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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Faustian Bargains with Joan Mellen



Perhaps no president has a more ambiguous reputation than LBJ. He maneuvered colleagues and turned bills into law better than anyone. But he was trailed by a legacy of underhanded dealings, from his “stolen” Senate election in 1948 to kickbacks from deals with Texas wheeler-dealer Billie Sol Estes and defense contractors like Brown & Root. On the verge of investigation, Johnson was reprieved when he became president upon JFK’s assassination. Among the remaining mysteries, has been LBJ’s relationship to Mac Wallace, who, in 1951, shot a Texas man who was having an affair with none than Johnson's very own sister Josefa. Josefa, at the time, was also Wallace's lover. When arrested, Wallace cooly said “I work for Johnson... I need to get back to Washington.”

Johnson’s own lawyer John Cofer, defended Wallace on the murder charge. Now get this, Wallace ended up being convicted of that murder charge but, are you ready folks, received a suspended sentence. But wait it doesn't end there, Wallace then was able to get a high-security clearance from LBJ friend and defense contractor D.H. Byrd, which the Office of Naval Intelligence tried to revoke for 11 years without success.

Using crucial Life magazine and Naval Intelligence files and the unredacted FBI files on Mac Wallace, never before utilized by others, investigative writer Joan Mellen skillfully connects these two disparate Texas lives and lends stark credence to the dark side of Lyndon Johnson that has largely gone unsubstantiated. Joan Mellen is a professor at Temple University and has authored an amazing twenty-two books, most recently "A Farewell To Justice," "Our Man In Haiti" and "The Great Game in Cuba," These books explore the history of the Central Intelligence Agency and its role in the planning and cover-up of the Kennedy assassination.

Podcast:
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Links:
Joan Mellen website

Discussed in this episode:
Faustian Bargains
A Farewell to Justice
The Great Game in Cuba
Our Man in Haiti
Lessons in Disaster