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Brigadier General Russell Bowen, in Immaculate Deception, analyzed key Nixon tapes in which he referred to "Texans," "the Texans," "Cubans," "the Bay of Pigs," and "some Texas people." One of the "brown shoe boys" of the OSS and decades of intelligence work, Bowen saw the references as referring both to recent money laundering and to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

When the most relevant of these tapes was released, Nixon advisor Dean Burch said of George H.W. Bush: "He broke out in a**holes and sh*t himself to death..." The Warren Commission Report documents included a memo in which J. Edgar Hoover said he gave a full briefing on the assassination to Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency, and there in a photograph of someone who looks very much like Bush standing in front of the Texas School Book Depository on November 22, 1963.

Comparison of that image with known photographs of the young Bush only strengthen the impression that it he was there that day. In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations found that the FBI had numerous recordings of mafia people threatening to kill JFK. There is no evidence Hoover ever tried to warn the Secret Service. Maybe Hoover simply agreed with subsequent researchers who thought the mob had enough on Kennedy that a hit was unnecessary. However, this would not have prevented the mob from accepting payment for assisting in an effort initiated by others.

Nixon was in a position to know what happened on November 22, 1963, but that does not mean he was involved. Probably by coincidence, Nixon had just returned to New York from a conservative meeting in Dallas when he learned of the assassination. Initially, Vice President Richard Nixon oversaw Operation 40, an assassins unit, which was first aimed at Cuba to appease businessmen complaining about lost property.

Nixon got a committee of businessmen under Jack Crichton and George H.W. bush to fund the operation. These men were also entrusted with enlisting Cubans to invade Cuba. Frank Sturgis, Howard Hunt, Bernard Baker and Rafael Quintero were among those recruited for the invasion. Orlando Bosch, Luis Posada Carriles, and Antonio Veciana Felix Rodriguez was serving as an aid to Bush. After the failed Bay of Pigs Operation, these people detested Kennedy.

E. Howard Hunt always insisted he was in Washington, D.C. the day Kennedy died. However, the picture of three bums picked up in Dallas that day has fueled speculation that one of them was Hunt. Another looked like Frank Sturgis, who was never directly employed by the CIA. The picture allegedly showing Sturgis is convincing. Sturgis, who was murdered in 1992, told investigator Henegan that the three hoboes were Sturgis, Hunt, and Charles Harrelson. Sturgis said that his job that day was to act as a spotter for "sewer assassins," and added that there was more than one hit team there. Investigator Jim Fetzer also identified Harrelson, but substituted Charles Rogers ( aka Charles Montoya) for Sturgis

Harrelson, the tallest of them, was an organized crime figure later sent to prison for killing a San Antonio judge John Wood with a high powered rifle. Anthropologist Gary Mack studied the photographic evidence and said Harrelson was likely the tall tramp. Harrelson once confessed to being involved in the assassination of Kennedy but later retracted his comments, saying they were made under the influence of cocaine., Carlos Marcello's brother was convicted of hiring Harrelson to shoot Wood. .

Hunt testified to the House that he had never met Frank Sturgis until late 1972--something that seems very unlikely. Sturgis had been very active in the Miami anti-Castro movement and had heard of a CIA named "Eduardo" but he had not met Hunt or "Eduardo" until late Hunt had bragged that he often used disguises, and it is possible that he used some slight disguise then. Likewise David Atlee Phillips, an actor by avocation, admitted to using disguises.

Some thought the third person was Edward Lansdale. This association was probably made because probably design of the assassination looked like Lansdale's work. General Lansdale was committed to the US effort in Vietnam and had great influence within the CIA because he helped control the gold the Japanese had hidden in the Philippines during World War II . .Experts like Mike Sparks and Fletcher Prouty saw the design as classic Lansdale. The great skill in removing conspirators from Dallas and the subsequent cover-up reflect the work of a man of his expertise. The general had many reasons to despise Kennedy, including what he thought were promises of high office in Vietnam. The Army had an anti-Kennedy think tank at the American University called "Camelot," and another nest of anti-Kennedy people was Operation Mongoose, a CIA unit in Miami dedicated to killing Castro. It had a stable of capable hit men. In the view of all these people, Kennedy had made terrible blunders in planning to bring 1000 troops home from Vietnam by Christmas and by signing National Security Action Memorandum 263, which would reorient US policy from Asia to Europe.

However, investigator Jim Fetzer makes a good case that the third hit man was Chauncey Holt, a contract CIA killer and a very interesting man. At one time he was Meyer Lansky's accountant. He was also a counterfeiter and once ran a school for assassins.

The alleged photograph of Hunt shows a resemblance but is a bit fuzzy. St. John Hunt, Howard's oldest son, also saw the picture: "Around 1975, I was in a phone booth in Maryland somewhere, when I saw a poster on a telephone pole about who killed JFK, and it had a picture of the three tramps. I saw that picture and a cartoon character, my jaw dropped, my eyes popped out of my head, and smoke came out of my ears. It looks like my dad. There's nobody that has all those same facial features. People say it's not him. He's said it's not him. But I'm his son, and I've got a gut feeling." He added that he did not remember his father being in D.C. that day. E .Howard Hunt said under oath he was home chopping vegetables with his wife. 1972 In the 1975 trial, attorney Marc Lane pointed out that Hunt had to carefully remind his children that he was home on November 22, 1963. The jury did not believe Hunt.

Lois Gibson, a visual identification expert with the Houston Police Department, has made a good case that the three tramps were three entirely different men, whose identities were known. One of them, coincidentally, was also photographed near Oswald when he was passing out Fair Play for Cuba pamphlets. This is not a matter that is easily resolved. If Hunt and other CIA operatives were in Dealey Plaza, it is very possible that they were not there as tramps. On the other hand, technical experts from 3M's Comtal Corporation in 1988 concluded there was a strong resemblance between Hunt and the third tramp. Earlier, others had reached a similar conclusion by using photo overlays.

The author is a retired history professor.

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