ACTION THRU INACTION: THE REAL STORY OF THE KENNEDY DETAIL, THE AGENTS ASSIGNED TO PRESIDENT KENNEDY ON NOVEMBER 22, 1963 BY VINCE PALAMARA [11/20/16- PRESENTATION AT JFK CONFERENCE IN DALLAS, TX ]
Imagine this stunning scenario- President Kennedy survives Dallas on November 22, 1963. There is no Vietnam War as we know it today; no ground troops- merely a few thousand advisors as the low-key conflict grinds to a halt and fades away like a poor man’s Korean Conflict, at best. In turn, imagine no civil unrest, no drug culture, no prolonged Cold War, no J. Edgar Hoover reigning for another decade, no 1968 Democratic National Convention violence- without the Vietnam War, there is no real reason to protest the government now, is there? With JFK alive to fulfill a second term, there is no LBJ presidency, no Nixon revival (and, thus, no Watergate, the other historical event, like the JFK assassination and the Vietnam War, that tore the country apart and created decades of mistrust in government); no Ford Presidency (no Nixon- no Ford), thus, no reason for a “protest” Carter vote; presidents Reagan thru Trump may or may not have ever happened.
I am not saying it would have been utopia…it wouldn’t have been.
I am not saying President Kennedy was a God, a saint, or an unflawed man…he clearly was not.
What I AM saying is this: if the Secret Service would have done their usual, thorough, 1963-era standard job, PRESIDENT KENNEDY SURVIVES DALLAS AND PROBABLY DOESN’T EVEN BECOME WOUNDED IN AN ATTEMPTED ATTACK!
So, the next time someone says “Oh, c’mon now- it’s over 50 years later; a new century; post 9/11- what does it all matter now?” Tell them no Vietnam War, no Watergate, the large mistrust in government probably never would have reached the levels it has today (or, at least, as soon), the Cold War would have ended long ago, and, perhaps- perhaps: the need to keep the military-industrial “war machine” going wouldn’t have led to our heavy hand in the Middle East and all the inherent problems that have arisen from it- 9/11, the war on terror, the draining of our economy, etc.
The REAL “domino theory” came to fruition- with the death of JFK, several presidencies were spawned that never would have happened (again, at least LBJ thru Carter, at a minimum) and the respect and trust in government would have been felt for a far longer time. The scars from the JFK assassination truly are with us today. Keep in mind- President Kennedy was our last assassinated president and only 10 presidents ago; in the big scheme of things, with new best-selling books and audio/visual reminders plentiful on the internet and shared by millions, NOT ancient history.
As for myself, my interest in President Kennedy, the Secret Service and the JFK assassination began at the age of 12 in 1978, coinciding with both the HSCA re-investigation of the assassination and reruns of the classic fictional television series about the Secret Service of the 19th century, THE WILD, WILD WEST. Coupled with two parents who (still today) are rabid Kennedy fans and you have a most interested son in myself.
My original research truly took off shortly after 1988, the 25th anniversary of the assassination. I started to key on the Secret Service, especially in comparison to the assassination attempt on President Reagan on March 30th, 1981. I said to myself: “Hmmm- theories about the Mafia, the CIA and other possible culprits are all fascinating, but what did the Secret Service agents do to try to PREVENT the assassination? WHY was the assassination a success?”
In 1991, at the age of 25, I made my first major presentation at Jerry Rose’s “Third Decade” conference in Fredonia, New York and, if I do say so myself, amazed an audience of 60 older authors and researchers, many of whom admitted they really didn’t pay the Secret Service any mind- as Robert Groden told a friend of mine, “I guess that is why the Secret Service is secret”. I was the first to popularize the FACT that the driver of JFK’s limousine, Bill Greer, turned around not once but TWICE during the shooting, slowing the limousine down to a near stop; disobeyed common sense, training and a direct order from his superior, fellow agent Roy Kellerman, to get out of the line of fire; and was chiefly responsible for the success of the assassination no matter WHO was the shooter and no matter WHO was behind the murder. The reaction from the audience, which included authors Harrison Livingstone, George Michael Evica, and Bob Cutler, among others, made me realize that I was on to something. With their encouragement and inspiration, I went further than mere photo and film analysis and secondary sources. In short, my goal was to do something unique- attempt to interview and/or correspond with every former agent and surviving family member I could find.
From 1991 until the present time, this is what I have done.
I am now the author of four books (one soon to be released, the fourth coming sometime later) on both the Secret Service and the assassination; I have a major part in both part seven of The Men Who Killed Kennedy from 2003 (a major ratings success and popular DVD) and the recently-released DVD/ Blu Ray called A Coup In Camelot. I have appeared in over 120 other author’s books…and so on and so forth.
I have interviewed and/ corresponded with over 80 former agents, White House aides and sundry other important people, far more than the Warren Commission, the HSCA or the ARRB. In fact, I am in the ARRB’s final report and the Board was inspired by me to go interview a couple important former agents, but I digress.
But enough about my background- this is all a labor of love and a commitment to truth and history; I have a life and a job; not in this for the money, folks- far from it. So, what is the bottom line from all my research and hard work?
Here it is: PRESIDENT KENNEDY SHOULD HAVE SURVIVED DALLAS AND THE SECRET SERIVE AGENTS TRULY ARE THE MEN WHO KILLED KENNEDY! No, there was no agency plot, per se, and many of these men- the vast majority- were merely following orders or, at most, were negligent. I have three—just three—major suspects who I feel crossed the line into (at the least) gross negligence and (at most) actual participants in aiding the success of the assassination (I will get to them in a moment). Sure, there are a very small handful of other agents I am suspicious of regarding the assassination and/or the cover-up, but, again, we are talking a very small number. Other parties were the shooters, masterminds and power brokers…what the agency provided was ACTION THROUGH INACTION- no pulling of triggers or firing of bullets, but ALLOWING those triggers and bullets to act in an unimpeded fashion. All it takes is a few precious seconds, folks, and we had both a dead president as well as a dead president who cannot defend himself against claims that he brought it on himself (the old blaming-the-victim mythology- I will also get to that in a moment).
