Date: Thursday, January 9, 1997
Commenced: 9:47 AM CST
Concluded:10:28 AM CST
RTC: Ah, good morning, Gregory. Did you talk to Bill yesterday?
GD: Yes, he actually called me. He was discussing Kronthal with me mostly but I think he was on a fishing trip. Was asking me about the new Mueller book…what was in it and such like.
RTC: Did you tell him anything?
GD: No, not in specific. I find him entertaining and sometimes truthful but I don’t trust him. And I don’t trust Kimmel, either.
RTC: Probably a good idea. I rarely hear from Kimmel these days.
GD: I wonder why?
RTC: I think you’re the reason. Bill was cautioning me against talking too much to you because it might hurt my reputation.
GD: I think it must be the fact that I’m a practicing vampire. You know, Robert, it’ll be tough sledding this winter.
RTC: Why is that?
GD: No snow.
RTC: I walked right into that one, didn’t I? Has anyone discussed the Kennedy business with you?
GD: Corson did, once. Said he had the real story in his safe deposit box and Plato or Aristotle would get it when he was called to Jesus.
RTC: Plato. That’s the fix lawyer around here. Little favors for this person or that one, little jobs for the Company and so on.
GD: They probably deserve each other.
RTC: Probably. And how is the Mueller book doing?
GD: Well enough. I’m starting to block out the Kennedy book and yes, I know not to talk about it…
RTC: Or even write something up about it. If Tom thought you were into this, he’d have his boys do a black bag job on you and get into your hard drive.
GD: I could put a bomb in it… When they turned it on, somebody would be carrying a white cane and being nice to his German Shepherd guide dog.
RTC: Now, now, Gregory, not to make jokes about things like that.
GD: If people don’t want me to punt them in their fat ass, they shouldn’t bend over. On the other hand, it might be an invite for something more romantic.
RTC: I can see you’re in a good mood today.
GD: Foul mouthed as ever.
RTC: Sometimes but always entertaining.
GD: I know Kimmel doesn’t find me entertaining. I make fun of the establishment and he is so obviously a dedicated and vocal part of it.
RTC: Everyone has to have something to cling to.
GD: What a waste of time. People are so predictable and so pathetic. You know, Robert, it’s like visiting your ant farm every morning and watching the ants leading their programmed lives.
RTC: Isn’t that a bit arrogant, Gregory?
GD: It’s not that I’m so smart, Robert, although I am, but it’s because so many are so stupid. Anyway, enough weltschmertz.
GD: Pain with the world. Burned out. Bored. Frustrated.
RTC: I see. When you get to my age, that’s the whole thing.
GD: Well, if youth knew and age could, Robert. I think that’s from Mary Baker Eddy, the woman who invented aspirin. You know, God is Love, there is no pain. They ought to put that up in the terminal cancer wards. It would be such a comfort. I understand Mary was buried with a telephone in her coffin. High hopes and impossibilities sums it up and have an aspirin.
RTC: That’s Christian Science, isn’t it? You heard about the Christian Scientist? He had a very bad cold and pretty soon, the cold was gone and so was the Christian Scientist.
GD: That’s how it goes, I guess. Now let me get serious about this Zipper business. If you want me to do a treatment on this that will be to your benefit, I need to get from you, on the phone is fine, some kind of a rationale for what happened. I mean, that’s what you want, isn’t it? To let those who come after you fully understand the reasons for your actions.
RTC: Yes, that’s it exactly. If that ever got out, though by now, it probably won’t, I don’t want my son and my grandchildren thinking I was just a common or garden variety assassin. They should know the reasons for why we acted as we did.
GD: Fine. Go ahead.
