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Don B. Reynolds and LBJ


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 11:59 AM

Over the last few days I have been reading Michael R. Bescholoss’ Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes: 1963-1964 (Simon & Schuster). The transcripts of these telephone calls provide a fascinating insight into the mind of Johnson. In the days that followed the assassination of JFK Johnson spent a lot of time talking about a man called Don B. Reynolds. Most books about LBJ fail to mention Reynolds. However, after some research I have found out some interesting information about this man that could have a bearing on the assassination of JFK.

Reynolds ran a small company called Don Reynolds Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland. Reynolds was a friend of Bobby Baker (LBJ’s secretary). In 1955 Reynolds was asked by Baker to arrange Johnson's life insurance policy.

In 1963 Senator John Williams of Delaware began investigating the activities of Bobby Baker. As a result of his work, Baker resigned as LBJ’s secretary on 9th October, 1963. During his investigations Williams met Reynolds and persuaded him to appear before a secret session of the Senate Rules Committee.

For some reason Reynolds refused any attempts by Johnson to buy his silence. Reynolds told B. Everett Jordan and his committee on 22nd November, 1963, that Johnson had demanded that he provided kickbacks in return for this business. This included a $585 Magnavox stereo. Reynolds also had to pay for $1,200 worth of advertising on KTBC, Johnson's television station in Austin. Reynolds had paperwork for this transaction including a delivery note that indicated the stereo had been sent to the home of Johnson.

Reynolds also told of seeing a suitcase full of money which Bobby Baker described as a "$100,000 payoff to Johnson for his role in securing the Fort Worth TFX contract". His testimony came to an end when news arrived that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.

As soon as Johnson became president he contacted B. Everett Jordan to see if there was any chance of stopping this information being published. Jordan replied that he would do what he could but warned Johnson that some members of the committee wanted Reynolds’ testimony to be released to the public. On 6th December, 1963, Jordan spoke to Johnson on the telephone and said he was doing what he could to suppress the story because " it might spread (to) a place where we don't want it spread."

Abe Fortas, a lawyer who represented both Lyndon B. Johnson and Bobby Baker, worked behind the scenes in an effort to keep this information from the public. Johnson also arranged for a smear campaign to be organized against Reynolds. To help him do this J. Edgar Hoover gave the president the FBI file on Reynolds.

On 17th January, 1964, the Senate Rules Committee voted to release to the public Reynolds' secret testimony. Johnson responded by leaking information from Reynolds' FBI file to Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson. On 5th February, 1964, the Washington Post reported that Reynolds had lied about his academic success at West Point. The article also claimed that Reynolds had been a supporter of Joseph McCarthy and had accused business rivals of being secret members of the American Communist Party. It was also revealed that Reynolds had made anti-Semitic remarks while in Berlin in 1953.

Despite the importance of Reynolds’ story of Johnson’s corrupt activities most newspapers ignored it. The one exception was an article that appeared in the New York Times. The report claimed that Johnson had been applying pressure on newspaper editors not to print Reynolds’ accusations. It also reported that Lyndon B. Johnson had used information from secret government documents to smear Reynolds.

John McClellan, the chairman of the Senate subcommittee investigating the TFX contract said that he wanted to interview Don Reynolds. However, for some reason the subcommittee did not resume its investigation until 1969. This was of course after Johnson had left office.

In December, 1966, Edward Jay Epstein wrote an article for the Esquire Magazine where he claimed that Reynolds had given the Warren Commission information on the death of John F. Kennedy. Reynolds said that Bobby Baker had told him that Kennedy "would never live out his term and that he would die a violent death." Baker had also said that "the FBI knew that Johnson was behind the assassination".

I would be very interested to know if anyone else has any information on Don B. Reynolds.

Is Bobby Baker still alive? Has he said anything recently about Johnson and the assassination of JFK?

http://www.spartacus...FKreynoldsD.htm

http://www.spartacus...k/JFKbakerB.htm

#2 Larry Hancock

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Posted 18 April 2004 - 03:34 PM

John, there has been much coverage of the Johnson connection in recent months, however some of the information presented has been weak to say the least and some of the documentation weaker. A contrast to this is the much stronger work available in France and elsewhere done by William Remond who is in direct contact with Estes and various sources related to Estes.

At the moment Johnson's possible involvement primarily rests on the following:

1) Personal remarks by Johnson's long time aide Clifford Carter to Estes which are supposedly corroborated by a living witness - Kyle Brown - and by tape recordings made by Estes of Carter telephone calls. Brown's statements are in evidence now, the tapes are not. An examination of Carter's oral history at the LBJ library also reveals some interesting information that may peripherally support the conspiracy theory in regard to he and Johnson.

