Friday, August 12, 2016

Max on Underwood and Russo

The Underwood Hoax
11 December 2008

By Max Holland
    On October 28, Bloomsbury USA published Brothers in Arms, Gus Russo’s second book on the Kennedy assassination, co-authored with Stephen Molton. The book came well-blurbed, with Diane McWhorter, Joe Califano, and Daniel Schorr singing its praises.

    Bloomsbury’s press release boasted that Brothers in Arms contained “explosive new information” about the role of Castro’s Cuba in the assassination. One of the specific disclosures was advertised as coming from “deathbed interviews” of Marty Underwood, “one of LBJ’s closest confidantes, a man who also was in charge of Johnson’s international security arrangements.” At LBJ’s behest, 

Underwood allegedly went on a secret mission to Mexico City in 1968 to find out what the CIA really knew about Cuban involvement in JFK’s assassination. Underwood’s “revelations, supported by his contemporaneous notes, reveal a shocking truth that was too dangerous to be disclosed . . . until after his passing.”[1]

    Next month, Washington Decoded will review Brothers in Arms in full, and examine all its allegations in light of the available evidence. This month is devoted solely to the backstory about Marty Underwood’s shocking truth.

    If it weren’t so pathetic, the backstory might actually be amusing.                         
Death of a President and Birth of a Fabricator

    Underwood’s penchant for telling tall tales first became evident in 1967, with publication of William Manchester’s The Death of a President.

    Manchester interviewed Underwood on June 21, 1965 for the book, which was originally envisioned as the Kennedys’ authorized account of the assassination. How and why Manchester came to interview Underwood, who was the advance man for only the Houston leg of the Texas trip, is not precisely known. The advance men for the Fort Worth and Dallas legs, Jeb Byrne and Jack Puterbaugh, were not interviewed, although their recollections would seem to have been even more valuable to Manchester’s narrative. The only plausible explanation for why Byrne and Puterbaugh were ignored is that Manchester believed Underwood was present during the devastating aftermath, in particular, the moment when Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office aboard Air Force One.

    But Underwood was not there.

    Manchester put Underwood on the airplane, and even identified him in the iconic picture of the swearing-in that was taken by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton.

The spectators who were to be framed in Stoughton’s lens were a lopsided group. [Presidential physician George] Burkley stood behind someone else . . . there were [press secretary Mac] Kilduff and his two pool reporters [Newsweek’s Charles Roberts and UPI’s Merriman Smith]. There was [Martin] Underwood, and there were three Kennedy secretaries—Evelyn [Lincoln], Mary [Gallagher], and Pam [Turnure]—each of whom was led in by Jack Valenti and Lem Johns.[2]
    It was conceivable, of course, that Manchester made this mistake on his own, becauseThe Death of a President had more than its share of factual mistakes. But another passage in the book made it clear that the source of the false claim had to be Underwood himself.[3]

    According to this passage, Underwood was sound asleep in Houston’s Rice Hotel, 600 miles [sic] away, when the shots were fired in Dallas. In the mistaken belief that he was an important part of the presidential entourage, the hotel’s staff roused Underwood out of bed and rushed him to the airport, where he just managed to catch a scheduled flight to Dallas. “Afterward [Underwood] would have only the haziest recollection of how he had got there . . . . He was nowhere near as important as the Rice management had thought him to be. Except as a dazed witness to the upcoming [swearing-in] ceremony he was useless.” [4]

    Not only was Underwood not captured in Stoughton’s famous picture—nor in any of the 21 stills made immediately before, during, and after the ceremony—Underwood was not even on board the airplane, as a manifest prepared by the Secret Service in February 1964 proves.[5] Manchester was deceived by Underwood, who in his spare time actually studied and collected information about how con men operated, according to Jeb Byrne, one of his advance team colleagues from the 1960s. One of the lessons Underwood  learned, apparently, was how to construct a  lie out of a kernel of truth. In this instance, Underwood did actually rush from Houston to Dallas. But he returned to Washington aboard Air Force Two, not the airplane carrying a new president and the body of John F. Kennedy.[6]
 Among his peers, Underwood, who was divorced for a second time in 1962, had a reputation even back then for embellishing his peripheral role as an advance man, always making him more central to events than he was. When queried about why Underwood inserted himself in this iconic moment, Harold Pachios, who worked alongside Underwood as an advance man in the 1960s, recalled in October 2006 that Underwood was a “lonely guy who battled a drinking problem . . . and wanted to be important.”[7]

    Putting himself aboard Air Force One, at a moment of national trauma, would not be Underwood’s last fabrication, and far from his worst. In the years to come, he would hoodwink two of the biggest names in American journalism.

