Fact check: Did Richard Nixon know Jack Ruby?

Who was ‘Jack Rubenstein of Chicago?’

Paul Hoch begs to differ with me on Roger Stone. I think Stone’s upcoming book on LBJ and JFK’s assassination should be taken seriously because of Stone’s contacts and experience. Hoch finds Stone to be an unreliable analyst who is prone to exaggeration.

Hoch cites one point of fact — about Richard Nixon and Jack Ruby — where he thinks Stone is misinformed. His argument, endorsed by Gary Mack of the Sixth Floor Museum, provides a useful test of Stone’s credibility.

I have tremendous respect for Paul Hoch, who knows the JFK case better than almost anyone and has taught me a great deal about bad evidence. But in this case, I think he his mistaken, and Stone is probably right.

Here’s why:

Hoch picked up on a comment Stone made to me in his interview with JFK Facts: “Nixon recognized Jack Ruby and knew him since 1947 as a ‘Johnson Man.’ Upon seeing Ruby kill Oswald on national TV Nixon recognized him — and understood what had really happened in Dallas.”

Hoch noted that this echoed something Stone had written on his Facebook page: “Nixon knew Jack Ruby, hired him on House payroll in 1947 at request of … Lyndon Johnson. Newly released documents prove it. In my upcoming book ‘The Man Who killed Kennedy: The Case against LBJ.’”

Hoch wondered about Stone’s source.

In a comment on Stone’s article, author Jean Davison noted that a “letter from Nixon mentioning a ’Jack Rubenstein’” has been around for a long time. The document in question is not exactly a letter, nor is it “from Nixon.” Rather, it is sworn statement, dated Nov. 24, 1947, from a staffer (identified only as ‘LS”) who asserts that “Jack Rubenstein of Chicago” was “performing information functions” for Nixon’s staff and should not be called to testify in open hearings by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Long ago, when Hoch was more conspiratorially minded than he is now, he wrote that he thought the letter was a forgery.

In 2006 Gary Buell posted a detailed commentary on questions about the document’s authenticity. One key point of dispute is the letterhead on the document that includes a five-digit Zip Code — a system not adopted until 1963.

“Even if it’s real,” Davison says, “the Jack Rubenstein mentioned is almost certainly a different person, a prominent member of the Young Communist League in the 1920s whose death was reported in the New York Times, July 8, 1989, p. 29. (“Jack Rubenstein, 81, Labor-union Official.”) This Jack Rubenstein helped organize a textile workers’ strike in New Jersey in 1926, when “our” Jack Ruby would’ve been 15. He later broke with the CP — which would explain why the Nixon letter says he was “a potential witness” for the HUAC.”

Davison says the 1947 memo refers to the communist Jack Rubenstein, not the Jack Rubenstein who changed his name to Jack Ruby. But the disputed memo refers to “Jack Rubenstein of Chicago,” which is where the Dallas Jack Ruby hailed from. The communist Jack Ruby was from New Jersey and there is no mention of Chicago in his obituary.

Gary Mack of the Sixth Floor museum endorses Davison’s view — that the document refers to the communist Jack Rubenstein, not the Jack Rubenstein changed his name to Jack Ruby. Mack says a Chicago newspaper reporter debunked the story that Nixon knew Ruby a long time ago. I’ve asked him to provide a copy of the debunking, and he says he will try to track it down.

Meanwhile, I asked Stone for comment.

:The document is not forged,” he said by email. “The zip code is on a cover-sheet that was attached in 1978 and copied atop the original document. I reviewed records from the Clerk of the House to determine this.”

Stone also said he has “a direct quote from Nixon who acknowledged in 1989 that his aide Murray Chotiner brought Ruby to him in 1947 and told him LBJ wanted Ruby hired as an informant for the House UnAmerican Activities Committee,” otherwise known as HUAC. At this point I think the preponderance of evidence favors Stone. That is to say, I think the document is a genuine HUAC record from 1947. Per Occam’s Razor, I think that the explanation that the more modern letterhead with the zip code was copied along atop the original document is a simpler, less conspiratorial explanation than forgery.

I also think that the note refers to Jack Rubenstein from Chicago who would change his last name to Ruby and who would change history by killing Lee Oswald. Unless Davison and Mack have some evidence that the communist Jack Rubenstein lived in Chicago in 1947, I doubt he is the person referenced in the note.

A more definitive pronouncement would be premature. The possibility of forgery cannot be ruled out until the original document can be located and examined. The newspaper article cited by Mack may also have important information.

