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Edward Bennett Williams

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In 1962 rumours began circulating that Bobby Baker was involved in corrupt activities. Although officially his only income was that of an aide to Lyndon B. Johnson, he was clearly a very rich man. Investigated by RFK it was discovered that Baker had links to Clint Murchison and several Mafia bosses. Evidence also emerged that Baker was also involved in political corruption. This included the award of a $7 billion contract for a fighter plane, the TFX, to General Dynamics, a company based in Texas. On 7th October, 1963, Baker was forced to leave his job. Soon afterwards, Fred Korth, the Navy Secretary, was also forced to resign because of the TFX contract. He was replaced by John Connally.


John, It's probably just a typo, but Korth had been Connally's replacement.

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John, It's probably just a typo, but Korth had been Connally's replacement.

Sorry, silly mistake. Korth was replaced by Paul H. Nitze (29 Nov 1963 - 30 Jun 1967). Nitze was a member of the Georgetown Crowd that included Frank Wisner, Philip Graham, Richard Bissell, Desmond FitzGerald, Joseph Alsop, Tracy Barnes, Katharine Graham, David Bruce, Clark Clifford, Walt Rostow, Eugene Rostow, Chip Bohlen, Edward Bennett Williams, Cord Meyer and Mary Pinchot Meyer.

Nitze had worked for C. Douglas Dillon and Jim Forrestal at Dillon, Read & Company.

In 1967 Nitze became Deputy Secretary of Defense. In 1969 President Richard Nixon appointed Nitze as a member of the US delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). Nitze also served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for international affairs (1973–76). Nitze constantly feared the possibility of Soviet rearmament and in 1979 opposed the ratification of SALT II. As a result President Jimmy Carter was forced to withdraw the Salt Treaty.

In 1981 President Ronald Reagan appointed him as chief negotiator of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. In 1984 he was named special adviser to the President and Secretary of State on Arms Control.

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Didn't Nitze die recently (if memory serves me)?

Paul Nitze died on 19th October, 2004.

The interesting thing about the Georgetown Crowd is that it included Edward Bennett Williams. This group is written about in some detail by Evan Thomas in The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA. However, he does not mention Williams in the book. That is strange because Thomas had written a book about Williams (The Man To See) a few years earlier. Williams involvement in the Georgetown Crowd is confirmed in Katharine Graham's book, Personal History. Why does Thomas not mention Williams in The Very Best Men? I believe that Thomas got the idea for The Very Best Men while researching The Man To See. Thomas admits that the CIA cooperated in the writing of his book on the early days of the CIA. As is usually the case, it is what is left out that provides the best clues.

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Like a famous Englishman once said, the important clue was the dog that did not bark.

Interesting point John.

Thomas is a great writer who has been on the scene for years.

If I recall right JFK sponsored Thomas for membership in an exclusive Manhattan social club, the name of which escapes me!

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John, I never knew he was Norman Thomas' grandson.  Very interesting.  As you probably know he still regularly writes cover stories for Newsweek, on a variety of subjects.

I am currently doing some research on Cord Meyer. In August, 1953, Joseph McCarthy accused Meyer of being a communist. The FBI added to the smear by announcing it was unwilling to give Meyer "security clearance". However, the FBI refused to explain what evidence they had against Meyer. Allen W. Dulles and Frank Wisner both came to his defence and refused to permit a FBI interrogation of Meyer.

The FBI eventually revealed the charges against Meyer. Apparently he was a member of several liberal groups considered to be subversive by the Justice Department. This included being a member of the National Council on the Arts, where he associated with Norman Thomas, the leader of the Socialist Party and its presidential candidate in 1948. Meyer was eventually cleared of these charges and was allowed to keep his job.

Evan Thomas tells this story in The Very Best Men. However, he does not name his grandfather as being the man named by the FBI as Meyer's subversive contact.

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Guest Stephen Turner


After Mary Pinchot Meyer's death,(unsolved to this day.) Didnt her sister claim that Angleton tried to break into her home, and take Mary's diary?

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In her critical biography of Katharine Graham, Davis did not actually suggest that Philip had been murdered but has said in interviews that "there's some speculation that either (Katharine) arranged for him to be killed or somebody said to her, 'don't worry, we'll take care of it' " and that "there's some speculation that it might have even been Edward Bennett Williams."

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  • 5 months later...

In 1951, while still an FBI agent, I fired off letters to members of Congress seeking an investigation of the Hoover regime on grounds it ignored organized crime while pursuing a moribund Communist Party with a vengeance. As I planned, Hoover, who could not abide criticism, fired me. I hopped on a plane to Washington with a short list of attorneys I would try to get to represent me. At the top of the list was Ed Williams, famous for his defense of Jimmy Hoffa and Senator McCarthy. I figured that if he took on clients as controversial as that, he wouldn't be intimidated by the FBI . He took my case. He warned me that we could not prevail in a Civil Service hearing, which turned out to be the case (when I got my FBI file under FOIA, it was revealed that the hearing was rigged}. In the appellate court Ed argued that a government employee who communicated to Congress the manner if which a public agency discharged its public trust was constitutionally protected. By a four to three margin the Supreme Court turned us down. Ed handled my case pro bono on the theory that the FBI's discharge of its duties needed a thorough venting. While the case was still under appeal, Ed offered to hire me as his investigator, but I didn't want to leave San Francisco. He then suggested that I apply for a job with his friend from college days, Robert Maheau, but I was leery of him.

I greatly admired Ed for his willingness to take on the powerful. When I signed on with Warren Hinckle at Ramparts, I asked him for help in a libel matter involving our CIA exposures. He obliged without pay.

I believe my last contact with Ed was circa 1974 when I asked his assistance in getting an interview with his then late partner, Joe Califano. I knew he represented the Democratic National Committee in Watergate, but never heard that he sent messages to Nixon to burn the tapes. When Ford took over he asked Ed to head the CIA but Ed turned the post down, although he was on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (George H. W. Bush was then appointed). In his later years Ed swung to the right, becoming quite friendly with Reagan. He also represented Mark Felt and Ed Miller on the burglary conviction appeal.

The Ed Williams I knew was an incorruptible champion of the principle that even the most controversial defendants deserved a competent defense. He was the most impressive courtroom figure I have ever seen.

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Namebase entry for Edward Bennett Williams:


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  • 6 years later...

"He then suggested that I apply for a job with his friend from college days, Robert Maheau, but I was leery of him. "


EBW BETWEEN the 1954ish troika of Nixon, Hoffa and Maheau on the one hand, and RFK on the other. Then immediately after the RFK assassination gets all of RFK's little helpers working for his new outfit and Intertel. In between he refuses his former client, Jimmy Hoffa, when Hoffa appealed to Williams to use some highly volatile dirt on RFK, if we are to believe Jim Hougan in his book Spooks.

EBW BETWEEN 1954ish Phillip Graham, Frank Wisner and a young Ben Bradlee working for Wisner in manipulating the West European press for the CIA and Katherine Graham, later making it easier for Katherine to win by selling out his dead client.

EBW BETWEEN Washington Post and The DNC in Watergate?

EBW BETWEEN Bobby Baker and Johnson just when something needed to be between em.


EBW would seem to be good at turning the double play. Was he a middle infielder in addition to being on the Holy Cross Debating Team with Robert Maheau? Somehow he seems at the center of all the key developments in the rightward turn of the Democratic Party.

Edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer
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