The National-Security State’s Assassination of John F. Kennedy
By Jacob Hornberger
For 50 years defenders of the Warren Report have claimed that JFK conspiracy theorists simply cannot accept that a little man killed a great man.
Let’s see now. John Lennon was a great man. Oh sure, he was monitored and spied on by the U.S. national-security state but that was only because national-security state officials were convinced that anyone who opposed what the national-security state was doing during the Cold War was a communist or communist sympathizer and part of the world-wide communist conspiracy to take over the United States, not to mention, of course, a grave threat to “national security.”
Yet, despite how the national-security state viewed Lennon, most everyone would agree, I think, that Lennon was great man and that his assassin, a man named Mark David Chapman, was a little man.
Yet, I don’t see a huge number of people saying that Lennon was the victim of the U.S. national-security state and that Chapman was nothing more than a “patsy” for the assassination. In fact, I don’t see many assassination researchers saying that about the assassination attempts against Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.
So, what’s different about the Kennedy assassination? Why have so many people over the years, including brilliant researchers and analysts, concluded that the national-security state orchestrated and carried out Kennedy’s assassination?
Among the reasons are:
The countless anomalies in the Kennedy case, anomalies that make absolutely no sense at all except in the context of a national-security state assassination.
The large body of circumstantial evidence pointing to a national-security state operation in the Kennedy assassination.
The manifest evidence of fraud in the autopsy, which was controlled by the the national-security state.
The fact that the national-security state had the motive to kill Kennedy, on grounds of national security.
The fact that the assassination fits within the pattern of regime-change operations, including assassination, in which the national-security state apparatus has been involved since its inception in 1947.
Consider some of the many anomalies.
1. The medical personnel at Parkland Hospital, FBI agent Clint Hill, and the FBI agents who attended the autopsy at Bethesda, all stated that the president had a large hole in the back of his head, indicating an exit wound, which means that a shot was fired from the front.
Yet, the official autopsy photographs show the back of Kennedy’s head to be intact.
We’re just supposed to ignore that. Or we’re expected to believe that all those people just made a mistake, independently of each other. The last thing we’re supposed to do is to conclude that the government falsified the evidence to cover up shots having been fired from the front. We’re supposed to just defer to authority and meekly accept the official version of events.
2. What about all the military personnel who stated that Kennedy’s body was secretly brought in early to the Bethesda morgue in a cheap shipping casket, unbeknownst to the public? Well, we’re expected to assume that they’re mistaken too or just lying. Never mind how improbable it is that a group of enlisted military men, along with the most prestigious funeral home in Washington, conspired to concoct a fake and false story about how Kennedy’s body was brought into the Bethesda morgue. We’re just supposed to meekly defer to authority and conclude that that they were just, for some unknown reason, engaged in a conspiracy with each other to concoct a fake and false story as to how JFK’s body was brought early into the morgue.
Otherwise, we might be tempted to conclude that national-security state officials were up to no good that night by bringing the body into the morgue earlier than everyone thought in order to make the necessary arrangements to hide the fact that shots had been fired from the front.
3. What about the two different brains that were examined after the autopsy? One brain exam session included the official autopsy photographer, who stated that the brain was sectioned or cut during the session, which is standard procedure to discover the direction of a gunshot.
But there is a problem. That official photographer denied that the photographs of the brain that are in the official record today were taken by him. That means that, unless he was lying, they were taken by some other, unknown photographer who attended a second brain exam session, one that included an autopsy pathologist who said that the brain wasn’t sectioned or cut at all.
Oh, and there’s another problem. The photographs of the brain in the official records show an almost complete brain, one with disrupted tissue but with all the mass still present, a brain that actually weighs more than an average brain, notwithstanding the fact that everyone agrees that at a large portion of Kennedy’s brain was blown out by the gun shot that hit him in the head.
But we are just supposed to passively accept all this and move on. After all, it’s just inconceivable that the U.S. military would be up to no good during the president’s autopsy.
