Jack Alston Crichton was born on a cotton plantation in Crichton, Louisiana, on 16th October, 1916. After leaving Byrd High School in Shreveport in 1933 he attended the Texas A&M University. Fellow students included Harvey Bright and Earle Cabell. He graduated with a degree in Petroleum Engineering in 1937.
During the Second World War he served with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Europe. In 1946 Everette DeGolyer recruited Crichton. According to Russ Baker: "He started and ran a baffling array of companies, which tended to change names frequently. These operated largely below the radar, and fronted for some of North America's biggest names, including the Bronfmans (Seagram's liquor), the Du Ponts, and the Kuhn-Loeb family of financiers."
In 1952 Jack Crichton joined a syndicate that included Everette DeGolyer and Clint Murchison to use connections in the government of General Francisco Franco to acquire rare drilling rights in Spain. The operation was handled by Delta Drilling, which was owned by Joe Zeppa.
In August 1953 Crichton joined the Empire Trust Company. He eventually became a vice-president of the organization. According to Stephen Birmingham, the author of Our Crowd: The Great Jewish Families of New York (1962) the company had a network of associates that amounted to "something very like a private CIA". The Empire Trust was also a major investor in the defence contractor General Dynamics.
In 1956 Crichton started up his own spy unit, the 488th Military Intelligence Detachment. Crichton served as the unit's commander under Lieutenant Colonel George Whitmeyer, who was in overall command of all Army Reserve units in East Texas. In an interview Crichton claimed that there were "about a hundred men in that unit and about forty or fifty of them were from the Dallas Police Department."
In the 1950s Jack Crichton became involved with several oil men who began negotiating with Fulgencio Batista, the military dictator of Cuba. A key figure in this was George de Mohrenschildt, who at that time worked for a company called Cuban-Venezuelan Oil Voting Trust Company (CVOVT) that had been established by William Buckley Sr. Crichton later remarked that "I liked George. He was a nice guy." It is argued by Russ Baker that Crichton's Empire Trust Company played a major role in the financing of the Cuban venture.
On 30th November, 1956, The New York Times reported that: "The Cuban Stanolind Oil Company, an affiliate of the Standard Oil Company (Indiana), has signed an agreement with the Cuban-Venezuelan Oil Voting Trust and Trans-Cuba Oil Company for the development of an an additional 3,000,000 acres in Cuba. This is in addition to the original agreement covering 12,000,000 acres." George de Mohrenschildt later told Albert E. Jenner that CVOVT had managed to obtain leases covering nearly half of Cuba in the 1950s. As Russ Baker pointed out in Family of Secrets (2008): "Though now almost completely forgotten, on many days in the mid-1950s, it was one of the four or five most actively traded issues on the American Stock Exchange."
On 1st January, 1959, Fulgencio Batista fled Cuba. The following day Fidel Castro and his revolutionary army marched into Havana. The New York Times reported on 22nd November 1959, that Castro's government had approved a law that would reduce the size of claims for oil exploration and halt large-scale explorations by private companies. These claims were now limited to 20,000 acres. This was a major problem for the Cuban-Venezuelan Oil Voting Trust Company that had signed an agreement with Fulgencio Batista for 15,000,000 acres.
Jack Crichton also had a close association with George H. W. Bush. According to Fabian Escalante (The Secret War: CIA Covert Operations Against Cuba, 1959-62), in 1959, Crichton and Bush raised funds for the CIA's Operation 40. Originally it was set up to organize sabotage operations against Fidel Castro and his Cuban government. However, it evolved into a team of assassins. One member, Frank Sturgis, claimed: "this assassination group (Operation 40) would upon orders, naturally, assassinate either members of the military or the political parties of the foreign country that you were going to infiltrate, and if necessary some of your own members who were suspected of being foreign agents... We were concentrating strictly in Cuba at that particular time."
