Part 3 - Journalists & JFK – The Real Dizinformation Agents at Dealey Plaza
Hugh Aynesworth, Priscilla Johnson (McMillan) & Gordon McLendon
By Bill Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 2011
Besides their reporting on the assassination of President Kennedy, Hugh Aynesworth, Priscilla Johnson and Gordon McLendon share an interesting common trait in that they applied for jobs with the CIA and didn’t get them. But rather than become full fledged agents, it appears they were assigned a contact officer and served as CIA assets for decades, which is especially interesting in how their CIA associations affected their activities related to the assassination.
As a local reporter for George Bannerman Dealey’s Dallas Morning News*, Hugh Aynesworth was all over the place during the assassination weekend. He was at Dealey Plaza, the Tippit murder scene, the Texas Theater where the accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested, the house in Irving where Oswald’s wife lived, the rooming house where Oswald lived and the Dallas Police Department where he was killed. (*as corrected)
It’s important to mention Aynesworth’s background and his presence at so many crime scenes because while it always seemed suspicious, and his CIA ties were confirmed with the release of CIA records by the JFK Act.
As Jim DiEugenio notes, “many more pages of documents have been released showing how tightly bound Aynesworth was with the intelligence community. It has been demonstrated that Aynesworth was – at the minimum – working with the Dallas Police, Shaw's defense team, and the FBI. He was also an informant to the White House, and had once applied for work with the CIA. As I have noted elsewhere, in the annals of this case, I can think of no reporter who had such extensive contacts with those trying to cover up the facts in the JFK case...”
Rex Bradford, the web master of Mary Ferrell’s extensive files on the case wrote, “Declassified documents show that Dallas reporter Hugh Aynesworth was in contact with the Dallas CIA office and had on at least one occasion ‘offered his services to us.’ The files are chock full of Aynesworth informing to the FBI, particularly in regard to the Garrison investigation….Also of note is a message Aynesworth sent to…LBJ's White House, in which Aynesworth wrote that ‘My interest in informing government officials of each step along the way is because of my intimate knowledge of what Jim Garrison is planning.’” 
Most incredible however, is the CIA report written on October 10, 1963 when J. Walton Moore, the head of the Dallas CIA Domestic Contacts Division reported to the Chief of the Contact Division on “the possibility of Hugh Grant Aynesworth making a trip to Cuba.”
One month before the assassination J. Walton Moore - the same CIA agent who has been meeting regularly with the accused assassin’s best friend George DeMohrenschildt, is also meeting with Hugh Aynesworth about going to Cuba.
Moore’s first mission with the OSS during Word War II was to China with Charles Ford, who later became the CIA agent assigned to work with RFK at JMWAVE. Using an Italian alias, Ford worked with John Rosselli, the mafia boss the CIA previously recruited to kill Castro. In his interview with the Church Committee, Ford said they were trying to overthrow, not kill Castro, but those who have it in for RFK use Ford as a lynchpin to crucify Bobby, as we have seen with Sy Hersh in the Dark Side of Camelot, Evan Thomas in Robert Kennedy – His Life, and David Kaiser in The Road to Dallas, and Max Holland. But with the release of Ford’s records by the JFK Act, they have all gone silent. 
However there could be an association between Hugh Aynesworth, J. Walton Moore, Charles Ford and David Atlee Phillips, especially in regards to the timing of Moore’s memo and Phllips’ travels, not just as it relates to Cuba, but to what happened at Dealey Plaza. This is especially so since J. Walton Moore – the CIA contact agent to the accused assassin’s best friend, served in the same capacity with Hugh Aynesworth about a trip to Cuba a month before the assassination. And the day before Aynesworth met with Moore, David Phillips was at JMWAVE, the CIA’s Miami, Florida base, where anti-Castro operations were planned and carried out.
How did these damning records get released? And if this was released, what’s in the thousands of documents that are totally redacted or are still partially withheld for reasons of national security? Many of these withheld records include many pages of the files of Hugh Aynesworth, Priscilla Johnson and Gordon McLendon.
As David Talbot points out, “…some of these journalists did the CIA’s bidding: see, for instance, a January 25, 1968 CIA memo on Hugh Aynesworth, who covered the JFK assassination, first for the Dallas Morning News and then Newsweek. Aynesworth – who at one time, according to the memo, ‘expressed some interest…in possible employment with the Agency’ – was considered by the CIA to be a solid ‘Warren Commission man on the assassination.’”
And indeed he was. He eagerly did the agencies bidding to squash the Garrison investigation, and he doesn’t consider the Kennedy assassination among the unsolved homicides in his 1994 book Murders Among Us: Unsolved Homicides, Mysterious Deaths and Killers at Large. But his article, “The Strangest Story I Ever Covered,” details how he came to expose the head of the local crime commission was himself a criminal who had crafted a new identity to hide his past. So Aynesworth is capable of uncovering conspiracies when he wants to. If he applied the same investigative skills to the homicide at Dealey Plaza, perhaps he would have helped uncover the truth instead of promoting the cover story and blaming the murder on the patsy.
Joseph Goulden was one of Hugh Aynesworth’s colleagues who also covered the events in Dallas and also pushed the lone-nut myth. When rumors began to circulate that Oswald was an FBI informant, and was even assigned an informant number, Aynesworth, along with Houston reporter Lonnie Hudkins and Goulden, floated the story that they had made up an informant number to make it seem real. The Warren Commission held a closed door executive session to discuss it, and former CIA director Allen Dulles explained that even if Oswald was an informant, there would be no record of it, though there was a record of Jack Ruby being such an FBI informant.
Just as there was a lot of friction between the FBI and the Dallas Police, there was also friction between the FBI and the Secret Service and the FBI and the CIA. So Goulden’s story actually took some of the heat off the CIA, especially in regards to Oswald’s defection to the Soviet Union and his trip to Mexico City, both of which called unwanted attention to CIA operations they wanted to keep secret.
It was also a diversion that appeared to dissipate when Aynesworth and Goulden acknowledged the story was bogus. So the idea of Oswald as intelligence operative went south and the public image now became one of the deranged loser, and lone nut assassin.
Today, both Aynesworth and Goulden write for the Washington Times newspaper, founded by Sun Myung Moon and owned by the Unification Church, who some suspect acts as a front for the CIA.
When Priscilla Johnson McMillan testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), she said that in the course of researching Marina’s story, she discovered who actually obtained and leaked Oswald’s “Historic Diary” to the Dallas Morning News and Life magazine.
Who was it? Hugh Aynesworth.
(*I had previously said he worked for the Times Hearld, the afternoon paper that was purchased by the Morning News corp for $52 million and discontinued. Thanks to Gary Mack for pointing out the discrepancy. Direct any other corrections to Bkjfk@yahoo.com)