deals and caused me to get arrested... Hey. man. Right as it stands now, there's only two of us left alive - that's me and Santos Trafficante. And as far as I'm concerned we're both going to stay alive - because I ain't gonna say shit."

David Kaiser uses this evidence in his book, The Road to Dallas, to link Hall and Santos Trafficante to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. However, during his testimony to the Select House Committee on Assassinations in May 1977, Hall makes it clear that he is referring to the Bayo-Pawley raid rather than the killing of Kennedy.

It was reported by Lee Hancock in the The Dallas Morning News on 13th September, 1989, that "A federal drug conspiracy indictment handed down in Tulsa in July names Loran Eugene Hall Sr., 59; his daughter, Barbara Ann Marteney, 34, of Mesquite; and his sons, Michael Stephen Hall, 36, of Burns, Kan., and Loran Eugene Hall Jr., 34, of Derby, Kan.; and two other Kansas residents. The indictment charges that the elder Mr. Hall led the ring, which manufactured methamphetamine between October 1987 and February 1989. Loran Hall Jr. and Michael Hall pleaded guilty Monday. Their father and sister remain at large."

During the trial of Loran Eugene Hall Jr., he claimed that a methamphetamine ring based in Mesquite was set up by a CIA operative to funnel money to the Contras in Nicaragua. Jim Heflet, a Tulsa attorney representing Hall, said that his client believes the operation was a CIA front. "It may be true. There's quite an extensive history on his father's CIA involvement," Heflet said. "My client told me that a lot of his dad's involvement - specifically in the Kennedy assassination - has been sealed up, and we never may find out what it was."

Loran Hall died in Newton, Kansas, in April 1995.

Primary Sources

(1) David Kaiser, The Road to Dallas (2008)

Hall was an Army veteran and gambler living in Wichita, Kansas, when Castro came to power in 1959. Leaving behind a troubled personal life, he suddenly went to Cuba to join Castro's army - an odd decision, since by 1963 he was an extreme right-winger. While in Cuba, he was arrested and spent several months in the Trescornia detention center, sharing a cell with Santo Trafficante.

When he was released in 1960, Hall was interviewed by the FBI, but the CIA never took up the bureau's invitation to debrief him. Then Hall essentially dropped out of sight for more than two years, until lie made contact with Gerry Hemming in Los Angeles in late 1962. He drove with Hemming to Florida in early 1963, stopping over in Dallas, where they had met the oil geologist Lester Logue, Robert Morris, and General Walker and received some funds from Logue, a political associate of H. L. Hunt. They also saw anti-Castro figures when they stopped in New Orleans. According to Hall, he was wounded during a raid on Cuba in March 1963 (presumably an Alpha-66 raid) and went to Dallas again to recuperate..

Hall later said that after his recuperation in Dallas in March, he met with John Martino, Santo Trafficante, mid Sam Giancana in Miami to discuss the Bayo-Pawley raid, but he left the Miami area in spring 1963 before the raid took off. Hall had been involved in a planned invasion of Haiti. Federal agents were apparently watching the telephone line of a Haitian exile named Leon Cantave in New York City, and when Hall telephoned Cantave collect on April 6, they began looking for him. Hall telephoned the FBI office in Miami a few days later to give his address.

The planned invasion of Haiti involved Irving Davidson, the Washington lobbyist and friend of Jimmy Hoffa and Carlos Marcello, and Rolando Masferrer, the Batistiano exile. John Martino recruited two hundred Cubans for the Venture. The involvement of both Martino and Davidson suggests that while Masferrer reportedly hoped to establish an anti-Castro base in Haiti after overthrowing Duvalier, mob interests were looking forward to building some new casinos there. The plan reportedly secured the support of Dominican President Juan Bosch during the summer, but the attempt to land in Haiti in early September proved abortive. Hall traveled to New York in connection with it, stopped in Washington, and saw Senator Kenneth Keating, an important critic of Kennedy's Cuba policy who was in contact with the DRE via Clare Boothe Luce and Pawley.

Hall drove to Dallas for the third time in June 1963 on his way out to California. He stayed briefly with a certain Wally Yeats, who had learned about him and Hemming from a January story in the Dallas Morning News. Yeats, Hall told the HSCA in 1977, was trying to form a racist, anti-Semitic group in Dallas, where the Minutemen were already active. Mrs. Yeats made it clear that Hall was not welcome, and he moved to the Salvation Army. This was the point, he claimed, when Lester Logue invited Hall to a meeting in his office with some well-heeled Texans.

