Continued secrecy surrounding the JFK assassination is badly undermining our nation’s health.
As expected, Joe Biden has punted his legal obligation to release all files relevant to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy that are still withheld from the public. That obligation – enshrined in the JFK Records Act of 1992 – was previously deferred for four years in October 2017 by Donald Trump, who released much of what was left but held back a critical mass at the urging of the faceless “intelligence community.” Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., nephew of President Kennedy and son of his attorney general, describes the continued secrecy as an “outrage against democracy.”
After fifty-eight years, the government is still selling the American public the line that “national security” mandates continued secrecy concerning the murder of a US head of state. The most widely propagated version of the crime is still that a “lone nut” with no ties to any government or criminal organization assassinated the President. Lee Harvey Oswald, our vaunted establishment media and government always urge us to believe, was just another mentally disturbed ex-Marine acting on left-wing extremist hate. We, the American People, are assured there is no contradiction between that version and the need for the government to keep records related to the assassination hidden from us.
We have assented, collectively, to this ridiculous state of affairs by conferring on our government a very hefty (and undeserved) benefit of doubt. Our government attaches nifty catchphrases to its rationales – in Biden’s case, the need “to protect against identifiable harm.” No explanation needed.
Inquiring minds with a modicum of imagination can envision a scenario in which Oswald was, in fact, a minor operative in an intelligence operation that went badly wrong. He went off script, picked up his World War II-vintage, bolt-action Italian rifle, and did the best shooting of his life on a whim at a moment when his intelligence handlers had momentarily taken their eyes off him. Because of the nature of the operation of which Oswald was a part – employing methods still widely in use around the world by US intelligence – the “public interest” demands that details remain hidden, we are told.
Again, this makes no sense. According to the official version, Oswald wasn’t working for the CIA, FBI, ONI, Army Intelligence or any other agency in any way. Even the claim of the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the late 1970s – that Oswald had shot Kennedy, but somehow as an agent of a Mafia plot – was soon overpowered by the 1964 ruling of its predecessor, the Warren Commission: no conspiracy, government or criminal. So, if the whole thing was just down to a lone nut, why did the Warren Commission seal all its minutes and records for seventy-five years, until 2039?
If there ever was a rational “national security” motive behind the secrecy, it was “deep state” fear that exposing the operation that involved Oswald would give away – to the rest of the world – valuable details of methods and sources, crippling the West’s struggle against its Cold War adversary. One such method might have been the use of doubles or lookalikes. The CIA director fired by President Kennedy, Allen Dulles, was a great enthusiast for the use of doppelgangers as operatives: if a person could be shown to have been somewhere else when a crime was committed, the alibi would either exculpate both doubles or – at worst – result in the capture or demise of only one of them.
This begs the question: if the young man ultimately gunned down in a Dallas police station surrounded by cops was not the actual gunman (forensic evidence indicated he wasn’t), did his CIA doppelganger kill JFK? Would it have been more convenient to arrest, charge and ultimately eliminate the double that was the hopeless Communist “loser” rather than the skilled-assassin doppelganger?
Too many inexplicable sightings of Oswald in more than one place at the same time occurred throughout the assassination saga to be swept under the rug forever. In fact, the Warren Report – if read closely – contains the seeds of its own demise in this very regard. For example, buried in the volumes is Commission Exhibit 1368, an FBI report of an interview with a man who gives a fairly detailed account of time he spent with Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans during a period when, according to the official account, Oswald was in Japan, working at a base for the U-2 spy plane.
Such discrepancies and inconsistencies slipped through the cracks for decades because, as Dulles is widely reported to have said to Warren Commission colleagues harboring doubts about the Report’s conclusions, “nobody reads.” Bitter about his ouster as spy chief, in retirement Dulles remained highly influential at the Agency and became the Warren Commission’s most active member. From October 1961 until June 1966, when Richard Helms was elevated to DCI, Dulles acolyte James Angleton was arguably the most powerful man in the CIA. Angleton ran the CIA operation using false defectors in the Soviet Union when Oswald (the one shot to death by Jack Ruby in Dallas) lived and worked there.
Awareness of who and where Lee Harvey Oswald was had reached the very highest levels of US intelligence years before Kennedy even became President. That leaves those of us who think this crime still matters to the fate of the Republic pondering two options: a massive intelligence screw-up or a treasonous conspiracy by rogue operatives to assassinate the head of state (also an intelligence screw-up). Either scenario could have prompted an official cover-up; both are unacceptable.
Today, the widespread public mistrust of government that became deeply entrenched nearly six decades ago is more palpable in America than at any time since the Civil War. The Cold War has been over for more than thirty years. Answers are long overdue.