L. Fletcher Prouty

L. Fletcher Prouty

Leroy Fletcher Prouty was born in Massachusetts on 24th January, 1917. He graduated from Massachusetts State College in 1941 with a Bachelor's degree.

During the Second World War he served as a army tank commander. He later joined the United States Air Force (USAAF) and in 1943 became the personal pilot of General Omar Bradley. Later that year he flew Chiang Kai-shek to the Tehran Conference.

Prouty also became involved in work for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). In 1945 he served on Okinawa and was involved in transporting the bodyguard of General Douglas MacArthur to Tokyo. In 1946 Prouty was assigned by the U.S. Army to Yale University. In 1950 he established Air Defense Command and during the Korean War was based in Japan where he was Military Manager for Tokyo International Airport.

In 1955 Prouty was assigned to coordinate operations between the USAAF and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). For the next nine years he worked for the Pentagon. He was Briefing Officer for the Secretary of Defense (1960-61), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Chief of Special Operations (1962-63).

Colonel Prouty retired from the United States Air Force (USAAF) in 1964 and was awarded the Joint Chiefs of Staff Commendation Medal. He later worked for the General Aircraft Corporation (1964-65) and First National Bank (1965-68). He was also a senior director of a government and military marketing organization.

In 1973 Prouty published his book The Secret Team. In this controversial work Prouty claimed that the CIA had worked on behalf of the interests of a "high cabal" of industrialists and bankers. Prouty thought that the Executive Actionprogramme had not only been used against foreign leaders. He also claimed that the CIA was involved in the killing of President John F. Kennedy. Prouty even named Edward Lansdale as the leader of the operation. He claimed he was in Dallas on the day of the assassination: "He was there like the orchestra leader, coordinating these things."

In July, 1975 Fletcher Prouty told Daniel Schorr that Alexander P. Butterfield had been the CIA's spy in the White House. Butterfield denied this claim and threatened to sue the two men for libel. Time Magazine reported: "Despite his impressive record, Schorr gets into trouble because he is often too eager and cuts corners. He has been known to behave like an anxious rookie out to impress by elbowing others aside and pushing hard. Just before the Watergate cover-up indictments, for example, he went on-camera to predict that the grand jury would name more than 40 people. Seven names came down. At CBS, Washington Correspondent Leslie Stahl cordially detests him because, she tells friends, he hogged her Watergate stories."

However, Butterfield never sued Fletcher Prouty and the fact remains that it was his evidence before the Watergate Committeee that Richard Nixon recorded meetings he was having in the White House that was the turning point in the investigation. Butterfield admitted details of the tape system which monitored Nixon's conversations. Butterfield also said that he knew "it was probably the one thing that the President would not want revealed". This information did indeed interest Archibald Cox and Sam Ervin demand that Nixon hand over the White House tapes. It was these tapes that resulted in Nixon resigning from office.

Prouty worked as Creative Advisor (1990-91) to Oliver Stone when he was making the film, JFK. The Mr. X character in the film played by Donald Sutherland is based on Prouty. He also published JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy (1992). In this book Prouty argued that John F. Kennedy had been killed by a elements of the United States military and intelligence communities.

Leroy Fletcher Prouty died of organ failure following stomach surgery on 5th June, 2001.

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) L. Fletcher Prouty, JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy (1992)

As the presidential motorcade began its procession through the streets of Dallas, we note that many things which ought to have been done, as matters of standard security procedure, were not done. These omissions show the hand of the plotters and the undeniable fact that they were operating among the highest levels of government in order to have access to the channels necessary to arrange such things covertly.

Some of these omissions were simple things that were done normally without fail. All the windows in buildings overlooking a presidential motorcade route must be closed and observers positioned to see that they remain closed. They will have radios, and those placed on roofs will be armed in case gunmen do appear in the windows. All sewer covers along the streets are supposed to be welded to preclude the sewer's use as a gunman's lair. People with umbrellas, coats over their arms, and other items that could conceal a weapon are watched.

