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News Archive - Mar 2009

Wecht Judge Questions Search Warrants

March 23, 2009: Federal District Judge Sean McLaughlin questioned prosecutors about the validity of the search warrants used to obtain files from the office of Dr. Cyril Wecht, whose case regarding alleged misuse of his coroner's office remains active after prosecutors have dropped many of the original charges. See a story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for more details.

New Book: ''The Grassy Knoll Witnesses''

March 13, 2009: A new book by Harry A. Yardum entitled The Grassy Knoll Witnesses is now available from AuthorHouse and on amazon.com. The book puts together in one place transcripts of interviews and summary information on more than two dozen witnesses who heard gunfire or saw activity on the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza during JFK's assassination. Some of these interviews have never before been published, including the full interview Mark Lane did with S.M. Holland: "...there was a fourth shot fired, and one of those shots came from behind that fence, and there is no doubt in my mind, and never will be because I was on the spot. I saw the smoke and heard the report from behind that fence..." The book also contains 28 crisp color photos of Dealey Plaza and other related materials.

Nixon-Helms Recordings Online

March 9, 2009: Now online at the Federation of American Scientists website are 10 recordings of President Nixon which include his CIA chief Richard Helms. These cover a wide range of foreign policy topics, including Nixon's attempts to get dirt on his predecessors, JFK in particular. An 8 Oct 1971 White House conversation (listen) with aide Ehrlichman, preceding a meeting with Helms, concerns Nixon's attempts to get an unwilling Helms to provide cables and documents regarding the Diem coup in Vietnam which took place 3 weeks before Kennedy's death. At one point Ehrlichman says "Supposing we get all the Diem stuff, and supposing there's something that we can really hang Teddy or the Kennedy clan with. I'm going to want to put that in Colson's hands, and we're gonna want to run with it."

Ehrlichman earlier says that Helms had given him a document on the Bay of Pigs, and notes that "the CIA was split down the middle by that Bay of Pigs thing. And when that comes out, a lot of guys who are still in CIA are gonna look stupid as hell." Was this use of the term "Bay of Pigs thing," which recurs later in an early post-Watergate call, an oblique reference to Castro assassination plots?

During more discussion of the Diem assassination and CIA withholding of materials from Nixon, Ehrlichman notes that "Helms is scared to death of this guy Hunt that we got working for us, because he knows where a lot of the bodies are buried."

The lengthy discussion Nixon had later that day with DCI Helms provides a fascinating window on the contest between Nixon's demand that "the President must know everything" with the CIA's desire to protect past Presidents and its own institutional perogatives.

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