My three JFK theories

Lisa Pease writes with an insistent question:

“Either you believe JFK was killed by more than one person deliberately, you believe he was killed by more than one person by accident, or he was killed by a lone nut. Which is it, Jeff?

“No matter what you say, you DO have a theory. You don’t claim to know it’s true, but you HAVE a theory. Don’t pretend you don’t.”

I’m not pretending, Lisa! I don’t have a JFK theory. I have three of them.

Forgive my pedantry but let’s start with, which offers two definitions of  “theory.”

“1. a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity.”

Since the events of November 22, 1963, were unique and not a “class of phenomena,” this definition is not relevant.
“2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.”
I have three such JFK theories.

Theory #1: the “lone nut” theory hypothesizes that President Kennedy was killed by one man for no reason who was then killed by another man for no reason.

When I subject this theory to experimentation, I find some supportive evidence but not nearly enough to confirm it.

Theory #2 is the “national security faction” theory: that JFK was killed by enemies of his policies in the national security agencies of his own government who arranged for the blame to fall on the “lone nut.”

When I subject this theory to experimentation I find more supportive evidence but not enough to identify the intellectual authors of the hypothesized plot. So I cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any one person was guilty of conspiracy.

Theory #3 is the “wrongful death” theory: In this perspective, I look at the case of the murdered president as a civil, not a criminal, matter; not as a homicide, but as a wrongful death. One can argue that this approach is evasive and/or sophistic but it is method of judgment well established in American law.

I am not looking to prove “conspiracy,” a criminal charge that requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt for verification. I am looking to assign responsibility for a “wrongful death,” a civil verdict based on the preponderance of evidence.

When I subject this theory to verification, I find the preponderance of evidence shows that up to a dozen senior CIA undercover operations officers reporting to deputy director Richard Helms and counterintelligence chief James Angleton may be guilty of negligence in the wrongful death of JFK.

To me this is the most plausible theory of JFK’ s death but its “status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation.” Thus I cannot report it as a matter of actual fact or exclude the other two theories from consideration.

48 thoughts on “My three JFK theories”

  1. Looking at the JFK hit as a military/intelligence “necessary tactical operation,” means it was a vital prerequisite to install a regime compliant on Vietnam (the “old guard”) and constrain the passing of the torch to a “new generation” opposed to the philosophical mindset and agenda of the Cold War prosecutors. Superimpose this thesis upon the gun play in Dallas and one can see the “professional” mechanics in operation during the coup d’etat. When you dismiss Oswald as the “lone nut” and override Ruby as the disassociated “police groupie,” you free the conspiracy from the confines of the “official story” of the Warren Omission.
    Oswald did not shoot Kennedy because, as Chief Jesse Curry stated, police “could not place Oswald in the window firing a rifle.” Ruby, on the other hand, had bonafide underworld/gambling/gun running/drug connections, police connections, news paper/radio/TV connections, and union connections – all of which ‘the mafia'(and intelligence and the wealthy),in 1963 Dallas, influenced in certain ways.
    Allen Dulles, William Harvey and James Angleton, as plotting protagonists, had the motive , means, and opportunity to orchestrate a plot to assassinate JFK. Dulles as de facto head of the CIA; Harvey as head of ZR/RIFLE (Executive Action);and, Angleton as head of Counter-Intelligence, the latter both (technically) under Richard Helms.
    It is documented fact JFK shifted responsibility for armed covert incursions to the military, from the CIA; however, Kennedy was, as Commander-in-Chief, the top of the pyramid. The JCS may have perceived that JFK sought to do to them what he did to the heads of the CIA (fired Dulles, Cabell, and Bissel). We know the interlocking connections between personnel in the Military/Intelligence/Business/Mafia/Cuban anti-communist camps, such as the JCS, A.Dulles, J.E Hoover, Wm.Harvey, H.L. Hunt, Wm Paley, John and Nelson Rockefeller, Prescott and George H.W.Bush, Santos Trafficante,Carlos Marcellos,H. Diaz, and Tony Cuesta, to name a few.In these circles, the anti-communist “cover” provided them with motive, means, and opportunity to engage in a “necessary tactical operation” which was the elimination of a head of state acting against their collective interests.

  2. All this talk about the CIA “monitoring” Oswald is lost on me. It seems obvious they were using him as a pawn in some Cold War propaganda and counter-intelligence program, especially with the revelation that DRE was backed by the CIA and that Joannides or someone from the CIA made damn sure there was a very public altercation involving Oswald just three months prior to the assassination (with a radio interview, no less!).

    The fact that Oswald, an avowed communist who rejected his country, was allowed back in the country from the Soviet Union during an era when others were still blacklisted for alleged communist ties tells you the U.S. intelligence community thought he could serve an important function.

