Q/A with the late Michael Collins Piper –
Question – Mr.Piper, In Final Judgment you never precisely state whether it was the CIA or the Mossad that was the prime mover behind the JFK assassination. In other words, who do you believe was the “senior partner” in the JFK assassination conspiracy? You can’t have it both ways. Was it the CIA or the Mossad?
Mike – I don’t know whether it was the CIA or the Mossad which was the prime mover behind the conspiracy. I would note that in the realm of U.S. policy in the Middle East the CIA and the Mossad were, as I’ve mentioned earlier, virtually two sides of the same coin. James J. Angleton, the Mossad’s ally at the CIA, turned many CIA agents essentially into Mossad agents, working on behalf of Israel’s interests, not only in the Middle East but throughout the world.
In many cases there were no doubt many CIA operatives—and CIA contract operatives, likewise—who were doing the work of the Mossad and didn’t know it, not only in the matter of the JFK assassination but in various covert activities globally. I do think the assassination conspiracy was largely a cooperative effort but I do believe that the Mossad connection was central to the conspiracy and actively endorsed and carried out with Angleton’s prodding at the CIA in Washington.
The assassination most likely would never have been carried out without the active collaboration of the CIA and obviously those in the CIA who were actively involved in the assassination conspiracy (Angleton in particular) were close to the Mossad or functioning in its sphere of influence in a number of areas.
For example, CIA man E. Howard Hunt, who was working closely with the anti-Castro Cubans and Guy Banister in New Orleans, was also a CIA liaison to the French OAS which, in turn, was working closely with the Israelis. Likewise with Banister, another major player in at least one aspect of the conspiracy: specifically the process of creating the legend of Lee Harvey Oswald, while he was living in New Orleans, as a “pro-Castro agitator.” Then, of course, there’s Frank Sturgis, who worked for both the CIA and the Mossad and who admitted to involvement in the assassination.
So in many key instances where one appears to be finding a “CIA connection” to the JFK assassination conspiracy, one is also finding that it is also a very significant Israeli connection: whether you’re talking about Banister, Sturgis, Hunt or—at a higher level—James Angleton. Not to mention long-time CIA asset Clay Shaw who was connected to the Israelis through the Mossad-sponsored Permindex operation.
In a sense all of these key players were wearing two hats. In this particular realm of intelligence intrigue—the JFK assassination—when you are looking at the CIA you are also looking at the Mossad. In a situation such as this where you find various power groups interacting—in this case, a conspiracy to kill the president of the United States—you might find Ben-Gurion in Israel telling James Angleton at the CIA in Washington (whether directly or indirectly, of course): “JFK is not only a threat to Israel, but he’s also going to splinter the CIA into a million pieces and cast it to the wind. He’s going to wreck your plans to get deeper into Vietnam.”
At the same time Ben-Gurion’s lobbyists might be whispering in the ears of defense contractors’ lobbyists in Washington saying, for example: “You won’t have your big money profits if JFK gets out of Vietnam. And if LBJ comes into office, we have it on good authority that he’s going to begin a major highly profitable process of arming Israel. But none of this will happen if JFK stays around much longer.” So the defense contractors turn around and tell their friends in the CIA and the Pentagon: “This son of a bitch Kennedy has got to go.”
This is highly simplistic, of course—but nonetheless instructive—way of looking at how the process of the assassination conspiracy began developing. Obviously, Angleton and his associates at the CIA didn’t need Ben– Gurion to tell them what a problem JFK was for the CIA. But it certainly didn’t hurt for Angleton to know that he’d have the clout and the political protection—not to mention the assistance—of Israel and its worldwide network and its support in the American media if he and the CIA decided to move against President Kennedy.
All in all you had a very tightly knit group of people—both outright conspirators and powerful sympathizers—all dealing with one another on a regular and intimate and highly secretive basis. I’ve said time and again that while the JFK assassination conspiracy appears on its face to be many different circles intersecting with one another, a more appropriate way of looking at the conspiracy would be to view it as a very wide circle that continues spiraling inward to a very tight vortex.
You don’t have “one big happy family” but, instead, “one very small happy family” collaborating in the JFK conspiracy. With just a few contacts, these people were capable of setting in motion, financing and orchestrating this conspiracy that obviously crossed several continents. We will never know who first said, “Let’s kill JFK.”
It would be presumptuous for me to try to make any comment on that and obviously no records on this conspiracy were kept. In Oliver Stone’s JFK, the character played by Donald Sutherland, known as “Man X” said that he felt the conspiracy started “in the wind.” Kennedy, he said, was like Caesar, surrounded with enemies. Something was underway. Yet everybody in the loop knew what was going to happen—that JFK was going to be assassinated. It was a coup d’etat–and that’s how they work. That’s the best way to look at how the conspiracy evolved.
According to Pierre Neuville, my French source, Yitzhak Shamir, the Mossad’s assassination chief, did contract out at least one assassin or an assassination team through Colonel Georges deLannurien in French intelligence. And because deLannurien was with Angleton at CIA headquarters at Langley the day of the assassination, it seems likely that deLannurien knew precisely who those contract assassins were gunning for. He doesn’t appear to be have been “out of the loop.” So, in my judgment, there was an affirmative move on the part of the Mossad toward the goal of killing John F. Kennedy. Perhaps Shamir did it at Angleton’s behest.
There’s no doubt that it was JFK’s strained relationship with Israel that was one of the prime motivations behind the ultimate conspiracy in light of the role of Israel’s CIA collaborator, James Angleton, in the conspiracy. Angleton had several motivations in launching CIA participation in the conspiracy and one of the primary motivations certainly was his position as Israel’s chief and devoted advocate at the CIA in Washington. I think my bottom line in Final Judgment is that you absolutely cannot look at the JFK assassination conspiracy without factoring in the role of the Mossad—all other factors, no matter how important, notwithstanding.