5. “I Have Never Known a Man of Greater Integrity”

Title Quote: John Whitten
Photo: David Phillips

According to Fonzi, when Senator Schweiker heard Veciana’s story of the alleged Bishop-Oswald meeting, he “immediately recognized the significance” as it related to both the JFK assassination and the issue of whether the CIA had cooperated fully with the Church Committee. However, Fonzi’s timing was bad since the committee had been informed that they had one month to finish their report. Schweiker wanted to reopen hearings but was overruled by Church and the committee staff leaders. Still, a compromise was reached, and it was arranged for Veciana to provide sworn testimony before an executive session of the committee. Fonzi says that only the “barest details” of Veciana’s story were recorded during the testimony and that a transcript went into “restricted security files.”1

It is impossible to know either the precise date or most of the content of Veciana’s Church Committee testimony since it is now missing. An article by Rex Bradford at the Mary Ferrell website reports that numerous transcripts and other documents from the Church Committee are unavailable. This problem was recognized and documented in the final report of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), a government body created in the mid-nineties that was tasked with identifying and releasing documents related to the JFK case in the wake of the Oliver Stone film JFK. Intriguingly, according to Fonzi and alluded to in ARRB memos, Veciana testified before the Senate twice. The second testimony was given to the newly created permanent Senate Select Committee on Intelligence which is still in existence.2

Fonzi implies in his book that Veciana was not asked the proper questions by the Senate and his story was therefore somehow incomplete. This ignores the fact that Veciana later testified before the HSCA on consecutive days in 1978. That testimony is publicly available and shows Veciana had a full and unrestricted opportunity to state his case and that Congressional investigators worked diligently to accommodate him. Still, Veciana’s missing Church Committee testimony is important to the story because of inconsistencies in his account.

As mentioned, in the initial interviews with Fonzi, Veciana said that Bishop’s first name was “Morris.”3 By the time of Fonzi’s HSCA writeup, the first name had been changed to “Maurice.”4 In his book, Fonzi tries to resolve the issue by implying that he heard “Morris” but Veciana, a native Spanish speaker, was actually trying to say “Maurice.”5 But, Fonzi’s observation doesn’t explain why Richard Schweiker told HSCA chief counsel Richard Sprague on December 14, 1976 that Bishop’s “… first name is uncertain, may be Morris, John or Jim.”6 Schweiker’s remark occurred approximately four days after Veciana’s friend Felix Zabala said Veciana testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Veciana’s “lost testimony” circa December 10th almost certainly triggered the communication from Schweiker to Sprague and shows Veciana was unsure about Bishop’s first name and possibly other key details at that late date as would be the case if he were being less than truthful. In fact, as late as August of 1977, Veciana was sill referring to Bishop as “Morris.”7 Fonzi conveniently eliminated any mention of “John” or “Jim” Bishop in his book. The CIA’s Scott Breckinridge astutely commented on the name change in a letter to Rodger Gabrielson in 1980. “My guess,” Breckinridge quipped “is that [Fonzi’s] romantic mind felt the [Maurice] spelling more worldly and dramatic and used that from then on.

The identity of Bishop became an immediate focus for Fonzi, Schweiker and the committee staff. To this end, photographs of a dozen individuals who closely fit the description of Bishop were shown to Veciana early on without success. One of Fonzi’s first serious Bishop suspects was the enigmatic George De Mohrenschildt, who had been one of Lee Harvey Oswald’s few friends during his brief life. De Mohrenschildt is a favorite of theorists because of his unusual life and background and because his friend, J. Walton Moore, was a member of the CIA’s Domestic Contact Division (DCD). Fonzi was suspicious of De Mohrenschildt in part because he had taught at Bishop College in Dallas in the early sixties. Additionally, Fonzi believed that the school was a “CIA decoy” and immediately became “excited by the possibilities.” But his hopes were dashed when Veciana said that a photo of De Mohrenschildt did not resemble the ethereal Bishop.8

