Nixon, Watergate, and the JFK assassination

Was Richard Nixon afraid that the Watergate scandal would reveal the killers of John F. Kennedy?

Dozens of stories have been written recently commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in. The journalistic heroes of the story, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, published a lengthy piece in the Washington Post detailing Nixon’s war on the Constitution, on the press, on democracy.

But the most tantalizing aspect of Watergate has been ignored: The possibility that Nixon worried that the investigation could reveal the truth behind the JFK assassination.

JFK and Nixon during the presidential debates in 1960

To a large extent, Nixon did himself in by taping his White House conversations. The famous Watergate tapes revealed him to be duplicitious, paranoid and profane. One particular recording may also reveal that the president was fearful that the unfolding scandal could lead to a story far bigger than slush funds or political dirty tricks.

The bungled break-in at the Democratic National Committee office, at the Watergate hotel complex, occurred on June 17, 1972. Less than a week later, on June 23, Nixon engaged in an intense conversation with one of his top aides, H.R. Haldeman.

A transcript of the conversation shows the two talking about how to contain the investigation.

Nixon refers to the Bay of Pigs

At one point, Nixon says, “When you get these people, when you get these people in, say, ‘Look, the problem is that this will open the whole Bay of Pigs thing  …”

At another point in the same conversation, Nixon says, “this is a Hunt, you will – that will uncover a lot of things. You open that scab and there’s a hell of a lot of things that we just feel that it would be very detrimental to have this going further.”

E. Howard Hunt

Hunt was E. Howard Hunt, a longtime CIA operative and one of the Watergate burglars.

In his memoir, Haldeman wrote that he believed “Bay of Pigs” was Nixon’s coded way of referring to the JFK assassination.

Bay of Pigs – the botched invasion by CIA-trained Cuban exiles – occurred on April 17, 1961, during JFK’s first few months in office. It was a plan JFK had inherited from the Eisenhower administration.

An initial U.S. air strike was ineffectual, and failed to knock out Cuba’s Air Force. JFK refused to call in a second air attack. The invaders were crushed. About 100 were killed by Cuban forces, and more than 1,200 were captured.

The aftermath was toxic. Military hawks were enraged at the president for not calling in more air support. JFK was livid at the CIA, which he vowed to “splinter into a thousand pieces.”  Hatred is too polite a word for what anti-Castro Cubans felt toward JFK.

From left: James W. McCord,Virgilio Gonzalez, Frank A. Sturgis,Eugenio R. Martinez, Bernard L. Barker.

Nixon was not in office when the Bay of Pigs played out. Why would he refer to it when talking about the Watergate break-in?

In the decades since JFK’s assassination, a mythic golden hue has been cast over him and his administration. He is a Democratic Party icon. His image is mounted in the living rooms of admirers from Boston to East Los Angeles.

Some dangerous people hated JFK

But at the time he was killed, JFK was reviled by a number of forces: Cuban exiles who felt betrayed, arch-conservatives who hated his stance on civil rights, mobsters who  were livid that the administration’s Justice Department, led by the president’s brother Robert, was going after organized crime. There were probably hundreds of people at the time who would have stood in line to take a shot at JFK.

The initial official story, dispensed via the Warren Commission, contended that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, used a World War II-era Italian-made Mannlicher-Carcano rifle to fatally shoot JFK from the sixth floor of the Texas Bookstore Depository on Nov. 22, 1963.

Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald.

The idea that Oswald killed JFK is not only preposterous, it is an insult to anyone who takes a few minutes to study the evidence.

At its core, the assassination was a homicide, a crime. As with any crime, one needs to follow the evidence. The Warren Commission released a 888-page report that claimed to prove Oswald killed JFK.

An untenable official theory

As one Warren Commission critic put it, the commission’s findings are a series of small and medium lies, based on one big lie: The magic bullet theory.

