One week after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy privately communicated to the leadership of the Soviet Union that they did not believe accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
Jacqueline Kennedy and RFK wanted the Soviet leadership to know that “despite Oswald’s connections to the communist world, the Kennedys believed that the president was felled by domestic opponents.”
Publicly, Jacqueline Kennedy endorsed the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Oswald acted alone, and it was not until 1999 that her and RFK’s private views were made known, when they were revealed by historians Aleksandr Fusenko and Timothy Naftali in their book on the Cuban Missile Crisis, “One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964.”
In the book, the historians reported that when Jacqueline Kennedy’s artist friend William Walton traveled to Moscow on a previously scheduled trip a week after President Kennedy’s assassination, Walton carried the above “felled by domestic opponents” message from Jacqueline Kennedy and RFK to another friend of the Kennedy administration, Georgi Bolshakov, a Russian diplomat. Bolshakov served as a back-channel link between the White House and the Kremlin during the October 1962 missile crisis.
Jacqueline Kennedy’s Analysis: Little Media Coverage
At the time of the book’s publication in 1999, Jacqueline Kennedy and RFK’s private views received very little attention from U.S. media outlets.
Further, in 2013, despite the enormous amount of media coverage of the recent 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, when hundreds of media outlets sent reporters and TV crews to Dallas, there was relatively little coverage of what Jacqueline Kennedy, RFK or other public officials in office in 1963 thought occurred on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, even though many public officials have made their opinions and analyses known publicly since then. Here are a few of note:
“I think the [Warren Commission] report, to those who have studied it closely, has collapsed like a house of cards ... the fatal mistake the Warren Commission made was not to use its own investigators, but instead to rely on the CIA and FBI personnel, which played directly into the hands of senior intelligence officials who directed the cover-up."
-- U.S. Sen. Richard Schweiker, R-Penn., and former member of the Church Committee, which investigated U.S. intelligence community activities, including illegal operations (1976)
"I told the FBI what I had heard [two shots from behind the grassy knoll fence], but they said it couldn't have happened that way and that I must have been imagining things. So I testified the way they wanted me to. I just didn't want to stir up any more pain and trouble for the family."
-- Ken O’Donnell, former Special Assistant to President Kennedy (1987)
“Hoover lied his eyes out to the [Warren] Commission -- on Oswald, on Ruby, on their friends, the bullets, the guns, you name it …”
-- Hall Boggs, Majority Leader and Former Warren Commission member
“Were they aiming at the president?” President Lyndon B. Johnson said.
"They were aiming directly at the president. There’s no question about that," Director Hoover said. "This telescopic lens brings close to you like they were sitting right beside you."
-- Lyndon Johnson, president of the United States, to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, on Nov. 29, 1963
“I never heard the shot that hit me.”
-- Texas Gov. John Connally, who had been seated in front of President Kennedy in the presidential limousine in Dallas
At The Center Of The Nightmare
Of course, in the years following the nation’s dark and ignominious day in 1963, many talented assassination researchers have offered rigorous, systematic analyses of what happened in Dealey Plaza, but the observations and thoughts of Jacqueline Kennedy, though often overlooked, are extremely pertinent: She was the closest witness to the crime and its intended victim, the president. She was, more than anyone else, at the center of the nightmare.
Moreover, the observations of the aforementioned and other public officials are data points of consequence and therefore relevant. These are not the observations of ill-informed adults or mere conjecture. To public investigators, these witnesses represent adults who had access to at least some of the hard evidence available, and, in regard to the Dealey Plaza witnesses, they comprise only those with first-hand evidence or observations.
A Preponderance Of Evidence
Further, if the above observations and thoughts had occurred in isolation, they would still be significant in the investigation of the president’s murder. However, when combined with the suspicious activity, anomalies and commonality of interests among key parties in the case, they form a preponderance of evidence that, at minimum, begs additional questions. Those suspicious activities/anomalies/commonalities include:
• Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t fire when the presidential motorcade was close.
• Gov. John Connally never heard the shot that injured him.
• Aristocrat George de Mohrenschildt befriended working-class Lee Harvey Oswald.
