The discourse around the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination was disappointingly superficial, focusing on the credibility of conspiracy theories rather than on the heart of the issue: the failure of the national security agencies to protect President Kennedy and to tell the truth about the events leading to his death.
A notable exception came in October, when Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward spoke on Face the Nation. about the role of what he called “the secret world” in Washington.
Woodward’s comments came in a discussion with Philip Shenon, author of the book “A Cruel and Shocking Act; The Hidden History of the Kennedy Assassination.” Host Bob Scheiffer invited Woodward and Peggy Noonan to comment.
Noonan, former speechwriter for President Reagan, expressed gratitude for having been deceived by the Warren Commission.
“I wonder if we were not, as a fully functioning nation, lucky not to know all of this at the time,” she said. “You wonder how destabilizing it would have been to have known of the grave doubts and the mischief and, in some cases, the dishonesty of people who were running the United States and who were running the great report of the tragically killed president.”
Many talking heads on TV act like they believe ignorance is bliss. But Noonan has the rare audacit to come right out and say it.
Woodward, chronicler of the Washington elite, was not so apologetic. He called the national security agencies “a rat’s nest.”
In speaking to Shenon, Woodward said, “I think there`s a theme here in all of this that you have laid out that connects somewhat to what`s going on now. And that is the power of this secret world — CIA, FBI — particularly in what you`ve looked at, Phil, the assassination plots against Castro.”
“I mean, it`s stunning, and this information really didn`t get to the Warren Commission. And it`s not saying that Castro did it but that there`s all this secrecy and the people at the top or the people investigating the commission do not get the evidence.”
No one knows the “power of the secret world” better than Woodward. He suggested it is out of control today too.
“We look now at what`s going on with all the NSA wiretapping and people saying, ‘Well, they didn`t know,’ or ‘They did know.; It clearly is much more extensive than people expected. You connect this with the drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, which is our government conducting regular assassinations by air.”
“You know, what`s — what`s going on here? Who is in control of it? And who can find out?”