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The 'Strange' Death of Hale Boggs
#11
Peter, Nathaniel, Jack, David. Dawn, Charles, Everyone,

This may not be much help, but I would suspect that Cokie Roberts. like many of those family members affected by the deaths of loved ones in relation to the deaths of President John Kennedy, Robert, and John, Jr., are afraid to speak out, if they do know something. They may have been threatened somehow, or they consider the wiser choice to appear to agree with the "official" story.

One example I know of is that of the wife and children of Grant Stockdale, good friend of John Kennedy, former Ambassador to Ireland, and business man of Miami, Florida. On December 2, 1963, ten days after President Kennedy was assassinated, he had supposedly committed suicide by jumping from his office window in the Dupont Building and landing on a roof eight stories below. An investigator who looked into this could not find the autopsy report in the Coroner's office, but elsewhere. Stockdale had had blunt trauma, but not in areas of his head and body that would have hit the roof. It seemed that he had been murdered by being hit and thrown out of the window to make it look like a suicide. (A technique described in a CIA manual, BTW.)

After that the family was frightened and harassed by threatening phone calls; told to keep quiet; their home was broken into; and an attempt was made on the life of the one of the children. The family finally moved out of state to protect themselves.

Grant Stockdale was the good friend of John Kennedy about whom Army Colonel Jose Rivera told me in April 1963 when he said that Kennedy's best friend would commit suicide by jumping from a high window because of his grief over the President's death. Stockdale interceded in events, such as the riots at the University of Mississippi which erupted when the school was to be racially integrated. Stockdale was originally from Mississippi and went to plead with the Governor of Mississippi at the President's request to not let the riots get out of hand and cause the loss of life. Governor Ross Barnett refused to heed the plea, unfortunately.

Stockdale was also asked by President Kennedy to visit military air bases in Florida to see what was happening there. Kennedy had suspected the Army and Air Force were gearing up to bomb Cuba without his authorization. Sure enough, Stockdale found that planes were being loaded up with bombs, which he reported back to the President.

It is also likely that Stockdale had found out about the plans to assassinate Kennedy, and had to be eliminated for that reason before he could tell this publicly. On the day he died, he had an appointment with a newspaper reporter later in the day. It is conceivable that he may have told Jack, Robert, and Ted Kennedy before the assassination.

When I attended the ASK, Lancer, and COPA meetings in Dallas over the years, I met a young woman who said she was a cousin of Hale Boggs. She had made inquiries into his death and told me what she had found. I encouraged her to write all this up for publication somewhere because it was important, but I don't know if she did. She was a resident of Dallas and knew many of the people there. As I recall, she said that searching parties had flown over the site of the crash and saw movements there, so someone was still alive.

We corresponded for a while. I still have her name in an old address book. If anyone would like to try to find her, please send me an email. Tell her that you learned her name from me and that I met her at a COPA meeting years ago.

One more comment about families being silenced. I do think that many of the Kennedy family members, including Robert and Ted, had been threatened into silence. Robert was waiting for his chance to investigate his brother's death, but was gunned down before he could. I think Ted's problem with Chappaquiddick was also handled the same way. He may not have been in the car at all, and Mary Jo Kopechne, judging from the vast amount of blood having dried, then staining her white blouse, was beaten before she went into the water. Blood from injuries occurring within water would not have stained the blouse, but washed away. Also, her body did not appear to be that of a drowning victim, according to the mortician who prepared her body for shipment for burial.

The death of John, Jr., was no accident. There was no dense haze in the Martha's Vineyard Airport vicinity; visibility was clear. Many strange things appeared in the government's report of the airplane crash. John was supposed to have had a flight instructor aboard; he had never flown that new plane of his without one. Only five of the six seats were found. Witnesses on the beach at that time heard and saw an explosion in the sky which may have been John's plane. His logbook. listing passengers and other information, was never found, although the empty bag where it was kept was found. The debris of the crash was widely scattered on the ocean floor, suggesting an explosion.

John was mulling over an idea to run for Daniel Moynihan's Senate seat, and possibly for president some day. He had planned to spend his time talking it over with old friends and classmates who would also attend the wedding in Hyannis Port. This may have threatened enemies of the Kennedy's who had aspirations of a similar sort of their own.

Adele
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#12
Adele Edisen Wrote:Peter, Nathaniel, Jack, David. Dawn, Charles, Everyone,

This may not be much help, but I would suspect that Cokie Roberts. like many of those family members affected by the deaths of loved ones in relation to the deaths of President John Kennedy, Robert, and John, Jr., are afraid to speak out, if they do know something. They may have been threatened somehow, or they consider the wiser choice to appear to agree with the "official" story.

