For years - decades really - there have been rumors that there is a rogue group or groups acting within the various agencies of the American national security police state. The rumors, you'll recall, really began with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, for in my book LBJ and the Conspiracy to Kill Kennedy: A Coalescence of Interests, I pointed out that in the aftermath of the Soviet shoot down of Francis Gary Powers' U-2 flight over Sverdlovsk(Ekaterinnenberg, site of the murder of Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, and their children by the Communists, and home to much of the Soviet Union's nuclear industry), Nikita Khrushchev then did a very curious thing: he did not blame President Eisenhower for the act. In fact, Eisenhower had indeed issued a moratorium on U-2 flights over Russia pending his upcoming summit with the Soviet Premier. What Khrushchev did do was to put the blame for the flight on rogue elements within American intelligence, which he called "American aggressive circles", a point which, as I indicated in my book, was first brought to the world's attention by JFK assassination researcher Jim Marrs in his book Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy.
The allegations of such rogue groups only grew, as popular radio talk show host Mae Brussel then expanded on this idea, fingering Nazi elements and their connections in American intelligence for the murder of President Kennedy. Others eventually came to similar conclusions: the late Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) complained of such an element during the Iran-Contra period, former intelligence agent Terry Reed similarly complained in his book Compromised: Clinton, Bush, and the CIA, and investigator-researcher Rodney Stich joined the chorus in his 1994 book Defrauding America: A Pattern of Related Scandals. To this list one might add Bill Hamilton, president of the INSLAW corporation, who complained of the theft of his company's PROMIS software during the Reagan Administration, and "suicided" investigative journalist Danny Casolaro, whose investigations into the INSLAW scandal led him into a rabbit hole of rogue groups and interconnections that he called "The Octopus." Even Lyndon Baines Johnson himself alleged as much when he complained that the USA had been running a kind of "Murder Incorporated," a statement that I personally have always viewed to be referencing the notorious "Permindex" corporation of the 1960s and its shady connections.
Now even The Washington Post is raising the question:
"Capping an investigation that began almost two years ago, separate trials are scheduled this month in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., for a civilian Navy intelligence official and a hot-rod auto mechanic from California who prosecutors allege conspired to manufacture an untraceable batch of automatic-rifle silencers.
"The exact purpose of the silencers remains hazy, but court filings and pretrial testimony suggest they were part of a top-secret operation that would help arm guerrillas or commandos overseas.
"The silencers — 349 of them — were ordered by a little-known Navy intelligence office at the Pentagon known as the Directorate for Plans, Policy, Oversight and Integration, according to charging documents. The directorate is composed of fewer than 10 civilian employees, most of them retired military personnel.
"Court records filed by prosecutors allege that the Navy paid the auto mechanic — the brother of the directorate’s boss — $1.6 million for the silencers, even though they cost only $10,000 in parts and labor to manufacture."Much of the documentation in the investigation has been filed under seal on national security grounds. According to the records that have been made public, the crux of the case is whether the silencers were properly purchased for an authorized secret mission or were assembled for a rogue operation.
"A former senior Navy official familiar with the investigation described directorate officials as “wanna-be spook-cops.” Speaking on the condition of anonymity because the case is still unfolding, he added, 'I know it sounds goofy, but it was like they were building their own mini law enforcement and intelligence agency.'"
It gets even more bizarre:
"Prosecutors have said that the silencers were acquired for a “special access program,” or a highly secretive military operation. A contracting document filed with the court stated that the silencers were needed to support a program code-named UPSTAIRS but gave no other details."
But, a little later, the article suggests the real mystery might not even concern silencers at all:
"According to court papers filed by prosecutors, one directorate official told an unnamed witness that the silencers were intended for Navy SEAL Team 6, the elite commando unit that killed Osama bin Laden."But representatives for SEAL Team 6 told federal investigators they had not ordered the silencers and did not know anything about them, according to the court papers."
"The directorate official, Tedd Shellenbarger, flashed a set of credentials stamped with the letters LEO — an acronym for “law enforcement officer” — even though his office dealt primarily with policy matters and lacked law enforcement powers, the former senior Navy official said."
Notably, the article concludes by implying - not surprisingly (after all, this is the Washington Post folks) - that the case may be about nothing more than simple graft and corruption and influence peddling:
"The badge inquiry led NCIS to discover e-mails and a paper trail pertaining to the $1.6 million contract to buy the silencers from Landersman, the California mechanic. Court papers describe him as a struggling small businessman who raced hot-rods and had declared bankruptcy in July 2012.
"He is the brother of David W. Landersman, the senior director for intelligence in the Navy directorate.
"Shellenbarger’s request prompted the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) to obtain a warrant to search the directorate’s offices at the Pentagon. Agents found badge materials and other documentation that led them to broaden their investigation, according to the former senior Navy official."
All my high-octane-speculation instincts tell me that there's more here, though, than simple graft, influence peddling, or corruption. One doesn't go to the trouble of giving such an operation a suspicious code-name like "UPSTAIRS," which could imply anything, from something involving space-related matters, to a possible covert operation directed against someone "upstairs,", i.e., occupying a position of high power and authority, whether domestically or internationally. The amount of silencers involved also suggest a big covert assassination and "clean-up" operation, and it even has the faint but all-too-palpable air of the coup d'etat about it. But the bottom line is that every indication in the public record thus far, as summarized in the Post's article, suggests that there is a rogue faction at work. The mere fact that it reaches as high as a Navy under-secretary is indication enough. And given the consistent indicators of such a rogue group or groups since the days of Eisenhower, this may represent yet another significant piece to a puzzle that has long exercised researchers and investigators. This is definitely a story worth watching closely, and your speculations are as good as mine...
... the floor is now open, and I'll see you on the flip side...
(My thanks to a regular reader here, Mr. L.B., for sharing this story.)