Who first asked if the CIA was involved in JFK’s assassination?

Mark Lane
Mark Lane

It was the Robert F. Kennedy, the president’s brother, notes Mark Lane, author of “Rush to Judgment,” one of the first books criticizing the Warren Commission report. In a speech today at the Duquesne Univerisity JFK conference, Lane recounted that on the day JFK was killed, RFK asked CIA director John McCone if agency personnel were involved. McCone said no.

Lane’s work has been subject of much criticism but he is correct on this point.

Lane also noted that former president Harry Truman connected the CIA to JFK’s assassination in late 1963, long before any JFK conspiracy theorists had done so.  In a piece written for the Washington Post on December 22, 1963, Truman called for the abolition of the CIA.

“This quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue – and subject for cold war enemy propaganda,” wrote Truman who had overseen the creation of the CIA in 1947.

Truman said he knew the first two directors of the CIA, Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg and Allen Dullesk, and knew them to be “men of the highest character, patriotism and integrity.” He pointedly added he could only assume the same about “all those who continue in charge.”

He said the CIA’s “operational duties” should “be terminated.”

While Truman never mentioned JFK’s assassination, there is little doubt that his views on the CIA were prompted by Kennedy’s murder.


78 thoughts on “Who first asked if the CIA was involved in JFK’s assassination?”

  1. M.Lane lied about and manipulated every witness from Helen Markham on down…a proven liar. Look folks, Oswald left the building after the shooting (leaving HIS rifle behind) the ONLY one to do so. Went and got his pistol, shot a cop in front of eye witnesses and tried to shoot another one when they arrested him after he sneaked into the theater. THESE are the REAL facts of the case. His own brother said he did it ! Guilty Guilty Guilty. Period. Innocent men don’t shoot and then attempt to shoot cops and they don’t say “hmmm, the Pres. has been murdered right in front of my work…I think I’ll go to a movie ! You’ve been conned ! The truth has already been told !

  2. Photon, the assassination was done in public for one reason: to pin the blame on a pro-Castro activist so that Castro (and possibly the KGB via the Mexico City incident) could be implicated and a new invasion of Cuba would hopefully follow. Some of the plotters may even have hoped for a preemptive nuclear strike on the USSR. This didn’t happen because LBJ, Hoover and the WC decided not to start WWIII and kill 40 million Americans.

    7/20/1961 At a National Security Council Meeting, the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Gen. Lemnitzer and CIA director Allen Dulles presented JFK with a plan for a preemptive nuclear attack on the Soviet Union “in late 1963, preceded by a period of heightened tensions.”

    Interesting timing, isn’t it? The US still had an overwhelming advantage in nuclear missiles at that time, but the window was closing fast, and the Dr. Strangeloves in the government desperately wanted a preemptive strike.

  3. Probably,others asked the question before RFK did.Only a few hours before – and only among themselves. Who likely first considered CIA involvement? Senior CIA officers themselves.

    1. Possibly. And that brings us back to a delineation of what and who we mean by “The CIA.” I think there were three factions within the agency, with a certain overlap.

        1. Have you studied the record of The Pond … how it was passed from intelligence, to the Pentagon, back to the State Department, and then hung in limbo for a while? It is but one example of machinations among various power centers during the Cold War, and there is sufficient reason to think that there were similar power struggles for appropriations within the CIA in the early ’60’s. (are you suggesting that the CIA was one homogenous organization, everyone marching in lock step?) The Truth of John Kennedy’s assassination is far stranger than any fiction that has been written about it.

  4. If you think that in the year that Christine Keeler destroyed the British Government that JFK could have survived the public release of his relationship with Ellen Rometsch you are delusional.
    If the public got word that the President was fooling around with a Stasi agent as she was presumed to be he would have been forced from office in days. And if word got out that his brother the Attorney General deported her to cover up the affair you would have seen a crisis that would have made Watergate look like a birthday party. Remember, at the time JFK was not the icon or martyr he became after the assassination. His support would have collapsed in days and RFK’s political career would have ended. Remember this was 1963, when Nelson Rockefeller’s path to the Republican Presidential nomination was derailed more by the fact that he divorced his wife to marry Happy than any real ideological issues.

    1. But still, there’s no real evidence placing Oswald on the 6th floor of the TSBD with a gun in his hand. And no explanation why top officials of the US government were declaring Oswald the sole assassin with no accomplices within an hour or two of his arrest.

    2. This is tantamount to accusing a victim of actively participating in their own abuse. Reading between the lines you seem to suggest that Kennedy’s amorality justified his murder? Maybe you could clarify and/or elaborate on that?

      1. No, what I am suggesting is that the whole concept that the CIA, FBI, Secret Service, etc had to set up a vast conspiracy to assassinate JFK is irrational when a single letter to Drew Pearson with cooperation from said agencies would have brought down JFK.
        The same goes for the Mafia. Who knew more about JFK’s relationship with Judith Exner than Sam Giancana? Why invite the destruction of the Commision when they could have gotten JFK through her. Remember, in the Mafia plotting to kill politicians resulted in the plotters getting whacked.

        1. Photon, If I understand what you are suggesting, the Mafia wanted Kennedy dead as much as did a far more insidious collective within out burgeoning democracy; Mafia had access to Kennedy through Judith Exner and could have had her murder him without the grandstanding in Dallas?

          I consistently refer to Vince Salandria’s hypothesis that the assassination in Dallas was staged to have the extraordinary psychological impact it had on the greatest number of citizens. Judith slipping Kennedy a “mickey” would not have produced a 50-year investigation.

