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X. PEROFF Is JAILED, RELEASED, SENT BACK TO MONTREAL
POLICE ARRIVE TO MAKE ARREST
From his room at the Hilton Inn, Peroff said, he kept conversing with the White House. He said that during these conversations he was questioned in detail about his role as an informant and about "other matters not relating to the investigation." His final contact with the White House, Peroff said, was with Peter Grant on July 11, 1973. Peroff said Grant told him to sit tight” and “we will get back to you." (P. 81.)
Peroff waited. The next day, Sunday, July 22, two New York City policemen came to his room and arrested him. They explained he was wanted in Florida for passing worthless checks and Florida authorities had asked to have him arrested (p. 81). Subcommittee inquiry established that the arrests were made on the basis of the two warrants which Secret Service, Customs and BNDD agents had known about since early 1973 when Peroff began working with them.
The policemen let Peroff make a phone call before they took him away. Peroff called Richard Dos Santos. Dos Santos spoke on the phone with one of the policemen (p. 85). Then, Peroff said, he was taken to court, arraigned and put in the Queens County House of Detention with no bail. Peroff spent the night in jail. The next morning his court appointed lawyer began to petition the New York State Supreme Court for a bail hearing. Peroff added that it was Dos Santos who recommended that he ask for a court-appointed lawyer and "not to retain a mob-connected attorney." (P. 85.)
A bail hearing was set for July 25, 1973 at 11 a.m. Meanwhile, Judy Peroff had been talking with Dos Santos and his boss, Group Supervisor John J. O'Neill. Judy told Frank that the two DEA men had informed her they were trying to arrange a release, Peroff said that on Tuesday morning, July 24, Dos Santos stopped by the Hilton Inn, picked up fresh clothes for Peroff and had them given to him at the jail (p. 86).
PETER GRANT TESTI FIES The Subcommittee sought to determine the decision-making process that set in motion the legal machinery that resulted in Frank Peroff being arrested. An early participant in that process was Peter Grant.
The Peter Grant whom Frank Peroff said he spoke with at the White House July 18, 1973 was Peter Bernard Grant, a Secret Service agent who was on duty at the Service's Intelligence Division that day. Grant testified before the Subcommittee June 14, 1974 (pp. 814-853).
Grant said it was about 10 a.m. July 18 when the Peroff call was referred to him by a White House switchboard operator. Grant said the operator explained to him that she was switching this call from the office of Presidential Consultant J. Fred Buzhardt. Grant said the
operator indicated the caller had made contact with Buzhardt's office "numerous times.” That was the extent of the introduction he received on Frank Peroff, Grant said (pp. 817,818).
Grant testified that Peroff gave his name and Customs code number (p. 818). Following a common practice Secret Service agents use in dealing with peculiar calls to the White House, Grant said, he began taping the Peroff conversation. But, he explained, as he determined that Peroff constituted no threat to the President and other "protectees," Grant turned off the recorder (p. 816). Also as standard procedure, Grant said, he did not save the taped conversation but ran it back on the spindle and erased it as he recorded later discussions with other callers (pp. 82, 827). In any event, Grant said, he could not have taped the entire Peroff call even if he had wanted to because his recorder broke down during the conversation (p. 826).
Grant said Peroff was excited, talked in circles, jumped from one subject to another, insisted DEA owed him money and that DEA agents were trying to have him killed; he mentioned Robert Vesco and Normal LeBlanc and raised the subject of President Nixon's brother in connection with all this (p. 819, 821). The reference to the President's brother may have had to do with the fact that Mr. Nixon's brother, F. Donald Nixon, knew Robert Vesco and F. Donald Nixon's son, Donald A. Nixon, was employed by Vesco.
Grant said he had heard the name Robert Vesco elsewhere "but it really never meant anything to me." (P. 822.) Thus, Peroff's reference to Vesco did not register any impact in his mind, Grant testified. Although, he said, he was aware generally of who Vesco was, he claimed not to know at the time that Vesco had been indicted with former Attorney General John Mitchell and former Commerce Secretary Maurice Stans (p. 823).
Grant went on to say that Peroff was "extremely emotional" and was talking so fast and was making so many assertions about so many subjects that it was confusing. “I just had a very difficult time understanding," Grant said. But, Grant added, one assertion that was clear and made several times was that Peroff felt his life was in danger (pp. 822.821, 825,828).