So, from about 1991 to 2005, I worked hard on my research part time as I pursued a working career and other interests.
However, 2005 was a watershed moment.
Via a tip from former agent Lynn Meredith, I was able to obtain the unlisted address and number for former agent Clint Hill, a very reclusive man who, up to that time, testified to the Warren Commission but not the HSCA or the ARRB, spoke to author William Manchester but no other author and, other than an iconic 60 Minutes interview and a couple Secret Service television programs, pretty much became the Howard Hughes of the Secret Service- again, reclusive and never granting private researchers and authors any interviews. After all, as I said, he had an unlisted address and phone number and, if you notice, he only spoke to official bodies and spouted pretty much official history- just “name, rank and serial number” and a few other notions…that was it.
Then came my 22-page, registered, signed-receipt-required letter to Hill, summarizing my work up to that time, basically saying that the agents were handicapped that fateful day in Dallas because a couple senior agents laid down the law- thru actions and words- that hampered the agent’s abilities to do their jobs while, at the same time, falsely blaming JFK for these so-called handicaps. In addition to all the other former agents I spoke to, I also contacted former agent Gerald Blaine. This will become important momentarily.
In a nutshell, one of my major discoveries was the fact that, despite official mythology, President Kennedy did NOT order the agents off his limousine, nor did he order the agents to do anything else! This I learned via many interviews and correspondence with dozens of actual former agents and White House aides who would most certainly know first-hand. The list includes the head of the White House Detail, Gerald Behn; his top assistant, Floyd Boring; one of the three Shift Leaders, Art Godfrey; the driver of the follow-up car in Dallas, Tampa, and many other trips, Sam Kinney; JFK’s good friend and aide, Dave Powers; and many more. This was all a huge surprise to me- although I focused on Secret Service negligence, I more or less reluctantly bought the “JFK-as-scapegoat” myth from roughly 1988 until 9/27/92, when I spoke to the number one agent, the aforementioned Gerald Behn, who demolished this notion in no uncertain terms.
Back to the matter at hand: I included a self-addressed, stamped envelope with my bold letter to Clint Hill, encouraging him to contact me with comment. It was a pipe dream, I knew, but, hey- nothing ventured, nothing gained. Having heard nothing from him, I decided to call him…and, boy, was he livid! The conversation was short, sweet and awkward- Hill denied receiving my letter, although I was staring at his signed receipt, then, after an equally awkward pause wherein I asked him if he was still on the other line, he ended the conversation with “Yes, I am still here. I just have no interest in talking to you.” Ouch.
Thru happenstance, I spoke to the aforementioned Gerald Blaine the next day and he shocked me by bringing up my private letter to Hill and quoting from a segment from it! It turns out the two long-retired men were dear friends for decades (since the 1950’s) and, in fact, Blaine had just attended Clint Hill’s son’s wedding (along with fellow former agent Bill Livingood, the former Sergeant at Arms for the House of Representatives who you are actually all familiar with- if you watched any of the State of the Union addresses for Presidents Clinton, Bush or Obama from about 1995 to 2012, he was the man who shouted “Mr. Speaker- the President of the United States!” Small world, indeed…and, yes- I had also spoken to and corresponded with Livingood previously, but, again, I digress).
Up to this time, my first book was a self-published affair and, although I was stunned by these developments regarding Hill and Blaine, I thought that was basically it. I would have my blogs and appearances in other people’s books to spread the word, but I thought, at the time, it was the end of the road.
Boy, was I wrong.
In late 2009, I received word that GERALD BLAINE of all people-yes, him: Clint Hill’s good friend whom I spoke to and who quoted from my letter to Hill!- was coming out with a book about the Kennedy Detail (which turned out to be the title of the book: The Kennedy Detail). It went from initially being just a small publishing house affair into a huge Simon and Schuster release with all the inherent huge publicity machine, no mean feat for a first time, very obscure agent turned author. I then received a letter from Gerald Blaine’s attorney, asking me to take down my one blog post wherein I mentioned his upcoming book—they thought I was trying to say I was the CO-AUTHOR of the book, an asinine notion that was the farthest thing from the truth. They threatened me with obtaining a court order to remove my little blog, so I decided to let them have their way- for the moment. But why little ole (ok, big ole) me…and why Blaine, a very obscure agent who was on the Texas trip but not the Dallas stop that next to no one had ever heard of? Why, indeed.
No sooner could I digest all these bizarre out-of-the-blue happenings then I found out Clint Hill-yes, him: the reclusive agent with the unlisted address and number I boldly sent that alarming letter to!-was writing the Foreword to Blaine’s book, as well as contributing to its contents, appearing on the inherent media blitz (MSNBC, Fox- you name it), and also appearing in the Kennedy Detail television documentary.
These two men (one famous, one very obscure) were long retired and had no compunction to write a book, let alone appear in public again. In fact, Sam Kinney proudly told me “All of us old timers would never sell out or write a book for any amount of money- I am taking Clint Hill, me and all my buddies. This is the old school of ‘no kiss and tell’.” In the interest of time, read my first book and see my CTKA review of Blaine’s book, as well as all my reviews at CTKA regarding the Hill and Blaine books- no delusions of grandeur here: it WAS my 22-page letter to Hill that awakened a sleeping giant, so to speak. In 2010, when Blaine’s book came out, I discovered much of it was a direct response to my work, including Blaine sarcastically calling me a Secret Service expert on pages 359-360. Also in 2010, both Blaine and Hill would appear on C-SPAN with network CEO Brian Lamb and mockingly discuss my work, even showing a You Tube video of me speaking…little ole me of all people! Why? Why, indeed. If it isn’t obvious by now, you haven’t been paying attention.