RTC: You must understand that we took our duties very seriously. Angleton was a first class counter intelligence man and very dedicated. And he discovers that the most important intelligence reports, the President’s daily briefings from the CIA, are ending up in Moscow. Within a week of them being given to the President. A week. And this was not a one-time incident but had been going on for some time. We then tried to find out how this was happening. A major intelligence disaster, Gregory, major. Now there were several copies of this report disseminated, never mind to whom, so in each one, a little spice was put in. An identifier as you will. Nothing that changed the thrust of the report but a little bit of spice as Jim used to say. Jim’s contact in Moscow was a diplomat, never mind which country because we don’t need to make trouble for him. So from him, we got copies of what Nikita was getting. So can you imagine how stunned we all were to learn that it was the President’s copy that was being leaked? My God. So we couldn’t just walk up to him and ask him how come Khrushchev was reading his briefings a week after we gave them to him. Jim couldn’t find a way how this was done but then we had a report that Bobby, his brother, was known to be friendly with a prominent KGB fellow, Bolshakov. No question of who he was. The TASS man here. Top level. Bobby was known to have had at least one meeting with him. Hoover was having Bobby watched day and night because Hoover hated him and wanted to catch him doing something bad so he could leak it to the Post and get him sacked. Anyway, they found out that Bobby was talking to the Commie on the phone from his home so we, and Hoover, tapped his phone. Hoover didn’t know we were doing it too but that’s Washington politics for you. And we heard, for sure, that Bobby was sending thermofax copies of this report to him. I mean, there was no question. And, we learned too that Kennedy was keeping in direct contact with Khrushchev by Bobby and the Russian. I mean they were subverting the entire diplomatic system and God alone knows what Kennedy was talking about. We had to make sure of this, and really sure. It was explosive, believe me. Jim and a few of us sat down, listened to tapes and agent reports and tried to decide what to do. I mean, Gregory, here we had our President giving, actually giving, the most secret documents to our worst enemy, a man who swore in public he would destroy us. So, what to do? Make it public? Who would dare to do this? Of course we had strong media contacts but we all decided this was just too mindboggling and negative to let outside that room. And that is where the decision was made to simply get rid of Kennedy. He was too independent, he had sacked Dulles and Bissel over the Cuban thing and threatened to Mansfield to break the Agency up. And here he was giving our worse enemy top secret inside information. I mean it really wasn’t open to discussion. You can see this all, can’t you?
GD: I can see your point of view very clearly.
RTC: What would you have done?
GD: I’m not an important person like those people so what difference does my opinion make in all this? I’m just trying to find the rationale.
RTC: Well, do you have it?
GD: Yes, very clearly.
RTC: Well, the rest was lining up the players. Jim did his part, McCone did his part and he talked to Hoover to get his cooperation. We never went directly to him but we used Bill Sullivan, his right hand trouble-shooter. That’s how it was done. Hoover hated the Kennedys;, especially Bobby and we had to have him on our side because it was his people that would investigate any killing that had to be done. It took about a week of back and forth but finally it was agreed on. Johnson was no problem. He was a real rat; a wheeler-dealer whom you couldn’t trust to the corner for a pound of soft soap. The Kennedy bunch were treating him like shit and planned to dump him as VP so of course he went for the wink and the nod. Fortas was his bagman, just like Sullivan was Hoover’s. These are people who know the value of silence from long experience. And it went on from there. I have a phone conference record which I will dig out, when the time comes, and send to you. At this point are you clear on the motivations? I mean this was not just some spur of the moment thing, Gregory. We felt it had to be done to stop what we could only call high treason. Hoover and Johnson both went along on those grounds. A matter of treason. And it had to be stopped. I don’t see this as heroic but a vital necessity. For the country.
GD: I remember reading somewhere that treason doth never prosper for if it prospers, none dare call it treason.
RTC: Something like that.
GD: Very like.
RTC: But if you look at it carefully, and I hope you will, Gregory, you will see that Kennedy was committing the treason, not us. It was he and his vile brother who were passing our most sensitive and secret documents to our enemies. What were we to do? Confront him? We’d all be fired, or worse. What choice was there? Tell me that.
GD: From that point of view, none.
RTC: We are making progress. One thing…Jim was thinking about blowing up Kennedy’s yacht while and was sailing around off Cape Cod but since there certainly would be children on board, I put a stop to that. Kennedy is one thing but not the children.
GD: And the wife? Our American saint.
RTC: Oh that one. Don’t be fooled, Gregory. Jackie claims descent from French nobility but in fact, her French ancestor wasn’t a nobleman but an immigrant cabinetmaker. And crap about her being related to Robert E. Lee is more crap. That part of her family were lace curtain micks from the old sod. The woman is a fraud. She married Kennedy for his father’s money, that’s all. Wonderful backgrounds here, Gregory. Old Joe was as crooked as they come. He was an associate of Al Capone, a bootlegger, and worse, and in 1960, he and the mob rigged the election so Jack could get in. Yes, I know all about that. They did their work in Chicago with the Daley machine and the local mob. That’s right, vote early and vote often. They even voted the cemeteries. I never really liked Nixon but they connived and stole the election from him slicker than snot off a glass-handled door knob.
