Frank Fiorini (Sturgis) was born in Norfolk, Virginia, on 9th December, 1924. Six years later his family moved to Philadelphia. In 1942 Sturgis joined the United States Marines and during the Second World War served in the Pacific.
After the war Sturgis attended the Virginia Polytechnic Institute before joining the Norfolk Police Department. In 1948 he became the manager of the Whitehorse Tavern. He also served in the U.S. Army (1950-52). This was followed by a spell as the owner-manager of Top Hat Nightclub in Virginia Beach.
In 1956 Sturgis moved to Cuba. He also spent time in Mexico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and Honduras. In 1958 he made contact with the Central Intelligence Agency at the US Consulate in Santiago. Over the next few years he worked as an undercover agent for the agency. His control officer was Sam Jenis.
Sturgis also became involved in gunrunning to Cuba. On 30th July, 1958, Sturgis was arrested for illegal possession of arms. However, he was released without charge. There is some evidence that in 1959 Sturgis had contact with Lewis McWillie, the manager of the Tropicana Casino.
After Fidel Castro gained control of Cuba, Sturgis formed the Anti-Communist Brigade. In his book, Counter-Revolutionary Agent, Hans Tanner claims that the organization was "being financed by dispossessed hotel and gambling owners" who operated under Fulgencio Batista.
Sturgis became involved with Marita Lorenz, who was having an affair with Fidel Castro. In January 1960, Sturgis and Lorenz took part in a failed attempt to poison Castro. It is also believed that Sturgis was involved in helping the CIA organize the Bay of Pigs invasion.
Sturgis was also a member of Operation 40. He later explained: "this assassination group (Operation 40) would upon orders, naturally, assassinate either members of the military or the political parties of the foreign country that you were going to infiltrate, and if necessary some of your own members who were suspected of being foreign agents... We were concentrating strictly in Cuba at that particular time. Actually, they were operating out of Mexico, too."
On 19th December 1961, the Border Patrol in Miami reported that Sturgis/Fiorini was involved in a CIA operation that was trying to overthroe Fidel Castro. An investigation carried out by the FBI suggested the operation was being financed by Sergio Rojas.
Alexander Irwin Rorke, who was closely associated with Sturgis/Fiorini was interviewed by the FBI on 22nd June 1962. According to the agent: "In connection with the flights over Cuba, Rorke stated that Fiorini does not pilot the planes and acts for the most part as a co-pilot. The planes are rented in the United States and flown to bases outside the United States such as the Bahamas. In making the contract for the rental of the planes, usually someone other than Fiorini signs the contract, although Fiorini is in contact with local CIA agents in Miami relative to the details of the flight. Rorke stated that Fiorini has instructions that on these flights, if he is arrested or stopped, he is to notify the officers that they should telephone a number which is the number of the CIA office in the Miami area. Fiorini has also been informed, according to Rorke, that if anyone arrests him, CIA will get him out."
According to the FBI agent: "Rorke went on to argue that he could not understand why the Bureau was interested now in the activities of Fiorini as all of Fiorini’s actions are fully known to CIA in Miami and there should be a record of his activities on file with CIA in Washington, D.C. Rorke stated he knows for a fact that Fiorini has not done anything on his own and that whatever he has done in the past he has done on instructions from CIA... Rorke advised that in the event Fiorini would be arrested for his anti-Castro activities, he, Rorke, having good connections with a well-known newspaper chain, will make plenty of trouble for those involved."
Alexander Irwin Rorke claimed that their contact man was "Commander Anderson of the United States Navy, who is assigned to CIA overt office in New York". This claim is supported by a declassified CIA memo's from Anderson to Robert Trumbull Crowley on 9th January 1961: "Alex Rorke phoned from Miami to report that personnel in Varona group and other groups in process joining Dr. Bosch - Commander (of) Diego Party. According (to) Rorke, Frank Fiorini has been power behind scene."
In an article published in the Florida Sun Sentinel on 4th December, 1963, Jim Buchanan claimed that Sturgis had met Lee Harvey Oswald in Miami shortly before the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Buchanan claimed that Oswald had tried to infiltrate the Anti-Communist Brigade. When he was questioned by the FBI about this story, Sturgis claimed that Buchanan had misquoted him regarding his comments about Oswald.
Another CIA document that was declassified in 1993 makes it clear that Fiorini/Sturgis was a paid operative of the agency. The document dated 9th February, 1975, has the subject heading: "Telephone Call from John Dean". The memo is signed JRS and is for the attention of General Vernon Walters, Deputy Director of the CIA at that time. The memo includes the following: "I discussed these matters with Bill Colby, who indicated that Sturgis has not been on the payroll for a number of years and that whatever his allegations about the Chilean Embassy, the Agency has no connection at all."
According to a memo sent by L. Patrick Gray, Director of the FBI, to H. R. Haldeman in 1972: "Sources in Miami say he (Sturgis) is now associated with organized crime activities". In his book, Assassination of JFK (1977), Bernard Fensterwald claims that Sturgis was heavily involved with the Mafia, particularly with Santos Trafficante and Meyer Lansky in Florida.
On 17th June, 1972, Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barkerand James W. McCord were arrested while removing electronic devices from the Democratic Party campaign offices in an apartment block called Watergate. The phone number of E.Howard Hunt was found in address books of the burglars. Reporters were now able to link the break-in to the White House. Bob Woodward, a reporter working for the Washington Post was told by a friend who was employed by the government, that senior aides of President Richard Nixon, had paid the burglars to obtain information about its political opponents.
On 15th January, 1973, Sturgis, E.Howard Hunt, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker, Gordon Liddy and James W. McCord were convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping and sentenced to a one-to-four year sentence.
Sturgis served his time in Danbury Prison. While in prison Sturgis gave an interview to the journalist Andrew St. George. He told St. George: "I will never leave this jail alive if what we discussed about Watergate does not remain a secret between us. If you attempt to publish what I've told you, I am a dead man."
Sturgis was released from prison on appeal bond in January 1974. The article by Andrew St. George was published in True Magazine seven months later. Sturgis claims that the Watergate burglars had been instructed to find a particular document in the Democratic Party offices. This was a "secret memorandum from the Castro government" that included details of CIA covert actions. Sturgis said "that the Castro government suspected the CIA did not tell the whole truth about this operations even to American political leaders".
