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Was William Sullivan Murdered?


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 10:55 AM

In response to John's post, let me comment that A J Weberman, who is not otherwise adverse to conspiracy theories, is confident that William Sullivan's death was accidental.  We know, of course, who shot him.

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William Sullivan is someone who would have been a problem for the conspirators if he gave evidence to HSCA. There are several reasons for this. He was given overall responsibility to carry out a FBI investigation into Lee Harvey Oswald after the assassination of JFK. Presumably he found evidence that Oswald was working for the FBI.

Sullivan was also the FBI link man with the CIA Executive Action operation. He therefore knew more than anyone else in the FBI about the CIA assassination plots against Fidel Castro.

Sullivan was a strong advocate for the FBI war against liberals. Sullivan was in charge of FBI's Division Five. This involved smearing leaders of left-wing organizations. This included the campaign against Martin Luther King. In January, 1964, Sullivan sent a memo to Hoover: "It should be clear to all of us that King must, at some propitious point in the future, be revealed to the people of this country and to his Negro followers as being what he actually is - a fraud, demagogue and scoundrel. When the true facts concerning his activities are presented, such should be enough, if handled properly, to take him off his pedestal and to reduce him completely in influence."

One would have Sullivan to have kept quiet about his illegal activities. However, Sullivan eventually became disillusioned with FBI’s campaigns against the left. For example, by the early 1970s Sullivan began to disagree with Hoover about the threat to national security posed by the American Communist Party and felt that the FBI was wasting too much money investigating this group. On 28th August, 1971, Sullivan sent Hoover a long letter pointing out their differences. Sullivan also suggested that Hoover should consider retirement. Hoover refused and it was Sullivan who had to leave the organization.

After Hoover's death Sullivan was brought back to office by Richard Nixon. This included supporting Nixon's policy of expanding illegal surveillance methods (Huston Plan). I suspect Sullivan now became Nixon’s source of information on the involvement of FBI and CIA in the assassination of JFK. (See H. R. Haldeman’s book The Ends of Power for this).

Sullivan also started writing his memoirs after leaving the FBI. Giving the fact that he knew so much he clearly posed a danger to a great number of people. The book was eventually published after his death. I very much would have liked to read the “unedited” version.

William Sullivan was shot dead near his home in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, on 9th November, 1977. An inquest decided that he had been shot accidentally by fellow hunter, Robert Daniels, who was fined $500 and lost his hunting license for 10 years.

On the surface it seemed to be an accident. However, I believe it was murder. Both Sullivan and Daniels were known to go out hunting for deer early in the morning. I suspect there was a third man in the woods on 9th November. He would have been armed with the same gun as Daniels. He would have either waited until the two men got close before killing Sullivan. Or he killed Sullivan and then with help moved him closer to where Daniels was firing his gun.

http://www.spartacus...JFKsullivan.htm

#2 Tim Gratz

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 11:08 AM

John this is an interesting theory but would it work? Arguably the murderer's rifle would have to been equipped with a silencer.

I suppose one could conceive that in a hunting situation a murder could be disguised as an accidental shooting but the murderer would have to wait until the hunters were separated, etc.

So could it have happened as you suggest? I think the best answer is it was possible.

But is there any evidence at all to suggest it did happen this way?

I suppose at the time ballistics tests could have verified if the bullet came from Sullivan's friend's rifle but that test I am sure cannot be done now unless the bullet had been preserved and why would it be?

#3 Pat Speer

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 11:44 AM

John, your post has the timing of the Huston Plan wrong. It was before Hoover's death. Hoover killed it because he was scared the FBI would end up taking the fall for everyone else's illegal activities. He demanded Mitchell give him an order in writing. Mitchell refused and Nixon backed down. Hoover then fired Sullivan, who had been the FBI man attending the meetings in which the Huston plan was discussed. On his way out the door though, Sullivan wrote Hoover probably the most scathing critique he'd ever seen. It's in Sullivan's book and is a real beauty, including pretty much what anyone would ever want to say to their egomaniac boss. Sullivan also stole back from the FBI files records of the wiretaps Nixon and Kissinger had had Hoover place to help them capture leakers, as he was convinced Hoover would use these to blackmail Nixon. This got him in good with Nixon.