    I know I’ve seen previous conspiracy books that made a convincing case the Oswald name was used by anti-Castro/CIA groups even during his absence.

    And then they bring back the one agent who managed DRE to liaison with the HSCA during the 70s? That was balls.

    This was more than, “Oops, we should’ve known he was dangerous.”

    It’s either, “We were using him as an operative for our little Cold War games and here he ends up killing the president,” or “He was the perfect patsy we planned for all along.”

    Great job with finally getting the mainstream news media to question the official story, and great site.

  3. A fourth theory: Oswald served as the patsy, and had been handled for a number of years by elements with deep ties to government intelligence including certain operatives within the CIA and military, semi-private interests related to both, and a faction of White Russians, all aligned with the rabid anti-communist agenda leading up to 11.22.63. In order to serve as the patsy, Oswald had to be positioned in the depository, which begs the question: who positioned him there? The only reason researchers follow Oswald’s history so intensely is because he was arrested in the Texas Theatre where he had ‘fled’ after leaving the depository. If that had not happened, he would be nothing more than a footnote in the assassination narrative as an employee at the depository. His activity in New Orleans for instance would never have been exposed. All suspicion is based on his arrest, and as ludicrous as that may sound, it is actually central to the 50-year-old debate because it is plausible that the cover up began at that moment – his role as patsy having been fulfilled – and that the assassins escaped because of his arrest. From that perspective, it’s not essential to know that Oswald was involved with the DRE in New Orleans in 1962 (in fact it is peripheral) unless it relates to his presence in the depository; it is not essential to know all there is to know about his years in the military, in Japan, or later in Russia – why the Russians allowed him to work in the radio facility in Minsk, why he was allowed him to reclaim his US citizenship – unless it explains his presence in the depository in direct proximity to the scene of the crime. Who or what are the common denominator(s) in those questions, beginning with how did Oswald end up in the depository, and working back. The way forward in the investigation and in proving any theory is backward – return to the scene of the crime, incorporate what is now known as fact, determine how Oswald was set up and by whom. An excellent starting point is a return to P.D. Scott’s earliest research, followed by Dick Russell’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” As Lisa Pease has intimated, it is worrisome to think that a steamroller is on the move.

    1. S.R. "Dusty" Rohde

      An interesting theory as it would explain a number of events…

      1) Oswalds note to Hunt, suggesting he was working with others, but in the dark to what his role was to be.
      2) Oswalds desire to return to the Soviet Union prior to the assassination. (perhaps becoming suspicious and fearful of what was taking place around him and wanting to get out before it was too late, (seeing the return to the Soviet Union as his only safe way out). Also a probabl cause of arguements between LHO and Marina, (LHO perhaps becoming more desperate as the date drew near).
      3) LHO leaving his money and personal effects behind at the Paine home with Marina the day of the assassination), resigning himself to his fate, realizing he cannot control what may happen.
      4) Explaining why LHO pulled a pistol at the theatre, being fearful of who he could trust, (knowing he had been betrayed possibly by the CIA or intelligence agencies who he thought he could trust). Also explaining why he would say to the effect, (well, they will know who I am now). Again suggestive that he thought he was part of a clandestine operation, possibly CIA.

      Was the DRE peripheral? Or was it planned? The members of DRE went to Oswald and then started a fight, not the other way around. Then they have the debate, was the debate a deliberate attempt to try to make LHO angry and display violent outburts? A display that would further simplify his framing as a “patsy”.

      If LHO was a lone gunman, and there was no conspiracy, why the fake Bethesda autopsy photo’s? Yes, they are fake, forgeries, provable, why?

      The reason the Lone Assassin theory doesn’t wash, is because of all of the attempts to hide evidence, alter evidence, lies to investigators, agencies witholding evidence under the guise of National Security, not to mention a good deal of evidence that indicates shots were fired from the grassy knoll as well as the TSBD.

      Can the Lone Assassin theory be ruled out completely? No, not if one is to be objective. But it is highly unlikely as evidence grows to the contrary.

  4. The “lone nut theory” was pressed by Hoover, Johnson, Dulles et al, yet it contains many fatal flaws. It is impossible that Oswald purchased and owned the weapon, that he was in the position alleged, that he could have (or anyone in said position could have) fired the entry wound in the throat or in the temple, the latter causing the occipitoparietal avulsive wound described by eighty-one persons.

    You state, “I find the preponderance of evidence shows that up to a dozen senior CIA undercover operations officers reporting to deputy director Richard Helms and counterintelligence chief James Angleton may be guilty of negligence in the wrongful death of JFK.”

