In this blog post, I will use WC testimony to build a case that Dallas FBI agent James Hosty deliberately held back crucial evidence from the Secret Service PRS about General Walker and Robert Alan Surrey. In 1964 the WC exposed Surrey’s role in publishing that, WANTED FOR TREASON: JFK handbill. In 1963, before the JFK trip to Dallas, the PRS specifically asked the Dallas FBI who had published it. The Dallas FBI replied, “Unknown.”
This handbill circulated not only on the day JFK was assassinated, but also on the day that Adlai Stevenson was humiliated by the Radical Right in Dallas, just one month earlier. In my opinion, Dallas FBI agent James Hosty clearly knew who had published that handbill and clearly withheld the truth from the Secret Service PRS. I have two reasons for claiming this.
Firstly, James Hosty said this in his own book, describing his FBI duties in Dallas:
“My caseload in the four-man counter-intelligence squad in the Dallas office was dominated by right-wingers. I spent much of my time tracking the movements and actions of both Klan members and members of former U.S. Army General Edwin Walker's Minutemen.” (James Hosty, 1996, Assignment Oswald, p. 4)
This means that Dallas FBI agent James Hosty was watching General Walker’s operation in Dallas like a hawk. “I spent much of my time tracking” them, he says in his own words.
Secondly, since James Hosty was tracking General Walker, then he would also be aware of Robert Alan Surrey, the President of Walker’s, American Eagle Publishing Company. Chris Cravens (1991) reports that that the business office of Robert Alan Surrey was at General Walker’s warehouse (which happened to be inside Walker’s two-story home at 4011 Turtle Creek Boulevard in Dallas).
Thus, by tracking Walker and his movement, Hosty would easily know about Robert Alan Surrey. There is more. Penn Jones Jr., a well-known JFK researcher from the 1960’s, reported that Robert Alan Surrey told him personally that James Hosty had been his Bridge partner for years (Penn Jones Jr., 1966, Forgive my Grief, p. 155).
One of the key discoveries of the WC with regard to the hostile handbill, WANTED FOR TREASON: JFK, was that Robert Alan Surrey was the publisher. Surrey was the only WC witness out of more than 480 who pleaded the 5th Amendment, and he pleaded it two dozen times – as many times as he was asked about this hostile handbill. Other WC witnesses confirmed that Surrey was the author.
Insofar as Robert Alan Surrey was the author of the WANTED FOR TREASON: JFK handbill, and insofar as Surrey had his office in the home of General Walker – a person that Hosty admits he was professionally tracking in Dallas – and insofar as James Hosty was a Bridge partner of Robert Alan Surrey – then I propose: if WC testimony shows that James Hosty hid that vital data from the Secret Service PRS, we must conclude that Hosty showed his true loyalties.
So, let’s get down to some WC testimony on the relationship of the Secret Service PRS and the Dallas FBI. I’ll start at a high level of the US Government in 1963, namely, the US Secretary of the Treasury, C. Douglas Dillon.
Some background is in order. The Secret Service is a branch of the US Treasury. Secret Service executives report upward to the Secretary of the Treasury, who supervised all communications between Secret Service and the US Military, the CIA, the IRS, the ATF, the FBI and local law enforcement. So the WC interviewed Secretary Dillon, inquiring about how the Secret Service had failed with regard to JFK.
WC Testimony of C. Douglas Dillon, US Secretary of the Treasury
On September 2, 1964, Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren assembled his members, Senator Richard Russell, Senator John Cooper, Representative Gerald Ford, CIA Director John McCloy and former CIA director, Allen Dulles, to hear the testimony of the US Secretary of the Treasury. Attorney Lee Rankin would interview the Secretary.
His WC testimony was extensive, but for our purposes here, we will focus on his opinions about the relationship between the Washington DC Secret Service Protection Research Section, and the Dallas FBI.
Mr. McCLOY: We have had the thought that perhaps the Protective Research Section (PRS) or Division of your organization wasn’t as well equipped as it should have been, nor as it might have been presumably for the purely preventive investigative work…
Secretary DILLON: …It was not equipped, I think, adequately…It did not, as is clearly shown by the events in Dallas, receive information on enough dangerous people...
