Allen Dulles, the CIA and the JFK Assassination
An amazingly good interview with David Talbot on Democracy Now, where he makes several important points, including the case for the CIA in assassinating JFK.
Key part on JFK:
Key part on JFK:
DAVID TALBOT: Well, as I was saying, after he was fired by Kennedy, Dulles went to his home. He continued—
AMY GOODMAN: And why was he fired?
DAVID TALBOT: Well, he was fired after the Bay of Pigs. Kennedy realized he shouldn’t have kept Dulles on from the Eisenhower years. They were philosophically too different. And the Bay of Pigs was the final straw for him. So he was pushed out after that. And—but Dulles, as I say, continued to sort of set up an anti-Kennedy government in exile in his home in Georgetown. Many of the people he was meeting with, several of the people, including Howard Hunt and others, later became figures of suspicion during the House Select Committee on Assassination hearings in Washington in the 1970s. You know, most Americans don’t know that that was the last official statement, the last official report, on the Kennedy assassination, not the Warren Report back in 1964. But the Congress reopened the investigation into John Kennedy’s assassination, and they did determine he was killed as the result of a conspiracy. So a number of the people who came up during this investigation by Congress were figures of interest who were meeting with Allen Dulles. They had no, you know, obvious reason to be meeting with a "retired" CIA official. The weekend of Kennedy’s assassination, Allen Dulles is not at home watching television like the rest of America. He’s at a remote CIA facility, two years after being pushed out of the agency by Kennedy, called The Farm, in northern Virginia, that he used when he was director of the CIA as a kind of an alternate command post. Well, he’s there while Kennedy is killed, after Kennedy is killed, when Jack Ruby then kills Lee Harvey Oswald. That whole fateful weekend, he’s hunkered down in a CIA command post. So, there are many odd circumstances like this. I also found out from interviewing the children of another former CIA official that one of the key figures of interest in the Kennedy assassination, a guy named William Harvey, who was head of the CIA-Mafia plot against Castro and hated the Kennedys, thought that they were weak and so on, he was seen leaving his Rome station and flying to Dallas, by his own deputy, on an airplane early in November 1963. This is a remarkable sighting, because to place someone like William Harvey, the head of the CIA’s assassination unit, put there by Allen Dulles, in Dallas in November of '63 before the assassination is a very important fact. The CIA, by the way, refuses, even at this late date, to release the travel vouchers for people like William Harvey. Under the JFK Records Act, that was passed back in the 1990s, they are compelled by federal law to release all documents related to the Kennedy assassination, but they're still withholding over 1,100 of these documents, including—and I—
AMY GOODMAN: Fifteen seconds.
DAVID TALBOT: I used the Freedom of Information Act to try and get the travel vouchers for William Harvey. They’re still holding onto them.
AMY GOODMAN: How many calls are you getting in the mainstream media to do interviews?
DAVID TALBOT: Well, thank God, I was saying earlier, for alternative media, like this, Amy, because there is resistance to this book. First of all, I call out the mainstream media. I say that New York Times, CBS, Washington Post, Newsweek, they were all under his thumb. They did his bidding.
AMY GOODMAN: Whose thumb?
DAVID TALBOT: Allen Dulles’s thumb. So, when the Warren Report came out, I was saying that one of the editors, top editors, at Newsweek wrote to him and said, "Thank you so much, Mr. Dulles, for helping shape our coverage of the Warren Report." Well, of course, Allen Dulles was on the Warren Commission. In fact, some people thought it should have been called the Dulles Commission, because he dominated it so much. So, you know, it’s way too cozy, the relationship between Washington power and the media. And—
AMY GOODMAN: What was the relationship between Arthur Hays Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, and Allen Dulles, the head of the CIA?
DAVID TALBOT: Well, they were social friends, not just him, but other members of the Sulzberger family. I found, you know, cozy correspondence between them, congratulating him when he was inaugurated, Dulles, as CIA director. They called him "Ally," one of the Sulzberger families, in one letter. They would get together, you know, every year. Dulles would hold these media sort of drink fests for New Year’s. And these were, you know, top reporters, top editors, would get together with the CIA guys and rub elbows and get a little drunk. And, you know, when Allen Dulles didn’t want a reporter, because he felt he was being overly aggressive, covering, say, Guatemala—Sydney Gruson, the reporter—in the run-up to the coup there in 1954, he had—he made a call to The New York Times and had him removed. That was because of his relationship with Sulzberger, the publisher. So, that was the kind of pull that Allen Dulles had.
AMY GOODMAN: How did that work?
DAVID TALBOT: Well, they just took him out. They removed Gruson. They transferred him, I think to Mexico, at that point.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you compare Smedley Butler, the general, who was—called himself, what? A racketeer for capitalism, when he was asked to overthrow countries and said no—
DAVID TALBOT: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: —to Allen Dulles?
DAVID TALBOT: Well, one’s a hero, and one’s a villain, to put it pure and simple. Smedley Darlington Butler, who I’ve also written about—I wrote an illustrated history, for readers of all ages, called Devil Dog. Smedley was an American hero. He was a guy who joined the Marines at 16, didn’t know any better, ran off all around the world fighting America’s imperial wars from China to throughout Latin America, ended up in France during World War I. And by the time he was a middle-aged man, he had seen the kind of dirty work that was done by America’s soldiers in the name of American business interests. And he said he was like Al Capone. He said, "We marines were like Al Capone, except that Al Capone couldn’t even measure up to us, the kind of thuggery that we were capable of, that we committed in America’s name throughout Latin America, particularly."
