Gen. Maxwell Taylor with Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, left, and JFK. (Credit: Robert Knudsen/JFK Library)
I ask because I don’t know the answer. In a crisis like a presidential assassination, the role of the nation’s top soldier is worth understanding. But I don’t know how Taylor responded Can any help me out here?
Taylor was known in CIA traffic as GPPHOTO, perhaps in recognition of his manly photogenic style. Robert Kennedy named one of his sons after him, a measure of the personal affection the Kennedys had for the general.
In May 1964, top CIA officials stonewalled the official investigation of the murder of President John F. Kennedy by concealing or downplaying evidence about the Cuban contacts of the accused assassin, according to newly declassified documents.
The documents, released online last month by the National Archives, show how two CIA spymasters concocted a series of false and misleading statements that served to steer the Warren Commission investigation away from evidence that might point to a conspiracy.
The long-secret records, stamped with the words “Reproduction Prohibited,” shed new light on two key issues related to the death of JFK: 1) the agency’s plots to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro at the time JFK was killed; and 2) the CIA’s pre-assassination knowledge of Lee Harvey Oswald, the 24-year-old ex-Marine, who was arrested for killing Kennedy.
The new files show the JFK investigation was not “botched” as Politico and NPR have reported. Rather, the documents show hwo the probe was controlled by two top CIA officials.
President Kennedy’s growth as a leader in June 1963 is a key to understanding his life and death.
As Arms Control Today documented last year, JFK’s June 10 speech at American University would influence the arms control vision all of the U.S. presidents who followed him. And as this New York Times column notes, his often-overlooked nationally televised address on June 11, 1963, signaled his evolution as a civil rights leader.
President Kennedy’s speech to the graduating class of American University in Washington DC 54 years ago today represented the high point of his efforts to wind down the Cold War. His vigorous style and clear mind never had a more important goal — or more powerful enemies.
On May 29, 1963, Kennedy and about two dozen others boarded the 104-foot Sequoia, the presidential yacht, for a dinner party cruise down the Potomac River. It was a family-and-friends-only affair. Aside from a few Secret Service agents, the roster of guests gleamed with a touch of Hollywood — actors David Niven (“Separate Tables” and “The Pink Panther”) and Peter Lawford (a Rat Packer who was married to Patricia Kennedy, the commander in chief’s sister).
By late July, Johnson could no longer risk waiting until the Democratic convention to remove Kennedy from vice presidential consideration. The president called his attorney general on Monday, July 27, and asked him to come to the White House—Tuesday, if he could—to talk over “some other matters.”
“Yesterday morning, at 11:15, Jacqueline Kennedy started toward the grave. She came out from under the north portico of the White House and slowly followed the body of her husband, which was in a flag-covered coffin that was strapped with two black leather belts to a black caisson that had polished brass axles. She walked straight and her head was high. She walked down the bluestone and …
“For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment,” wrote former president Harry Truman in the Washington Post on December 22, 1963. It was exactly one month after the assassination of President Kennedy.
“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 wrote.
The former president never explicitly linked JFK’s death to the clandestine service, but the timing and venue of his piece was suggestive.
When asked about the nuclear-mad antics of Dr. Strangelove, Pentagon whistleblower Dan Ellsberg said, “For those of us who worked in the Pentagon, the movie was a documentary.” As nuclear historian Eric Schlosser has written, “almost everything” in the movie was true. JFK was disturbed at the laxity of U.S. nuclear control regime, and sought to tighten command and control and dissolve the Cold War, especially in 1963.
Fifty three years ago today, a man named Lee Harvey Oswald came to the attention of a group of senior CIA officers in Langley, Virginia. Oswald had recently visited the Cuban consulate and Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. A CIA wiretap captured a man identifying himself as “Oswald.”
The CIA officers conferred about Oswald and his actions and signed off on a cable about him. They are identified on the declassified CIA cable whose authenticity is not disputed.
They were: assistant deputy director (ADDP) Tom Karamessines; Soviet Russia division counterintelligence officer Stephan Roll; liaison officer Jane Roman, Special Projects Group (SPG) officer Ann Egerter; chief of the WH/3 desk (Mexico )”John Scelso” aka John Whitten; and chief of operations for Western Hemisphere, William J. Hood.
In CIA and JFK: The Secret Assassination Files, Jefferson Morley distills 20 years of original reporting into a concise fact-filled, theory-free Kindle ebook that recounts the CIA machinations leading up to November 22, 1962 and the cover-up that followed. With new information about the coming JFK disclosures in October 2017. CLICK ON THE COVER IMAGE ABOVE TO BUY THE BOOK NOW.
* Mary Ferrell.org, has the largest online collection of JFK assassination records and the most concise guides to the JFK debate.
* JFK Lancer holds an annual conference in Dallas highlighting the latest JFK research and revelations.
* 2017 JFK has a detailed guide to the massive JFK disclosures scheduled for October 2017.