Date: Wednesday, February 19, 1997
Commenced: 8:46 AM CST
Concluded: 9:30 AM CST
GD: You called me Robert. Role reversal here. Is something up back there?
RTC: Yes, in a way. I’ve been keeping my eye on a growing negative situation here that directly affects you and indirectly affects me. This is going to be a little prolix so I was wondering if you had a tape recorder handy and might hook it up so you can make some sense of all this later. You ought to listen to it, make notes at your convenience and then we can talk about things after you do this. Is this possible? The recorder?
GD: Yes, I have one over on the shelf. I’ll just go and get it.
RTC: Well, I’m not going anywhere.
GD: I got it and put a tape in it. Let me hook the mike up to the phone here….OK now fire away.
RTC: Very well, let’s get started. I begin by telling you something we both know and this is that you are most unpopular back here, at least in certain circles. For example, Wolfe hates you and keeps telling me I ought not to talk to you. How odd that Kimmel tells me the same thing and so does Joe Trento. Do you have any dealings with him, by the way?
GD: No. I’ve heard the name. He wrote a book with you once if I recall.
RTC: Yes, Joe and his wife.
GD: Not very deep writers, are they?
RTC: No, Trento is like Bill. So eager to be part of a larger picture, so desperate to be noticed, so unimportant. Wolfe is only a government librarian but he, too, had delusions of grandeur. And Tom…Poor Tom was once the golden boy and now he is getting older and he is going to have to retire.
GD: I talk to him quite often, Robert, and I’ve been of help to him and his family over the Pearl Harbor business.
RTC: Yes, I know that but you are not on his good side for several reasons. In the first place, he views you as subhuman and only puts up with you for the same reason the others do…They want something from you. What they want is to get any papers Mueller might have given you and in the end, they want you to be quiet about him. Now Jim Critchfield wants you dead.
GD: Why so?
RTC: It’s all about Mueller. Now let me go on for a time here. I know and you know that Mueller worked for the CIA. Critchfield’s SS boys recruited him in ’48 and he came here. We hired him, in spite of the fact he ran the evil Gestapo, because he was a genuine expert on Soviet intelligence and very effective. Russia, officially, is our convenient enemy. Convenient because everyone makes money because they threaten to invade us or atom bomb New York. Of course they were going to do no such thing but a frightened public is generous with funds to its protectors. So we hired Mueller. That, in and of itself, is a major scandal. The left wing, the Jews and anyone the Gestapo arrested would howl the house down if they ever found out about this. The other little problem is that no one alive, aside from myself and you, knows the name Mueller was given when he came over to us. This was a large secret and only a few knew. Harry Truman knew, Beatle Smith knew and so did Jim Critchfield and myself. And, of course Mueller and his wife, who worked for us too. So we have a situation that could prove to be very, very embarrassing for many people. Mueller is dead and his wife will say nothing but then we have you in the equation. You met him in California and his wife knows you. Apparently, you two hit it off. His wife, who doesn’t approve of you because she is afraid of you, tells us you two were thick as thieves. So much for that. You used your entrée to write a book on him. My dear sweet Jesus, what a stink you made. Mueller was dead and forgotten and along came you, a loose cannon, and tore off the scabs of time. It takes bureaucracies a long time to react. But to save their collective asses, they do react. Initially, Bill was all gung ho about you because your book supported his ‘Widows’ book and he clearly identified Mueller’s Swiss-based CIA interrogator,.
RTC: Absolutely, and when Bill talked with you about this after reading the book, you gave him some inside information on Kronthal you got from Mueller. This was private information and you could never have made it up. Bill was sold and got me involved in this. Of course I didn’t tell them that we had known each other previously, albeit rather casually. You know, the Costello business.
GD: I recall.
RTC: And suddenly it began to dawn on certain elevated people in our organization that you might know far more than you should. And your book, which was interesting but not too revealing about our methods and activities, got out, you became a person of real interest. A question here, Gregory. Did Mueller ever mention the Kennedy business to you?
GD: Yes. I was having lunch with him when it happened. As I recall, we were having a late lunch at Stickney’s Hickory House in Palo Alto when Mueller started staring at the restaurant television set which was behind and above me. He said, ‘I see they shot your President in Dallas.’ I turned around and watched the uproar for a minute and then the food came. At one point, a little later, Mueller called me and asked me if I had been watching television and I said I had. He asked me if I had noticed Oswald being walked through crowded corridors in the Dallas police station and I said I had. He said that Oswald was not guilty and those who did it were trying to get him killed by exposing him to strangers. And he did get shot in the same surroundings the next day. Mueller said that the business was now over and that Ruby would also either hang himself in his cell or be knifed in jail by an inmate wanting fame and fortune. When I told him much later that Ruby died of cancer, Mueller only laughed and said that he preferred the heart attack and that cancer took too long to work.
