When I was discharged from the US Army's Counter Intelligence Corps in Orleans, France in July, 1954, I had little idea of who I was, what life was all about, and how I could make my way in the world. All I knew for sure was that I didn't want to follow in my father's footsteps in the Army, as it seemed to be a most parochial existence where secret agendas, selfish fancies, and limited concerns held sway, what I had come to appreciate while growing up on military posts.
During the next generation, I came to find my niche in life, what required an effort to join a large advertising firm but without success, a stint on a daily newspaper in the South as sport editor, and then a news reporter, and finally returning to graduate school to gain a doctorate in political science, and start a career in college teaching. Thanks to knowing a former president of N. W. Ayer, the large Philadelphia advertising firm, I sought a position with it, an effort ultimately derailed, though, by endless questioning about why I wanted a career in advertising, an experience which gave me insights into the benefits of hostile interrogations. In journalism, while learning to write with some skill, and insight, I became increasingly discouraged by the political correctness, and limited agendas which dominated the field. The thing which bothered me the most was the police's bigotry, joking constantly about blacks not even being human beings, and the paper's refusal to expose systematic collusion by the sheriffs with the local bondsmen where blacks were forced under threat of police harrassment into accepting loans at exorbitant rates of interest, and signing bad checks as collateral, what would be used against them in a sure-fire criminal prosecution if they didn't pay up shortly thereafter.
When I returned to Columbia University to start my graduate work in 1956, I was still largely unconcerned about political issues. The fact that alleged Soviet spy Ralph Bowen was no longer around to teach history, apparently the result of McCarthyism, escaped my notice. The fact that New York State law required me, who had held a Top Secret clearance while in the Army, to take a loyalty oath in order to teach undergraduate courses did not phase me. Being a student of European politics, I was most uninvolved during the Cuban Missile Crisis, thinking, like the average citizen, that the President was only doing what he had to under the circumstances. When I did a year's research in London during which JFK was assassinated, I was most unconcerned about who did it, and why, even getting into raucous argument with a Canadian historian, which almost resulted in fisticuffs, when he suggested that the Kennedy brothers were sterling characters, and that LBJ might well have been behind the killing. I didn't have an inkling that America's covert government had conspired to kill the President at the expense of Castro's communist Cuba, a plot which risked world war since it threatened a Soviet takeover of Western Europe in retaliation.
What really politicized me was trying to complete my degree during the Vietnam War. By this time, I had been exiled to a small college in the hinterlands of Ohio for contesting the preferential treatment of the son of a famous Columbia professor for having plagarized a paper in a class I taught, a process which threatened my never getting my degree as the first reader of my Ph.D. dissertation on English lawyer, politician, and judge Henry Brougham was also the head of the course's department. He was on record that he would make sure that I never got my degree for the controversy I caused, an effort I only defeated by obtaining the correspondence about the scandal, and threatening to use it in a court case against Columbia when he tried to make good on his threat at the dissertation's defense. Once I was awarded the degree, I publicized the controversy in the June 1968 issue of Ramparts, the radical magazine which was drawing the ire of America's intelligence community for its opposition to all Establishment efforts, starting in Vietnam (Angus Mackenzie, Secret: The CIA's War at Home, pp.16-24).
I had already become an object of the FBI's infamous COINTELPRO, and the Agency's MHCHAOS operations by writing my first letter to a Washington official, President Johnson, complaining of his massive escalation of the war in Vietnam, on the pretext of the co-called Tonkin Gulf incidents, after he had campaigned as the peace candidate against the super hawk Barry Goldwater in the recent election. In a very short letter, I expressed my dismay over what he was doing, vowing to see that the course was reversed, and that he was rejected in the next election. For my trouble, I became a charter member of the alleged communist conspiracy which was seeking to defeat at home what our troops were achieving on the battlefield in Southeast Asia.
