“Yes,” he says. “I know.”
Kuntzler not only wrote to Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. (who never wrote back and declined to comment for this piece). He also wrote more than once to Times public editor Byron Calame. Calame acknowledges that he “[doesn’t] remember very much” about their written correspondence, but recalls that Kuntzler’s “original contact with me was by phone and was very secretive, very demanding of secrecy.”
No question, the tone of some of Kuntzler’s letters has a certain cloak-and-dagger ring. While sailing from Southampton to New York, he sent a fax to a Washington Post editor on Cunard Line stationery: “As we agreed, I will call you from the Queen Mary 2 at 9:59 am.” In the attached letter, he writes, “I arrived home from Rio de Janeiro on United Airlines early Sunday morning. I could fly to New York as early as next Monday or Tuesday, January 30 or 31, for discussions. You would have a much better understanding of me if we met in person. . . . P.S. It is now 5 a.m.”
Kuntzler is adamant that Gerald Posner’s book, the anti-conspiracy Case Closed — which drew some of its material from Posner’s sources inside the CIA — is an agency con job on the American people. And, he says, the New York Times, which “heaped extravagant praise on Posner’s book” but “discredited Oliver Stone’s film [JFK] before it was even released to the public” — is guilty by association. Posner has also written an occasional article for the Times.
“It is my theory that [the Times and the Post] are directing conspiracies of silence,” Kuntzler says. The Times knows the truth, but, even 43 years removed, is “scared to death” of the American people learning the true facts about the assassination. Once Kuntzler finally “understood the full comprehensive truth” about the conspiracy, he knew he was duty bound to sound the alarm. “My company reported the Assassination Records Review Board. “I was willing to put this on my own company stationery and sign my name to it,” he says. “It’s the biggest story of our lifetime.”
I ask Kuntzler how he thinks his quest will end. Will the New York Times and/or Washington Post ever come clean and splash the long-hoped-for revelations on the front page?
It doesn’t matter anymore. “Aren’t you publishing the story? Your newspaper is highly respected. I think what you’re doing is an extraordinary thing. When you publish this, it will break open like a volcano. The whole history of the last 43 years changed with this, Michael. And finally someone in the media is going to publish this.”
Kuntzler says that after he FedExed that first letter to a Times exec in 2005, he tossed and turned all night, drenched in sweat, “because of the consequences for my life.” He got an unlisted number. He suspects the CIA was in attendance at his press conference. In the wake of the Kennedy assassination, “they murdered people. I would have been murdered myself if I had done this 35 years ago.”
I tell him I hope the CIA has more pressing issues on its hands these days. “I had tremendous opposition to this,” he says, “family, friends, people I know trying to prevent me from doing this. But I’ve decided to accept the consequences, whatever they may be.”
In the end, says Paul Kuntzler, this work had to be done. “Back in the 1960s when I was involved in gay rights, I realized if I didn’t do something, there was nobody else to do it. And I realized if I never did this, it would never happen.”