    As the “lone nut” did not do it, some number of persons did, and as the agencies charged with protection and detection were intentionally derelict in failing to pursue the true perpetrators, they become accessories to the crime and ought to bear the consequences.

    That they do not proves the power of their position to obfuscate and intimidate.

    John F. Kennedy did not die of natural causes, or suffer an accidental death, nor was he the victim of the mythic lone gunman.

    The HSCA arrived at a conspiracy conclusion. Lane brought a jury to such a conclusion. The behavior of CIA vis-a-vis the only legal action in the murder is documented in Jim DiEugenio’s Destiny Betrayed second edition as extralegal, obstruction of justice, suborning perjury, tampering with evidence, and more.

    A half century on justice is denied by a security state which has stonewalled every authorized investigation. The role of Joannides in the work of the HSCA comes to mind.

    We discuss minutiae on this side of a Great Wall of National Security.

    1. What is an occipitoparietal avulsive wound?
      How is it impossible that Oswald purchased or owned the weapon?
      What entry wounds in the throat or temple?
      What jury did Lane bring a conclusion to?

  5. I used to believe James Jesus Angleton and William King Harvey piggy-backed a sinister plot to kill President Kennedy upon authorized operations which were ostensibly directed against Castro, and that they orchestrated several overlapping but compartmental plans from which a coordinated physical attack upon President Kennedy (arranged by William King Harvey) and a diabolically clever incrimination of the sadly disposable low-level asset, Lee Harvey Oswald (arranged by James J. Angleton) made news that altered History. I now feel that this hypothetical partnership between two infamous CIA executives may be be correct but was not necessarily the result of a collaborative agreement between them. At a cautious minimum, I believe that by examining these particular figures, their careers, and their operational resources, we are focusing upon an important center relevant to these investigations.

    I’ve also come to recognize the importance of the Dallas 488th Intel unit, the immediate post assassination transmission of a physical description of “Oswald” which, in fact, described quite accurately an interesting figure named Robert Webster (search Bill Simpich, Robert Webster) whose identity seems to have been intentionally blurred with that of LHO by CIA executives, and what is described here by Professor Peter Dale Scott:

    “A more ominous provocation in 1963 was that of Army Intelligence, one unit of which in Dallas did not simply withhold information about Lee Harvey Oswald, but manufactured false intelligence that seemed designed to provoke retaliation against Cuba. I call such provocations phase-one stories, efforts to portray Oswald as a Communist conspirator (as opposed to the later phase-two stories, also false, portraying him as a disgruntled loner). A conspicuous example of such phase-one stories is a cable from the Fourth Army Command in Texas, reporting a tip from a Dallas policeman who was also in an Army Intelligence Reserve unit…The cable was not an isolated aberration. It was supported by other false phase-one stories from Dallas about Oswald’s alleged rifle, and specifically by concatenated false translations of Marina Oswald’s testimony, to suggest that Oswald’s rifle in Dallas was the one he had owned in Russia.”

    At Professor Scott’s urging, I am currently seeking as much information as possible about Col. Frank Brandstetter, Jack Crichton, Philippe Thyraud de Vosjoli, a French intelligence (SDECE) agent who was an associate of James Angleton’s, and the tantalizing story of a French assassin named Jean Souetre, whose presence in Dallas at the time of the assassination may be the most intriguing fact of all.

    1. Alan,

      I would suggest using the link within the NARA web site provided by Mr. Morley. By searching the Term Jean Souetre with a Restriction 4, some records are listed that may be helpful. However, the Opening Criteria of Indefinite seems concerning along with the still current restrictions. Based upon this, it would appear that your question to learn more about this indiviual is relevant.

  6. This is a cop-out, as I expected. Either you believe one man alone shot Kennedy or two or more people did. If one man, that doesn’t negate a conspiracy, as the shooter could have been serving an agenda. But anyone who argues only one person shot the president simply isn’t up on the evidence. So that leaves only the possibility that two or more were involved. Given the fact that the crime is still being deliberately covered up by intelligence assets in the media, that should clue any honest person in to what happened and why they don’t want you to know.

    The “accidentally let it happen” theory presupposes someone “let” Oswald kill JFK – but there’s actually not a shred of viable evidence that Oswald killed Kennedy. No evidence that he ordered the gun (all that evidence falls apart under examination), no evidence he fired a rifle that day (no credible eye witness account, no nitrate on his cheek – an act the FBI was unable to duplicate using the same kind of rifle until they used a two-man scenario – one cleaning the rifle between shots.)

    If you want to propose that some unknown lone nut set up Oswald and the CIA and FBI looked the other way, there’s no good evidence to support that.