My listing as a traitor had been guaranteed when I and a colleague in the same department, a Vietnam veteran, decided to conduct a teach-in on the merits of the war in the college's main hall. He was a sensible, but troubled participant and witness of what was going on, and was eager to debate the justification of America's involvement just to clear his own mind, and conscience. While the teach-in went well, with my holding my own, I believe, on the need of America's immediate withdrawal, you can imagine our amazement when the local newspaper treated the debate as if my opponent had only given a lecture in defense of America's involvement. While I did force the editor to print a clarification of what had happened, in doing so I earned a one-way ticket out of the cozy college community from its president for the embarrassment caused. While I didn't think of it at the time, a curvaeous coed then dropped by my house one afternoon when my wife was known to be away, offering breathlessly to do anything I wanted in order to improve her grade, the only time such a possibility occurred in 30 years of teaching, a proposition which promised apparently more than a just train ticket out of town if I had accepted. If I had dropped my pants, I might have started serving time in an Ohio penitentiary.
If the country had not been in a such turmoil, and there being such a shortage of qualified college teachers, my career might well have ended there. As it was, I gained a post at the University of Maine, but not for long. No sooner had I arrived than Vice President Hubert Humphrey appeared, justifying in the strongest terms support for LBJ's war against America's most dangerous foe. (George C. Herring, LBJ and Vietnam, p. 136ff.) The liberal Humphrey, in my estimation, was the greatest betrayer of American values by his mythic pursuit of communists. (For more on this, see Joel Kovel, Red Hunting in the Promised Land, p. 137ff.) No sooner did I join pickets protesting Humphrey's mission than the department chairman informed me that my contract with the university would not be renewed. With nearly the whole year left to serve my own agenda without worrying about staying on, I let all my opposition to the Vietnam War hang out, attacking the international relations professor's justification of American involvement at a public debate, and writng so strongly in the Bangor paper in defense of Cassius Clay's (aka Mohammed Ali) efforts to keep his crown, and avoid the draft that I earned the sobriquet "nigger-lover" among colleagues, one of whom threatened a fist fight over the matter in an office we shared.
By this time, I considered myself finished in the academic profession. It just so happened, though, that Holy Cross College, a leading Catholic undergraduate college in the country, was looking for a person in my field, and my growing "radical" credentials, given my military service during the Korean War, were an advantage for once, considering the outlook of its president, the composition of its student body, and the fact that it had two reserve officers training units on campus. The all-male student body, including a number of well-qualified black students (Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had just graduated.), even some Black Muslims, was in a most excited state because of the war, and the spate of political assassinations, especially Martin Luther King's, causing various walkouts of students, and shutdowns of classes. Students were most worried about having to serve in Vietnam as either draftees, or as a Navy, Marine, or Air Force Officers. With the faculty concerned about only the usual professional matters of promotion, stature, and tenure, my agitational style was just what the situation called for.
The next decade was certainly the most exciting, engaging period of my academic life. While completing my dissertation, and starting to have articles published in scholarly journals, I still poured out letters, especially in The Worcester Telegram, against the war and the White House, participated in teach-ins, scholarly gatherings, and talk shows for the same purpose, and tried to guide and educate students during confrontations on campus. The events which stand out in my memory were complaining in The Columbia Journalism Review about Communication Director Herb Klein's use of the American Political Science Association, a seemingly non-parisan body, to spread Nixon propaganda as a matter of course, a letter in the local paper complaining of the President's unctuous eulogy for deceased FBI Director Hoover, the speech that the State Department's William Bundy gave to the local Council on Foreign Relations on the need of arming everyone around the world to frustrate Soviet ambitions, and encourage national conflict, preventing radical students from being expelled for threatening to burn down the Air ROTC building at the instigation of government agent provocateur Vito Trimarco, and the NROTC editor of the college yearbook calling upon me to give an account of the turmoil on campus during one of those years.
