As the United States lurched towards war over Soviet missiles in Cuba in October 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy refused the suggestion that she leave her husband in the White House and move to a safer location.
In 2014, most Americanns are barred by law from visiting Cuba, the island nation closest to America. When it comes to Cuba, Amrica’s vaunted ideals of “free trade” are frankly repudiated by the government in Washington which justifies violation Americans’ freedom to travel in the name of supporting democracy and human rights.
A half century ago, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy came to believe that the ban on travel to Cuba was “inconsistent with “our views of a free society,” as these historic documents collected by the non-profit National Security Archive reveal..
“Christmas and New Year’s Eve, 50 years ago, was one of mixed emotions in the wake of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963,” writes Tom Hintgen in the The Fergus Falls Daily Journalin Minnesota. “Still, Americans looked forward to ushering in the new year of 1964.”
“During the holidays in 1963 there were no video games, no CDs and no games to be played on a personal computer. But there were train sets, footballs and Schwinn bicycles, given as Christmas gifts. Kids in 1963 also longed for pogo sticks and even a few hula hoops left over from the Eisenhower years of the 1950s.” Read more
Jack and Jackie Kennedy’s Christmas card from 1959
John and Jackie Kennedys sent out a Christmas card every year. They were about to send one in November 1963 when tragedy struck. The Kennedy’s never-sent 1963 Christmas card is now a collector’s item; one sold for $45,000 in 2006.
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
“For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment,” wrote former President Harry Truman on the one-month anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination
“It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.”
Truman never linked JFK’s death to the clandestine service but the timing of his piece, published in the Washington Post, was suggestive. Already Soviet bloc news outlets were speculating Kennedy’s murder–and the murder of the only suspect while in police custody–pointed to U.S. government involvement in the assassination.
“This quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue–and subject for cold war enemy propaganda,” Truman wrote. Read more
On December 17, 1963, a lawyer from New York named Mark Lane wrote to Chief Justice Warren to “respectfully request that your Commission give consideration to the appointment of defense counsel” for the accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. He enclosed an article he had written.
The article was published two days later in the National Guardian, a weekly publication of leftist politics.
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
"Our Man in Mexico" is a true 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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