Rights Pioneer's Obit Prompts Disputes Over JFK Murder Half-Truths

The Washington Post's obituary last week of a pioneering African-American lawyer continued the newspaper's controversial coverage of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the 1964 murder of JFK's friend and lover Mary Pinchot Meyer.

dovey roundtreeOn May 21, the Post published a long and respectful obituary, Dovey Johnson Roundtree, 1914–2018, about an African-American woman by that name (shown at right) who overcame racial bias to carve out impressive careers in the military, law, and ministry in a Washington, DC work environment that was heavily segregated for most of her career.

One of Roundtree's early highlights was winning a 1965 jury acquittal for Raymond Crump, Jr., an African-American day laborer whom authorities had charged with murdering Meyer on a canal towpath near her home in the capital's fashionable Georgetown neighborhood.

Obituary writer Harrison Smith reported on Roundtree's civic commitment and skill in winning the acquittal. The reporter also quoted two commentators — journalist / author Nina Burleigh and attorney Robert Bennett — as opining that Crump was guilty, despite the jury verdict.

Several JFK assassination researchers, including this editor and another Meyer biographer, Peter Janney, sharply challenged via reader comments and letters to the Post its taint of Crump (and by implication Roundtree).

paul kuntzler georgetown dish croppedAnother critic, Paul Kuntzler, used the dispute to urge the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to renew the murder investigation by focusing on a witness against Crump, retired professor William L. Mitchell, whom Janney has accused of being a CIA asset who participated in an effort to frame Crump on a claim that he murdered Meyer during an attempted rape that she resisted. Mitchell has responded through the years with conflicting statements, as amplified below.

In 2007, Kuntzler (a retired exhibit sales manager for the National Science Teachers Association shown at right) spent his life savings of nearly $200,000 on two pages of advertising in the New York Times denouncing that newspaper, the Washington Post and other major news organizations for failing to cover fairly the JFK murder and cover-up evidence.

peter janney coverAs a preview of our treatment below:

Janney, the son of high-ranking CIA executive Wistar Janney, has argued in his investigative book Mary's Mosaic: The CiA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and their Vision for World Peace, that his father and Meyer's ex-husband Cord Meyer, another high-level CIA executive, were among those in the agency implicated in her murder on (Oct. 12, 1964). Her shooter used two bullets to kill her execution-style on a canal towpath.

Janney, drawing also on other research typically ignored by the media, asserts that murder motive was fear by authorities that the well-connected Meyer — sister-in-law to Post-Newsweek rising star Ben Bradlee, among her other influential contacts — would use her connections to expose flaws in the Warren Commission report issued in September 1964.

earl warrenThat panel led by Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren assertedthat JFK was murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone. The commission, which included former CIA Director Allen Dulles, also claimed that Oswald's killer Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner, had no connection to the mob despite Ruby's longtime work with Mafia leaders who had sub-rosa alliances with parts of the CIA, law enforcement at the national and Dallas levels, and anti-Castro Cubans.   

The Roundtree obituary failed to quote Janney or any other backer of Roundtree's defense of Crump. Instead, it cited only the establishment lawyer Bennett and Burleigh, shown in a file photo and author of 1998 biography of Meyer, A Very Private Woman.

nine burleigh newsweek screenshotThe reaction to those few paragraphs in the obituary criticizing the jury acquittal of Crump prompted reaction mostly because the perceived slant paralleled the Post's biased and at times self-protective coverage for decades of JFK's assassination, which occurred during a Dallas motorcade on Nov. 22, 1963.

As documented in the Justice Integrity Project's 50-part "Readers Guide to the JFK Assassination," the Post has thrown its editorial weight behind the Warren Report from 1964 to present. The newspaper with rare exceptions has ignored or trivialized the most compelling contrary scientific, documentary and witness evidence. That evidence draws on some five million pages of declassified documents and more than 2,500 books in whole or part about the assassination. Many critics of the Warren Commission believe the single best book for general readers summarizing the evidence is JFK and the Unspeakable by James Douglass, published in 2009.

Ben Bradlee, moreover, played a key role in the Post's coverage through the years, first as the Washington bureau chief of the Post-owned Newsweek and then as the Post's longtime executive editor.

peter janney jfk mary meyerHe was also a key participant in the Meyer case in several ways: As a news executive, brother-in-law to the victim, personal friend of the president, and witness in the Crump trial. Perhaps most notably, he helped deliver the murder victim Meyer's diary to CIA master spy James J. Angleton, a mutual friend of Bradlee and the victim, and kept that entire matter secret at the trial and out of the media.

Not until a scoop by an outsider in 1976 did the reading public learn that Meyer had had an affair with Kennedy during his presidency. Mary Meyer is shown at the White House with the president during one of her visits with Bradlee and his wife Antoinette Pinchot Bradlee.

'Fake News' Factors?

Meanwhile, Bradlee had been achieving iconic status as a fearless, crusading editor leading the public's right to know about such tough investigative stories as the Pentagon Papers (recently chronicled by a Hollywood film) and Watergate. One of his quotations is shown below.

ben bradlee pursuit of truthSimmering under the surface, however, public opinion polls for decades have shown that more than 60 percent of Americans do not believe the Warren report despite the efforts of mainstream media like the Bradlee-led Post to reinforce the report and downplay critics, whether contemporaries like Meyer (ex-wife of Cord Meyer, one of the top CIA propagandists for many years), or scientific, law enforcement, and other experts.

Many Americans suspect that the Post, like other news organizations, places a higher importance in protecting its institutional interests (including relationships with government and/or other power brokers) than on the public's right to know about truly sensitive matters. This would be despite the long-standing campaigns of the news sector  to promote Bradlee, among others, as paragons of fearless truth-telling.

Robert F Kennedy Jr (2017 portrait by Gage Skidmore)Yet any news organization is constantly generating new material that complicate, if not undermine, suggestions of unwarranted, pervasive self-censorship. On May 27, for example, the Post published a breakthrough, in-depth report quoting law professor and environment activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (shown at right) as saying he no longer believes the official story that his father was killed in 1968 by the still-imprisoned convict Sirhan Sirhan.

The powerful front-page story headlined Who killed Bobby Kennedy? His son RFK Jr. doesn’t believe it was Sirhan Sirhan was reported by the Post's Tom Jackman. On March 30, he published on the Post's front page a similar breakthrough report, Who killed Martin Luther King Jr.? His family believes James Earl Ray was framed, quoting members of the King family as stating they did not believe that Dr. Martin Luther King was fatally shot by the convict James Earl Ray, who died in 1998 in prison.

Reasonable observers might differ on whether the Post's two front-page stories this spring illustrate the strength of the free press and journalistic initiative, or are long overdue course corrections.

But it's hard to imagine that the details are not worth reviewing, as we enable with the materials below, especially during current times when a current president is so reckless broadcasting claims of "fake news" against the Post and many other leading news organizations.

Dovey Roundtree's Life and Legacy

dovey roundtree full portrait family photoDovey Johnson Roundtree, a Washington criminal defense lawyer and courtroom warrior for civil rights who played a critical early role in the desegregation of interstate bus travel and mentored several generations of black lawyers, died May 21 at an assisted-living facility in Charlotte. She was 104.

That was the way the Washington Post's long obituary began on May 21. Reporter Harrison Smith's treatment began on the newspaper's front page and extended to a half-page runover.

The New York Times also began its obituary on the newspaper's front page. Its runover took nearly an entire inside page in recounting Roundtree's remarkable life growing up under segregation and overcoming obstacles to succeed in the military, law and then as an ordained minister. The Times obituary, authored by Margalit Fox and headlined, Dovey Johnson Roundtree, Barrier-Breaking Lawyer, Dies at 104, was illustrated by the photo shown above at right, with this caption:

The New York Times: Dovey Johnson Roundtree is shown outside the United States District Court in Washington, about 1985. “As a woman, and as a woman of color in an age when black lawyers had to leave the courthouse to use the bathrooms, she dared to practice before the bar of justice and was unflinching,” the co-author of her memoir said.