Over the next few months both Gordon Liddy and Pat Buchanan wrote extensive analyses for Nixon explaining why he had to sack Hoover, but Nixon kept backing down. In early 72, shortly after Hunt first contacted Bernie Barker, someone broke into the FBI office in Meridian Pennsylvania and began distributing documents to the media, which included the words COINTEL PRO. The revelations of FBI agents-provacateur targeting the anti-war movement among others spurred Hale Boggs to publicly criticize Hoover on the floor of Congress. Many thought this was the end of Hoover. But he somehow hung on. Then bam he died in his sleep.

A month later the Watergate burglars were captured.

I'ved often wondered if Nixon didn't have Hoover killed, and if someone--maybe McCord, maybe the CIA--figured it out, and arranged for the Watergate bubble to burst.

I believe it's as likely Hoover was murdered as Sullivan.

Edited by Pat Speer, 19 April 2005 - 11:44 AM.


#4 John Simkin

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 12:53 PM

There are several interesting passage in H. R. Haldeman's The Ends of Power about Nixon, Sullivan, Helms and Hoover.

I was puzzled when he (Nixon) told me, 'Tell Ehrlichman this whole group of Cubans is tied to the Bay, of Pigs.'

After a pause I said, 'The Bay of Pigs? What does that have to do with this?'

But Nixon merely said, `Ehrlichman will know what I mean,' and dropped the subject.

After our staff meeting the next morning I accompanied Ehrlichman to his office and gave him the President's message. Ehrlichman's eyebrows arched, and he smiled. 'Our brothers from Langley? He's suggesting I twist or break a few arms?'

'I don't know. All he told me was "Tell Ehrlichman this whole group of Cubans is tied to the Bay of Pigs".'

Ehrlichman leaned back in his chair, tapping a pencil on the edge of his desk. 'All right,' he said, 'message accepted.'

'What are you going to do about it?'

'Zero,' said Ehrlichman. 'I want to stay out of this one.'

He was referring to an unspoken feud between C.I.A. Director Richard Helms and Nixon.. The two were polar opposites in background: Helms, the aloof, aristocratic, Eastern elitist; Nixon the poor boy (he never let you forget it) from a small California town., Ehrlichman had found, himself in the middle of this feud as far back as 1969, immediately after Nixon assumed office. Nixon had called Ehrlichman into his office and said he wanted all the facts and documents the C.I.A. had on the Bay of Pigs, a complete report on the whole project.

About six months after that 1969 conversation, Ehrlichman had stopped in my office. 'Those bastards in Langley are holding back something. They just dig in their heels and say the President can't have it. Period. Imagine that! The Commander-in-Chief wants to see a document relating to a military operation, and the spooks say he can't have it.'

'What is it?'

'I don't know, but from the way they're protecting it, it must be pure dynamite.'

I was angry at the idea that Helms would tell the President he couldn't see something. I said, 'Well, you remind Helms who's President. He's not. In fact, Helms can damn well find himself out of a job in a hurry.'

That's what I thought! Helms was never fired, at least for four years. But then Ehrlichman had said, 'Rest assured. The point will be made. In fact, Helms is on his way over here right now. The President is going to give him a direct order to turn over that document to me.'

Helms did show up that afternoon and saw the President for a long secret conversation. When Helms left, Ehrlichman returned to the Oval Office. The next thing I knew Ehrlichman appeared in my office, dropped into a chair, and just stared at me. He was more furious than I had ever seen him; absolutely speechless, a rare phenomenon for our White House phrase-makers. I said, 'What happened?'

'This is what happened,' Ehrlichman said. 'The Mad Monk (Nixon) has just told me I am now to forget all about that C.I.A. document. In fact, I am to cease and desist from trying to obtain it.'