        2. The single letter would have put the country unprepared for such sex scandals into an uproar. It would have led to a tremendous sense that the U.S. was leaderless and out of control at the worst possible time as info was leaked and public reaction gauged. It would have dragged on and also dragged an unsure media into it. If JFK wanted revenge he could have pushed the Baker scandal to get back at LBJ. Sheer chaos in Washington and by extension the whole country at the height of the Cold War. Everyone was vulnerable to scandal including LBJ and if the goal was to keep American strong and focused then the seamless transition to LBJ via a lone nut assassination was the best route.

    3. Photon: You keep mentioning potential JFK scandal material but you ignore the reality. LBJ was part of the Bobby Baker scandal unraveling in late 1963. That one was closing in on the Vice President. This is no delusion. Rocky wasn’t just derailed by divorce, he was derailed because the GOP split occurred between hard right Republicans and Eastern establishment Republicans. Many of the Goldwater or former Reagan Republicans were ready to bolt and move the party in a new direction. They failed in 1964 but ultimately prevailed by the late 1970’s. Ironically Goldwater moderated in his older years, after he went out to appear on The Dean Martin Show in October, you remember—-when you said he never left Washington, D.C.?

      1. What does any of that have to do with the President of the United States having a relationship with a former Young Communist who was possibly involved with the State Security Service of the DDR? Right- nothing.

        1. Photon, I’m trying to understand and respect your thought pattern: certain of Kennedy’s behavior, combined with your own understanding of how the intelligence community works, lead you to believe that Kennedy ‘deserved’ to die because he was not only unfaithful to his wife, but he was a potential target for blackmail and treasonous behavior? Is that close to what inspires you to insist that Oswald – and correct me if I’m wrong – hated Kennedy for his philandering, and spared the nation the possibility of careless “pillow talk” by our Commander in Chief, thus exposing us all to communist takeover? So Oswald decided that Kennedy had to die. Judith Exner didn’t do it – and for whatever reason the Mafia decided that wasn’t necessary … but Oswald did?

          1. Where do you get that I ever thought that Kennedy deserved to die? That is slander.
            You seem to be unable to accept that events may not have transpired as you think they did, your invention of a motive for Oswald to kill based on his philandering is totally ridiculous, because outside of Washington circles nobody had any idea that JFK wasn’t the good Catholic boy and Boy Scout that had been sold to the public “like cornflakes” as Joe Kennedy put it. Most people in Washington at the time probably didn’t care what JFK did between the sheets as long as nobody looked too hard. Even Ben Bradlee didn’t want to believe the stories until he read Exner’s book and she published the same telephone number that Bradlee used to speak privately with JFK. So how could Oswald possibly know? Trying to make the facts fit the theory never is a way to get to the truth.

  5. There was never any need to murder JFK to get him out of the way and out of office. There certainly was never any need to go through the Rube Goldberg setup as advocated by JSA and so many conspiracy theorists who forget the simple rule-KISS.
    To remove JFK never required any assassination, nor any violence of any kind.

    1. It’s not Rube Goldberg Photon. The simple rule that those who play hardball use isn’t KISS; it’s KILL. Only when you kill someone (Patrice Lamumba, Castro, Kennedy, Lincoln, Caesar)—do you really make sure you get rid of them.

    2. (1) Some of JFK’s philandering was known to insiders before the election. Furthermore his powerful father had accumulated important enemies – and questionable friends – during his lifetime. Why didn’t Nixon, one of the dirtiest political players of modern times, dump the dirt during the election campaign? [One of the reasons is political blowback, but there are many others.]
      (2) The assassination was supposed to provoke a full invasion of Cuba and perhaps war with the USSR. Simply ‘smearing’ JFK out of office would not accomplish this goal.
      (3) The Kennedys still had a year to go. Successful rapprochement with Cuba and/or the Soviets would be harder to unwind once initiated. From the MIC point of view, how much foreign policy damage could the Kennedy’s inflict during another year in office?
      (4) Perhaps the assassins so hated the Kennedys that they wanted to make an unforgettable point of it.

      No one ever came up with a credible motive for Oswald’s alleged murder of JFK. And proponents of the official version eagerly defend Ruby as ‘just another’ Lone Nut. Why don’t WC fans demand the highest standard of proof for their side of the issue?

  6. Can anyone offer another event or issue that spurred Truman to write this editorial at that specific time? I haven’t run in to any other interpretation as of yet.

    Jim DiEugenio’s writing on this issue in his new edition of ‘Destiny Betrayed’ is extremely interesting. Apparently Allen Dulles took umbrage with Truman’s editorial and found time to confront Truman about it AND lie about his meeting in a memo for the CIA records.

  7. The suspicious behaviour of the CIA certainly needs to be explained.

    Why would they mislead both the WC and HSCA by not informing them of their sponsorship of the DRE?
    Why would they put forward George Joannides as liason for documents to the HSCA without declaring his role in 1963?
    Why send the Oct 10 cable to their colleagues in Mexico knowing full well that it was not true?

    And why, 50 years later, illegally withold files that are JFK assassination related?

  8. Money, photon, money. That and looking at the very real possibility of an 8 year RFK presidency and how it would affect those with the most to lose.

    1. An 8 year RFK Presidency? Would this have followed an 8 year JFK Presidency? When you say the latter was a “very real possibility”, what do you base that claim on?

      Blaming it all on “those with the most to lose” is an inadequate explanation. It absolves the theorist from having to establish detailed motives or causation, name any names, and thus provide a detailed explanation. It’s simply enough to evoke the spectre of “those”. This is not really persuasive.

