J.F.K. Assassination Essay, Research Paper
On November 22, 1963, American history changed forever. That day the presidential motorcade of President John F. Kennedy traveled down Elm Street in Dallas, Texas. As the limousine went down past The Texas School Book Depository shots were fired. These shots, said to have been fired by Lee Harvey Oswald, struck President Kennedy and Governor Connally. The wounds to President Kennedy were fatal. This event will never be forgotten by the American people. This event and the proceeding Warren Commission investigation will be causes of arguments in this country for a long time to come. With the uncertainty of this event, it seems that everyone has their own opinion on what actually happened. These opinions range from believing the official report of the Warren Commission, to believing that the Russians assassinated Kennedy. Despite all of the other theories, the most believable theory is that the federal government was involved in the assassination of the President. The federal government involvement in the Kennedy assassination can be seen through the quick findings that Oswald acted alone in the assassination, through CIA and FBI actions after the assassination, and through the actions of President Johnson following the assassination of President Kennedy.
There are many other theories about the assassination of President Kennedy. One of these is the Lone Gunman theory give by the Warren Commission. This stated:
The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally were fired from the sixth floor window at the southeast corner of the Texas School
Book Depository. This is due to the conclusion that the bullets were fired from above and behind the Presidential limousine, and witnesses reported seeing a rifle being fired from that window.(Callahan 30-32)
This statement, although the official report, is questionable. This theory makes it so that one man would have to fire all of the rounds. Callahan states “Kennedy was reported to have been
shot with a 6.5 Mannlicher-Caracano rifle which takes a minimum of 2.3 seconds to load while no more than 1.7 seconds elapsed between rounds,”(32). That fact makes this theory impossible to be true, especially with that particular gun. So this evidence shows that there is no way that Lee Harvey Oswald could have acted alone from the Book Depository.
Another theory is the Friendly Fire theory. This theory given By Bonar Menninger suggested “Kennedy was shot by Secret Service agent George Hickey who accidentally discharged his AR-15 in the direction of Kennedy after being startled by the first two shots of Oswald,”(251). This theory is based on the research of ballistics expert Howard Donahue, who firmly believes that by the way the head of President Kennedy was positioned, the fatal bullet must have traveled at a trajectory equal to the grade of the street (Callahan 40). This theory does not make any sense for two reasons. First, the bullets supposedly came from a Mannlicher-Caracano rifle. The weapon that Hickey was carrying was an AR-15, not the type said to have killed Kennedy. Also, it seems odd that a secret service agent would have his gun aimed at the person that he was protecting. It would seem more likely that someone in the crowed would have been shot if a secret service agent accidentally discharged his weapon. This theory has never been backed up, because neither Hickey nor the Secret Service would comment on this alleged incident. So it is seen that many of the main theories about the assassination have major holes in them. This leads one to believe that they were not told the truth about what actually happened in the assassination. There is only one group that has the power to cause the cover up of this event. This group is who performed the investigation, the federal government. So through holes in assassination theories it is shown that the federal government had to have been involved, or else the American people would know what really happened on that day in Dalla The Warren Commission was in charge of investigating the assassination of the President. This commission was named after its head, Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. The group spent From March to June of 1964 sorting through the huge and contradictory body of evidence collected by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI (Callahan 29). In just three months they came up with their conclusion of the assassination. This seems like it was very quick with all of the evidence that the commission had to go through. This would make one think that they did not look at every possibility for the assassination. Thus they must have been hiding something.
As time went on people began to feel that the government was not telling them everything that happened concerning the Kennedy assassination. CIA concerns about this were revealed in a now declassified memo released April 1, 1967. The memo stated “In most cases the critics have speculated as to the existence of some kind of conspiracy, and often implied that the commission itself was involved.”(Callahan 65). So it is shown people were starting to doubt what the government told them about the Kennedy situation. Callahan stated:
The memo presumably came about due to increasing challenge to the Warren Commission report shown in a public opinion poll at the time which stated 46% of the American public did not feel that Oswald acted alone (65).
This started to worry the CIA that the people were not believing what the government told them. This was also shown in the CIA memo. It said:
The people felt the government especially the CIA was directly involved because they contributed information to the investigation and because Oswald was alleged to have worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (Callahan 66).
The agency would now turn its attention to trying to discredit any of their involvement. Why would the CIA have been so worried if they were not involved in the Kennedy assassination? The truth is they would not have, so they must have had something to do with the President’s murder.
The subject of Cuban involvement in the assassination was not really even considered during the Warren Commission investigation. Callahan stated “Even when the commission would bring this topic up, Allen Dulles, former director of The Central Intelligence agency, would try to get the investigation of the committee away from the subject of Cuba,”(128). The actions of Dulles leads one to think that the CIA was involved in something with Cuba. The way Dulles skirted around the topic of Cuba could be read to different ways according to Callahan:
the first was that he feared the international repercussions. While the other was sinister, saying the CIA stayed silent about Cuba because the evidence showed that some of the CIA agents helped procure the assassins from Cuba who shot President Kennedy(128).
