Regarding yesterday’s post on the 1971 FBI break-in that was kept quiet for decades, Paul F. wrote:
Regarding the post on the Pentagon burning the Osama bin Laden death photos, Andrew Everett writes:
Recently, I read a 1967 Washington Post column by Art Buchwald in which he estimated that it cost $323,000 to kill one enemy combatant in Vietnam. Mr. Buchwald then questioned whether the U.S. would be better off to offer Viet Cong defectors “a $25,000 house, a color TV, free education for their children and a paid-up country club membership.” Funny — haha. A $25,000 house!!!
Rare video from Vince Palamara, via JFK Lancer:
Peter Dale Scott’s straightforward interview with Jesse Curry, chief of the Dallas Police Department who was riding at the front of presidential motorcade on November 22, 1963. Curry talks about his observations at the scene of the crime.
Who was Jesse Curry? Spartacus Educational has a good summary.
Otis Pike, the former Long Island congressman who chaired the House Select Committee on Intelligence inquiry into CIA skullduggery in 1975, died Monday in Florida.
Pike’s committee was a parallel effort to the one led by Frank Church in the Senate. It investigated the CIA’s role in sponsoring coups in Chile and other countries, and if the agency spied on US citizens. Pike called for more Congressional oversight of intelligence operations in order to rein in abuses.
Though the full US House of Representatives voted to keep the Pike Report secret, the Village Voice ended up printing it after CBS’ Daniel Schorr revealed its existence.
Pike was no fan of intelligence agencies. According to the New York Times: “Mr. Pike maintained that the security agencies were inept bureaucracies that left the country vulnerable. ‘If an attack were to be launched on America in the very near future,’ he said in late 1975, ‘it is my belief that America would not know that the attack was about to be launched.'”
John Whitten is a rare hero of the JFK story. He was a senior CIA official who sought, behind the scenes, to conduct an honest investigation of what the agency knew about accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, before President Kennedy was killed.
But at a meeting on Christmas Eve 1963 deputy director CIA Richard Helms and counterintelligence chief Jim Angleton shut down Whitten’s efforts to investigate Oswald’s contacts among pro- and anti-Castro Cubans and relieved him of his responsibilities for investigating JFK’s assassination.
Whitten’s story, which I first reported in the Washington Monthly in 2003, illuminated the inner workings of the CIA in the days and weeks after JFK was killed. It is the story of a “good spy” whose pursuit of the truth about JFK’s death cost him his career. Read more
With the FBI’s report on Kennedy’s assassination, the Commission undertook to select staffers and figure out how to approach its work.
Chief Justice Warren complained about the leaks of the FBI report: “I have read that report two or three times and I have not seen anything in there that has not been in the press.”
The Commissioners then held a wide-ranging discussion of JFK’s assasination, including:
In President Johnson’s address to a joint session of Congress five days after JFK’s assassination, he declared, “let us continue,” an echo of Kennedy’s inaugural injunction, “let us begin anew.”
On Tuesday the 26th, President Johnson met with many of the heads of state who had come to Washington for Kennedy’s funeral. The idea of a Presidential commission to address the assassination was not yet settled.
Meanwhile, in Mexico City another allegation of Communist conspiracy involving Oswald emerged, adding to the earlier CIA reporting that Oswald had met with a KGB officer associated with “Department 13” – sabotage and assassinations.
On the Monday following the tragic and astonishing events in Dallas, President Kennedy’s body was laid to rest in Arlington cemetery. A host of foreign dignitaries took part, including British Prime Minister Home, French President Charles de Gaulle, and many others.
Meanwhile the federal government’s response to the assassination was taking shape. Read more
After his brother was shot dead in Dallas on Nov. 22 1963, the Attorney General suspected the CIA, the Mafia and anti-Castro Cubans, according to an excellent article in the The Boston Globe.
In June 1964, Bobby Kennedy was grieving, guilt ridden and getting ready to leave his job as attorney general when he received a faintly ominous memo from the CIA. Written by Deputy Director Richard Helms, a man he did not trust, the four-page missive concerned a subject he did not care to think about: assassination.
Seven months before, the 39-year-old RFK had lost his brother and his political power in a burst of gunfire in Dallas. Under President Lyndon Johnson, Helms, a canny 51-year-old spymaster, had kept his job despite the fact that the CIA had been following accused assassin Lee Oswald for four years.
Helms’s memo, entitled “Plans of Cuban Exiles to Assassinate Selected Cuban Government Leaders,” reminded RFK that he had dabbled in the killing business before his brother’s murder and could not escape it even as he prepared to leave the government.
As of January 20, 1964, the Warren Commission had yet to hear from its first witness. On that day, the head of the Commission, Chief Justice Earl Warren, held his first staff conference with the recently hired lawyers, some of whom would later go on to become prominent political figures. (Arlen Specter became a US senator, and William Coleman became Secretary of Transportation, for example.)
In the meeting, Warren explained why he took the job after declining it. According to one memo of the meeting, Warren said:
The first newspaper accounts of JFK’s autopsy, published on December 18, 1963, gave a consistent account of the gunfire that was widely believed at the time (and became the basis for the postcard from Dallas reproduced here). But these accounts, published in the Washington Post and New York Times, vary dramatically from what pathologists later said. This version of the gunfire that struck JFK would be abandoned and forgotten by the two newspapers and defenders of the official story, all of whom later settled on a very different ballistic theory.
One possibility for this major discrepancy is that the Post and the Times stories were based on the original autopsy report that was later rewritten surreptitiously.
The Times story came from the Associated Press and was attributed to “a reliable source familiar with the autopsy findings.” The Post story was based on “the unofficial report of pathologists,” The stories were consistent with each other, both asserting that: Read more