Raymond Rocca was born on 22nd February, 1917. He attended the University of California at Berkeley and received his doctorate in 1942. During the Second World War he worked in the Analytical Section of the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service.
In April 1944, he joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). It had been created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt soon after the outbreak of the Second World War. The OSS replaced the former American intelligence system, Office of the Coordinator of Information (OCI) that was considered to be ineffective. The OSS had responsibility for collecting and analyzing information about countries at war with the United States. It also helped to organize guerrilla fighting, sabotage and espionage.
Rocca joined the the Italian section of X-2 CI (Counter Intelligence). His boss was James Jesus Angleton. In October, 1944, Angleton was transferred to Rome as commanding officer of Special Counter-Intelligence Unit Z. In March 1945, he was promoted to first lieutenant and became head of X-2 for the whole of Italy. According to Charles J.V. Murphy: "His (Angleton) unit uncovered some of the secret correspondence between Hitler and Mussolini that was later introduced into the Nuremberg trials as proof of their conspiracy." (1) Rocca was appointed as his senior staff officer. The two men were to remain close friends for the next thirty years. (2)
After the war Angleton and Rocca remained in Italy. They worked closely "with Italian counterintelligence to uncover reams of data about Soviet operations". (3) Angleton's biographer, Tom Mangold, has pointed out: "As Italian fascism collapsed and the German retreat quickened, Angleton found himself targeting subtle new enemies, including lingering Fascists and, more importantly for him, nascent Communist networks. The young Counterintelligence chief was now in his element: recently declassified documents show Angleton at the zenith of his wartime career.... His unit's top secret intelligence sources... burgled their way across the open city with seeming impunity." (4)
It is claimed that William Donovan, the head of the Office of Strategic Services asked Angleton to "help the provisional Italian government beat off a threatened Communist takeover". Angleton discovered documents to show that communist parties in Europe were following instructions from the Soviet Union. Angleton was also able to forecast the break-up of the relationship between Joseph Stalin and Josip Tito. "He (James Jesus Angleton) and his principal associate for all of his career, Raymond Rocca... ferreted out the exchange of correspondence between Stalin and Tito that foreshadowed the 1948 breach between them." (5)
In December 1947 Angleton returned to the United States to take up an appointment with the recently established Central Intelligence Agency. Raymond Rocca remained in Italy and was Angleton's liaison with the Italian intelligence service until his own return to Washington in the summer of 1953. In December, 1954, Allen Dulles, the new director of the CIA, appointed Angleton as the first chief of the CIA's newly created Counter-Intelligence Staff. Angleton selected Rocca as his head of the staff's new Research and Analysis Department.
James Jesus Angleton spent his time protecting the security of CIA operations through research and careful analysis of incoming information. "The task meant that considerable amounts of paper must be acquired, read, digested, filed, and refiled. Ironically, although Angleton had helped develop the CIA's central registry (where names, reports, and cases were indexed), his staff had one of the worst records of any CIA component for contributing data into the main system after 1955. This was because of Angleton's obsession with secrecy and his inability to trust the security of the CIA's main filing system. He believed there was nothing to prevent someone from stealing from the CIA's storehouse of secrets. Keeping the best files to himself also helped consolidate his bureaucratic power." (6)
The only man Angleton shared this information with was Raymond Rocca. "Rocca's friends say he was well suited for the job. He had an excellent memory, and was considered a plodding, thorough scholar who usually provided Angleton with more detail than was needed.... Rocca reviewed the past with the devotion of an archeologist rediscovering an ancient tomb. Nearly every old Soviet intelligence case, dating back to the Cheka (the first Bolshevik secret police), was dutifully stored in the historical archives, and analyzed repeatedly... Critics of Angleton's methodology say that both he and Rocca wasted enormous quantities of time studying the gospels of prewar Soviet intelligence operations at the very moment that the KGB had shifted the style and emphasis of its operations against the West." (7)