(2) G. Robert Blakey and Richard Billings, The Plot to Kill the President (1981)

Loran Hall, Lawrence Howard, and William Seymour, the three anti-Castro activists who, according to Hall in an FBI interview, were the ones who paid the visit to Odio, though all three of them subsequently denied it. Hall, Howard, and Seymour belonged to INTERPEN, the soldier-of-fortune group that the Miami FBI office used for information on Sierra. The INTERPEN connection to Sierra, at least one of them, was a Cuban, Manuel Aguilar, in whose garage Sierra stored the two-man submarine he ordered from California. In September 1963 Hall and Howard drove from Los Angeles, heading for Miami with a trailer-load of arms, but they were forced to leave the trailer in Dallas for lack of a hiding place in Florida. In October Hall and Seymour, back in Dallas to retrieve the trailer, were arrested for possession of drugs; but with the help of an influential financial supporter, they were released. They took the arms back to Miami, but the mission for which they were intended, Hall told us, was aborted in late October when he, Howard, Seymour, and some Cubans were arrested by customs officials as they were driving to their embarkation point south of Miami. No charges were filed, but their arms and equipment were confiscated, so they returned to Miami, frustrated, and in early November, headed west. All three swore they were at their respective homes - Hall and Howard in California, Seymour in Arizona - on November 22, 1963.

(3) Report by Leon Brown concerning his interview with Loran Hall on 16th September, 1964.

HALL stated that during the latter part of September, 1963, he was in Dallas, Texas in company with LAWRENCE HOWARD and WILLIAM SEYMOUR. HALL had gone to Dallas to solicit aid in the anti-CASTRO movement HALL said they contacted three professors at the university of Dallas who are Cuban refugees. One of these professor's name HALL recalled, was ODIO. These professors furnished HALL with a list of Cubans living in the Dallas area who could be contacted to solicit assistance in this movement.

HALL said that he recalled that while in Dallas on this particular occasion, the three of them, HALL, HOWARD, and SEYMOUR, had gone to the apartment of a Cuban woman who lived in a garden style apartment located on Magellan Circle in Dallas. HALL said that he could not picture this woman in his mind now. He said that her name was possibly ODIO. He said that he seemed to recognize this woman's name as ODIO because of the association with the name of the Cuban professor who had the same name.

(4) Warren Commission (27th September, 1964)

On September 16, 1964, the FBI located Loran Eugene Hall in Johnsondale, Calif. Hall has been identified as a participant in numerous anti-Castro activities. He told the FBI that in September of 1963 he was in Dallas, soliciting aid in connection with anti-Castro activities. He said he had visited Mrs. Odio. He was accompanied by Lawrence Howard, a Mexican-American from East Los Angeles and one William Seymour from Arizona. He stated that Seymour is similar in appearance to Lee Harvey Oswald; he speaks only a few words of Spanish, as Mrs. Odio had testified one of the men who visited her did. While the FBI had not yet completed its investigation into this matter at the time the report went to press, the Commission has concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was not at Mrs. Odio's apartment in September of 1963.

(5) FBI letter on interview with Silvia Odio (9th November 1964)

Review of record of Beach Welding and Supplies Company, Miami Beach, Florida, on September 22, 1964, confirmed WILLIAM SEYMOUR's employment with that company throughout the period September 5 to October 10, 1963.

On September 24, 1964, CELIO CASTRO ALGA, employed at the South Florida Sugar Company, Belle Glade, Florida, stated he had traveled with LORAN HALL and LAWRENCE HOWARD from California to Dallas, Texas, to Miami, Florida in September, 1963, but he had not met any person at Dallas named ODIO, nor had he heard the name ODIO mentioned by HALL or HOWARD in Dallas.

On October 1, 1964, SYLYIA ODIO, presently residing at 1711 S.W. 83rd Avenue, Miami, Florida, stated she had moved to Miami from Dallas, Texas, with her four small children, about a week ago.

Mrs. ODIO was shown photographs of LORAN EUGENE HALL, taken at Wichita, Kansas on December 16, 1961; LAWRENCE HOWARD taken at Key West, Florida on December 4, 1962; WILLIAM HOUSTON SEYMOUR taken in March, 1959 at San Diego, California; and CELIO CASTRO ALGA taken in November, 1961 at Miami, Florida.

Upon viewing the photographs of HALL, HOWARD, SEYMOUR and CASTRO, Mrs. ODIO stated that none of these individuals were identical with the three persons, including the individual she believed to be OSWALD, who had come to her apartment in Dallas in the last week of September, 1963. She said she is not certain that the could identify photographs of the two individuals accompanying the one she believed to be OSWALD because of the passage of time since the incident and because photographs sometimes differ from the real appearance of an individual.

