John SimkinDeep Throat was part of Operation Mockingbird. ...Mon Jun 6, 2005 00:59184.108.40.206
Deep Throat was part of Operation Mockingbird. ...
The Education Forum > Operation Mockingbird and JFK
This was McGeorge Bundy as National Security Adviser. ... It is almost certain
that Deep Throat was part of Operation Mockingbird. ...
Jan 28 2005, 04:51 PM
I have now been able to reconstruct the early history of Operation Mockingbird. After the Second World War a group of people met on a regular basis in Georgetown. They became known as the Georgetown crowd. Most of them knew each other from before the war. Some had gone to the same schools or universities. Others had worked together as lawyers in New York. Many of them had been members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during the war.
The group was united by a shared political ideology. They had become involved in politics during the 1930s. They were Roosevelt supporting Democrats. In fact, they thought FDR had not been radical enough with his policies. They retained these progressive views on domestic issues (in fact, in most cases they held these views until they died).
When it came to foreign policy they were staunchly anti-communist. In most cases, these views had been developed while serving in the OSS. However, their anti-communist views was not applied to domestic policy. For example, they did not believe like say J. Edgar Hoover, that American communists posed a threat to national security.
They were also intellectuals. They had no time for those rabble rousers who attempted to use anti-left-wing views to put forward racist ideas. This distanced themselves from the Republican Party and the Democratic Party in the Deep South. They supported Harry Truman in 1948 and Adlai Stevenson in 1952. Many of them held posts in the Truman administration. They supported his Fair Deal policies and his tough stance against the Soviet Union. They were keen advocates of the Marshall Plan, as they saw it as the best defence against communism in Europe.
The Georgetown crowd included the following: Frank Wisner, Richard Bissell, Desmond FitzGerald, Joseph Alsop, Tracy Barnes, Philip Graham, Katharine Graham, Clark Clifford, Walt Rostow, Eugene Rostow, William Bundy, Charles Thayer, Chips Bohlen and Paul Nitze. This group had access to and support of, James Forrestal, Dean Acheson, George Kennan and Adlai Stevenson.
This group basically supported Truman’s policies. However, they felt he was not pro-active enough with his anti-communist strategy. They were especially concerned about the possible growth of communism in under-developed countries. They therefore came up with a plan of action. This was drawn up by Frank Wisner and George Kennan. It was then shown to the Secretary of Defence, James Forrestal. He approved it and as a result the Office of Special Projects was established in 1948. Soon afterwards it was renamed the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC). This became the espionage and counter-intelligence branch of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Frank Wisner was made director of OPC. The aim of the OPC was to create an organization that concentrated on "propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world."
Wisner realised that propaganda was going to play an important role in this work. This did not only mean propaganda abroad. If this covert action was going to work it had to control the way these events were reported in America. He therefore established Operation Mockingbird, a program to control the media. Wisner recruited Philip Graham (Washington Post) to run the project within the industry. According to Deborah Davis (Katharine the Great): "By the early 1950s, Wisner 'owned' respected members of the New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles." By 1953 the OPC had a major influence over 25 major newspapers and wire agencies. One of the most important journalists under Wisner's control was Joseph Alsop, whose articles appeared in over 300 different newspapers.
Wisner also recruited into the OPC several members of the Georgetown crowd. This included Richard Bissell, Desmond FitzGerald, Tracy Barnes and Cord Meyer. Other former members of the OSS such as Arthur Schlesinger worked closely with this group.
For Operation Mockingbird to work, Wisner could not just rely on those journalists and publishers who shared the Georgetown Crowd view of the world. It was therefore not too difficult to get right-wingers like William Paley (CBS), C.D. Jackson (Fortune Magazine), Henry Luce (Time Magazine and Life Magazine), Arthur Hays Sulzberger (New York Times), Jerry O'Leary (Washington Star), Hal Hendrix (Miami News), Barry Bingham Sr., (Louisville Courier-Journal), James Copley (Copley News Services) and Joseph Harrison (Christian Science Monitor) involved in the operation.