(2) L. Fletcher Prouty, The Secret Team (1973)

The Secret Team (ST) being described herein consists of security-cleared individuals in and out of government who receive secret intelligence data gathered by the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) and who react to those data, when it seems appropriate to them, with paramilitary plans and activities, e.g. training and "advising" - a not exactly impenetrable euphemism for such things as leading into battle and actual combat - Laotian tribal troops, Tibetan rebel horsemen, or Jordanian elite Palace Guards.

Membership on the Team, granted on a "need-to-know" basis, varies with the nature and location of the problems that come to its attention, and its origins derive from that sometimes elite band of men who served with the World War II Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under the father of them all, General "Wild Bill" William J. Donovan, and in the old CIA.

The power of the Team derives from its vast intragovernmental undercover infrastructure and its direct relationship with great private industries, mutual funds and investment houses, universities, and the news media, including foreign and domestic publishing houses. The Secret Team has very close affiliations with elements of power in more than three-score foreign countries and is able when it chooses to topple governments, to create governments, and to influence governments almost anywhere in the world.

Whether or not the Secret Team had anything whatsoever to do with the deaths of Rafael Trujillo, Ngo Dinh Diem, Ngo Dinh Nhu, Dag Hammerskjold, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and others may never be revealed, but what is known is that the power of the Team is enhanced by the "cult of the gun" and by its sometimes brutal and always arbitrary anti-Communist flag waving, even when real Communism had nothing to do with the matter at hand.

At the heart of the Team, of course, are a handful of top executives of the CIA and of the National Security Council (NSC), most notably the chief White House adviser to the President on foreign policy affairs. Around them revolves a sort of inner ring of Presidential officials, civilians, and military men from the Pentagon, and career professionals of the intelligence community. It is often quite difficult to tell exactly who many of these men really are, because some may wear a uniform and the rank of general and really be with the CIA and others may be as inconspicuous as the executive assistant to some Cabinet officer's chief deputy.

(3) L. Fletcher Prouty, The Secret Team (1973)

By the time Cuban operations had been expanded to the point that they had become the beginnings of the Bay of Pigs operation, activity of all kinds had been discovered and compromised by the press of the world. There were no more secrets. The participation and support of the United States was known to be taking place in Puerto Rico, Panama, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, in addition to some unscheduled action in Mexico. Yet the ST continued to launch an increasing number of special operations without regard for real secrecy.

There was not only a breakdown in the traditional ethics of international relations but there was also a serious degradation of the usual high standard of technical operational methods within the Government. The flights from Guatemala themselves were not tactically sound nor were they politically effective. Most of these flights not only failed miserably to accomplish what the CIA thought they would do, i.e., put in place underground cadres of guerrillas and provide equipment and communications material for other underground groups in Cuba; but as a result of their amateurism and failures, they played into the hands of Castro. They never did become a rallying point for anti-Castroites. On the contrary, they exposed and compromised them and led to many unnecessary firing-squad deaths. The flight paths, by their crossing and recrossing, pinpointed and exposed ground-reception parties, which were mopped up by Castro's troops; in other cases, aircraft were lured over drop-sites that proved to be ambushes. The whole series of operations exposed the weaknesses of ClA's tactical capacity. The CIA cannot properly direct large operations. It has led many small ones successfully; but has failed miserably in a number of large ones.

(4) L. Fletcher Prouty, letter to Jim Garrison (6th March, 1990)

It is amazing how things work, I am at home recuperating from a major back operation (to regain my ability to walk); so I was tossing around in bed last night...not too comfortable...and I began to think of Garrison. I thought, "I have got to write Jim a letter detailing how I believe the whole job was done."

By another coincidence I had received a fine set of twenty photos from the Sprague collection in Springfield, Mass. As the odds would have it, he is now living just around the corner here in Alexandria. Why not? Lansdale lived here, Fensterwald lives here, Ford used to live here. Quite a community.

