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An audio file serving as the final testimony of CIA veteran and convicted Watergate conspirator, E. Howard Hunt on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has surfaced.
It has been distilled down from a 20-minute tape made by Hunt at his home in Miami, according to his oldest son with whom E. Howard Hunt had enjoyed a good relationship in later life.
The unmarked cassette was received in the mail by his oldest son, Saint John Hunt, in Janurary 2004. At the time, the 86-year-old E. Howard Hunt was not well. According to Saint John Hunt, his father's only request was that the information not be released until his death. Shortly thereafter, he recovered from his illness and he would not die until January of 2007. The tape remained in Saint John Hunt's hands the entire time.
According to Saint John Hunt, the existence of the tape was unknown by his extended family until its broadcast on "Coast to Coast Live with Ian Punnett" on April 27, 2007. Many of the details of the tape were included in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine published earlier in the month.
The contents of the tape are consistent with E. Howard Hunt's CIA career. He was a significant team member of many CIA "wet ops," that is, bloody operations such as the violent overthrow of the democratically-elected Guatetamalan government of Jacobo Arbenz in 1954 and the assassination of Che Guevara. The Guatemalan civil war that resulted from the CIA-backed coup would eventually lead to the deaths of 200,000 people.
In his lifetime, E. Howard Hunt often would be glib about his roles in these "wet ops" and saw them as a kind of patriotic duty for which he was uniquely suited. He was urbane, well-connected and well-educated. He published over 85 spy novels and enjoyed the respect and companionship of many of Washington's conservative elite such as William F. Buckley who wrote the forward to Hunt's most recent memoirs.
But despite many allegations over the years, E. Howard Hunt had always denied until any involvement in the assassination of JFK. In 1978, Hunt testified under oath to Congress that neither he nor the CIA had had anything to do with the murder of the president.
According to this tape, he was only half-lying.
The "wet op" that was pulled off in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963 may not have been orchestrated by the CIA proper but rather was put together by several CIA veterans and contract players-for-fire in a "non-sanctioned" hit originally "suggested" by then Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson. One of the many purposes of this tape, according to E. Howard Hunt, was to make clear of LBJ's involvement in the assassination.
Perhaps as a way of justifying the assassination, Hunt seems focused on establishing the "chain of command" to this action that allows him to see himself as following orders toward a greater patriotic goal.
On the tape, the man Hunt refers to as "Frank" is, according to written notes taken by Saint John Hunt, CIA Operative and later Watergate co-conspirator Frank Sturgis sometimes spelled "Sturgess." The mastermind appears to be Cord Meyer.
Dave Phillips was also a CIA Operative in Central and South America.
This tape also confirms the long-held suspicion that David Morales was a key member of the assassination team.
What is not on the tape is "Lucien Sartie," the man that Hunt, according to his son, confirmed earlier as the Corsican-born French contract hitman who was flown in to take the "head shot" at JFK from behind the Grassy Knoll.
What is not on this tape is motive but that is attested in other testimony.
These men allegedly hated Kennedy.
They saw him as soft on Communism, soft on Castro, guilty of sending their friends to their torture and deaths during the Bay of Pigs fisasco and a bad risk for the future of the country. They also did not respect him as a person for his philandering and other behaviors which had yet to become public knowledge but would have been known to them.
They were also resentful of the way that the White House had been treating the CIA through Kennedy's disdainful public posture on intelligence and the firings of many of their former associates.
In sum, with the permission of LBJ, Cord Meyer, David Phillips, David Morales, E. Howard Hunt conspired to create a "non-official" hit "for the good of the country."
And here, finally, is the taped testimony that proves that once and for all.