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An Interview with Richard Helms

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transmitted to the Congo and two Europeans with criminal backgrounds were allegedly involved.
I have read that you told CIA officer Michael Moroney that you thought that the Lumumba plan was ill-founded.
 
Now Leonard Mosely in his book, Dulles: A Biography of Eleanor, Allen and John Foster Dulles and their Family Network, says that in fact you planned one operation with lethal toothpaste but that Lumumba did not use toothpaste and that the joke was that he preferred halitosis to no breath at all. Which is the truth?
         
Leonard Mosley has a fascinating imagination. I don't know the gentleman. I have never met or talked to him. I don't believe that story. I have no recollection of any such plot. I had nothing to do with the Lumumba business. Moroney, as you call him, which is obviously not his name, asserts that he came to discuss this business with me and I intimated that I didn't think that this was a very good idea. But I was not the boss and it was the boss who was talking about this at the time.
         
But I don't think we should leave on the record any suggestion that anything came of this, even though certain things may have been transported to the Congo. The final decision was to do nothing and that is the important thing. What happens in the end is important. This is what we are all judged on.
         
But given there were so many plots.
         
There weren't so many plots.
         
There were plots against five leaders.
         
What five?
         
Well, there was Castro, obviously.
         
We have discussed Castro.
         
To quote the Senate report, which you said is your Constitutional right to say was wrong, the CIA encouraged or was privy to coup plots which resulted in the deaths of Trujillo, Diem and Schneider. That was the final result. But there were also plans against Lumumba and Castro?
         
A "coup plot" is very different from an assassination-maybe. Let us take an example. President Daoud of Afghanistan was killed in a coup. Was he intentionally assassinated or was he simply killed in the course of the coup? I don't know-but he is dead.
         
The Agency had nothing whatever to do with the demise of Diem and didn't plot it. If there was any plotting, it was someone else in the United States Government.
         
As far as Trujillo was concerned, he was killed but there has never been any real evidence that those guns that were allegedly sent to the Dominican Republic were used to shoot him. We did not pull the trigger.
         
I think that it has been abundantly pointed out that Schneider was killed accidentally, that he was not killed intentionally by anybody-let alone the CIA. I think that what this line of questioning tends to lay out is that no matter which of these leaders dies, if the Agency was anywhere around they were the ones who are assumed to have plotted. Whereas if you had an objective rendition of history, I think you would find that a lot of people at all levels of the United States Government were involved in these things.
         
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Posted: May 08, 2007 08:59 AM
Last Updated: May 08, 2007 08:59 AM