E. Howard Hunt was a key political figure during the 1950s and 60s. He graduated from Brown University, served in WWII, and joined the CIA in 1949. Stationed in Mexico City, he supervised conservative William F. Buckley. In Guatemala, he helped overthrow the government, partly by airing radio broadcasts from Florida but pretending to be in the jungle with a guerrilla army.
|St. John Hunt |
|St. John Hunt in 1972, "the week of Watergate," he says. |
After stints in Japan and Uruguay, Hunt was sent to Cuba to help organize rebels to take over the government once the CIA ousted Castro in the Bay of Pigs invasion -- except, the Bay of Pigs failed.
This had two big consequences for Hunt: (1) He came to resent John F. Kennedy for not being more committed to overthrow Castro, and (2) His job changed to focus on domestic issues -- he became "the first Chief of Covert Action for the CIA's Domestic Operations Division," under the Kennedy Administration. Part of his job was to give false information to and mislead news organizations.
In 1970, he retired from the CIA and joined Nixon's White House, as part of the "President's Special Investigations Unit, also known as the "White House Plumbers." In 1972, he and G.Gordon Liddy recruited five men (most Cubans) to break into the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate building, thus igniting one of America's biggest scandals.
After Hunt served 33 months in prison (he pleaded guilty right after his wife died in a mysterious plane crash), he wrote spy novels and lived in Miami. Because of his clandestine past, conflicting testimony he gave during Watergate investigations, and his professional truth-fudging, there is still a lot of mystery around things he said and did in his life. One of the biggest questions is: Where was he when JFK was killed, and what did he know about it?
We talked to his son, Saint John Hunt, who wrote a book called Bond of Secrecy, about his father. The younger Hunt moved to Fort Lauderdale a few months ago. More »