all linked to CIA?
WHO KILLED JAMES FORRESTAL? Was There A Cover-up? Article
Document Exposes Cover-up by DCDave
Mid-century deaths all linked to CIA?
New evidence in Olson case suggests
similarities with other incidents
Editor's note: In 1998, WorldNetDaily first reported on the CIA's secret
behavior-modification program MK-ULTRA, which included experimentation with LSD
on unsuspecting subjects. Authors H.P. Albarelli Jr. and John Kelly's new book
deals with the mysterious death of one alleged subject, Dr. Frank Olson. In this
installment, the authors' third for WorldNetDaily, Albarelli and Kelly reveal
new evidence that suggests a possible link between Olson's death and several
other similar deaths in the same time period.
by H.P. Albarelli Jr. and John Kelly
© 2001 H.P. Albarelli Jr. and John F. Kelly
New evidence emerging from the five-year grand jury investigation into the 1953
death of CIA biochemist Frank Olson reveals concerns about several additional
puzzling deaths. At least one of those deaths is noted in the CIA's record of
its own internal investigation into Olson's fatal plunge from a Manhattan hotel
window. That death, detailed in a top-secret CIA report dated December 3, 1953,
was Laurence Duggan's.
A former high-ranking State Department employee, Duggan fell screaming from a
16th-floor window of his Manhattan office on Dec. 20, 1948. Duggan's lifeless
body was found moments later on a Fifth Avenue parapet. He was dressed in a
business suit, overcoat, scarf and only one overshoe. Police found the missing
overshoe on the floor of his office.
As with the Olson case, New York City police deemed Duggan's death an "accident
or suicide," and the Manhattan Medical Examiner's Office ruled that he had
"jumped or fallen." Friends and family of Duggan disputed these findings and
claimed that he had been a victim of "foul play."
Ten days before his death, the FBI questioned Duggan about communist espionage
in the State Department. From 1935 to 1944, Duggan served as U.S. State
Department chief of the Division of American Republics where he oversaw
diplomatic relations with Central and South America.
According to FBI documents, Duggan admitted during questioning that he had had
contacts with Soviet intelligence agents but denied being a spy and failed to
explain why he didn't report the contacts. When pressed for further details
Duggan walked out of the interview.
Prominent journalists Drew Pearson and Edward R. Murrow vigorously defended
Duggan's reputation after his death and maintained that espionage suspicions
about him were totally groundless. Indeed, well into the 1990s, many respected
historians defended the Harvard-educated Duggan as a loyal public servant driven
to suicide by false accusations.
Then several copiously researched books, including "Venona: Decoding Soviet
Espionage in America" by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, were published that
amply documented that Duggan was an active Soviet spy for many years. Duggan
handed over highly classified information to the Soviets during World War II,
including U.S. plans for the invasion of Italy and a possible invasion of
Nazi-occupied Norway. Ironically, Duggan's secret code-name given him by his
Russian handlers was "Frank."
Duggan's death is noted in the CIA's investigation into Frank Olson's death
conducted in late-November and December 1953. CIA security official James McCord
wrote on Dec. 3 that the two New York City detectives investigating Olson's
fatal fall, James Ward and David Mullee, "were considering the possibility that
[Olson] and [CIA official Robert V.] Lashbrook were involved in some committee
hearing for they were aware that Sen. McCarthy's Committee was in town around
the time [of Olson's death]."
Wrote McCord, "[Detective Mullee] stated that the case of DUGGAN of the State
Department came to mind, and as a result [the detectives] called the FBI to see
whether or not they knew anything about either Lashbrook or [Olson]."
According to FBI documents concerning the Olson case, detective Mullee spoke
with Special Agent Edward A. McShane Jr. about his concerns. McShane, a 38-year
veteran with the bureau who died last year, told Mullee that Olson's death was
not only similar to Duggan's but also "brought to mind" the "recent deaths of
three other government officials" as well as the "odd suicide of James
Former Secretary of Defense James Vincent Forrestal died on May 22, 1949, after
falling from the 13th floor of the U.S. Naval Hospital at Bethesda, Md.
