[ Part One of the report ] [ Part Two of the report ]
Part Two of the report by Randall Sullivan, published in the Oct. 18, 1981 edition of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner.
LOS ANGELES HERALD EXAMINER
Sunday October 18, 1981
He took 'them' on - now he wonders who 'they' were.
The conclusion of our two part series.
Teddy D'Orsay's phone call from New Orleans in May 1977 was Mike Ruppert's first voice contact with her since Teddy disappeared from their Culver City apartment 10 weeks earlier. During that conversation, Ruppert wrote Teddy's new phone number and address in Gretna, La., on a sheet of paper already filled with information regarding his mother's pending $45 million real estate deal. He had that paper in his jacket pocket, Ruppert said, the next evening when he finished his shift at the Police Academy and drove to Brennan's Pub in Marina del Rey where he had met Teddy 17 months earlier.
While Ruppert was drinking in Brennan's, his car door was unlocked by someone who used a metal shim, according to the official police report, and the jacket, the sheet of paper and Ruppert's service revolver all were stolen.
The next day Ruppert was back in the office with LAPD organized crime Investigators Lee Goforth and Charles Bonneau, attempting to convince his increasingly remote fellow officers that Teddy's life was in danger. "They" were going to kill her with Ruppert's own service revolver.
Goforth and Bonneau told Ruppert he looked tired. They advised him to take some time off.
In July 1977 Ruppert took a weeks vacation and drove to New Orleans pulling Teddy's furniture behind him in a U-Haul trailer.
During his six days in New Orleans, Ruppert reported, he was shot at as he and Teddy stood outside a bar. He and Teddy were followed by car and on foot. In Teddy's apartment he discovered more than a half-dozen phone jacks, including one complicated electrical hookup unlike anything he had ever seen before. He called a friend, a naval and communications officer, described the phone and hookup, and was told it sounded like the KY3 model scrambler phone, which required top secret clearance.
Teddy was cold and stony. She would not sleep with him. She told Ruppert that the smartest thing he could do would be to forget that he had ever met her.
Teddy was visited at night by a friend who wore a 44-caliber Magnum pistol in his boot and talked about the work he was doing for Mafia don Carlos Marcello. During the day, Teddy was visited by an Air Force sergeant named Johnny who brought her Manila envelopes from Belle Chase Naval Air Base filled with what he described as "communiqu³s."
Another friend who was employed by a company specializing in offshore oil rig communications systems said he was helping Teddy see that "some things got moved off the mainland."
Teddy and Johnny gobbled speed and smoked grass that they described in Ruppert's presence as "issued," laughed crazily at Ruppert's ardent, attentive expression.
He left New Orleans at the end of that week, Ruppert said, "borderline suicidal."
Back in Los Angeles, Ruppert notified Goforth and Bonneau that he now wanted to "drop the whole thing."
Shortly after Ruppert's return from New Orleans, his father Ed, an Orange County businessman, received a phone call from Teddy.
"She said she was worried about Mike," Ed Ruppert recalled. Teddy said she was "doing some sort of sensitive work involving organized crime." An organization she referred to alternately as "my people" and "my company" had considered Mike for employment, Ed Ruppert remembered Teddy telling him, but had decided Mike "wasn't ready" for that kind of work.
Because Mike was "worried about bugs," Ed Ruppert relayed the conversation to his son on the banks of the Santa Monica Beach palisades.
[Pull Quote: "I've never seen anyone as committed to something as Mike has been to this ƒ Imagine what he could have accomplished if he had used the energy and the dedication he has devoted to this over the past five years to further a career" -Ed Ruppert, Mike's father. End Pull Quote]
Two days later, as he left a theater in Westwood, Ruppert said, he was chased around the perimeter of the UCLA campus by two men in a white pickup truck.
Ruppert called Bonneau and Goforth. He had imagined the tail, they told him. There had been no scrambler phone in Teddy's apartment. Maybe three weeks vacation wasn't enough.
That week, Ruppert signed in as a voluntary patient at Woodview-Calabassas Psychiatric Hospital.
A battery of tests and hours of interviews during which Ruppert repeated his "incredibly detailed story" to staff psychiatrist, Dr. Robert A Cole, consumed much of the two months that Ruppert was registered as a day patient at the hospital. Cole noted that Ruppert's "ties to reality were adequate with no evidence of bizarre thought, processes, delusions or hallucinations." In Ruppert's official "Discharge Recommendation" Cole referred to his patient as "an exceptional individual with no major weaknesses."
On Sept. 9, 1977 Ruppert saw Teddy again at his father's house, where she had come to pick up the last of her personal possessions.
