Murder on the Towpath: Soledad O’Brien’s Podcast on Mary Meyer

Mary Pinchot Meyer
Mary Pinchot Meyer, painter.

I’ll be tuning into this re-examination of the Mary Meyer case, not for the conspiracy theories (which I don’t find convincing) but for the details of the case that emerged at the trial of her alleged (and acquitted) assailant.

The best book about Meyer is Nina Burleigh’s “A Very Private Woman,” a journalistic biography. The most intimate glimpse of her is Peter Janney’s memoir “Mary’s Mosaic.” I’m not sure what more there is to be learned about the case. O’Brien promises a slightly different take.

In “Murder on the Towpath,” O’Brien delves deeper into the unsolved mystery of Meyer’s death by shifting focus away from all the conspiracy theories and to the women at the heart of this story. Meyer is one, of course, and the other is Dovey Johnson Roundtree, the trailblazing civil rights attorney who successfully defended Meyer’s accused killer and got him acquitted.

Source: The Unsolved Murder of JFK’s Mistress Mary Pinchot Meyer – Soledad O’Brien Podcast Murder on the Towpath

3 thoughts on “Murder on the Towpath: Soledad O’Brien’s Podcast on Mary Meyer”

  1. Richard F Turnbull

    I think it is misleading to conflate the actions of several CIA-connected scientists in this outrageous possible murder with “the CIA,” as if it acts as a monolith, which is a huge part of the problem with having a highly compartmentalized spy agency operating domestically in the first place.
    Compare E. Howard Hunt’s various “alibis” with respect to his exact whereabouts on November 22, 1963: no one has ever credibly asserted that Hunt’s alleged role in the JFK assassination was “cleared at the highest levels of the CIA beforehand,” while it would make far more sense to argue that by the same token, the highest Agency officials (Helms and James Jesus Angleton, to name two) participated in repeated attempts to stymie congressional investigations into the assassination, including about E. Howard Hunt.

  2. Insight into the death of Mary Meyer can be gained perhaps from ‘Wormwood’, the 2017 Netflix six-part limited TV series about the 1953 death of scientist and CIA employee Frank Olson.
    The sixth and final episode features Seymour Hersh and his personal and otherwise undocumented investigation into the role of the CIA in Olson’s death, undertaken by Hersh on behalf of Olson’s son, Eric.
    Hersh offers a relatively clear explanation of the possibility that the Agency sometimes executes American civilians and their rationale when doing so.
    Hersh’s commentary is delivered with thinly-veiled evasiveness appropriate to his choice not to betray his source as well his very serious obligation not to reveal intelligence sources and methods.
    If one finds Hersh credible in his suggestion that Olson was assassinated as a threat to disclose state secrets, then it becomes much more possible to consider scenarios where Mary Meyer may have met a similar fate based on similar reasoning.

    1. “Wormwood” is a disturbing six-episode docudrama directed by Errol Morris chronicling the CIA’s infamous MKULTRA projects, and specifically the 1953 murder of U.S. Army scientist Frank Olson… Wise, you hit the nail on the head regarding what Seymour Hersh implicates in his “Wormwood” interview. He dodged and equivocated, but you did a good job of reading between the lines.

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