Johnson’s Hidden Loyalties
As previously stated, the Johnson administration implemented a dramatic shift in US‑Middle East policy. Every president after Johnson has totally capitulated to Israel and ignored the plight of Palestinians. But Johnson marked the turning point. The reason he was so loyal to Israel lies within his own ethnicity. It appears that he and his wife were secretly Jewish. To many, this may seem laughable at first, but in reality Jews were an integral part of Texas history throughout the nineteenth century. (Rabbi James L. Kessler, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/JJ/pxj1.html) Jacob and Phineas De Cordova sold land and developed Waco. Simon Mussina founded Brownsville in 1848. Michael Seeligson was elected mayor of Galveston in 1853. Morris Lasker was elected to the state Senate in 1895.(Rabbi James L. Kessler, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/JJ/pxj1.html) The list goes on.
The first Jewish settlers of note in Texas were Samuel Issacks (1821) followed by N. Adolphus Sterne (1826). (Rabbi James L. Kessler, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/JJ/pxj1.html) By 1838, Jews were living in Galveston, San Antonio, Velasco, Bolivar, Nacogdoches, and Goliad. (Rabbi James L. Kessler, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/JJ/pxj1.html) In the early part of the twentieth century, a large of number of Russian Jews migrated to Texas to escape persecution from the Russian Czar.
Between 1900 and 1920, the Jewish population in Texas grew from 15,000 to 30,000. Major cities, Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, and San Antonio, experienced enormous growth in Jewish populations. (Rabbi James L. Kessler, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/JJ/pxj1.html) The overall number of Jews in Texas has steadily increased ever since. After World War II, the abundance of Jewish residents grew from an estimated 50,000 in 1945 to 71,000 in the mid‑1970s and 92,000 in 1988. (Rabbi James L. Kessler, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/JJ/pxj1.html)
Before 1821, Texas was still a Spanish colony where only Catholics could take up residence. Jews who openly acknowledged their ethnicity could not legally live there. (Rabbi James L. Kessler, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/JJ/pxj1.html) Originally, Jews migrated to Texas to seek fortune and freedom. The earliest Jews, who arrived with the conquistadors, came from Sephardic (Spanish‑North African‑Israel) communities. (Rabbi James L. Kessler, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/JJ/pxj1.html) After the Mexican period, Jewry in Texas was essentially populated by immigrants from Germany, eastern Europe, and the Americas. (Rabbi James L. Kessler, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/JJ/pxj1.html)
Lyndon Johnson’s maternal ancestors, the Huffmans, apparently migrated to Frederick, Maryland from Germany sometime in the mid‑eighteenth century. Later they moved to Bourbon, Kentucky and eventually settled in Texas in the mid‑to‑late nineteenth century. (Internet, familysearch.org (geneology website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)
According to Jewish law, if a person’s mother is Jewish, then that person is automatically Jewish, regardless of the father’s ethnicity or religion. The facts indicate that both of Lyndon Johnson’s great‑grandparents, on the maternal side, were Jewish. These were the grandparents of Lyndon’s mother, Rebecca Baines. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 50) Their names were John S. Huffman and Mary Elizabeth Perrin. (Internet, familysearch.org (geneology website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) NOTE: I did a search on the parents of Ruth Ament Huffman, wife of Joseph Baines. The website search indicated that Ruth Ament Huffman’s parents were Mary Elizabeth Perrin and John S. Huffman) John Huffman’s mother was Suzanne Ament, a common Jewish name. Perrin is also a common Jewish name.
Huffman and Perrin had a daughter, Ruth Ament Huffman, (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 850 (Index: Ruth Ament Huffman, "LBJ’s grandmother," is listed under "Baines.")) who married Joseph Baines (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 850 (Index: Joseph Wilson Baines, "LBJ’s grandfather," is listed under "Baines.")) and together they had a daughter, Rebekah Baines, (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 50) Lyndon Johnson’s mother. The line of Jewish mothers can be traced back three generations in Lyndon Johnson’s family tree. There is little doubt that he was Jewish.