Events would springboard from here: Co-author Lisa McCubbin would go on to help in the writing of the Kennedy Detail, but also all of Clint Hill’s books; all three of them. No TMZ tabloid tidbit here- factual truth they both admit to: 84 year old Hill left his wife of 50-plus years (although they are still legally married to this day) for 52 year old McCubbin, also married with kids at the time (McCubbin had gone to the prom with Blaine’s son years ago, but I digress. All this information is easily verifiable via You Tube and, of all things, the Irish Times. McCubbin lived in Qatar in the Middle East during the early millennium, was sought out by the Saudi government to help them in dealing with the Western press-no joke!-and scored an exclusive interview with George Bush, all before the age of 37; despite her relatively young age, no spring chicken here, if you catch my drift. Interestingly, a JOHN McCubbin was head of the White House Police in the 1920’s and was from Lisa’s same home state of Virginia).
The following events occurred not long after Blaine’s book came out- Hill would appear on C-SPAN with network CEO Brian Lamb in 2012 discussing HILL’s first book in his own right and-you guessed it—I was mentioned out of the blue once again (yep, little old me, the as-yet-unpublished researcher at that time [Hill also mentioned on the same program that he burned all his personal notes in 2005- what? As a reaction to my letter sent the same year?]); I was then harassed at my prior place of employment from a good friend of Blaine’s; and, most important of all, Blaine and Hill would do their best to propagate the myth that President Kennedy had it coming and ordered them off the limousine, despite what Blaine told me in 2004 and 2005 that greatly contradicts this false notion.
You can thank me or curse me- take your pick. I am responsible for both Hill and Blaine coming out of the woodwork, writing their huge NY Times best-selling books for the biggest publishing house in the world that has garnered them all quite a bit of money, appearing on television numerous times since (include the Emmy-nominated documentary they made) and, sadly, reinvigorating the false debate about blaming JFK for his own death.
It probably would have ended there around 2012 or 2013, but I had a big surprise for them- I obtained a publisher for my first book, Trine Day, and it was released in time for the 50th anniversary. That is when the harassment at work began, my blogs and Amazon reviews started getting hacked, and another obscure agent and dear friend of Hill and Blaine, Chuck Zboril, would go on to write a one-star review of my book (while McCubbin also gave my book a one-star on GOOD READS, with Blaine marking it as a “to-read” item), no doubt all with the goal of suppressing what I had to say…because it is very damaging—for them. It shows they are liars profiting on the death of the man they failed to protect. In addition, nine agents drank the night before the assassination…guess who one of them was? CLINT HILL, the same man who had the audacity to criticize the NINE agents who drank in Cartegena, Columbia in 2012 when another President was scheduled to appear and who now goes around telling people who want his autographed books that he did not drink the night before, despite his official report in the Warren Commission volumes, and his prior statements, stating the exact opposite. But President Obama lived and wasn’t blown away like he was under your watch now, was he, Clint Hill? Hill is a false hero- what I call the Jessica Lynch of the Secret Service: he got to the limousine when the shooting was all over and done with; he did not protect JFK and, furthermore, Jackie got in and out of the limo of her own volition; they never even touched. Hill performed the equivalent of a foul tip out in baseball or even striking out swinging; he made an attempt to do something, albeit too late.
Hill would go on to receive a medal for this attempt from LBJ for this so-called heroism (never mind the drinking incident which Secret Service regulations show were grounds for REMOVAL from the service! Yes- him, Paul Landis, Jack Ready and Glen Bennett-all in the follow-up car—and 5 other agents drank hours before Kennedy got his head blown off. Alcohol consumption and sleep deprivation wreak havoc on even the best trained reflexes. They all went to bed between 2 and 5:30 am and had to report for active duty at 8 am! For his part, Gerald Blaine was there, too, but claimed to have only drank fruit juice, if he can even be believed.)
See, for me, this is most certainly NOT a 50-plus year old murder mystery. In addition to how history was changed and how it all affects us today, you have two old men traveling the world, smiling widely, making very big money (a Hill book movie is allegedly in the works), and peddling lies against the man they failed to protect; Hill even rode in an open limousine down Elm Street in one program without breaking a sweat; so much for being traumatized by the event. In effect, JFK was assassinated three times: his actual murder, the character assassination regarding his private life (to which several agents held him in contempt) and this blame-the-victim mythology.