The significance of the record is yet another issue. After all, so what if Congressman Richard Nixon had a passing acquaintance with Jack Ruby 16 years before the events of November 1963? Even if authentic, the document sheds no light on Stone’s more consequential allegation: that it was Congressman Lyndon Johnson who recommended Ruby to Nixon in 1947. To assess that claim we need to know more about what Murray Chotiner, a close aide to Nixon, said and when he said it.

To be continued:

Background:

On Roger Stone:
“Why Roger Stone’s JFK book has to be taken seriously.” (JFK Facts, June 25, 2013)

On a JFK discussion in the Nixon White House:
“H.R. Haldeman; ‘we would be in a position to get all the facts’”  (Dec. 19, 2012)
On Jack Ruby:
“Ex-flame says Jack Ruby ‘had no choice’ but to kill Oswald’” (JFK Facts, March 21, 2013)<

14 comments

  1. “That is to say, I think the document is a genuine HUAC record from 1947.” Even if that document is a complete and utter forgery, it is still possible that Roger Stone is faithfully relaying what Richard Nixon told him about Jack Ruby being an “LBJ man.”

    Furthermore, even if the infamous Rowley-McCone letter is an utter forgery, which I think it is, it does not mean that much of the information contained within it is not true. Oswald was US intelligence & very likely an FBI informer. He could very well have been both ONI and CIA operative. Certainly, Oswald was a fake defector.

    McCone to Rowley letter (a forgery): https://sites.google.com/site/knowability/OswaldCIA.jpg

    I have no doubt that false information was introduced into the JFK research community, especially in the early years when the cover up was most intense. The gameplan by US intelligence would be to introduce a phony document that can be easily exposed as a forgery in order to discredit the information in it (which very well might be true – i.e. Oswald being US intelligence).

    Sneaky, eh?

    • OJC says:

      Agreed. The conspirators never needed to pull off a completely air-tight cover-up. They only needed to create enough rabbit trails and question marks so that researchers would spend decades bickering with each other. If the CIA were involved, you would be dealing with people who are experts at covering their tracks. Not only was false evidence probably disseminated in the early years, but they’ve had fifty years to insert false evidence into the sealed documents using techniques that did not exist in the 60′s.

      • Gerry Simone says:

        I don’t think that all levels of the CIA were involved at the outset in the murder conspiracy, however, upper levels probably had to cover up their tracks after the fact.

        The execution of any conspiracy is not perfect when there are many uncontrollable variables, however, attempts were made to minimize exposure (like using Dealey Plaza as the kill zone).

        However, when the investigative agencies of the government are relied upon, they could cover the real truth to hide their failings or complicity.

    • Gerry Simone says:

      Absolutely and quite possible.

      Dis-information is a sneaky M.O. of the CIA.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Congrats, Jeff.

    You have found the Truth.

    Keep it up.

  3. EconWatcher says:

    Not sure I understand why this is “either/or”–that is, why the “Jack Rubenstein” that Nixon knew had to be either the former communist and union organizer, or the Jack Ruby who later became famous for shooting Oswald. Couldn’t he have been someone else entirely?

    Chicago has a large Jewish community, then and now. And while “Jack Rubenstein” may not be as ubiquitous as “John Smith,” I see no reason why there couldn’t have been several guys with that name from the Chicago area. Maybe I’m missing something.

  4. Phillip Dodge says:

    I believe Stone. He is relaying insider information only he had the clues to from his unique position with Nixon. Stone has no reason to “color” any facts here. I don’t think the Roger Stone that was a card carrying Republican would have written this book at all had he not recently left the party to become a Libertarian. I’m glad he is clearing the air on the greatest scandal in American history.

  5. steven f. amidon says:

    In reading Robert Caro’s 4th installment in his mammoth LBJ series, I am continually reminded of of the LBJ-FRK hatred and all the way through it seems clear that LBJ just has to become president. Then, just before the Dallas trip, the fraud charges against Bobby Baker and the day of the assassination the testimony at the senate hearings re LBJ’s involvement in the fraud, all which would have increased the likely hood LBJ would have not been VP Candidate again, in 1964, had JFK lived. (Testimony which did not see the light of day once JFK was killed, on orders of the committee, not of LBJ)

  6. Jimmy Z. says:

    So hold on 2 George Bush’s one a member of the CIA in 1963 and a different one (who admits to being in Dallas in 1963- but owns an oil company)that becomes the HEAD of the CIA in 1976???

