"I had perhaps four meetings with Mr. LaRouche during the time that I was at the National Security Council....[W]e discussed matters of national security concern."
From New America, March/April 1985 (ed., Dennis King)
While the media focussed on the Sharon and Westmoreland libel trials in recent months, a colorful case in the Eastern District of Virginia received only marginal news coverage. There, a leader of America's neo-fascist fringe, Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche, Jr., was suing NBC and the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith for libel.
LaRouche lost the suit (which had been triggered by an NBC "First Camera" segment on LaRouche last year), and the jury awarded $3 million in damages to NBC on a counterclaim. But in the course of the trial, witnesses for both sides gave a fascinating picture of LaRouche's success in ingratiating himself with people in power or close to power in Washington. In his own testimony, the 62-year-old chairman of the National Caucus of Labor Committees used the witness stand as a bully pulpit to lash out at various distinguished Americans in rhetoric so wild that it caused NBC attorney Thomas Kavaler in his summation to brand LaRouche an "animal."
One of the first witnesses called by LaRouche—in an apparent attempt to gain legitimacy in the eyes of the jury—was Richard C. Morris, counselor to then Interior Secretary William Clark and previously special assistant to Clark when Clark was the President's National Security Adviser.
Below is the full testimony of Morris—supplemented by excerpts from LaRouche's own testimony which show the true nature of the LaRouchian "intelligence" input that Morris and others appear to value so highly.
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RICHARD C. MORRIS, a witness, called for examination, having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. DENNIS (attorney for LaRouche):
Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Morris. Will you kindly state your full name for the record.
A. Richard C. Morris.
Q. Mr. Morris, are you in the employ of the United States Government at this time?
A. Yes, I am.
Q. Would you describe what your job is, please?
A. I am counselor to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior.
Q. Is that Judge Clark?
A. Yes, it is.
Q. Prior to that, did you have government employment?
A. Yes. I was executive assistant to Judge Clark when he was Assistant to the President for the National Security Council.
Q. What year was that?
A. Mostly during 1982 and 1983.
Q. During that period did there come a time when you met the plaintiff in this action, Mr. Lyndon H. LaRouche?
A. Yes. Sometime in 1982.
Q. Could you tell us the circumstances of that meeting?
A. Persons who I believed to be agents of Mr. LaRouche contacted me to advise me that they thought they had information of national security concern that they wished to disclose, would I meet with Mr. LaRouche.
Q. Did you meet with Mr. LaRouche?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. Can you tell us what was discussed at that meeting, generally?
A. Mr. LaRouche spoke to me—I am going to have difficulty being specific. I can't tell you specifically what was discussed at this meeting. I had perhaps four meetings with Mr. LaRouche during the time that I was at the National Security Council. I will be unable to tell you specifically what we discussed at any one meeting.
But generally, we discussed matters of national security concern. He had an intelligence operation that gathered information that he thought was important to the national security, which he disclosed.
He had concerns about the international economic situation and he expressed those. He had concerns about strategic defenses, which he expressed. Perhaps some other matters all of the same nature.
Q. In each of those four meetings, during that period of some time, did you or the national—withdrawn.
Did you or the government receive information from Mr. LaRouche and his associates concerning the areas you just discussed?
A. Yes, we did. Constantly we received information in written form that came in to the National Security Council.
Q. Mr. Morris, have you—withdrawn.
How long altogether have you been with the United States Government?
A. I came to the United States Government on my present tour in March of 1981. I have been continually with the government since that time.
Q. You served as the executive assistant to Judge William Clark who was a member of the National Security Council?
A. Yes, he is a member of the National Security Council.
Q. Is he still?
A. No, he is not.
Q. During the period [that] you served with Judge Clark, did you ever hear from the government or any other source that in 1977 Mr. LaRouche allegedly plotted the assassination of President Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Paul Warnke, David Rockefeller, and Joseph Luns, the Secretary General of NATO?
A. No, I did not.
Q. Would there have been a need to know on the part of Judge Clark or yourself, or any other member of the National Security Council, of such a plot, particularly since the council as you described was receiving information from Mr. LaRouche.
A. The fact that Mr. LaRouche cleared security and was admitted to the executive—to the Executive Office Building by Secret Service personnel, they would have been the ones that would have been aware of such a threat and would have exercised their discretion in excluding or permitting Mr. LaRouche to enter that building.
Q. Do you know of any single case in your experience where an individual allegedly threatened to assassinate the President of the United States who has been cleared for access into the Executive Office Building?
A. I personally do not know of such a case.
Q. When was the last time you talked with Mr. LaRouche?
A. Perhaps four months ago, four or five months ago.
Q. Is the information that he and his informers give to you or to the government considered reliable?
A. I can't answer that without expanding your question a little bit. If you want to ask me what I did with the information—
Q. Would you tell us please, what you did?
A. The information I received, both orally and in written form, was generally distributed to persons within the National Security Council who had responsibility for those areas in which the communication concerned, there were persons who were, if you want to call them experts, on matters of our relations with the Soviet Union, for instance, that the communication concerned the relationship with the Soviet Union, why then it was referred to that person. That person would then make some determination of its usefulness and I suppose of its reliability. I did not make those determinations, I was not an expert in any field.
