Tony Sforza

Tony Sforza was agent in the Central Intelligence Agency (cryptonym Sloman) and was based in Cuba in 1959. He lived in Havana under the cover of being a professional gambler (Frank Stevens) and developed contacts with the Mafia. A close associate of Theodore Shackley, he was based at JM/WAVE in the early 1960s and worked as a paramilitary agent with Grayston Lynch and Rip Robertson.

In 1963 Sforza was in Cuba under deep cover. It is possible he was involved at the time of trying to get Fidel Castro's sister, Juanita Castro, out of the country. Recently released documents show that he was in Mexico City in November, 1963.

In 1970 Sforza served in Chile. According to David Corn (Blond Ghost), Sforza worked with General Roberto Viaux in the overthrow of Salvador Allende. Corn quotes a memo written by fellow agent, John Murray, that Sforza and Bruce MacMaster, took part in a mission "to help create a situation which would encourage the Chilean military to activate a military takeover of the Chilean government."

Sforza moved to Mexico in 1971. Bruce MacMaster, a veteran CIA operative, claimed that Sforza had exploited "Agency pouches to ship contraband" and "had sent a large package of hard-core pornography to the Mexico City station".

In May, 1973, John Murray, chief of the CIA station in Mexico City, sent documents to Theodore Shackley that Tony Sforza was involved in the assassination of General Rene Schneider in Chile. Shackley did nothing with this material and instead sent Murray to be chief of station in Jamaica.

Gaeton Fonzi quotes Ruben Carbajal in The Last Investigation as saying that Sforza was very close to David Morales. According to Carbajal, both men admitted that "they killed men for the agency". Fonzi also saw a CIA document that stated "Sforza is a hit man and should be regarded as dangerous".

According to his daughter, Charmaine Sforza-Flick, Sforza left the CIA after his identity was revealled by the Washington Post. After leaving the agency Tony Sforza ran an import-export business in Miami. Sforza died in 1984.

In a letter sent to John R. Tunheim in 1994, Bradley E. Ayers claimed that nine people based at JM/WAVE "have intimate operational knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the assassination" of John F. Kennedy. Ayers named Tony Sforza, Gordon Campbell, Grayston Lynch, Theodore Shackley, Felix Rodriguez, Thomas Clines, David Morales, Rip Robertson and Edward Roderick as the men who had this information.

In October 2009, Juanita Castro claimed that she was recruited to work for the CIA by Tony Sforza in 1959. Sforza was working on a Cuba-related project known as Operation Mongoose. "Many of our men are working there (in Cuba) and run the risk of being discovered," Sforza told her at the Hotel Camino Real in Mexico City. "The mission involves protecting them and helping them move from one place to another with as much security as possible, finding them places to stay in houses that are safe."

Primary Sources

(1) Bradley E. Ayers, letter to John R. Tunheim (23rd August, 1994)

I make reference to your letter of February 23d and my subsequent communications with your staff in preparation for our meeting which is scheduled for 10.00 CDT this morning. I appreciate the opportunity to visit with you concerning matters relating to the assassination of President Kennedy and your appointment as a member of the board that will oversee the release of documents pertaining thereto.

Over the past several months I have furnished your staff with details of my background and other materials which I trust have provided you with some perspective for the information I hope to personally convey. Assuming you have read or been briefed on the essence of this history, I will not dwell upon it here. However, I take this opportunity to convey copies of two documents which I recently received that relate directly to our discussion of this date. They are self-explanatory.

With the context of our meeting hopefully established, I wish to call your attention to the following specifics which I urge you and the Board to be alert for and to pursue within the framework of your mandate. These areas of interest and individual identifications are recommended as adf.rect result of my experience with the CIA/JMWAVE Miami station during the period immediately preceding and following the death of JFK and my synthesis of other information developed since that experience.

