On This Day — Nixon Dismisses CIA Director Richard Helms (February 2 1973) [UPDATE — Rudy Giuliani: “Truth isn’t truth!”]

“The timing caught me by surprise. I had barely enough time to get my things out of the office and to assemble as many colleagues of all ranks as possible for a farewell. …  A few days later, I encountered Haldeman. ‘What happened to our understanding that my exit would be postponed for a few weeks?’ I asked. ‘Oh, I guess we forgot,’ he said with the faint trace of a smile. And so it was over.”

Former CIA Director Richard Helms 

February 2 2021 — Richard McGarrah Helms (March 30, 1913 – October 23, 2002) served as the United States Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) from June 30 1966 to February 2 1973. Helms began intelligence work with the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Following the 1947 creation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) he rose in its ranks during the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy administrations. Helms then served as DCI under Presidents Johnson and Nixon. Follow us on Twitter: Intel_Today

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“Dick Helms paid the price for that ‘No’ [to the White House over Watergate].”

William Colby (DCI Sept. 1973 to Jan. 1976)

UPDATE (February 2 2021) — On October 26 2020, I told you that CIA Director Gina Haspel (64) intended to step down and  retire after the 2020 US election.

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And, on January 19 2021, Haspel announced her departure in CIA tweet. It is not obvious why she had to quit that way. There is probably a story here…

David S. Cohen was sworn-in on January 20 2021 to serve as the Agency’s Deputy Director, a position he held previously from 2015 to 2017.

While awaiting the Senate confirmation of Ambassador William J. Burns as CIA Director, Cohen will also serve as Acting Director.

So, we are told by MSM that, for the first time ever, a diplomat is about to become the CIA Director.

That is of course true, and not true… (I never thought I would write something so similar to these unforgettable words of Rudy Giuliani: “Truth isn’t truth!”)

Upon his ascension to the presidency following Nixon’s resignation on August 9 1974, Ford considered George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Nelson Rockefeller for the vacant position of vice president.

Ford ultimately chose Nelson Rockefeller, partly because of the publication of a news report claiming that Bush’s 1970 campaign had benefited from a secret fund set up by Nixon.

Nevertheless, Bush accepted an appointment as Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China, making him the ‘de facto’ ambassador to China.

Then, on January 30, 1976, Ford replaced Colby with George H.W. Bush.

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And the first person to congratulate him for his ‘promotion’ was none other than Mao Tse-tung, the founder of the People’s Republic of China. Life is funny, or what?

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Three days after Jimmy Carter’s narrow victory over President Ford on November 2 1976, Bush called and offered his resignation.

A final briefing between the two men occurred on November 19th, when Bush described more than ten sensitive programs being run by the CIA and even mentioned staying on as CIA Director.

Carter was notably quiet. He later shut down many of these programs and accepted Bush’s resignation on January 10, 1977, the day of the Presidential Inauguration. 

Carter became only the second president to pick a new DCI when he first entered the Presidency, setting a trend for presidents to come. Politicization of intelligence?

George H.W. Bush in Beijing, February 1989 — Despite the Tiananmen massacre, the George H.W. Bush administration renewed China’s ‘Most Favored Nation’ status (MFN) every year and vetoed bills that attempted to revoke or link MFN to human rights.

END of UPDATE

“The CIA and the Ford White House quickly saw Welch’s murder as a political windfall. At a time when the CIA was under assault from Congress and Bush’s nomination was in peril in the Senate, there was now a dead CIA hero to mourn.”

James Risen — The Intercept (December 8 2018)

Immediately after his re-election in 1972, Nixon called for all appointed officials in his administration to resign.

Helms did not consider his position at CIA to be a political job, which was the traditional view within the Agency, and so did not resign as DCI.

On November 20 1972, Helms came to Camp David to an interview with Nixon about what he thought was a “budgetary matter”.

Nixon’s chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman also attended. Helms was then informed by Nixon that his services in the new administration would not be required.

On Helms’ dismissal William Colby (DCI Sept. 1973 to Jan. 1976) later commented that

“Dick Helms paid the price for that ‘No’ [to the White House over Watergate].”

PS/ Nixon then offered him the ambassadorship to the Soviet Union. After shortly considering it, Helms declined, wary of the potential consequences of the offer, considering his career in intelligence.

“I’m not sure how the Russians might interpret my being sent across the lines as an ambassador,” Helms remembers telling Nixon.

Instead Helms proposed being sent to… Iran!

Nixon assented. Among other things Nixon perhaps figured Helms, after managing CIA’s long involvement in Iranian affairs, would be capable in addressing issues arising out of Nixon’s recent policy decision conferring on the Shah his new role as “policeman of the Gulf”.

Helms was confirmed by the Senate, in April 1973 and he served as the American representative until resigning effective January 1977.

CIA director Richard Helms testifies about Watergate

During these years, however, his presence was often required in Washington, where he testified before Congress in hearings about past CIA activities, including Watergate.

REFERENCES

Richard Helms — Wikipedia

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On This Day — Nixon Dismisses CIA Director Richard Helms (February 2 1973)

On This Day — Nixon Dismisses CIA Director Richard Helms (February 2 1973) [2020]

On This Day — Nixon Dismisses CIA Director Richard Helms (February 2 1973) [2021]

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