|E. Howard Hunt|
AKA Everette Howard Hunt, Jr.
Birthplace: East Hamburg, NY
Location of death: Miami, FL
Cause of death: Pneumonia
Remains: Buried, Prospect Lawn Cemetery, Hamburg, NY
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Criminal, Government, Author
Party Affiliation: Republican
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Coordinated Watergate break-in
Military service: US Naval Reserve (1940-42); US Army Air Corps (1943-46, 1st Lt.)
In most people's minds, E. Howard Hunt is associated with the Watergate scandals, but his career in the shadows extends much further back than the Nixon era. His work with the Central Intelligence Agency stretches back to its precursor, the Office of Strategic Services, and Hunt is known to have worked for American intelligence in Cuba, France, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and Washington DC.
During World War II, Hunt worked behind the scenes on The March of Time, a monthly series of patriotic-themed short films produced by the Time-Life Company, which played in movie theaters before the feature. He also wrote for Life Magazine, and served in the Army Air Force as World War II drew to a close. In 1948, Hunt was placed in charge of a CIA psychological warfare workshop. In the early 1950s, he headed the CIA group that produced an animated film based on George Orwell's Animal Farm, with a CIA-written happy ending tacked on to add propaganda value to the story.
As Hunt climbed the ladder at CIA, he is known to have been deeply involved in the 1954 overthrow of the democratically-elected but unfortunately left-leaning government of Guatemala. After the coup, approximately 150,000 Guatemalans were killed by US-backed authorities, and another 50,000 were 'disappeared.' Several years later, Hunt was a key figure in the 'Bay of Pigs' plan to invade Cuba and topple Fidel Castro, a mission devised under Eisenhower but disastrously executed under John F. Kennedy in 1961. What other espionage Hunt may have been involved with remains unknown. The CIA does not issue career profiles.
After Richard M. Nixon became President, Hunt retired from the CIA, and was a seemingly perfect choice to run Nixon's in-house 'security'. Officially hired as a "part-time consultant," Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy headed a group cryptically called the "plumbers," responsible for discouraging and plugging White House information leaks. When Daniel Ellsberg was believed to have given the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, Hunt proposed that "overt, covert, and derogatory information" about Ellsberg could "destroy his public image and credibility." Along with Liddy, Hunt then plotted the burglary of Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office.
Later, as Nixon ran for his second term, Hunt and Liddy planned the burglary of Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex. The scandal began unraveling when Huntís name and White House phone number were found in the arrested men's possessions. Hunt was eventually charged, and he pressured the White House for large cash payments to buy his silence. Hunt's wife Dorothy handled most of these financial negotiations with the Nixon administration, and co-conspirator James W. McCord, Jr. wrote that she had said Hunt had information which would "blow the White House out of the water." In the infamous Watergate tapes, Nixon can be heard grousing several times that Hunt's demands could expose "the whole Bay of Pigs thing," and in his 1978 memoir The Ends of Power, Nixon's Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman wrote that Nixon's references to the Bay of Pigs were actually a veiled allusion to President Kennedy's assassination.
On December 8, 1972, a month after Nixon had been re-elected, Hunt's wife was among those killed when a United Airlines flight from Washington to Chicago crashed near that city's Midway Airport. Her luggage contained "a large sum in cash," with reports at the time ranging from $10,000 to more than $100,000. Mere weeks after this tragedy, Hunt pled guilty to conspiracy, burglary, and wiretapping. He served almost three years in prison. In 1974, Chuck Colson, who had been Hunt's immediate boss at the White House, told Time Magazine, "I think they killed Dorothy Hunt."
Although the direct evidence is scant, many Americans suspect that the CIA -- and Hunt -- were involved in the assassination of President Kennedy. Hunt always said he was in Washington DC on November 22, 1963, the day Kennedy was killed in Dallas. In the immediate aftermath of the crime, three men were detained, then allowed to go. Their identities were never ascertained, and official reports merely described them as "railroad bums," but photographs of one of these un-named men resemble Hunt, and one of the other men resembles Frank Sturgis, one of the Watergate burglers who had previously been involved with the Bay of Pigs fiasco. A 1975 FBI analysis of the photos concluded that "neither E. Howard Hunt nor Frank Sturgis appear as any of the three derelicts arrested in Dallas, Texas, as shown in the photographs submitted". In 1981, Hunt won a $650,000 libel lawsuit against Liberty Lobby, publisher of the newsletter Spotlight, which had accused him of being involved in Kennedy's assassination. That verdict and award were appealed, however, and overturned at retrial after witnesses swore they had seen Hunt in Dallas on that day.
Interviewed by Slate in 2004, Hunt was asked point-blank where he was the day Kennedy was killed, and he replied, "No comment". After Hunt's death, his eldest son claimed that his father had drawn diagrams and left tape recordings explaining how the assassination had been orchestrated by Kennedy's Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson.
During his CIA career, Hunt hired another now-famous CIA agent, William F. Buckley, and the two men and their families became very good friends. Buckley was godfather to three of Hunt's children, and while the children were young, Hunt's will stipulated that if any accident or act of God claimed both he and his wife, Buckley would become the legal guardian for their children. Many years later Buckley paid Hunt's legal bills for his Watergate scandal defense, and after the untimely death of Hunt's wife, he served as executor of her estate.
Before during and after his time as a spook and felon, Hunt was a proficient writer of spy and hard-boiled genre novels, drawing on his knowledge of CIA operations and techniques. None of his books were particularly popular until Watergate gave his name an added mystique, and several of his earlier titles were republished to fairly brisk sales. In a review, Publishers Weekly described Hunt's fiction as "violent, sexist and xenophobic." He wrote more than 30 novels under his own name, thirteen as Robert Dietrich, ten as David St. John, four as Gordon Davis, and three each as John Baxter and P.S. Donoghue.
Several of his novels featured a fictional protagonist named Peter Ward, who seems to be based on the author. Ward and Hunt both attended Brown University, both became polished Washington socialites, and Ward frequently traveled to overseas nations where Hunt had been stationed. Another series of Hunt novels centered on Steve Bentley, an accountant who is repeatedly drawn into foreign intrigue. In response to a long litany of negative notices about his books, Hunt once said that too many reviewers had "chosen to criticize my life rather than professionally appraise my work."
Hunt later claimed that the mysterious Mr Phelps, played by Peter Graves on television's Mission: Impossible, was based on his espionage exploits.
Father: Everette Howard Hunt Sr. (Republican Party official)
Mother: Ethel Jean Totterdale
Wife: Dorothy Louise Wetzel (m. 7-Sep-1949, d. 8-Dec-1972 plane crash, two daughters, two sons)
Daughter: Lisa Tiffany Hunt Kyle (b. 1949)
Daughter: Kevan Totterdale (b. 1950)
Son: St. John (called "Saint")
Son: David (b. 1963 with Wetzel)
Wife: Laura E. Martin (m. 1977, one son, one daughter)
University: BA English, Brown University (1940)
Committee to Re-Elect the President
CIA employee (1949-70)
Life Correspondent (1941-43)
Took the Fifth
Inmate: Allenwood Federal Prison Jan-1973 to 2-Jan-1974
Risk Factors: Dyslexia, Stuttering
Rotten Library Page:
E. Howard Hunt
Author of books:
Undercover: Memoirs of an American Secret Agent (1974, memoir)
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