Now, after providing you with the background, here is the foreground- the details; the nuts and bolts):
1) A MAJOR DISCOVERY OF MINE IN TWO PARTS: PRESIDENT KENNEDY DID NOT ORDER THE AGENTS OFF HIS LIMOUSINE IN TAMPA FOUR DAYS BEFORE HIS DEATH, THERE IS ZERO EVIDENCE THIS WAS EVEN INVOKED FOR DALLAS IN ANY CASE, AND AGENTS ON OR NEAR THE REAR OF THE LIMOUSINE WOULD HAVE SAVED THE PRESIDENTS LIFE. THE LACK OF AGENTS ON OR NEAR THE LIMO WAS A SECRET SERVICE DECISION. MANY TIMES, AGENTS WALKED, RAN OR JOGGED NEAR THE REAR OF HIS LIMO AND/ OR RODE ON THE REAR OF HIS LIMO. THE SECOND MAJOR DISCOVERY, ONE TOUCHED ON IN MY FIRST BOOK AND EXPANDED IN MY NEXT BOOK: THE SECRET SERVICE IS THE BOSS OF THE PRESIDENT, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. EVEN IF A PRESIDENT WANTED TO ORDER THE AGENTS AROUND, THEY WOULD IGNORE HIM. Take, for example, an Associated Press story from November 15, 1963: “The (Secret) Service can overrule even the President where his personal security is involved.” Shockingly, perhaps with an eye toward real history after he is long gone, Hill admitted in 2010 in his Sixth Floor oral history, with Blaine right by his side: “[The president] can tell you what he wants done and he can tell you certain things but that doesn’t mean you have to do it. What we used to do was always agree with the President and then we’d do what we felt was best anyway.”;
2) PRESIDENT KENNEDY HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE LIMITING OR PLACEMENT OF MOTORCYCLES BY HIS LIMOUSINE AS HAS BEEN ALLEGED BY SOME. 3-6 MOTORCYCLES NORMALLY RODE ON EACH SIDE OF HIS LIMOUSINE, AS HAD BEEN THE CASE ON THE PRIOR STOPS ON THE TEXAS TRIP, THE FLORIDA TRIP AND COUNTLESS OTHER TRIPS. THIS WAS A SECRET SERVICE DECISION TO LIMIT THEIR USE IN DALLAS, SOMETHING THE HSCA RIGHTFULLY SAID WAS “UNIQUELY INSECURE”;
3) PRESIDENT KENNEDY HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ANOTHER MAJOR DISCOVERY OF MINE- THE LACK OF SECURITY COVERING MULTI-STORY BUILDINGS ALONG THE PARADE ROUTE. IT WAS COMMON PRACTICE FROM THE FDR ERA THRU AND INCLUDING THE JFK ERA (AND BEYOND) TO HAVE AGENTS AND/OR POLICE AND/OR A BRANCH OF THE MILITARY TO GUARD AND MONITOR BUILDINGS, SOMETIMES EVEN USING A HELICOPTER TO HELP MONITOR BOTH THE ROUTE AND THE BUILDINGS THEMSELVES. THIS DOES NOT MEAN JUST WATCHING THE WINDOWS AS THE CARS PASSED BUT BY STATIONING MEN ON THE ROOFTOPS THEMSELVES, AS WAS THE CASE IN SAN ANTONIO, FLORIDA, NASHVILLE, GERMANY, IRELAND, AND MANY OTHER TRIPS. I corresponded twice with former Secret Service Chief Inspector Michael Torina. The position of Secret Service Chief Inspector was very influential—it was Torina himself who actually completed the Secret Service’s Manual. Torina contributed significantly to a book by author Wayne Hyde written in 1962 in which it is plainly stated: “If the President is to appear in a parade, agents and policemen are assigned posts atop buildings and on the street along the parade route.” THIS LACK OF COVERAGE in DALLAS WAS A SECRET SERVICE DECISION. We would learn even more from Secret Service records of the era except for one thing- the ARRB noted in their final report from 1998: “Congress passed the JFK Act of 1992. One month later, the Secret Service began its compliance efforts. However, in January 1995, the Secret Service destroyed presidential protection survey reports for some of President Kennedy’s trips in the fall of 1963.”
4) AGENT SAM KINNEY WAS ADAMANT TO ME, ON THREE DIFFERENT OCCASIONS, THAT HE WAS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BUBBLETOP’S REMOVAL ON 11/22/63- JFK HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. IT WAS BRIEFLY ON THE CAR ON 11/22/63 AND WAS THEN REMOVED. ALTHOUGH NOT BULLETPROOF OR BULLET RESISTANT IN THE TRADITIONAL SENSE, MANY PEOPLE THOUGHT IT WAS, THUS MAKING IT A PSYCHOLOGICAL DETERRANT: WOULD SOMEONE FIRE ONTO THE CAR WITH IT ON? IN ADDITION, MANY AGENTS THOUGHT IT WOULD DEFLECT A BULLET AND/OR SHIELD THE PRESIDENT VIA THE SUN’S GLARE OFF THE TOP. MANY TIMES, THE TOP WAS ON THE CAR IN EITHER FULL OR PARTIAL FORMATIONS (MEANING, JUST THE FRONT AND REAR PIECES WERE USED SO THE PRESIDENT COULD STAND INTERMITTENTLY AND OFFER SOME SEMBLANCE OF PROTECTION AT THE SAME TIME, SIMILAR TO THE FAMOUS EISENHOWER BUBBLE). IN ADDITION, THE TOP WAS USED IN BRIGHT, NO-RAIN CONDITIONS: I FOUND IT WAS USED ON APPROXIMATELY 25 GOOD WEATHER TRIPS, ROUGHLY A THIRD OF ALL JFK MOTORCADES;
