Cartha (Deke) DeLoach, the son of Cartha Calhoun DeLoach, was born in Claxton, Georgia, on 20th July, 1920. His father died in 1930 and “left the family in a whole lot of debt”. According to relatives, DeLoach worked in cotton fields to help his mother pay the bills. A talented sportsman he went to Stetson University in Florida, on a football scholarship.
DeLoach joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1942 as a clerk in the Identification Division. In 1948 DeLoach replaced John Doherty as FBI's liaison officer to the Central Intelligence Agency. His main source of contact was Sheffield Edwards. According to Mark Riebling (Wedge) DeLoach had to persuade Frank Wisner to stop some of the CIA more outlandish operations. Riebling quotes Deloach as saying: "Guys, you can't do that. Your operation just won't work, it's gonna blow. People suspect you. They know damn well you're not defense. You aren't properly backstopped."
In 1953 J. Edgar Hoover asked DeLoach to join the American Legion to "straighten it out". According to the journalist, Sanford J. Ungar, he took the assignment so seriously that he became national vice-commander of the organization: "DeLoach became chairman of the Legion's national public relations commission in 1958 and in that position and in his other Legion offices over the years, he exercised a great deal of influence over the organization's internal policies as well as its public positions."
Deke DeLoach became friends with Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1950s. It was DeLoach who arranged with Johnson, who was the Senate majority leader, to push through legislation guaranteeing J. Edgar Hoover, a salary for life. DeLoach later recalled: “There was political distrust between the two of them, but they both needed each other." However, he denied that the two men worked together to blackmail politicians. In his book, Hoover's FBI (1995), DeLoach argued: "The popular myth, fostered of late by would-be historians and sensationalists with their eyes on the bestseller list, has it that in his day J. Edgar Hoover all but ran Washington, using dirty tricks to intimidate congressmen and presidents, and phone taps, bugs, and informants to build secret files with which to blackmail lawmakers." According to DeLoach this was not true.
Ronald Kessler, the author of The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI (2002) has suggested that DeLoach was involved in blackmailing Senator Carl T. Hayden, chair of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, into following the instructions of Hoover. J. Edgar Hoover. In April 1962, Roy L. Elson, Hayden's administrative assistant, questioned Hayden's decision to approve the $60 million cost of the FBI building. When he discovered what Elson was saying, DeLoach "hinted" that he had "information that was unflattering and detrimental to my marital situation... I was certainly vulnerable that way... There was more than one girl... The implication was there was information about my sex life... I interpreted it as attempted blackmail."
FBI Special Agent Arthur Murtagh also testified that DeLoach was involved in the blackmail of politicians on government committees. He claimed that DeLoach told him: "The other night, we picked up a siuation where this senator was seen drunk, in a hit-and-run accident, and some good-looking broad was with him. We got the information, reported it in a memorandum, and by noon the next day, the senator was aware that we had the information, and we never had trouble with him on appropriations since."
The day following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson, called J. Edgar Hoover and requested that DeLoach be assigned to the White House. DeLoach was involved in the investigation of the assassination of Kennedy. In one memo sent to Clyde Tolson, DeLoach claimed that Johnson "felt the CIA had something to do with the plot" to kill Kennedy. According to David Talbot, DeLoach "dismissed the president's dark mutterings as simply his efforts to reassure himself that the Warren Report was correct." Richard Helms added: "I didn't know whether (Johnson's conspiracy talk) was just like the fly fisherman flick over the water to see if he has any takers, or whether he really believed it."
DeLoach claimed in an interview with Michael L. Gillette on 1st November, 1991, that President Johnson had asked him if the CIA or Fidel Castro were behind the assassination of Kennedy: "I told him no, that the investigation had been very thorough, that the Warren Commission had confirmed the conclusions of the FBI, that there was no conspiracy involved and that Lee Harvey Oswald - and Oswald alone did it, and the matter should rest. But the President wanted to make certain that he had done everything to make sure that the proper conclusions, or the right conclusions, the truthful conclusions, were found and the record should be established. That's why he was adamant that, even though Mr. Hoover and I were against it, that the Warren Commission should be established, and that there should be both Democrats and Republicans on the Warren Commission, and that they have access to all FBI reports. He wanted the whole matter to be examined most thoroughly. And they did. But the Warren Commission was the President's idea."
William C. Sullivan argued in The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI (1979): "Since Johnson felt he had to protect himself against any last minute surprises from the Kennedy camp, he turned to the FBI for help. He asked Hoover for a special security team of a dozen or so agents to be headed by Cartha D. ("Deke") DeLoach, Courtney Evans's successor to the job of White House liaison. Ostensibly the agents would be there to guard against threats to the president, but this security force was actually a surveillance team, a continuation of the FBI's surveillance on Martin Luther King in Atlantic City. By keeping track of King, LBJ could also keep track of RFK. With the help of the FBI, Johnson spied on Teddy Kennedy during a trip Kennedy made to Italy."
In an interview DeLoach gave in 1991 he claimed: "Mr. Hoover was anxious to retain his job and to stay on as director. He knew that the best way for the F.B.I. to operate fully and to get some cooperation of the White House was for him to be cooperative with President Johnson... President Johnson, on the other hand, knew of Mr. Hoover’s image in the United States, particularly among the middle-of-the-road conservative elements, and knew it was vast. He knew of the potential strength of the F.B.I. - insofar as being of assistance to the government and the White House is concerned. As a result it was a marriage, not altogether of necessity, but it was a definite friendship caused by necessity.”
William C. Sullivan pointed out that by 1964 Deloach was a "member of Johnson's inner circle... and had a direct line to LBJ's White House". This included providing information from FBI files on Barry Goldwater during the presidential campaign of 1964. Tim Weiner, the author of Enemies: A History of the F.B.I. (2012) has argued: “DeLoach was always at L.B.J.’s beck and call, night and day... He was a talented political hatchet man, a trusted deputy to Hoover. He was also crucial to intelligence investigations conducted during the Johnson presidency.”
In 1965 DeLoach was promoted to deputy director of the FBI. He held this position until he resigned in 1970 to work for Donald M. Kendall, who was a close friend of Lyndon B. Johnson. Later he worked in banking in South Carolina. In 1995, he published a memoir, Hoover's FBI: The Inside Story by Hoover's Trusted Lieutenant. In a 2007 DeLoach argued: “In my humble opinion, despite the good job the F.B.I. has done, it has not received anywhere near sufficient credit for doing all the tremendous investigative work, all the sacrifice, the labor, the blood, the sweat, the tears, to put it proverbially, that we have done. We have not been given credit.”
Cartha (Deke) DeLoach died aged 92 on 13th March, 2013.