Grant was shown a typed copy of the statement from Peroff's notebook which Peroff said he read over the phone. Grant said some of the observations in the statement were similar to comments which Peroff had made to him July 18 (pp. 820, 821). One assertion in the Peroff notebook is as follows:
There is now evidence that this (drug] conspiracy is being financed by Robert Vesco and his counterpart and associate from Canada. Mr. LeBlanc, and had the case gone on I would have had to go directly to them for the funds. Before and after this Vesco situation came u strange things started to occur. I was told just prior to this becoming known to me by a U.S. agent that the RCMP did not believe that this case would come off. About a week or ten days before that I had a personal conversation with the RCMP at which time I was told emphatically the opposite.
Philip Manual read that passage to Peter Grant. Manual asked Grant if he remembered it. Grant said he was not sure (pp. 821, S22).
Grant said he spoke with Peroff three times July 18 in calls originated by Peroff and of respective durations of 40, 20 and 5 to 10 minutes (pp. 825, 843, 814). These were the only times he ever spoke with Peroff, Grant said (p. 844). Grant said he placed no calls to Perotl (p. 842) and he had no knowledge of anyone else in the Secret Service calling Peroff at the Hilton Inn at Kennedy Airport (pp. 826, 842).
A call was placed to the Hilton Inn, though, to make sure that Frank Peroff was staying there, Grant said. This call was made by Secret Service Agent James Meyers, Grant testified (p. 843).
Grant denied that he authorized Peroff to call the White House collert (p. 825). But Grant said he could not remember if Perojf ever got through on a collect call. “To the best of my recollection, I don't remember, sir," Grant said (p. 842).
Grant said he did not tell Peroff he was an assistant to J. Fred Buzhardt but he did not say he was with Secret Service either. What he
tr] Peroff, Grant said, was that he was with the White House (p. 831, 835).
Grant said he reported the Perolf calls to his supervisor, Donald Cowles, but that he did not know what Cowles did with the information (pp. 828, 829).
Cowles told him to check out Peroff's link with DEA but Cowles did not specify which DEI ofiice or oficial (p. 830). Grant, a former BND! agent himself (p. 816), had a friend at the new Drug EnforceDentidninistration whom he had worked with at BNDD. The friend was Morris H. (Pete) Davis. Grant said he called Davis and told him about thie complaints Peroff had lodged against DEA. Grant said he called Davis July 18 (pp. 829, 830).
Davis replied that he knew nothing about Peroff, Grant said (p. $31). But Davis must have looked further into the matter because Grant testified that on July 18, after the discussion with Davis, DEA Agent Richard Dos Santos called him (p. 830).
Grant said Dos Santos identified Peroff as an informant who was “having a lot of money problems." Grant said Dos Santos asserted that Peroff "was trying to shake the government down." (Pp. 831, 832.) Grant said he believed he discussed Robert Vesco with Richard Dos Santos but he was not sure he did. Nor could he be certain if Vesco's name came up in the conversation with Agent Davis (p. 832).
After speaking to Dos Santos, Grant said, DEA Group Supervisor John J. O'Neill came on the line. Ilaving known O'Neill socially when they both worked in Newark, New Jersey in 1970 and 1971, Grant said, he and O'Neill talked casually and only made a brief reference to the Peroff call. Since they hadn't seen each other since Newark days, Grant testified, "I just asked him how he liked New York. That was it." "Very little” was said about Peroff, Grant testified (pp. 833, 834).
Grant said he also spoke July 18 to Harris J. Martin, Chief of the Counterfeit Division of the Secret Service, about the Peroff calls. Grant said Peroff had referred to Martin as someone who could vouch for him (pp. 836, 837).
Grant said Martin explained that Peroff had been an informant in a counterfeit case in Europe and that he knew the man. Martin told Grant there had previously been warrants out on Peroff, Grant said. Martin instructed him to contact Robert Connelly, the Secret Service agent in Orlando, Florida, Grant said, and have him "find out if there was an existing warrant” on Peroff (pp. 838, 839).
