William C. Sullivan

William C. Sullivan

William C. Sullivan was born in 1912. Sullivan joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation and during the Second World War he was sent to Spain. He spent several months in Madrid before returning to Washington.

In 1961 Sullivan was appointed assistant director of the FBI's Intelligence Division. Sullivan gradually moved up the hierarchy and eventually became the FBI's third-ranking official behind J. Edgar Hoover, the director, and Clyde A. Tolson. Sullivan was placed in charge of FBI's Division Five. This involved smearing leaders of left-wing organizations.

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Sullivan was put in charge of the bureau's in-house investigation. He was expected to work closely with John M. Whitten, who was running the CIA investgation of Lee Harvey Oswald. Whitten and his staff of 30 officers, were sent a large amount of information from the FBI. According to Gerald D. McKnight "the FBI deluged his branch with thousands of reports containing bits and fragments of witness testimony that required laborious and time-consuming name checks." Whitten later described most of this FBI material as "weirdo stuff". As a result of this initial investigation, Whitten told Richard Helms that he believed that Oswald had acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

However, on 6th December, Nicholas Katzenbach invited John M. Whitten and Birch O'Neal, Angleton's trusted deputy and senior Special Investigative Group (SIG) officer to read Commission Document 1 (CD1), the report that the FBI had written on Lee Harvey Oswald. Whitten now realized that the FBI had been withholding important information on Oswald from him. He also discovered that Richard Helms had not been providing him all of the agency's available files on Oswald. This included Oswald's political activities in the months preceding the assassination.

After talking to Winston Scott, the CIA station chief in Mexico City, Whitten also discovered that Lee Harvey Oswald had been photographed at the Cuban consulate in early October, 1963. Scott had not reported this matter to Whitten, his boss, at the time. Nor had Scott told Whitten that Oswald had also visited the Soviet Embassy in Mexico. In fact, Whitten had not been informed of the existence of Oswald, even though there was a 201 pre-assassination file on him that had been maintained by the Counterintelligence/Special Investigative Group.

Whitten had a meeting with Richard Helms where he argued that Oswald's pro-Castro political activities needed closer examination, especially his attempt to shoot the right-wing General Edwin Walker, his relationship with anti-Castro exiles in New Orleans, and his public support for the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Whitten added that has he had been denied this information, his initial conclusions on the assassination were "completely irrelevant."

Richard Helms responded by taking Whitten off the case. James Jesus Angleton, chief of the CIA's Counterintelligence Branch, was now put in charge of the investigation. According to Gerald McKnight (Breach of Trust) Angleton "wrested the CIA's in-house investigation away from John Whitten because he either was convinced or pretended to believe that the purpose of Oswald's trip to Mexico City had been to meet with his KGB handlers to finalize plans to assassinate Kennedy."

The reports written by Sullivan and Angleton became the basis for the Warren Commission. However, it only emerged in his posthumous published autobiography that Sullivan had doubts about the guilt of Lee Harvey Oswald: "Oswald didn't have a record of being an outstanding marksman and yet he hit the president with two shots while his car was moving slowly down the road. His third shot hit Governor Connally. I went to the book depository from which Oswald fired at the president and I looked out the window where he was positioned. I've been around guns all my life and I'm a reasonably good shot, but I must say that that would be quite a task for me. It was, tragically, damn good shooting."

Sullivan was a strong opponent of the leadership of Martin Luther King. In January, 1964, Sullivan sent a memo to Hoover: "It should be clear to all of us that King must, at some propitious point in the future, be revealed to the people of this country and to his Negro followers as being what he actually is - a fraud, demagogue and scoundrel. When the true facts concerning his activities are presented, such should be enough, if handled properly, to take him off his pedestal and to reduce him completely in influence."

Sullivan's suggested replacement for King was Samuel Pierce, a conservative lawyer who was later to serve as Secretary of Housing under President Ronald Reagan.

In 1968 Sullivan was the lead investigator into the assassination of Martin Luther King and was involved in the arrest of James Earl Ray. In his autobiography he wrote: "I was convinced that James Earl Ray killed Martin Luther King, but I doubt if he acted alone... Someone, I feel sure, taught Ray how to get a false Canadian passport, how to get out of the country, and how to travel to Europe because he could never have managed it alone. And how did Ray pay for the passport and the airline tickets?" Sullivan believes that Ray was paid to kill King. He quotes Ray's brother as saying: "My brother would never do anything unless he was richly paid."

Sullivan was also involved in the FBI investigation of the assassination of Robert Kennedy. In his autobiography he argued that Sirhan Sirhan probably acted alone but "we never found out why". He added: "There were so many holes in the case. We never could account for Sirhan's presence in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel. Did he know Kennedy would be walking through? Intelligence work is exasperating. You can work on a case for years and still not know the real answers. There are so many unknowns. Investigating Sirhan was a frustrating job, for in the end we were never sure."

Sullivan disagreed with J. Edgar Hoover about the threat to national security posed by the American Communist Party and felt that the FBI was wasting too much money investigating this group. On 28th August, 1971, Sullivan sent Hoover a long letter pointing out their differences. Sullivan also suggested that Hoover should consider retirement. Hoover refused and it was Sullivan who had to leave the organization. Sullivan told the journalist, Robert Novak, soon after he left the FBI: "Someday you will read that I have been killed in an accident, but don't believe it, I've been murdered."

After Hoover's death Sullivan was brought back to office by Richard Nixon. He was appointed as head of the Office of National Narcotics Intelligence (ONNI). Sullivan supported Nixon's policy of expanding illegal surveillance methods (Huston Plan). Journalist later speculated that Sullivan was Deep Throat, the top level mole in Nixon's administration that provided some of the important evidence to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in their investigation of Watergate.

William Sullivan was shot dead near his home in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, on 9th November, 1977. An inquest decided that he had been shot accidentally by fellow hunter, Robert Daniels, who was fined $500 and lost his hunting license for 10 years.

