Monday, 15 April 1996 19:40

Maurice Bishop and “The Spook” Hal Hendrix

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A sidebar to Lisa Pease's study of Freeport Sulphur and its relationship to the JFK assassination which suggests a connection between David Phillips and Hal Hendrix.

Lisa Pease Reports on Freeport Sulphur:

Whitney, the Ambassador, and Batista's Tax Break for Freeport Sulphur

David Atlee Phillips, Clay Shaw and Freeport Sulphur

Freeport Sulphur's Powerful Board of Directors

JFK, Indonesia, CIA & Freeport Sulphur


Gaeton Fonzi has written a book that details his search for Maurice Bishop called The Last Investigation. To Fonzi's detailed summary of reasons that David Atlee Phillips was indeed the Maurice Bishop that Veciana saw with Oswald, there is a more recent addition. In the back of his updated paperback version of Conspiracy, Anthony Summers tells of Jim Hougan's talk with CIA agent Frank Terpil. Jim Hougan will be familiar to Probe readers from our last issue. He's the author of the best book on Watergate, Secret Agenda.

Hougan got to know Terpil rather well while making a PBS documentary about him. In a tape-recorded interview, Hougan asked why Terpil was going on and on about David Phillips and the AFIO. Among other things, Terpil alleged (as have others) that Phillips' "retirement" from the CIA was phony, and that he continued to work for the CIA through the AFIO. Hougan asked Terpil why he kept talking about Phillips-was it personal, or political? Political, Terpil replied. Hougan asked where Terpil and Phillips had met. Terpil's answer is astonishing, and terribly important. Terpil had met him in Florida while living there with Hal Hendrix's daughter. Really? Asked Hougan. Yeah, said Terpil, Phillips used to come around with Hal Hendrix, but he wasn't using his real name. He was using an alias. What alias? Bishop, Terpil said, Something Bishop. Maurice Bishop? Hougan asked. Yeah, Terpil replied, Maurice Bishop. Hougan wanted to be sure Terpil wasn't putting him on, but came away convinced that Terpil did not understand the significance of what he was saying and that Terpil was answering honestly. Hougan asked how Terpil knew Bishop was Phillips. Terpil said he had run Bishop through the agency's file system in the CIA's Miami headquarters to find out who this Bishop character was. The name that came out: David Atlee Phillips.

When Probe asked Hougan about this incident, he responded, "Now, in my opinion, Terpil was telling the truth about this-because, frankly, the subject of David Phillips' background and alias would never have come up if I hadn't grown irritated with Terpil's constant kvetching about the AFIO." As a follow-up, Hougan contacted both Seth Kantor, who confirmed his call to Hendrix, and Hendrix's daughter, who Hougan says "seems to be as big a spook as her father was." She issued an "I'm afraid I don't remember" when queried about having lived with Terpil, which, as Hougan noted, "is not a denial."

In 1975, Seth Kantor, a Scripps-Howard reporter and one of the first journalists to report on Oswald's background immediately following the assassination, noticed that one of the Warren Commission documents still being suppressed from the public was a record of his own calls the afternoon of the assassination. Kantor was curious what could have been so sensitive among those calls to require such suppression, and starting actively seeking the document. Listed in the FBI report he finally got released-but not listed in the report of his calls published in the Warren Commission volumes-was a call Kantor made, at the request of his managing editor in Washington, to another reporter named Hal Hendrix, then working out of the Miami office. Hendrix was about to leave for an assignment in Latin America but had told the Washington office he had important background information on Oswald to relay. Kantor received from Hendrix a detailed briefing of Oswald's defection to the Soviet Union, his pro-Castro leafleting activities and other such details. Kantor didn't think, at the time, to ask Hendrix where he got his information. Years, later, he wished he had, as Hendrix was quite an interesting character.

Hal Hendrix had a claim to fame for his insightful reporting on the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. His efforts garnered him a Pulitzer Prize. It was perhaps because of his deep sources that Hendrix was nicknamed "The Spook." Or perhaps it was for his near clairvoyance. In a Scripps-Howard piece dated September 23, 1963, Hendrix wrote a colorful article about the toppling of the Dominican Republic's president Juan Bosch. The only problem was, the coup didn't happen until a day later.

In 1976, Hendrix pleaded guilty to charges of withholding information when a Senate Committee was looking into the corporate ties of ITT to the Chilean coup. Hendrix had worked for ITT in Chile at the time ITT was working with the CIA to bring about the fall of Chilean president Salvador Allende. David Phillips was in charge of the CIA's end of that operation. It is therefore of the greatest significance that Terpil puts Bishop/Phillips in the presence of Hendrix, and that Veciana puts Bishop in the presence of Lee Harvey Oswald. Add the new revelation that a "Mr. Phillips" was "running the show" in conjunction with Sergio Arcacha Smith and Guy Banister in New Orleans, and we know where the Assassination Records Review Board should be devoting the utmost attention.

Last modified on Saturday, 08 October 2016 22:35
Lisa Pease

Lisa Pease was co-editor with Jim DiEugenio of Probe Magazine and also edited with him The Assassinations.  She has written a number of ground-breaking essays on the connections between Freeport Sulphur, the Eastern Establishment and the CIA, on James Angleton, and on Sirhan and the RFK assassination.  Lisa is currently finishing her book on the latter subject, the product of more than two decades of research.  She also runs a blogspot on recent history and current events.

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