CIA connections abound
in assassination of JFK
By Roger Conant
One of the most dubious aspects of the John
F. Kennedy murder
case is the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle supposedly found at the sixth-floor
in the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, Texas.
All experts agree that the Italian rifle is almost worthless as to reliability and accuracy. In tests in which shooters have tried to duplicate Lee Harvey Oswald's alleged feat, the conditions the testers have used have always been less rigorous than the reality.
One of the first cops upstairs, Seymour Weitzman, said he found a Mauser. He should have known; he once sold sporting guns.
A photo of a policeman outside the depository shows him with a long object, presumably a rifle, covered with a sack. "They didn't want you to see it, did they?" comments retired Texas newsman Penn Jones. "I'd like to know where they got that (unusual) sack so fast."
- During the other presidential stops in Texas, the limousine seating arrangement was the two politicians JFK and Texas Gov. John B. Connally side by side, with their wives side by side. At Love Field on Nov. 22, 1963, the seating arrangement was switched, probably by the Secret Service, so that Connally sat behind JFK. "They didn't want to shoot a woman," suggests Jones. .
- About noon, a battalion of combat-ready troops returning from Europe on a training mission was reportedly airborne over the central United States. Jones said he spoke to one of the soldiers who landed at Austin, Texas, later in the day. Also in the same time period, it has been reported, telephone service and power were interrupted in Washington, D.C.
- Army Capt. Richard C. Cloy said Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara, a Rockefeller protege, had ordered a unit of troops to rehearse for a state funeral before the assassination. The Warren Commission brushed off the claim, but McNamara said at one point that the death of a high military official. who was ailing, appeared imminent.
- Writer Lincoln Lawrence claims there was an enormous flurry of short-selling on Wall Street in the hours preceding the murder.
- A planeload of top Kennedy administration officials was out over the Pacific heading for a conference at the moment of the slaying.
Writer David S. Lifton, who spent 15 years studying the assassination,
believes the President's brain was removed and the incriminating bullets
extracted as soon as the body arrived at Bethesda Naval Hospital. The Warren
Commission never examined the autopsy X-rays or photos. The commission was
told that no testable bullet fragments could he found in the body.
Lifton noted that two FBI agents assumed there had already been surgery on JFK's head before the "official" autopsy began and he said Commander James Humes's autopsy report described in highly technical language a wound caused by someone slicing into the head. The House panel came up with experts who essentially supported the original conclusions. Lifton points out a number of discrepancies, including apparently missing autopsy photos.
Other vital evidence, the President's brain, vanished within a few years after the murder.
Lifton cites a number of retired servicemen who indicate that some funny business was going on in Bethesda. For example, Naval X-ray technician Jerrol F. Custer related that he was hustled past Jacqueline Kennedy in Bethesda's lobby while he was carrying the second or third batch of autopsy X-rays upstairs for processing.
This is strange. Jackie passed through the lobby while JFK's casket was still in an ambulance out front. This means, Lifton reasons, that the casket driven from the plane was empty and that JFK's body was flown by helicopter to Bethesda after being whisked out a door out of view of TV cameras. TV footage indicates a helicopter revving in the background when the official casket was publicly removed, Lifton said.
Witnesses in the morgue have said the room was filled with civilians and military brass, including JFK's physician, Admiral George Burkley; Admiral Edward Kenney, Navy surgeon general; Admiral Calvin Galloway, commander of the Bethesda base; [and] Capt. John Stover, hospital commander. The body was at all times in the care of the Secret Service, headed by James Rowley.
Another name that lurks in the background because of his association with various persons who were in Dallas or who have been accused of complicity in JFK's death is ex-CIA mastermind Richard H. Bissell. Bissell ran with an iron fist the U2 program (Oswald served at a U2 base), was instrumental in arranging the overthrow of Guatemala's Jacobo Arbenz -- a move which benefited the Rockefeller empire's United Fruit -- and plotted the Bay of Pigs invasion. As boss of clandestine services, he orchestrated an extraordinarily complex exile war against Cuba. One of his chief Latin America and U.S. operatives was E. Howard Hunt, like Bissell a scion of a well-to-do family, who helped him in the Guatemala and Cuba plots. Hunt was reputedly CIA station chief in Mexico City at the time of Oswald's alleged visit there.