Putting on the Post

    In 1971, a Washington Post staff writer named Richard Cohen got wind of Underwood, who was then living in Towson, Maryland, and working for Democratic Governor Marvin Mandel. Underwood’s stories were so colorful that Cohen, who covered Maryland state politics, ended up writing an article on the affable, voluble advance man. The long profile appeared in the “Outlook” section of the Post on August 8, 1971, and stated, among many other things,  that Underwood  
orchestrated mobs in Mexico City, stared down admirals in the Pacific, [and] rode on Air Force One the time Bill Moyers had the plane dive over the Mekong Delta to draw hostile fire.[8]

    Underwood’s fascinating yarns made for an entertaining feature article. It was replete with colorful quotes—always recounted by Underwood—that were supposedly uttered by such well-known Democratic presidential operatives as Ken O’Donnell, Jack Valenti, and Moyers. The only problem was that the article was littered with untruths and exaggerations—not mistakes by the reporter, but falsehoods fed to a credulous Cohen by Underwood.

    In February 2006, about a year before his death, Jack Valenti, a special assistant to LBJ from 1963 to 1966, was asked to read the 1971 Washington Post article. Valenti was one of Johnson’s closest aides, and really was aboard Air Force One on the flight back to Washington. He wrote the following after reading Cohen’s profile.

I suggest that you send this article to Bill Moyers. Marty is so full of shit I was more amused than angry. He was a sub-level aide [during the trip to Texas]. Every quote of me is false . . . . I do believe Moyers will get a kick out of Marty’s hallucinations.[9]

    The errors, large and small, are too numerous to list. Underwood was described as one of the few staffers who rode Air Force One back to Washington with LBJ on November 22.The article also asserted Underwood subsequently “won the confidence and friendship of a president [Johnson] who dispensed both sparingly.”[10] 

But the record shows that LBJ only knew Underwood as one of several advance men, though he probably was Johnson’s favorite. The president’s daily diary, which lists every significant encounter Johnson had while in office, reveals that Underwood met with Johnson a total of five times: twice in 1966, twice in 1967, and once in 1968. Only one of these meetings occurred in the Oval Office, and none of them were with the president alone. In two instances, Underwood was simply listed as being among groups of 140 and 250 people who were in the same room as the president.  Another time he hitched a ride back on Air Force One after advancing a presidential trip to Tennessee. And Underwood’s one meeting in the Oval Office, to discuss the president’s travel plans with Secret Service agents and two presidential aides, lasted a total of 10 minutes.[11]

Misleading the Sun

    Eight years after the Post article, Underwood was the subject of a cover story in Sun, theBaltimore Sun’s Sunday magazine. This profile was not unlike Richard Cohen’s piece in that its focus was Underwood’s exploits as an advance man for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. In hindsight though, the real significance of this article is that it illustrated how Underwood weaved his tales over time for the press. He had familiarized himself with enough actual minutiae—probably from reading William Manchester carefully—to make his detailed but fictitious accounts fit with known facts that were easily verifiable. Yet each time Underwood told his story about November 22, 1963, his own role grew a little bigger and grander, almost as if he could not help himself.

    No longer content with the drama of being rushed from Houston to Dallas to board  (supposedly) Air Force One after the assassination, in 1979 Underwood put himself for the first time in Dealey Plaza at the time of the shooting. Underwood told the Sun writer, “I was in the motorcade that day in Dallas . . . .  With all the noise in Dealey Plaza I honestly never heard the shots that killed the president. I only knew something was very wrong when our car suddenly speeded up.”[12]

    Underwood’s role in the assassination’s aftermath also received a little more filigree in 1979. He correctly noted that Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach had dictated the oath of office to Marie Fehmer, one of LBJ’s secretaries, but also  inserted himself into the middle of that action:

    “In that awful agony of the assassination, nobody knew the words for the presidential oath . . . . Bobby Kennedy’s office in Washington was called and Nick Katzenbach read back the oath.  Marie Fehmer . . . typed out the oath on two 5-by-7 cards. However, she left a blank space on both cards where the name of the new president would appear.”