• Authorities arrested Oswald in about 90 minutes.
• Oswald’s paraffin test was negative: The test determined that he may have fired a revolver that day, but not a rifle.
• After an earlier arrest, in August 1963 in New Orleans, Oswald called a specific person at the FBI.
• Two days after President Kennedy was murdered, Jack Ruby murdered Oswald.
• Most Parkland Hospital emergency room physicians said President Kennedy had an exit wound, indicative of a gunshot from the front, but the Bethesda, Maryland, autopsy that followed did not describe the back-of-the-head wound as an exit wound.
• At least 21 law enforcement personnel in Dealey Plaza thought a gunshot came from the front of the presidential motorcade.
• The presidential limousine was washed before it was inspected for blood, bone and tissue evidence.
• No one physically saw Oswald at the TSBD’s sixth floor window at 12:30 p.m. Central Time, the time of the assassination.
• At three committee investigations, the Central Intelligence Agency either hid evidence or obstructed the committee from obtaining it.
• Despite threatening to disclose “classified things” to the Soviet Union after defecting, Oswald was never punished by the U.S. government for doing so. Then, when Oswald said he wanted to return, despite saying he was a communist, and it being the height of the Cold War, the U.S. government let him return.
• Despite being interrogated for 10-12 hours after being arrested on Nov. 22, 1963, crime investigators did not make a legal, stenographic or audio recording of the interrogation.
• After Oswald was allowed to return to the United States, he was surrounded by talented, accomplished middle/upper class citizens at nearly every key point in his life through Nov. 24, 1963, even though Oswald held largely blue collar, low-pay jobs.
Making Public JFK Assassination Files Held By CIA Would Clarify Much
Further, the U.S. intelligence community in general, and the Central Intelligence Agency specifically, could resolve many of the questions/anomalies above by making public more than 1,100 classified files related to the JFK assassination.
In particular, when made public, the classified files of CIA Officer George Joannides; CIA Officer David Atlee Philips, who was involved in pre-assassination surveillance of Oswald; Birch D O’Neal, who as counter-intelligence head of the CIA, opened a file on defector Oswald; and the files of CIA Officers Howard Hunt; William King Harvey; Anne Goodpasture; and David Sanchez Morales -- will help the nation determine what really happened in Dallas, who Oswald was and how the CIA handled Oswald’s file.
However, the CIA says the Joannides’ files and the files of the CIA officers -- which the Agency said are “not believed relevant” to the JFK assassination -- must remain classified until at least 2017, and perhaps longer, due to U.S. national security. But the CIA’s national security claim has never been independently verified, according to JFKFacts.org Moderator Jefferson Morley.
Morley is the plaintiff in the ongoing Morley v. CIA suit, which seeks to make public Joannides’ classified files.
In Morley’s suit, his attorney has responded to the CIA’s latest brief, on the issue of court fees. Having won on appeal twice, Morley argues that the standard practice of the U.S government paying court fees for a successful appeal should apply. The CIA counters that the litigation has not generated any significant new information, and therefore the government should not have to pay the court fees. The issue is now in the hands of U.S. Judge Richard Leon.
It must be underscored that, to date, there is no smoking gun or incontrovertible evidence of a plot or conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy, but there is a pattern of suspicious activity, along with a series of anomalies and a commonality of interests among key parties, that compel additional research and the release of non-public documents.
Further, the CIA probably is not covering up some tectonic, systemic crisis-triggering secret about the assassination of President Kennedy, or even evidence of a colossal Agency operational failure that would prompt the American people to call for a dismantling of the national security state apparatus.
However, until all of the JFK assassination files are made public, the pattern of suspicious activity, anomalies, commonality of interests, along with the observations of the investigators and public officials, form a preponderance of evidence that strongly suggest that -- at minimum -- the American people do not know the full truth regarding the assassination of President Kennedy, and that the Agency is hiding something.
Joseph Lazzaro, U.S. Editor, served as Managing Editor of New York-based financial news web sites WallStreetEurope.com/WallStreetItalia.com, 1999-2004, and as Economics...