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For The Record  

FTR #963 Watergate and the Assassination of President Kennedy, Part 3

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Gordon Novel

Gor­don Nov­el

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon

Intro­duc­tion: The broad­cast begins with an excerpt of FTR #108.

As com­par­isons between the Water­gate scan­dal and “Rus­sia-gate” sat­u­rate the media (in the sum­mer of 2017), the pro­gram reviews infor­ma­tion about con­nec­tions between the Water­gate scan­dal and the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy. Nixon told aides that he did­n’t want to release the White House tape record­ings because he was afraid “the whole Bay of Pigs thing” might come out. Nixon aide H.R. Halde­man said in his book The Ends of Pow­er that “the whole Bay of Pigs thing” was a code word in the Nixon White House for the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy. (It should be remem­bered that Nixon was in Dal­las on 11/22/63, yet he told the FBI in Feb­ru­ary of 1964 that he had left Dal­las two days pri­or to Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion.)

When inter­viewed by the War­ren Com­mis­sion, Jack Ruby indi­cat­ed that he had been part of a con­spir­a­cy to kill Kennedy and that he feared for his life. The War­ren Com­mis­sion turned a deaf ear to his desire to go to Wash­ing­ton and “spill the beans.”

Ger­ald Ford (who suc­ceed­ed Nixon as Pres­i­dent and par­doned him of all crimes com­mit­ted), Leon Jawors­ki (a War­ren Com­mis­sion coun­sel who was a direc­tor of a CIA domes­tic fund­ing con­duit and who was select­ed by Nixon to be Water­gate Spe­cial Pros­e­cu­tor) and Arlen Specter (anoth­er War­ren Com­mis­sion coun­sel who was Nixon’s first choice as his per­son­al defense attor­ney in the Water­gate affair) were present at Ruby’s de fac­to con­fes­sion.

War­ren Com­mis­sion Coun­sel J. Lee Rankin is also present at this inter­view. Nixon first select­ed J. Lee Rankin to serve as Water­gate Spe­cial Pros­e­cu­tor. Rankin was sub­se­quent­ly tabbed to review the Water­gate tapes and deter­mine which would be released. Rankin was the War­ren Com­mis­sion’s liai­son between the com­mis­sion and both the CIA and the FBI. Rankin was a key pro­po­nent of the so-called “Mag­ic Bul­let The­o­ry.”

It is inter­est­ing to con­tem­plate the text of a let­ter that Jack Ruby smug­gled out of prison. In the let­ter, Ruby hints that Nazis and Japan­ese fas­cists par­tic­i­pat­ed in the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy. Cer­tain­ly, ele­ments of what were to become the World Anti-Com­mu­nist League (includ­ing the Asian Peo­ples Anti-Com­mu­nist League) were involved.

” . . . Don’t believe the War­ren [Com­mis­sion] Report, that was only put out to make me look inno­cent. . . . I’m going to die a hor­ri­ble death any­way, so what would I have to gain by writ­ing all this. So you must believe me. . . . that [sic] is only one kind of peo­ple that would do such a thing, that would have to be the Naz­i’s [sic], and that is who is in pow­er in this coun­try right now. . . . Japan is also in on the deal, but the old war lords are going to come back. South Amer­i­ca is also full of these Naz­i’s [sic]. . . . if those peo­ple were so deter­mined to frame me then you must be con­vinced that they had an ulte­ri­or motive for doing same. There is only one kind of peo­ple that would go to such extremes, and that would be the Mas­ter Race. . . .”

The late inves­tiga­tive reporter and “What’s My Line” pan­elist Dorothy Kil­gallen pub­lished Ruby’s War­ren Com­mis­sion Tes­ti­mo­ny and had told asso­ciates she would “break this case wide open.” Short­ly after­ward, she was found dead of alco­hol and bar­bi­tu­rate poisoning–suicide and acci­den­tal death have both been put for­ward as rea­sons for her demise. Her wid­ow­er refused pub­lic com­men­tary on her death and even­tu­al­ly “com­mit­ted sui­cide” him­self.

We excerpt The Guns of Novem­ber, Part 2, high­light­ing Kil­gal­len’s death. Inter­est­ing­ly and sig­nif­i­cant­ly, “What’s My Line” host and mod­er­a­tor John Charles Daly was Earl War­ren’s son-in-law, as dis­cussed in FTR #190. Did Daly pur­pose­ful­ly or inad­ver­tent­ly con­vey infor­ma­tion to War­ren about Kil­gal­len’s inves­ti­ga­tion? Was that in any way con­nect­ed with her death?

On the Daly/Warren in-law relationship–note that Daly worked as a White House cor­re­spon­dent and globe-trav­el­ing reporter for CBS radio news, a vice-pres­i­den­cy at ABC in charge of news and also head­ed the Voice of Amer­i­ca, which had strong links to the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty. Those jour­nal­is­tic posi­tions, as well as his role as direc­tor of VOA may well have brought him into the fold of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.

The late inves­tiga­tive reporter and “What’s My Line” pan­elist Dorothy Kil­gallen pub­lished Ruby’s War­ren Com­mis­sion Tes­ti­mo­ny and had told asso­ciates she would “break this case wide open.” Short­ly after­ward, she was found dead of alco­hol and bar­bi­tu­rate poisoning–suicide and acci­den­tal death have both been put for­ward as rea­sons for her demise. Her wid­ow­er refused pub­lic com­men­tary on her death and even­tu­al­ly “com­mit­ted sui­cide” him­self.

Next, the pro­gram excerpts FTR #253, fea­tur­ing an intrigu­ing com­men­tary by the late, vet­er­an CIA offi­cer Gor­don Nov­el. High­lights of that pro­gram include:

  • The broad­cast high­lights the con­tro­ver­sy sur­round­ing Richard Nixon’s White House tapes. These tape record­ings were, ulti­mate­ly, the vehi­cle for forc­ing his exit from the White House. That event was the cul­mi­na­tion of the Water­gate affair. There was dis­cus­sion in the fall of 2000 among elec­tron­ics experts con­cern­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of uti­liz­ing advanced, high-tech equip­ment to recov­er mate­r­i­al from a famous 18 ½ minute era­sure on one of the tapes.
    (The San Fran­cis­co Exam­in­er; 9/22/2000; p. A2.)
  • The sub­ject of whether or not the era­sure had been delib­er­ate was a sig­nif­i­cant ele­ment of con­tro­ver­sy dur­ing the Water­gate affair. (Nixon’s sec­re­tary, Rose Mary Woods, claimed that she “acci­den­tal­ly” erased the tape. Most experts reject­ed her ver­sion of events. Inter­est­ing­ly, the tape that was erased was a record­ing of a con­ver­sa­tion between White House aide H.R. Halde­man and Nixon. In an auto­bi­og­ra­phy about the Water­gate affair, Halde­man wrote that “the whole Bay of Pigs thing” was a code word with­in the Nixon White House for the JFK assas­si­na­tion. Nixon refused to release the Water­gate tapes for fear that release would lead to expo­sure of “the whole Bay of Pigs thing.”
  • Much of the pro­gram con­sists of excerpts from oth­er broad­casts. In an excerpt from G‑3, the broad­cast high­lights a vet­er­an covert intel­li­gence oper­a­tive and pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tor named Gor­don Nov­el. Among Novel’s many tal­ents is elec­tron­ic coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence. His name crops up in the con­text of both the JFK case and the Water­gate scan­dal. Nov­el was the source for an impor­tant piece of infor­ma­tion that fig­ured in the Jim Gar­ri­son inves­ti­ga­tion. That report con­cerned a raid on a muni­tions cache to obtain arms for anti-Cas­tro activ­i­ties, the CIA’s Bay of Pigs inva­sion, in par­tic­u­lar.
    (Coin­ci­dence or Con­spir­a­cy?; Bernard Fen­ster­wald and the Com­mit­tee to Inves­ti­gate Assas­si­na­tions; copy­right 1976 by Zebra Books, a divi­sion of Kens­ing­ton Pub­lish­ers.)
  • This oper­a­tion alleged­ly involved David Fer­rie and Guy Ban­nis­ter, two of the key fig­ures in Garrison’s inves­ti­ga­tion. Nov­el was lat­er con­sult­ed by White House aide Charles Col­son con­cern­ing the fea­si­bil­i­ty of elec­tron­i­cal­ly eras­ing the tapes.
    (Coin­ci­dence or Con­spir­a­cy?)
  • Novel’s tan­gen­tial involve­ment in the Water­gate inves­ti­ga­tion sur­faced in a mag­a­zine called Tech­nol­o­gy Illus­trat­ed. In 1983, the mag­a­zine ran an arti­cle about Novel’s pres­ence at a gath­er­ing of vet­er­an covert intel­li­gence oper­a­tives, includ­ing con­vict­ed Water­gate bur­glar G. Gor­don Lid­dy.
    (Tech­nol­o­gy Illus­trat­ed; 4/83.)
  • In a let­ter to the edi­tor, Mr. Nov­el took issue to some of the com­ments about him in the April issue.
    (Tech­nol­o­gy Illus­trat­ed; 7/83.)
  • In that let­ter, Nov­el made ref­er­ence to his ultra high tech­nol­o­gy role “to erase the Water­gate tapes.” (Idem.)
  • In 1984, Mr. Emory was a guest on a late-night com­mer­cial talk show and Mr. Nov­el phoned in, tak­ing issue with Mr. Emory’s descrip­tion of his posi­tion in Garrison’s inves­ti­ga­tion.
    (The Express Way show with Lar­ry John­son on KOME-FM in San Jose, Cal­i­for­nia; 10/29/1984.)
  • Most of the sec­ond side of this pro­gram con­sists of an excerpt­ing of the con­ver­sa­tion with the late, for­mi­da­ble Nov­el. In his con­ver­sa­tion with Mr. Emory, Nov­el denied any involve­ment in Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion and crit­i­cized Garrison’s inves­ti­ga­tion. (Idem.)
  • When the sub­ject of Water­gate came up, Mr. Emory asked Mr. Nov­el if he denied actu­al­ly hav­ing erased the Water­gate tapes. Nov­el replied “only because they didn’t pay me.” (Idem.)
  • When pressed fur­ther, Nov­el clar­i­fied his state­ment, say­ing he didn’t erase any por­tions of the Water­gate tapes. He did state that he was one of a pan­el of experts who ana­lyzed the 18 ½‑minute gap and stat­ed that it could have been made acci­den­tal­ly. (Idem.)
  • Intrigu­ing­ly, Nov­el added that he was also on the pan­el of elec­tron­ics experts that tes­ti­fied that the Dic­ta­phone record­ing from a Dal­las police motor­cy­cle was accu­rate in its reveal­ing of a fourth shot–which neu­tral­ized the sin­gle bul­let the­o­ry.
  • In FTR #190, Nov­el con­firmed his role in the bur­glary of the Schlum­berg­er facil­i­ty and main­tained that he was involved with a plan to give anti-Cas­tro Cubans [Cas­tro] army uni­forms to wear while attack­ing the U.S. Marines at Guan­tanamo, there­by trig­ger­ing a U.S. inva­sion of Cuba.

After Mr. Nov­el­’s death, it emerged that he was serv­ing as a mole in Jim Gar­rison’s inves­ti­ga­tion, fun­nel­ing infor­ma­tion to Allen Dulles.

4. On the Daly/Warren in-law rela­tion­ship: note that Daly worked as a White House cor­re­spon­dent and globe-trav­el­ing reporter for CBS radio news, a vice-pres­i­den­cy at ABC in charge of news and also head­ed the Voice of Amer­i­ca, which had strong links to the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty. Those jour­nal­is­tic posi­tions, as well as his role as direc­tor of VOA may well have brought him into the fold of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.

1. The broad­cast begins with an excerpt of FTR #108.

As com­par­isons between the Water­gate scan­dal and “Rus­sia-gate” sat­u­rate the media (in the sum­mer of 2017), the pro­gram reviews infor­ma­tion about con­nec­tions between the Water­gate scan­dal and the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy. Nixon told aides that he did­n’t want to release the White House tape record­ings because he was afraid “the whole Bay of Pigs thing” might come out. Nixon aide H.R. Halde­man said in his book The Ends of Pow­er that “the whole Bay of Pigs thing” was a code word in the Nixon White House for the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy. (It should be remem­bered that Nixon was in Dal­las on 11/22/63, yet he told the FBI in Feb­ru­ary of 1964 that he had left Dal­las two days pri­or to Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion.)

When inter­viewed by the War­ren Com­mis­sion, Jack Ruby indi­cat­ed that he had been part of a con­spir­a­cy to kill Kennedy and that he feared for his life. The War­ren Com­mis­sion turned a deaf ear to his desire to go to Wash­ing­ton and “spill the beans.” Ger­ald Ford (who suc­ceed­ed Nixon as Pres­i­dent and par­doned him of all crimes com­mit­ted), Leon Jawors­ki (a War­ren Com­mis­sion coun­sel who was a direc­tor of a CIA domes­tic fund­ing con­duit and who was select­ed by Nixon to be Water­gate Spe­cial Pros­e­cu­tor) and Arlen Specter (anoth­er War­ren Com­mis­sion coun­sel who was Nixon’s first choice as his per­son­al defense attor­ney in the Water­gate affair.) were present at Ruby’s de fac­to con­fes­sion.

2. It is inter­est­ing to con­tem­plate the text of a let­ter that Jack Ruby smug­gled out of prison. In the let­ter, Ruby hints that Nazis and Japan­ese fas­cists par­tic­i­pat­ed in the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy. Cer­tain­ly, ele­ments of what were to become the World Anti-Com­mu­nist League (includ­ing the Asian Peo­ples Anti-Com­mu­nist League) were involved.

The Man Who Knew Too Much; Dick Rus­sell; Car­roll & Graf [HC]; Copy­right 1992 by Dick Rus­sell; ISBN 0–88184-900–6; p. 684.

