Walter Sheridan, Spook?


Walter Sheridan  

Surfing the Internet, one can find numerous references to Walter Sheridan's alleged involvement with the CIA, and with a shady investigative firm, International Investigators, Inc., known as the "Three Eyes" or "Five Eyes" (named after their headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana).

Sheridan reviews such claims in the following passage, excerpted from Walter Sheridan, The Fall and Rise of Jimmy Hoffa (New York: Saturday Review Press, 1972), pp. 449-453:


In early September [1968] while walking through the corridor of the old Senate Office Building I encountered reporter Clark Mollenhoff.

"Is there anything to that story in the Government Employees Exchange?" Clark asked.

"What is the Government Employees Exchange and what are you talking about?" I asked back.

"It's a paper that circulates up here on the Hill. There's a big story in it about you and Otepka."

Otto Otepka had been a high official in the Security Division of the State Department. When the Kennedy Administration came into office in 1961, Otepka had begun furnishing information about some of the Kennedy appointees, whom he considered too liberal, to Jay Sourwine, chief counsel of the Senate Internal Security Committee. He had been caught in the act by other members of the Security Division and had been transferred to another position and subsequently fired by Secretary of State Dean Rusk. One of the men involved in catching Otepka was David Belisle, a friend of mine, with whom I had once worked at the National Security Agency. In the process of catching Otepka, the Security Division personnel had made the mistake of placing a bug on his telephone. When Jay Sourwine learned of this, he summoned these men before the Internal Security Committee to testify about it. Belisle had not been involved in the bugging operation, as he was out of the country at the time.

I told Mollenhoff I did not know what he was talking about but that I would pick up a copy of the paper and call him. I found the Exchange at one of the newstands and was astounded to read a front-page article captioned "5 Eyes and Doodlegrams Used by Department for Tapping." A box on the front page said, "Sheridan Was Alleged Contact at WH." The article itself was absolutely incredible. It started out:


Walter Sheridan, the closest collaborator of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy in the surveillance and prosecution of James Hoffa, the leader of the Teamsters Union, has been identified by a knowledgeable source as the "mysterious person" to whom the tapes prepared by Clarence Jerome Schneider from the tapped telephone of Otto F. Otepka were delivered, it was authoritatively reported last week. . . . Currently an "investigative reporter" for NBC News, Mr. Sheridan was also identified by the source as one of the chief contacts for Robert F. Kennedy with "International Investigators Incorporated, Indianapolis, Indiana," a "hush hush" organization.


The article went on to say that the Indiana corporation was known both as "The Three Eyes" and "The Five Eyes" and that its employees were contracted out to the government for wiretapping and used "doodlegrams" to identify themselves and their projects. The article said that the Kennedy Administration had used these services and paid for them through unvouchered funds in the White House, thus leaving no trace in the records of the Justice Department.


Although on the payroll of the Justice Department and nominally with an office there, Mr. Sheridan actually was physically located at the White House, the source said. Through a series of interconnected transfers of funds, he disposed over the personnel and currency of whole units of the Central Intelligence Agency. In addition, wire tap tapes, including the "voice profiles" made at the White House by the Secret Service and at the Department of State through the "electronics laboratory," were passed on to him and maintained in a separate facility outwardly appearing as a weather station, the source claimed. In addition to its illegal intelligence operations, the "wire tapping" was used to provide Robert Kennedy and Walter Sheridan material for "plants with the press," the source said. In explanation he asserted that a special relationship existed between Mr. Kennedy and Time-Life, Inc. and between Mr. Sheridan and the Huntley-Brinkley Report.


The article concluded by stating that I had protected Dave Belisle from perjury charges before the Senate Committee because "Mr. Sheridan and Mr. Belisle had worked together at the National Security Agency."

I had, of course, by this time become immune to surprise at almost anything, but this article did set a new mark in the realm of the absurd. I took the newspaper and went directly to the Government Employees Exchange, which turned out to occupy a small two-room office on the second floor of 1913 I Street, NW, in Washington. Sidney Goldberg, who was listed on the masthead of the paper as publisher and executive director, appeared to be the only employee of the paper other than the receptionist. I introduced myself to Goldberg and told him that the article was completely untrue and outlandish and asked him why he had not checked with me before printing it.

"Mr. Maher said that you were in Tennessee," he replied.

"Which Mr. Maher -- Danny Maher?" I asked.

He nodded.

"Why would you check with Jimmy Hoffa's lawyer to try to locate me?"

He did not answer.

I told Goldberg that I wanted him to retract the article. He said that he would check back with his sources and that if it was not true, he would retract it. I asked him who his sources were. He wouldn't tell me but said, "One of them was a delegate to the Democratic Convention." I told Goldberg I would be back in touch with him and left. He had also mentioned the name Fensterwald.

The following night I called him and asked him what he was going to do about the article. He said that "they" had some questions "they" wanted to ask me. I asked him who "they" were and he replied that he could not tell me. I told him to send the questions to my attorney, Jack Miller, and I would look them over.

On September 9 Goldberg sent a letter to Jack Miller enclosing a list of thirty-eight questions which he said I had agreed to answer. The first fifteen questions related to my relationship with Dave Belisle. The next two, under the caption "Unvouchered Funds," related to whether I had received funds from Robert Kennedy or a relative. The rest dealt with my relationship with "The Five Eyes," Robert Kennedy, NBC, the State Department and the "Otepka tapes." I decided not to waste any more time with this questionnaire.

In the September 18 issue of the Exchange there was a detailed rundown on the history of "The Five Eyes," which had, according to the article, been formed by a group of ex-FBI agents as a private investigating agency and had changed its name to the 904 Realty Corporation of Indianapolis. The source for the entire article was "statements obtained from the Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Practices." This was Senator Edward Long's committee and explained Goldberg's prior reference to Bernard Fensterwald.

I had, of course, never heard of "The Five Eyes" or "The Three Eyes"; I did not know anyone associated with it; I did not receive any "Otepka tapes"; I did not have an office in the White House, nor an office disguised as a weather station; I did not receive any Secret Service tapes or "voice profiles"; and I had never had any relationship with the CIA. I later learned that Goldberg had been in dire financial straits at the time and had been seeking to obtain funds from either the Teamsters Pension Fund or the Manchester Union Leader. He was subsequently charged by the Federal Trade Commission with publishing unauthorized advertisements and then demanding payment for the nonexistent debts.



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