GD: Ain’t it nice living in a democracy? So Kennedy wasn’t a saint by any stretch.
RTC:We can overlook all the women and the wild drug and sex orgies in the White House but, Gregory, passing our top secrets to the enemy was too damned much. I would like you to show that very clearly if and when you get into this.
GD: Well, from a pragmatic view, Robert, it is the very best and clearest reason for the killing. A question here.
GD: A plot. Good but then how do you keep it quiet? Someone might talk.
RTC: Remove them, Gregory.
GD: But what about those who remove those who know too much? Then they know too much.
RTC: Oswald knew a little too much, just a little but enough. And he could prove he never shot Kennedy. So he had to go before he started to talk. Oswald knew some of our people and he worked directly for ONI so there were dangers there. On the other hand, the man who shot King, Ray, knew nothing so he got to live and end up in jail until he died. He knew there was something wrong but, and this is important to note Gregory, he had no proof.
GD: You did King?
RTC: No Hoover did King. He hated him with a visceral passion. Hoover was a nut, Gregory, but a very powerful and very dangerous nut. There is a long-standing rumor here that Hoover had passed the color line and that he was part black. Hoover was a homosexual and there we have two reasons to hate yourself. King was black and he was a womanizer. And Bobby was AG and loathed Hoover. He used to go into Hoover’s office while he was taking his after-lunch nap and wake him up. And he laughed at him and called him a faggot behind his back. Not to do that to Hoover. He stayed in absolute power because he had enough real dirt on Congress to put most of them away in the cooler or the loonie bin. No, Bobby signed his death warrant when he did those things. No, Hoover did King and Hoover did Bobby. Not himself but he got Bill Sullivan to do it. Sullivan was his hatchet man and we worked directly with Bill. But then Bill got old and was starting to babble like old people do and he was hinting about Hoover, who had sacked him after he had used him. No, that doesn’t make it so some kid shot Bill right through the head. He thought he was a deer. My, my.
GD: And Bobby?
RTC: That was Hoover too. It was an agreement. We did John and Edgar did the others. We had one of our men there when they did Bobby, just to observe. We got George the Greek to keep an eye open. They got one of Kennedy’s people to steer him into the kitchen after a speech and the raghead was waiting. One of the Kennedy bodyguards did him from behind while all the shooting and screaming was going on. Much better than John. They had a real shooter in front of real people. None of the questions like we had in Dallas. No loose ends so to speak. And King was another clean job. Sullivan was very good.
GD: And that’s why he turned into a deer.
RTC: Yes, he turned into a very dead deer.
GD: And you got Cord’s wife on top of it.
RTC: Jim said she was hanging around with hippies and arty-farty people and running her mouth.
GD: Did she know anything?
RTC: No, but she was well-connected and some people might believe her. She’d been humping Kennedy and they apparently really go along with each other. She was a lot more of a woman than Jackie and she never nagged Jack or acted so superior like Jackie loved to do. Her brother in law worked for us and we all agonized over this but in the end, Jim had his way. Of course Cord thought it was peachy-keen. He hated her but then Cord hated everybody. The vicious Cyclops!
GD: One eye.
RTC: Yes. Oh, and like Jim, he too was a profound poet. God, spare me from the poets of the world. You don’t write poetry, do you, Gregory.
GD: No, but really filthy limericks, Robert. Would you like to hear some?
RTC: Oh not now. Maybe later.
GD: Probably just as well. Once I get started on those, I’ll be going strong an hour later. But let me tell you just one. Not a dirty one but after about an hour of limericks, I love to end the night with this one. Can I proceed?
RTC: Just one?
GD: Yes, just one.
RTC: Go on.
GD: ‘There was an old man of St. Bees,
Who was stung on the arm by a wasp.
When asked if it hurt,
He replied ‘No, it didn’t,
‘I’m so glad that it wasn’t a hornet.’
(Concluded at 10:28 AM CST)