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.
The large-scale declassification of JFK documents in the 1990s brought an estimated 4 million of pages of new assassination-related records into public view and generated a new era in JFK scholarship. But it also illuminated what is still missing or withheld from the public record. Among these are the vast bulk of the records of the Church Committee (named after Idaho Senator Frank Church), which in the mid-70s exposed the CIA plots to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro among many other abuses.
Long before writing his popular best-seller, Killing Kennedy, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly did real reporting on the events that lead to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Here is O’Reilly on Inside Edition in 1991 doing a tough and accurate piece on retired CIA Western Hemisphere division chief David Atlee Phillips and the evidence that he associated with accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in September 1963. Read more
Operation Northwoods was a Pentagon plan to provoke a U.S. invasion of Cuba in 1963 through the use of deception operations. First disclosed by the Assassination Records Review Board in 1997, the Northwoods plans are among the most significant new JFK documents to emerge since Oliver Stone’s “JFK” movie.
Operation Northwoods envisioned U.S. intelligence operatives staging violent attacks on U.S. targets and arranging for the blame for the mayhem to fall on Fidel Castro and his communist government. The idea, wrote one planner, was to creates a “justification for U.S. intervention in Cuba,” by orchestrating a crime that placed the U.S. government “in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government” in Cuba.
These plans included the use of violence on American soil against American citizens.
On this day in 1963, the Warren Commission had its first meeting behind closed doors in Washington. As the seven commissioners began to discuss how to proceed, they grappled with the question of whether they should endorse the FBI’s upcoming report on JFK’s murder, or conduct their own investigation. After some discussion, they chose the latter.
For the spy, historian, mystery lover, or conspiracy theorist on your holiday gift list: A true-life thriller that recounts the remarkable life of Win Scott, the charismatic CIA spymaster who had a unique insider's perspective on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. "Enthralling"--Wall Street Journal
"A first-class detective story"--Tim Weiner, author of the Legacy of Ashes, The HIstory of the CIA.
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