One example I know of is that of the wife and children of Grant Stockdale, good friend of John Kennedy, former Ambassador to Ireland, and business man of Miami, Florida. On December 2, 1963, ten days after President Kennedy was assassinated, he had supposedly committed suicide by jumping from his office window in the Dupont Building and landing on a roof eight stories below. An investigator who looked into this could not find the autopsy report in the Coroner's office, but elsewhere. Stockdale had had blunt trauma, but not in areas of his head and body that would have hit the roof. It seemed that he had been murdered by being hit and thrown out of the window to make it look like a suicide. (A technique described in a CIA manual, BTW.)

After that the family was frightened and harassed by threatening phone calls; told to keep quiet; their home was broken into; and an attempt was made on the life of the one of the children. The family finally moved out of state to protect themselves.

Grant Stockdale was the good friend of John Kennedy about whom Army Colonel Jose Rivera told me in April 1963 when he said that Kennedy's best friend would commit suicide by jumping from a high window because of his grief over the President's death. Stockdale interceded in events, such as the riots at the University of Mississippi which erupted when the school was to be racially integrated. Stockdale was originally from Mississippi and went to plead with the Governor of Mississippi at the President's request to not let the riots get out of hand and cause the loss of life. Governor Ross Barnett refused to heed the plea, unfortunately.

Stockdale was also asked by President Kennedy to visit military air bases in Florida to see what was happening there. Kennedy had suspected the Army and Air Force were gearing up to bomb Cuba without his authorization. Sure enough, Stockdale found that planes were being loaded up with bombs, which he reported back to the President.

It is also likely that Stockdale had found out about the plans to assassinate Kennedy, and had to be eliminated for that reason before he could tell this publicly. On the day he died, he had an appointment with a newspaper reporter later in the day. It is conceivable that he may have told Jack, Robert, and Ted Kennedy before the assassination.

When I attended the ASK, Lancer, and COPA meetings in Dallas over the years, I met a young woman who said she was a cousin of Hale Boggs. She had made inquiries into his death and told me what she had found. I encouraged her to write all this up for publication somewhere because it was important, but I don't know if she did. She was a resident of Dallas and knew many of the people there. As I recall, she said that searching parties had flown over the site of the crash and saw movements there, so someone was still alive.

We corresponded for a while. I still have her name in an old address book. If anyone would like to try to find her, please send me an email. Tell her that you learned her name from me and that I met her at a COPA meeting years ago.

One more comment about families being silenced. I do think that many of the Kennedy family members, including Robert and Ted, had been threatened into silence. Robert was waiting for his chance to investigate his brother's death, but was gunned down before he could. I think Ted's problem with Chappaquiddick was also handled the same way. He may not have been in the car at all, and Mary Jo Kopechne, judging from the vast amount of blood having dried, then staining her white blouse, was beaten before she went into the water. Blood from injuries occurring within water would not have stained the blouse, but washed away. Also, her body did not appear to be that of a drowning victim, according to the mortician who prepared her body for shipment for burial.

The death of John, Jr., was no accident. There was no dense haze in the Martha's Vineyard Airport vicinity; visibility was clear. Many strange things appeared in the government's report of the airplane crash. John was supposed to have had a flight instructor aboard; he had never flown that new plane of his without one. Only five of the six seats were found. Witnesses on the beach at that time heard and saw an explosion in the sky which may have been John's plane. His logbook. listing passengers and other information, was never found, although the empty bag where it was kept was found. The debris of the crash was widely scattered on the ocean floor, suggesting an explosion.

John was mulling over an idea to run for Daniel Moynihan's Senate seat, and possibly for president some day. He had planned to spend his time talking it over with old friends and classmates who would also attend the wedding in Hyannis Port. This may have threatened enemies of the Kennedy's who had aspirations of a similar sort of their own.

Adele

Yes, many family and friends have been threatened and killed - for a variety of reasons - and there is a general climate of fear to look behind the curtain for many. All the strange deaths and threats, you mention above Adele, I'd agree with. However, if we stay afraid and paralized (as they want us to be) we make no progress and we remain in slavery. Not all can or will chose to do battle and much of it will be of the Don Quixote variety (in the level of its effect), but try - those of us who dare - must. I couldn't read from Cokie's voice if it was fear of just really thinking any idea of foul-play was insane - what did surprise me was her seeming disinterest to even discuss the strange death of her father. So it goes....
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#13
Peter Lemkin Wrote:Yes, many family and friends have been threatened and killed - for a variety of reasons - and there is a general climate of fear to look behind the curtain for many. All the strange deaths and threats, you mention above Adele, I'd agree with. However, if we stay afraid and paralized (as they want us to be) we make no progress and we remain in slavery. Not all can or will chose to do battle and much of it will be of the Don Quixote variety (in the level of its effect), but try - those of us who dare - must. I couldn't read from Cokie's voice if it was fear of just really thinking any idea of foul-play was insane - what did surprise me was he seeming disinterest to even discuss the strange death of her father. So it goes....

