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Author Topic: Amelia's mother said she was a spy?  (Read 18392 times)

Kevin Weeks

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Amelia's mother said she was a spy?
« on: July 01, 2010, 11:01:31 AM »

I had heard that there were some people who claimed she was a spy, but while looking for post lost radio reports I found one article where her MOTHER said she was on a secret goverment mission??

I'm sure this is nothing new to some, but seemed very odd to me.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Amelia's mother said she was a spy?
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2010, 12:14:08 PM »

In 1949 there was a flurry of speculation that AE had come down in the Marshalls. Badger by the media, Amy Earhart said that she suspected that her daughter had been on some kind of secret government mission.  She didn't claim to know for sure. Both the United Press International wire service and U.S. Army Intelligence conducted investigations and found no evidence to support the allegations.  But of course, as every conspiracy buff knows, absence of evidence is proof of a cover-up.
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Kevin Weeks

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Re: Amelia's mother said she was a spy?
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2010, 12:44:50 PM »

interesting. Any idea how close she was with her mother?? I know you have already proven that there were in fact efforts by putnam to recruit spies for the war effort, I wonder if she heard mention of this and mistook it??
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Amelia's mother said she was a spy?
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2010, 01:12:25 PM »

interesting. Any idea how close she was with her mother??
You can get a good feel for her relationship with her mother by reading "Letters from Amelia" by Jean Backus (Beracon Press, 1982).  The book includes an extensive collection of letters from AE to her mother.  AE often lectured Amy on how to be a proper mother of a celebrity, what to say, what to wear, etc. In short, she was controlling.  Here' an example from 1936 with Amelia advising her mother on how to conduct herself during an upcoming trip to Europe.  After extensive instructions about what to wear and what to do and not do, she says:
"Please don't down the Roosevelt administration.  It's alright to be reactionary inside but it's out of step with the times to sound off about the chosen people who have inherited or grabbed the earth. You must think of me when you converse and I believe the experiments carried on today will be the voice of the proletariate far more than democracy ever can be."

Does this sound like the sort of person the U.S. military would recruit for a spy mission?  The real Amelia Earhart was quite different from her carefully constructed and maintained public image.
[/quote]
 

I know you have already proven that there were in fact efforts by putnam to recruit spies for the war effort, I wonder if she heard mention of this and mistook it??

Say wha?????  Putnam recruit spies for the war effort?  Where did THAT come from?
[/quote]
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Kevin Weeks

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Re: Amelia's mother said she was a spy?
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2010, 01:21:18 PM »

Say wha?????  Putnam recruit spies for the war effort?  Where did THAT come from?

moleski posted a link to a tighar related article here on the forum. it was regarding the "love to mother" letter from a Japanese prison camp. The article stated something to the effect that Putnam was friends with a gentleman who was an author that was looking to get published who happened to work in a position that he could get Japanese media related intelligence for the US. It was verified in a FBI document where they did not wish to pursue this individual.

moleski will know what I'm talking about, as I've probably horribly skewed the details in my summation.
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Kevin Weeks

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Re: Amelia's mother said she was a spy?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2010, 01:22:47 PM »

found the link:

http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/forum/FAQs/ltm.htm

Then a major breakthrough came in April 2001. A review of FBI records on Putnam, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, and just declassified in 1998, disclosed an amazing connection between Putnam and a “young man” who spoke Turkish and Chinese, and who was writing about his adventures in China circa 1935-38. According to the FBI files, Putnam was recruiting a “young man,” never identified by name, to be a double agent against the Japanese at Los Angeles. The young man, said Putnam, was working for the Los Angeles Japanese Consulate and was furnishing them with aircraft data, construction information, ship movements, etc., gleaned from public sources. Putnam wanted the FBI to recruit him as a double agent. After an exchange of letters with J. Edgar Hoover, and meetings with the LA FBI agents, it was clear the FBI didn’t want anything to do with this scene, and they suggested that Putnam contact Navy Intelligence. Putnam declined as he had “bad experiences” with two Navy admirals earlier.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2010, 01:26:16 PM by Kevin Weeks »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Amelia's mother said she was a spy?
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2010, 05:25:06 PM »

This is not Putnam recruiting spies for the war effort.  The was Putnam, acting as an individual, making unsupported allegations and trying to get the FBI interested in something they ultimately decided they didn't want anything to do with.
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Kevin Weeks