4. Indeed, we’re not even supposed to think that anything was unusual when a team of Secret Service agents brandished guns and forced their way out of Parkland Hospital with the president’s body, implicitly threatening to kill the official Dallas medical examiner who was just doing his job by insisting that the body remain at Parkland to undergo an autopsy, as required by state law. We’re just supposed to accept the idea that federal agents would violate the law, threaten to kill hospital personnel, and jeopardize a criminal prosecution, all on their own initiative, rather than cooperate with state officials in the investigation of a very serious crime, as we would ordinarily expect them to do.
In fact, we’re not supposed to think that anything is unusual in the fact that Lyndon Johnson was patiently awaiting the delivery of Kennedy’s body at Dallas Love Field. After all, supposedly the assassination could have been the first step in a Soviet nuclear attack on the United States. But who are we to wonder why the new president, LBJ, would supposedly put chivalry toward Mrs. Kennedy ahead of the survival of the nation, especially given the deep hatred and antipathy he had for the Kennedy family?
5. Indeed, who are we question the fact that the feds took no adverse action whatsoever against an American citizen and former U.S. Marine who had supposedly given top-secret information to the Soviets, America’s official enemy throughout the Cold War?
Sure, we know how the feds treat people like Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsey (Bradley) Manning, John Walker Lindh, and Edward Snowden. They arrest them, they torture them, they abuse them, they prosecute them, and they incarcerate them.
And we also know how the CIA and the FBI viewed communist sympathizers during the Cold War, such as those in the U.S. Communist Party, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and, according to national-security state officials, even the American civil-rights movement. They spied on them, they harassed them, they prosecuted them, they blackmailed them, they incarcerated them, and they ruined them.
But hey, Lee Harvey Oswald was different, right? He was only a guy who supposedly had shamed the Marines by becoming a communist, supposedly betrayed his country by supposedly delivering top-secret information he had acquired as a Marine to the Soviets, and supposedly defected to America’s official Cold War enemy (and World War II partner and ally), the Soviet Union.
Oh well, everyone makes mistakes, right? So, let’s just let bygones be bygones and even lend Oswald the money to get back home. And when he later asks for a new passport so he can go to Mexico, let’s rush and give him one-day urgent service.
And let’s not even think of harassing him, torturing him, abusing him, arresting him, or even subpoenaing him to testify before a federal grand jury about his supposed betrayal of his country.
And above all, let’s not think to ourselves that any of this is anything but normal behavior on the part of the feds, even when they are busy ferreting out and destroying communists in the State Department, the army, Hollywood, the Communist Party, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, the ACLU, and the civil-rights movement at the height of the Cold War.
6. Let’s also not ask where Oswald acquired his spy-craft skills, including getting post office boxes registered to bogus names, or even how he learned to speak fluent Russian while in the military. Those are things that we just shouldn’t think about it.
7. Or why Oswald would stamp “544 Camp Street” as the return address on his Fair Play for Cuba Committee pamphlets in New Orleans, which just happened to be an entrance to the offices of a retired FBI agent named Guy Bannister, who had close ties to anti-Castro Cubans and whose office just happened to be situated within walking distance of the FBI, CIA, Office of Naval Intelligence, and the fiercely anti-communist Reily Coffee Company, which had hired as an employee a supposed fierce pro-communist named Lee Harvey Oswald.
But we’re just not supposed to wonder about such things. We’re supposed to defer to authority and just move on.
8. Indeed, we’re not even supposed to wonder why the magic bullet that supposedly went through Kennedy’s neck and broke Gov. Connally’s rib and wrist bone was still in pristine condition and why it didn’t have one even tiny bit of flesh or blood on it. After all, what’s the alternative — that it was planted to frame an innocent man? Why, that’s just inconceivable. Everyone knows that the law-enforcement officials never frame innocent people.
