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David Talbot: Ben Bradlee


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On page 391 you quotes an article by Robert B. Kaiser in the Rolling Stone when he remarked that it was "extremely puzzling" that Bradlee had failed to invest in an Washington Post investigation into the death of JFK. You go on to interview Ben Bradlee in 2004. He admits that there were good grounds for Robert Kennedy to believe that JFK "had been assassinated by his own government". When you asked him why as managing editor of the Washington Post he did not commission his journalists to investigate the assassination, he replied that he was concerned about his career and "that I would be descredited for taking the efforts (of the Washington Post newsroom) down that path." (page 393) This is very interesting considering Ben Bradlee brought us Watergate.

Do you think it is possible that the CIA encouraged Bradlee to investigate Watergate but did the complete opposite over the JFK assassination? It also seems relevant that Ben Bradlee did what he could to get Deborah Davis' book on Watergate, Katherine the Great, from being published. One of the points that Davis makes in her book is that the Washington Post relied heavily on the CIA for its reports on Watergate. She even names Deep Throat as being CIA official Richard Ober. When I asked Deborah about this she said she got her information from a very senior figure in the CIA.

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Do you think it is possible that the CIA encouraged Bradlee to investigate Watergate but did the complete opposite over the JFK assassination?

No doubt in my mind. How could such a setup as Watergate work without an "intrepid" newspaper to expose it? Thus you've got Jekyll and Hyde Bradlee, oddly fearless in one case, and fearful like all of his mainstream media brethren in the other. There's only one explanation.

What I wonder is why the CIA hasn't done the same to George W. Bush. He could already have been impeached. What does he have on them?

Edited by Ron Ecker
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What I wonder is why the CIA hasn't done the same to George W. Bush. He could already have been impeached. What does he have on them?

Their involvement in the assassination of JFK? I am sure daddy has told him plenty of stories about Ted Shackley and Carl E. Jenkins.

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Do you think it is possible that the CIA encouraged Bradlee to investigate Watergate but did the complete opposite over the JFK assassination?

No doubt in my mind. How could such a setup as Watergate work without an "intrepid" newspaper to expose it? Thus you've got Jekyll and Hyde Bradlee, oddly fearless in one case, and fearful like all of his mainstream media brethren in the other. There's only one explanation.

What I wonder is why the CIA hasn't done the same to George W. Bush. He could already have been impeached. What does he have on them?

I was appalled when I read that about Bradlee in "Brothers."

It sounds like he was "friends" with a job title--"President of the United States" rather than a person--Jack Kennedy.

Friendship with the job title is transferable whereas friendship with the person is disposable.

I would have had a very hard time maintaining a facade of detachment while talking to Bradlee.

I wonder if Talbot did.

The Kennedy/Bradlee relationship was a revelation to me and I appreciate its inclusion in the book.

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The Kennedy/Bradlee relationship was a revelation to me and I appreciate its inclusion in the book.

If you are interested in the type of man Ben Bradlee is I suggest you read Deborah Davis' "Katharine the Great". When the book was originally published in 1979 Katharine Graham (probably under instructions from the CIA) persuaded the publishers William Jovanovich, to pulp 20,000 copies of the book. Davis filed a breach-of- contract and damage-to-reputation suit against Jovanovich, who settled out of court with her in 1983. However, it had the desired effect, very few people got a copy of the book (a reprinted version many years later by a small publisher was totally ignored).

I have tried to get Deborah Davis to come on the forum to discuss her book. At first she said yes but when I submitted my questions she changed her mind. I got the impression she is still scared of what Ben Bradlee and the CIA can do to her.

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What I wonder is why the CIA hasn't done the same to George W. Bush. He could already have been impeached. What does he have on them?

Their involvement in the assassination of JFK? I am sure daddy has told him plenty of stories about Ted Shackley and Carl E. Jenkins.

I doubt that Bush the Elder would tell such secrets to an alcoholic idiot, even if part of the family.

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The Kennedy/Bradlee relationship was a revelation to me and I appreciate its inclusion in the book.

If you are interested in the type of man Ben Bradlee is I suggest you read Deborah Davis' "Katharine the Great". When the book was originally published in 1979 Katharine Graham (probably under instructions from the CIA) persuaded the publishers William Jovanovich, to pulp 20,000 copies of the book. Davis filed a breach-of- contract and damage-to-reputation suit against Jovanovich, who settled out of court with her in 1983. However, it had the desired effect, very few people got a copy of the book (a reprinted version many years later by a small publisher was totally ignored).

I have tried to get Deborah Davis to come on the forum to discuss her book. At first she said yes but when I submitted my questions she changed her mind. I got the impression she is still scared of what Ben Bradlee and the CIA can do to her.

I will read it. Thanks for the suggestion.

I'm especially interested in this aspect:

...

Do you think it is possible that the CIA encouraged Bradlee to investigate Watergate but did the complete opposite over the JFK assassination? .

..

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=10279

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What I wonder is why the CIA hasn't done the same to George W. Bush. He could already have been impeached. What does he have on them?

Their involvement in the assassination of JFK? I am sure daddy has told him plenty of stories about Ted Shackley and Carl E. Jenkins.

I doubt that Bush the Elder would tell such secrets to an alcoholic idiot, even if part of the family.

Oh I dunno. There are those who believe W. Bush was involved in JFK Jr's murder.

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  • 1 month later...
On page 391 you quotes an article by Robert B. Kaiser in the Rolling Stone when he remarked that it was "extremely puzzling" that Bradlee had failed to invest in an Washington Post investigation into the death of JFK. You go on to interview Ben Bradlee in 2004. He admits that there were good grounds for Robert Kennedy to believe that JFK "had been assassinated by his own government". When you asked him why as managing editor of the Washington Post he did not commission his journalists to investigate the assassination, he replied that he was concerned about his career and "that I would be descredited for taking the efforts (of the Washington Post newsroom) down that path." (page 393) This is very interesting considering Ben Bradlee brought us Watergate.

Do you think it is possible that the CIA encouraged Bradlee to investigate Watergate but did the complete opposite over the JFK assassination? It also seems relevant that Ben Bradlee did what he could to get Deborah Davis' book on Watergate, Katherine the Great, from being published. One of the points that Davis makes in her book is that the Washington Post relied heavily on the CIA for its reports on Watergate. She even names Deep Throat as being CIA official Richard Ober. When I asked Deborah about this she said she got her information from a very senior figure in the CIA.

From a post on another thread:

"It crossed my mind that Phillips was, uncharacteristically, being a bit panicky, although I can't avoid the tendency to look for mirror images. That initial thought then was reinforced in a sub-sequent development."

"In his offensive against Summer's book, Phillips had approached the Washington Post's editor, Ben Bradlee. Bradlee assigned an English exchange reporter, David Leigh, to look into the story. As of this wrighting, Leigh has not produced a story for the Post, but Phillips spent a lot of time with him attempting to guide him through some of the informaiton. Some of the points he made to Leigh contradict his statements to the Assassinations Committee. He told Leigh that he may very well have been in Texas, visiting his family in Fort Worth, Texas, during the period Veciana claims he saw Bishop with Oswald."

John,

Have you contacted David Leigh to get his side of this story?

Thanks,

BK

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On page 391 you quotes an article by Robert B. Kaiser in the Rolling Stone when he remarked that it was "extremely puzzling" that Bradlee had failed to invest in an Washington Post investigation into the death of JFK. You go on to interview Ben Bradlee in 2004. He admits that there were good grounds for Robert Kennedy to believe that JFK "had been assassinated by his own government". When you asked him why as managing editor of the Washington Post he did not commission his journalists to investigate the assassination, he replied that he was concerned about his career and "that I would be descredited for taking the efforts (of the Washington Post newsroom) down that path." (page 393) This is very interesting considering Ben Bradlee brought us Watergate.

Do you think it is possible that the CIA encouraged Bradlee to investigate Watergate but did the complete opposite over the JFK assassination? It also seems relevant that Ben Bradlee did what he could to get Deborah Davis' book on Watergate, Katherine the Great, from being published. One of the points that Davis makes in her book is that the Washington Post relied heavily on the CIA for its reports on Watergate. She even names Deep Throat as being CIA official Richard Ober. When I asked Deborah about this she said she got her information from a very senior figure in the CIA.

From a post on another thread:

"It crossed my mind that Phillips was, uncharacteristically, being a bit panicky, although I can't avoid the tendency to look for mirror images. That initial thought then was reinforced in a sub-sequent development."