    The best evidence in this case is the CIA’s lies about Oswald to other agencies of the government less than a month before the assassination, framing in advance. As Dan so expertly noted above, that is clearly indicative of an intelligence operation, and John Newman, and experienced intelligence officer, said the best explanation for that is that the CIA was setting Oswald up as part of their plot to kill Kennedy.

    The testability of a theory depends on its predictive value. I predict that a number of CIA shills will tell us with more fake science and deliberately dishonest presentations that Oswald, alone, killed Kennedy. In a couple of months, I’m certain that theory will have proven correct. And why wouldn’t it, if the CIA killed Kennedy. They have the most to lose by the truth coming out.

    1. I agree with you that when you look at the evidence it’s hard not to find a conspiracy to kill JFK, but whatever Jeff Morley believes doesn’t really matter to me. I’m glad that he is collecting information and posting it on this blog, and that he has tried to unlock the remaining CIA files related to the event and to people in question from that period at CIA. It’s patently OBVIOUS that the only reason CIA is sitting on these files is that they hold some pretty damning information about that agency.

      I think Morley is trying to appeal to more than one camp, and be kind of an unsided, “Go-To” place for researchers. If I were he I wouldn’t even have revealed my theory. I’d just keep putting up information. But I’m not him. Anyway, at a time when we have only made our security state much more bloated and out of control since 9/11, it seems like a VERY daunting task to get any secret police or intelligence assets to release anything that they don’t want to. The vast Homeland Security state bureaucracy owns the show. It’s a sad state of affairs for historians trying to get inconvenient facts released.

          1. There isn’t any. That is just another wild, unsubstantiated claim detached from reality. If Ruby was such a great asset and such a well connected mobster what was he doing running two-bit strip clubs with no life beyond being a police groupie? In Dallas no less?

          2. H.P. Albarelli Jr.

            In all sincerity, there is no evidence at all that Jack Ruby was a CIA asset, if, of course, you’re employing the word as in Agency parlance. The CIA had many assets and officers running guns into Cuba. They hardly needed Jack Ruby for this. That he may have unknowingly interfaced with CIA assets, and FBN handlers, are good possibilities, but even that evidence is still iffy and demands further investigation.

  7. The FBI analysis of the bullet strike to the Main street curb that wounded eyewitness James Tague published in the Warren Report proves Theory #1 false. The absence of copper residue from a full metal jacket bullet indicate a weapon other than the Carcano produced that bullet strike. The Italian Carcano only fired full metal jacketed ammo.

    It’s ironic that the Warren Report declared it found no evidence of a conspiracy yet debunked it’s own report by publishing this evidence of conspiracy in the James Tague bullet strike FBI analysis.


    Whether Mr. Morley can acknowledge it or not, his very livelyhood depends on his (Morley) ability to color within the lines. Lisa has defended Morley’s work to me more than once, and I agree that Morely’s work is excellent and important.

    I believe that the JFK assassination was orchestrated at the hightest levels, a joint decision between CIA and Joint Chiefs. LBJ and Hoover happy to go along. My point here is that Jefferson Morley could not say this if he wanted to; he would then join the ranks of the self-published and far too invisible.

    On the other hand, Lisa was right to press Morley for a decent response on “theory”. Mr Morley accepts Theory #3 as his most likely, but the correct one is Theory #2.”the “national security faction” theory: that JFK was killed by enemies of his policies in the national security agencies of his own government who arranged for the blame to fall on the “lone nut.””

    We all need to coalesce for the 50th anniversary, for the larger good of informing the public at this historic opportunity.

  9. Curious Jeff , IF the CIA ever releases the George Joannides CIA files , what is your THEORY of what they may hold ?

  10. Nathaniel Heidenheimer

    JFKfacts has had some very good posts, but re what you call Theory #2 the deck seems to have been stacked. By this I mean that there have been very few policy posts, i.e. relating to JFK’s foreign and domestic policies and the opposition that these policies may have generated.

    When it was announced that there would be a new vigilance against comments that were tangential to initial posts, it became very difficult to discuss policies as they relate to the assassination. In a way this mirrors the tyranny of the MSM. While nearly all of the outstanding new research, for example, on JFK and the Vietnam– from scholars such as Gareth Porter, David Kaiser, Howard Jones, Gordon Goldstein– tends to support John Newman’s view about JFK’s plans to leave Vietnam, it is books like Robert Dallek that will be front paged by the increasingly lifeless New York Times Book Review, and hence become official history. Other areas of policy, such as Cuba, Indonesia, Brazil, Congo, Laos and the Cold War itself show just as much difference between the views of JFK and the Cold War Consensus. But how can we discuss this– how can we flesh out the possibility of theory 2, if the initial posts are never about policy.

