NORMAN KATZ: “I was there, at the White House, assigned (as a military attaché) to the Secret Service, when that horrible dispatch came in advising us of the President’s shooting and death.”

NORMAN KATZ: “I was there, at the White House, assigned (as a military attaché) to the Secret Service, when that horrible dispatch came in advising us of the President’s shooting and death.”



Eyewitness Turns Back Clock a Half Century to JFK’s Assassination



Foundation for Belmont Education-sponsored event brings history to students with a visit from Secret Service agent Norman Katz.




By Lisa Gibalerio

Thanks to grant funding provided by the as, tenth graders at the Belmont High School were given the opportunity to hear from Norman Katz, one of the Secret Service agents on duty in Dallas when John F. Kennedy was assassinated.




“Assassinations have happened before,” he told the audience of sophomores, “and they will happen again.”




Katz outlined how far security measures have come in the 50 years since Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas.




“In the early 1960s, we weren’t even thinking about assassination; we were just there to offer general protection.”




He added that 50 years ago, there were 312 Secret Service agents employed by the US Government; there are more than 7,000 today. President Obama, he stated, receives more than 400 death threats a year and wears a bullet-proof suit and underwear.




Technology back then, he said, consisted of hand signals and walkie-talkies – when they worked, he added.




The students seemed especially rapt when he described the moments that JFK was shot and killed. The limousine, he said, should have sped off when the first shot was fired, but the driver slowed down thinking the limo had backfired. The second shot hit Kennedy in the neck.




“He would have survived that neck shot,” Katz said, “it was the third shot that shattered his brain.”




The students saw photos of that were taken during the shootings as well as photos of JFK’s autopsy.




For a group of students born 35 years after these events occurred, they certainly left this presentation with a clear idea of what happened on that fateful November day in Dallas in 1963. And from the perspective of a man who was standing just a few feet away when it happened.




The White House



During the Kennedy &


Johnson Years


Former Secret Service officer Norman Katz


spoke to a jam packed meeting this morning


detailing his first hand accounts and


experiences of being in Dallas during the


Kennedy assassination, working with


President Johnson and being present in the


White House during the days of the Cuban


Missile Crisis.


Norman was in Dallas in the Presidential

Secret Service detail on the day of the

assassination. He was not part of the caravan

detail, but was at the Dallas headquarters in

the backup detail. Norman shared with


attendees his and his colleague’s views of the


c o n s p i r a c y t h e o r i e s o n Ke n n e d y ’ s


assassination. He is a firm believer that Lee


Oswald was the only shooter and fired all the


shots from the Book Depository. He offered his


reasons and shared with all his private photos


which revealed details that have not been


shown on newspapers or TV. He commended


President Johnson for the consideration he


showed to Mrs. Kennedy at that time, by


insisting that his plane’s departure be delayed


until she and the President’s body were on Air


Force One.


He described the tension that existed in the


White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis.


He described the behavior and actions of


several of the leaders of the day including


Bobby Kennedy, General Curtis LeMay and


Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. The


world came very close to nuclear war that day


and the issue was in doubt until Nikita


Khrushchev ordered the ship carrying the


missiles to Cuba to turn around. Norman was


in the midst of all the action during those 13


days. The US was ready to bomb the Cuban


missiles and anticipated a retaliatory strike


from Russia. In fact, during the crisis Norman


called his mother to tell her to fill the bathtub


with water in anticipation of the destruction of


vital services in New York.


One of the most interesting insights he shared


with his audience was the behavior of the


presidents and how they treated others. The


worst was President Johnson. He detailed

how Presidents Kennedy and Johnson

chased women. Marilyn Monroe was a

regular at the Kennedy White House while


LBJ chased women everywhere. He would


have the women that were on Air Force One.


He was not secretive at all, in fact, he was


quite open about his actions. Norman


detailed that on several occasions President


Johnson would walk down the aisle of Air


Force One completely naked. He also


observed President Carter, who publicly


professed that he wasn’t a drinker, having his


morning double bourbon before the day




Norman answered several questions from


members of the audience, many on the


assassination of President Kennedy. Thank


you, Norman, for sharing your observations


and comments about these very historical






NORMAN KATZ: “I was there, at the White House, assigned (as a military attaché) to the Secret Service, when that horrible dispatch came in advising us of the President’s shooting and death.”






About vincepalamara

Vincent Palamara was born in Pittsburgh and graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in Sociology. Although not even born when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Vince brings fresh eyes to an old case. In fact, Vince would go on to study the largely overlooked actions - and inactions - of the United States Secret Service in unprecedented detail, as well as achieving a world's record in the process, having interviewed and corresponded with over 80 former agents (the House Select Committee on Assassinations had the old record of 46 with a 6 million dollar budget and subpoena power from Congress), not to mention many surviving family members, White House aides, and even quite a few Parkland and Bethesda medical witnesses for a corresponding project. The result was Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect President Kennedy. Vince is also the author of the books JFK: From Parkland To Bethesda, The Not-So-Secret Service, Who's Who in the Secret Service, and Honest Answers about the Murder of President John F. Kennedy: A New Look at the JFK Assassination. All told, Vince has been favorably mentioned in over 140 JFK and Secret Service related books to date (including two whole chapters in Murder in Dealey Plaza, The Secret Service: The Hidden History Of An Enigmatic Agency by Philip Melanson, and the Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board, among many others), often at length, in the bibliographies, and in the Secret Service - and even medical evidence - areas of these works. Vince has appeared on the History Channel's THE MEN WHO KILLED KENNEDY (VHS and DVD), C-SPAN, Newsmax TV, A COUP IN CAMELOT (DVD/BLU RAY), KING KILL '63, THE MAN BEHIND THE SUIT (DVD), National Geographic's JFK: THE FINAL HOURS (including on DVD), PCN, BPTV, local cable access television, YouTube, radio, newspapers, print journals, at national conferences, and all over the internet. Also, Vince's original research materials, or copies of said materials, are stored in the National Archives (by request under Deed Of Gift by the ARRB), the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Harvard University, the Assassination Archives and Research Center, and the Dallas Public Library. Vince Palamara has become known (as he was dubbed by the History Channel in 2003) "the Secret Service expert." As former JFK Secret Service agent Joe Paolella proclaimed: "You seem to know a lot about the Secret Service, maybe even more than I do!" Agent Dan Emmett calls Vince a Secret Service expert in his new book.
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