Mrs. ODIO added she did believe, however, she could recognize the individual who gave his name as LEOPOLDO. She indicated that the photograph of CELIO CASTRO was similar to the appearance of LEOPOLDO but that LEOPOLDO's hair line me receding at the temples. She also thought that the photo of CELIO CASTRO did not give the Mexican appearance that she recalled LEOPOLDO to have...

Also on October 1, 1964, the photographs described hereinbefore were displayed to ANNIE LAURIE ODIO, younger sister of SYLVIA ODIO, who stated she had opened the door of the ODIO apartment in Dallas to the three individuals including one believed to be LEE HARVEY OSWALD, who called at the apartment in the last week of September 1964. ANNIE LAURIE ODIO stated none of the photographs appeared similar to the three individuals in her recollection.

(6) Loran Hall interviewed by the Select House Committee on Assassinations (10th May 1977)

Bill Triplett: Mr. Hall, have you ever been a paid employee of the Central Intelligence Agency?

Loran Hall: To the best of my recollection, no, I was not.

Bill Triplett: To the best of your recollection wouldn't you know if you were an employee?

Loran Hall: Mr. Triplett, I will put it this way. To my knowledge I was never given a dime of money by the CIA to me but I have received money from groups and interested people that could have been CIA money. I do not want to get nailed for perjury so I am not going to say anything that can get me for perjury. I have received money but never knowingly from the CIA.

Bill Triplett: Were you ever a contract agent of the CIA?

Loran Hall: No, I was not.

Bill Triplett: How would you describe your relationship to the CIA during that period?

Loran Hall: I had a friend who described it for me, and it was described to me as a jackal for the CIA.

Bill Triplett: What does this mean to you?

Loran Hall: I was not a contract laborer for the CIA, I was not affiliated with the CIA, but yet I was given the green light to go into Cuba on several of my missions.

(7) Loran Hall interviewed by the Select House Committee on Assassinations (5th October 1977)

Q. Did there come a time when the FBI spoke to you about whether or not you visited Silvia Odio in September 1963?

Hall. Yes; there was.

Q. Who spoke to you?

Hall. An FBI agent.

Q. At that time were you advised why you were being questioned about Silvia Odio?

Hall. I really don't recall. He stated as I recall, he stated something to the effect that were you ever in Dallas, Tex., and I said yes. He said do you know a Mrs. Odio, and I said I don't recall knowing a Mrs. Odio. I think I knew a Professor Odio, who was a professor at Texas, some university in Texas, just outside of Dallas, as I recall. He asked me anyway about the apartment building on Magellan and I said it is possible, I don't know. I said do you have a picture of her and he said no; I do not have. And I said, it is possible I met her but I don't recall. He then asked me who was with me and I told him I was with Alba and Howard, and then it was like maybe a month or two.

Q. And you told him you were there with Howard and Alba?

Hall. Yes.

Q. On the first trip?

Hall. Yes. We both read the same FBI report. You know it is directly contradictory to what I am saying.

Q. So it is your testimony that at no time did you ever tell an FBI agent that you were in Dallas accompanied by Lawrence Howard and William Seymour, is that your testimony?

Hall. That is true.

Q. Were you ever directly or indirectly involved with Silvia Odio in acquiring military equipment for anti-Castro raids?

Hall. No; I was not.

(8) Gerry P. Hemming, interview with Dick Russell (1976)

RUSSELL: You told the Senate investigators that Loran Hall was somehow involved.

HEMMING: Yes, on the day of the assassination, I made a call from Miami to Texas. And I pointedly asked, "Is Lorenzo Hall in Dallas?" I made the call about 1:30 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. He was there. My contact had seen him in Dallas the day before.

RUSSELL: Why were you suspicious of Loran Hall?

HEMMING: Because he left Miami with the stated intent to kill Kennedy. He had my weapon, a Johnson 30-06 breakdown rifle with a scope on it, that had been prepared for the Bay of Pigs. I'd left it with a private investigator who had previously worked under Agency auspices on the West Coast. Hall got the weapon when we ran short of funds on a return trip from L.A. to Florida, and we ended up using Hall's car.

RUSSELL: You were working closely with Hall?

HEMMING: He came to work with our group in 1963. Then he ran afoul with some people and immediately went to work with a group that I thought was infiltrated by Castro's agents. Hall ignored this. He siphoned off a couple of people who had worked with me in the past, and started organizing his own operation with Frank Sturgis and some other guys...He knew how to do the job...But I think someone was trying to put him there so he would be one of the patsies."