” . . . Don’t believe the War­ren [Com­mis­sion] Report, that was only put out to make me look inno­cent. . . . I’m going to die a hor­ri­ble death any­way, so what would I have to gain by writ­ing all this. So you must believe me. . . . that [sic] is only one kind of peo­ple that would do such a thing, that would have to be the Naz­i’s [sic], and that is who is in pow­er in this coun­try right now. . . . Japan is also in on the deal, but the old war lords are going to come back. South Amer­i­ca is also full of these Naz­i’s [sic]. . . . if those peo­ple were so deter­mined to frame me then you must be con­vinced that they had an ulte­ri­or motive for doing same. There is only one kind of peo­ple that would go to such extremes, and that would be the Mas­ter Race. . . .”

3. The late inves­tiga­tive reporter and “What’s My Line” pan­elist Dorothy Kil­gallen pub­lished Ruby’s War­ren Com­mis­sion Tes­ti­mo­ny and had told asso­ciates she would “break this case wide open.” Short­ly after­ward, she was found dead of alco­hol and bar­bi­tu­rate poisoning–suicide and acci­den­tal death have both been put for­ward as rea­sons for her demise. Her wid­ow­er refused pub­lic com­men­tary on her death and even­tu­al­ly “com­mit­ted sui­cide” him­self.

We excerpt The Guns of Novem­ber, Part 2, high­light­ing Kil­gal­len’s death. Inter­est­ing­ly and sig­nif­i­cant­ly, “What’s My Line” host and mod­er­a­tor John Charles Daly was Earl War­ren’s son-in-law, as dis­cussed in FTR #190. Did Daly pur­pose­ful­ly or inad­ver­tent­ly con­vey infor­ma­tion to War­ren about Kil­gal­len’s inves­ti­ga­tion? Was that in any way con­nect­ed with her death?

4. On the Daly/Warren in-law rela­tion­ship: note that Daly worked as a White House cor­re­spon­dent and globe-trav­el­ing reporter for CBS radio news, a vice-pres­i­den­cy at ABC in charge of news and also head­ed the Voice of Amer­i­ca, which had strong links to the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty. Those jour­nal­is­tic posi­tions, as well as his role as direc­tor of VOA may well have brought him into the fold of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.

“John Charles Daly, Jr., the Host of ‘What’s My Line?,’ Dies at 77” by Robert E. Thomas­son; The New York Times; 2/27/1991.

. . . . He served as White House cor­re­spon­dent for CBS, and even­tu­al­ly trav­eled the globe report­ing for the CBS Radio Net­work. . . .

. . . . When he agreed to take the job as host of “What’s My Line?” in 1950, he was told it would last about six months. Its long life and his pop­u­lar­i­ty on the show led to a vice-pres­i­den­cy at ABC in charge of news, spe­cial events, pub­lic affairs, reli­gious pro­grams and sports.

When the show end­ed after 17 years on the air, Mr. Daly was named direc­tor of the Voice of Amer­i­ca. He resigned after one year because of a dis­pute over per­son­nel with the direc­tor of the Unit­ed States Infor­ma­tion Agency, which ran the Voice of Amer­i­ca. . . .

. . . . Mr. Daly is sur­vived also by his sec­ond wife, Vir­ginia, of Chevy Chase, Md., a daugh­ter of the late Chief Jus­tice of the Unit­ed States, Earl War­ren. . . .

6. Next, the pro­gram excerpts FTR #253, fea­tur­ing an intrigu­ing com­men­tary by the late, vet­er­an CIA offi­cer Gor­don Nov­el. We present the descrip­tion for that pro­gram:

This broad­cast high­lights the con­tro­ver­sy sur­round­ing Richard Nixon’s White House tapes. These tape record­ings were, ulti­mate­ly, the vehi­cle for forc­ing his exit from the White House. That event was the cul­mi­na­tion of the Water­gate affair. There was dis­cus­sion in the fall of 2000 among elec­tron­ics experts con­cern­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of uti­liz­ing advanced, high-tech equip­ment to recov­er mate­r­i­al from a famous 18 ½ minute era­sure on one of the tapes.
(The San Fran­cis­co Exam­in­er; 9/22/2000; p. A2.)

The sub­ject of whether or not the era­sure had been delib­er­ate was a sig­nif­i­cant ele­ment of con­tro­ver­sy dur­ing the Water­gate affair. (Nixon’s sec­re­tary, Rose Mary Woods, claimed that she “acci­den­tal­ly” erased the tape. Most experts reject­ed her ver­sion of events. Inter­est­ing­ly, the tape that was erased was a record­ing of a con­ver­sa­tion between White House aide H.R. Halde­man and Nixon. In an auto­bi­og­ra­phy about the Water­gate affair, Halde­man wrote that “the whole Bay of Pigs thing” was a code word with­in the Nixon White House for the JFK assas­si­na­tion. Nixon refused to release the Water­gate tapes for fear that release would lead to expo­sure of “the whole Bay of Pigs thing.”

Much of the pro­gram con­sists of excerpts from oth­er broad­casts. In an excerpt from G‑3, the broad­cast high­lights a vet­er­an covert intel­li­gence oper­a­tive and pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tor named Gor­don Nov­el. Among Novel’s many tal­ents is elec­tron­ic coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence. His name crops up in the con­text of both the JFK case and the Water­gate scan­dal. Nov­el was the source for an impor­tant piece of infor­ma­tion that fig­ured in the Jim Gar­ri­son inves­ti­ga­tion. That report con­cerned a raid on a muni­tions cache to obtain arms for anti-Cas­tro activ­i­ties, the CIA’s Bay of Pigs inva­sion, in par­tic­u­lar.
(Coin­ci­dence or Con­spir­a­cy?; Bernard Fen­ster­wald and the Com­mit­tee to Inves­ti­gate Assas­si­na­tions; copy­right 1976 by Zebra Books, a divi­sion of Kens­ing­ton Pub­lish­ers.)

This oper­a­tion alleged­ly involved David Fer­rie and Guy Ban­nis­ter, two of the key fig­ures in Garrison’s inves­ti­ga­tion. Nov­el was lat­er con­sult­ed by White House aide Charles Col­son con­cern­ing the fea­si­bil­i­ty of elec­tron­i­cal­ly eras­ing the tapes.
(Coin­ci­dence or Con­spir­a­cy?)

Novel’s tan­gen­tial involve­ment in the Water­gate inves­ti­ga­tion sur­faced in a mag­a­zine called Tech­nol­o­gy Illus­trat­ed. In 1983, the mag­a­zine ran an arti­cle about Novel’s pres­ence at a gath­er­ing of vet­er­an covert intel­li­gence oper­a­tives, includ­ing con­vict­ed Water­gate bur­glar G. Gor­don Lid­dy.
(Tech­nol­o­gy Illus­trat­ed; 4/83.)

In a let­ter to the edi­tor, Mr. Nov­el took issue to some of the com­ments about him in the April issue.
(Tech­nol­o­gy Illus­trat­ed; 7/83.)

In that let­ter, Nov­el made ref­er­ence to his ultra high tech­nol­o­gy role “to erase the Water­gate tapes.” (Idem.)