It was also important for Wisner to be able to influence journalists who were respected for their objectivity and their willingness to criticise the government. They did this by providing them with leaks that furthered the cause. Drew Pearson is an example of someone who was used in this way. People like Pearson were important when the OPC wanted to deal with people within the CIA.
J. Edgar Hoover grew very concerned with the power that the OPC and the Georgetown Crowd was having over political life. He carried out investigations into their past. It did not take him long to discover that some of them had been active in left-wing politics in the 1930s. This information was passed to Joe McCarthy who started making attacks on people like Dean Acheson, William Bundy, Charles Thayer, Paul Nitze, Chips Bohlen and Cord Meyer. Hoover did not realise what he was taking on. Wisner unleashed Operation Mockingbird on McCarthy. Drew Pearson, Joe Alsop, Jack Anderson, Walter Lippmann and Ed Murrow all went into attack mode and McCarthy was destroyed (although the monster he had created went on).
According to Alex Constantine (Mockingbird: The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA), in the 1950s, "some 3,000 salaried and contract CIA employees were eventually engaged in propaganda efforts". Wisner was also able to keep newspapers from reporting about certain events. For example, the CIA plots to overthrow the governments of Iran and Guatemala.
The overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala is particularly interesting. This was very much a OPC operation. It included the following cast of operators: Frank Winser, Tracy Barnes, Richard Bissell, David Atlee Phillips, Rip Robertson, David Morales and E. Howard Hunt.
Wisner was also able to use Operation Mockingbird to keep the true story out of the American media. For example, people like Henry Luce were called into to censor stories that appeared too sympathetic towards the plight of Arbenz. (Journalists working on Time Magazine were shocked to see him taking out articles that had already been approved by the editor). Wisner was also able to use the CIA to stop “honest” journalists from travelling to Guatemala. This included Sydney Gruson of the New York Times.
Eisenhower was very impressed with Wisner’s work in Guatemala. Eisenhower asked Wisner how much the operation cost ($20m). He then asked how many men Castillo Armas lost during the overthrow of Arbenz. The answer was “only one”. Eisenhower shook his head, remembering the thousands that had been killed in various operations during the Second World War. Eisenhower could only reply “incredible”.
Wisner suffered a mental breakdown after Eisenhower refused to support the Hungarian Uprising in 1956 (we must not forget that the Georgetown Group were idealists who really believed in freedom and democracy). Bissell eventually took over CIA covert operations from Wisner (he eventually committed suicide). It is no surprise that when Bissell began planning the overthrow of Fidel Castro he called on the same team who had successfully overthrown Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala. Operation Mockingbird was also used to ensure the right sort of coverage in the American media.
By 1960 the Georgetown Crowd were still supporters of the Democrats (they had also supported Adlai Stevenson in 1956). Nixon was too closely identified with Eisenhower, a man who had been a great disappointment to them. They had been concerned by his decision to have a summit meeting with Khrushchev in Paris in May, 1960. It was now clear that Khrushchev was willing to negotiate an end to the Cold War. Eisenhower, coming to the end of his time as president, wanted to leave this as his legacy. Bissell decided to undermine the summit by arranging for the U-2 spy plane to go on a mission over the Soviet Union on 1st May, 1960. As this was May Day Soviet airspace was virtually empty and they therefore picked up the U-2 the moment it crossed the border. On 7th May Khrushchev made a speech where he revealed that the U-2 spy plane had been shot down near Sverdlovsk. That put paid to Eisenhower’s peace negotiations.
The Georgetown’s first choice was Lyndon Johnson. However, despite the help given by Philip Graham and other members of Operation Mockingbird, by the summer of 1960 it was clear that LBJ was not going to get the nomination. The strategy had to change. JFK became their candidate.
Dulles already had a close relationship with JFK. This is revealed by an incident that took place on 13th March, 1960. Oatsie Charles and Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, attended a dinner party at JFK’s house in Georgetown. At the end of the meal JFK asked Fleming how he would get rid of Castro. Fleming outlined several different methods.