9. Or what about those people on the grassy knoll who displayed Secret Service badges to keep people away immediately after the shooting when, in fact, there were no Secret Service agents on the grassy knoll? Well, that’s just something that we need to ignore too. It just couldn’t have happened. Those people must have been mistaken too or are also conspiring to establish a false conspiracy.
10. Indeed, Malcolm Perry, the Dallas emergency physician who performed a tracheotomy on Kennedy, and who stated three times at a press conference immediately after the assassination that the bullet hole in the front of Kennedy’s neck, which Perry obviously examined closely, was an entry wound, most assuredly must have been mistaken too. We should just defer to those military pathologists at Bethesda, who claim that they didn’t even notice the bullet wound in the front of the neck during the autopsy and instead concluded, after the autopsy was over and the body released, that the bullet wound in the front of the neck (that they hadn’t noticed) had to be an exit wound, one from which the magic bullet supposedly exited.
11. And let’s just block out of minds that the chief pathologist at Bethesda burned his autopsy notes and the original autopsy report. Why, that sort of thing happens all the time, right? Just like that FBI agent who destroyed a pre-assassination note from Oswald and then kept the destruction secret from the Warren Commission.
12. And we need to also ignore the fact that the official FBI report on the autopsy indicated that the bullet hole was in Kennedy’s back, not in the back of his neck and that the hole did not go through all the way through the president’s body. Never mind that the FBI agents reported that one of the military pathologists even put his finger into the bullet hole in Kennedy’s back and confirmed that the hole didn’t go through the body. We’re just supposed to assume that that those FBI agents were lying or just mistaken too.
13. In fact, we’re also expected to assume that the FBI got it all wrong — that when the official FBI report showed that two bullets hit Kennedy and a third bullet hit Connally, we’re supposed to just reject that in favor of the Warren Report’s magic bullet theory. Why? Because then, what would we do with the fourth bullet — the one that hit a bystander, the one that the FBI report doesn’t even mention? A fourth bullet means another shooter, so we don’t want to go down that road, just like the FBI and the Warren Commission didn’t, because that would mean, well, two shooters.
14. When we’re told that devout communist Lee Harvey Oswald tried to assassinate retired army General Edwin Walker, we’re supposed to just meekly accept that without asking any questions. Never mind that Walker and Kennedy were at two ends of the ideological spectrum.
Walker was one of those fierce anti-communist fanatics who believed that the communists were coming to get us and that America was already filled with communists, especially in the civil-rights movement. In fact, he was one of those people in “nut country” to whom Kennedy was referring on the morning of the assassination, notwithstanding the fact that Walker’s Cold War, anti-communist mindset perfectly mirrored that of high officials in the Pentagon and the CIA. Indeed, don’t forget that Attorney General Robert Kennedy had even had Walker involuntarily committed to a mental institution.
But we’re supposed to believe that Oswald wanted to kill both men, despite the fact that they had diametrically opposite mindsets about the Cold War and the civil rights movement. We’re not supposed to question such things. Indeed, we’re not even supposed to question how a supposed crack shot like Oswald could miss hitting a stationary target like Walker from just a few feet away but somehow hit a target much further away, and moving away from him, with a junk Italian-made rifle with a misaligned scope on it.
And the anomalies just go on and on. Show me such anomalies in the John Lennon assassination. Or in the assassination attempts on Presidents Reagan and Ford. Or even in the autopsy of Lee Harvey Oswald, which was conducted by the Dallas medical examiner, not the U.S. military. Unlike the Kennedy case, strange and unusual anomalies don’t exist in those cases.
You see, the Kennedy assassination is like a great big puzzle with lots of pieces that just don’t fit within the official version of events. So, defenders of the Warren Report say, “Well, just throw away the pieces that don’t fit. Or, better yet, just ignore them. So what if the puzzle has missing pieces or pieces that don’t fit? Let’s just move on. It’s been 50 years.”
