Dorothy was acting as broker with White House aides to negotiate a pay-off, which apparently was agreed to be around $250,000, whilst at the same time she was also talking to journalists and members of Congress. It seems quite clear that John Dean, Council to the President, told Richard Nixon that she was “the savviest woman in the world. She had the whole picture together” – the implications being she was a dangerous woman, and that the White House, at the highest level, knew that.
One day, Dorothy Hunt, who was being used as a messenger for the White House to distribute Watergate “Slush monies”, got on a plane, together with a very clued up Watergate journalist, Michelle Clark, a Member of Congress and fifty or so other people, nine others of whom it later turned out were involved in Watergate.
She had just bought $250,000 of Life Insurance, the payee being Howard Hunt. The plane crashed landing in Chicago, killing almost everyone on board. She was certainly also carrying $10,000 in cash, although there seemed considerable evidence that up to $2 million of pay-out money and cheques was also with her, as well as the original copy of the papers which reputedly linked Nixon to Kennedy’s death.
This writer also pointed out that FBI agents were at the scene of the crash before the Fire Department, which received a call within one minute of the crash. The FBI later claimed that 12 agents reached the scene of the crash. Later it was revealed that there were over 50 agents searching through the wreckage.
It was completely irregular for the FBI to get involved in investigating a crash until invited in by the National Transportation Safety Board. The FBI director justified this action because it considered the accident to have been the result of sabotage. That raises two issues: (i) How were they able to get to the crash scene so quickly? (ii) Why did they believe Flight 553 had been a case of possible sabotage? This question is not answered by Freed, the writer, but it could be argued that it is possible to answer both questions with the same answer. The FBI had been told that Flight 553 was going to crash as it landed in Chicago.
Another writer has pointed out that the day after the crash, one of Nixon’s close White House aides Egil Krogh was appointed Undersecretary of Transportation, supervising the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Association - the two agencies charged with investigating the airline crash. A week later, Nixon's deputy assistant Alexander P. Butterfield was made the new head of the FAA. Coincidence?
When you delve into this story, there then seems to follow a continuing trickle of extremely convenient murders, which further adds to the mystery. Dorothy was rumoured to have been poisoned by cyanide during the flight, and her body was cremated with indecent haste, apparently following considerable pressure from CBS, the employer of the journalist travelling on the plane with Mrs Hunt – though just how a News organisation has any power to influence such a thing is beyond me. The undertaker who carried out the autopsy, was murdered shortly afterwards – a crime still “unsolved”.
Just to add to the mix, two or three other people, involved with the White House on other, non-Watergate matters, apparently received phone calls that day advising them not to go on the flight, or to take a later one.
Howard Hunt, who at the time of his wife’s death was under arrest, caved in following the crash, and pleaded guilty to his involvement in the burglary.
And it goes on – there’s more if you want to find it. See http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKhuntD.htm. It’s got the makings of a bloody good film, and as the real people involved die, perhaps there really still is more to come. Howard Hunt’s autobiography is, apparently, just about to be published …….
It does make the “Cash for Honours” issue a bit tame, but you never know. Watch this space.