There is the crux of the matter. The Secret Service PRS had failed in Dallas, because it failed to “receive information on enough dangerous people.” With this fact in mind, let’s move forward to the WC testimony of the Chief of the US Secret Service, James Rowley.
WC Testimony of James J. Rowley, Chief of US Secret Service
In the presence of Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, Attorney J. Lee Rankin interviewed Chief Rowley as follows:
Mr. RANKIN: Is the Protective Research Section of the Secret Service under your direction, too?
Mr. ROWLEY: Yes, sir; that is part of the White House area, sir…
Mr. RANKIN: Will you tell the Commission what the standard was, that you told the agencies you would like to have information…?
Mr. ROWLEY: Well, if there were any threats to the President, we were interested in being informed about it. We were in touch with the FBI, the CIA and others. In the basic schools of the Treasury, and through coordination, our agents in charge of the areas, in coordination meetings, would inform representatives of other agencies of the type of people that we were interested in, the nature of the threats that we asked that they refer to us.
Mr. RANKIN: Did you know that this standard developed about 400 names from all over the country?
Mr. ROWLEY: Yes, sir.
Mr. RANKIN: And that it produced none in the immediate Dallas vicinity?
Mr. ROWLEY: That is right...
Representative BOGGS. This fellow [Oswald] was interviewed by the FBI several times. He was interviewed in New Orleans when he allegedly had his Fair Play Committee. If my memory serves me correctly, Mr. Hosty interviewed Mrs. Paine shortly before the visit of the President, after this fellow had gone to work at the Texas School Book Depository. I agree that there had been no indication of a threat on the President's life. But obviously this fellow was a person in the FBI files who was under some degree of surveillance! It would seem to me strange that the FBI did not transmit this information to the Secret Service!
Mr. ROWLEY: The FBI, Mr. Congressman, are concerned with internal security. And I think their approach was…whether or not [Oswald] was a potential recruit for espionage… There was no indication that he bore any malice toward anyone, and particularly to the President of the United States…
Mr. RANKIN: That is correct.
Mr. ROWLEY: ...I think the FBI properly conducts the investigations…and furnishes us a report. Then, if there is something in the report that indicates he could be a risk to the President…we could take it from there...The Presidential detail...is…always ready to make a quick exit. They do not…stop to…identify... whoever the assailant might be. Their responsibility is only to protect the President…
Mr. DULLES. But they have to know against whom to protect him.
Mr. ROWLEY: That is right…
Notice how Attorney Rankin and Congressman Boggs pressed the point about a breakdown in communication between the PRS and the Dallas FBI, despite Rowley’s efforts to smooth it all over. Now let’s move to a segment of the WC testimony of the Assistant Director of the FBI, Alan Belmont, who will defend the FBI vigorously.
Testimony of Alan Belmont, Assistant to the Director, FBI
Chief Justice Earl Warren assembled Gerald Ford, John McCloy, Allen Dulles, J. Lee Rankin, David Belin and Norman Redlich to hear Alan Belmont, Assistant to the Director of the FBI.
Mr. STERN: What were the criteria you employed and instructed your agents to employ before the assassination in determining what information should be reported to the Secret Service regarding threats against the President…specifically, the kind of information you were interested in…?
Mr. BELMONT: Any information indicating the possibility of a threat against the President...I may say, sir – that this practice was assiduously followed, and you will find that the files of the Secret Service are loaded with information over the years that we have furnished them. That was a practice religiously followed, and a practice voluntarily followed without request. In other words, we do not have a written request for this type of information but rather considered it our responsibility and duty to furnish this information.
Mr. STERN: Did you ever participate in or do you know of any discussion with the Secret Service before the assassination regarding the kind of information they were interested in?
Mr. BELMONT: We had close liaison with Secret Service, and I have no doubt that in oral discussions that the question came up. I wasn’t present but I would assume it has come up, particularly as we were constantly furnishing information. We have no written criteria, you might say, as to what should be furnished.
Mr. STERN: That is established by the Secret Service.
Mr. BELMONT: That is correct…This is something we have done for years on the basis that we consider it our responsibility…I would like to say…that our relations with the Secret Service are excellent…
Mr. DULLES: I had hoped…we could ask…going back to the assassination day, [for] a clear definition of the respective functions of the FBI and the Secret Service prior to…the assassination.
