Author Sues CIA for Info on Trujillo Victim
WASHINGTON (CN) - An author sued the CIA for records on the 1956 kidnapping and murder of a Columbia University professor and critic of Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo.
Stuart McKeever sued the CIA in a federal FOIA complaint, for records on the disappearance of professor Jesus de Galindez Suarez. He claims a CIA agent on Trujillo's payroll was involved in the kidnapping and murder.
McKeever claims Trujillo had Galindez kidnapped and flown to the Dominican Republic in 1956, where he was tortured and killed.
Galindez's dissertation on the Trujillo regime had just been accepted by Columbia. McKeever says.
McKeever claims Trujillo had a CIA agent on his payroll, who directed the kidnapping of Galindez, who "was a highly regarded confidential informant for the FBI."
"A related case is the murder of the American pilot, Gerald Lest Murphy ('Murphy'), who was hired to fly the kidnapped Galindez from Zahn's airport of Long Island to the Dominican Republic, where Galindez was tortured then murdered at the direction of Rafael Trujillo, dictator of the Dominican Republic," the complaint states.
"For his mission, Murphy was hired by Dominican Republic Brigadier General Arturo Espaillat and directed in this kidnapping operation by and ex-Federal Bureau of Investigation ('FBI'), CIA agent named John Joseph Frank ('Frank'), who was then on Trujillo's payroll. Frank started working for Trujillo in 1954."
McKeever claims Frank was indicted by a federal grand jury in 1957 and tried in D.C. Federal Court for "failing to register as an agent of a foreign government, namely the government of the Dominican Republic. Frank was convicted and sentenced to prison for two years, but his conviction was reversed in 1958 by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on the grounds that statements made in summation by the Assistant United States Attorney in charge of Frank's prosecution were prejudicial, depriving Frank of a fair trial," the complaint states.
It continues: "In 1959, Frank's second trial ended with a plea of nolo contendere, no prison time, a $500 fine, and a requirement that Frank file a foreign agent registration statement admitting that he worked for the Dominican Republic, but as part of the plea deal preserving his rights under the United States Constitution's Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
"Frank's nolo contendere plea followed upon CIA General Counsel Lawrence Houston's assertion that the CIA would be embarrassed if it were forced to produce a witness and records subpoenaed by Frank's attorney.
"One of the defenses Frank raised in both of his trials, although he did not testify about them and thus rejected [sic], was that he was acting on behalf of the United States Government, and therefore was not required to file a registration statement. Frank's attorney refused to stipulate what the CIA witness would testify about, resulting in the nolo contendere plea with Frank then walking free."
The FBI has released more than 10,000 pages of records on the Galindez kidnapping, and the CIA declassified some records to a professor named Alan Fitzgibbon in 1979, but the agency told McKeever that the records it gave Fitzgibbon don't exist, McKeever says.
"On one occasion, the plaintiff sent to the CIA copies of its memo of April 5, 1956 with the FOIA request that the agency produce the recommendations that were to be placed in the files of CIA security support personnel without requiring the prohibited disclosure of the name of those affected," the complaint states. "In a bizarre response, the CIA denied the existence of the very records that the plaintiff sent for the agency's review - records which the agency, in fact, produced in the Fitzgibbon case."
McKeever claims that memo recommended that representatives of the CIA Security Support Division receive commendations "for the assistance and cooperation given to this division in a sensitive case involving Jesus de Galindez New York representative of the Basque Government in Exile."
McKeever says he's writing a book on the subject, and has been submitting FOIA requests to the agency for decades.
According to McKeever's biography on Amazon.com, he's an attorney who has worked as a professional musician, and entertained soldiers during World War II by tap dancing.
Trujillo ruled the Dominican Republic for 30 years before being assassinated in 1961. He was one of a string of brutal dictators the United States supported, claiming they helped fight communism.
McKeever filed his complaint pro se.