The Times, like the Post, focused heavily on Roundtree's successful defense of Raymond Crump from a charge of murdering Mary Meyer, who was killed by two shots (some say fired "execution style") during her daily walk on the tow-path of the Chesapeake and Ohio canal in Georgetown.

Both treatments showed how Roundtree's defense of Crump typified her skill and civic spirit, as well as the larger theme of her dedication to helping the oppressed after overcoming her own struggles in the Deep South and in the nation's capital. Only the Post, not the Times, undercut the jury verdict by quoting skeptics argued that Crump really committed the murder.

The Victim, Mary Pinchot Meyer

mary pinchot 1942The trial came during a mid-1960s era when blacks were just beginning to emerge professionally from a still-nearly-segregated national capital. The case focused on the shooting death in 1964 of a well-connected and well-liked artist, Mary Meyer (shown in 1942), a former news reporter and the ex-wife of the prominent CIA executive Cord Meyer.

Descended from a wealthy political family, she became a published poet in The New Yorker while still in college at Vassar. Later, she worked as reporter for United Press International during World War II and then at times for the North American News Alliance and then as an editor with the Atlantic Magazine.

cord meyer mary pinchot meyer war eraIn 1945, she married peace activist and decorated World War II hero Cord Meyer, shown with her in a file photo. The Yale-educated Meyer, descended from a wealthy family involved in the Cuban sugar trade, had been almost killed during in action in Guam. His twin brother Quentin died at Okinawa. .

Cord Meyer went on to become a best-selling author, an advocate for peace as leader of the World Federalist Society and a magazine selectee (along with JFK) as one of America's future leaders to emerge from the war.

The Central Intelligence Agency recruited his services in 1951 when the agency's visionary deputy Allen Dulles was ramping up the agency's capabilities before assuming command two years later as the director.

allen dulles HRDulles (shown at right), like his brother, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, had long shuttled between posts at Wall Street's leading law firm Sullivan & Cromwell (helping powerful corporations) and top federal government posts in intelligence and foreign affairs.

Meyer soon became one of the agency's leaders in working in covert operations.

In 1954, Meyer became head of the fast-growing agency's International Organizations Division, with a specialty of implementing Cold War-era propaganda and planting CIA-assets undercover into leadership posts in such entities as political parties, labor unions, academia and the media.

philip graham phoneLater, Meyer's work would expand into the ultra-secret work succeeding his former CIA supervisor Frank Wisner in running Operation Mockingbird. The CIA worked closely with Washington Post Publisher Philip Graham (shown at right) and leaders of nearly two dozen other American news organizations in efforts that needed to be kept secret because the CIA's 1947 congressional charter seemingly barred the agency from operations in the United States, except arguably through loopholes that no one wanted to debate in public.

Meanwhile, the Meyers lived in the early 1950s in the DC suburb of McLean, VA several hundred yards adjacent to Hickory Hill, home to Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy (the latter a well-born former newspaper photograph and friend of Mary Meyer). The Meyers just across Chain Bridge on University Terrace NW in D.C., near also what would become the new CIA headquarters at Langley, VA.

The online encyclopedia Spartacus Educational describes their remarkable social circle this way in an entry about James Truitt, wife of artist Anne Truitt. James Truitt was a journalist who would become personal assistant to Washington Post Publisher Philip Graham. Truitt later unmasked the JFK/Mary Meyer romantic relationship in 1976:

james angeltonDuring this period the Truitts became friends with a group of people living in Georgetown. This included Mary Pinchot Meyer, Cord Meyer, Frank Wisner, George Kennan, Dean Acheson, Thomas Braden, Richard Bissell, Desmond FitzGerald, [CIA counter-intelligence Chief] James Jesus Angleton {shown at right], Cicely Angleton, Wistar Janney, Joseph Alsop, Tracy Barnes, Philip Graham, Katharine Graham, David Bruce, Ben Bradlee, Antoinette Pinchot Bradlee, Clark Clifford, Walt Rostow, Eugene Rostow, Chip Bohlen and Paul Nitze.

They were mainly journalists, CIA officers and government officials. Nina Burleigh has pointed out: "The younger families -- the Meyers, Janneys, Truitts, Pittmans, Lanahans, and Angletons -- spent a great deal of leisure time together. There were evening get-togethers, and sometimes the families took weekend camping trips to nearby beaches or mountains when husbands could get away....

On Saturday mornings in the fall, the adults got together and played touch football in a park north of Georgetown while their children biked around the sidelines, then all retired to someone's house for lunch and drinks... The Janneys had a pool, and on hot summer nights the parties were aloud, drunken affairs, filled with laughter, dancing, and the sound of breaking glass and people being pushed into the pool."

Young Peter Janney was best friends with the Meyers' son Michael before the latter's death from being run over by a car outside the family home. Peter Janney greatly admired his friend's mother, Mary Meyer.

She grew distant from her husband Cord and the former peace activist's work colleagues. She divorced him in 1956 and moved to Georgetown. Her circle of friends there continued to include her sister, Antoinette Pinchot Bradlee, who was married to Ben Bradlee, the Washington bureau chief of the Post-owned Newsweek Magazine. 

In the early 1960s, Mary Meyer continued her friendship with the Kennedys following their move to the White House. She sometimes accompanied to the White House her sister and brother-in-law Bradlee, a Massachusetts-reared close friend of the president. Sometimes she met alone with the president, as Burleigh would later report based on White House time records.

Murder On The Towpath

We outline the basics of Meyer's murder by drawing on a five-star review of Janney's book in 2012 by Jacob G. Hornberger, president of the Future of Freedom Foundation libertarian think tank.

jacob hornberger headshotHornberger, shown at left, is also an author, attorney and the editor / publisher of, among other books, a five-volume book series Inside the Assassinations Record Review Board: The U.S. Government's Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical Evidence In the Assassination of JFK. The series author is Douglas P. Horne, the former chief military analyst of the presidentially appointed ARRB). That body was appointed by Congress under the 1992 "JFK Act" to determine in the 1990s which JFK assassination records should be declassified.

Hornberger's review of the first edition of Mary's Mosaic summarized the murder as follows:

Just past noon on the day of the murder, Mary Meyer was on her daily walk on the C&O Canal Trail near the Key Bridge in Washington, D.C. Someone grabbed her and shot a .38-caliber bullet into the left side of her head. Meyer continued struggling despite the almost certainly fatal wound, so the murderer shot her again, this time downward through her right shoulder. The second bullet struck directly into her heart, killing her instantly.

A 21-year-old black man named Raymond Crump Jr., who lived in one of the poorest sections of D.C., was arrested near the site of the crime and charged with the murder. Crump denied committing the crime.

There were two eyewitnesses. One witness, Henry Wiggins Jr., said that he saw a black man standing over the body wearing a beige jacket, a dark cap, dark pants, and dark shoes, and then he identified Crump as the man he had seen. Another witness, William L. Mitchell, said that prior to the murder, he had been jogging on the trail when he saw a black man dressed in the same manner following Meyer a short time before she was killed.

raymond crump at dc police hq 1964When Crump was arrested, he was wearing dark pants and dark shoes [as shown in the adjoining file photo taken during police processing]. Police later found his beige jacket and dark cap in the water near the trail.

It certainly did not look good for Ray Crump, as he himself said to the police. Nonetheless, he steadfastly denied having anything to do with the murder.