    It seems there is so much ammunition for that policy debate, but no public forum for the debate to happen. Given that this period is the last time a US president resisted wars of The National Security State, that is a very serious impoverishment of our history. Perhaps in the last two months some oxygen can be offered for this debate.

  11. It seems to me that the question regarding Theory 1 is not whether it can be proven, or whether the evidence is as strong as that for the other theories, but whether it can be *disproven.* If the evidence requires multiple participants, no matter who they might be, then Theory 1 is false. One of the vexing things about the assassination is that intelligent authors approach this question in radically different ways. For example, Josiah Thompson and Don Thomas seem convinced that the number and sequence of shots conclusively eliminate Theory 1. Yet David Kaiser seems to throw up his hands at the physical evidence, and he relies instead on witness accounts – Oswald at the Odio apartment, Oswald at the gun range, Oswald at the car dealership – to eliminate Theory 1. I’d be interested in your thoughts on this.

    On Theory 3, I cannot tell what level of culpability it would assign to Helms and Angleton. Are you talking about wrongful death in the actual, legal sense – a breach of legal duty that results in an unforeseen and unintended death, like goading Oswald to kill Castro, only to have him kill the President instead? Are you talking about a nonculpable act that ends up facilitating the assassination, like Forrest Sorrells ordering the bubbletop to be removed at Love Field? Or are you talking about something in between, like in Terry Gilliam’s movie “The Fisher King,” where Jeff Bridges’s character berates a caller on a radio show, only to goad him into a killing spree? These are all *very* different things.

  12. Mr. Morley writes:
    “. . . up to a dozen senior CIA undercover operations officers reporting to deputy director Richard Helms and counterintelligence chief James Angleton may be guilty of negligence in the wrongful death of JFK.
    To me this is the most plausible theory of JFK’ s death but its ‘status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation.” . . . ”

    Translation: Oswald acted alone. All of the evidence of a frontal shot (or shots) should be dismissed. It is possible that a bunch of CIA officers failed to understand that Oswald was a dangerous Nut who probably wanted to murder the president.

    Any theory has to explain and defend:
    -Secret Service performance.
    -FBI’s destruction of evidence, tampering with evidence and testimony, intimidation of witnesses and purposeful failure to pursue important leads.
    – CE399, in the context of well-documented research by Thompson and Aguilar and others.
    -CIA’s stonewalling and Veciana’s revelations about David Phillips.
    -Oswald’s impersonation in Mexico City.
    -Ida Dox’s depiction of the fatal headshot and why the autopsy prosectors failed to see it.
    -Significant evidence of shots from the front.
    -Ruby’s knowledge of FPCC just after Oswald’s arrest.

    I can easily list another hundred points. With respect to the government’s role in the assassination, it is impossible to reach a passive, innocent conclusion (Morely’s #3) when all the evidence is combined.

  13. S. R. "Dusty" Rohde

    The ability to recognize that evidence may weigh more in favor of one Theory versus another, does not necessarily imply you favor either. This is simply a form of recognition and acknowledgement. This is also called “objectivity”.
    To deny, ignore or choose to hide facts simply because they do not suit the theory one might prefer is personal prejudice and bias.
    An objective or responsible party would examine said evidence, and if found inconclusive, might continue to look for further evidence, in the most likely places indicated by previous evidence. This would be a logical and credible progression.
    Another person might choose to ignore such further examination, or hide, deny or ridicule any further examination or evidence. These acts however, would be easily defined as deceptive, dishonest and self-serving.

    Should we question the integrity of the Theory or the Theorist?

  14. Was there negligence? Of course there was negligence, just probably not for the time. JFK’s arrival and mixing at Love Field would never be tolerated today, the open car through an unsecured area would not happen. But in 1963 the general perception was that nobody was really going to shoot the President; despite the S.S. protection they never really anticipated a shot from high and above and had no plans to counter it. The S.S. concentrated on protecting from somebody in the crowd, somebody close enough to shoot a pistol – as which had happened with every prior Presidential assassination, which would happen with 3 future Presidential attempts, as would happen with 2 future Presidential candidates, as happened with two Roosevelts .
    Sure the FBI was negligent in not keeping an eye on Oswald after he threatened to take action if they ” didn’t leave ” his wife alone, although their was no prior evidence of Oswald reacting in a violent manner ( nobody knew about Walker). As for the CIA there is no evidence that they had contact with Oswald, only that they had access to his conversation with the FBI when he returned to the U.S. And frankly the CIA’s responsibility was not to track domestic individuals- that was ( and is) the FBI’s job.
    In the end JFK set the tone for security- which was basically nothing but the bare minimum. That attitude finally caught up with him; it is actually somewhat amazing that his reckless behavior previously did not lead to any adverse consequences- had they he probably would not have been so cavalier about his personal protection.