    “To avoid any possible error at such a critical time, I took the cards from Marie and penciled in the blank spaces on both cards the name, ’Lyndon Baines Johnson.’One was given to Johnson and another to Judge Sarah Hughes, an old friend of [Johnson’s] who had been brought on board to administer the oath . . . . When it was done, I took back the cards and simply put them in my pocket. I wasn’t thinking about history then. I just took back the cards. I still have them and some day I’ll turn them over to the Johnson Library in Texas.”[13]

    Another passage in the Sun profile worth noting concerned President Johnson’s trip to Mexico City in 1966, a visit which Underwood advanced. This passage is especially interesting in light of Underwood’s later claims involving Win Scott, the longtime CIA chief of station in Mexico City. According to the Sun article,

    A trip to Mexico City . . . established Marty Underwood as the “genius of the tribe” among advance men. It was apparent to him that President Johnson wanted a crowd there that would exceed the number who had turned out to greet President Kennedy . . . .  In Mexico City he was told that it would be impossible to produce a crowd with only two days’ notice. Mr. Underwood persisted and went to the Central Intelligence Agency man in the American Embassy and asked him who the real strong man in Mexico was. That would not be President Ordaz, the CIA man said, but Interior Minister Luis Echevarría. 

    “I went to Echevarría,” Mr. Underwood says . . . . [Echevarría] swung around in his chair . . . and opened up a wall panel which concealed six telephones. He used five of them and turned back to me and said, ’You will have your crowd.’”[14]

    In Underwood’s hands, the truth was like clay, ready to be molded according to the exigencies of the moment. Thus, what started out as a simple and probably accurate description of his one-and-only encounter with Win Scott could be eventually transformed, given enough time and an over-trustful listener, into a clandestine mission undertaken at the behest of a president.
Deluding the Folks Back Home

    In 1991, the next time Martin Underwood foisted his increasingly tall tales on a newspaper, the victim was his hometown paper, the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa.

    Underwood told the reporter that “constant rumors” of an assassination attempt had prompted him to ask Ken O’Donnell to have the limousine’s bubble-top flown to Dallas, whereupon the president refused Jackie’s pleas to use it.[15] Underwood also became more specific about the fib he had told Sun magazine: now he asserted he rode “just four vehicles behind the convertible carrying” President Kennedy on the fateful day.[16]Simultaneously, Katzenbach and Marie Fehmer were written completely out of his revised untruth. Underwood confided that Bobby Kennedy himself had dictated the wording of the oath to Underwood, “who wrote them on postcards he’s saved to this day.”

 JFK had been scheduled to make two speeches on November 22, one in Dallas and one in Austin, and Underwood also told the hapless reporter that he had the only extant copies because “Bobby Kennedy [had] ordered them destroyed.”[17]  Finally, after the swearing-in ceremony, a distraught Ken O’Donnell had given Underwood a “treasured keepsake”—the tie clasp Kennedy was supposedly wearing when he was assassinated.[18]

    Such falsehoods and fairy tales, for the most part, were self-serving buncombe that hurt no one. But for the first time, Underwood also ventured into telling some darker lies.

    Underwood expressed the belief that the Mafia was involved in a Cuban conspiracy to kill Kennedy in retaliation for the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. “At least one of the three or four shots came from the Mafia,” he told the Dubuque reporter, but FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had covered up the Mafia’s involvement. Why? Because Hoover had wanted to control the Secret Service and “Kennedy had told Hoover he would be out after the election,” Underwood asserted, oblivious to the illogic of it all.[19]
Enter Russo

    Although Underwood’s fabrications were mostly harmless, or so obscure that they went unnoticed, in 1993 that started to change.[20] The precipitating factor was Underwood’s first meeting with an assassination researcher named Gus Russo. Eventually, via Russo, the Maryland fabulist would come into contact with two of the most prominent names in journalism.