Crump's family retained one of D.C.'s most renowned and respected attorneys, an African American woman named Dovey Johnson Roundtree, who was around 50 years old at the time. (See Justice Older than the Law: The Life of Dovey Johnson Roundtree, an autobiography co-authored by Katie McCabe.) Roundtree met with Crump and became absolutely convinced of his innocence. She agreed to take the case for a fee of one dollar.

When the case came to trial, the prosecution, which was led by one of the Justice Department's top prosecutors, called 27 witnesses and introduced more than 50 exhibits. Dovey Roundtree presented 3 character witnesses and then rested her case, without calling Ray Crump to the stand.

The jury returned a verdict of not guilty.

peter janneyAs Janney [shown in a file photo] documents slowly and meticulously, the case against Ray Crump had all the makings of a good frame, but not a perfect one.

For example, the two eyewitnesses had stated that the black man they saw was about 5 inches taller than Ray Crump and about 40 pounds heavier. Moreover, there wasn't a drop of blood on Ray Crump's clothing. Furthermore, there wasn't a bit of Crump's hair, blood, or bodily fluids on the clothing or body of Mary Meyer. Despite an extensive search of the area, including a draining of the nearby canal and a search of the Potomac, the police never found a gun.

After 35 years of researching and investigating the case, Janney pins the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer on the Central Intelligence Agency. What would cia logohave been the CIA's motive? To silence an independent-minded woman who apparently did not accept the official lone-nut explanation for the assassination of John F. Kennedy — and who had apparently concluded instead that Kennedy was the victim of a high-level conspiracy involving officials of the CIA.

Possible Motives

james douglass unspeakable coverWith that context, Hornberger cites James Douglass (author in 2009 of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters) to endorse Janney's theme. Like Janney and Douglass, Hornberger argues that Kennedy's opponents organized the president's assassination (using such operational experts as CIA-trained killers and propaganda experts) because of their opposition to the president's foreign policies.

Without trying to recap all of the possible motives and players, it's useful to recall that Kennedy had forced out from the CIA in 1961 Dulles and his two top deputies because of the president's anger over the agency's role in trying to manipulate him into ordering a U.S. invasion to oust Fidel Castro from power in Cuba.

Kennedy also ousted Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer from the Pentagon after the joint chiefs advocated a 1962 Operation Northwoods program whereby the U.S. government would create false flag attacks. According to declassified documents, this "operation" that JFK forbade would have included airplane hijackings and Miami riots whereby deaths of U.S. citizens could be blamed on Communists and thereby justify an invasion of Cuba.

Some scholars argue also that Kennedy was taking steps in 1963 to end  the Vietnam War and remove Vice President Lyndon Johnson from the 1964 Democratic ticket.

Saint John Hunt, son of longtime CIA operatives E. Howard Hunt and Dorothy Hunt, wrote in his 2012 memoir Bond of Secrecy that his father wrote him a chart (reproduced in the book) claiming that Cord Meyer, late the No. 3 executive at the CIA, had been a top operational planner for the CIA in the JFK assassination.

cord meyerMeyer (shown at left in his later years) succeeded Frank Wisner in running Operation Mockingbird. This was to coordinate with leading U.S. newspaper, broadcasters and magazine publishers the handling of sensitive news in a CIA-friendly manner and on a need-to-know basis that informed only owners and CIA-friendly personnel and excluded nearly all other journalists at the news outlets involved.

Meyer then moved on to become a syndicated newspaper columnist whose memoir Facing Reality was published by Harper & Row in 1980 to wide praise..

Some of this history JFK assassination has been systematically suppressed by authorities. Presumably the most important parts were never committed to writing. No one writes down assassination plans, after all.  Other parts with important clues have been destroyed or embargoed for so-called "national security" reasons.

This spring President Trump bent to institutional pressures, primarily from the CIA pressure, and reneged this spring on his legal obligation under the 1992 "JFK Act" to release all remaining document by this spring or else state specifically why each remaining document must remain suppressed for a national security reason,

Continuing Controversy

More specifically relevant to our column today, Hornberger's review targets a key witness against Trump, William L. Mitchell, the "jogger" who supposedly just happened to see the crime scene, as well as the author Burleigh, and various other media figures, including Bradlee, and the CIA's Angleton. 

The specifics can be read at length in Hornberger's book review posted in 2012 on Amazon.com. The gist is that Hornberger's review concurs with Janney's argument that Mitchell, ostensibly a Pentagon employee who was jogging at the crime scene when he witnessed the suspect Crump, does not appear to have been who he says he was. Mitchell then seemingly disappeared for many years after the trial before surfacing under a slightly different name as an engineering professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

Janney's updated, 548-page 2016 edition, achieved with the help of Peabody Award-winning investigative reporter, author and retired Marine Lt. Col. Roger Charles, alleges that their investigation of Mitchell's military and educational records shows that he was actually a CIA recruit operating under military cover at the time of the murder. At a dinner lecture a year ago at the National Press Club that I attended, Charles, clearly an accomplished researcher into military records, provided details of his extensive research into Mitchell's past, including what Charles identified as irregular assignments congruent with what Charles described as a covert status.

Mitchell submitted to a legal deposition in January 2014 for the then-upcoming 3rd edition of Mary's Mosaic. The responses are complex and probably unnecessary to summarize here within the scope of this article except that Mitchell denied wrongdoing.

Hornberger's challenge of Burleigh's credibility, however, is directly relevant to the issue of whether she was credible as an independent authority on Crump's potential guilt, especially since the Post did not publish any independent experts with a differing view.

Hornberger's review questioned why Burleigh never mentioned Mitchell by name in her book, and instead repeatedly called him "the jogger," even though she did identify name the other witness, Wiggins, 

Hornberger's suggestion is that Burleigh, while advancing her career in publishing circles that have always been strongly supportive of the Warren Report, somehow knew better knew better than to probe Mitchell's suspected CIA connections and motives but instead felt free to smear Crump and Mary Meyer. Little such deference was accorded to the murder victim. Burleigh and her publishers described Meyer in the book title and promos as JFK's "mistress." And Burleigh's reporting emphasized gossipy innuendo about Meyer's purported romantic life and possible interest in psychedelic drugs promoted by Harvard's Dr. Timothy Leary than her concerns about world-shaking foreign policy issues during that era.

thomas tommy the cork corcoranBurleigh's shifting standards of privacy were paralleled by the presiding judge at the Crump trial, Superior Court Judge Howard Corcoran, brother of famed Wall Street and New Deal fixer Thomas "Tommy the Cork" Corcoran. The trial judge Howard Corcoran forbade mention in court of either Mary or Cord Meyer's past, thus putting the defense at an enormous disadvantage, encyclopedist John Simkin wrote.

The judge's brother (shown in a file photo), has been described as Washington's first "modern lobbyist." Clients of "Tommy the Cork'" included the United Fruit Co.(which was highly active in CIA operations in the Caribbean and the overthrow of Guatemala's government in 1954), Asian insurance magnate and former Office of Strategic Services vet Cornelius Van Der Starr, and Civil Air Transport (later known as Air America), a CIA contractor heavily involved in the Bay of Pigs and Asian weapons smuggling, according to historian Peter Dale Scott in his 2003 book Drugs, Oil and War: The United States In Afghanistan, Columbia and Indochina.   

Hornberger continued this way regarding revelations made by Janney regarding the CIA and Bradlee:

The second especially disturbing part of Janney's book relates to Mary Pinchot Meyer's diary.

On either the night of Meyer's murder or the following morning, the CIA's counterintelligence chief, James Jesus Angleton, burglarized Meyer's home and art studio and stole her personal diary, which very likely contained detailed descriptions about her affair with President Kennedy. It also might have contained her suspicions that Kennedy had been the victim of a high-level assassination plot orchestrated by the CIA. Angleton took the diary with the aim of destroying it, but it's still not certain what exactly he did with it.....