(9) Army Intelligence interview of Roy Hargraves (7th August 1970)

According to Jerry Hemming, both Howard and Hall met with Lee Harvey Oswald in Texas while en route to Florida prior to the John Kennedy assassination. After President Kennedy was killed, Hemming related to Source that he felt that the assassination was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plot to do away with Kennedy since Howard and Hall were believed to have been connected with the CIA. Source, at a later date, confronted Howard with the question concerning his part in the alleged connection with the Kennedy assassination. Howard "clammed up" and became nervous concerning the matter and avoided the subject completly.

(10) Lee Hancock, The Dallas Morning News (13th September, 1989)

A methamphetamine ring based in Mesquite was set up by a CIA operative to funnel money to the Nicaraguan contras, one of the alleged participants has testified in federal court.

The testimony came during a hearing in Tulsa, where Loran Eugene Hall Jr. appeared Monday to plead guilty to drug charges.

He told the court that his father, Loran Eugene Hall Sr. of Mesquite, was a CIA agent who recruited him and others to manufacture speed to raise money for the contras, said Jack Morgan, assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

A CIA spokesman declined to comment Tuesday on Mr. Hall's case.

"We do not generally acknowledge the employment of either covert or overt employees,' said Mark Mansfield, an official at CIA headquarters in McLean, Va. "I would add that the agency does not sanction violation of U.S. law.'

A federal drug conspiracy indictment handed down in Tulsa in July names Loran Eugene Hall Sr., 59; his daughter, Barbara Ann Marteney, 34, of Mesquite; and his sons, Michael Stephen Hall, 36, of Burns, Kan., and Loran Eugene Hall Jr., 34, of Derby, Kan.; and two other Kansas residents. The indictment charges that the elder Mr. Hall led the ring, which manufactured methamphetamine between October 1987 and February 1989.

Loran Hall Jr. and Michael Hall pleaded guilty Monday. Their father and sister remain at large.

Court documents indicate the ring was broken when Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics investigators and Mesquite police trailed Loran Hall Jr. after he purchased glassware and chemicals at a Grand Prairie chemical store.

Mr. Hall and another man were arrested in Noble County, Okla., as they were carrying those items and several high-caliber firearms to Kansas in a stolen truck, according to the indictment.

Federal investigators and Oklahoma state narcotics agents believe the ring repeatedly bought chemicals in Dallas and Oklahoma to manufacture speed, Mr. Morgan said.

Investigators believe the elder Mr. Hall served as the group's "cook,' setting up labs in Scurry, Texas, Balch Springs and Burns, Kan.

Mr. Morgan said investigators probably never will determine the truth of claims that the group had ties to the CIA.

But Mr. Morgan, a Mesquite police investigator and defense attorneys representing Hall family members all said there was evidence suggesting that Loran Hall Sr. worked for the CIA in some capacity.

"He has a long history of involvement with the CIA attempts to overthrow (Cuban President Fidel) Castro,' Mr. Morgan said. "He was involved in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion. In 1961, he got arrested with a truckload of guns in Texas, and he was transporting them from California to Florida for that invasion.'

His name also has surfaced in congressional investigations of the John F. Kennedy assassination. The elder Mr. Hall was described in a 1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations report as a onetime resident of Cuba with ties to anti-Castro groups in the United States and organized crime in both countries.

And, Mr. Morgan said, his name is the subject of a chapter in the book Coup d'etat in America, which speculates about CIA involvement in a plot to kill President Kennedy. The chapter, titled " Loran Hall and the Free Cuba Committees,' details allegations of CIA financing and orchestration of a plot by anti-Castro groups to kill President Kennedy.

"In the last few years, he supposedly was involved with CIA attempts to overthrow the Nicaraguan government,' Mr. Morgan said.

Loran Eugene Hall Jr. has told investigators that his father was a 17-year CIA employee most recently involved in running guns to Central America, Mr. Morgan said.

The son also has told investigators about incidents in which helicopters appeared at his father's Kansas farm bearing men who carried automatic weapons and answered to military titles such as colonel and major, Mr. Morgan said.

Jim Heflet, a Tulsa attorney representing the younger Mr. Hall, said that his client still believes the operation was a CIA front.

"It may be true. There's quite an extensive history on his father's CIA involvement,' Mr. Heflet said. "My client told me that a lot of his dad's involvement - specifically in the Kennedy assassination - has been sealed up, and we never may find out what it was.'

Mr. Morgan said federal officials believe the elder Mr. Hall may be hiding in Kansas, Honduras or Costa Rica.

