If Poppy Bush was busy on November 22, 1963, so was his friend Jack Crichton. Bush's fellow GOP candidate was a key figure in a web of military intelligence figures with deep connections to the Dallas Police Department and, as previously noted, to the pilot car of JFK's motorcade.
Crichton came back into the picture within hours of Kennedy's death and the subsequent arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald, when a peculiar cordon sanitaire went up around Marina Oswald. The first to her side was Republican activist and precinct chairman Ilya Mamantov, a vociferous anti-Communist who frequently lectured in Dallas on the dangers of the Red menace. When investigators arrived, Mamantov stepped in as interpreter and embellished Marina's comments to establish in no uncertain terms that the "leftist" Lee Harvey Oswald had been the gunman-the lone gunman-who killed the president.
It is interesting of course that the Dallas police would let an outsider - in particular, a right-wing Russian emigre-handle the delicate interpreting task. Asked by the Warren Commission how this happened, Mamantov said that he had received a phone call from Deputy Police Chief George Lumpkin. After a moment's thought, Mamantov then remembered that just preceding Lumpkin's call he had heard from Jack Crichton. It was Crichton who had put the Dallas Police Department together with Mamantov and ensured his place at Marina Oswald's side at this crucial moment.
Despite this revelation, Crichton almost completely escaped scrutiny. The Warren Commission never interviewed him. Yet, as much as anyone, Crichton embodied a confluence of interests within the oil-intelligence-military nexus. And he was closely connected to Poppy in their mutual efforts to advance the then-small Texas Republican Party, culminating in their acceptance of the two top positions on the state's Republican ticket in 1964.
During World War II, Crichton had served in the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor to the CIA. Postwar, he began working for the company of petroleum czar Everette DeGolyer and was soon connected in petromilitary circles at the highest levels. A review of hundreds of corporate documents and newspaper articles shows that when Crichton left DeGolyer's firm in the early fifties he became involved in an almost incomprehensible web of companies with overlapping boards and ties to DeGolyer. Many of them were backed by some of North America's most powerful families, including the Du Ponts of Delaware and the Bronfmans, owners of the liquor giant Seagram.
Crichton was so plugged into the Dallas power structure that one of his company directors was Clint Murchison Sr., king of the oil depletion allowance, and another was D. Harold Byrd, owner of the Texas School Book Depository building.
A typical example of this corporate cronyism came in 1952, when Crichton was part of a syndicate - including Murchison, DeGolyer, and the Du Ponts - that used connections in the fascist Franco regime to acquire rare drilling rights in Spain. The operation was handled by Delta Drilling, which was owned by Joe Zeppa of Tyler, Texas - the man who transported Poppy Bush from Tyler to Dallas on November 22, 1963.
It was in 1956 that the bayou-bred Crichton started up his own spy unit, the 488th Military Intelligence Detachment. He would serve as the intelligence unit's only commander through November 22, 1963, continuing until he retired from the 488th in 1967, at which time he was awarded the Legion of Merit and cited for "exceptionally outstanding service."