I was studying those photos. One of them is the "Tramps" picture that appears in your book. It is glossy and clear. Lansdale is so clearly identifiable. Why, Lansdale in Dallas? The others don't matter, they are nothing but actors and not gunmen but they are interesting. Others who knew Lansdale as well as I did, have said the same thing, "That's him and what's he doing there?"

As I was reading the paper the Federal Express man came with a book from Jim, that unusual "Lansdale" book. A terrible biography. There could be a great biography about Lansdale. He's no angel; but he is worth a good biography. Currey, a paid hack, did the job. His employers ought to have let him do it right.

I had known Ed since 1952 in the Philippines. I used to fly there regularly with my MATS Heavy Transport Squadron. As a matter of fact, in those days we used to fly wounded men, who were recuperating, from hospitals in Japan to Saigon for R&R on the beaches of Cap St Jacque. That was 1952-1953. Saigon was the Paris of the Orient. And Lansdale was "King Maker" of the Philippines. We always went by way of Manila. I met his team.

He had arrived in Manila in Sept 1945, after the war was over, for a while. He had been sent back there in 1950 by the CIA(OPC) to create a new leader of the Philippines and to get rid of Querino. Sort of like the Marcos deal, or the Noriega operation. Lansdale did it better. I have overthrown a government but I didn't splash it all around like Reagan and Bush have done. Now, who sent him there?

Who sent him there in 1950 (Truman era) to do a job that was not done until 1953 (Ike era)? From 1950 to Feb. 1953 the Director of Central Intelligence was Eisenhower's old Chief of Staff, Gen Walter Bedell Smith. Smith had been Ambassador to Moscow from 1946 to 1949. The lesser guys in the CIA at the time were Allen Dulles, who was Deputy Director Central Intelligence from Aug. 1951 to Feb. 1953. Frank Wisner became the Deputy Director, Plans (Clandestine Activities) when Dulles became DDCI. Lansdale had to have received his orders from among these four men: Truman, Smith, Dulles, and Wisner. Of course the Sec State could have had some input...i.e. Acheson. Who wanted Querino out, that badly? Who wanted HUKS there?

In Jan 1953 Eisenhower arrived. John Foster Dulles was at State and Gen Smith his Deputy. Allen Dulles was the DCI and General Cabel his deputy. None of them changed Lansdale's prior orders to "get" Querino. Lansdale operated with abandon in the Philippines. The Ambassador and the CIA Station Chief, George Aurell, did not know what he was doing. They believed he was some sort of kook Air Force Officer there...a role Lansdale played to the hilt. Magsaysay became President, Dec 30, 1953.

With all of this on the record, and a lot more, this guy Currey comes out of the blue with this purported "Biography". I knew Ed well enough and long enough to know that he was a classic chameleon. He would tell the truth sparingly and he would fabricate a lot. Still, I can not believe that he told Currey the things Currey writes. Why would Lansdale want Currey to perpetuate such out and out bullshit about him? Can't be. This is a terribly fabricated book. It's not even true about me. I believe that this book was ordered and delineated by the CIA.

At least I know the truth about myself and about Gen. Krulak. Currey libels us terribly. In fact it may be Krulak who caused the book to be taken off the shelves. Krulak and his Copley Press cohorts have the power to get that done, and I encouraged them to do just that when it first came out. Krulak was mad!

Ed told me many a time how he operated in the Philippines. He said, "All I had was a blank checkbook signed by the U.S. government". He made friends with many influential Filipinos. I have met Johnny Orendain and Col Valeriano, among others, in Manila with Lansdale. He became acquainted with the wealthiest Filipino of them all, Soriano. Currey never even mentions him. Soriano set up Philippine Airlines and owned the big San Miguel beer company, among other things. Key man in Asia.

Lansdale's greatest strategy was to create the "HUKS" as the enemy and to make Magsaysay the "Huk Killer." He would take Magsaysay's battalion out into a "Huk" infested area. He would use movies and "battlefield" sound systems, i.e. fireworks to scare the poor natives. Then one-half of Magsaysay's battalion, dressed as natives, would "attack" the village at night. They'd fire into the air and burn some shacks. In the morning the other half, in uniform, would attack and "capture" the "Huks". They would bind them up in front of the natives who crept back from the forests, and even have a "firing" squad "kill" some of them. Then they would have Magsaysay make a big speech to the people and the whole battalion would roll down the road to have breakfast together somewhere...ready for the next "show".

