Quotable

Harry Truman on the CIA

“The CIA was set up by me for the sole purpose of getting all the available information to the President. It was not intended to operate as an international agency engaged in strange activities.” — Harry Truman in a letter to the editor of Look magazine, May 1964.

From the files of the Truman Library, courtesy of a reader.

HSCA: ‘… the brain … is among certain autopsy materials which are unaccounted for.’

“The panel itself was unable to examine the brain because it is among certain autopsy materials which are unaccounted for.”

— House Select Committee on Assassination, Volume VII, p. 177.

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H.R. Haldeman: “We would be in a position to get all the facts “

“An investigation of the Kennedy assassination was a project I suggested when I first entered the White House [in 1969]. I had always been intrigued with the conflicting theories of the assassination. Now I felt we would be in a position to get all the facts. But Nixon turned me down.”

- H.R Haldeman, chief of staff to President Richard Nixon, from his book, The Ends of Power (p. 39).

RFK: CIA director said two people involved in JFK shooting

“I asked him [RFK], perhaps tactlessly, about Oswald. He said that there could be no serious doubt that he was guilty, but there was still argument whether he did it by himself or as part of a larger plot, whether organized by Castro or by gangsters. He said that the FBI thought he had done it by himself, but that McCone thought there were two people involved in the shooting.”

— Arthur Schlesinger writing about a conversation with Robert Kennedy on Dec. 5, 1963, quoted in Schlesinger’s Journals: 1952-2000, p. 214.

‘… the Oswald case is one of the most disgraceful phenomena’

“The bolt clicked open. Vladimir Kryuchkov, dressed in a dark suit, stood in the doorway. ‘You are welcome,’ the spymaster said.

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JFK: ‘It [a military coup] could happen in this country’

“It’s possible. It could happen in this country, but the conditions would have to be just right. If, for example, the country had a young President, and he had a Bay of Pigs, there would be a certain uneasiness. Maybe the military would do a little criticizing behind his back, but this would be written off as the usual military dissatisfaction with civilian control.”

JFK went on:

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‘Jim [Angleton] would prefer to wait out the Commission…’

“Jim would prefer to wait out the Commission on the matter covered by paragraph 2…”

CIA’s Raymond Rocca, writing to Richard Helms regarding counterintelligence chief James Angleton’s desire to stonewall the Warren Commission on certain CIA materials passed to the Secret Service.
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The late John Judge on JFK records

Asked in 1992 what he expected to find in still-closed JFK records, Judge replied,

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‘The [Warren] report … has collapsed like a house of cards …’

“I think that the report, to those who have studied it closely, has collapsed like a house of cards, and I think the people who read it in the long-run future will see that. I frankly believe that we have shown that the [investigation of the] John F. Kennedy assassination was snuffed out before it even began, and that the fatal mistake the Warren Commission made was not to use its own investigators, but instead to rely on the CIA and FBI personnel, which played directly into the hands of senior intelligence officials who directed the cover-up.”

Senator Richard Schweiker on “Face the Nation” in 1976 Read more

‘They will try to put the blame on us’

“Now, they will have to find the assassin quickly, but very quickly, otherwise, you watch and see, I know them, they will try to put the blame on us for this thing.”

Fidel Castro to French journalist Jean Daniel on November 22, 1963. From “When Castro Heard the News,”in The New Republic, Dec. 7, 1963.

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William Attwood: ‘If the CIA did find out what we were doing…’

“If the CIA did find out what we were doing [talks toward normalizing relations with Cuba], this would have trickled down to the lower echelon of activists, and Cuban exiles, and the more gung-ho CIA people who had been involved since the Bay of Pigs…. Read more

Curtis LeMay to JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis

“This is almost as bad as the appeasement at Munich.”

— Air Force General Curtis LeMay to JFK upon being told that the U.S. would respond to Soviet missiles in Cuba with a blockade, not an invasion. Read more

Warren Commission wanted to avoid transparency

H/T Pat Speer,

An interesting entry from the journals of Howard Willens, attorney for the Warren Commission, about how the Commission wanted to avoid transparency “for a year or two.”

Willens, a retired attorney turned historian,  is the author of the book, History Will Prove Us Right, which defends the Warren Commission’s work and conclusions. (For an excerpt of the book, read here.)

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Former chief JFK investigator on CIA obstruction

“I now no longer believe anything the Agency [CIA] told the committee any further than I can obtain substantial corroboration for it from outside the Agency for its veracity…. “

— G. Robert Blakey, former Chief Counsel to the House Select Committee on Assassinations, in an addendum to the web page for the Frontline episode “Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?”.

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Dick Goodwin: ‘We know the CIA was involved, and the Mafia. We all know that.’

“We know the CIA was involved, and the Mafia. We all know that.”

— Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Richard Goodwin, quoted in David Talbot’s “Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years,” p. 303.