Peter,
It is hard to say what Cokie Robert's reasons were for not wanting to talk about her father's death. It could have been fear or not wanting to think that he might have been murdered, or both. Or her feeling uncomfortable speaking about her father with someone not well known to her. All of these factors might be applicable.

In the case of the Stockdale family, the children were angry for the longest time at their father because they thought he had actually committed suicide, and hence had deserted them. When the investigator convinced them that he had been murdered, they were able to accept this, restoring their positive and warm feelings toward their father.

Some threats to family members could involve such things as threats to the lives and welfare of their own children, nephews, nieces, and so on. That could provide a powerful motive to not speak out. I can certainly understand that from my own experiences.

Adele
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#14
While speaking with John Armstrong a bit ago this topic came up- again- JA was living in Alaska when the plane went down and had looked into it. I was suspicious from the start. At that time I did not even realize who Boggs was in relation to deep events. But I felt very strongly that it was a "suspicious plane crash". (Then two months later Dorothy Hunt's became chillingly obvious). I was trying to look some stuff up on line and Dr. Nick Begich is quite vocal on the murder of his father and Boggs. I was hoping he was on facebook so I could connect with him but his profile is from 2013 and unused. Has anyone ever emailed with him? (Peter???) . I need to check and see if the sabotaged airline researcher, Sherman Skolnick did any work on this crash. (I miss him, for all his faults his heart was in the right place).

Adele's post above has much food for thought!! (miss her too).

Someone needs to write a book on sabotaged plane crashes and their relation to the deep state.

Dawn
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#15
Yep and it began with Dag Hammarskjold.

And they got away with it.

Which is the worst thing you can do. Because they repeat the pattern.
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#16
Not for one second have I ever believed that the crashed plane and bodies were never found. They were going from point A to point B weren't they? How far off their flight plan could they have strayed? The "crash" occurred on dry land didn't it (not the Marianna Trench for heaven's sake!)? And with even the technology back then they couldn't find it? Or in any intervening years? Please! That wreckage was found, and disposed of along with the bodies long ago.
Reply
#17
Dawn Meredith Wrote:While speaking with John Armstrong a bit ago this topic came up- again- JA was living in Alaska when the plane went down and had looked into it. I was suspicious from the start. At that time I did not even realize who Boggs was in relation to deep events. But I felt very strongly that it was a "suspicious plane crash". (Then two months later Dorothy Hunt's became chillingly obvious). I was trying to look some stuff up on line and Dr. Nick Begich is quite vocal on the murder of his father and Boggs. I was hoping he was on facebook so I could connect with him but his profile is from 2013 and unused. Has anyone ever emailed with him? (Peter???) . I need to check and see if the sabotaged airline researcher, Sherman Skolnick did any work on this crash. (I miss him, for all his faults his heart was in the right place).

Adele's post above has much food for thought!! (miss her too).

Someone needs to write a book on sabotaged plane crashes and their relation to the deep state.

Dawn

No, Sadly, I never tried to contact Begich and can't remember anyone who has. I contacted Boggs' daughter only...and she definitely did NOT want to talk about the flight and poor rescue effort. Planes are such an easy way to terminate someone's life, and has been used over and over and over again..........
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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#18

As I write in my book INTO THE NIGHTMARE: MY SEARCH FOR THE KILLERS OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY AND OFFICER J. D. TIPPIT, "Like [fellow Warren Commission member Sen. John Sherman] Cooper, Boggs went on to express public dissent about the single-bullet
theory, 

telling 

[Edward Jay] Epstein, 

"I 

had 

strong 

doubts 

about 

it," 

and 

strongly 

attacked 

[J. Edgar] Hoover 

in a speech as House majority leader the year before his disappearance following an Alaska plane crash in October 1972. When I asked Boggs's daughter Cokie Roberts, the prominent television journalist, in 1998 whether she thought her father's dissent was 

 connected 

 with 

 his 

 disappearance, 

 she 

 replied, 

 "I 

 have 

 no 

 conspiracy 

 theories 

about 

my 

father's 

death" 

and 

launched 

into 

a 

long 

technical 

explanation 

of 

how 

the 

plane might have been brought down by ice on its wings.