Bissell, with Vice President Richard M. Nixon the "action officer," pressed hard for an invasion of Cuba, but [President Dwight D.] Eisenhower was cautious. Under JFK, Bissell kept modifying his plans (he also organized CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro) to suit the inexperienced and skeptical President. Kennedy thought the idea was to let the exiles do the job themselves and if that didn't work, to fade into the mountains as guerrillas. JFK aide Arthur M. Schlesinger and others suspect that Bissell's real plan was to con the President into committing U.S. troops to an invasion on the theory that the U.S. never backs down. But JFK didn't bite and the invasion failed. The President was incensed at the CIA and soon let CIA chief Allen Dulles and Bissell know they could start looking for new jobs. Bissell, like Dulles a Rockefeller protege, stayed in close touch with the CIA by moving into a CIA think tank.
The CIA was under tremendous pressure from JFK, who complained the agency often acted on its own. Schlesinger noted JFK was attempting to cut back the agency's budget 20 percent by 1966. He assigned his brother Robert to breathe down the CIA's neck and the agency was forced to start laying off agents.
The CIA closely monitored the coup against the Diems of South Vietnam though it has not been proved that the agency instigated the murders, which occurred three weeks before JFK's death.
JFK, on learning of the assassinations, was shocked and stormed out of the room, several participants have noted. Shortly after that, he ordered 1,000 troops withdrawn from Vietnam and may have been planning to speed up the withdrawal that he had been contemplating for 1965.
Ex-New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison, now a parish judge, said he believes the CIA hit Kennedy because he opposed a massive intervention in Vietnam. David and Nelson Rockefeller were both outspoken hawks on Vietnam.
JFK, who once said Kennedys "eat Rockefellers for breakfast," had swiped at the Rockefellers, and the Texas oil barons H.L. Hunt and Clint Murchison Jr., by proposing a revision of the oil depletion allowance that would have seriously undermined the power of these families.
According to Jones, who won't cite his source, the night before JFK's murder, Nixon, FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover and Murchison met in Dallas. (Hoover regularly vacationed at Hurchison's expense at a Murchison resort.) Nixon was in town as a New York lawyer on business with the Pepsi Cola account. Nixon, according to an FBI document, said in 1964 that he had left Dallas two days before the assassination. But years later he admitted he had been in town Nov. 22 but had left by 11:30 a.m., an hour before the slaying. Nixon also reportedly met with H.L. Hunt.
Immediately after the assassination, reports writer G. Gary Shaw, Hunt, escorted by FBI agents, took a flight from Love field. Army Gen. Edwin Walker, retired by JFK for right-wing indoctrination of his troops, soon joined Hunt at a hideaway in Mexico, surrounded by a platoon of ex-FBI agents, and stayed there until December, Shaw asserts.
Nixon was very nervous when Howard Hunt was captured in the Watergate affair. Hunt, on Nixon's behalf, had forged a cable implicating JFK in the Diem assassinations. Hunt had discussed with G. Gordon Liddy and a CIA doctor various means of murdering columnist Jack Anderson, but apparently Nixon hatchet man Charles Colson called that one off. (Later Hunt said they were just jesting.)
According to White House tapes released in the Watergate affair, what really alarmed Nixon about Hunt was the fact that he might blow the whistle on "the Bay of Pigs." H.R. Haldeman, a top Nixon functionary, later said he finally concluded that "the Bay of Pigs thing" was really a buzzword for JFK's assassination -- but Haldeman tied this into supposed Cuban retribution for CIA slay plots.
Colson is reported to have said that Hunt knew a lot about Nixon's role in the assassination and that Hunt's wife Dorothy was carrying documents with which she could blackmail Nixon into getting her husband out of jail at the time she died, along with 40 other persons, in a Chicago plane crash. Fifty FBI agents secured the crash site, according to one writer.
Colson, author of "Born Again," had an aide reply to a reporter's inquiry with a letter that neither confirms, denies nor disavows the purported statements. He left word that he was out of town when this reporter tried to interview him.
Nixon did not answer a registered letter of inquiry.
Hunt's lawyer responded to an inquiry with a hard-nosed, general reply, which did not answer several specific questions.
One of the moat ridiculous omissions in the Warren Report was Jack Ruby's ties to the Mafia. Ruby began as a low-level courier for Al Capone in Chicago and worked his way up to labor racketeering. He was associated with Sam Giancana and Jimmy Hoffa's ally, mobster Paul Dorfman. He was in the building at the time a Chicago union official was slain.
Rubinstein, an FBI report says, was permitted to duck a House Un--American Activities Committee hearing in 1947 because he was "performing information functions for Richard Nixon." Shortly thereafter Ruby moved to Dallas. Nixon's protege, Murray Chotiner, had represented a number of gangsters.