Ed would always see that someone had arranged to have newsmen and camera men there and Magsaysay soon became a national hero. This was a tough game and Ed bragged that a lot of people were killed; but in the end Magsaysay became the "elected" President and Querino was ousted "legally."

This formula endeared Ed to Allen Dulles. In 1954 Dulles established the Saigon Military Mission in Vietnam...counter to Eisenhower's orders. He had the French accept Lansdale as its chief. This mission was not in Saigon. It was not military, and its job was subversion in Vietnam. Its biggest job was that it got more than 1,100,000 northern Vietnamese to move south. 660,000 by U.S.Navy ships and the rest by CIA airline planes. These 1,100,000 north Vietnamese became the "subversive" element in South Vietnam and the principal cause of the warmaking. Lansdale and his cronies (Bohanon, Arundel, Phillips, Hand, Conein and many others) did all that using the same check book. I was with them many times during 1954. All Malthuseanism.

I have heard him brag about capturing random Vietnamese and putting them in a Helicopter. Then they would work on them to make them "confess" to being Viet Minh. When they would not, they would toss them out of the chopper, one after the other, until the last ones talked. This was Ed's idea of fun...as related to me many times. Then Dulles, Adm. Radford and Cardinal Spellman set up Ngo Dinh Diem. He and his brother, Nhu, became Lansdale proteges.

At about 1957 Lansdale was brought back to Washington and assigned to Air Force Headquarters in a Plans office near mine. He was a fish out of water. He didn't know Air Force people and Air Force ways. After about six months of that, Dulles got the Office of Special Operations under General Erskine to ask for Lansdale to work for the Secretary of Defense. Erskine was man enough to control him.

By 1960 Erskine had me head the Air Force shop there. He had an Army shop and a Navy shop and we were responsible for all CIA relationships as well as for the National Security Agency. Ed was still out of his element because he did not know the services; but the CIA sent work his way.

Then in the Fall of 1960 something happened that fired him up. Kennedy was elected over Nixon. Right away Lansdale figured out what he was going to do with the new President. Overnight he left for Saigon to see Diem and to set up a deal that would make him, Lansdale, Ambassador to Vietnam. He had me buy a "Father of his Country" gift for Diem...$700.00.

I can't repeat all of this but you should get a copy of the Gravel edition, 5 Vol.'s, of the Pentagon Papers and read it. The Lansdale accounts are quite good and reasonably accurate.

Ed came back just before the Inauguration and was brought into the White House for a long presentation to Kennedy about Vietnam. Kennedy was taken by it and promised he would have Lansdale back in Vietnam "in a high office". Ed told us in OSO he had the Ambassadorship sewed up. He lived for that job.

He had not reckoned with some of JFK's inner staff, George Ball, etc. Finally the whole thing turned around and month by month Lansdale's star sank over the horizon. Erskine retired and his whole shop was scattered. The Navy men went back to the navy as did the Army folks. Gen Wheeler in the JCS asked to have me assigned to the Joint Staff. This wiped out the whole Erskine (Office of Special Operations) office. It was comical. There was Lansdale up there all by himself with no office and no one else. He boiled and he blamed it on Kennedy for not giving him the "promised" Ambassadorship to let him "save" Vietnam.

Then with the failure of the Bay of Pigs, caused by that phone call to cancel the air strikes by McGeorge Bundy, the military was given the job of reconstituting some sort of Anti-Castro operation. It was headed by an Army Colonel; but somehow Lansdale (most likely CIA influence) got put into the plans for Operation Mongoose...to get Castro...ostensibly.

The U.S. Army has a think-tank at American University. It was called "Operation Camelot". This is where the "Camelot" concept came from. It was anti-JFK's Vietnam strategy. The men running it were Lansdale types, Special Forces background. "Camelot" was King Arthur and Knights of the Round Table: not JFK...then.

