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What was in Howard Hunt's Safe?


John Simkin
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On the 26th April, 1973, The New York Daily News claimed that L. Patrick Gray had destroyed documents taken from a safe in Howard Hunt's White House office. These documents included cables fabricated by Hunt to implicate President John F. Kennedy in the 1963 assassination of President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam. Other documents were about Edward Kennedy. Gray later admitted that these documents were destroyed at his home in December, 1972.

The following day Deep Throat confirmed the story about the documents in Hunt's safe. He tells Bob Woodward that they were "political dynamite" and on 28th June, 1972, John Ehrlichman and John Dean told L. Patrick Gray that the documents should "never see the light of day".

Anybody any idea of what was in these documents that meant they had to be destroyed. I wonder if they could be related to the assassination of JFK. We now know that Hunt was blackmailing both Nixon and the CIA about something very important following his arrest for the Watergate operation. Did he have copies of those things that were in his safe? Was his wife killed because of this blackmail attempt?

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In June 1972, John Dean cracked the White House safe that Howard Hunt used and Dean cleared out Hunt's safe after the Watergate burglary was blown.

A pistol, the forged cables, the raw materials for the forged 1963 Saigon/State Department cables falsely implicating John Kennedy in the Diem assassination, and some tactical notebooks are known to have been removed from the safe by the White House counsel, John Dean.

The actual tactical content of the notebooks and any other materiel Dean declined to describe are unknown.

Dean held the papers and gave them to L. Rat Grey.

The White House safe probably held notebooks, maps and incriminating evidence from a period ten years earlier when Howard Hunt had served as chief of the CIA Western Hemisphere executive sanction division.

Nixon was later impeached by the House of Representatives for paying money to maintain Hunt's silence in US court, obstruction of justice.

Edited by Shanet Clark
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I've often wondered if within Hunt's materials there wasn't something about Hoover. The Plumbers unit was formed when Hoover stopped playing ball with Nixon. Memos by Buchanan and Liddy described how urgent it was for Nixon to have him removed. The break-in by the Committee to Investigate the FBI, in a Pennsylvania FBI office, which,amazingly has never been solved, exposed Cointelpro and other FBI shenanigans shortly thereafter. I've often wondered if this wasn't a Hunt operation. Gray would have known that his career would be over if such a thing were ever revealed. If Nixon himself didn't fire him, his closeness to Nixon would have ruined him. Perhaps Gray had provided Hunt with some info. Anyhow his knowledge of these papers insured his becoming director, but the price was he'd have to destroy them. Not sure about this but beyond something personally threatening I've wondered why Gray would have destroyed the materials. The smart move was to hold them over Nixon's head.

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Nobody on this Forum has called Pat Gray smart!

The operational files for the Plumbers are the tactical notebooks I referred to.

That would include material on the burglary and file theft at Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office. The Liddy Plans for the Democratic Convention. Gemstone, Diamond Head, Topaz and Ruby, the Liddy Plan that Mitchell, Dean and Magruder gave some hedging assent to while giving him $250,000 dollars.

So the Plumbers papers were probably there.

Gemstone and the White House connected burglary and arson files, probably some good Bebe Rebozo material, cash, some Helms material, some speed, maybe a file on the prostitution ring that John Paisley ran observation on, IDA WELLS desk keys, LARRY OBRIENS keys, a few transmitters and receivers with batteries and a bottle of Canadian Blend.

LUCKY LYNDON JUNIOR

JAY BERT PECK

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According to Bob Woodward in All the President’s Men, Deep Throat described the contents of Hunt’s safe as “political dynamite”. Haldeman uses the same phrase in his book The Ends of Power. However, would faked cables about JFK’s involvement in the Ngo Dinh Diem assassination really be political dynamite?

There were also documents about Edward Kennedy. Was that the cause of concern? Bernstein and Woodward were only able to track down only one man who was interviewed by Hunt over this issue (Cliff DeMotte) and apparently he was not in a position to provide Hunt with any useful information on Chappaquiddick.

I suspect it was the same information that was in the safe that was being used by Howard and Dorothy Hunt to blackmail Nixon. More importantly, I think they were blackmailing certain figures with links to the FBI and the CIA. The death of Dorothy Hunt brought this to an end. Howard Hunt then realized that he was dealing with a force that was far too powerful for him to cope with. It was also a warning to others who had the same information as Hunt.

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According to Bob Woodward in All the President’s Men, Deep Throat described the contents of Hunt’s safe as “political dynamite”. Haldeman uses the same phrase in his book The Ends of Power. However, would faked cables about JFK’s involvement in the Ngo Dinh Diem assassination really be political dynamite?

In a word, "yes." While Nixon had spent more than a decade re-living his defeat by JFK, whom he strongly felt had cheated him of the election, he felt he could get revenge by "correcting" the public record and painting the Catholic JFK as the murderer of a Catholic leader. This was dynamite; that the Hunt safe's contents revealed this to be made-up dynamite meant it could blow-up in Nixon's face, confirming to the American people what they'd always sensed, that the man just could not be trusted. The forged cables were in themselves enough for Nixon to want the Hunt safe's contents destroyed. But why did Gray do it, when Dean had only asked him to hold onto them? Did he ask Nixon? Or was there something more than the Hunt cables, something that implicated Gray as well?

Edited by Pat Speer
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Shanet wrote:

Nobody on this Forum has called Pat Gray smart!

Perhaps not a nice thing to say but as someone who has read several books about Watergate, I do not recall any historian or contemporary who characterized Gray as "smart". Loyal, yes; smart, no.

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Shanet wrote:

Nobody on this Forum has called Pat Gray smart!

Perhaps not a nice thing to say but as someone who has read several books about Watergate, I do not recall any historian or contemporary who characterized Gray as "smart".  Loyal, yes; smart, no.

Thanks Tim.

Members:

The argument over Hunt's safe is one of those things that indicts Dean, of course. His criminal misbehavior here is manifest, and it plays into the hands of proponents of the prostitution scenario, i.e., he sanitized the safe concerning the trick book.

Pat Gray was in an impossible position. The Attorney General 9Katzenbach was a loyal appointee recently replacing John Mitchell, and Hoover had died. The contest over Hoover's private files probably didn't go the way the top FBI aides to Hoover wanted, and Sullivan was also to die.....Gray did what he did, he destroyed evidence that came out of Howard Hunt's White House safe......Dean must have told him to do it, and that the President wanted it done, capiche?

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Pat Gray was in an impossible position. The Attorney General 9Katzenbach was a loyal appointee recently replacing John Mitchell, and Hoover had died.

Just to keep our marginal attorneys general straight, it was the other K, Kleindienst. Katzenbach was Johnson' stooge.

Good catch, Pat, I always get Kalmbach, Katzenbach and Kleindienst mixed up.

In reading Stanley Kutlers ABUSE OF POWER, it is very clear that Nixon sent Dean to Tom Pappas and a phony Cuban Committee for the hush money during the

Cancer on the Presidency" conversation.

Kalmbach and LaRue were the principle bag men for the Hush Money.

This whole thing on Arthur Bremer also sheds light on Nixon's concerns about Colson and Hunt.

It looks like Nixon had advance knowledge on COlson and Hunt's activities relative to Arthur Bremer and the pivotal GEORGE WALLACE ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT

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