Marita Lorenz, the daughter of a German father and an American mother, was born in Bremen, Germany, on 18th August, 1939. Lorenz visited Cuba in February, 1959. Soon afterwards she began an affair with Fidel Castro and claims to have had his child. Later she was recruited by Frank Sturgis to work for the Central Intelligence Agency. In January 1960, Lorenz took part in a failed attempt to poison Castro.
Lorenz fled to the United States and joined the secret International Anti-Communist Brigade. I n 1961 met Marcos Pérez Jímenez, the former President of Venezuela. Later she gave birth to his daughter. In 1970, Lorenz married the manager of an apartment building near the United Nations. Soon afterwards the Federal Bureau of Investigation recruited her to spy on Soviet diplomats.
In November, 1977, Lorenz gave an interview to the New York Daily News in which she claimed that a group called Operation 40, that included Lee Harvey Oswald, Orlando Bosch and Frank Sturgis, were involved in a conspiracy to kill both John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro. "She said that they were members of Operation 40, a secret guerrilla group originally formed by the CIA in 1960 in preparation for the Bay of Pigs invasion... Ms. Lorenz described Operation 40 as an 'assassination squad' consisting of about 30 anti-Castro Cubans and their American advisors. She claimed the group conspired to kill Cuban Premier Fidel Castro and President Kennedy, whom it blamed for the Bay of Pigs fiasco... She said Oswald... visited an Operation 40 training camp in the Florida Everglades... Ms. Lorenz claimed that this meeting was attended by Sturgis, Oswald, Bosch and Diaz Lanz, former Chief of the Cuban Air Force. She said the men spread Dallas street maps on a table and studied them... She said they left for Dallas in two cars soon after the meeting. They took turns driving, she said, and the 1,300-mile trip took about two days."
Gaeton Fonzi interviewd her for his book, The Last Investigation (1993): "According to his FBI contact, Marita herself volunteered, going through the nightly trash in search of useful information. She eventually split with her husband, remarried and then took up with a Mob enforcer, who ensconced her in the upper East Side digs. Unfortunately, after setting her up, her paramour was irregular in providing financial support, probably due to the nature of his business. However, Marita had managed to survive over the years by being a paid informant for local and Federal police agencies, including the FBI, US Customs and the DEA. For Marita Lorenz, life was lived on the edge."
Lorenz also testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations where she claimed that Sturgis had been one of the gunmen who fired on John F. Kennedy in Dallas. The committee dismissed her testimony, as they were unable to find any other evidence to support it.
Despite the fact that she was living in a luxury apartment when I first met her, Lorenz and her fourteen-year-old daughter, the illegitimate child of former Venezuelan President Marcos Pérez Jímenez, were collecting welfare from the State of New York. Lorenz had met the wealthy ex-dictator in Miami in 1961, two years before he was arrested and deported to Spain. "Marcos said he wanted to meet me because he knew I was Fidel's girl," she told me. "He chased me and I finally gave in." Years later, on the Geraldo TV show, she would claim Jímenez was "an assignment" from the CIA.) In 1970, Lorenz had married the manager of an apartment building near the United Nations. Since many of the units were rented to members of the Soviet and Soviet bloc UN delegations, the FBI recruited her husband as a paid informant. According to his FBI contact, Marita herself volunteered, going through the nightly trash in search of useful information. She eventually split with her husband, remarried and then took up with a Mob enforcer, who ensconced her in the upper East Side digs. Unfortunately, after setting her up, her paramour was irregular in providing financial support, probably due to the nature of his business. However, Marita had managed to survive over the years by being a paid informant for local and Federal police agencies, including the FBI, US Customs and the DEA. For Marita Lorenz, life was lived on the edge.
Marita Lorenz told the New York Daily News that her companions on the car trip from Miami to Dallas were Oswald, CIA contact agent Frank Sturgis, Cuban exile leaders Orlando Bosch and Pedro Diaz Lanz, and two Cuban brothers whose names she did not know.
She said that they were members of Operation 40, a secret guerrilla group originally formed by the CIA in 1960 in preparation for the Bay of Pigs invasion...
Ms. Lorenz described Operation 40 as an "assassination squad" consisting of about 30 anti-Castro Cubans and their American advisors. She claimed the group conspired to kill Cuban Premier Fidel Castro and President Kennedy, whom it blamed for the Bay of Pigs fiasco...