Reply
#19
Joseph McBride Wrote:

As I write in my book INTO THE NIGHTMARE: MY SEARCH FOR THE KILLERS OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY AND OFFICER J. D. TIPPIT, "Like [fellow Warren Commission member Sen. John Sherman] Cooper, Boggs went on to express public dissent about the single-bullet
theory, 

telling 

[Edward Jay} Epstein, 

"I 

had 

strong 

doubts 

about 

it," 

and 

strongly 

attacked 

[J. Edgar] Hoover 

in a speech as House majority leader the year before his disappearance following an Alaska plane crash in October 1972. When I asked Boggs's daughter Cokie Roberts, the prominent television journalist, in 1998 whether she thought her father's dissent was 

 connected 

 with 

 his 

 disappearance, 

 she 

 replied, 

 "I 

 have 

 no 

 conspiracy 

 theories 

about 

my 

father's 

death" 

and 

launched 

into 

a 

long 

technical 

explanation 

of 

how 

the 

plane might have been brought down by ice on its wings.



Career is so important....truth, not so much.
Reply
#20
Synopsis of article: Widow of Nick Begich (Nick Begich was on downed plane with Hale Boggs) quickly re-married to a Mafia-connected bomber (and FBI informant) who claimed that he delivered the bomb which was placed aboard the plane. FBI was not interested in this information.

Caveat: Article & author are pro-Warren Commission; however, worth a look for the new research & possible leads. Also, photos at link are not reproduced here. Also, author is selling his research for a $2 fee, which opens me to potential criticism for posting this, although it is not a commercial link and I do not have any association with the author/website nor financial interest in posting this article. Just a lurker who saw this thread and has never posted yet in 2+ years of being signed-up.

http://archive.seattleweekly.com/home/96...story.html

Quote:In 1972, Two U.S Representatives Boarded a Plane and Disappeared. What Happened?

For 40-plus years, the fate of Hale Boggs and Nick Begich has been unknown. One dogged journalist is trying to change that.

By Rick Anderson Tue., Nov 3 2015 at 08:01PM

On a fall day three years ago, freelance writer Jonathan Walczak sat before a computer tapping out his first report on an apparent plane crash in Alaska. "Forty years ago yesterday," he beganin a story that would appear Oct. 17, 2012 in Seattle Weekly, where Walczak, 24, had earlier worked on a fellowship"Hale Boggs, a powerful Democratic congressman with a colorful past, disappeared in a small plane over Alaska. The massive search that ensued turned up no leads, and the plane, along with the bodies of Boggs and three others who died, remains hidden somewhere in the wilderness."

Walczak didn't realize it then, but his story on the plane's disappearance was the start of a reporting excursion that would take up most of his writing time and much of his money over the next three years. He'd learn hidden secrets about what had been a headline-rattling case from the 1970s, digging up startling and hard-to-believe takeaways. Through documents and interviews, he'd get to know the 58-year-old Boggs, who went down in the twin-engine Cessna with Alaska Democratic congressman Nick Begich, 40; his aide Russell Brown, 37; and pilot Don Jonz, 38, a military veteran with 17,000 hours of air time.

He learned that they departed Anchorage early on Oct. 16, 1972 for a Begich re-election rally in the capital of Juneau. The forecast included possible turbulent headwinds and icy rain. The six-seat plane, carrying some light luggage, lifted off over distant mountains, with a flight plan likely to take them across snowfields, islands, bays, ocean coastline, and Prince William Sound. The plane had six flight-hours of fuel for the three-and-a-half-hour trip. It was never seen again.

Boggs, the U.S. House majority leader, had come along as a favor to the Begich campaign, Walczak found. A 15-term congressman from Louisiana and father of political commentator Cokie Roberts, Boggs appeared destined to be elected the next Speaker of the House. He was instrumental in helping pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and served on the Warren Commission, which declared that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He was popular enough to win re-election in November 1972, three weeks after he went missing and was presumed dead. His widow, Lindy Boggs, won a special election to replace him and went on to serve eight more terms. She died two years ago at age 97.

Not that Begich needed a lot of help, or that the trip to Juneau was crucial, Walczak also learned. The freshman congressmanand father of Mark Begich, later Anchorage's mayor and a U.S. Senatoralso won re-election while presumed dead. The loser, Republican Don Young, won the subsequent special election and has held the seat since.