Sullivan had been scheduled to testify before the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Sullivan was one of six top FBI officials who died in a six month period in 1977. Others who were due to appear before the committee who died included Louis Nicholas, special assistant to J. Edgar Hoover and Hoover's liaison with the Warren Commission; Alan H. Belmont, special assistant to Hoover; James Cadigan, document expert with access to documents that related to death of John F. Kennedy; J. M. English, former head of FBI Forensic Sciences Laboratory where Oswald's rifle and pistol were tested; Donald Kaylor, FBI fingerprint chemist who examined prints found at the assassination scene.

At the time of his death Sullivan was working on a book with journalist Bill Brown about his experiences with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI was published posthumously in 1979. The book was highly critical of both J. Edgar Hoover and Lyndon B. Johnson.

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) William C. Sullivan, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI (1979)

At the heart of Hoover’s massive public relations operation were fifty-nine FBI field offices whose territory took in every village, town, city, and county in America. Each day, out of these field offices streamed eight thousand agents going into every state, city, and town, talking to and becoming friendly with ordinary citizens from all walks of life.

Because of his network of field offices, and thanks to the scores of contacts made and maintained by the special agents in charge, Hoover was able to place "news" stories - invented and written in the bureau, really nothing more than press releases, puff pieces for the FBI - in newspapers all over the country. Our strength was in the small dailies and weeklies; and with hundreds of these papers behind him, Hoover didn’t give a damn about papers like the New York Times or the Washington Post. Most of the men who run small local papers are used to printing stories about grange suppers on the front page; imagine how grateful they are for a story from the FBI. Of course, scores of Washington-based reporters printed stories we gave them too, and they usually printed them under their own bylines. Some of them lived off us. It was an easy way to make a living. They were our press prostitutes.

When I hear people talk about a "new" FBI, I know that the changes they talk about are only paper changes. This public relations operation of Hoover’s, this massive attempt to control public opinion, continues to this day, and it is at the very heart of what is wrong with the bureau. Unless it is exposed, until every editor of every little weekly newspaper who ever printed an FBI press handout realizes how he was used, the FBI will do business in the same old way.

A massive, pervasive public relations operation is no substitute for the job of investigating crimes. The FBI should conduct its business quietly and it should earn its respect from the citizens of the United States by the results of its work, not from the results of its propaganda.

(2) William C. Sullivan, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI (1979)

Hoover was always gathering damaging material on Jack Kennedy, which the president, with his active social life, seemed more than willing to provide. We never put any technical surveillance on JFK, but whatever came up was automatically funnelled directly to Hoover. I was sure he was saving everything he had on Kennedy, and on Martin Luther King, Jr., too, until he could unload it all and destroy them both. He kept this kind of explosive material in his personal files, which filled four rooms on the fifth floor of headquarters.

Kennedy was aware that Hoover was an enemy, of course, and he kept his distance. He never asked Hoover for any gossip or any favors. If he heard that Hoover was leaking anti-Kennedy stories, JFK would call the director right away and ask him to put the statement on the record. Hoover always did, but somehow, between Kennedy's phone call and Hoover's official statement, the director's remarks softened considerably. Kennedy couldn't stop Hoover from talking behind his back, but he could do something about Hoover's public statements, and he did. Kennedy would also call Hoover over to the White House two or three times just to remind him who was boss. Kennedy didn't say it that bluntly, but Hoover got the message.

I shouldn't have been surprised then at Hoover's cold-blooded attitude when Kennedy was murdered, but it was unsettling nonetheless.

(3) William C. Sullivan, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI (1979)

We got going on the case right away. Officially, the Criminal Division was in charge of the investigation, but there wasn't too much to investigate after Lee Harvey Oswald, the only suspect, was killed. On the other hand, over at my shop we had to untangle Oswald's myriad subversive connections. Were the Soviets behind it? Were the Cubans behind it? Was anyone behind it? It grew into a gigantic intelligence operation with over twenty-eight hundred agents working on the case.

Oswald had spent a lot of time in Mexico, so our Mexican office played an important part in the investigation. We also had agents in Canada, Central America, England, and Italy tracking down leads. We even got a note from a man in France who said he had six letters written by Oswald which would solve the case. He offered to sell us the letters for ten thousand dollars, but he turned out to be a wellknown European con man who didn't have any such letters. He was later arrested and prosecuted by the French police.

We didn't have much on Oswald in our files prior to the assassination. We knew that he had lived in Russia and that he'd come back with a Russian wife, which was unusual for a couple of reasons. First of all, we never found out just why the Russians allowed Marina to leave the Soviet Union at a time when they were not permitting any Russians to come out. Second, she was a woman of extraordinary intelligence, much smarter than Oswald. Oswald had tried to commit suicide while he was in Russia by slashing his wrists, and we developed evidence that the Soviets looked on him as a nut, a nuisance, and were anxious to get him out of the country. This information was not firm, but was reported to us from a number of sources. There were so many other more subversive characters in our files with worse records than Oswald's and we had so little on Oswald that his case was considered a "Pending Inactive" case. Lee Harvey Oswald was really a cipher, a nobody to the FBI. After the assassination, of course, he became our most important subject.

But even after we zeroed in on Oswald, there were huge gaps in the case, gaps we never did close. For example, we never found out what went on between Oswald and the Cubans in Mexico.

Although his Russian connection had alerted us to Oswald in the first place, the bureau really couldn't keep him under surveillance merely because he had been to Russia and married a Russian wife. I can imagine the reaction of the Civil Liberties Union if we had: "Can't American citizens go to Russia without being hounded by the FBI?" Oswald wasn't a criminal, just a nut, and the FBI doesn't have the facilities to keep tabs on nuts.

I always tended to doubt that Oswald was a Russian or a Cuban agent because of his unsuccessful attempt on the life of General Edwin A. Walker. Walker was a right-winger, a John Bircher, but basically a nobody to the Russians or the Cubans. It would have been unnecessary for a valuable agent to take the chance of shooting Walker if Oswald had the assignment of killing the president. If I had to guess I'd say that Oswald acted alone, but I was puzzled by the accuracy of his shooting. Oswald didn't have a record of being an outstanding marksman and yet he hit the president with two shots while his car was moving slowly down the road. His third shot hit Governor Connally. I went to the book depository from which Oswald fired at the president and I looked out the window where he was positioned. I've been around guns all my life and I'm a reasonably good shot, but I must say that that would be quite a task for me. It was, tragically, damn good shooting.