Boiled down, the magic bullet theory – authored by former Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter, who was a commission staffer – holds that Oswald fired three shots at a moving target in six seconds. FBI sharpshooters were unable to duplicate this feat with that weapon.

The most preposterous aspect of the theory holds that one bullet strafed through the back of the president’s neck, stopped in mid-air, turned, went through Texas Sen. John Connally’s wrist and chest, and finally through the senator’s thigh.  The alleged bullet was “discovered,” hours later, in pristine condition on a stretcher at the Dallas hospital JFK and Connally were taken to.

Fired bullets do not change direction in mid-air. Bullets which pass through muscle and bone do not remain in pristine condition. For the magic bullet theory to work, the laws of physics, for starters, would have had to have not been in effect.

And then there’s the Zapruder film, which show’s JFK’s head snapping backward when the fatal bullet strikes his cranium. The footage clearly indicates the fatal shot was fired from in front, probably from the infamous grassy knoll.

The public has never bought the Warren Commission findings

The American public had serious doubts about the official account from the beginning. Those doubts have not dissipated with time. In 2004, a Fox News poll found that 66 percent of the American public believed JFK was killed as part of a conspiracy, and 75 percent believed there was a cover-up.

Sen. Arlen Specter of the Warren Commission reproducing the assumed alignment of the single bullet theory. (Wikpedia)

Most likely, JFK was killed by a collaboration of anti-Castro Cubans, the Mob, and CIA operatives. There is no doubt security people were involved. Moments after the shooting, a Dallas police officer ran toward the grassy knoll. He was met by a man in a suit who flashed what appeared to be official credentials. The man said he was with the Secret Service and told the cop the area was covered.  The Secret Service did not have anyone assigned to that area. That’s not a Mob move.

The cover-up included the killing of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby, a Mob-connected strip club owner. Initially, Ruby explained he killed Oswald – in front of a passel of cops – to spare JFK’s widow, Jackie, from having to go through a trial. Please.  A couple of years later, Ruby told the Warren Commission he would tell what he knew, but he begged to be moved out of Texas. The commission didn’t take him up on his offer.

As researchers and authors dug into the assassination, much suspicion fell on CIA man Hunt. There is a famous photograph of three so-called tramps who were near the assassination scene and were briefly detained by Dallas police. Some researchers have argued that Hunt was one of the three.

Some people are skeptical that such a huge crime could be kept under wraps for so long. The fact is, it really hasn’t been kept secret. For whatever reason, the mainstream press has, almost universally, simply not pursued the story.

Over time, significant aspects of what really happened have been revealed:

  • In 1978, an article by the Spotlight, a weekly publication of the hard-right organization (now defunct) the Liberty Lobby, implicated Hunt in the JFK hit. Hunt sued for defamation. In a civil trial a few years later, the Liberty Lobby was defended by JFK assassination researcher Mark Lane, a Washington, D.C., attorney. Lane won.
  • In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, after a lengthy probe which included public hearings, determined that JFK was “likely” killed as the result of a conspiracy.
  • In 2007, Rolling Stone reported on the deathbed confession of Hunt, who died in January of that year. In a series of tape recorded talks with his son, St. John Hunt (known as “Saint”), the dying spy named about a half-dozen CIA operatives. He minimized his own involvement, and suggested Lyndon B. Johnson spearheaded the cover-up.
  • In 2009, a book revealed that Carlos Marcello, the Mafia kingpin of Texas and Louisiana, declared following the assassination, “Yeah, I had the son of a bitch killed. I’m glad I did. I’m sorry I couldn’t have done it myself!” The admission was contained in FBI files and was contained in a book, “Legacy of Secrecy,” by Lamar Waldron.

Based on the evidence, it is likely that JFK was killed by a coalition of anti-Castro Cubans, the Mob, and elements of the CIA. There are some excellent books which detail the events surrounding the killing, including “Conspiracy” by former BBC correspondent Anthony Summers and “Plausible Denial” by Lane, the attorney who defended the Liberty Lobby.