When Walczak's story ran in the Weekly, younger readers could be forgiven if they didn't immediately grasp the importance of what had been the nation's biggest search-and-rescue effort, involving 40 military aircraft and 50 civilian planes searching over 325,000 square miles for 39 days. (The baffling hunt also led to Congress passing a mandatory law requiring that small planes be equipped with emergency locator devices.) After officials agreed the plane likely hit rough weather, crashed, and sank out of sight or was consumed by ice, the nation shrugged and turned its eyes back to Watergate and Vietnam.

Walczak was among the generations born after the 1972 disappearance had faded into history. It wasn't until a slow news day during his fellowship in 2011 that he came upon the story. Cruising the Internet on his office computer, he clicked a Wikipedia index of famous disappearances. As he read down the chronological list, there, just after D.B. Cooper (1971) and before Jimmy Hoffa (1975), was the name Hale Boggs. Cooper and Hoffa, OK. But, Hale who?

"I'm a history and politics nerd," says Walczak, now a freelance writer in New OrleansBoggs' hometown"and it surprised me that I had never heard of the vanishing of a House majority leader in Alaska. It seemed like a fascinating story." He wanted to know more, but couldn't find what he needed from web searches. So he began filing Freedom of Information Act requests with various federal agencies.

Walczak was still awaiting responses when he took a job as a web producer at MSN.com near the end of 2011. But he continued to pursue the story as a freelancer. In the 2012 piece for the Weekly, he disclosed what he'd found:

"Amid hundreds of pages in Boggs' FBI file is a single sheet of information that has apparently never been reported. Around 11:30 p.m. on July 23, 1970, two years before he disappeared, Boggs was driving in Washington, D.C., when a late-model Lincoln Continental forced him off the road. He gave chase and was able to take down a license-plate number. No additional information is available in the file, and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, which investigated the incident, told the Weekly that it could not locate any relevant records."

He also learned that "Immediately after Boggs disappeared, the U.S. Coast Guard station in Long Beach, Calif., received a call from an individual who claimed to know where the plane crashed. The tipster said he had access to experimental electronic equipment, and he provided detailed directions to the wreck. The FBI apparently found him credible, with one agent, whose name is redacted, stating his opinion that the source of aforementioned information is reliable.' "
It wasn't all that Walczak was hoping for. But it was a start. And now there's a finish.

Walczak spent $30,000 over the past three years, interviewing several dozen people, searching through thousands of law-enforcement documents, and traveling twice to Alaska where he waded through hip-deep snow and flew the Boggs plane routeall the while wondering if he could come up with a story worth repeating. "I burned through my savings, and when that ran out, I put everything on credit cards," he says. "But every time I almost moved on [to another story], I learned some crazy new piece of information that reinvigorated me."

He now has a surprising tale to tell. On a pay-per-view ($2) website he just created, his 40-page narrative, called Four Gone, details how Begich's widow went on to marry an admitted murderer and bomber with Mafia ties who later told local and FBI officials he had helped bomb the congressmen's plane.
Walczak calls it the "never-before-told story of the disappearance of Hale Boggs" and the others. He has provided the Weekly with a copy of the piece, along with photos and records to support his reporting. What follows is the essence of his findings.

In his research, Jon Walczak learned that after Hale Boggs disappeared, rumors flew that the Democrat had been assassinated. Skeptics claimed the Cessna was somehow sabotaged or bombed because Boggs disagreed with the lone-gunman theory of the Warren Report, and was about to declare it a sham.

Walczak didn't buy it. Between living with his family in North Carolina and doing research at Tulane University in New Orleanswhere the papers of Boggs, a Tulane law grad, are storedWalczak learned that Boggs had in fact supported the commission's findings. "In 1967, according to a memo I obtained," he writes, "Boggs told an FBI agent he reread the [Warren] report just to make absolutely certain there were no loopholes.' He stated he found none, and went on to call fellow New Orleanian Jim Garrisonthe quixotic district attorney who launched an independent inquiry into Kennedy's deatha mental case.' "

However, were conspiracy theorists right for the wrong reason? As Walczak probed onward, Begich, rather than Boggs, began to emerge as the most likely link to a bomb scenario.

Walczak isn't claiming a bomb was hidden aboard the plane. It could have gone down in bad weather, he allows. But why have such allegations remained buried in police and federal files for more than four decades? "I find it extremely suspicious," Walczak says, "that the widow of a missing congressman married a murderer and bomber with Mafia ties less than 17 months after her husband vanished; that this man later told the FBI the missing plane was bombed; and that these allegations warranted such a brief, lackluster investigation by the feds."

