(This is from Lisa Pease's RealHistoryArchives blog. She's a must-read investigative journalist with a database on The Assassinations plus book of the same name.-HMW)
January 2, 2007
The Real History of Gerald Ford, Watergate, and the CIA
Gerald Ford is dead. And for the last week, we’ve heard how he “healed” the nation in the wake of the Watergate crisis. Seriously, if I hear him called “healer” one more time I think I’ll scream, because Gerald Ford put a stake in the heart of America not once, but twice. He was a thief who stole our Real History from us at a time when it couldn’t possibly have been more important. Curiously, both times, he was prodded to do this, indirectly, by the man whose life is only very loosely portrayed in the film “The Good Shepherd:” James Jesus Angleton.
To frame this in the appropriate context, we have to return, temporarily, to 1947.
World War II had just ended, successfully. In fact, it was the last successful (large-scale) war the United States has ever waged, and no small portion of that was due to the actions of the officers of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), led by William “Wild Bill” Donovan. The US’s first formally-constituted covert action unit was staffed by so many sons and daughters of the establishment that OSS was said to stand for “Oh So Social.”
When the war ended, OSS operatives found themselves faced with an unexciting prospect: returning to normal lives. Having lived as spies, with large amounts of discretionary cash at their disposal, many were loathe to return to more boring peacetime careers. So several, including James Angleton, opted to stay behind in Europe, away from wives and children, to see if they could keep the covert operations, called—significantly—“fun and games,” going.
The Army took the former OSS operatives into its Strategic Services Unit (SSU). From that, two branches of intelligence were formed: the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), which focused on running covert operations, and the Office of Special Operations (OSO), which, while ostensibly focused on intelligence gathering, ran a lot of operations as well. OPC officers, dubbed by journalist and CIA asset Stewart Alsop “the Bold Easterners,” included media guru Frank Wisner, future CIA Director Richard Bissell, future Operation Mongoose head Edward Lansdale, future CIA Deputy Director of Plans Desmond Fitzgerald, and more. The OSO included such luminaries as Richard Helms, Angleton, and Angleton’s career-long associate Raymond “the Rock” Rocca (pronounced “ROCK-ah”).
How the OSO and OPC were merged into the Central Intelligence Group (CIG), which was quickly reorganized as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a little known story. In 1947, Donovan and others were pressing for the creation of a fulltime, peacetime intelligence agency. The two big opponents to this effort were some prominent members of Congress, and J. Edgar Hoover, who felt his Federal Bureau of Investigation was the only intelligence agency the country would ever need. So, in an apparent conquer-and-divide strategy, Congress and Hoover were neutralized separately.
According to lifelong CIA operative Miles Copeland:
The CIA almost got under way without having an espionage section at all. The idea of an espionageless intelligence service was attractive not only to three secretaries of state (James F. Byrnes, George C. Marshall, Dean Acheson), but to a great many intelligence experts, including many who had stayed in the Government after serving throughout the war in key positions in the OSS. The State Department people were leery of espionage partly on moral grounds, but more because of a fear that some of our spies were bound to get caught; they felt the resulting embarrassment would case more harm to international goodwill than the information they could produce would be worth. . . .
There are several stories in the CIA's secret annals to explain how the dispute was settled, but although they "make better history," as Allen Dulles used to say, they are only half-truths and much less consistent with the ways of government than the true one. Old-timers at the Agency swear that the anti-espionage people would almost certainly have won out had it not been for the fact that an Army colonel who had been assigned to the management group charged with the job of organizing the new Agency suborned secretaries in the FBI, the State Department, and the Defense Department and organized them into an espionage network which proved not only the superiority of espionage over other forms of acquiring "humint" (i.e. intelligence on what specific human beings think and do in privacy), but the necessity for its being systematized and tightly controlled. The colonel was fired, as were the secretaries, but by that time General John Magruder, then head of the group that was organizing the CIA, had in his hands a strong argument for creating a professional espionage service and putting it under a single organization.
If you read between the lines, he was suggesting the CIA blackmailed itself into existence by collecting material on our leaders and then taking it to them saying, this is what other intelligence services might find on you. Let us protect you. Blackmail is a part of all governments, including ours, and sometimes that blackmail has unintended consequences. One of those unintended consequences made Ford president, as we shall see.