On the other hand, it seemed extremely likely to me that Jack Ruby, a local nightclub owner who knew a lot of low characters, who was a police buff, and who had a working relationship with the local police, could easily have been a police informer. That certainly could explain Ruby's presence at the jail where he shot Oswald.

(4) William C. Sullivan, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI (1979)

Hoover was delighted when Gerald Ford was named to the Warren Commission. The director wrote in one of his internal memos that the bureau could expect Ford to "look after FBI interests," and he did, keeping us fully advised of what was going on behind closed doors. He was our man, our informant, on the Warren Commission.

Ford's relationship with Hoover went back to Ford's first congressional campaign in Michigan. Our agents out in the field kept a watchful eye on local congressional races and advised Hoover whether the winners were friends or enemies. Hoover had a complete file developed on each incoming congressman. He knew their family backgrounds, where they had gone to school, whether or not they played football, and any other tidbits he could weave into a subsequent conversation.

Gerald Ford was a friend of Hoover's, and he first proved it when he made a speech not long after he came to Congress recommending a pay raise for J. Edgar Hoover, the great director of the FBI. He proved it again when he tried to impeach Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, a Hoover enemy.

(5) William C. Sullivan, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI (1979)

Although Hoover was desperately trying to catch Bobby Kennedy red-handed at anything, he never did. Kennedy was almost a Puritan. We used to watch him at parties, where he would order one glass of scotch and still be sipping from the same glass two hours later. The stories about Bobby Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe were just stories. The original story was invented by a so-called journalist, a right-wing zealot who had a history of spinning wild yarns. It spread like wildfire, of course, and J. Edgar Hoover was right there, gleefully fanning the flames.

When Bobby Kennedy was campaigning for the presidential nomination in 1968, his name came up at a top-level FBI meeting. Hoover was not present, and Clyde Tolson was presiding in his absence. I was one of eight men who heard Tolson respond to the mention of Kennedy's name by saying, "I hope someone shoots and kills the son of a bitch." This was five or six weeks before the California primary. I used to stare at Tolson after Bobby Kennedy was murdered, wondering if he had qualms of conscience about what he said. I don't think he did.

On 6 June 1968, the Los Angeles office called me at about two o'clock in the morning to tell me that Robert Kennedy had beenkilled. I had the damn phone in my hand, half asleep, and I asked theagent to repeat what he'd said. And then I woke up, really woke up.There was another tremendous investigation of course, and wedid finally decide that Sirhan acted alone, but we never found outwhy. Although he was fanatic about the Arab cause, we could neverlink Sirhan to any organization or to any other country. He neverreceived a dime from anyone for what he did. We sometimes wondered whether someone representing the Soviets had suggested to Sirhan that Kennedy would take action against the Arab countries if he became president. But that was only a guess.

There were so many holes in the case. We never could account for Sirhan's presence in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel. Did he know Kennedy would be walking through? Intelligence work is exasperating. You can work on a case for years and still not know the real answers. There are so many unknowns. Investigating Sirhan was a frustrating job, for in the end we were never sure.

Hoover's dislike of Robert Kennedy continued even after Kennedy's death. We had a positive identification on James Earl Ray, the killer of Martin Luther King, Jr., a full day before Hoover released the news to the world that he had been caught in London. He purposely held up the report of Ray's capture so that he could interrupt TV coverage of Bobby's burial, on June 8.

Hoover was as fond of Ted Kennedy as he had been of his brothers. It was the FBI which circulated the story that Teddy Kennedy was a poor student and had cheated on an exam. By rights the FBI should have had nothing to do with the Chappaquiddick affair, but the Boston office was put on the case right away. Although Hoover was delighted to cooperate, the order did not originate with him. It came from the White House.

Everything that came in on Kennedy and on Mary Jo Kopechne, the unfortunate young woman who drowned in his car, was funnelled to the White House. Hoover even assigned our local agent to dig into the affair. The White House asked Hoover to make the assignment and Hoover jumped through the hoop to do it.

(6) William C. Sullivan, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI (1979)

Hoover had chosen "Deke" DeLoach, a man who at times seemed to be Hoover's protege and at other times seemed to be almost a son to the director, to act as FBI liaison to Johnson when he served in the Senate. DeLoach's relationship with Johnson continued into the White House where, much to Hoover's chagrin, DeLoach became a member of Johnson's inner circle. DeLoach and his family visited with the Johnsons at Camp David and at the LBJ Ranch, and eventually DeLoach obtained a direct line to LBJ's White House from his bedroom.

Because his advanced age put him in such a precarious position, Hoover literally turned the bureau and all its resources over to DeLoach and Johnson to use as they saw fit, and he found himself very much in the back seat, almost a captive of the president and his FBI liaison. He couldn't do a damned thing about it either, even if he had wanted to, which I doubt. All Hoover wanted was to stay on as director, to avoid retirement. Appearances were maintained, however, and Johnson, through DeLoach, treated Hoover with kid gloves and was always careful to see that the attorney general, Hoover's nominal boss, did the same.

(7) William C. Sullivan, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI (1979)

The president, said DeLoach, spoke of the harassment being given his policies by Senator Fulbright. Johnson said that there were only about six senators who formed the nucleus of the opposition, including Fulbright, Morse, Bobby Kennedy, Gruening, Clark (Pa.), and Aiken (Vt.). All of these men, Johnson had learned from the FBI, had either had dinner at the Soviet Embassy or lunches or private meetings with the Soviet ambassador prior to the beginning of their heavy opposition to the president's policies. As for Fulbright, DeLoach told Hoover, LBJ said that he "doesn't know what the smell of a cartridge is-he's a narrow-minded egotist who is attempting to run the country." The president said that what Bobby Kennedy was trying to do was to bring embarrassment to the administration and fame and publicity to himself.

Later that same month DeLoach told Hoover that LBJ wanted the director to discuss the embassy visits during a network television appearance the president planned to set up for him. LBJ said that Hoover might want to subtly work in the "fact" that there was considerable espionage going on and that certain Iron Curtain embassies were attracting many prominent legislators and leaders of the United States into doing their bidding. The president added that this would refer to Fulbright and Morse who, he felt, on the Vietnam issue, were definitely under control of the Soviet Embassy.