It was about 3 p.m. when he spoke with Martin, Grant said. At about 4 p.m., he called Connelly. Connelly confirmed the warrants were still in effect, Grant said (pp. 839, 840).
The testimony of Peter Grant was inconclusive on the question of precisely what happened after Connelly confirmed that there were outstanding warrants out on Peroff. Grant said he gave no instructions to Connelly. Grant said no one at the Secret Service had anything to do with Frank Peroff's being arrested. “That decision was not in our hands," Grant testified (p. 840).
Grant said he did not ask any person at DEA to decide whether or not to have Peroff arrested. In fact, Grant said, he did not know what finally did happen. He said he learned of Perofi's arrest from the Investigations Subcommittee staff many months later (pp. 8-10, 841).
DOS SANTOS CONTRADICTS GRANT
When Secret Service Agent Peter Grant testified, he said he received three phone calls from Frank Peroff but did not place any calls himself to Peroff (p. 812).
But Richard Dos Santos testified that Grant told him he, Grant, did call Peroff at the Hilton Inn at Kennedy Airport (p. 432). Dos Santos said he spoke on the phone with Grant to learn more about the complaints Pero I was lodging at the White House. It was during this Grant-Dos Santos discussion that Grant said he called Perofl, Dos Santos testified (pp. 430, 432).
Dos Santos did not specify how many calls took place between Grant and Peroff but Dos Santos did say:
. . I know there were many conversations or many phone calls. I believe Peroff made most of the phone calls (p. 432, 433).
GRANT'S NOVEMBER 28 MEMORANDUM
Peter Grant's testimony differed with information contained in a memorandum he wrote November 28, 1973 in which he said that Robert Connelly had quite a lot to do with Peroff's arrest. In fact, it is apparent from the Grant memorandum that Peroff would not have been arrested had the Secret Service not taken the initiative.
The Subcommittee obtained a copy of the November 28 memorandum and it was made a part of the hearing record. Grant was shown & copy of it at the hearings. He said it was a memorandum he wrote and he said that everything in it was true to the best of his knowledge (p. 849).
In the November 28 memorandum entitled "Frank Peroff,” Peter Grant wrote that he called Robert Connelly July 18 to discuss the
Peroff warrants. Grant wrote in his memo that Connelly checked with the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando. Grant wrote that Connelly called back to report that the Sheriff's Office wanted to have Peroff arrested and requested to know where Peroff was. “I then advised RA [Resident Agent] Connally of the subject's location," Grant wrote in the memorandum. It was apparent from Grant's November 28, 1973 memorandum, then, that Florida authorities wanted to find out where Peroff was so they could have him arrested. Accordingly, the Secret Service provided this information.
The next day, July 19, the wire, specifying Peroff's location, including his hotel room number, was sent from the Florida authorities to New York. The information in the wire came from the Secret Service.
GRANT MEMORANDUM CONFLICTS WITII TESTIMONY
There is another consideration to the Grant memorandum of November 28 which was of interest to the Subcommittee. That factor is the precision of the November 28 memorandum as Grant recalled the details of his conversations with Frank Peroff. This precision contrasted sharply with Grant's testimony before the Subcommittee in which he led Senators to believe that there was very little about the Peroff calls he remembered.
The opening paragraph of the memorandum, for example, reported facts that Grant did not give the Subcommittee—that, first, he kept notes on the Peroff talks and, second, that he wrote a memorandum on the Peroff calls. That memo was destroyed within 30 to 60 days after July 18 "in the normal course of administrative detail," Grant wrote. Because the original memorandum was destroyed, Grant wrote, he was putting the new one together based on "handwritten notes” he took while talking to Peroff.
But in his testimony before the Subcommittee, Grant had a somewhat different recollection on the subject of any notes he took on For example, Manuel asked Grant:
Did you write a memorandum or report with respect to the information you received from Mr. Peroff during that first
When Grant testified that it was July 18 that Richard Dos Santos called him, Manuel asked him how he could remember so precisely. “Did you keep any notes, memoranda or reports on any of that activity?"
Grant replied, “I remember the [Dos Santos] conversation because it was just subsequent events of the day.” (P. 830.)
At another point, Manuel asked, “Have you a report of the [Peroff] conversation ? Grant's reply was, “I have no really idea.” (P. 826.)