    1. Photon:

      You are wrong about the Secret Service not knowing or being able to anticipate a sniper assassination attempt.

      There was a plot to kill JFK in Chicago on 11/2/63 and in Tampa on 11/18/63. Both involved tall buildings, motorcades, slow turns, Cuban elements, potential patsies, and snipers.

      Sources: Edwin Black, The Chicago Plot article, 1975; Tampa Tribune, 11/23/63; Abraham Bolden, book and interviews; Vince Palamara’s website re articles quoting Secret Service protocol for tall building security; Thomas Arthur Vallee files at (many destroyed re Chicago plot by SS according to ARRB in 1995; others currently withheld at NARA).

      Take a look for yourself.

    2. For the sake of accuracy, the Secret Service received information on Nov. 11 from the Miami police about the threat information from Milteer- that a plan was in the works to shoot JFK with a high powered rifle from a tall building on a motorcade route. JFK’s trips to Tampa and Miami on Nov. 18 included additional security precautions against this threat- men with rifles were stationed on all overpasses and on all tall buildings in downtown and suburban Tampa. The Milteer threat was not acted upon in Dallas four days later.

      1. There was no motorcade in Miami.Your quote about men with rifles at all overpasses and all tall buildings in downtown and suburban Tampa is ludicrous- made with the hyperbole of conspiracy theorists who think that making an absolute claim makes it more plausible ( every witness said shot came from the front, it was impossible for Oswald to have owned the rifle, etc.). How many tall building were in Tampa in 1963? How many overpasses? Your quote is derived from the claim published of ” one motorcade observer” making a statement about riflemen at overpasses- an observer never identified nor documented. Like so many conspiracy “facts” that one comment got published somewhere, got picked up by a conspiracy buff, published and viola! It becomes an established fact having never been authenticated- just like the Guinn nonsense posted several weeks ago was based on a mistaken claim published in a long ago newspaper report that was regurgitated in conspiracy circles.
        If the security detail was so great in Tampa how did somebody get close enough to throw an object on the Secret Service detail car immediately behind the President? An object initially thought to be an explosive device?

        1. Still, there WAS a plot to kill JFK in Chicago, a fact which you have not and cannot refute. Therefore, your loose claims made about no prior plots found to kill the president in a motorcade are completely bogus.

        2. Photon – what happened in Chicago and what didn’t happen in Dallas have been extensively researched and citations and sources have been presented to you. But you, just as you did with the “Guinn nonsense”, refuse to expand your knowledge base and prefer just to wallow in denial. The “Guinn nonsense”, which you continue to insist was based on a newspaper story from August ’64, was actually sourced from internal FBI memos from February ’64. You were told that at least twice and presented the source and even the page number. Maybe you should go to a library one afternoon, or spend some time at, say, Vince Palamara’s website, and try to make a more informed response to the “ludicrous” “hyperbole” of the “buffs”.

        3. The information about stationing men with rifles along the motorcade in Tampa comes from the Final Survey Report filed by the Secret Service after the Tampa visit. This report was provided to the National Archives by one of the agents earlier this year, and released by the Archives.

        4. From the Secret Service Final Survey report for Tampa on Nov. 18: “All intersections along the route were controlled by uniformed police officers and these men were reinforced by motorcycle escort intersection control. The sheriff’s office secured the roofs of major buildings in the downtown and suburban areas. All underpasses were controlled by police and military units.”

        5. Apparently the information about the proposed Tampa attempt came from the authorities there, including the Chief of Police at the time. How many tall buildings there were, how many overpasses is meaningless. The authorities believed that there was a plot afoot to shoot the president and acted accordingly. There might not have been a motorcade in Miami (wasn’t it cancelled due to the threat?), there certainly was in Tampa. Records of the trip exist, as do comments from the local authorities there.

  15. I’m intrigued by theory #3, but at the same time I’m a little bit puzzled by the legalistic nature of the argument. Would it be possible to expand on that a little further for those like myself with a non-legal background?

    The counter-argument to theory #2 is a solid one. It’s an interesting theory, but in my view the question around identifying the authors with any level of certainty is a bit of a theory-killing problem. It seems to me that the reason a lot of writers have gravitated in this direction is something akin to “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”. There’s a lot of conjecture, interpretation and joining of dots, but nothing substantial enough in my view to prove the veracity of this theory.

    However, what we now know of the CIA’s interest and knowledge of Oswald could I think reasonably lead into an interesting discussion around theory #3 (if I understand the argument correctly). This is one of the few areas of the case where the ground has shifted over the years: understanding the extent to which the intelligence agencies were aware of and took an interest in Oswald.