It was obvious that by the time Kennedy was assassinated, John F. Kennedy was a different man from the one who had been elected president in 1960. Having been seared by the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy had decided to move America in a dramatically new direction, one in which the Cold War would be brought to an end, one in which there would be peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union and Cuba, just like the situation today between the United States and communist China.
Watch or read Kennedy’s Peace Speech at American University in June 1963 for one of the most remarkable speeches ever delivered by a U.S. president, a speech that Soviet authorities permitted to be broadcast all across the United States.
Or read a fascinating new book by Jeffrey D. Sachs entitled To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace, a book not about the assassination but about the dramatic turn that JFK took after he and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev had brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the very brink of nuclear war.
Or see this brand new article by Robert F. Kennedy entitled “John F. Kennedy’s Vision of Peace” in Rolling Stone magazine.
As part of that process, Kennedy had guaranteed that there would be no further invasions of Cuba. He had ordered U.S. officials to shut down Cuban exile operations intended to oust Castro from power. He told close advisers that he intended to withdraw all U.S. troops from Vietnam after the 1964 election and, just before he was killed, issued an order to the Pentagon initiating that process. He entered into a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviets, over the fierce opposition of the Pentagon and the CIA. He even proposed that the United States and the Soviet Union abandon the race to the moon and instead go together.
I ask you: Why would a supposedly devout communist kill Kennedy when the devout communist would know that Kennedy would be replaced by a devout anti-communist Cold Warrior like LBJ, a man whose Cold War, anti-communist mindset mirrored that of the Pentagon and the CIA? That makes no sense at all.
Why would a little man who was supposedly hoping to go down in history for killing a big man deny that he did it?
Indeed, if he was hoping to get away with his crime, why use a gun that was easily traceable to him? In fact, if he was hoping to escape, why take the time to hide the rifle, hang out in the building drinking a coke, casually make his way home, and end up in a movie theater?
None of it makes any sense in the context of the official version of what supposedly happened.
On the other hand, as the records have seeped out over the years, it has become increasingly clear that the U.S. national-security establishment, unlike Oswald, actually did have a powerful motive to get rid of Kennedy. From the standpoint of national security, Kennedy, as president, posed a much graver threat to national security than Mossadegh, Arbenz, Castro, Lumumba, Diem, Allende, or any other regime-change target of the national-security state during the Cold War.
For one thing, we’ve now learned that Kennedy was fighting a fierce bureaucratic war with the national-security state establishment, a war that mainstream historians are now openly acknowledging. One searches in vain for any discussion of that war among the members of the Warren Commission.
Kennedy’s worst offense, from the standpoint of national security, was his decision to try to bring an end to the Cold War after the Cuban Missile Crisis. The national-security establishment believed that that was impossible given the nature of the enemy. Like most other American anti-communists, they were convinced that no communist could ever be trusted and that nuclear war with the Soviet Union was inevitable.
Thus, Kennedy was viewed as hopelessly naïve. Rather than saving America by going to war against the communists, he was effectively disarming America and surrendering to the communists with talk of peace and peaceful coexistence, nuclear test ban treaties, and intentions to withdraw from Vietnam. What greater threat to national security than that?
As an aside, ironically Kennedy was the original conspiracy theorist. Well, actually, Eisenhower was, when he pointed out that the military-industrial complex, which he observed was new to the American way of life, posed a grave threat to America’s democratic processes. Kennedy, when asked whether a military coup was possible in the United States, answered that such a danger did exist. He even encouraged that the novel Seven Days in May be made into a movie as a warning to the American people. And of course, there was former President Truman, a man thoroughly familiar with the ways of the CIA given that he was the president who brought the CIA into existence in 1947, who published an op-ed in the Washington Post 30 days after the assassination observing that the CIA had become a sinister force in American life.
Compounding the problem were Kennedy’s many sexual escapades, including with a Mafia girlfriend, the ex-wife of a high CIA official, a White House intern, and an unstable Hollywood starlet. Imagine the potential for blackmail. In fact, who could say with any certainty that Kennedy wasn’t already being blackmailed into disarming America and surrendering the country to the communists?