Through 1962 and 1963 Mongoose and "Camelot" became strong and silent organizations dedicated to countering JFK. Mongoose had access to the CIA's best "hit men" in the business and a lot of "strike" capability. Lansdale had many old friends in the media business such as Joe Alsop, Henry Luce among others. With this background and with his poisoned motivation I am positive that he got collateral orders to manage the Dallas event under the guise of "getting" Castro. It is so simple at that level. A nod from the right place, source immaterial, and the job's done.

The "hit" is the easy part. The "escape" must be quick and professional. The cover-up and the scenario are the big jobs. They more than anything else prove the Lansdale mastery.

Lansdale was a master writer and planner. He was a great "scenario" guy. It still have a lot of his personally typed material in my files. I am certain that he was behind the elaborate plan and mostly the intricate and enduring cover-up. Given a little help from friends at PEPSICO he could easily have gotten Nixon into Dallas, for "orientation': and LBJ in the cavalcade at the same time, contrary to Secret Service policy.

He knew the "Protection" units and the "Secret Service", who was needed and who wasn't. Those were routine calls for him, and they would have believed him. Cabell could handle the police.

The "hit men" were from CIA overseas sources, for instance, from the "Camp near Athena, Greece. They are trained, stateless, and ready to go at any time. They ask no questions: speak to no one. They are simply told what to do, when and where. Then they are told how they will be removed and protected. After all, they work for the U.S. Government. The "Tramps" were actors doing the job of cover-up. The hit men are just pros. They do the job for the CIA anywhere. They are impersonal. They get paid. They get protected, and they have enough experience to "blackmail" anyone, if anyone ever turns on them...just like Drug agents. The job was clean, quick and neat. No ripples.

The whole story of the POWER of the Cover-up comes down to a few points. There has never been a Grand Jury and trial in Texas. Without a trial there can be nothing. Without a trial it does no good for researchers to dig up data. It has no place to go and what the researchers reveal just helps make the cover-up tighter, or they eliminate that evidence and the researcher.

The first man LBJ met with on Nov 29th, after he had cleared the foreign dignitaries out of Washington was Waggoner Carr, Atty Gen'l, Texas to tell him, "No trial in Texas...ever."

The next man he met, also on Nov 29th, was J. Edgar Hoover. The first question LBJ asked his old "19 year" neighbor in DC was "Were THEY shooting at me?" LBJ thought that THEY had been shooting at him also as they shot at his friend John Connally. Note that he asked, "Were THEY shooting at me?" LBJ knew there were several hitmen. That's the ultimate clue...THEY.

The Connallys said the same thing...THEY. Not Oswald.

Then came the heavily loaded press releases about Oswald all written before the deal and released actually before LHO had ever been charged with the crime. I bought the first newspaper EXTRA on the streets of Christchurch, New Zealand with the whole LHO story in that first news...photos and columns of it before the police in Dallas had yet to charge him with that crime. All this canned material about LHO was flashed around the world.

Lansdale and his Time-Life and other media friends, with Valenti in Hollywood, have been doing that cover-up since Nov 1963. Even the deMorenschildt story enhances all of this. In deM's personal telephone/address notebook he had the name of an Air Force Colonel friend of mine, Howard Burrus. Burrus was always deep in intelligence. He had been in one of the most sensitive Attache spots in Europe...Switzerland. He was a close friend of another Air Force Colonel and Attache, Godfrey McHugh, who used to date Jackie Bouvier. DeM had Burrus listed under a DC telephone number and on that same telephone number he had "L.B.Johnson, Congressman." Quite a connection. Why...from the Fifties yet.?

