John P. Wheeler III: The Mitre Corporation

Ben Bowlin

In an earlier post we looked at the mysterious death of John P. Wheeler III, a Vietnam veteran and seasoned Washington insider. Wheeler's sudden demise shocked his friends and family, and many of the events leading to the discovery of his body remain unexplained. Due to the nature of Wheeler's homicide, his profound experience (as mentioned before, John Wheeler has worked with three U.S. Presidents) and his ongoing career, some conspiracy theorists have claimed that his death was more than the tragic result of a mugging gone sour.

But why? On numerous internet forums posters cite reports of Wheeler's conflict with a neighbor and his consultancy work with the Mitre Corporation as clues to his murder. Could his death be related to either of these situations?

First, let's look at the early reports of a conflict with his neighbor. According to Delaware Online, Wheeler had a "long-running legal dispute" with a neighbor over the town's zoning codes. On December 28th, 2010, someone placed smoke bomb devices in the neighbor's house (the house was under construction at the time). Investigators questioned two teens at the scene, and they also had hoped to question Wheeler. While this is interesting, especially given the context of Wheeler's murder, there doesn't seem to be any connecting evidence between the two events. And, unfortunately, long-running legal disputes are not a rare occurrence in U.S. society.

Second, there's the Mitre Corporation. The Mitre Corporation was founded in 1958. According to C.W. Halligan, Mitre's first president, this corporation provides "the objectivity and high technical competence necessary in the long-range planning, integration and design of electronic command and control systems." [Source: The Mitre Corp.] It's an admittedly vague description, but part of that might just be a consequence of summarizing Mitre's activities in one sentence. The Mitre Corporation essentially attempts to solve big-picture technical challenges for various parts of the US government, such as the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Internal Revenue Service. Mitre tackles a range of problems, including things like building "a universal bio-sensing platform" or mapping the growth of epidemics. According to his biography, Wheeler was a consultant for Mitre from 2009 to his passing.

Mitre has been described as one of the biggest companies you've never heard of -- this group works with numerous government entities, and a lot of their work is on the cutting edge of technology and analysis. Think of something along the lines of DARPA or the RAND corporation. Given his experience and connections, it makes sense that Wheeler would find employment with an organization like this.

With all this involvement in high-level, often classified government projects, the Mitre Corporation certainly sounds like one of the mysterious entities so often cited in conspiracy theories. And the circumstances surrounding Wheeler's death also lend themselves to conspiracy theories. But the most important part of the theory is missing: Solid proof. At this point, there's no proof that Wheeler's conflict with his neighbor or his work with Mitre was related to his unfortunate demise.

At least, that is, there's no solid proof in the mainstream media. In most conspiracy theories, this would the part where someone claims that a cover-up was in full effect.

What do you think?

In our next post on this topic, we'll look at the eyewitness reports of Wheeler's behavior before his disappearance, as well as any recent updates on this case.