JFK on secrecy: ‘the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts’

“…The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it….And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment….”

President John F. Kennedy’s speech at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, April 27, 1961



72 thoughts on “JFK on secrecy: ‘the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts’”

  1. Pingback: Seriously, Must Presidential Visits Be Such Regal Affairs?’ | pundit from another planet

  2. JFK said:

    “We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it…”

    Kennedy knew he was going to be killed. Those of us here need to put ourselves in his position.

  3. Jonathan says:

    “FWIW, I went through the officers C.I. course at Fort Huachuca, Arizona in 1971. One of the things my class was taught was background checks.

    IMO, the only president post-Eisenhower who would have passed an army background check and be given a security clearance was Jimmy Carter.”

    Damn straight. People just do not understand how important this stuff is. Counter-intelligence or intelligence hones in on the “personal stuff” like a GPS guided bunker buster bomb. A target’s sex life, adultery, closet homosexuality, drug use, alcohol abuse, debt problems, financial crimes (embezzlements, kickbacks, bribes) are the absolute motherlode for anyone, domestic or foreign, who is trying to compromise, control or recruit a target. And “target” is exacly what a person with such baggage is; the bigger the baggage, the bigger the target.

    Ignore the personal dirt on JFK or Lyndon Johnson or anyone else at your peril. For example, there is no way in hell LBJ gets on that 1960 Democratic ticket as VP except for using blackmail, threats and intimidation on John Kennedy. I personally think it was the FBI’s Inga Arvad file on JFK. This stuff would have been nitroglycerin if revealed in a 1960 general election.

    LBJ, Rayburn and Hoover and a lot to use against John Kennedy.

  4. Jonathan,
    For an example: the fact that Spas Raikin, acting as a representative of the NY Travelers Aid Society on whose board of trustees was Hugh Knowlton, atty and broker with the tweed investment firm Kuhn Loeb as well as air industry specialist particularly involved with the Rockefeller’s Eastern Airlines, met Lee Harvey and Marina Oswald on their return from Russia is not, in and of itself, evidence of involvement in a conspiracy. The fact that Spas Raikin had escaped the communists in Bulgaria in 1951 by fleeing to Greece where he attended the University of Athens, the same year that Thomas Karamessines was Athens CIA Station Chief, is not evidence of involvement in a conspiracy. The fact Raikin served as secretary of the Central Executive Board, Bulgarian National Council from 1960-1963 and that the council was affiliated with the Committee for a Free Europe, founded by Allen Dulles of the CIA who, along with his brother John Foster Dulles and James Forrestal founded the Office of Policy Coordination whose executive director was Frank Wisner, Karamessines’ boss, does not prove that Raikin was a trained intelligence agent or that he might have been recruited by Karamessines in Athens. The fact that the Committee for a Free Europe included Lucius D. Clay, retired general and NYTimes’ Henry Luce does not prove that Raikin was in contact with a number of America’s most influential private businessmen. The fact that soon after his role with the Travelers Aid Society in NY he was hired as a professor of history and social sciences at Rio Grande College in Ohio, affiliated at the time with the Ohio State University System whose chairman of the history department was Foster Rhea Dulles, first cousin of Allen Welsh and John Foster and who wrote frequently for John F. Dulles’ “Foreign Digest” as well as authored (among other history volumes) “America’s Rise to World Power.” (John F. Dulles was a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation for almost twenty years.) None of this is evidence of Spas Raikin’s involvement in the handling of Lee Harvey Oswald, but the facts do support the theory that Spas Raikin was not who he purported to be – a social worker coming to the aid of the Oswalds.

        1. You described him as purportedly “coming to the aid of the Oswalds.” Apparently Raikin helped them get to the NYC Department of Welfare, where Oswald asked for money to get to TX. That was apparently the extent of his “aid.”

          Did you know that in 1960 some of Raikin’s fellow emigres suspected he was a sleeper agent or provocateur for the Bulgarian communist government? (Mary Ferrell site) I’m not saying that’s true.