Johnson didn't limit his paranoia to senators and congressmen with possible Soviet connections, though. He wanted the FBI to keep an eye on every senator and congressman who opposed his policies, whether they were Republicans or Democrats, whether they leaned to the left or to the right. He wanted anything our agents could dig up on them that might prove embarrassing or politically damaging. He leaked the information we sent to him on Republicans to the press himself, but he was reluctant to attack members of his own party and supplied whatever damaging information he had on the Democrats to Everett Dirksen, the leading Republican in the Senate. Johnson also wanted the FBI to keep a close watch on his critics in the press.

(8) William C. Sullivan, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI(1979)

Working so closely with Johnson, DeLoach naturally found himself spending more and more time with LBJ's closest aide, Walter Jenkins. The two men became close friends and Jenkins a frequent visitor to the DeLoach home. When Jenkins was arrested for making homosexual advances to a man in the basement men's room of the Washington YMCA, it was DeLoach who carried the ball for Johnson.

The president immediately and publicly ordered an FBI investigation of the incident. Privately, he told the FBI how to run the investigation and what its results should reveal. Johnson wanted the bureau to prove that the object of Jenkins's attention was being paid by the Republican National Committee and that the whole incident was a frame-up, a Republican plot. DeLoach told Hoover that LBJ wanted agents to bear down on the complainant with respect to his knowledge of Republican National Committee members, as well as once again questioning him about a possible frame-up. Bear down we did, but the man wouldn't budge an inch. Why should he? There was no frame-up and there were no Republicans involved.

Then Johnson decided that Jenkins's problem sprang from a diseased brain. DeLoach went to see Jenkins's doctor to get a public statement to that effect, but the doctor refused.

Johnson then asked the bureau to attempt to bring further pressure on the park policeman who filed a complaint about Jenkins's attempt to solicit him in LaFayette Park in Washington (which happened before the incident in the YMCA). DeLoach also asked Bill Moyers, LBJ's press secretary, to have Stewart Udall, secretary of the interior, bring pressure on the park policeman so that this man would "tell all," but LBJ said that Udall had already tried to bring pressure on him and that it had amounted to nothing. Johnson also asked the FBI to send a letter to the Department of justice to consider bringing the park policeman before a grand jury.

The courage shown by both Jenkins's doctor and the policeman restored some of the faith I used to have in human beings. The doctor and the policeman both stood their ground and refused to lie, and the representatives of the president of the United States and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had to back off.

Jenkins was taken to the hospital in a state of collapse, where he was treated for "extreme fatigue." DeLoach, who by this time thought of himself as Hoover's successor and longed to hasten the director's retirement, saw in Jenkins's hospitalization a chance to humiliate Hoover. He talked the director into sending flowers and a "get well" note to Jenkins, probably by saying that the gesture would please the president. Hoover, ever eager to please, did what DeLoach suggested. Of course, the story was leaked to the press and Hoover found himself in the headlines, a national laughing stock for sending flowers to a man he was investigating. DeLoach managed to convince Hoover he had done the right thing after all, telling Hoover that LBJ had dwelt at some length on the unfortunate publicity about the flowers sent to Jenkins and said that some newspapers were not taking into account the fact that the director had ordered those flowers sent before the beginning of the investigation. Johnson wanted Hoover to know that, despite any criticism he might receive over this incident, history would record the fact that the director had done a great humanitarian deed...

Our investigation actually showed that Jenkins had a previous record of arrest for the same offense. Johnson may well have known all along, but he just didn't seem to care about a man's sexuality; there were at least two other homosexuals serving on Johnson's White House staff when Jenkins was arrested.

The Jenkins scandal broke just weeks before the presidential election of 1964, and Johnson (and, of course, the FBI) moved to prevent Barry Goldwater from using Jenkins's misfortune as political ammunition against LBJ. Jenkins had once been cleared for membership in Goldwater's air force squadron and he had accompanied Goldwater on many flights. Johnson planned to play up the relationship, and a lot more dirt that our agents had dug up on LBJ's opponent as well, if Goldwater tried to take political advantage of the situation.

LBJ told his FBI liaison man DeLoach that Goldwater would find it difficult to deny that he knew Jenkins quite well personally or that Jenkins had traveled with Goldwater on several occasions.

(9) William C. Sullivan, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI (1979)

Hoover's lack of enthusiasm for the cause of racial equality in America extended to the civil rights workers who were so active during the Johnson years. Hoover managed to keep his agents out of many early racial confrontations in the South, but the disappearance of three young civil rights workers in Mississippi in June 1964 became a major national scandal, and President Johnson forced Hoover to get the bureau involved.

Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, both white, had gone to Mississippi from New York City to take part in the effort to register black voters. While driving near Philadelphia, Mississippi, with James Chaney, a black civil rights worker from nearby Meridian, they were arrested for speeding by a local deputy sheriff. Lawrence Rainey, the Neshoba County sheriff, claimed that the three had been released after spending five hours in jail waiting for bail to be set, but that they hadn't been seen or heard from since then. When the local police failed to locate either the young men or their bodies, the bureau was called in. At first we thought there was a possibility of kidnapping, but we came to realize almost immediately that Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney had been murdered.

The FBI had no office in Mississippi so we flew in agents from nearby offices to investigate. When the car in which the boys had been riding was found stripped down and burnt out in a swamp, the navy volunteered to send in two hundred sailors to help with the search. But even with the navy's help we weren't getting anywhere. We couldn't find the bodies.

As the weeks dragged by, President Johnson felt more and more pressure to resolve the case, and in turn began to pressure Hoover. The case had become a political albatross to Johnson, a southerner who felt that the public doubted the depth of his commitment to solving it, and an embarrassment to Hoover, who was tired of newspaper stories which intimated that the FBI wasn't really trying to find the bodies, or worse, that FBI agents had killed the three themselves and were covering up their crime. That story really stirred up our men in the South.

The accusations that the FBI had been avoiding involvement were true. "We're investigators," Hoover would say about his refusal to protect civil rights workers, "not policemen." When James Meredith marched through Mississippi, Hoover sent just enough men to avoid criticism, and the few he sent were under orders to steer clear of confrontations.