Ruppert used a hidden recorder to tape most of their conversation. He played this tape later for Cole, who described what he heard as "a solid basis for his (Ruppert's) interpretation of events." On the tape, Cole heard Teddy "admit her involvement in investigative pursuits of an admittedly vague nature."
Ruppert later turned the tape over to LAPD's Bonneau. He never saw it again. During the summer of 1978, as the foment in Iran built toward revolution, Ruppert, now a senior training officer at the Police Academy, began once again to make those long-distance connections that obsessed him.
On Aug. 17, 1978, Ruppert went to Bonneau to say that he believed his ex-girlfriend Teddy was involved in a plot that had something to do with the overthrow of the Shah of Iran.
Twelve days later Bonneau called Ruppert and asked for details of Teddy's "associations."
According to Ruppert, the "harassment" began again immediately: hang-up phone calls, tails, break-ins.
On Sept. 7, 1978, Bonneau said he had been unable to contact Teddy. What Bonneau did not mention was the FBI in New Orleans had contacted Teddy. On Sept. 12, Ruppert said, he was followed by a car with a license plate he checked through the Department of Motor Vehicles. It was registered to a post office box registered to the U.S. Government.
On Sept. 30, Ruppert was followed again, he said, by two vans bearing license plates registered to post office boxes.
He ran a check on Teddy's license plate and discovered it was also registered to a post office box.
On Nov. 17, Ruppert formally requested an interview with LAPD's new chief, Daryl Gates. The connection was made through Sgt. Virginia Pickering, who worked in Gates' office. Pickering came to the Police Academy on Nov. 28 to meet with Ruppert and on Nov. 29 told the young officer he would get five minutes with the chief the next day.
Five minutes was not enough time to tell his story, Ruppert insisted. He was lucky to get one minute, Pickering told him. On the morning of Nov. 30, 1978, Ruppert reported that he has been followed to work by two vans, a Volkswagen and a Pontiac Firebird. He failed to show up for his five-minute meeting with Chief Gates. That afternoon, Ruppert submitted his official resignation from the Los Angeles Police Department.
In an interview with the FBI four days later, Ruppert sad he had left the LAPD "to save my life."
Three years have passed and Ruppert hasn't let go. His fixation on Teddy and the international intrigue Ruppert believes he was drawn into by her has become both his vocation and his avocation.
Supported by files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, through research into the affairs of Mafia don Carlos Marcello, through information contained in a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency report on the exchange of drugs for weapons - classified top secret because of a U.S. government agency's alleged involvement in these transactions - and through a historical study of the United States' involvement in Iran, Ruppert insists he now knows what "this incredibly story I stumbled into" was all about.
It was about suppressing the revolution in Iran,. Ruppert believes Teddy, useful because of her childhood friendship with the shah's niece, Minou Haggstrom, was assigned by the CIA to cultivate relationships with organized crime figures who would assist - in exchange for free access to refined Mideast heroin - in the transport of weapons to Kurdish counterrevolutionary forces in Iran.
"The actual transaction went down in New Orleans," Ruppert assures all who will listen, "under the supervision of Carlos Marcello. Teddy helped coordinate it all."
What is perhaps most incredible about Ruppert's story is that so many people in the best positions to evaluate it consider it "plausible."
Aaron Kohen, former deputy director of the FBI and head of the New Orleans Crime Commission considered the world's foremost legal authority on Carlos Marcello, found Ruppert's theory "entirely plausible." Speaking from a lawn chair beneath a shade tree in the back yard of his home in Lake Ponchartrain, Kohen said he, "would not be at all surprised" to learn of either Marcello's or the CIA's involvement in such enterprise.
Ruppert's attorney, Bill McCord, a former FBI agent, noted that "LAPD probably has had closer connections with the CIA and with SAVAK (the secret police of the shah of Iran) than any police department in the country. If Mike had been on to something, a lot of people would have known about it." What McCord finds less plausible is Ruppert's portrait of Teddy as a CIA agent. "It sounds like Teddy was a bit of a party girl who knew law enforcement people and also knew people on the other side of the law." McCord's friend and former colleague Buck Sadler, an FBI agent assigned to Los Angeles who conducted the official agency interview of Mike Ruppert, also found the theory "plausible," but added that he had "been offered no facts whatsoever to support it."
Other FBI agents, ones stationed in New Orleans, interrogated Teddy during the autumn of 1977. Teddy was almost immediately released, and the FBI has "no available record" of her statement.
Freedom of information Act petitions concerning the matter filled by Ruppert with the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Justice Department were answered with written statements that "nothing pertaining to your request" was found in the files of either agency.
On the evening of Oct. 9, I reached Teddy by phone at a bar in Honolulu, and she called back later from her home on the other side of Maui.