The failure to assassinate or overthrow Fidel Castro caused tremendous problems for the Cuban-Venezuelan Oil Voting Trust Company and other foreign oil companies that had already invested more than $30 million looking for oil in Cuba. In December 1960, CVOVT was de-listed from the American Stock Exchange.
Critchton was appointed head of the intelligence component of the Dallas Civil Defence. The conservative radio commentator Paul Harvey wrote in his syndicated column in September 1960: "The Communists, since 1917, have sold Communism to more people than have been told about Christ after 2,000 years." He urged his readers to support the "counter-attack that had been mounted in Dallas."
In 1961 Crichton joined forces with other right-wing figures in Dallas to establish a program called "Know Your Enemy". This was to combat communist influence that "was undermining the American way of life". The following year Crichton opened an underground command post under the patio of the Dallas Health and Science Museum that was intended for "continuity-of-government" operations during a communist attack.
In 1963 Crichton was nominated by the Republican Party for the post of Governor of Texas. He joined forces with George H. W. Bush, who was the nominee for the U.S. Senate. As Crichton later recalled, he and Bush "spoke from the same podiums" that year. However, Crichton was defeated by John Connally and he later wrote a book about his failed attempt to become governor, The Republican-Democrat Political Campaigns: In Texas in 1964.
In November 1963 Crichton was involved in the arrangements of the visit that President John F. Kennedy made to Dallas. His close friend, Deputy Police Chief George L. Lumpkin, and a fellow member of the the 488th Military Intelligence Detachment, drove the pilot car of Kennedy's motorcade. Also in the car was Lieutenant Colonel George Whitmeyer, commander of all Army Reserve units in East Texas. The pilot car stopped briefly in front of the Texas School Book Depository, where Lumpkin spoke to a policeman controlling traffic at the corner of Houston and Elm.
In the Warren Commission Report it stated that Crichton arranged for a member of the local Russian community, Ilya Mamantov, to work for the Dallas Police Department as a translator for Russian-born Marina Oswald shortly after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Crichton's volunteer translated for Oswald during her initial questioning by the Dallas authorities in the hours immediately after her husband Lee Harvey Oswald had been arrested. According to Russ Baker, the author of Family of Secrets (2009), there "were far from literal translations of her Russian words and had the effect of implicating her husband in Kennedy's death."
Crichton was president of Nafco Oil and Gas. He also owned a company called Dorchester Gas Producing. A fellow director was David Harold Byrd who along with Clint Murchison, Haroldson L. Hunt and Sid Richardson, was part of the Big Oil group in Dallas. Barr McClellan (Blood, Money & Power) argues that "Big Oil would be during the fifties and into the sixties what the OPEC oil cartel was to the United States in the seventies and beyond". One of the main concerns of this group was the preservation of the oil depletion allowance.
Jack Crichton who was President of the Dallas Petroleum Engineers Club, also served as a Director to Florida Gas Company, Clark Oil and Refining, Whitehall Corporation, Transco Energy and the Consolidated Development Corporation.
Jack Alston Crichton died in Dallas on 10th December, 2007.
Jack Crichton is a wealthy Dallas oilman who volunteered his services to the Dallas Police Department as a translator for Russian-born Marina Oswald shortly after the assassination. Jack Crichton translated for Marina during her initial questioning by the Dallas authorities in the crucial hours immediately after her husband Lee had been arrested. While Crichton's role as interpreter on that day is mentioned in at least two Warren Commission documents, the exact details of how he became involved in assisting the Dallas police are unclear. Interestingly, Jack Crichton was, by his own admission, a former Army Intelligence operative.
Crichton was also a prominent Dallas oilman whose conservative political activities were well-known throughout Dallas. Crichton had in fact once been a GOP gubernatorial candidate in Texas. At the present time, Crichton is still active in various business activities in the Dallas area.