      The challenge with the money hypothesis is that you need to find a credible motive on the part of “those” (I’m assuming military/intelligence/industry/etc.) by explaining why JFK and RFK presented a threat and were likely to enact extraordinary changes that would have altered forever the power, money and prospects of those parties. Unless the Kennedy’s had an undisclosed intention to completely rearrange the American military, intelligence and industrial landscape I don’t see a lot of historical evidence for an imminent and comprehensive disempowerment of all those groups. Judging by his policies, JFK was really pretty conservative by the standards of his time and ours.

      On the topic of money, JFK in his State of the Union address in 1963 proposed wide-ranging tax cuts that were enacted after his death in the Revenue Act of 1964. This reduced the top marginal tax rate from 91% to 70% in 1965 (JFK proposed 65% in the ’63 SotU address) and cut the corporate tax rate by 4%. Ok, so this was aimed at the demand rather than the supply side, but the goal was to boost economic activity. Not much of a threat to “those with the most to lose”.

      1. D. Olmens, the tax cut was not as significant a threat as the perceived cuts to military adventure that JFK told his aides he was doing. The Vietnam war was a huge boon to the military-industial complex. My dad worked for that—he told me about all the money it represented. Don’t kid yourself. JFK was drawing down in Vietnam, refused to go into Cuba twice (in 1961 and then in late 1962), and to further piss off the brass at JCS, he pushed for and passed a partial nuclear test ban in the summer of 1963. I don’t know if JFK could have dismantled CIA, but he might have scaled them back to just intelligence gathering function as Harry Truman wrote should be done (see his Washington Post opinion piece from December of 1963 here:

        You speak of blaming others as a flawed way to go about theorizing. I think you can certainly apply this logic to the “Communists may have been behind the JFK assassination” that LBJ tried to use. I also think it’s irresponsible to claim that Oswald shot the President for certain when real research reveals that there is NO PROOF that Oswald was actually on the 6th floor at the time of the shooting. It’s entirely appropriate to look at this assassination as one that very likely was a conspiracy of more than one person.

        1. “perceived cuts to military adventure that JFK told his aides he was doing.”

          Perceived? Told? Comments aren’t policy. There needs to be an actual policy of some kind or at least some actions to confirm real intent.

          “JFK was drawing down in Vietnam”

          This is debatable. If you read history books other than those written by conspiracy researchers, you’ll find mixed views on this question. There’s a lot of complexity here.

          I don’t believe it’s possible to be 100% certain here unless you know the contents of JFK’s head. For example, he made contradictory statements during a TV interview in September 1963: “But I don’t agree with those who say we should withdraw. That would be a great mistake.”

          My impression is that JFK was hedging his bets somewhat based on the generally positive prognosis he had at the time regarding the security situation in Vietnam and with a view towards the upcoming election.

          When assessing this question there’s a few things you need to keep in mind, for example: JFK’s anti-communism, the Domino Theory, his approval of Cable 243 exploring options for a coup against the Diem (coup NOT assassination), NSAM263 is 1K troops from 16K, and so on.

          Not an easy question to answer and extremely difficult, if not impossible, to be definitive about, in my view.

          “refused to go into Cuba twice (in 1961 and then in late 1962)”

          JFK approved the Bay of Pigs plans. He also initiated the blockade of Cuba.

          As far as the general argument about the money to be made in war I don’t find it persuasive. The problem is that we’re looking back on a war the scale and enormity of which was not anticipated in 1963. It was something of a boon for helicopter and bullet manufacturers et al, but, were they anticipating a war the size and scale of Vietnam as it turned out back in 1963, and were they prepared to kill the President to ensure it happened? In making this argument you need to make it from 1963, not looking back from the present day on the war Vietnam became.

          The other problem is that when considering this question you really need to take a wider view. This period was the height of the Cold War. Communism was seen as a threat to civilisation. Not a bad time to be manufacturing bullets. Vietnam was not the only place the superpowers were pursuing their agendas.

          1. JSA– In the recent reminder it said that comments that exceed the length of the original post won’t be approved. While we may have allowed some wiggle room here and there, your most recent comments have vastly exceeded the length of the original posts.

          2. david thurman

            Are you being paid by the word? You bring up an old canard re: JFK & his vietnam policy, despite the fine scholarship by John Newman, Doug Horne, Jim DiEugenio, jim Douglas among others, you continue to claim his voetnam policy is unknowable. You refer to NSAM #263 and are aware that it did call for 1k (of 16k u.s. “advisors” in vietnam in 1953) to be out by the end of ’63, yet you fail to add that it ALSO called for ALL u.s. personnel to be removed by the end of 1965. But i suspect you already know this and no amount of facts or information from me or Fletcher Prouty will satisfy your desire or motive that that question must be unknowable.

          3. david thurman July 13, 2014 at 9:36 pm

            Well David, if the facts and information supplied by you and Prouty were more accurate then perhaps more people would listen. I have resisted the editing of NSAM 263 for years now. I have found that most people misquoting NSAM 263 have never read it but are simply regurgitating what they have been told. The rest are simply being dishonest to support their agenda, including some who call themselves historians.

            I agree with you, we certainly know what JFK had planned for Vietnam. But we find his plan in NSAM 263, not from the speculation and opinions written by the authors you referenced. You can find NSAM 263 on the net along with the McNamara/Taylor report that in part became part of NSAM 263. My link to Lancer no longer works but I posted the entire works in the subject “Was JFK Pulling out of Vietnam”. I’ll post the appropriate sections here again.
            B. Recommendations.

