|E. Howard Hunt|
|Allegiance||United States 20px|
|Service||OSS, CIA, President's Special Investigations Unit (White House Plumbers)|
Watergate burglaries and scandal
|David St. John|
|Birth name||Everette Howard Hunt, Jr.|
|Born||October 9, 1918|
|Died||January 23, 2007(aged 88)|
|Parents||Everette Howard Hunt Sr. and Ethel Jean Totterdale|
|Spouse||Dorothy Louise Wetzel, Laura E. Martin|
|Children||Saint John Hunt, David Hunt, Kevan Spence (nee Hunt), Lisa Hunt|
|Occupation||CIA agent, author|
|Alma mater||Brown University|
Everette Howard Hunt, Jr. (October 9, 1918 – January 23, 2007) was an American intelligence officer and writer. Hunt served for many years as a CIA officer. Hunt, with G. Gordon Liddy and others, was one of the Nixon White House "plumbers" — a secret team of operatives charged with fixing "leaks". Hunt and Liddy engineered the first Watergate burglary, and other undercover operations for Nixon. In the ensuing Watergate Scandal, Hunt was convicted of burglary, conspiracy and wiretapping, eventually serving 33 months in prison.
Early life and career[edit | edit source]
Hunt was born in Hamburg, New York, United States, of English and Welsh descent. An alumnus of Nichols School in Buffalo, New York and a 1940 graduate of Brown University, Hunt during World War II served in the U.S. Navy on the destroyer USS Mayo, United States Army Air Forces, and finally, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) which he worked for in China. During and after the war, he also wrote several novels under his own name — East of Farewell (1942), Limit of Darkness (1944), Stranger in Town (1947), Bimini Run (1949) (with a hero named "Hank Sturgis"), and The Violent Ones (1950) — and, more famously, several spy and hardboiled novels under an array of pseudonyms, including Robert Dietrich, Gordon Davis and David St. John. Hunt won a Guggenheim Fellowship for his writing in 1946.
CIA and anti-Castro efforts[edit | edit source]
Warner Bros. had just bought rights to Hunt's novel Bimini Run when he joined the CIA in October 1949 as a political action specialist, in what came to be called their Special Activities Division. The CIA was the successor organization of the OSS. Hunt became station chief in Mexico City in 1950, and supervised William F. Buckley, Jr., who worked for the CIA in Mexico during the period 1951–1952. Buckley and Hunt remained lifelong friends.
In Mexico, Hunt helped devise Operation PBSUCCESS, the successful covert plan to overthrow Jacobo Arbenz, the elected president of Guatemala. Following assignments in Japan and as station chief in Uruguay, Hunt was given the assignment of forging Cuban exile leaders in the United States into a broadly representative government-in-exile that would, after the Bay of Pigs Invasion, form a provisional government to take over Cuba. The failure of the invasion damaged his career.
After the Bay of Pigs, Hunt became a personal assistant to Allen Dulles. Tad Szulc states that Hunt was asked to assist Dulles in writing a book, The Craft of Intelligence, that Dulles wrote following his involuntary retirement as CIA head in 1961. The book was published in 1963.
Hunt told the Senate Watergate Committee in 1973 that he had served as the first Chief of Covert Action for the CIA's Domestic Operations Division. He told the New York Times in 1974 that he spent about four years working for the division, beginning shortly after it was set up, by the Kennedy Administration in 1962, over the "strenuous opposition" of Richard Helms and Thomas H. Karamessines. He said that the division was assembled shortly after the Bay of Pigs operation, and that "many men connected with that failure were shunted into the new domestic unit." He said that some of his projects from 1962 to 1966, which dealt largely with the subsidizing and manipulation of news and publishing organizations, "did seem to violate the intent of the agency's charter."
According to Tad Szulc, Hunt was assigned to temporary duty as the acting CIA station chief in Mexico City for the period of August and September 1963, at the time of Lee Harvey Oswald's alleged visit there. In his 1978 testimony, however, Hunt denied having been in Mexico at all between 1961 and 1970.
