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Convicted Watergate 'plumber' claims LBJ may have had JFK assassinated

Ron Brynaert
Published: Sunday January 14, 2007
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In a soon-to-be-published book, a former CIA agent, convicted for his role as a "plumber" in the Watergate scandal, claims that former President Lyndon B. Johnson may have played a role in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

According to the New York Post's gossip column, Page Six, "E. Howard Hunt – the shadowy former CIA man who organized the Watergate break-in and was once eyed in the assassination of President Kennedy – bizarrely says that Lyndon Johnson could be seen as a prime suspect in the rubout."

"Only the most far-out conspiracy theorists believe in scenarios like Hunt's," the column continues. "But in a new memoir, American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate & Beyond, due out in April, Hunt, 88, writes: 'Having Kennedy liquidated, thus elevating himself to the presidency without having to work for it himself, could have been a very tempting and logical move on Johnson's part.'"

In 2004, the History Channel aired a program called The Guilty Men, which was partially based on a book by Barr McClellan, who alleged that "the law firm he quit a quarter-century ago was involved in convoluted plots that link Johnson to at least 11 deaths, including President Kennedy's." After much criticism, the cable channel apologized to its viewers, then aired a follow-up special which included a panel of three historians who "debunked" the claim.

"We have a great responsibility and this time we did not live up to it," History Channel executive vice president Dan Davids said. "We hold ourselves accountable. As we have said before, nothing is more important to us than the accuracy of our programming and the integrity of our network."

"LBJ had the money and the connections to manipulate the scenario in Dallas and is on record as having convinced JFK to make the appearance in the first place," Hunt writes, according to the tabloid. "He further tried unsuccessfully to engineer the passengers of each vehicle, trying to get his good buddy, Gov. [John] Connolly, to ride with him instead of in JFK's car – where...he would have been out of danger."

A blurb from Hunt's publisher states that in American Spy, "a legendary CIA operative and central figure in the Watergate scandal at last tells his story."

"Now in his late eighties, Hunt looks back over his storied career, revealing what really happened and debunking the many rumors that have swirled around him," the blurb continues. "Writing with his characteristic salty wit, he brings to life his exploits in the CIA, offering surprising revelations about the agency’s Latin American operations–and its masterly manipulation of politics and the media in the U.S."

Adding, "He details the 'black bag jobs' of the White House plumbers, explains why he agreed to participate in the Watergate burglary–even though he thought it was a bad idea–and sheds new light on the aftermath of the break-in. He sets the record straight on rumors about his first wife’s death and accusations that have linked him to the JFK assassination and the George Wallace shooting. And finally, he offers an insider’s advice on how the CIA must now reshape itself to regain its edge and help win the war on terrorism."

Excerpts from Page Six column:

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Hunt says Johnson also had easy access to CIA man William Harvey, who'd been demoted when he tried to have Fidel Castro poisoned in defiance of orders to drop covert operations against Cuba. Harvey was "a ruthless man who was not satisfied with his position in the CIA and its government salary," Hunt writes.

"He definitely had dreams of becoming [CIA director] and LBJ could do that for him if he were president . . . [LBJ] would have used Harvey because he was available and corrupt." Hunt denies any hand in the assassination, insisting he wasn't one of three mysterious hobos who were photographed at the scene.

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FULL NEW YORK POST COLUMN AT THIS LINK