Mr. BELMONT: The Secret Service has the responsibility for protecting the President…That is a basic responsibility.
Mr. DULLES: And you have no auxiliary function to that…except to furnish names and suspects, as you have indicated.
Mr. BELMONT: That is correct…Now, we do have…our responsibility to furnish to Secret Service any indication of a threat to the President, and that we have done religiously…
Mr. McCLOY: Do you feel that in view of the evidence that Oswald was a defector, that he engaged in this Fair Play for Cuba business…that Mr. Hosty…by locating Oswald in the Texas School Book Depository early in November, that he should have been alerted to informing the Secret Service of that?
Mr. BELMONT: No, sir; I do not…We talked to [Oswald] twice. He…indicated he was disenchanted with Russia. Our requirement [was] to find out whether he had been recruited by Soviet intelligence. The case was closed. We again exhibited interest on the basis of…contacts with The Worker, Fair Play for Cuba Committee [in New Orleans] which are relatively inconsequential…as he was not connected with any organized activity there. The interview with him in jail is not significant from the standpoint of whether he had a propensity for violence.
Mr. MCCLOY: That is the Quigley [FBI] interview you are talking about?
Mr. BELMONT: Yes; it was a self-serving interview. The [Mexico City] visits with the Soviet Embassy were evidently for the purpose of securing a visa, and he had told us during one of the interviews that he would probably take his wife back to Soviet Russia sometime in the future. He had come back to Dallas. Hosty had established that he had a job, he was working…He gave evidence of settling down. Nowhere during the course of this investigation…was there any indication of a potential for violence on his part. Consequently, there was no basis for Hosty to go to Secret Service and advise them of Oswald’s presence.
Mr. McCLOY: …Mr. Hosty…
Mr. BELMONT. Hosty was alert, as was the Dallas office, to furnish information to Secret Service on the occasion of the President’s visit. It is my recollection that Hosty actually participated in delivering some materials to Secret Service himself and helped prepare a memorandum on another matter that was not over there. So...most certainly the office was alert…So…I cannot…justifiably say that Hosty should have given this information…to the Secret Service…
We observe Alan Belmont defending the FBI with all his might, including James Hosty. The FBI “assiduously” and “religiously” followed their “duty” to provide data to the Secret Service PRS! James Hosty had done the right thing! LHO was as innocent as any other citizen! Never mind the fact that Dallas FBI agent James Hosty was actively investigating LHO through Ruth Paine at the time!
The FPCC business in New Orleans proved to be “relatively inconsequential!” Certainly! Because the FBI long knew that Guy Banister’s branch of the FPCC was a total Fake! LHO from his New Orleans jail cell actually called the FBI himself for that “self-serving interview!”
As for those visits to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City, well, LHO was innocently trying to get visas to take his wife and children back to Russia. Hosty established through Ruth Paine that LHO had a job and was “settling down!” LHO wasn’t violent! He never threatened the President. So, Hosty did the right thing by keeping the name of LHO from the Secret Service!
Yet LHO is the red herring here. The great fault, in my reading, wasn’t withholding the name of LHO from the Secret Service PRS. On this point, Belmont was right. LHO had done nothing wrong. The real issue, however, which the WC attorneys failed to pursue – was why Dallas FBI agent James Hosty withheld the name of Robert Alan Surrey, when asked point blank who had published the WANTED FOR TREASON: JFK handbill.
As we will see, the WC members would not relent. Let’s get down to the ground level – the WC testimony of the head of the Protective Research Section himself, namely, SS SAC, Robert Bouck.
WC Testimony of Robert Bouck, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Secret Service PRS
Mr. STERN: …I would like to touch briefly upon the functions of the Protective Research Section that you head…Its main responsibility – would you describe that just briefly…?
Mr. BOUCK: Yes; the responsibility of attempting to detect persons who might intend harm to the President…This is an effort to detect…people who make threats against the President, people who do things that indicate they may intend to harm him, and the various sort of things we do to see that they do not accomplish that.
Mr. DULLES: …What do you ask other agencies, Federal, State, and local to be on the lookout for?
Mr. BOUCK: Our criteria is broad in general. It consists of desiring any information that would indicate any degree of harm or potential harm to the President, either at the present time or in the future…
Mr. STERN: How are these requests communicated?