Hunt was undeniably bitter about what he perceived as President John F. Kennedy's lack of commitment in overturning the Fidel Castro regime. In his semi-fictional autobiography, Give Us This Day, he wrote: "The Kennedy administration yielded Castro all the excuse he needed to gain a tighter grip on the island of Jose Marti, then moved shamefacedly into the shadows and hoped the Cuban issue would simply melt away." Disillusioned, he retired from the CIA on May 1, 1970, and went to work for the Robert R. Mullen Company, which cooperated with the CIA; Bob Haldeman, White House Chief of Staff to President Nixon, wrote in 1978 that the Mullen Company was in fact a CIA front company, a fact which was apparently unknown to Haldeman while he worked in the White House. Hunt obtained a Covert Security Approval to handle the firm's affairs during Mullen's absence from Washington. The following year, he was hired by Charles Colson, chief counsel to President Richard Nixon, and joined the President's Special Investigations Unit (alias White House Plumbers).
Watergate[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Watergate scandal
Hunt's first assignment for the White House was a covert operation to break into the Los Angeles office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist, Dr. Lewis J. Fielding. In July 1971, Fielding had refused an FBI request for psychiatric data on Ellsberg. Hunt and Liddy cased the building in late August. The burglary, on September 3, 1971, was not detected, but no Ellsberg files were found.
Also in the summer of 1971, Colson authorized Hunt to travel to New England to seek potentially scandalous information on Senator Edward Kennedy, specifically pertaining to the Chappaquiddick incident and to Kennedy's possible extramarital affairs. Hunt sought and used CIA disguises and other equipment for the project. This mission eventually proved unsuccessful, with little if any useful information uncovered by Hunt.
Hunt's White House duties included assassinations-related disinformation. In September 1971, Hunt forged and offered to a Life magazine reporter two top-secret U.S. State Department cables designed to prove that President Kennedy had personally and specifically ordered the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu. Hunt told the Senate Watergate Committee in 1973 that he had fabricated the cables to show a link between President Kennedy and the assassination of Diem, a Catholic, to estrange Catholic voters from the Democratic Party, after Colson suggested he "might be able to improve upon the record."
According to Seymour Hersh, writing in The New Yorker, Nixon White House tapes show that after presidential candidate George Wallace was shot on May 15, 1972, Nixon and Colson agreed to send Hunt to the Milwaukee home of the gunman, Arthur Bremer, to place McGovern presidential campaign material there. The intention was to link Bremer with the Democrats. Hersh writes that, in a taped conversation, "Nixon is energized and excited by what seems to be the ultimate political dirty trick: the FBI and the Milwaukee police will be convinced, and will tell the world, that the attempted assassination of Wallace had its roots in left-wing Democratic politics." Hunt did not make the trip, however, because the FBI had moved too quickly to seal Bremer's apartment and place it under police guard.
[V]ery bad, to have this fellow Hunt, ah, you know, ah, it's, he, he knows too damn much and he was involved, we happen to know that. And that it gets out that the whole, this is all involved in the Cuban thing, that it's a fiasco, and it's going to make the FBI, ah CIA look bad, it's going to make Hunt look bad, and it's likely to blow the whole, uh, Bay of Pigs thing which we think would be very unfortunate for CIA and for the country at this time, and for American foreign policy, and he just better tough it and lay it on them.[dead link]
Hunt and fellow operative G. Gordon Liddy, along with the five arrested at the Watergate, were indicted on federal charges three months later.
Hunt's wife, Dorothy, was killed in the December 8, 1972 plane crash of United Airlines Flight 553 in Chicago. Congress, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the crash, and found it to be an accident caused by crew error. Over $10,000 in cash was found in Dorothy Hunt's handbag in the wreckage.
Hunt eventually spent 33 months in prison at the low-security Federal Prison Camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, on a conspiracy charge, arriving there on April 25, 1975, and said he was bitter that he was sent to jail while Nixon was allowed to resign while avoiding prosecution for any crimes he may have committed, and was later fully pardoned in September, 1974, by incoming President Gerald Ford.