Q. In your meeting with Mr. LaRouche from time to time, did Mr. LaRouche arrange introductions for you with dignitaries from foreign countries?
A. On a couple of occasions, he or others who acted for him brought persons trom other countries to either sit in on these meetings or to meet separately with me or with others at the National Security [Council].
Q. Were these prominent persons from other countries? Were they officials?
A. I can't recall. They were well informed persons. My impression was that they were well informed persons on issues in the other countries.
Q. Issues that concern the National Security Council?
A. It is a matter of degree. I suppose that we are concerned with everything that goes on in most countries. So there would be some concern, I think it is fair to say.
Q. Do you know whether Mr. LaRouche met with other members of the National Security Council?
A. Yes. I am aware he met with some of the other staff members in the National Security Council.
Q. Can you name any at this time?
THE COURT: I think we have had enough on this, Mr. Dennis.
Q. I draw your attention to the date of March the 4th, 1984, that night. Did you see a program on NBC, a television program, entitled First Camera, that referred to Mr. LaRouche?
A. I believe so. I am not familiar with the date, but I think I did see the program.
Q. Subsequent to the showing of that program, were there any pressures which came down from the White House, or any other governmental source, to discontinue or limit visits and conversations with Mr. LaRouche?
A. Not to me. I can't answer for others.
Q. You didn't learn of any others?
A. No, at that time, I was not at the National Security Council. I had left it.
Q. You are now at the Department of the Interior?
MR. DENNIS: I have no further questions.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR. KAVALER (attorney for NBC):
Q. Good afternoon. Mr. Morris. Were you interviewed by [NBC reporter] Pat Lynch prior to that March 4, 1984 First Camera broadcast that Mr. Dennis asked you about?
Q. Did you have a telephone conversation with her?
A. Somebody called me and identified themselves as Pat Lynch. I don't know Pat Lynch, and I could not identify the voice. But she did call and ask would I be interviewed. I declined.
Q. So you were asked by someone whom you have no reason to believe was not Pat Lynch if you would be interviewed and you declined to be interviewed?
A. Yes, that is true.
Q. So, whatever it is that you may have to say here today, is not something you previously told Pat Lynch?
A. Well, we had a short conversation. I made some statements to her during that telephone conversation, although I would not submit to an interview. I guess I did submit to a telephone interview.
Q. Do you recall what statements you made to Pat Lynch?
A. Only in a general way. She asked me, I believe, or the person, whoever it was, did we receive information from Lyndon LaRouche at the National Security Council while I was there. I told her that we had. And had I personally met with him? I told her that I had.
She wondered why we had received such information. My best recollection, my best recollection of the whole conversation was that I told her, well, this was the country of the First Amendment and free associations and I felt that anyone who thought they had something to say to us, should be heard. Then we could make the evaluation of the information that they provided.
I do remember saying that to her, but I don't remember much more than that.
Q. In other words, Mr. Morris. it is the policy—it was your policy when you were at the National Security Council to listen to anyone with anything that might be interesting to say.
A. In a general sense, yes. You would have to draw the line someplace. You have a lot of people who want to be heard.
Q. Well, along those lines, did you reach out to Mr. LaRouche? Did you send for him and ask him to come and talk to you or did he ask if he could have an audience with you?
A. On each occasion I met with him, the invitation came from Mr. LaRouche or those acting for him.
Q. You never called Mr. LaRouche and said could you come here and tell the government something.
A. No, I did not.
Q. Did Judge Clark ever ask you to reach out for Lyndon LaRouche and find out what he thought about something.
Q. Did you ever introduce Mr. LaRouche to Judge Clark?
A. No, I did not.
Q. Did you ever give Judge Clark any of the materials or information which Mr. LaRouche conveyed to you?
A. Some of them might have reached him. Probably through others in his staff who, as I say, had the expertise in specialized areas.
Q. Now, Dr. Norman Bailey was associated with the National Security Agency [he means the National Security Council--DK] at this point in time?
A.. Yes, he was.
Q. You testified that you saw the broadcast. Did you see the interview with Dr. Bailey?
A. I remember, yes.
Q. Do you remember the thrust of that portion of the broadcast was that Mr. LaRouche had some certain degree of access to certain high officials in the government, high officials in the Reagan Administration, and Dr. Bailey came on the air and he was interviewed by Pat Lynch and he said that as a member of the National Security Council staff, he listened to what Mr. LaRouche had to say because Mr. LaRouche sometimes had good intelligence information, do you remember that?
Q. As far as you know, personally, Mr. Morris, all of that is true, isn't it?
A. All of what Mr. Bailey said?
Q. All of what Mr. Bailey said and all of what the broadcast said on that subject, Mr. LaRouche did have access to certain people at the National Security Council, to wit, yourself and to Dr. Bailey?