In 1984, Mr. Emory was a guest on a late-night com­mer­cial talk show and Mr. Nov­el phoned in, tak­ing issue with Mr. Emory’s descrip­tion of his posi­tion in Garrison’s inves­ti­ga­tion.
(The Express Way show with Lar­ry John­son on KOME-FM in San Jose, Cal­i­for­nia; 10/29/1984.)

Most of the sec­ond side of this pro­gram con­sists of an excerpt­ing of Mis­cel­la­neous Archive Show M3. In his con­ver­sa­tion with Mr. Emory, Nov­el denied any involve­ment in Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion and crit­i­cized Garrison’s inves­ti­ga­tion. (Idem.)

When the sub­ject of Water­gate came up, Mr. Emory asked Mr. Nov­el if he denied actu­al­ly hav­ing erased the Water­gate tapes. Nov­el replied “only because they didn’t pay me.” (Idem.)

When pressed fur­ther, Nov­el clar­i­fied his state­ment, say­ing he didn’t erase any por­tions of the Water­gate tapes. He did state that he was one of a pan­el of experts who ana­lyzed the 18 ½‑minute gap and stat­ed that it could have been made acci­den­tal­ly. (Idem.)

Intrigu­ing­ly, Nov­el added that he was also on the pan­el of elec­tron­ics experts that tes­ti­fied that the Dic­ta­phone record­ing from a Dal­las police motor­cy­cle was accu­rate in its reveal­ing of a fourth shot–which neu­tral­ized the sin­gle bul­let the­o­ry.

In FTR #190, Nov­el con­firmed his role in the bur­glary of the Schlum­berg­er facil­i­ty and main­tained that he was involved with a plan to give anti-Cas­tro Cubans [Cas­tro] army uni­forms to wear while attack­ing the U.S. Marines at Guan­tanamo, there­by trig­ger­ing a U.S. inva­sion of Cuba.

6. After Mr. Nov­el­’s death, it emerged that he was serv­ing as a mole in Jim Gar­rison’s inves­ti­ga­tion, fun­nel­ing infor­ma­tion to Allen Dulles.

The Dev­il’s Chess­board: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of Amer­i­ca’s Secret Gov­ern­ment by David Tal­bot; Harp­er [HC]; 2015; Copy­right 2015 by The Tal­bot Play­ers LLC; ISBN 978–0‑06–227616‑2; p. 597.

. . . . Even the pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tor Gar­ri­son hired to sweep his office for elec­tron­ic bugs turned out to be a CIA oper­a­tive. After Dulles was sub­poe­naed by Gar­ri­son, the secu­ri­ty specialist–Gordon Novel–phoned the spy­mas­ter to slip him inside infor­ma­tion about the DA’s strat­e­gy. . . .

Discussion

One comment for “FTR #963 Watergate and the Assassination of President Kennedy, Part 3”

  1. While it often seems like the Trump era is just one long, unceas­ing nation­al night­mare, it’s worth keep­ing in mind that there are some unusu­al perks that come with the Trump expe­ri­ence. Or at least poten­tial perks. For instance, thanks to Trumps nev­er end­ing war with the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, the kinds of pres­i­den­tial actions that might be shaped by a desire to main­tain good rela­tions with the nation’s spooks have a very dif­fer­ent con­text with Trump in the White House. Pres­i­den­tial actions like releas­ing the nation­al archive of JFK assas­si­na­tion doc­u­ments. A CIA-friend­ly pres­i­dent would obvi­ous­ly be inclined to defer to the CIA’s review­ers in their request to keep cer­tain sen­si­tive doc­u­ments sup­pressed for anoth­er 25 years. But Trump isn’t exact­ly a CIA-friend­ly pres­i­dent at this point. It’s unclear what exact­ly his rela­tion­ship is with the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty since there are all sort of dif­fer­ent fac­tions with com­pet­ing inter­ests, but there’s at least one fac­tion that Trump is not on good terms with.

    So what’s he going to do when the issue of releas­ing all those JFK files comes up? Will he sup­press as many as pos­si­ble in a bid to appease the ‘Deep State’? Or will he release as much as pos­si­ble in a bid to dis­cred­it the ‘Deep State’ and poten­tial­ly cre­ate one of the great­est polit­i­cal dis­trac­tions in his­to­ry? These are the kinds of ques­tions we get to ask with some­one like Trump sit­ting in the Oval Office. It’s not much of a perk, but it’s some­thing:

    Politi­co

    Will Trump Release the Miss­ing JFK Files?

    Unless the pres­i­dent inter­venes, we’ll soon know more secrets about the Kennedy assas­si­na­tion.

    By Philip Shenon
    April 27, 2017

    The nation’s con­spir­a­cy-the­o­rist-in-chief is fac­ing a momen­tous deci­sion. Will Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump allow the pub­lic to see a trove of thou­sands of long-secret gov­ern­ment files about the event that, more than any oth­er in mod­ern Amer­i­can his­to­ry, has fueled con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries – the 1963 assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy?

    The answer must come with­in months. And, accord­ing to a new time­line offered by the Nation­al Archives, it could come with­in weeks.

    Under the dead­line set by a 1992 law, Trump has six months left to decide whether he will block the release of an esti­mat­ed 3,600 files relat­ed to the assas­si­na­tion that are still under seal at the Archives. From what is known of the JFK doc­u­ments, most come from the CIA and FBI, and a num­ber may help resolve lin­ger­ing ques­tions about whether those agen­cies missed evi­dence of a con­spir­a­cy in Kennedy’s death. As with every ear­li­er release of JFK assas­si­na­tion doc­u­ments in the 53 years since shots rang out in Dealey Plaza in Dal­las, it is vir­tu­al­ly cer­tain that some of the files will be seized on to sup­port pop­u­lar con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about Kennedy’s mur­der; oth­er doc­u­ments are like­ly to under­mine them.

    ...

    For the first time, the Trump White House is acknowl­edg­ing that it is focused on the issue, even if it offers no hint about what the Pres­i­dent will do. A White House offi­cial, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty, told Politi­co last week that the Trump admin­is­tra­tion “is famil­iar with the require­ments” of the 1992 law and that White House is work­ing with the Nation­al Archives “to enable a smooth process in antic­i­pa­tion of the Octo­ber dead­line.”

    Under the 1992 JFK Assas­si­na­tion Records Col­lec­tion Act, the library of doc­u­ments about Kennedy’s death must be made pub­lic in full by the dead­line of this Octo­ber 26, the law’s 25th anniver­sary, unless Trump decides oth­er­wise. It is his deci­sion alone.

    The prospect of the release of the last of the government’s long-secret JFK assas­si­na­tion files has long tan­ta­lized his­to­ri­ans and oth­er schol­ars, to say noth­ing of the nation’s armies of con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists, since no one can claim to know exact­ly what is in there.

    Martha W. Mur­phy, the Archives offi­cial who over­sees the records, said in an inter­view last month that a team of researchers with high-lev­el secu­ri­ty clear­ances is at work to pre­pare the JFK files for release and hopes to begin unseal­ing them in batch­es much ear­li­er than Octo­ber – pos­si­bly as ear­ly as sum­mer.