Angleton also arguably committed obstruction of justice by failing to turn Mary Meyer's diary over to the police, the prosecutor, and the defense in Ray Crump's case. After all, even if the diary didn't point in the direction of the CIA as having orchestrated the assassination of John Kennedy, at the very least it had to have described the sexual affair between Meyer and the president. The police and the defense were both entitled to that information, if for no other reason than to investigate whether Meyer had been killed by someone who didn't want the affair to be disclosed to the public. The fact that Angleton failed to disclose the diary's existence to the judge, the prosecutor, and the defendant in a criminal proceeding in which a man was being prosecuted for a death-penalty offense speaks volumes.

Bradlee, needless to say, was also complicit in any obstruction of justice or other cover-up, including keeping relevant information out of the Washington Post for many years while basking in nationwide adulation as a truth-telling hero of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate stories. One of his iconic quotations is shown below in a graphic:

ben bradlee quotation

National Enquirer Revelations

A 1976 National Enquirer story by Meyer's friend James Truitt, the former Post vice president and assistant to the publisher, revealed that Meyer and Kennedy had undertaken a passionate affair in the early 1960s.

Bradlee, by then the well-established executive editor of the Post, and his allies at first fought the revelations, which were gradually confirmed through the years by various book and news accounts, including for the most part by Bradlee himself in his 1995 memoir, A Good Life.

John Simkin (shown at right), the founder of the online encyclopedia Spartacus Educational about sensitive historical topics, has pulled together this history in a long article, Ben Bradlee and the death of Mary Pinchot Meyer, which is excerpted at length in an appendix below. The encyclopedia entry is also a source for several other points in this column, including the decision of Crump's trial judge Howard Corcoran to ban discussion of the CIA from the trial.

john simkin

Various magazine writers and authors, including Burleigh, tackled the Meyer murder story also through the years. Currently, Burleigh is national political correspondent for Newsweek (which is no longer owned by the Post). Also, she is the author of five books in total and is an adjunct professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism. I reached out to her for comment via her website and publisher.

But a cold case murder is difficult enough for most writers to solve without the power of subpoena and with the major players long dead. This one has been is particularly difficult because so many powerful entities -- including the U.S. Justice Department, the CIA and Washington Post -- have shown so little interest in pursuing leads beyond those suggesting Crump's guilt.

Janney, however, holds a doctorate in psychology and has an independent career as a psychotherapist. He has more independence than most writers to probe the death of Meyer, whom he remembered fondly and who had been a college classmate of Janney's mother at Vassar.

Current Controversy

Shortly after the Post published the Roundtree obituary on May 21, I wrote a long reader comment dissing the newspaper for not including balance to the Burleigh and Barnett comments undercutting the Crump acquittal.

After acquittal in the Meyer case authorities later convicted Crump on arson and rape charges in separate cases, as Nina Burleigh reported in a Daily Beast review of Janney's book. Her column, The Mysterious Murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer — Revisited, in 2012 reaffirmed her view of Crump's guilt while floating openness to the increasing evidence that the CIA had been involved in JFK's assassination. Even so, a fundamental legal principal is that defendants be convicted on the basis of relevant evidence, not bad acts before or afterwards. 

Several other readers left comments, criticizing the Post's treatment. Peter Janney also wrote what he calls a critical letter but says it was rejected for unknown own reasons. JFK Assassination researcher, who once used his life saving to buy a full-page ad in the New York Times criticizing the Washington Post for its unfair, Pro-Warren Commission reporting through the years, copied me and 50 others on an email complaint to the obituary writer Harrison Smith.

Kuntzler lives on modest means in retirement. He uses a bicycle instead of a car for transport, for example, and in 2017 this reporter learned from Kuntzler that he had gone six months without a usable computer ebcause he needed to sae from his Society Security the costs of a repair. But Kuntzler says that he has no regrets about spending in 2007 his nearly $200,000 in savings from 32 years work with the teachers association for the New York Times ad about JFK — except that Kuntzler wishes he could have known in 2007 to include the powerful revelations that have become apparent in recent years that further  document the case for what he calls official complicity in the JFK and Meyer murders and cover-ups.

I wrote Smith asking for comment on Kuntzler's points before publishing this column. Smith responded the same day, writing that he was traveling in Europe but was surprised that the obituary would generate criticism for its relatively brief segments questioning the Crump verdict in the Meyer murder.

It's somewhat of a gray area among journalists whether to quote each other on the record, but in this case it seems appropriate to provide his response, particularly since he knew I was reporter seeking a statement..

"Hi Andrew, nice to hear from you," Smith began. "I’m afraid I’m abroad at the moment, writing from Norway."

"In brief," Smith continued, "sorry you and Paul [Kuntzler, the Post's longtime critic on JFK issues] both felt the story was one-sided in its description of the Crumb case. The piece did discuss much of Ms. Roundtree’s work in arguing for Crumb’s innocence, including her “call[ing] large swaths of circumstantial evidence into question — noting in particular that Crump was about five inches and 50 pounds smaller than the man whom witnesses described and that a murder weapon had never been found."

Smith continued:

I do think it was necessary to reference the doubt that so many legal commentators have cast on the case’s verdict — though I certainly don’t mean for the story to suggest that Crumb was guilty. For reference, the line about damning testimony referred to its seeming damning in the moment; stories about the case from that era suggested that Crumb was almost certainly guilty, based on early witnesses. It was Ms. Roundtree’s work in the courtroom that helped undermine that testimony.

I responded:

On reflection, your comments (as well an excellent Post story by Tom Jackman just published electronically about RFK Jr’s views on his father’s RFK death) encourage me to adjust the original tone I’d intended.

It’s still a work in progress. But your comments remind me from my 14 years as a daily metro reporter how dependent most of us can be on clips from the library and how hard it is to pack everything in to a newspaper-length story. So, I’m feeling more humble and appreciative at the moment, although I’ll still try to make a couple of points, hopefully in an apt manner.

Thank you again, and best regards,

Fake News and Beyond

In response to Trump-style attacks that the media provides "fake news," the Post has been publishing on its front-page masthead its motto "Democracy Dies In Darkness."

The report below can help readers here decide whether that Post motto can be accepted at face value — or is instead best regarded skepticism, much like the unofficial motto visible at CIA headquarters and drawn from the Gospel of John in the New Testament: "Know ye the truth, and the truth shall set ye free."

Contact the author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Two Other Assassinations, Reconsidered

May 26

Robert F Kennedy Jr (2017 portrait by Gage Skidmore)

Robert F Kennedy Jr (2017 portrait by Gage Skidmore)

washington post logoWashington Post, Retropolis: Who killed Bobby Kennedy? His son RFK Jr. doesn’t believe it was Sirhan Sirhan, Tom Jackman, May 26, 2018. Just before Christmas, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. pulled up to the massive Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, a California state prison complex in the desert outside San Diego that holds nearly 4,000 inmates. Kennedy was there to visit Sirhan B. Sirhan, the man convicted of killing his father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, nearly 50 years ago.

rfk head portrait 1964While his wife, the actress Cheryl Hines, waited in the car, Kennedy met with Sirhan for three hours, he revealed to The Washington Post last week. It was the culmination of months of research by Kennedy into the assassination, including speaking with witnesses and reading the autopsy and police reports.

sirhan sirhan 2016“I got to a place where I had to see Sirhan,” Kennedy said. He would not discuss the specifics of their conversation. But when it was over, Kennedy had joined those who believe there was a second gunman, and that it was not Sirhan (shown in a 2016 prison photo) who killed his father, shown at right.

