JFK Most Wanted: the Howard Hunt files

Howard Hunt

E. Howard Hunt, CIA officer

E. Howard Hunt was a career CIA officer known for his prolific prose and conservative politics. In 1961, he was a leader of the CIA’s failed effort to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Embittered by what he regarded as President Kennedy’s failure to support the invasion, Hunt wrote a book “Give Us This Day,” in which castigated JFK’s Cuba policy as “shame-faced.”

Was Hunt involved in a JFK assassination conspiracy?

His son St. John Hunt thought so. But the question cannot be answered definitively because the CIA retains six files containing 332 pages of material on Hunt, according to the National Archives’ online JFK data base,

Here’s what’s known about Hunt in 1963. He served as chief of the Domestic Contacts Division of the CIA in Washington. He was close to David Phillips who knew about Lee Oswald’s visit to Mexico City in October 1963. He was not questioned by the Warren Commission.
In June 1972, Hunt became famous in 1972 when he was arrested for running a burglary team breaking into the offices of the Democratic Party in the Watergate office complex in Washington. Hunt and the burglars were paid and apparently directed by President Richard Nixon and his aides.
In the resulting Watergate scandal, Hunt all but blackmailed the CIA by threatening to talk in court about what he described as “numerous highly Illegal conspiracies” in which he had participated.

Late in life Hunt made cryptic remarks to St. John Hunt about a possible CIA plot to kill JFK in 1963, which he called “the Big Event.”

Hunt’s comments to his son can be heard on YouTube,

Hunt was a convicted burglar and an all-round scoundrel so his comments about JFK have to be regarded skeptically.

JFK Most Wanted List

(The most important government records related to JFK’s assassination that remain secret)

1) The Bill Harvey files (April 29, 2014)

2) The David Phillips operational files (May 6, 2014)

3) The Yuri Nosenko interrogation files (May 13, 2014)

4) 84 NSA documents related to JFK’s assassination (May 22, 2014)

5) The Church Committee assassination transcripts (May 31, 2014)

36 comments

  1. Arnaldo M. Fernandez says:

    Anything from an operative like Howard Hunt can only be accepted with caution and healthy skepticism. According to Erik Hedegaard, who wrote “The Last Confession of E. Howard Hunt” for Rolling Stone Magazine on April 2, 2007, Howard gave Saint two sheets of paper that contained a fuller narrative. It starts with LBJ connected to Cord Meyer, and then goes on: “Cord Meyer discusses a plot with [David Atlee] Phillips who brings in [William] Harvey and Antonio Veciana. He meets with Oswald in Mexico City… Then Veciana meets with Frank Sturgis in Miami and enlists David Morales in anticipation of killing JFK there. But LBJ changes itinerary to Dallas, citing personal reasons.” Hunt wrote more than 70 works of fiction. His confession can be easily added to the list, but his retained files could also shed light on the issue.

    • Gerry Simone says:

      It has been suggested that the original version of Hunt’s Big Event account included more definitive information (if not his complicity), but what was published was conjecture in nature and in the third person, for Hunt to avoid a perjury charge.

  2. Jeff Pascal says:

    One of our better JFK Authors could write a very good book on important people connected to the Assassination who have told completely different stories about it publicly, privately, and in sworn testimony. Hunt would certainly be at the top of the list. I suppose in the final analysis what matters is if any of the people mentioned by Hunt were actually involved in the Assassination? When Hunt’s deathbed confession came out that was before Mary’s Mosaic was released and from reading it, I don’t see how anyone can completely eliminate Cord Meyer as a suspect. All the people Hunt says were involved had a big personal motive, from LBJ on down, never seen anything linking Antonio Veciana to the JFK murder though.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Morley, maybe another segment could be about article first published in The Spotlight in 1978, Mark Lane Esq. and the appeal trial (1985)in Miami where Mr. Hunt wasn’t believed by the jury about his whereabouts on 22 November 1963. (Actually the jury was asked to believe several variations of where Hunt was during the assassination weekend). All that including how the MSM failed to report the 1985 appeal, the House Assassinations Committee and ultimately in 1992 Mark Lane’s best selling book..Plausible Denial would make an excellent segment. Thanks…

    • John McAdams says:

      Lane intentionally mislead readers, claiming the jury accepted his conspiracy theories.

      Most of the jurors insisted that Lane’s conspiracy stuff was so much dross.