Out of context, Nixon’s reference in the Watergate tapes to the Bay of Pigs may sound like a non-sequiter. As the evidence shows, there is plenty of context.  Nixon may well have feared that the Watergate scandal could have led to the truth about the JFK assassination.

(Check out Hunt’s deathbed confession here.)

18 thoughts on “Nixon, Watergate, and the JFK assassination

  • March 21, 2016 at 4:03 AM

    Nixon was Ike’s “point man” in 1959-1960 to come up with a means of DEPOSING Castro. Thus, Nixon’s oversight of the CIA’s Bay Of Pigs planning and implementation made him very familiar with the major players in the operation – Gen. Charles Cabell (whose brother was the Mayor of Dallas in 1963), Cord Meyer, E. Howard Hunt, the Cubans (same as the Watergate characters), and others. Nixon believed that a successful invasion and the elimination of Castro would propel him to an easy Presidential Election victory in 1960. The failure of the operation infuriated JFK, Nixon, the CIA, Big Oil, the Mafia, the 1,200 mercenary prisoners (held in terrible conditions in Cuba from mid April 1961 to late October 1963, when the Cuban Missile Crisis was settled) and thousands of Cubans in the U.S. JFK was hated for his failure to provide the backup support the he, earlier, promised.

    George H.W. Bush was not a known public figure until he ran for the Senate in 1964. From 1959 to April 1961, Bush, the owner of Zapata Oil, headquartered on an island near Cuba, had a “side job” – that of recruiting mercenaries for the CIA’s planned invasion of Cuba. Numerousl CIA personnel named Bush as the man who recruited them. Most Americans do not know that the CIA, after the Bay of Pigs Invasion failed, kept recruiting mercenaries and training them, under Hunt’s supervision at hidden sites in Florida and Louisiana. Twice JFK got wind of the ongoing training and twice he ordered the CIA to CEASE, DESIST and CLOSE these traing camps. In late July 1963, RFK told JFK that the two camps were STILL OPERATING and preparing for another invasion effort. In early August 1963, JFK ordered FBI Director Hoover to sent large, heavily armed contingents to both sites and, physically, evacuate and close them. That was the final straw for an element of the CIA that wanted JFK REMOVED FROM OFFICE.

    LBJ was being investigated by RFK’s Justice Department for a variety of financial
    shenanigans in 1963. Worried about being indicted, along with not being given any meaning role or duties in JFK’s Administration, and being routinely made fun of by JFK cohorts in the White House, LBJ determined that, if he was to be President, he needed to have JFK “eliminated.” In June 1963, LBJ got his protege, Gov. John Connally, to travel to the White House to, personally, invite JFK to visit Texas and JFK, soon, accepted. An August visit was put off until November. With, virtually, nothing to do for the Administration, LBJ spent over two months, mid September to the third week of November, “preparing” for JFK’s visit to Texas.

    Knowing of the CIA’s hatred for JFK, LBJ gave the “go-ahead” to the CIA Plan – named The Big Event. Thus, Nixon, having many contacts at the CIA, learned of the CIA’s involvement in assassinating JFK. Because Nixon was in Dallas on November 21st and 22nd in 1963, attending meetings with Pepsi Corp. officials, I, seriously, doubt that he knew that JFK was going to be killed in Dallas. Nixon would have stayed clear of Dallas had he known.

    Imagine Nixon, having won the Presidency stooped so low to get back at his detractors by bringing into his Administration the men who he knew were the killers of JFK almost a decade earlier. What a guy! Years after the JFK Assassination, In discussing both his and LBJ’s great ambition in wanting to be President, Nixon was reported to have said, “Both LBJ and I wanted the Presidency, but I was unwilling to kill for it.”