“I went there because I was curious and disturbed by what I had seen in the evidence,” said Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and the third oldest of his father’s 11 children. “I was disturbed that the wrong person might have been convicted of killing my father. My father was the chief law enforcement officer in this country. I think it would have disturbed him if somebody was put in jail for a crime they didn’t commit.”

martin luther king injustice quote

washington post logoWashington Post, Who killed Martin Luther King Jr.? His family believes James Earl Ray was framed, Tom Jackman, March 30, 2018. In the five decades since Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead by an assassin at age 39, his children have worked tirelessly to preserve his legacy, sometimes with sharply different views on how best to do that. But they are unanimous on one key point: James Earl Ray did not kill Martin Luther King.

For the King family and others in the civil rights movement, the FBI’s obsession with King in the years leading up to his slaying in Memphis on April 4, 1968 — pervasive surveillance, a malicious disinformation campaign and open denunciations by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover — laid the groundwork for their belief that he was the target of a plot.

“It pains my heart,” said Bernice King, 55, the youngest of Martin Luther King’s four children and the executive director of the King Center in Atlanta, “that James Earl Ray had to spend his life in prison paying for things he didn’t do.”

Until her own death in 2006, Coretta Scott King, who endured the FBI’s campaign to discredit her husband, was open in her belief that a conspiracy led to the assassination. Her family filed a civil suit in 1999 to force more information into the public eye, and a Memphis jury ruled that the local, state and federal governments were liable for King’s death. The full transcript of the trial remains posted on the King Center’s website.

 

Justice Integrity Project "Readers Guides" to the JFK, MLK & RFK Assassinations

  1. Martin Luther King at NPCReaders Guide To the JFK Assassination: Books, Videos, Archives.
  2. Readers Guide To the MLK Assassination: Books, Videos, Archives,
  3. Readers Guide To the RFK Assassination: Books, Videos, Archives

 

Related JFK / Dovey Roundtree / Mary Pinchot Meyer Coverage

June 20

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Murder Investigation: The Brilliant Black Woman Who Defended the Accused Killer of JFK’s Mistress, Part 1, Peter Janney, June 20, 2018.  After Dovey Johnson Roundtree’s early life in the Jim Crow South, she was more than ready to face the white power establishment determined to convict her client for the usual reasons (he was black), as well as for mysterious reasons.

May 31

whowhatwhy logoWhoWhatWhy, Analysis: Scientist Neutralizes JFK’s ‘Back and to the Left’ — Or Does He? Milicent Cranor, May 31, 2018. Should we necessarily trust “experts” writing in “peer reviewed” journals who seek to advance interpretations of events preferred by the very establishment whose approval is necessary for career advancement? Is this about National Security — the usual reason given when it comes to hiding the truth in the Kennedy assassination — or is it about job security?

See if the following makes you wonder as well. In any case, if you like puzzles, you should find this report engaging.

To those who support the lone gunman theory, the shot came from behind — the supposed lair of Lee Harvey Oswald. But Kennedy was knocked backward, suggesting he was hit from the front. Which would mean Oswald did not fire that bullet.

This image — combined with the discrepancies in the government’s reporting of the most fundamental facts in the case — perpetuate the well-earned distrust of official sources. (For details on discrepancies in the medical-ballistic evidence, please go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

Lone-gunman theory advocates have sought to explain away this anomaly, utilizing a long string of purported experts. The establishment media, showing little interest in exploring other possibilities, has long promoted these counterintuitive explanations.

The latest comes from Nicholas R. Nalli, a PhD in atmospheric and oceanic sciences and senior research scientist with I.M. Systems Group, Inc. at STAR. He performs research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is said to have expertise in geophysics, optics, and remote sensing.

May 25

dovey roundtree

Dovey Johnson Roundtree (family photo)

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Celebrating a black woman who thrived in a Washington ruled by white men, Editorial board, May 25, 2018. A common refrain in the comments of New York Times readers about the obituary of Dovey Johnson Roundtree was astonishment that they never had heard about the inspiring life of this accomplished D.C. lawyer and pioneer of civil rights. The reasons for that are clear. She was black. She was a woman raised in the Jim Crow South. She lived and worked in a Washington ruled by white men. She wasn’t someone likely to get recognition — which makes all the more remarkable her determination and her achievements in helping marginalized people tear down barriers.

Ms. Roundtree, who died on May 21 at the age of 104 in an assisted-living facility in Charlotte, had a career that spanned nearly half a century in the legal profession, the military and the ministry. The co-author of her autobiography used the word “unflinching” to describe her career in the courtroom, but it could just as well be applied to her entire life.

dovey roundtree in charlotte 1994As a lawyer, she helped win a landmark ban on racial segregation in interstate bus travel, and her representation of poor black defendants — including her successful defense of a man accused of the notorious murder of a Georgetown socialite in 1964 — blazed new trails for black lawyers. As an original member of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, she was among the first women to be commissioned as Army officers and helped recruit black women for service in World War II. As a cleric, she was one of the first female ordained ministers in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She is shown in a 1994 photo from her family collection.

Etched into Ms. Roundtree’s biography are America’s cruelties toward African Americans. Helping to raise her was a grandmother whose feet had been crippled by a white man who, enraged that she ran away when he tried to rape her, wanted to make sure she would never run again. Ms. Roundtree hid from the Ku Klux Klan under her grandmother’s kitchen table, was kicked off a bus in the South in 1942 to make way for a white Marine, and practiced law at a time when black lawyers had to leave the courthouse to find a bathroom. That she nonetheless succeeded — and so ably — tells the often overlooked story of African American perseverance and progress. Yet it is impossible to read about her life without thinking she might have achieved even more with fewer obstacles in her path — and that the country has lost so much by suppressing the talents of women such as her.

May 24

jacob hornberger headshotFuture of Freedom Foundation, A Remarkable Lawyer and a Fascinating Case, Jacob G. Hornberger (right), May 24, 2018. The New York Times has published a lengthy obituary of one of most remarkable lawyers in U.S. history, an African-American woman named Dovey Johnson Roundtree (shown above), who passed away last Monday at the age of 104.

mary pinchot meyer 1963 cigaretteHer most famous case was a criminal case involving the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer, the former wife of a high CIA official who had been having an intimate affair with President John F. Kennedy in the months leading up to his assassination.

The Meyer case is detailed in Peter Janney’s excellent book Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace, which I highly recommend. If you decide to read the book, be sure you get the most recent edition because it provides an exciting update on Janney’s successful search for one of the principal witnesses in the case, a military officer named Lt. William Mitchell stationed at the Pentagon.

May 21

dovey roundtreewashington post logoWashington, Dovey Johnson Roundtree, 1914–2018, Harrison Smith, May 21, 2018. Defense lawyer and civil rights warrior dies at 104. Ms. Roundtree played a critical early role in the desegregation of interstate bus travel and mentored several generations of black lawyers.

​Dovey Johnson Roundtree, a Washington criminal defense lawyer and courtroom warrior for civil rights who played a critical early role in the desegregation of interstate bus travel and mentored several generations of black lawyers, died May 21 at an assisted-living facility in Charlotte. She was 104.

The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease, said Jerry L. Hunter, her cousin and law partner.

peter janney jfk mary meyerIn a career that spanned nearly half a century, Ms. Roundtree defended predominantly poor African American clients — as well as black churches, community groups and the occasional politician. She was, former Fisk University president Walter J. Leonard once told The Washington Post, “a legal-aid clinic before there were legal-aid clinics.”

Her best-known case involved the black day laborer accused in the 1964 killing of Georgetown socialite and painter Mary Pinchot Meyer, who reportedly had an affair with President John F. Kennedy (shown together). She won him an acquittal despite what initially appeared to be damning witness testimony.

dovey roundtree full portrait family photoDovey Johnson Roundtree is shown outside the United States District Court in Washington, about 1985. “As a woman, and as a woman of color in an age when black lawyers had to leave the courthouse to use the bathrooms, she dared to practice before the bar of justice and was unflinching,” the co-author of her memoir said.

ny times logoNew York Times, Dovey Johnson Roundtree, Barrier-Breaking Lawyer, Dies at 104, Margalit Fox, May 21, 2018. The jurors were looking at her when they filed into court. That, Dovey Johnson Roundtree knew, could have immense significance for her client, a feebleminded day laborer accused of one of the most sensational murders of the mid-20th century.