          1. Jean,
            It is interesting that your response focuses on ‘a social worker coming to the aid of the Oswalds,’ and completely ignores the preceding list of facts relating to a portion of Raikin’s life history. Do you have any comment about any or all of those facts?

            The purpose of my listing the facts was to pose them and Raikin as an example of fact v. evidence v. theory, in response to Jonathan’s informed assessment of the importance of defining terms in the legal sense. Do these facts represent evidence or do they simply support a theory that is worthy of pursuit?

            Now I will address your ‘challenge’ – a tactic that is not lost on anyone Jean.

            According to Raikin’s statement, he was with the Oswalds for approx. an hour. He boarded their ship after it docked, had them paged, and eventually caught up with them at baggage claim. He gave them approx. $46 and ‘aided’ them in getting on the bus to the port authority where they were met by another TAS agent, F. Pierre who then aided them in reaching the welfare department in NYC.

            As to your other point (and I remind you that Raikin received a scholarship in Athens from the World Council of Churches):

            “In Raikin’s own autobiography, Rebel With a Just Cause, he describes how he practiced the art of pretending to be one thing politically while he was really something else:
            “I found myself in an impossible situation…Very soon I was to realize that this way of covering the truth and following the path of lies during the next few years was to be the only way to save my life. The only redeeming thought was that they, the communists, also practiced such deceptions.”
            “I was playing a double game in Sofia…I was carrying on surreptitious activities which were squarely anti-communist in conception and in execution. This double game had to be played with compromises and in 1946 I found myself playing their game…I was assigned to recruit Theology students to join with other students from the other schools for a brigade…When it was all over I had recruited twenty five or more, which was considered a great success…But my double game could not continue indefinitely without being noticed.”

      1. Jonathan,
        I’ve replied to your reply to me in the “Dec.1, 1963” thread. I hope you’ll take a look.

    1. Leslie,

      Just did a quick study of material that covers some of the same ground you cover. My take on Spas T. Raikin:

      First, the facts: [1] He spoke Russian. [2] He was hired by the CIA. [3] He was assigned to talk to Oswald.

      Second, Raikin’s statements about the CIA: He was too much a rebel for the CIA. He didn’t know anything about the CIA, except they were a different (meaning unusual) group of individuals. Blah, blah, blah.

      How I size up Raikin: The CIA hired him to spot and assess potential agents. His job wasn’t to recruit agents, to train agents, or to handle agents. Just to spot and assess.

      1. Jonathan,
        I wonder how the aid society knew that Oswald was arriving on Holland-America in the first place? Did he cable ahead for assistance? Or did someone else contact Travelers Aid on his behalf? That information is probably documented and insignificant, but I haven’t come across it as yet.

        1. Jonathan,
          According to Dick Russell (The Man Who Knew Too Much), the Department of State contacted the NY Travelers Aid Society about Oswald before his arrival. Russell expounds on Raikin’s involvement with the Anti-Bolshevik Nations lobbying group and their affiliation with Gen Chas Willoughby.

          Clearly JF Dulles’ old state department was tracking Oswald.

      2. Leslie,

        What do you consider the most significant item in your “list of facts”? Maybe I could start with that.

        It is easy to find “connections” between people, as in the 6 Degrees of Separation game. They are meaningless unless you have evidence to show what they mean. For instance, Michael Paine’s father, Lyman Paine, was a prominent member of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party (see Wikipedia), an organization Oswald tried to join. Oswald subscribed to its newspaper The Militant, seen in the backyard photos. But so what? Lyman Paine had absolutely nothing to do with the assassination. What evidence do you have that Raikin or any of the other people you’ve named had anything to do with the assassination?

        Obviously, an anti-Communist living in Sofia would have to pay a double game.