            2. A program be established to train Vietnamese so that essential functions now performed by U.S. military personnel can be carried out by Vietnamese by the end of 1965. It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel by that time.

            a. Note, David, that it doesn’t say “we will” withdraw come hell or high water. It says it should be possible.

            b. Note it doesn’t say we will withdraw “All” of the troops”. It is talking about the “bulk” of the troops.

            c. Go here to hear JFK say if 1965 doesn’t work out we’ll get another date; http://tapes.millercenter.virginia.edu/clips/1963_1002_vietnam_am/

            d. Go here to hear JFK and McNamara discuss that 3,500 troops will be left in Vietnam; http://tapes.millercenter.virginia.edu/clips/1963_1002_vietnam_am/

            e. Go here to hear that the 1,000 men will be brought home by normal rotation; http://tapes.millercenter.virginia.edu/clips/1963_1005_vietnam/index.htm. Do you understand what normal rotation means?

            So now you have seen the cold hard facts. I ask you the same question that you asked the fellow you were replying to. Did this change your mind? I’m guessing not.

          4. david thurman July 13, 2014 at 9:36 pm

            I find it disappointing and sad that you consider John Newman’s book, “JFK and Vietnam” to be fine scholarship. It isn’t. Neither is the scholarship of those that draw their knowledge from Newman’s book. You named some of them in your message.

            Here is an example. On page 323 Newman makes his theory clear; “Kennedy decided to use Taylor’s and Harkin’s reports of battlefield success to justify the beginning of the withdrawal he was planning.” Newman goes on to state that JFK was going to withdraw, “come what may”.

            Now in a book that is rather well documented these major points are not referenced. We don’t have O’Donnell or Powers telling us Jack told them this. No Senator recounting this, no memos, no tapes, nothing. Robert Kennedy doesn’t mention it in his oral history at the JFK Library or anyplace else for that matter.

            What happens here is Newman pulled this junk right out of you know where. And sadly DiEugino and you seem to have bought it. This is why we have so much confusion.

            Newman’s treatment of Oplan 34-A, the Desoto Patrols and NSAM 273 are all incorrect. Poor scholarship. Newman was roundly booed when he presented his junk to a seminar of leading Vietnam historians at the LBJ Library when he was hawking his book. They didn’t buy it and you shouldn’t either.

      2. D. Olmens, you can read up on the steel monopoly and the major law suit against almost two dozen (if memory serves) major oil companies for price fixing for two significant challenges the Kennedy administration had taken on. (A third example, negotiations with GAF, and their association with Third Reich industrialists during the war, would add to the weight of Kennedy’s threat to certain interests, but sadly it involves Prince Radziwill, so it was not his finest hour.) The point is, taxes and general economics were not the threat; it was specific, isolated areas – when combined – affecting the MIC, coupled with a polarization of ideology in the country at the time – which fueled the need to have him removed, however that might happen.

        It’s odd that one faction of those who accuse Oswald as the lone assassin ridicule anyone who brings forward specific names, claiming that propinquity is not evidence; then there are others who won’t accept “they, or them, or those guys,” claiming those collective terms are not sufficiently specific; beyond that, unless one can produce a document aligning those interests in detail with the entire operation in Dallas, their allegations are baseless? Authorization, plans, activation, and cover up can occur without a drop of ink put to paper. Who had the power (encompassing the entire operation, soup to nuts), who benefited? Certainly not Lee Harvey Oswald.

        1. Are you suggesting the steel industries and the oil companies (amongst others) were upset by Government investigations and decided to remove the President? I’d be interested to know what the oil and steel industry CEOs from 1963 make of this idea. Could you cite any other examples of these industries colluding in this way and acting in a similar manner? Why wasn’t Nixon shot in the head when he formed the EPA for example? Precisely what were the “specific, isolated areas”, who were the people involved, what were their views, and how did they combine to create a threat?

          The problem you have here is that there’s just no evidence. The only way this seems possible is if you have particularly malevolent view of how these groups operate. It’s one thing to upset people, quite another for them to get together and decide to kill someone. For this to have happened you need to prove that a group (the membership and size of which I don’t follow) at the very top of these industries (presumably) at some point got together somewhere, somehow and decided that the President needed to be killed.

          The problem with using umbrella terms like “they” and “them” in this debate is that in my view it’s intellectually and rationally inadequate. Industry, the military, intelligence, and so on are not amorphous globs. They are groups of people. For these kind of theories to be proven, you need to take that theory and be able to conclusively connect it to someone, or a group of people. You need to demonstrate motive, intent and capability on some kind of reasonably individual level. It’s not sufficient to say “Industry X was upset”.

          1. I do not envision a group of sinister individuals ringing their hands. I do believe that a collective mindset fostered conditions that lead to Kennedy’s murder. Should anyone go to prison for having contributed? Only if their official role was to protect and defend the constitution and its Commander in Chief and they failed to do so, and/or if their intent was to advance a private agenda by destabilizing our democracy. Both are treasonous.

          2. A semi-private espionage organization known as The Pond was organized by New Orleans born Jean Grombach. The Pond functioned during most of WWII and into the mid-1950’s when the effort is alleged to have been de-funded. Grombach’s alignment with Joseph McCarthy’s witch-hunt is said to have been the demise of his intelligence career.

            The Pond operated out of the Steinway Concert Hall in New York. Attorneys for Steinway were by chance married into the Gimbel retail family for whom a man named Michaellson worked while serving as an intelligence operative for the CIA-funded Committee for Cultural Freedom. In addition, Gimbels’ board included Robert Lehman, founder of Lehman Brothers who sat on the board of United Fruit – heavy investments in Cuba and throughout Latin America – with John McCloy. UF was represented at a time by fellow Warren Commission member, Allen Dulles who also served as counsel to Gulf Oil’s Latin American Operation. Gulf was a central defendant in the Tulsa trial I referred to earlier..