RTC: Astute. Anything else?
GD: Nothing that I remember.
RTC: You see, Gregory, Mueller was involved in the business.
GD: I was having lunch with him when it happened and I had known him for some time before, Robert. Was he?
RTC: Mueller was hired by us as probably the best expert on Soviet intelligence alive. When Jim Angleton learned that the most important secrets, the President’s Daily Briefing material was all over Moscow, he went over the edge. Only a very few people ever saw that paper. I suggested that he have these salted with different information prior to distribution. This bit of fiction in one report and that in another. That way, Jim found out that the leaks came from the White House. That’s when we dragged Mueller out of retirement and he pinpointed Bolshakov, the top KGB operative in this country, as the conduit. And a little bit of snooping discovered that Bobby Kennedy was in regular touch with Bolshakov. Obviously, the material went from JFK to RFK to Bolshakov to Nikita in Moscow. That’s when it was decided to remove Kennedy, in fact both Kennedys. We got the President and Hoover got Bobby. The latter was more in the line of revenge but the President had to be stopped. And of course, he was. Mueller knew this and we, or rather they, are terrified as to what else he might have told you.
GD: He never told me any of this.
RTC: But of course we don’t know that, do we? So the plan has been to gain your confidence, promise you much, get even closer to you and then find out if you have any papers or tapes on any of this but especially the Kennedy business.
GD: And then they’ll shoot me.
RTC: Oh no, not that. With Critchfield in play, I told him that if any harm came to you, he would suffer terribly so I doubt if anyone would shoot you. They would lie to you, con you, trick you and maybe break into your house and steal anything that might make trouble. Did you get anything from Mueller?
GD: Oh yes, much.
RTC: And safe? And by safe, I don’t mean cunningly hidden in the attic or cellar or, worse, in a local storage facility under your name. You know what I mean.
GD: Oh I do indeed. I did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday, Robert. Very safe.
RTC: After Mueller died, we talked to his widow and went through all his papers but they were very thin and there were a lot of things missing that she had remembered seeing. Most important were documents with Mueller’s new name. I told you, they don’t know that name…
GD: But they know his wife so they must know the name.
RTC: Good chap here but he had a number of names and his married name was not the same as our cover. Anyway, old papers were missing and then after we found out about you and your friend Laegel, we became very concerned. Laegel died in ’66 and you had vanished into thin air.
GD: I went to Europe under a false identity. I have dozens of them.
RTC: Vanished and so on. And then the book. That got everyone’s bowels in a ferment, Gregory and that’s why Bill got ahold of you.
GD: But you got me earlier.
RTC: That was on another matter entirely but fortunate for both of us in the end.
GD: All this over Kennedy?
RTC: Kennedy’s demise and our employment of the Gestapo head and some very sensitive things he knew and had been involved in. And what he might have told you and, most important, what he might have given to you such as papers, files or the like. You can understand why you began to hear from Tom Kimmel of the FBI and others, can’t you? And weren’t they so pleasant and jovial with you?
RTC: Of course they were. And invitations to come to Washington to talk at historical conferences where you met all kinds of interesting people. And how many of these nice, attentive people have asked you about what Mueller might have given to you, or told you about really interesting historical happenings?
GD: Kimmel and Andrew Grey…
RTC: Yes, one of ours. You obviously didn’t oblige them but then they got Bob Wolfe into the act. A fellow historian with, very important for your future researches because he had access to government files.
GD: I always wondered why a professional Jew with strong ties to the Holocaust industry would be so smarmy with me. It figures.
RTC: And were you overwhelmed by the attention? By the free hotel rooms? By the dinners for you?
GD: I take what I can get, Robert.
RTC: And give?
GD: I give nothing, Robert, that I don’t want to give. Oh yes, many little questions about Mueller and who he might have been and did I have his address in California and so on. But they knew where he was living after all.
RTC: They wanted to know what you knew. Kimmel told me, and Bill confirmed it and I learned myself first hand, that you can get on the phone and talk for three hours. Very interesting, very much in the know but you never, ever let anything slip. This drives them all crazy, Gregory.