(11) David Kaiser, The Road to Dallas (2008)

The murder of John F Kennedy emerged from two overlapping zones of illegality: American organized crime, which was defending itself against Robert Kennedy's relentless attack, and the U.S government-sponsored or tolerated anti-Castro movement. Illegality and secrecy go together, but enough information emerged both before and after the assassination to trace the essence of the organized crime conspiracy.

The most direct evidence points to Santo Trafficante, because of his connections to John Martino, who had advance knowledge of the plot, and to Loran Hall, who was evidently with Oswald at Silvia Odio's house and who spoke of protecting Trafficante in 1976-77. Trafficante's own lawyer, Frank Ragano, confirmed his boss's involvement and described giving encouragement from Jimmy Hoffa to both Trafficante and Carlos Marcello in the spring of 1963. Marcello bragged about his role at least twice. He was even more threatened by the government than Trafficante was, with deportation hanging over his head. Oswald and his family had lifelong connections with Marcello's mob, including David Ferrie, Oswald's Uncle Dutz Murret, and Guy Banister, who was working for Marcello by the summer of 1963.

Sam Giancana had also been fighting tremendous pressure from the government for three years and had spoken frequently about it. Jack Ruby's calls to Chicago mob figures such as Barney Baker and Irwin Weiner in the months before the assassination suggest that Giancana might have been involved in the conspiracy as well, as do the disinformation activities of his well-connected henchman, Richard Cain. Ruby had connections to all three of the most likely mob conspirators. He had visited Trafficante in jail in Cuba in 1959 and was still in touch with Trafficante's old friend Lewis McWillie. He had grown up with Giancana's Chicago mob and still kept up with some of its members. And he now operated strip clubs in Dallas, which appears to have been a subsidiary branch of Marcello's New Orleans empire. All three of these hoodlums knew that Jimmy Hoffa's endorsement of their enterprise could prove useful. And John Roselli, although he cannot be linked directly to the assassination itself, worked closely with Giancana and Trafficante in the anti-Castro plots, and he indicated many times to Edward Morgan and Jack Anderson that there was more to the assassination of President Kennedy than Lee Harvey Oswald. He evidently was murdered in 1976 because he knew too much.

Where did these men find the audacity to kill a president of the United States? G. Robert Blakey and Richard Billings speculated convincingly in the 1970s that John Kennedy, because he accepted women as favors through Frank Sinatra (and perhaps in other contexts as well), had lost the immunity from retaliation that truly incorruptible public officials generally enjoyed. By enlisting these very mob leaders to assassinate Fidel Castro in 1960, the CIA had inevitably "weakened any inhibition about killing a head of government In addition, Robert Kennedy's campaign against the mob-fought with every available weapon, and without many of the legal tools that later became available fell outside traditional rules as well. The attorney general indicted suspected mobsters for any offense, no matter how trivial. When he discovered in 1962 that he could not indict Giancana because of his CIA connection, he pushed the FBI surveillance of him even harder. All these men knew that Hoffa's comment about the attorney general - that Robert Kennedy would not rest until Hoffa was behind bars was true for them as well. These were desperate times that called for desperate measures.

That many anti-Castro Cubans, including one that had contact with Oswald, had very strong negative feelings about President Kennedy is also clear, but only a few pieces of evidence implicate any of them in the assassination itself. The first is the Rose Cheramie story of the two men who drove her from Miami to Louisiana on their way to Dallas to take part in the assassination, but there is no proof that they Were Cuban. The second is Tony Cuesta's reported identification of Sandalio Herminio Diaz and Eladio del Valle as having been present in Dallas on November 22, but that cannot be confirmed. And the last is the tip the Dallas sheriff received after the assassination about meetings between Cubans and Oswald on Harlandale Avenue, a key lead that was never pursued.

Lee Harvey Oswald did kill President Kennedy all by himself. If someone fired a shot from the grassy knoll, he missed. The mob and the anti-Castro Cubans were part of a much broader nationwide network of right-wing activists, anti-Communists operating privately or within congressional committees, conservative businessmen like William Pawley and H. L. Hunt, and a few paramilitaries like the Minutemen. Many if not all of these men regarded the Kennedys as a mortal threat to America as they understood it. Pawley was close to John Martino, and Hunt reportedly subsidized Martino's book tour and was in touch with him through his security chief, former FBI agent Paul Rothermel. But the only evidence that suggests such elements were directly involved in the assassination is Loran Hall's unconfirmed story of being offered $100,000 to kill Kennedy in Dallas in the summer of 1963.