When Senator Howard Baker of the Evrin Committee later looked into the Nixon-Helms relationship, he summed it up. 'Nixon and Helms have so much on each other, neither of them can breathe.'

Apparently Nixon knew more about the genesis of the Cuban invasion that led to the Bay of Pigs than almost anyone. Recently, the man who was President of Costa Rica at the time - dealing with Nixon while the invasion was being prepared - stated that Nixon was the man who originated the Cuban invasion. If this was true, Nixon never told it to me.

In 1972 I did know that Nixon disliked the C.I.A. Allen Dulles, the C.I.A. Director in 1960, had briefed Jack Kennedy about the forthcoming Cuban invasion before a Kennedy-Nixon debate. Kennedy used this top secret information in the debate, thereby placing Nixon on the spot. Nixon felt he had to lie and even deny such an invasion was in the works to protect the men who were training in secret. Dulles later denied briefing Kennedy. This betrayal, added to Nixon's long-held feeling that the agency was not adequately competent, led to his distrust and dislike.

And now that antipathy was to emerge again on June 23, 1972, when Nixon would once again confront and pressure the C.I.A.

This time the C.I.A. was ready. In fact, it was more than ready. It was ahead of the game by months. Nixon would walk into what I now believe was a trap.


Later, Haldeman adds:

So we had failed in our one previous attempt to obtain C.I.A. co-operation, and now in Ehrlichman's office on June 23, 1972, the C.IA. was stonewalling me again: 'Not connected.' 'No way.' Then I played Nixon's trump card. 'The President asked me to tell you this entire affair may be connected to the Bay of Pigs, and if it opens up, the Bay of Pigs may be blown....'

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.'

Silence. I just sat there. I was absolutely shocked by Helms' violent reaction. Again I wondered, what was such dynamite in the Bay of Pigs story? Finally, I said, 'I'm just following my instructions, Dick. This is what the President told me to relay to you.'

Helms was settling back. 'All right,' he said.


It was some years later when Haldeman found out what this dispute was about:

Years later, former C.B.S. correspondent Dan Schorr called me. He was seeking information concerning the F.B.I. investigation Nixon had mounted against him in August, 1971.

Schorr later sent me his fascinating book Clearing the Air. In it I was interested to find that evidence he had gleaned while investigating the C.I.A. finally cleared up for me the mystery of the Bay of Pigs connection in those dealings between Nixon and Helms. 'It's intriguing when I put Schorr's facts together with mine. It seems that in all of those Nixon references to the Bay of Pigs, he was actually referring to the Kennedy assassination.

(Interestingly, an investigation of the Kennedy assassination was a project I suggested when I first entered the White House. I had always been intrigued with the conflicting theories of the assassination. Now I felt we would be in a position to get all the facts. But Nixon turned me down.)

According to Schorr, as an outgrowth of the Bay of Pigs, the C.I.A. made several attempts on Fidel Castro's life. The Deputy Director of Plans at the C.I.A. at the time was a man named Richard Helms.

Unfortunately, Castro knew of the assassination attempts all the time. On September 7, 1963, a few months before John Kennedy was assassinated, Castro made a speech in which he was quoted, 'Let Kennedy and his brother Robert take care of themselves, since they, too, can be the victims of an attempt which will cause their death.'

After Kennedy was killed, the C.LA. launched a fantastic cover-up. Many of the facts about Oswald unavoidably pointed to a Cuban connection.

1. Oswald had been arrested in New Orleans in August, 1963, while distributing pro-Castro pamphlets.

2. On a New Orleans radio programme he extolled Cuba and defended Castro.

3. Less than two months before the assassination Oswald visited the Cuban consulate in Mexico City and tried to obtain a visa.