    I’m not convinced that further investigation in this area will lead to revelations that Oswald was an agent or asset of any kind, nor that the CIA was behind the assassination. However, what I suspect may be the case is that the highest echelons of the CIA knew far, far more about Oswald and were monitoring him to a degree that has not been acknowledged.

    If I understand theory #3 correctly, that’s where I could see this line of investigation potentially leading. A much deeper and more nuanced understanding of what the CIA knew about Oswald.

    That in itself would not necessarily be proof of complicity, but perhaps could be evidence of something else. If I was to indulge for a moment in a bit of unsubstantiated and wild speculation: maybe something along the lines of an intelligence failure (basic negligence or an operational interest leading to negligence?) which was subsequently concealed for fear it would damage the CIA? That is of course pure speculation, not even a theory really, there’s no evidence I can think of to support it at this time.

    I’m highly curious what those remaining classified documents might tell us. I’ve been impressed by the work of Bill Simpich with the current primary source material as I mentioned here previously (one need not agree with all his conclusions, but at the same time I think his work is very good), and I can’t help but ponder what the remaining classified documents might yield if subjected to a similar level of careful and thoughtful examination.

  16. As the sharks bashing him at McAdams website circle & move in closer to Jeff I can’t help but notice his efforts for CIA transparency have placed him in a unique position of both prosecutor & defense.

    The information he seeks falls into the ranks of Simpson’s defense team searching for the racist sounding Fuhrman tapes. The closer he gets to the information he seeks, the more WC defenders see him as a prosecutor attacking their sacred belief in the Warren Report’s integrity & conclusions. This in turn brings about Internet attacks that Jeff finds himself defending himself again (back to the defense attorney).

    Jeff is one tough cookie to handle all of this in the gentlemanly manner he displays to all, even sharks that would devour him in a second.

  17. In my opinion, there are only two plausible explanations for the JFK assassination. Either Oswald:

    – acted alone and fired all the shots that struck JFK and governor Connolly


    – was framed by the unidentified conspirators who fired the shots that struck JFK and Governor Connolly

    Some people believe in the possibility that Oswald was willingly part of a conspiracy to kill JFK but didn’t know he was meant to be the fall guy or ‘Patsy’. I find this theory most difficult to believe because I don’t think Oswald would do so much to willingly incriminate himself and not suspect that he was being setup.

  18. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t lawyer Mark Lane already prove conspiracy when he got David Atlee Phillips to confess to such under cross examination (in Plausible Denial)?

    There are so many instances of changed evidence and forced testimony by the Warren Commission (Warren Omission?) that I’m personally leaning toward Theory #2 above. I think if everything was laid out on the table in an open, honest evaluation of what we already know, and if CIA would release the remaining files that they don’t seem to want to release, we could get the basic outline of what really happened in this case. It’s like a paleontologist having enough of the basic bone structure to know if a dinosaur walked, swam, was carnivorous or omnivorous, etc. even if he can’t find all of the fossilized bones in the skeleton. He still may not know exactly what color the dinosaur was, so he may never get all of the details. And of course he may never convince ALL of the people, especially the “evolution denier” camp of dissenters who don’t even think fossils in layers of rock disprove their religious belief in the “literal Bible” story.

  19. Jeff,

    A difference in the burden of proof required in criminal and civil cases in a court of law does not create two different theories as you seem to say. You have one theory that you are testing by two different standards of proof. A “conspiracy” is simply two people agreeing to take action, and actually taking some action, to achieve an unlawful purpose. If you are proving that in a criminal prosecution, you have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are proving it as a matter of civil law, let’s say in an intentional tort context, then you have to prove it by a preponderance of the evidence.

    This is kind of like a discussion that I had with others around 35 years ago. In the realm of intelligence operations, what is the level of proof necessary to consider it actionable intelligence. Intelligence operations are, per se, designed specifically to frustrate any proof beyond a reasonable doubt (the flip-side of “plausible deniability”, or, i.e., disinformation). Indeed, that is one of the earmarks of a good, well-designed and executed cover operation.

    So, rather than trying to evaluate these as a prosecuting attorney preparing a criminal prosecution, how would you evaluate your theories — what burden of proof would you apply — if you approach it as a counter-intelligence officer in the mid- to late-60’s evaluating the evidence to try to decide whether this had been a covert intelligence operation? I suggest to you that the standard of proof that would be applied is different from both beyond a reasonable doubt and preponderance of the evidence. And this actionable intelligence standard, that considers the unique features of covert operations, is the more appropriate standard to apply. That does not create a fourth theory, just a different approach to the evaluation of the available evidence.