Little had augured well for that client, Raymond Crump Jr., during his eight-day trial in United States District Court in Washington: Mr. Crump, who had been found near the crime scene, was black and poor. The victim was white, glamorous and supremely well connected. The country, in the summer of 1965, seethed with racial tension amid the surging civil rights movement.

Federal prosecutors had amassed a welter of circumstantial evidence — including 27 witnesses and more than 50 exhibits — to argue that on Oct. 12, 1964, Mr. Crump had carried out the execution-style shooting of Mary Pinchot Meyer, a Washington socialite said to have been a former lover of President John F. Kennedy.

By contrast, Ms. Roundtree, who died on Monday at 104, had chosen to present just three witnesses and a single exhibit to the jury, which comprised men and women, blacks and whites. Her closing argument was only 20 minutes long.

Now, on July 30, 1965, the jury, having deliberated, was back. The court clerk handed the verdict slip to the judge, Howard F. Corcoran. For most observers, inside the courtroom and out, conviction — and an accompanying death sentence — was a foregone conclusion.

“Members of the jury,” Judge Corcoran said. “We have your verdict, which states that you find the defendant, Ray Crump Jr., not guilty.”

Ms. Roundtree’s defense, which hinged partly on two forensic masterstrokes, made her reputation as a litigator of acuity, concision and steel who could win even the most hopeless trials. And this in a case for which she had received a fee of one dollar.

“As a woman, and as a woman of color in an age when black lawyers had to leave the courthouse to use the bathrooms, she dared to practice before the bar of justice and was unflinching,” Katie McCabe, the co-author of Ms. Roundtree’s memoir, Justice Older Than the Law, said in an interview for this obituary in 2016. “She was a one-woman Legal Aid Society before people used that term.”

nina burleigh mary meyer cover

2014

john simkinSpartacus Educational, Ben Bradlee and the death of Mary Pinchot Meyer, John Simkin (shown at right), Oct. 29, 2014 (citations omitted).

Ben Bradlee died last week.

The day he died President Barack Obama issued a statement that said: “For Benjamin Bradlee, journalism was more than a profession -- it was a public good vital to our democracy. A true newspaperman, he transformed the Washington Post into one of the country’s finest newspapers, and with him at the helm, a growing army of reporters published the Pentagon Papers, exposed Watergate, and told stories that needed to be told -- stories that helped us understand our world and one another a little bit better. The standard he set -- a standard for honest, objective, meticulous reporting -- encouraged so many others to enter the profession. And that standard is why, last year, I was proud to honor Ben with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Today, we offer our thoughts and prayers to Ben’s family, and all who were fortunate to share in what truly was a good life.”

The Daily Telegraph described him as "the foremost American newspaper editor of his time" and The Guardian claimed that he was "the most lauded and influential American journalist of his era". The New York Times agreed and quoted one of his colleagues, Leonard Downie Jr. as saying "We would follow this man over any hill, into any battle, no matter what lay ahead."

Most of the obituaries carried a detailed account of the Watergate Scandal. However, as Christopher Reed has pointed out: "Watergate hurt Washington, but was also cited as proof that its political system worked – eventually." The New York Times quoted Bradlee as saying: “No matter how many spin doctors were provided by no matter how many sides of how many arguments, from Watergate on, I started looking for the truth after hearing the official version of a truth.”

None of the obituaries mention the interview that James Truitt gave to the National Enquirer that was published on 23rd February, 1976, with the headline, "Former Vice President of Washington Post Reveals....JFK 2-Year White House Romance". Truitt told the newspaper that Mary Pinchot Meyer was having an affair with John F. Kennedy. He also claimed that Mary had told them that she was keeping an account of this relationship in her diary. Truitt added that after Meyer had been murdered on 12th October, 1964, the diary had been removed from her house by Ben Bradlee and James Jesus Angleton and later destroyed.

ben bradlee pursuit of truthThe newspaper sent a journalist to interview Bradlee about the issues raised by Truitt. According to one eyewitness account, Bradlee "erupted in a shouting rage and had the reporter thrown out of the building". Nina Burleigh claims that it was Watergate that motivated Truitt to give the interview. "Truitt was disgusted that Bradlee was getting credit as a great champion of the First Amendment for exposing Nixon's steamy side in Watergate coverage after having indulgently overlooked Kennedy's hypocrisies." Truitt was also angry that Bradlee had not exposed Kennedy's affair with Mary Pinchot Meyer in his book, Conversations with Kennedy. Truitt had been close to Meyer during this period and had received a considerable amount of information about the relationship.

Ben Bradlee, who had gone on holiday with his new wife, Sally Quinn, gave orders for the Washington Post to ignore the story. However, Harry Rosenfeld, a senior figure at the newspaper, commented, "We're not going to treat ourselves more kindly than we treat others." However, when the article was published it included several interviews with Kennedy's friends who denied he had an affair with Meyer. Kenneth O'Donnell described her as a "lovely lady" but denied that there had been a romance. Timothy Reardon claimed that "nothing like that ever happened at the White House with her or anyone else."

Mary Pinchot Meyer in 1963

Ben Bradlee and James Jesus Angleton continued to deny the story. Some of Mary's friends knew that the two men were lying about the diary and some spoke anonymously to other newspapers and magazines. Later that month Time Magazine published an article on Truitt's story. In an interview with Jay Gourley, Bradlee's former wife, and Mary's sister, Antoinette Pinchot Bradlee admitted that her sister had been having an affair with John F. Kennedy: "It was nothing to be ashamed of. I think Jackie might have suspected it, but she didn't know for sure."

deborah davis new katharine great coverBradlee's strategy of not answering questions from reporters eventually worked and the story disappeared from the newspapers. His next crisis came in 1979 when Deborah Davis published her book Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and the Washington Post (shown in an updated edition). Davis covered the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer and commented on Bradlee being unwilling to talk about the matter. However, what really upset Bradlee was his involvement in Operation Mockingbird, the CIA's attempt to control the media. This threatened to destroy Bradlee's reputation as a fearless investigator of the truth. According to Davis, the articles on Watergate that appeared in the Washington Post was a CIA "limited hangout" operation.

In an interview Davis gave to Kenn Thomas of Steamshovel Press in 1992 she pointed out that it was Bradlee's work with United States Information Agency in Paris that was one of the causes of this anger. "It was the propaganda arm of the embassy. They produced propaganda that was then disseminated by the CIA all over Europe. They planted newspaper stories. They had a lot of reporters on their payrolls. They routinely would produce stories out of the embassy and give them to these reporters and they would appear in the papers in Europe... I published the first book just saying that he worked for USIE and that this agency produced propaganda for the CIA. He went totally crazy after the book came out. One person who knew him told me then that he was going all up and down the East Coast having lunch with every editor he could think of saying that it was not true, he did not produce any propaganda. And he attacked me viciously and he said that I had falsely accused him of being a CIA agent. And the reaction was totally out of proportion to what I had said."

ben bradlee good life coverIt was Ben Bradlee himself who confirmed most of what Deborah Davis had said in his autobiography, A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures (1995). In the book, he confessed that he had worked for Office of U.S. Information and Educational Exchange and had been involved in distributing CIA propaganda. He also admitted that Davis was right when she said that Robert Thayer, the CIA station chief in Paris, had paid him money to pay for travelling expenses. Bradlee described how "he (Thayer) reached nonchalantly into the bottom drawer of his desk and fished out enough francs to fly me to the moon."

