TED GUNDERSON AND MICHAEL RICONOCIUTO
excerpt from Chapter 9, "The Last Circle" by Cherie Seymore © 1997.

Source: http://www.lycaeum.org/books/books/last_circle/9.htm

"....Through one of Michael's contacts, I managed to locate the current (1991) whereabouts of Al Holbert and confirm his identity. A letter written on "Solomon Investigations" letterhead, dated June 13, 1991, to a client requesting payment for the services of Holbert read as follows: (Excerpted) " ... I enlisted the services of my electronic countermeasures expert, A.C. Holbert, for an immediate survey and sweep of the premises. Mr. Holbert is highly regarded as the best electronics man in the [San Francisco] Bay Area and has recently worked with Israeli intelligence services in the field of electronic countermeasures. He agreed to take on this job. I have enclosed a copy of Mr. Holbert's faxed report ..."

The mystery of Al Holbert was further uncovered in a 1983 transcript in which Michael stated, "After Paul's [Morasca] death, Holbert admitted to me that he was a Soviet backed agent, and they had a home, or he had a home for me, and I could be treated like royalty, and he reiterated that offer in the latest meeting, and he said, `He was prepared to deliver some fivehundredthousand dollars cash to me us a show of good faith ..."

The transcript, originating from a series of tape recorded interviews between Michael Riconosciuto, Ted Gunderson and Robert Booth Nichols at Nichols' "007" apartment in Marina Del Ray, provided a window into the entire drug scene in California from the early 1960's through the 1980's, mostly relating to methamphetamine operations in the Bay Area. It had been typed by Ellen Nichols, Robert's wife.

Riconosciuto's relationship with Ted Gunderson dated back at least as far as 1982. Michael and Nichols dated back to 1967. In reading the transcript, it appeared that Gunderson and Nichols were interviewing Riconosciuto for recruitment into a drug/sting operation.

Riconosciuto later verified that he was, in fact, being recruited into the overseas Lebanon drug operation by Gunderson and Nichols because of his (Riconosciuto's) undercover experience in the drug trade.

It is noteworthy that Al Holbert, the Israeli intelligence agent who originally recruited Michael into the CIA, is mentioned extensively throughout the 71page transcript.

Riconosciuto's relationship with Holbert had lasted from 1966 to 1981, a span of fifteen years. Most of that time had been devoted to complex drug activities in California. In one passage, Riconosciuto stated that "Ben Kalka was one of [Al] Holbert's lieutenants. The other lieutenant with Kalka was Charlie Weinberg, who set up the Vortex Chemical Company in Berkeley, California for Holbert."

Holbert was also interested in technology. "I really confided in him. I was constantly steering him to various people in the Silicon Valley, you know, for requests that he made which were very sophisticated technical requests."

In the transcript, Ted Gunderson asked Michael, "Holbert had a technical mind for that sort of thing?"

Michael responded, "Absolutely! [He had] a firm grasp of physics, mathematics, chemistry, military hardware ..."

Gunderson asked, "Let's go back to '66 to '81, you were close to him?"

Michael: "Not on a regular basis. He would get in contact with me when he needed consultation in certain areas. I made some good money. I designed communications equipment for them. I did a lot of software development ..."

Ted: "And then he gave it to the Israelis?"

Mike: "Yes."

Ted: "And he admitted this?"

Mike: "Oh yeah, none of it was really classified. I did software for the analysis of radar change data. It was based on mathematical models that the Department of Defense wasn't using you know, my approach was new and different from theirs, but it wasn't connected with any of their projects, so technically it wasn't classified."

Michael developed other technology along the way and subsequently attracted the attention of Dr. John Phillip Nichols at Wackenhut/Cabazon who wanted his services. But Michael's association with Al Holbert was hindering Michael's security clearances. Through the screening process and Dr. John Nichols, Michael had learned more about Al Holbert.

Ted: "Well, how could he [Holbert] be a Soviet agent and an Israeli agent?"