At the same time, I started researching the background of Nixon's troubles, what soon led me to the Kennedy assassination in Dallas. I was particularly interested in Representative Gerald Ford's role on the Warren Commission, complaining particularly about his constantly leaking details of the inquiry to Hoover, promoting the idea of the "magic bullet" to eliminate suspicions of a conspiracy, and preparing a biography of Lee Harvey Oswald, contending that he alone killed JFK. When Nixon selected Ford instead of the expected former Texas Governor John Connally to replace scandal-ridden Vice President Spiro Agnew, I was put in the uncomfortable position of being asked by CIA contact Dana Beal to come to Washintgon on an all-expenses-paid visit to spread my complaints against the Congressman, an effort which would help prevent Nixon's removal, and what I understandably declined. Then J. David Truby, a professor at Indiana University in Pennsylvania, started querying me about my research for an article on the Dallas assassination, what I ultimately suspected he was doing for Chief of Staff General Alexander Haig aka "Deep Throat" to prepare the ground for Nixon's removal from office, and pardon. This was when the President was musing with Kissinger about using nuclear weapons in Vietnam to escape from the trap which was engulfing him.
The most intriguing experience I had was when an assassination conference was scheduled at Boston University. While many famous critics of the Warren Commission would be attending, I was not planning on going as I found such conferences counter productive as its supporters always panned the programs as merely the products of irrational true believers. Then John and Rita Paine called up, and asked if my wife and I would like to spend the weekend with them, attending the conference after a dinner they had arranged with all kinds people interested in the JFK assassination. The Paines had befriended people like the widow of Salvatore Allende, Hortensia, and my father, now retired, and one of the few American generals openly speaking out against the war. He had the honor, for example, to be showered with red paint by Dallas rednecks after he delivered a speech against it.
At the Paines, the guests questioned me so much about my research that we arrived late at the conference, obliged to take back seats in the hall. Of course, I was not concerned because I had not planned to say anything anyway. The next day, Mr. Paine asked if I would like to discuss my research with a stringer from The Boston Globe, an opportunity I readily took advantage of. While I talked with her for the better part of a day, nothing ever appeared in the newspaper, though I ultimately had the impression that the files at Langley had consequently increased.
My research has always concentrated upon what daily newspapers have to say about people and events, sources which are ignored for documents governments see fit to provide, and for diaries and letters provided by participants. In explaining the Dallas assassination, I found newspapers in Dallas, New Orleans, Miami, Tampa, New York, Washington, Chicago, Las Vegas, and La Grange, Ga. most helpful, once I carefully examined their pages. For example, The Dallas Morning News had most revealing stories on the first anniversary of the final week of the Cuban Missile Crisis, stating that the process was beginning again exactly 13 months later, and that Nixon, like Dallas Representative Bruce Alger, was receiving postcards from Dallas, Fort Worth, and Irving, Texas, from a "possibly dangerous social deviant", details which seemed to suit Oswald to a tee. Lawyer Nixon still came to Dallas on Nov. 20th, attending the Bottlers' Convention at Market Hall the next day, and making so much of his lack of security concerns that the newpaper emphasized a "Guard not for Nixon" story on the fatal day. Then there were Hal Hendrix's stories in the Miami News, showing that he preferred to be with Haig's Operation Americas rather than with Oswald in Dallas when the killing occurred. The next day, The Washington Post published AP photographer James Altgens' half-page picture of the assassination, what apparently showed Oswald standing at the Book Depository's entrance, and convinced Director Hoover that there was insufficient evidence to convict him, making his murder necessary.
Instead of developing this material, and much more, other researchers chose either to ignore it, or change it so that the cover-up could continue. For example, Michael Canfield and A. J. Weberman in Coup d'Etat in America, while quoting the story about threatening postcards, left out the word "dangerous", and changed "possibly" into an adjective in order to radically diminish its significance. Truby went wild to establish that I was claiming that Nixon actually knew Jack Ruby, when I only said that he knew about Jacob Rubenstein's communist background from HUAC files when he prepared the Nixon-Mundt Bill for dealing with the alleged red menace, and that E. Howard Hunt was one of the tramps arrested in the marshalling yard shortly after the shooting, something photographic expert Richard Sprague promoted at my expense, and Paul Hoch legitimized, when I asked Sprague if Oswald was the person in the Altgens' photo. Hunt actually had more important coordinating responsibilities in Washington and Mexico City than just being a decoy in Dallas. Then Vice President Nelson Rockefeller's Commission asked me to write a report about now President Ford's performance on the Warren Commission, what was intended to help promote Nixon's pardon rather than clear up JFK's murder.