"In his offensive against Summer's book, Phillips had approached the Washington Post's editor, Ben Bradlee. Bradlee assigned an English exchange reporter, David Leigh, to look into the story. As of this wrighting, Leigh has not produced a story for the Post, but Phillips spent a lot of time with him attempting to guide him through some of the informaiton. Some of the points he made to Leigh contradict his statements to the Assassinations Committee. He told Leigh that he may very well have been in Texas, visiting his family in Fort Worth, Texas, during the period Veciana claims he saw Bishop with Oswald."

I remember sitting at the Center Cafe at the front door of DC's Union Station with some COPA board members when Dan Alcorn pointed out Ben Bradlee walking towards us with a hoard of commuters who just got off a train. I was about to stop him, say hello and try to engage him in a conversation but others at the table anticipating my move, stopped me. "He's with the opposition," I was told, but I still wanted to engage him in the type of conversation David Talbot describes in Brothers.

As someone who has spent some time with Bradlee discussing the assassination, David Leigh should be able to shed some more light on the situation.

BK

Edited by William Kelly
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On page 391 you quotes an article by Robert B. Kaiser in the Rolling Stone when he remarked that it was "extremely puzzling" that Bradlee had failed to invest in an Washington Post investigation into the death of JFK. You go on to interview Ben Bradlee in 2004. He admits that there were good grounds for Robert Kennedy to believe that JFK "had been assassinated by his own government". When you asked him why as managing editor of the Washington Post he did not commission his journalists to investigate the assassination, he replied that he was concerned about his career and "that I would be descredited for taking the efforts (of the Washington Post newsroom) down that path." (page 393) This is very interesting considering Ben Bradlee brought us Watergate.

Do you think it is possible that the CIA encouraged Bradlee to investigate Watergate but did the complete opposite over the JFK assassination? It also seems relevant that Ben Bradlee did what he could to get Deborah Davis' book on Watergate, Katherine the Great, from being published. One of the points that Davis makes in her book is that the Washington Post relied heavily on the CIA for its reports on Watergate. She even names Deep Throat as being CIA official Richard Ober. When I asked Deborah about this she said she got her information from a very senior figure in the CIA.

I was VERY surprised to see Bardlee's comments in Brothers supporting conspiracy. During the time I was dating Harvey Yazijian (75-77) Harv and Bradlee appeared on a tv show together on the issue of JFK's assassination. Bradlee got red in the face and literally began screaming at Harvey for even suggesting that their had been a conspiracy. It may have been a local (Boston) tv show. What I mainly remember was Bradlee's total flip-out.

Dawn

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From a post on another thread:

"It crossed my mind that Phillips was, uncharacteristically, being a bit panicky, although I can't avoid the tendency to look for mirror images. That initial thought then was reinforced in a sub-sequent development."

"In his offensive against Summer's book, Phillips had approached the Washington Post's editor, Ben Bradlee. Bradlee assigned an English exchange reporter, David Leigh, to look into the story. As of this wrighting, Leigh has not produced a story for the Post, but Phillips spent a lot of time with him attempting to guide him through some of the informaiton. Some of the points he made to Leigh contradict his statements to the Assassinations Committee. He told Leigh that he may very well have been in Texas, visiting his family in Fort Worth, Texas, during the period Veciana claims he saw Bishop with Oswald."

Where does this quote come from? If you send me an email with your questions I will pass it onto David Leigh?

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From a post on another thread:

"It crossed my mind that Phillips was, uncharacteristically, being a bit panicky, although I can't avoid the tendency to look for mirror images. That initial thought then was reinforced in a sub-sequent development."

"In his offensive against Summer's book, Phillips had approached the Washington Post's editor, Ben Bradlee. Bradlee assigned an English exchange reporter, David Leigh, to look into the story. As of this wrighting, Leigh has not produced a story for the Post, but Phillips spent a lot of time with him attempting to guide him through some of the informaiton. Some of the points he made to Leigh contradict his statements to the Assassinations Committee. He told Leigh that he may very well have been in Texas, visiting his family in Fort Worth, Texas, during the period Veciana claims he saw Bishop with Oswald."

Where does this quote come from? If you send me an email with your questions I will pass it onto David Leigh?

John,

Robin, who posted the scan from the orignal article in a post above, said it comes from Fonzi's Washingtonian Magazine article.

My only question is what became of the article on the JFK assassination that Ben Bradlee received from him and killed/didn't publish?

Will that ever see the light of day?

Thanks,

BK

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