After leaving prison Sturgis worked as a salesman in Miami for the Heavy Equipment Company (1974), Dodge Repairs (1974-75), Continental Egg Corporation (1975) and Miami Book Company (1975-76).
In 1976 Sturgis gave a series of interviews where he claimed that the assassination of John F. Kennedy had been organized by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. According to Sturgis, Lee Harvey Oswald had been working in America as a Cuban agent.
In November, 1977, Marita Lorenz gave an interview to the New York Daily News in which she claimed that a group called Operation 40, that included Sturgis and Lee Harvey Oswald, were involved in a conspiracy to kill both John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro.
In August, 1978, Victor Marchetti published an article about the assassination of John F. Kennedy in the liberty Lobby newspaper, Spotlight. In the article Marchetti argued that the House Special Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) had obtained a 1966 CIA memo that revealed Sturgis, E. Howard Hunt and Gerry Patrick Hemming had been involved in the plot to kill Kennedy. Marchetti's article also included a story that Marita Lorenz had provided information on this plot. Later that month Joseph Trento and Jacquie Powers wrote a similar story for the Sunday News Journal.
The HSCA did not publish this CIA memo linking its agents to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Hunt now decided to take legal action against the Liberty Lobby and in December, 1981, he was awarded $650,000 in damages. Liberty Lobby appealed to the United States Court of Appeals. It was claimed that Hunt's attorney, Ellis Rubin, had offered a clearly erroneous instruction as to the law of defamation. The three-judge panel agreed and the case was retried. This time Mark Lane defended the Liberty Lobby against Hunt's action.
Lane eventually discovered Marchettis sources. The main source was William Corson. It also emerged that Marchetti had also consulted James Angleton and Alan J. Weberman before publishing the article. As a result of obtaining of getting depositions from David Atlee Phillips, Richard Helms, G. Gordon Liddy, Stansfield Turner and Marita Lorenz, plus a skillful cross-examination by Lane of E. Howard Hunt, the jury decided in January, 1995, that Marchetti had not been guilty of libel when he suggested that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated by people working for the CIA.
Marita Lorenz also testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations where she claimed that Sturgis had been one of the gunmen who fired on John F. Kennedy in Dallas. Sturgis testified that he had been engaged in various "adventures" relating to Cuba which he believed to have been organized and financed by the CIA.
Sturgis denied that he had been involved in the assassination of Kennedy. Sturgis testified that he was in Miami throughout the day of the assassination, and his testimony was supported by that of his wife and a nephew of his wife. The committee dismissed Lorenz's testimony, as they were unable to find any other evidence to support it.
Frank Sturgis died on 4th December, 1993.
In January 2004, E. Howard Hunt gave a taped interview with his son, Saint John Hunt, claiming that Lyndon Baines Johnson was the instigator of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and that it was organised by Sturgis, Cord Meyer, David Atlee Phillips and David Sanchez Morales.
Press reported on 12/19/61 that two planes from unidentified Caribbean base had flown over Cuba on 12/17/61 and had dropped over 250,000 anti-Castro leaflets and two parachutists with radio equipment…
On 12/21/61 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Headquarters advised it was financing Sergio Rojas, former Cuban Ambassador to Great Britain, who was engaged in this type of anti-Castro propaganda activity and that Rojas could have engineered the 12/17/61 leaflet-dropping without CIA cognizance since CIA does not oversee his detailed activities…
On 12/19/61 Border Patrol, Miami, which has been keeping close watch on Florida-Cuba flights, advised our Miami Office that the 10/21/61 flight was apparently CIA operation. Border Patrol identified the participants and planes involved and stated that planes were flown from island in Bahamas to Cuba. It is noted one of the participants was Frank Fiorini, former Castro follower engaged in anti-Castro activities who, in October, 1959, participated in anti-Castro leaflet-dropping raid over Cuba with Pedro Diaz Lanz, former chief of Cuban Air Force. This raid received considerable press coverage and was thoroughly investigated by us.
Border Patrol further advised that another leaflet drop from the Bahamas had been scheduled for 12/8/61 by Fiorini and his associates. However, this was not carried out apparently because of arrest of member of group by Bahamas authorities for illegal entry. Fiorini’s group claimed proposed leaflet drop had been authorized and sponsored by CIA in New York. Border Patrol learned that CIA had furnished the leaflets; however, CIA stated it did not know if it had sponsored the proposed flight but thought that it had. In this connection, Border Patrol noted that one CIA group does not know what the other is doing with result there is considerable confusion.
Border Patrol, in addition, advised it believed the 12/17/61 flight had also been sponsored by CIA and that it had been made by Fiorini and his associates in some planes they used in 10/21/61 flight. Border Patrol doubted that any radio operators had parachuted into Cuba.
It appears foregoing flights were financed by CIA and we are conducting no investigation. It also appears that CIA is giving money to Rojas to carry out these flights, as he sees fit and that CIA is unaware of and does not want to know the details. In this way CIA can in theory claim it was not involved in the flights and did not know they were scheduled.
Alexander Irwin Rorke, Jr., who has been closely associated with Frank Fiorini for the past two years, was interviewed on 6/22/62 concerning instant matter...
Rorke advised that on the last leaflet-dropping flight over Cuba, he was with Fiorini and that one of the two planes they used were lost, and the pilots of this lost plane were identified as Bob Swannee of Mississippi and Bob Thompson of Melbourne, Florida. Rorke stated that this leaflet-dropping operation was entirely supported by the CIA.
In connection with the flights over Cuba, Rorke stated that Fiorini does not pilot the planes and acts for the most part as a co-pilot. The planes are rented in the United States and flown to bases outside the United States such as the Bahamas. In making the contract for the rental of the planes, usually someone other than Fiorini signs the contract, although Fiorini is in contact with local CIA agents in Miami relative to the details of the flight. Rorke stated that Fiorini has instructions that on these flights, if he is arrested or stopped, he is to notify the officers that they should telephone a number which is the number of the CIA office in the Miami area. Fiorini has also been informed, according to Rorke, that if anyone arrests him, CIA will get him out. Rorke identified the CIA contact in Miami as one “Barker”. Rorke stated that he did not know whether this was an assumed name or the individual’s real name.