If all that isn’t a threat to “national security,” what is? Certainly, no one with that background would ever be issued a security clearance at any level.
On top of all that is the circumstantial evidence that Kennedy was smoking dope and possibly even taking LSD, specifically during his affair with Mary Pinchot Meyer. What greater threat to national security than a president who might be under the influence of mind-altering drugs when Soviet nuclear missiles came unexpectedly flying into the United States.
When defenders of the Warren Report get indignant over the suggestion that national-security state officials would kill the president, they just don’t get it. It’s not that national-security state officials would have considered themselves bad people for effecting regime change within the United States. On the contrary, they would have considered themselves the ultimate patriots — risking their lives and liberty precisely to protect national security by removing the threat from office, the same justification, by the way, used by the military in Chile and more recently in Egypt when they ousted their heads of state from office.
That’s what the Warren Commission, however, couldn’t confront — the idea that an out-of-control, super-patriotic, Cold War national-security state apparatus orchestrated the assassination of the president of the United States and the cover-up of what it did, in order to protect “national security.”
Such a thing was simply considered inconceivable — and still is by the Washington establishment and, for that matter, the mainstream press. Sure, everyone would agree that it was conceivable that the CIA would engage in such conduct against foreign regimes. That was (and is) to be expected. But to think that the national security apparatus — i.e., the CIA and the military — would conspire to do the same here in the United States was (and is) considered by the Washington establishment and the mainstream press to be inconceivable, which is precisely why the Warren Commission never even entertained the possibility.
It’s what I call the Inconceivable Doctrine — the doctrine that induces people to conclude that the Warren Commission got it right and disregarding the overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence that assassination researchers have come up with during the past 50 years pointing in the direction of the national-security state.
Imagine the current Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts, publicly declaring his opinion that the national-security state assassinated President Kennedy and framed Lee Harvey Oswald. Add to that some federal judges and some U.S. Senators saying the same thing. Add to that the editorial boards of the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.Impossible to imagine, right?
Well, the situation was much worse in 1963, a time when deference to authority was at an all-time high and in which there was a 99 percent trust factor in favor of the military and the CIA. There was simply no possibility that a mainstream lawyer in his 70s like Earl Warren, who was finishing his legal and political career as Chief Justice of the United States, was going to target the CIA for assassinating Kennedy and go to war against it. In fact, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Warren Commission relied on the CIA and the FBI investigative reports that were being furnished to the commission rather than establish its own team of investigators.
And that same deference to authority mindset afflicted the other members of the Warren Commission. All of them were not only the epitome of the Washington establishment, they were also 100 percent convinced that the national-security apparatus was absolutely necessary to the safety and well-being of the United States. They weren’t about to do anything that would downgrade and diminish the power and prestige of either the military or the CIA, especially at the height of the Cold War.
Thus, the fact is the fix was in from the very beginning, a fix that focused on Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone assassin of President Kennedy. The biggest reason for that was what has become known as the “World War III scenario.”
While assuring the general public that Oswald was a lone nut assassin, Lyndon Johnson was telling Earl Warren and, through him, the rest of the Warren Commission, that the fate of the United States lay in his hands. If the Warren Commission’s investigation led to a conspiracy in which Oswald was serving as an assassination agent for Cuba and the Soviet Union, that would mean World War III, given that a state-sponsored assassination would be an act of war, one that would require retaliation. That would inevitably mean nuclear war. Johnson told Warren that according to the best estimates, a nuclear war with the Soviet Union would mean around 40 million American deaths.
That’s what caused Warren to accept the position as head of the commission, despite the fact that he had long opposed any justice on the Supreme Court engaging in such extra-judicial activity. With tears in his eyes over the enormous burden that now lay on his shoulders — the burden involving the possibility of nuclear war that could kill 40 million Americans and countless more Soviet citizens — he reluctantly accepted the position as chairman of what became known as the Warren Commission.