5) NORMALLY, A FLATBED TRUCK (SOMETIMES TWO) CARRYING STILL AND MOTION PHOTOGRAPHERS FROM THE PRESS WAS USED IN MOTORCADES AND RODE IN FRONT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL LIMOUSINE, AS IT WAS USED ON THE PRIOR TRIP IN FLORIDA AND MANY OTHER OCCASIONS. IT WAS CANCELLED AT THE LAST MINUTE BY THE SECRET SERVICE AT LOVE FIELD;
6) SAIC BEHN OR HIS IMMEDIATE ASSISTANT, #2 MAN FLOYD BORING, ACCOMPANIED THE PRESIDENT ON TRIPS OUTSIDE OF WASHINGTON. BEHN TOOK HIS FIRST VACATION OF THE JFK ERA COINCIDING WITH BOTH THE FLORIDA AND TEXAS TRIPS, WHILE NUMBER TWO ASSISTANT BORING MANNED THE FLORIDA TRIP, YET WAS ABSENT FROM THE TEXAS TRIP, ALLOWING A THIRD-STRINGER, ROY KELLERMAN, TO MAKE ONLY HIS SECOND MAJOR TRIP WITHOUT EITHER BEHN OR BORING (THERE IS A POSSIBILITY TEXAS WAS THE VERY FIRST, AS IT IS UNCLEAR IF BEHN WAS ALSO ON A PART OF THE NASHVILLE TRIP, POSSIBLY KELLERMAN’S FIRST TRIP ALONE WITH JFK). HOWEVER, THERE WERE STARK CONTRASTS BETWEEN NASHVILLE IN MAY 1963 AND DALLAS IN NOVEMBER: BUILDING ROOFTOPS WERE GUARDED AND A HELICOPTER GUARDED THE MOTORCADE, AS WELL AS OTHER STRICT SECURITY MEASURES WERE INVOKED;
7) THE SECRET SERVICE KNEW OF PRIOR THREATS TO THE PRESIDENT’S LIFE IN THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER IN CHICAGO (THAT TRIP WAS CANCELLED AT THE LAST MINUTE) AND FLORIDA, YET THE DALLAS TRIP WENT FORWARD AS SCHEDULED, DESPITE ALL THE WARNINGS FROM SENATOR J. WILLIAM FULBRIGHT AND OTHERS;
8) WITH REGARD TO THESE THREATS, ANOTHER MAJOR DISCOVERY OF MINE WAS THE EXISTENCE OF TWO MAJOR AGENCY COVERT THREAT MONITORS ON THE TEXAS TRIP THAT THEY DID NOT ADMIT TO: PRS AGENT GLEN BENNETT, RIDING IN THE FOLLOW-UP CAR, AND FELLOW PRS AGENT HOWARD K. NORTON, ON THE AUSTIN TRIP. BENNETT WAS TEMPORARILY ADDED TO THE WHITE HOUSE DETAIL ON 11/10/63, THE DAY AFTER THE INFAMOUS JOSEPH MILTEER TAPE WAS MADE, AN INVESTIGATION THE SECRET SERVICE WAS VERY MUCH AWARE OF. BENNETT LIED UNDER OATH TO THE HSCA, SAYING HE WAS NOT ON THE FLORIDA TRIP, WHILE NOT VOLUNTEERING THAT HE WAS ALSO ON THE 11/14-11/15 NEW YORK TRIP. SECRET SERVICE RECORDS RELEASED ONLY IN THE LATE 1990’S, AS WELL AS AGENCY IDENTIFICATION OF BENNETT’S APPEARANCE IN PHOTOGRAPHS, CONCLUSIVELY PROVES THAT BENNETT WAS INDEED ON THE NEW YORK, FLORIDA AND TEXAS TRIPS- EVERY STOP– OFTEN RIDING IN THE FOLLOW-UP CAR. THE AFOREMENTIONED HOWARD NORTON WAS ALSO ON THE FLORIDA TRIP AND HIS BACKGROUND WAS ONLY MADE KNOWN TO ME VIA AN INTERVIEW WITH FELLOW PRS AGENT DALE WUNDERLICH. When I tried to obtain more information on Bennett and Norton, former agent Jerry O’Rourke told me: “I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to do it. I’m afraid for my agency.” BENNETT PASSED AWAY IN 1994 AND NORTON’S CURRENT WHEREABOUT ARE UNKNOWN. I CONTACTED THE SECRET SERVICE AND, AFTER A CHECK OF RECORDS, THEY COULD NOT EVEN TELL ME HOW LONG HE SERVED IN THE AGENCY! THIS IS IN ADDITION TO THE PRESENCE (OR LACK THEREOF) OF MILITARY INTELLIGENCE OPERATIVES IN DEALEY PLAZA, INCLUDING JAMES POWELL, WHO TOOK A PHOTO OF THE TEXAS SCHOOL BOOK DEPOSITORY AFTER THE SHOOTING;
9) SAIC BEHN CONFIRMED TO ME THAT THE ROUTE WAS CHANGED FOR THE DALLAS TRIP! HE GAVE ME NO DETAILS OTHER THAN TO SAY “I KNOW IT WAS CHANGED BUT WHY- I HAVE FORGOTTEN COMPLETELY- I DON’T KNOW.” NEEDLESS TO SAY, THE SECRET SERVICE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TERRIBLE ROUTE JFK TOOK THAT FATEFUL DAY IN DALLAS AND THERE WERE ALTERNATE ROUTES, AS AGENTS SAM KINNEY, WIN LAWSON, AND OTHERS CONFIRMED, INCLUDING THE ONE GOING FROM MAIN TO INDUSTRIAL BLVD, A ROUTE THAT WOULD HAVE BYPASSED ELM STREET ALTOGETHER AND HAD THE LIMO MOVING FURTHER AWAY FROM THE KNOLL AND THE DEPOSITORY (AND MOVING AT A FASTER RATE OF SPEED, AS WELL). STRAIGHT DOWN MAIN STREET IS THE ROUTE FDR TOOK IN 1936; IT WAS ALSO THE CEREMONIAL ROUTE, AS GOVERNOR CONNALLY ADMITTED UNDER OATH;
