Jump to content
The Education Forum
Paul Rigby

CIA backed Eugene McCarthy in '68 v. RFK

Recommended Posts

Len, you and I have had our differences in the past, but I do want to compliment you on the improved format and readability of your posts. Much simpler to follow and easier on the eyes.

Another essential contribution from the Wackford Squeers of the Education Forum.

Quite a jab coming from the Nick Guestish chap who calls Harold Weisberg a witting tool of the CIA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Colby claimed that Hersh got the info from someone else and he only confirmed it. Perhaps true, perhaps not. If he wanted to get rid of Angleton I imagine he’d leak the info in away he hoped would have the most impact and Hersh was then a “hot shot” reporter working for the NY Times the most important paper in the US. If indeed he were the original source his control of the story came from the info he provided.

Were his revelations of the Mai Lai massacre and Project Jennifer and his writings about KAL 007, Abu Guarib, “the Samson Option”, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Gulf War Syndrome etc etc at the agency’s behest as well?

Hersh CIA and as far back as 1968? Highly UNlikely unless you can come up with better evidence.

Some wonderful stuff on Hersh and his history of service to the CIA in James DiEugenio’s chapter, “The Posthumous Assassination of John F. Kennedy” (see pp.364-369) in James DiEugnio & Lisa Pease (Ed.). The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X (LA: Feral House, 2003).

Hersh’s My Lai massacre journalism appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in November 1969; the book on the slaughter in 1970. As DiEugenio notes, quoting the Agency wordsmith, Hersh would have us believe “There was no conspiracy to destroy the village”; and that the cause was individual ambition compounded by erroneous assumptions, the consequence of “the basic incompetence of many intelligence personnel in the Army” (p.367). True? According to DiEugenio, citing Douglas Valentine, false: My Lai was part of the Phoenix Program. Founder of Phoenix Program? Yes, the same William Colby who feeds the anti-Angleton morsels to him in 1974.

You were right, by the way. "Highly likely" didn't cut mustard. I should have written: "Overwhelmingly probable."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So Paul are we to gather from your last post that you are abandoning your ‘McCarthy was backed [probably knowingly] by the CIA’ theory?

Au contraire, Len - as we'll now see.

But nothing in your last two posts really backs your thesis though that bit about “Tricky Dick” was interesting and even a big frightening.

Biographer Sandbrook would also appear – I haven’t read the book, so I here rely on the Amazon reviewers – to be exercised by the germane question of who exactly funded McCarthy’s campaign. His tentative answer? Hubert Humphrey. This is certainly an answer of sorts, and, in the absence of the book before me, I can’t comment on the quality, or otherwise, of evidence adduced. What does interest me for the moment is the fact Sandbrook alighted on the issue.
You’re right drawing any conclusions based on a Amazon review of a book of unknown quality is just about useless. Your use of the plural was inaccurate since only one reviewer said anything along those lines and he didn’t say what you reported

“Humphrey probably financially supported McCarthy's insurgency to brake RFK in the primaries.”

Steve Iaco

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-...ews/1400077907/

You made it sound like the he was saying Humphrey was the principle or at least a major backer. Such an inference can’t be gathered from Mr. Iaco’s comment which included the modifier “probably”. There is no indication McCarthy knew of this supposed funding from Humphry.

So Dreyfus, “Nixon friend and supporter,” is not merely influencing the President’s mental state at critical junctures of the Nixonian presidency, but, two years before assuming this elevated, if medically unorthodox, status, presumably sat back calmly while Stein, his handpicked successor, pumped money into the alleged peacenik campaign of Eugene McCarthy?

Even assuming that Summers’ account was accurate this proves nothing. My business partner here is an ex-pat Tory (though he like Blair LOL). He is friends with some right-wing politicians I generally support leftwing ones. Jon Corzine, the governor of New Jersey, is a liberal Democrat. He was Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, one of the world’s largest investment banks, much bigger than Dryfus. I’m sure that most of the people who chose him were Republicans and that he promoted Republicans to important positions in the company because such decisions are normally made based on the persons abilities not his (or her) politics. In fact Stephen Friedman and Henry PaulsonCorzine’s predecessor and sucessor respectively were both appointed to important posts by Bush (Jr.) and thus are presumtively Republicans. Dryfus it seems made a good decision because according to your source “Howard Stein, who would head the company for the next 30 years … propel[ed] the fund to new heights.” If Stein were doing a good job Dryfus 1) probably wouldn’t have cared what he did in his spare time or with his own money 2) might not have been able to force him out even if he did.

Although most big business owners and executives are Republicans there were numerous exceptions in addition to Stein and Corzine who are/were Democrats such as:

Robert Rubin - Clinton’s Secretary of the Tresury 1995 – 99 and previously a top level executive Goldman Sachs,

Maria E. Cantwell - very liberal senator from Washington, previously a top exec at Real Networks

G. William Miller – Joined Texitron in 1956 served as an advisor to JFK and LBJ 1963 – 65 named CEO of the giant conglomerate in 1968 and later became chairman/CEO. Chairman of the Fed and Secretary of the Treasury under Carter.

W. Michael Blumenthal – Was VP of Crown Cork before serving in the JFK and LBJ administrations later worked for Bendix where he became chairman/CEO was Miller’s predecessor at the Treasury Dept. under Carter. Went on to work for Burroughs becoming chairman/CEO before masterminded its merger with Sperry to form Uniysis.

Herb Kohl - senator from Wisconsin, previosly president of Kohl’s a deparment store chain

Ned Lamont - liberal Democrat, unsucessful candidate for various offices most recently for senator against Liberman, Founder and owner of Lamont Digital Systems

Bill Gates

George Soros

To name a few

Altough Cantwell was picked by a fellow Democrat, Rubin, Miller and Blementhal were probablly chosen by Repbulicans, do you think they or the others would refrain from promoting Republicans to important positions in their companies if they were the best people for the job?

If this is the best you can come up with you might as well give up!

And the CIA, Nixon’s nemesis, was uninterested in any of this?
I’m confused I though you theory was that the CIA backed McCarthy to engineer a Nixon victory. Just what is your theory does it go something like this? The CIA assassinated JFK to make LBJ president, then they engineered Nixon’s defeat of Humpry then they engineered Nixon’s ouster and then Carter’s by Reagan and tried to replace Reagan with Bush Sr? The only thing missing is their pushing Ford out in favor of Carter. In the cases of JFK and Carter the theories are probably true but the others make little sense.
Well, perhaps not entirely. After all, Agency man Charles Colson put Howard Stein, the CEO pumping money into no-hoper Democratic presidential candidates, on Nixon’s infamous enemies list - just before CIA’s Allard Lowenstein.

I’m sure you can provide a citation for this claim. If true it would seem to undermine your theory though. And you have yet to establish that Lowenstein, who originally backed RFK, was CIA.

I also noticed that you left out the following excerpt from a source you previously cited which undermines your theory:

“For months, McCarthy publicly urged that Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-NY) challenge Johnson for the nomination; for his part, Kennedy always said he wouldn't run and that he intended to back LBJ for re-election. Finally, with the war dragging on, the casualties mounting, and no one else willing to step forward, McCarthy made it official. And even as he announced his candidacy, on Nov. 30, 1967, he still said that he hoped that Bobby Kennedy would get in the race.”

http://www.legendarysurfers.com/sr/2005_12_01_archive.html

Original source http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1930204

Some wonderful stuff on Hersh and his history of service to the CIA in James DiEugenio’s chapter, “The Posthumous Assassination of John F. Kennedy” (see pp.364-369) in James DiEugnio & Lisa Pease (Ed.). The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X (LA: Feral House, 2003).
Perhaps you'd be willing to quote directly from the books
As DiEugenio notes, quoting the Agency wordsmith, Hersh would have us believe “There was no conspiracy to destroy the village”; and that the cause was individual ambition compounded by erroneous assumptions, the consequence of “the basic incompetence of many intelligence personnel in the Army” (p.367). True? According to DiEugenio, citing Douglas Valentine, false: My Lai was part of the Phoenix Program.

It's quite possible that Valentine or Hersh were mistaken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Perhaps you'd be willing to quote directly from the books

Perhaps you'd be willing to open one - it won't hurt!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Perhaps you'd be willing to quote directly from the books

Perhaps you'd be willing to open one - it won't hurt!

Is that a cop out Paul? In case you hadn't noticed I'm in Brazil I seriously doubt the books you cited are available from local libraries and I'm not going to buy the books and pay the extravagant shipping charges just to check you references. If however you are disposed to buy them for me or send me your copies I'll send you my mailing address. Seems like it would be easier for all involved for you to quote the passages that you think back your theory. Much less expense for you and this would make the evidence available for anyone interested enough to take a look at it

Interestingly a lot of the evidence you turned up if we apply your logic implicates RFK (and even his elder brother) as much or more so than McCarthy, do you think he was a pawn (witting or not) of the CIA as well?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So Ramparts was part of the Empire too?

Marquis Childs, "Bobby, Bombing and the New Left," Washington Post, 3 March 1967, p.A18:

"The issue of Ramparts that blew the role of the CIA with various left-of-center groups, such as the National Student Association...led off with a savage attack on Kennedy. Written by Ramparts managing editor, Robert Scheer, the article...said...'Bobby is believable and for that reason much more serious.' From the viewpoint of the New Left, dangerous could be substituted for serious. The obvious objective is to destroy any middle ground between the demand for withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam and the cry of the hawks for the end of all restraint and total bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong.

The Ramparts article charges that Kennedy's involvement with the Vietnam war goes back to the earliest days of the Kennedy Adminsitration, beginning in 1961 when 'he did as much as any man to get us deeply involved there.' Bobby Kennedy's vision of foreign affairs, Scheer writes, 'is standard cold war mythology.'"

RFK more responsible for the US assault on Vietnam than, say, Allen Dulles?

The strategy is as old as politics; and may yet be used in 2008.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So Ramparts was part of the Empire too?

Marquis Childs, "Bobby, Bombing and the New Left," Washington Post, 3 March 1967, p.A18:

"The issue of Ramparts that blew the role of the CIA with various left-of-center groups, such as the National Student Association...led off with a savage attack on Kennedy. Written by Ramparts managing editor, Robert Scheer, the article...said...'Bobby is believable and for that reason much more serious.' From the viewpoint of the New Left, dangerous could be substituted for serious. The obvious objective is to destroy any middle ground between the demand for withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam and the cry of the hawks for the end of all restraint and total bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong.

The Ramparts article charges that Kennedy's involvement with the Vietnam war goes back to the earliest days of the Kennedy Adminsitration, beginning in 1961 when 'he did as much as any man to get us deeply involved there.' Bobby Kennedy's vision of foreign affairs, Scheer writes, 'is standard cold war mythology.'"

RFK more responsible for the US assault on Vietnam than, say, Allen Dulles?

The strategy is as old as politics; and may yet be used in 2008.

Spot on.

By the way, a question for Paul (or anyone else).

How, in general, did Ramparts cover the RFK campaign in '68?

Was it supportive - or did the negativity of the '67 article cited above carry forward?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MSC files : http://www.mdah.state.ms.us/arlib/contents/er/sovcom/

folder search : N

NATIONAL STUDENT ASSOCIATION AND CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

also do relevant name searches, eg dulles, kennedy, Scheer etc etc etc.

Many names are multiple listed so the surname - last one or two letters + first initial yields most results. Sometimes leaving out initial yields more.

On each document, news clipping, report etc scroll down to link on lower left to first page, previous, and next.

Edited by John Dolva

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MSC files : http://www.mdah.state.ms.us/arlib/contents/er/sovcom/

folder search : N

NATIONAL STUDENT ASSOCIATION AND CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

also do relevant name searches, eg dulles, kennedy, Scheer etc etc etc.

Many names are multiple listed so the surname - last one or two letters + first initial yields most results. Sometimes leaving out initial yields more.

On each document, news clipping, report etc scroll down to link on lower left to first page, previous, and next.

Thanks for the link, John, I look forward to reading the stuff on Finney in Mississippi in '64. Here's why:

Thomas D. Finney, Jr., died, aged 52, in late January 1978. His Washington Post obit., “Thomas Finney, Lawyer, Political Strategist, Dies,” appeared in the paper’s edition of 1 February 1978, p.C4. It is interesting on several grounds.

First up, was Finney a member of the Central Intelligence Agency? Yes, according to the paper, serving in Denmark for three years, 1952-55. It offers no explanation as to why he returned to the US in that year, and invites the reader to infer that he ceased connection with Langley. It would be interesting to know what he was doing in Copenhagen, not least in relation to domestic Danish developments. Any Danes on the forum, please don’t hesitate to enlighten.

Between 1955 and 1957, when he arrived in Washington to serve as administrative assistant to Senator A.S. Mike Monroney (D-Okla.), Finney was “in private law practice in Oklahoma,” his home state. He worked for Monroney until an unspecified date in 1963. In either 1963, at the conclusion of his work for Monroney, or for an unspecified period in the course of Kennedy’s presidency, the paper describes how JFK “borrowed” Finney “to work on the Trade Expansion Act which Mr. Kennedy considered one of his most outstanding achievements. Mr. Finney advised the president as a member of his Task Force on Foreign Policy, as deputy special assistant to the president for Foreign Trade Policy and as director of congressional liaison for the Trade Expansion Act.” It would, of course, be interesting to know just what advice exactly he offered Kennedy on foreign policy.

Kennedy’s decision to “borrow” Finney – if, indeed, he had anything to do with it and had much idea who he was – was characteristically magnanimous: Finney had worked for Stevenson in 1960, according to his WaPo obituarist, and, at the Democratic presidential convention that year, organised the “spontaneous” gallery demonstration that sought to snatch the nomination from Kennedy in favour of his candidate. The proposer of the last-minute move for Stevenson was none other than Eugene McCarthy.

In 1964, Finney was reunited with his old boss, Allen Dulles, when LBJ sent both men to Mississippi “when disorders developed there involving the registration of black voters.” Both “ex-“ CIA men were particularly well positioned to influence events in the state: Large amounts of Agency money had long been funnelled, through foundations and other fronts such as the New World Foundation, Aaron E. Norman Fund, the Southern Regional Council and the Georgia Council on Human Relations, ostensibly to facilitate increased black American participation.(1) One wonders if they called on the expertise of Allard Lowenstein, who was in the South in much the same period, working on behalf of another recipient of CIA money for the purpose, the National Student Association. Finney recommended, the obit. goes on, “that FBI agents be sent to the rural counties of Mississippi to monitor the registration.” Let us all hope that the G-men sent thither were not the same G-men who had made careers sniffing MLK’s undergarments, and otherwise discrediting the Civil Rights movement.

In the period 1964-1968, Finney worked for the law firm of Clifford, Glass, and McIlwain, which he joined, seemingly as a partner, in his very busy year of 1963. In 1968, following McCarthy’s disappointing results in Indiana and Nebraska, Finney “took a leave of absence from his law firm” to restore the campaigns fortunes, supplementing, he insisted, but not replacing, the work of Curtis Gans, McCarthy’s national political operations director.(2) Finney enjoyed success in Oregon, and reportedly “designed part of McCarthy’s California campaign strategy – including the sharp attacks on Kennedy.” (3)

(1) Drew Pearson & Jack Anderson, “CIA Funds Aided Negro Registration,” Washington Post, 7 April 1967, p.D17.

(2) UPI, “McCarthy Aide Denies He Quit, Says It Was a Courtesy Gesture,” Washington Post, 21 May 1968, p.A2.