In early April of 1976, Fonzi arranged for Veciana to spend time with a police sketch artist in his hometown of Philadelphia.9 Fonzi and Veciana felt that such a sketch would be a useful tool in their search for the invisible mentor. Veciana looked at around 300 mug shots to “pick out individual features which came close” to the shadowy Bishop. According to Fonzi, this session supposedly caused Veciana to “focus much more intently on Bishop’s specific features.” Veciana was suddenly able to remember a “distinctive lower lip; a straight nose but not sharp, nostrils not too narrow; a face longer than it was round; and, again, perhaps the most noticeable feature, a darkened area under the eyes, almost leathery looking.”10

A revealing point about the sketch is that Veciana said it “was not really what Bishop looked like.”11 In other words, after spending “most of the day” with a top-notch artist, Veciana was still inexplicably unable to create a sketch that resembled the airy Bishop, a man that he had supposedly worked closely with over a 13-year period. Fonzi showed the sketch to Schweiker and staffers but no one could identify it. However, Schweiker thought it reminded him of someone who he could not place at that moment.12 But on April 11th, a Schweiker aide got word to Fonzi that the Senator had remembered who the sketch looked like. It was David Atlee Phillips, a former CIA officer. Instantaneously, despite considerable evidence to the contrary and eventual repeated denials by Veciana, Fonzi latched onto the concept of Phillips as Bishop and never let go.13

It is hardly surprising that Schweiker was familiar with David Phillips. Just the previous year, he had participated in the Church Committee questioning of him and by April of 1976, the CIA veteran had been featured in national news articles complete with head shots.14 One of the outstanding officers in the history of the Cold War CIA, Phillips rose to the coveted position of chief of the agency’s Western Hemisphere Division. Only the presidentially appointed Director and Deputy Director positions were higher.15 Even his critics agree that Phillips was an exceptional CIA officer. In a 2015 article, former HSCA staffer Dan Hardway admitted that Phillips “was one of, if not the, most experienced, ingenious, respected, and qualified…” men in CIA annals.

Moreover, Phillips was universally admired by his CIA peers. Winston Scott, who was his boss in Mexico City in the sixties, called Phillips “the most outstanding covert action officer” with whom he had worked. John Whitten, a CIA officer with 23 years’ experience, said Phillips was “one of the most brilliant, capable officers that I have ever known.” Whitten added “I have never known a man of greater integrity, and few equal based on my experience.” After the effective 1954 Guatemala operation PBSUCCESS, CIA Western Hemisphere Chief JC King recommended that Phillips be given the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, an almost unheard-of award for someone with Phillips’ then limited agency experience. King wrote that Phillips had “developed and sustained a completely notional situation which was without parallel in the history of psychological warfare.”

By early 1975 in the wake of media revelations including those by Seymour Hersh, Phillips had seen morale at the CIA plummet to a new low. Young agency officers approached him with their concerns while old hands like Counterintelligence Chief James Angleton were retiring. Phillips contacted DCI William Colby with the proposal of an agency component that would use public relations to counter revelations by CIA critics such as Victor Marchetti, John Marks and Phillip Agee. “You’re right but we can’t do it,” Colby told Phillips citing the massive furor that arose when it was revealed that the Defense Department had a similar PR program.16

After conferring with his family, Phillips decided to take on the job of defending the agency himself even though it meant a significant pay cut.17 In May of 1975, Phillips sent a memorandum to CIA personnel:18

This is to let you know that I will be leaving the Agency shortly. It is also to let you know why . . . We have a serious image and credibility problem with press, public and congress. There are a number of reasons why this cannot be corrected from within the Agency. I hope to be able to do something from without by lecturing, writing and apprising a number of key media people of the realities of the clandestine service and its role in service to our society. I also plan to organize ex-employees of the Agency to help spread the word and defend you and the intelligence community. In short, I expect that I will be working on your behalf just as many hours a day after retirement as I do now.

