Thursday, October 7

"Deaths? What deaths?"

Chilling Slate interview with ex-CIA spook and Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt on deposing democratically elected governments in Guatemala: "A couple of [CIA and military] officers came down to join me, and it became apparent that there was going to be an effort to dislodge the communist management [laughs]."

Slate: Some 200,000 civilians were killed in the civil war following the coup, which lasted for the next 40 years. Were all those deaths unforeseen?

Hunt: Deaths? What deaths?

Hunt went on to work on planning the Bay of Pigs invasion, and helping the Bolivians track down and kill Che Guevarra

Slate: Do you think anybody back then was thinking this guy would become a cult figure, that he might be more trouble dead than alive?

Hunt: No, nobody had the foresight for that. … What I thought was great foresight was that the Bolivian colonel had Che's hands cut off.

Slate: Why did he do that?

Hunt: So he couldn't be identified by fingerprints.

As a kicker, Slate's Ann Louise Bardach
asks Hunt about Miami CIA station chief David Atlee Phillips, who he hired, and who has been linked by conspiracy theorists (and Oliver Stone. if that's not redundant) to the JFK assasination.

Hunt: [Visibly uncomfortable] I have no comment.

Slate: I know you hired him early on, to work with you in Mexico, to help with Guatemala propaganda.

Hunt: He was one of the best briefers I ever saw.

Slate: And there were even conspiracy theories about you being in Dallas the day JFK was killed.

Hunt: No comment.

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