Sunday, January 12, 2014

Gerry Ford's big secret...?

Not being a regular reader of Politico, I missed their big scandalous allegation about former president Gerry Ford. As you know, Gerry was a member of the Warren Commission and perhaps the staunchest cheerleader for that body's conclusions. A few of his fellow Commission members later expressed doubts, but never Gerry.

Why? Perhaps because the intelligence community had something on Ford. The following comes from the latest issue of Robin Ramsay's quirky-but-respected U.K. publication Lobster...
Kennedy’s assassination is conspicuous by its absence in the 200 plus pages of transcribed interview conducted in 2009 with the then 80-year old Bobby Baker, LBJ’s right-hand man in the Senate. However, there are some sections about bribery and sexual hanky-panky among senators and congressmen (making money, getting drunk and getting laid seem to have been the priorities for many senators). 5 According to Baker, Gerald Ford became J. Edgar Hoover’s informant on the Warren Commission because Hoover had a tape of him getting a blowjob from the hot hooker in Washington political circles at the time, Ellen Rometsch. Among her clients was JFK; and when the Republicans got wind of this, JFK’s brother (and Attorney General) expelled her (illegally) from the US. Because Rometsch had originally come from East Germany, the FBI suspected she might be a Soviet bloc agent. No evidence of this has every appeared. Rometsch has not been seen or heard of since. My guess would be that the Kennedys paid her to disappear.
The footnote takes us to a major Politico piece on Bobby Baker and to this entry on Ellen Rometsch.

If you go to the last link, you'll see that the only contemporary document linking JFK and RFK to Rometsch is an FBI memo from October, 1963 which is careful to use the term "allegedly." Another citation goes to Sy Hersh's book The Dark Side of Camelot. That work is notoriously unreliable -- the worst thing Hersh ever wrote. According to David Talbot (author of Brothers and an author I trust) Hersh worked closely with CIA man Sam Halpern to produce Dark Side. I don't think we need say more.

Alas, the meat of this "Rometsch" tale relies on Bobby Baker. He was LBJ's hatchet man during Johnson's time in the senate. Baker was also a crook. Somehow he became a very wealthy man, even though his only official income was what he earned as a senator's aide.

When you get information from a snake, you run into a problem. On one hand, a snake often has a pretty good view of what his fellow snakes are doing. On the other hand, snakes have forked tongues. They lie.

Obviously, I don't trust Baker. Come to think of it, I'm not a big fan of Politico. Clearly, some of Baker's claims are credible -- for example, I have no reason to doubt his story about Robert Kerr. Here, for what it is worth, is what Politico says Baker said about Ford:
“Any time I had a rich guy in town, my secretary called her to see if she could go out. She told me that of all the people she had met … the nicest one was Congressman Jerry Ford [R-Mich.]. [FBI Director] J. Edgar Hoover could not find out the happenings when the Warren Commission was investigating the killer of President Kennedy. … J. Edgar Hoover could not find out what they were doing. So, he had this tape where Jerry Ford was having oral sex with Ellen Rometsch. You know, his wife had a serious drug problem back then. … Hoover blackmailed … Ford to tell him what they were doing. That’s the reason I don’t like him. It’s just a misuse of authority.”
Betty Ford's substance abuse issues are well-known -- but how serious were they the early 1960s? Wikipedia says that her addiction problem began in that period, when she was prescribed opioid analgesics for a pinched nerve.

If we ignore the more serpentine sources of data, what do we have left? Simply this: There really was a call girl named Ellen Rometsch. That's verifiable. She was involved with politicians. There have been persistent rumors (but no proof that I've ever seen) that she worked for an East bloc intelligence service. It is known that Hoover and Angleton had everyone in town under electronic surveillance, in an operation run out of the Old Post Office building.

So...maybe this Rometsch business explains the Mystery of Gerry. But maybe not.
We can only imagine what the NSA has on Congress now...
Early in the Clinton impeachment saga, his former aide George Stephanopoulos, then at ABC's Sunday David Brinkley's show as an analyst (where he now hosts), invoked the possibility that the Clintons might use the so-called Ellen Rometsch defense. Briefly, his version was that in the pushback from the Kennedys, Hoover's personal files on politicians were to be used to out many members of Congress who had done tawdry things, if they exposed the story about JFK. I hadn't realized how much she got around, and that some at least of the threatened retaliatory exposure might have been cases also involving her directly.

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