Later life[edit | edit source]
Give Us This Day, Hunt's book on the Bay of Pigs Invasion, was published late in 1973. In the book's foreword, he commented on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy as follows:
Once again it became fashionable to hold the city of Dallas collectively responsible for his murder. Still, and let this not be forgotten, Lee Harvey Oswald was a partisan of Fidel Castro, and an admitted Marxist who made desperate efforts to join the Red Revolution in Havana. In the end, he was an activist for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. But for Castro and the Bay of Pigs disaster there would have been no such "Committee." And perhaps no assassin named Lee Harvey Oswald.
On November 3, 1978, Hunt gave a security-classified deposition for the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). He denied knowledge of any conspiracy to kill Kennedy. (The Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) released the deposition in February 1996.)
The House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that there was a conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy. based on recording of the assassination from the open microphone on a Dallas Police officer's motorcycle. The scientific acoustical evidence was initially reported to furnish a 95% probability that there was a second gunman in the so-called grassy knoll area.. This conclusion is controversial, and it is possible the open microphone was not at the scene of the assassination. See Dictabelt evidence relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
The Committee could not determine who the gunman was and what the extent of the conspiracy was. In 2005, an article in Science & Justice by Ralph Linsker, Richard Garwin, Herman Chernoff, Paul Horowitz, and Norman Foster Ramsey, Jr. re-analyzed the acoustic synchronization evidence, supporting the NAS report's finding that the sounds alleged to be gunshots occurred about a minute after the assassination. Two newspaper articles published a few months before the deposition stated that a 1966 CIA memo linking Hunt to the assassination of President Kennedy had recently been provided to the HSCA. The first article, by Victor Marchetti—author of the book The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence (1974)—appeared in the Liberty Lobby newspaper The Spotlight on August 14, 1978. According to Marchetti, the memo said in essence, "Some day we will have to explain Hunt's presence in Dallas on November 22, 1963." He also wrote that Hunt, Frank Sturgis, and Gerry Patrick Hemming would soon be implicated in a conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy.
The second article, by Joseph J. Trento and Jacquie Powers, appeared in the Wilmington, Delaware Sunday News Journal six days later. It alleged that the purported memo was initialed by Richard Helms and James Angleton and showed that, shortly after Helms and Angleton were elevated to their highest positions in the CIA, they discussed the fact that Hunt had been in Dallas on the day of the assassination and that his presence there had to be kept secret. However, nobody has been able to produce this supposed memo, and the United States President's Commission on CIA activities within the United States determined that Hunt had been in Washington, D.C. on the day of the assassination.
Hunt sued Liberty Lobby—but not the Sunday News Journal—for libel. Liberty Lobby stipulated, in this first trial, that the question of Hunt's alleged involvement in the assassination would not be contested. Hunt prevailed and was awarded $650,000 damages. In 1983, however, the case was overturned on appeal because of error in jury instructions. In a second trial, held in 1985, Mark Lane made an issue of Hunt's location on the day of the Kennedy assassination. Lane successfully defended Liberty Lobby by producing evidence suggesting that Hunt had been in Dallas. He used depositions from David Atlee Phillips, Richard Helms, G. Gordon Liddy, Stansfield Turner, and Marita Lorenz, plus a cross-examination of Hunt. On retrial, the jury rendered a verdict for Liberty Lobby. In spite of Lane's claim that he convinced the jury that Hunt was a JFK assassination conspirator, most of the jurors who were interviewed by the media said they disregarded the conspiracy theory and judged the case (according to the judge's jury instructions) on whether the article was published with "reckless disregard for the truth." Lane outlined his theory about Hunt's and the CIA's role in Kennedy's murder in a 1991 book, Plausible Denial.
Some people that believe JFK was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy have suggested that two of the "three tramps" that marched through Dealey Plaza in the wake of the assassination to be Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis, although several other men, Charles Harrelson for example, were also identified as tramps. The mystery was thought to be solved in the early 1990s when researcher Mary LaFontaine discovered documents identifying the men as Harold Doyle, John Forester Gedney, and Gus W. Abrams. Both the F.B.I. and independent researchers confirmed the identifications.