Our agents had infiltrated the civil rights movement to see if the civil rights workers were part of a subversive plot to overthrow the United States, but they had kept out of the way of the local white citizens who were making life so dangerous for those civil rights workers. This was in part because Hoover didn't want to offend the southern sheriffs and police chiefs who had helped the bureau solve so many cases in the past. He also felt more comfortable with and more sympathetic toward those old rednecks than he did toward blacks and students, whose motivations and lifestyles he didn't understand at all...

We finally cracked the case with the help of an informant, one of the people involved. We gave him about thirty thousand dollars to tell us who did the job and where the bodies were buried. He was a member of the local Klan organization, and, quite prudently, used some of the money to build a barricade around his house and buy a couple of ugly German shepherds. He had been one of a group of nineteen Klansmen who took the young men out of their car when they left jail and shot them dead in the brush. The bureau probably saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of investigating hours by paying our informant thirty thousand.

Without informants, any police department-federal, state, or local-would be almost helpless. In the case of the Philadelphia, Mississippi, murders our agents were reasonably sure of what had happened and who has been involved, but they couldn't prove anything until they found the bodies. The men were charged with conspiracy to deprive Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney of their civil rightsnot murder since murder is not a federal crime-and none of those involved received more than a ten-year sentence. But they were apprehended and President Johnson was off the hook.

(10) William C. Sullivan, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI (1979)

In 1965, Gary Thomas Rowe was on the FBI's payroll as an informant the night he was riding in an automobile with the Klansman who shot and killed Viola Liuzzo in an Alabama marsh. Mrs. Liuzzo was a Michigan housewife who had gone South to work for civil rights, and her murder horrified most of the country.

When I got hold of Rowe, I really gave him hell. Why hadn't he grabbed the gun, or hit the killer's arm and deflected his aim?

"I couldn't," he told me. "There were five of us in the car. I was in the back seat behind the driver. We were driving along very slowly when suddenly the guy sitting in the front passenger's seat, way out of my reach, drew his gun and fired. I knew he had a gun, and I knew that the others had guns too, but there was no reason to think anyone would use one."

We had to take his word for it. Rowe had said he couldn't prevent the murder, but his eyewitness evidence did break the case for us. His testimony, however, failed to convince an all-white jury in Haneyville, Alabama, and it took a second trial to obtain a conviction.

After he gave his testimony, the Klan would have killed Gary Rowe, so we moved him to another part of the country where we gave him a new identity and a new job. But he continued to be the damnedest guy, always getting in trouble, very hard for us to control. We would beg him to stay out of fights, but whenever our agents inspected photographs they had taken of riots and brawls that took place in Rowe's new territory, we would always spot our informant right in the middle of the worst of it. We once had a picture of him holding two men up against a car, pounding the hell out of both of them. The picture only showed his back, but Rowe was powerful, a six-foot-two redhead weighing two hundred twenty pounds. There was no doubt that the man in the picture was Rowe. "Where's my face?" he asked when we showed him the picture. "That's not me, you can't see my face," he told us. But it was Rowe all right-he was a real hell raiser.

(11) Ronald Kessler, The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI (2003)

The next morning, Colonel Alexander M. Haig Jr., another Kissinger aide, met with Sullivan in his office and asked for wiretaps of four people, three on the National Security Council staff and one in the Defense Department. One of the targets was Halperin, who was already being wiretapped. Sullivan relayed the request to Hoover, who told him to follow Haig's instructions but "make sure everything is on paper." Hoover instructed Sullivan to obtain John Mitchell's approval.

Jones did not trust Sullivan. A feisty man who read voraciously and wore rumpled clothes, Sullivan was born in Bolton, Massachusetts, where his parents were farmers. After receiving a bachelor's degree in history from American University, he taught English in Bolton. Sullivan became an agent in 1941.

Sullivan's colleagues called him "Crazy Bill" because he was so unpredictable. Jones recalled that during the riots in Washington in April 1968 following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Sullivan called him and said he wanted to take a look. With Jones driving, they stopped at a red light.

"People were standing on the corner," Jones said. "He reached into his pocket and pulled out Mace. He sprayed it at one younger person who probably was involved. I don't know if it hit him."

(12) William C. Sullivan, memorandum to J. Edgar Hoover (8th January, 1964)

It should be clear to all of us that Martin Luther King must, at some propitious point in the future, be revealed to the people of this country and to his Negro followers as being what he actually is - a fraud, demagogue and scoundrel. When the true facts concerning his activities are presented, such should be enough, if handled properly, to take him off his pedestal and to reduce him completely in influence. When this is done, and it can be and will be done, obviously much confusion will reign, particularly among the Negro people... The Negroes will be left without a national leader of sufficiently compelling personality to steer them in the proper direction. This is what could happen, but need not happen if the right kind of a national Negro leader could at this time be gradually developed so as to overshadow Dr. King and be in the position to assume the role of the leadership of the Negro people when King has been completely discredited.

For some months I have been thinking about this matter. One day I had an opportunity to explore this from a philosophical and sociological standpoint with an acquaintance whom I have known for some years.... I asked him to give the matter some attention and if he knew any Negro of outstanding intelligence and ability to let me know and we would have a discussion. He has submitted to me the name of the above-captioned person. Enclosed with this memorandum is an outline of (the person's) biography which is truly remarkable for a man so young. On scanning this biography, it will be seen that (Samuel Pierce) does have all the qualifications of the kind of a Negro I have in mind to advance to positions of national leadership....

If this thing can be set up properly without the Bureau in any way becoming directly involved, I think it would be not only a great help to the FBI but would be a fine thing for the country at large. While I am not specifying at this moment, there are various ways in which the FBI could give this entire matter the proper direction and development. There are highly placed contacts of the FBI who might be very helpful to further such a step. These can be discussed in detail later when I have probed more fully into the possibilities.

(13) William C. Sullivan, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI (1979)

It is regretted by me that this letter is necessary. What I will set forth below is being said for your own good and for the FBI as a whole of which I am very fond. The premise from which I write is this: from diverse sources I have received the impression that you consider me to be disloyal to you but not to the FBI. If this is correct it is a serious matter that ought to be discussed.