        1. Jean,
          Each fact taken out of context is meaningless just as a thread pulled from an intricate weave would be. However, when woven tightly, the threads create a tapestry. In my limited experience with you, it seems you have a tendency toward looking at facts through a microscope without understanding what you are actually seeing. That is your prerogative obviously. But the ‘six degrees of separation’ argument is a canard, particularly when applied to what Allen Dulles called the Great Game and specifically when applied to the intelligence game which by its very nature would be rather tight knit. (pun intended).

          I’ve studied George Lyman Paine. For instance, I know that TS Lamont’s brother (Richard Case Nagell’s son was named for him – credit Dick Russell) was also involved in the movement but I also know that TS had a long standing relationship with Phelps Dodge industries into which Nicholas Katzenbach married.

          I have also studied Michael Paine’s mother, Ruth Forbes Paine (Young) whose mother was a Cabot and whose family was married into the Paine Weber Jackson Curtis wealth, not to mention the Cabot oil dynasty with heavy investments in United Fruit, both of which had a history of operations in the Texas Panhandle where Bell Helicopter (Ruth Paine Young’s 2nd husband’s enterprise) and Pantex (critical component of the Manhattan Project once it evolved at Los Alamos) were located. Attorneys for United Fruit were the Dulles’ Sullivan Cromwell firm and the Warren Commission’s John McCloy was on the board.

          To weave this somewhat tighter, a Trustee of Rio Grande College when Spas Raikin was hired as a history professor was also closely involved with the aforementioned entities through his affiliation with OK Anderson of United Fruit and SD Warren, provider of specialty papers to the publishing industry. SD Warren’s president was Geo Olmsted, Jr. (not Geo Hamden O. of Financial General, etc.) who was on the board of mining company Copper Range whose headquarters moved from Boston to 630 Fifth Ave. NYC where Allen Dulles opened an office when he left the CIA and where Petroleum Resources headquartered. Joe Zeppa, who was with GHW Bush on November 22 was on the board of PR. Copper Range was established by, among others, Wm. A. Paine, founding member of Paine Webber and father of Stephen Paine of Paine Webber Jackson Curtis and whose connection with the Cabot family extends back to Charles Cabot Jackson, ancestor of Ruth Forbes Paine (through the Cabots) who was the mother of Michael Paine of Bell Helicopter. And now we can talk about Bell. This is only one small image on the tapestry. It is, I believe, representative of how secrets are kept.

          1. Jean, given your interest in rifles, I thought I would expand.

            In 1960, the NY Supreme Court ordered United Fruit to divest itself of major shares in International Rys of Central America. It did so in January of 1962 by selling 39% interest to the B.S.F. Co. BSF was the parent company of Savage Arms, the rifle model involved in the Sylvia Odio, Lee Harvey Oswald, Robert McKeown episode. (Richard Bartholomew has written about this in the context of a possible connection to Jack Ruby.) Could United Fruit have been orchestrating a gun running operation to protect their interests as well as those of other US corporations in Central and South America?

          2. Jean, in the spirit of Kennedy’s admonishment regarding unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts:

            Another tenant of the International Building/Rockefeller Center at 630 Fifth Ave. was Pocket Books, on whose board was JM Jacobsen. Jacobsen was also on the board of Aircraft Armaments, a division of United Industrial Corp at the time, on whose board was Maurice Goodman, the primary principal of BSF and Savage Arms. United Industrial was also the parent company of Birmingham AL based Hayes Aircraft (responsible in part for the Saturn and Pershing missile systems) interwoven with Jackson, Michigan based Hayes Industries, Hayes Aircraft board member in 1963 was Arthur John Bowron of Birmingham, grandson of James Bowron, an immigrant from Stockton on Tees, UK who was involved with Tennessee Steel before it was bought by US Steel.

            All of these entities, along with Bell, have since morphed into AAI, a Textron Systems enterprise and producers of unmanned aerial aircraft or drones which are now creating such havoc for our planet.

            Whether or not board Hayes board member W. B. O’Neal was related to Birch Dilworth O’Neal has yet to be determined, but I believe Birch was from an old Southern family if memory serves.

