JFK Assassination: CIA and New York Times Are Still Lying To Us
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As soon as he had heard the devastating news from Dallas on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963, Attorney General Robert Kennedy immediately suspected that his brother had been the victim of a plot. RFK believed that the shadowy assassination operation against Fidel Castro – a dark alliance between the CIA and the Mafia – had somehow been turned against President Kennedy. When Dallas nightclub operator Jack Ruby stunned the nation by shooting Oswald on national TV while he was being escorted through the basement of the Dallas Police Department, Bobby and his Justice Department investigators quickly turned their attention to Ruby. Within hours, RFK’s men found that Ruby had numerous connections to organized crime.
According to Shenon, the Warren Commission lawyers who were assigned to investigate Ruby – Burt Griffin and Leon Hubert — came to the same disturbing conclusion. Equally unnerving, the commission lawyers also suspected that the Dallas police sergeant who was in charge of Oswald’s security had allowed Ruby to slip into police headquarters and gun down the alleged assassin. But Griffin and Hubert were shut down before they could complete their Ruby investigation. And Griffin was reprimanded for daring to confront the Dallas police sergeant with his suspicions. Warren even publicly apologized to the cop when he was called to testify before the commission in Washington.
The post-assassination Washington revealed in these two books brings to mind ancient Rome. The capital’s chambers and private clubs were filled with dark whispers. The most powerful elements of government maneuvered to make sure their deepest secrets would not be revealed. Royal blood had been spilled and the new regime was determined that the public must never know why.
In the end, Shenon and Willens do little to further enlighten the public about the who, what or why of the Kennedy assassination. A growing historical consensus now sees JFK as presiding over a bitterly divided government, with Kennedy and his peace-minded inner circle on one side and a war-hungry Cold War establishment on the other. Even humdrum Kennedy historian Robert Dallek has now signed on to this view, with a new book that argues JFK’s biggest enemies were not Communist leaders but his own generals and espionage chiefs. This is a sobering conclusion, of course, because it provides a possible explanation for the bloody regime change in Dallas.
These dark waters are simply too ominous for authors like Shenon and Willens to explore. Despite his willingness to expose the Warren Commission’s tortured process, Shenon cannot bring himself to condemn its conclusions. At the end of the day, he remains a product of the New York Times – a newspaper that rushed to embrace the Warren Report months before it was even completed and, as Abramson’s wordy screed attests, is still more interested in ridiculing and marginalizing even the most credible conspiracy researchers than in getting at the truth. Mainstream journalists know that – even 50 years (!) later — they don’t dare go beyond the safe confines of “we’ll never know,” or they won’t be appearing on “Meet the Press” any time soon.
Shenon writes that he worked for five years on his Warren Commission book – and yet the sum of these efforts is to bring him back to the beginning, where the commission left the investigation. In the end, he doesn’t know quite what to make of JFK’s murder. His confusion becomes clear in his acknowledgments where he lists the books that he believes are “the essential library” on the Kennedy case – the books that “will still be read generations from now.” Shenon’s list is a contradictory hodgepodge, lumping together books from the conspiracy camp (like my own “ Brothers,” Jefferson Morley’s “ Our Man in Mexico” and Gaeton Fonzi’s “ The Last Investigation”) with hardcore lone gunman titles (like Gerald Posner’s “ Case Closed” and Vincent Bugliosi’s “ Reclaiming History”). This weirdly polarized reading list underlines Shenon’s failure to resolve his own thinking on the case.