    • July 20, 2016 at 12:17 AM

      That’s why Nixon was paranoid to a fault. He was constantly worried about bein JFKed. Your right on but you left the main reason and motivator, Executive Order 11110. You mess with da FED, you END up Dead! The rest was ALL that led to the perfect storm. I have though for the first 30 years after his assassination that it was impossible to keep a secrete so big by so many people. But they’re so many pieces/dots that fit together in the last 20 years to ignore that it was NOT a conspiracy!
      kentuckychief dot org for US Senate, Kentucky, 2020, Ditch da Mitch
      No BANKSTER, PoliTick, Judge or Crony Corporate Fascist too Big to JAIL or impeach!

      • December 2, 2017 at 5:42 PM

        Why should EO 11110 aggravate the FED? JFK was basically empowering the FED by planning to phase out silver certificates in favor of Federal Reserve Notes. There was only a short period of Treasury Notes that he also authorized in lieu of Federal Reserve Notes.

        • December 2, 2017 at 7:52 PM

          Some say that he sent them a message by using the Treasury Notes via Silver Certificates that he was goin to eliminate the use of Fed Notes which is ridiculous. Why pay interest on created money you will never repay?
          The money supply has to increase in a growing economy or we will have deflation which is as disastrous as hyper inflation. Obama supposedly by 2011 or somewhere around there had created over 17Trillion dollars by not printing it but creating it digitally. At least that is what Timmy Geithner testified to Congress!
          Notice Rand Paul has never demanded that the FED be audited for the Gold in Fort Knox be inventoried and the quality/purity vouched for. LOL!
          On day two of LBJ’s presidency he recalled ALL the silver certificates and in a year removed the silver form the coins!

    • December 2, 2017 at 4:53 PM

      Great text, well written. But I must inform you that Madelaine Brown, LBJ’s mistress has come out after many years due to her disappointment and outrage at the Johnson family for cheating her and LBJ’s son out of his rightful inheritance. See her interview in YouTube, in which she speaks of the attendees of the pre-assassination party on Nov 21st at Clint Murchinson’s house. Nixon was there and not (only?) at the Pepsi convention. LBJ, too, stating his famous: “After tomorrow, those Kennedy bastards will never embarrass me again. That’s not a threat, that’s a promise!”

  • March 2, 2014 at 9:17 PM

    Did Nixon lead it, or was he another pawn like JFK?
    More likely, LBJ played a key role. At the time, with the LIFE magazine expose due for publication on December 1st, 1963 LBJ possessed the motive.
    Roger Stone’s new book does a very good job of connecting the dots….

    • July 20, 2016 at 12:23 AM

      I doubt Nixon was in da loop. In fact he went off da reservation and supported Tariffs to protect American Manufacturing, That gave Rockefeller da green light to use his boys, Kissinger, Haig and the SS head of the White House detachment to work with Congress to Watergate him so Rockefeller could become President. Needless to say it didn’t work out for Rockefeller. He did die of a heart attack with two hot female reporters in a motel room a few years later!
      The main reason was EO 111110. Mess with da FED ya end up DEAD. The rest, Mob, Agency, LBJ were ALL glad to help out and make it so!
      kentuckychief dot org for US Senate, Kentucky, 2020, Ditch da Mitch
      No BANKSTER, PoliTick, Judge or Crony Corporate Fascist too Big to JAIL or Impeach!

  • December 25, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    Google “three tramps” (found by the railroad tracks). Does one resemble Frank Sturgis and another E. Howard Hunt from the photos above?

  • July 2, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    OK, that’s jolly fun, but it seems to me much more likely that he’s using “Bay of Pigs thing” like the GOP is using “it’s another Watergate” (for any convenient value of “it”) today.

    He’s trying to sell the idea that by pursuing this scandal, investigators would be plunging the country into another situation like it went through in ’61. He was trying to play on their sympathy: “don’t think of me — think of the country!”

    He was being Nixon at his Nixon-est.

