Monday, May 25, 2015

Nixon Tapes: Nixon Takes on CIA

In an extraordinary display of naiveté, President Nixon in a conversation with John Ehrlichman concerning the murders of the Diem brothers of South Vietnam in 1963, believed that he was president and could issue orders to the CIA to disclose information needed for international diplomacy.

This conversation alone may exculpate Nixon from the murder of John Kennedy - assuming that Nixon was not playing dumb with his domestic affairs advisor. If Nixon knew that the CIA murdered Kennedy on orders from Rockefeller and one of the Rothschilds, we doubt that he would be willing to tangle with Richard Helms.

The discussion in question took place on October 8, 1971 with the trip to China looming, as well as détente with the Soviet Union. Ehrlichman had a couple of motives for getting information from Helms, one of which was that understanding the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis was essential in negotiations with the USSR since they had not forgotten the episode. In other words, negotiations required a mastery of recent events including knowing what provoked and motivated the US government to act the way it did.

Erhlichman also raised the issue of the Diem murders with Helms, insisting that a proper understanding of that operation was required in dealing with the Chinese, with whom Nixon was well into planning a visit in February 1972.

His more immediate concern though related to an article Life was planning on the South Vietnamese coup. Ehrlichman wanted Nixon to have the background information so that he could respond knowledgeably to the press which was one of Nixon's objects of paranoia, and with good cause.

During the Diem thread of the discussion, Ehrlichman also wanted the story so that he could uncover dirt on President Kennedy in order to discredit Teddy.

Ehrlichman reported from his meeting with Richard Helms that the DCI was very worried about E Howard Hunt's employment by the White House since Hunt "knew where all the bodies were buried." Apparently Helms was concerned that Hunt might disclose more than was good for the CIA.

Helms was so scared of the revelations about Diem that he insisted that Ehrlichman provide him protection and safety - apparently from legal jeopardy due to crimes committed by the CIA.

The mention of Hunt makes it very clear that Nixon knew about the plumbers early, and that they were not brought in under his nose as we had reported previously regarding the work of Len Colodny.

At the end of the meeting with Ehrlichman, the latter tells his boss that he is president and entitled to information Helms was sitting on, a point with which Nixon concurred. This was a fatal miscalculation because US policy is managed by the CIA, and probably unleashed the Bush-CIA coup against Nixon.

Based upon the conversation, we surmise that neither Nixon, nor especially Ehrlichman, knew that Henry Cabot Lodge, Ed Lansdale, and a host of other spooks were responsible for the murder of the Diem brothers. On the other hand, there is strong reason to believe that Nixon was playing dumb about the Bay of Pigs and other Cuban matters since he himself had set in motion the invasion plans when he was Vice President, and was expected to authorize it once he was sworn into office. Thus it is very important not to take Nixon at face value on the tapes. He is frequently lying or misleading his interlocutors.

Nixon was probably very much in the dark about the Cuban Missile Crisis, but not about the Bay of Pigs. And we find it hard to believe that he did not know that the CIA had murdered the Diems.

Nevertheless, the conversation was very fascinating, underscoring the difficulty in conducting foreign policy when the White House does not realize that the CIA runs it.

Nixon Tapes, Conversation of October 8, 1971

Copyright 2015 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.

No comments: