SURVIVOR'S GUILT- COMING OCTOBER 2013

SURVIVOR'S GUILT- COMING OCTOBER 2013
"SURVIVOR'S GUILT: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect President Kennedy" by Vince Palamara COMING OCTOBER 2013 ! THE PERFECT ANTIDOTE TO GERALD BLAINE'S PROPAGANDA-***CLICK ON THE PIC***

THE KENNEDY DETAIL-BEWARE:

“The Kennedy Detail” repeats constantly an alleged Kennedy quote about "Ivy League charlatans" that the author tries to convince (brainwash?) the reader into taking what was simply an off-hand quote/joke by JFK and turn it into a proclamation of strict procedure protocol-an astute comment from a reader



PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO GET TO MY OTHER BLOG

PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO GET TO MY OTHER BLOG
PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO GET TO MY OTHER BLOG

President Kennedy's Secret Service White House Detail +

President Kennedy's Secret Service White House Detail +
President Kennedy's Secret Service White House Detail + various other important/ temp/ PRS agents, as compiled from the massive collection of the leading authority on the Secret Service, especially during the JFK era: Vince Palamara

Secret Service JFK

Secret Service JFK
Various JFK era agents

Secret Service JFK

Secret Service, JFK, President Kennedy, James Rowley, Gerald Behn, Floyd Boring, Roy Kellerman, John Campion, William Greer, Forest Sorrels, Clint Hill, Winston Lawson, Emory Roberts, Sam Kinney, Paul Landis, John "Jack" Ready, William "Tim" McIntyre, Glenn Bennett, George Hickey, Rufus Youngblood, Warren "Woody" Taylor, Jerry Kivett, Lem Johns, John "Muggsy" O'Leary, Sam Sulliman, Ernest Olsson, Robert Steuart, Richard Johnsen, Stewart "Stu" Stout, Roger Warner, Henry "Hank" Rybka, Donald Lawton, Dennis Halterman, Walt Coughlin, Andy Berger, Ron Pontius, Bert de Freese, Jim Goodenough, Bill Duncan, Ned Hall II, Mike Howard, Art Godfrey, Gerald Blaine, Ken Giannoules, Paul Burns, Gerald O'Rourke, Robert Faison, David Grant, John Joe Howlett, Bill Payne, Robert Burke, Frank Yeager, Donald Bendickson, Gerald Bechtle, Howard Norton, Hamilton Brown, Toby Chandler, Chuck Zboril, Joe Paolella, Wade Rodham, Bob Foster, Lynn Meredith, Rad Jones, Thomas Wells, Charlie Kunkel, Stu Knight, Paul Rundle, Glen Weaver, Arnie Lau, Forrest Guthrie, Eve Dempsher, Bob Lilley, Ken Wiesman, Mike Mastrovito, Tony Sherman, Larry Newman, Morgan Gies, Tom Shipman, Ed Tucker, Harvey Henderson, Abe Bolden, Robert Kollar, Ed Mougin, Mac Sweazey, Horace "Harry" Gibbs, Tom Behl, Jim Cantrell, Bill Straughn, Tom Fridley, Mike Kelly, Joe Noonan, Gayle Dobish, Earl Moore, Arthur Blake, John Lardner, Milt Wilhite, Bill Skiles, Louis Mayo, Thomas Wooge, Milt Scheuerman, Talmadge Bailey, Bob Lapham, Bob Newbrand, Bernie Mullady, Jerry Dolan, Vince Mroz, William Bacherman, Howard Anderson, U.E. Baughman, Walt Blaschak, Robert Bouck, George Chaney, William Davis, Paul Doster, Dick Flohr, Jack Fox, John Giuffre, Jim Griffith, Jack Holtzhauer, Andy Hutch, Jim Jeffries, John Paul Jones, Kent Jordan, Dale Keaner, Brooks Keller, Thomas Kelley, Clarence Knetsch, Jackson Krill, Elmer Lawrence, Bill Livingood, J. Leroy Lewis, Dick Metzinger, Jerry McCann, John McCarthy, Ed Morey, Chester Miller, Roy "Gene" Nunn, Jack Parker, Paul Paterni, Burrill Peterson, Max Phillips, Walter Pine, Michael Shannon, Frank Stoner, Cecil Taylor, Charles Taylor, Bob Taylor, Elliot Thacker, Ken Thompson, Mike Torina, Jack Walsh, Jack Warner, Thomas White, Ed Wildy, Carroll Winslow, Dale Wunderlich, Walter Young, Winston Gintz, Bill Carter, C. Douglas Dillon, James Johnson, Larry Hess, Frank Farnsworth, Jim Giovanneti,Bob Gaugh,Don Brett, Jack Gleason, Bob Jamison, Gary Seale, Bill Sherlock, Bob Till, Doc Walters...

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Review of The Kennedy Detail, a Compelling but Dangerous Mix of Fact, Faction, and Fiction by Vince Palamara

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:
A Review of The Kennedy Detail, a Compelling but Dangerous Mix of Fact, Faction, and Fiction
by Vince Palamara
For original article with all source notes, please see:
http://www.ctka.net/reviews/kennedydetailreview.html
[note: several of the videos in the source section that were available Nov 2010- Jan 2011 have been replaced]



I: Ruffled Feathers
On June 1, 2005, I sent a 22-page registered letter, signed receipt required, to former Secret Service agent Clint Hill1 (infamous for his leap onto the back of the limousine during the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963). My letter was, in essence, a “Cliff Notes” version of my own book “Survivor’s Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect The President”2, focusing mainly on the issue of the agents’ presence—or lack thereof—on the rear of the presidential limousine on 11/22/63, as well as the actions and inactions of three specific agents I have many misgivings about: Floyd Boring (the number two agent on the Kennedy Detail and the Secret Service planner of the Texas trip), Shift Leader Emory Roberts (the commander of the agents in the follow-up car in Dallas), and William Greer (the driver of JFK’s limousine). When I phoned the gentleman on June 13, 2005, I received a very cantankerous “non-reply”, so to speak: “[Referring to my letter:] About what? Yeah, I’m here. I’m just not interested in talking to you.” I did not really expect much, but it was worth a try (having received an unexpected recommendation to talk to Mr. Hill from former agent Lynn Meredith, who was gracious enough to provide Mr. Hill’s unlisted address and phone number).

On June 10, 2005, I phoned fellow former agent Gerald Blaine (having previously spoken to the gentleman on 2/7/04). Blaine confirmed his deep friendship with Hill and, much to my surprise, seemingly out of nowhere, said: “Don’t be too hard on Emory Roberts. He was a double, even a triple-checker. He probably took Jack Ready’s life into consideration.” It was at that moment that I realized that Clint Hill shared the contents of my letter to Blaine; probably with a good dose of anger and indignation, as well. When I received word that Blaine was coming out with a book called The Kennedy Detail AND that Clint Hill was writing the Foreword, I KNEW that I was responsible, as a catalyst, for their endeavors! Blaine and Hill are now on a book tour together, as well as appearing jointly on several news and media outlets, including an upcoming Discovery Channel documentary, based on the book.

In fact, Blaine even admitted to Grand Junction Sentinel reporter Bob Silbernagel that it was during this exact time that he “began contacting all he could of the 38 agents who were in the Kennedy Detail on Nov. 22, 1963,” adding further that once “he began seeing all the misinformation and outright deceit about the assassination on the Internet, as well as in books and films, he decided, “Essentially, it was a book that had to be written.”3

There was no question in my mind that I ruffled feathers with Blaine and Hill. If all this weren’t enough, Blaine’s attorney even sent me a certified letter in November 2009, a year before his book was to appear, asking me to take down a blog that Blaine noticed on my main Secret Service blog4 that merely announced their forthcoming book. Blaine thought I was trying to say that I was the co-author, which was the furthest thing from the truth—I was innocently telling my readers of a book they might find of interest. In any event, after writing back to Blaine and his lawyer, I decided to take that specific blog down... but this incident let me know, in no uncertain terms: Blaine and Hill were men on a mission.

This is further evidenced by what Blaine himself wrote on his blog5: “At the annual conference of the 2,500 member former Secret Service Agents Association [AFAUSSS] last week (8/26-8/28/10) in New York City, Lisa McCubbin and I [Gerald Blaine] presented an overview of the book at the business meeting to ensure the agents that the publication was “Worthy of Trust and Confidence.”; “At the conference opening reception Clint Hill, Lisa McCubbin and I [Gerald Blaine] met with Secret Service Director Sullivan and discussed the book from the perspective of today’s operations. Clint Hill, who lives in the Washington DC area, had previously briefed the Director on the accuracy and purpose of writing the book.”; “I [Gerald Blaine] am the sole surviving charter member and a past president of the organization. The association was conceived by Floyd Boring and Jerry Behn with the assistance of fifteen charter members. Jerry Behn was the Special Agent in Charge of the Kennedy Detail and Floyd Boring was an Assistant Agent in Charge. The organization’s mission is to maintain social and professional relationships, to liaison with the Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies” (emphasis added)

To quote from a popular commercial, “Can you hear me now?”

I knew their “mission” was to circle the wagons, so to speak, and attempt to counter my prolific research on the failings of the Secret Service on November 22, 1963, specifically, the statements by many of their colleagues—including BLAINE himself—that President Kennedy was a very nice man, never interfered with the actions of the Secret Service and, to the point, did NOT order the agents off his limousine... ever! These men, as well as several important non-agency personnel (such as Dave Powers, Congressman Sam Gibbons, and Cecil Stoughton, among others), provided information, on the phone and/ or in writing, to a total stranger—myself—with no trepidation whatsoever. “Official” history—the Warren Report, the HSCA Report, William Manchester’s “The Death of a President”, and Jim Bishop’s “The Day Kennedy Was Shot”—espouses a decidedly different verdict: President Kennedy was reckless with his security and did order the agents off his limousine-not in Dallas, but during the major trip before, in Tampa, FL, on 11/18/63, which allegedly had grave consequences for JFK’s protection on the day he was assassinated.

First, a detailed look at the contents of The Kennedy Detail is in order.


II: A Major Myth Demolished
The book gets off on the wrong foot with myself and others right away with the bold pronouncement: “JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence” (which is also the subtitle of the book). This is hogwash: not only did several agents, including Clint Hill, testify to the Warren Commission, many of the agents spoke to the aforementioned William Manchester (including Blaine and Hill6), Jim Bishop, and the HSCA, as well as to, among others, Prof. Philip Melanson (for his book The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency), several prominent Secret Service television documentaries between 1995 and 2004 (Hill was involved in all of these productions that made their way to VHS and/ or DVD, as well), and, last but certainly not least, to myself, Vince Palamara, between 1992 and 2006 (again, including Blaine and Hill)! Things only get worse once one gets to the inside flap jacket: Blaine writes that JFK “banned agents from his car”, which is patently false—as Winston Lawson, the lead advance agent for the fateful Dallas trip, wrote to me in a letter dated 1/12/04: “I do not know of any standing orders for the agents to stay off the back of the car. After all, foot holds and handholds were built into that particular vehicle... it never came to my attention as such. I am certain agents were on the back on certain occasions.” For his part, ATSAIC (Shift Leader) Art Godfrey told this reviewer on May 30, 1996, regarding the notion that JFK ordered the agents not to do certain things which included removing themselves from the rear of the limousine: “That’s a bunch of baloney; that’s not true. He never ordered us to do anything. He was a very nice man ... cooperative.” Godfrey reiterated this on June 7, 1996. In a letter dated November 24, 1997, Godfrey stated the following: “All I can speak for is myself. When I was working [with] President Kennedy he never ask[ed] me to have my shift leave the limo when we [were] working it,” thus confirming what he had also told the author telephonically on two prior occasions. As we shall see, Blaine makes much ado about this issue... for obvious reasons (Thou Protest Too Much).

Although very well written and containing some nice photographs, The Kennedy Detail provides the reader a generous dose of fact, “faction” (playing hard and loose with alleged ‘facts’ and encompassing reconstructed dialogue and supposed meetings that allegedly occurred without documentation) and fiction. In fact, there are no footnotes, endnotes, sources, or a bibliography to be found (although, to his credit, Blaine did include an impressive index). It is important to note that many important former agents and officials, such as “the brass”—Treasury Secretary Douglas Dillon, Asst Sec. G. d’Andelot Belin, Chief James Rowley, Aide to the Chief Walter Blaschak, Deputy Chief Paul Paterni, Assistant Chief Russell Daniels, Assistant Chief Ed Wildy, Chief U.E. Baughman, Special Agent In Charge (SAIC) Gerald Behn, ASAIC Floyd Boring (the planner of the Texas trip), ASAIC Roy Kellerman (rode in JFK’s limo), ASAIC John Campion, ATSAIC (Shift Leader) Emory Roberts (rode in follow up car), ATSAIC Stu Stout (on Texas trip), ATSAIC Art Godfrey (on Texas trip), SAIC of Personnel Howard Anderson, SAIC of PRS Robert Bouck, ASAIC of LBJ Detail (and former JFK agent) Rufus Youngblood, Head Inspector of PRS Elliot Thacker, Chief Inspector Jackson Krill, Inspector Thomas Kelley, Inspector Gerard McCann, & Inspector Burrill Peterson—and many “privates”, such as Bill Bacherman, Glen Bennett (of PRS; rode in motorcade), Andy Berger (on the Texas trip), Bert deFreese (on the Texas trip), Jerry Dolan, Paul Doster, PRS Dick Flohr, Morgan Gies, William Greer (the driver of JFK’s limo), Dennis Halterman (on the Texas trip), Ned Hall II (on the Texas trip), Harvey Henderson, George Hickey (rode in the follow-up car), Andy Hutch, Jim Jeffries, Sam Kinney (drove the follow-up car), PRS Elmer Lawrence, James Mastrovito, John “Muggsy” O’Leary (on the Texas trip), Bill Payne (on the Texas trip), PRS Walter Pine, Wade Rodham7, Henry Rybka (on the Texas trip), Thomas Shipman (deceased 10/14/63!), PRS Frank Stoner, & PRS Walter Young—not to mention countless agents from field offices (such as the SAIC of the Dallas Office Forrest Sorrels and his assistant Robert Steuart AND Charlie Kunkel), DIED YEARS BEFORE THIS BOOK WAS EVEN A THOUGHT. In addition, since there are no specific references, it is hard to know exactly WHO among the living WAS interviewed, as Blaine recently admitted that “three agents still cannot discuss the emotional aspects of that day in Dallas” and he was unable “to contact three other agents who served.”8 In addition, several OTHER agents (such as Lynn Meredith, Bob Foster, Paul Burns, Jerry Kivett and Stu Knight) passed away during the time Blaine was writing his book, so we are unable to know if they were contacted, as well.

That said, it is most telling that Blaine admitted that three agents—Larry Newman, Tony Sherman, and Tim McIntyre (rode in the follow-up car)—were not contacted because they had “responded to Seymour Hirsch’s [sic] book, The Dark Side of Camelot, which violated the code of silence.”9 Yet, the fourth agent, Joe Paolella, apparently WAS interviewed for Blaine’s volume. Why wasn’t he banished from his work, as well? Using this “code of silence” criteria, several (perhaps many) of the agents who spoke to myself and others should have been ignored, as well (example: former agent Walt Coughlin told me that LBJ was “a first-class prick”10). It was obvious why Blaine ignored former agent Abraham Bolden: the controversial nature of Bolden’s beliefs and so forth.11 So, it appears a little selectivity, necessary and otherwise, was used regarding former agent interviews for The Kennedy Detail.12

As for the aforementioned Newman, Sherman, McIntyre, and Paolella, they waxed on to Seymour Hersh (and others, including the December 1997 ABC/ Peter Jennings special Dangerous World: The Kennedy Years) about their anger and disgust over JFK’s private lives. Incredibly, even Emory Roberts’ concerns over these issues was voiced by McIntyre. This is very disturbing because it shows a MOTIVE FOR INACTION on 11/22/63. For his part, McIntyre told ABC News, regarding JFK’s private life: “Prostitution—that’s illegal. A procurement is illegal. And if you have a procurer with prostitutes paraded in front of you, then, as a sworn law enforcement officer, you’re asking yourself, ‘Well, what do they think of us?’ ” McIntyre felt this way after having only spent a very brief time with JFK before the assassination: he joined the White House Detail in the fall of 1963.13 McIntyre also told Hersh: “His shift supervisor, the highly respected Emory Roberts, took him aside and warned ... that ‘you’re going to see a lot of shit around here. Stuff with the President. Just forget about it. Keep it to yourself. Don’t even talk to your wife.’ ... Roberts was nervous about it. Emory would say, McIntyre recalled with a laugh, ‘How in the hell do you know what’s going on? He could be hurt in there. What if one bites him’ in a sensitive area? Roberts ‘talked about it a lot’, McIntyre said. ‘Bites’ ... In McIntyre’s view, a public scandal about Kennedy’s incessant womanizing was inevitable. ‘It would have had to come out in the next year or so. In the campaign, maybe.’ McIntyre said he and some of his colleagues ... felt abused by their service on behalf of President Kennedy ... McIntyre said he eventually realized that he had compromised his law enforcement beliefs to the point where he wondered whether it was ‘time to get out of there. I was disappointed by what I saw.’ ” (emphasis added)14 Blaine chose to ignore these men and this issue entirely in his book: is this good history? I think not. It might not be pleasant, but these men said what they said—to ignore this matter speaks of a cover up of guilty knowledge. I did not ignore it.

From the first photo section and page 19 of his book (and, later, on pages 240 and 288), we learn something I had already reported years before: that SAIC Gerald Behn “always traveled with the president. In the three years since Kennedy had been elected, Jerry Behn had not taken one day of vacation...He took his first vacation in four years the week JFK was assassinated.” Quirk of fate or convenient absence? You decide. I have.

Also on page 19, Blaine begins to (using a lawyer’s term) “lay the foundation,” as it were, for blaming the victim (JFK) and, in the process, makes a real whopper: Blaine writes, “the Secret Service was not authorized to override a presidential decision.” Wrong! Ample proof to the contrary abounds. Chief James J. Rowley testified under oath to the Warren Commission: “No President will tell the Secret Service what they can or cannot do.”15 In fact, Rowley’s predecessor, former Chief U. E. Baughman, who had served under JFK from Election Night 1960 until September 1961, had written in his 1962 book Secret Service Chief : “Now the Chief of the Secret Service is legally empowered to countermand a decision made by anybody in this country if it might endanger the life or limb of the Chief Executive. This means I could veto a decision of the President himself if I decided it would be dangerous not to. The President of course knew this fact.”16 Indeed, an Associated Press story from November 15, 1963 stated: “The (Secret) Service can overrule even the President where his personal security is involved.” Even President Truman agreed, stating, “The Secret Service was the only boss that the President of the United States really had.”17 Finally, In an 11/23/63 UPI story written by Robert J. Serling from Washington entitled “Secret Service Men Wary of Motorcade,” based in part on “private conversations” with unnamed agents: “An agent is the only man in the world who can order a President of the United States around if the latter’s safety is believed at stake ... in certain situations an agent outranks even a President.” (emphasis added)

One major myth down, one major one left to demolish.


III: Standing Orders & “Ivy League Charlatans”
Peppered throughout the book, but starting on page 74, Blaine begins to bring up the issue of the agents’ presence (or lack thereof) on the back of JFK’s limousine (in Tampa on 11/18/63, in Dallas on 11/22/63, and elsewhere—further “laying the foundation” for his false premise of blaming the victim), accurately stating for the record, AFTER revealing his knowledge of the Joseph Milteer threat received via the Miami Police Department before JFK’s trip to Florida: “... the only way to have a chance at protecting the president against a shooter from a tall building would be to have agents posted on the back of the car.” Indeed, on pages 81-84, as various films and photos confirm, Blaine tells of his having ridden on the rear of President Kennedy’s limousine in Rome and Naples, Italy (7/2/63). In addition, his first photo section depicts Blaine and his colleagues on or near the rear of JFK’s car in Costa Rica (March 1963), Berlin, Germany (June, 1963) and Ireland (also in June 1963), while his second photo section depicts yet another photo of the agents on the car in Ireland, as well as in Tampa, Florida (11/18/63) and even agent Clint Hill on the rear of the car in Dallas, Texas on 11/22/63, albeit before the motorcade reached Dealey Plaza.

It is on pages 100-101, in his zeal to set up his premise, that Blaine makes a costly error. Blaine writes: “Fortunately, they’d have SS100X [JFK’s special 1961 Lincoln Continental] in Dallas, which had the rear steps and handholds so two agents could be perched directly behind the president and could react quickly. He’d [Win Lawson would] be sure to tell Roy Kellerman, the Special Agent in Charge for the Texas trip, that when the motorcade was driving through downtown, agents would need to be on the back of the car.” However, as we have seen, and it bears repeating, Win Lawson wrote to this reviewer on 1/12/04, before this book was even a thought, and said: “I do not know of any standing orders for the agents to stay off the back of the car. After all, foot holds and handholds were built into that particular vehicle... it never came to my attention as such.” (emphasis added) Needless to say, this is in direct contradiction to these statements, attributed to Lawson by Blaine, in The Kennedy Detail.

Blaine makes much of the 11/18/63 trip JFK took to Tampa as ‘evidence’ that President Kennedy ordered the agents off the car (as did the Secret Service, exactly five months after the assassination, via five reports submitted to the Warren Commission by Chief Rowley18). As with SAIC Behn’s first-time absence, we now supposedly have another instance of a brand new notion, as Blaine writes on page 148: “In the three years he’d been with JFK, he’d never heard the president call the agents off the back of the car in the middle of a motorcade.” Indeed, on page 162, Blaine reports that agent Ron Pontius stated: “I’ve never heard the president say anything about agents on the back of the car,” registering his astonishment based on allegedly hearing this, for the first time, on 11/21/63 from long-deceased agent Bert deFreese (in a 47-year-old reconstructed conversation—faction? fiction?—that Blaine makes in the book). Blaine is alleging that JFK ordered the agents (specifically, agents Don Lawton and Chuck Zboril) off the back of the car in Tampa, allegedly using the phrase made infamous by William Manchester19: “Floyd [Boring], have the Ivy League charlatans drop back to the follow-up car.” Blaine later adds, on page 184: “None of the agents understood why he [JFK] was willing to be so reckless.” If that weren’t enough, Blaine also stated (on the upcoming Discovery Channel documentary airing on 11/22/10): "President Kennedy made a decision, and he politely told everybody, ‘You know, we’re starting the campaign now, and the people are my asset,’" said agent Jerry Blaine. "And so, we all of a sudden understood. It left a firm command to stay off the back of the car."20 Huh? “Everybody”? THAT alleged statement “left a firm command”? In any event, once again, we have a major conflict with reality—not only do many films and photos depict the agents (still) riding on (or walking/ jogging very near) the rear of the limousine in Tampa21 22, Congressman Sam Gibbons, who actually rode a mere foot away IN the car with JFK, wrote to me in a letter dated 1/15/04: ““I rode with Kennedy every time he rode. I heard no such order. As I remember it the agents rode on the rear bumper all the way. Kennedy was very happy during his visit to Tampa. Sam Gibbons.” Also, photographer Tony Zappone, then a 16-year-old witness to the motorcade in Tampa (one of whose photos for this motorcade was ironically used in The Kennedy Detail!), told me that the agents were “definitely on the back of the car for most of the day until they started back for MacDill AFB at the end of the day.”23 (emphasis added)

As for the “Ivy League Charlatans” remark JFK allegedly uttered to ASAIC Floyd Boring and, again, first made famous by Manchester, Boring told this author, “I never told him [Manchester] that.” As for the merit of the quote itself, as previously mentioned, Boring said, “No, no, no—that’s not true,” thus contradicting his own report in the process, stating further: “He actually—No, I told them ... He didn’t tell them anything ... He just—I looked at the back and I seen these fellahs were hanging on the limousine—I told them to return to the car ... [JFK] was a very easy-going guy ... he didn’t interfere with our actions at all.”24 In a later interview, Boring expounded further: “Well that’s not true. That’s not true. He was a very nice man; he never interfered with us at all.”25 If that weren’t enough, Boring also wrote the author: “He [JFK] was very cooperative with the Secret Service.”26 Incredibly, Boring was not even interviewed for Manchester’s book! We may never know Mr. Manchester’s source for this curious statement: he told the author on August 23, 1993 that “... all that material is under seal and won’t be released in my lifetime” and denied the author access to his notes (Manchester has since passed away). Interestingly, Manchester did interview the late Emory Roberts—an agent this reviewer is most suspicious of27—and GERALD BLAINE, Manchester’s probable “source(s)”.28 29

As for Blaine, this is what he told this reviewer: On February 7, 2004 Blaine said that President Kennedy was “very cooperative. He didn’t interfere with our actions. President Kennedy was very likeable—he never had a harsh word for anyone. He never interfered with our actions.” (emphasis added) When I asked Blaine how often the agents rode on the back of JFK’s limousine, the former agent said it was a “fairly common” occurrence that depended on the crowd and the speed of the cars. In fact, just as one example, Blaine rode on the rear of JFK’s limousine in Germany in June 1963, along with fellow Texas trip veterans Paul A. Burns and Samuel E. Sulliman. Blaine added, in specific reference to the agents on the follow-up car in Dallas: “You have to remember, they were fairly young agents,” seeming to imply that their youth was a disadvantage, or perhaps this was seen as an excuse for their poor performance on November 22, 1963. Surprisingly, Blaine, the WHD advance agent for the Tampa trip of November 18, 1963, said that JFK did make the comment “I don’t need Ivy League charlatans back there,” but emphasized this was a “low-key remark” said “kiddingly” and demonstrating Kennedy’s “Irish sense of humor.” However, according to the “official” story, President Kennedy allegedly made these remarks only to Boring while traveling in the presidential limousine in Tampa: Blaine was nowhere near the vehicle at the time, so Boring, despite what he conveyed to this reviewer, had to be his source for this story!30 In addition to Emory Roberts, one now wonders, as mentioned previously, if Blaine was a source (or perhaps the source) for Manchester’s exaggerated “quote” attributed to Boring, as Agent Blaine was also interviewed by Manchester. Blaine would not respond to a follow-up letter on this subject. However, when the author phoned Blaine on June 10, 2005, the former agent said the remark “Ivy League charlatans” came “from the guys ... I can’t remember who [said it] ... I can’t remember.” (emphasis added) Thus, Blaine confirms that he did not hear the remark from JFK. That said, Blaine’s memory got a whole lot “better” 5 years later: he writes on page 148: “The message came though loud and clear on Blaine’s walkie-talkie.” Incredible.


IV: Startling Admissions
As for ASAIC Floyd Boring, this reviewer has no doubt that Boring DID INDEED CONVEY the fraudulent notion that JFK had asked that the agents remove themselves from the limo between 11/18-11/19/63, but that the former agent was telling the TRUTH of the matter when he spoke to me years later. You see, Clint Hill wrote in his report:

I ... never personally was requested by President John F. Kennedy not to ride on the rear of the Presidential automobile. I did receive information passed verbally from the administrative offices of the White House Detail of the Secret Service to Agents assigned to that Detail that President Kennedy had made such requests. I do not know from whom I received this information ... No written instructions regarding this were ever distributed ... [I] received this information after the President’s return to Washington, D.C. This would have been between November 19, 1963 and November 21, 1963 [note the time frame!]. I do not know specifically who advised me of this request by the President. (emphasis added)

Mr. Hill’s undated report was presumably written in April 1964, as the other four reports were written at that time. Why Mr. Hill could not “remember” the specific name of the agent who gave him JFK’s alleged desires is very troubling—he revealed it on March 9, 1964, presumably before his report was written, in his (obviously pre-rehearsed) testimony under oath to the future Senator Arlen Specter, then a lawyer with the Warren Commission31:

Specter: “Did you have any other occasion en route from Love Field to downtown Dallas to leave the follow-up car and mount that portion of the President’s car [rear portion of limousine]?” Hill: “I did the same thing approximately four times.” Specter: “What are the standard regulations and practices, if any, governing such an action on your part?” Hill: “It is left to the agent’s discretion more or less to move to that particular position when he feels that there is a danger to the President: to place himself as close to the President or the First Lady as my case was, as possible, which I did.” Specter: “Are those practices specified in any written documents of the Secret Service?” Hill: “No, they are not.” Specter: “Now, had there been any instruction or comment about your performance of that type of a duty with respect to anything President Kennedy himself had said in the period immediately preceding the trip to Texas?” Hill: “Yes, sir; there was. The preceding Monday, the President was on a trip to Tampa, Florida, and he requested that the agents not ride on either of those two steps.” Specter: “And to whom did the President make that request?” Hill: “Assistant Special Agent in Charge Boring.” Specter: “Was Assistant Special Agent in Charge Boring the individual in charge of that trip to Florida?” Hill: “He was riding in the Presidential automobile on that trip in Florida, and I presume that he was. I was not along.” Specter: “Well, on that occasion would he have been in a position comparable to that occupied by Special Agent Kellerman on this trip to Texas?” Hill: “Yes sir; the same position.” Specter: “And Special Agent Boring informed you of that instruction by President Kennedy?” Hill: “Yes sir, he did.” Specter: “Did he make it a point to inform other special agents of that same instruction?” Hill: “I believe that he did, sir.” Specter: “And, as a result of what President Kennedy said to him, did he instruct you to observe that Presidential admonition?” Hill: “Yes, sir.” Specter: “How, if at all, did that instruction of President Kennedy affect your action and—your action in safeguarding him on this trip to Dallas?” Hill: “We did not ride on the rear portions of the automobile. I did on those four occasions because the motorcycles had to drop back and there was no protection on the left-hand side of the car.” (emphasis added)

However, keeping in mind what Boring told this reviewer, the ARRB’s Doug Horne—by request of this reviewer—interviewed Mr. Boring regarding this matter on 9/18/96. Horne wrote: “Mr. Boring was asked to read pages 136–137 of Clint Hill’s Warren Commission testimony, in which Clint Hill recounted that Floyd Boring had told him just days prior to the assassination that during the President’s Tampa trip on Monday, November 18, 1963, JFK had requested that agents not ride on the rear steps of the limousine, and that Boring had also so informed other agents of the White House detail, and that as a result, agents in Dallas (except Clint Hill, on brief occasions) did not ride on the rear steps of the limousine. Mr. Boring affirmed that he did make these statements to Clint Hill, but stated that he was not relaying a policy change, but rather simply telling an anecdote about the President’s kindness and consideration in Tampa in not wanting agents to have to ride on the rear of the Lincoln limousine when it was not necessary to do so because of a lack of crowds along the street.” (emphasis added)

This reviewer finds this admission startling, especially because the one agent who decided to ride on the rear of the limousine in Dallas anyway—and on at least four different occasions—was none other than Clint Hill himself.

This also does not address what the agents were to do when the crowds were heavier, or even what exactly constituted a “crowd”, as agents did ride on the rear steps of the limousine in Tampa on November 18, 1963 anyway! (–agents Donald J. Lawton, Andrew E. Berger, and Charles T. Zboril, to be exact. Perhaps this is why Blaine felt the need to caption a photo of Boring with the following: “[Boring] was highly respected by all the agents, as well as by JFK.”)

“Presidential admonition” (as Specter said to Hill)? Simply an “anecdote” of “the President’s kindness” (what Boring said to Horne)? “Not true” (what Boring said to this reviewer)? You decide. I have... and so has Blaine: twice, in fact—what he told this reviewer and what he now claims in The Kennedy Detail (see the flapjacket, pages 148-150, 162, 183-184, 206, 208, 209, 232).”

On page 162, Blaine alleges that SAIC Gerald Behn, from his office in the White House, told agent Ron Pontius on 11/21/63: “[JFK] wanted the agents off the back of the car [in Tampa and Dallas] in order for the people to get an unobstructed view.” However, in a contradiction Blaine doesn’t even notice (although he previously mentioned it on page 19 and in the first photo section), BEHN WAS ON VACATION DURING THIS TIME! Perhaps most importantly, Behn told this reviewer on 9/27/92: “I don’t remember Kennedy ever saying that he didn’t want anybody on the back of his car. I think if you watch the newsreel pictures you’ll find agents on there from time to time.”32 In fact, MANY former agents and White House aides told this reviewer the same thing Lawson, Boring, and Behn all said!33

And yet, despite all of this defensive posturing, faction, and fabricating, Blaine states, with regard to the agents’ not being on the rear of the car in Dealey Plaza (on page 209): “It was standard procedure—regardless of the president’s request—for all agents to fall back to the follow-up car in this situation.” (see also page 289) But Blaine wasn’t done just yet.


V: Reconstructing History
In what this reviewer regards as a clever fabrication with “faction” (reconstructing alleged dialogue, 47 years later, from long-dead colleagues), Blaine claims (on pages 285-289 & 360) that there was a meeting at 8 a.m. on 11/25/63, the morning of JFK’s funeral, in which the issue of JFK’s alleged orders to remove the agents from the car in Tampa (and Dallas) was allegedly covered up so the public would not blame the president for his own death... SOMETHING THIS BOOK, AND ESPECIALLY THIS “TALE”, DOES WITH VIGOR! Blaine claims that this meeting was attended by himself, Chief James Rowley (deceased 11/1/92), Rowley’s secretary Walter Blaschak (long deceased) , ASAIC Floyd Boring (deceased 2/1/08 and in ill heath long beforehand), SAIC Jerry Behn (as noted previously, deceased 4/21/93), ATSAIC Stu Stout (deceased December 1974), and ATSAIC Emory Roberts (deceased 10/8/73). ASAIC Roy Kellerman (deceased 3/22/84) allegedly did NOT attend and, while Blaine mentions that “every supervising agent” was in attendance, he does not mention ATSAIC Art Godfrey (deceased 5/12/2002) by name, although it is ‘inferred’ that he was there, as well.

It must be said forcefully: There is NO documentation whatsoever that this alleged meeting occurred and all the participants, save Blaine (imagine that), are long dead AND many of them said and wrote things to this reviewer contradictory to the substance of this alleged meeting. On page 288, Blaine writes, speaking for SAIC Behn: “Jim, after Floyd told me about the incident [the alleged JFK orders to remove the agents 11/18/63 in Tampa], I told him to relay the information to the shift leaders—Emory Roberts, Art Godfrey, and Stu Stout—and I know that he did that. They in turn told the men on their shift, which included the agents out on advances.” Incredible.

We already know what Behn, Boring, Blaine, Godfrey, and Lawson said to this reviewer; Stout34 and Kellerman never said anything officially, one way or the other on the matter. Roberts’ report confirms nothing except that ASAIC Boring told him to remove the agents from the car on 11/18/63; nothing about JFK or anything else. What about the other “agents out on advances?” Frank Yeager, Blaine’s advance partner in Tampa, in a letter to this reviewer dated December 29, 2003, Yeager wrote: “I did not think that President Kennedy was particularly ‘difficult’ to protect. In fact, I thought that his personality made it easier than some because he was easy to get along with ... .” (emphasis added) With regard to the author’s question “Did President Kennedy ever order the agents off the rear of his limousine?” Yeager responded: “I know of no ‘order’ directly from President Kennedy. I think that after we got back from Tampa, Florida where I did the advance for the President, a few days before Dallas, Kenny O’Donnell, Chief of Staff, requested that the Secret Service agents not ride the rear running board of the Presidential car during parades involving political events so that the president would not be screened by an agent. I don’t know what form or detail that this request was made to the Secret Service who worked closely with O’Donnell. I also do not know who actually made the final decision, but we did not have agents on the rear of the President’s car in Dallas.” (emphasis added)

Like Hill’s report mentioned above, please note the timing. Further, regarding the notion of JFK’s staff having a hand in this matter, in a letter to the author dated January 15, 2004, former agent Gerald O’Rourke, who was on Blaine’s shift on the Texas trip, wrote: “Did President Kennedy order us (agents) off the steps of the limo? To my knowledge President Kennedy never ordered us to leave the limo. You must remember at times we had to deal with the Chief of Staff.” (emphasis added) The agent added: “President Kennedy was easy to protect as he completely trusted the agents of the Secret Service. We always had to be entirely honest with him and up front so we did not lose his trust.” So, while both agents say JFK was easy to protect and that no order came from JFK, they imply, or seem to imply, that the Chief of Staff—O’Donnell—had something to do with this. More on this crucially important matter in a moment, as we shall look at the other advance agents and what they conveyed to this reviewer.

J. Walter Coughlin, who helped do the San Antonio advance with the late Dennis Halterman (deceased 1988), wrote this reviewer: “In almost all parade situations that I was involved w[ith] we rode or walked the limo.” (emphasis added) Coughlin later wrote: “We often rode on the back of the car.” (For the record, Ned Hall II, who helped with the advance in Fort Worth, passed away in 1998; his son, Ned Hall III, had no comment to make on the matter. The other agent on the Fort Worth advance, Bill Duncan, never has said a thing regarding this issue, officially or otherwise, and it is not apparent if he was even contacted for Blaine’s book or not). Ronald Pontius, who helped advance the Houston stop with the late Bert deFreese (died sometime in the 1980’s), wrote this reviewer that JFK DID convey these alleged orders “through his staff,” (emphasis added) and here is why this “staff” notion is so important: This is a notion that Blaine doesn’t even touch in the book! For the record, Presidential Aide (Chief of Staff / Appointments Secretary) Kenneth P. O’Donnell does not mention anything with regard to telling the agents to remove themselves from the limousine (based on JFK’s alleged “desires”) during his lengthy Warren Commission testimony (nor to author William Manchester, nor even in his or his daughter’s books, for that matter); the same is true for the other two Presidential aides: Larry O’Brien and Dave Powers. In fact, Powers refutes this whole idea—he wrote this reviewer in a letter dated 9/10/93 that “they never had to be told to ‘get off’ the limousine.”

JFK’s staff is not mentioned as a factor during any of the agents’ Warren Commission testimony, nor in the aforementioned five reports submitted in April 1964. Furthermore, Helen O’Donnell wrote this reviewer on 10/11/10: “Suffice to say that you are correct; JFK did not order anybody off the car, he never interfered with my dad’s direction on the Secret Service, and this is much backed up by my Dad’s [audio] tapes. I think and know from the tapes Dallas always haunted him because of the might-have-beens—but they involved the motorcade route [only].” In addition, former agents Art Godfrey and Kinney denounced the “staff/O’Donnell” notion to this reviewer, despite what a small minority of the agents I contacted—Yeager, O’Rourke, and Pontius—suggested (although, again, Yeager and O’Rourke agreed that JFK was easy to protect and that no order came from him).

