Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
The Sopranos, Mar/Apr 01
Crowing over his contribution to toppling Guatemala's democracy in 1954, and blaming JFK for the CIA's rout at the Bay of Pigs, Howard Hunt (December 2000 issue) proves his moral compass is as skewed as is his judgment.
Ironically, Hunt's proud product, a "liberated" Guatemala, provides perhaps the best contrast for the relative merits of emancipation by U.S.-directed anti-Communists versus liberation by his bete noir, Fidel Castro. Although it is horrid and indefensible, Fidel's record shines compared to the succession of U.S.-approved totalitarian dictators who have tortured Guatemala, killing an estimated 200,000 since Hunt's "victory" in '54. Both the United Nations and the Catholic Church credit the Guatemalan government with over 90 percent of those murders (compared to a paltry 3 percent for the rebels), and the U.N. has concluded that the United States shares the blame.
And what rubbish is his claim that, but for JFK's refusal to approve additional air strikes, the Bay of Pigs invasion "would've been a fete champetre." The recently declassified 38-year-old report by the CIA's own inspector general, Lyman Kirkpatrick, reveals that, after 300 CIA interviews, he came to the same conclusion as other credible authorities: that the problem wasn't insufficient air cover. It was the CIA's own "bad planning," "poor" staffing, faulty intelligence, "fragmentation of authority," mistreatment of the exile forces, the "failure [of the CIA] to advise the President that success had become dubious," etc. What's worse is that the CIA charged ahead even after it learned that the Russians had advance knowledge from a leak of the exact date of the planned invasion, a fact the agency apparently kept from JFK.
Having failed to succeed in smearing JFK by falsifying cables to link him to the assassination of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, the patriot Hunt is at it again -- falsifying history to blame Kennedy for the agency's "perfect failure" at the Bay of Pigs. It's likely that not only would Cuba and Guatemala be better off today without the amoral derring-do of patriotic scoundrels like E. Howard Hunt, but so would the United States.
Gary L. Aguilar
San Francisco, California
David Giammarco's article on E. Howard Hunt was superb. It's about time a magazine sheds some light on the truth. The brief mention of Hunt vs. Liberty Lobby, that little trial down in Florida, is a rarity among news reports or magazine articles. Yet it is one of the most compelling and concrete cases implicating Mr. Hunt and his cronies at the CIA for the murder of JFK. Lawyer Mark Lane's book on the trial, Plausible Denial, is without a doubt the best case against Hunt. Why doesn't anyone ever talk about this?! So glad you did!
As for Hunt's interview, we see a truly bitter man. It's amazing that he calls himself a patriot when in reality he's a right-wing fascist. How can he justify his black-bag jobs? The man shows no remorse or contrition. Does he realize what he's saying in this article?! I love the part where he says he should have taken out the guard during the Watergate break-in! Then he would have been a murderer instead of a two-bit thief. This guy's out there. Great piece. Mr. Giammarco got him to really open up. I found myself feeling a bit sorry for the man.