Rorke advised that he could not understand why the Bureau was interested now in the activities of Fiorini as all of Fiorini’s actions are fully known to CIA in Miami and there should be a record of his activities on file with CIA in Washington, D.C. Rorke stated he knows for a fact that Fiorini has not done anything on his own and that whatever he has done in the past he has done on instructions from CIA…
Rorke advised that he originally made contact with CIA regarding Fiorini and recommended the use by CIA of Fiorini and his group. Rorke identified Commander Anderson of the United States Navy, who is assigned to CIA overt office in New York, as his original contact. He further advised that additional contacts had been made in Washington, D. C. and activities of Fiorini and his group had been discussed through intermediaries with Colonel King and Deke James of CIA headquarters, Washington, D.C….
Rorke advised that in the event Fiorini would be arrested for his anti-Castro activities, he, Rorke, having good connections with a well-known newspaper chain, will make plenty of trouble for those involved.
For the information of the Bureau, the newspaper chain, will make plenty of trouble for those involved.
Frank Anthony Fiorini, also known as Fred Frank Fiorini, Attila F. Sturgis, Anthony Sturgis and Edward Joseph Hamilton, was arrested on July 30, 1958 for illegal possession of arms in Florida. Prosecution was declined concerning the matter. Sources in the Miami area report he is a "soldier of fortune" and allegedly was a gunrunner to Cuba prior to the Castro regime. Sources in Miami say he is now associated with organized crime activities, the details of which are not available.
Marita Lorenz told the New York Daily News that her companions on the car trip from Miami to Dallas were Oswald, CIA contact agent Frank Sturgis, Cuban exile leaders Orlando Bosch and Pedro Diaz Lanz, and two Cuban brothers whose names she did not know. She said that they were members of Operation 40, a secret guerilla group originally formed by the CIA in 1960 in preparation for the Bay of Pigs invasion... Ms. Lorenz described Operation 40 as an "assassination squad" consisting of about 30 anti-Castro Cubans and their American advisors. She claimed the group conspired to kill Cuban Premier Fidel Castro and President Kennedy, whom it blamed for the Bay of Pigs fiasco... She said Oswald... visited an Operation 40 training camp in the Florida Everglades. The next time she saw him, Ms. Lorenz said, was... in the Miami home of Orlando Bosch, who is now in a Venezuelan prison on murder charges in connection with the explosion and crash of a Cuban jetliner that killed 73 persons last year. Ms. Lorenz claimed that this meeting was attended by Sturgis, Oswald, Bosch and Diaz Lanz, former Chief of the Cuban Air Force. She said the men spread Dallas street maps on a table and studied them... She said they left for Dallas in two cars soon after the meeting. They took turns driving, she said, and the 1,300-mile trip took about two days. She added that they carried weapons - "rifles and scopes" - in the cars... Sturgis reportedly recruited Ms. Lorenz for the CIA in 1959 while she was living with Castro in Havana. She later fled Cuba but returned on two secret missions. The first was to steal papers from Castro's suite in the Havana Hilton; the second mission was to kill him with a poison capsule, but it dissolved while concealed in ajar of cold cream. Informed of her story, Sturgis told the News yesterday: "To the best of my knowledge, I never met Oswald."
A few months ago, in March, there was a meeting at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., the plush home of America's super spooks overlooking the Potomac River. It was attended by several high-level clandestine officers and some former top officials of the agency. The topic of discussion was: What to do about recent revelations associating President Kennedy's accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, with the spy game played between the U.S. and the USSR? (Spotlight, May 8, 1978.) A decision was made, and a course of action determined. They were calculated to both fascinate and confuse the public by staging a clever "limited hangout" when the House Special Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) holds its open hearings, beginning later this month.
A "limited hangout" is spy jargon for a favorite and frequently used gimmick of the clandestine professionals. When their veil of secrecy is shredded and they can no longer rely on a phony cover story to misinform the public, they resort to admitting - sometimes even volunteering some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case. The public, however, is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further.We will probably never find out who masterminded the assassination of JFK - or why. There are too many powerful special interests connected with the conspiracy for the truth to come out even now, 15 years after the murder.
But during the next two months, according to sensitive sources in the CIA and on HSCA, we are going to learn much more about the crime. The new disclosures will be sensational, but only superficially so. A few of the lesser villains involved in the conspiracy and its subsequent coverup will be identified for the first time - and allowed to twist slowly in the wind on live network TV. Most of the others to be fingered are already dead.But once again the good folks of middle America will be hoodwinked by the government and its allies in the establishment news media. In fact, we are being set up to witness yet another coverup, albeit a sophisticated one, designed by the CIA with the assistance of the FBI and the blessing of the Carter administration.
A classic example of a limited hangout is how the CIA has handled and manipulated the Church Committee's investigation of two years ago. The committee learned nothing more about the assassinations of foreign leaders, illicit drug programs, or the penetration of the news media than the CIA allowed it to discover. And this is precisely what the CIA is out to accomplish through HSCA with regard to JFK's murder.
Chief among those to be exposed by the new investigation will be E. Howard Hunt, of Watergate fame. His luck has run out, and the CIA has decided to sacrifice him to: protect its clandestine services. The agency is furious with Hunt for having dragged it publicly into the Nixon mess and for having blackmailed it after he was arrested.
Besides, Hunt is vulnerable - an easy target as they say in the spy business. His reputation and integrity have been destroyed. The death of his wife, Dorothy, in a mysterious plane crash in Chicago still disturbs many people, especially since there were rumors from informed sources that she was about to leave him and perhaps even turn on him. In addition it is well known that Hunt hated JFK and blamed him for the Bay of Pigs disaster. And now, in recent months, his alibi for his whereabouts on the day of the shooting has come unstuck.In the public hearings, the CIA will "admit" that Hunt was involved in the conspiracy to kill Kennedy. The CIA may go so far as to "admit" that there were three gunmen shooting at Kennedy. The FBI, while publicly embracing the Warren Commission's "one man acting alone" conclusion, has always privately known that there were three gunmen. The conspiracy involved many more people than the ones who actually fired at Kennedy, both agencies may now admit.