10) AS MOST PEOPLE ARE AWARE, SHERIFF BILL DECKER ORDERED HIS MEN NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE SECURITY OF THE MOTORCADE, AS VERIFIED BY DEPUTY SHERIFF ROGER CRAIG. DECKER SAID THIS AFTER AGREEING TO OFFER SECURITY TO SECRET SERVICE AGENT FORREST SORRELS THE PREVIOUS DAY. NOT ENOUGH POLICE WERE GUARDING THE ROUTE; THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT WEREN’T DOING THEIR JOBS; AND NO BRANCH OF THE MILITARY AUGMENTED SECURITY, AS WAS STANDARD PROCEDURE (YOU SEE, AGENTS WEREN’T ALWAYS ON THE BACK OF THE CAR AND THEY WERE OFTEN SHORT-STAFFED BACK THEN—THIS IS WHY THEY RELIED ON THE LOCAL POLICE AND THE MILITARY TO HELP THEM OUT);
11) GODFREY MCHUGH, MILITARY AIDE TO PRESIDENT KENNEDY, SAID HE WAS TOLD, FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME, TO NOT RIDE IN THE PRESIDENTIAL LIMOUSINE. WHO TOLD HIM NOT TO RIDE THERE? THE SECRET SERVICE. HE SAID THAT HE NORMALLY RODE BETWEEN THE DRIVER AND SENIOR AGENT IN THE FRONT SEAT OBSERVING AND TAKING NOTES;
12) IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE ABOVE, DALLAS POLICE CHIEF JESSE CURRY AND DALLAS CHIEF OF HOMICIDE WILL FRITZ EACH WANTED A CAR FULL OF POLICEMEN IN THE MOTORCADE AND THESE REQUESTS WERE NIXED BY—YOU GUESSED IT—THE SECRET SERVICE, YET, NOT ONLY DID THEY ORIGINALLY AGREE TO THEIR PRESENCE IN THE MOTORCADE, THERE WAS A PRECEDENT FOR THEIR USAGE, AS PREVIOUS MOTORCADES USUALLY HAD A POLICE AND/OR A DETECTIVES CAR IN THE MOTORCADE, IN ADDITION TO THE SECRET SERVICE FOLLOW-UP CAR;
13) THE OVERPASS IN DEALEY PLAZA WAS NOT CLEARED OF SPECTATORS AS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN;
14) AS MENTIONED PREVIOUSLY, NINE AGENTS DRANK THE NIGHT BEFORE AND MORNING OF THE ASSASSINATION, INCLUDING 4 AGENTS IN THE FOLLOW-UP CAR;
15) JFK, THE PRESIDENT, AND LBJ, THE VICE PRESIDENT, WERE IN THE VERY SAME MOTORCADE IN OPEN CARS MOVING AT A SLOW PACE- THIS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE AND HASN’T HAPPENED SINCE;
16) THE PRESENCE OF FAKE OR UNAUTHORIZED SECRET SERVICE AGENTS IN DEALEY PLAZA WHEN, OFFICIALLY SPEAKING, NO AGENTS WERE THERE;
17) ANOTHER MAJOR DISCOVERY OF MINE: ONE OF TWO MAIN DRIVERS OF JFK’S LIMOUSINE, SECRET SERVICE AGENT TOM SHIPMAN, PASSED AWAY SUDDENLY OF AN ALLEGED HEART ATTACK AT, OF ALL PLACES, CAMP DAVID ON 10/14/63. HE WAS BURIED QUICKLY AND NO TOXICOLOGY TESTS WERE GIVEN. I HAVE MUCH MORE ON SHIPMAN IN MY FORTHCOMING THIRD BOOK, AS I TRACKED DOWN SEVERAL SURVIVING FAMILY MEMBERS. ONE WONDERS WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF SHIPMAN— AND NOT GREER— DROVE THE PRESIDENTIAL LIMOUSINE;
18) SUSPECT NUMBER ONE: ASAIC FLOYD BORING, THE NUMBER TWO AGENT OF THE WHITE HOUSE DETAIL, WAS (AS I DISCOVERED AND AS DOCUMENTS AND INTERVIEWS CONFIRM) THE ACTUAL PLANNER OF THE TEXAS TRIP FROM THE SECRET SERVICE’S POINT OF VIEW. HE GAVE OUT THE ASSIGNMENTS OF ADVANCE AGENTS AND SO FORTH AND WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT DID—AND DID NOT—HAPPEN, SECURITY-WISE, IN DALLAS. HE WAS THE ORIGINATOR OF THE MYTH THAT JFK DID NOT WANT AGENTS ON THE REAR OF HIS LIMOUSINE AND THAT PRESIDENT KENNEDY ALLEGEDLY TOLD HIM THIS IN TAMPA. CLINT HILL TESTIFIED THAT, DURING THE PERIOD FROM 11/19 TO 11/21/63 (NOTE THE TIME FRAME!), BORING TOLD HIM AND OTHER AGENTS OF THIS ALLEGED REQUEST. YET, BORING WAS ADAMANT TO ME—ON 3 DIFFERENT OCCASIONS, NOT TO MENTION HIS 1976 JFK LIBRARY ORAL HISTORY— THAT JFK WAS VERY COOPERATIVE AND DID NOT ORDER THE AGENTS OFF THE LIMO (DEBUNKING THE MANCHESTER BOOK ON THIS SCORE IN THE PROCESS), WHILE ALSO TELLING THE ARRB THAT THERE WAS “NO POLICY CHANGE” AND HE WAS MERELY CONVEYING AN ANECDOTE OF “KINDNESS AND CONSIDERATION” FROM THE PRESIDENT THAT THE AGENTS NEED NOT STAND ON THE REAR OF THE CAR IF THE CROWDS WERE SPARSE. YET, NOT ONLY DID CONGRESSMAN SAM GIBBONS, WHO RODE IN THE CAR INCHES AWAY FROM JFK, STATE TO ME THAT THERE WAS NO ORDER FROM JFK IN TAMPA, TAMPA MOTORCYCLE POLICE OFFICER RUSSELL GROOVER AGREED WITH GIBBONS AND FURTHER TOLD ME THAT AGENTS WERE ON THE REAR OF THE CAR FOR THE WHOLE TRIP (AS MANY FILMS AND PHOTOS CONFIRM) EXCEPT FOR THE VERY END OF THE TRIP WHEN THE PUBLIC MOTORCADE