In Dallas, Ruby was the mob's key man, corrupting the Dallas police with free liquor and free women. Ruby, like many of those named by Garrison as part of the slay plot, was homosexual or bisexual. Ruby on occasion made forays into Cuba, possibly running guns to Fidel Castro (the mob will sell guns to anybody). Meyer Lanksy was boss of Cuba, with Fulgencio Batista his ally and mobster Santos Trafficanto Jr. his aide. It seems likely Ruby would have had contact with Lanksy, who was also Jewish.
The mob greatly feared Attorney General Robert Kennedy who was relentlessly seeking to break the back of organized crime. Two notable enemies were Hoffa, associated with the Chicago mob, and Lansky protege Carlos Marcello, who [controlled] Louisiana like a feudal warlord. RFK's "get-Hoffa-squad" finally got him jailed (though Nixon freed him). Marcello had been cornered by JFK's men into fighting deportation as an undesirable alien. The day JFK was shot, Marcello was [freed].
Though neither a Ruby-Oswald link or a link between Ruby and Officer J.D. Tippitt can be proved, there is some evidence affirming such connections. If Ruby was a conspirator, what was his role? Reporters Seth Kantor and Penn Jones both saw Ruby at Parkland hospital right after the murder. Was he making sure JFK was dead?
Why would a canny, ruthless mobster suddenly be overcome with emotion and throw his life away by slaying Oswald. Could it be that Oswald, apparently the patsy, had somehow avoided being shot and [that] a mob overlord had gotten word to Ruby to finish the job himself, or else -- true to the Mafia code they'd get his family?
Though Garrison was lampooned in the national press, and though he failed to prove that Clay Shaw (who was later identified as a CIA contract agent by ex -CIA official Victor Marchetti) was involved in a conspiracy to kill JFK, his investigation did turn up a number of persons with CIA affiliations. However, Garrison, who palled around with gangsters, avoided bringing up the mob links. Was the Mafia laying down a little protective fire to prevent the CIA from dumping all the blame on them? [Garrison later told this reporter he had been very disappointed with this suggestion, but did not deny that he sometimes drank with mobsters in his off-hours.]
Whether Garrison had a good case or not is open to question, because governors -- in unprecedented moves -- refused to permit extradition of key witnesses to Louisiana. Ohio Gov. John Rhodes blocked extradition of Gordon Hovel, whom the CIA admitted was on its payroll. California Gov. Ronald Reagan in Dec. 1967 declined to permit the extradition of Eugene Hale Brading (alias Braden and Bradley), who had been spotted by a Dallas deputy sherriff in Dealey Plaza posing as a Secret Service agent and taking informa- tion from cops right after the assassination.
Despite dark hints by Lyndon B. Johnson, who appointed the Warren panel to stave off a congressional investigation, about possible Soviet complicity, no one has seriously suggested that the KGB would have rigged such a maneuver directly.
However, the CIA's predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services, was heavily infiltrated by Communist agents. Dulles, as OSS station chief in Switzerland, helped a young protege, apparently inadvertently, set up a Red spy ring active in postwar Western Europe.
Alger Hiss, a Rockefeller functionary and an architect of the Yalta accords, was identified as a Communist spy by Ex-Communist Whittaker Chambers.
During the early Cold War, the CIA's covert action branch carried out extensive operations against the East bloc. CIA historians and others characterize these efforts as mostly failures, with Red authorities apparently aware of U.S. moves. For years, there has been an internal battle raging at the CIA as to the possibility of Soviet 'moles' manipulating the agency.
What better may to get rid of a foreign leader, who had humbled Hikita Khruschev in the Cuban missile crisis, than to set up the foe's own intelligence service as the patsy?
[The] CIA serves only minimal counterintelligence functions in the U.S.; its budget and manpower are secret -- though they have been beefed up considerably under President Reagan. [And yet at] the time of the Kennedy murder -- as has been documented by post-Watergate official inquiries -- the CIA had an extensive internal intelligence network plugged into the mobs, the police departments, the Pentagon and the press.
During the course of this inquiry, this reporter noticed that he was under surveillance. The CIA has not responded to requests for information on the surveillance, despite provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. The FBI's Washington Jiendquarters denies knowing anything but mentioned that the field office might have files. The FBI's New Jersey field unit has not auswered a letter requesting to see surveillance files. The U.S. attorney for New Jersey, W. Hunt Dumont, has not responded to a request by this reporter's lawyer few a meeting.