The Mitrokhin Archive by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, on the evidence supplied by Mitrokhin's transcribed versions of Top Secret KGB files, alleges that the Soviet Union was principal in falsely connecting E. Howard Hunt to the Kennedy Assassination. Those allegations contradict the House Select Committee on Assassinations final report. The Committee concluded that there was no evidence to prove Soviet Union/KGB involvement. Mitrokhin alleges, for example, that the KGB recruited and provided secret financial support for Mark Lane and other conspiracy theorist authors, including Carl Aldo Marzani and Joachim Joesten.
Hunt was also the addressee of a letter, purportedly from Oswald, dated two weeks before the assassination. Andrew and Mitrokhin state that the letter was a hoax, carefully created by the KGB to implicate Hunt and the CIA, based upon a belief that Hunt had been in Dallas on the day of the assassination. The letter was accepted as genuine by Oswald's widow and left the House Select Committee on Assassinations (1978) unable to verify or discredit its authenticity. Eventually it appeared in the American press, though some assumed the "Mr. Hunt" to whom it was addressed to be the oil magnate H. L. Hunt, whom the Kremlin first suspected of plotting the assassination.
Canadian journalist David Giammarco interviewed Hunt for the December 2000 issue of Cigar Aficionado magazine. E. Howard Hunt also wrote the foreword to Giammarco's book For Your Eyes Only: Behind the Scenes of the James Bond Films (ECW Press, 2002).
JFK conspiracy allegations and death[edit | edit source]
During the last few years and months of Hunt's life, he made several claims about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, as reported by his son Saint John Hunt. In audio recordings, discussions and writings, Hunt said (according to his son) that he and several others were involved in a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. He said the codename the conspirators gave for the operation was "The Big Event," that Lyndon B. Johnson ordered the assassination and assigned Cord Meyer to implement the details. Meyer recruited the people who planned and carried out the killing, including David Phillips, Frank Sturgis, David Morales, William Harvey, a French gunman, and Lucien Sarti, who worked for the Mafia.
Hunt died on January 23, 2007 in Miami, Florida of pneumonia and is buried in Prospect Lawn Cemetery, Hamburg, New York. Hunt's memoir American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate, and Beyond was published by John Wiley & Sons in March 2007.
In films[edit | edit source]
Books[edit | edit source]
- Give Us This Day: The Inside Story of the CIA and the Bay of Pigs Invasion—by One of Its Key Organizers (1973)
- Undercover: memoirs of an American secret agent / by E. Howard Hunt (1974)
- For Your Eyes Only: Behind the Scenes of the James Bond Films / by David Giammarco; foreword by E. Howard Hunt (2002)
- American spy: my secret history in the CIA, Watergate, and beyond / E. Howard Hunt; with Greg Aunapu; foreword by William F. Buckley, Jr. (2007)
Novels published as Howard Hunt or E. Howard Hunt:
- East of Farewell (1943)
- Limit of darkness, a novel by Howard Hunt (1944)
- Stranger in town (1947)
- Calculated risk: a play / by Howard Hunt (1948)
- Maelstrom / Howard Hunt (1948)
- Bimini run / by Howard Hunt (1949)
- The Violent Ones (1950)
- Berlin ending; a novel of discovery (1973)
- Hargrave deception / E. Howard Hunt (1980)
- Gaza intercept / E. Howard Hunt (1981)
- Cozumel / E. Howard Hunt (1985)
- Kremlin conspiracy / E. Howard Hunt (1985)
- Guadalajara / E. Howard Hunt (1990)
- Murder in State / E. Howard Hunt (1990)
- Body count / E. Howard Hunt (1992)
- Chinese Red / by E. Howard Hunt (1992)
- Mazatlán / E. Howard Hunt (1993) (lists former pseudonym P. S. Donoghue on cover)
- Ixtapa / E. Howard Hunt (1994)
- Islamorada / E. Howard Hunt (1995)
- Paris edge / E. Howard Hunt (1995)
- Izmir / E. Howard Hunt (1996)
- Dragon teeth: a novel / by E. Howard Hunt (1997)
- Guilty knowledge / E. Howard Hunt (1999)
- Sonora / E. Howard Hunt. (2000)
As Robert Dietrich:
- Cheat (1954)
- Be My Victim (1956)
- Murder on the rocks: an original novel (1957)
As P. S. Donoghue:
- Dublin Affair (1988)
- Sarkov Confession: a novel (1989)
- Evil Time (1992)
As David St. John
- Hazardous Duty (1966)
- Mongol Mask (1968)
- Sorcerers (1969)
- Diabolus (1971)
- Coven (1972)
As Gordon Davis:
- I Came to Kill (1953)
- House Dick (1961)
- Counterfeit Kill (1963)
- Ring Around Rosy (1964)
- Where Murder Waits (1965)
As John Baxter:
- A Foreign Affair
Notes[edit | edit source]
- "E. Howard Hunt, Agent Who Organized Botched Watergate Break-In, Dies at 88". The New York Times. January 24, 2007. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B04EFDD163FF937A15752C0A9619C8B63.
