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Hunt, Colson and the fabricated Diem cables

Douglas Caddy

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On November 28, 2008, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration released a document that had been requested in connection with a book that I am writing on Watergate. This is only one of several hundred documents provided by the National Archives and my posting to the Forum at this time is concerned with only one investigation conducted by the Plumbers Task Force of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, U. S. Department of Justice. Below is the pertinent excerpt from the document:


June 27, 1975

To: The Files

From: Nick A----. (last name is obscured by overlapping initials “NA”)

Set forth below are my summaries of six relative minor investigations conducted by the Plumbers Task Force. None of these investigations were very extensive but they should be referenced in a miscellaneous category to indicate that this office looked into the allegations involved. To the extent possible, I have listed them chronologically.

Diem Cables

An investigation was conducted in July and August, 1973, into the allegations that State Department cables had been fabricated by E. Howard Hunt to implicate the Kennedy Administration in the assassination of Vietnamese Premier Diem. [FOIA (B)(3) – Rule 6(e). Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Grand Jury.] On July 23, 1973, I interviewed William Lambert, the Life reporter, whom Hunt had approached with the cables to attempt to entice Life to print an expose of the Kennedy Administration’s involvement in the Diem assassination. Hunt and Colson were interviewed on August 7, 1973, and August 15, 1973, respectively. Colson denied he had instructed Hunt to fabricate the cables, but after his plea in the Fielding case Colson related to Bill Merrill a different version of this incident which was not recorded. Charges were not brought forth simply because it was concluded that no crime had been made out by these activities.

Edited by Douglas Caddy
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  • 2 months later...

Thanks very much.

Do you have a pointed reason (that you can share) for posting just this portion of just this document?

Eg, is Colson's denial of awareness of the project the "news" here?

The memo doesn't say anything of the content of NA's interview with Hunt. Presumuably Hunt said yeah, I did that, working under Colson?

If one imagines Colson was not lying here (dubious I guess), then, given Hunt's likely involvement in JFK's murder, perhaps one imagines Hunt was freelancing within the White House: doing JFK Damage Control at the nth-level, where the Bad Guys assume some day the JFK truth will out and the aim is to prepare the People so that they don't care much. IE in this instance -- "Yeah, so somebody in the system offed him, but he offed Diem and wanted to off Castro and, christ, he was a womanizer." ??

Any notion of when your book may be published? Good luck.

Edited by William Ney
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Given Nixon's early (Jan 1969, and later (June 1973???????? not certain but was this brought up again in "Smoking Gun" tape???) to wrest the "Bay of Pigs File" from Helms and Ubiquitous Vern--friends called him "youvee" --Walters, the allegations about doctoring of Diem Docs. are among the loosest of Watergate ends, even in a very tough field.

Was the CIA using the rumer that a clique insided the Nixon White House was responsible for document forgeries in order to muddy the waters --years later, when people began to investigate-- about THIER OWN disinformation re: JFK in Vietnam. Note that this division could have a disinformation--split the opposition narrative type value, even if there were never any document forgeries to begin with.

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer
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