    Two Jack Ruby’s- both from Chicago- one who is a communist with Union ties who’s an informant to Congressmen Nixon who later becomes President, and another who murders a person believed to have been guilty of murdering the President in 1963. Now the congressman who is only associated with the first Ruby, succeeds the man who takes over as President, who only becomes President as a result of the assassin who was murdered by the second Ruby?

    WOW- trying to untangle that is almost as hard to figure out as it is to figure out the last scene of the movie “Inception”!!

    What are the chances- ASTRONOMICAL at best.

    • Thames Chase says:

      Richard Nixon’s political career was created by the Dulles brothers and he should be viewed as their agent. During World War II, Nixon served in the Navy and helped him cover up documentary evidence that various clients of he and his brother (who were senior partners at Sullivan & Cromwell) collaborated with the Third Reich.

      Nixon was first elected to Congress in 1947, the year the CIA was formed. He was only 33 years old. His viciously anticommunist campaign was funded by Dulles. He and his wife were regular dinner guests of Dulles’ brother, and were also neighbors of Walter Bedell Smith, a man of German heritage who flew Hitler’s chief of eastern intelligence to the U.S. so that his fascist intelligence network could be salvaged by Washington, became the second CIA director. Dulles, of course, would be the third, beginning in 1953 and being forced to resign by President Kennedy. Two years later, as we all know, he became de facto head of the “investigation.” The year he became a member of Congress, he was taken on a tour across Germany by Dulles, who brought him to various underground fascist cells being supported by the U.S. intelligence services as “freedom fighters.”

      During his term in Congress, he helped draft the Taft-Hartley Act (viciously anti-labour) and was on a special committee that helped establish the European Recovery Program, which in actuality was all about salvaging as much of the fascist infrastructure in Axis nations as possible. He was a key figure in the framing of Alger Hiss as a member of the House Un-American Activities Committee, and during the case he frequently consulted with John Foster Dulles.

      Furthermore, Nixon became vice president through the efforts of, among others, Prescott and George Bush, who had close ties to him. In fact, they can also be seen as early supporters of his political career. George’s son, George W. Bush (President, 2001-2008) dated Nixon’s daughter. George W. Bush, George H.W Bush and Prescott Bush, as well as others in the family, are members of the Skull & Bones Society, a satanic-themed fraternity at Yale University that is involved in, among other things, mock human sacrifice (this is on tape) and sexual rites shrouded with death symbolism. Members are “reborn” in coffins like in the ancient mystery religions.

      The Bushes, of course, were close friends with and operatives of Averell and E. Roland Harriman, both of whom were also members of Skull & Bones, the latter having befriended Prescott through the fraternity. The Dulles brothers were lawyers for the Harriman brothers.

      The Harrimans relocated their major defense contractor, Dresser Industries (a CIA front), to Dallas and placed it under the presidency of H. Neil Mallon, yet another member of the Skull & Bones Society, in the fifties. However, Prescott, who served on the board, supervised his every move on behalf of the Harrimans. This was while their man, Nixon, was vice president. Mallon was a close family friend of the Tafts, the Bushes and the Harrimans. “Poppy” called him “Uncle Neil.” The men of the Taft family belonged to the Skull & Bones Society from generation after generation, the co-founder being Alphonso Taft.

  7. Winston Smith says:

    In response to OJC – I don’t think that LBJ being involved in the conspiracy and the CIA being behind it are mutually exclusive. I disagree completely with Joan Mellen on this and was disappointed in her Dallas presentation. She seemed to be saying that because the Mac Wallace fingerprint has (in her opinion) been debunked, we can therefore dismiss that LBJ was involved. She also said in an interview on Black Op Radio I think that the LBJ did it theory is disinfo put out to detract attention away from the CIA – the real culprits. I don’t think that is true and she didn’t explain her reasoning behind this view in Dallas satisfactorily to me. I believe the CIA were heavily involved but I also think LBJ had some role as well – I’m just not sure in my own mind yet what exactly that was. At the very least I think he had foreknowledge.

  8. J. Donais says:

    What has been discussed above is very informative. I always thought it was ironic that both the president and vice president were present in the same location at the same time. Having both leaders in one location was a potential nightmare because Johnson could have been hit as well. One question I hope someone can answer is: was the rifle recovered from the book depository dusted for finger prints?If so did they match Oswalds?

    • Tom says:

      Dusted for finger prints? Interesting how all the paraffin test talk kind of erased this question from my attention. Never occurred to me. Or else I assumed the fingerprinting was done as a matter of course with the paraffin tests. But in any case I’ve never heard anything about Oswald’s fingerprints on the rifle. One would assume they would have to be all over it.

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