Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Greenball - the post JFK White House Slush Fund

From the book Breaking Cover

By W. Gulley

Gulley:“…The Secret Fund wasn’t the only classified fund controlled by the Military Office. There was another, much smaller one, code-named ‘Greenball.’ It was established in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination to provide Defense Department ‘support items’ to the Secret Service detail.”

“In order for the White House to keep some control over how Greenball funds were spent, Secret Service had to make their request to our office, and if we approved it, we would send it on to the Department of Defense. Some of the ‘support items’ they requested, in addition to cases of the sunglasses which all Secret Service agents feel they need in order to be properly dressed, were fleece-lined leather flight jackets, foul weather gear, and safety shoes – expensive, well-constructed shoes used on the decks of aircraft carriers.”

“It was another case of ‘what the hell – it’s not our money,’ and the fact that Greenball was classified made it easy to abuse the fund

“This was an irritant in our relationship with the Secret Service, but the trouble went a lot deeper. It was apparent to me as soon as I got to the White House in 1966 that the Secret Service had a Seven Days in May mentality. They literally seemed to think the military was going to take over the White House at any moment – which didn’t encourage us to trust them. And our mistrust was well placed.”

“Secret Service had teams that periodically swept all the White House offices to be sure no one had dropped any bugs, but not trusting them, we had our own guys, Charlie Sither and his crew, come in right behind them after they’d swept our office. We wanted to be sure that while they were around looking for other people’s bugs they didn’t drop a few of their own.

“On two occasions we did find bugs on our telephone after they’d just finished their sweep, and our guys left them in place to just confuse the issue. Whichever way you look at it, whether they were the Secret Service bugs ore somebody else’s bugs that they didn’t find, it makes them look bad.

“This gives you an idea of the relationship between the Secret Service and the military at the White House. The fact that our relationship was strained wasn’t so important, but it lead to a situation that had the potential for becoming dangerous. It got so that if the Secret Service got a piece of information about the President’s plans, they would withhold it from the military and the military would do the same thing.

“Lyndon Johnson only complicated matters. He never fully trusted the Secret Service, any more than he ever fully trusted anyone else. Over and over, when he was planning a trip, for example, he would say, ‘Don’t you tell Secret Service. Don’t you tell them anything.’ Part of it was his suspicious nature, and part of it was that they had come to him bearing tales about other people, and no doubt he assumed they were bearing tales about him. But most of it, I believe, was the Kennedy connection.”

“The head of Johnson’s Secret Service detail was Lim Johns, and the reason he got the job, in which I felt he was always over his head, was that Johnson was grateful to him. Johns had been in the car with Johnson in the motorcade in Dallas when Kennedy was shot and had immediately thrown the Vice President onto the floor of the car and himself on top of him.

“He’d then taken Johnson to a room in the hospital and kept him there with the shades drawn while hey worked on Kennedy. In view of this, when Johnson became President he made Lim Johns head of his protective detail, as a reward. 

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