If the second of these two ways to see this were true, it would be easy to see why the Dulles would be trying to avoid the subject of Cuban involvement in the assassination. The former head of the CIA was trying to hide American involvement in the incident. If truth of this were ever to get out there would be chaos in the government due to the number of officials who must have been involved. The involvement of the CIA and the FBI in the incident can be seen further in the commission’s proceedings. This is shown in the Warren Commission not even talking to William Harvey or Maurice Bishop, who were thought to both have information on CIA assassination programs, were not even questioned by or even mentioned by the Commission (Callahan 129). The fact that these two men were not even brought up must have shown that the
two of them knew something that the CIA did not want let out. This could be that they knew who really killed President Kennedy. About the failure to question the two, Callahan remarked “This makes it impossible to claim beyond a reasonable doubt that the FBI and CIA were not involved in the Kennedy Assassination,”(129). One would figure that if the agencies had nothing to hide, they would have let these two men testify for the commission. This too shows government involvement in the Assassination.
The most incriminating account of the Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement came from a former CIA hitman. This man was named Hugh Higgins. He was one of the agency’s top assassins. As an agent he was called by the name Hugh Howell and personally killed thirty-seven people while he was taking orders directly from the Kennedys (Sloan 175-176). Higgins told Sloan this about Kennedy’ Assassination:
Between seven to ten shots were fired by four different assassins, but Lee Harvey Oswald never fired a single round. Two of the shooters were CIA contracted agents. Two were actually picked up by the Cops and released, and another one flew out of Dallas untouched (177).
It is real disturbing that not only did the government apparently have its head killed, but the police had the real assassins and let them go free. In the interview Higgins went on to talk about the wounds to President Kennedy during the autopsy which he claimed to have witnessed. Higgins recalled “There was an entry wound in Kennedy’s left temple which could not have possibly come from behind Kennedy,” he continued “This was the bullet that blew off the right side of Kennedy’s skull,”(Sloan 183-184). This evidence shows that the findings of the Warren Commission was false, and there would have to have been at least one other gunman on the
other side of the motorcade. One would wonder how the commission could miss this in their investigation.
In their investigation of the “sniper’s nest” the FBI reported information that has some problems. Sloan stated:
The FBI found shell casings in the so called sniper’s nest aligned in a neatly spaced pattern. Lucien Pierce, an experienced hunter, familiar with the type of rifle Oswald supposedly used would throw the casings out in all directions not in a neat row like the investigators had been claiming.(34)
This fact makes it appear to as though the FBI had planted the evidence in the sniper’s nest. The FBI was in effect using Oswald as a scapegoat. This would make it appear that there is a conspiracy being covered up by the government. That would be the only plausible explanation for why the shell casings were found in the reported fashion. The condition of this evidence further shows the guilt of the federal government in this assassination.
There were many officials in the government who stood to benefit from Kennedy being assassinated. Two of the most prominent were Vice-president Lyndon Johnson and director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. For Johnson the benefit was obvious, becoming President. For Hoover the benefit was not being forced from his job as the director of the FBI. President Kennedy did not like Hoover and was going to force him to retire. North remarked “In February of 1961 Hoover confronted Kennedy trying to intimidate him so he could keep his job. Kennedy was determined to retire him(Hoover) by January 1, 1965,”(71). So it is seen Hoover knew he
was going to lose his job if Kennedy was in power. “In May of 1964 President Johnson removed the mandatory retirement age for director of the FBI,”(North 560). This made it so Hoover could then keep his job. This coincidentally happened just six months after Kennedy was killed. This
makes it seem as though Johnson and Hoover were somehow involved in the assassination of Kennedy. Also, almost immediately after Kennedy was killed the U.S. reversed its policy on Vietnam (Prouty 145). Prouty said “Kennedy was withdrawing a thousand advisors from Vietnam. After he took power Johnson escalated the conflict into the major foreign policy issue of the coming decade,”(145). This also shows that people in government who wanted to stay in Vietnam would also benefit from the assassination. These are some of the reasons that the government may have killed Kennedy.
In Conclusion, there is a lot of evidence that points to the government being involved in the assassination. Although there may seem to be holes in this theory, this seems to be the best theory for the assassination. This is because there seems to be less room to question the evidence in this theory. Unlike many other theories this one seems to be better supported by the evidence of the assassination. So it is shown that this is the best explanation for what really happened in the Kennedy assassination.
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North, Mark. Act of Treason. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1991
Prouty, L. Fletcher. JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F.
Kennedy. New York: Birchlane Press, 1992.
Sloan, Bill. JFK Breaking the Silence. Dallas: Taylor Publishing, 1993.