Godfrey McHugh was the Air Force Attache in Paris. Another most important job. I knew him well, and I transferred his former Ass't Attache to my office in the Pentagon. This gave me access to a lot of information I wanted in the Fifties. This is how I learned that McHugh's long-time special "date" was the fair Jacqueline...yes, the same Jackie Bouvier. Sen. Kennedy met Jackie in Paris when he was on a trip. At that time JFK was dating a beautiful SAS Airline Stewardess who was the date of that Ass't Attache who came to my office. JFK dumped her and stole Jackie away from McHugh. Leaves McHugh happy????

At the JFK Inaugural Ball who should be there but the SAS stewardess, Jackie--of course, and Col Godfrey McHugh. JFK made McHugh a General and made him his "Military Advisor" in the White House where he was near Jackie while JFK was doing all that official travelling connected with his office AND other special interests. Who recommended McHugh for the job?

General McHugh was in Dallas and was on Air Force One, with Jackie, on the flight back to Washington..as was Jack Valenti. Why was LBJ's old cohort there at that time and why was he on Air Force One? He is now the Movie Czar. Why in Dallas?

See how carefully all of this is interwoven. Burrus is now a very wealthy man in Washington. I have lost track of McHugh. And Jackie is doing well. All in the Lansdale--deM shadows.

One of Lansdale's special "black" intelligence associates in the Pentagon was Dorothy Matlack of U.S. Army Intelligence. How does it happen that when deM. flew from Haiti to testify, he was met at the National Airport by Dorothy?

The Lansdale story is endless. What people do not do is study the entire environment of his strange career. For example: the most important part of my book, "The Secret Team", is not something that I wrote. It is Appendix III under the title, "Training Under The Mutual Security Program". This is a most important bit of material. It tells more about the period 1963 to 1990 than anything. I fought to have it included verbatim in the book. This material was the work of Lansdale and his crony General Dick Stillwell. Anyone interested in the "JFK Coup d'Etat" ought to know it by heart.

I believe this document tells why the Coup took place. It was to reverse the sudden JFK re-orientation of the U.S. Government from Asia to Europe, in keeping with plans made in 1943 at Cairo and Teheran by T.V. Soong and his Asian masterminds. Lansdale and Stillwell were long-time "Asia hands" as were Gen Erskine, Adm Radford, Cardinal Spellman, Henry Luce and so many others.

In October 1963, JFK had just signalled this reversal, to Europe, when he published National Security Action Memorandum #263 saying...among other things...that he was taking 1000 troops home from Vietnam by Christmas 1963 and ALL AMERICANS out of Vietnam by the end of 1965. That cost him his life.

JFK came to that "Pro-Europe" conclusion in the Summer of 1963 and sent Gen Krulak to Vietnam for advance work. Kurlak and I (with others) wrote that long "Taylor-McNamara" Report of their "Visit to Vietnam" (obviously they did not write, illustrate and bind it as they traveled). Krulak got his information daily in the White House. We simply wrote it. That led to NSAM #263. This same Trip Report is Document #142 and appears on page 751 to 766 of Vol. II of the Gravel Edition of the Pentagon Papers. NSAM #263 appears on pages 769-770 (It makes the Report official). This major Report and NSAM indicated an enormous shift in the orientation of U.S. Foreign Policy from Asia back to Europe. JFK was much more Europe- oriented, as was his father, than pro-Asia. This position was anathema to the Asia-born Luces, etc.

There is the story from an insider. I sat in the same office with Lansdale, (OSO of OSD) for years. I listened to him in Manila and read his flurry of notes from 1952 to 1964. I know all this stuff, and much more. I could write ten books. I send this to you because I believe you are one of the most sincere of the "true researchers". You may do with it as you please. I know you will do it right. I may give copies of this to certain other people of our persuasion. (Years ago I told this to Mae Brussell on the promise she would hold it. She did.)

Now you can see why I have always said that identification of the "Tramps" was unnecessary, i.e. they are actors. The first time I saw that picture I saw the man I knew and I realized why he was there. He caused the political world to spin on its axis. Now, back to recuperating.