Forrestal's broken, bloodied body was found clad in pajamas and a bathrobe. The
cord of the robe was wound tightly around his neck. He had been hospitalized due
to "operational fatigue" attributed to "excessive work."
Forrestal's death was ruled a suicide, but the matter for many people, including
members of Forrestal's family, remained far from resolved. Forrestal's brother,
Henry, told reporters at the time of the death that he "believed that someone
threw my brother out the window" and that he considered it quite strange that
his brother died "just a few hours before I was to take him home." Additionally,
James Forrestal's spiritual adviser, Monsignor Maurice Sheehy, told reporters
that an unidentified Navy warrant officer at the hospital told him that
Forrestal "didn't kill himself."
Over the past several decades, speculation has focused on the possibility that
Forrestal might have been an unwitting victim of the greatly overlooked
top-secret Project CHATTER, operated by the Office of Naval Intelligence.
CHATTER was a precursor program to the CIA's Projects Bluebird, ARTICHOKE and
MK/ULTRA. CHATTER was modeled on bizarre Nazi experiments conducted at
concentration camps and OSS truth drug programs. The object of the project was
to devise the means to "eliminate free will in targeted individuals," causing
them to do anything desired, including assassination and suicide.
At least two of the three deaths of "government officials" noted by McShane to
detective Mullee, but not specifically identified in documents, may have been
those of James Speyer Kronthal and John C. Montgomery. Both men died under
unusual circumstances only months before Frank Olson.
Kronthal, a high-ranking CIA official, who worked under the cover of a post at
the State Department, was discovered dead in his Georgetown home in Washington,
D.C. on April 1, 1953. Kronthal's fully clothed body was found with an empty
vial beside it by two CIA employees, Gould Cassal and McGregor Gray, after they
went to his home to see why he had not come to work.
According to D.C. police files, shortly before his death Kronthal wrote letters
to CIA directors Allen Dulles and Richard Helms. The contents of those letters
have never been revealed. An autopsy of Kronthal's body failed to reveal the
cause of death or the contents of the empty vial. Police ruled the death a
Kronthal during World War II and after worked closely with then-OSS official
Allen Dulles in Bern, Switzerland. Kronthal was an Army captain assigned to the
OSS, precursor to the CIA. At the time of his death, the Washington Post wrote
that Kronthal was "mentally upset" because of "work pressures."
But there was more to the story. In 1975, Rockefeller Commission investigators
learned that long-concealed CIA files revealed that Kronthal was a Soviet spy
who had been blackmailed into service by the KGB and that Kronthal had had
dinner privately with Allen Dulles on the evening of his death. According to
informed sources, Rockefeller Commission director David W. Belin was debriefed
in 1975 on the facts surrounding Kronthal's death by CIA Security Office
officials. Ironically, Belin died in a freak fall in a hotel room in November
James C. Montgomery, ostensibly head of the State Department's Finnish desk but
believed to actually have been a CIA employee, died of strangulation on Jan. 24,
1953, in his Washington, D.C., home. His nude body was found with a bathrobe
cord around his neck. Montgomery's death was ruled a suicide by D.C. police, but
U.S. Congressman Fred E. Busbey of Illinois called for a full House
investigation into the death. Busbey told the Washington Post six-days after
Montgomery died, "There are stories being bruited about that the police have
been told not to talk." Busbey's fellow House members declined to take up an
The third "death" mentioned by McShane might have been a reference to the
"attempted suicide" of CIA security analyst Frederick E. Crockett. On April 8,
1953, just seven days after Kronthal's death, Crockett was discovered
semi-conscious in his gas-filled D.C. apartment on Wisconsin Avenue. Police
ruled that Crockett had attempted to kill himself. The CIA told reporters that
"there was no reason to believe" that Crockett's attempt to kill himself had
anything to do with Kronthal's death. Crockett survived the incident and lived
until Jan. 17, 1978.