Mr. MAMANTOV. No; we got to Seminole--one more place I went from there. No; two more places--I went from Seminole to Snyder, Tex., and from Snyder, Tex., I went for 3 weeks to Forest, Miss., and at that time I quit the company and got my job with Sun Oil Co. here in Dallas.
Mr. JENNER With Sun?
Mr. MAMANTOV. Right; and purchased our home at 6911 East Mockingbird in October, the 1st of October 1955.
Mr. JENNER. Now, what is your facility in the command of the Russian language, with particular reference to--did you or have you done any teaching of the language?
Mr. MAMANTOV. Yes; I am teaching since 1960 here in the Dallas area. I taught scientific research to some men, of a research personnel in 1960-1961. And, I taught in the Austin College in Sherman from--it was the fall of, yes, it was fall of 1961 and 1962 No--1962 and 1963. Now, I am teaching at SMU or Dallas College, to be specific, of SMU.
Mr. JENNER. Have you done any interpreting or translating?
Mr. MAMANTOV. Yes, sir; for the American Geophysical Union, quite extensively in 1959, 1960, and 1961, and I think--yes--1961 I finished.
Mr. JENNER. And have you also done any interpreting or translating for any law enforcement agencies?
Mr. MAMANTOV. Here in the States?
Mr. JENNER. Yes.
Mr. MAMANTOV. Let me think a little--no, I don't remember. I have translated minor papers, you see, like Soviet Union's marriage certificates and birth certificates for our local courts connected with divorces, and I might be of a help to a group of Latvians, people here in town, when they received their citizenship, so much, but this is the first time for the police department.
Mr. JENNER. All right. I'll get to that. Have you ever been called upon by either any agency of the Government of the United States or of the State of Texas or the City of Dallas to do any interpreting or translating?
Mr. MAMANTOV. Yes, I was called by the police force for the City of Dallas around 5 o'clock, November 22.
Mr. JENNER. What year?
Mr. MAMANTOV. Of 1955, on 2 or 3 minutes' notice.
Mr. JENNER. It was 1955 or 1963?
Mr. MAMANTOV. Excuse me, 1963.
Mr. JENNER. I got from what you have said, then, you had no prior notice?
Mr. MAMANTOV. No; sir.
Mr. JENNER. You were called by some official of the city police department?
Mr. MAMANTOV. Yes; I was called by Lt. Lumpkin. I think he's Lieutenant--they call him Chief.
Mr. JENNER. And you repaired then to the Dallas City Police Station?
Mr. MAMANTOV. Excuse me, I was called by somebody else, a couple of minutes ahead of Lumpkin--is it important?
Mr. JENNER. I don't know--you might state what it is.
Mr. MAMANTOV. All right. I was called by Mr. Jack Chrichton, C-h-r-i-c-h-t-o-n (spelling)--I don't know how to spell his name right now, but I guess it is that, but I can find out in a day or two.
Mr. JENNER. And who is he?
Mr. MAMANTOV. He is a petroleum independent operator, and if I'm not mistaken, he is connected with the Army Reserve, Intelligence Service. And, he asked me if I would translate for the police department and then immediately Mr. Lumpkin called me.
These were intelligence operatives seeking out Russian speakers. Ilya Mamantov knew George Bush and spoke Russian. A geologist with Sun Oil, he received a call five hours after the assassination from Jack Crichton, who was at that time the president of Nafco Oil and Gas, Inc. and a former Military Intelligence officer then attached to Army Reserve Intelligence. Crichton was also director of Dorchester Gas Producing Co. with D.H. Byrd, who owned the Texas School Book Depository building and was a close friend of Lyndon Johnson.
