Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Who Killed E. Howard Hunt?

Yesterday, former CIA agent E. Howard Hunt died mysteriously. He was only 88. President Nixon once called Hunt the man who "knows too damn much" and there were certainly many people who wanted to shut him up. Although his family is making the unlikely claim that he died of pneumonia, this is no doubt a cover story they have come up with while investigators track down the conspirators behind his murder. There certainly are a number of unanswered questions about his death, which may never be resolved.

Hunt was involved in some of the most important and sensitive missions ever carried out by the U.S. government and his theory of executive power, which was once controversial, is now accepted as standard operating procedure in the Bush Administration. "I had always assumed, working for the CIA for so many years, that anything the White House wanted done was the law of the land," he told People magazine back in 1974.

Although best known for masterminding the Watergate break-in, Hunt was also involved in the break-in of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office, the Bay of Pigs, the 1954 coup in Guatemala, and, some claim, the assassination of John F. Kennedy. His modus operandi was to make each of the missions he was involved with only seem like fiascos, instead of the great accomplishments they actually were, which was why Presidents continually sought out his expertise. During the last years of his life Hunt was ostensibly working on a memoir, which is coming out in March, but there are many aspects of the War in Iraq that seem to have the hallmarks of a Hunt mission. We may subsequently discover that the War in Iraq was his last and greatest mission.

E. Howard Hunt was a real-life Jack Bauer who uncomplainingly did what needed to be done while giving plausible deniability to the Presidents he worked for. In 1954 he helped plan the coup that overthrew Jacobo Arbenz, the democratically elected president of Guatemala, which led to 40 years of military dictatorship, protecting that country from Communism. Although 200,000 people died in the civil war that followed, Hunt was always proud of the fact that he was able to save Arbenz from assassination, just one of the many humanitarian acts he performed. Asked to comment by Slate in 2004 on the other 200,000 people he was not able to save, Hunt said "Deaths? What deaths?"

In 1961 he helped plan the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, which did not go quite as well. Although it did not succeed in its goal of toppling Fidel Castro immediately, it did destabilize his regime, and the effects of the invasion are slowly but surely beginning to come to fruition. If Castro's government does fall in the next few years, as many predict, we can thank Hunt for the work he did in helping set Castro's fall in motion.

Hunt was always bitter that President Kennedy got cold feet at the last moment and pulled out his support for the Bay of Pigs invasion. This has led some to speculate that Hunt may have been involved in the Kennedy's assassination. Although Hunt modestly claimed he was in Washington, D.C., at the time of the assassination, some believe that he was actually one of the men photographed on the Grassy Knoll or was one of the "tramps" arrested after the assassination, along with Charles Harrelson, actor Woody Harrelson's father, and Frank Sturgis. When asked if he was involved in the assassination by Slate in the 2004 interview, he coyly said, "No comment." In his new book he claims that Lyndon Johnson was actually behind the assassination, but Hunt was a man who often shied away from taking credit for his deeds.

In 1970 Hunt left the CIA but that did not end his service to our country. Hunt brought the skills he had learned in overseas missions to the homefront. As a member of President Nixon's "Plumbers" he helped neutralize dissent that was damaging the war effort in Vietnam. To get dirt on Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, Hunt broke into Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office. When antiwar candidate George McGovern threatened to take over the country by manipulating the electorate to vote for him, Hunt masterminded the Watergate break-in to find information that would expose McGovern as a Communist mole.

Unfortunately, back in the pre-9/11 era of the early 1970s spying on American citizens was frowned upon. Like 24's Jack Bauer, Hunt was used as a scapegoat by the politicians he served and never got the appreciation he deserved. For his service to our country, Hunt spent 33 months in jail. In 1972 his wife was killed in a mysterious plane crash. She was carrying $10,000 in cash in her handbag. The official investigation blamed "pilot error" although many believe that Hunt was being sent a message.

Just as we may never get to the bottom of the conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy, we may never learn who killed E. Howard Hunt. Hunt had many enemies and it is a testament to his survival skills that he was able to stay alive as long as he did. President Bush should use all the means at his disposal to investigate Hunt's mysterious death -- breaking into psychiatrist's offices, planting bugs, destabilizing governments that may have been involved in the conspiracy to assassinate him, rounding up suspects and subjecting them to harsh interrogations -- methods that Hunt himself pioneered. There would be no greater tribute to Hunt than to use the tools he helped develop to break the conspiracy against him.

I don't know who had Hunt killed, but I do know that his enemies are America's enemies. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the announcement of his death was just a clever ruse to give President Bush an excuse to expose our enemies. It may turn out that Hunt is not really dead at all but has in fact gone into deeper cover.

Update: Howard Hunt's son, David Hunt, responds: Mr. Swift, As intriguing and romantic as an assassination plot to kill Howard Hunt would be ... I can assure you he died of old age and the complications of pneumonia. I was with him until his death and would never allow anything to happen to my father. He had an incredible life and above and beyond anything he was a true patriot. His loyalty to the president cost him everything dear to him. God Bless. David Hunt

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25 comments:

Sporty said...

Mr. Swift,

I am continually amazed that you, alone of all the many bloggers on the Internets, are willing to ask the questions that MUST be asked.

Thank you, sir.

gcw said...

This is so freaking obvious. It was clearly a slow acting poison that was slipped into a drink or meal back in the mid 70s. Probably the same stuff that got Franco.

Bitty said...

What deeper cover is there, after all, than a coffin?

Brilliant as always, Mr. Swift.

utility comedian said...

Great stuff. Totally dead on about the clever-fiasco part. Suddenly this whole presidency does make sense.

outofcontext said...

