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Confession of Howard Hunt

Legendary CIA spy and convicted Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt.
Legendary CIA spy and convicted Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt.

Before his death in January 2007, CIA master spy and convicted Watergate conspirator Howard Hunt confessed to being peripherally involved in the assassination of President Kennedy, and named several other participants.

In notes and conversations with his son Saint John, and in an audiotape he created in 2004 to be played after his death, Hunt described being invited into the "big event" at a Miami safehouse in 1963. Others named in the plot:

  • Frank Sturgis, an anti-Castro paramilitary closely associated with Hunt. Sturgis was one of the Watergate burglars.
  • David Morales, Chief of Operations at the CIA's JMWAVE station in Miami. Morales himself told a few close associates of his involvement.
  • David Phillips, CIA propaganda specialist and later Chief of Western Hemisphere Division. Phillips was assigned to Mexico City during the mysterious trip of Lee Harvey Oswald, or someone using his name, to that city in the fall of 1963.
  • Antonio Veciana, Cuban exile leader of Alpha 66. Veciana told the HSCA that a "Maurice Bishop," thought by many to be Phillips, pointed out Lee Harvey Oswald to him.
  • William Harvey, a CIA officer who ran the ZR/RIFLE "executive action" program. Harvey fell out of favor with the Kennedys when he sent sabotage teams into Cuba during the 1962 Missile Crisis.
  • Cord Meyer, a high-level CIA officer whose ex-wife Mary Meyer was having an affair with JFK.
  • French Gunman Grassy Knoll. Hunt's chart included an unnamed French hit man on the infamous grassy knoll.
  • Lyndon Johnson, Vice-President.

Hunt says he declined active participation but did have a "benchwarmer" role in the plot. In the tape excerpt made available so far, Hunt made no claims which would prove his allegations. However, the people he names have all been suspects in the assassination for some time, and many of them worked closely together in anti-Castro operations.

In the "smoking gun" tape which helped drive him from office, President Richard Nixon said this of Hunt: "You open that scab there's a hell of a lot of things..." He then instructed Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman to take a message to CIA Director Richard Helms, asking Helms to intervene in the FBI's early Watergate investigation because "the President believes that it is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again." In his book The Ends of Power, Haldeman described Helms' reaction: "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'." Haldeman came to believe that the "Bay of Pigs" referred to the Kennedy assassination.

Hunt's story has been challenged due to its lack of corroboration, its internal inconsistencies and Hunt's failure to provide any details from his activities in 1963 which would support it.

Some will accept Hunt's confession as the truth. For others, Hunt's naming of LBJ at the top of the plot will be seen as a bit of "spin" to present the assassination as a "rogue operation," deflecting attention from higher-level sponsors within the government. For that matter, Hunt was not necessarily in a position to know the ultimate authors of the conspiracy.

For others, the confession will be dismissed, seen as a parting gift to a ne'er-do-well son or perhaps a "last laugh" on America from a man who hated Kennedy with a passion.



The Last Confessions of E. Howard Hunt, by Erik Hedegaard.

Blowing Smoke From the Grave: E. Howard Hunt and the JFK Assassination, by Don Fulsom.

JFK Murder Plot "Deathbed Confession Aired on National Radio, by Paul Joseph Watson.

Watergate Plotter May Have a Last Tale, by Carol Williams.

The Three Oswald Deceptions: The Operation, the Cover-Up and the Conspiracy, by Peter Dale Scott.

Other Links

Partial Recording of Howard Hunt Tape. The cassette was mailed by Hunt to his son Saint John in Jan 2004, and was played on the Coast to Coast Live radio show on May 1, 2007.

saintjohnhunt.com. The website of the son of E. Howard Hunt.

E. Howard Hunt on Spartacus Educational.

Nixon "smoking gun" tape transcript.

American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate, and Beyond. Published in February 2007, Hunt's last book talks about CIA involvement in the JFK assassination in more of a "what if it happened this way" manner.

Pages on Spartacus Educational:



Rockefeller Commission:

Church Committee:

House Select Committee on Assassinations:

CIA Files:

Related Starting Points

Bond of Secrecy

Saint John Hunt, Howard Hunt's son, presents the story in his book, Bond of Secrecy: My Life with CIA Spy and Watergate Conspirator E. Howard Hunt.

Books of Interest

    Give Us This Day
E. Howard Hunt
Arlington House, 1973
    Plausible Denial
Mark Lane
Skyhorse Publishing, 1991
    Coup d'Etat in America
Alan J. Weberman, and Michael Canfield
Quick American Archives, 1992
    Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat, and the CIA
Jim Hougan
Random House, 1984
    Nightmare: The Underside of the Nixon Years
J. Anthony Lukas
Ohio University Press, 1999
    Undercover: Memoirs of an American Secret Agent
E. Howard Hunt
Berkley Publishing, 1974

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