    When he first met Underwood, Russo had just finished spending 20 months working as one of two main reporters for a PBS Frontline documentary entitled, “Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?” It would air for the first time on the 30th anniversary of the assassination, to great and deserved acclaim. Russo had never once heard the name “Marty Underwood” during the Frontlineinvestigation, or for that matter, during the 25 previous years he had spent researching the JFK assassination on his own. But over the course of a few lunches, he quickly became enthralled with Underwood’s supposedly inside dope about LBJ and Hoover, JFK’s liaisons with Marilyn Monroe and Judy Campbell, the alleged rigging of the 1960 West Virginia primary, and, of course, the November 1963 trip to Texas.[21]

    Russo had reason to doubt Underwood from the very beginning. As a student of the assassination, Russo knew that the passage in Manchester’s book about Underwood’s presence aboard Air Force One was false. But instead of Russo taking it as a warning sign, Underwood turned it into an opportunity to dupe Russo. Underwood asserted that Manchester was responsible for the error. Indeed, Underwood said he had gotten so angry when he read The Death of a President that he protested the error to Manchester.  Russo ended up convinced about Underwood’s fidelity and respect for the truth, even though Underwood was the actual perpetrator of the lie and the only thing Manchester was guilty of was being gullible.[22]

    In the fall of 1996, the famed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh came into contactwith Russo. Hersh had been working on an exposé of John F. Kennedy since 1992 for Little, Brown publishers, and in July 1996, had sold the television rights in advance to Lancer Productions, an independent producer of documentaries. From the fall of 1996 onwards, Hersh and Lancer employees, including Gus Russo,  collaborated on the research and reporting. Hersh would publish his book, and Lancer was to produce a documentary based on the book for ABC News.

    When Hersh “hit a wall” trying to corroborate a story about the Mafia, a Kennedy mistress named Judy Campbell, and the West Virginia primary in May 1960, Russo told the veteran journalist that he just happened to have a source who knew all about it.  His name was Marty Underwood.[23]

    Perhaps as no surprise—the charge was serious, after all, and this was the big time—Underwood repeatedly put off meeting Hersh, despite Hersh’s strong expressions of interest in what Underwood had to say. Finally, after Underwood had run out of excuses, a lunch was arranged and Underwood wove his tale before Hersh, Russo, and a Lancer producer. Underwood said that in April 1960, Ken O’Donnell had assigned him to tail Judy Campbell on a train from Washington to Chicago and make sure she delivered a package to Mafia boss Sam Giancana.

    The story subsequently appeared in Hersh’s 1997 book, The Dark Side of Camelot. Judy Campbell was more than the president’s sex partner, wrote Hersh. She was also JFK’s bagman, and her story about delivering money to Chicago

was buttressed during research for this book by Martin E. Underwood, a political operative for Richard Daley, the Chicago mayor, who lent Underwood to the Kennedy campaign in 1960. Underwood worked closely with Kenny O’Donnell, who told him in April 1960 to take the overnight train from Washington to Chicago and keep an eye on [Campbell]. Underwood dutifully spent the night on the train and . . . watched [Campbell] early the next morning give the satchel to the waiting Sam Giancana.[24]

    This canard never got quite the attention it deserved because of a controversy over some forged documents that Hersh almost included in The Dark Side of Camelot. That was unfortunate, especially because Hersh demanded to be judged not on the forgeries he left out of his book, but by what he put in. By itself, Campbell’s fable had no credibility—her account of her relationship with JFK had become more elaborate with every telling—but together with Underwood’s story, Hersh considered the matter settled. If Hersh had bothered to check out Underwood’s supposed corroboration, he would have discovered Underwood had a penchant for telling reporters what they wanted to hear, and that the story was absurd. The first time Underwood ever talked to O’Donnell was in September 1960, five months after the Campbell’s alleged bag job.[25]

    But Underwood’s corroboration acquired a life of its own. On December 4, 1997,  ABC News broadcast a two-hour Lancer-produced documentary, Dangerous World: The Kennedy Years, based on Hersh’s book. The stench of a bad story should have become unbearable after Underwood refused to repeat his lie on camera, citing one excuse after another. But during the program, the late Peter Jennings, then the ABC anchorman, evenly explained that “a Democratic campaign worker, Martin Underwood, has, for the first time, corroborated Campbell’s account. Though he declined to be interviewed on camera, he confirmed that he was asked to shadow her on the train and that he watched her deliver the satchel to Giancana.”[26] Appearing on television threatened the one thing Underwood had successfully avoided up to 1997: vast exposure and ridicule.[27]

    Proof that both Russo and Hersh had been duped came in the 1998 report of theAssassination Records Review Board (ARRB), a special federal panel created in 1992 to make available all records pertaining to the Kennedy assassination. The ARRB investigated Underwood’s story as part of its mandate, and the former advance man recanted when sitting across from a government lawyer instead of reporters who were all ears and buying lunch. Underwood “denied that he followed [Judy Campbell] on a train,” the ARRB observed in its 1998 final report, “and [said] that he had no knowledge about her alleged role as a courier.”[28]

       An unchastened Hersh moved on to other stories. But a deeply-invested Gus Russo was just getting started.