WAS ESSENTIALLY OVER AND THE CARS WERE ON THEIR WAY TO THE AIRPORT, TRAVELLING AT A HIGH RATE OF SPEED! IN OTHER WORDS, JFK HAD 0.0 TO DO WITH THE AGENTS NOT BEING THERE AT THIS FINAL PART OF THE MOTORCADE—THEY WEREN’T THERE BECAUSE OF THE SPEED OF THE CARS ON THE HIGHWAY HEADING HOME, SO TO SPEAK. WHAT’S MORE, HE CONFIRMED (AS THE SECRET SERVICE’S FINAL SURVEY REPORT ALSO CONFIRMS) THAT MULTI-STORY BUILDINGS WERE GUARDED DURING THIS VERY LONG MOTORCADE, THE LONGEST DOMESTIC MOTORCADE JFK EVER UNDERTOOK (FAR LONGER THAN DALLAS) AND THAT POLICE AND MILITARY UNITS LINED THE STREETS AND FACED THE CROWDS, IN ADDITION TO THE HIGH VOLUME OF FLANKING MOTORCYCLES, HIS OWN CYCLE INCLUDED. BORING PASSED AWAY IN 2008. I HAD THE ARRB CONTACT HIM. HE TOLD THE ARRB THE SAME BIZARRE THING HE FIRST TOLD ME: “I DIDN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT AND I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING.” BORING ROSE TO THE COVETED POSITION OF INSPECTOR AND RETIRED IN 1967. I WAS THE FIRST PRIVATE RESEARCHER TO TALK TO HIM ABOUT JFK;
19) SUSPECT NUMBER TWO: DRIVER WILLIAM GREER, HAVING NO COMPETITION FROM THE DEAD THOMAS SHIPMAN, TURNED AROUND DURING THE START OF THE SHOOTING, EITHER BRAKING AND/OR TAKING HIS FOOT OFF THE GAS PEDAL, AND LOOKED DIRECTLY AT JFK; THIS IS HIS FIRST TURN TO THE REAR. KELLERMAN THEN ORDERED HIM TO GET OUT OF LINE…GREER DISOBEYED A DIRECT ORDER (AND HIS OWN TRAINING AND COMMON SENSE) AND TURNED AROUND FOR THE SECOND TIME TO STARE DIRECTLY AT JFK UNTIL THE FATAL HEAD SHOT OCCURS. ONLY AFTER THIS DID HE FACE FORWARD AND HIT THE GAS PEDAL. GREER DENIED UNDER OATH THAT HE EVER TURNED AROUND TO SEE JFK, LET ALONE TWICE. AS KELLERMAN TOLD MANCHESTER: “GREER THEN LOOKED IN THE BACK OF THE CAR: MAYBE HE DIDN’T BELIEVE ME.” YET, GREER, AFTER INITIALLY GIVING THE IMPRESSION OF GUILT AND REMORSE FOR HIS HORRIFIC ACTIONS AND INACTIONS, TOLD THE FBI THE NIGHT OF THE MURDER THAT THE PRESIDENT SOMETIMES TOLD HIM TO SLOW DOWN, AGENT NUMBER TWO WHO PROPAGATED THE “BLAME THE VICTIM” MYTHOLOGY (BORING, AS WE SAW BEFORE, WAS FIRST, PRE-DATING THE ACTUAL ASSASSINATION!). GREER RETIRED IN 1966, SERVING LBJ, A PRESIDENT HE ALLEGEDLY DESPISED, FOR SEVERAL YEARS AFTER THE ASSASSINATION. GREER DIED IN 1985. WHEN I SPOKE TO HIS SON IN 1991, I ASKED HIM “WHAT DID YOUR FATHER THINK OF JFK?” A VERY INNOCENT QUESTION, TO PUT IT MILDLY. HE AVOIDED THE QUESTION…SO I ASKED HIM AGAIN. HE THEN ANSWERED: “WELL, WE’RE METHODISTS AND JFK WAS CATHOLIC”!! IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT BILL GREER WAS BORN AND RAISED IN COUNTY TYRONE, IRELAND, A COUNTRY INFAMOUS FOR ITS RELIGIOUS WARS, COMING TO THIS COUNTRY AROUND THE AGE OF 18 AND LATER SERVING HENRY CABOT LODGE, JFK’S TWO-TIME POLITICAL OPPONENT AND, LATER, AMBASSADOR TO VIETNAM;
20) SUSPECT NUMBER THREE: SHIFT LEADER EMORY ROBERTS. AS I DISCOVERED AND POPULARIZED WAY BACK IN 1991 AND HAVE DEMONSTRATED AT CONFERENCES SINCE 1995 (AND, LATER, ON THE MEN WHO KILLED KENNEDY AND A COUP IN CAMELOT), ROBERTS RISES IN HIS SEAT DURING THE START OF THE MOTORCADE ROLLING OUT AT LOVE FIELD AIRPORT AND RECALLS AGENT DON LAWTON, WHO STOPS IN HIS TRACKS AND RAISES HIS ARMS THREE DIFFERENT TIMES IN DISGUST. PAUL LANDIS MAKES ROOM FOR LAWTON ON THE RUNNING BOARD OF THE CAR, YET LAWTON DOES NOT BUDGE. PREVIOUS TO LAWTON’S RECALL (LITERALLY ONLY MOMENTS BEFORE), ANOTHER AGENT, HENRY RYBKA (AS SEEN IN FILMS AND PHOTOS AND AS VERIFIED IN HIS REPORT) JOINED LAWTON IN WALKING/ JOGGING BESIDE JFK’S SIDE OF THE LIMO, ONLY TO WALK AWAY, NO DOUBT ALSO A VICTIM OF SHIFT LEADER ROBERTS’ ORDER (INTERESTINGLY, RYBKA WAS “ACCIDENTALLY” PLACED IN THE FOLLOW-UP CAR IN THREE DIFFERENT REPORTS AFTER THE FACT, ONLY TO BE CORRECTED LATER, AS RYBKA AND LAWTON REMAINED AT LOVE FIELD). AS A SIDE NOTE, AS WITH THE DEATH OF SHIPMAN, I HAVE MORE ON LAWTON IN MY THIRD BOOK, BUT I CAN ADD HERE THAT HE TOLD ME IN 1995 THAT THE AGENTS HAD REGRETS ABOUT 11/22/63 AND THAT, QUOTE: “WHO KNOWS- IF THEY HAD LEFT GUYS ON THE BACK OF THE CAR. YOU CAN HINDSIGHT YOURSELF TO DEATH.” NOTICE HE DID NOT BLAME JFK FOR THE AGENT’S REMOVAL AND THE “THEY” HE REFERRED TO WAS THE SECRET