the confession of e howard hunt

I’ve written about Bay of Pigs veteran E Howard Hunt here before. Most recently, I mentioned that the loveable old tramp was dead at 88, after a long, full and unquestionably evil life in the shadows of the CIA. Prior to that, I think that I’d mentioned on a few occasions that I’d spent way too much of my youth trying to connect him to the JFK assassination, something to which he never admitted. Here’s a clip from a 2004 interview he did with “Slate”:

Slate: I know there is a conspiracy theory saying that David Atlee Phillips – the Miami CIA station chief – was involved with the assassination of JFK.

Hunt: [Visibly uncomfortable] I have no comment.

Slate: I know you hired him early on, to work with you in Mexico, to help with Guatemala propaganda.

Hunt: He was one of the best briefers I ever saw.

Slate: And there were even conspiracy theories about you being in Dallas the day JFK was killed.

Hunt: No comment.

Apparently that wasn’t the end of the story though. According to the new issue of “Rolling Stone,” he did eventually talk — to his eldest son, Saint. If you can believe the perpetually broke and often incarcerated son of the Watergate burglar, he wasn’t involved himself, but he knew who was. He wrote it out for him on his death bed. Here’s a clip:

..E. Howard scribbled the initials “LBJ,” standing for Kennedy’s ambitious vice president, Lyndon Johnson. Under “LBJ,” connected by a line, he wrote the name Cord Meyer. Meyer was a CIA agent whose wife had an affair with JFK; later she was murdered, a case that’s never been solved. Next his father connected to Meyer’s name the name Bill Harvey, another CIA agent; also connected to Meyer’s name was the name David Morales, yet another CIA man and a well-known, particularly vicious black-op specialist. And then his father connected to Morales’ name, with a line, the framed words “French Gunman Grassy Knoll.”

So there it was, according to E. Howard Hunt. LBJ had Kennedy killed. It had long been speculated upon. But now E. Howard was saying that’s the way it was. And that Lee Harvey Oswald wasn’t the only shooter in Dallas. There was also, on the grassy knoll, a French gunman, presumably the Corsican Mafia assassin Lucien Sarti, who has figured prominently in other assassination theories…

Later that week, E. Howard also gave Saint two sheets of paper that contained a fuller narrative. It starts out with LBJ again, connecting him to Cord Meyer, then goes on: “Cord Meyer discusses a plot with [David Atlee] Phillips who brings in Wm. Harvey and Antonio Veciana. He meets with Oswald in Mexico City. . . . Then Veciana meets w/ Frank Sturgis in Miami and enlists David Morales in anticipation of killing JFK there. But LBJ changes itinerary to Dallas, citing personal reasons.”

David Atlee Phillips, the CIA’s Cuban operations chief in Miami at the time of JFK’s death, knew E. Howard from the Guatemala-coup days. Veciana is a member of the Cuban exile community. Sturgis, like Saint’s father, is supposed to have been one of the three tramps photographed in Dealey Plaza. Sturgis was also one of the Watergate plotters, and he is a man whom E. Howard, under oath, has repeatedly sworn to have not met until Watergate, so to Saint the mention of his name was big news…

According to this narrative, it sounds as though Hunt would have been involved himself in some capacity, but backed off when he heard that Bill Harvey, someone he referred to as an “alcoholic psycho,” was on the team. (We all, I guess, have our limits.)

So, what should we believe? This whole thing could be a lie perpetrated by Hunt’s son to get a few bucks. It could also be one final lie by the father, an attempt to distance himself a bit further from the events that unfolded that day in Dallas. As I believe E Howard Hunt was the las of these implicated men to die, I guess we’ll never really know. As for me, however, I think I belive it. Something about it feels right to me, like this is the perfect ending, even with the unanswered questions. It seems somehow fitting that it would come down to a near-dead Hunt confessing to his estranged fellon of a son named Saint.

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  1. ol' e cross
    Posted April 4, 2007 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Saint sure doesn’t seem like a credible source.

    The only way to know for sure if he’s telling the truth is to lock him in a room with Jack Bauer for a couple minutes.

  2. cleo love-paste
    Posted April 4, 2007 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Knowing this, it makes sense that the elder Bush chose a completely inneffective pansy of a running mate like Dan Quayle. He’d seen what good, ambitious Vice Presidents were capable of.

    It also makes seense that little Bush handed over the car keys to Cheney on day one.

  3. bobbyrowe
    Posted April 5, 2007 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    As good as Saint’s story sounds in some ways, it doesn’t make enough sense to me. It has a bit of a sensational feel to it.

    I think it would be a real problem for any single person to have essentially hatched a plot like the assassination, least of all a person in public office. The dynamic of constant leverage-seeking within political structures makes every decision a trade-off between the leverage of certain interests for others. The more dramatic any action by an individual, the more dramatic the shift in the leverage of forces around that individual. In politics, allies as well as enemies are always looking for ‘handles’ on official decision makers. It seems inevitable that it would quickly destroy that individual. Some may argue it did in Johnson’s case, because he was essentially forced to bow out of the ’68 election. However, I think the consequences to Johnson would certainly have been more severe had he been known to have hatched the plot himself. To a certain degree, I think the structure of an organized crime syndicate is a good model use as reference. Any ex-boss who had ordered the murder of his predecessor will rarely survive long after the moment he hands over his chair. In Johnson’s case he probably wouldn’t even have survived the initiation of such a plot. But he could certainly be fully aware of such a thing and taken actions in order to allow it to happen.

    I never got the impression that Johnson was all that bright. If he were, would he have chosen his ultimate fate? Not with that ego he wouldn’t. From his early days in Texas politics, he seems to me to be mostly the front man for much more competent and powerful individuals and interests. Johnson’s only real strength seemed to me to be his overbearing and often abusive personality.