- Hedegaard, Erik (April 5, 2007).  Rolling Stone
- Safe For Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA, John Prados, 2006 page xxii
- William F. Buckley, Jr. (January 26, 2007), "Howard Hunt, RIP". Buckley describes their early friendship in Mexico in his introduction to Hunt's posthumously-published memoir, American Spy.
- Tad Szulc, Compulsive Spy: The Strange Career of E. Howard Hunt (New York: Viking, 1974), 78.
- HSCA Deposition (November 3, 1978), Part II, p. 6:10–17
- Szulc, Compulsive Spy, 95
- Seymour M. Hersch, "Hunt Tells of Early Work For a CIA Domestic Unit," New York Times (December 31, 1974), p. 1, col. 6.
- Szulc, Compulsive Spy, 96, 99: "Hunt spent August and September 1963 in Mexico City in charge of the CIA station there."
- Szulc, Compulsive Spy, 99: "Through an extraordinary coincidence, Lee Harvey Oswald also visited Mexico City during September 1963."
- John Armstrong, "Mexico City—Pandora's Box" – pp. 614–706 of Harvey & Lee (Arlington, Texas: Quasar Press, 2003).
- HSCA Deposition (November 3, 1978), Part I, p. 7:14–16
- Rosenberg, Carol (June 28, 2001). Plotter of Bay of Pigs, Watergate conspirator: 'File and forget' Castro. Miami Herald
- Hunt, Give Us This Day, 13–14
- The Ends of Power, by H. R. Haldeman with Joseph DiMona, 1978
- "ARRB REQUEST: CIA-IR-06, QKENCHANT" (gif). Central Intelligence Agency. 1996-05-14. p. 3. http://www.foia.cia.gov/browse_docs.asp?doc_no=0000904662&no_pages=0005&showPage=0001. Retrieved 2010-06-11.
- Szulc, Compulsive Spy, 128
- Szulc, Compulsive Spy, 127
- Szulc, Compulsive Spy, 130
- Szulc, Compulsive Spy, 131
- Marjorie Hunter, "Colson Confirms Backing Kennedy Inquiry but Denies Knowing of Hunt's CIA Aid," New York Times (June 30, 1973), p. 15.
- Szulc, Compulsive Spy, 134–135.
- David E. Rosenbaum, "Hunt Says He Fabricated Cables on Diem to Link Kennedy to Killing of a Catholic; Testifies Colson Sought To Alienate Democrats," New York Times (September 25, 1973), p. 28.
- Molotsky, Irvin (December 7, 1992). Article Says Nixon Schemed to Tie Foe to Wallace Attack. "[T]he agent picked for the mission was E. Howard Hunt." The New York Times
- Reynolds, Tim. "Watergate Figure E. Howard Hunt Dies." Associated Press. January 23, 2007.
- Weiner, Tim (January 24, 2007). E. Howard Hunt, Agent Who Organized Botched Watergate Break-In, Dies at 88. The New York Times
- Transcript of a Recording of a Meeting Between the President and H. R. Haldeman, the Oval Office, June 23, 1972
- NTSB report
- CNN Live Today, "Deadly Plane Skid in Chicago" Aired December 9, 2005.