2) The possiblity that a fingerprint from the Sixth Floor of the TSBD may match known Johnson associate Malcolm Wallace - one expert has vetted the match but there are objections to his work, this remains an open issue.

In regard to your remarks about Reynolds and the scandal, that aspect is certainly all true but the more damaging aspect of the scandal was the broad based influence peddling by Baker which could be linked to Johnson and various of Johnson's US government connections - from the Dept of Agriculture to military contracting. As an example the release of the Johnson Daily Diaries has given us confirmation that Johnson did meet in the summer of 1963 with Fred Black, Bobboy Baker and a senior executive from North American - the Baker/Black vending machine scandal claims would have been confirmed by either this document or Black's testimony if the Kennedy assassination had not allowed Johnson the political clout to nullify the associated federal investigations of Baker.

-- Larry

#3 John Simkin

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 06:53 AM

I have recently read Barr McClellan’s Blood Money and Power. The first-half is good but I felt let down when he got on to the assassination of JFK. His story about Clark’s involvement in the assassination makes sense but he had no real evidence to back up his claims.

I have been in contact with William Remond and he does appear to have evidence to link Johnson with the assassination. I am unable to read French so I will have to wait for the English language version of his book to be published.

I would be interested to know more about Kyle Brown.

Has much research been done into Fred Korth? The president of the Continental National Bank of Fort Worth, he was appointed as Navy Secretary by President John F. Kennedy on 4th January, 1962. According to author Seth Kantor, Korth only got the job after strong lobbying from LBJ.

In 1963 John McClellan, chairman of the Permanent Investigations Committee, began looking into the activities of Billie Sol Estes and Bobby Baker. During this investigation evidence emerged that LBJ and Korth could have been involved in corrupt activities concerning the award of a $7 billion contract for a fighter plane, the TFX, to General Dynamics, a company based in Texas. It was discovered that the Continental National Bank of Fort Worth, was the principal money source for the General Dynamics plant. Korth was forced to resign from office on 1st November, 1963. However, Korth was never called before the Permanent Investigations Committee and as far as I can tell never went public about these events.


http://www.spartacus...uk/JFKkorth.htm

#4 Larry Hancock

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 09:02 PM

Fred Korth / TFS, the Vending machine / Black business, the Murchison / Ag Dept affairs in Haiti and the Reynolds kickbacks were all being covered in the Baker scandal investigations and they all got dropped once Johnson became President. It is interesting to note that the Korth/TFX and Baker scandals were top concerns to JFK who Johnson from DC to Johnson's ranch at 7:45 am in the morning on October 18 and talked to him specifically about the ""Baker-Korth problem" for possibly as long as an hour, spurring Johnson into several calls to Abe Fortas and a return call to JFK.

It's also interesting to see in the Johnson tapes that even months after he was President Johnson was making telephone calls about military contracting kickback concerns....apparently triggered by another scandal involving Fred Black.

-- Larry

#5 Steve Thomas

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Posted 26 April 2004 - 03:35 PM

John,

Over the last few days I have been reading Michael R. Bescholoss’ Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes: 1963-1964 (Simon & Schuster).

Hello.

It's ironic. I have been reading the same book myself over the last couple of days.

I don't have the book with me at the moment, so I can't quote verbatim, nor provide citations, but when I got to the part where Johnson is discussing passing out little envelopes, and the part about him buying up land in the vicinity of what would become the Houston Space Center, my eyebrows shot up.

Steve Thomas

#6 buck

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Posted 02 July 2004 - 07:17 PM

See John Delane Williams art. on Reynold's on the Electronic Assassination Journal.

#7 John Simkin

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Posted 03 July 2004 - 12:27 PM

See John Delane Williams art. on Reynold's on the Electronic Assassination Journal.

Have you got a URL for this?

#8 John Simkin

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 09:54 AM

Tim, the Pearson article blaming Bobby for his brother's death was almost certainly planted by LBJ as a political reprisal for Bobby's coming out against the war. Pearson had sat on the story for months but only put it out the day after Bobby's speech. Pearson personally met with LBJ to discuss the Rosselli story, only it wasn't actually the Rosselli story, it was the Maheu story, per the Church Committee testimony of both Morgan and Rosselli. Should one doubt that Pearson would perform such hatchet-work on behalf of LBJ one should be aware that Pearson had a secret meeting planned at LBJ's ranch on the night of November 22nd, 1963, (per Pearson's Oral History at the LBJ Library. The purpose of the meeting? A brainstorming session on how to protect LBJ from the Bobby Baker scandal, Don Reynolds' testimony in particular. Pearson subsequently ran a series of articles attacking the credibility of Mr. Reynolds.

