Friday, December 5, 2008

CIA Motivation for the Kennedy Assassination

I have been reading about the assassination of John F. Kennedy lately because I was inspired by time I spent in one of my classes with my students watching and discussing Oliver Stone's movie JFK. Though I think it is clear that Oliver Stone and Jim Garrison went way too far with their conspiracy theories (placing the roots of the plot at the level of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the top of the intelligence community and even implicating Vice President Johnson), the detective work done by Garrison as highlighted by the movie make certain aspects of the assassination indisputable.

The best I can figure so far is that there was a plot by CIA contract agents coordinated by CIA Field Officers to kill Kennedy at Dealy Plaza with a three-way crossfire. I don't believe these CIA were working for the agency, but were mounting an unofficial operation on their own because of their extreme hatred for Kennedy. The CIA and the military intelligence community had been resisting Kennedy from before his inauguration in the matter of the assassinatio of Patrice Lumumba.[1] They were acting on their own under as high a member of the CIA as David Atlee Phillips who also coordinated at least the cover-up that aimed to present the single-shooter theory of Lee Harvey Oswald to the world. Phillips could have been taking the orders of ex-CIA Director of Intelligence (DCI) Allen Dulles or ex-Deputy DCI General Charles Cabell.[2] Both men were fired by Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs scandal.

The CIA hatred of Kennedy developed through the years of his presidency. It really started with the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961. Kennedy was briefed about the invasion approved by the previous Eisenhower Administration while he was waiting for his inauguration. He approved the attack after he became president, but steadfastly refused to commit U.S. forces to the attack, desiring only to use the Cuban exiles. The CIA knew the attack could not suceed without U.S. air support, but launched it anyway calculating that the pressure of the possibility of the invasion failing would force Kennedy to change his mind and send in air power. Under heavy pressure from the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) as well as the CIA, Kennedy refused to commit U.S. air planes and the Bay of Pigs fighters were captured or killed by Castro's forces. Kennedy admitted responsibility for the disaster publically, but privately blamed the CIA for purposely allowing an attack they knew would fail and trying to manipulate him into supporting it. He fired long time CIA chief Allen Dulles and other high ranking CIA.[3] Kennedy threatened to, "splinter the Agency into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the wind!"[4] He made many changes including issuing three National Security Memorandums (NSAMs), aimed at limiting the Agency's covert operations, effectively putting them under the JCS.[5] These memos were never really even implemented due to "bureaucratic resistance."

More hatred of Kennedy was built after the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. Kennedy promised not to invade Cuba, did not demand on-site inspections of the missile removal and pulled the plug on operation MONGOOSE, the CIA's covert operation to remove Castro from power. He actually sent the FBI in to close down their paramilitary training camps in Louisiana. This greatly enraged the Cuban Exile community and the radical anti-communist CIA who were working with them to this end.[6]

As the months passed their hatred only grew worse as Kennedy showed one sign after another of easing back from the Cold War. As part of the negotiations to resolve the missile crisis, Kennedy agreed to remove U.S. mid-range Jupiter nuclear missiles from Turkey. This was done in April of 1963. On August 5, of the same year his negotiators agreed to sign the Limited Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union. Finally it was clear that Kennedy was going to begin disentangling the U.S. from the war in Vietnam long before it ever became a quagmire. Since 1961, Kennedy refused to allow combat troops in Vietnam, but only "advisors." "On October 11, 1963, JFK issued NSAM 263, a directive tht included the withdrawal of 1,000 of the 16,000 advisers then in Vietnam by the end of the year."[7]

The conspiracy to kill the president had its roots in the remnants and resentments of the anti-communist CIA Cuban operations and their increasing dismay with Kennedy's percieved soft stance in the Cold War. In my next entry, I will show what we know about the actual plot itself, and who did what.

[1] James DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba, and the Garrison Case (New York: Sheridan Press, 1992), p. 254-257.
[2] Ibid, p. 235-239.
[3] Kenneth P. O'Donnell and David Powers, Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, (Boston: Little, Brown & n co., 1970), p. 267-278.
[4] New York Times, April 25, 1966, p. 20.
[5] Di Eugenio, p. 257-258.
[6] Ibid, p. 22-24.
[7] Ibid, p. 197.


