Birthday: October 9, 1918
Died At Age: 88
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Everrette Howard Hunt Jr.
Born Country: United States
Born in: Hamburg, New York, United States
Famous as: Author
Spouse/Ex-: Dorothy Hunt, Laura E. Martin (m. 1977), Dorothy Hunt (m. 1949 – 1972)
father: Everette Howard Hunt Sr.
mother: Ethel Jean Totterdale
children: Austin Hunt, David Hunt, Hollis Hunt, Kevan Spence (nee Hunt), Lisa Tiffany Hunt, Saint John Hunt
Died on: January 23, 2007
place of death: Miami, Florida, United States
U.S. State: New Yorkers
education: Brown University, Hamburg High School
awards: Guggenheim Fellowship
Who was E. Howard Hunt?
E. Howard Hunt was an American spy and author. In the Second World War, he served in the ‘Office of Strategic Services.’ After the war, he joined the ‘Central Intelligence Agency’ (CIA) as an intelligence officer and worked with them from 1949 to 1970. He, along with G. Gordon Liddy, Frank Sturgis, and many others, was part of the Nixon administration’s team of operatives called the “plumbers”. They were assigned with the duty of identifying and preventing government leaks of information concerning national security to external parties. He organized a series of covert operations as a consultant to U.S. President Richard M. Nixon, who was forced to resign as a consequence of impending impeachment proceedings and Hunt’s indictment. He and Liddy plotted the Watergate burglaries, in which Hunt organized the bugging of the ‘Democratic National Committee’ headquarters. Prior to that, Hunt had masterminded the burglary of the Beverly Hills office of the psychiatrist treating Daniel Ellsberg, who had released the classified documents (on the Vietnam War) later known as the ‘Pentagon Papers.’ His phone number was found in the address book of one of the Watergate burglars, and that helped both investigators and reporters to connect the break-in to Nixon and his re-election campaign. Hunt was convicted of conspiracy, burglary, and wiretapping, which led him to serve 33 months in prison. He had also published 73 books throughout his life, many of them under various pseudonyms.
Childhood & Early Life
E. Howard Hunt was born Everette Howard Hunt Jr., on October 9, 1918, in Hamburg in New York, U.S., to Ethel Jean (Totterdale) and Everette Howard Hunt Sr. His father was a lawyer and an official in the ‘Republican Party.’
In 1936, he graduated from the ‘Hamburg High School.’ He graduated from ‘Brown University’ in 1940.
He served in the ‘U.S. Navy’ (on the ‘USS Mayo’) during the Second World War. He also served in the ‘United States Army Air Corps’ and finally in the ‘Office of Strategic Services’ (OSS) in China.
He became a prolific writer quite early in life. During the World War, he penned several novels (under his name), such as ‘East of Farewell’ (1942), ‘Limit of Darkness’ (1944), ‘Stranger in Town (1947), ‘Bimini Run’ (1949), and ‘The Violent Ones’ (1950).
He also wrote spy novels under pseudonyms such as “Robert Dietrich,” “Gordon Davis,” and “David St. John.” He bagged the ‘Guggenheim Fellowship’ for his writing in 1946.
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In 1950, he became the ‘CIA's ‘Office of Policy Coordination’ (OPC) chief in Mexico City. He hired and managed William F. Buckley Jr., who worked at the station from 1951 to 1952. The two men became lifelong friends, and Buckley became a godfather to Hunt’s first three children.
In 1954, he helped design ‘Operation PBFORTUNE,’ which was later renamed ‘PBSUCCESS.’ It was an operation to overthrow Jacobo Arbenz, the elected president of Guatemala. By the time the coup could be carried out, he was removed from his responsibility. He moved on to stints in Japan and Uruguay, which mostly remained uneventful.
In 1960, his actions changed history. The ‘CIA’ received orders from President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his successor, President John F. Kennedy, to modify or eliminate Fidel Castro’s revolutionary government in Cuba.
His task was to fashion a provisional Cuban government. The aim was to take over the land once the ‘CIA’s cadre of Cuban shock troops conquered the island. However, he was not successful in his endeavor.
After this failure, he spent most of the 1960s running random propaganda errands at the ‘CIA,’ such as managing news services and subsidizing books.
He retired from the agency in 1970 and took up a job at a public relations firm in Washington. However, a year later, when a call came from the ‘White House,’ he was hired by Charles W. Colson, special counsel to President Nixon, to carry out acts of political warfare.
