I have been reading two books by John Stockwell: In Search of Enemies (1978) and The Praetorian Guard: The U.S. Role in the New World Order (1991). Stockwell, the Director of the CIA’s Angola Task Force, is the highest-ranking CIA officer ever to quit the agency. This is part what he has to say about the assassination of JFK.
The President was perfunctorily warned of the threats against him, but the usual vigilant efforts to protect him were not taken. The Secret Service, FBI, and local police certainly can protect presidents. They do it continuously not only inside the United States but in foreign capitals around the world. Numerous, almost routine, techniques are involved, like bringing extra security forces to blanket problem areas, moving in caravans of cars at a brisk 45 miles an hour, and using, whenever possible, unannounced routes that do not include sharp, slow turns.
When President Kennedy and his wife visited Dallas on November 22, 1963, nearly all of the protections were lifted. Available Texas Guard units were not called into the city and available Dallas policemen were temporarily released from duty. The result? A team of CIA, Cuban exile, and Mafia-related renegades organized a simple military ambush in Dallas and successfully gunned him down. The ambush and its coverup were brazen and astonishingly open. In fact several plots, in Chicago, Miami, and Houston, to kill Kennedy had misfired or been thwarted. The plot that succeeded in Dealey Plaza was so open that various people were reported prior to the event to have said that Kennedy would be killed with a rifle and a patsy would be blamed for the crime. Individuals like Joseph Milteer, the “umbrella man,” and a CIA pilot Robert Plumlee went to Dealey Plaza on the 22nd of November to watch.
Obviously, most CIA personnel were not involved and did not know of the plot since sensitive operations are compartmentalized in order to protect their security. Moreover, the great majority of the coat-and-tie people inside CIA headquarters would never have put up with a hit on the President. A great deal of the success of the CIA is due to its ability to attract patriotic, good soldiers who believe in the general rightness of what they do, and then insulate them through compartmentalization from the heavier activities.
The OPMONGOOSE renegades, however, included assassins, terrorists, and people who had been involved in the drug traffic from Cuba into the United States. The team set up a military-style ambush in Dealey Plaza, with shooters on the tops of buildings and the famous grassy knoll. The route of the President’s convoy included a 120-degree turn which slowed the car to a near stop. There was cooperation of elements of the Secret Service, of the Dallas Police, and of other law enforcement agencies.
When the shooting began, the Secret Service driver put on – the brakes (home movies of the scene show the brake lights on). Anyone who has been through that kind of training-and I have been through their “bang and burn” courses-is drilled to react. When the bullets start flying in such a situation, you mash down on the gas and you get the hell out of the area; you do not slow down and look around as the seasoned Secret Service driver in fact did. In ten seconds of rifle fire, only one of the Secret Service agents in the trail car moved to the President’s aid. The one agent who did move was Jackie Kennedy’s personal guard, in Dallas at her request, not part of the team that was there to protect the President.
Kennedy was shot at very close range from firing stations, probably four of them, where the assassins fired eight to ten shots. He was hit in the back, throat, and twice in the head, two bullets each from the front and from the back. Texas Governor John Connally was hit twice. Two bullets were fired into the concrete, one on each side of the convoy. After the shooting stopped, the convoy raced away. The FBI and other branches of the government immediately launched the coverup. The new President, Lyndon Johnson, ordered the limousine in which Kennedy was killed be flown to Chicago and destroyed. The announced goal of President Johnson was to “reassure” the nation by proving that the killing was the work of lone assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. It was variously suggested that an investigation that turned up Soviet involvement might lead to nuclear war; it might embarrass the Kennedy widow; it might lead to domestic unrest. In fact; it might have led to a sizeable number of very important people and organizations being implicated in a presidential assassination. That might very well have exercised the population sufficiently to provoke a serious investigation of CIA, FBI, and Mafia activities in the country, and to demand some changes.
The evidence was extensively tampered with. The President’s body was altered; the photographs of the autopsy were altered; and over 100 witnesses were killed or died mysterious and violent deaths. To this day, despite the House Committee’s 1979 conclusion that there was a conspiracy, there has been no formal, official investigation. Neither have all the documents been released.
Even among the majority that acknowledge that there was abroad conspiracy, many find it difficult to believe that the CIA itself could have been involved. Perhaps, they reluctantly concede, “renegades” might have had something to do with it.
In fact, there is strong evidence that both the FBI and the CIA high commands had prior knowledge of and direct involvement in the conspiracy. After the Dallas Police had arrested Lee Harvey Oswald, but before they could have positively identified him (he had false identification papers in his wallet) much less interrogate him and reasonably confirm his (alleged) guilt, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover telephoned Bobby Kennedy in Washington to tell him that the assassin had been caught. Hoover gave Kennedy biographic information that he could only have had prior to the assassination. Clearly he was waiting with information about Lee Harvey Oswald, to blame him for the killing.
Similarly, CIA operatives far from Dallas were waiting with biographic information about Oswald to feed to the media. Some time after the Warren Committee hearings, journalist Seth Kantor found himself broadly suspected of being somehow a secret agent because, researchers found, the Warren Commission had classified part of his testimony. Puzzled, he checked and found that the Commission had in fact classified telephone calls he made during the afternoon of the killing. In addition to checking his own notes, he succeeded in forcing the Warren Commission to return his testimony to him, and identified the calls. One was to the managing editor of the Scripps-Howard news service bureau in Washington. Mid-afternoon, again long before the police could have interrogated Oswald, made a positive identification, concluded what had happened, and eliminated the possibility of accomplices in a conspiracy to kill the President, the editor told Kantor that Oswald had been identified as the assassin and instructed him to call Hal Hendricks, a journalist who gave Kantor detailed biographic information about Oswald. Years later, in the CIA-engineered coup in Chile, Hendricks was positively identified as a CIA operative working under journalistic cover. Moreover, the Warren Commission’s move to classify the phone calls is proof positive that it knew there was an intelligence connection with Hendricks and strongly suggests that it was willfully covering up the assassination conspiracy.
In sum, the FBI Director and CIA media operatives were waiting, primed, before the assassination to launch the coverup and pin the blame on the pre-selected patsy, Oswald.