A.J. Weberman and Michael Canfield, authors of Coup d'Etat in America, published pictures of three apparent bums who were arrested at Dealy Plaza just after President Kennedy's murder, but who were strangely released without any record of the arrest having been made by the Dallas police. One of the tramps the authors identified as Hunt. Another was Frank Sturgis, a long time agent of Hunt's.Hunt immediately sued for millions of dollars in damages, claiming he could prove that he had been in Washington D.C. that day-on duty at CIA. It turned out, however, that this was not true. So, he said that he had been on leave and doing household errands, including a shopping trip to a grocery store in Chinatown.Weberman and Canfield investigated the new alibi and found that the grocery store where Hunt claimed to be shopping never existed. At this point, Hunt offered to drop his suit for a token payment of one dollar. But the authors were determined to vindicate themselves, and they continued to attack Hunt's alibi, ultimately completely shattering it.Now, the CIA moved to finger Hunt and tie him to the JFK assassination. HSCA unexpectedly received an internal CIA memorandum a few weeks ago that the agency just happened to stumble across in its old files. It was dated 1966 and said in essence: Some day we will have to explain Hunt's presence in Dallas on November 22, 1963 - the day President Kennedy was killed. Hunt is going to be hard put to explain this memo, and other things, before the TV cameras at the HSCA hearings.Hunt's reputation as a strident fanatical anti-communist will count against him. So will his long and close relationship with the anti-Castro Cubans, as well as his penchant for clandestine dirty tricks and his various capers while one of Nixon's plumbers. E. Howard Hunt will be implicated in the conspiracy and he will not dare to speak out-the CIA will see to that. In addition to Hunt and Sturgis, another former CIA agent marked for exposure is Gerry Patrick Hemming, a hulk of a man-six feet eight inches tall and weighing 260 pounds. Like Sturgis, Hemming once worked for Castro as a CIA double agent, then later surfaced with the anti-Castro Cubans in various attempts to rid Cuba of the communist dictator. But there are two things in Hemming's past that the CIA, manipulation HSCA, will be able to use to tie him to the JFK assassination. First, Castro's former mistress, Marita Lorenz (now an anti-Castroite herself), has identified Hemming, along with Oswald and others as being part of the secret squad assigned to kill President Kennedy. And secondly, Hemming was Oswald's Marine sergeant when he was stationed at CIA's U-2 base in Atsugi, Japan-where Oswald supposedly was recruited as a spy by the Soviets, or was being trained to be a double agent by the CIA.In any event, Hemming's Cuban career and his connection with Oswald make the Lorenz story difficult for him to deny, particularly since the squad allegedly also included Hunt and Sturgis.Who else will be identified as having been part of the conspiracy and/or coverup remains to be seen. But a disturbing pattern is already beginning to emerge. All the villains have been previously disgraced in one way or another. They all have "right wing" reputations. Or they will have after the hearings.
Howard Hunt, close associate of David Atlee Phillips, with whom he worked in the both the CIA's Guatemalan campaign of 1954 and the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. Hunt would later be arrested for his role in the Watergate affair. In one of Hunt's libel suits, one Marita Lorenz gave sworn testimony that Lee Harvey Oswald, American mercenaries Frank Sturgis and Gerry Patrick Hemming, and Cuban exiles including Orlando Bosch, Pedro Diaz Lanz, and the brothers Guillermo and Ignacio Novo Sampol, had met one November midnight in 1963 at the Miami home of Orlando Bosch and had studied Dallas street maps. She also swore that she and Sturgis were at that time in the employ of the CIA and that they received payment from Howard Hunt under the name "Eduardo," They arrived in Dallas on 21 November 1963, and stayed at a motel, where the group met Howard Hunt. Hunt stayed for about forty-five minutes and at one point handed an envelope of cash to Sturgis. About an hour after Hunt left, Jack Ruby came to the door. Lorenz says that this was the first time she had seen Ruby. By this time, she said, it was early evening. In her testimony, Lorenz identified herself and her fellow passengers as members of Operation Forty, the CIA-directed assassination team formed in 1960 in preparation for the Bay of Pigs invasion. She described her role as that of a "decoy."
A character like Frank Sturgis illustrates some of the dilemmas in investigating the Kennedy assassination: He can't be ignored. He is, by his own admission, a prime suspect. He had the ability and the motivation and was associated with individuals and groups who considered - and even employed - assassination as a method to achieve their goals. Any investigation would have to devote some time and resources to Sturgis. But there were other, similar characters who injected themselves into the investigation and drained time and resources far beyond any valid justification. In some of those cases, I thought I caught a glimpse of an intelligence connection and, in one, there was something more: A force deliberately manipulating the investigation into turns so weird and wild I sometimes wondered if what I was doing was serious reality or if I had been lured into a carnival and thrown onto the loop-the-loop.
Q: Did David Atlee Phillips ever recruit Frank Sturgis at any time for any job? If Yes what job or use was Sturgis to Phillips?
A: I've got no indication that Phillips ever worked with Sturgis. And knowing this, what sticks in my mind, whenever I would bring up Phillips' name to Sturgis, Sturgis would go ballistic in terms of how much he hated Phillips. Absolutely wild in terms of his reaction to anything, any mention of David Phillips at all. He [said he] "hated the son-of-a-bitch". And the reason he said he hated him was because Phillips claimed that Sturgis never had anything to do at all with the CIA. And that made me suspicious about that connection. Veciana said that at one point, Maurice Bishop asked him to sit, or go to a meeting, monitor an operation that Sturgis was involved in called Cellula Fantasma. And Veciana did and reported back to Bishop about what was happening. I believe it was a ..... there are all kinds of reports now exactly what it was. When I asked Sturgis about it, I think he told me it was a leaflet dropping mission. There were indications that it may have been something other than that also. But that's the only connection I could come up with between Phillips and Sturgis.
Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis said yesterday the CIA planned the break-in because high officials felt the then-President Nixon was becoming too powerful and was overly interested in the assassination of President Kennedy.
Sturgis also said he believes "Deep Throat" - a major source for Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward - was Robert Bennett, a partner in a CIA-front public relations firm in Washington. Bennett, a son of former Senator Wallace Bennett (Rep-Utah), is employed by the Summa Corp., part of the empire of the late Howard Hughes. Hughes was a major client of Mullen Corp., Bennett's old firm.
Sturgis was convicted in the break-in at Democratic headquarters. He said Bennett - on orders from then-CIA Director Richard Helms - was fed information by Alexander Haig, Nixon's chief of staff; Alexander Butterfield, who disclosed the existence of Nixon's taping system; and Watergate burglar Howard Hunt.
We Cubans have never stopped fighting for the liberation of our country. I have personally carried out over 350 missions to Cuba for the CIA. Some of the people I infiltrated there were caught and tortured, and some of them talked.