            More significantly, Grombach’s Pond used a number of other fronts including American Express, it’s parent, the Rockefeller’s Chase Bank, Rockefeller/DuPont weapons mfg. Remington Arms, US Rubber and NV Philips North America whose headquarters were at 100 East 42nd, along with Continental Can Company whose CEO was former General Lucius Clay who worked for Bob Lehman and sat with him on the board of AE and Chase. Clay was a founding member of the anti-communist Crusade for Freedom and the National Committee for a Free Europe with direct ties to the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations with whom Spas Raikin was associated; Raikin greeted Lee and Marina on their return from Russia and within months joined the faculty of Dulles-related Ohio University.

            The story of The Pond surfaced in relation to the American Security Council (whose mantra “Peace through Strength” has permeated ultra-conservative think tanks for decades) whose founding fathers included General Robert E. Wood of Chicago-based Sears which also enjoyed significant profits throughout Latin America.

            It requires very little to associate the aforementioned with the steel and oil entities I referenced earlier. This is not evidence of complicity in the assassination of John Kennedy; it is however a thumbnail sketch of whom “they” – military and industry – might have been.

      3. I base these claims on paying attention. The ones with the most to lose were the ones that benefited the most from the subsequent Vietnam experience. That kind of money can buy a lotta power. The very real possibilty was a mistake, I apologize. It should have read probability. RFK had been around DC long enough to realize what steps needed to be taken to re-elect his brother to another term while terminating LBJ’s role as vp and continue as the AG. Another quote from JFK was to ‘shatter the CIA into a million pieces..’. Might that not have caused those with the most to lose to, among other things, pucker up a bit? Also, weren’t those with the most to lose not wholly affected by the proposed 21% top marginal tax rate as they would more than likely had their $$ off shore where it was tax free? JFK’s intentions may never be known but I, and many others that pay attention, believed things would change for the better with his intentions.

        1. “The ones with the most to lose were the ones that benefited the most from the subsequent Vietnam experience.”

          That would make sense if the scale and size of the war as it transpired was understood and predicted beforehand. I think you’re judging Vietnam from 2013, rather than 1963, and to be more specific, sometime before November 22, 1963.

          Were the CEOs of helicopter manufacturing companies (amongst others) sitting around rubbing their hands together in the middle of ’63 over the prospect of an upcoming war? This is what you’re in effect claiming took place.

          For this theory to work, you need to show motive and intent, sometime prior to November, 1963. That theory needs to take account of the shifting prognosis for the security situation in Vietnam throughout the period beforehand and immediately after the assassination, let’s say ’61-’65. It also needs to demonstrate that the Vietnam conflict was not a product of other factors such as ideology, the Domino Theory and so on. This is just a few issues I see with this theory.

          If JFK was the huge obstacle and dire threat to the upcoming financial bonanza in Vietnam, why did it take until March 8, 1965 for the first combat troops to land at China Beach? Why the delay? If there was money to be made and “they” were prepared to kill the President to get moving in Vietnam, why did it take so long to actually start using all the equipment and supplies that were the basis of that financial windfall?

          These kind of theories need to make some kind of sense in a historical perspective. That where they become highly problematic in my view.

    2. phd, And following RFK, a potential for four to eight years of Edward, followed by any number of the Kennedy cousins, not to mention John Jr., a formidable possibility.

      1. RFK wasn’t even going to get the nomination in 1968; Humphrey had it virtually wrapped up by the time of the California primary. People who weren’t around at the time don’t remember that primaries were not that important in the 1960s and didn’t furnish decisive numbers of delegates.

        1. Photon, you are addressing some of us who were around at the time, keenly invested, full of anxiety for our future. I defy you to prove that Humphrey had the nomination wrapped up.

          1. Go to “What if Bobby Kennedy had lived, Part I” on YouTube.
            You will see multiple news reports from the period documenting Humphrey’s overwhelming lead. What is most striking is even RFK admitting that it would be very difficult to overtake Humphrey and impossible without McCarthy giving up and releasing his delegates to him. The CBS tally showing Humphrey with well over the required number of delegates after favorite sons were out of the picture is telling.
            Obviously you don’t remember that primary very well ; many people went to bed early that night because the results came in late, but also because they were essentially meaningless.

        2. 1968 was hardly “in the bag” for the Happy Warrior in early 1968. I remember it quite well. Kennedy started out a big disappointment when he announced after Gene McCarthy got into the race. But Kennedy quickly got up to speed, and when he won California it was huge. He still had to go on to Chicago, he still had to win over delegates, many of whom loved John Kennedy and would most likely be amenable to supporting his brother, but he had Daley backing him. Unlike his brother Ted, who had Chappaquidick baggage and lack of passion, Robert Kennedy had the passion, and the backing of most of the former JFK team, with only a few exceptions. People who might be too young to remember might not realize that up until 1972, conventions were not ironclad as they are today. Certainly Lyndon Johnson knew this; he considered reentering the race again in the summer of 1968, but made one last final decision to stay out, giving his Veep the nod. Interestingly, Johnson hardly lifted a finger for his Vice President, treating him pretty shabbily in the Fall campaign. People too young to remember might not know how popular Robert Kennedy became by his California victory. He started out an underdog with some disdain by the “purist” McCarthy supporters, but eventually won most of them over, and was poised to win the nomination on momentum. The only problem was, he, like his older brother, was a “peacenik” and was hated by the military, by the CIA, and by LBJ. So he was doomed to be assassinated. The only real “what if” when you figure out how RFK was not going to be allowed the chance to reach for the presidency was what if Humphrey had won? We probably would have scaled down Vietnam, and had a bit more “Great Society” money available to advance the war on poverty.