    • December 25, 2012 at 11:46 PM

      NIXON: When you get in to see these people, say: “Look, the problem is that this will open the whole, the whole Bay of Pigs thing, and the President just feels that…” ah, I mean, without going into the details of, of lying to them to the extent to say that there is no involvement. But, you can say, “This is sort of a comedy of errors, bizarre,” without getting into it, “The President’s belief is that this is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again. And, ah because ah these people are playing for, for keeps and that they should call the FBI in and we feel that … that we wish for the country, don’t go any further into this case, period!”

      Following instructions, Haldeman informed CIA Director Richard Helms of President Nixon’s concern that the Watergate investigation would “open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again.” Haldeman gives this account of what transpired next:

      “Turmoil in the room. Helms, gripping the arms of his chair, leaning forward and shouting, ‘The Bay of Pigs had nothing to do with this. I have no concern about the Bay of Pigs.’

      “Silence. I just sat there. I was absolutely shocked by Helms’ violent reaction. Again I wondered, what was such dynamite in the Bay of Pigs story?”

      Later in his book, Haldeman appears to answer his own question when he says,
      “It seems that in all of those Nixon references to the Bay of Pigs, he was
      actually referring to the Kennedy assassination.”

      • July 20, 2016 at 12:27 AM

        It appears that the Agency ran guns to Castro durin his rebel days and Jack Ruby was their man runnin guns. When it came to retrieve the surviving Piglets Ruby supposedly traded Trucks and Ambulances to Casto to git em back.
        kentuckychief dot org for US Senate, Kentucky 2020, Ditch da Mitch
        Just say NO, to da NWOhhh!

  • July 2, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a CIA hit team that had been assembled under the guise of assassinating Fidel Castro.

    Alexander Haig commanded the operation and Howard Hunt was the mastermind. Haig had been assigned to the CIA’s Cuban operations under Army Secretary Cyrus Vance. Hunt had been a key player in the Bay of Pigs operation.

    When Howard Hunt was linked to the Watergate break-in, intelligence community insiders quickly linked him to Alexander Haig. To conceal his CIA history and the truth about the JFK assassination, Haig, by then a top Nixon aide, diverted the Watergate investigations away from Howard Hunt’s CIA activities and towards Richard Nixon’s reelection committee.

    When Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, the entire CIA question went away. But once you understand the Haig-Hunt connection, it all comes together. The link between Watergate and the JFK assassination suddenly makes sense. When Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for Watergate, he actually pardoned Alexander Haig for the JFK assassination.

    This is all discussed for the first time in Against Them, the new book by Tegan Mathis: If you’re interested in this stuff, read Against Them.

    • October 14, 2013 at 2:43 AM

      I have always thought that Nixon and his people were responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy, and I have been ridiculed for it over the years, especially before Watergate. After Watergate some people began to wonder. With the elimination of Robert Kennedy in 1968 it virtually guaranteed his election.

      • July 20, 2016 at 12:36 AM

        I doubt Nixon was responsible or even had info it was goin down. I bet he KNEW who did it and was super paranoid because of it after da fact. Haig and Kissinger and the Whitehouse SS Head were ALL Rockefeller plants. I’m surprised Nixon didn’t know it and trusted them to da end.
        JFK was wacked by da BANKSTERS cause of EO 11110 with the Agency using some Mob and LBJ to clean it up.
        kentuckychief dot org for US Senate, Kentucky, 2020, Ditch da Mitch

    • July 20, 2016 at 12:30 AM

      First I read Haig was involved. What rank was he then, Major or LTC? You know what unit he was assigned to? Any info how HAIG wormed his way into the Nixon White House?

    • March 29, 2017 at 10:01 AM

      it is said, Al Haig had some participation of moving the body to Bethesda naval hospital for the “autopsy” but recently HBO has had a program on the Nixon tapes and in one conversation, Kissinger is heard saying to Nixon “America will never know what it (Watergate) was all about” – Kissinger should explain what he means as there are other people who think Watergate was about breaking-in to see if the democrats had any pictures of certain people down at dealey plaza including the one of geo hw bush standing in front of the book depository!!

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