Asked to comment about these deaths and their possible connection to the
investigation into Frank Olson's death, a spokeswoman for Manhattan District
Attorney Robert Morgenthau's office declined to comment, citing a "long standing
policy of not discussing or commenting about on-going investigations."
This article is drawn from the forthcoming book, "A TERRIBLE MISTAKE: The Murder
of Frank Olson and the CIA's Cold War Experiments" by H.P. Albarelli Jr. and
John F. Kelly.
Assassinations and Cover-up
WHO KILLED JAMES
Was There A Cover-up?
Article by DCDave
The two highest-ranking government officials in the history of the American
republic to have "committed suicide" are Deputy White House Counsel, Vincent W.
Foster,Jr. on July 20, 1993, and Secretary of Defense, James V. Forrestal, on
May 22, 1949. Actually, Forrestal was not a government official at the time of
his death. He had been rather abruptly removed from office on March 28, and
after almost immediately suffering some kind of breakdown, he had been kept
against his will since April 2, a period of more than 7 weeks, on the 16th floor
of the Bethesda Naval Hospital. Since he was no longer a government employee, it
is unclear upon what authority he was being "cared for" at this U.S. military
Though technically no longer a government official at the time of his death,
Forrestal was a far more prominent and powerful man than Foster. Independently
wealthy since his days as president of Dilon, Read, and Company on Wall Street,
as Secretary of the Navy he had graced the cover of Time magazine on October 29,
1945. In September of 1947, even though he had opposed the legislation that
created the department, Forrestal was made America's first Secretary of Defense.
Widely acclaimed as an extraordinarily dedicated and effective administrator, he
rivaled Secretary of State, George C. Marshall, as the best known member of
President Harry Truman's cabinet.
Both Foster and Forrestal are said to have been suicidally depressed. Indeed,
this is usually the first thing that will be mentioned when the matter of the
death of either of these two men is brought up. The evidence that either of them
was is such a disturbed mental state that he would resort to such an extreme
solution is actually quite weak. In Foster's case, it rests heavily upon the
very doubtful authenticity of a disjointed, sophomoric note belatedly "found" in
a briefcase that had previously been emptied out in full view of a number of
people. In Forrestal's case, the public was told in the very first press
announcement of his death that he had stopped in the middle of copying over a
classical poem, one that seems to welcome, in certain circumstances, the ending
of one's life. We have never been told how anyone knows that Forrestal actually
wrote what he is said to have written, although author Arnold Rogow (James
Forrestal, A Study of Personality, Politics, and Policy, 1963), the man most
responsible for fixing in the public mind the notion that Forrestal was mentally
unbalanced, has written, without the first bit of evidence for it, that
Forrestal was seen writing it, Authors, Townsend Hoopes and Douglas Brinkley
(Driven Patriot, the Life and Times of James Forrestal, 1992) have also stated
that Forrestal was seen writing it, but by a different person from the one cited
by Rogow, although they give Rogow as their source. Curiously, nowhere on the
public record are the actual would-be witness or witnesses themselves quoted
directly on this matter.
Defenders of the official line on Foster's death almost never refer to the known
evidence. Rather, they allude to the "depression" as though it were a proven
fact; they invoke authority, either the authority of the family, most of whom
have publicly, at least, accepted the official conclusion, or of the authority
of the various official "investigations" that have been made of his death, and
they raise questions about the motive. If Foster was murdered, who did it and
Equivocal Voice of Authority
Is is perhaps a measure of how much more innocent a time it was in America in
1949 that, although such arguments against murder in the Forrestal case are far
weaker than in the Foster case, the official suicide line seems to have gone
generally unchallenged. Take, for instance, the reaction of the Forrestal
family. Perhaps the person closest to James Forrestal in the whole world was his
brother; Henry. This is from the obscure book, The Death of James Forrestal
(1966), by Cornell Simpson, one of the few people who did question the suicide
At his home in Beacon, New York, Henry Forrestal stated to this author that
James Forrestal positively did not kill himself. He said his brother was the
last person in the world who would have committed suicide and that he had no
reason for taking his life. When Forrestal talked to his brother at the
hospital, James was having a good time planning the things he would do following
his discharge. Henry Forrestal recalled that Truman and [new Defense Secretary
Louis] Johnson agreed that his brother was in fine shape and that the hospital
officials admitted that he would have been released soon. To Henry Forrestal ,
the whole affair smelled to high heaven. He remarked about his brother's
treatment at the hospital, his virtual imprisonment and the censorship of his
visitors. Henry Forrestal had never heard of such treatment and questioned why
it should have been allowed. He further questioned why the hospital officials
lied about his brother being permitted all the visitors he wanted.