(5) Lalo J. Gastriani, Fair Play Magazine, The Strange Death of Dorothy Hunt (November, 1994)

In the latest issue of Steam Shovel Press in an article by photo analyst Jack White, L. Fletcher Prouty describes one of several known Tramp photos. This particular photo shows the tramps being escorted along a service entrance to the TSBD wall comprised of two high chain-link gates with large diamond-shapes in the center of each. The tramps are facing the camera and a man is seen walking in the opposite direction, back to the camera. Prouty believes that the man walking away from the camera is Edward Lansdale. Lansdale, a planner with the Air Force Directorate and then the CIA-affiliated Office of Special Operations, worked closely with E. Howard Hunt. Lansdale's specialty, according to Prouty, who claims to have also worked closely with him, was staging real-time covers, diversions, and the general "smoke screens" under which assassinations took place. When asked to explain, Prouty alleges that it was Lansdale's job to provide "actors", and "screenplays" for certain black operations deployed by the covert operatives.

(6) L. Fletcher Prouty, An Introduction to the Assassination Business (1975)

Assassination is big business. It is the business of the CIA and any other power that can pay for the "hit" and control the assured getaway. The CIA brags that its operations in Iran in 1953 led to the pro-Western attitude of that important country. The CIA also takes credit for what it calls the "perfect job" in Guatemala. Both successes were achieved by assassination. What is this assassination business and how does it work?

In most countries there is little or no provision for change of political power. Therefore the strongman stays in power until he dies or until he is removed by a coup d'etat - which often means by assassination...

The CIA has many gadgets in its arsenal and has spent years training thousands of people how to use them. Some of these people, working perhaps for purposes and interests other than the CIA's, use these items to carry out burglaries, assassinations, and other unlawful activities - with or without the blessing of the CIA.

Crimes such as these, some of which have remained open for years, cannot be solved by any one individual. But there are patterns and motives that serve to expose methods. In 1963, about one month before President John F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas, a prominent Washington lawyer died. It was ruled a suicide because it appeared that he had put his own rifle in his mouth and pulled the trigger. His name was Coates Lear, and he was a law partner of Eugene Zuchert, then Secretary of the Air Force. Lear knew a lot about special airlift contracts and about the plans for Kennedy's fatal visit to Texas. Then, for unexplained reasons, he began drinking excessively. And when he drank, he talked. Soon he was dead.

The same pattern fits the case of William Miles Gingery, the scenario of whose death we have outlined above. He had been promoted to chief of the office of enforcement of the Civil Aeronautics Board. He had found many irregularities in that office when he took over, and he was scheduled to appear before Senator Edward M. Kennedy's Committee of Administrative Practices and Procedures.

Gingery, a nondrinker, had begun drinking and was obviously terribly upset. One night he was found dead. His death, in early 1975, was ruled a suicide; it was found that he had put the muzzle of his rifle into his mouth and fired.

These are interesting cases. There were many reasons why both of these men might have been assassinated and they both died in the same manner. That type of "suicide" is one of the trademarks of the professional "mechanic," the kind of killer who works in the international assassination game...

Eventually, practitioners of assassination by the removal of power reach the point where they see that technique as fit for the removal of opposition anywhere. That was why President Kennedy was killed. He was not murdered by some lone, gunman or by some limited conspiracy, but by the breakdown of the protective system that should have made an assassination impossible. Once insiders knew that he would not be protected, it was easy to pick the day and the place. In fact, those responsible for luring Kennedy to Dallas on November 22, 1963 were not even in on the plan itself. He went to Texas innocuously enough: to dedicate an Air Force hospital facility at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio. It was not too difficult then to get him to stop at Fort Worth - "to mend political fences." Of course, no good politician would go to Fort Worth and skip Dallas. All the conspirators had to do was to let the right "mechanics" know where Kennedy would be and when and, most importantly, that the usual precautions would not have been made and that escape would be facilitated. This is the greatest single clue to that assassination. Who had the power to call off or drastically reduce the usual security precautions that always are in effect whenever a president travels? Castro did not kill Kennedy, nor did the CIA. The power source that arranged that murder was on the inside. It had the means to reduce normal security and permit the choice of a hazardous route. It also has had the continuing power to cover up that crime for twelve years.