    I don’t think we could ever see the entire truth surrounding the Kennedy assassination. But if we could, I think we would all find it very disappointing. It certainly wouldn’t make for a best seller. I think we would all find it very anti-climactic.

    Individuals may continue to be exposed for the few suspicious details which suggest some degree of involvement, but I don’t think anyone was ever in a position of so much control that they could be said to be the one to blame. In that sense, I think such an event can more closely compared to something like the Holocaust. I believe it was a much more diffused and collective event than is commonly assumed. Having said that, I do feel strongly that every bit of evidence and information that can be uncovered, should be. And ever individual should be held accountable to whatever degree possible. More importantly, I think the discussion be kept alive, for the purpose of examining important questions which seem to have even more meaning and urgency today. Satisfying our need for a set of names to say these were the evil-doers seems to me a diversion from what is really important.

  4. mark
    Posted April 5, 2007 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you to some extent. A lot of people wanted Kennedy dead. He pissed a lot of people off. He was young, popular, rich, and he set out to shake things up. I can see how that rubbed a few people the wrong way. And, it didn’t hurt that he fucked a lot of people’s wives, and (probably) stole the election that put him in the whitehouse. Maybe LBJ didn’t “put out the hit.” Maybe he didn’t have to. Maybe he just mentioned to someone, “We’d all be a lot better off if that fucker was dead,” and then it took on a life of it’s own. If the circumstances are right for something like that to happen, it doesn’t take much to get the ball rolling.

  5. bobbyrowe
    Posted May 15, 2007 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    I think you are right on. After hearing the released portion of the tape, it does now sound like what Hunt was saying is that the idea of killing Kennedy was out there floating around in the military-industrial and intelligence community, and it just took a confirmation from Johnson that he was on board in the event shit happened. With the confidence that the full power of the presidency could be counted on to provide cover after the fact, the individuals who represented the ‘means’ in the execution of this crime could proceed.

    I’m always uncomfortable with ‘smoking guns’ being found. The Karl Rove style tactic of manufacturing fake but accurate evidence can be very effective in diluting public interest and falsely discrediting real investigations. With that in mind, I have yet to see anything which confirms that the Hunt audio is authentic. I will feel better once it’s all been gone over with a fine tooth comb.

    Even if it can be confirmed, I would still have to point out that what Hunt describes here remains his unique individual perceptions of how things transpired. As accurate as they may be in relative terms, they would still be simply that of one man in what was a complex network of individuals and interests.

    The pieces of this puzzle have clearly been coming together with considerable interlocking consistency over the past 45 years. I think the serious investigators all pretty much know what happened. It’s just the specific names and their specific roles which remain in question, and probably always will.

  6. Posted May 16, 2007 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    This is a response to those of you doubting the truthfullness of the audio tape my father(E.Howard Hunt)sent me in Jan. 2004. It is real and my intentions are to provide this and the full audio as well as his handwritten memos for historical purposes. I have not made money by doing this, however the idea does appeal to me…it is after all my life story and well within my rights to seek a publisher. My father’s revelations have all been substantiated by other sources both in the private sector and in print. Best to you all, Saint John hunt

  7. rkm
    Posted January 2, 2008 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I cannot help but believe this story. After all, his father has been dodging the accusation for years. I don’t believe that this is the whole story, but it is a significant part. Complicity on LBJ’s part might simply be a nod. I also believe that the office of Vice President has shown to be more powerful than President. I still think that Nixon and Bush(poppy) also played a role. Oswald too, but he was a patsy, just he said…

  8. Frosty
    Posted March 4, 2010 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Apparently Tom Hanks knows the definitive truth about the JFK assassination!

  9. Robert
    Posted November 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Let me first say I would certainly have voted for Kennedy over Nixon had I been born yet and of voting age at the time of the 1960 general election. Also I believe Kennedy was one of the best presidents of the 20th century.

    That being said, I am now absolutely convinced that Kennedy/Johnson DID NOT genuinely win in Illinois nor Texas , and possibly did not win Hawaii either. The true Nixon/Lodge electoral total would have been no less than 270, and Kennedy/Johnson’s total no more than 252.

    So where as I may disagree with just about everything the GOP has done over the past 50 years, I do on this one very unsettling subject, agree with those Republicans who have complained that the 1960 election was rigged to the degree it did in fact reverse the outcome.

  10. Posted November 22, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    If I’m not mistaken, we just celebrated the anniversary of his assassination. I wonder if it was mentioned anywhere… And, yeah, I’ve always suspected that Kennedy stole the election. When Joe set his mind to something, he usually succeeded.

  11. Robert
    Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Mark, I noticed you haven’t mentioned Charlie Rose’s interview with RFK Jr.

    RFK knew there was a conspiracy in the assassination of JFK.

  12. Posted March 7, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Robert. I’d never heard that about Oswald’s phone records, and those of Ruby.

  13. Posted March 7, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    And I’d totally forgotten that Saint John Hunt had left a comment here. Having a blog is really weird sometimes.

  14. Robert
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised you can stomach it. I know I couldn’t.

  15. PaibDica
    Posted October 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Given JFK’s propensity for fucking everything in sight, and his love of drugs, it was just a matter of time before he put the nation at risk. LBJ might have saved the country.

  16. Steve Fortuna
    Posted December 4, 2021 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    No one has ever mentioned – and the Warren Commission completely ignored – Lee Harvey Oswald’s last words, as told by Dallas detective J.T. Leavelle who was holding Oswald’s arm at the time, which were “Jack, you son of a bitch”. So much for tying up loose ends.

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