Wistar Janney chaired what is now known as the "Garrison Group meetings" at CIA which dealt with the Jim Garrison investigation of a group of right wing figures including Clay Shaw, Guy Banister, David Ferrie, Carlos Bringuier and Eladio del Valle, who he believed were involved in a conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy. Eventually, he brought a case against Shaw. Raymond Rocca was asked to investigate Garrison. On 20th September, 1967, Janney reported: "Rocca felt that Garrison would indeed obtain a conviction of Shaw for conspiring to assassinate President Kennedy". (8) "The Agency would spend the next two years doing whatever it could, including targeted assassinations, smear campaigns, etc. to sabotage Garrison's effort to convict Clay Shaw when the case went to trial in late January 1969, which ultimately proved to be successful." (9)
In July 1969 Raymond Rocca became Deputy Chief of the Counter-Intelligence Staff. James Jesus Angleton was forced to resign his post in 1974 by William E. Colby, then Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, who had become convinced that Mr. Angleton's efforts were harming the agency. (10) Rocca resigned from the CIA soon afterwards. (11)
At the entrance to Angleton's outer office there was a large reception room with a sofa, chairs, magazines, and three secretaries. One was Bertha Dasenburg, his personal assistant. Mrs. Dasenburg, of German extraction, had served in the Red Cross in Italy during World War II and joined Angleton's staff in 1952. She had a deserved reputation as a self-sacrificing and hardworking secretary who seemed to enjoy being on the inside, sharing the knowledge, and exercising power as Jim Angleton's gatekeeper. She had the authority to grant or deny access to her boss.
Angleton's inner office was large (20 by 25 feet). The windows on the far wall were covered with venetian blinds that were permanently closed when he was in residence (but always opened by Dasenburg as soon as he left). He sat in a high-backed leather chair behind a large, executive-style wooden desk that dominated the room. (One CIA psychologist, Dr. Jerrold Post, who visited Angleton's office later, noted that the place felt like a fortress and was laid out in such a way that no , one could stand behind its tenant.
The dark and imposing feel of Angleton's office was accentuated by the large, black safes that dotted the walls of his outer office. Angleton also maintained his own special vault room just across the hall. Access to this secure chamber was granted only in the presence of Angleton or the indomitable Bertha. The vault had specially strengthened walls, an electronic pushbutton entry system for access during working hours, and a combination door lock for night security. This was the secret heart of Angleton's secret world...
To understand Angleton and his research methodology, one must know a little about the man closest to him throughout his working life. The man was Raymond Rocca, Angleton's former Rome OSS colleague, who led the effort to reconstruct the past as head of the staff's new Research and Analysis Department.
Rocca's friends say he was well suited for the job. He had an excellent memory, and was considered a plodding, thorough scholar who usually provided Angleton with more detail than was needed. Like Miler, Rocca was an uncritical Fundamentalist whose loyalty to Angleton was beyond question.
Rocca reviewed the past with the devotion of an archeologist rediscovering an ancient tomb. Nearly every old Soviet intelligence case, dating back to the Cheka (the first Bolshevik secret police), was dutifully stored in the historical archives, and analyzed repeatedly...
Critics of Angleton's methodology say that both he and Rocca wasted enormous quantities of time studying the gospels of prewar Soviet intelligence operations at the very moment that the KGB had shifted the style and emphasis of its operations against the West.
1. Executive Director said that the Director had asked him to convene a group to consider the possible implications for the Agency emanating from New Orleans before, during, and after the trial of Clay Shaw.
2. General Counsel discussed his dealings with Justice and the desire of Shaw's lawyers to make contact with the Agency.
3. Raymond Rocca felt that Garrison would indeed obtain a conviction of Shaw for conspiring to assassinate President Kennedy.
4. Executive Director said the group should level on two objectives: (a) what kind of action, if any, is available to the Agency, and (b) what actions should be taken inside the Agency to reassure the Director that we have the problem in focus. The possibility of Agency action should be examined from the timing of what can be done before the trial and what might be feasible during and after the trial. It was agreed that OCC and Rocca would make a detailed study of all the facts and consult with Justice as appropriate prior to the next group meeting.