(7) Edward Lansdale, quoted by Cecil B. Currey in his book Edward Lansdale: The Unquiet American (1998)

I continue to be surprised to find Fletcher Prouty quoted as an authority. He was my "cross to bear" before Dan Ellsberg came along. Fletch is the one who blandly told the London Times that I'd invented the Huk Rebellion, hired a few actors in Manila, bussed them out to Pampanga, and staged the whole thing as press agentry to get RM (Magsaysay) elected. He was a good pilot of prop-driven aircraft, but had such a heavy dose of paranoia about CIA when he was on my staff that I kicked him back to the Air Force. He was one of those who thought I was secretly running the Agency from the Pentagon, despite all the proof otherwise.

(8) Robin Ramsay, Who Shot JFK (2002)

The idea that Kennedy was too radical for the military-industrial complex is the thesis behind the two motion pictures about the case: the dull 1973 version. Executive Action, which starred Burt Lancaster, and Oliver Stone's JFK. Stone emphasised Vietnam: Kennedy was shot to stop withdrawal from Vietnam. This is the thesis of the late L. Fletcher Prouty, former US Air Force Colonel, who had a remarkable book. The Secret Team, published in America in 1973. Prouty was a really important insider, not only the US Air Force's liaison officer with the ClA's covert operations in the 1950s, but someone who had also been in charge of presidential security. As former liaison with the CIA, Prouty had watched the growth of the agency covert operations. As a security officer, Prouty looked at the events that day in Dallas and saw the absence of presidential security. As Prouty pointed out, the absence of security is all you need to arrange.

(9) Time Magazine (28th July, 1975)

The day after a story broke in the press alleging that the CIA had planted a spy in the White House, Colonel Fletcher Prouty telephoned CBS Newsman Daniel Schorr with the startling news that former Nixon Aide Alexander Butterfield was the man. Schorr rushed the retired Air Force officer onto the network's Morning News for his disclosure, which generated sensational headlines. But last week, when Butterfield denied Prouty's charges and hinted he might sue him for libel, the colonel, in an interview with his hometown paper in Springfield, Mass., expressed second thoughts. Then Prouty confused matters further with a switch back to his original story. This jack-in-the-box behavior roused questions not only about Prouty's reliability but Schorr's as well.

By week's end, grizzled Veteran Schorr, 58, thought his exposé was looking "awful." But he insists he had reason to trust Prouty because the colonel had earlier given him a rock-hard exclusive on his role in a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro. Still, Schorr concedes that he never took the time to check the Butterfield allegation with the two Air Force officers who Prouty claims gave him the information, or try very hard to reach Butterfield himself. Nevertheless, Schorr says, "I still think my only alternative was to go. We're in a strange business here in TV news. You can't check on the validity of everything... I can't be in a position of suppressing Prouty. What if he's right? I can't play God."

The controversy is not the first to embroil Schorr in recent years. Early in the Nixon Administration he angered the President by reporting, accurately, that there was no evidence to support Nixon's claim that he had programs ready to aid parochial schools. His reward: Nixon ordered the FBI to investigate him.

During Watergate, Schorr became TV's most visible investigative reporter and shared three Emmys with his colleagues. Last February Schorr moved into new territory by reporting President Ford's fear that the clamor to investigate the CIA might reveal the agency's role in foreign assassination plots. Two months later, former CIA Director Richard Helms denounced Schorr's reporting as "lies" and called him "Killer Schorr, Killer Schorr." Recent disclosures by the Senate Intelligence Operations Committee have largely vindicated Schorr.

Despite his impressive record, Schorr gets into trouble because he is often too eager and cuts corners. He has been known to behave like an anxious rookie out to impress by elbowing others aside and pushing hard. Just before the Watergate cover-up indictments, for example, he went on-camera to predict that the grand jury would name more than 40 people. Seven names came down. At CBS, Washington Correspondent Leslie Stahl cordially detests him because, she tells friends, he hogged her Watergate stories.