He was bitter when recounting that from the first minute the officials had
insisted the death was a result of suicide; that they did not even consider the
possibility of murder even though there was no suicide note, though his brother
acted perfectly normal when the corpsman saw him only a few minutes before his
death, though the bathrobe cord was knotted tightly around his neck.
He considered it odd that his brother had died just a few hours before he,
Henry, was to arrive and take James out of the hospital.
Then he repeated his belief that James Forrestal did not kill himself, that he
was murdered that someone strangled him and threw him out the window. Henry
Forrestal went on to ask why the authorities did not have the decency to admit
these things and then try to apprehend the murderer. He lamented the fact that
the case was hurriedly hushed up in an apparent attempt to avoid a scandal.
He went on to say that he was a Democrat but nevertheless he blamed the Truman
administration for covering up his brother's murder, for letting it happen, and
for the way James Forrestal was treated in the hospital. He concluded that he
was "damned bitter" about it all but did not know what he could do.
When family members of victims don't agree with the official line, whether it be
his case or the Oklahoma City bombing, TWA 800, Pan Am 103, the Martin Luther
King Jr., murder or 9-11 we seldom hear much about it in our press. The
Forrestal death is an outstanding example of that rule.
The press also typically give great attention to the findings of any official
body that has been appointed to make an investigation. The heavily-louted Warren
Commission is the best-known instance of this phenomenon. In the Foster death it
was first a report by Robert Fiske and then one by Kenneth Starr.
So what do we have with the Forrestal death? It's the Willcutts Review Board,
named for Rear Admiral Morton D. Willcutts, the head of the National Naval
Medical Center. The Review Board took the testimony of all witnesses and
finished its work on May 30. It was not until October 11, however, that its
conclusions were released to the public, and here's what was discovered, as
related on page 15 of The New York Times of October 12, 1949.
1. That the body found on the ledge outside of Building 1 of the National
Medical Center at 1:50 A.M. and pronounced dead at 1:55 A.M. Sunday, May 22,
1949, was identified as that of the late James V. Forrestal, a patient in the
neuro-psychiatric service of the United States Naval Hospital National Medical
2. That the late James V. Forrestal died about 1:50 A.M. on Sunday, May 22,
1949, at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, as a result of
injuries, multiple extreme, received incident to a fall from a high point in the
tower, Building 1.
3. That the behavior of the deceased during the period of the stay in the
hospital preceding his death was indicative of a mental depression.
4. That the treatment and precautions in the conduct of the case were in
agreement with accepted psychiatric practice and commensurate with the evident
status of the patient at all times.
5. That the death was not caused in any manner by the intent, fault, negligence
or inefficiency of any person or persons in the naval service or connected
That' it folks. Notice what's missing. There is no conclusion of suicide. They
just tell us that Forrestal died from a fall from a high point in the building
and that he had been depressed, but they don't say who was responsible for the
fall. They don't even make mention of the dressing gown sash that was knotted
tightly around the body's neck, so they don't have to explain it. There was no
police investigation, so this is the official last word on Forrestal's death.