          1. JSA, That is precisely how I remember it. The CA primary was the turning point, which made the murder of RFK all the more tragic, and considering Vince Salandria’s theory that these assassinations must carry a certain psychological impact, I think we can appreciate the timing and the venue for the hit on Robert Kennedy. Watch the video as he turns to his right to exit the podium but is directed to his left, to proceed to his death.

          2. Actually historians have disputed if Humphrey had it “in the bag” by early June of 1968.

            Political historians have debated to this day whether Kennedy could have won the Democratic nomination had he lived. Some historians, such as Theodore H. White and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., have argued that Kennedy’s broad appeal and famed charisma would have convinced the party bosses at the Democratic Convention to give him the nomination. Jack Newfield, author of RFK: A Memoir, stated in a 1998 interview that on the night he was assassinated, “[Kennedy] had a phone conversation with Mayor Daley of Chicago, and Mayor Daley all but promised to throw the Illinois delegates to Bobby at the convention in August 1968. I think he said to me, and Pete Hamill, ‘Daley is the ball game, and I think we have Daley.'”

            At the moment of RFK’s death, the delegate totals were:
            • Hubert Humphrey 561
            • Robert F. Kennedy 393
            • Eugene McCarthy 258

            Total popular vote:[31]
            • Eugene McCarthy: 2,914,933 (38.73%)
            • Robert F. Kennedy: 2,305,148 (30.63%)
            • Stephen M. Young: 549,140 (7.30%)
            • Lyndon B. Johnson: 383,590 (5.10%)
            • Thomas C. Lynch: 380,286 (5.05%)
            • Roger D. Branigin: 238,700 (3.17%)
            • George Smathers: 236,242 (3.14%)
            • Hubert Humphrey: 166,463 (2.21%)
            • Unpledged: 161,143 (2.14%)
            • Scott Kelly: 128,899 (1.71%)
            • George Wallace: 34,489 (0.46%)
            • Richard Nixon (write-in): 13,610 (0.18%)
            • Ronald Reagan (write-in): 5,309 (0.07%)
            • Ted Kennedy: 4,052 (0.05%)
            • Paul C. Fisher: 506 (0.01%)
            • John G. Crommelin: 186 (0.00%)

      2. RFK for another eight years? That’s impossible! We all know that Americans don’t elect other close family members to eight year follow-up presidential terms. After all, if you believe that, you have to accept that George W. Bush followed his dad to the White House from 2001-2009. And we know THAT never happened, right?

        1. Yes, we know that, but in hindsight. We’re dealing in hypotheticals here as far as an RFK presidential term, let alone two.

          1. Yes, but I’m showing that family members can and do run and win the office, as the Bush family has done. Adams’ son John Quincy did it too, in the 19th century. It’s entirely possible, and the historical record backs that up.

  9. Why don’t we get straight to the point about all of this speculation about the CIA, FBI, the Secret Service or any “Secret Team” wanting to get rid of JFK.
    Any one of these agencies or people connected with them could have gotten rid of JFK easily without a messy assassination that might have #1. been unsuccessful. #2. only wounded JFK increasing his popularity. #3 wounded or killed the wrong person-as happened. #4. been discovered before the attempt was made.
    So why set up these extremely complex and totally unpredictable plans as espoused by conspiracy theorists when they were totally unnecessary to achieve the goals that conspiracy theorists claim were behind the assassination?

    1. Because if you want to take down a president (say you are the Veep working with Allen Dulles, other CIA, and maybe some military intelligence, you might want to plan so that it WORKS. That means you have to pre-plan where to make the hit, who to hire to do so, how to set it up so that it doesn’t SNAFU on you, and then you have to have a backup plan to explain / cover up the real event with a fake one, so that you COVER YOUR ASS in case some elements of the government, or citizens, or collection of both, try to uncover what really happened. One way to do this just one year after the Cuban Missile Crisis and at the height of the Cold War is to set up a cover for your patsy, to paint him as “pro-communist” with possible ties to the USSR and/or Cuba. Then, if others uncover some holes in your assassination plan which don’t line up or make sense, such as bullet trajectories, etc.—you can tell them that it might be a conspiracy after all, but we can’t allow people to dig that conspiracy up, because it could involve the Soviet Union and lead to a nuclear war. That’s a pretty good reason to do all the setting up of Oswald as seems to have been done. Lyndon Johnson hinted that this could involve the Soviets, all an act on his part. He was very good at acting, if you read anything about his corrupt ballot box shenanigans in Texas when he ran for the Senate against Coke Stevenson, or when he got a Silver Star in WW2 for just going on one combat mission, as Robert Caro revealed.

      1. I don’t think that’s what Photon was suggesting.

        Exposing to the public JFK and RFK’s philandering or the nature of JFK’s health issues would have been tremendously damaging at the time and would have had dramatic and problematic implications for JFK’s re-election campaign.

        Why actually go to all the trouble of organising an assassination plot of byzantine complexity to kill a politician when you can smear them to a degree that they’re un-electable?

        Researchers often claim they’ve been smeared and marginalised in the public arena ever since the assassination. So, if that was the case it seems reasonable to suggest the conspirators and their ilk were/are quite good at it.

        1. You haven’t taken into consideration a far bigger scandal, actually beginning to be investigated, and due to be reported on, thanks to Robert Kennedy helping to feed the media till: that of Lyndon Johnson’s Bobby Baker connections, which literally threatened to completely take him off the ticket in 1964. When you factor that in, the Kennedy sex stuff, potentially quite damaging as you remind us, pales in comparison. The health stuff WAS brought up about Kennedy’s addison’s disease by LBJ in 1960. It didn’t stick. I doubt that it would have worked in 1964 either. He was already president, and would have almost certainly coasted to reelection had he lived.