    Beyond releas­ing the 3,600 nev­er-before-seen JFK files, the Archives is review­ing anoth­er 35,000 assas­si­na­tion-relat­ed doc­u­ments, pre­vi­ous­ly released in part, so they can be unsealed in full. Short of an order from the pres­i­dent, Mur­phy said, the Archives is com­mit­ted to mak­ing every­thing pub­lic this year: “There’s very lit­tle deci­sion-mak­ing for us.”

    Many of the doc­u­ments are known to come from the files of CIA offi­cials who mon­i­tored a mys­te­ri­ous trip that Oswald paid to Mex­i­co City sev­er­al weeks before the assas­si­na­tion – a trip that brought Kennedy’s future killer under intense sur­veil­lance by the spy agency as he paid vis­its to both the Sovi­et and Cuban embassies there. The CIA said it mon­i­tored all vis­i­tors to the embassies and opened sur­veil­lance of Oswald as soon as he was detect­ed inside the Sovi­et com­pound for the first time.

    Oth­er doc­u­ments are known to iden­ti­fy, by name, Amer­i­can and for­eign spies and law-enforce­ment sources who had pre­vi­ous­ly been grant­ed anonymi­ty for infor­ma­tion about Oswald and the assas­si­na­tion. At least 400 pages of the files involve E. Howard Hunt, the for­mer CIA oper­a­tive turned Water­gate con­spir­a­tor who claimed on his deathbed that he had advance knowl­edge of Kennedy’s mur­der.

    The doc­u­ments were gath­ered togeth­er by a tem­po­rary fed­er­al agency, the Assas­si­na­tion Records Review Board, that was estab­lished under the 1992 law. In an inter­view last month, its for­mer chair­man, Judge John R. Tun­heim of the Fed­er­al Dis­trict Court in Min­neso­ta, said he “wouldn’t be sur­prised if there’s some­thing impor­tant” in the doc­u­ments, espe­cial­ly giv­en how much of the his­to­ry of the Kennedy assas­si­na­tion has had to be rewrit­ten in recent decades.

    He said he knew of “no bomb­shells” in the files when the board agreed to keep them secret two decades ago, but names, places and events described in the doc­u­ments could have sig­nif­i­cance now, giv­en what has been learned about the assas­si­na­tion since the board went out of busi­ness. “Today, with a broad­er under­stand­ing of his­to­ry, cer­tain things may be far more rel­e­vant,” he said.

    Mur­phy, the Archives offi­cial, said she, too, knew of no shock­ing infor­ma­tion in the doc­u­ments – but she said her researchers were not in a posi­tion to judge their sig­nif­i­cance. “As you can imag­ine, we’re not read­ing them for that, so we’re prob­a­bly not the best peo­ple to tell you,” she said. “I will say this: This col­lec­tion is real­ly inter­est­ing as a snap­shot of the Cold War.”

    The Review Board, cre­at­ed by Con­gress to show trans­paren­cy in response to the pub­lic furor cre­at­ed by Oliv­er Stone’s con­spir­a­cy-mind­ed 1991 film “JFK,” did force the release of a mas­sive library of oth­er long-secret doc­u­ments from the CIA, FBI, Secret Ser­vice and oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies, as well as from con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tions of the assas­si­na­tion.

    Many showed how much evi­dence was with­held from the War­ren Com­mis­sion, the inde­pen­dent pan­el led by Chief Jus­tice Earl War­ren that inves­ti­gat­ed the assas­si­na­tion and con­clud­ed in 1964 that there was no evi­dence of a con­spir­a­cy in Kennedy’s death.

    The doc­u­ments showed that both the CIA and FBI had much more exten­sive infor­ma­tion about Oswald—and the dan­ger he posed to JFK—before the assas­si­na­tion than the agen­cies admit­ted to Warren’s inves­ti­ga­tion. The evi­dence appeared to have been with­held from the com­mis­sion out of fear that it would expose how the CIA and FBI had bun­gled the oppor­tu­ni­ty to stop Oswald.

    Under the 1992 law, agen­cies may make a final appeal to try to stop the unseal­ing of spe­cif­ic doc­u­ments on nation­al secu­ri­ty grounds. But the law grants only one per­son the pow­er to actu­al­ly block the release: the pres­i­dent. The law allows Trump to keep a doc­u­ment secret beyond the 25-year dead­line if he cer­ti­fies to the Nation­al Archives that secre­cy was “made nec­es­sary by an iden­ti­fi­able harm to mil­i­tary defense, intel­li­gence oper­a­tions, law enforce­ment or con­duct of for­eign rela­tions” and that “the iden­ti­fi­able harm is of such grav­i­ty that it out­weighs the pub­lic inter­est in dis­clo­sure.”

    Both the CIA and FBI acknowl­edged in writ­ten state­ments last month that they are review­ing the doc­u­ments sched­uled for release; nei­ther agency would say if it planned to appeal to the White House to block the unseal­ing of any of the records. “CIA con­tin­ues to review the remain­ing CIA doc­u­ments in the col­lec­tion to deter­mine the appro­pri­ate next steps with respect to any pre­vi­ous­ly-unre­leased CIA infor­ma­tion,” said agency spokesper­son Heather Fritz Hor­ni­ak. The FBI said it had a team of 21 researchers assigned to the doc­u­ment review.

    Accord­ing to a skele­tal index of the doc­u­ments pre­pared by the Archives, some of the files appear to involve, at least indi­rect­ly, a set of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries that Trump him­self pro­mot­ed dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign – about pos­si­ble ties between Cuban exile groups in the Unit­ed States and Oswald.

    On the cam­paign trail, Trump repeat­ed­ly pro­mot­ed an arti­cle pub­lished last April in the Nation­al Enquir­er that sug­gest­ed a con­nec­tion between Oswald and the Cuban-born father of Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz of Texas, one of Trump’s rivals for the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion. The arti­cle was based entire­ly on a 1963 pho­to­graph that showed Oswald, a self-pro­claimed Marx­ist and cham­pi­on of Fidel Castro’s Com­mu­nist rev­o­lu­tion in Cuba, hand­ing out pro-Cas­tro leaflets in New Orleans with a man who, the tabloid sug­gest­ed, was Cruz’s father, Rafael.

    The Cruz fam­i­ly denied that the senator’s fam­i­ly was the man depict­ed in the pho­to and that Rafael Cruz had any con­nec­tion to Oswald; there is no oth­er evi­dence of any con­nec­tion.
    The Nation­al Archives index shows that the doc­u­ments to be released this year include a 86-page file on a promi­nent CIA-backed anti-Cas­tro exile group that Oswald appears to have tried to infil­trate in New Orleans, his home­town, in order to gath­er infor­ma­tion that might be of use to the Cas­tro gov­ern­ment.

    Judge Tun­heim said that Oswald’s trip to Mex­i­co City in Sep­tem­ber and Octo­ber 1963 fig­ures direct­ly or indi­rect­ly in many of the doc­u­ments that remain under seal, includ­ing the inter­nal files of CIA oper­a­tives who worked at the Amer­i­can embassy there.