Phillips officially retired on May 9th.19 His departure did not go unheralded. That same month, Deputy Director for Operations William E. Nelson recommended that Phillips receive the agency’s highest honor, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal. “Mr. Phillips,” Nelson wrote, “will be remembered for his initiative, drive and imagination, and for the excellence of his representational responsibilities which in large part is attributable to his native charm, area knowledgeability and superb language skills.” DCI Colby wrote Phillips saying, “The ordinary retirement letter is in no way appropriate for you … your retirement is the departure of one of our most exceptional officers.”

Phillips’ first post-agency act was to commission a new organization called The Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO).20 The objective of the new group was to promote “public understanding of the role of intelligence so as to preserve and strengthen the nation’s intelligence gathering and evaluation capabilities.” The association further hoped to provide “perspective and balance to media reports which would otherwise depend on biased sources.”21

Almost at once, Phillips found himself facing accusations that his new organization had been conceived by and was being secretly funded through the CIA. “In reality,” Christopher Moran wrote in a 2013 article that appeared in The International History Review, “this could not have been further from the truth.” The AFIO was funded solely by dues which were $20 a year or $200 for a lifetime membership. Phillips had made a request to the agency for employee addresses but was rebuffed and had to resort to using his Christmas card list to create a database of potential members. Indeed, William Colby later stated that the AFIO had, “no special help from or relationship with CIA.” Even CIA critic John Marks admitted that Phillips, “would do exactly what he is doing,” whether he had agency help or not.22 Phillips used his considerable talents to build the organization into a success, and by 1978 the AFIO had some 2,500 members in the United States and abroad.23

The man accused of being the infamous Maurice Bishop originated in the lone star state of Texas. Phillips’ father, Edwin T. Phillips, was born in Marshall in 1890 and his mother, Mary Louise Young, was born in Houston the same year. The pair met while attending the University of Texas in Austin and Mary left school in her junior year to marry Edwin. They were wed in San Antonio in 1910 and settled in Fort Worth soon after.24 The couple had four sons. Edwin Jr. was born in 1913 and James Young two years later. Oddly, the next son was also named James but regularly went by J. Olcott to avoid confusion. David, the youngest, was born on Halloween in 1922.

Edwin Sr. was a prominent attorney who joined the firm of Phillips, Trammell, Chizum and Price, which specialized in oil and gas cases, in 1916.25 In 1926, Edwin was named a director of the Farmers and Mechanics National Bank.26 In David Phillips’ autobiography, The Night Watch, he modestly referred to his mother as a “successful business executive” who had persevered through “great personal sacrifice.”27 But Phillips understated the situation. His mother was a remarkable woman by any standard and her influence on him was amplified after Edwin’s death when he was not yet six years old.28

Mary had been a homemaker before Edwin passed but still found the time to be active in the arts and community affairs and was an outspoken advocate for liberal causes. She authored a piece on women’s suffrage for the Fort Worth Star Telegram in 1921. Foreshadowing her own future, she advised women to forget about gossip heard over “teacups” or “the back fence” if they planned to be successful in the business world.29 Edwin left an estate valued at $100,000, but the majority of that was in stocks.30 When the market crashed just over a year later, most of the holdings were rendered worthless.31 In his book, David quipped, “We were the poorest rich people in Fort Worth,” although the family retained a home at an exclusive Fort Worth country club. In later years, David waited in the early morning with the local blacks for a caddying job so he could pay for a round of golf in the afternoon.32

Mary, who never remarried, promptly and energetically set about the business of raising and providing for her four sons alone. In November of 1932, she accepted a position as assistant manager of the home industry department for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. Soon after, Mary was named manager of the Chamber’s Civic Affairs Department and headed the wholesale and manufacturers development divisions, the only woman in the United States to hold such a position at the time. In 1933, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt appointed Mary to the National Woman’s Committee of the Mobilization for Human Needs and she ultimately became the Texas state chairperson for that organization.33

