The Critical Contribution of Col. L. Fletcher Prouty
by Dr. Thomas Halle
I’d like to suggest that, if you've not already done so, you consult Col. L. Fletcher Prouty’s classic, “The Secret Team” (second edition). In the course of reviewing some of the many volumes in my personal Kennedy assassination library recently, I was once again perusing this book, and I confess that I was surprised. Prouty provides enormous insight into the operation of the “intelligence community” (particularly the CIA), chock-full of hidden lines of control and duplicitous agendas, a distinct covert culture and “deniability,” and how the “Agency” has moved FAR BEYOND its original mandate. He emphasizes things like extensive compartmentalization, how people like Robert McNamara were skillfully managed during the Kennedy administration, and the existence of a labyrinth of “smoke and mirrors”…including how the media is deftly managed, and how, e.g., a military officer may actually be a CIA figure, acting under “military cover,” and a CIA man may be a real military officer with very strong links with the agency.
This covert activity, with “operations” (or “plans”) exercising operative prominence at “Langley” (never envisioned by President Truman, when he signed the measure creating the CIA in 1947)—replete with many levels, associated “cover stories” and "cut-outs"--is so extensive and profound, that media figures, military officers, members of Congress, and even intelligence operatives may not be privy to the real goings-on. The “Official Narrative” eventually becomes reality--in parallel with how the risible "single bullet theory"/"lone gunman" scenario was very early on proposed, then quickly accepted by most Americans, post JFK assassination in Dallas.
This multifaceted and complex system, where “one hand may not know what the other is doing” is actually directed by the Power Elite, or what Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the “High Cabal.” Prouty also mentions a shift from national sovereignty (which he says no longer exists) to an egregious form of globalism…. one which I will suggest is related to organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group (and these terrible “free trade” treaties, like NAFTA), supported by many in Washington today, and across party-lines. While Prouty does not list all of these organizations, he does go as far as mentioning the CFR.
The fact is that (despite some ugly, tabloid-like character assassination by people like Seymour Hersh, and plenty of historical revisionism), President Kennedy unquestionably envisioned a military withdrawal from South Vietnam for his expected second term (and, incidentally, WAS NOT responsible for the assassination of President Diem and his brother). Yet, we have come to see that he had many enemies surrounding him (such as the Bundy brothers, Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge and General Maxwell Taylor), and others—like McNamara--who were manipulated (along with the brothers Kennedy, themselves), toward a certain mind-set (in spite of Kennedy’s emphasis on this being “their war," and a solid resolve to very soon withdraw military support, and fully out by the end of 1965). Soon, that policy shifted to a full-blown military venture, which had been very deftly and craftily engineered. First, the Diem brothers were removed (the news of which was incredibly shocking to the Jack Kennedy), then came some very curious (and dubious) manipulation of the “National Security Action Memoranda” (NSAMs).
Now Kennedy had written NSAM 55 and NSAM 57, with a clear intention to rein in the CIA, after the Bay of Pigs debacle. But the latter was interpreted by others in Washington, in a weird way toward moving in a way exactly diametrically opposed to the President’s intent. Next came NSAM 263 written on November 22, 1963 in Honolulu, while the President was fully occupied with a busy itinerary in Texas (though it was later claimed JFK had signed off on this measure), arguably in preparation of an immediate change in administration (which was summarily realized on that very day!!). This memo is subtly written, but suggests a coming build-up in Vietnam, and emphasized the baloney premise of a Communist infiltration and invasion of South Vietnam, and the need for a robust response to counter this aggressive activity.
Directly, Lyndon Johnson was presented with NSAM 273, which he promptly signed. This document, unlike 263, allows no ambiguity about the complete and utter US involvement and resolve toward defeating the Communists with the full engagement of US military forces. Overnight the paltry “adviser” presence of the US in Vietnam mushroomed into a massive military operation. I.e., “now the game was on!!” Incidentally, Prouty maintains that before the end of 1963 this small, supposed military, presence was ENTIRELY CIA controlled, AND—in the context of some truly weird developments--the US ambassador to Vietnam was senior to the military command hierarchy. I invite you to reflect on oddity that for a moment!!
If you’re beginning to shake your head over the complexity and eccentricity of this scenario (or political-military-intelligence world), you’re not alone. One facet of this complicated world was the fact that Kennedy was sold the idea of “counter-insurgency” by General Taylor, his primary military advisor, who was someone actually working for Langley. Prouty actually refers to Taylor as a “Judas-goat!!” So, while the young president was dedicated to such ideals as world peace and self-determination of other nations, the growing primacy of this CI concept, and “special forces,” meant a ramping up of anti-Communist activity, in effect, robust military operations under “peacetime” cover. At the same time, his early employment of figures outside of the normal channels of the Washington Establishment—particularly the National Security Council (NSC)—meant the CIA, supposedly under the direction of this committee, was allowed to run rampant, and to expand exponentially. In a word, Kennedy was bamboozled, and--in some ways—was not only naive, but perhaps had even been his own worst enemy….and one might understand how assessing Kennedy’s stance and character might well be difficult, considering the complexity of the situation.
Now, many of us were already aware of Prouty’s eminence and import in his commentary on the “Secret Team” and the part it played in the Kennedy assassination (expressed by one who had been at the heart of the intelligence world), but what I’ve since found surprising—in the second edition of his book--is the comprehensiveness—and “razor-like” clarity he provides. These include commentary on the complexity and subtlety of the intelligence community operations and its characteristic style, as well as how the Vietnam War was skillfully engineered. Naturally, with this additional amplification, and a recollection of the incredibly dark “Langley” history around the world in the fifties and sixties (including the assassination of African, Far East and Central American elected leaders, and the toppling of governments, along with a variety of Machiavellian antics), one can easily comprehend how this “behemoth,” allowed to expand and prosper during the last years of the Eisenhower and early years of the Kennedy, administrations, when opposed by President Kennedy, turned on him and led to the elimination of a sitting American president. After all, you keep a rabid dog in your backyard, and the chances are pretty good that someone is eventually going to get a nasty dog-bite. And operatives like David Phillips, James Jesus Angleton, William Harvey and David Morales have very little familiarity, let us say, with the concept of a moral compass. Treachery and treason (and sheer opportunism) are the "name of the game" in their world. Seems to me that it was Phillips who was heard to say,"You have to trust that we are honorable men." I'm not so sure.
Clearly there is no need for major mental gymnastics to arrive at the conclusion that the CIA had a role in Dallas on that fateful day. Moreover, Col Prouty, investigator Mark Lane, Dr. Cyril Wecht, and ARRB military consultant Douglas Horne, are among those who have drawn the conclusion that the nation suffered a coup d’etat in 1963. So does Professor Peter Dale Scott, with the only difference in his viewpoint being that he insists that this is “business as usual” (“Standard Operating Procedure” (SOP)) in the world of “Deep Politics.” The Power Elite generally get what they want. And, yes, the framing of the Official Narrative, with plenty of whitewash (and complicity) by the Warren Commission, included the framing of one Lee Oswald for the crime is consistent with this reality. Of course, the ignorant and the stooges may choose to continue to believe the junk propaganda, but this does nothing to change what actually occurred, on a calamitously dark day inDealey Plaza some fifty years ago.