Mr. BOUCK: They are fundamentally communicated by personal contact of varying degrees with the FBI. We have a personal liaison contact in which an individual, a liaison officer actually makes daily contact. With the other agencies, other security agencies and enforcement agencies… people on my staff have personal relationships where we can call on the telephone, and do call on the telephone very frequently, sometimes some agencies every day, and they in turn call us.
Mr. STERN: What agencies do you have these liaison relationships with – Federal agencies?
Mr. BOUCK: We have on a commonly used basis, we have some liaison with almost all of them but on a common using basis we have these relationships with…the FBI.
Mr. DULLES: …When you refer to the field offices, this is the field office of the Secret Service?
Mr. BOUCK: Field offices of the Secret Service…
Mr. DULLES: Those offices cooperate with the FBI offices?
Mr. BOUCK: Yes [and the local police] …
Mr. STERN: What are the criteria for putting someone's name in the trip-index file?
Mr. BOUCK: The belief on the part of the local field office, with confirmation from the Protective Research Section that this individual would indeed constitute a risk to the President's safety, if he went to that area.
Mr. STERN: This is done, this is organized, on a geographic basis…by Secret Service field offices?
Mr. BOUCK: Yes….
Mr. STERN: In point of fact, Mr. Bouck, when you looked at the checkup control file and the trip-index file before the Dallas trip how many names were reported for the areas in the Dallas field office territory where the President was to visit?
Mr. BOUCK: We found no uncontrolled people in the trip file for Dallas. All of the cases in Dallas were controlled to our satisfaction. We found also in the checkup file no uncontrolled individuals that we thought warranted an alert for Dallas.
Mr. DULLES: Did you ask the FBI or any other local agency for any cases they might have; in connection with the trip?
Mr. BOUCK: Yes, sir…
Mr. STERN: …If you would start with the first date you heard that the President was preparing to travel to Texas and tell us what your Section did and what you found.
Mr. BOUCK: Our first knowledge of the Texas trip was on November 8 when the advance agent, Agent Lawson, reported to the Protective Research Section that the President was going to Texas, and that Dallas was one of the stops. A check at that time was made of our trip index, and no cards were found on Dallas to indicate that there was an uncontrolled dangerous person in Dallas. Two such people were found at the Houston stop. This information was imparted to Mr. Lawson at that time…
Mr. STERN: Were there entries in the trip-index file then for the other cities that the President was planning to visit or the other field office areas, Dallas, San Antonio, and El Paso?
Mr. BOUCK: No; there were no cards on any of the other three cities, indicating uncontrolled people.
Mr. STERN: So, in the four field offices covering the entire State of Texas there were in the trip index only two cards; both of them residing in the Houston office area?
Mr. BOUCK: That is correct.
There we see the WC members pushing again and again on this question of the breakdown in communication between the FBI and the Secret Service PRS, to understand how the Dallas FBI could possibly fail to deliver names of genuinely suspicious people to the Secret Service PRS, which had explicitly requested it at high priority.
Mr. Bouck did not shift any blame from himself to the FBI. We can imply from this fact that the PRS could have and should have dug deeper into Dallas politics, rather than merely accept the Dallas FBI agents’ word for the truth.
Yet, I think this brings us back to our first WC witness on this topic. The US Secretary of the Treasury, the ultimate head of the Secret Service, who said of the PRS, “It did not, as is clearly shown by the events in Dallas, receive information on enough dangerous people.”
The PRS protocol was to request information and then receive that information. There was no protocol for the PRS to do its own research. There was no protocol for the PRS to second-guess the FBI.
The Secret Service PRS directly asked the Dallas FBI about Dallas street politics. Who published that WANTED FOR TREASON: JFK handbill? Well, the WC finally established that the President of Walker’s American Eagle Publishing Company was the author of that handbill.
We have evidence from James Hosty himself that he tracked Walker and his right-wing movement professionally. The real question has nothing to do with James Hosty withholding LHO’s name from the PRS, but with James Hosty withholding the name of Robert Alan Surrey from the PRS.
In my opinion, we are gaining evidence that Dallas FBI agent James Hosty hid the truth about General Walker and Robert Surrey from the Secret Service PRS. But why? I’ll look deeper into that in future posts on this thread.
-- Paul Trejo, MA