Jerry P. Shinley Archive:Subject: Maurice Gatlin Helps out the FBI
Maurice Gatlin Helps out the FBI
Date: Wed, 16 June 1999 01:54 PM EDT
Note: NO refers to the FBI New Orleans Field Office. References to FBI documents are from the FBI files on Maurice Brooks Gatlin, Sr., #64-29230
On April 23, 1949, an acquaintance and client of Gatlin's reported to the FBI New Orleans (NO) field office that Gatlin had suggested his friend infiltrate the Communist Party and report back any information to Gatlin. After discussing this matter with the FBI, Gatlin's friend decided to decline the offer.
Gatlin himself contacted NO on November 1, 1950, to report that he was associated with a loose, informal grouping of business and professional men, seamen, and laborers, both white and black. The group was concerned "regarding the international situation, particularly regarding Communist matters." Gatlin had been selected to report to the FBI any information gathered by group members. The FBI pointed out that it would accept valuable information from any individual citizen and that it was not necessary for Gatlin to organize a group. NO Special Agent in Charge (SAC) J. M. Lopez himself lectured Gatlin on the dangers of vigilante groups and investigations conducted by private citizens.
In September of 1952, Gatlin translated his concern about the problem of Communist fugitives escaping U. S. justice by fleeing to Mexico into dramatic action when he conducted his own test of border security, dubbed Exercise "Escape." Gatlin formulated the following hypothetical scenario, based on actual cases:
Susie Blow was convicted under the Smith Act and released on bail by an addle-pated judge pending appeal. Having finished her duty in the United States, she was ordered by the party to skip bail and leave the United States. She had or could obtain a Mexican passport, and she came to New Orleans where she employed a New Orleans lawyer to escort her into Mexico.-
Gatlin proceeded to enact this scenario with the unwitting assistance of his wife and "a female Mexican national, legally in the United States," who was assigned the part of Susie Blow, fugitive. Gatlin and party set out by automobile from New Orleans to Brownsville, Texas, deemed "a more obscure point than Laredo." As the party approached Brownsville, Gatlin began to behave in a manner he imagined to be suspicious and incriminating. He stopped at a grocery store and purchased boxes of cakes, saying that they were for "the children," when the clerk could see that there were no kids in the car. He purchased a flashlight at a hardware store, saying he planned to drive at night. At a gas station, he spoke to his wife and passenger in Spanish, interjecting a word of German or French. Gatlin's car was allowed through the U. S. side of the border even though the back windows of the car were covered with newspapers which obscured the presence of Susie Blow in the back seat. Likewise, the party passed through the Mexican checkpoint. "There was not even a pretense of security on either side of the border." Gatlin reported all this to the FBI.
In December of 1950, Gatlin informed the FBI that, in his capacity as attorney for the Gretna and Lower Coast Radio and Broadcasting Company, he had uncovered a Communist-fronter, a member of the National Lawyers Guild, working as an examiner for the FCC.
On February 28, 1954, he gave the FBI an inscrutable intelligence report from his contacts which mentioned landing men on a beach for a violent purpose. The country involved is not even specified. The next day, Puerto Rican nationalists shot up Congress. Ah, ha, Gatlin thought, that is what my report was about. In later years, he would tell people that he had warned the FBI about the congressional attack the day before it occurred. The Bureau was not pleased.
Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Share what you know. Learn what you don't.
Back to the top
Back to Jerry Shinley Archive menu
Back to Jim Garrison menu
Back to JFK menu
Dave Reitzes home page