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The Double Man

John Simkin

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Gary Hart was elected to the Senate in 1972. In 1975 Hart became a member of Frank Church’s Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities. This committee investigated alleged abuses of power by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Intelligence.

In September, 1975, a sub-committee made up of Hart and Richard Schweiker was asked to review the performance of the intelligence agencies in the original John F. Kennedy assassination investigation. Hart and Schweiker became very concerned about what they found. On 1st May, 1976, Hart said: "I don't think you can see the things I have seen and sit on it." However, Hart was to discover that the CIA had the power to stop him publishing the information he had discovered concerning the links between the CIA and the JFK assassination.

Hart called for a new Senate Committee to look into the events surrounding the assassination of JFK. He said it was necessary to take a closer look at Lee Harvey Oswald and his relationship with the FBI and the CIA. Hart went on to state that he believed Oswald was probably operating as a double-agent. He thought this was one of the reasons why the FBI and CIA had made "a conscious decision to withhold evidence from the Warren Commission."

In 1985 Hart and William S. Cohen, another member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, published the novel Double Man. Is it possible that Hart was trying to get this information out via a novel? I decided to get a copy of the book.

The hero of Double Man is Tom Chandler. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to realize that Chandler is Hart. Chandler is a member of Frank Church’s Senate Intelligence Committee. During the investigation he becomes interested in the JFK assassination. However, he finds his investigations blocked by E. W. Trevor, the Director of the CIA. Trevor appears to be based on Richard Helms. Chandler becomes convinced that Trevor, who was involved in organizing the CIA assassination attempts against Castro, speculates that this Anti-Castro Cuban assassination team, for some reason, decided to assassinate JFK (this is of course the theme of David Atlee Phillips’s unpublished novel).

Chandler remains a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and at the beginning of the book (set at some unspecified date in the future) he is asked to investigate the deaths of several western politicians who have been assassinated. These politicians had all been advocating an end to the Cold War. Chandler speculates that these assassinations are being carried out by right-wing extremists in the USA or a renegade group within the KGB who want the Cold War to continue.

Chandler begins an affair with a young staff member of his investigating team, Elaine Dunham. She is actually a CIA covert operative working for Trevor who is doing all he can to sabotage Chandler’s investigation.

A Deep Throat character (Hart gives him the name "Memory") makes contact with Chandler. He is a Cuban who worked as a double-agent in the early 1960s. He knows who killed JFK. He does not provide names to Chandler but directs him towards the CIA’s ZR/RIFLE operation. He also puts him into contact with OJWIN. The description of OJWIN is obviously of Jean Souetre/Michel Mertz. According to OJWIN he was not involved in the assassination plots against Kennedy or Castro. However, he informs Chandler that Trevor was told by a double agent working for both the US and Cuba about the plot to kill JFK. Chandler does not know if Trevor was part of the plot or was just incompetent.

Elaine falls in love with Chandler and confesses that she is working for the CIA. She then resigns from the CIA but while travelling on a plane from Washington to Chicago to visit her sister, she is killed when a bomb explodes during the flight. Chandler speculates that the bomb had either been placed on the plane by the CIA or that it was a just "coincidence like the plane crash that killed Dorothy Hunt".

Chandler is now getting too close to discovering the truth. It turns out that Elaine was the daughter of Memory, the Deep Throat character. As a result of his daughter's death, Memory is likely to tell Chandler the full story.

The CIA leak information that one of Chandler's early business ventures was financed by the Mafia. Photos are published of Chandler with a member of the Soviet Embassy. One of the pictures shows the Russian diplomat passing an envelope to Chandler (in fact the envelope contained tickers to see a Russian ballet). Trevor uses his contacts in the KGB to kidnap Chandler and take him to the Soviet Union. Trevor denounces Chandler as a Soviet spy and this of course undermines the report he has written suggesting that the CIA were involved in the assassination of JFK and other politicians involved in bringing an end to the Cold War.

The book ends with the message that the CIA and the Military Industrial Complex are so powerful that the truth about the JFK assassination will never emerge.

The interesting thing about Hart is that after the publication of The Double Man, he attempted to become president of the United States. He claimed that once in power he would order a full investigation into the assassination of JFK.

In 1987 he emerged as the Democratic Party front-runner. However, on 3rd May, 1987, the Miami Herald published a story that suggested that Hart was having a sexual relationship with Donna Rice. Hart's wife supported him claiming that his relationship with Rice was non-sexual. Two days later the Miami Herald obtained a photograph of Hart with Rice aboard the "Monkey Business". This photograph was subsequently published in The National Enquirer. This had a devastating impact on Hart’s campaign and he was later forced to withdraw from the race. In fact, the incident brought an end to his career.

I wonder if it was the CIA who set Hart up. If so, what was the motive? Was it because they really were behind the assassination of JFK or were they just angry about what he had said about the CIA in his novel, The Double Man?

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