J. Edgar Hoover, who vehemently opposed the creation of a new espionage service, had to be silenced as well. According to Copeland in the same source:
[General Magruder] had enough material to silence enemies of the new Agency - including even J. Edgar Hoover, since Magruder was among the very few bureaucrats in Washington on whom Mr. Hoover didn't have material for retaliation.
And this is where Angleton enters the picture. In his book Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover, Tony Summers wrote about a photo James Angleton used to blackmail Hoover. OSS officer John Weitz claimed he had been shown the picture by the host of a dinner party in the fifties:
It was not a good picture and was clearly taken from some distance away, but it showed two men apparently engaged in homosexual activity. The host said the men were Hoover and Tolson….
Summers added in the 1994 version:
Since first publication of this book, Weitz has revealed that his host was James Angleton.
Gordon Novel also claims to have been shown this photo by Angleton. During New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s investigation of the Kennedy assassination, he gave an interview to Playboy, and mentioned that the man he had hired to do his security, Gordon Novel, had turned out to be CIA. Novel sued Playboy for defamation, insisting he was not working for the CIA, but during his deposition, he claimed (hilariously) that he did not have to answer questions because he was protected under the National Security Act of 1947, the act that created the CIA. Hoover wanted Novel to drop the suit but Angleton wanted Novel to pursue it. Novel says Angleton showed him the photo, and then sent him to talk to Hoover. When Novel caught up with Hoover in a New Orleans restaurant and told Hoover he had seen “the photo.” Hoover nearly choked on his food.
Gerald Ford was a trusted associate of J. Edgar Hoover’s. So when Gerald Ford was appointed to serve with former CIA chief Allen Dulles on the Warren Commission, Hoover was happy, because now he had an informant on the commission. According to FBI files I read years ago, Ford did not disappoint, and kept Hoover informed of significant developments.
Hoover insisted that all FBI information about the Kennedy assassination come directly to him from his staff. I can’t help but wonder if Hoover’s intense curiosity about the case stemmed from a desire to get counterblackmail material on the CIA that he could use to win his independence.
So how honestly did Ford serve us, the America People, on the Warren Commission, the “blue ribbon commission” set up to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy?
He was worse than Arlen Specter, who concocted the ridiculous “magic bullet” scenario that said seven wounds in two people were caused by a single (and nearly pristine) bullet.
Ford went even further. He personally falsified the record. His act was exposed in files released by the Assassination Records Review Board, a body constituted under the JFK Act, passed in the wake of public outcry from people who had seen Oliver Stone’s powerful film JFK. Here’s a snippet from the original AP story of 7-2-97:
Thirty-three years ago, Gerald R. Ford took pen in hand and changed - ever so slightly - the Warren Commission's key sentence on the place where a bullet entered John F. Kennedy's body when he was killed in Dallas.
The effect of Ford's change was to strengthen the commission's conclusion that a single bullet passed through Kennedy and severely wounded Texas Gov. John Connally - a crucial element in its finding that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole gunman.
A small change, said Ford on Wednesday when it came to light, one intended to clarify meaning, not alter history.
''My changes had nothing to do with a conspiracy theory,'' he said in a telephone interview from Beaver Creek, Colo. ''My changes were only an attempt to be more precise.''
Here is the critical passage, from the altered document itself. Ford’s inserts are in bold:
A bullet had entered his the back of his neck....
Ford’s change clearly distorted where the bullet had entered. The obvious purpose, Ford’s protestations to the otherwise, is clear: this change was necessary to support the “single bullet theory.” Oswald was supposed to have shot Kennedy in the back from a height. A bullet in Kennedy’s back could not exit the neck except at an upward angle, which would rule out anyone shooting from Oswald’s alleged position.
Here are the clothes Kennedy was wearing, taken from the Warren Commission’s exhibits. The bullet holes are clearly visible in the first, and clearly indicated in the second. See for yourself how dishonest Ford’s change was:
(...much more at source link http://realhistoryarchives.blogspot.com/