I agree that The Ends of Power is a good book, but think you misrepresent the nature of the "Bay of Pigs Thing." While the CIA may very well have had a hand in Kennedy's death, there is little evidence to suggest Nixon believed they'd PLANNED it. The "Bay of Pigs Thing" comment was made BEFORE the CIA's hit attempts on Castro became public knowledge, and are most logically a reference to these attempts and the possibility they blew back on Kennedy in particular, and the CIA's assassination capacity, in general. Nixon, as Eisenhower's VP, knew of these attempts. He probably even authorized them. By reminding Helms that Hunt was involved in the "Bay of Pigs Thing" Nixon was trying to get Helms to stall the FBI's Watergate investigation. It worked, for a spell. Just long enough to get himself re-elected.
I think you're off base here and am a little surprised by that. Do you honestly
think that Nixon was simply being cute? Explain Helms's reaction then? Few
presidents have understood power politics more than Nixon and Nixon was
clearly trying to poke at the CIA using information that Nixon certainly was
in the loop for. If your argument hinges solely on *planning* culpability then
I don't think you have much to go on.
When you look at it all in context, it makes perfect sense. The CIA considered its assassination capacity, and its attempts on Castro, Top Secret #1, so much so that its internal IG report on its attempts on Castro was locked up in a safe only accessible to the Director. Helms was extremely defensive of the CIA's secrets. So was Hunt, at least then. It seems more than a coincidence that Hunt and Liddy discussed killing Jack Anderson, the one journalist pushing the "Kennedy and the CIA tried to kill Castro but Castro got Kennedy first" story.
So, in essence, I don't feel Nixon was being "cute." He was, as ever, playing HARDBALL politics, in effect telling Helms "You help us keep Hunt out of it, or we'll be sure your role in the assassination attempts on Castro gets blown, and well, y'know, Congress won't like that, will they? They might even cut your funding. Or, perhaps, just perhaps, re-open an investigation into Kennedy's death. Which nobody really wants. Capiche?"
I have read many of your posts, and respect your opinions regarding the assassination. However, I must agree with most of what the others have posted here previously regarding Nixon's and Helms' knowledge of the assassination. Helms knowledge of the Castro assassination attempts had to run much deeper than that. He HAD to know that Angleton was running a special op with Oswald as a intelligence dangle down in Mexico and other places.(sheep dipping him as a Communist/agent provocateur) Helms almost certainly had to know that (even if it was after the fact) David Atlee Phillips was setting up Oswald as a patsy in places like New Orleans and Dallas and that the possiblity existed that a)a rogue plot involving CIA officers like Dave Phillips, David Morales, Carl Jenkins, etc. had turned an assassination team meant for Castro against JFK.(which I doubt) or b.)The operation was tasked to Helms by Allen Dulles at the behest of very highly influential, vested interests who wanted Kennedy gone for a whole host of reasons. Helms was a "Patriot" in his own mind, and I believe he surely felt that private corporations and the ruling elite of the United States were the true "interests" he was tasked with protecting in the "Free World". IF he was told thru Allen Dulles that the majority of the ruling elite felt that Kennedy was a "threat to National Security" and had to go, then I believe he would have willingly taken part in an operation run by CIA and Cuban Exiles to facilitate the assassination.
I think that Nixon either heard it was coming down, or saw the tell tale fingerprints of an assassination team and figured the rest out on his own about the CIA's culpability.
So, in the final analysis, its IMHO that Nixon knew he was pushing Helm's buttons by stating this would open up the "Whole Bay of Pigs thing"..
If Richard Helms was running the JFK assassination, and he very well could have been, he was doing it at the behest of very powerful and politically active businessmen outside of government. If Allen Dulles tasked this to Helms - which is very possible - then Allen Dulles was doing it on behalf of very powerful outside actors.
These actors have names: Lyndon Johnson (their water boy), H.L. Hunt, Clint Murchison, Sr., Nelson and David Rockefeller. Nelson Rockefeller was the governor of New York from 1959-1973; he had strong presidential ambitions and he was no fan of the Kennedys. Yet he was close personal friends with Lyndon Johnson. In fact, LBJ and Lady Bird used to vacation out west on the ranch of Lawrence Rockefeller.
LBJ was in tight with the Rockefellers and that is not a good sign.
Nixon was definitely pushing the buttons of Richard Helms and it was most definitely NOT about the Agency's murder attempts on Castro. It was about the JFK assassination.
I believe Haldeman (before he lied and changed his story under pressure from the Nixonites) and I believe Joe Dimona is a straight shooter in this affair.