One of Mary’s duties in her work for the Chamber of Commerce was that of a public speaker, an interest that David cultivated through his mother’s example. The youngster placed second in declamation (the art of reinterpreting a public speech) in 1940 as a senior at Arlington Heights High School.34 This talent would serve him well later in life when he earned a significant portion of his living as a lecturer during the fifties and again in the seventies. David was also a Boy Scout35 who was confirmed in the Episcopal Church.36

A 1933 article from the Fort Worth Star Telegram provides a snapshot of the life of Mary Phillips during these years. In August Mary, foregoing a trip to the National Woman’s Council, traveled to Chicago so 10-year-old David and his older brother J. Olcott could see an exhibit at the World’s Fair. The following month, she attended a conference of the National Woman’s Committee of the Mobilization for Human Needs at the White House. “I am thrilled to death,” she said, “at the chance to take part in the conference and to meet outstanding leaders.”

The article noted that Mary was a devoted mother who was even more pleased that her son James had been a member of the winning team at the state doubles tennis championship. Nevertheless, she was described as “an out-and-out business woman when she gets on the job at her desk.” Additionally, Mary was Executive Director of the Fort Worth Little Theatre and had recently managed a successful Community Chest campaign.37 If all of this was not enough, Mary served as a counselor at a girl’s camp during the summer.38

In early 1934, Mary was appointed to the Fort Worth Board of Education and named secretary of that body. She remained on the board until 1941.39 In 1948, Mary died at the age of just 57 after a long illness. George Thompson Jr., the former President of the Board of Education, said that Mary left an “indelible imprint on our schools and community.” Thompson added that she “was courageous in stating her views,” but still joined the majority to create a unified school program.40 Later that year, a new school in Fort Worth was named Mary Louise Phillips Elementary in her honor.

Meanwhile, young David took some time to find his way in the world. After graduating from Arlington Heights in 1940, he enrolled at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. There, his record was “marred” by his own admission when he failed to appear for final exams.41 What likely happened is that Phillips “flunked out” and his mother insisted that he enroll at Texas Christian University where she could better monitor her investment in his education. In any case, Phillips enrolled at the Fort Worth college in 1941.

After unsuccessfully working at several jobs including selling cemetery plots door to door, Phillips decided to try his hand at acting. His interest was undoubtedly inspired by his mother’s experience with Little Theatre and his own time with TCU drama groups. In his book, Phillips downplayed his thespian career writing, “After two years of dismal rounds of producer’s offices and survival on grainy cheese sandwiches from corner stores, I began to suspect that I was not destined to be a great actor.”42 But it is evident that Phillips possessed considerable talent and energetically pursued acting with tangible success before ultimately abandoning the idea. Around the first part of 1942, he began appearing in the Broadway production of “Junior Miss.”43

In May of that year, Phillips married Jean Hildebrandt of Illinois whom he met at Texas Christian University. Little is known about their union except that it was undoubtedly a case of two youngsters marrying prematurely. In October of 1942, Hildebrandt joined Phillips in New York where he was still appearing on Broadway.44 According to CIA documents, the pair was divorced on the grounds of “incompatibility” in 1943. Phillips did not mention the abortive union in his book.

Proof of Phillips’ acting talent came in the form of a summer scholarship to the prestigious Priscilla Beach Theatre in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1942.45 In November of that year, Phillips was again performing “Junior Miss” with the Red Circuit of Unit 63 in the USO Camp Shows.46 In February of 1943, Phillips was awakened by an FBI agent in a hotel in San Francisco. It seemed that the Selective Service wanted to talk to Phillips about a side-effect of his acting work—his ever-changing mailing address. As a result of that encounter, Phillips became, as he put it, “an armed tourist in Europe.”47