To recap, the following is Lyndon Johnson’s maternal family tree:
Mother: Rebekah Baines (married Sam Johnson, Lyndon’s father) Maternal grandparents: Ruth Ament Huffman and Joseph Baines Maternal great‑grandparents (parents of Ruth Huffman): Mary Elizabeth Perrin and John S. Huffman, III Maternal great‑great grandparents (parents of Mary Perrin): Dicea Kerby and William Perrin (Internet, familysearch.org (geneology website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) NOTE: I did a search on the parents of Mary Perrin, wife of John Huffman. The website search indicated that Mary Perrin’s parents were Dicea Kerby and William Perrin) (Footnote 20) Maternal great‑great grandparents (parents of John Huffman, III): Suzanne Ament and John S. Huffman, II (Internet, familysearch.org (geneology website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) NOTE: I did a search on the parents of John S. Huffman, husband of Mary Elizabeth Perrin. The website search indicated that John S. Huffman’s parents were Suzanne Ament and John S. Huffman) Maternal great‑great‑great grandparents (parents of John Huffman, II): Cathrine Lyter and John Huffman. (Internet, familysearch.org (geneology website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) NOTE: I did a search on the parents of John S. Huffman, husband of Mary Elizabeth Perrin. The website search indicated that John S. Huffman’s parents were Suzanne Ament and John S. Huffman)
As previously stated, many Jews migrated to Texas from Germany. A Johnson family friend, Cynthia Crider, observed that Lyndon’s mother, Rebekah Baines (Johnson), often boasted of her Baines ancestry, but rarely mentioned the maternal side, the Huffmans. In fact, Crider recalled that Lyndon’s father, Sam Johnson, used to tease his wife occasionally about her German heritage. When she would get stubborn about something, Sam would say, "That’s your German blood again. German blood! Look at your brother’s name. Huffman! Probably was Hoffmann once—in Berlin." Rebekah would respond, "Sam, you know it’s Holland Dutch." (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 61)
As far as can be determined, Rebekah’s German ancestors, the Huffmans, came to America in the mid‑1700s and had a son, John Huffman, in about 1767 in Frederick, Maryland. I cannot find records of John Huffman’s parents. They were probably German immigrants. Huffman married Catherine Lyter in 1790 in Frederick, Maryland. (Internet, familysearch.org (geneology website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)) At some point Huffman and Lyter moved to Bourbon, Kentucky and had a son, John Huffman, II, who married Suzanne Ament. Huffman, II and Ament had a son, John S. Huffman, III, born on May 7, 1824 in Bourbon, Kentucky; and died on June 22, 1865 in Collin, Texas. John Huffman, III was Rebekah’s great‑ grandfather. He married Mary Elizabeth Perrin. Huffman and Perrin had a daughter, Ruth Ament Huffman, who married Joseph Baines. Huffman and Baines were Rebekah’s parents, Lyndon’s grandparents.
As a young adult, Lyndon Johnson taught school in Cotulla, a poor "Mexican" community south of San Antonio. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 166‑169) Many of his former students marvelled at his spirit, dedication and self‑discipline. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 166‑169) Lyndon strongly encouraged the young Mexicans to learn English in order to get ahead. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 166‑169) Possibly he truly had a yearning to help those in need; however, that does not fit most historical accounts of Lyndon Johnson the man. From early adulthood, virtually all of his actions were calculated. Given Lyndon’s Huffman, Perrin, Ament family line, it is more likely that he was assisting descendants of Sephardic Jews who migrated to Texas from Spain centuries earlier.
Recently it was disclosed that there are many hispanic Jews living in the San Antonio area. Richard Santos, a hispanic Jew and native of San Antonio, wrote a book entitled Silent Heritage: The Sephardim and the Colonization of the Spanish North American Frontier, 1492‑1600. (David Garza, The Secret History, May 11, 2001, The Austin Chronicle: Books, http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2001‑05‑11/books_feature.html) Santos spoke of his "crypto‑Jewish" heritage at the Texas Jewish Historical Society’s 22nd conference on May 11, 2001. Crypto‑Jews are Sephardic groups of families who secretly retained their religion and culture after the 15th‑century Spanish royal decree deemed it punishable by death. Santos has spent his entire adult life trying to educate the masses about the secret history of his bloodline. (David Garza, The Secret History, May 11, 2001, The Austin Chronicle: Books, http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2001‑05‑11/books_feature.html)
Stan Hordes, a former New Mexico state historian and professor at the University of New Mexico, described his observations at the same conference.
