Sunday, December 23, 2007


QKENCHANT was a CIA project that has been of great interest to those interested in the possible connections of Clay Shaw to the JFK assassination. My earlier posts on this subject can be found here.

A 1992 CIA release has been cited by a number of writers to conclude that Shaw was cleared for this project. It actually does no such thing although it does not preclude this possibility. The document states:

"A memorandum marked only for file, 16 March 1967, signed Marguerite D. Stevens, says that J. Monroe SULLIVAN, #280207, was granted a covert security approval on 10 December 1962 so that he could be used in Project QKENCHANT. SHAW has #402897-A."
Other documents indicate that Shaw was likely not cleared for QKENCHANT.

QKENCHANT, as best anyone can tell at this point, existed, in the words of this document, "to provide security approvals on non-Agency personnel and facilities" for CIA operational projects utilizing private companies to provide Non-Official Cover (NOC) to agents operating abroad. I'm not sure that it was called NOC at that time. The International Trade Mart would have been a likely candidate for this and it has always seemed a bit suprising to me that Shaw was not, or may not have been cleared for this project.

This document sheds a bit more light on the question. The document states "QKENCHANT was an indicator used by Central Cover Staff with a program for clearing [deleted] providers (businesses, etc.) with access to classified material."

Later we read: "With regard to Clay Shaw and his association with the QKENCHANT project: A review of Shaw's security file indicates a "five Agency" clearance on 23 March 1949. Our records indicate that the QKENCHANT project did not begin until sometime in 1952, therefore Shaw in all probability was not cleared by the QKENCHANT program."

So Shaw was apparently not cleared for QKENCHANT because he had already been cleared previously. There is a possiblity that he was cleared later, as the document states "in all probability he was not cleared by that program, at least not initially."



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