Phillips soon found himself a Staff Sergeant in the Army Air Corp assigned to the 15th Air Force, 485th Bomb Group, 829th Squadron as a gunner on a B-24 bomber. On May 29, 1944 after flying only eleven missions, Phillips was shot down during a bombing raid on Vienna. He managed to parachute to safety but was captured and taken to Stalag Luft IV, a POW camp near what is now Tychowo, Poland. In January of 1945, the Germans moved Phillips to Stalag Luft III near Nuremburg and he and his fellow prisoners endured sub-zero conditions after being loaded onto box cars in groups of 50 per car for the 250-mile trek.48 “They left us in the box cars standing in rail yards two-and-a-half days before they moved us an inch,” Phillips bitterly told a local correspondent. The eight-day ordeal resulted in the death of one man while those lucky enough to survive shared two loaves of bread and took turns with 25 men standing so the other 25 could lie down. Toilet facilities were non-existent and water was only provided every two days.49

In March, Phillips and thousands of his comrades were forced to march toward another camp near Munich. Phillips and a few others managed to escape to the woods where they waited for the allied advance to free them. After five days, they were assisted by two French workers who provided them with food and clothing. Phillips and his comrades resumed their march hoping to reach Wurzburg but after two days they were re-captured near Schwabach twelve miles south of Nuremberg. By April 12th, the group was back at Stalag Luft III but on the night of the 19th, they escaped again. The next morning, the escapees met a Sherman tank and realized that their ordeal was finally over. Later, Phillips met General Omar Bradley and with the help of the general’s personal chef, he began to regain the thirty pounds lost during captivity.50

After his return stateside, Phillips served the remainder of his enlistment as the recreation director at Tarrant Army Airfield in Fort Worth51 before his discharge on October 31st, 1945. Surprisingly, Phillips had managed to maintain his interest in all things theatrical while at Stalag Luft IV and led a group that produced both original and Broadway shows for the entertainment of the prisoners. Phillips was thus eager to resume his acting career and immediately joined the Imperial Stock Company in New Jersey.52 In May of 1946, Phillips joined the Interstate Players in his home state of Texas and secured the role of Tony Kirby in the production of “You Can’t Take It with You.” The play opened in Temple on May 6th and closed May 29th at the Paramount in Austin after stops in Brownsville, Abilene, McAllen, Amarillo and Fort Worth.53

On July 5th and 6th, Phillips attended a reunion of POW camp survivors in Austin. The group called themselves the “Kriegies” which was short for the German word for prisoners of war-Kriegsgefanegner. Phillips wrote a one-act play especially for the gathering titled “A Fence Around Kilroy” which was performed gratis by the Interstate Players.54 Opening July 8th in Temple for thirteen one-nighters in Texas and New Mexico, the Interstate Players production of “The Man Who Came to Dinner” gave Phillips the opportunity to work with a bona fide Hollywood starlet.55 Martha Hyer of RKO pictures was signed to play the role of the secretary while Phillips played a newspaper man who was the object of her affection.56 Hyer, a native of Fort Worth, went on to star on the big screen with notables such as John Wayne, Doris Day, Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis and was married to legendary producer Hal Wallis.

At some point, Philips became disillusioned with acting for reasons that are unclear. In his book, he said it was because his talent was “modest,” and he thus wound up in New York working as a guide at NBC. Phillips, who possessed an excellent speaking voice, was soon given the opportunity to try his hand at radio announcing. At NBC, he worked with one of America’s first disc jockeys, Martin Block, who advised him to never try to correct on-air mistakes. Phillips career ended, he claimed, when he ignored Block’s advice and uttered the immortal line, “and now we take you to the smokey, shitty city of Pittsburgh.”57

Again shifting gears, Phillips decided to become a dramatist and studied at Columbia with Carl Van Doren. By early 1947, his three-act play titled “The Snow Job,” a comedy about his POW experience, had been optioned by Broadway luminary Herman Shumlin. Phillips returned to Fort Worth in March to work on a scheduled May production of the play there which was advertised as a “warmup” for a fall Broadway run.58 Unfortunately for Phillips, Shumlin delayed the New York production over concerns that the public was not ready for a wartime comedy. Shumlin’s partner at the time was a young lawyer who disagreed with him and later went his own way. Ultimately, Stalag 17 was a Broadway hit in the early fifties and the lawyer, David Merrick, went on to become a Tony Award winning producer. “I often reflect on whether my life might not have been different,” Phillips mused, “had David Merrick taken my play with him when he broke with Shumlin.”59