          Here’s where sexual scandal DID come in handy however by the opponents of JFK: They used it against Bobby Kennedy as a threat to keep him silent about any potential public criticism of the Warren Commission Report or of CIA, whom his brother had wanted to break into a thousand pieces and scatter to the winds. Bobby was NO friend of the Joint Chiefs, nor was he friends with Lyndon, J. Edgar, or Allen Dulles. With enemies from within like this, I think you can do the math: RFK was blackmailed and checkmated on the power board. These guys HATED Kennedy and rather than fool around with allegations, I think decided to kill him off. That’s a much more certain way of removing someone from power than making allegations, only one year away from the next election.

          1. Another perspective: If you have compromising or damaging information about an individual in power, what would be the best approach if you want them to change their agenda, with results you can predict? Use the information as leverage/blackmail? Use the information to smear them? Or, simply kill them? As you proceed through that list, the degree of certainty you can have for the outcomes of the action declines. JFK and RFK were eminently blackmail-able (if that’s a word). Plenty of dirt there. Why kill them?

            A problem with killing JFK ahead of the next election is the question of how certain the conspirators could be that the election would deliver someone with an approach more to their liking? Could they be sure of that? If they went to the extreme lengths of killing JFK, would they be happy to then sit back and place their faith in the electoral process to deliver a successor whose agenda was in sync with their own?

        2. If you smear the President, he has ample time to respond, fire, investigate, etc. The next election was 12 months away. It is also unlikely that the press would print extensive personal stories of JFK’s health issues, especially since they did not seem to effect his performance. Who would you replace the Philanderer with anyway? The Vice Philanderer? You could end up with a scorched Earth.

          1. The people who killed Kennedy felt that he was a weak and dangreously naive man who was a grave risk to the survival of the nation and was placating the Russians in Turkey and Cuba and in Indo China. Racial, economic and social differences in ideology only sweetened the deal. I disagree with what the men who killed Kennedy felt but I can clearly understand their fervent belief and their strong desire to recitfiy a mistake of the ballot box. The slaughtering of this iconic president in this very public manner also sends a very clear message to those who would assume the oval office after him. I often amuse myself with the premise that each president elect is brought siletly into a room and shown the Zapruder film and then asked if he has any questions- BB

        3. ” . . .when you can smear them to a degree that they’re un-electable?”

          Does anyone have the popularity polls for Kennedy in Autumn, 1963? Does anyone know for a fact that he would have been ‘smeared’ in ’64? How can that be an argument against or for a conspiracy? He’ll fall on his face next election so we don’t need to kill him? OR, he is highly re-electable in spite of his infidelities so we need to assassinate him. This is a red herring discussion and always has been.

    2. Photon sure does a good job of following the old, tired, late-1960’s CIA blueprint for “how to counter the critics.” His problem is that now we all recognize his ravings for what they are, consider their source, and then dismiss them out of hand.

      1. Another option might be to offer a persuasive counter-argument and address the point Photon’s making here. It doesn’t seem an unreasonable question to ask. I think it’s quite justified for those who believe there was a conspiracy to question things such as the nature of the CIA’s relationship with Oswald, to name but one example amongst many. Why then is it so problematic to question one of the central tenets of the “military/industrial complex did it” theory? And why is this indicative of someone following a “CIA blueprint”? This doesn’t seem very balanced to me.

        1. I agree. What is good for the goose ….

          However, what seems apparent in exchanges with Photon (unless I have misread him) is his position (shared by Jean Davidson who comments on this site): “Prove to me that someone else assassinated President Kennedy, otherwise Oswald did in fact assassinate President Kennedy.”

          That is an untenable, and corrupt argument from anyone who purports to seek justice. Therefore, I’m beginning to think that attacks on Photon’s arguments are justified given that he is arguing from uncommon ground.

          We who contend that Oswald was used as a patsy, or manipulated at the very least, are looking to close this case, to find justice for a dead president. It does not serve our democracy to scapegoat Lee Harvey Oswald. If there is evidence against him, convene a trial – posthumously.

          1. Leslie,

            Excuse me?? “Prove to me that someone else assassinated President Kennedy, otherwise Oswald did in fact assassinate President Kennedy”??

            That’s absurd. I’ve said no such thing.

            I’ve asked for evidence connecting anybody other than Oswald with JKF’s murder. Not suspicion, not speculation, but some scrap of actual evidence. If you’re going to accuse someone of murder, don’t you think you should present some evidence they did it?

          2. Jean, you say, “I’ve asked for evidence connecting anybody other than Oswald with JKF’s murder. Not suspicion, not speculation, but some scrap of actual evidence.”

            My question: What does “evidence connecting anybody other than Oswald” have to do with justice for Oswald? I am no student of the law; I am however a US citizen concerned about the erosion of our justice system. I would not want to be indicted for even the smallest crime based on the premise that law enforcement could not identify anyone else who might have committed the crime I’m accused of, therefore I am guilty.

            If this thought process evades you, I’m sorry because it suggests to me that some Americans have gone to sleep.

            You state: “If you’re going to accuse someone of murder, don’t you think you should present some evidence they did it?”

            I challenge you to respond to all who challenge the evidence you present against Oswald. I never read any direct response from you on this site to questions such as: was he capable of accuracy with said rifle; why didn’t he have an escape plan; if he was a calculating, pro-communist Castro defector to the Soviet Union, why did he return to the US with a Russian wife with connections with the KGB) with no impediments, and in fact with a welcoming committee to one of the more conservative bastions of US capitalism.

            When you begin to address these challenges, we will be on the same page; otherwise, I fear this argument relating to Oswald’s guilt and the assassination of an elected president is designed to corrupt our justice system. Precedent: an ACCUSED lone nut has no recourse within our system. A president is murdered and because authorities cannot prove that anyone else did it, the easiest available patsy is accused and found guilty in the court of public opinion.