The findings upon which these conclusions are based were kept secret, and they
remain secret to this day. If anyone did, indeed, witness Forrestal transcribing
words from a poem onto a notepad shortly before he took his fatal plunge, it
would be in the Review Board testimony. The author's Hoopes and Brinkley, in
their extensive Forrestal biography, concealed from the readers the fact that
this report has never been made public. Rogow mentioned the fact in passing in a
footnote and made nothing of it, as though such things were routine and
acceptable in this government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Finally, there is the matter of the motive and the likely suspects. It is no
mystery at all Forrestal's greatest enemies were and who benefited immensely
from his death.
Strong Motives, Prime Suspects
When someone dies violently and suspiciously, the usual question investigators
want to answer is who had a murder motive. Did the deceased have enemies? Had he
been threatened by anyone? Was there anyone who stood to gain from his death? If
so, did the party or parties in question have anything in their past to indicate
that they might be capable of murder, and did they have the opportunity to
commit the crime?
In Forrestal's case, the answers are yes, yes, yes, and yes. For over a year he
had been subject to a vilification campaign in the press the likes of which
hardly any public official has ever had to endure in America. Leading the
campaign, from the left and the right, respectively, were America's two
best-known and most powerful syndicated columnists, Drew Pearson and Walter
Winchell. They painted Forrestal as a corrupt tool of Wall Street and the oil
companies who put the interests of is cronies ahead of concern for the well
being of refugees from European persecution. His big offense was that he was
outspoken in his opposition to the creation of the state of Israel. The entire
foreign policy establishment, led by Secretary of State Marshall, felt the same
way, but the strong-willed Forrestal was the lightning rod for the supporters of
Israel. He had received threatening telephone calls and he complained of being
followed and electronically bugged. It has also been credibly reported that the
Zionists attempted to blackmail him over the financial assistance that his
investment banking firm, Dillon, Read, had given to the Nazis prior to WW II.
One might argue that because Israel had already been recognized by the United
States by the time Forrestal died, and because he had been removed from the
Truman cabinet and discredited by his breakdown and hospitalization, he was no
longer a threat to the supporters of Israel. But he was a man of prominence,
wealth, and determination who intended to buy a newspaper and to write a book
that threatened to expose a number Roosevelt-Truman administration secrets,
especially related to the machinations that brought the United States into World
War II and the wartime policies that advanced the interests of the Soviet Union.
His voluminous diary was confiscated by the Truman White House and its full
contents have never been revealed.
Most important, though, it was feared that he would continue to work against the
interests of Israel. The animous toward Forrestal continues to the present day
in Zionist circles, who continue to characterize this most able and dedicated of
public servants as an anti-semite and a nut.
If anyone within the Truman White House had anything to do with Forrestal's
death, the most likely suspect would be the shadowy string-puller David Niles, a
man with connections both to the Zionists and to the Communists. The previously
mentioned author, Simpson, sees him as a likely suspect primarily because of his
Communist affinities, and Simpson provides us with a laundry list of outrages
perpetrated by the Communists in pursuit of world domination. But one should not
overlook the ruthless record of the Israelis, from the assassinations of Lord
Moyne and Count Benadotte and the bombing of the Kind David Hotel, all of which
pre-dated the Forrestal death, right up to the more recent massacres in Qana and
Jenin and the systematic assassination of Palestinian leaders.
And although the communists might well have had many infiltrators in the
Roosevelt and Truman administrations, no one has ever suggested that they
dominate America's news media. It is the news media that has vigorously sold the
story that James Forrestal committed suicide and has kept silent about the fact
that the only serious government investigation of the death has been kept secret
from the American public. The news media also heavily publicized the books by
Rogow and Hoopes and Brinkley, which sell the suicide line, but they published
not one single review of the critical book by Cornell Simpson.
