It’s been the million-dollar question for the past five decades: Who killed President John F. Kennedy on a sunny afternoon at Dealey Plaza in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963? With the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination on the horizon, there is still no definitive answer.
Some, following the official Warren Commission version, believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, using an Italian bolt-action Mannlicher-Carcano rifle to fire three shots from the Texas School Book Depository building, hitting JFK once in the neck and once in the back of the head.
Others believe in conspiracy theories, ranging from the CIA to the military, the Mafia, Cuba, Cuban exiles, Russia and even then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. One person who isn’t buying the official explanation is U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, like Kennedy a former senator from Massachusetts.
“To this day, I have serious doubts that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone,” he told Brokaw.
“I certainly have doubts that he was motivated by himself, I mean I'm not sure if anybody else was involved -- I don't go down that road with respect to the Grassy Knoll theory and all that -- but I have serious questions about whether they got to the bottom of Lee Harvey Oswald's time and influence from Cuba and Russia,” Kerry said.
As the Daily Mail reports, Kerry told Brokaw that he doesn’t believe in a conspiracy theory involving the CIA, but insisted that the Russians and the Cubans may have had some influence on the JFK assassination.
"I think he [Oswald] was inspired somewhere by something, and I don't know what or if or any -- I can't pin anything down on that," Kerry said.
During the wide-ranging interview, Kerry also discussed the “surreal” moment when Oswald was shot and killed two days later by Jack Ruby, the impact the JFK assassination had on him personally, JFK’s legacy as a president, whether Kennedy would have withdrawn from Vietnam had he been re-elected and where he was when he found out that JFK had been shot.
“I was playing in the Harvard-Yale soccer game … I heard this ripple of conversation and concern and audible gasp go through the audience and the word was the president has been shot,” he said. “We did not know what had happened, and I remember just completely disconnecting from the game. It was just a shock. Everybody just felt, ‘What are we doing? We’re playing a soccer game and the president’s just been shot.’ So then we played out the game -- I can’t tell you this day who won, I’ve never gone back and found out -- and we learned before the game had ended that he had died. It was just a lost period of time.”
As the Daily Mail points out, Kerry has a connection to the Kennedy family. In 1962, he was a volunteer on Ted Kennedy’s first senatorial campaign. During the interview with Brokaw, he talked about his one encounter with President John F. Kennedy at the White House.
“I'm in between high school and going off to college, and he said ‘Where you going?’ and I said Yale. I grimaced, knowing he was a Harvard guy, and he looked at me and he said, ‘No, no that's great now because I now have a Yale degree,’” Kerry said.
“He had just gotten his Yale honorary degree and he couldn't have been nicer about it and talked to me about the campaign and what Teddy was doing.”
“It was totally surreal,” Kerry said.