At 7.45 the next morning, Allen Dulles phoned up Oatsie Charles and asked to be put into contact with Ian Fleming. Dulles said he had heard that Fleming had “developed some interesting ideas of how to deal with Castro” and he wanted to hear them personally.
Bissell asked Joe Alsop to arrange a meeting with JFK. Both men attended a dinner party at Alsop’s house in August. This was followed by several other meetings. Bissell was impressed with JFK. What he liked was his anti-communism. More importantly, he liked the way he intended to deal with it. Bissell told friends that JFK was “action-orientated” and “impatient with bureaucracy”. Bissell was convinced that a JFK presidency would get “quick results”. Bissell, who had supported Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956, compared the two men. Whereas he saw Stevenson as a “Cicero”, JFK was a “Caesar”.
However, there were still deals to be done. This is why Philip Graham had his meeting with JFK after he won the nomination. JFK would be given the full support of Operation Mockingbird as long as he took LBJ as his running-mate. They also wanted two of their friends to be given senior posts in his administration. Douglas Dillion as Secretary of the Treasury and David Bruce as Secretary of State. JFK agreed to Dillion but rejected Bruce for this post. Instead he was appointed as Ambassador to London. This was an important post for the CIA to get as Britain was seen as its staunchest ally in its fight against communism.
Although I have yet to find any evidence of this I suspect that Bissell got a third person into the administration. This was McGeorge Bundy as National Security Adviser. He proved to be a Bissell loyalist during the problems over Cuba. Arthur Schlesinger was the inside man for this group).
Another Bissell supporter was Chester Bowles. In early 1961 he attempted to persuade JFK to appoint Bissell as Secretary of State. JFK refused saying that Bissell was going to take Allen Dulles job as director of the CIA on 1st July, 1961.
Why did Bissell want Dillon as Secretary of the Treasury? We know that Bissell and Dillon were close friends (they had met while students at Gorton School). Dillon had been a source of information and encouragement while serving as Under Secretary of State in Eisenhower’s administration. He met Lumumba in July, 1960. Dillon came to the conclusion that Lumumba was a communist. He told Bissell about this. A few days later Lumumba’s assassination was discussed at a National Security Council meeting (21st July).
How does this information help us understand the JFK assassination? First of all, because of the history of the Georgetown Crowd, I don’t think any of them were involved in planning the assassination of JFK. However, Operation Mockingbird was used for the cover-up. This I think helps us understand the assassination. It confirms my belief that the Soviets or Castro had anything to do with the assassination. If so, Operation Mockingbird would have been used to fulfil their major objective of destroying communism.
Therefore, why did they do it. One possibility is that CIA members outside the Georgetown Group had been involved. Maybe those non-Georgetown people who had helped overthrow Arbenz (Morales, Philips, Hunt, Robertson).
Another possibility is that the Georgetown Crowd had joined forces with the Suite 8F Group. Had LBJ brought these two groups together. They were both groups who cared a great deal about military spending. The Suite 8F Group was also concerned about the Texas oil industry. This included getting federal contracts from the Secretary of the Navy. Take a look at the three people who held this post in JFK and LBJ’s administration: John Connally (January, 1961 – December, 1961), Fred Korth (December, 1961 to November, 1963) and Paul Nitze (November, 1963 to June, 1967). The first two were members of Suite 8F and Nitze was a member of the Georgetown crowd.
The other thing that Suite 8F cared about was the Oil Depletion Allowance. Dillon, as Secretary of the Treasury was in a good position to block that move. Dillon was eventually replaced by Henry Hammill Fowler in 1965. He was someone who was at Yale with Bissell. He also worked as assistant general counsel of War Production Board in Germany during the war. He was also a member of the National Security Council. I have yet to discover if Fowler was a member of Bissell’s group but it seems likely and could be further evidence of how the Suite 8F Group and the CIA worked together during the 1960s.
Were the CIA therefore involved in covering up the role that Suite 8F Group had played in the assassination? Or were they protecting their own? Or were they doing both of these things?
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