    His­to­ri­ans agree that the trip, which Oswald appar­ent­ly under­took in hopes of obtain­ing a visa to defect to Castro’s Cuba, much as he had once tried to defect to the Sovi­et Union, has nev­er been ful­ly inves­ti­gat­ed.

    “I still think there are loose threads in Mex­i­co City that no one has ever explored,” Tun­heim said. “It was a bizarre chap­ter – there’s no ques­tion about it.” Pre­vi­ous­ly declas­si­fied CIA and FBI doc­u­ments sug­gest that Oswald open­ly boast­ed to Cuban offi­cials there about his inten­tion to kill Kennedy and that he had a brief affair with a Mex­i­can woman who worked in Cuba’s con­sulate. The Amer­i­can ambas­sador to Mex­i­co at the time of the assas­si­na­tion said lat­er that he believed the woman had prob­a­bly been work­ing for the CIA.

    Tun­heim said the Review Board agreed to keep the Mex­i­co-relat­ed doc­u­ments secret in the 1990s at the request of the State Depart­ment, the CIA and oth­er agen­cies that warned that their release could do dam­age to rela­tions with the Mex­i­co gov­ern­ment, which worked close­ly with the CIA and FBI dur­ing the Cold War. “Mex­i­co City was where every­body spied on every­body else,” the judge said.

    But giv­en the chill in rela­tions between the Unit­ed States and Mex­i­co fol­low­ing Trump’s elec­tion and ear­ly moves by his admin­is­tra­tion to build its long-promised wall along the Mex­i­can bor­der, a sim­i­lar plea to keep the doc­u­ments secret may not go very far with the new pres­i­dent. Said Tun­heim: “I guess we don’t have much of a rela­tion­ship with the Mex­i­can gov­ern­ment to pro­tect any­more.”

    ———-

    “Will Trump Release the Miss­ing JFK Files?” by Philip Shenon; Politi­co; 04/27/2017

    “Under the 1992 law, agen­cies may make a final appeal to try to stop the unseal­ing of spe­cif­ic doc­u­ments on nation­al secu­ri­ty grounds. But the law grants only one per­son the pow­er to actu­al­ly block the release: the pres­i­dent. The law allows Trump to keep a doc­u­ment secret beyond the 25-year dead­line if he cer­ti­fies to the Nation­al Archives that secre­cy was “made nec­es­sary by an iden­ti­fi­able harm to mil­i­tary defense, intel­li­gence oper­a­tions, law enforce­ment or con­duct of for­eign rela­tions” and that “the iden­ti­fi­able harm is of such grav­i­ty that it out­weighs the pub­lic inter­est in dis­clo­sure.””

    When it comes to which doc­u­ments remain secret, Trump is ‘the Decider’, which poten­tial­ly gives him some rather remark­able lever­age over his intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty adver­saries. And quite a bit of flex­i­bil­i­ty too because if there’s any­thing ground break­ing in those archives that demon­strate, say, CIA cul­pa­bil­i­ty in JFK’s assas­si­na­tion Trump can either pla­cate the spies by keep­ing things secret or release every­thing and instant­ly cre­ate a mega-sto­ry that casts the CIA in a very neg­a­tive his­tor­i­cal light. Just imag­ine the fias­co he could unleash. And the worse that fias­co makes the CIA look the bet­ter Trump would look in com­par­i­son. It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing sit­u­a­tion. Espe­cial­ly since it sounds like a lot of the doc­u­ments relate to the alleged Oswald meet­ing in Mex­i­co City, an ele­ment of the ‘Oswald did it’ nar­ra­tive with a lot glar­ing of holes.

    And while all those doc­u­ments in the archive are pre­sum­ably going to some­how be relat­ed to the JFK assas­si­na­tion, don’t for­get they’re relat­ed to a lot of oth­er scan­dals too:

    Newsweek

    Don­ald Trump and the Kennedy Assas­si­na­tion: America’s Most Pow­er­ful Con­spir­a­cy The­o­rist Will Decide Fate of Secret JFK Trove

    By Jef­fer­son Mor­ley and Rex Brad­ford
    On 6/21/17 at 7:30 AM

    He has called glob­al warm­ing a hoax, sug­gest­ed that Barack Oba­ma is not an Amer­i­can and linked autism to child­hood vac­ci­na­tions. And soon, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump—America’s most pow­er­ful con­spir­a­cy theorist—will decide the fate of more than 113,000 pages of secret doc­u­ments about the ulti­mate con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry. No, not Russ­ian med­dling in the 2016 election—the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy on Novem­ber 22, 1963.

    Ever since JFK was shot and killed on that fate­ful Fri­day after­noon in Dal­las, the­o­ries have abound­ed about who real­ly did it. The Rus­sians? The Cubans? The CIA? Dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, Trump even claimed, with­out evi­dence, that the father of his Repub­li­can rival Ted Cruz might have been involved.

    Now, on the year mark­ing the 100th anniver­sary of Kennedy’s birth, Trump will have to decide whether high­ly antic­i­pat­ed secret JFK assas­si­na­tion files can be released in Octo­ber as planned. By law, fed­er­al agen­cies such the CIA and FBI may con­test the release of these records, but in that case, the pres­i­dent would make the final call.

    Newsweek has learned that the files are twice as volu­mi­nous as pre­vi­ous­ly esti­mat­ed. Meta­da­ta analy­sis of the government’s JFK data­base reveals the com­ing files con­tain more than 113,000 pages of mate­r­i­al, rang­ing from triv­ial to sen­sa­tion­al. This trove will like­ly illu­mi­nate many of the events lead­ing up to Kennedy’s mur­der in 1963 and oth­er piv­otal parts of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Sovi­et Union.

    Cred­it for this goes to the JFK Assas­si­na­tion Records Act of 1992. Passed unan­i­mous­ly by Con­gress in the wake of Oliv­er Stone’s movie JFK, the law man­dat­ed that all assas­si­na­tion-relat­ed records in the government’s pos­ses­sion had to be made pub­lic with­in 25 years. The mea­sure was signed into law by Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush, a for­mer CIA direc­tor, and set the statu­to­ry dead­line that arrives lat­er this year.

    The Cold War con­spir­a­cies doc­u­ment­ed in the com­ing records include: tran­scripts of the inter­ro­ga­tion of a Sovi­et defec­tor, a report on a sus­pect­ed assas­sin in Mex­i­co from the KGB Sovi­et intel­li­gence ser­vice, the CIA con­nec­tions of four Water­gate bur­glars and the oper­a­tional files of two CIA assas­si­na­tion plan­ners.

    Over the years, opin­ion polls have con­sis­tent­ly shown that more than 60 per­cent of Amer­i­cans don’t believe the offi­cial story—that Lee Har­vey Oswald act­ed alone in killing Kennedy. To their dis­ap­point­ment, this com­ing trove of JFK doc­u­ments isn’t like­ly to con­tain any “smok­ing guns.” But, as Politi­co not­ed in 2015, there will be plen­ty of poten­tial­ly embar­rass­ing infor­ma­tion about the CIA, an insti­tu­tion Trump and his sup­port­ers have den­i­grat­ed as part of the “deep state.”