        2. Another board member of Michigan mining company Copper Range was NJ Darling, born in Pennsylvania. Darling also shared the board of General Telephone & Electric with president DC Power, the trustee for Rio Grande College. Whether or not NJ Darling was related to the AFL-CIA executive Darling (as reported by TJ Scully) has not been confirmed. Scully has written about the labor union executive and it is well worth reviewing at Edu Forum.

          Copper Range/General Telephone & Electric’s NJ Darling’s mother was a Jeanette Devine whose father, Robert F. Devine of Scottish immigrants, built a career at Erie Forge Co. Whether or not these Devines are in any way related to Thomas Devine of the CIA has not been determined – again refer to TJ Scully’s extensive research pertaining to Thomas Devine, particularly his involvement with Train-Cabot. There are indications of a possible relationship based on this Copper-Range, Stephen Paine, Paine Webber Jackson (Cabot) business connection to NJ Darling and his wife, Jeanette Devine.

          J. Devine Darling’s mother was born near Ballymena, Co. Antrim, home of the Adair family who were early participants and benefactors of the Plantation of Ulster. Anyone who thinks that these ties were severed within one or two generations is unfamiliar with our nation’s history.

          Descendant John George Adair married Vanderbilt descendant Cornelia Wadsworth and together with Charles Goodnight established the vast JA Ranch in the Texas Panhandle not far from Scottish financed United Fruit held operations in the early 1990’s, and near Pantex and Bell mfg plant. Bankers for the ranch included Boston based White Weld whose partner, Francis Kernan was a relative of Wadsworth. Kernan sat on the board of Rockefeller/Vanderbilt investment Freeport Sulphur. The Stuart Symington family married into Cornelia’s family, and it was Symington who, along with Clark Clifford unwittingly fronted for the Abedi/BCCI operation in the U.S. George Walker’s (Bush maternal grandfather) investment house which originated in St. Louis, home of the Symington’s, eventually merged with Boston’s White Weld. In fairness, Stuart Symington is said to have had a close friendship with John Kennedy.

  5. I’ll come down.

    Paul May is seeking to win over leslie.

    Paul May has no new information.

    Paul May seeks to disparage and disrupt.

    Paul May needs to go away.

    1. Jonathan, I was thinking more along the lines of separating this little wolf from the pack? Regardless, debate is debate. But undisclosed agendas are not appreciated.

  6. ““…The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings.”

    John F. Kennedy was not talking about college fraternities.

    He was not talking about legitimate security clearances and legitimate intelligence operations.

    What was he talking about?

    FWIW, I believe he was talking about the CIA and the CIA’s link to Skull and Bones.

    JFK was an insider. He knew the deal. The CIA recruited heavily and routinely from Harvard and Yale. Best men, after all.

    1963. JFK was an insider. So were his advisers. So were his opponents.

      1. He was, in his mind, too independent to be recruited by anyone. But he was vulnerable to blackmail; and I tend to agree with Robert Morrow that LBJ played the blackmail card to force his way onto the 1960 ticket.

    1. Jonathan,
      RE; Insiders. Robert Lovett positioned Kennedy’s cabinet. Kennedy’s hubris (perhaps) was thinking that keeping his enemies close would be an effective strategy. Kennedy’s formal advisors, including Adolf Berle, would have been privy to his acceptance and/or resistance to the policies that were designed to promote their collective agenda. Any complications would have been known well in advance by those insiders. His closest advisors/friends could not protect him.

      John Kennedy spent some of his formative years in Great Britain. Through his father, he would have been exposed to British systems including the Peerage. Regardless of the caricature currently assigned to the freemasons in this country, such would not be the case in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland during the 1950’s when Royalty and their peers were prominent members of the secret society, One can go so far as to say that no promotion in critical posts ensued, particularly in Northern Ireland, without consideration of the Masons. I suspect that Kennedy might well have had them in mind – in addition to Skull & Bones which shared similarly bizarre initiation rites – when he made the statement.