"One person told me, ‘My family just doesn’t eat pork—we’re allergic to pork,’" Hordes said, explaining the pockets of crypto‑Jews who maintain Jewish traditions without even realizing it. (David Garza, The Secret History, May 11, 2001, The Austin Chronicle: Books, http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2001‑05‑11/books_feature.html)
Among the crypto‑Jews that Hordes described, some of the women light menorahs without realizing what they’re doing. (David Garza, The Secret History, May 11, 2001, The Austin Chronicle: Books, http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2001‑05‑11/books_feature.html)
Given this new information about crypto‑Jews, plus Johnson’s heritage; it is highly plausible that he began his early adult life as a teacher at Cotulla not merely to help disadvantaged hispanics students, but rather to help descendants of Sephardic Jews—crypto‑Jews—from Spain who migrated to Mexico and what is now southern Texas. And the reason he felt obliged to help these crypto‑Jews was because of his own secret ethnicity.
This information about Sephardic Jews in southern Texas sheds new light on the ethnicity of Lyndon Johnson’s wife, Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson (aka, "Lady Bird"). She is apparently a Sephardic Jew of Mexican origin. Although her facial features are consistent with Semitic origin, that alone is not definitive proof. Claudia’s mother, Minnie Lee Pattillo, was likely a Sephardic Jew from Mexico. Pattillo is a common Spanish/Mexican name; however, there are no records of Minnie Pattillo’s parents so it is entirely possible that they were immigrants. It is quite odd that a first lady—one who lived in the White House less than 40 years ago—has maternal grandparents whose identity is unknown and undocumented.
Minnie Pattillo died in 1918 when Claudia was only five. (David Garza, The Secret History, May 11, 2001, The Austin Chronicle: Books, http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2001‑05‑11/books_feature.html) Minnie was born in about 1890 in Karnack, Texas (Harrison County); (David Garza, The Secret History, May 11, 2001, The Austin Chronicle: Books, http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2001‑05‑11/books_feature.html) however, she apparently lived in Alabama when Thomas Taylor married her. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 295) All that is known about Minnie Pattillo is that she had a "spinster" sister, Effie Pattillo (also from Alabama), who helped raise Claudia. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 295)
Claudia Taylor’s father was Thomas Jefferson Taylor, II, a prosperous businessman and philanthropist. (Mark Odintz, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/TT/fta26.html ) He was the son of Thomas Jefferson Taylor and Emma Louisa Bates. (Internet, familysearch.org (geneology website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)) Historian Robert Caro wrote that Claudia’s father was the "richest man in [Karnack, Texas]." (Internet, familysearch.org (geneology website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)) Caro also indicated that Johnson’s previous two girlfriends—Carol Davis and Kitty Clyde of San Marcos and Johnson City, respectively—were also daughters of the richest men in town.
1931: Johnson Came to Washington as Congressman Kleberg’s Assistant.
Lyndon Johnson began his career in 1931 as the legislative assistant of Congressman Richard M. Kleberg, a wealthy Jewish politician representing the 14th District of Texas. Kleberg was not a serious politician, rather an outwardly friendly man who inherited vast wealth. "A sweeter man that Dick Kleberg never lived," a friend said. "But he was a playboy. As for work, he had no interest in that whatsover." (Internet, familysearch.org (geneology website for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints))
Richard Kleberg was one of the wealthiest men in Texas. He inherited twenty percent interest in the King Ranch, the largest ranch in the continental United States; (Encyclopedia Britannica: King Ranch) a 2,000‑square‑mile estate with influence extending beyond its borders. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 219 ) In fact, Richard Kleberg’s father, Robert Kleberg, turned much of South Texas into "Kleberg County." (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 219 ) Although the ranch dealt in cattle and horses, as well as in sorghum and wheat, (Encyclopedia Britannica: King Ranch) it also built entire towns, railroads, harbors, colleges, and banks. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 219) In the 1940s, it contracted oil and gas leases to provide additional income. By the mid‑1970s, the ranch owned millions of acres of land in such countries as Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, and Morocco; but falling market prices caused them to sell off much of this land in the 1980s. (Encyclopedia Britannica: King Ranch)