In 1948, Phillips’ life was still moving fast. In May, he became engaged to Milwaukee native Helen Haasch, a stewardess for Fort Worth based American Airlines whom he had met in late 1945.60 The couple was married on June 5th and made the decision to move to a place where they could live on the meager $200 per month income that Shumlin’s option provided. The adventurous newlyweds decided on Chile based on an article that claimed it was possible to ski in the Andes in the morning and swim in the Pacific in the afternoon. They arrived in the capital of Santiago on July 14th amid a freak snowstorm.61

The transition to life in the South American city was made easier by the fact that both David and Helen spoke Spanish. David had taken courses at TCU and worked on the language in earnest while visiting his brother in Mexico and Helen had picked up conversational Spanish in the course of her work for the airline. David continued to study the language at the University of Chile and joined a local theatre group. He also maintained his interest in writing and sold what he termed a “juvenile” play while sending a comedy to a New York agent.62 Nevertheless, the couple eventually ran low on funds and by 1949 purchased plane tickets to return to the United States.63

Before the youngsters could make the flight, an opportunity arose that would lead to David’s CIA employment. The South Pacific Mail, Latin America’s oldest English-language newspaper, was being offered for sale. The paper was in debt and Phillips could not resist the temptation to own his own business and earn a living writing. After about a year, it became apparent that the newspaper could not survive without upgrading to modern printing that would enable Phillips to run proper advertising. The same day that the contract for the printing equipment was signed, Phillips was contacted by a man from the American embassy who he assumed was a diplomat. But the man was really a CIA agent interested in recruiting Phillips into the agency. As Phillips put it, “The combination of a printing press and a clearable American … was irresistible to the local CIA chief.”64

From 1951 through 1959, Phillips worked for the CIA in countries such as Chile, Guatemala, Lebanon, Venezuela and Cuba. All told, Phillips would work for the agency either full or part- time for 25 years. During that time, he faced danger as an undercover operative and made many personal sacrifices for his country. But he undoubtedly never imagined the trouble that he would encounter after retiring from the agency to work as an advocate for a strong United States intelligence presence.