SERVICE. HE TOLD A TRUSTED COLLEAGUE SHORTLY AFTER THE ASSASSINATION THAT, QUOTE, “I SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE” (ON THE BACK OF THE LIMO). INDEED. LAWTON RODE ON THE REAR OF THE LIMO IN CHICAGO IN MARCH OF 1963 AND IN TAMPA FOUR DAYS BEFORE DALLAS. RETURNING TO ROBERTS, HE WENT ON TO RECALL AGENT READY WHO MADE SOME FORWARD MOVEMENT TOWARD KENNEDY DURING THE ASSASSINATION AND, MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY, ORDERED THE AGENTS NOT TO MOVE DURING THE SHOOTING, AS CONFIRMED BY AN AGENT SITTING INCHES AWAY FROM HIM, DRIVER SAM KINNEY (SEE A COUP IN CAMELOT FOR MORE ON THIS). INCREDIBLY, ROBERTS ACHIEVED INFAMY AFTER THE ASSASSINATION AS THE ONLY AGENT TO EVER BECOME APPOINTMENT SECRETARY TO A PRESIDENT (IN THIS CASE, LBJ, FULFILLING THE ROLE ONCE ACCOMPLISHED BY DAVE POWERS), ALSO RISING TO THE LEVEL OF INSPECTOR, RECEIVING A MEDAL IN THE PROCESS AND, AS I DEMONSTRATE IN MY NEXT BOOK, BEING THE OBJECT OF AN ATTEMPT BY LBJ HIMSELF TO NAME HIM TO THE FEDERAL PAROLE BOARD—WHY? TO MAKE SURE LBJ AND HIS CRONIES WERE SAFE?
With regard to motive, I believe it was a combination of a couple major factors: some of the agents (notably, follow-up car agents Tim McIntyre and Emory Roberts, among others) were angry and disgusted with President Kennedy’s private life, while others, such as Forrest Sorrels and Elmer Moore, were angry at President Kennedy for his foreign policy views. Chief U.E. Baughman, like Allen Dulles, was fired by the Kennedy brothers- in Baughman’s case, the reason was because he did not believe the Mafia existed, a view shared by J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI. Baughman was made the Chief on November 22… of 1948. Interestingly, the following agents and White House aides believed (or, in some cases, knew) that there was a conspiracy: Abraham Bolden, Maurice Martineau, Sam Kinney, Bill Greer (yes-him), Roy Kellerman, Robert Bouck, Gerald O’Rourke, John Norris, Marty Underwood, and John Marshall. A few other agents- Forrest Sorrels, Lem Johns and Paul Landis- believed at least one shot came from the front.
See, that is all it took- not an agency “conspiracy”; not many men; not dozens of men…three- the driver of the limousine, the shift leader who was the commander of the follow-up car agents, and the planner of the Texas trip. It is ACTION THRU INACTION– by NOT doing certain things (hitting the gas pedal, having agents on or near the rear of the limousine, and blaming JFK for the lack of security, among other items), the agency was made to purposely fail and, thus, had to run with this JFK-is-to-blame myth to cover up and hide their gross, purposeful negligence or face the consequences- Congressional hearings, press inquiries, loss of pensions, prosecutions, and the end of the agency, at least their role as protectors of our nation’s highest officials. Further, by covering up the drinking incident (as Rowley testified, he didn’t want to stigmatize the agents, never mind that they broke a sacred rule that was grounds for dismissal AND THEY LOST A PRESIDENT) and giving out two awards (one arguably undeserving- to Hill, the other dubious- to agent Youngblood, who allegedly covered LBJ a little sooner than even Youngblood believed was possible), the agents got away with a verbal slap on the wrist coupled with great praise for their heroism and courage. In an age before Watergate and true investigative journalism, with a dead president unable to defend himself and a naïve and trusting public, should we have expected anything else?
And, when a certain amateur researcher, on his own time and his own dime, started asking the hard questions, should we be surprised when he was subjected to harassment, ridicule and a campaign by two sad old men to blame the president they failed to protect for huge profit, all the while feeding a gullible public seeking their books and the autographs that they willingly and sickeningly affix to autopsy photos and assassination scenes?
Thank you- I’ll take any questions you may have.
THANKS TO JUDYTH BAKER, KRIS MILLEGAN OF TRINE DAY, AND GARY FANNIN
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