My mother and father were not allowed to leave Cuba. It would have been easy for me to get them out. That was my specialty. But my bosses in the Company - the CIA - said I might get caught and tortured, and if I talked I might jeopardize other operations. So my mother and father died in Cuba. That is how orders go. I follow the orders.
I can't help seeing the whole Watergate affair as a repetition of the Bay of Pigs. The invasion was a fiasco for the United States and a tragedy for the Cubans. All of the agencies of the U.S. government were involved, and they carried out their plans in so ill a manner that everyone landed in the hands of Castro - like a present.
Eduardo was a name that all of us who had participated in the Bay of Pigs knew well. He had been the maximum representative of the Kennedy administration to our people in Miami. He occupied a special place in our hearts because of a letter he had written to his chief Cuban aide and my lifelong friend, Bernard Barker. He had identified himself in his letter with the pain of the Cubans, and he blamed the Kennedy administration for not supporting us on the beaches of the Bay of Pigs.
So when Barker told me that Eduardo was coming to town and that he wanted to meet me, that was like a hope for me. He had chosen to meet us at the Bay of Pigs monument, where we commemorate our dead, on April 16, 1971, the tenth anniversary of the invasion. I always go to the monument on that day, but that year I had another purpose - to meet Eduardo, the famous Eduardo, in person.
He was different from all the other men I had met in the Company. He looked more like a politician than a man who was fighting for freedom. He was there with his pipe, relaxing in front of the memorial, and Barker introduced me. I then learned his name for the first time - Howard Hunt.
There was something strange about this man. His tan, you know, is not the tan of a man who is in the sun. His motions are very meticulous--the way he smokes his pipe, the way he looks at you and smiles. He knows how to make you happy--he's very warm, but at the same time you can sense that he does not go all into you or you all into him. We went to a Cuban restaurant for lunch and right away Eduardo told us that he had retired from the CIA in 1971 and was working for Mullen and Company.1 I knew just what he was saying. I was also officially retired from the Company. Two years before, my case officer had gathered all the men in my Company unit and handed us envelopes with retirement announcements inside. But mine was a blank paper. Afterward he explained to me that I would stop making my boat missions to Cuba but I would continue my work with the Company. He said I should become an American citizen and soon I would be given a new assignment. Not even Barker knew that I was still working with the Company. But I was quite certain that day that Eduardo knew.
We talked about the liberation of Cuba, and he assured us that "the whole thing is not over." Then he started inquiring: "What is Manolo doing?" Manolo was the leader of the Bay of Pigs operation. "What is Roman doing?" Roman was the other leader. He said he wanted to meet with the old people. It was a good sign. We did not think he had come to Miami for nothing.
Generally I talk to my CIA case officer at least twice a week and maybe on the phone another two times. I told him right away that Eduardo was back in town, and that I had had lunch with him. Any time anyone from the CIA was in town my CO always asked me what he was doing. But he didn't ask me anything about Eduardo, which was strange. That was in April. In the middle of July, Eduardo wrote to Barker to tell him he was in the White House as a counselor to the President. He sent a number of memos to us on White House stationery, and that was very impressive, you know. So I went back to my CO and said to him, "Hey, Eduardo is still in contact with us, and now he is a counselor of the President."
A few days later my CO told me that the Company had no information on Eduardo except that he was not working in the White House. Well, imagine! I knew Eduardo was in the White House. What it meant to me was that Eduardo was above them and either they weren't supposed to know what he was doing or they didn't want me to talk about him anymore. Knowing how these people act, I knew I had to be careful. So I said, well, let me keep my mouth shut.
Not long after this, Eduardo told Barker there was a job, a national security job dealing with a traitor of this country who had given papers to the Russian Embassy. He said they were forming a group with the CIA, the FBI, and all the agencies, and that it was to be directed from within the White House, with jurisdiction to operate where all the others did not fit. Barker said Eduardo needed two more individuals and he had thought of me. Would I like my name submitted for clearance? I said yes.
To me this was a great honor. I believed it was the result of my sacrifice for the previous ten years, for my work with the Company. In that time I had carried out hundreds of missions for the U.S. government. All of them had been covert, and most were very dangerous. Three or four days later, Barker told me my name had been cleared and several weeks after that came the first assignment. "Get clothes for two or three days and be ready tomorrow," he said. "We're leaving for the operation."
Barker didn't tell me where we were going and I did not ask. I was an operative. I couldn't afford to be aware of any more sensitive information than was critical for the success of my missions. There would be times when I would take men wearing hoods to Cuba. They might have been my friends. But I did not want to know. Too many of my friends have been caught and tortured and forced to talk. In this kind of work you learn to lose your curiosity.
So it was not until I got to the airport in Miami that I discovered we were going to Los Angeles. There were three of us on the mission. The third man, Felipe de Diego, was a real-estate partner of ours. He is an old Company man and a Bay of Pigs veteran whom we knew we could trust.
In all my years in this country I had never been out of the Miami area before that day. I had always been on twenty-four-hour call. I kind of expected my CO to ask where I was going, but he simply said it was fine for me to take a few days off, that there wasn't much to do at the time. I sort of thought he did not want to know what I was doing.
We stayed at the Beverly Hills Hotel and met in Eduardo's room for our only briefing. As we walked in I noticed the equipment - devices to modify the voice, wigs and fake glasses, false identification. Eduardo told us all these things belonged to the Company. Barker recognized the name on Hunt's false identification - Edward J. Hamilton - as the same cover name Eduardo had used during the Bay of Pigs.
The briefing was not like anything I was used to in the Company. Ordinarily, before an operation, you have a briefing and then you train for the operation. You try to find a place that looks similar and you train in disguise and with the code you are going to use. You try out the plan many times so that later you have the elasticity to abort the operation if the conditions are not ideal.
Eduardo's briefing was not like this. There wasn't a written plan, not even any mention of what to do if something went wrong. There was just the man talking about the thing. We were to get into an office to take photographs of psychiatric records of a traitor. I was to be the photographer. The next day we went to Sears and bought some little hats and uniforms for Barker and Felipe. They were supposed to dress up as delivery men and deliver the photographic equipment inside the office. Later that night we would break in and complete the mission.