And it’s not as if the evidence didn’t conveniently point to Cuba and the Soviet Union. Lee Harvey Oswald was purportedly an ardent communist, one who supposedly tried to defect to the Soviet Union, who established a chapter of the supposedly pro-communist Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans, and who had supposedly visited the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City immediately prior to the assassination.
And don’t forget the evidence of shots having been fired from the front, as established by all those people in Dallas who saw an exit hole in the back of Kennedy’s head and an entry wound in the front of his neck, not to mention all the witnesses who heard shots being fired from the grassy knoll in front of the president.
Case closed, right? Assassins from the front and from the back, with the assassin being a known communist and betrayer of America who’s had clear ties to the Soviet Union and Cuba.
What could Warren do? Conduct an investigation that established that Oswald was part of a Soviet and Cuba conspiracy to kill Kennedy, one that would lead to nuclear war that would lead to 40 million American deaths? That’s clearly not what Johnson wanted when he convinced Warren to serve on the commission. He wanted Warren to save the country by concluding that Oswald did it all alone, thereby sparing the United States from nuclear war with the Soviets.
There is another critically important factor that has to be considered here. It was the CIA during the Kennedy administration that started the assassination game against Fidel Castro, the president of Cuba, a country that never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so.
How could Warren conduct an investigation that would lead to the Soviet Union and Cuba and World War III knowing that it had been the CIA that had started the assassination war?
Did Warren know about the CIA’s repeated attempts to assassinate Castro, given that the CIA succeeded in keeping that fact secret from the public until the 1970s? While there is no direct, definitive evidence that the CIA informed Warren of that fact, according to a new book about the assassination, A Cruel and Shocking Act, by Phillip Shenon, Senator Richard Russell, another member of the Warren Commission who was fed the World War III scenario by Johnson, suspected that Warren was being secretly briefed by the CIA or Johnson during the commission proceedings. (Ironically, despite pointing out countless anomalies in the Kennedy case, Shenon ends up endorsing the lone-nut conclusion of the Warren Commission.)
If Warren were secretly apprised by the CIA or LBJ of what Johnson would later describe as a “damned Murder, Inc.” enterprise by which the CIA was assassinating — and trying to assassinate — foreign leaders, including Fidel Castro — a likely probability given the wish to shut down any investigation into the possibility of conspiracy — there is no way that Warren would have conducted an investigation that could possibly have led America into World War III and nuclear war, especially since it was the United States that would have secretly started the assassination war. How would they explain that to the people who survived the nuclear war?
The World War III scenario would also explain why Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach immediately issued a memo after the assassination saying that it was imperative that the American people be assured that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin and not a part of a conspiracy to kill the president … and why the FBI immediately settled on Oswald as the lone assassin and completely discounted the evidence of shots having been fired from the front … and why the military personnel at Bethesda falsified the autopsy to hide evidence of shots having been fired from the front … and why the Warren Commission immediately set up an outline that focused on Lee Harvey Oswald as lone-nut assassin rather conduct a wide-open investigation that could lead to anyone, the type of full and wide-open investigation that we would ordinary expect when a federal official is assassinated.
During the past 50 years the mainstream debate has revolved around whether Oswald acted alone or as part of a conspiracy, which were the parameters established by the Warren Commission. The assumption has always been that Oswald did it. The question has always been and continues to be with the Washington establishment and the mainstream press: Did Oswald act alone or in concert with others.
The notion that Oswald didn’t do it at all — that he was an entirely innocent man — a man who was exactly what he said he was — a patsy, a person who is being framed for a crime he didn’t commit — was never seriously considered by the Warren Commission. Such a notion was simply considered inconceivable.
Yet, when one gives serious consideration to either the lone-nut theory or the Oswald-conspiracy theory, both theories lead to nothing but dead ends.