In late November 1959, James Noel, CIA station chief in Havana, met with his closest collaborator to analyze the evolution of the political situation in Cuba. He had received instructions from Colonel King to prepare this analysis. His years with the Agency had taught him that when his boss personally asked for a report, big issues were involved and since nobody could swim against the current, he took great care. Noel believed that there were still individuals in the Cuban government that could be won over to the cause of the United States; that everything had not ended with the capture of Huber Matos and his associates; and that men such as Sori Marin had definite influence. However, he knew he should be cautious when offering his opinions, since an error could cost him his career. Therefore he adopted a dual position, giving King the report that he wanted to hear, while at the same time - with his pawns - continuing to play the game. The document that the CIA specialists drafted concluded: "Fidel Castro, under the influence of his closest collaborators, particularly his brother Raul and Che Guevara, has been converted to communism. Cuba is preparing to export its revolution to other countries of the hemisphere and spread the war against capitalism."
With these words, they pronounced a death sentence on the Cuban Revolution. Days later, on December 11, Colonel King wrote a confidential memorandum to the head of the CIA which affirmed that in Cuba there existed a "far-left dictatorship, which if allowed to remain will encourage similar actions against U.S. holdings in other Latin American countries."
King recommended various actions to solve the Cuban problem, one of which was to consider the elimination of Fidel Castro. He affirmed that none of the other Cuban leaders "have the same mesmeric appeal to the masses. Many informed people believe that the disappearance of Fidel would greatly accelerate the fall of the present government ."
CIA Director Allen Dulles passed on King's memorandum to the NSC a few days later, and it approved the suggestion to form a working group in the Agency which, within a short period of time, could come up with "alternative solutions to the Cuban problem." Thus "Operation 40" was born, taking its name from that of the Special Group formed by the NSC to follow the Cuban case. The group was presided over by Richard Nixon and included Admiral Arleigh Burke, Livingston Merchant of the State Department, National Security Adviser Gordon Gray, and Allen Dulles of the CIA.
Tracy Barnes functioned as head of the Cuban Task Force. He called a meeting on January 18, 1960, in his office in Quarters Eyes, near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, which the navy had lent while new buildings were being constructed in Langley. Those who gathered there included the eccentric Howard Hunt, future head of the Watergate team and a writer of crime novels; the egocentric Frank Bender, a friend of Trujillo; Jack Esterline, who had come straight from Venezuela where he directed a CIA group; psychological warfare expert David A. Phillips, and others.
The team responsible for the plans to overthrow the government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 was reconstituted, and in the minds of all its members this would be a rerun of the same plan. Barnes talked at length of the goals to be achieved. He explained that Vice-President Richard Nixon was the Cuban "case officer," and had assembled an important group of businessmen headed by George Bush [Snr.] and Jack Crichton, both Texas oilmen, to gather the necessary funds for the operation. Nixon was a protégé of Bush's father Preston, who in 1946 had supported Nixon's bid for congress. In fact, Preston Bush was the campaign strategist who brought Eisenhower and Nixon to the presidency of the United States. With such patrons, Barnes was certain that failure was impossible.
They set to work immediately. They had to come up with a plan to destabilize the Cuban government and extinguish the expectations of social justice which had been ignited in the hemisphere. They created several teams with specific goals and concrete short- and medium-term plans. They assumed that the Cuban Revolution could not resist a combined assault of psychological warfare, diplomatic and economic pressures and clandestine activity, all of this backed up by a political structure made up of men in exile. When the time came, these men would declare themselves a rebel government which the United States and its allies could publicly recognize and assist.
There were several problems, however. The main one was the deeply rooted support for Fidel Castro among the Cuban population. Therefore, from the very beginning, the physical elimination of the Cuban leader was considered one of the CIA's highest priorities.
There was also the fact that Cuba, being an island, had no borders from which invasions could be organized and directed. The task force analyzed this problem in detail, and finally proposed a strategy of general uprising, which consisted in stirring up the whole Cuban population in order to legitimize a military intervention. Two key elements in the plan were the organization of a "responsible opposition in exile" and the infiltration of several dozen agents into the island, properly trained to deliver the mortal blow.