When Giancana was murdered, I made an appointment with the Worcester FBI agent to discuss its relation to the JFK assassination, and his scheduled testimony before the Church Committee. Momo had been set-up for the Dallas hit because of the trouble he had created for Frank Sinatra at Lake Tahoe's Cal-Neva Lodge, the mobster being in the Nevada State Gaming Commission's Black Book as a persona non grata when he visited lover and singer Phyllis McGuire there, as the five-part series by Wallace Turner in The New York Times surrounding the assassination amply demonstrated, and his killer obviously learned he was going to testify about while talking to him. While the Special Agent wrote up a cryptic report about my leads, he was obviously more concerned about my possibly shooting him than who shot Giancana from behind. I shall never forget when I opened my briefcase to retrieve copies to the Turner articles to refresh my memory than the agent hastily grabbed for something, apparently a revolver, in the middle drawer of his desk. The experience certainly cooled my interest in visiting other federal officials in their cavernous office buildings about similar matters. For my trouble, the IRS successfully contested in Tax Court my claim that an employer-financed fellowship was entitled to the usual deductions for expenses, and subjected my tax return to an audit, what would statistically occur only once in 625 years.
Ultimately, I was obliged to threaten Truby with a court case if he published his distortions of my research, what he got round by seeing that a watered down version was printed in a sensational tabloid, and I settled by explaining my side of the story in a January 1976 article, "Tattling on The National Tattler," in The Writer's Digest. By then, Congressman Henry Gonzalez, who helped induce JFK to take more risks when he visited San Antonio the day before the assassination by joking about his connections with Castro, was pushing for a re-investigation of the murder, and he asked me to write a report about my research. No sooner had I written a 2,000 word synopsis of my findings than Chief Counsel Richard Sprague of the newly appointed committee, the most successful prosecutor threatening to use lie detectors to determine the truth, replied, thanking me for my assistance, and assuring me that he would check out my claims.
After that, the whole inquiry was simply stopped unless Sprague stepped aside for much less threatening inquiries. Chief investigator Gaeton Fonzi assured me, though, my leads were being followed up, and as the inquiry was coming to a close, his subordinate Mickey Goldsmith called me up, assuring me, in such hushed tones as if he were afraid that he would be overheard, that all my concerns were being investigated. In the meantime, I had written a long article on the JFK conspiracy, though it did not note Oswald's experience with the Agency's MK-ULTRA program, William Harvey's direction of the actual killing (Operation Cleopatra), and the independence of Sam Giancana's hitmen in its performance, for the April, May, and June 1978 issues of Tom Valentine's The National Exchange. The falsity of Fonzi's and Goldsmith's assurances was demonstrated when the House Select Committee reported, my articles for Valentine, plus an outline of the assassination published in the U. S. Farm News, not even being cited in the inquiry's volume-long bibliography, one including articles which claimed that the President had even been assassinated by extra-terrestrial beings.
When apparent CIA agent Verne Lyon saw my articles, he wrote, claiming that he had worked for several years in Cuba, and that his experience supported some of my claims. He wondered if I would be interested in colloborating in a work which would deal with both the direct and indirect results of the Dallas assassination. While I replied favorably to his suggestion, I never heard from him again. Since it seems that he was serving time at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas at the time, I can only assume that he was seeking information about the assassination, or my character and mental stability which his prosecutors would look favorably upon for an early release, The Justice Department is always looking for ill-advised remarks critics make about its work, and important politicians.