First, I wish to direct your attention to my 30 year record in the FBI. It is well documented and I don't need to present it to you here with its letters of commendation and awards given by you. You have access to all this. If this record of three decades is not conclusive evidence of loyalty what is? You have said that I consistently put the work of this Bureau above personal considerations. My family certainly will attest to this for they have year in and year out suffered from my neglect. This I now realize was a mistake on my part. Countless others have also put the Bureau above all other considerations.

Second, you and I recognized years ago that we do not possess the same philosophical view or the same approach to FBI operations. We have disagreed but we worked together and I have carried out your instructions even when I disagreed with them strongly. This is as it should be because any organization must have an authority capable of making the final decision and invested with the power to implement all such decisions.

Third, during the past year in particular you have made it evident to me that you do not want me to disagree with you on anything. As one official of the FBI has said you claim you do not want "yes men" but you become furious at any employee who says "no" to you. I think this observation has much truth in it. If you are going to equate loyalty with "yes men," "rubber stamps," "apple polishers," flatterers, self-promoters and timid, cringing, frightened sycophants you are not only departing from the meaning of loyalty you are in addition harming yourself and the organization. There is no substitute for incisive, independent, free, probing, original, creative thinking. I have brought up my children to believe and act upon this truth. They disagree with me regularly. But, they are not disloyal to me. In fact I think their loyalty is more deep, strong and lasting because of this kind of thinking.

Fourth, ever since I spoke before the UPI Conference on October 12, i97o you have made it quite clear you are very displeased with me because, according to you, I downgraded the Communist Party, USA. My answer to the question raised was accurate, factual, truthful. As I pointed out later to Mr. Tolson in Executive Conference I would give the very same answer again and again if it was asked. You know as well as I do that the Communist Party, USA is not the cause and does not direct and control the unrest and violence in this Nation. The UPI was wholly accurate in reporting what I said. Some papers were incomplete in reporting my remarks and there may have been a headline here and there that was not entirely correct. However, I repeat what I said was correct and I cannot understand your hostile reaction to it which had continued to this day.

Fifth, you are incensed because I have disagreed with you on opening new foreign liaison offices around the world and adding more men to those already in existence. It seems to me you should welcome different viewpoints. On this subject I want to say this here. I grew up in a farming community where all people in a family had to literally work from the darkness of the morning to the darkness of the night in order to make a living and pay their taxes. It could be that this is what causes me to be so sensitive about how the taxpayers' money is spent. Hence, I want to say once more that I regard it to be a serious waste of taxpayers' money to keep increasing the number of these offices, to continue with all that we now have and to be adding more and more manpower to these offices. Our primary responsibility is within the United States and here is where we need to spend the taxpayers' dollar combating crime. And, as our own statistics show we are not doing too well at it here. Why, then, should we spread ourselves around the world unnecessarily? You keep telling me that President Nixon has ordered you to do it and therefore you must carry out his orders. I am positive that if President Nixon knew the limitations of our foreign liaison operations and was given all the facts relative to intelligence matters he would reverse these orders if such have been clearly given. A few liaison offices can be justified but this expansion program cannot be no matter what kind of "reports" your inspectors bring back to you. Do you think many (if any) will disagree with you? What would happen if they did?

Sixth, I would like to convince you (but I am almost certain to fail in this) that those of us who disagree with you are trying to help you and not hurt you. For example, you were opposed to the Shaw case. This man should have been allowed to resign without stigmatizing him with the phrase "dismissal with prejudice." This was wrong. It cost us $13,000 I am told. On August 28 in a memorandum from Mr. Tolson to you we have been instructed to have no conversation or give any answers to representatives of certain papers and two broadcasting companies. Mr. Hoover, this is wrong and also it will sooner or later hurt us. You cannot do this kind of thing in a free, democratic society. It matters not whether we like or dislike certain papers or broadcasting companies they are entitled to equal treatment. Again, your decision to keep Mr. Roy Moore in Philadelphia is in my judgment both wrong and unjust. This man has been there since April. He has done brilliant work. It is definitely not necessary to keep him there any longer. He should be sent back to his office and family. I wish you would change your mind in both of these cases. Again, I want to say those of us who disagree with you are trying to help you. May I suggest that we are more loyal than those who are constantly saying "yes, yes, yes" to you and behind your back talk about "the need to play the game" in order to get the paycheck regularly and not be demoted or transferred.

Seventh, you have refused to give Assistant Director C. D. Brennan and myself any more annual leave. The reason you give is not valid and you know it. All it amounts to is this: you dislike us and intend to use your absolute power in this manner as a form of "punishment." I am hardened to all this and can take it. But my family cannot. My oldest son is registering for college in New Hanpshire this coming Tuesday. Naturally he wanted me to be with him and is extremely disappointed that I cannot be. Of course, I want to be with him and find out what kind of a roommate he has, talk to his professors, etc. My wife, in addition to respiratory trouble is now ill with colitus and cannot handle the situation (if you doubt this I will submit to you the doctor bills for the past three years and will give you their names and you can send out one or two of your global circling inspectors to talk to them and this time they will have to bring back what the doctors say and not what you want to hear). But even more serious is this: My son who has been staying with me has not driven a car a great deal and is not a good driver. Yet, because you refuse to give me any leave I had to tell him he must drive all the way to northern New Hampshire (well over 60o miles) alone today. He left at 5:00 a.m. this morning. Mr. Hoover, I want to tell you very simply but with deadly seriousness that I am hoping and praying for all involved in this that my adolescent son makes this long and dangerous trip today without any harm coming to him. Surely, I don't need to explain to you why my wife and three children regard you, to put it mildly, as a very strange man.

Eight, what I have said here is not designed to irritate or anger you but it probably will. What I am trying to get across to you in my blunt, tactless way is that a number of your decisions this year have not been good ones; that you should take a good, cold, impartial inventory of your ideas, policies, etc. You will not believe this but it is true: I do not want to see your reputation built up over these many years destroyed by your own decisions and actions. When you elect to retire I want to see you go out in a blaze of glory with full recognition from all those concerned. I do not want to see this FBI organization which I have gladly given 30 years of my life to along with untold numbers of other men fall apart or become tainted in any manner. We have a fine group of men in the FBI and we need to think of every one of them also.