Some events work against the bombing theory, beginning with the fact that dozens of planes have crashed into the Alaska Bush and have yet to be found. A search of NTSB databases back to 1962, according to a July report in the Alaska Dispatch News, reveals more than 40 open cases of missing aircraft. Federal authorities say they still get calls about possible leads in the Boggs/Begich mystery and consider the disappearance an open case. "An official end to the search for answers," said NTSB official Don Johnson, "does not occur until we find out what happened."

On the apparent crash day, two emergency signals were detected: a weak one 150 miles northeast of Anchorage, the other west of Juneau lasting for 40 minutes. Neither signal could be pinpointed, and just as suddenly as they started, they stopped.Was either beacon from the downed plane, and if so, does that rule out a midair explosion? Then again, if the plane for some reason crashed and sank, as many think, would there have been any signal?

Just as curious was a ham-radio broadcast heard by a number of northern California operators on the evening of the disappearance. "This is Alaska mobile needing assistance," a breathless man broadcasted; then, "Oh, my God, we're going to hit the rocks. I'm out of gas. I'm heading down. This is it." A sheriff who looked into the report said he didn't think it was a hoax. The Air Force disagreed, later finding it to be a false broadcast by a "sadistic person."

The Alaska search ended in November 1972, and the four men were officially declared dead by or shortly after Christmas. On Jan. 31, 1973, the National Transportation Safety Board adopted its final report, finding the disappearance inconclusive. Without wreckage, there was no way to definitively determine what happened. "Mechanical failure seems unlikely, though a thorough inspection of the plane was completed the day before it vanished," Walczak writes, "and it seemed to be in good shape. Theories continue to center on ice and pilot error. Jonz's reputation is eviscerated. Years later, however, one unexpected person comes to his defense: Lindy Boggs, ever the lady. She calls Jonz a magnificent pilot' and says she has no blame for the pilot. I know he valued his life, too.' "

Walczak was unable to interview Lindy Boggs before her 2013 death. Last year, though, he got a voice mail from Tommy Boggs, her son, who agreed to an interview. They played phone tag, and on Sept. 11, Walczak left Boggs a phone message to set up a meet. Four days later, Boggs died of a heart attack. His sister, Cokie Roberts, turned down an interview request, but she has said her father's plane crashed into water and sank, period.

Chatting on MSNBC last year after the disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370, she said she understood what relatives of the missing were going through, faced with the likelihood the plane crashed into the sea. They're "saying to the Malaysian government, Why are you just telling us that without any proof?' " Roberts said. "Well, they do have the equivalent of proof, but that's very hard for people to accept." In her father's case, the U.S. "brought in our spy planes . . . And there were all these sightings along the way, and people calling and saying they had heard something, some radio communication, and then the psychics came in and all of that, because people can't wrap their minds around the idea of a plane just disappearing into the bottom of the sea."

No one from the Begich clan would comment, either. Among those Walczak did talk with was pilot Jonz's ex-girlfriend, Cheryl Mitchell, who, then 21, was at the airport. She was the last person to see the four men alive. Newspapers at the time referred to her as a "mystery witness," and it took Walczak more than a year to find her. Now named Cheryl James, 63 and living in Nevada, she said she rode with Jonz to the airport and met the congressmen and the aide at the plane, then left. "James says she didn't see anything suspicious on the plane or in the disappearance," Walczak writes. "She believed the official explanation that Jonz crashed in bad weather. However, she did hear wild rumors that he landed at a remote strip in Canada, or that he fled to some exotic locale."

The consensus Walczak was now hearing indicated Jonz most likely crashed around Prince William Soundsomewhere between Portage Pass and Johnstone Point, about an hour into the flight. Sen. Mike Gravel thought the plane made it through Portage Pass and crashed into the sound, "and with all the icing, went right to the bottom."

Walczak felt the story drifting away. But he kept diggingand struck Alaska gold: Pegge Begich's second husband.

The 1973 special elections to replace the two dead congressmen resulted in a 1-1 outcome for their widows. Though Lindy Boggs won and went on to a successful congressional career, including an ambassadorship under the Bill Clinton administration, an eager Pegge Begich was shut out. Alaska's Democratic Party picked Emil Notti as their candidate instead, and he was beaten by Republican Don Young in a close race. The widow Begich tried again in 1984 and then 1986, losing both times to Young. She later moved on to Nevada and seemingly lived a quiet life.

But, Walczak learned, on March 4, 1974, 16 months and 16 days after her husband vanished, Pegge Begich had married a Mafia-connected killer and bomber named Jerry Max Pasley in Arizona. He was a charming, handsome thug, Walczak says, and the marriage lasted just two years.