  7. https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/cia-briefings-of-presidential-candidates/cia-6.htm

    ” . . . During three of the debates, Nixon attacked Kennedy for his lack of willingness to defend Quemoy and Matsu, the small Nationalist-held islands off the coast of Communist China. The extensive discussion of the Quemoy-Matsu issue did not create any direct problem for the CIA, but it led directly to a controversial dispute between the candidates over policy toward Cuba, where a popular revolution had established a Soviet-supported Communist government. The politically charged clash had a number of repercussions in the White House and at the CIA.

    Kennedy adviser Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. later described the relationship of these China and Cuba issues and the sequence of events in his memoir of the Kennedy administration, A Thousand Days: “The Kennedy staff, seeking to take the offensive after his supposed soft position on Quemoy and Matsu, put out the provocative statement about strengthening the Cuban fighters for freedom.”[34] The controversial press release, crafted late one evening in the Biltmore Hotel in New York City by speechwriter Richard Goodwin, said “We must attempt to strengthen the non-Batista, democratic, anti-Castro forces in exile, and in Cuba itself, who offer eventual hope of overthrowing Castro.” According to Goodwin, the policy statement was not shown to the sleeping Kennedy because of the late hour; it was the only public statement of the campaign not approved by the candidate.[35]

    The ill-considered statement on Cuba received wide press play and was immediately attacked. The New York Times the next day ran the story as the lead item on the front page with the headline: “Kennedy Asks Aid for Cuban Rebels to Defeat Castro, Urges Support of Exiles and Fighters for Freedom.” James Reston wrote in the Times that “Senator Kennedy (has) made what is probably his worst blunder of the campaign.”[36]

    Coming the day before the fourth presidential debate, the statement from the Kennedy camp put Nixon in what he found to be an extraordinarily awkward position. Many years later Nixon wrote in his memoirs, “I knew that Kennedy had received a CIA briefing on the administration’s Cuba policy and assumed that he knew, as I did, that a plan to aid the Cuban exiles was already under way on a top secret basis. His statement jeopardized the project, which could succeed only if it were supported and implemented secretly.”[37]

  8. I believe Kennedy’s handling of the missile crisis (agreeing to remove U.S. nukes from Turkey and not to invade Cuba) was the last straw for the powerful MIC folks here in the U.S. who wanted war.

    War — conventional war with a proxy like North Viet Nam — made a whole lot of sense in the early 1960s. The army had new armaments and new doctrine (air mobility) to test. The country’s economy was beginning to expand rapidly. There was a large upcoming cohort of young men. The U.S. was hungry for a win after Korea. The Cold War presented a stark villain. The public would love a good, bloody, victorious war over Asian commies. There would be plenty of military promotions. Lockheed, General Dynamics, Colt would all make fortunes.

    One problem. John F. Kennedy was displaying little appetite for war. Maybe he had a romantic vision of Green Berets going in to save the day in some remote village. That wasn’t war.

    Well, the warhawks surely got what they wanted, and more. Vietnam. Military bases around the globe. Iran-Contra. Gulf War I. Iraq. Afghanistan. Who knows what’s next? Lots of resources in Africa.

    1. I suppose Vietnam was a pressure release valve for US/USSR cold war tensions, as long as the “Red Chinese” (as they were then called) didn’t get pulled into that conflict, something the Pentagon was constantly worried about (again, I have my dad to thank for this information as he was at Pentagon at this time). Still, it was a completely stupid war for us to get sucked into, and I think CIA set us up for it (as they failed to set us up for a Cuban war). They worked through their own channels to undermine Diem, then stood by while he got assassinated, in November of ’63. Kennedy had to continue to talk tough publicly on Vietnam, which he did, because he couldn’t completely pull out until after the ’64 election—to have pulled out (more than a limited withdrawal of some advisors, NSAM 273) prior to November 1964 would have been political suicide. Kennedy wasn’t stupid.
      One other interesting fact is that he read Barbara Tuchman’s “Guns of August” and was so impressed by it that he recommended his staff also read it. He thought war was easy to begin, with the flags waving, soldiers marching, etc. But it wasn’t so easy to end.