All that was incredible abut the story in her mind, Teddy said, was "that Michael Ruppert is still trying to make something out of this after all these years. Doesn't it make you doubt the mental stability of someone who has become so obsessed with things that happened so long ago?"
"Yes, I knew a lot of people," Teddy said, "I'm friendly, I smile and I say hello. And if you're a girl (Teddy is 32) and if you're friendly, you meet people. I didn't always know what those people were involved in, what they did for a living. Some of them may have been into strange things."
The problem with Ruppert, Teddy said, was that "he was always making connections - if I was friendly with two people who he knew or thought were involved in something together, then I was involved too."
Yes, she had told Ruppert that her vacation in Hawaii during the spring of 1977 had been cover for her involvement in a government-Mafia exchange of cocaine for automatic weapons, Teddy said. "He kept me up for hours the night I got back insisting that I tell him the truth, so finally I told him what he wanted to hear so I could go to sleep."
Yes, she had gone to San Francisco at the same time the West Coast Mafia dons were meeting there in the wake of Carlo Gambino's death, Teddy said: It had been a coincidence, but she had "let Michael think what he wanted to think."
Eventually it became convenient to play the role Ruppert had assigned her, Teddy said. Clandestine meetings and undercover assignments were the best excuses available for getting out of the house, for not coming home at night, for taking a weekend out of town.
After she ran away to New Orleans and Ruppert followed her, things got a little out of hand, Teddy said.
She was still a friendly girl and she had met people who were involved in things she did not quite understand. "Some of them may have been into - probably were into - - weird things," she admitted. "But I didn't know about that until later."
Ruppert had come into town and started asking questions of people who did not want to give answers, Teddy said. Some of her friends "had kind of done a number on Michael." Some had implied their involvement in an "operation" of international proportions. Others had threatened him. Some had shown him government documents and weapons.
"Its all kind of messed with his mind, and I'm sorry for that," Teddy said. "I just wanted to get rid of him at that point."
Yes, she had talked of her work as an undercover agent during a taped conversation with Ruppert, Teddy said.
"I saw him slip this tape recorder behind the couch as I came in and I figured if he was going to be this ridiculous, so would I." The one question Teddy would not answer was how she had supported herself without employment during the 15 months she spent with Ruppert: "That's nobody's business but my own."
She was sorry Ruppert had been hurt, Teddy said, but it would never have happened if he had developed a sense of humor.
"She's lying, she's lying, she's lying." Ruppert insisted pounding on the leather arm of a couch in the Herald Examiner lobby the next morning. "She's very good, I'll admit, and you wouldn't be the first person she's fooled."
He had been waiting three years to have his story told, Ruppert said. "Don't cut me off now," he pleaded. "This is the closest I've come."
Mike Ruppert's plight, his story, appeals to a collective paranoia that has been cultivated in most of us. "They" really are everywhere. And because we concede that much, we also must concede the possibility that Ruppert's private obsession is some aspect of responsibility the rest of us have failed to assume.
Ruppert says he is a victim. We need victims. They put a human face on the corruption and incoherence most of us are unable to confront. The inept innuendoes used by LAPD to rebut Ruppert's story only encourage sympathy for him:
"He came in with a story, I believe, that his mother was a CIA agent," said the department's official press spokesman, Cmdr. William Booth. "And you were aware, I'm sure, that he has spent time in a mental hospital."
Ruppert is a well-educated 30-year old who has been forced to fall back on the financial support of his mother and father. At least two jobs he had been promised after his resignation from the LAPD failed to materialize. Ruppert believes this was the work of "some agency interested in closing all doors to me."
Broke and beat, this UCLA honors graduate who reportedly possessed the highest IQ in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department, eventually took a job as a clerk in a 7-Eleven store. Two hours into his first shift, Ruppert was arrested for selling liquor to a minor: "A setup, without question," he says.
"I've never seen anyone as committed to something as Mike has been to this," his father Ed said.
"Imagine what he could have accomplished if he had used the energy and the dedication he has devoted to this over the past five years to further a career."
It is Ruppert's "commitment" that has compelled the attention of others who have helped him along the way.
"Whether or not I buy Mike's theory, I consider his personal credibility above reproach," said McCord, a former FBI agent. "I have absolutely no doubt that Mike is telling what he believes to be the truth."
That same phrase "what he believes to be the truth" was used by a retired LAPD Intelligence officer, another FBI agent and psychiatrist Cole to describe Mike Ruppert. Each of these three professionals professed both a measure of admiration and a measure of fear of Ruppert.
Ruppert has stayed on the case. In a world where so much seems possible and so little likely, you begin to wonder if the courageous and the crazy are the same people.
<END of PART 2>
[ Part One of the report ] [ Part Two of the report ]
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