Tim Fleming said...

You've got the CIA part correct, but you're too dismissive of LBJ and Texas oilmen. Madeleine Brown, LBJ's mistress, wrote a book called "Texas In The Morning," in which she states that LBJ had foreknowledge of and facilitated the assassination. LBJ had lots of motivation. He was going to be dropped from the ticket in '64 because of a growing stench of corruption (see Bobby Baker) surrounding him. He helped pick the parade route, he got the Secret Service to stand down (Emory Roberts, SAIC in Dallas), he was backed by Clint Murchison, H.L. Hunt, D.H. Byrd, and other Texas oil millionaires. He handpicked the Warren Commission, which included former CIA chief Dulles, Gerald Ford, John McCloy and other establishment lackeys who knew where the real power lay. In short, LBJ had motive, means, and opportunity.

Read "Best Evidence," by David Lifton, and "Crossfire," by Jim Marrs, to get a better grip on the scope and vertical culpability of the plot.

Tim Fleming
author,"Murder of an American Nazi"

Bill Z. said...


Ok, I will check your sources. Thank you for your post. So if what you have presented is right, it could still be true that this was done by only isolated groups of the Agency. They may of even bypassed McCone who was DCI. I have written about this before. Even in the normally functioning CIA they compartmentalize and often times the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing; the CIA was clearly operatiing outside of normal command structures under Kennedy.

Studying the well documented sources on how high and how deep up the chain this went was my next project. You have helped me with my reading list.

Tim Fleming said...

Right...that's where many who lack understanding of these matters get confused. The Agency as a whole was not involved; it was mostly covert operations, specifically Operation Mongoose. (Check out the photographs posted on a website called "Familiar Faces in Dealey Plaza." "Mongoose" agents were all over the Plaza that day.) In fact, many of the plotters, such as Dulles and Bissell, were no longer associated with the Agency, at least officially. But they still knew how to set in motion the covert network, and many, such as Dave Phillips and Ed Lansdale, were still loyal to the old DCI. McCone, as a Kennedy appointee, could not be trusted with executive action plans.

Concentrate on Dulles...he was linked vertically, horizontally, and downward to all the players. I do believe it began with the joint chiefs and the old-line, right-wing, monied aristocrats, like the Harrimans, the Browns, the Bushes, the McCloys, etc. They enlisted Dulles because they knew he had the networking capabilities to get the job done. He passed the planning responsiblity along to perhaps Bissell or Lansdale. They went to Texas oilmen for funding and access to the Dallas far-right ways and means (motorcade, TSBD, patsy set-up, police oversight, etc.). They activated/redirected Mongoose, and from there it was a matter of selecting the best marksmen in the world. Bill Harvey, CIA's ZR-RIFLE program, knew where to find them, and the rest was logistics.

By the way, if you're interested, my book traces the genesis of the CIA and how it took over the country after WWII. I sometimes use fictional names, but the real historical corollaries are transparent.

Tim Fleming
author,"Murder of an American Nazi"

DRoberdeau said...

For your considerations....

Dealey Plaza Professionally-surveyed Map Detailing 11-22-63 Victims precise locations, Witnesses, Photographers, Evidence, Suspected bullet trajectories, Important information & Considerations

President Kennedy "Men of Courage" Speech, & JFK Assassination Research & Discoveries, Don Roberdeau, 1975 to Present

Under the "magic-limbed-ricochet-tree": Z-188, then, Z-203 to 206

Discovery: ROSEMARY WILLIS's Zapruder Film Documented 2nd Headsnap: West, Ultrafast, & Directly Towards the "Grassy Knoll"

Bill Z. said...

Tim & D,

Thank you for all your information. I will look into it. How exciting!

Tim Fleming said...


Two more must-reads for your research: Mark Lane's "Plausible Denial," (published in the early 1990s by Thunder's Mouth Press); and "JFK and the Unspeakable, Why He Died and Why It Matters," by James Douglass, just published and available on

Tim Fleming
author,"Murder of an American Nazi"

Bill Z. said...


Ok, i have been reading Lifton's book "Best Evidence" as per your suggestion and it has been enlightening and fun. I am going to make a post on it soon.