This is an edited version of Howard Hunt’s much-touted “deathbed confession” about the assassination of JFK.
Hunt insinuates, without supporting evidence, that certain CIA officers and Lyndon Johnson were involved in the killing of President Kennedy.
On the one hand, Hunt, ringleader of the Watergate burglars, knew the underbelly of American power as well as anyone. What he says about November 22 is provocative, and not implausible.
On the other hand…
,,, “deathbed confession” is just so much hype.
Hunt was not on his deathbed in 2004; he died in 2007. He didn’t make this tape out of fear of extinction or a desire to “come clean.” He wanted to make amends with his estranged son, St. John, while not alienating his second family with whom he denied any JFK knowledge.
And Hunt doesn’t confess to much of anything. The tape could be billed, with equal accuracy, as a “deathbed contortion.”
Hunt says that he was “a benchwarmer” in “the Big Event,” his preferred euphemism for JFK’s assassination. He (sort of) suggests certain other CIA officers were somehow responsible for the “Big Event.” How? He never explains.
Some “murder confession.”
As I listen to this tape, there are times when I have the distinct impression that Hunt is trying hard NOT to confess, that he is dissembling, that he is a BS artist.
Which he was. Hunt was a scoundrel, convicted criminal, prolific liar, frank blackmailer, and (do I repeat myself?) a career undercover CIA officer.
He doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to veracity.
Especially because he does not provide any data to corroborate his story–no dates, times, or locations where the events he is talking about actually happened.
Since his claims cannot be confirmed, it is possible that hIs “confession” is mostly or entirely fictional.
Hunt’s story might just be truthful. A lot depends on what you think of Hunt.
Myself, I don’t trust anything he says unless it is corroborated by other sources.
I do think Hunt’s story has one element of truth: there was deadly animus toward President Kennedy among the CIA men in Miami in 1963.
The Mary Ferrell site has a useful backgrounder on Hunt’s (not quite) “deathbed confession.”
“The Ghost is the compulsively readable, often bizarre true-life story of American spymaster James Jesus Angleton – the CIA’s poetry-loving, orchid-gardening mole-hunter for almost 20 years. Capturing the extent of Angleton’s eccentricity, duplicity and alcohol-fueled paranoia would have challenged the writing skills of a Le Carre or Ludlum, and Jefferson Morley has done it with flair. This important book depicts the trail of wreckage left behind by Angleton in a CIA career that involved him in virtually every major spy-versus-spy drama of the Cold War and drew him deeply into the mysteries of the Kennedy assassination and the murder of one of JFK’s mistresses.”
—Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act
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