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Ellen Rometsch (born 1936 in Kleinitz, Germany) was rumored to be an East German Communist spy who was assigned on diplomatic cover to the West German embassy in Washington, D.C. during the early 1960s. She had fled East Germany with her parents in 1955. She married German air force sergeant Rolf Rometsch who was stationed at the West German embassy. She is also widely thought in some Washington journalism circles to have been one of President John F. Kennedy's girlfriends during the height of the Cold War. However, the FBI never turned up "any solid evidence" Rometsch was a spy or that she had relations with President Kennedy.
She was expelled from the U.S. in August 1963 "because of her behavior in Washington" which threatened to have scandalous overtones reminiscent of the Profumo Affair in England. Rometsch had worked as a hostess at the Quorum Club located in the Carroll Arms Hotel adjacent a Senate office building. It was a place for lawmakers and other influential men to meet for food, drink, and ladies. She disclosed details of the hostess service which provided members of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives with access to prostitutes. A news report by Clark R. Mollenhoff said her circle included "some high White House figures" and that she led a life that "could not be financed on the pay of a non commissioned West German soldier.".
According to a White House reporter of the time, later editor of the Washington Times, Wesley Pruden, "Just when a few brave Republicans were screwing up the courage to make something out of it, on the grounds that a president really shouldn't be taking off his clothes with a femme fatale from the Evil Empire, Bobby Kennedy, JFK's attorney general, sent J. Edgar Hoover to Capitol Hill with a not-so-friendly word to the wise. 'Don't investigate this,' he told the Republicans. 'Because if you do, we're going to open up everybody's closets.' J. Edgar Hoover, as every Republican knew, held the key to a lot of closets and was familiar with what was in all of them." Hoover met privately with Senators' Mike Mansfield and Everett Dirksen, telling them he had "no evidence" that Rometsch was a spy, but then preceded to tell them details about the senators who had been "entertained" by Quorum Club girls. The desire of Robert Kennedy to prevent any adverse press of his brother's reported involvement with Rometsch, led him to seek Hoover's help in discouraging any involvement of the Rometsch "allegations" in the Senate investigation of Bobby Baker, who held the post of Senate Secretary for the Majority until he resigned in October, 1963.
During the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal in a February 17, 1998 Washington Times op-ed article, editor Wesley Pruden interpreted that tactic as what former Bill Clinton White House aide George Stephanopoulos meant when he said "The White House is being a bit disingenuous. When a real damaging charge comes out, someone speaking on background tries to answer it, which is another form of leak. There's a different long-term strategy, which I think could be far more explosive. White House allies are already starting to whisper about what I'll call the Ellen Rometsch strategy" on ABC's This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts February 15, 1998. Soon after that statement, Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt offered $1 million for each unflattering sexual story about Republican members of Congress. Prospective Speaker of the House Bob Livingston (R-LA) resigned after one such story was made public about him by Flynt.
- Thomas, Evan (2000). Robert Kennedy: His Life. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. p. 255.
- Thomas, Evan (2000). Robert Kennedy: His Life. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. pp. 255–256.
- Reuters, U.S. 'Profumo' Scandal About to Break", Toledo Blade, October 27, 1963
- Eyes Only (LBJ and the JFK conspiracy), Hugh McDonald and Robin Moore, Condor Books, 2nd Ed., 1979, p. 122.
- Clark R. Mollenhoff, quoted in United Press, "Paper Says Senate Inquiry to be in Secret", Toledo Blade, October 27, 1963
- Thomas, Evan (2000). Robert Kennedy: His Life. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. pp. 255, 256, 263, 268.
- Thomas, Evan (2000). Robert Kennedy: His Life. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. p. 263. Retrieved 27 Mar 2010.
- Thomas, Evan (2000). Robert Kennedy: His Life. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. p. 268. Retrieved 27 Mar 2010.
- "Investigations: Bobby's High Life". Time Magazine (Time Inc.) 82 (19). November 8, 1963.
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