Following a tip, Walczak obtained their marriage license and photos of their wedding from an undercover Arizona investigator who had secretly observed the wedding. After requesting records and talking to other police sources, Walczak learned that in 1994, while in prison for murder, Pasley had spoken with investigators from the Anchorage Police Department, Alaska State Troopers, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety, helping clear up several unsolved killings and making a series of startling claimsmost prominent among them, that he had transported a bomb to Alaska in 1972.

A Navy vet, Pasley grew up in Detroit where, after leaving the service, he met Peter Licavoli, Sr. who ran a Motor City mob called the Purple Gang and orchestrated bombings in Arizona. Pasley, Walczak discovered, began helping Licavoli with arms trafficking and extortion. Through Licavoli, he met members of another mob familythe Bonannos. Legendary New York Mafia don Joseph ("Joe Bananas") Bonanno, Sr.who helped inspire the character Vito Corleone in The Godfatherhad semi-retired to Tucson, and was on mostly friendly terms with Licavoli. Bonanno's enterprises extorted money from Tucson businessmen, and those who refused got a visit from Pasley.

"He used routine methods of intimidationproperty damage, fights, whatever it tookbut if you really pissed him off, he bombed your business," Walczak writes. This was in part confirmed by Pasley, who later admitted to multiple bombings. "His work caught the attention of Salvatore Bill' Bonanno, Joe's son, and the two became friends. In 1971, famed author Gay Talese briefly mentioned Pasley in his best-selling book on the Bonannos, Honor Thy Father. In the book, Talese wrote that Pasley was Bill's friend and the co-owner of a cocktail lounge . . . It was Bill Bonanno, Pasley later said, who ordered him to bomb the house of Judge Evo DeConcini, the former attorney general of Arizona and an ex-member of the state Supreme Court." DeConcini, who was not harmed, had been friends with Joe Bonanno, but their relationship soured amid negative press.

Pasley also worked as a paid FBI informant, reporting to Special Agent David Hale. Later, Pasley would claim that Hale had tried to instigate a mob war between Joe Bonanno and Pete Licavoli by having their homes bombed. Hale denied the claim, but resigned his FBI post.

In his 1994 prison interview with law officers, Pasley, then 53, was doing life for gunning down a man in a Tucson motel. (At his trial, the Tucson Citizen reported, Pasley, already convicted of one murder, acted as his own attorney, then admitted he was a killer"I'm not bragging. I'm not boasting. I'm ashamed I've killed people." When finished, he thanked the jury for "stopping by.")

He had nothing to lose by naming names and spilling his guts to investigators, inmate Pasley told his lawmen visitors. He wanted to come clean about several other, unsolved, killings, including the death of Nick Begich, his ex-wife's first husband.

In 1972, Pasley claimed, he was given a locked briefcase in Tucson by a Bonanno lieutenant and told to take it to Anchorage. There he handed it off to two men, and the next day returned to Arizona. The exact timing is unclear, but Pasley said he was told that "something big" was about to happen. But there were no reports of a bombing. When the plane disappeared somewhat later, it was thought to have crashed in bad weather.

The following year, he moved to Anchorage and met a woman he had met and dated in Arizona, before the plane disappeared, he told the lawmen. They knew and associated with some of the same people in Tucson, he claimed. She was Pegge Begich. They fell in together and wed within a year. She bought him lavish gifts, including two cars and co-ownership of a bar. His partners, Pasley claimed, were Pegge Begich and one of the men he had given the locked briefcase to in 1972.
According to a transcript of Pasley's confession, he was fishing one day with the partner when the man got drunk and began talking about the briefcase Joe Bonanno allegedly sent to Alaska. It was "a fucking bomb," the man said, according to Pasleya high-tech bomb. The man also admitted to putting the bomb aboard the congressmen's plane, Pasley claimed.

The investigators sitting there were stunned. "That would be so fuckin' heavy," one says. "I mean, that's like killin' the president, for Christ's sake."
After the initial interview, Walczak tells the Weekly, the investigators notified the FBI, who undertook their own prison interview with Pasley in 1995. Pasley named the the primary perpetrators of the alleged bombing, and said he met the brother of one of the men in Anchorage. The brother was murdered in Anchorage 27 days after Pasley spoke with the agents. He was shot to death by a cab driver under suspicious circumstances, but the driver was not charged.
One of Pasley's original interviewers, Mike Grimes, now a retired Anchorage police sergeant, told Walczak that Pasley had admitted to playing a role in three or four unsolved homicides before he got to the alleged Boggs bombing. "What he was telling me, other than the local murders," Grimes said, "went way beyond my pay grade, definitely all federal offenses. So I took it to the FBI."