Byrd prepared well for the trip: Temco, Inc. was an aircraft company founded by D.H. Byrd and which later merged with his friend James Ling's electronics company (1960), and aircraft manufacturer Chance Vought Corporation (1961) to form Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV). Byrd became a director of LTV and bought, along with Ling, 132,000 shares of LTV in November 1963. Byrd then left the country to go on his two-month safari in central Africa. He returned in January to find his good friend Lyndon Johnson president of the United States, his building famous, and a large defense contract awarded to LTV to build fighter planes - to be paid for out of the 1965 budget which had not yet been approved by Congress.
Mac Wallace, who received a five-year suspended sentence in the shooting death of John Douglas Kiner in Austin on October 22, 1951, went to work for Temco, Inc. of Garland, Texas five months after his trial. He remained in that position until February 1961, four months before Henry Marshall's mysterious death on June 3, 1961, when he transferred to the Anaheim, California offices of LTV.
The transfer required a background check by the Navy. "The most intriguing part of the Wallace case was how a convicted murderer was able to get a job with defense contractors. Better yet, how was he able to get a security clearance? Clinton Peoples [the Texas Ranger Captain who investigated the Marshall and Kiner murders] reported that when the original security clearance was granted, he asked the Naval intelligence officer handling the case how such a person could get the clearance. 'Politics,' the man replied. When Peoples asked who would have that much power, the simple answer was, `the vice president,' who at the time was Lyndon Johnson. Years later, after the story broke [of Billie Sol Estes' March 20, 1984 testimony that implicated Lyndon Johnson, Malcom Wallace, and Clifton Carter in the death of Henry Marshall], that investigator could not recall the conversation with Peoples but he did say no one forced him to write a favorable report. He also added that he wasn't the one that made the decision to grant the clearance. The whole matter might have been solved with a peek at that original report but unfortunately, when the files were checked, that particular report was suspiciously missing. It has never been seen since."
Wallace was transferred and given clearance in February 1961. "In January 1961, the very month Johnson was sworn in as vice president, and the month Henry Marshall was in Dallas discussing how to combat Estes-like scams, Billie Sol Estes learned through his contacts that the USDA was investigating the allotment scheme and that Henry Marshall might end up testifying. The situation was supposedly discussed by Estes, Johnson, and Carter in the backyard of LBJ's Washington home. Johnson was, according to Estes, alarmed that if Marshall started talking it might result in an investigation that would implicate the vice president. At first it was decided to have Marshall transferred to Washington, but when told Marshall had already refused such a relocation, LBJ, according to Estes, said simply, 'Then we'll have to get rid of him.'"
According to Craig Zirbel, author of The Texas Connection, in May 1962, "...Johnson flew to Dallas aboard a military jet to privately meet with Estes and his lawyers on a plane parked away from the terminal.... This incident would probably have remained secret except that LBJ's plane suffered a mishap in landing at Dallas. When investigative reporters attempted to obtain the tower records for the flight mishap the records were "sealed by government order."
Still more LTV intrigues were revealed by Peter Dale Scott: "A fellow-director of [Jack Alston] Crichton's firm of Dorchester Gas Producing was D.H. Byrd, an oil associate of Sid Richardson and Clint Murchison, and the LTV director who teamed up with James Ling to buy 132,000 shares of LTV in November 1963. While waiting to be sworn in as President in Dallas on November 22, Johnson spoke by telephone with J.W. Bullion, a member of the Dallas law firm (Thompson, Wright, Knight, and Simmons) which had the legal account for Dorchester Gas Producing and was represented on its board. The senior partner of the law firm, Dwight L. Simmons, had until 1960 sat on the board of Chance Vought Aircraft, a predecessor of Ling-Temco-Vought. One week after the assassination, Johnson named Bullion, who has been described as his `business friend and lawyer,' to be one of the two trustees handling the affairs of the former LBJ Co. while its owner was President."
