Crux of the JFK issue: conspiracy or gross negligence?

 Jacob writes:
“If I interpret your March 5 post correctly, it seems that you have ultimately decided that Oswald did it, either alone or in concert with one or more people, and that the CIA, at worst, was guilty of gross negligence in preventing Oswald (alone or with others) from committing the assassination.”

Oswald in New Orleans
Lee Oswald in New Orleans, August 16, 1963.


Actually, I don’t think you have interpreted the post correctly, or rather, I have not expressed myself clearly.

You are correct, and I think we agree, that the crux of the eternal JFK debate could be summarized as conspiracy versus gross negligence.

Based on what we know now, the old conspiracy theory vs. lone nut (CT vs. LN) paradigm is defunct. Based on what we now know about the surveillance of Oswald, he cannot be accurately described as a “lone nut,” a person who was unknown to senior U.S. intelligence officials. He was not. He was a man whose actions were documented by codenamed secret intelligence operations from 1959 to 1963. LINGUAL, LIENVOY, and AMSPELL to name but three.

Either, Oswald, the erratic character known to James Angleton and other top counterintelligence officers, killed the president by himself, i.e., his deed was enabled by the gross negligence of those who monitored him and failed to see he was a threat to the president.

Or, there was an organized effort, possibly advanced by CIA counterintelligence officers in Angleton’s domain, to kill the president and set up Oswald as a patsy, i.e. a conspiracy.

I think the latter is more likely that the former but I would say decisive proof is still lacking. My point is that, either way,

senior CIA officers around Angleton and Helms were legally culpable in JFK’s death. That’s true even if you don’t believe there was a conspiracy.

Oswald in Custody
Lee Harvey Oswald:

Jacob goes on to ask: “I’m curious as to whether there was any particular matter, after all these years, that finally caused you to reach that conclusion.”

I have not concluded that “gross negligence” is the best explanation for JFK’s assassination. I think a reasonable person can’t rule out gross negligence because we don’t have direct proof of a plot to assassinate JFK and inculpate Oswald.

Jacob concludes:

“Also, while the Joannides matter is obviously relevant to those of us who believe that Oswald was framed by the national security state, I’m curious to know whether and how you think it lends support to the gross negligence theory.”
The Joannides story is the best empircal test of the conspiracy vs. gross negligence question that you could ask for.
First JFK Conspiracy Theory
The first JFK conspiracy theory, published Nov 24, 1963, and paid for by CIA

Either psy-ops officer George Joannides was one of the CIA officers knowledgable about Oswald and grossly negligent in the wrongful death of JFK. Or he was party to an authorized NORTHWOODS-style pretext operation to inculpate Oswald, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and Fidel Castro in JFK’s assassination.

The very secrecy around the Joannides files–especially the reasons for his Career Intelligence Medal–makes me think that was such a pretext operation.
If we ever get to see the complete Joannides file, I think we may well find evidence of gross negligence. I think it is more likely that we will find documentation of an operation targeting Oswald and the FPCC. If so, that could be decisive evidence of a conspiracy.
This is why the CIA will be arguing in federal court on March 19 that there is no “public benefit” from the disclosure of the Joannides files: because those files might contain a proverbial JFK “smoking gun.”

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