    All that being said, it appears to me that you really have only one theory, expressed as two but each of the two is simply the negation of the other. In other words, one of your theories is that there was an intelligence conspiracy. The other, that it was lone nuts, is a negation of the first and vice versa. In any event, the deaths were “wrongful”, to use your terminology from your third approach. Maybe from an actionable intelligence approach, we could term the deaths “necessary”.

    1. A civil (as opposed to criminal) proceeding may consider whether tortuous conduct in negligent or intentional. Negligent conduct could involve simple negligence (failure to exercise ordinary care), gross negligence, or a reckless disregard for the health and safety of others.
      Divining intent can be a difficult matter. Yet it is done frequently with the use of circumstantial evidence. A civil conspiracy could involve a reckless disregard for others’ safety. For example, an auto manufacturer (Corvair? Unsafe at any speed?): The manufacturer determines from studies before production that the gas tank can be made safer in the event of a rear-end collision, but the modification would decrease profits. Calculating the decreased profits versus the costs of eventual wrongful death lawsuits over the next ten years, the manufacturer decides to market the car with the unsafe gas tank. In view of the level of knowledge and intent, this is something more than reckless disregard.
      Two scenarios: 1) The “CIA” (using the acronym here as a substitute for a number of individuals acting in concert but not on behalf of the agency per se) is suspicious of Oswald. They view him as a malcontent who had defected to Russia and has now visited the Cuban & Russian embassies in Mexico City. They want to keep an eye on him. In view of the sketchiness of their information, they don’t tell the FBI everything they know. Oswald shoots Kennedy. The CIA covers-up its pre-assassination knowledge of Oswald because they’ve botched their job and in so doing contributed to the crime of the century.
      2) A hard core group of high level officers in the military and intelligence fields view JFK as a threat to national security. They hire an expert marksman to hit Kennedy in Dallas and set up Oswald to take the fall. Oswald, “didn’t shoot anybody, no, sir.” Oswald does NOT get gunned down as a cop killer and somehow walks out of the Texas Theater alive. He says he’s a “patsy.” The intelligence component has to tap its mob connections to have Ruby kill Oswald.

    2. Dan: Your insight and clarifications are invaluable, and your last sentence is chilling: “Maybe from an actionable intelligence approach, we could term the deaths “necessary.”” When I began to consider that possibility some years ago, I realized that it could be the glue that held everything together; the decision to assassinate Kennedy was necessary, the planning and execution were necessary, and the cover up was “necessary.” And why “necessary” except to advance a very particular ideology (or to impede one) thus justifying the act; an ideology common to a large number of people would explain how the secret was so well kept by so many leading up to the assassination and following. It was “necessary” to a specific agenda; it was not a random act limited to policies relating to Cuba, or even Viet Nam; the assassination served a broader agenda and was therefore justified. This is a plausible theory, and once one goes down the road, one is compelled to contemplate that the political assassinations beginning with Patrice Lumumba and those following that of John Kennedy were connected, albeit loosely, and that all were ‘necessary’ to progressing a certain ideology and were therefore considered justified by some. Considering that sweeping possibility, one must then view the consequences of those assassinations – a slow erosion of democracy in its purest form (if transparency or lack thereof is any measure, let alone the unresolved murders of elected officials and political activists) replaced by a new western-centric form of ‘democracy’ designed to serve corporatism protected and advanced by the military apparatus.

    3. And here we sit, almost fifty years after the murder of JFK, debating esoteric points about the murder.

      Dan Hardway’s comment amplifies how well the plotters and JFK’s killers executed their plan: “Intelligence operations are, per se, designed specifically to frustrate any proof beyond a reasonable doubt (the flip-side of ‘plausible deniability’, or, i.e., disinformation). Indeed, that is one of the earmarks of a good, well-designed and executed cover operation.”

      The conspirators left an elegantly complex moat of deep, dark, thick, stinking mud for all to cross before reaching the gates of truth.

      Moreover, the book “Farewell America” by James Hepburn (author’s name alleged to be a pseudonym) offers another amplified reality for all who seek to solve the mystery of JFK’s murder: “President Kennedy’s assassination was the work of magicians. It was a stage trick, complete with accessories and false mirrors, and when the curtain fell the actors, and even the scenery, disappeared.”

      The conspirators’ plan to muddy the waters far beyond discernible, provable elements–meeting or exceeding proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and/or beyond a preponderance of empirical evidence–has worked exceptionally well.

      And here we sit, almost fifty years after November 22, 1963, engaged in repetitive discourse about conspiratorial theories that attempt pinpoint explanations for the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

      Yes, they were magicians.

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