A. Yes, that is true.
Q. Dr. Bailey did receive some information from Mr. LaRouche?
A. That is true.
Q. Dr. Bailey, he said he did, he said he placed some reliance or found some utility for that information because he thought it was good intelligence?
A. Yes, I remember him saying that.
Q. Do you think that is true?
A. Yes, I think that is true.
Q. Is there any part of the broadcast about which you have any personal knowledge, Mr. Morris, which you think is false?
A. I really can't remember that much of the broadcast. I suppose there might be something that I would disagree with. There is nothing that I can point out from my recollection.
Q. You are a lawyer, are you not, Mr. Morris?
A. Not in this jurisdiction.
Q. But you have a law degree, you have practiced law?
Q. You served in the judicial system in California?
A. Yes, that is true.
Q. I can certainly ask you to draw the distinction between something you might disagree with as a matter of policy, and a question of falsity, can't I?
A. I hope so.
Q. I am sure I can. Can you tell me if there is anything that you recall in the broadcast, and I understand you may not recall it perfectly, but specifically directing your attention to the parts of the broadcast that touch upon areas that you have some knowledge of, that is the National Security Council, Dr. Norman Bailey, or any other parts of the broadcast that you might have familiarity with the subject matter of.
Is there anything false as opposed to something you might disagree with as a matter of .policy or politics or whatever, is there anything false that you are aware of in that broadcast?
A. I am not aware of matters of fact that I deem to be false. I exclude the opinions expressed as a factual matter.
Q. Is one of the reasons you do that because as a lawyer you know that under the First. Amendment opinions can never be false?
A. If they are honest opinions.
MR. DENNIS: Objection, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Sustained.
MR. KAVALER: I have no further questions, Your Honor.
The following are excerpts from LaRouche's own trial testimony under examination by N.B.C. attorney Thomas Kavaler.
ON THE KIRKLAND PLOT:
Q. Can you tell us who Lane Kirkland is, Mr. LaRouche?
A. ...Lane Kirkland is several things, not one.
Q. Is he the head of the AFL-CIO?
A. Among other things.
Q. Thank you, Mr. LaRouche. Anything else about Lane Kirkland?
A. Well, Lane Kirkland backs him [Mondale]. Lane Kirkland is running most of the vote fraud machine, vote-rigging machine, behind Mondale. So, therefore, Kirkland, who is well aware of this, was a collaborator of Kissinger, who was also a Soviet agent of influence, is consciously deploying the resources of the AFL-CIO to put into the presidency a person who he knows to be a Soviet agent of influence.
ON THE N.B.C. CONSPIRACY:
Q. You think N.B.C. works for Moscow?
A. Is N.B.C. an agent of Soviet influence on the question of Strategic Defense Initiative? Yes.
Q. What about on the question of Lyndon LaRouche?
A. Well, that's the same thing.
ON JIMMY CARTER:
A. ...There was a security stripping operation [against the 1980 LaRouche Presidential campaign] that went all the way up to the White House, security stripping.
Q. President Carter was involved in that?
A. I don't know what President Carter was involved in. President Carter impresses me as a mean, slightly degenerate man whose wealth probably consisted, or spiritually at least, in two junked cars in his front yard. That's the kind of redneck degenerate a man who goes to an Allman Brothers rock concert, which is a drug nest, before going to teach his Sunday school sermons at a Southern Baptist school, that is Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter is your all-around basic, ignorant, boorish scoundrel. Jimmy Carter was not power. Jimmy Carter was a creation. Jimmy Carter was somebody who Mr. Nice, David Rockefeller, put up there in the White House and he liked the job, with that dumb wife of his and his daughter who was his national security advisor....
ON THE EPISCOPALIANS:
Q. My question is, is there a gentleman named Paul Moore who is the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese in New York City?
A. To the best of my information, it is hearsay, Mr. Paul Moore is the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese in New York City.
Q. Have you also said—have you said, rather, that he is in effect the resident agent of British intelligence in New York City for the royal, for the British royal family?
A. That's right.
Q. You believe that?
A. I know that to be true.
ON DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN:
Q. Is Senator Moynihan a nazi?
A. Philosophically, yes.
ON WALTER MONDALE'S STATE OF MIND:
Q. Are you saying Mr. Mondale is knowingly supporting the Soviet line?
Q. Are you saying Mr. Mondale knows his information comes from the K.G.B.?
A. I would reasonably assume that. That would be a reasonable assumption.
ON HENRY KISSINGER:
Q. Do you think it's an honest attack and fair comment to say that Henry A. Kissinger is not a Jew but a faggot?
A. That, in the context, that is a fair comment.
Q. You said that about Henry Kissinger, didn't you?
A. That's right.
Q. Do you think Henry Kissinger is a faggot?
A. Yes, I believe he has the personality of a faggot, yes.