Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Well, I seem to have solved one puzzle regarding Watergate

So, I heard Jefferson Morley has a new book out.  It's about how Nixon tried to use the CIA to kill the FBI's investigation into Watergate by threatening the CIA.  For many years historians have puzzled over the story H. R. Haldremann recounted in his book that Nixon wanted the CIA's help to stop the FBI's investigation into Watergate.  And Nixon warned that if the investigation continued it could open up "the whole Bay of Pigs" thing.  This has long been thought of as a coded reference to the JFK assassination.  The person who received this threat was Dick Helms.  Morley explores this story in his new book "Scorpion's Dance: The President, The Spymaster and Watergate."

There was an article in "The Daily Beast," entitled "The [Redacted] Truth About The CIA's [Redacted] Role in Watergate."  The article wonders about the still unanswered questions about the burglars.  Morley used a redacted document. The document shows "the agency's first statement about the burglars was false. After the arrest of five burglars in the offices of the Democratic National Convention early in the morning of June 17, 1972 the agency claimed that the men were former employees 'with whom we have had no dealings since their retirement.' But the partially declassified memo shows that the agency's Office of Security approved a request for 'utilization' of Hunt for a project whose name is redacted. The memo was written six months after Hunt's supposed retirement from the Agency and 20 months before the botched break-in."

So, I wondered if this document was from the JFK Records Collection and if so what was the RIF number.  It was. And the RIF # was 104-10119-10320.  So, once I had that I quickly found the unreacted copy.  Here

All I wanted to do was to help Jeff get an unredacted copy.  

Jeff replied on Twitter.

So, it seems I helped rewrite a bit of Watergate history. We can now establish that, yes, E. Howard Hunt was a CIA asset while working in the Nixon administration.  

On October 27, 1970 Victor R White, the Deputy Director of Security, Investigations and Operational Support, gave covert security approval to Mr. Martin Lukoskie to use E. Howard Hunt for utilization under Project QKENCHANT.  This was in response to a request made on June 3, 1970.  

Morley's article then goes on to talk about a redacted memo that The Mullen Company, a Washington, D.C. public relations firm "was utilized by the agency for commercial cover purposes."  Morley was probably using The Security File on Frank Sturgis.  RIF #104-10256-10268 has a lot of the information that is redacted in the Sturgis security file.  

On p. 57 of the Sturgis security file it states, "In July 1971 Hunt informed the agency he had been assigned to the White House staff but continued to devote part of his time to the Mullen company." Then there are about 4 lines redacted.  

RIF #104-10256-10273 has the same paragraph with less redaction.  

Morley writes that the security file on Frank Sturgis explained the CIA connections of Robert Bennett but censored the details.  Yes, on p. 33. But p. 9 of RIF # 104-10256-10268 has the same info on Bennett without the redaction.

Morley moves on to a redacted FBI memo from May 1973.  This is RIF # 124-90028-10019.  Morley notes that this redacted document conceals Hunt's role in the breaking into the offices of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg.  I found two copies of this document.  This one from the FBI's HSCA subject files on E Howard Hunt is 2 pages.  Page 1 is the Record Identification form ( RIF ) page, and page 2 is the actual FBI document.  And as you can see most of the 3rd paragraph is redacted.

There is another that is 4 pages long.  This one has all of the 3rd paragraph on page one redacted.  Now we know this is really a 3 page FBI document and not a 1 page FBI document.  

Now do you see why it's worth checking to see if there are multiple copies of a document? 

Then Morley returns to the Frank Sturgis security file noting "Twelve lines about an undercover operations  officer who knew both McCord and Hunt are still withheld from public view.

Umm, no they're not. RIF #104-10256-10268 p. 5 has this:

There are three versions of RIF #104-10256-10268, unfortunately all are redacted the same as to page we're interested in. 

So, now you know the individual who knew both McCord and Hunt began working for the CIA in mid-1952.  At the time this document was written the individual in question was at the GS-14 level. He was an Operations Officer assigned to the Western Hemisphere division for the Deputy Director for Plans. He developed an acquaintance with McCord in the Fall of 1971 when McCord was teaching an industrial security course.  The individual in question was also interested in a young Chilean protege by the name of Juan Rigoberto RUIZ Villegas.  The individual in question got Juan Rigoberto RUIZ Villegas a job at McCord Associates, and Juan Rigoberto RUIZ Villegas lived at the individual in question's home and drive his vehicle.  Further reading of 104-10256-10268 reveals that the individual in question hired Juan Rigoberto RUIZ Villegas as a covert asset, and continued to use him from June of 1969 to June of 1971. Juan Rigoberto RUIZ Villegas lived at the individual in question's home from 19 Aug 1971 to 21 April 1972.  Our man in question also got Juan Rigoberto RUIZ Villegas a job with Mr. Glen Sedam, head of the D.C. Committee to Re-Elect Richard Nixon. 

So, with these facts you can search for who the individual in question might be.  A quick check on Google reveals that the name the CIA is trying to hide is Donald R. Heath. And when one puts Donald Heath into an advance search on the Mary Ferrel Foundation website one finds:

Okay that's in the FBI documents relating to Watergate - Watergate FBI 139-4089 Section 7 Serials 635 - 676.  

I'm not trying to be snarky or pretend I'm better than Jefferson Morley.  But, should he write another book I hope he will ask me to try and find unredacted copies of documents he is interesting in.  I'll sign or obey a NDA.  I only want to help.  It is often the case that there is another copy of a document that is either totally unredacted or it is redacted differently and if you put multiple copies of a document together you can get the whole document.  

1 comment:

  1. Nice work!
    Thank you for your effort.
    Nixon was obviously horse trading JFK information in an effort to save his ass.
    Pathetic Dick.

    Otoh, Morley could be playing dumb. It's always impressive when smart people behave in this manner.