Ninth, as I have indicated this letter will probably anger you. When you are angered you can take some mighty drastic action. You have absolute power in the FBI (I hope the man who one day takes over your position will not have such absolute power for we humans are simply not saintly enough to possess and handle it properly in every instance). In view of your absolute power you can fire me, or do away with my position (as you once did) or transfer me or in some other way work out your displeasure with me. So be it. I am fond of the FBI and I have told you exactly what I think about certain matters affecting you and this Bureau and as you know I have always been willing to accept the consequences of my ideas and actions.

(14) William C. Sullivan, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI (1979)

"I suppose the Kennedys did that kind of thing with Hoover," Dean said. I told him truthfully that the Kennedys had been so wary of Hoover that they never used the FBI at all if they could help it. Dean didn't look as if he believed me. "What about Johnson?" he asked quickly.

Once again I answered truthfully. "Compared to Lyndon Johnson," I told him, "the current administration is spartan in its use of the FBI." Dean's tongue was practically hanging out of his mouth as I talked. I couldn't tell him about every one of Johnson's illegal uses of the FBI-DeLoach was the one who could - but I could tell him enough. I told him about the FBI surveillance I'd helped to set up on Madame Chennault. I told him how Johnson had praised Hoover and the FBI for keeping tabs on Bobby Kennedy at the Democratic convention in Atlantic City by tapping Martin Luther King's phone. I told him about the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing done by LBJ, Abe Fortas, and Deke DeLoach after Walter Jenkins was arrested in Washington, and I told Dean that Johnson had asked the FBI to dig up derogatory information on Senator Fulbright and other Democratic senators who had attacked Johnson's policies. Of course, the FBI wasn't chartered to do that kind of work, but Hoover loved to help his friends - and those he wished were his friends.

Dean asked if I would write a confidential memo for "White House use only" detailing some examples of previous illegal political use of the FBI. He didn't tell me, and I certainly never guessed, that Dean would give the "confidential information I'd supplied to the Watergate prosecutors. I did realize, though, that I could be heading into stormy waters, so I told Dean I'd send the memo, but that I'd only write about events that I would be willing to testify to publicly. Dean readily agreed.

Then he sat back in his chair and said, "I'd like you to write a second memo after you've done that one. I'd like to pick your brains. You've been around Washington for years, and I'd like your opinion on how we should cope with the situation we have with the Plumbers."

(15) Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Pacific News Service (3rd May, 1997)

It is known that, with the blessings of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and the Justice Department relentlessly tried to tie King to the Communist Party. This was not just Hoover acting on his own obsessions, it was a war against the black movement. And Hoover decided the cheap way to win that war was to discredit the movement's most respected figure.

Hoover assigned the job to assistant FBI director William Sullivan, who branded King "the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation." In his book, "My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI," Sullivan said "There were no fewer than 14 men with high-ranking positions who not only never objected to the investigation of King, but because of Hoover's pressure were vigorously behind it."

Sullivan coordinated the "Seat of Government" committee, mostly special agents from Washington DC and Atlanta offices, who deluged King with wiretaps, physical surveillance, poison pen letters, and threats, and leaked smear stories to the media.

(16) The Washingtonian Magazine (June 1974)

The best gossip in town these days is the Deep Throat guessing game. Who is the highly placed Nixon Administration source who gave so much guidance to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's Washington Post investigation of Watergate? How many of the Deep Throat clues in Woodward and Bernstein's book, All the President's Men, can be believed?

Some insiders think Deep Throat is more than one source - that the character was invented by the authors to give readers of the book something to talk about. Post reporters are inclined to disagree - they think there was a single important source who helped unravel the story. But almost no one is willing to believe that Woodward and Bernstein are about to give away any clues that might actually lead to their most important source.

A lot of names are being bandied about. People magazine says Deep Throat was Pat Gray, FBI director from May 1972 to April 1973. Another FBI favorite is William Sullivan, an assistant FBI director fired by J. Edgar Hoover and then rehabilitated by the Nixon Administration after Hoover's death in May 1972.

(17) New York Times (10th November, 1977)

William C. Sullivan, former head of the Federal Bureau of Investigations intelligence operations who broke in dramatic fashion with the late J. Edgar Hoover, was killed early yesterday in a shooting accident near his home in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire. He was 65 years old.

Major Mason J. Butterfield, law enforcement director of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, said that Mr. Sullivan, who had been on the way to meet two hunting companions shortly after daybreak, had been shot and instantly killed by another hunter, Robert Daniels, Jr., 22, who had mistaken Mr. Sullivan for a deer. Major Butterfield said that the shooting was under investigation and that no charges had been filed...

Mr. Sullivan, who acquired a reputation as the only liberal Democrat ever to break into the top ranks of the bureau, retired in 1971 after he arrived at his office one morning to find that Mr. Hoover had ordered the lock on his door changed and his nameplate removed. That incident, widely reported at the time, was the culmination of increasing friction between the two men over Mr. Sullivan's private, and then public, insistence that Mr. Hoover had greatly overemphasized the threat to national security posed by the American Communist Party while devoting less attention than was warranted to violation of Federal civil rights laws in the South.

Mr. Sullivan was known both within the bureau, and by a wide and distinguished circle of acquaintances outside it as less a policeman than a scholar, one whose interests ranged from theoretical Marxism, on which he was an acknowledged expert, to modern English poetry.

Mr. Sullivan held advanced degrees from American and George Washington Universities and an honorary doctorate from Boston College.

In retirement, Mr. Sullivan became even more vocal of Mr. Hoover's nearly five decades of unchallenged leadership of the bureau and of its controversial counterintelligence programs, including some that he himself had conceived and administered.

Testifying two years ago before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which termed some of his official actions abusive and even illegal, Mr. Sullivan declared, "Never once did I hear anybody, including myself raise the question, is this course of action which we have agreed upon lawful, is it legal, is it ethical or moral?"