Slate: What led you to leave the CIA?

Hunt: I found out the CIA was just infested with Democrats. I retired in '70. I got out as soon as I could.


The entire government is becoming infested with Democrats. He retired from life.

Fritz said...

Soon to be copied and pasted into Wikipedia.

Anonymous said...

You people are wacky!

darrelplant said...

I believe it was Harry Shearer who ordered the hit. In his "Le Show" radio programme of 21 January -- just two days before Hunt's "death" -- he broadcast one of his irregular features: "Nixon in Heaven." In it, the late President and the late H.R. Haldeman discuss the death of President Gerald Ford, dropping Hunt's name into the conversation. Undoubtedly, the linkage (death, Hunt) was signaled there. "Go get to Hunt," Nixon tells Haldeman after ostensibly discussing how "the Cubans" could be used to evict Ford from HEaven.

Reynaldo Adeeb said...

This is the first time I've ever flamed anyone, but gcw has no proof that Francisco Franco is dead.
Mr. Swift, you should keep these nuts off your blog

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gcw said...

Reynaldo: I apologize for my admittedly careless presumption.

MistahCharley said...

Mr. Swift's courteous posting of Hunt's son's denial is clearly evidence that his (Swift's) hypothesis is correct - why bother to deny it if it's not true?

Once again, Mr. Swift, excellent work - now that Billmon and Fafblog are no longer posting, you are clearly the premier blogger on the internets.

james higham said...

You say ... E. Howard Hunt was a real-life Jack Bauer who uncomplainingly did what needed to be done...

which, interestingly, was the title of my post on him on the other side of the pond.

I don't buy the murder. What would the point be? All knowns have been known and I've been studying old Jubelo for years. He was definitely on that overpass way back when and what?

Who'd want to except someone in the occult.

james higham said...

Just re-read the post again and it's a damned good post. I see why your the premier blogger.

Still, Jon, I think his son's word has to be taken on this one.

Anonymous said...

Hunt's not dead!

I just saw him in Dallas last week!

RMN

Anonymous said...

In your wise observations, Sir, I am reminded of the equally sage insights, written lo so many years ago, of Lazlo Toth. Though, truth be told, your tone is more measured and perhaps a tad less frenetic. What a pleasure to read!

Anonymous said...

Mysterious Death???
He was only 88 and racked by multiple illnesses for years who could have seen death coming??
Why don't you muddy the waters a bit more so that the truth can never be found that sounds practical to me.
Or is his son's personal comment not enough for you?
I mean why believe him he was just there after all it is far easier to cry coverup so that anyone looking for the facts ends up painted as a wacko.
geee thanks you make the effort to find the truth ever so much easier.

Anonymous said...

Are you guys kidding? Howard Hunt wasn't a great spy; he looked like he was one, but he was horrible. He was a self-centered bastard (though I do hate to speak ill of the dead), and worst of all, he continually wrote books throughout his career. He liked making up stories, he never actually did most of the stuff in them.

And of course, there are the obvious errors, like "only 88". Has anyone close to you ever even died? Neither of my grandparents lived to be 88. It's a very good age to live to, especially for someone who fought in World War II.

And saying that "the Bay of Pigs didn't work out so well"? That's such a huge understatement, I don't even know where to begin. It destablized Castro's government you say? Hell, it was one of the events which made his government MORE stable: he wiped out most of the armed dissenters arrayed against him. And it's only one of the biggest US intelligence failures in the history of the CIA.

JB said...

What a patriot!! Kill JFK and MLK!! What a douchebag burning in hell I hope. But, I'm not a racist despot. What US do ya'll live in. Oh yeah, Bush's... Go Prescott, H. W., Skulls, Nazis... What an admirable legacy... Only hell knows.... evil retards have a new level reserved. If I were only that inbred!!!

Anonymous said...

I Agree 100% with JB.
I think since the killing of these leaders ,out of fear for the rich aristocrasies losing thier grip on power ,and putting it back into the hands of We The People.America has been split in half every since with the morons who dont care about it and say life is to short to worry ,and the people who do the real research.Trying to bring the power back to where it belongs before it's to late ,and we lose all the freedoms we have fought so long and hard for.In my opinion Hunt was no patriot if he worked for harms way, to undermine our democracy and help kill our elected and beloved President.I hope hes in hell with LBJ and Nixon,and the rest of them.As for who might have killed him it was probably Nixon because he always thought Hunt knew to much and he was gonna screw up.LOL boy he sure did huh Richard but he went to jail while you walked away pretty sad America has no balls and cant seem to hold anyone accountable.

Anonymous said...

I'm not averse to a conspiracy theory, I know there is some fucked up shit goining on; but this is just nuts. Don't 88 year olds just tend to die sometimes? Why don't you spend some time exposing 9/11 or the phoney war on terror?
Anyway, have you heard his deathbed confession? Check out this link: http://www.saintjohnhunt.com/index.html

Sean F. said...

Well written, and I'm not saying it's completely impossible that he was murdered...

but I sincerely hope you were trying to be funny in some of the parts like "he was only 88" and about the Bay of Pigs... if you were, then this is a great article, but if you were being serious... get real, I mean, I believe in the JFK conspiracy, but... chances are that Hunt died of natural causes.

Anonymous said...

I don't consider a person who breaks our laws or Constitution to be a hero. I think Watergate showed us how things are abused. We should never give a blank check to people to break the law.

Sloan said...

So, when does the movie come out?

Hog Hunting Texas said...

Its a very sad news and movie should be done on this fact.

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