Jon Huntsman, Senior, has published an autobiography covering his fascinating life, his endowment of the Huntsman Cancer Research Institute attached to the University of Utah’s hospital, and numerous other charitable undertakings. Entitled Barefoot to Billionaire, it was written with the assistance of Jay Shelledy, the former editor of the Salt Lake Tribune and publisher of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Shelledy also assisted Huntsman in writing his best-selling book, Winners Never Cheat, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Huntsman is a graduate of Penn’s famed Wharton School of Finance.
While initial sales are brisk, Shelledy reports, it has yet to be reviewed in either the New York Times Sunday book section, or the Washington Post’s, or the Los Angeles Times. That’s a real shame and the oversight will hopefully be corrected.
Why? If for no other reason alone the book is worth the time and the money because of some new insights into the Watergate scandal which brought down the administration of President Richard Nixon. As very few folks know, but many will find more than interesting, the father of Utah’s one-time governor, Jon Huntsman, Jr., was once a Special Assistant to President Richard Nixon for secretarial matters.
What that means is that for slightly more than a year every piece of paper that went into and came out of the Oval office crossed Huntsman desk in the White House. It was quite a perch from which to watch the comings and goings in the “under siege” Oval Office.
Huntsman left before the proverbial horse pucky hit the fan, but nonetheless was interviewed and told he might be subpoenaed to testify before North Carolina Senator Sam Ervin’s Senate Committee investigating Watergate. Old Sam wanted to know what Young Jon knew and when he knew it. Huntsman convinced the committee counsels he knew nothing prior to Watergate hitting the paper. Hence, he was never indicted or charged. He was just about the only higher up in the White House NOT charged or indicted.
Reading the passages in the book one wonders though if Huntsman didn’t know more than he is letting on. It is the way he words things that starts one wondering. Add that to the fact that the “Deep Throat” identified by Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward was Mark Felt, the number two person at the FBI. Felt, however, has to have had source within the inner Nixon circle that was providing the damning information.
At about this same time period, muck-raking syndicated columnist Jack Anderson also started reporting on information regarding Watergate that was leaked to him. Throw into this stew one other important factoid: all three (Huntsman, Anderson and Felt) were members in good standing of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and all three attended the same LDS ward in the D.C. area.
Mere coincidence? Perhaps, but one rule in politics is there are no coincidences.
Felt, who grew up in the Twin Falls area, has to have had someone in the White House feeding him the damning information he passed on to the Post. Consider the possibility that all three Mormons were offended by the dishonesty, treachery and abuse of power going on in Nixon’s White House. Consider the possibility that all three saw Watergate for the breach of trust that it was.
Now add Huntsman’s own words in which he writes there were only three or four people in position to know what was going on at that time: Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman, Special Assistant Alexander Butterfield, possibly Legal Counsel John Dean and Huntsman himself. Huntsman quickly dismisses himself but his excuse sounds flimsy. He then goes on to say why he didn’t think it was Haldeman or Dean.
Yes, that leaves Alexander Butterfield. Huntsman says Butterfield knew about and oversaw the tape recording system ordered installed by Nixon that ran whenever anyone was in the Oval office. He points out that Butterfield also was the liaison for the White House with the Central Intelligence Agency and the FBI. He doesn’t really provide a motive for Butterfield, however.
There’s an old saying that when one is pointing a finger at another there are three fingers pointing back at the pointer. Shelledy disputes this and says the senior Huntsman is a straight forward what you see is what you get kind of person.
If that’s the case, Huntsman, who is 77 years young and was born in Blackfoot, will probably carry the truth off to the Celestial Kingdom. untsman is veruIt may forever just remain another “Mormon Mystery.” Read the book yourself and see if you don’t come to the conclusion that the real “Deep Throat” was Jon Huntsman, Sr.
Then say a prayer of thanks to him for his courage, character and convictions.Share on Facebook