They looked kind of queerish when they put on the clothes, the Peter Lorre-type glasses, and the funny Dita Beard wigs. But that was not my responsibility, so I waited in the car while they went to the office of Dr. Fielding to deliver the package. Just before leaving Barker had whispered to me: "Hey, remember this name - Ellsberg." Eduardo had told him the name, and he told me because he was worried he would forget it. The name meant nothing to me.
Barker and Felipe were supposed to put the bag inside the office, unlatch the back door, and come out. After the cleaning lady left, we were to go back in. Now, it happened that we had to wait for hours and hours because no one had figured out when the cleaning woman would leave. Finally, I believe, a gentleman came in a car and picked her up.
So at last we went to open the door - and what happened? The door was locked. Barker went around to see if the other door was open, and after a long wait he still did not show up. We didn't know what to do. There had been another man in the briefing the night before in Eduardo's room who hadn't said anything. Later, I learned it was probably Gordon Liddy, but at the time I only knew him as George. Just at that moment, he came up to us and said, "Okay, you people go ahead and force one of the windows and go in."
Eduardo had given us a small crowbar and a glass cutter. I tried to cut the glass, but it wouldn't cut. It was bad, bad. It would not cut anything! So then I taped the window and I hit it with this very small crowbar, and I put my hand in and unlocked the window.
According to the police, we were using gloves and didn't leave any fingerprints. But I'm afraid that I did because I didn't wear my gloves when I put the tape on the window - you know, sometimes it's hard to use gloves. I went all through the offices with my bare hands but I used my handkerchief to wipe off the prints.
Inside the doctor's office we covered the windows and took out the equipment. Really, it was a joke. They had given us a rope to bail out from the second floor if anyone surprised us; it was so small, it couldn't have supported any of us.
This was nothing new. It's what the Company did in the Bay of Pigs when they gave us old ships, old planes, old weapons. They explained that if you were caught in one of those operations with commercial weapons that you could buy anywhere, you could be said to be on your own. They teach you that they are going to disavow you. The Company teaches you to accept those things as the efficient way to work. And we were grateful. Otherwise we wouldn't have had any help at all. In this operation it seemed obvious - they didn't want it to be traced back to the White House. Eduardo told us that if we were caught, we should say we were addicts looking for drugs.
I had just set up the photographic equipment when we heard a noise. We were afraid. Then we heard Barker's familiar knock and we let him in. I took a Polaroid picture of the office before we started looking for the Ellsberg papers so we could put everything back just as it was before. But there was nothing of Ellsberg's there. There was nothing about psychiatry, no one file of sick people, only bills. It looked like an import-export office more than a psychiatrist's. The only thing with the name of Ellsberg in it was the doctor's telephone book. I took a photo of this so that we could bring something back. Before leaving I took some pills from Dr. Fielding's briefcase--vitamin C, I think--and spread them all over the floor to make it look like we were looking for drugs. Eduardo was waiting for us outside. He was supposed to be keeping watch on Dr. Fielding so he could let us know if the doctor was returning to his office, but Eduardo had lost Dr. Fielding and he was nervous. A police car appeared as we drove away and it trailed behind us for three or four blocks. I thought to myself that the police car was protecting us. That is the feeling you have when you are doing operations for the government. You think that every step has been taken to protect you.
Back at the hotel, Barker, Felipe, and I felt very bad. It was our first opportunity, and we had failed; we hadn't found anything. "Yes, I know, but they don't know it," Eduardo said, and he congratulated us all. He said, "Well done," and then he opened a bottle of champagne. And he told us, "This is a celebration. You deserve it."
I told Diego and Barker that this had to have been a training mission for a very important mission to come or else it was a cover operation. I thought to myself that maybe these people already had the papers of Ellsberg. Maybe Dr. Fielding had given them out and for ethical reasons he needed to be covered. It seemed that these people already had what we were looking for because no one invites you to have champagne and is happy when you fail.
The whole thing was strange, but Eduardo was happy so we were happy. He thanked us and we left for the airport. We took the plane back to Miami and we never talked about this thing until we were all together in the District of Columbia jail. In Miami I again told my CO about Eduardo. I was certain then that the Company knew about his activities. But once again my CO did not pursue the subject.
Meanwhile, Hunt started to do more and more things that convinced us of his important position in the White House. Once he called Barker and told him the President was about to mine Haiphong Harbor. He asked us to prepare letters and a rally of support in advance. It was very impressive to us when the announcement of the mining was made several days later.
I made a point of telling my CO at our next meeting that Hunt was involved in some operations and that he was in the White House, even if they said he wasn't. After that the CIA chief of the Western Hemisphere asked me for breakfast at Howard Johnson's on Biscayne Boulevard, and he said he was interested in finding out about Howard Hunt's activities. He wanted me to write a report. He said I should write it in my own hand, in Spanish, and give it to my CO in a sealed envelope. Right away I went to see my CO. We are very close, my CO and I, and he told me that his father had once given him the advice that he should never put anything in writing that might do him any harm in the future. So I just wrote a cover story for the whole thing. I said that Hunt was in the Mullen Company and the White House and things like that that weren't important. What I really thought was that Hunt was checking to see if I could be trusted.
Little by little I watched Eduardo's operation grow. First Barker was given $89,000 in checks from Mexican banks to cash for operational money. And then Eduardo told Barker to recruit three more men, including a key man. He signed up Frank Sturgis and Reinaldo Pico, and then Eduardo flew down to talk to our friend Virgilio Gonzales, who is a locksmith, before recruiting him. Finally orders come for us to report to Washington. The six of us arrived in Washington on May 22 and checked into the Manger Hay-Adams Hotel in time for Eduardo's first briefing.
By that time Liddy, whom we had known as George from the Fielding break-in, was taking a visible role in the planning. Eduardo had started calling him "Daddy," and the two men seemed almost inseparable. We met McCord there for the first time. Eduardo said he was an old man from the CIA who used to do electronic jobs for the CIA and the FBI. We did not know his whole name. Eduardo just introduced him as Jimmy. He said we would be using walkie-talkies, and Jimmy was to be our electronics expert. There was also a boy there who had infiltrated the McGovern headquarters.
There was no mention of Watergate at that meeting. Eduardo told us he had information that Castro and other foreign governments were giving money to McGovern, and we were going to find the evidence. The boy was going to help them break into the McGovern headquarters, but I did not pay much attention. They didn't need me for that operation so I had some free time.
