DisInfoWars with Tom Secker: Did Howard Hunt Help to Kill JFK?

Howard Hunt was a CIA operative, a Bay of Pigs veteran, a Watergate conspirator and spy novelist. He also confessed to his involvement in the assassination of JFK, implicating Lyndon Baines Johnson, Cord Meyer and others. However, aside from this one confession in 2003 he had always denied the rumors and theories, under oath to Congressional investigations, in interviews, even suing news outlets that alleged he was part of one of the highest profile crimes of the century. Even in his autobiography, which was published years after his supposed confession, he denies having anything to do with it. Was this just the CIA editing his book before publication, as we know they did, or is it something more complex?

In this episode I ask whether we should take Hunt's confession seriously. Why would Hunt admit in 2003, on tape no less, to his involvement in the JFK assassination, only to then completely deny it in his autobiography several years later? Indeed, why did he make a confession at all, having always denied it? If this is a false confession - or even a real one that is then contradicted and denied, then what is the reason, the purpose?


Harold Weisberg archive: Howard Hunt

Hunt's testimony to the House Select Committee on Assassinations

American Spy

Rolling Stone - The Last Confession of E Howard Hunt

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  1. Todays movies and series are pretty much unwatchable for me cause of all the agendas. Maybe it’s my shortcoming but these ‘cleverly hidden’ (more like a sledgehammer in your face) messages and suggestions annoy me to no end. So on the rare occasion I feel like watching a movie or TV show I mostly watch retro stuff. It’s also full of propaganda crap but it’s outdated and usually no longer relevant which makes it easier to bear. Also, much less silicone, but that’s an entirely different subject.

    So I watched the entire Columbo series. Terribly written and awful plots but what the hell, Peter Falk does a good job. One of the episodes is called ‘Try and Catch Me’. In it an elderly lady murders a guy by locking him in her safe and then going on a vacation. Meant to look like a burglary gone wrong and he had locked himself in by accident. Despite the murdered man had nothing to write with he had managed to leave a message by rubbing out words on the title page of a book he had with him. Columbo eventually finds it and that’s the entire plot. The message is very ambiguous and would in reality never convict anyone but Columbo proclaims “Deathbed testimony. That’s considered very strong evidence, ma’am.” and that’s that. Case solved.

    As said, the scripts are poorly written and likewise this episode. The entire plot hangs on the massage from the dead man and this somehow being conclusive. However, if it were that evident Columbo wouldn’t have to state it out loud. He has to emphasize it so the audience can go along with the story and not ask why this flimsy piece of evidence should convict the lady. The series is all about the game of wits between the antagonist and Columbo. The killer managing to stay one step ahead of Columbo right until the end when Columbo makes his master move and checkmates the killer. In this case the lady had outsmarted Columbo every step of the way until confronted with the message from the dead man. Now all of a sudden she gives up. Makes no sense. Unless we go along with Columbo’s statement that this is conclusive because the man who left the massage is now dead.

    “Deathbed testimony. That’s considered very strong evidence, ma’am.”

    The audience doesn’t question it. If they did, well then Columbo has got nothing and the lady walks.

    • Apologies for the “massage” from the dead man – spelling isn’t one of my strong suits.

      In any case, if we eliminate the notion of ‘deathbed testimony’ having a higher truth value, we’re left with just another story from a man who has little credibility to begin with. Personally I don’t give a hoot about the state of his health when he made those claims. It doesn’t add value or boost it’s trustworthiness.

      On the who and why of the JFK assassination, it wasn’t one man (LBJ) or one faction. It was a convergence of interests in my opinion. Several factions joining up. Just like 9/11.

    • Ronald Orovitz says:

      Speaking of Peter Falk, here he is looking an awful lot like Fidel Castro in this Twilight Zone treatment on assassination in ’59… http://www.imdb.com/video/hulu/vi3319506713/

      In real life however, Fidel has outlived all his enemies – the ultimate revenge.

    • andrew everett says:

      Instead of watching TV disinfo, I would encourage you to watch this lecture by Joan Mellon, author of
      “A Farewell To Justice” (2005, updated, 2013) in which she researched Jim Garrison’s case against Clay Shaw and the evidence which has come out since the trial. She has found there to be at least 3 divisions of CIA which had documents on Clay Shaw’s work for the agency. I will forewarn you that Joan’s appearance is a bit disheveled–her hair and eyeglasses are a bit askew–but having read her book I find her research and analysis to be spot on. She holds Jim Garrison up as a brave figure–but also reveals Garrison made a costly errors during the investigation.