  9. Re: JFK said that “the rich people can take care of themselves, and his job as President was to look out for everybody else,” etc. JFK considered himself a Democrat in the tradition of FDR in this regard. FDR was called “a traitor to his class” by the wealthy element that resisted what might today be called “entitlement” programs. Similar frictions developed with powerful business interests following the rollback of steel prices by JFK (April 1962).

    Re: JFK and the Green Beret program, this was a strategy to use as an alternative to the Mutual Assured Destruction option. JFK was appalled by the suggestions of a preemptive nuclear strike against the USSR and China. When the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world to the brink of Armageddon, his views of the necessity for disarmament and search for world peace were galvanized, as exhibited in the American University speech. (See JFK & the Unspeakable.) As early as April 1954, JFK said about Vietnam:

    “I am frankly of the belief that no amount of American military assistance in Indochina can conquer an enemy which is everywhere and at the same time nowhere, ‘an enemy of the people’ which has the sympathy and covert support of the people.”

  10. Some interesting comments. While Camelot may have been one of JFK’s favorite songs, he certainly was no King. Kennedy was a staunch anti-Communist. He campaigned in 1960 on the phony missile gap with Russia and led the largest defense build-up in American history. He was telling Americans to build bomb shelters. In 1951 he had pilloried President Truman over losing China to the communists. JFK was more “right” than Nelson Rockefeller. He was a card carrying member of the NRA. He led the military build-up of special forces believing that’s how future wars would be fought. Kennedy was a pragmatic politician. He surely knew the political climate. He preached strong defense and standing up to the communists no matter where.

    1. Kennedy’s love affair with the Green Berets was distinctly opposed by Army brass, who viewed SF soldiers as rebels within the strict orthodoxy of army structure.

      Only in the post-Vietnam, all-volunteer army have special forces become acceptable to mainstream army generals.

    2. I once got into a discussion with an ex-German, a woman who had lived in Pomerania but had fled the to the west when the Russians broke through, in 1944/45. She HATED communists, especially the Soviet Union, and described herself as a “real anti-communist patriot” who had come to the USA in 1959 because she felt it was better than West Germany, it represented better economic opportunity for her husband and children. When she asked me (in the 1970’s) whom I admired politically, I said ‘John F. Kennedy.’
      “KENNEDY???” she almost spat the name out to me. She then said, “That man rolled over when Berlin was threatened. He was a COWARD. When the communists built the wall, he should have sent US tanks in and SMASHED IT DOWN! He was a terrible president!”
      Her right wing sentiments were actually quite common among ‘true believer’ cold warriors, I began to find, in the DC suburbs of the sixties and seventies. Most of the conservatives I knew, people who supported the war in Vietnam, people who thought of themselves as being not ‘soft on communism’ thought of Kennedy as a wimp. I’m guessing this was the same kind of sentiment that argued (falsely in my opinion) that President Truman ‘lost China’ and was ‘wrong’ for firing Douglas MacArthur in Korea. If anything, history shows that Kennedy talked a game on fighting communism, but when the real policy making happened, he was much more of a pacifist, over Berlin, Laos, and certainly during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when he went against EVERY ONE of his JCS.

      Paul, you seem to be confusing rhetoric with reality, with facts, regarding Kennedy’s cold war policies.

      1. JSA, the reality as you say is that the Cuban Missile Crisis existed at all because JFK brought it upon himself and the country through the exercise of his very own foreign policy towards Cuba. History proved it was a reckless position.

