Colson Fakes Cable Implicating Kennedy in Diem Assassination

President Nixon’s aides have diligently tried to find evidence linking former President John F. Kennedy to the 1963 assassinations of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu (see June 17, 1971), but have been unsuccessful. “Plumber” E. Howard Hunt (see July 7, 1971) has collected 240 diplomatic cables between Washington, DC, and Saigon from the time period surrounding the assassinations, none of which hint at any US involvement in them. White House aide Charles Colson, therefore, decides to fabricate his own evidence. Using a razor blade, glue, and a photocopier, Colson creates a fake “cable” dated October 29, 1963, sent to the US embassy in Saigon from the Kennedy White House. It reads in part, “At highest level meeting today, decision reluctantly made that neither you nor Harkin [apparently a reference to General Paul Harkins, the commander of US forces in Vietnam at the time] should intervene on behalf of Diem or Nhu in event they seek asylum.” [Reeves, 2001, pp. 371]. Colson also fakes letters from Senator Ted Kennedy about sex parties. “The second set of papers in there were letters purportedly written by Senator Kennedy involving some of his peccadilloes, if you will.”[2]

Hunt assisted. The problem resided only in the historical facts. In truth, the responsible American officer in the overthrow and murder of Diem was a Republican—Nixon’s 1960 running mate, Henry Cabot Lodge, then serving as ambassador to South Vietnam. In conspiracy with the CIA, Lodge had deceived President Kennedy into giving an ill-advised green light for a coup that Kennedy himself had naively been shocked to see end in an execution. These truths were why Howard Hunt was hard at work cobbling together new “facts.” This is an amazing irony known by Hunt, but ignored by Hunt. He tells Liddy that it’s bullshit, that it was the JFK was always a temporary and illegitimate place-holder.