Lookat the opening line of the article: LBJ is sitting on an H-bomb... This is an obvious effort to distance LBJ from the leak. The timing of the article and the spin blaming Bobby was LBJ all the way.


Fascinating. I did not know about this meeting. However, I do know about the numerous phone-calls that LBJ made to journalists and politicians about the Don Reynolds problem. In fact, it has been noted that in the weeks following his arrival in the White House he was far more concerned about Reynolds than he was about Oswald. Understandably, given the testimony that Reynolds gave to the Senate Rules Committee on the day JFK was assassinated.

On 17th January, 1964, the Senate Rules Committee voted to release to the public Reynolds' secret testimony. LBJ responded by leaking information from Reynolds' FBI file to Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson. On 5th February, 1964, the Washington Post reported that Reynolds had lied about his academic success at West Point. The article also claimed that Reynolds had been a supporter of Joseph McCarthy and had accused business rivals of being secret members of the American Communist Party. It was also revealed that Reynolds had made anti-Semitic remarks while in Berlin in 1953.

A few weeks later the New York Times reported that LBJ had used information from secret government documents to smear Reynolds. It also reported that Johnson's officials had been applying pressure on the editors of newspapers not to print information that had been disclosed by Reynolds in front of the Senate Rules Committee. The story never took off but when the LBJ tapes were released, it was clear that the New York Times story was completely accurate.

What is also interesting is that in his book "Forty Years Against the Tide", Carl Curtis, who was one of those senators calling for a full investigation into the Don Reynolds affair, admitted that he and John Williams had been relying on leaks coming from Robert Kennedy.

Does anyone know what happened to Don Reynolds? I assume he must have had an accident in about 1964/65.

http://www.spartacus...FKreynoldsD.htm

#9 Tim Gratz

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 11:03 AM

Pat's post was indeed fascinating.

If such a meeting was planned for the night of November 22nd, does that fact tend to exculpate LBJ of even foreknowledge of the assassination?

#10 John Dolva

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 11:27 AM

Pat's post was indeed fascinating.

If such a meeting was planned for the night of November 22nd, does that fact tend to exculpate LBJ of even foreknowledge of the assassination?



Regarding this meeting, I have a vague memory of the Kennedy's planning to spend the night at the ranch. All I can find on this is an incomplete statement which is ambiguous. : "After a series of rallies and speeches in Dallas, they were supposed to spend the night at the LBJ Ranch near Johnson City. But it was November 22, 1963 ...."

#11 Pat Speer

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 10:07 AM


Pat's post was indeed fascinating.

If such a meeting was planned for the night of November 22nd, does that fact tend to exculpate LBJ of even foreknowledge of the assassination?



Regarding this meeting, I have a vague memory of the Kennedy's planning to spend the night at the ranch. All I can find on this is an incomplete statement which is ambiguous. : "After a series of rallies and speeches in Dallas, they were supposed to spend the night at the LBJ Ranch near Johnson City. But it was November 22, 1963 ...."


The Kennedys were indeed scheduled to spend the night at the ranch, which is what led me to conclude that Pearson's meeting with LBJ scheduled for "late late" in the evening was in fact a secret meeting to discuss Reynolds.

Edited by Pat Speer, 28 October 2005 - 10:09 AM.


#12 John Dolva

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 06:10 PM



Pat's post was indeed fascinating.

If such a meeting was planned for the night of November 22nd, does that fact tend to exculpate LBJ of even foreknowledge of the assassination?



Regarding this meeting, I have a vague memory of the Kennedy's planning to spend the night at the ranch. All I can find on this is an incomplete statement which is ambiguous. : "After a series of rallies and speeches in Dallas, they were supposed to spend the night at the LBJ Ranch near Johnson City. But it was November 22, 1963 ...."


The Kennedys were indeed scheduled to spend the night at the ranch, which is what led me to conclude that Pearson's meeting with LBJ scheduled for "late late" in the evening was in fact a secret meeting to discuss Reynolds.


My understanding (please correect me as I have no idea what the SS were supposed to be doing during this night.) is that both Jackie and Jack had their own security detail on duty 24/7 who would not be beholden to Johnson? IF such a meeting was indeed sheduled that could certainly tell some interesting things re Johnsons expectations?