Go to Chapter 6
The Bishop Hoax: Table of Contents


1. Fonzi, The Last Investigation, 146-147.
2. Fonzi, The Last Investigation, 199; ARRB memo from Brian Rosen to staff, April 9, 1997.
3. Fonzi-Veciana I, March 2, 1976, 4. RIF 157-10007-10311.
4. HSCA X, paragraph 114.
5. Fonzi, The Last Investigation, 200.
6. Letter from Richard Schweiker to Richard Sprague, December 14, 1976, 5. RIF 180-10084-10395. Fonzi was still using the name “Morris Bishop” as late as May 10, 1977. Additionally, HSCA investigators Howard Gilbert and Jack Moriarity were still using the name in an interview session with Rufo López-Fresquet on May 31st of that year (RIF 180-10093-10321).
7. “Statements by Veciana on WCKT-TV (Miami) Week of August 19, 1977.” RIF 180-10097-10138. It is certainly plausible that Fonzi and others could have misheard Veciana’s pronunciation of “Maurice” as “Morris.” However, it is somewhat less believable that Veciana would not have become aware of Fonzi and others' mistake and corrected them long before he finally did in late August of 1977.
8. Fonzi, The Last Investigation, 152.
9. Location of sketch artist: HSCA Executive Session Testimony of Antonio Veciana, April 26, 1978, 87. RIF 180-10118-10145.
10. Fonzi, The Last Investigation, 153.
11. Fonzi, The Last Investigation, 153.
12. Fonzi, The Last Investigation, 154.
13. Author and former CIA analyst Brian Latell believes Phillips was the victim of an opportunistic “long-running disinformation campaign” that was likely “a meticulously calculated case of Cuban retribution” for Phillips’ years of CIA work against Castro (Latell, Castro’s Secrets, 234).
14. Church Committee questioning: RIF 157-10002-10165; Article featuring headshot: See, for example, Joseph Novitski. “CIA Aide Quits, Will Head Drive.” The Washington Post, May 10, 1975, A4.
15. Phillips, The Night Watch, Preface. In his book, Fonzi wrote that he believed one reason that Bishop ended the relationship with Veciana was that Phillips was Bishop and his rise in the CIA ranks left him with little time to devote to handling Veciana. But Veciana himself never said this or anything like it (Fonzi, The Last Investigation, 273).
16. Phillips, The Night Watch, 267-269.
17. Phillips, The Night Watch, 270-271. Proof of Phillips’ modest circumstances comes from author Francis Nevins who interviewed David circa 1986. Nevins reported that Phillips was driving a “beat-up red Toyota” when he picked him up to do the interview (Nevins, Cornucopia of Crime, 249).
18. Moran, “The Last Assignment,” 337.
19. Phillips, The Night Watch, 281.
20. Moran, “The Last Assignment,” 339; https://www.afio.com/01_about.htm. The group was known as the Association of Retired Intelligence Officers until December of 1976 (Moran, “The Last Assignment,” 346). The acronym AFIO will be used throughout this book. Paul Bleau, who has written a PDF that purports to show Phillips’ “links to the assassination” says that Phillips and Gordon McLendon co-founded the group but there is no evidence of this although McLendon was a member.
21. Moran, “The Last Assignment,” 346.
22. Robert T. Wood. “The CIA-for-Lunch Bunch.” Floridian, November 7, 1976, 23.
23. Moran, “The Last Assignment,” 346.
24. “Mrs. Edwin T. Phillips of C. of C. Dies at Home Here.” Fort Worth Star Telegram, March 11, 1948, 12.
25. Joined the firm: “E.T. Phillips Dies in Hospital Here.” Fort Worth Record-Telegram, September 5, 1928, 1; specialized in oil and gas: Minor, “The Story of David Atlee Phillips, (Part I).”
26. “New Director.” Fort Worth Record-Telegram, October 21, 1926, 20.
27. Phillips, The Night Watch, 4. In his nonsensical book Trained to Kill, Veciana, evidently unaware of the irony in his statement, called Phillips’ book a “somewhat fanciful memoir” (Veciana with Harrison, Trained to Kill, 31).
28. “E.T. Phillips Dies in Hospital Here.” Fort Worth Record-Telegram, September 5, 1928, 1.
29. Fort Worth Star Telegram, January 2, 1921, 16.
30. “Phillips Leaves $100,000 Estate.” Fort Worth Record-Telegram, September 14, 1928, 9.
31. When Mary Phillips died her estate was valued at only $5,000 (“Will of Mrs. Phillips is Filed for probate.” Fort Worth Star Telegram, March 26, 1948, 9).
32. Phillips, The Night Watch, 4.
33. “Mrs. Edwin T. Phillips of C. of C. Dies at Home Here.” Fort Worth Star Telegram, March 11, 1948, 12.