Five hours after the assassination, Ilya Mamantov, who had never met Oswald, received a phone call from Jack Crichton asking him to serve as "interpreter" for the first interrogation of Marina. Crichton was in 1963 the president of Nafco Oil & Gas, Inc., and a former Military Intelligence officer still connected with Army Reserve Intelligence. According to information uncovered by the Garrison investigation, Crichton had been among a small group of Army Intelligence officials who met with H. L. Hunt soon after the assassination.
Now it was Ilya Mamantov who, at the request of this Army Intelligence Reserve officer, went to the first post-assassination session with Marina. Also present was Marina's protector since April 1963, Ruth Paine. Marnantov was, curiously, the one member of the Russian community besides de Mohrenschildt who knew the allegedly ultra liberal Paine.
No transcript exists of Marina's first questioning by Mamantov, Paine, and the Dallas police. Her second interpreter on Sunday, November 24, was Peter Gregory. Right after the Oswalds' return from the USSR, Gregory, a petroleum engineer and Russian-language instructor, had been the first member of the Dallas-Fort Worth expatriate community whom Oswald met. Oswald had listed Gregory as a reference in obtaining his first job in the region, at Leslie Welding. Gregory's son Paul became the couple's first friend, having long discussions with Lee on political philosophy. But Peter Gregory had not seen Oswald since October 1962. Then he and his Secret Service agent friend Mike Howard came to spend the entire day of Oswald's death with Marina and Oswald's mother, Marguerite-under circumstances that were never adequately explained.
Researcher Peter Dale Scott, who studied the transcripts of Gregory's several translations with Marina, noticed numerous inconsistencies. Six days after the assassination, in the presence of Gregory and Russian-speaking Secret Serviceman Lee Gopadze, Marina contradicted her testimony of three earlier interviews. At first she had said she could not describe Lee's rifle, nor had she ever seen a gun with a telescopic sight. Then, on November 28, Marina allowed that she could recognize the rifle without question and admitted taking the famous photograph of Oswald holding the weapon, including the scope that she had allegedly never seen. On December 3, Marina "revealed" that her late husband had also fired at General Walker-an allegation that the Munich newspaper had published a week earlier.
The Oswald women were sequestered at the time in an Arlington, Texas, motel, the Inn of the Six Flags. Its manager, James Herbert Martin, soon became Marina's business agent, even temporarily lodging her in his home early in 1964. It was Martin who negotiated the sale of the photograph of Oswald posing with his rifle and two left-wing newspapers, which appeared on the cover of Life magazine on February 21, 1964.
All of this convinced Scott, and other researchers, that Marina-barely able to speak English, terrified of being deported back to the LSSSR - was manipulated by her "handlers" to incriminate Oswald in the proper manner.
In 1959, a young officer and businessman from Texas received directions to cooperate in funding the nascent anti-Castro groups that the CIA decided to create, but it wasn't until 1960 that he was assigned a more specific and overt mission: to guarantee the security of the process of recruiting Cubans to form an invasion brigade, a key aspect within the grand CIA operation to destroy the Cuban Revolution.
The CIA Texan quickly took a liking to the Cuban assigned to him for his new mission. The system of work, although intense, was simple. Féliz Rodríguez Mendigutía, "El Gato," would propose a candidate to him, who would then be checked out, both in the Agency and among the Miami groups, and finally, the Texan would give the go-ahead.
In that period, Félix Rodríguez already knew quite a few Cubans, like Jorge Mas Canosa (subsequently the leader of various counterrevolutionary organizations and then president of the Cuban-American National Foundation) and had confirmed his loyalty to "the cause" and to the Americans. For that reason he was among the first to be proposed. He passed through the process satisfactorily, and in a meeting in the city of Miami, which the Texan liked to make as formal as possible, Jorge Mas Canosa officially became an agent of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Jorge Mas didn't know how to thank Félix for what he had done for him. From that moment he was constantly grateful to him and, at the same time, obedient to his every petition.