We’ve already seen that if you go the lone nut route, you end up with a man who has no motive to kill the president. Even the Warren Commission finally gave up trying to figure out Oswald’s motive. If he was motivated by a love of communism, why kill a president who is trying to end the Cold War and who has issued a guarantee that the United States will never invade Cuba again, knowing that he’ll be succeeded by Lyndon Johnson, the classic pro-Cold War president whose “the communists are coming to get us” mindset mirrored that of the Pentagon and the CIA? If Oswald was motivated, on the other hand, by wanting to become a famous man for killing a popular president, then why deny he committed the crime?
And if we instead go the Oswald conspiracy route, then we still end up with dead ends.
If he was acting as an agent of Cuba and the Soviet Union, why would they have hired a person that could easily be traced to them? Wouldn’t you think they would hire an assassin who wasn’t so public about his defection to the Soviet Union, his pro-communist views, and high-profile visits to the Soviet and Cuban embassies in Mexico City?
Moreover, why would the Soviets and the Cubans want to get rid of a president who was now committed to ending the Cold War and living in mutual peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union and Cuba, knowing that he’d be replaced by a president whose Cold War views mirrored those of the Pentagon and the CIA?
If Oswald was instead acting as agent of the Mafia, another popular theory, what incentive would U.S. officials have to conduct a fake and false autopsy to cover up an assassination committed solely by the Mafia (as compared to the Mafia as the CIA’s assassination partner)? We all know that that’s not the way the federal government works. If U.S. officials were convinced that Oswald was acting solely on behalf of the Mafia, the federal government would have unleashed a reign of terror on the Mafia that would have completely smashed it out of existence forever.
What about Oswald as coconspirator with the CIA and the military? That’s actually a possibility that the Warren Commission had to confront early on and that absolutely scared the members of the commission to death. At one of the early executive sessions of the commission, there was an urgent, almost panicked, deliberation over rumors that were coming out of Texas that Oswald had been serving as an informant for the FBI and possibly for U.S. intelligence. The matter was so sensitive that the Warren Commission even ordered the transcript of the meeting to be destroyed. (It was later discovered by assassination researchers because the court reporter who was recording the proceedings failed to destroy her original recording of the session.)
How was the matter resolved? The Warren Commission simply asked the head of the FBI and the CIA to state under oath whether Oswald was an informant. They both testified no, and that was the end of the matter.
What else could Warren and the rest of the commissioners do — accuse the CIA and the FBI of lying and order a private investigative team to force its way into CIA and FBI headquarters and start searching out incriminatory evidence within the CIA and FBI files? Imagine the headlines: “Warren Commission Targets CIA and FBI. Accuses Officials of Lying About Oswald.”
Of course, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Allen Dulles, the head of the CIA during the Bay of Pigs fiasco, had also been appointed to serve on the commission by President Johnson. He was the guy that Kennedy had fired for what happened at the Bay of Pigs. Since Dulles was retired, he was able to attend more sessions than any other commissioner, all of whom had other fulltime jobs that seriously interfered with their service on the commission. Thus, Dulles was in the perfect position to ensure that the interests of the CIA were fully protected during the proceedings, not that any protection was needed because the commission and its staffers totally trusted the CIA during the entire proceedings.
Neither the Warren Commission nor the Washington establishment considered Dulles’ appointment to be a conflict of interest because it never occurred to them that the CIA might have been the one who orchestrated and carried out the assassination. It wouldn’t be until the 1970s, during the Church Committee hearings and the House Select Committee hearings, that people would learn that the trust that the Warren Commission had placed in the CIA had been seriously misplaced.
There is another factor to consider in the Oswald-CIA conspiracy scenario. If such a conspiracy had truly existed, wouldn’t you think that everyone involved in it would have been told in advance to keep his mouth shut in the event of an arrest? That’s not what Oswald did. He began jabbering away about being a “patsy,” a person that others had framed. If Oswald really was involved in such a conspiracy, wouldn’t he have figured that when the others were rounded up, they were going to finger him as also being involved in the plot?