The King Ranch was founded in 1852 by Richard King (Richard Kleberg’s grandfather), and was expanded significantly by King’s son‑in‑law, Robert Kleberg (Richard Kleberg’s father). (Encyclopedia Britannica: King Ranch) In 1922 Robert Kleberg suffered a stroke and Richard was put in charge of the King Ranch. But Richard’s lack of business skills soon caused the King empire to fall into serious financial difficulties. In 1927, the executors of his father’s estate removed Richard from authority and put his younger brother in charge of managing the Ranch. Soon the empire was back on its feet. This did not bother Richard because he did not relish the notion of being a businessman. (Encyclopedia Britannica: King Ranch)
Richard Kleberg ran for an open congressional seat merely as a favor to friend, Roy Miller, former "boy mayor of Corpus Christi" and lobbyist for the gigantic Texas Gulf Sulphur Corporation. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 220) Kleberg replaced Harry Wurchbach who died on November 6, 1931. At that time, Wurchbach was the only Republican Congressman from Texas. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 218) With Kleberg’s election, the Democrats gained control of the House. The new Speaker of the House of Representative was John Nance Garner(Footnote 21) of Texas. Miller was a Garner ally, and in Miller’s view, the main qualification for the Democratic nominee to replace Wurchbach was electability. And no one was more popular in the 14th District than a member of the Kleberg family. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 220)
After easily winning the election, Kleberg gave Miller, the lobbyist, carte blanche permission to use his Capitol Hill office as if it were his own. Often Kleberg never went to the office at all. In essence, Miller was the unelected congressman for the 14th District and Kleberg was merely a figurehead; (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 220) however, the work of the Kleberg’s constituency was left to his legislative assistant, Lyndon Johnson. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 221)
Under Miller’s tutelage, Johnson learned to play hardball politics. When Kleberg’s bid for re‑election was challenged in the 1932 Democratic primary by a more liberal candidate, Carl Wright Johnson; Lyndon Johnson, Roy Miller and another Texas politician, Welly Hopkins, maligned the challenger’s character, calling him a "communist," guilty of "radicalism" and "similar filth and slime." (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 272 ) Carl Johnson didn’t have a chance in a district so thoroughly controlled by the King Ranch. Newspapers gave him limited coverage. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 272) Needless to say, the challenger lost. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 293)
Ironically, Kleberg won ten of eleven counties in his district; but the one he lost was Lyndon Johnson’s home county of Blanco. Some residents of the county felt that Kleberg lost in Blanco because many of the voters disliked the congressman’s legislative assistant. According to Johnson’s aid, Gene Latimer, "He worked hard—he just broke his back—to get those people to like him, but they just didn’t." (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 293)
Johnson’s Mentor, Senator Alvin Jacob Wirtz
Alvin Jacob Wirtz was a lawyer and legislator, first a state senator from Texas, then a United States Senator for the same state. In 1935, Wirtz came to Washington and helped organize the Lower Colorado River Authority. He specialized in oil and water law and was appointed general counsel to the newly established LCRA. Working closely with United States Representative Lyndon Johnson, he helped the river authority secure grants and loans from the Public Works Administration, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and the Rural Electrification Administration. (Michael L. Gillette, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/WW/fwi70.html)
More than any one person, Alvin Wirtz helped pave Lyndon Johnson’s early rise to power. Ed Clark, a colleague of Wirtz’ for years said of him, "What he wanted was P‑O‑W‑E‑R—power over other men. He wanted power, but he didn’t want to get it by running for office. He liked to sit quietly, smoke a cigar. He would sit and work in his library, and plan and scheme, and usually he would get somebody out in front of him so that nobody knew it was Alvin Wirtz who was doing it. He would sit and scheme in the dark. He wasn’t an outgoing person. But he was the kind of person who didn’t want to lose any fights. And he didn’t lose many." (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 373)
As an attorney, Wirtz had a reputation among collegues for being ruthless. A San Antonio attorney observed that he was "a conniver—a conniver like I never saw before or since. Sharp, cunning." Another attorney commented that "He would gut you if he could. But you would probably never know he did it. I mean, that was a man who would do anything—and he would still be smiling when he slipped you the knife." (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 376)