The ARRB Gets to the Bottom

    Despite all the warnings, not to mention proof, that Underwood was a serial bamboozler, Russo was not deterred. He readily accepted Underwood’s explanation for why he had retracted everything he had told Russo since 1993. The ARRB “tried to interview Marty, who consistently dodged their calls,” Russo later wrote. “They threatened a subpoena. Marty called me and told me that if they persisted he would have to lie to them and say I had completely misunderstood him. A subpoena followed, and Marty eventually met with senior staff and told them exactly that.”[29]

    Freed from the constraints imposed by Hersh and ABC, Russo now devoted his energies to propagating Underwood’s biggest whopper of them all: that Cuba was involved in the Kennedy assassination.

     Russo had first heard the outlines of this conspiracy theory back in 1994, during one of his periodic lunches with Underwood. “Marty mentioned his friendship with the late CIA Mexico City station chief Win Scott . . . who had played a critical role in the investigation into [Lee Harvey] Oswald’s time in Mexico City. “[Win] Scott, Marty said, was ‘probably the best friend I had.’”[30] It took months of prodding from Russo, however, before Underwood finally disclosed the rest of the story Russo was eager to hear. 

    Underwood claimed that in 1968, President Johnson had sent him on a secret mission to Mexico City. LBJ wanted to know what Win Scott knew about “Cuban blowback,” since the president had learned the CIA had tried to assassinate Castro in 1962-63. The CIA station chief allegedly took Underwood to a safe house outside of the city, and divulged what he had dared not tell anyone: that a “known Castro henchman” had been in Mexico City when Oswald was there two months before JFK’s murder, and this same henchman had also been in Dallas on November 22. His name, Underwood later wrote on a postcard to Russo, was Fabián Escalante. Eventually, Underwood also gave Russo photocopies that purported to be Underwood’s handwritten notes from his 1968 meeting with Win Scott, written on White House stationery.[31]

    Russo wrote up Underwood’s account, and prepared to mount an all-out investigation of this new and explosive angle. By 1996, of course, Russo was working with Lancer Productions and Hersh. Russo was crestfallen when “Marty . . . said he never intended for the episode to be made public. He said he thought we were only having lunch chatter, and he was right. [Underwood] asked me to not use the material until after his death, and I reluctantly agreed.”[32]

    Despite Underwood’s stipulation, however, Russo could not resist sharing this supposedly dramatic information with the ARRB on “deep background.” Consequently, at the same interview during which the panel’s lawyer asked Underwood about the Judy Campbell fable, Underwood was peppered with questions about his alleged secret meeting with Win Scott.

    At first, it was effortless for Underwood to deny everything. He claimed that Russo had simply misunderstood him, and he had no memory of telling Russo about any 1968 notes.[33] What Underwood did not know, going into the meeting, was that Russo had gone well beyond spreading the story; Russo had also provided the ARRB with copies of Underwood’s notes on White House stationery. When the Review Board’s lawyer produced these documents, Underwood’s memory abruptly improved. He explained that “he had written the notes . . . for [Russo] to use for Hersh’s book.” The notes were on White House stationery because “he ha[d] a lot of extra White House stationery left over from his work with President Johnson.”[34]

    Underwood subsequently sent the ARRB the genuine notes from his 1966 trip to Mexico City, the only time he actually went there as a White House advance man during the Johnson years. These typewritten notes fully documented his activities, and mentioned a brief meeting with CIA station chief Win Scott. There wasn’t the slightest reference to the JFK assassination though, because Underwood hadn’t been dispatched by LBJ to look into the circumstances surrounding the president’s murder. All Underwood had sought from Scott was his influential help in arranging a rousing welcome for LBJ, who was making a state visit to Mexico in April 1966 and yearned for a reception that was bigger and better than the one accorded President Kennedy in 1962.[35]

    Long before the provenance of Underwood’s notes came under deserved scrutiny, of course, there was no reason to believe this nonsensical story. Win Scott was never “probably the best friend [Underwood ] had.” Moreover, the idea that Lyndon Johnson would have secretly dispatched Underwood, who he only knew as a good advance man, on such a sensitive mission to Mexico was preposterous on its face. The notes Underwood provided to Russo, purportedly written in 1968, were concocted by Underwood in the 1990s, and the con almost got out of control. The ARRB asked Underwood to testify under oath, presumably to settle the matter once and for all. But “due to health problems,” he was never available.[36]


    In 1998, Russo came out with his first book about the assassination, Live By the Sword.