In a chilling parallel to their cover-up at Watergate, the C.I.A. literally erased any connection between. Kennedy's assassination and the C.I.A. No mention of the Castro assassination attempt was made to the Warren Commission by C.I.A. representatives. In fact, Counter-intelligence Chief James Angleton of the C.I.A. called Bill Sullivan of the F.B.I. and rehearsed the questions and answers they would give to the Warren Commission investigators, such as these samples:

Q. Was Oswald an agent of the C.I.A?

A. No.

Q. Does the C.I.A. have any evidence showing that a conspiracy existed to assassinate Kennedy?

A. No.

And here's what I find most interesting: Bill Sullivan, the F.B.I. man that the C.I.A. called at the time, was Nixon's highest-ranking loyal friend at the F.B.I. (in the Watergate crisis, he would risk J. Edgar Hoover's anger by taking the 1969 F.B.I. wiretap transcripts ordered by Nixon and delivering them to, Robert Mardian, a Mitchell crony, for safekeeping).

It's possible that Nixon learned from Sullivan something about the earlier C.I.A. cover-up by Helms. And when Nixon said, 'It's likely to blow the whole Bay of Pigs' he might have been reminding Helms, not so gently, of the cover-up of the C.I.A. assassination attempts on the hero of the Bay of Pigs, Fidel Castro - a C.I.A. operation that may have triggered the Kennedy tragedy and which Helms desperately wanted to hide.


#5 Ron Ecker

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 12:54 PM

The revelations of FBI agents-provacateur targeting the anti-war movement among others spurred Hale Boggs to publicly criticize Hoover on the floor of Congress.  Many thought this was the end of Hoover.


Was this also the end of Boggs? Was this the same 1971 speech referred to by Groden in TKOAP (p. 129), in which Boggs "accused the FBI of tapping his telephone (as well as other congressmen's telephones) and publicly denounced the Bureau's 'gestapo tactics'"? Groden notes that Boggs "disappeared, never again to be found, while on a flight to Alaska."

It has often been suggested that Boggs was murdered, but I've never read of a motive other than vague statements that he had come to doubt the WC Report. I wonder if it is not more likely that Hoover had Boggs killed out of pure vengeance for such an attack on his bureau.

Ron

#6 John Simkin

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 05:36 PM

It is clear that Nixon and Helms were both blackmailing each other. I suspect that Helms knew all about Nixon’s dirty tricks campaign. It was clearly a mistake to use Howard Hunt and James McCord for these activities. This information would have gone straight back to Helms.

Haldeman assumes that Nixon was blackmailing Helms over the CIA plots to kill Fidel Castro. This is understandable as only two years earlier Frank Church had confirmed that this had been happening. However, is this the sort of information that would have upset Helms so much? I doubt it. In fact, we know that the CIA had been leaking this information to Jack Anderson before the Church Senate Committee.
I think Haldeman is right when he suggests the information came from William Sullivan. As Haldeman points out, Sullivan helped Nixon out with Watergate.

What could Sullivan have told Nixon that was so upsetting to Helms? I think the clue is what happened following the JFK assassination. William Sullivan and James Angleton carried out a joint FBI/CIA investigation into the activities of Lee Harvey Oswald. I suspect that they discovered that Oswald had been working for both the FBI and the CIA. Oswald was probably employed by the FBI to spy on the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. His CIA work was probably even more sinister. Sullivan and Angleton probably agreed to cover-up Oswald’s activities in the FBI and CIA.

However, after his falling out with Hoover, Sullivan became a dangerous figure. I therefore suspect that he was murdered by the CIA in 1977. It is probably no coincidence that five other FBI officials who worked on the Oswald inquiry died within a few months of each other: Louis Nicholas, special assistant to J. Edgar Hoover and Hoover's liaison with the Warren Commission; Alan H. Belmont, special assistant to Hoover; James Cadigan, document expert with access to documents that related to death of John F. Kennedy; J. M. English, former head of FBI Forensic Sciences Laboratory where Oswald's rifle and pistol were tested; Donald Kaylor, FBI fingerprint chemist who examined prints found at the assassination scene.

#7 Pat Speer

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 07:56 PM

The revelations of FBI agents-provacateur targeting the anti-war movement among others spurred Hale Boggs to publicly criticize Hoover on the floor of Congress.  Many thought this was the end of Hoover.