However, the most surprising confession was that he had lied during the trial of Raymond Crump, the man accused of killing Mary Pinchot Meyer.

Bradlee admitted in the book that he had searched for Meyer's diary with James Jesus Angleton: "We (Bradlee and his wife) asked him (Angleton) how he'd gotten into the house, and he shuffled his feet. (Later, we learned that one of Jim's nicknames inside the agency was 'the Locksmith,' and that he was known as a man who could pick his way into any house in town.) We felt his presence was odd, to say the least, but took him at his word, and with him we searched Mary's house thoroughly. Without success. We found no diary. Later that day, we realized that we hadn't looked for the diary in Mary's studio, which was directly across a dead-end driveway from the garden behind our house. We had no key, but I got a few tools to remove the simple padlock, and we walked toward the studio, only to run into Jim Angleton again, this time actually in the process of picking the padlock. He would have been red-faced, if his face could have gotten red, and he left almost without a word. I unscrewed the hinge, and we entered the studio." However, according to Ron Rosenbaum, when he interviewed Angleton, he described Bradlee as a liar and denied he had ever been in Mary's studio.

Bradlee claims that his wife found the diary in a later search: "Much has been written about this diary-most of it wrong since its existence was first reported. Tony took it to our house, and we read it later that night. It was small (about 6" x 8") with fifty to sixty pages, most of them filled with paint swatches, and descriptions of how the colors were created and what they were created for. On a few pages, maybe ten in all, in the same handwriting but different pen, phrases described a love affair, and after reading only a few phrases it was clear that the lover had been the President of the United States, though his name was never mentioned. To say we were stunned doesn't begin to describe our reactions. Tony, especially, felt betrayed, both by Kennedy and by Mary." It has been claimed that the Bradlee's also found love letters sent by Kennedy to Meyer and these were destroyed.

The following day Antoinette Pinchot Bradlee gave the diary to Angleton and expected him to destroy it: "But it turned out that Angleton did not destroy the document, for whatever perverse, or perverted, reasons. We didn't learn this until some years later, when Tony asked him point blank how he had destroyed it. When he admitted he had not destroyed it, she demanded that he give it back, and when he did, she burned it, with a friend as witness. None of us has any idea what Angleton did with the diary while it was in his possession, nor why he failed to follow Mary and Tony's instructions."

After the publication of his book, The Good Life (1995), Cicely d'Autremont Angleton and Anne Truitt wrote a letter to the New York Times Book Review to "correct what in our opinion is an error" in Bradlee's autobiography: "This error occurs in Mr. Bradlee's account of the discovery and disposition of Mary Pinchot Meyer's personal diary. The fact is that Mary Meyer asked Anne Truitt to make sure that in the event of anything happening to Mary while Anne was in Japan, James Angleton take this diary into his safekeeping.

When she learned that Mary had been killed, Anne Truitt telephoned person-to-person from Tokyo for James Angleton. She found him at Mr. Bradlee's house, where Angleton and his wife, Cicely had been asked to come following the murder. In the phone call, relaying Mary Meyer's specific instructions, Anne T'ruitt told Angleton for the first time, that there was a diary; and in accordance with Mary Meyer's explicit request, Anne Truitt asked Angleton to search for and take charge of the diary." 

At the trial of Raymond Crump, the man accused of killing Mary Pinchot Meyer, Bradlee was the first witness called to the stand. Alfred L. Hantman, the chief prosecutor, asked him under oath, what he found when he searched Mary's studio. "Now besides the usual articles of Mrs. Meyer's avocation, did you find there any other articles of her personal property?" Bradlee replied that he found a pocketbook, keys, wallet, cosmetics, and pencils. He did not tell the court that he found a diary that he had passed on to James Jesus Angleton. In fact, Bradlee had committed a very important crime of joining with Angleton in the destruction of evidence relevant in a murder case. Strange behaviour from the man President Barack Obama said "set a standard for honest, objective, meticulous reporting." (Emphasis added.)

On 2nd December, 2011, The Washington Post published a letter from Angleton's children. They also questioned the account provided by Ben Bradlee: "Anne Truitt, a friend of Tony Bradlee and Bradlee's sister, Mary Meyer, was abroad when Meyer was killed in the District. Truitt called Bradlee and said that Meyer had asked her to request that Angleton retrieve mid burn certain pages of her diary if anything happened to her. James and Cicely Angleton were with Ben and Tony Bradlee at the Bradlees' home when Tony Bradlee received the call. Cicely, our mother, told her daughter Guru Sangat Khalsa, "We all went to Mary's house together." She said there was no break-in because the Bradlees had a key. The diary was not found at that time. Later, Tony Bradlee found it and gave it to James Angleton. He burned the pages that Meyer had asked to be burned and put the rest in a safe. Years later, he gave the rest of the diary to Bradlee at her request."

nina burleigh mary meyer coverDaily Beast, The Mysterious Murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer — Revisited, Nina Burleigh, April 2, 2012. 'Mary’s Mosaic,' a new book about the socialite, artist, and close friend of John F. Kennedy, claims that her death was a CIA conspiracy. Writer Nina Burleigh disagrees.

They were the aristocratic Mad Men of the Cold War, the spies, politicians, and journalists sloshing back multiple martinis at lunch (and the world’s finest wine at Georgetown dinners), smoke ever-furling from lip to eye, all the while plotting to kill elected leaders, control dissident minds with LSD, and plant spies in European trade unions and American newspapers.

She was their Marilyn, an aristocratic blonde with knowing blue eyes, lissome moves, the softest curves, and sometimes, a velvet pouch with pot and acid at her side. “She was what woman were meant to be,” one former lover sobbed, still bereft 60 years later. Among her conquests was a man named Jack — John F. Kennedy to you and me. And like him, the story goes, she had to die before her time.

Her name was Mary Pinchot Meyer, and she lived and died in a gone world of monogrammed matchbooks, white-glove dances at Yale, yachting summers in the Med. She bewitched the blue-blooded men she ran with and who ran the world for a while, arrogant, entitled men who thought of themselves as poets and spies. One of them, her husband Cord Meyer, was both an accomplished short-story writer and, as the No. 3 in the CIA, one of the Right-est architects of the nascent security state .

She also dropped acid with Timothy Leary and painted abstract art with Kenneth Noland, but her greatest claim to fame is the tragic and mysterious way she died, shot twice at close range in a park in Washington, D.C., at age 43, 10 days after the Warren Commission report was released.

Her murder is one of Washington’s “enduring mysteries,” as the headline writers like to put it. Many have tried to solve it, including me. I concluded, as did the journalist Ron Rosenbaum before me, that Mary was most probably murdered by Ray Crump, the man police arrested within hours of the crime in the vicinity of the murder. He was identified by an eyewitness, then acquitted by an all-black jury in 1965, as racial tensions were rising not just in D.C., but nationally.

The evidence against him was strong but circumstantial (no gun was ever found), but my investigation led me to believe Crump was entirely capable of violent behavior. His long post-acquittal record included stints in federal prison for repeat arsons and the rape of a 13-year-old. I met a former wife who was in hiding from him; she showed me a scar on her neck from a knife attack and described his strange and violent fugue states.

None of that extinguishes the rumors of conspiracy in this case, because Mary lived and died in a world of secrets, among powerful men whose day jobs were to plot — always with “plausible deniability” — the Bay of Pigs, the Iranian and Guatemalan coups d’etat, the assassination of Congo president Patrice Lumumba, and countless other known and unknown dark deeds.

When I was writing my book in D.C. in 1996 and 1997, I became aware of a cult of believers who were certain, absent any proof, that Mary had turned JFK on to LSD, and that she was behind the moves toward rapprochement with Russia and Cuba that he seemed to have been making in the months before he was killed. Mary Meyer had to die, the theory went, because she knew why “Jack” was killed, and maybe even — since CIA men were her friends and lovers — who was behind it.