In 1917 Wirtz moved his family to Seguin, where he continued his law practice until 1934. From 1922 to 1930 Wirtz served as state senator from Guadalupe County. During his time in the legislature, Wirtz became involved with a group of citizens interested in the development of the Guadalupe River as a source of hydroelectric power. (Michael L. Gillette, Handbook of Texas (online), http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/WW/fwi70.html ) As someone driven by a need to obtain power over men, Wirtz viewed dams as a means of acquiring it. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 376)
In 1934 Wirtz moved to Austin after being run out of Seguin by disgruntled farmers who believed his dam projects had cheated them out of their land. This was result of his dealings with businessman Samuel Insull of Chicago. Insull had retained Wirtz to procure land from farmers along the Guadalupe River for the purpose of building six small dams for irrigation. The farmers were unwilling to sell, but through legal maneuvering, Wirtz got the government to purchase the farmers’ land at low prices. On February 26, 1934, Tom Hollamon, Sr—a sixty‑seven‑year‑old farmer and former Texas Ranger—walked into Wirtz’s office, where he was meeting with Insull representatives, and began shooting. Before being disarmed, one Chicago financier was dead. Hollamon was arrested for murder, but Wirtz was quickly run out of town by the locals. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 376‑377)
In Austin Wirtz organized the law firm of Powell, Wirtz, Rauhut, and Gideon. Things seemed bleak for awhile, but Roosevelt’s New Deal gave him a chance to revive his dream of becoming a power mogul. During Roosevelt’s "Hundred Days" portion of the New Deal, $3.3 billion of federal money was slowly released into the economy for public works which included dams. Eventually a $10,000,000 dam project, the Marshall Ford Dam, became the vehicle by which Wirtz could acquire the power he sought. The contract was awarded to one of Wirtz’ clients, Brown & Root. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp 378‑379)
Brown & Root: Johnson’s Primary Financial Supporter
Throughout Lyndon Johnson’s career, Brown & Root was his biggest financial supporter. Today the company is a huge defense contractor. It was founded by Herman Brown in the 1920s. The son of a Belton, Texas shopkeeper, Herman’s career had a humble beginning. But Alvin Wirtz and Lyndon Johnson helped Brown & Root acquire huge defense contracts from President Roosevelt in the late 1930s. The company prospered a great deal after America’s entry into World War II. Brown & Root returned the favor by giving Johnson virtually any financial help he requested.
Brown & Root continued to grow as the primary contractor for building military bases. When Johnson got America into the Vietnam War, Brown & Root made a fortune constructing military bases in Southeast Asia. They built the Tan Son Nhut Air Base and reportedly built many of the infamous tiger cages used to brutalize and torture suspected enemies of the Saigon regime. (Reliable source within the intelligence community (deceased)) Tiger Cages were cells constructed below ground with just enough room to fit one person. Prisoners were put in these as punishment for various infractions of the rules.
As of this writing (2002) Brown & Root is owned by the Halliburton Company, a prestigious defense contractor based in Dallas, Texas. Until July 25, 2000, Vice‑President Dick Cheney was CEO and chairman of the board of the Halliburton Company. The following is a profile of the Halliburton Company from Yahoo.com stock quotes:
Halliburton Company provides services and equipment to energy, industrial and governmental customers. The Company operates in two business segments: Energy Services Group and Engineering and Construction Group. The Energy Services Group provides a range of discrete services and products to customers for the exploration, development and production of oil and gas. The segment serves independent, integrated and national oil companies. The Engineering and Construction Group segment, consisting of Kellogg Brown & Root and Brown & Root Services, provides a range of services to energy and industrial customers and government entities worldwide. Halliburton operates in 120 countries.
Halliburton Company provides a variety of services, equipment, maintenance, and engineering and construction to energy, industrial and govermental customers. For the nine months ended 9/30/01, revenues rose 13% to $9.87 billion. Net income from continuing operations before account. Change increased 96% to $410 million. Revenues reflect higher rig counts and increased prices. Earnings also reflect increased utilization of equipment and personnel.