Mike: "Your guess is as good as mine. I talked to Major General Peratt on that subject last May and he said, `You don't understand the ways of the world.' Regarding Al Holbert, I said, `That man has done more damage to my generation and my country [drugs] How can you people say that you're friends of the United States, when you send us a guy like that?"

Michael continued ..."You know, Holbert came to the United States and he went to work for the Treasury Department out of Philadelphia and ..."

Ted interrupted. "In what way? As an agent?"

Mike: "I don't know what the relationship was. The Treasury Department wouldn't tell me. They wouldn't comment at all except to acknowledge that, `Yes, he was involved at very high levels, giving special training.'

" ... Holbert taught courses in interrogation techniques. He taught touchkill techniques you know, with the thumbs on the temples and various scare areas like that. He moved around to a lot of different agencies. He got involved with the FBI, and he was involved with the Drug Enforcement people ..."

Ted: "He indicated to you for fifteen years [that] he was with the Israelis?"

Mike: "Israelis. Yes."

Ted: "And then you realized through Dr. Nichols that he was a Soviet?"

Riconosciuto explained that he thought it was John Ammarell at Wackenhut who had "zeroed in on Holbert."

Gunderson continued to press Riconosciuto about Holbert being a double agent. Michael responded: "Well, he was with the Soviets, but he was also with the Israelis. Holbert definitely is connected with Israeli intelligence. I mean there's no ifs, ands, buts, or maybes ... He was decorated in combat for them."

Riconosciuto further recounted a visit to Israel in April 1982. He had met a man (name unspecified) who was the assistant Secretary of Defense of Israel for a number of years and was in charge of defense production for the Israeli government. This man was a friend of Ariel Sharon and he had introduced Riconosciuto to Sharon. It was through this man and a man named "General Peratt," that Riconosciuto confirmed Holbert's position with the Israelis.

"Holbert definitely is one of their boys. I got an admission out of General Peratt that Holbert was funny, that he's a Trotskiite, and they knew about it, and I couldn't understand why they kept a guy like that around? I was told that I just didn't understand the ways of the world!"

Ted asked, "Who does Holbert report to?"

Mike: "Jean Pierre Boegner."

At this point in the transcript, Robert Booth Nichols interceded and provided Boegner's address: " ... His address in Paris is 114 Champs Elysees, Paris 8, France. That goes into my territory ..."

Mike added, "Jean Pierre reports directly to Colonel Stefan Uznanski of the Ukraine ..." Nichols noted, "I have strict files on him."

Ted asked, "And is he GRU?"

Mike answered, "No KGB."

Nichols added, "As high as you can go ..."

Ted asked, "And where is he, in the Kremlin?"

Mike answered, "No, he's in Vienna."

Nichols interjected, " ... Out of Salzberg. He has a home twenty minutes from Salzberg. His hobby is boar hunting. He has about a twenty man contingent."

Gunderson asked, "Is Boegner a Canadian?"

Nichols responded, "Boegner is French. Boegner was involved in the assassination attempt on de Gaulle. Boegner served time."

Ted: "He's KGB?"

Nichols: "Oh yeah, a Colonel."

Ted: "Okay, anything else. Anything more on Holbert that we should bring up?"

Riconosciuto noted that Holbert was very disappointed that he couldn't "turn him" (Riconosciuto) in August of 1981. Ted asked Michael if Holbert admitted at that time that he was KGB?

Michael corrected Ted, "GRU, he was GRU. He told me that he was GRU and he bragged that there were over thirtyfive thousand GRU agents active on the North American continent. And I checked with John Ammarall and with Robert Frye [executives at Wackenhut Corporation] and they told me it was about half that number.

" ... He [Holbert] wanted me to leave the United States, through Canada, and go to Israel."

Riconosciuto added, "You know, he's touched the Central Intelligence Agency, the Treasury Department, the Secret Service and various local law enforcement agencies all over the country ..."

The abovementioned transcript was mailed by one of three people to the "prosecutor" at Michael Riconosciuto's trial in Washington state where it was entered into evidence.

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