I grew up accepting that Lee Harvey Oswald destroyed America’s version of the Camelot fairy tale. As a kid aged twelve, and like most people, I believed President Johnson when he told us that a crazy man took down our hero.
I sure didn’t want to hear or have to face that my government might have lied and tricked us. But it’s either that or Oswald did it; right?
In my novel, a CIA operative just happens to be a witness in Dealey Plaza that fateful Friday. That’s the overriding complication in my story. He becomes a mistaken target in a covert operation that has been tasked with hastily scrubbing prosecutorial clues, evidence, and persons-of-interest.
The book and my CIA guy are fiction, but that operation really happened and we still don’t know who was behind it or why they felt such extreme measures were necessary.
Alas, historians, scholars, and researchers can only suppose. The paths backward are thoroughly fouled. Fifty years ago somebody determined it is best if we, the public, never understand why JFK died, or by whose hand. A lifetime of controversy launched when Jack Ruby stepped up and shot Lee Oswald in the gut.
Many people who might have provided obscure links to the truth are dead. These were “mysterious” deaths of timing that are mathematically impossible as coincidence. In the national archives, documented evidence that has been saved is deeply vaulted, and redacted, and release is routinely challenged.
I, personally, can no longer accept that Oswald was a lone gunman. And frankly I’m astonished that any intelligent researcher can stand up and say it happened that way. But then I stop to consider…how do we live with the knowledge of our own government participating in, perhaps even facilitating a deadly cover up?
It’s a very complicated case, made more so by those who cling to the Warren Report. Those voices seriously want it behind us. I get that part too.
The Man Had Enemies
John F. Kennedy had a remarkable talent for tuning into “the people’s will.” He and Ted Sorensen were a brilliant speech crafting team. Wow; those speeches still stir passion for America in me.
But the President’s popularity with citizens, which usually translated into popular vote, just made his enemies smolder.
Mobsters swore to ruin him. They had betrayal issues over the 1960 election, Cuba, and young Attorney General RFK’s relentless prosecution of key bosses.
JFK’s own Intelligence and Military leaders baited him and called him soft. They laughed because he actually thought he was the boss of things. CIA leadership, often bitterly, brazenly challenging their Commander in Chief, resented his determination to limit their power. Besides that he was not of their Yalie, Skull and Bones crowd.
But the smoke and mirrors act didn’t fool Jack Kennedy. The agency going inward, uniting to oppose him, caused him to swear he’d completely repurpose the organization. After the Bay of Pigs, he fired the CIA chief and first lieutenant, and some say that was the moment President Kennedy became a marked man.
According to Lyndon Baines Johnson, the fast-talking, Yankee Kennedy brothers humiliated him in a million ways. As reelection neared, U.S. Attorney General RFK was pressing to investigate LBJ’s most serious misdeeds while in office, going back to his first Senate win, and including some literal skeletons. The maneuver harkened political death for LBJ.
Kennedy’s inner circle reports he didn’t plan for LBJ to be his running mate in ’64. The ultimate insult.
Lyndon Baines Johnson was the one who stood to gain the most with Kennedy dead.
And LBJ’s old buddy, J. Edgar Hoover? The notorious FBI chief was the second lucky benefactor following the assassination. Friction between the untouchable FBI and the brothers in the White House was legendary. Jack and Bobby knew the time for Hoover’s methods had passed. There was talk that Hoover would be retired next term.
This is just the short list.
Obviously John Fitzgerald Kennedy had more than the average guy’s share of people wanting him dead. Ruthless sorts gunned for him personally, too. It’s widely said that he slept around. What if it was just a pissed off husband?
Hell, a crazy pretend-socialist could have offed him.
But in these days of CSI-type of advanced forensics, it is abundantly clear the official story of a single gunman and a pristine bullet just doesn’t hold water.
Up next: Why NOT Oswald?