    For the most part, Russo did not exploit the supposedly sensational material he had  received from Underwood; rather, the book used Underwood’s run-of-the-mill fables though Russo presumably knew better. Russo wrote that Underwood  telephoned Washington “to demand” that the limousine’s bubble-top be available because of threats to the president. Aboard Air Force One, Russo wrote, “[t]he ever-present, ever-prepared, Marty Underwood jotted down the oath [of office] on two 5” x 7” index cards, and handed them to his [sic] old friend Judge Sarah Hughes, who swore Johnson in as president.” Over the telephone, Robert Kennedy allegedly “instructed Underwood to destroy all remaining copies of the speech JFK was to give that night in Austin.”  

And in a new twist, Underwood inherited not JFK’s tie clip, but the St. Jude and St. Christopher medals the president allegedly had left hanging in the shower stall of his Fort Worth hotel room on the morning of November 22.[37]

    Still, the book did contain a reference to Underwood’s “good friend,” CIA station chief Win Scott, who allegedly warned Underwood that Dallas “might be the site for an attack on the president.”  There was also an allusion to Cuban agents, operating out of Mexico City, who were allegedly able to move seamlessly across the border with Texas.[38] But Russo desisted from naming names—specifically, Fabián Escalante’s—because of his promise to the man he called Marty.

    When Underwood died in March 2003, his obituary in the Baltimore Sun dutifully—but erroneously—noted that the former advance man “was riding in the Dallas motorcade when president was assassinated.” Afterwards, he  “helped obtain the wording for the presidential oath of office.”[39] That obituary might have satisfied Underwood’s yearning to be an important person in history, but Gus Russo was still bent on giving him a bigger role.

      Now free to distribute Underwood’s contrived notes, Russo made them available to Wilfried Huismann, a German filmmaker who (in collaboration with Russo) produced a  2006 documentary entitled Rendezvous mit dem Tod (Rendezvous with Death). According to the film, and a book by the same name, Underwood’s “authentic” notes “proved” that on the day of the assassination, a Cuban intelligence officer named Fabián Escalante flew in and out of Dallas, thus making Castro’s Cuba complicit in the assassination.[40]

    Now Russo, in another collaboration, has recycled the Underwood story in a new book. Next month, Washington Decoded will examine whether there is more to Brothers in Arms than Underwood’s figment.

    In the meantime, it’s useful to keep in mind Goethe’s observation about falsehoods and deception.

     We are never truly deceived by others, said the German poet. We only deceive ourselves.