Reproduced gratefully from:
Document Exposes Cover-up
“However history may
ultimately judge his opposition to the establishment of Israel, by 1949 it was
clear that Forrestal was, in a sense, one of the casualties of the diplomatic
warfare that had led to the creation of the Jewish state." Arnold Rogow,
James Forrestal, A Study of Personality, Politics, and Power, 1963
James V. Forrestal was America's first Secretary of Defense. He was also the
leading official in the Truman administration opposing the creation and U.S.
recognition of the state of Israel. President Truman relieved Forrestal of his
position in late March of 1949. Within a few days he was committed, apparently
against his will, to Bethesda Naval Hospital suffering from "exhaustion." In
spite of the invaluable service he had rendered to the country during World War
II, first as Under Secretary of the Navy and then Secretary of the Navy, he had
in 1948 and early 1949 been the subject of an unprecedented press vilification
campaign, led by powerful columnists Drew Pearson and Walter Winchell.
At around 1:45 am, May 22, some seven weeks after his admission to the hospital,
Forrestal plunged from a 16th floor window of the hospital to his death. A belt
or cord, said to be from his dressing gown, was tied tightly around his neck.
On May 23, a review board was appointed by Admiral Morton D. Willcutts, the head
of the National Naval Medical Center to investigate the death. The board
completed its work on May 31, but not until October 11, did it publish a brief,
summary report of only a few lines. No explanation of the delay was given. The
summary concluded that Forrestal had died from the fall, but it had nothing to
say about what caused the fall, except to conclude that no one associated with
the Navy was responsible. In short, it did not conclude that he had committed
suicide, as initial reports stated and the public is still given to believe. No
mention was made in the summary, or in those later October press reports, of the
belt around Forrestal's neck.
The Willcutts Report, itself, was kept secret, and, curiously, no hue and cry
was raised over that fact. After two unsuccessful Freedom of Information Act
tries with the National Naval Medical Center, I was finally able to get the
report of the review board from the office of the Navy's Judge Advocate General,
and my analysis is at
At the time of the death, all the press made much of a book containing a morbid
poem from Sophocles, "Chorus from Ajax," that Forrestal had supposedly been
copying from shortly before his plunge from the window. The press reports all
say that the book and a transcription "were found," but they never say by whom.
Neither does the Willcutts Report. No witness is produced who claims to have
discovered the book or the transcription. Rather, the first person to get a good
look at Forrestal's vacated hospital room found broken glass on his bed, a
likely sign of some sort of struggle. She also described bedclothes half turned
back, but the official "crime scene" photographs taken many hours later, show a
bed with a bare mattress, an obvious sign of a cover-up. One can also see that
articles were moved around from one picture to the next:
http://www.dcdave.com/article4/040916.html . Needless to say, no news report
has ever mentioned the broken glass or the laundering of the room before
photographs were taken.
Pro-Israel writers like Rogow, Winchell biographer, Neal Gabler, Jack Anderson,
Charles Higham, John Loftus, and Mark Aarons have continued the character
assassination against Forrestal, falsely characterizing him as an an
anti-Semitic nut who had made several previous suicide attempts. This claim of
several previous suicide attempts, echoed at this Arlington Cemetery web site:
http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/jvforres.htm , is virtually proved to
be false by the testimony of Forrestal's Bethesda Hospital doctors in the
Willcutts Report. They agree that, from all indications, he had never before
The indications are very strong that the Roman Catholic Forrestal kept his
no-suicide-attempt record intact on May 22, 1949, and became another casualty of
the creation of the state of Israel in the same sense that Lord Moyne, Count
Bernadotte, Yitzhak Rabin, Rachel Corrie, 34 crewmen on the USS Liberty, and
Palestinian leaders on a regular basis have been casualties.
Copies of the Willcutts Report should be available for perusal at the Seeley
Mudd Manuscript Library at Princeton University, the Harry S. Truman Library in
Independence, Missouri, and the Library of Congress. I have given the
appropriate officials at each of these libraries compact discs of the report. I
will also mail a copy of the CD, free of charge, to any library requesting it by
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The file, with all its exhibits, is too large to
Courtesy News Watcher and Liberty Forum
Go to "The Death of James Forrestal"
Go to James Forrestal's Handwriting
Go to "Was there a struggle?" pictures