            This is how the bar is shifted.

      2. “From an office window with a high powered rifle.” It is amazing how the assassination parallels Gladio in Europe: Milteer and crazy ultra right wingers like Ferrie, Bannister etc… The guys acted as a domestic paramilitary force… and like with Gladio, the operation was blamed on a left wing patsy…

      3. S.R. "Dusty" Rohde

        Agreed….but a glutton for punishment, lol. I sometimes wonder if some people have figured out yet that here in 2013, things like the information highway exist….and the same old tired tactics aren’t going to work anymore.

        1. Leslie,

          You still don’t get it.

          The evidence against Oswald has been debated and nitpicked for 50 years. It stands on its own, whether there is evidence against anyone else or not.

          Conspiracy theorists worry about Oswald’s civil rights — what about the rights of the literally hundreds of other people who’ve been accused of murdering JFK?

          Pick your favorite suspect. What evidence to you have linking that person to the shooting in Dealey Plaza? Not suspicion, not rumor… *evidence*. Try this exercise and you may understand why CTs still want to keep discussing the evidence against Oswald over and over and over again: They can’t make a case against anyone else.

          1. Jean, ” They can’t make a case against anyone else.”

            I repeat my question; how does that prove that Oswald was guilty?

            Beyond that, what evidence do you have that Oswald acted alone? How can that be proven? It requires a complete leap from certain evidence to pure conjecture. Unless of course you discount every serious challenge to your hypothesis, and view Oswald as having existed in a complete vacuum – perhaps a sci-fi film where only he is visible.

    3. The assassination was a successful covert operation set up to remove a perceived national security threat that powerful people in and out of govt. approved of. Any serious researching of the cold war and LBJ and the alliances these people formed to Kennedy’s real enemies understand that ambush in Dallas. All murders are messy , but its the desired result complete with a pro-Castro patsy that shines the light on the real assassins.

    4. #1. been unsuccessful.
      . . . . Crossfire diminished that threat considerably

      #2. only wounded JFK increasing his popularity.
      . . . . Crossfire diminished that threat considerably; a trained sniper in the right position was certain to blow Kennedy’s head apart, which is precisely what happened.

      #3 wounded or killed the wrong person-as happened.
      . . . . Those magic bullets cannot be relied on.

      #4. been discovered before the attempt was made.
      . . . . In Dallas? Where no one was concentrating on the safety of a president the establishment loathed?

      Photon, you can apply your same four observations to the planning that Oswald would have done as a lone assassin, and surely you will recognize how reckless his plan was. However, if you place Oswald in a support role within a conspiracy, then read my responses, and you have a match.

      1. Quoting you, Leslie:

        “They can’t make a case against anyone else.”

        I repeat my question; how does that prove that Oswald was guilty?

        It doesn’t! I never claimed it did! I’ve said that several times now.

        You still haven’t offered a shred of evidence against anyone else, I notice. Did you notice that, too?

        1. S.R. "Dusty" Rohde

          Jean, I can offer a shred of evidence against someone else, a very great deal of evidence in fact, but not just yet.

    5. There isn’t consensus among pro-Conspiracy people on who the Conspirators were or their motives. So I’m not sure who exactly your question is directed towards.

      While I agree that it seems implausible that the CIA or some other government agency officially sanctioned JFK’s assassination, it’s not implausible that rogue intelligence agents working with the mob and right-wing extremists participated in the event.

      While Lee Oswald’s motive has never been clear, the Mob and anti-Castro Cubans in 1963 had the motives, means, and opportunity to pull it off.

      1. Neil, I’m not sure if you are addressing a question I might have posed;

        My challenge of Photon is to apply his four observations to the planning of an assassination by one individual, Lee Oswald. I don’t believe anyone can apply those four standards without considering the requisite powers that clearly exceeded those of a lone, disgruntled, communist-leaning ex-Marine.

        “motive, means, and opportunity.” How does one jump from Oswald to the Mob or Anti-Castro Cubans, and miss the plethora of other possibilities. Who had the power?

          1. The comparison is ludicrous; however, was a highly orchestrated parade carrying the President of the United States passing in front of the tower in Austin? Were Whitman’s shots random or was he targeting one or more specific individuals with the intent of killing only those individuals? What was his motive? Notoriety, infamy, the same as Oswald’s? And yet did he deny the massacre? We can’t know that because authorities ended his life before he could be arrested and interrogated. How did Oswald escape a similar end on the 22nd, only to be shot by Ruby in front of authorities?

    6. S.R. "Dusty" Rohde


      #1 – So you claim, which has no basis in fact. BTW, the world was informed of JFK’s philandering….and you saw how much that mattered politically as far as his popularity….very little. If anything, if increased it.

      #2 – Apparently a risk they were willing to take, especially with more than one shooter on the scene….just a little added insurance.

      #3 – How many murderers have worried about killing more people than just their chosen targets? lol

      #4 – They were discovered before the attempt was made, but the attempt was still successful. Point made.

      Photon, it would appear that others were of a different opinion than you, as the assassination happened, no denying that fact. There was more than one shooter, and you can try to deny that…but the facts show otherwise. To answer your other question, “why set up these extreme
      and totally unpredictable plans”….for example ohh…let’s say, Ohh, I know…the Bay of Pigs fiasco! It’s what they do. In case you haven’t heard. You want to discuss the CIA’s and Roselli’s little plan for Castro? Or maybe William Harvey and QJWIN? Or maybe Nixon, Hunt and the Watergate breakin? Or how about AMLASH’s updated request for clearance to use a high powered rifle with telescopic sights for assassination purposes in November?

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