I believe the following living individuals have intimate operational knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the assassination and the possible role of the persons and/or operations listed in the paragraph which follows:

Theodore Shackley - Chief of Station, JMWAVE Robert Wall - Deputy Chief of Operations, JMWAVE

Grayson Lynch - Contract paramilitary trainer/agent, JMWAVE

Felix Rodriguez - Contract paramilitary agent (Cuban born), JMWAVE

Thomas Clines - CIA paramilitary case officer, JMWAVE

Above named persons with reference to:

Gordon Campbell (current status unknown) - Deputy Chief of Station, JMWAVE

David Morales (deceased) - Chief of Operations, JMWAVE

"Rip" Robertson (deceased) - Contract paramilitary agent JMWAVE

Edward Roderick (current status unknown) - U. S. Army Major, explosives expert/Corp of Engineers, attached to JMWAVE and later CIA employee upon retirement from Army

Tony Sforza (deceased) - Contract paramilitary agent, JMWAVE

Operation (code name) "Red Cross" - JMWAVE, Fall 1963

Further, I invite your attention to the forthcoming issue of Vanity Fair Magazine (October issue) which I am advised will contain an article by Tony Summers, a highly credible journalist/author (CONSPIRACY) that will offer certain revelations complimenting the recommendations made in this communication.

I know for a fact that Summers has been diligently pursuing lines of inquiry that may be relevant to the work of the Board and may be useful in unscrambling and evaluating the JFK related documents produced by the CIA and other government agencies.

I hope the information I've provided is helpful to the Board and I remain prepared to testify under oath to any aspect of my activities should that be desired.

(2) Memorandum from Christopher Barger to Tim Wray (undated)

The purpose of this memo is to give you background on who Brad Ayers is and the story he tells. His story is accepted to differing degrees, depending on who one talks to, but the basics of his story check out, according to our research.

Ayers was an infantry officer in the U.S. Army during the early 1960's, specializing in paramilitary training. In early 1963, (records checks indicate it was in early April) Ayers was "loaned" by the Army to the CIA, which assigned him to the JMWAVE station. Ayers' job was to train Cuban exiles and prepare them for an invasion of Cuba. This much of his story is borne out by checks of his military and CIA files.

From here, the veracity of Ayers' claims are less easy to discern. He claims to have seen many figures at JMWAVE who were not there, according to the official record; these include Johnny Roselli and William Harvey (former Task Force W /SAS chief for CIA, who was removed from that position by Kennedy after Harvey overstepped his authority after the Missile Crisis). Ayers also claims to have gone on several raiding missions with his proteges, and to have come under fire from Castro's forces in the summer of 1963. This is significant because according to the official record, all government sanctioned action against Castro had ceased by that point.

Ayers says that many of his colleagues at the JMWAVE station built up a strong resentment of President Kennedy, and says that he believes several of them to have played roles in the assassination. Foremost among these, he says, was David Morales, the operations officer for CIA in Miami.

The HSCA interviewed Ayers, and performed searches for his records. In doing so, they discovered five sealed envelopes in his file, which HSCA staff was not allowed access to. The envelopes have ben the source of some speculation among those in the research community who believe Ayers' story.

On May 12, I interviewed Ayers at his home outside of St. Paul, Minnesota. At that point, the questions were based on information obtained from open sources only, as few of the staff had their clearances yet.

(3) Christopher Barger, memorandum to Jeremy Gunn (18th May, 1995)

I interviewed former US Army captain and CIA employee Bradley Ayers on May 12, 1995, at Ayers' home in Woodbury, Minnesota. The interview lasted from 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. The following is a summary and report of the interview...

Q. Did Morales ever try and pass himself off as Cuban?

A. Not to Ayers' knowledge, but "he could easily pass for Cuban." Morales was allegedly a very good actor, and "could pull off lots of roles." Here the conversation drifted into a discussion of David Morales and his emotional makeup. Ayers charged that Morales was a "mean" man who "paraded around the station like a tyrant." Everyone was apparently afraid of him. Morales hung with what Ayers called the "circle" - Morales, Roselli, Tony Sforza, Manuel Artime and Rip Robertson. The four were drinking buddies and of like mind on politics. Ayers said they were vicious, too. "If anyone put together a sniper team to hit the President, Morales, Rip, Rosselli and Sforza would have done it." Ayers noted that Artime, Robertson, Rosselli and Sforza all died just as the HSCA began investigating. He suggests checking for Morales' whereabouts during the late seventies, especially on the times these men were killed.

(4) Gaeton Fonzi, The Last Investigation (1993)

It was on that first trip, Carbajal says, that he, Walton and Morales, outlasting the others, stayed up until dawn, "just drinking and bullshitting and having a good time." On subsequent trips only he and Walton made, Morales arranged for them to meet some of his Agency associates. At a cocktail party in a large, luxury apartment somewhere in nearby Virginia, among those Carbajal remembers being introduced to were Ed Wilson, Tom Clines and Ted Shackley.