When he returned to Alaska after the interview, Grimes recalled, he arranged a meeting with an agent he knew in the FBI's Anchorage office. He told her what Pasley said, "and she's going, Oh, my God.' I gave her the information, gave her a copy of the transcript, and I didn't hear anything back for several weeks. And I'm thinking, What the hell's going on here?' And so I called her, got a hold of her, and even her, she got sort of paranoid and said we had to meet off-campus, a twosome, and she goes, This is strange. Immediately when the SAC [Special Agent in Charge] read through this, he apparently called Washington, and they said, You will do nothing there. You will send everything you've got to us.' "

Grimes followed up with his FBI contact, who told him, "The only thing we got back from Washington was that the whole thing was unfounded." Said Grimes: "I was shut down completely after my interview, after I released it all to them."

Walczak tells us he spoke with all three investigators on the record, and "they were very surprised at how lackluster the FBI's investigation of Pasley's claims were. They said everything was hush-hush and swept under the rug, and the investigation was shut down after a cursory examination of the facts. Pasley agreed to testify under oath and to take a polygraph test, but it's unclear if the F.B.I. ever administered one."

A pilot experienced with the type of plane the men flew in told Walczak a bomb could be easily hidden in a rear compartment. But by whom, and why? Walczak names names and talks theories, and suggests that if such a hit was ordered by one of the Bonannos, it was done as a favor to someone else.

Walczak agrees that, in part, what he found borders on the absurd. Still, he says, "There is no question that Pegge Begich married this man, Jerry Pasley. I have their marriage license and photos of their wedding. There is no question Pasley claimed that Pegge's missing husband was murdered. The question is whether or not Pasley was telling the truth."

Even if he was, according to an FBI document, it might not have mattered, a U.S. attorney told a federal agent after reviewing the case in 1995. It would be nearly impossible to prosecute since no wreckage or bodies were found, he surmised.

Either way, Pasley was risking the possibility that ratting out Joe Bananas and the others could lead to an early death in prison. "He did want to go to a safe place in prison so he wouldn't be assassinated or killed," ex-state trooper Dave Tullis, one of the inquisitors, said, "but other than that, I don't think he asked for much."
As it turned out, Pasley did die somewhat early in prison15 years later, at age 69from liver cancer, taking the truth with him. That was 2010, two years after Mark Begich won his Senate seat by defeating Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in Senate history. Having been found guilty nine days earlier of seven felonies for failing to disclose $250,000 in political gifts, Stevens hoped to become the first convicted felon to win Senate re-election. He very nerly did. Out of almost 300,000 votes cast, Stevens, who'd normally steamrolled to victory, lost by 3,953. Begich, the first Democrat to win the Senate seat since 1981, served only one term, however, beaten last year by Republican state Attorney General Dan Sullivan.

Walczak learned from FBI files that in 2001 Senator Stevens had inquired about the Boggs/Begich plane crash. A constituent who had seen a show about the vanishing on the History Channel, raising questions of foul play, requested the Senator to dig deeper into the investigation. An FBI agent examined the bureau's file, which included Pasley's claims, and two weeks later responded to Stevens that nothing appeared out of the ordinary. Stevens was not made aware of Pasley's allegations, Walczak says.

The year after losing his Senate seat, Stevens was un-convicted, his felony case dismissed due to prosecutorial misconduct. The following year, 2010, Stevens, whose wife had been killed in a 1978 Alaska plane crash that he'd survived, died in an Alaska plane crash.

What if Pasley's claim had leaked out in the past decade? How would voters have reacted to the story that Mark Begich's mother had married a mobster who claimed he was in on the bombing that killed her husbandMark's father? What suspicions would have been raised about political assassinations in the Last Frontier, and how might the claims have changed the course of events?

"If Pasley wanted to hurt the Begiches, I'm sure he could have," says Walczak. But he never went to the press. "I do know he didn't ask for anything in return for making these claimshe didn't ask for a reduced sentence or money. And if he wanted to screw the Begiches, or if he wanted to become famous, he could have made more of an effort to reach out to the media."

In the end, the truth is as elusive as a lie is persuasive. Perhaps a line Pasley used at his trial, while acting as his own attorney and confessing to murder, is the closest we'll get to an answer.

"I'm a liar," he said, "but I'm an honest liar. I've got no reason to really lie here." The jury, finding him guilty, believed him.
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