Two Reasons why Clay Shaw Never Admitted to being a Domestic Contact of the CIA
Clay Shaw testified at his trial that he had never worked for the CIA.
Irvin Dymond: Mr. Shaw, have you ever worked for the Central Intelligence Agency?
Clay Shaw: No, I have not.
Dymond was Clay Shaw's trial attorney. The prosecution did not ask any questions relating to the CIA.
Since Clay Shaw was not paid by the CIA, one can clearly see that, in a very common sense, Shaw was telling the truth. The CIA was not his employer.
We know that Clay Shaw did not work for the CIA. He was just a domestic contact.
But, when Clay Shaw was interviewed on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in the fall of 1967, he clearly lied: (1:17:06 in the so-called Oliver Stone documentary JFK Revisited)
CBC Reporter: You have never yourself had any CIA connection?
Clay Shaw: None whatsoever.
CBC reporter: Any association with that organization?
Clay Shaw: Nope, None.
Now, why would Clay Shaw lie about this? Here is a CIA document that offers an explanation:
So the CIA "enjoined him to secrecy" regarding his relationship. It's interesting to note that Shaw did not even discuss this with his attorneys, despite what the CIA thought.
Clay Shaw was a patriotic American who provided information to the CIA. He honored the requirement to keep that secret. Had he broken his oath of secrecy, he understood that Garrison could have ... no, would have taken it all out of context.
You can see that from Clay Shaw's attempt at writing a book. Here is the start of a chapter: (from the Clay Shaw papers at the National Archives in Maryland)
This quote from the second page of Shaw's text is telling:
"It is, in short, the most un-American of activities, and the average American has a most ambivalent attitude toward it. Of course, everyone knows and admits, that as long as the other great powers, particularly Russia, maintain intelligence systems, we must do the same. And yet, most of us consider the CIA with abhorence [sic], and a man who works for it, is considered not a patriot serving his country but as a kind of E. Phillips Oppenheim villain ... a somewhat sinister James Bond."
American attitudes towards the CIA in 1967 were much different than attitudes in the late 1940s and 1950s. Clay Shaw understood this perfectly.
And so Clay Shaw respected his commitment to secrecy about his connection to the CIA, and at the same time, understood that that that information, in the hands of Jim Garrison, would put him in serious jeopardy.
He made the wise choice.
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Was Clay Shaw a "Contract Agent" for the CIA?
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