Thursday, January 10, 2013



A new edition of Mel Barney’s book “Four Wars” includes an Addendum entitled “Jack Ruby Had U.S. Security Clearance,” and details how Jack Ruby had a Security Clearance that permitted him to fly on a special Texas Instruments airplane.

The airplane, a B-26, which was identified as a “Texas Instruments Incorporated – Flying Laboratory,” had special, newly developed equipment – a “Automatic Terrain Following Radar Laboratory.”

Official records indicate that Ruby flew on the plane twice in Washington DC in 1961. Ruby, who killed JFK assassination suspect Lee Harvey Oswald while he was in the custody of the Dallas Police, is known to have had a special association with Richard Nixon and served as an FBI informant, but his special federal security clearance was not previously known.

Author of the book, Mel Barney wrote, “During our Washington D.C. demonstration flights, we were flying up to six very dangerous automatic terrain following flights over the mountains west of D.C. at an altitude of 200 feet. Grant Dove, Manager of the Texas Instruments Washington Office, scheduled all visitors and checked to assure that they had proper U.S. Security Clearance and a ‘Need to Know’. His engineers would then bring hem to the airport for their scheduled demonstration flights. This assured that no one would observe these demonstration flights unless they had proper government clearances.”

“On September 1, 1961 (see flight test log in Appendix, Flights 144 and 145) Ticknor was the TI Engineer on Flt. 144 and on Flt 145 Barney was the TI Engineer…To fly on these demonstration flights, the observer had to have a U.S. Security Clearance and a ‘Need to Know.’ Jack Ruby had these clearances and I recognized Jack Ruby on Flight 145. I do not know when or how he obtained these clearances which were usually controlled by the FBI or CIA.”

Not another person with the same name, Barney personally knew Ruby and recalled him being on the flights.

“I became acquainted with Jack Ruby in the late 1950s,” Barney writes. “As a program manager, I was often called upon to host visiting engineers and managers who solved problems or negotiated contracts with TI. Typically, I would take the customer or vendor to dinner and in many cases entertain them after dinner. A favored spot to entertain these guests (particularly the pilots) was Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club. The Carousel Club was a strop club in downtown Dallas. Jack Ruby would usually greet the group and give us  ‘good table.’”

“Our D.C. flight demonstrations were dangerous, scary, and we had a very busy flight schedule. As I was going through the flight logs looking for TI engineers who flew on one or more flight demonstrations, I saw Jack Ruby’s name and remembered his flying on two of these flights.”

Barney also notes that, “Although Jack Ruby’s name appears in the flight log of ‘Four Wars,’ I did not highlight the Addendum information about his U.S. Security Clearance requirement until the third printing.” 

According to Russ Baker in “Family of Secrets,” “Geophysical Service, Inc., which later became Texas Instruments….was a pioneer in technologies that became central to the (oil) industry, such as aerial exploration and the use of seismographic equipment in prospecting.”  John B. Connally served on the board of Texas Instruments.

Book Description:

Four Wars by Mel Barney (Merit Books, 2012, 137 pages) 


Mel Barney’s life reads like a fascinting history lesson. Born on the eve of the Great Depression in Shreveport, Louisiana, Mel manages to win a football scholarship to Louisiana Tech. where he gains a lifelong sweetheart and an engineering degree. His invention and development of airborne systems that allow covert penetration of enemy territory bring him professional recognition and the attention of the CIA. He flies on many dangerous flight tests. With CIA assistance, he travels behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War and initiates a technology exchange which becomes part of the Nixon/Brezhnev détente initiative. As the manger of the Texas Instruments international marketing program he travels to fifty-four countries. His adventures include many stories about the countries he visits including being kidnapped in Nigeria and shot at in Jakarta. He toes on to manage Texas Instruments in Washington D.C. This experience provides him with a first hand look at how business is transacted in the nation’s capitol. After returning to Dallas he has other inventions to pursue. Mel co-founds Merit Technology Incorporated with ideas about reducing the workload of military pilots was one of the core strategies of the company. In retirement, his political upbringing, D.C. experience, and editorial page reading educate Mel on the political/economic nature of our country. The Dallas Morning News has published many of his letters. He plays a lot of golf, poker, and bridge. On his seventieth birthday his wife gives him a piano keyboard and he creates a new business of playing for senior homes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Mel  Barney is a true American original. His story of struggle and adventure, and the wisdom he has gained along the way should be required reading for those working to end the class warfare of today’s Economic Crisis.

1 comment:

  1. 'For almost 50 years after the turn of the 20th century, the electronics industry had been dominated by vacuum tube technology. But vacuum tubes had inherent limitations. They were fragile, bulky, unreliable, power hungry, and produced considerable heat.
    It wasn't until 1947, with the invention of the transistor by Bell Telephone Laboratories, that the vacuum tube problem was solved. Transistors were miniscule in comparison, more reliable, longer lasting, produced less heat, and consumed less power. The transistor stimulated engineers to design ever more complex electronic circuits and equipment containing hundreds or thousands of discrete components such as transistors, diodes, rectifiers and capacitors. But the problem was that these components still had to be interconnected to form electronic circuits, and hand-soldering thousands of components to thousands of bits of wire was expensive and time-consuming. It was also unreliable; every soldered joint was a potential source of trouble. The challenge was to find cost-effective, reliable ways of producing these components and interconnecting them. One stab at a solution was the Micro-Module program, sponsored by the U.S. Army Signal Corps.'