34. “Four Schools Share Top Honors in Literary Meet.” Fort Worth Star Telegram, March 29, 1940, 7.
35. “Badges Are Awarded to 18 Scouts.” Fort Worth Star Telegram, February 9, 1937, 9.
36. “60 in Class to be Confirmed.” Fort Worth Star Telegram, June 18, 1939, 20.
37. “National Events Relegated so Her Boys Can See Fair.” Fort Worth Star Telegram, August 22, 1933, 3.
38. Fort Worth Record-Telegram, May 20, 1930, 12.
39. “Mrs. Edwin T. Phillips of C. of C. Dies at Home Here.” Fort Worth Star Telegram, March 11, 1948, 12.
40. “Mrs. Phillips Eulogized; Funeral Set for Friday.” Fort Worth Star Telegram, March 11, 1948, 1-2.
41. Phillips, The Night Watch, 5. Phillips may have hitched a ride in “an alcoholic haze” with Gordon McLendon and ended up at Yale rather than William and Mary. McLendon was a radio pioneer with reported ties to “conservative interests” even though he once ran for office as a democrat. Theorists have long been suspicious of McLendon who they believe had ties to Jack Ruby, Clint Murchison and Bobby Baker and may have made a “secret trip” to Mexico City just before the assassination. Although Phillips reported the Yale car ride in his book, he did not mention McLendon. In an interview before the HSCA Phillips admitted he knew McLendon who was a member of the AFIO and said that McLendon had called him to remind him that he had been the one who had given him a ride. But under oath, Phillips denied seeing McLendon during the years from college through the AFIO and specifically denied meeting him in Dallas in 1963.
42. Phillips, The Night Watch, 5.
43. Phillips, The Night Watch, 5. Phillips wrote that he toured with the show for thirteen months before entering the service.
44. “Mrs. Phillips Joins Husband.” The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois) October 30, 1942, 8.
45. Ida Belle Hicks. “David Phillips’ Play Will Have its Pre-Broadway Showing Here May 12.” Fort Worth Star Telegram, March 23, 1947, 25.
46. Billboard, November 28, 1942, 4.
47. Phillips, The Night Watch, 5.
48. This was the camp immortalized in the 1963 film The Great Escape.
49. Robert Wear. “Staff Sgt. David Atlee Phillips is Safe After Being Twice Captured.” Fort Worth Star Telegram, April 24, 1945, 1.
50. Robert Wear. “Staff Sgt. David Atlee Phillips is Safe After Being Twice Captured.” Fort Worth Star Telegram, April 24, 1945, 1; Phillips, The Night Watch, 6.
51. “'You Can’t Take it With You’ Actor Played in POW Camp.” The Austin American, May 23, 1946, 8.
52. “'You Can’t Take it With You’ Actor Played in POW Camp.” The Austin American, May 23, 1946, 8.
53. “Quite a Bit.” The Austin American, May 6, 1946, 21; “'You Can’t Take it With You’ Actor Played in POW Camp.” The Austin American, May 23, 1946, 8.
54. “Texas Kriegies Meet Tonight.” The Austin American, July 5, 1946, 19.
55. The Austin American, July 12, 1946, 17. Phillips sometimes used the stage name “David Atlee” in these productions and later in his brief career as a playwright.
56. “Hollywood Starlet Joins Players for ‘Man Who Came to Dinner’.” The Austin American, June 23, 1946, 20.
57. Phillips, The Night Watch, 7.
58. Ida Belle Hicks. “David Phillips’ Play Will Have its Pre-Broadway Showing Here May 12.” Fort Worth Star Telegram, March 23, 1947, 25.
59. Phillips, The Night Watch, 7.
60. “Mr. David A. Phillips to Wed Milwaukee Girl.” Fort Worth Star Telegram, May 25, 1948, 5; Phillips, The Night Watch, 7.
61. Phillips, The Night Watch, 7.
62. One of these plays was undoubtedly “Meet Romeo Morgan” which was presented by the Junior class at Galeton High Scholl in Colorado in 1950 (“Galeton Junior Play to be Given Saturday.” Greeley Daily Tribune, December 7, 1050, 16).
63. Phillips, The Night Watch, 8.
64. Phillips, The Night Watch, 8. The man who recruited Phillips was probably William B. Caldwell, who was most notably once the CIA Station Chief in Havana (Smith, Portrait of a Cold Warrior, 337). Caldwell’s obituary states that he served with the CIA in “Chile, Argentina, Cuba, Panama the Philippines and Australia.” The obituary also notes that Caldwell was one of several FBI agents with Latin American experience who transferred to the agency when it was formed in 1947 (Don Bohning. “William ‘Bill’ Caldwell, Retired CIA Chief in Havana.” The Miami Herald, April 7, 1996, 24).


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