The Rags to Riches Story of Brown & Root
At the age of sixteen (1909), Herman Brown got a job earning two dollars a day carrying a rod to assist surveyors. For ten years, he lived in a crowded tent for members of the construction crew. In fact, when he got married in 1917, he and his wife, Margaret Root, spent their wedding night in a tent, and a tent was their first home. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 369‑371)
At the age of twenty‑one, Herman became a contractor. At that time, successful contractors had to know how to handle mules and men. Herman quickly gained a reputation for getting the maximum amount of work from men working on construction contracts. Later, he took on two partners. As a favor to his wife, Margaret Root, Herman made her brother, Dan Root, a partner; along with Herman’s brother George. When Dan Root died, the firm’s name remained unchanged out of affection to Herman’s wife. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, p 371)
After the success of the Marshall Ford Dam, Herman Brown was looking for even bigger projects for his construction company. Something big was about to happen. In 1938, Congress, at President Roosevelt’s request, had authorized the expenditure of a billion dollars on a "two‑ocean" Navy. By early 1939 it had become clear that a substantial portion of that billion would be spent on the construction of naval bases and training stations for a greatly expanded Navy Air Force. On April 26, 1939, Roosevelt had signed into law a bill authorizing the expenditure of $66,800,000 for the first of such bases. Brown’s attention was already focused on the Navy because Lyndon Johnson was a member of the Naval Affairs Committee. He decided to bid on one of the bases—in San Juan, Puerto Rico—authorized in the April bill. Unfortunately, Johnson did not have enough influence within the White House, and Brown was not awarded the San Juan contract. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 581‑582)
An important political dynamic had developed between President Roosevelt and his Texan Vice‑President John Garner. In 1937 the conservative Garner broke with liberal Roosevelt over the latter's plan to enlarge the Supreme Court. In 1940 Garner challenged Roosevelt for the Democratic presidential nomination but lost. (Encyclopedia Britannica: John Garner)
Meanwhile, there was talk of another naval air base for Texas, on the Gulf of Corpus Christi. Obviously Brown wanted that contract, but he had been a Garner supporter for years. So had Corpus Christi’s Congressman, Richard Kleberg. In fact, Kleberg’s primary handler, Roy Miller, was Garner’s campaign manager. Lyndon Johnson too, had long supported Garner. All parties knew that in order to get the Corpus Christi contract, they would have to unilaterally endorse Roosevelt over Garner. The Texans chose to drop Garner by sending a subtle political signal to Roosevelt rather than overtly pledging their support to him. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 582‑583)
In the midst of this turmoil, George Brown wrote a letter to Johnson pledging his support:
In the past I have not been very timid about asking you to do favors for me and hope you will not get any timidity if you have anything at all that you think I can or should do. Remember that I am for you, right or wrong, and it makes no difference if I think you are right or wrong. If you want it, I am for it 100%. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 583)
In Houston, where Brown & Root’s headquarters were located, Herman Brown’s political influence was growing, and the city’s Congressman, Albert Thomas, a junior Representative with negligible clout in Washington, was known to take Herman’s orders unquestionably. In August, Congressman Thomas had said, "Of course every member of the Texas delegation is for Vice President Garner." In December 1939, Thomas made another statement. He was not for Garner after all, he said. He was for Roosevelt. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 583) This was a signal to Roosevelt, sent by Johnson et al, that they had dumped their longtime political ally, John Garner.
Roosevelt responded positively with two reciprocal signals. First, on January 2, 1940, he appointed Alvin J. Wirtz as Under Secretary of the Interior. Wirtz was the attorney for Brown & Root and had been recommended by Lyndon Johnson. Wirtz would be second in command only to Harold Ickes. Second, the White House went out of its way to cite Representative Lyndon Johnson as the person who "presented Wirtz’s name." Presidential Secretary Stephen Early stated that "neither Texas Senator was consulted," nor was Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn or Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones. To readers of political signals, it was clear that Lyndon Johnson had become a key White House ally. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 583‑584)
In addition, the Navy Department was quietly informed by the White House that Lyndon Johnson was to be consulted—and advice taken—on the awarding of Navy contracts in Texas. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 584)
Consequently, Brown & Root began obtaining coveted Navy Department contracts. The Corpus Christi Naval Air Station was awarded to Brown & Root without competitive bidding. Instead it was awarded on a "negotiated basis." Because the contract was so big, Brown & Root was directed by the Roosevelt administration to share the profits with another contractor, Kaiser. (Robert Caro, Path to Power, pp. 584‑585)
Friendship With J. Edgar Hoover
It has been well documented that Hoover and Johnson had been friends since 1945 when a young Senator Johnson and his family moved onto the same block of Washington’s Thirtieth Place where Hoover lived. (Jim Marrs, Crossfire, p. 223)
John Edgar Hoover (1895 ‑ 1972) was born in Washington, DC—the youngest of four children—and rarely left the city his entire life. He lived with his mother at 413 Seward Square until her death in 1938. Afterward he continued living there with his companion and associate director at the FBI, Clyde Tolson. (Jim Marrs, Crossfire, p. 214) It is common knowledge that the two were homosexual lovers.