When L. Fletcher Prouty, a friend of Truby's, and author of The Secret Team, saw this material, he wrote me a most encouraging letter on May 8, 1979, suggesting that I look higher than people like E. Howard Hunt, Allen Dulles, and Nixon for the real conspirators. While this is good advice, provided one looks for people like William Harvey, Richard Helms, and Richard Bissell, Prouty could only suggest the most unlikely characters, like Pepsico lawyer Deluca, Air Force General Godfrey McHugh, and former Treasury Secretary Jim Farley. Prouty could only offer his classic bit of dissembling about who JFK's killers might be:
See what you can learn about (Robert) Maheu at Holy Cross and about a Maheu protege named Ed Nigro who at one time was Pres of Air West. Nigro worked in the same office with the Chairman of the JCS-Twining later Lemnitzer and the man who sat at the desk beside Nigro's was L. Patrick Gray. Gray sat in on the U-2 investigation in Fulbright's office as the sole DOD representative and retired from the Navy that month (May 60) to work in the Nixon campaign against JFK.
My most otherworldly experience occurred when I called a press conference at the college to announce the findings of my research. I invited reporters from newspapers in surrounding towns, the Associated and United Presses, and a reporter from Tass to come. The only one who came, though, was the latter, all the way from New York, along with apparently a KGB colleague to tape record what I had to say, plus, of course, a host of Bureau agents in trailing cars. Given the trouble the two had gone to, I had to go ahead with the press conference, and a continuation of the conversation in my office. The only other person in attendance was a student, apparently an informant for some government agency, who was keeping track of my research. I suspect that this experience had never occurred before, and has not be repeated.
The most predicable event occurred when I sent the piece Valentine published first to Columbia's
Political Science Quarterly, hoping to mend some fences with the university. When the managing editor returned the manuscript, along with two ridiculing rejections, I was so angry that I wrote to my former mentor, who had been caught in the middle of the plagiarism case, and was the beleaguered Dean of the Graduate Faculties when my piece appeared in Ramparts, to complain. He kindly responded, expressing his interest in its content, and his understanding of my irritation, adding that the journal had been hijacked by covert interests:
As far as Columbia is concerned, you may not be aware that about six years ago all ties between the Academy of Political Science (& the PSQ) & the Faculty of Political Science (& the University) were broken by the President on the advice of the faculty, since the Academy for the first time in its history, refused to accept the Faculty's nomination of an Editor for the PSQ & insisted on naming its own candidate as Editor. The Academy & the PSQ no longer occupy space at Columbia & have no official connection with the University. (Professor Herbert Deane's letter, May 18, 1978)
With the coming of the Reagan administration, I decided that it was not only time to leave Holy Cross but also America. Campus life had completely changed with Nixon's disgrace, and the end of the Vietnam War. With the end of the draft, the introduction of co-education at the college, and the installation of a completely conservative administration, headed by the famous defense lawyer Edward Bennett Williams, Holy Cross seemed more interested in training applicants for the Knights of Malta than informed citizens for a democratic society, Washington's agenda too. The growing role of DCI William Casey, NSA Richard Allen, Navy Secretary John Lehman, Secretary of State Alexander Haig, and others, all Knights, in its actions was truly frightening. Williams was noted for representing people like Haig, Giancana, "Milwaukee Phil" Alderisio, Bobby Baker, James Hoffa, and Richard Helms before various forums. During a sabbatical leave in England, I hoped to find a publisher for my biography of Oxford professor A. V. Dicey, complete another one of barrister Brougham, and obtain new employment in Britain.
In London, I became acquainted with the political editor of Private Eye, Paul Halloran, who, upon learning of my research into the Dallas assassination, especially Haig's role, asked me to write a "Letter from Washington" about it, which appeared on November 20, 1981. Halloran's interest, though, was in getting rid of Reagan's Secretary of State so that the Cold War could be put on a more East-West basis, what I unknowingly promoted by writing a personal letter to Haig a few days later, promising more trouble. Then another couple we knew from the States, the husband having all kinds of connections with the Pentagon and former DCI Helms, made such a point about visiting us that we were obliged to invite them. During their week's stay, though, they hardly left our apartment in Walton-on-Thames, more interested apparently in determining my basis for going after Haig than in Britain's beauties. A similar concern prompted some nice soul to send me a packet of clippings from Chicago about what happened to squealers like Richard Cain, Sam Giancana, and Chuckie Nicoletti, what I informed the Thames Valley Special Branch of just in case I too ended up with my head blasted off, a bullet through the back of it, or in a burning car. Then there was someone who called me up right after an IRA bomb went off on Oxford Street, stating that "we have done it," and then hanging up.