GD: Oh yes, I am aware. For example, someone, whose name is not your business, would give me the name of a very sensitive government operation, and I mean very sensitive. But just the name and nothing else. I would casually drop it into a conversation with Wolfe, Andrew or Tom but just a drop, not a discussion. No response of course. It was too new and too important for them to know about it. They I would wait a few weeks and guess what? I would get a smarmy call from Wolfe, Andrew or Tom, or sometimes all three, with a query. Say, one or all of them would say, last week you mentioned Operation Bunghole. That’s really interesting because just yesterday someone was talking about it to me. What more do you know about it? I mean just between the two of us?
RTC: How did you get out from under that one?
GD: I would say, Oh yes, Operation Bunghole! Yes, well, it’s…oh, excuse me Robert, Andrew or Tom, but the UPS man is at the door with some packages and I have to get off. Let me get back to you on this. And of course I don’t and the next time they call on this, I say, Oh that thing. Such cold coffee. Let me tell you about the giant eagles we have around here. They just grabbed some small kid out of the parking lot and flew off with him! Is that what I should have done, Robert?
RTC: You are a very evil person, Gregory, causing so much trouble. I love it.
GD: But they obviously didn’t, did they?
RTC: No, you drove them crazy. Your natural arrogance coupled with the confusion you sowed among them has not made you a popular person.
GD: Good. Mueller would have loved it as much as we both do.
RTC: Well, that’s some background. You are beginning to get some of these people very annoyed.
GD: The Wolfe and Kimmel people?
RTC: No, the people they work for. There will, I think, be some intense efforts to get their hands on you. Someone said getting anything from you was like trying to pick up some mercury from a table top. You slide this way and that and nothing can be done. They know you have something but just what is a mystery. Keep it that way, Gregory. It’s insurance. And on that subject, I have been going through all of my files and I am going to ship you some really interesting material. Some of it, as I promised, has to do with the Kennedy business but the rest covers sundry other matters. I’m going to have my son ship these to you because I am long past dragging heavy boxes to the post office. Now when you get these papers, be very sure to put them in a very safe place and tell no one about them. And here is more information for you. Do not trust your son in any way.
GD: Are you serious? My son?
RTC: Yes, because of the name. They can use his name at one point. I have to tell you this and I realize it may have an adverse effect on you but it’s important. Bill told me that he has approached your son and offered him a job with the CIA.
GD: You really must be joking. He has no academic background and would never pass a security clearance.
RTC: It doesn’t matter. He has been offered a consultant job at forty thousand a year and has more or less accepted. Bill said he was more than willing to work with him, and through him, the Company. They want cooperation in the event you start to push them or they even suspect you are about to pull off their covers. He is not too friendly to you and, of course, the money matters. Once he served his purpose, naturally, the job would disconnect. Tell him nothing and never let him know that you got anything from me. If he quizzes you about your relationship with me or gets interested in specifics, be on your guard and do not trust him. I don’t say you should walk away from him but just watch yourself.
GD: Not surprising. He’s clever but a coward and would never come at me from the front. But he has had so much trouble with the law such as having fake driver’s licenses, huge bills and the like that I doubt if any government agency would hire him if he used standard employment techniques. He never mentioned Bill or his offer and I did not know he had talked with Corson. He talked with Kimmel and Wolfe but not Bill. Well, it’s a disappointment, considering what it cost me to raise him and pay his bills but not a surprise. His favorite game is to knock up his girl friends, walk off and then expect me to pay for the abortion. Or the bill I knew nothing about. Or the car he ran into the week before. That sort of thing. He’s very clever but totally amoral and I don’t trust him to the corner, Robert, but I thank you for the input. Now, I can stuff him with disinformation which, as it comes from the inside, just has to be right. I should be able to squeeze a few dollars out of the swine if I play it right and I can always find ways to get them after people I don’t like. I mean I can tell my kid that so and so has the papers and plans to blackmail Langley with them. Then we can read the paper about a terrible gas explosion or a car wreck somewhere and another enemy is crisped.
RTC: Yes, well, you know the game.
GD: Of course I do. What did they say during our Glorious Revolution? Trust in God but keep your powder dry? Trust in no one, not even God, and keep your knife sharp. I don’t suppose you’d like to fill me in on your surprise?
RTC: Not on the phone, Gregory.
GD: They might be listening, but I doubt it. I’m using a special phone. But they might be listening to you. If they are, Wolfe, Andrew or Tom, kiss my royal ass.
RTC: Don’t do that, Gregory. They might.
(Concluded at 9:30 AM CST)