In 1917, Hoover entered the Department of Justice as a file reviewer. Within two years he became special assistant to Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer in the Woodrow Wilson administration. In that position, he oversaw the mass roundups and deportations of suspected Bolsheviks (Communists) after World War I. In May of 1924, he was named acting director of the Bureau of Investigation (as it was then called) and confirmed as director seven months later. Finding the Bureau in disarray because of the scandals of the Harding administration, he reorganized and rebuilt it, establishing a fingerprint file, which became the world's largest; a scientific crime‑detection laboratory; and the FBI National Academy, to which selected law enforcement officers from all parts of the country were sent for special training. (Encyclopedia Britannica: J. Edgar Hoover)
By the early 1930s, the Bureau was involved in the pursuit of Bonnie and Clyde and the Ma Barker Gang, the shooting and killing of notorious bank robber John Dillinger, investigating the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh’s infant son, and countless other sensational stories. (Jim Marrs, Crossfire, p. 218; Encyclopedia Britannica: John Dillinger)
In the summer of 1936, Hoover began to have secret meetings with President Roosevelt where the FBI was granted executive authority to expand into intelligence gathering—particularly in areas of subversive activities in America, including Communism and fascism. With Roosevelt’s support, the FBI grew from 391 agents in 1933 to nearly 5,000 by the end of World War II. (Jim Marrs, Crossfire, p. 220)
After war, the Hoover exploited anticommunist hysteria of the Cold War to intensify the FBI’s intelligence activities. It is widely known that Hoover leaked derogatory material on Martin Luther King in the 1960s as part of his secret counterintelligence (COINTELPRO) program. Former assistant FBI Director William Sullivan commented on Hoover’s surveillance of Kennedy and King in a book, The Bureau, published posthumously in 1979.(Footnote 22) The following is an excerpt from that book:
Hoover was always gathering damaging material on Jack Kennedy, which the President, with his active social life, seemed more than willing to provide. We never put any technical surveillance on JFK, but whatever came up was automatically funneled directly to Hoover. I was sure he was saving everything he had on Kennedy, and on Martin Luther King, Jr., too, until he could unload it all and destroy them both. He kept this kind of explosive material in his personal files, which filled four rooms on the fifth floor of headquarters. (William Sullivan, The Bureau, p. 50) (The quotation from William Sullivan, regarding Hoover’s surveillance of JFK and MLK, was obtained from Jim Marrs’s book, Crossfire, pp. 221 ‑ 222. Marrs cited William Sullivan’s posthumous book, The Bureau, p. 50)
Hoover’s view of organized crime was astonishing, to say the least. As late as January 1962, Hoover denied its existence in the United States. He stated that "No single individual or coalition of racketeers dominates organized crime across the nation." It was not until gangster Joe Valachi was brought to Washington by Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department to testify before the Senate that Hoover was forced to admit that his opinion about organized crime in American needed some serious re‑thinking. (Jim Marrs, Crossfire, pp. 216‑217)
In January 1964, shortly after Hoover’s 69th birthday (January 1st) and less than two months after Kennedy’s assassination, President Johnson signed an Executive Order exempting Hoover from retiring on his 70th birthday, which was mandatory at that time. It should be noted that Johnson was also gearing up the Warren Commission to investigate Kennedy’s death in that time frame. Consequently, it is not implausible to think that Johnson’s Executive Order may have been an incentive to Hoover not to conduct a serious investigation of the assassination. It might have been a reward as well, since many of the FBI’s cover‑up activities had already been accomplished by January. (Jim Marrs, Crossfire, pp. 223‑224. Marrs cited Executive Order 11154 as the tool used by Johnson to exempt Hoover from mandatory retirement at age 70)
Sullivan also observed that the relationship between Johnson and Hoover changed after Johnson assumed the presidency. The following is an excerpt from Sullivan’s posthumous book, The Bureau:
They remained close when Johnson served as Vice President, but there was a change in their relationship when Johnson became President. The Director was over 65 by that time, past retirement age for federal employees, and he stayed in office only because of a special waiver which required the President’s signature each year. That waiver put Hoover right in Johnson’s pocket. With that leverage, Johnson began to take advantage of Hoover, using the Bureau as his personal investigative arm. His never‑ending requests were usually political, and sometimes illegal¼And Hoover hot‑footed it to Johnson’s demands¼he found himself very much in the back seat, almost a captive of the President¼(William Sullivan, The Bureau, pp. 60‑61) (The quotation from William Sullivan, regarding Johnson and Hoover’s relation, was obtained from Jim Marrs’s book, Crossfire, p. 224. Marrs cited William Sullivan’s posthumous book, The Bureau, pp. 60‑61)