Everyone hit it off so well at that first meeting in Washington, that Morales arranged to fly the whole Carbajal family and the Waltons down to Miami with him, where he also kept an apartment. "I remember when we got to the airport there wasn't enough room on the plane," recalls Rocky, "but Didi pulls out this card, I remember it was a black card, and the stewardesses actually bumped people off that plane so we could get on." Morales showed the group a good time in Miami, and took them around to the old haunts of his anti-Castro comrades, including a visit to Les Violins, the classy Latin show bar where once the Agency spooks, the local soldiers of fortune and the Cubans would huddle at dark tables and plan their next infiltration raids into Cuba. Bob Walton still has his swizzle stick as a souvenir.

Later Morales arranged another trip to Miami for Carbajal to have him make additional contacts who might be helpful in the commodities business. One was Manuel Artime, the CIA's military leader for the Bay of Pigs. Artime was an especially valuable contact since he was then business partners with Nicaragua dictator Anastasio Somoza. Carbajal remembers meeting Artime in E. Howard Hunt's house where, he was told, Artime was living while Hunt was in prison for his Watergate role. (More likely, Artime was simply entertaining there; he actually lived across the street from Hunt.) That Morales should reveal to Carbajal the level of his associations in the Agency illustrates both his own status and his absolute trust in Carbajal. Because of that trust, one of Morales's comrades, Tony Sforza, also took Carbajal into his confidence.

"Sforza got very close to me because of Didi," Carbajal says. "Didi told him, `This is my brother, man. He's like a brother.' They both used to tell me some stories. Oh, yeah, they killed people for the Agency."

I had not previously mentioned Sforza's name to Carbajal and he didn't know it was familiar to me. It had appeared, along with the names of Morales and Shackley and the others, in that "Highly Sensitive" document I had received in 1978. "This man handled anti-Castro activities on behalf of the CIA," the document noted. "He still runs a Cuban `blow-up group.' Sforza is a hit man and should be regarded as dangerous." Like Morales a veteran deep-cover agent, Sforza ran an import-export business in Miami after his "retirement" from the CIA. He died within six months of Morales, also from a sudden heart attack.

(5) Joan Mellen, A Farewell to Justice (2006)

Phillips blames the Soviet Union for masterminding the assassination, mingling truth with fiction. Warren Commission critics, as Helms had outlined, were dupes of the KGB, as Max Holland's thesis about Jim Garrison once more can be traced, not only to Helms, but also to the most skillful of CIA propagandists, David Atlee Phillips. In an amusing side note, CIA's Win Scott steals Harrison's journal, even as, in real life, it was James Angleton who broke into Scott's files after his death and stole his novel manuscript.

Yet another trace of David Atlee Phillips' connections to the events of November 22nd, which included both the assassination of President Kennedy and the arming of Rolando Cubela with the means to assassinate Fidel Castro, emerges in a CIA cable. Miami is informing its Mexico City station that one "Henry J. Sloman," an alias for longtime CIA asset Anthony (Tony) Sforza, would be arriving in Mexico on November 22nd. Because the CIA was fond of providing Mafia cover for some of its assets, many people mistakenly concluded that the Mafia had been behind the assassination of President Kennedy. CIA's Sloman, himself, as Seymour M. Hersh points out, "was considered a professional gambler and a high-risk smuggler directly linked to the Mafia."

In Mexico City, Sloman/Sforza was to meet the wife of an agent designated as AMHALF-2, and retrieve a message regarding the "Martime Exfil of headquarters asset" who was to arrive in Mexico "on 22 November," and may have been Fidel Castro's sister, Juanita. Sloman was ordered to contact Phillips, mentioned here under his longtime alias "[Michael] Choaden," on the next day and pick up the information that had arrived from "[02] Exit-3." AMHALF would be a link person, part of the communication circuit providing intercepts for island assets. Between 1960 and 1963, there were something like 350,000 such intercepts either by land lines or on island assets, all directed to CIA.

Sloman was the case officer for, among others, Emilio Rodriguez, the oldest son of Arnesto Rodriguez and brother of Arnesto, Junior, whom Oswald had visited in New Orleans in an attempt to learn how he might involve himself in training camps for sabotage against Castro.