Was this also the end of Boggs? Was this the same 1971 speech referred to by Groden in TKOAP (p. 129), in which Boggs "accused the FBI of tapping his telephone (as well as other congressmen's telephones) and publicly denounced the Bureau's 'gestapo tactics'"? Groden notes that Boggs "disappeared, never again to be found, while on a flight to Alaska."

It has often been suggested that Boggs was murdered, but I've never read of a motive other than vague statements that he had come to doubt the WC Report. I wonder if it is not more likely that Hoover had Boggs killed out of pure vengeance for such an attack on his bureau.

Ron

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Boggs disappeared on October 15, 1972, some five months after Hoover died. This doesn't mean there was no connection, but it would certainly indicate that Hoover himself was not involved.

Edited by Pat Speer, 19 April 2005 - 07:56 PM.


#8 Guest_John Gillespie_*

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 07:32 PM

"William Sullivan is someone who would have been a problem for the conspirators if he gave evidence to HSCA. There are several reasons for this. He was given overall responsibility to carry out a FBI investigation into Lee Harvey Oswald after the assassination of JFK. Presumably he found evidence that Oswald was working for the FBI."

John,

About 12 years ago I saw a copy of the NH Police report on Sullivan's death and, based on its contents, I believe it to be an accident. It included a summary of Mr. Daniels' responses to questions about what he did and observed. Certainly, we can speculate on there being more to the story but, as we so often are reminded, we can ALWAYS do that.

Regards,
JAG

#9 Tim Gratz

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 04:31 AM

It is a. j. weberman's opinion that Sullivan's death was clearly an accident.

As you know, weberman is not necessarily disinclined to believe conspiracy theories (including theories involving Angleton), so I tend to credit his assessment.

#10 Dawn Meredith

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 07:04 PM

As I mentioned in an earlier thread on this topic, Harvey Yazijian (of The Assassination Information Bureau) researched and wrote an article on this death within a year or so of it happening. I recently asked Harv if he had a copy of the article around, and he said he'd check, but it's really been so long. I believe it may have been for Boston Magazine, not certain. What I am certain of however is that his research pointed strongly to foul play.

Dawn

#11 Guest_John Gillespie_*

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 10:04 PM

Dear Dawn,

I would love to get more information. From the report I saw of the questioning of Mr. Daniels, he was totally distraught and was weeping (he was a young man at the time, as I recall). Of course, hunting accidents have been arranged before.

Regards,

JohnG

#12 Dawn Meredith

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 11:31 PM

Dear Dawn,

  I would love to get more information.  From the report I saw of the questioning of Mr. Daniels, he was totally distraught and was weeping (he was a young man at the time, as I recall).  Of course, hunting accidents have been arranged before.

Regards,

JohnG

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_____________________

Will try to find out. I no longer have the article, nor does Harvery, but I will check to see if he remembers who published it.

Dawn

#13 Dawn Meredith

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 07:26 PM

Dear Dawn,

  I would love to get more information.  From the report I saw of the questioning of Mr. Daniels, he was totally distraught and was weeping (he was a young man at the time, as I recall).  Of course, hunting accidents have been arranged before.

Regards,

JohnG

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_____________________

Will try to find out. I no longer have the article, nor does Harvery, but I will check to see if he remembers who published it.

Dawn

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John:

Just heard back from Harvey on the Sullivan piece. It was published by a mag called New Times and he says they are no longer around. But a good liabrary, like the Boston Public Liab. might have it. Worth a try. I tried to find it online but nothing. Sure wish I'd saved it.

Dawn

#14 Paul Kerrigan

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 08:17 PM

Well, what did Robert Daniels have to say about the "accident?" Did he deny accidentally shooting his friend?

#15 Pat Speer

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 07:54 AM

Well, what did Robert Daniels have to say about the "accident?"  Did he deny accidentally shooting his friend?

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Sullivan's book on Hoover was published postumously and states that the shooting was considered an accident by Sullivan's family. Evidently, his neighbor saw him in the woods and thought he was a deer.




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