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Don Bohning 1933-2015

John Simkin

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Don Bohning died a few days ago. He worked for the Miami Herald for 41 years was a CIA informant. In a document dated 14th June, 1968, revealed that Bohning received his Provisional Covert Security Approval as a CIA confidential informant on August 21, 1967, "for use as a confidential informant with natural access to information about news companies and personalities."

It seems that Bohning became part of the CIA's Operation Mockingbird programme. In her book, A Farewell to Justice (2005) Joan Mellen argues that Bohning was given the code-name AMCARBON-3. On 8th September, 2005, Larry Hancock speculated on the Education Forum that whereas Bohning was AMCARBON-3, Hal Hendrix was AMCARBON-1 and Al Burt, also a journalist at the Miami Herald, was AMCARBON-2.

While working on his book, Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, David Talbot contacted Bohning to ask him about his reported ties to the CIA. Bohning denied that he was paid for the work he did for the CIA. However, as Talbot pointed out: "The fact that Bohning was given a CIA code as an agency asset and was identified as an agency informant is a relevant piece of information that the readers" of his books and articles have a right to know.

Talbot argued that AMCARBON was the cryptonym that the CIA used to identify friendly reporters and editors who covered Cuba. Talbot found a declassified CIA memo dated 9th April, 1964 that showed that the CIA’s covert media campaign in Miami aimed “to work out a relationship with [south Florida] news media which would insure that they did not turn the publicity spotlight on those [CIA] activities in South Florida which might come to their attention...and give [the CIA’s Miami station] an outlet into the press which could be used for surfacing certain select propaganda items.”

Don Bohning later admitted: "I have obtained the document about the JMWave relationship with the Miami Herald and references to AMCARBON-2, AMCARBON-3, etc., etc. As you noted, it is very confusing but it seems quite clear to me that AMCARBON-2 was probably Al Burt, my predecessor as Latin America editor at the Miami Herald. I have no idea who might have been AMCARBON-1 or Identity, 2, etc. even what they refer to. I also have obtained documents that clearly state that I was AMCARBON-3, something I was not previously aware of."

Bohning first contacted me in 2005, about an article I had written about an interview that Gene Wheaton gave when he named CIA officer, Carl E. Jenkins and the Cuban, Rafael Quintero, as both being involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Bohning claimed that he was close to both Jenkins and Quintero and that they denied being involved in the assassination. They did admit to telling the story to Wheaton but they were only joking. Bohning attempted to persuade me to remove this information from my website. When I refused he took the news very badly and I received a series of abusive emails. I then produced a page on Bohning that revealed his CIA connections.

Bohning continued to work as a CIA asset. In an article that appeared in The Intelligencer (Volume 16 – Number 2 – Fall 2008), a journal published on behalf of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, Bohning attacked me for my work on the JFK case. Using interviews with former CIA officers, Porter Goss, Carl Jenkins and Tom Clines, he criticized me for my work on the CIA’s Operation 40. Up until about a year ago he would regularly send me an abusive email. He was clearly very upset by the outing of him as a CIA asset.


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