      As for Howard Hunt, Joan Mellon dismisses his deathbed confession at the 48min 50 mark.


      • Ronald Orovitz says:

        Andrew, you’re like a teetotaler at a wedding party spoiling everybody’s fun with lectures on the evils of alcohol. Of course we can watch “TV disinfo” without succumbing…

        I have to agree with Ed though that this particular episode was not Serling’s best – and given the timing, one wonders if the script was commissioned by the CIA itself.

        • andrew everett says:

          Didn’t mean to offend anyone…I agree it is obvious at this point the FBI-CIA-DoD have all been quite busy as shadow directors of Hollywood films and TV shows.

    • I agree with what Richard said about modern TV shows. I want to watch Homeland because of the analyses Tom and co are doing on it but after a couple of episodes, I just can’t carry on willingly subjecting myself to out-and-out CIA propoganda

      • Well, if you approach the show with that sort of attitude then you won’t enjoy it at all. Which is cool, it’s your choice of course, I’m just saying I can enjoy propaganda as entertainment without letting that cloud my judgment and I feel that is a healthy approach.

    • Hey Rich you make real good sense, I agree, and I hope to talk to you in the future

  2. Ron, by the way, that had to be about the lamest ever of the Twilight episodes…

  3. Gary Binmore says:

    A confession from a spy/novelist in advanced old age, possibly crazy and/or senile, should not be taken seriously. He might have been babbling, amusing himself, or yes, doing his last job for the Agency by attempting to absolve them.

    The idea that a petty crook politician/lawyer would jump the queue ahead of the elite of the mafia and Dulles and his kook brigade at the CIA who all hated JFK is absurd. The Trafficante-Giancana-Marcello set had the motive and the means and wouldn’t have thought twice about ordering the hit. Neither would Dulles-Meyer-Angleton-Harvey etc. Then there was Lemnitzer and his psychopathic military clique who not only hated JFK, but believed him to be corrupting the U.S. – some of these types even considered him a Soviet agent.

    An operation (Mongoose) was already in place to kill a head of state (Castro) – so a deadly apparatus just needed some adjustments to change the target. Of course it could have been a different bunch of guys that did the hit – maybe all the “I hate JFK” factions drew straws. Or they collaborated. Whatever, they’d have considered LBJ a mere pawn and just as easy to take out as JFK. LBJ only got the presidency because he was compromised and highly blackmailable. The start of a trend. Puppets don’t shoot their way into town.

    • I feel that the JFK assassination was an early Gladio-type operation (blamed on a Communist patsy, false flag style). In which Lemnitzer has to be a prime suspect, given that he was part of the Mongoose/Northwoods faction and was then SACEUR for NATO in the period when Gladio went completely apeshit.

      • Gary Binmore says:

        I agree completely. It’s about time Lemnitzer was subjected to the same level of examination and opprobrium as A. Dulles. He was far more psychopathic and violent, which is saying something, and maybe as important. But that would mean focussing attention on Northwoods and Gladio, and at the moment that ain’t gonna happen. Mainstream writers like Kinzer who portray the Dulles brothers fairly accurately would jump through the ceiling in terror if asked to write about Lemnitzer.

  4. Patrick Oomens says:

    But don’t throw the baby out of the bathwater: Howard Hunt mentions a French connection to the JFK assassination and that sounds very credible. An investigative journalist Stephen Rivele investigate this connection long before Hunt came with this name Lucien Sarti. Read for this: http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKrivele.htm
    It seems plausible that the hired killer had connections to the drug trafficking network because of the work of Daniel Hopsicker, especially his book Barry and the Boys about Barry Seal. Narcotics are the source for funding illegal activities like political murders & gunrunning etc.

    • If memory serves, Sarti’s name came up in The Men Who Killed Kennedy, that incredible documentary series. It’s entirely possible he was one of the shooters, JFK has the feel of a Gladio operation.

  5. Patrick Oomens says:

    @Tom Wecker: How do you know that the CIA edit Howard’s last book?

