Saturday, March 25, 2017

NIXON AND "THE BAY OF PIGS THING""Tape Reveals Nixon Knew About Kennedy Assassination

    On June 17, 2014, journalist Jefferson Morley placed a very important NIXON TAPE online at his JFK Facts site, writing "The 42nd anniversary of the Watergate burglary reminded me of  Richard Nixon’s obsession with the “whole of Bay of Pigs thing.”
Nixon cavorting on JFK's (rebuilt) Limo after he became President
H.R. Haldeman, White House chief of staff for Nixon, wrote in his memoirs that he had come to the conclusion that his boss used the phrase as a kind of coded reference to the assassination of President Kennedy.  A tape of a conversation between Nixon and CIA director Richard Helms in October 1971 lends credence to the notion. Listen to the tape, published online by Luke A. Nichter, a history professor at Texas A&M University."
       "Nixon, it is clear, was interested in what he called the ‘Who Shot John?’ angle.
       You can listen to a shorter version (it is unedited, just cut off after the relevant part, so you'll hear a lot of squeaking of Nixon's desk chair and noise muffling some of it. such as when Nixon, who has been talking to his aide John Erlichmanm apparently rises and greets Helms, who enters the room, but it's the "real deal.")

   Morley continues:   
    " ‘The Dirty Tricks Department’
     Before Helms arrives, Nixon’s aide John Erlichman tells the president Helms has been stonewalling his request for documents about the Bay of Pigs. Erlichman makes it clear that he didn’t tell Helms his real purpose. “I was kind of mysterious about it,” he explains.
But they think they have leverage on Helms. At one point Ehrlichman says, “Helms is scared to death of this guy [Howard] Hunt we got working for us because he knows where a lot of the bodies are buried,” This is spoken eight months before Hunt and six other men were arrested at the Watergate office complex for breaking into the offices of the Democratic National Committee.
When then CIA director arrives, Nixon offers some typically awkward and forced small talk about baseball player Ted Williams and then gets down to business. He says he wants to address the “sensitive” issue of the documents he is seeking. He assures Helms that he fully supports what he calls “the dirty tricks department.”
“I know what happened in Iran and I know what happened in Guatemala and I totally approve of that. I know what happened with the planning of the Bay of Pigs,” he says.”The problem was not the CIA. My interest there is solely to know the facts.”
When Helms doesn’t say much, Nixon presses his case by reminding Helms he is the president.
“First. This is my information,” he says, “Second, I need it for a defensive reasons, for a negotiation.”
When those arguments elicit no response. Nixon tries another justification: He needs the information to protect the CIA. In making his case, Nixon talks about what might be in the records and he utters these words (at around 17:00 in the file):
“The ‘Who shot John?’ angle. Is Eisenhower to blame? Is Kennedy to blame? Is Johnson to blame? Is Nixon to blame? Etc, etc. It may become, not by me, a very vigorous issue but if it does, I need to know what is necessary to protect frankly the intelligence gathering and the Dirty Tricks Department and I will protect it. I have done more than my share of lying to protect you, and I believe it’s totally right to do it.”
(NOTE: The reference to "Kennedy" probably means Bobby Kennedy, who was involved in assembling anti-Castro wipe-out campaigns, the resources of which were able to be diverted to kill his own brother.   Morley continues:

"What does it mean? The reference to ‘Who shot John” can only be a reference to Kennedy’s assassination. It seems clear that Nixon thought that the CIA records on the Bay of Pigs might contain information about who was behind the assassination. This indicates, at a minimum, that Nixon did not have confidence in the official theory that Kennedy was killed by one man alone. It suggests that he thought the CIA knew more about JFK’s assassination than it let on. And, it is quite clear, that If the CIA’s actions did become an issue, Nixon would protect “the Dirty Tricks Department.”
Nixon never got the documents he wanted. After the arrest of the Watergate burglars on June 17, 1972, Nixon tried to enlist Helms in a cover-up. In a meeting on June 20, Nixon said an investigation of the burglary could “open up the whole Bay of Pigs thing,” causing the usually unflappable Helms to shout, “This has nothing to do with the Bay of Pigs!”
   In his posthumous memoir, Helms claimed that he did not know what Nixon was referring to. But if he remembered the conversation of October 10, 1971, he knew exactly what Nixon was talking about."

Note: we owe a debt of gratitude to Luke A. Nichter, who is much more than "a history professor at Texas A&M University" as Morley describes him.  Nichter is "a noted expert on Nixon's 3,451 hours of secret White House tapes. He is a New York Times bestselling author or editor of six books... the editor, with Douglas Brinkley, of The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and...a former founding Executive Producer of C-SPAN's American History TV, launched during January 2011 ...Luke is a recognized advocate for government openness, having filed more than 1,000 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the purpose of opening historically important records to public access — work that has been officially endorsed by the American Historical Association. He has an ongoing petition before Judge Royce Lamberth of the District Court for the District of Columbia In Re: Petition of Luke Nichter, Case No. Misc. 12-74 — which has unsealed thousands of pages of government records in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration.

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