The Senate investigation uncovered considerable detail about the counterintelligence programs, collectively labeled Cointelpro by the bureau, that were intended to spread confusion and dissension among extremist political groups in this country, ranging from the Communist Party on the left to the Ku Klux Klan on the right.

It also developed in the Senate investigations that Mr. Sullivan had been instrumental in the arranging for the mailing of a tape recording in 1964 to Coretta Scott King, wide of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that contained snippets of Dr. King's conversations with other women that had been overheard by concealed F.B.I. microphones.

Mr. Sullivan was in the news most recently a few weeks ago when he acknowledge that he had passed to subordinates instructions from Mr. Hoover to use whatever means were necessary in tracking down fugitive members of the Weather Underground organization in the early 1970's.

One former agent, John J. Kearney, is now the subject of a Federal indictment charging the bureau with having employed illegal wiretaps and mail intercepts in those investigations, and Mr. Sullivan was expected to have been a principal witness at Mr. Kearney's trial. Mr. Sullivan, whose hopes for replacing Mr. Hoover as the bureau's director were dashed when the Nixon Administration installed L. Patrick Gary as Mr. Hoover's successor, infuriated many of his longtime colleagues in 1973, a year after Mr. Hoover's death, when Mr. Sullivan publicly questioned Mr. Hoover's mental acuity during his last few years in office.

"I'm no doctor," he said at the time in assessing Mr. Hoover. "I can't make a judgement. But he had an unusual personality. In the last three years, you couldn't depend upon him. He became extremely erratic."

Surviving are Mr. Sullivan's wife, Marion, two sons, William and Andrew, both law students in Boston, and a daughter Joanne Tuttle. A funeral service will be held on Saturday in Hudson, Mass., Mr. Sullivan's birthplace.

(18) New York Times (15th January, 1978)

A Libson, New Hampshire man was fined $500 and lost his hunting license for 10 years yesterday for killing a former assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, William Sullivan, in a hunting accident.

Mr. Sullivan, 65 years old, the retired No. 3 man at the bureau, died Nov. 9 after a bullet from Robert Daniels' .30-caliber rifle struck him in the neck as he was hunting near his home in Sugar Hill.

District Court Special Justice Timothy Vaughn imposed the sentence on Mr. Daniels, 21, on the recommendation of the Grafton County Attorney, John Rolli.

Mr. Daniels, son of a state policeman, pleaded no contest Nov. 18 to a charge of shooting and killing a human being mistaken for game. Mr. Daniels was hunting with a rifle equipped with a telescopic sight when he shot Mr. Sullivan 20 minutes before sunrise.

(19) Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin, Silent Coup: The Removal of Richard Nixon (1991)

Dean gratefully took the ball and ran with it, admitting to the president that the cover-up line, to the effect that technically no one at the White House knew about the break-in, could be sustained even though "there are some people who saw the fruits of it, but that is another story. I am talking about the criminal conspiracy to go in there." Nixon understood this to be (he later wrote) "a lawyer's distinction," but one that would allow him to continue to maintain that the White House had not planned the break ins.

That was only momentary respite for the president, however, because his young counsel was seeing and identifying incoming missile fire from all directions. Dean segued to Segretti and noted that the president's enemies would have to twist Segretti's story in order to paint it as "more sinister, more involved, part of a general plan." The president shook a metaphorical fist at the sky, ranting about those enemies, saying that "the establishment is dying" and that the fuss over Watergate was their last gasp before his ultimate triumph.

"That is why I keep coming back to this fellow Sullivan," Dean said. "It could change the picture."

The president wasn't buying that as he had in past meetings. How could Sullivan help? Perhaps only if the former FBI assistant director "would get Kennedy into it."

Having deflected Nixon, and using the totemic Kennedy name, Dean now tried to frighten the president away from the "hang-out road" by informing him that if people went after Segretti they would find Kalmbach, and if they found Kalmbach they would find Caulfield and the fact that a man working for Caulfield had spent two years investigating Chappaquiddick on the president's nickel.

Again, the president wasn't buying. So what if he'd had a potential opponent's biggest calamity investigated? "Why don't we get it out anyway?"

"We don't want to surface him (the Chappaquiddick investigator - Ulasewicz) right now," Dean said quickly, and came close to admitting his real reason for saying so, that people were asking for Kalmbach's bank records.

Still mystified, and perhaps needing to digest all that he had been told in this confession that shattered all his previous understandings and beliefs about no White House involvement in Watergate, Nixon grasped at the Sullivan straw and stirred it about for the last minutes of the conversation.

But Dean now tried to suggest that trotting Sullivan out wouldn't be entirely positive for Nixon either, because though Sullivan wouldn't "give up the White House," he did have "knowledge of the earlier (unintelligible) that occurred here."

"That we did?" Nixon asked.

"That we did," Dean affirmed.

Nixon argued that Sullivan could conceal this if he had to, and then ushered Dean out at 2:00 p.m. with a rhetorical question, "It is never dull, is it?"

"Never," Dean agreed.

(20) John Hawkins interviewed Robert Novak for the Right Wing News (20th August, 2007)

John Hawkins: Now in 1977, during the Carter administration, you seem to have implied in the book that Bill Sullivan, a FBI source of yours, was murdered. In fact, you said that he told you if he was killed in an "accidental shooting," not to believe it. (Later), he was mistaken for a deer and shot to death. You think he was murdered and if so, by whom?

Robert Novak: ....That was in his retirement. He was fired by Hoover and he had an awful lot of enemies both on the Left and Right. He was the number three man in the FBI and a great source of mine.

I don't know, I just tell the story as it is. He told me the last time I saw him - he had lunch at my house - he had been fired by Hoover and he was going into retirement - he said that, "Someday you will read that I have been killed in an accident, but don't believe it, I've been murdered," which was a shocking thing to say...

Some years later, I read in the paper that he was out at dawn hunting in New Hampshire and a young man, a fellow hunter, with a long range rifle, killed him. He shot him in the neck, mistook him for a deer. The story was that the police investigated, said it was an accident, and Mr. Sullivan's family, and the man who was ghostwriting his memoirs, accepted that.

I just tell you the story straight out. There's a lot of strange things in the world that we never know the answer to.