        1. Krushchev (or a combination of him and his military who exerted pressure on him the same as our military exerted pressure on Kennedy) clearly thought he could push back at the US for having theatre-based nuclear missiles in both Europe and Turkey (Thors in N. Europe, Jupiters in Turkey). Cuba was selected as a stage for Soviet theatre ballistic missiles, as Castro was by 1962, firmly within the Soviet orbit of friendly nation states. The Soviets throughout history always regarded their borders as insecure, and they did not have (at that time) as powerful a SLBM force (subs) as we had. We were far ahead of them in nuclear delivery systems, they knew it, we knew it. The Cuban crisis was an attempt to get us to withdraw some of our missiles close to the USSR, and in that sense, the Soviets got what they wanted, because one of the terms of withdrawing missiles from Cuba was that we would dismantle our Jupiter missiles in Turkey. My dad helped put Thors in England in the late fifties, I know of this stuff from talking to my father.

          If as you say, “Kennedy brought it upon himself” I would amend that. I would say, Kennedy was drawn into the 1962 crisis as a result of being set up in 1961 in the Bay of Pigs. Kennedy went along with a limited invasion force, created or designed by CIA in 1960, during Eisenhower’s tenure. JFK refused to send in US forces when the small operation failed to succeed. For this he was branded a ‘traitor’ by the CIA. Kennedy’s own opinion however was that he had been set up to attack Cuba as he thought (in retrospect) that the limited invasion force was not designed to be a success, but a start, to draw us in for a full scale, overt (as opposed to covert) invasion. That’s when he said he was so mad that he wanted to splinter the CIA into a million pieces. He fired Bissell and Dulles. So you say JFK brought the missile crisis on himself, I say it was a bit more complicated. I say the military and CIA brought it upon Kennedy. If he hadn’t had the Bay of Pigs operation, it might have been a different scenario.

          1. I agree. Khruschev thought he could roll Kennedy. Castro went along with the missiles because he was so dependent on the Soviet Union.

            Khruschev wasn’t looking to nuke Miami; and most certainly, Castro wouldn’t have pulled the trigger all by himself.

            The most dangerous people in early October 1962 weren’t the Cubans and weren’t the Soviets. They were the U.S. generals and like-minded civilians in power who were prepared to begin a nuclear war.

          2. I would agree with you Jonathan, except would add that it wasn’t just the US military who were dangerous, but the Soviet military as well. We were both locked in a dangerous game at that time. Thankfully, Kennedy was sophisticated enough to see what was happening, and he kept the ‘safety’ on the nuclear arsenal, while his military (especially LeMay) wanted to pull the trigger.

          3. JSA:
            your comment: If as you say, “Kennedy brought it upon himself” I would amend that. I would say, Kennedy was drawn into the 1962 crisis as a result of being set up in 1961 in the Bay of Pigs. Kennedy went along with a limited invasion force, created or designed by CIA in 1960, during Eisenhower’s tenure.

            I wonder how the following small incident affected Kennedy? Did it push his back against a wall from the very outset?:

            “The Kennedy staff, seeking to take the offensive after his supposed soft position on Quemoy and Matsu, put out the provocative statement about strengthening the Cuban fighters for freedom.”[34] The controversial press release, crafted late one evening in the Biltmore Hotel in New York City by speechwriter Richard Goodwin, said “We must attempt to strengthen the non-Batista, democratic, anti-Castro forces in exile, and in Cuba itself, who offer eventual hope of overthrowing Castro.” According to Goodwin, the policy statement was not shown to the sleeping Kennedy because of the late hour; it was the only public statement of the campaign not approved by the candidate.[35]

          4. Leslie,

            I have no doubt that John Kennedy didn’t help his position in 1961 when he used the rhetoric of assisting the Cubans in 1960. I also think Bobby, who was very strongly anti-communist at that time, must have exerted an influence. Bobby changed his tune quite a bit between “The Enemy Within” and 1968.

    3. People who voice different opinions than you may hold are not idiots. They’re Americans too. History should be debated. Use reason, not histrionics.