    The con­tents of the trove can be gleaned from meta­da­ta in the Nation­al Archives and Records Admin­is­tra­tion (NARA) online data­base of JFK records. That repos­i­to­ry cat­a­logs the secret JFK files by doc­u­ment type, agency, title, sub­ject field key­words and oth­er meta­da­ta, includ­ing the page count for each doc­u­ment.

    Last fall, the Mary Fer­rell Foun­da­tion, a non­prof­it that pub­lish­es gov­ern­ment records relat­ed to the assas­si­na­tions of JFK, Robert Kennedy and Mar­tin Luther King Jr., obtained a copy of the full data­base of JFK records meta­da­ta from Ramon Her­rera, a pro­gram­mer in Hous­ton, who scraped it from the pub­lic pages of NARA’s web­site.

    About a third of the records are CIA doc­u­ments, and anoth­er third are from the FBI. The remain­ing third are divid­ed among sev­er­al agencies—the Jus­tice Depart­ment, the State Depart­ment and the Inter­nal Rev­enue Service—as well as inves­tiga­tive bod­ies such as the Sen­ate Select Com­mit­tee on Intel­li­gence Activ­i­ties and the House Select Com­mit­tee on Assas­si­na­tions. Some doc­u­ments are dupli­cates; oth­ers may have already been released. (In an email, Martha Mur­phy, the chief of JFK records at the Nation­al Archives, says she can’t con­firm the fig­ure of 113, 000 pages.)

    The JFK data­base pro­vides many clues about what’s com­ing. It cites 44 mem­o­ran­da, 34 reports, 19 cables, 62 let­ters and three affi­davits, as well as 12 audio cas­settes, 23 mag­net­ic tapes, 10 sound record­ings and a batch of pho­tographs, appar­ent­ly tak­en in Park­land Hos­pi­tal in Dal­las, where JFK was pro­nounced dead.

    Among the key­words found most fre­quent­ly in the records: Jack Ruby, the Dal­las night­club own­er who killed Oswald in police cus­tody. Ruby is men­tioned 119 times, most­ly in IRS records. Oth­er com­mon tags in the JFK meta­da­ta: Rus­sia (71), Cuba (68) and Cuban Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Coun­cil (68)—that’s the Mia­mi-based CIA front group that sought to over­throw the gov­ern­ment of Fidel Cas­tro dur­ing JFK’s pres­i­den­cy. There are also 48 doc­u­ments about Mex­i­co and Mex­i­co City, which Oswald vis­it­ed six weeks before the assas­si­na­tion. And there are 47 doc­u­ments that men­tion Cas­tro, the charis­mat­ic Cuban strong­man the CIA plot­ted to kill, begin­ning in the Eisen­how­er admin­is­tra­tion. Five doc­u­ments con­tain infor­ma­tion about Rolan­do Cubela, a dis­af­fect­ed Cuban offi­cial, known by the code name AMLASH, whom the agency recruit­ed to assas­si­nate Cas­tro in late 1963. Five doc­u­ments ref­er­ence the KGB.

    Among oth­er mys­ter­ies, the meta­da­ta iden­ti­fy a series of Cold War spy tales that shaped Amer­i­can his­to­ry.

    An Infa­mous Mole Hunt

    The records are sure to illu­mi­nate the ordeal of Yuri Nosenko, a KGB offi­cer whose defec­tion to the Unit­ed States in Jan­u­ary 1964 set off a bit­ter pow­er strug­gle in the CIA that par­a­lyzed its Sovi­et oper­a­tions until 1970.

    The agency’s chief of coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence, James Angle­ton, claimed that Nosenko was a false defec­tor. Angle­ton, the agency’s lead­ing expert of Sovi­et intel­li­gence oper­a­tions, argued that Nosenko had been sent to pro­tect a mole at CIA head­quar­ters and hide a pos­si­ble Sovi­et con­nec­tion to Oswald. Nosenko was detained and inter­ro­gat­ed at two secret CIA deten­tion facil­i­ties in Mary­land and Vir­ginia. Held for more than four years with­out fac­ing legal charges, Nosenko nev­er con­fessed, despite Angleton’s efforts to break him. Nosenko was not tor­tured, but he told a 1991 Front­line TV doc­u­men­tary that he was dosed with LSD while in deten­tion. He died in 2011.

    The secret JFK files include tran­scripts of Nosenko’s inter­ro­ga­tion, sev­er­al lengthy reports and even audio tapes of him. In 1968, the CIA’s Office of Secu­ri­ty con­clud­ed that Nosenko was a bona fide defec­tor; so did three sub­se­quent agency inves­ti­ga­tions. Yet that con­clu­sion is still con­tro­ver­sial among intel­li­gence his­to­ri­ans. Some cite Russia’s inter­ven­tion in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion as evi­dence that the CIA coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence has con­sis­tent­ly under­es­ti­mat­ed Russ­ian pen­e­tra­tion efforts.

    The 42 records on Nosenko, includ­ing more than 2,000 pages of mate­r­i­al, will almost cer­tain­ly help clar­i­fy a cen­tral mys­tery of the mole hunt that some say drove Angle­ton mad.

    Oswald and a KGB Assas­sin?

    In the His­to­ry Channel’s new doc­u­men­tary series JFK Declas­si­fied, for­mer CIA offi­cer Robert Baer describes a meet­ing in Mex­i­co City between Oswald and Valery Kostikov, a Sovi­et diplo­mat, six weeks before JFK was killed. On the pro­gram, Baer iden­ti­fies Kostikov as “the head of KGB assas­sin oper­a­tions.”

    The CIA had tout­ed this iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of Kostikov to the White House the day after Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion, and it may have played a role in Pres­i­dent Lyn­don Johnson’s deci­sion to sup­port a pres­i­den­tial com­mis­sion to as fears mount­ed over the Kremlin’s pos­si­ble involve­ment in the assas­si­na­tion. The War­ren Com­mis­sion received an omi­nous CIA memo that repeat­ed the alle­ga­tion that Kostikov was “believed to work for Depart­ment Thirteen...of the KGB...responsible for exec­u­tive action, includ­ing sab­o­tage and assas­si­na­tion.”

    The JFK meta­da­ta shows that the CIA has a secret 167-page file on Kostikov, which could clar­i­fy who he real­ly was. In May 1963, coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence chief Angle­ton had dis­count­ed him as a threat, telling FBI Direc­tor J. Edgar Hoover that he had “no infor­ma­tion” that Kostikov was asso­ci­at­ed with the KGB’s 13th Depart­ment. The Kostikov file may also reveal more about his con­tact with Oswald in Mex­i­co City six weeks before JFK was killed.

    The Plumbers Plunge

    The arrest of sev­en bur­glars at the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee head­quar­ters in the Water­gate office com­plex in June 1972 was the begin­ning of the scan­dal that end­ed with the res­ig­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon.

    A search of the online JFK data­base reveals the exis­tence of more than 700 pages on the CIA con­nec­tions of four of the Water­gate bur­glars. The most noto­ri­ous was Howard Hunt, a career CIA offi­cer, pro­lif­ic nov­el­ist and acer­bic con­ser­v­a­tive crit­ic of JFK’s Cuba pol­i­cy. The agency has three oper­a­tional files, three fold­ers and two inter­views con­cern­ing Hunt, a total of 391 pages of mate­r­i­al.