But Jorge Mas was far from imagining the significance of this recruitment on the rest of his life. The significance rested on the fact that that Texan officer who undertook his recruitment process, approved it and then notified him at that meeting, was none other than George Herbert Walker Bush, the same man who, later, between 1989 and 1992, was the 41st president of the United States.
Various sources coincide on the foregoing. Paul Kangas, a Californian private investigator, published an article containing part of his investigations in The Realist in 1990, in which he affirms that a newly discovered FBI document places Bush as working with the now famous CIA agent Félix Rodríguez on the recruitment of ultra-right wing exiled Cubans for the invasion of Cuba.
For his part, in his "Report on a Censored Project," Dr. Carl Jensen of Sonoma State College states: "There is a record in the files of Rodríguez and others involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion, which expounds the role of Bush: the truth is that Bush was a senior CIA official before working with Félix Rodríguez on the invasion of Cuba."
But Kangas is more precise in his quoted article, when he states:
"Traveling from Houston to Miami on a weekly basis, Bush, with Félix Rodríguez, spent 1960 and 1961 recruiting Cubans in Miami for the invasion."
Other publications that have referred to the theme are The Nation magazine, whose August 13, 1988 edition reveals the finding of "a memorandum in that context addressed to FBI chief J. Edward Hoover and signed November 1963, which reads: Mr. George Bush of the CIA;" or the Common Cause magazine that, on March 4, 1990, affirmed: "The CIA put millionaire and agent George Bush in charge of recruiting exiled Cubans for the CIA?s invading army; Bush was working with another Texan oil magnate, Jack Crichton, who helped him in terms of the invasion."
Without knowing it, Jorge Mas had become part of something far more complex than the planned mercenary invasion. The recent recruited CIA agent became one of the participants in what was originally known as Operation 40.
Operation 40 was the first plan of covert operations generated by the CIA to destroy the Cuban Revolution and was drawn up in 1959 on the orders of the administration of President Ike Eisenhower.
In his book Cuba, the CIA's Secret War, Divisional General (ret) Fabián Escalante Font, former head of the Cuban Counterintelligence Services, explained what occurred in the early 1960.
"A few days later (end of 1959), Allen Dulles, chief of the CIA, presented to the King (Colonel, chief of the Western Hemisphere Division of the CIA) memorandum to the National Security Council, which approved the suggestion of forming a working group within the agency which, in the short term, would provide alternative solutions to the Cuban problem."
The group, Escalante Font relates, was composed of Tracy Barnes as head, and officials Howard Hunt, Frank Bender, Jack Engler and David Atlee Phillips, among others. Those present had one common characteristic: all of them had participated in the fall of the Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala.
General Escalante recounts in his book that, during the first meeting, Barnes spoke at length on the objectives to be achieved. He explained that Vice President Richard Nixon was the Cuban "case officer" and had met with an important group of businessmen headed by George Bush and Jack Crichton, both Texas oil magnates, to collect the necessary funding for the operation.
If Poppy Bush was busy on November 22, 1963, so was his friend Jack Crichton. Bush's fellow GOP candidate was a key figure in a web of military intelligence figures with deep connections to the Dallas Police Department and, as previously noted, to the pilot car of JFK's motorcade.
Crichton came back into the picture within hours of Kennedy's death and the subsequent arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald, when a peculiar cordon sanitaire went up around Marina Oswald. The first to her side was Republican activist and precinct chairman Ilya Mamantov, a vociferous anti-Communist who frequently lectured in Dallas on the dangers of the Red menace. When investigators arrived, Mamantov stepped in as interpreter and embellished Marina's comments to establish in no uncertain terms that the "leftist" Lee Harvey Oswald had been the gunman-the lone gunman-who killed the president.
It is interesting of course that the Dallas police would let an outsider - in particular, a right-wing Russian emigre-handle the delicate interpreting task. Asked by the Warren Commission how this happened, Mamantov said that he had received a phone call from Deputy Police Chief George Lumpkin. After a moment's thought, Mamantov then remembered that just preceding Lumpkin's call he had heard from Jack Crichton. It was Crichton who had put the Dallas Police Department together with Mamantov and ensured his place at Marina Oswald's side at this crucial moment.