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Re: Amelia's mother said she was a spy?
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2010, 04:55:52 AM »

I obvously didn't read the FBI report, but the way it is written on the site certainly makes it sound like he went up to the FBI and said, "I know this guy who can get you japanese intelligence"

what the FBI decided to do with this bit of information is not surprising. In 1941 the US as a whole was extremely ill equipped to handle this sort of thing. the English regularly laughed at our efforts. We had to create the OSS because we didn't even have a government agency who's purpose was to find and work these individuals.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Amelia's mother said she was a spy?
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2010, 08:16:50 AM »

... In 1941 the US as a whole was extremely ill equipped to handle this sort of thing. ...

The situation was worse in 1936, when flight planning began.

  • Inadequate fuel range to fly spy mission, then reach Howland.
  • No high-altitude spy camera technology to speak of in general
  • No high-altitude spy camera technology installed in the belly of the aircraft.
  • Inadequate navigation aids to find Japanese Naval installations in the dark.
  • Inadequate cameras to photograph Japanese Naval installations in the dark.

Rational planners of a spy mission would want our dynamic duo to deliver FILM from the plane (no satellite relays in 1937) at the end of the flight.  We know the takeoff time from Lae; we can calculate the arrival time and distance for reaching Japanese territory; we know the weight, fuel capacity, and powerplants of the aircraft.  From my point of view, it seems like a small step to say that we know that the agents of the gummint, as idiotic as it can be, would have laughed at any proposal to engage Mrs. Putnam's services on behalf of our nation.
LTM,

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           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Kevin Weeks

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Re: Amelia's mother said she was a spy?
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2010, 09:09:19 AM »

... In 1941 the US as a whole was extremely ill equipped to handle this sort of thing. ...

The situation was worse in 1936, when flight planning began.

  • Inadequate fuel range to fly spy mission, then reach Howland.
  • No high-altitude spy camera technology to speak of in general
  • No high-altitude spy camera technology installed in the belly of the aircraft.
  • Inadequate navigation aids to find Japanese Naval installations in the dark.
  • Inadequate cameras to photograph Japanese Naval installations in the dark.

Rational planners of a spy mission would want our dynamic duo to deliver FILM from the plane (no satellite relays in 1937) at the end of the flight.  We know the takeoff time from Lae; we can calculate the arrival time and distance for reaching Japanese territory; we know the weight, fuel capacity, and powerplants of the aircraft.  From my point of view, it seems like a small step to say that we know that the agents of the gummint, as idiotic as it can be, would have laughed at any proposal to engage Mrs. Putnam's services on behalf of our nation.

I'm in no way inferring that Amelia WAS in fact on a spy mission. the simple fact that we can determine cruise speed, distance traveled, fuel capacity, ship sitings and radio transmissions would be enough to rule out that she was far off her scheduled course.

my thought is that Amelia's mother may have overheard Putnam's mention of spies at some point and bought into a spy theory regarding her daughter?? This would make sense to me. From ric's posting of letters between Amelia and her mother it appears that her mother was VERY anti-government. Given that her daughter was pushing her to keep her thoughts about the government quiet and Putnam possibly having had a spy affiliation she might have formed an opinion that her daughter was spying??
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Amelia's mother said she was a spy?
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2010, 09:32:50 AM »

Quote
I'm in no way inferring that Amelia WAS in fact on a spy mission. the simple fact that we can determine cruise speed, distance traveled, fuel capacity, ship sitings and radio transmissions would be enough to rule out that she was far off her scheduled course.

Whew!  Glad to hear that.  :) 

Quote
my thought is that Amelia's mother may have overheard Putnam's mention of spies at some point and bought into a spy theory regarding her daughter? This would make sense to me. ...

Who knows?  Who can know now?  What difference would knowing make in TIGHAR's search strategy? 

AE certainly had lots of help from Roosevelt, especially for the first attempt.  I thoroughly understand why people want to promote AE's status from that of a publicity generator for Roosevelt's re-election to that of a spy who laid down her life for her country.  It does "make sense," of sorts: "Why would the government build her an airstrip, release people from their Federal responsibilities, and supply a Coast Guard vessel to wait for her and Navy ships to search for her if she was just a publicity-hungry entertainer?  She had to have been doing Something Important on behalf of the nation!"
LTM,

           Marty
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Kevin Weeks

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Re: Amelia's mother said she was a spy?
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2010, 09:40:51 AM »

Quote
I'm in no way inferring that Amelia WAS in fact on a spy mission. the simple fact that we can determine cruise speed, distance traveled, fuel capacity, ship sitings and radio transmissions would be enough to rule out that she was far off her scheduled course.

