Silvia Duran served as a receptionist at the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City at the height of the cold war, certainly a strategic position, and one she held when she supposedly met a dashing spook named Lee Oswald. She was already somewhat known in the intelligence community as the sometime mistress of the Cuban ambassador to the United Nations.
I know, you’ve probably been given the impression Oswald was a stumbling dweeb with an IQ around 60, but, in reality, he was a spook, one of the deep, deep agents. So deep, in fact, almost no one else in the FBI or CIA had any idea of his true relationship with his government.
One of those few was David Phillips, who ran anti-Cuban operations for the CIA from his base in Mexico City. Oswald was placed into those operations when he arrived in New Orleans after departing Russia. Phillips was most likely Oswald’s case officer since some Cubans from JM/Wave, the largest CIA station outside Langley, later reported meetings where Phillips and Oswald were together, only Oswald sometimes used another name and Phillips was known as “Maurice Bishop.” When you see people operating with several ID’s, it can be an indicator of spooks-at-work.
Oswald was reportedly in Mexico City only a short time, but long enough to have a brief liaison with the attractive Duran, a possible affair that would become the obsession of Winston Scott, CIA chief in Mexico City (who apparently was not privy to the JFK assassination plot, having been purposefully kept out-of-the-loop by his old friend James Angleton).
Strangely, however, when Duran was finally deposed for testimony by the House Committee many years later, she was shown a photo of Oswald and replied, “That is not the Oswald I met in Mexico.” In fact, two photos have emerged of “Oswald” in Mexico, one at the Cuban embassy and one at the Russian embassy, and even those photos don’t match. Since both those embassies had some of the heaviest surveillance in the western hemisphere, one wonders why no authentic photos nor voice recordings have ever emerged to conclusively prove the real Oswald was in Mexico. And, of course, Oswald denied going to Mexico, just like he denied shooting anyone.
Many years before Kim Philby was identified as the KGB mole inside MI6, Scott had voiced those same suspicions to Angleton, who brushed them aside, so their history was complex. Scott’s second-in-command, Anne Goodpasture and Phillips, were closer to Angleton. Philby had enjoyed many all-night drinking sessions with Angleton, while milking secrets. Eventually, Philby bolted to Moscow just as internal affairs at MI6 was closing in, which left Angleton looking like a fool. Unless, of course, Philby was a triple agent. It seems the Soviets were never sure. This world of spooks can be very complex and often up is down and left is right. Angleton seems to have developed an issue with paranoia after Philby departed for Moscow.
Scott was convinced the key to breaking the JFK assassination case was getting to the bottom of the Duran-Oswald relationship. Exactly whose agent was she and what did Oswald reveal to her? Scott was a super spook with a great sixth sense and instinctively knew something wasn’t right with this story. He suspected Duran was Oswald’s secret lover, despite being a married woman. So he had the Mexican police pick her up and interrogate her, roughing her up and leaving her a bit bloodied in the process.
When Angleton discovered Scott wanted Sylvia interrogated and was personally investigating the assassination, he freaked out and tried to prevent her interrogation, but too late, as Sylvia had already been seized.
Around this time, the CIA decided to pull Scott from his longstanding post running the CIA in Mexico and bring him back to Washington, a move that could have been instigated to shut down any possible investigations into JFK assassination ties in Mexico. It became obvious certain bigwigs at CIA didn’t want the assassination investigated at all, which Scott thought was pretty goddam suspicious. Just like Angleton had ignored Scott’s suspicions about Philby and paid the price, now Angleton wanted to block Scott from acting on his Duran suspicions. This might have been intolerable for an investigator like Scott.
Around this time, Scott decided to resign from the CIA, preferring to stay in Mexico City and run his contacts as a sort of private intelligence agency, while offering helpful advice to global corporations wanting to invest in Mexico. And he also planned to finish his autobiography.
Suddenly, there was a big fight between Angleton and Scott, mostly concerning that proposed book and also whether any evidence involving Oswald in Mexico remained in Scott’s personal safe. See, when you’re in the CIA or even the military, and suddenly you announce plans to resign and release a book, well, that’s when you lose all sympathy inside those agencies and become the enemy instead of continuing as a trusted friend.
Of course, Scott was soon dead from a “heart attack,” and immediately afterwards, agents showed up to clear out his house of sensitive material, especially the manuscript, which was taken to Washington and instantly classified, although selective bits and pieces have been released over the years.
When Angleton’s crew showed up to clean out the library, they were openly hostile, and told Scott’s adopted son Michael, “your father did not die from a heart attack.” That message may have been delivered to insure the son didn’t launch an investigation of his own.
Well, maybe the fact it was Angleton’s Executive Action Team from JM/Wave that plotted the assassination, while employing Angleton’s deep agent Oswald as the patsy pointing toward Cuba because now it’s pretty evident that Ted Shackley and David Morales were key figures and they were fingered by Howard Hunt’s deathbed confession, and Morales confessed separately on his own shortly before his death.
What a web Dulles and Angleton were weaving, eh? But then these guys were trained by British intelligence, masters of the arts of covert counterintelligence and black magic.