(3) William Chapman, “McCarthy Staff a Pickup Team,” Washington Post, 21 July 1968, p.B2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow Paul you finally documented an long ex-CIA agent in the McCarthy campaign; But as Bill pointed out this is not especially surprising. He does seem to have been a Democrat and one JFK trusted enough to appoint him to an important post. I doubt that the Kennedy brothers who were at the convention were unaware of his role. Using him wouldn't have been as "magnanimous" as appointing Stevenson himself the US's UN representative.

Can you provide a link to the forum post you quoted above?

Just what do you think was the CIA's objective in backing McCarthy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wow Paul you finally documented an long ex-CIA agent in the McCarthy campaign...

Sorry to disappoint, Len, forgot to mention - Tom McCoy described as "ex-CIA" in Rowland Evans & Robert Novak, "Semi-Pros Replace Rank Amateurs As Top Strategists for McCarthy," Washington Post, 27 June 1968, p.25.

In his extended obit for Lowenstein, Robert G. Kaiser describes Lowenstein as "president of the National Student Association before that organization developed ties to the CIA" ("A Complex, Frenetic Life Built on the Discovery of People," Washington Post, 16 March 1980, p.A12). This must be the parapolitical equivalent of what US evangelicals are pleased to style "the time before time."

And while I'm on the subject of Lowenstein, a friend tells me that the current edition of Lobster, 53, contains vindication of another Richard Cummings claim, to wit, that Peter Matthiessen, founder of the Paris Review, was indeed Agency at the time of the magazine's creation. Citation to follow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry to disappoint, Len, forgot to mention - Tom McCoy described as "ex-CIA" in Rowland Evans & Robert Novak, "Semi-Pros Replace Rank Amateurs As Top Strategists for McCarthy," Washington Post, 27 June 1968, p.25.

But very recent “ex-“. Just how recent was made clear in R. Harris Smith’s paean to OSS and, admittedly besieged, CIA “liberalism,” OSS: The Secret History of America’s First Central Intelligence Agency (Univ of California Press, 1972): “Fifty-year-old Thomas McCoy had first joined the CIA in 1951 and held top Agency posts at Rome and Madrid. He retired from the government in the spring of 1968 to become a top campaign aide to peace candidate Eugene McCarthy” (p.381). He was invited to join the campaign by the aforementioned long-retired CIA man, Thomas Finney, “who had served in Copenhagen in the early 1950s” (Ibid., p.382).

So what kind of peace did McCoy mean? For that far from inessential detail, it’s over to Peter Dale Scott’s chapter, “The Vietnam War and the CIA-Financial Establishment,” as contained within the Mark Selden-edited volume, “Re-making Asia: Essays on America Power (NY: Pantheon Books, 1974), p.138: “One recent opponent of the war…is Thomas Finney, a former Laos operative who resigned from the CIA in 1968 after seventeen years’ service ‘to become a top aide to peace candidate Eugene McCarthy’ [scott here quoting from Harris Smith].” Scott goes on: “Yet McCoy had not the same aversion for the CIA’s covert warfare. In 1972 he wrote a letter to the Washington Post, claiming that the job done by the CIA in Laos, ‘based on any comparison with the U.S. military effort in Vietnam, would have to be: A spectacular success” [WaPo, 11 January 1972, p.A15].

In summary, then, for McCoy – and the rest of the ’67-68 CIA peaniks, one suspects – there was no moral objection to the wars waged by America against the disparate peoples of south-east Asia. To the contrary, the real spurs to opposition were a) the wrong bureaucracy was in charge (CIA good, Pentagon bad); and the question of efficiency (ditto).

...while I'm on the subject of Lowenstein, a friend tells me that the current edition of Lobster, 53, contains vindication of another Richard Cummings claim, to wit, that Peter Matthiessen, founder of the Paris Review, was indeed Agency at the time of the magazine's creation. Citation to follow.

