JFK Assassination: CIA and New York Times Are Still Lying To Us
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[See the author's list of essential JFK sources below the article.]
In contrast to the vacillating Shenon, Willens at least has the courage of his convictions. He’s a Warren Commission apologist, pure and simple. And yet in a recent conversation, he sounded somewhat less certain, as we discussed new revelations that his own political patron, Robert Kennedy, never believed the Warren Report and was determined to find the truth on his own.
Fifty years later, Willens still can’t offer a credible motive for why Oswald supposedly killed Kennedy. In his book, he reveals that the commission assigned staff lawyer Wesley Liebeler to write a memo on Oswald’s “Possible Personal Motive” – but the panel found Liebler’s effort so unconvincing that it was rejected. In the end, the Warren Commission decided against offering a definitive motive for the murder, leaving the country forever puzzled by the young man who insisted he was a “patsy.”
After painstakingly documenting how the country’s security agencies played the Warren Commission, Shenon and Willens both explain away this monumental deception by claiming that the country’s intelligence apparatus was simply trying to hide its embarrassing failure to protect the president. But there’s another, more disturbing conclusion that is left hanging in the air. If the CIA was just trying to hide embarrassing mistakes back in the 1960s – security lapses that have long since been exposed — what is the agency still trying to conceal?
At the half-century mark, it’s clearly high time for the nation to go beyond all the self-serving apologias – and beyond all the equivocation and speculation. We need the facts – as Jefferson Morley, one of the few journalists to devote serious effort to the Kennedy case, has demonstrated. Morley has been pursuing a lengthy Freedom of Information battle with the CIA to pry loose more than 1,500 documents that the agency is still concealing in defiance of the 1992 JFK Records Act. At long last, we need the government to come clean and provide the American people with what is legally theirs – every piece of classified information relating to the Kennedy assassination. Failing that, if the CIA continues to defy the law, the nation needs another Edward Snowden.
The assassination of President Kennedy and its subsequent coverup was a triumph for the rapidly growing U.S. national security state. Fifty years later, that surveillance colossus increasingly treats the American people as if we’re enemies of the state. We can begin to take control of our future by finally demanding ownership of our past.
There is a wealth of useful information about the Kennedy assassination available online. But before a beginner wades into these thickets, it’s best to start with some of the best books on the subject.
1. “ JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters,” by James W. Douglass. Written by a deeply thoughtful Catholic peace activist, this book portrays Kennedy as a Cold War martyr – a leader who sacrificed his life to save the world from the nuclear holocaust that was being threatened by his national security team. Douglass draws together much of the best research about the Kennedy administration, and the tensions that finally tore it apart.
2. “ The Last Investigation: What Insiders Know About the Assassination of JFK,” by Gaeton Fonzi. An aggressive Philadelphia investigative journalist, Fonzi was recruited by the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1976 to be one of its lead investigators. (The HSCA’s final report in 1979 overturned the Warren Report, concluding that JFK had been killed as the result of a conspiracy, but failed to name the plotters.) Fonzi’s inside account of the committee, which came tantalizingly close to cracking the case before it was sabotaged by CIA obstructionism and congressional cowardice, makes for a gripping and eye-opening tale.