#13 Mark Stapleton

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 09:17 PM


Tim, the Pearson article blaming Bobby for his brother's death was almost certainly planted by LBJ as a political reprisal for Bobby's coming out against the war. Pearson had sat on the story for months but only put it out the day after Bobby's speech. Pearson personally met with LBJ to discuss the Rosselli story, only it wasn't actually the Rosselli story, it was the Maheu story, per the Church Committee testimony of both Morgan and Rosselli. Should one doubt that Pearson would perform such hatchet-work on behalf of LBJ one should be aware that Pearson had a secret meeting planned at LBJ's ranch on the night of November 22nd, 1963, (per Pearson's Oral History at the LBJ Library. The purpose of the meeting? A brainstorming session on how to protect LBJ from the Bobby Baker scandal, Don Reynolds' testimony in particular. Pearson subsequently ran a series of articles attacking the credibility of Mr. Reynolds.

Lookat the opening line of the article: LBJ is sitting on an H-bomb... This is an obvious effort to distance LBJ from the leak. The timing of the article and the spin blaming Bobby was LBJ all the way.


Fascinating. I did not know about this meeting. However, I do know about the numerous phone-calls that LBJ made to journalists and politicians about the Don Reynolds problem. In fact, it has been noted that in the weeks following his arrival in the White House he was far more concerned about Reynolds than he was about Oswald. Understandably, given the testimony that Reynolds gave to the Senate Rules Committee on the day JFK was assassinated.

On 17th January, 1964, the Senate Rules Committee voted to release to the public Reynolds' secret testimony. LBJ responded by leaking information from Reynolds' FBI file to Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson. On 5th February, 1964, the Washington Post reported that Reynolds had lied about his academic success at West Point. The article also claimed that Reynolds had been a supporter of Joseph McCarthy and had accused business rivals of being secret members of the American Communist Party. It was also revealed that Reynolds had made anti-Semitic remarks while in Berlin in 1953.

A few weeks later the New York Times reported that LBJ had used information from secret government documents to smear Reynolds. It also reported that Johnson's officials had been applying pressure on the editors of newspapers not to print information that had been disclosed by Reynolds in front of the Senate Rules Committee. The story never took off but when the LBJ tapes were released, it was clear that the New York Times story was completely accurate.

What is also interesting is that in his book "Forty Years Against the Tide", Carl Curtis, who was one of those senators calling for a full investigation into the Don Reynolds affair, admitted that he and John Williams had been relying on leaks coming from Robert Kennedy.

Does anyone know what happened to Don Reynolds? I assume he must have had an accident in about 1964/65.

http://www.spartacus...FKreynoldsD.htm


Having not been familiar with the Reynolds affair before joining the Forum, it strains credulity to image how the media--bar the NYT-- failed to give this story oxygen, on the pretext of a smear job hand delivered by LBJ's allies. Smear or no smear, the testimony was made under oath and its contents should have been duly analysed--in public. I can only assume that the media didn't want the world--especially the Soviets--to witness U.S. Presidents falling like dominoes.

Concerning the Carl Curtis book, if what he says is true about RFK leaking information about Reynolds to him (if some of those leaks were prior to the assassination) then perhaps RFK was partially responsible for spurring LBJ and friends into action--assuming they were the brains behind it.

#14 James Richards

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 09:52 PM

Sidebar on Fred Korth: He was Edwin Ekdahl's lawyer.

FWIW.

James

#15 Pat Speer

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 12:09 AM

Having not been familiar with the Reynolds affair before joining the Forum, it strains credulity to image how the media--bar the NYT-- failed to give this story oxygen, on the pretext of a smear job hand delivered by LBJ's allies. Smear or no smear, the testimony was made under oath and its contents should have been duly analysed--in public. I can only assume that the media didn't want the world--especially the Soviets--to witness U.S. Presidents falling like dominoes.

Concerning the Carl Curtis book, if what he says is true about RFK leaking information about Reynolds to him (if some of those leaks were prior to the assassination) then perhaps RFK was partially responsible for spurring LBJ and friends into action--assuming they were the brains behind it.


It's not entirely true that the media looked the other way. U.S. News and World Report was clearly not entralled with the new President, and published at least a half dozen articles on the Bobby Baker scandal up through mid-64, several raising questions about LBJ's corruption and manipulation of Congress. (I believe they were pro-Goldwater, FWIW). Some of these articles ran on the same page as articles about the Warren Commission, sending a subtle signal to those already distrustful of LBJ.




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