He went back to the ‘CIA’ to request for false identification, a voice-modifying device, a red wig, and a small camera. He used these props to break into the Beverly Hills office of Dr. Daniel J. Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, who had a leaked copy of the ‘Pentagon Papers’ to ‘The New York Times.’ The papers contained classified information on the Vietnam War. He broke in, looking for information that would discredit the doctor. However, years later, in the federal case against Ellsberg, the doctor was dismissed on charges of leaking privileged information.
On June 17, 1972, he led another break-in, this time at the offices of the ‘Democratic National Committee’ at the complex of Watergate. His aim was to bug the telephone lines at the office. However, his plan was ruined. He and his team (consisting of another ‘CIA’ officer and four veterans from the Cuban coup) were arrested. One of the team members had Hunt’s name and a ‘White House’ telephone number in his address book, which led investigators to connect the burglary with President Nixon.
The final setback to the president came when one of the secret ‘White House’ recordings he had made, namely, the “smoking gun” tape, in which he had promised to order the ‘CIA’ to close the federal investigation of the Watergate burglary, surfaced. However, by the time President Nixon resigned in August 1974, Hunt was in federal prison.
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The novels Hunt published under his own name were ‘Calculated Risk: A Play’ (1948), ‘Maelstrom’ (1948), ‘Berlin Ending: A Novel of Discovery’ (1973), ‘Whisper Her Name’ (1973), ‘Hargrave Deception’ (1980), ‘Gaza Intercept’ (1981), ‘Cozumel’ (1985), ‘Kremlin Conspiracy’ (1985), ‘Guadalajara’ (1990), ‘Murder in State’ (1990), ‘Body Count’ (1992), ‘Chinese Red’ (1992), ‘Mazatlán’ (1993), ‘Ixtapa’ (1994), ‘Islamorada’ (1995), ‘Paris Edge’ (1995), ‘Izmir’ (1996), ‘Dragon Teeth: A Novel’ (1997), ‘Guilty Knowledge’ (1999), and ‘Sonora’ (2000).
As “Robert Dietrich,” he wrote ‘Cheat’ (1954), ‘One for the Road’ (1954), ‘Be My Victim’ (1956), ‘Murder on the Rocks: An Original Novel’ (1957), ‘House on Q Street’ (1959), ‘Murder on Her Mind’ (1960), ‘End of a Stripper’ (1960), ‘Mistress to Murder’ (1960), ‘Calypso Caper’ (1961), ‘Angel Eyes’ (1961), ‘My Body’ (1962), and ‘Curtains for a Lover’ (1962).
As “P. S. Donoghue,” he wrote ‘Dublin Affair’ (1988), ‘Sarkov Confession: A Novel’ (1989), and ‘Evil Time’ (1992).
His novels written as “David St. John” were ‘Festival for Spies’, ‘The Towers of Silence’, ‘Return from Vorkuta’ (1965), ‘The Venus Probe’ (1966), ‘On Hazardous Duty’ (1966), ‘One of Our Agents Is Missing’ (1967), ‘Mongol Mask’ (1968), ‘Sorcerers’ (1969), ‘Diabolus’ (1971), ‘Coven’ (1972).
As “Gordon Davis,” he wrote ‘I Came to Kill’ (1953), ‘House Dick’ (1961), ‘Counterfeit Kill’ (1963), ‘Ring around Rosy’ (1964), and ‘Where Murder Waits’ (1965).
He also wrote ‘A Foreign Affair’ (1954) as “John Baxter.”
Family, Personal Life & Legacy
His wife, Dorothy, died when the plane she was in (‘United Airlines Flight 553’) crashed on December 8, 1972, in Chicago. The investigation led by the ‘Congress,’ the ‘FBI,’ and the ‘National Transportation Safety Board’ revealed that the crash had occurred due to crew error. Cash worth over $10,000 was found in Dorothy’s handbag at the crash site.
His own life was in the ruins as his legal bills amounted to $1 million. He suffered a stroke, and all his hopes of being saved by the government were crushed.
After being released from prison in 1978, he lived in Biscayne Park in Florida. He continued writing and published nearly 20 spy thrillers between 1980 and 2000. He also raised two children with his second wife, Laura Martin, who was a school teacher.
He died of pneumonia on January 23, 2007, in Miami, Florida. He is buried in the ‘Prospect Lawn Cemetery’ in Hamburg, New York.
In October 1949, ‘Warner Bros.’ bought the rights to his novel ‘Bimini Run.’ Back then, he had joined the ‘CIA's ‘Office of Policy Coordination’ (OPC), as an officer specializing in political influence, in a department that later came to be known as the ‘CIA's ‘Special Activities Division’.