      The case turned on actual malice.

      http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/denial.htm

      • JSA says:

        So, John, you don’t think CIA intentionally misled anyone about the JFK assassination?
        http://www.realhistoryarchives.com/collections/assassinations/jfk/cia-inst.htm

        The idea that CIA would never deceive the public just doesn’t pass the stink test.
        It’s like ASSUMING the tobacco industry would be forthcoming about nicotine addiction, or that the coal and oil industries would be forthcoming about anthropogenic global warming.

        • John McAdams says:

          What you just posted is entirely irrelevant to the point of my post.

          Is your argument, “all sorts of people lie, so it’s OK for Lane to lie?”

          I cite statements from the jurors that say that all Lane’s conspiracy nonsense had nothing to do with the verdict.

          It turned on the doctrine of “actual malice.”

          • R. Andrew KIel says:

            Mark Lane has done more to provide truth to the study of the JFK murder than most researchers. Some of his theories ( ex. Marita Lorenz) might be wrong but I don’t believe they are intentional lies.

            He interviewed Tippit murder witnesses Aquiila Clemons & Warren Reynolds, RR workers Richard Dodd & James Simmons just to name a few who otherwise would have been ignored. He could have used their testimony (and many others) if he had been allowed to serve as Lee Oswald’s defense attorney as Oswld’s mother had asked him to before the Warren Commission.

            The Rockefeller Commisssion states
            that “it cannot be determined with certainty where Hunt & Sturgis were on the day of the assassination”. Hunt also admitted during the Liberty Lobby case in 1981 that he had to “remind” his three children(ages 14,13,10) that he was watching tv with them all weekend & that he could not have been in Dallas on Novemebr 22, 1963 or anywhere else for that matter.

            If his children were with him all weekend there would have been no need to remind them of “the fact”. The Rockefeller Commission appears to be correct – we don’t really know where he was & John McAdams cannot change that.

          • Jean Davison says:

            R. Andrew,

            Are you by chance quoting Plausible Denial when you say: “The Rockefeller Commission states that ‘it cannot be determined with certainty where Hunt & Sturgis were on the day of the assassination’”?

            I ask because the very next sentence reads, “However, no credible evidence was found which would contradict their testimony that they were in Washington, D.C,, and Miami, Florida, respectively.”

            As I remember, Lane quoted the Rockefeller Commission but didn’t mention that two of Hunt’s children told the RC that Hunt was in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 22:

            http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=930&relPageId=265

            His books typically omit the parts that are inconvenient to his theories.

  4. Ronnie Wayne says:

    I believe Angleton said to Helms in a memo something to the effect of “We never did establish an alibi for Hunt being in dallas on 11/22/63″.

    • Gerry Simone says:

      If I recall correctly what I read in Plausible Denial or in some article, not even Hunt’s children could confirm if his dad was home in Washington (or wherever he lived at the time in the northeast USA).

      • John McAdams says:

        Actually, he was pretty clearly in Washington, DC.

        But you can’t know that if you only read Mark Lane.

        http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/hunt_sturgis.htm

        • Mike says:

          Mr McAdams, I would like to know your explanation for Hunt’s deathbed confessions to his son. Did he have some kind of axe to grind with Bill Harvey and David Morales? Why didn’t he throw in Dulles and Angleton into the story? Oh, I know, you’ll probably say that this was just a ruse to keep the CT’s going for a few more decades, huh?

          • John McAdams says:

            If you actually listen to Hunt (via YouTube) you’ll see that he doesn’t really confess to anything.

            He is asked a bunch of leading and tendentious questions by St. John, and goes along with them by making vague comments.

            The “confession” is actually a product of St. John, and now Howard.

        • Michael Hogan says:

          From the piece referenced by John McAdams:

          “It cannot be determined with certainty where Hunt and Sturgis actually were on the day of the assassination. However, no credible evidence was found which would contradict their testimony that they were in Washington, D.C., and Miami, Florida, respectively.”

          Also:

          “In examining the charge that Hunt and Sturgis were together in Dallas on the day of the assassination, the investigators were handicapped by the fact that the allegation was first made in 1974, more than ten years after the assassination. Evidence which might have been available at an earlier time was no longer available. Contacts with relatives, friends, neighbors or fellow employees (who might have known of the whereabouts of Hunt and Sturgis on that particular day) could not be recalled. Some of these persons are now dead. Finally, records which might have been the source of relevant information no longer exist.”