During the day I went off to see the different sights around Washington. I like those things--particularly the John Paul Jones monument and the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Remember that, prior to this, all of my operations for the United States were maritime. After three days Eduardo aborted the McGovern operation. I think it was because the boy got scared. Anyway, Eduardo told us all to move into the Watergate Hotel to prepare for another operation. We brought briefcases and things like that to look elegant. We registered as members of the Ameritus Corporation of Miami, and then we met in Eduardo's room.
Believe me, it was an improvised briefing. Eduardo told us he had information that Castro money was coming into the Democratic headquarters, not McGovern's, and that we were going to try to find the evidence there. Throughout the briefing, McCord, Liddy, and Eduardo would keep interrupting each other, saying, "Well, this way is better," or, "That should be the other way around."
It was not a very definite plan that was finally agreed upon, but you are not too critical of things when you think that people over you know what they are doing, when they are really professionals like Howard Hunt. The plan called for us to hold a banquet for the Ameritus Corporation in a private dining room of the Watergate. The room had access to the elevators that ran up to the sixth floor where the Democratic National Committee Headquarters are located. Once the meal was underway, Eduardo was to show films and we were to take the elevator to the sixth floor and complete the mission. Gonzales, our key man, was to open the door; Sturgis, Pico, and Felipe were to be lookouts; Barker was to get the documents; I was to take the photographs and Jimmy (McCord) was to do his job.
We were all ready to go, but the people in the DNC worked late. Eduardo was drinking lots of milk. He has ulcers, so he was mixing his whiskey with the milk. We waited and waited. Finally, at 2:00 a.m., the night guards said we had to leave the banquet hall. So then there was a discussion. Eduardo said he would hide in the closet of the banquet room with Gonzales, the key man, while the guard let the rest of us out. As soon as the coast was clear, they would let us back in. But then they couldn't open the door. It is difficult for me to tell you this story. I do not want it to become a laughing matter. More than thirty people are in jail already, and a lot of people are suffering. I spent more than fifteen months in jail, and you must understand that this is a tragedy. It is not funny. But you can imagine Eduardo, the head of the mission, in the closet. He did not sleep the whole night. It was really a disaster.
So, more briefings, and we decided to go the next night. This time the plan was to wait until all the lights had gone out on the sixth floor of the Watergate and then go in through the front door.
They gave us briefcases, and I remember that there was a Customs tag hanging on Eduardo's case, so I pulled it off for him. He got real mad. He said that every time he did something he did it with a purpose. I could not see the purpose, but then I don't know. Maybe the tag had an open sesame command to let us in the doors.
Anyway, all seven of us in McCord's army walked up to the Watergate complex at midnight. McCord rang the bell, and a policeman came and let us in. We all signed the book, and McCord told the man we were going to the Federal Reserve office on the eighth floor. It all seemed funny to me. Eight men going to work at midnight. Imagine, we sat there talking to the police. Then we went up to the eighth floor, walked down to the sixth--and do you believe it, we couldn't open that door, and we had to cancel the operation.
I don't believe it has ever been told before, but all the time while we were working on the door, McCord would be going to the eighth floor. It is still a mystery to me what he was doing there. At 2:00 a.m. I went up to tell him about our problems, and there I saw him talking to two guards. What happened? I thought. Have we been caught? No, he knew the guards. So I did not ask questions, but I thought maybe McCord was working there. It was the only thing that made sense. He was the one who led us to the place and it would not have made sense for us to have rooms at the Watergate and go on this operation if there was not someone there on the inside. Anyway, I joined the group, and pretty soon we picked up our briefcases and walked out the front door.
Eduardo was furious that Gonzales hadn't been able to open the door. Gonzales explained he didn't have the proper equipment, so Eduardo told him to fly back to Miami to get his other tools. Before he left the next day, Barker told Gonzales that he might have to pay for his own flight back to Miami. I really got mad and told Barker I resented the way they were treating Gonzales. I was a little hard with Barker. I said there wasn't adequate operational preparation. There was no floor plan of the building; no one knew the disposition of the elevators, how many guards there were, or even what time the guards checked the building. Gonzales did not know what kind of door he was supposed to open. There weren't even any contingency plans.
Barker came back to me with a message from Eduardo: "You are an operative. Your mission is to do what you are told and not to ask questions."
Gonzales got back from Miami that night with his whole shop. I've never seen so many tools to open a door. No door could hold him. This time everything worked. Gonzales and Sturgis picked the lock in the garage exit door; once inside, they opened the other doors and called over the walkie-talkie: "The horse is in the house." Then they let us in. I took a lot of photographs--maybe thirty or forty--showing lists of contributors that Barker had handed me. McCord worked on the phones. He said his first two taps might be discovered, but not the third.
With our mission accomplished, we went back to the hotel. It was about 5:00 a.m. Eduardo said he was happy. But this time there was no champagne. He said we should leave for Miami right away. I gave him the film I had taken and we left for the airport. There were things that bothered me about the operation, but I was satisfied. It is rare that you are able to check the effect of your work in the intelligence community. You know, they don't tell you if something you did is very significant. But we had taken a lot of pictures of contributions, and I had hopes that we might have done something valuable. We all had heard rumors in Miami that McGovern was receiving money from Castro. That was nothing new. We believe that today.
A couple of weeks later I was talking with Felipe de Diego and Frank Sturgis at our real-estate office when Barker burst in like a cyclone. Eduardo had been in town, and he had given Barker some film to have developed and enlarged. Barker did not know what the film was, and he had taken it to a regular camera shop. And then Eduardo had told him it was the film from the Watergate operation. Barker was really excited. He needed us to come with him to get it back. So we went to Rich's Camera Shop, and Barker told Frank and me to cover each door to the shop in case the police came while he was inside. I do not think he handled the situation very well. There were all these people and he was so excited. He ended up tipping the man at the store $20 or $30. The man had just enlarged the pictures showing the documents being held by a gloved hand and he said to Barker: "It's real cloak-and-dagger stuff, isn't it?" Later that man went to the FBI and told them about the film.
My reaction was that it was crazy to have those important pictures developed in a common place in Miami. But Barker was my close friend, and I could not tell him how wrong the whole thing was. The thing about Barker was that he trusted Eduardo totally. He had been his principal assistant at the Bay of Pigs, Eduardo's liaison with the Cubans, and he still believed tremendously in the man. He was just blind about him.
