A EXCERPT FROM NIXON’S SECRETS by Roger Stone with Mike Colapietro
Dirty tricks? Break-ins? Illegal cash? Bugging? Today these tactics are readily identified with Richard Nixon. Incredibly the coverage of the 1960 Presidential race the 1962 mid-term election doe not reveal theses very activities being used by the Kennedy brothers on Nixon. The romantic tale of the 1960 race by Theodore H. White was a fawning profile of the Kennedy, glamour, sophistication, intellectualism, grace and style. Nixon wore the black hat in White’s narrative. White- and most of Kennedy enthralled media missed the tactics and ruthlessness of Ambassador Joe Kennedy and his son Bobby in their drive to put JFK in the White House.
A private detective named John Leon claimed Kennedy lawyer James McInerney retained him to steal financial documents regarding Nixon by burglarizing a Los Angeles accountant’s office where a disgruntled ex-parter of the accounting firm was paid $200,000 for the tip by Ambassador Joe Kennedy. The accountant contacted Ambassador Kennedy though son-in law Peter Lawford whit whom he drank with in Beverly Hills. Lawford had first called Frank Sinatra who urged the old man to pay the requested price for the location of the supposedly incriminating documents. Leon admitted to conducting the break-in. Nixonu2019s Secrets: T... Best Price: $4.00 Buy New $6.55 (as of 07:15 EST - Details)
In 1973 Leon came forward and claimed that Kennedy’s men “successfully bugged the Nixon space or tapped his phones prior to the television debate.” Leon was told this by his Kennedy employers the day after the second Nixon-Kennedy debate. Leon had back-up.
In 1973, Leon produced five sworn affidavits from former FBI agents and D.C. police officers whom said they had bugged Nixon’s suite at the Ward Park Sheraton where he prepared for his second debate. Several of them also admitted to using electronic eavesdropping devices on the Republicans.
Leon would identify former CIA officer John Frank, congressional investigator Edward Murray Jones and Joseph Shimon, a former inspector for the Washington Police Department, who all came forward with sworn affidavits claiming that RFK had ordered the bugging of Nixon’s room. They all worked for Carmine Bellino, one of Robert Kennedy’s retinue of operatives. Bellino was Kennedy’s deep research guy who investigated Teamster Leader Jimmy Hoffa in Robert Kennedy’s efforts to put Hoffa away.
Shimon told of how he had been approached by Kennedy operative Oliver W. Angelone, a former FBI agent. Angelone said that he was working for Bellino and needed his help to gain access to the two top floors of the Wardman Park Hotel just before they were occupied by Nixon on the eve of the Nixon-Kennedy television debate.
Edward Murray Jones, then living in the Philippines, said in his affidavit that he had been assigned by Bellino to tail individuals at Washington National Airport and in downtown Washington to the hotel. Jones was a legendary “wire man”. White House Call Girl:... Best Price: $6.99 Buy New $11.74 (as of 08:15 EST - Details)
When JFK seemed to anticipate Nixon’s thrusts in the debate, Angelone told Leon “Jonesy (the team’s wire man) had done his job,” the Washington Post reported.
“Although I did not participate in installation of eavesdropping devices and did not tape telephone lines for Carmine Bellino during the 1960 campaign,” Leon said in an affidavit, “I was told that Ed Jones and Oliver Angelone successfully bugged the ‘Nixon space or tapped his phone prior to the television debate… The Kennedy group also wiretapped three Protestant Misusers who opposed JFK for his Catholicsm.
Both men also discussed the successful electronic eavesdropping at the Republican National Committee. The office of the Party Executive Director A. B. Herman was being
monitored. Bellino was fired as an investigator for the Senate Watergate Committee when his involvement in the 1960 allegations became public. Bellino denied having any role at all. Sen. Lowell Weicker, who Nixon helped elect, voted with Committee Democrats to end further inquiry when Senators Howard Baker and Ed Gurney wanted to know more.
Strangely, Leon died only hours before a scheduled press conference to lay out the evidence that the Democrats had wiretapped Nixon’s campaign suite in 1960 and had used electronic surveillance devices on officials at the Republican National Committee.
Republican National Chairman George H. W. Bush had reviewed the files and said they were solid.
In 1962, it also became clear that the Kennedy’s bugged Nixon’s California Headquarters soon after a contingent of Kennedy operatives were sent to aid Governor Pat Brown. A telephone company sweep of the Nixon’s suite turned up the bug. Rather than disable it, the Nixon men spouted provocative disinformation. The listening post was identified and they tailed a man presumably carrying transcripts who jumped a plane for Washington and was followed upon arrival by a private detective working for the Republicans to Robert Kennedy’s home in McLean, Virginia.
The Watergate mentality among Nixon’s men is more understandable. They knew buggings and black bag break-ins were standard operating procedure in the political realm and had been used on him by the Kennedys. He had been wiretapped and had information stolen from his camp.
It is Nixon who bears the reputation as a “dirty campaigner,” but in the context of the era it was just part of the game. “Well, for Christ’s sake, everybody bugs everybody else. We know that,” President Nixon said in private conversation in September 1972.
Nixon, no slouch in tough campaigning, was shocked by the moves of the Kennedy outfit. “The most ruthless gang of political operators I have ever encountered.”
Nixon vowed never to be caught unprepared again. That road would lead to Watergate.
Reprinted with permission from Roger Stone.