          • John McAdams says:

            You’ve failed to mention the fact that several witnesses put Hunt in DC on the day of the assassination.

            And no evidence puts him in Dallas.

            Unless you think he was one of the tramps. Do you?

        • Gerry Simone says:

          I’m talking about Hunt’s kids, not Hunt himself.

          I believe Lane persuaded the jury that Hunt was lying about his stated whereabouts on November 22, 1963.

  5. Jordan says:

    I for one take EHH’s relating of the story to be extremely plausible, especially since it provides information that was not exatcly common knowledge. Further, the lines that can be drawn between the characters as described by EHH appear to be procedurally and logically unassailable.

    I believe it was an attempt to bare his soul while he still had the opportunity.

  6. Gerry Simone says:

    Two anecdotes about E. Howard Hunt.

    I recall reading a post on McAdams’ newsgroup by someone who, by chance, sat next to Hunt on a plane. Hunt chastised authors of JFK conspiracy books as merely out to make a buck (perhaps the disinformationist at work here, as he later wrote his own book).

    A respected researcher from my town (now retired and who wishes to remain anonymous) vacationed in Florida and took a pic outside his home but didn’t have the nerve to knock on Hunt’s front door to talk to him.

    Personally, I believe Hunt knew a lot (if he wasn’t the bag man).

  7. Ronnie Wayne says:

    I’ve seen that profile before somewhere. ! He looks like George C Scott in the Flim Flam Man ! A con man and a Watergate burglar, what a coincidence.
    Then you throw in that “whole bay of pigs thing”.
    Where might the spider web lead?
    Who knows until we FREETHEFILES.

  8. Stephen Roy says:

    Hunt was not the “chief of the Domestic Contacts Division” in 1963. He was the Chief of Covert Action for the Domestic Operations Division. He wasn’t questioned by the Warren Commission because they didn’t know he existed, and because he had no known connection with JFK’s assassination.

    Even knowing what we know today, you would be hard-pressed to find a seasoned investigator of the JFK assassination who would regard Hunt’s files as “the most important government records related to JFK’s assassination.”

    • Ronny Wayne says:

      Stephen, first I respect your knowledge of the subject from reading your informative and relevant comments on the on the Edu. forum. Glad to see you post here too.
      I still think Hunt’s files could be relevant to the big picture. I know there are bigger fish to fry. Even if he was possibly a “pay off” guy I wouldn’t think he was involved in the planning, organization or operation. However, given his roles in Guatemala, the BOP then Watergate their could potentially be something of importance in the 332 pages Jeff mentions. As he was used as a dangle I imagine the files are sanitized and don’t anticipate any smoking gun. But there could be a link in there connecting the bigger fish. I’d rather see those of Phillips, Morales and Harvey to name but three but like them nobody knows what’s there until they are all released.
      Mr. Simkins bio. on Hunt is one of the most extensive on his site.
      http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKhuntH.htm?menu=JFKindex

      • Stephen Roy says:

        Thanks for the kind words!

        I think the JFK case case needs to be researched responsibly, with theories held to the same standards of proof as the WC theory and, most important, it needs to be researched from the center-outward. In other words, we can’t just start with a list of JFK’s opponents and try to connect them with the crime; The connection to the crime comes FIRST, then move outward from the center.

        I can’t see any evidence that connects Howard Hunt with the crime at all. I never say never, but Hunt would not be rated as one of the top suspects in the case. Hard righty, yes. Upset about the BoP, yes. Connected to the assassination??

  9. Allen Lowe says:

    read the Lane trial transcripts; no credible witness places Hunt in Washington on November 22; not even Hunt’s kids saw him.

    But if John McAdams saw him or has documentation of his presence in DC – and I don’t mean just friends and associates of Hunt – I mean receipts, pictures, signatures on time sheets or other date and time-stamped material – and not merely hearsay – let us see it, please.

    • Ronnie Wayne says:

      He was at a Asian food market that had been torn down or never existed if I remember right. The real question is why did he lie about this?

    • Jean Davison says:

      Are the “Lane trial transcripts” available somewhere? Or only Lane’s misleading version in Plausible Denial?