[1] News from Bloomsbury, Brothers in Arms, October 2008.
[2] William Manchester, The Death of a President: November 20-25, 1963 (New York: Harper & Row, 1967), 321.
[3] Twelve years after deluding Manchester, Underwood again claimed he was on Air Force One during an interview that was conducted for the Johnson Library. Marty Underwood Oral History, 14 June 1977, Lyndon B. Johnson Library (LBJL), 5. On the errors in Manchester’s book, see Max Holland, The Kennedy Assassination Tapes: The White House Conversation of Lyndon B. Johnson Regarding the Assassination, the Warren Commission, and the Aftermath (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 307-311, 324-376.
[4] Manchester, Death of a President, 317.
[5] Warren Commission Document 387; Richard B. Trask, That Day in Dallas: Three Photographers Capture on Film the Day President Kennedy Died (Danvers, MA: Yeoman Press, 1998), 46-51.
[6] Holland interview with Jeb Byrne, 9 December 2008. Byrne worked with Underwood on LBJ’s 1964 presidential campaign. Passenger List 86970, 22 November 1963, White House Trip Reports, LBJL.
[7] Holland interview with Harold Pachios, 7 October 2006.
[8] Richard M. Cohen, “The White House Scout: Or, Fixing Faucets and Other Delights,”Washington Post, 8 August 1971.
[9] Valenti e-mail to Holland, 18 February 2006. In his 1975 memoir, Valenti only had positive things to say about Underwood, calling him “affable and effective . . . a thorough-going professional.” They had worked closely together on the Houston leg of the November 1963 Texas trip, and Valenti even recommended Underwood as a possible White House aide after Johnson won the 1964 election. Jack Valenti, A Very Human President (New York: W.W. Norton, 1975), 29, 213.
[10] Cohen, “White House Scout,” 8 August 1971.
[11] Daily Diary, 5 September 1966; 16 September 1966; 15 March 1967; 15 August 1967; 6 March 1968, LBJL.
[12] F. de Sales Meyers, “One Step Ahead of ’Earthquakes’ and a President,” Baltimore Sun, 22 July 1979.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Ibid. The article incorrectly stated that LBJ visited Mexico City in 1968. His only visit there as president was in 1966. 
[15] Steve Webber, “Living Among Legends,” Dubuque, Iowa Telegraph Herald, 22 September 1991. The bubble-top always accompanied the limousine because it was used to shield the occupants against inclement weather. Despite Underwood’s insinuation to the reporter, it was not capable of protecting anyone in the limousine, save from rain, a rotten egg, or a tomato. Warren Report, 43.
[16] The fourth car behind the presidential limousine actually carried Dallas Mayor Earle Cabell and his wife; Representative Herbert Roberts (D-Texas), and a driver. Richard B. Trask, Pictures of the Pain: Photography and the Assassination of President Kennedy(Danvers, MA: Yeoman Press, 1994), 616.
[17] Both speeches were printed in the 1963 volume of Kennedy’s official presidential papers.
[18] The Kennedys frequently gave away tie clasps, fashioned after the president’s PT-109 boat, but JFK was not wearing one on November 22.
[19] Webber, “Living Among Legends,” 22 September 1991.
[20] In the early 1990s, Underwood also told a whole passel of lies about the assassination to Harrison Livingstone, author of a conspiratorial and deservedly-obscure book. Harrison Edward Livingstone, High Treason 2, The Great Cover-up: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1992), 438-443.
[21] Gus Russo, Live by the Sword: The Secret War Against Castro and the Death of JFK(Baltimore, MD: Bancroft Press, 1998), viii; Gus Russo and Stephen Molton, Brothers in Arms: The Kennedys, the Castros, and the Politics of Murder (New York: Bloomsbury, 2008), 479-480. Judy Campbell later married, and she was known as Judith Exner when the information surfaced in 1975 about her affair with President Kennedy.
[22] Holland interview with Russo, 1998. Again, Underwood’s 1977 oral history proves  he was the source of the untruth. “So then the assassination comes along and I ride back onAir Force One,” he told the interviewer. Underwood Oral History, LBJL, 5.
[23] Russo and Molton, Brothers in Arms, 482.
[24] Seymour M. Hersh, The Dark Side of Camelot (Boston: Little, Brown, 1997), 4, 304-305.
[25] Underwood Oral History, LBJL, 1.
[26] Max Holland, “The Docudrama That Is JFK,” The Nation, 7 December 1998.
[27] According to Russo, Underwood was incensed when his corroborating account appeared in Hersh’s book. Wrote Russo, “My perception was that Marty was speaking on background, not agreeing to have his name or story used. Sy disagreed, maintaining that Marty had no problem with having the story used in his book or [the ABC] film.” Russo and Molton, Brothers in Arms, 482.
[28] Assassination Records Review Board, Final Report (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1998), 112135-136.
[29] Russo and Molton, Brothers in Arms, 482.
[30] Ibid., 480. Before peddling his story about Win Scott to Russo, Underwood used a variation of it on another assassination researcher, Vincent Palamara, in October 1992. Palamara e-mail to Holland, 12 April 1998. 
[31] Russo and Molton, Brothers in Arms, 480-481.
[32] Ibid., 481.
[33] Ibid., 481-482; ARRB, Final Report, 136.
[37] Russo, Live by the Sword, 281, 286, 305.
[38] Ibid., 281.
[39] Sheridan Lyons, “Martin Underwood, 88, State Employee, Advance Man for Two US Presidents,” Baltimore Sun, 25 March 2003.
[40] Wilfried Huismann, Rendezvous mit dem Tod: Warum John F. Kennedy sterben musste (Munich, Germany: Pendo Verlag, 2006), 223-225.
© 2008 by Max Holland

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