Needless to say, by this time I was wearing out my welcome in Britain, and after I gave a false statement upon returning from a holiday in Crete, I was ordered by the Home Office to leave forthwith, as I later described in the Newsletter of the British Politics Group. In order to work for the American School in Esher, I was obliged to get working papers, and after a few months there, I decided it was better not to, or to return to the States, given the academic hassle, its political correctness, and poor wages. American schools around the globe are isolated microcosms of the worst of the States which should be avoided like the plague. If one cannot enjoy, and take advantage of what a host country has to offer, one should never leave home. I speeded my return by failing to change my visa, something I was informed by the Home Office that I didn't need to bother about before I left for Crete, and then acting as if I were still working at Esher when questioned by an immigration official about my employment late at night at Luton upon my return. When I had to renew my visa, the discrepancy was noted, and I was ordered to leave the U.K. within a relatively short period of time, though an immigration adviser to the Home Office acknowledged the difficulty I would have been in if I had denied still working at Esher. I contested the deportation order at Harmondsworth until I finished my research in August 1984.
Back at Holy Cross, I found the atmosphere truly stultifying. With Knights of Malta completely in control in Washington, the student body only seemed interested in furthering their policies. I was concerned about the rising confrontations between West and East, highlighted by the Soviets shooting down KAL Flight 007, and terrorism in the Middle East. When the CIA paid some Lebanese Christians to kill Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadallah, Washington being convinced that he was behind the murder of 241 Marines in Beirut in October 1983, and the Sept. 1984 bombing of the American Embassy, but killing 80 innocent Shiites instead, I wrote a draft "Letter from Washington" for Private Eye in the hope that Halloran would publish it. When he didn't, I wrote to NSA Robert McFarlane at the end of May 1985, complaining about how he was following in Haig's footsteps with his own campaign of terror. By this time, Reagan had cancelled his "license to kill". (William Blum, Rogue State, p. 41) I concluded the letter by hoping that it was still not too late for the President avoiding JFK's fate.
When the letter was typed, though, the department secretary, I believe, left out the word "not", making it seem that I hoped Reagan was assassinated too. While I didn't keep my draft of the letter, and didn't notice the omission until months later, it is impossible to be sure about what I wrote, though what was written hardly made sense since I had complained for years about JFK's assassination. I believe that the omission was deliberate, part of a plan devised by the department chairman, John Esposito, to make it look like I, like whistleblower Jack Terrell (Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics, p. 125ff.), was plotting Reagan's murder. Esposito is now at Georgetown where he heads a Muslim Institute. The plan had the approval of Bennett Williams, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and soon enlisted the services of Robert Mueller, then U. S. Attorney for Boston, and now the Bureau's Director. Williams was hoping to replace the ailing William Casey as DCI.
I, along with Esposito, was working with NROTC intern Christopher Goode, trying to place him with a sponsoring agency in Washington, and directing the paper he would write about his experience. ( I mention the student's name because the NSC's Lt. Col. Oliver North, noted for his rapport with similar students, soon adopted the code name William Goode in his arms-for-hostages efforts.) I found a place for Chris with the American Friends Service Committee, but he somehow managed to find a better one with Amnesty International. The next thing I knew, he sent me an outline of the paper he intended to write, claiming that the United States should consider breaking relations with Morocco's King Hassan II because his human rights record, ties with Libya's Muammar Qaddafi, and suppression of the Polisario in the Western Sahara was threatening NATO's southern border. Morocco, of course, has been the lynchpin of American interests in North Africa. I could just see where I would be if he concluded with this thesis in the final version, so I called up Amnesty International in Washington to complain about how he was using the internship, and dropped the sponsorship of Goode's efforts.