AMY GOODMAN: And wasn’t it just not through Latin America, like overthrowing Árbenz, but wasn’t the Pitcairn family in the United States involved with attempting a coup against FDR and wanted to recruit Smedley Butler to do it?
DAVID TALBOT: Well, that’s what—as I write in my book, that it was his great moment of heroism, because he was a hero to soldiers, to the rank and file. He had spoken to the famous Bonus Army March, where World War I veterans were demanding pay for the time they had lost when they were overseas. He spoke before them. It was a very controversial thing he did as a retired officer, retired general from the Marines. And so, because he was so popular with the rank and file, when a number of corporate families like the DuPonts and others became furious at FDR for being a class traitor, as they called him, and pushing through these Wall Street reforms and other things that were infuriating them, they went to—representatives of theirs went to Smedley Butler and said, "Would you lead a march again, like the Bonus Army March on Washington? But this time we want them to be armed, the soldiers to be armed." Essentially, "Will you lead a coup against Franklin Roosevelt?" And instead of going along with this, he went before Congress and outed this plot.
AMY GOODMAN: And who were the families? Who were the—
DAVID TALBOT: Well, DuPonts were one of them. The family that owned Remington, the arms factory, was also involved. A number of these people were clients of the Dulleses. Foster Dulles, by the way, John Foster Dulles, who later became secretary of state, ran the Wall Street firm Sullivan & Cromwell. When FDR starts to push through some of these reforms, like the Security Exchange Commission and others, Glass-Steagall, he convenes all his wealthy clients in his office on Wall Street and says, "Just ignore this. We’ll resist this. We won’t go along with these reforms."
AMY GOODMAN: The Nazis? Very quickly.
DAVID TALBOT: The Nazis, well, they have a very tight relationship, many Nazi businessmen, with the Dulles brothers. And when Allen Dulles was in Switzerland, supposedly working for our side, the OSS, during the war, he was actually using that to meet with a lot of Nazis and to cut separate deals with them. He did indeed finally cut a separate peace deal with the Nazi forces in Italy against FDR’s wishes. FDR had a policy of unconditional surrender. Don’t—
AMY GOODMAN: This was Operation Paperclip?
DAVID TALBOT: This was Operation Sunrise, was this deal that he made. And then he set up these rat-lines, so-called, where Nazis, leading Nazi war criminals, escaped after the war through the Alps in Switzerland, down into Italy and then overseas to Latin America and even in the United States. One of the key Nazis he saved was Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s former chief of intelligence, who he installed, Dulles, as head of West German intelligence after the war, a man who should have stood trial at Nuremberg.
AMY GOODMAN: Who turned you down?
DAVID TALBOT: You know, well, Politico was one. Politico, you know, one of the leading publications, online publications and a print publication, you know, had—I was supposed to write something for them there. Instead, they went with a piece by, as I say, a former New York Times guy named Phil Shenon, based on leaked CIA documents that basically pin the Kennedy assassination on Fidel Castro. This is absurd. Fidel Castro, when he heard about Kennedy’s assassination, crumpled. He knew that Kennedy was trying to open back channels with him to establish peace between Cuba and the United States, years before Obama finally did. In fact, Jean Daniel, who was a French reporter, was with Fidel, at Kennedy’s behest, in Havana, basically carrying this olive branch to Fidel from Kennedy, when they got the terrible news from Dallas.
AMY GOODMAN: Who do you think killed John Kennedy?
DAVID TALBOT: Well, I believe what Robert Kennedy believed. Robert Kennedy, as I showed in my book earlier, Brothers, and in this book, looked immediately at the killing team that was put together by the CIA to kill Fidel Castro. That CIA killing team, I think, was responsible for killing President Kennedy, as well. That team that was killing foreign leaders, that was targeting foreign leaders, that Dulles had assembled, including men like William Harvey, Howard Hunt, David Morales—these were all key figures of suspicion by Congress during the House Assassinations Committee investigation in the ’70s. That was the team that was brought to Dallas. I now identify those men. A couple of them admitted—Howard Hunt, on his death bed, admitted that he was involved in the Kennedy assassination, and the mainstream media completely overlooked this shocking—
AMY GOODMAN: Howard Hunt, who was Watergate.
DAVID TALBOT: He was the leader of the Watergate break-in and a legendary CIA action officer, and very close to Allen Dulles, revered Allen Dulles. On his death bed, he revealed that he was part of that plot. Again, 60 Minutes looked at it and then walked away. I know a lot about this story. But the media has been, I think, shockingly remiss in not looking into this investigation. It’s a taboo subject. But it’s clear—I think I present overwhelming evidence that Allen Dulles was complicit in this, in the assassination of the president. And he conveniently ran the investigation into the president’s murder, because he strong-armed President Johnson into appointing him to the Warren Commission, where he became the dominant figure.
AMY GOODMAN: David Talbot, author of the new book, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government.