She said Oswald... visited an Operation 40 training camp in the Florida Everglades. The next time she saw him, Ms. Lorenz said, was... in the Miami home of Orlando Bosch, who is now in a Venezuelan prison on murder charges in connection with the explosion and crash of a Cuban jetliner that killed 73 persons last year.
Ms. Lorenz claimed that this meeting was attended by Sturgis, Oswald, Bosch and Diaz Lanz, former Chief of the Cuban Air Force. She said the men spread Dallas street maps on a table and studied them...
She said they left for Dallas in two cars soon after the meeting. They took turns driving, she said, and the 1,300-mile trip took about two days. She added that they carried weapons - "rifles and scopes" - in the cars...
Sturgis reportedly recruited Ms. Lorenz for the CIA in 1959 while she was living with Castro in Havana. She later fled Cuba but returned on two secret missions. The first was to steal papers from Castro's suite in the Havana Hilton; the second mission was to kill him with a poison capsule, but it dissolved while concealed in ajar of cold cream.
Informed of her story, Sturgis told the News yesterday: "To the best of my knowledge, I never met Oswald."
A few months ago, in March, there was a meeting at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., the plush home of America's super spooks overlooking the Potomac River. It was attended by several high-level clandestine officers and some former top officials of the agency.
The topic of discussion was: What to do about recent revelations associating President Kennedy's accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, with the spy game played between the U.S. and the USSR? (Spotlight, May 8, 1978.) A decision was made, and a course of action determined. They were calculated to both fascinate and confuse the public by staging a clever "limited hangout" when the House Special Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) holds its open hearings, beginning later this month.
A "limited hangout" is spy jargon for a favorite and frequently used gimmick of the clandestine professionals. When their veil of secrecy is shredded and they can no longer rely on a phony cover story to misinform the public, they resort to admitting - sometimes even volunteering some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case. The public, however, is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further.
We will probably never find out who masterminded the assassination of JFK - or why. There are too many powerful special interests connected with the conspiracy for the truth to come out even now, 15 years after the murder.
But during the next two months, according to sensitive sources in the CIA and on HSCA, we are going to learn much more about the crime. The new disclosures will be sensational, but only superficially so. A few of the lesser villains involved in the conspiracy and its subsequent coverup will be identified for the first time - and allowed to twist slowly in the wind on live network TV. Most of the others to be fingered are already dead.
But once again the good folks of middle America will be hoodwinked by the government and its allies in the establishment news media. In fact, we are being set up to witness yet another coverup, albeit a sophisticated one, designed by the CIA with the assistance of the FBI and the blessing of the Carter administration.
A classic example of a limited hangout is how the CIA has handled and manipulated the Church Committee's investigation of two years ago. The committee learned nothing more about the assassinations of foreign leaders, illicit drug programs, or the penetration of the news media than the CIA allowed it to discover. And this is precisely what the CIA is out to accomplish through HSCA with regard to JFK's murder.
Chief among those to be exposed by the new investigation will be E. Howard Hunt, of Watergate fame. His luck has run out, and the CIA has decided to sacrifice him to: protect its clandestine services. The agency is furious with Hunt for having dragged it publicly into the Nixon mess and for having blackmailed it after he was arrested.
Besides, Hunt is vulnerable - an easy target as they say in the spy business. His reputation and integrity have been destroyed. The death of his wife, Dorothy, in a mysterious plane crash in Chicago still disturbs many people, especially since there were rumors from informed sources that she was about to leave him and perhaps even turn on him.
In addition it is well known that Hunt hated JFK and blamed him for the Bay of Pigs disaster. And now, in recent months, his alibi for his whereabouts on the day of the shooting has come unstuck.
In the public hearings, the CIA will "admit" that Hunt was involved in the conspiracy to kill Kennedy. The CIA may go so far as to "admit" that there were three gunmen shooting at Kennedy. The FBI, while publicly embracing the Warren Commission's "one man acting alone" conclusion, has always privately known that there were three gunmen. The conspiracy involved many more people than the ones who actually fired at Kennedy, both agencies may now admit.
A.J. Weberman and Michael Canfield, authors of Coup d'Etat in America, published pictures of three apparent bums who were arrested at Dealy Plaza just after President Kennedy's murder, but who were strangely released without any record of the arrest having been made by the Dallas police. One of the tramps the authors identified as Hunt. Another was Frank Sturgis, a long time agent of Hunt's.
