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News Archive - Jan 2007

Howard Hunt Dies at 88

Jan 24, 2007: Howard Hunt, in the news recently because of an upcoming memoir, died yesterday. He was 88. His New York Times obituary reviews some of Hunt's lengthy CIA career - Hunt was involved in the 1954 Guatemala coup, played a role in the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, and most famously was part of the Watergate affair which brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon. Hunt was accused of being in Dallas during the JFK assassination in an article written by Victor Marchetti and published by the Liberty Lobby - Hunt's lawsuit over that article resulted in a legal battle recounted in Mark Lane's Plausible Denial.

George Smathers Dies at 93

Jan 22, 2007: Former Florida Senator George Smathers, colleague and friend of John F. Kennedy, died on January 20 at the age of 93. Smathers was an advocate for attention and dollars devoted to Latin America, and was an early opponent of Castro. In 1975, he told the Church Committee in 1975 about a discussion he had with JFK concerning the possible assassination of Castro, and also about the idea of faking an attack on Guantanamo Bay as a pretext for sending troops into Cuba. Smathers supported many Democratic causes of the 1960s, but was generally an opponent of civil rights legislation. A friend of Richard Nixon as well as Kennedy, Smathers sold Nixon a house on Key Biscayne after Nixon resigned from the Presidency.

Howard Hunt Says LBJ is Prime Suspect

Jan 15, 2007: Former CIA spy and convicted Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt has written a memoir entitled American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate & Beyond, due out in March. According to an article in the New York Post, Hunt says that Lyndon Johnson is a prime suspect in the JFK assassination: "Having Kennedy liquidated, thus elevating himself to the presidency without having to work for it himself, could have been a very tempting and logical move on Johnson's part." The Post account's brief excerpts appear to be all speculation devoid of details or previously-unknown information, and those who suspect the CIA's involvement in the JFK murder may see this as Hunt's last laugh on the affair. Hunt, 88, is well-known for his hatred of the Kennedys; during the Watergate affair Hunt's safe was drilled open and found to contain fabricated telegrams linking Kennedy with the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem (see boxes 7 and 8 in this NARA list). In the famous "smoking gun tape", President Nixon enlisted his aide Bob Haldeman to have a talk with CIA Director Richard Helms, and obtain Helms' intervention with the FBI investigation of the Watergate affair. Nixon told Haldeman: "we protected Helms from one hell of a lot of things" and said of Hunt: "Of course, this is a, this is a Hunt, you will-that will uncover a lot of things. You open that scab there's a hell of a lot of things..." (see transcript)

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