Of course, there are also are those who hold that it is simply inconceivable that Lyndon Johnson would have been involved in such a plot, notwithstanding the fact that Johnson would clearly rank among the most crooked, rotten, power-hungry politicians who have ever served as president. Sure, the Johnson defenders say, it’s true that LBJ illegally stuffed ballot boxes in South Texas to win his U.S. Senate seat, and sure it’s true that he cavorted with known killers in Texas, and sure it’s true that he was facing the likelihood of a criminal indictment for corruption and bribery at the time Kennedy was assassinated, and sure it’s true that rumors were flying that JFK was going to dump Johnson off the ticket for the 1964 election. Nonetheless, it’s just considered inconceivable that LBJ would involve himself in a plot to remove Kennedy from office so that he could satisfy his lifelong quest to become president or even to avoid prison for corruption and bribery.
Well, let’s not forget that this was the man who killed millions of Vietnamese people without one iota of remorse or regret. This is the man who, just nine months after the assassination, knowingly, deliberately, and intentionally lied about the supposed North Vietnamese attack at the Gulf of Tonkin, enabling him and the national-security establishment to send tens of thousands of American men to their deaths in a senseless war in Southeast Asia.
Inconceivable? Don’t forget that it was Johnson who was patiently waiting for Kennedy’s body to be forcibly taken out of Parkland Hospital and delivered to his waiting plane, notwithstanding the supposed possibility that the assassination was the first step in a nuclear strike by the Soviet Union. It was Johnson who had to have been the person who issued the order to that Secret Service team to violate Texas law and use whatever means necessary, including deadly force, to prevent an autopsy from being conducted in Texas. Secret Service agents would never have done something like that on their own initiative.
By raising the prospect of nuclear war, a war that the CIA would have started with its assassination attempts against Castro, the World War III scenario that Johnson outlined to Warren effectively shut down any possibility of an aggressive investigation that might have led directly to the national-security establishment.
Warren really had no other choice. If he conducted a real investigation that would, in his mind, likely lead to the Soviet Union and Cuba, that would mean the deaths of 40 million Americans, as Johnson pointed out to him. Since he was convinced that Oswald was the assassin anyway, it was best to simply leave things at that and move on.
But of course, that meant that there could be no real investigation into any other possible conspiracies, including one in which the national-security state orchestrated and carried out the assassination, a scheme in which Oswald, as an intelligence operative with a secret cover of being a U.S. Marine who had purportedly discovered a love for communism, was framed.
What difference does the Kennedy assassination make today?
Well, in case no one has noticed, the United States today is the world’s assassination nation. Yes, we are still #1 and exceptional in that one important area — assassinations. We lead the world in the number of assassinations being committed every year, against both Americans and non-Americans. And guess who is committing them. The CIA and the U.S. military — also known as the U.S. national-security state, the totalitarian-like apparatus that was brought into existence to wage a Cold War against America’s World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union, and which fundamentally changed American life and culture in the process — the institution that is still part of America’s governmental structure despite the fact that the original justification for its existence — the Cold War — ended a long time ago.
Defenders of the lone-nut conclusion of the Warren Report say that conspiracy theorists simply cannot accept the notion of a little man killing a big man. Actually, the problem is that defenders of the lone-nut theory posited by the Warren Commission cannot accept the notion that the national-security state — an institution that was brought into existence to wage a “cold war” against America’s World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union — an institution that lone-nut proponents are convinced is essential to their freedom and well-being — an institution under which they have all been born and raised and that they’re convinced defends their “freedom” and keeps them “safe” — one that they idolize, much as a child idolizes his parents — got a out of control and employed its omnipotent powers to remove what it perceived to be the biggest threat to national security since the advent of the national-security state in 1947 — a supposed threat posed by a president who had the audacity to reject the standard Cold War, anti-communist, nut-country mindset and instead pursue peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union and Cuba, which, if he had been successful, would likely have led him to dismantle the national-security state apparatus itself, thereby restoring a peaceful and harmonious society to our land.