  6. The Rolling Stone article says papa Hunt wrote the confession with his son present, as opposed to mailing it to him. He could have done both though of course but that’s a pretty minor point anyway.
    As for the “confession tape” – on my first listen it didn’t sound like a confession of anything to me. But I found the video on youtube with the transcript and went over it again, and it seems what he is doing is naming people who were involved in an operation he refers to as “the big event”, and then goes on to say that LBJ had a manaical desire to be president. I’m just coming from the position of taking this tape at face value, very literally, but from that position there is no explicit description of very much at all. It is obviously quite strongly implied that he is describing a plot to kill JFK, but in terms of courtroom levels of strictness I don’t think it’s that certain.
    As for the audio quality thing, just because he was CIA and all that, doesn’t mean that he had any more of a clue about how to work modern technology than anyone else his age in 2003. Do we know what this was recorded on though? Sounds like someone on the phone to me.
    Anyway Tom, your conclusion seems at pretty plausable. Nothing is too elaborate for the CIA. There’s no reason to think he was any less of a psychopath in 2003 than in his younger days. A different hypothesis would be that he did this by himself, not on the agency’s behalf, either as a sort of joke, or “for his country” – the same reasons you’re suggesting the CIA put him up to it. I guess he even could have had knowledge of a real assassination conspiracy, and made this tape to help protect those involved.
    I also feel like mentioning the “three tramps” photo: in my opinion they’re just three random guys, the one that’s allegedly Hunt barely resembles him at all and as for Sturges there is no resemblance whatsoever. The entire shape of his head is vastly different. I guess that might be why you didn’t mention it. So if hunt was in Dallas on the day, he wasn’t arrested while dressed up as a tramp.

    Thanks for making this episode Tom, it was interesting, but in all honesty I’d rather hear you slag off Stefan Molyneux. More anti-anti-immigration and anarchist philosophy please

    • “Thanks for making this episode Tom, it was interesting, but in all honesty I’d rather hear you slag off Stefan Molyneux. More anti-anti-immigration and anarchist philosophy please” – Good to hear but I’ve kinda said what I’ve got to say about Molyneux and don’t have much desire to engage with that creepy shithead or his followers any more than is necessary.

      I do certainly have a lot of ideas for podcasts about anarchist philosophy and history but for the next few I do want to stay with exploring different perspectives and events that make up these ‘Wars on Terror’.

  7. CuChulainn says:

    “that creepy shithead”

  8. Late to the party here (and probably a dollar short) but hey. I’ve also long been fascinated by Hunt’s confession, and like you, Tom, I do not find it credible. Of all the potential suspects for JFK’s murder, I’ve always numbered LBJ as among the least plausible. One needs only to consider the considerable pre- and post-assassination arrangements, involving the long-term setting up of Oswald as a patsy, the control over the autopsy, the containment of the investigation, the commitment of the FBI to foreclose any non-Oswald explanations, and so forth, to realize this is all well beyond any one man’s little ambition to be President. Even if we grant him his own cabal of evil helpers, this is clearly an important Deep State event requiring substantial institutional support and inter-agency penetration. If it was LBJ, then we’ll need some evidence that LBJ was secretly James Jesus Angleton on steroids.

    Having said that, I also don’t find it plausible that Hunt’s confession was a CIA-sponsored thing to throw people off the scent. Nobody was on the scent. It’s not like any action was required at that point to stymie a JFK investigation, it was as dead as doornail already. I don’t see how it serves a CIA interest to stir up new interest in it in any way at all.

    So my personal conclusion? Howard Hunt is full of shit. A natural born bullshitter. Presumably an egomaniac, possibly trying to juice up his own personal legend, or just having himself a laugh.

    • Hi John,

      That is a distinct possibility – Hunt comes across as pretty self-obsessed and he could have just been feeding his own legend. I’m only floating the idea that this might have been a deliberate CIA thing, I too have my doubts whether that was the motive behind this.

  9. I’ll also add that I *do* think it’s as likely as not that he *was* involved in the JFK deal. It would have been in his professional milieu. And to me, in the photo of the three tramps, I’d say that one guy bears a very striking resemblance to Howard Hunt. I’m not an expert about that particular piece of evidence or anything, but it is an odd photo, they are wearing rather nice shoes, there are anomalies about the police uniforms as I recall, it’s odd how happy and relaxed they all look, the lack of any sort of questioning…nothing terribly conclusive in any of it, just another thing that makes you go hmmmmmm.

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