Now, here’s a name you don’t hear every day. Sam Ballen was George D’s best friend and tennis partner. Through George D, Sam Ballen meets Lee Oswald; he interviews Oswald for two hours and ultimately concludes that Oswald is not a suitable fit for his company.
Sam Ballen is a native New Yorker. He attended Townsend Harris Preparatory School, then City College. After his service in WWII, he returned and took MBA courses at NYU. He was a smart cookie and did very well in the oil business. He seemingly knew everybody. Much of his ability to know people came from his friendly, non-judgmental approach. Born into a Jewish family, he could see value in all religions.
Was Sam Ballen CIA? I don’t know. I do know this: If I were Allen Dulles, I would have hired him. Of course, I’m not Allen Dulles. Most likely though, Allen Dulles wanted true believers who would not question the morality of his immoral undertakings. Sam Ballen did not fit that mold. Perhaps Sam Ballen was approached. If so, I would like to believe that he turned Dulles down; he seemed smart enough to know that dirty tricks have a way of coming back to bite you.
Sam Ballen had a lot of neat stories to tell about George De Mohrenschildt. My favorite is when Sam invited George and his wife, Jeanne LeGon, to their synagogue. George and his wife showed up in bathing suits. Sam took it in stride, didn’t complain, and escorted them to their seats. You have to love a guy like Sam Ballen for doing that, and you have to admire a guy like George D for having the guts and audacity to wear a bathing suit to a house of worship.
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