Hunt immediately sued for millions of dollars in damages, claiming he could prove that he had been in Washington D.C. that day-on duty at CIA. It turned out, however, that this was not true. So, he said that he had been on leave and doing household errands, including a shopping trip to a grocery store in Chinatown.
Weberman and Canfield investigated the new alibi and found that the grocery store where Hunt claimed to be shopping never existed. At this point, Hunt offered to drop his suit for a token payment of one dollar. But the authors were determined to vindicate themselves, and they continued to attack Hunt's alibi, ultimately completely shattering it.
Now, the CIA moved to finger Hunt and tie him to the JFK assassination. HSCA unexpectedly received an internal CIA memorandum a few weeks ago that the agency just happened to stumble across in its old files. It was dated 1966 and said in essence: Some day we will have to explain Hunt's presence in Dallas on November 22, 1963 - the day President Kennedy was killed. Hunt is going to be hard put to explain this memo, and other things, before the TV cameras at the HSCA hearings.
Hunt's reputation as a strident fanatical anti-communist will count against him. So will his long and close relationship with the anti-Castro Cubans, as well as his penchant for clandestine dirty tricks and his various capers while one of Nixon's plumbers. E. Howard Hunt will be implicated in the conspiracy and he will not dare to speak out-the CIA will see to that. In addition to Hunt and Sturgis, another former CIA agent marked for exposure is Gerry Patrick Hemming, a hulk of a man-six feet eight inches tall and weighing 260 pounds. Like Sturgis, Hemming once worked for Castro as a CIA double agent, then later surfaced with the anti-Castro Cubans in various attempts to rid Cuba of the communist dictator. But there are two things in Hemming's past that the CIA, manipulation HSCA, will be able to use to tie him to the JFK assassination.
First, Castro's former mistress, Marita Lorenz (now an anti-Castroite herself), has identified Hemming, along with Oswald and others as being part of the secret squad assigned to kill President Kennedy. And secondly, Hemming was Oswald's Marine sergeant when he was stationed at CIA's U-2 base in Atsugi, Japan-where Oswald supposedly was recruited as a spy by the Soviets, or was being trained to be a double agent by the CIA.
In any event, Hemming's Cuban career and his connection with Oswald make the Lorenz story difficult for him to deny, particularly since the squad allegedly also included Hunt and Sturgis.
Who else will be identified as having been part of the conspiracy and/or coverup remains to be seen. But a disturbing pattern is already beginning to emerge. All the villains have been previously disgraced in one way or another. They all have "right wing" reputations. Or they will have after the hearings.
Howard Hunt, close associate of David Atlee Phillips, with whom he worked in the both the CIA's Guatemalan campaign of 1954 and the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. Hunt would later be arrested for his role in the Watergate affair. In one of Hunt's libel suits, one Marita Lorenz gave sworn testimony that Lee Harvey Oswald, American mercenaries Frank Sturgis and Gerry Patrick Hemming, and Cuban exiles including Orlando Bosch, Pedro Diaz Lanz, and the brothers Guillermo and Ignacio Novo Sampol, had met one November midnight in 1963 at the Miami home of Orlando Bosch and had studied Dallas street maps. She also swore that she and Sturgis were at that time in the employ of the CIA and that they received payment from Howard Hunt under the name "Eduardo," They arrived in Dallas on 21 November 1963, and stayed at a motel, where the group met Howard Hunt. Hunt stayed for about forty-five minutes and at one point handed an envelope of cash to Sturgis. About an hour after Hunt left, Jack Ruby came to the door. Lorenz says that this was the first time she had seen Ruby. By this time, she said, it was early evening. In her testimony, Lorenz identified herself and her fellow passengers as members of Operation Forty, the CIA-directed assassination team formed in 1960 in preparation for the Bay of Pigs invasion. She described her role as that of a "decoy."
In retrospect, one result of this whole soap-opera scenario (the Marita Lorenz story) – the factor that still feeds my suspicion of collusion – was a successful diversion, from the Schweiker probe through to the House Assassinations Committee, of our limited investigation resources. And, in the process, it injected a dose of slapstick that would impair any future attempt to conduct a serious investigation into the possible involvement of E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis in the Kennedy assassination.