Whew!  Glad to hear that.  :) 

Quote
my thought is that Amelia's mother may have overheard Putnam's mention of spies at some point and bought into a spy theory regarding her daughter? This would make sense to me. ...

Who knows?  Who can know now?  What difference would knowing make in TIGHAR's search strategy? 

AE certainly had lots of help from Roosevelt, especially for the first attempt.  I thoroughly understand why people want to promote AE's status from that of a publicity generator for Roosevelt's re-election to that of a spy who laid down her life for her country.  It does "make sense," of sorts: "Why would the government build her an airstrip, release people from their Federal responsibilities, and supply a Coast Guard vessel to wait for her and Navy ships to search for her if she was just a publicity-hungry entertainer?  She had to have been doing Something Important on behalf of the nation!"

I think knowing as much as possible helps understand little bits that you may otherwise not understand.

lots of reasons for the government to help. Even war related even though not actively spying. Conspiracy theorists always want to look at it from the way of a cover up, for that juicy bit. There are many rational explanations for government help that don't involve such fanciful things as spy missions.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Amelia's mother said she was a spy?
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2010, 10:12:34 AM »

There are many rational explanations for government help that don't involve such fanciful things as spy missions.

It's all documented in Finding Amelia and it had nothing to do with "war preparations."  AE's buddy Eugene Vidal, director of the Bureau of Air Commerce, was looking for some way to validate his American Equatorial Islands (Howland, Baker & Jarvis) as refueling stops for transpacific commercial air traffic to Australia and New Zealand. The Coast Guard was already re-provisioning the "colonists" (Hawaiian high school kids) who were occupying the islands to establish U.S. sovereignty.  Earhart needed a practical alternative to her hare-brained plan of flying nonstop from Honolulu to Tokyo with mid-air refueling from a Navy PBY over Midway.  Scratching out an airfield on Howland for Earhart to use solved both problems.
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Bill Lloyd

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Re: Amelia's mother said she was a spy?
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2010, 08:41:24 PM »

interesting. Any idea how close she was with her mother??
You can get a good feel for her relationship with her mother by reading "Letters from Amelia" by Jean Backus (Beracon Press, 1982).  The book includes an extensive collection of letters from AE to her mother.  AE often lectured Amy on how to be a proper mother of a celebrity, what to say, what to wear, etc. In short, she was controlling.  Here' an example from 1936 with Amelia advising her mother on how to conduct herself during an upcoming trip to Europe.  After extensive instructions about what to wear and what to do and not do, she says:
"Please don't down the Roosevelt administration.  It's alright to be reactionary inside but it's out of step with the times to sound off about the chosen people who have inherited or grabbed the earth. You must think of me when you converse and I believe the experiments carried on today will be the voice of the proletariate far more than democracy ever can be."

Does this sound like the sort of person the U.S. military would recruit for a spy mission?  The real Amelia Earhart was quite different from her carefully constructed and maintained public image.
Amelia Earhart was definitely not in line with her public image. I think that she was under the influence of Eleanor Roosevelt a great deal and those experiments she was referring too were the social reforms being put forth by the Roosevelts. “Chosen people who have inherited or grabbed the earth”  good lord, give me a break. Sounds like Nancy Pelosi.

 
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Monty Fowler

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Re: Amelia's mother said she was a spy?
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2012, 06:49:48 PM »

I'm just glad I wasn't a government employee when Ms. Earhart was around. Her "polite requests" go wayyyyyyyyy beyond what any normal, sane, rational taxpayer would even dream of expecting.

Train you to do mid-air refueling at our expense and then position the ships and airplanes to do it? No problem!

Oh, that won't work for you? How about an airstrip, then, would that be better? Do you need us to get the gas there for you as well? Easy cheesy!


I mean, seriously, give me a break. America was still clawing its way out of the Great Depression, which my father has informed me was NOT fun.

LTM,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 CER
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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