Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Kennedy Detail: Book Review

I don't ordinarily do book reviews except for my Book of the Month selections, but I have to talk about this one.

I just read The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence by former Kennedy-era Secret Service agent Gerald Blaine (cowritten -- i.e., ghostwritten -- by Lisa McCubbin).

As you might expect, it's basically a cover-your-ass account of the inner workings of the Secret Service White House detail leading up to, at the time of, and immediately following the JFK assassination. We don't get any breathless accounts of Kennedy's womanizing, for example, or any real behind-the-scenes gossip. Instead, the authors take great defensive pains to cover up or explain away the many failures of their protection of the president, and to support the official Oswald-did-it-and-did-it-alone Warren Report version of events.

Except for one notable exception. Taken from the narratives and reports of the actual boots-on-the-ground Secret Service agents who were actually at the scene, two of whom were in the death car and four of whom were on the outside of the followup car, it becomes clear that they all agree that two different shots hit JFK and John Connally.

This is almost buried in the almost-too-much-extraneous-detail of the events in Dealey Plaza, but it is a bombshell. Or it should be, if the media was doing its job.

Even a casual student of the assassination knows that if JFK and Connally were hit by two different bullets (which is what Connally said all along and which is what a careful examination of the infamous Zapruder film shows), then the flimsy fabric of the Warren Report is left in shreds.

Here's why: The Warren Commission found that only three shots were fired (this was a foregone conclusion even before the commission was set up, since the FBI "established" that there were only three empty shells and stated without a doubt that Oswald was a lone assassin. There's also the basic physics involved. Given the obstructions provided by a large signboard and a couple of trees, there just wasn't enough time for more than three shots to be fired with the weapon found in the building).

One shot went wide and hit a curbstone before wounding slightly a bystander named James Teague. One shot -- the final one -- blew off Kennedy's head. That leaves only one bullet left, which had to do all the work of going completely through JFK, making multiple entries and exits through various bones in John Connolly before ending up in his thigh, only to emerge later, "found" at Parkland Hospital, in almost pristine condition. (Connally's thigh wound, it should be noted, contained more lead than was missing from the bullet.)

The bullet became the notorious Commission Exhibit 399, and you can see why even supporters of the Warren Commission's conclusions call it the "Magic Bullet".

It was physically impossible, given the self-imposed restrictions of the commission ("Oswald did it alone") and the physical restrictions of the crime scene, to account for two men getting hit by different bullets.

If the agents are right, then there were four shots (witnesses testified to hearing more than three shots but they were slighted or ignored) fired.

Which means at least two shooters.

Which means a conspiracy.


Anonymous said...

Wrong. It's likely that there was one more shot, maybe. So what. People don't remember, or were not alive then, or don't want to know that a TV show (60 Minuets?) set up a shooting range that matched the Dallas scene. Shooters with the same kind of rifle did the same thing Oswald did. I did some shooting Army, and other wise, and have looked at the scene, not the pics. I think I could have done it. I had a way other guns could have fired the same round. the round looks to be military and hard jacketed. If so it was made not to deform. Now i am sure it did not happen that way. Oswald-did-it-and-did-it-all. When I have time I will post furm data. d4d

Farnsworth68 said...

The Zapruder film gives us a time-stamped story of the shots. What was barely possible for expert riflemen in the CBS test was for three shots to be fired in the allowable time frame. It was physically impossible to fire more, and almost impossible to fire three. I don't believe the Warren Report and I don't believe CBS news, but even if I grant, for the sake of argument, that Oswald pulled the trigger on the three shots, you can't squeeze a fourth shot into the time frame.
And if there was a fourth shot, then someone else was shooting.
That's the "so what"...
--The F Man