- Braxton, Sheila, "Hunt Arrives at Eglin - 'Equal Treatment' Is All He Asks", Playground Daily News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Sunday 27 April 1975, Volume 30, Number 68, page 1A.
- Szulc, Compulsive Spy, 99. Szulc, writing in 1974, calls this "a bizarre passage."
- HSCA Deposition (November 3, 1978)
- Maksoud, JG; Chapchap, P; Porta, G; Miura, I; Carone Filho, E; Tannuri, U; Da Silva, MM; Ayoub, AA et al. (1991). "Liver transplantation in children: initial experience of the Instituto da Criança of the Hospital das Clínicas of Universidade de São Paulo". AMB; revista da Associacao Medica Brasileira 37 (4): 193–9. PMID 1668627.
- Victor Marchetti, "CIA to Admit Hunt Involvement in Kennedy Slaying," The Spotlight (August 14, 1978)
- Were Watergate Conspirators Also JFK Assassins?
- Hunt v. Marchetti, 824 F.2d 916 (11th Cir. 1987). "In arguing that the stipulation should be binding on retrial, Hunt attempts to characterize the statements of the Liberty Lobby attorney as stipulating to the fact that Hunt was not in Dallas on the day of the Kennedy assassination. The statements, however, are more accurately viewed as a stipulation that the question of Hunt's alleged involvement in the assassination would not be contested at trial. They thus served merely to narrow the factual issues in dispute." Id. at 917–18 (citations omitted).
- Hunt v. Liberty Lobby, 720 F.2d 631 (11th Cir. 1983). "Libel Award for Howard Hunt overturned by appeals court," New York Times (December 4, 1983).
- Hunt v. Marchetti, 824 F.2d 916 (11th Cir. 1987). "Hunt was aware throughout discovery prior to the retrial that Liberty Lobby intended to make Hunt's location on the day of the Kennedy assassination an issue on retrial." Id. at 928.
- Hunt v. Marchetti, 824 F.2d 916 (11th Cir. 1987). "The jury on retrial rendered a verdict for Liberty Lobby. We affirm." Id. at 918.
- John McAdams, “Implausible Assertions”
- Isaacs, Jeremy (1997). Cold War: Howard Hunt interview excerpts and full transcript. CNN
- JFK Assassination a Hobo Hit?
- [The Mitrokhin Archive, pp. 293-297]
- [The Mitrokhin Archive, pp. 293-299]
- Vidal, Gore. (December 13, 1973) The Art and Arts of E. Howard Hunt. New York Review of Books
- Bardach, A.L. (October 6, 2004). Scavenger Hunt. slate.com
- Cigar Aficionado, November/December 2000
- Erik Hedegaard, "The Last Confession of E. Howard Hunt", Rolling Stone, April 5, 2007.
- Hunt, E. Howard. "Last". E. Howard Hunt - Testament. http://www.saintjohnhunt.com/testament.html. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
- Cabron, Lou (January 25, 2007), 20 Secrets of an Infamous Dead Spy. 10 Zen Monkeys
- Cornwell, Rupert (January 25, 2007). E. Howard Hunt obituary. The Independent
- Reed, Christopher (January 25, 2007). E Howard Hunt obituary. The Guardian
[edit | edit source]
- "Howard Hunt's Final Mission" — Review of American Spy by James Rosen in The Politico (February 7, 2007)
- "The Art and Arts of E. Howard Hunt" 1973 review by Gore Vidal in the New York Review of Books
- "Literary Agent" Review essay by Rachel Donadio in the New York Times Sunday Book Review (February 18, 2007)
- Obituary and bibliography of Hunt's novels
- E. Howard Hunt at the Internet Movie Database
- Video of Nixon discussing Hunt in the Watergate tapes
- Deposition for the House Select Committee on Assassinations (1978) — Released in 1996
- Hunt's Ties to JFK & Nixon (Dead Link)
- "Howard Hunt and the JFK Assassination" — Discussion of the 1978 Spotlight and Sunday News Journal articles
- "If This Is Hunt Are There Any Other Photos?" — Discussion of proposal identifying Hunt in photographs of Dealey Plaza
- E. Howard Hunt at Find a Grave