Then a junior colleague in my department who had spent the previous year in Rome, apparently trying to prove for the Jesuits that the KGB was beyond the attempted assassination of the Pope, asked me to address the NROTC students on the current state of international relations. This was just after the Navy had solved the Achille Lauro affair to Reagan's complete satisfaction. The NROTC unit at Holy Cross is one of the Pentagon's primier ones in the country, and in retrospect I believe that Navy Secretary Lehman had something to do with the invitation. I readily accepted, giving a most grim survey of what was going on, and comparing it to the countdown which led to JFK's assassination where the Pentagon and the intelligence community were committed to a most dangerous covert program of their own.
Instead of being thanked and complimented for my efforts, I was asked a few days later by the same faculty member if I would like to take early retirement. I readily accepted again, as I had long been wanting to leave. While the administration seemed eager to pursue the matter, it soon started dragging its feet about it for some reason. To keep up my interest, I then received a Christmas greeting from Minnesota's Harold Dorland, a kind of civilian version of Prouty when it came to the JFK assassination, stating that he had decided to run as the Democratic candidate for President in 1988, and asking me to join and help his effort. In seeking my suggestions, Dorland made it sound as if I could expect a position in his campaign. Since Dorland had not even gotten around to mailing the greeting until Jan. 3, 1986, and never wrote again, I didn't take it seriously, considering it more like Hubert Humphrey's revenge than a serious one, I did pursue early retirement to a successful conclusion in early March. My swan song for Holy Cross was to write an article for the spring issue of The Student Review, warning Washington to back off from its confrontation with Moscow, and to take Gorbachev's efforts to reduce intermediate range missiles seriously. In the same vein, I wrote to NSA John Poindexter, two weeks before Al Shiraa published the story about arms sales to Iran, calling upon him to resign, like his predecessor, because of all his dangerous plotting.
My troubles with Holy Cross did not cease, however. Given the lateness of my retirement, it seemed that the college would have trouble replacing me for the next academic year. Out of the blue, apparently, it managed to hire Jeffrey Herf who agreed to let me keep my files on the JFK assassination in my old office, only for the college to destroy them when it was being redecorated. Herf went on to join the faculty of the Naval War College at Newport, R. I. the next year. Then Jonathan Vankin, a reporter for The Worcester Magazine, wrote articles on what local professionals thought about America's political assassinations, and protection of academic freedom, ones where my ideas and experience figured largely. In talking to Vankin, who went on to write Conspiracies, Coverups, and Crimes, I several times alluded to the fact that I was under surveillance by government agencies, claims he was increasingly dubious of. When he asked if he could have power of attorney to do an FOIA check on me with the FBI, I readily agreed.
On Feb. 2, 1989, Michael Callahan, Principal Legal Advisor of the FBI office in Boston's Government Center, replied favorably to Vankin's request, providing a copy of my 1965 letter to LBJ, the 1972 one in The Worcester Telegram comparing Hoover to Beria despite Nixon's eulogy, and the results of some record checks on me, and stating that "...central records system reveals one main file reponsive to your request." Its release would require approval from Washington. Apparently because of Vankin's article about Holy Cross's infringement of my academic freedom, though, Headquarters refused on May 16th to release it, citing Title 5, United States Code Section 552a and/or Section 552 itself, allowing non-disclosure for purposes of combating crime when no unwarranted invasion of privacy occurred, and when it could jeopardize sources, a lawful national security intelligence investigation, and a private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis. For Vankin to overturn the ruling protecting the persons, and institutions concerned, he would need a court order.
Instead of pursuing the matter further, as Vankin suggested, I simply decided to leave America's police state, first staying in Portugal, and then moving on to Sweden, moves which its expanded, self-justifying war on terrorism have given me no cause to regret.