In the last decade, newly available evidence is discrediting the lone-gunman theory of JFK’s assassination. It seems ever more probable that some combination of CIA-linked anti-Castro right-wingers and the mafia were involved.

Armed with this new information, and a lifetime certainty that Mary’s murder was a conspiracy, Peter Janney has produced a new book, Mary’s Mosaic, about her murder. He knows her world well because he grew up in it.

 

Justice Integrity Project Readers Guide To JFK Assassination

By Andrew Kreig, JIP Editor, CAPA Board member and Associate Editor and Board member of The Indicter

What follows are excerpts from our Project's so-far 38-previous segments of a "Readers Guide" to the assassination begun in 2013 to underscore both the 50th anniversary of the death and its continuing relevance, particularly slanted media, government, and academic treatment of the death that serves as a Rosetta Stone to similar slanted coverage sensitive matters extending through the decades to today's news.

John F. Kennedy side profile

The Justice Integrity Project cooperates with Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) and The Indicter, each of which investigates suspected political assassinations around the world.

In the Readers Guide below, a red asterisk (*) denotes major articles in the series. Other articles may be regarded as more routine or duplicative treatments sometimes covering specific events.

Dealey Plaza Panorama (Andrew Kreig Photo)At right is a photo by this editor in Dallas showing Dealey Plaza. The Texas Book Depository Building where accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald worked is behind the row of trees. The car in the center lane is near the location of President Kennedy's limo at the time of his fatal shooting. The "X" mark is repeatedly painted on the street by author and photographic expert Robert Groden as reminder of the horrific crime that Dallas authorities seek to expunge by removing the X.

  1. Project Launches JFK Assassination Readers' Guide, Oct. 16, 2013.
  2. Project Provides JFK Readers Guide To New Books, Videos, Oct. 26, 2013. This is a list of new books and films in 2013.
  3. Disputes Erupt Over NY Times, New Yorker, Washington Post Reviews of JFK Murder, Nov. 7, 2013. *
  4. Self-Censorship In JFK TV Treatments Duplicates Corporate Print Media's Apathy, Cowardice, Nov. 7, 2013.
  5. 'Puppetry' Hardback Launched Nov. 19 at DC Author Forum on ‘White House Mysteries & Media,'  Nov. 19, 2013.
  6. Major Media Stick With Oswald 'Lone Gunman' JFK Theory, Nov. 27, 2013.
  7. JFK Murder Scene Trapped Its Victim In Kill Zone, Nov. 30, 2013.
  8. Project Lists JFK Assassination Reports, Archives, Videos, Events, Nov. 2, 2013. *
  9. JFK Murder, The CIA, and 8 Things Every American Should Know, Dec. 9, 2013. *
  10. JFK Murder Prompts Expert Reader Reactions, Dec. 19, 2013. Reactions to our Dec. 9 column. 
  11. Have Spy Agencies Co-Opted Presidents and the Press? Dec. 23, 2013. *
  12. Don't Be Fooled By 'Conspiracy Theory' Smears, May 26, 2014. *
  13. Experts To Reveal Secrets of JFK Murder, Cover-up at Sept. 26-28 DC Forum , Sept. 5, 2014. 
  14. Washington Post Still Selling Warren Report 50 Years Later, Sept. 22, 2014. *
  15. JFK Experts To Explode Myths, Sign Books In DC Sept. 26-28, Sept. 24, 2014.
  16. Former Cuban Militant Leader Claims CIA Meeting With Oswald Before JFK Killing, Sept. 27, 2014. *
  17. JFK Readers Guide: Assassination Books, Reports, Oct. 15, 2014. *
  18. Dealey Plaza Picket Fence (Andrew Kreig Photo)Former House JFK Murder Prober Alleges CIA ‘Lied,’ Seeks Hidden Records, Oct. 18, 2014. *
  19. The JFK Murder 'Cover-up' Still Matters -- As Does C-SPAN's Coverage, Nov. 11, 2014. *
  20. JFK, Nov. 22 and the Continuing Cover-Up, Nov. 24, 2014. *
  21. JFK Assassination Readers Guide To 2013-14 Events, Nov. 28, 2014. *
  22. CIA, Empowered by JFK Murder Cover-up, Blocks Senate Torture Report, Dec. 1, 2014. *
  23. Nearly Too Late, Public Learns of Bill Moyers’ Conflicts Over PBS, LBJ, Jan. 2, 2014.
  24. Why Bill O'Reilly's Lie About JFK's Murder Might Matter To You, March 17, 2015.
  25. Free Videos Show Shocking Claims About CIA, JFK Murder Probes, June 29, 2015.
  26. Pioneering Black Secret Service JFK Guard Abraham Bolden Warns Of Current Lessons, July 22, 2015.
  27. Understanding Hollywood-Style Presidential Propaganda From JFK To Trump, Aug. 18, 2015.
  28. Beware Of Wrong Conclusions From New CIA Disclosure On Oswald, Sept. 28, 2015.
  29. The JFK Murder Cover-Up: Your Rosetta Stone To Today’s News, Nov. 29, 2015.
  30. Austin Kiplinger, David Skorton: Two Civic Giants Going And Coming, Dec. 15, 2015.
  31. Trump Alleges Rafael Cruz Tie To JFK Murder Suspect Oswald, May 3, 2016.
  32. Revelations Confirm Proof Of JFK, RFK Murder Cover-ups, Nov. 25, 2016.
  33. Top Experts To Assess JFK Murder Records, Revelations March 16, March 8, 2017.
  34. Speaker Program For March 16 Forum On Secret JFK Records, March 8, 2017.
  35. JFK Experts Advocate Compliance With Records Deadline, March 8, 2017.
  36. At CAPA Forum, JFK Experts See Need, Momentum For Assassination Records Release, March 23, 2017.
  37. Time Magazine, History Channel Ramp Up Oswald-JFK Fake News, April 26, 2017.
  38. JFK Birthday Prompts Inspiration, Art, Advocacy, Snark, June 2, 2017.
  39. Deep State Killed JFK For His Cuba Policy, Peace Advocacy, Experts Say, June 13, 2017.
  40. Newly Released JFK Murder Files Prompt Disputes, 'Jigsaw' Solutions, Aug. 4, 2017.
  41. CAPA Challenges Warren Report Defenders Sabato, Shenon, Sept. 22, 2017.
  42. Trump Plans Release Of Suppressed JFK Records, Oct. 21, 2017.
  43. Trump Backs Off Promise To Release All Suppressed JFK Documents Today; Permits Partial Release, Oct. 26, 2017.
  44. More JFK Murder Records Released On Nov. 9, Nov. 10, 2017. 
  45. TV Star John Barbour Premieres New JFK Documentary In DC With Free Screenings, Lectures, Nov. 13, 2017.
  46. Two Major Annual JFK Research Conferences Launch Friday In Dallas, Nov. 15, 2017.
  47. DC, Dallas Nov. 22 Events Mark JFK Murder, Official Cover-up, Nov. 22, 2017
  48. Assessing Newly Released JFK Records, Alec Baldwin's Slam of NBC Cover-up, Dec. 19, 2017.
  49. DC 'Big Event' Boosts Pressure To Disclose Suppressed JFK Records, March 16, 2018.
  50. Trump Postpones Some JFK Documents At Deadline For Three Years, Releases Others, April 26, 2018.
  51. Trump Suppresses JFK Murder Records, Violates Pledge, Bows To CIA, Deep State, May 1, 2018.
  52. Rights Pioneer's Obit Prompts Disputes Over JFK Murder Half-Truths, May 29, 2018.