Despite this revelation, Crichton almost completely escaped scrutiny. The Warren Commission never interviewed him. Yet, as much as anyone, Crichton embodied a confluence of interests within the oil-intelligence-military nexus. And he was closely connected to Poppy in their mutual efforts to advance the then-small Texas Republican Party, culminating in their acceptance of the two top positions on the state's Republican ticket in 1964.
During World War II, Crichton had served in the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor to the CIA. Postwar, he began working for the company of petroleum czar Everette DeGolyer and was soon connected in petromilitary circles at the highest levels. A review of hundreds of corporate documents and newspaper articles shows that when Crichton left DeGolyer's firm in the early fifties he became involved in an almost incomprehensible web of companies with overlapping boards and ties to DeGolyer. Many of them were backed by some of North America's most powerful families, including the Du Ponts of Delaware and the Bronfmans, owners of the liquor giant Seagram.
Crichton was so plugged into the Dallas power structure that one of his company directors was Clint Murchison Sr., king of the oil depletion allowance, and another was D. Harold Byrd, owner of the Texas School Book Depository building.
A typical example of this corporate cronyism came in 1952, when Crichton was part of a syndicate - including Murchison, DeGolyer, and the Du Ponts - that used connections in the fascist Franco regime to acquire rare drilling rights in Spain. The operation was handled by Delta Drilling, which was owned by Joe Zeppa of Tyler, Texas - the man who transported Poppy Bush from Tyler to Dallas on November 22, 1963.
It was in 1956 that the bayou-bred Crichton started up his own spy unit, the 488th Military Intelligence Detachment. He would serve as the intelligence unit's only commander through November 22, 1963, continuing until he retired from the 488th in 1967, at which time he was awarded the Legion of Merit and cited for "exceptionally outstanding service."
John Alston "Jack" Crichton passed away at his home in Dallas on December 10, surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by his wife, Marilyn Crichton, and daughter Catherine Morris and her husband Craig, and daughter Anne Crews and her husband Kyle. Jack is also survived by his sister Frances "Dinks" Atkinson and his granddaughter, Cassie Morris and his grandson, John Morris. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brother, Joe Crichton. Jack graduated from Byrd High School in Shreveport in 1933, from whence he boarded a train to College Station Texas to begin a long relationship with his beloved Texas A&M University. After graduating with honors, (BS Petroleum Engineering), in 1937 from A&M, -- while also earning athletic letters in Tennis, Basketball and Cross Country Track -- Jack subsequently earned a Master of Science degree from MIT, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. Jack proudly served his country during the Second World War in the U.S. Army as Special Agent OSS in Europe, where he was awarded the Bronze Star, Five Battle Stars and numerous other Citations of Merit. He was a retired Colonel in the US Army Reserves. Jack's career as an international petroleum consultant, engineer, geologist, oil and gas executive, explorer and writer and his love for travel led him to work in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Libya, United Arab Emirates, Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, the Arctic, Alaska, Ceylon, Wales, Canada, Somalia, Egypt, Columbia, Vietnam and Brazil. He served as President of several companies, including Yemen Development Corporation, Dorchester Gas Corporation and Arabian American Development Company. He served as a Director to Florida Gas Company, Clark Oil and Refining, Whitehall Corporation. Transco Energy, Dorchester Gas Corp and Consolidated Development Corporation. He was Co-Author of the "Dynamic Petroleum Industry", published by University of Oklahoma Press. In 1964 he served his Republican Party of Texas as Candidate for Governor. Jack was a Past President of the Dallas Petroleum Engineers Club. He served his Alma Mater as President of the Association of Former Students of Texas A&M, President of the Lettermen's Association and Chairman of the A&M Development Foundation.