    Late in life, Hunt made some murky state­ments that seemed to impli­cate some of his CIA col­leagues in a JFK con­spir­a­cy. Hunt’s remarks were not quite a “deathbed con­fes­sion,” as some claim, but his use of the phrase “the big event” to describe JFK’s mur­der did renew ques­tions about what he knew about what hap­pened in Dal­las.

    A CIA file on James McCord, for­mer chief of the agency’s Office of Secu­ri­ty, runs to 267 pages. He was the bur­glar clos­est to CIA Direc­tor Richard Helms, accord­ing to The Wash­ing­ton Post’s Bob Wood­ward. There are also with­held files on bur­glars Bernard Bark­er (84 pages) and Frank Fior­i­ni, aka Frank Stur­gis (35 pages).

    Sen­a­tor Howard Bak­er, vice chair­man of the Sen­ate Water­gate com­mit­tee, famous­ly likened the role of the CIA in the Water­gate affair to “ani­mals crash­ing around in the forest—you can hear them, but you can’t see them.” As Wood­ward wrote in 2007, “Bak­er and many Water­gate inves­ti­ga­tors came away with the sense that senior CIA offi­cials knew more than was ever revealed.”

    Sev­en hun­dred pages of what the CIA knew about the bur­glars are sched­uled to be revealed in Octo­ber.

    Flawed Patri­ots?

    William King Har­vey and David Atlee Phillips were dec­o­rat­ed CIA offi­cers who con­duct­ed autho­rized assas­si­na­tion oper­a­tions for the agency in the 1960s. The meta­da­ta show that the JFK files include near­ly 500 pages of mate­r­i­al on their activ­i­ties in the 1950s and 1960s.

    Pre­vi­ous­ly declas­si­fied CIA records dis­closed that Har­vey ran the agency’s assas­si­na­tion pro­gram from 1960 to 1963. It was known by the unsub­tle code name ZR/Rifle. Har­vey was one of the agency’s leg­endary oper­a­tors: a fat, shrewd, gun-tot­ing man with a prodi­gious work eth­ic, mem­o­ry and appetite for booze. He was known to despise Kennedy and his broth­er Robert. Harvey’s admir­ing but appalled biog­ra­ph­er called him a “flawed patri­ot,” with one of his CIA col­leagues, John Whit­ten, call­ing him “a thug.” Anoth­er CIA col­league, Mark Wyatt, told a jour­nal­ist that he encoun­tered Har­vey fly­ing to Dal­las on a com­mer­cial flight in Novem­ber 1963, an unusu­al des­ti­na­tion for the chief of the CIA’s sta­tion in Rome.

    Har­vey inevitably pops up in con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about CIA involve­ment in Kennedy’s mur­der, and the agency is due to declas­si­fy 123 pages of his oper­a­tional files in Octo­ber, which has some peo­ple sali­vat­ing. “Do the Har­vey files con­tain trav­el records?” asks author David Tal­bot, who report­ed Wyatt’s sto­ry in his recent biog­ra­phy of Allen Dulles, The Devil’s Chess­board. “That’s what we’ll find out.”

    Many are also eager to find out what the files say about Phillips, who rose to become chief of the Latin Amer­i­ca divi­sion of the clan­des­tine ser­vice. Act­ing on the orders of Nixon, Phillips ran a covert oper­a­tion against left­ist Chilean Pres­i­dent Sal­vador Allende in 1970 that end­ed with the assas­si­na­tion of a top Chilean gen­er­al and the bloody over­throw of Allende’s demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed gov­ern­ment three years lat­er.

    Phillips was a per­son of inter­est for JFK inves­ti­ga­tors. When Con­gress re-opened the JFK inquiry in the 1970s, some House Select Com­mit­tee on Assas­si­na­tions inves­ti­ga­tors thought Phillips per­jured him­self in closed-door tes­ti­mo­ny about Oswald. Before his death in 1988, Phillips denied any role in a JFK con­spir­a­cy, but he did say on at least one occa­sion what Howard Hunt insin­u­at­ed late in life: that JFK was ambushed by gun­men work­ing for rogue CIA offi­cers who used Oswald as their pat­sy.

    Con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries aside, the new records, if released, could expose new details of the exploits of two famed under­cov­er oper­a­tives.

    ‘Let’s Clear This Up’

    So what will Trump do with all that tan­ta­liz­ing mate­r­i­al? The CIA has not com­mit­ted to releas­ing the files, and a White House offi­cial, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty, told Politi­co in May that the admin­is­tra­tion “is famil­iar with the require­ments” of the law man­dat­ing full dis­clo­sure.

    The issue White House coun­sel Don­ald McGahn will have to resolve pits con­gres­sion­al and pub­lic inter­est in full dis­clo­sure against the government’s claim to secre­cy. Under the JFK Records Act, the CIA and oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies have the right to post­pone the release of any records whose dis­clo­sure would cause “an iden­ti­fi­able harm to mil­i­tary defense, intel­li­gence oper­a­tions, law enforce­ment or con­duct of for­eign rela­tions.” The law requires the agency seek­ing to main­tain secre­cy to prove that “the iden­ti­fi­able harm is of such grav­i­ty that it out­weighs the pub­lic inter­est in dis­clo­sure.” That is a high bar.

    ...

    ———-

    “Don­ald Trump and the Kennedy Assas­si­na­tion: America’s Most Pow­er­ful Con­spir­a­cy The­o­rist Will Decide Fate of Secret JFK Trove” by Jef­fer­son Mor­ley and Rex Brad­ford; Newsweek; 06/21/17

    A search of the online JFK data­base reveals the exis­tence of more than 700 pages on the CIA con­nec­tions of four of the Water­gate bur­glars. The most noto­ri­ous was Howard Hunt, a career CIA offi­cer, pro­lif­ic nov­el­ist and acer­bic con­ser­v­a­tive crit­ic of JFK’s Cuba pol­i­cy. The agency has three oper­a­tional files, three fold­ers and two inter­views con­cern­ing Hunt, a total of 391 pages of mate­r­i­al.”

    Water­gate. CIA assas­sins. James Angle­ton’s treat­ment of Yuri Nosenko. All sorts of secrets pos­si­bly tucked away in that archive. Secrets high­ly embar­rass­ing to the ‘Deep State’ and high­ly like­ly to involved James Angle­ton’s var­i­ous anti-Com­mu­nist ‘witch hunts’. And it’s Don­ald Trump, the guy con­stant­ly com­plain­ing about a ‘Deep State’ ‘witch hunt’ against him, who gets to decide whether or not to release them. It’s pret­ty remark­able but that’s the sit­u­a­tion. If Trump is look­ing for a dis­trac­tion from his present-day ‘witch hunts’ there’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty for a pret­ty giant his­toric dis­trac­tion sit­ting right there. Will he use that oppor­tu­ni­ty? We’ll see. Seems pos­si­ble.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 27, 2017, 3:52 pm

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