It was too much for me. I talked it over with Felipe and Frank, and decided I could not continue. I was about to write a letter when Barker told me Eduardo wanted us to get ready for another operation in Washington.
When you are in this kind of business, and you are in the middle of something, it is not easy to stop. Everyone will feel that you might jeopardize the operation. "What to do with this guy now?" I knew it would create a big problem so I agreed to go on this last mission.
Eduardo told us to buy surgical gloves and forty rolls of film with thirty-six exposures on a roll. Imagine, that meant 1,440 photographs. I told Barker it would be impossible to take all those pictures. But it did seem to mean that what we got before encouraged Eduardo to go back for more.
We flew into National Airport about noon on June 16, and Barker and I went off to rent a car. In the airport lobby, Frank Sturgis ran into Jack Anderson, whom he had known since the Bay of Pigs, when Anderson wrote a column about him as a soldier-adventurer. Frank introduced Gonzales to Anderson, and he gave him some kind of excuse about why he was in town.
On our way to the Watergate, we made some jokes about the car Barker had rented. It gave me a premonition of a hearse. The mission was not one I was looking forward to.
Eduardo was waiting for us at the Watergate. This time he had two operations planned, and we were supposed to perform them both that night. There was no time for anything, it was all rush.
We went to eat at about five o'clock. Barker ate a lot and when he came back he felt really bad. I was not feeling too good myself. I had just gotten my divorce that day and had gone from the court to the airport and from the airport to the Watergate. The environment in each one of us was different, but the whole thing was bad; there was tension in those people.
Liddy was already in the room when Eduardo came in to give the briefing. Eduardo was wearing loafers and black pants with white stripes. They were very shiny. Liddy was not happy with those pants. He criticized them in front of us and he told Eduardo to go change them.
So Eduardo went and changed his pants. The briefing he gave when he came back was very simple. He said we were going to photograph more documents at the Democratic headquarters and then move on to another mission at the McGovern headquarters after that. McCord was critical of the second operation. He said he didn't like the plan. It was very rare to hear McCord talking because usually he didn't say anything and when he did talk he only whispered.
Before we left, Eduardo took all of our identification. He put it in a briefcase and left it in our room. He gave Sturgis his Edward J. Hamilton identification that the CIA had provided to him before, and he gave us each $200 in cash. He said we should use it as a bribe to get away if we were caught. Finally, he told us to keep the keys to our room, where he had left the identification. I don't know why. Even today, I don't know. Remember, I was told in advance not to ask about those things.
McCord went into the Watergate very early in the evening. He walked right through the front door of the office complex, signed the book, and, I'm sure, went to the eighth floor as he had before. Then he taped the doors from the eighth floor to the bottom floor and walked out through the exit door in the garage. It was still very early, and we were not going to go in until after everyone left the offices. We waited so long that Eduardo went out to check if the tapes were still there. He said they were but when we finally got ready to go in, Virgilio and Sturgis noticed that the tape was gone, and a sack of mail was at the door.
So we said, well, the tape has been discovered. We'll have to abort the operation. But McCord thought we should go anyway. He went upstairs and tried to convince Liddy and Eduardo that we should go ahead. Before making a decision, they went to the other room.
I believe they made a phone call, and Eduardo told us to go ahead. McCord did not come in with us. He said he had to go someplace. We never knew where he was going. Anyway, he was not with us, so when Virgilio picked the locks to let us in, we put tape on the doors for him and went upstairs. Five minutes later McCord came in, and I asked him right away: "Did you remove the tapes?" He said, "Yes, I did."
But he did not, because the tape was later found by the police. Once inside, McCord told Barker to turn off his walkie-talkie. He said there was too much static. So we were there without communications. Soon we started hearing noises. People going up and down. McCord said it was only the people checking, like before, but then there was running and men shouting, "Come out with your hands up or we will shoot!" and things like that. There was no way out. We were caught. The police were very rough with us, pushing us around, tying our arms, but Barker was able to turn on his walkie-talkie, and he asked where the police were from. And then he said, "Oh, you are the metropolitan policemen who catch us." So Barker was cool. He did a good job in advising Eduardo we were caught.
I thought right away it was a set-up or something like that because it was so easy the first time. We all had that feeling. They took our keys and found the identification in the briefcase Eduardo had left in our room.
McCord was the senior officer, and he took charge. He was talking loudly now. He told us not to say a thing. "Don't give your names. Nothing. I know people. Don't worry, someone will come and everything will be all right. This thing will be solved."
I heard from Frank that LBJ had designated Cord Meyer, Jr. to undertake a larger organization while keeping it totally secret. Cord Meyer himself was a rather favorite member of the Eastern aristocracy. He was a graduate of Yale University and had joined the Marine Corps during the war and lost an eye in the Pacific fighting.
I think that LBJ settled on Meyer as an opportunist... and a man who had very little left to him in life ever since JFK had taken Cord's wife as one of his mistresses. I would suggest that Cord Meyer welcomed the approach from LBJ, who was after all only the Vice President at that time and of course could not number Cord Meyer among JFK's admirers - quite the contrary.
As for Dave Phillips, I knew him pretty well at one time. He worked for me during the Guatemala project. He had made himself useful to the agency in Santiago, Chile where he was an American businessman. In any case, his actions, whatever they were, came to the attention of the Santiago station chief and when his resume became known to people in the Western hemisphere division he was brought in to work on Guatemalan operations.
Sturgis and Morales and people of that ilk stayed in apartment houses during preparations for the big event. Their addresses were very subject to change, so that where a fellow like Morales had been one day, you'd not necessarily associated with that address - the following day. In short, it was a very mobile experience.
Let me point out at this point, that if I had wanted to fictionalize what went on in Miami and elsewhere during the run up for the big event, I would have done so. But I don't want any unreality to tinge this particular story, or the information, I should say. I was a benchwarmer on it and I had a reputation for honesty.
I think it's essential to refocus on what this information that I've been providing you - and you alone, by the way - consists of. What is important in the story is that we've backtracked the chain of command up through Cord Meyer and laying the doings at the doorstep of LBJ. He, in my opinion, had an almost maniacal urge to become President. He regarded JFK, as he was in fact, an obstacle to achieving that. He could have waited for JFK to finish out his term and then undoubtedly a second term. So that would have put LBJ at the head of a long list of people who were waiting for some change in the executive branch.