      Two of Hunt’s children told the Rockefeller Commission that he was in Washington on 11/22:

      http://www.history-matters.com/archive/church/rockcomm/html/Rockefeller_0133a.htm

    • John McAdams says:

      no credible witness places Hunt in Washington on November 22;

      But several witnesses did. Lane simply declares them not credible.

      Why? Because they say thing that are inconvenient for Lane.

      Hunt’s kids were too young to remember.

      What evidence do you have that Hunt was in Dallas.

      Lane used Marita Lorenz. Want to hang you hat on her?

      • Gerry Simone says:

        .John, at the end of the day, the jury didn’t believe Hunt.

        • John McAdams says:

          No, at the end of the day, the jury didn’t believe that “actual malice” was involved.

          What would be necessary to get you to actually read this page?

          http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/denial.htm

          It quotes what the jurors actually said.

          Do you just flatly refuse to read any source that doesn’t support your conspiracy views?

          • Gerry Simone says:

            Sorry but I don’t read every link posted in a thread, unless it appears near my comments or put to me like you have now.

            And with respect, I don’t automatically read links to your website based on my prior experience, which tells me that your website is biased (I would rather read independent sources).

            However, I’ve read your link here.

            The primer at the beginning that explains the workings of trial lawyers could apply to even Vincent Bugliosi, and make him out to be equally impartial or dubious.

            This doesn’t stop you from later castigating Lane for omitting certain aspects of the Rockefeller Commission, but why didn’t Hunt’s lawyers come to his rescue if it proved he had convincing alibis? That’s not the defending attorney’s job.

            I also had to chuckle on that bit about Sturgis and others denying Marita Lorenz’ charges (what do we expect these nefarious characters to do, lol?).

            As for Actual Malice not being demonstrated by Hunt (or Absence of Malice), it is still significant because it means that on a balance of probabilities, in the eyes of the jury, the Liberty Lobby didn’t publish anything that they honestly felt was untrue.

            In other words, it was more likely than not, that Hunt could have been a conspirator OR was lying about his whereabouts on November 22, 1963.

            Although the verdict did not establish that Hunt was not a conspirator, it was not a criminal trial in the first place.

            (Perhaps as somewhat of an analogy, the civil suit against O.J. Simpson found him liable for wrongful death, which impugns his innocence).

          • John McAdams says:

            why didn’t Hunt’s lawyers come to his rescue if it proved he had convincing alibis?

            You don’t know they didn’t. You just accept whatever Lane says.

            The jury didn’t care about Lane’s conspiracy theories. They based their verdict on the doctrine of “actual malice.”

            I quote several contemporary news accounts of the jurors saying that.

            But you don’t like to hear that, so you’ll believe Lane.

        • mball says:

          The jury did their job. That was to determine if there was intentional malice or reckless disregard for the truth. They followed the judge’s instructions. It looks like they listened to the Lane material in re the assassination conspiracy and then kept it out of their deliberation.

          • Gerry Simone says:

            Absolutely.

            The jury’s finding of NO actual malice means that the conspiracy lore published had some foundation in fact & was possibly true.

          • Mball says:

            Actually, I believe that it means what it says: the jury found that there was no intentional malice intended when the article was written. They were apparently split on the weight of the assassination evidence. IMO, Lane is not truly a credible source. His value was publicizing some mistakes by the WC that needed to be answered. I think his crticism then was valid. His latest book is a waste of time.

  10. 2007 Rolling Stone article on E. Howard Hunt entitled “The Last Confessions of E. Howard Hunt” in which longtime CIA officer E. Howard Hunt indicts both Lyndon Johnson and the CIA in the JFK assassination: http://relay4thetruth.blogspot.com/2007/10/last-confessions-of-e-howard-hunt.html

    “One of the things he [my father, E. Howard Hunt] liked to say around the house was ‘let’s finish the job — let’s hit Ted [Kennedy].’”
    -
    -Saint John Hunt (the son of E. Howard Hunt), interviewed on The Alex Jones Show, 14 May 2007

  11. mball says:

    Didn’t Lamar Waldron say that Hunt was in D.C on the 22nd, attending a meeting in re what he called C Day – the coup that was supposed to happen at that time in Cuba? I believe that it was Harry Williams’ recollection. Apparently Hunt and McCord were both working with Williams on the Cuba business. That may be why Hunt wasn’t convincing about where he was and what he was doing on the 22nd.

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