In recent posts regarding Cuban exiles in Dallas, the house on Harlandale and the lack of information on FBI subversive investigations in Dallas targeting Cubans, I mentioned the work done by agent Heitman. It turned out that Heitman actually had published a book on his career and a couple of us jumped to order that. This post is a brief synopsis of that book. First, its a very interesting read in regard to his life and his overall career. Second, it provides us with only minimal insight into the areas we would be most interested in.
Mr. Heitman does discuss the assassination at some length, very much in line with the official story and there is no indication that he ever became familiar with the extensive evidential issues which are commonly discussed today. Of course that is true for a great many of those involved in the initial investigation, the events in Dallas and the work of the Commission itself. His remarks about his own work are limited, he does note that he was the agent who went to Sheriff Decker’s office and immediately began interviewing witnesses. That is interesting and researchers might want to make a search for Heitman’s first day interviews. He also specifically states that he and Agent Charlie Brown were dispatched to the emergency room to obtain a deathbed confession from Lee Oswald; he goes into considerable detail on that. Given that the presence of “mysterious” government agencies in the emergency room was often debunked and used to challenge the credibility of certain Dallas doctors, Heitman’s remarks are pretty significant.
Other than that, virtually all his other remarks are in regard with his ongoing interviews with Marina Oswald. I was immediately puzzled by certain points. First, he stated that Marina was planning to watch a televised broadcast of the motorcade – yet we know there was no such thing. Yet at the time of the shooting she was hanging out wash in the back yard. He then goes on to state that her answers in his interviews were sometimes candid and truthful but but also “not infrequently” devious and untruthful. But from there he essentially offers her boilerplate story about the Walker shooting, the abortive attempt on Richard Nixon and other similar remarks from Marina with no caveat at all. It would have been interesting to know what he considered untruthful?
That’s it for his activities in Dallas, he relates none of his work before the assassination and nothing else until he appears in the Dominican Republic in 1965. Given the very interesting documents we do have on his domestic and subversive intelligence work in Dallas, that area remains a total blank in regard to his book. What we do learn is that before Dallas he served in Monterrey, Mexico. He portrays his job there as working with Mexican agencies to monitor potential Communist infiltration of groups on both sides of the border. Finding no sign of that he was transferred to Mexico City. Again, given what we know of the serious FBI work targeting the Soviet and Cuban embassies as well individuals moving across the border to and from Mexico, there should be some pretty interesting stories there. Unfortunately Heitman’s only remarks concern his being assigned to target a group of some 35 American expatriates, many from the film industry and others obviously forced out by the McCarthy campaign of earlier years. His remark is that they were considered “dark pink” so they had to be monitored – other than revealing American spying on its citizens overseas, that seems awfully dull and something of a waste of taxpayer money. Again, given what we know from other sources, either Mr. Heitman was getting some pretty weak assignments or he chose out to leave out assignments with real national security impact.
All in all its a nice read, especially if you are interested in the American Southwest, which was here he was involved in some pretty interesting activities. But in regard to domestic intelligence, which he describes as one of his major areas of work, its not really all that helpful.