Gordon Novel, RIP
Just got word that Gordon Novel, whom I first met back around 1979, died last week. There's no way to sum the man up: his wikipedia page is just a beginning. The strangest thing was that with him, the more impossibly outrageous a claim seemed to be, the more likely it was provably true. He designed a mechanism to erase the Nixon tapes from a distance. I saw the blueprints and the newspaper story on it, and knew enough to know that he'd foreseen the design problems (dissipation of heat and how to get batteries to dump current fast enough). The government tried to frame him for arson, using concocted audiotapes; I spoke with the experts who established that the tapes were faked. He helped John DeLorean beat prosecution, and was given one of his hyper-expensive cars as gift; I spoke with a reporter who verified it with DeLorean, and I rode in Gordon's car. He was living in a one bedroom apartment at the time, and driving a $200,000 car.
His role in Waco -- I think I was the first person he called, to describe exactly when and where on the infrared tapes could could see gunshot images. This was NOT easy to do, we're talking "at one hour, twenty one minutes, eleven seconds, look in the upper left corner next to the armored vehicle," and I'd still have to play and replay it to spot them. He said he'd been shown them by his CIA contacts, who had flown into New Orleans to show them on a peculiar device that was like a portable VCR with screen (today, I think it was a very early laptop, running video, but then, the mid 1990s no one had heard of those things). And when William Colby, former CIA director, drowned, Gordon called me in panic (the only time I ever heard him frightened) and said Colby was the fellow who flew in to show him the video.
Two things he would vigorously deny: (1) he said he'd never worked for the CIA. Hung out with them a lot, but never was employed by them. (2) He had nothing to do with the JFK assassination. Jim Garrison had subpoenaed him, he fled, and Garrison tried to have him extradited, but, he said, that was just to decoy Garrison, not because he had any useful information.