The header of this November 22nd, 1963, CIA cable includes the cryptonym PBRUMEN, which referred to Cuba. By its timing it suggests the Cubela assassination attempt of November 22nd. It also seems to suggest that Oswald believed that he was involved in the attempts on Castro's life and did not know he would be linked to the shooting in Dealey Plaza.

This extraordinary document, if fragmentary, is interesting, too, because it provides an alibi for David Atlee Phillips under the alias he used in Cuba, "Michael Choaden." If Phillips was down in Mexico, as he would be expected to be, waiting to be contacted by Sloman, he was not in Texas; this cable would confirm for any record that David Atlee Phillips was somewhere other than at Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963.

(6) Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked (2006)

David Morales also retired in 1975 and died in 1978, shortly before Tony Sforza. Sforza is known to have operated within Cuba and to have conducted JM/WAVE exfiltration missions for Morales. His contact for one such mission involved passing information to David Phillips in Mexico City. Sforza (cryptonym SLOMAN) had been a major CIA covert operative inside Cuba and there is reason to speculate that he used the alias Frank Stevens, known as Enrique inside Cuba, where he operated under the cover of being a professional gambler. If so, he is associated with at least one major CIA Castro assassination attempt and at one point he served as case officer for Morales' AMOT group an attempt verified in a newly located document and one which was apparently withheld from the Church Committee.

(7) Rory Carroll, The Guardian (26th October, 2009)

To the CIA she was Donna: a Cuban spy who hid documents inside cans of food and sent secret messages via a clandestine radio and two tunes – a waltz and a song from the opera Madame Butterfly.

Today, Donna was revealed to the rest of the world as Juanita Castro – the sister of Fidel and Raúl, rulers of Cuba and legendary conquerors of US espionage efforts – when she blew the whistle on her career as a CIA agent.

The rogue sibling revealed extraordinary details of her hidden identity in a memoir, Fidel and Raúl, My Brothers: The Secret History, which could force a partial revision of the CIA's role in Cuba. For half a century its efforts against Fidel were considered fiascos, prompting recrimination and ridicule. It tried and failed to kill him, tried and failed to invade Cuba, and tried and failed to foment revolt.

Cuba was just 90 miles off Florida, but its ruler was thought too wily and his regime too hermetic for the hapless American spies. Now, in what she describes as the family's best-kept secret, Juanita has revealed that the CIA infiltrated the world's most famous communist clan.

The 76-year-old Miami exile recounts how she sheltered government opponents in her Havana home, among other subversive acts, before leaving Cuba in 1964 and publicly denouncing Fidel and Raul as despots, a bombshell which damaged the revolution's image in Latin America.

There had been widespread speculation for many years about Juanita's recruitment, said Brian Latell, a former CIA analyst who is now a senior researcher in Cuba studies at the University of Miami, and author of the book After Fidel. "She was considered a success by the CIA. It was very pleased with her, especially after she left Cuba. She was very outspoken and played a critical propaganda role in travelling around Latin America. She had quite an impact in Chile's 1964 election."

Juanita initially hailed the revolution's 1959 triumph over the US-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista, and supported its social programmes by working in health clinics. But executions of opponents and the squelching of democratic hopes disillusioned her. She was already discreetly aiding dissidents when, according to her book, the wife of the Brazilian ambassador in Havana, Virginia Leitao da Cunha, asked her to meet a CIA agent, Tony Sforza. Sforza had previously worked on a Cuba-related CIA project known as Operation Mangosta.

"Many of our men are working there [in Cuba] and run the risk of being discovered," Sforza told her at the Hotel Camino Real in Mexico City. "The mission involves protecting them and helping them move from one place to another with as much security as possible, finding them places to stay in houses that are safe." Her family links gave her invaluable access to prisons, he added.

Juanita agreed to take on the code name Donna and gave Sforza two tunes that, when played over a clandestine radio, would signify that she had, "or did not have", a message. One of them was Madame Butterfly; the other was a waltz, Fascinación.

Her first mission was to take money, messages and documents back to Cuba from Mexico, hidden inside cans of food. She also carried a codebook back with her and, after receiving a shortwave radio, persuaded two former school friends to aid her. She says she refused to take part in anything that would cause bloodshed and refused payment for her services.

Her cooperation was a rare cold war success for spymasters tasked with toppling the Soviet Union's tropical ally. The Kennedy White House authorised many CIA assassination attempts – ensuing decades racked up 638 efforts, according to one estimate - as well as the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion by exiles.