Robin Ramsay, “The view from the bridge: Matthiessen and the CIA,” Lobster, June 2007, (53), p.26.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My antimosity towards RFK, even in death, has been tempered by meeting and working with his sons RFK, Jr. and the late Michael, and reading David Talbot's Brothers, which I believe is an accurate interpation of events.

Extract from David Talbot’s Brothers, p.360:

“Meanwhile, McCarthy fought bitterly on. Despite his victory in Oregon – where the white suburban population responded to the former professor’s cerebral charm – even McCarthy, a quirky and diffident campaigner, knew his chances of winning the nomination were remote. Instead, he seemed increasingly intent on spoiling Kennedy’s chances. McCarthy never let go his resentment of Kennedy for entering the race, after he had taken the initial risk of challenging Johnson.

As the California campaign heated up, the Humphrey and McCarthy campaigns seemed to be collaborating to drive Kennedy out of the race. The ties between the two campaigns began to grow when a former CIA official named Thomas Finney, who was close to Humphrey, took over as McCarthy’s campaign boss – and reports that Humphrey partisans had funneled $50,000 to McCarthy – drove some of the peace candidate’s staff to resign in protest. It is possible that the CIA and the Democratic Party establishment were working to split the peace vote to hand the nomination to Humphrey. But McCarthy himself was surprisingly popular in CIA circles, where Kennedy was reviled and there was growing disaffection with the war, which some officials believed was damaging the country’s national security interests. Dick Helms – who advised President Johnson in a secret 1967 memo that the CIA believed he could withdraw from Vietnam without any permanent damage to the United States – was one of the McCarthy sympathizers in the agency’s upper ranks. Over the years, Helms wrote in his memoir, he and the Minnesota senator ‘lunched occasionally and encountered one another at the usual Washington events, or as guests in owner Jack Kent Cooke’s box at Redskin football games. McCarthy was always good company, intelligent and witty.’”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My antimosity towards RFK, even in death, has been tempered by meeting and working with his sons RFK, Jr. and the late Michael, and reading David Talbot's Brothers, which I believe is an accurate interpation of events.

Extract from David Talbot's Brothers, p.360:

"Meanwhile, McCarthy fought bitterly on. Despite his victory in Oregon – where the white suburban population responded to the former professor's cerebral charm – even McCarthy, a quirky and diffident campaigner, knew his chances of winning the nomination were remote. Instead, he seemed increasingly intent on spoiling Kennedy's chances. McCarthy never let go his resentment of Kennedy for entering the race, after he had taken the initial risk of challenging Johnson.

As the California campaign heated up, the Humphrey and McCarthy campaigns seemed to be collaborating to drive Kennedy out of the race. The ties between the two campaigns began to grow when a former CIA official named Thomas Finney, who was close to Humphrey, took over as McCarthy's campaign boss – and reports that Humphrey partisans had funneled $50,000 to McCarthy – drove some of the peace candidate's staff to resign in protest. It is possible that the CIA and the Democratic Party establishment were working to split the peace vote to hand the nomination to Humphrey. But McCarthy himself was surprisingly popular in CIA circles, where Kennedy was reviled and there was growing disaffection with the war, which some officials believed was damaging the country's national security interests. Dick Helms – who advised President Johnson in a secret 1967 memo that the CIA believed he could withdraw from Vietnam without any permanent damage to the United States – was one of the McCarthy sympathizers in the agency's upper ranks. Over the years, Helms wrote in his memoir, he and the Minnesota senator 'lunched occasionally and encountered one another at the usual Washington events, or as guests in owner Jack Kent Cooke's box at Redskin football games. McCarthy was always good company, intelligent and witty.'"

Hi Paul,

I don't doubt McCarthy's campaign was peppered with CIA and ex-CIA people, as he attracted an intellectual crowd around him.

I don't believe however, that there was collusion between McCarthy and Humphrey. Though they came from the same neck of the woods, Humphrey was a party lackey and McCarthy a free thinker and his own man.

Nor would I think McCarthy would watch the Redskins from the Kennedy's box at RFK stadium.

BK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×