      1. Your perception of facts may differ from others. That’s my point. Vietnam began in the 1950’s so obviously Kennedy didn’t begin it. That’s not the issue. There is no reason to call others idiots because of a different viewpoint.

    4. In no way, shape or form was JFK more “right” (meaning hawkish, hardline anti-communist, some would say “imperiliast”) than Nelson Rockefeller. I suggest reading Jim DiEugenio on this. JFK’s rhetoric at times may have been this way, but when the rubber hit the road, war hawks in CIA/military were very unhappy with JFK who they considered an appeaser, a traitor and someone riding Caroline’s tricyle when they needed a man on a horse.

      Nelson Rockefeller tells JFK to use TACTICAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS
      against North Vietnam in 1961!

      [James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, pp. 321-322]

      “John Kennedy was turning. The key to understanding Kennedy’s presidency, his assassination, and our survival as a species through the Cuban Missile Crisis is that Kennedy was turning towards peace. The signs of his turning are the seeds of his assassination.
      Marcus Ruskin worked in the Kennedy Administration as an assistant to National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy. Not long after the Bay of Pigs, Raskin witnessed an incident in the Oval Office that tipped him off to Kennedy’s deep aversion to the use of nuclear weapons.
      During the president’s meeting with a delegation of governors, New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, expressing his irritation at the guerilla tactics of the Viet Cong, said “Why don’t we use tactical nuclear weapons against them?”
      Raskin, watching Kennedy closely, was in a position to see what happened next. The president’s hand began to shake uncontrollably.
      JFK said simply, “You know we’re not going to do that.”
      But it was the sudden shaking hand that alerted Raskin to Kennedy’s profound uneasiness with nuclear weapons, a mark of conscience that would later turn into a commitment to disarmament”

      [James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, pp. 321-322]

  11. FWIW, I’ve thought Kennedy was dangerous to the PTB because he believed and behaved as if he was beholden to no one.

    He was like no other president in this way.

    What he failed to grasp adequately were his vulnerabilities. I believe he knew he was dealing with dangerous characters (LBJ, Curtis LeMay, Allen Dulles, Sam Giancana, et al). But I don’t think he could have appreciated how his own brother and wife (for their own reasons) would not stand up for him and insist on a full and honest investigation into his death.

    Kennedy was a king. Kings get to do what they want. Macbird.

    1. Robert Kennedy had an inkling of where to look into the assassination of his brother, had he made it to the presidency. Barack Obama doesn’t have the same level of knowledge, in my opinion. I think Obama’s political instincts are mostly right, but his bending to the right wing in the interest of ‘compromise’ (when Congress is bought and owned by the special interests made worse under Citizen’s United) means he cannot be very effective. Robert Kennedy was a rare breed. He knew from working with his older brother how the power lay, but where his vulnerabilities lay were in his sexual indiscretions and in his inability to establish a counter weight (base of power) to go against the military, intelligence and certain sectors of corporate power. In that sense, he was outgunned (no pun intended).

      1. JSA:
        ” . . . his inability to establish a counter weight (base of power) to go against the military, intelligence and certain sectors of corporate power.”

        This was and is Obama’s achilles heel as well. If you compare either of them to the likes of Lyndon Johnson who knew the back doors of every piece of legislation, every military brass, every corporate board room, they pale in comparison.

        In spite of Kennedy’s family legacy in Boston and the Irish card in Chicago, he did not have much to rely upon by way of insider support. And he must have encountered a good deal of jealousy as well.

        The sad thing about Obama is that he does not seem to be aware that he has been handled.

      2. I agree. Kennedy didn’t have as big a base of power as the media stories about the ‘Kennedy Dynasty’ would have the public believe. I also wonder how things might have been a bit different had Joe Kennedy Sr. not had the stoke when he did, in December of 1961. Imagine if he had been able to talk, fully function, etc. in 1963. He would have done something I would imagine, to try to track down what happened. Bobby would have worked with him. It wouldn’t have been the same, I’m sure of it.

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