Just WHY are these seemingly contradictory accounts of this minority of agents’ Yeager, O’Rourke, and Pontius (seemingly contradictory, that is, to this reviewer AND definitely contradictory to Blaine) so very important? Because Blaine’s alleged 11/25/63 “meeting” mentions not a thing about staff interference or input, his BOOK mentions not a thing about staff interference or input, and, in fact, on page 352, Blaine even writes: “If ever asked about whether JFK had ordered them [the former agents] off the back of his car, the answer was always, “Oh, no. President Kennedy was wonderful. He was very easy to protect. No, I don’t remember him ever ordering agents off the back of his car.” (emphasis added) This is simply false. In addition to the aforementioned three agents (Yeager, O’Rourke, and Pontius), several agents contacted by the author would not comment, several would claim not to remember, and three (one, contacted by myself, the other two, via the HSCA) gave hazy second-hand information (of dubious quality) seeming to blame JFK after all!35 If that weren’t enough, Rufus Youngblood in his book36 and Emory Roberts in his report37, claimed it was THE MOTORCYCLES that got in the way of the agents (Ready especially) getting onto the rear of the car... geez.

Finally, in addition to Blaine, former agents Lynn Meredith, Larry Newman, and Don Lawton mentioned the “Ivy League Charlatan” remark to myself, although none claimed to have heard it from JFK (Meredith told me: “I must admit that I was not along on the trip and was back at the White House with Caroline and John, Jr. .. I do not know first-hand if President Kennedy ordered agents off the back end of his limousine.” The former agent said that “No Secret Service agents riding on the rear of the limousine” was the number one reason JFK was killed! Newman, not interviewed for Blaine’s book, said “supposedly, I didn’t hear this directly” and that Manchester’s book was “part of myth, part of truth”. Newman added: “There was not a directive, per se” from President Kennedy to remove the agents from their positions on the back of his limousine. For his part, Lawton told me: “I didn’t hear the President say it, no. The word was relayed to us—I forget who told us now—you know, ‘come back to the follow-up car.’ ” Lawton also added: “Everyone felt bad. It was our job to protect the President. You still have regrets, remorse. Who knows, if they had left guys on the back of the car ... you can hindsight yourself to death.”38)

You see, almost none of these former agents were contacted by anyone other than this reviewer, as the agents had unlisted addresses and phone numbers; only the hospitality of a couple former agents led me to these men. Blaine’s comment on page 352 (and, indeed, his whole book) were aimed squarely at myself and my 22-page letter mentioned at the beginning of this review. After calling me a “self-described “Secret Service expert”—without actually naming me—on page 359 (guilty as charged; that said, The History Channel, Vince Bugliosi, the Assassination Records Review Board, and many authors and researchers have given me this tag), Blaine saves his special ire for me on page 360: “This same “expert” who had been interviewed for many conspiracy theory books relentlessly blamed the Secret Service for JFK’s death by using their own statements against them [no theories, just facts—it is what it is: they said what they said, they wrote what they wrote, and to a total stranger, to boot]. In many cases he called agents and recorded their conversations without their knowledge [not “in many cases”: only in a very few instances many years ago and these agents are now deceased. That said, thank God I did: WHO would choose to believe my word NOW, especially with Blaine’s book out now for public consumption?]” And HERE is the kicker, in the context of the aforementioned alleged “meeting” Blaine detailed on pages 285-289 (and on page 352), Blaine continues (still on page 360): “When asked whether President Kennedy had ever ordered the agents off the back of his car, the agents gave him the standard line that Chief Rowley requested they give. And as the agents upheld their code, Rowley’s words from the day of President Kennedy’s funeral resonating in their minds, the Secret Service “expert” turned around and used their words to stab them—and their brothers—in the back with baseless accusations.” Incredible.

There was NO morning-of-JFK’s-funeral-meeting to cover for the dead president so he wouldn’t be blamed for ordering the agents off his car—this was used as a clever device to diffuse and cast aside the damning evidence of just what all these men (including BLAINE himself!) said and wrote to me, many of whom died years before this book—and this alleged meeting—was even a figment of Blaine’s imagination. Again, there is no documentation for this 47-year-old meeting—we have to take Blaine, the “sole survivor” of this alleged meeting, at his word. And, what—all these men are LIARS now for what they said and wrote to myself? In the context of my 22-page letter, I believe this “meeting” to be a total fabrication. But it IS clever for another reason: I am sure there WAS most likely a meeting regarding the security detail’s coverage of all the dignitaries and their walk with Jackie to St. Matthew’s Cathedral and so forth; a clever cover story, indeed.


VI: Agent Boring Is Not
That said, there are two major reasons why Blaine’s 47-year-old cover story is patently false: first, several important non-Secret Service agents (Dave Powers, Congressman Sam Gibbons, Marty Underwood, Helen O’Donnell, and Pierre Salinger, among others, such as various newsmen on 11/22/63, etc.39) ALSO told this reviewer that JFK did NOT interfere with the Secret Service or order the agents off his car—what “code” would THEY have been following, Mr. Blaine? Why would they be “lying” to me? (Yes, I am being facetious.) Perhaps this is why Blaine chose to ignore the other cover story of blaming the staff: He had no control over THEIR refutations.

The second reason also reveals an embarrassing error on Blaine’s part—he writes on page 360: “If these “experts” [me!] and “researchers” had only read some of the documents that were released in 1992 and available online, they would have found a letter from Chief James J. Rowley written in response to J. Lee Rankin, general counsel on the Warren Commission, in which Rowley admitted what he so desperately did not want to become public. He did not want it to look as if the Secret Service was in any way blaming President Kennedy for his own death. ” (emphasis added; see also page 289 of Blaine’s book) Epic Fail—not only does this book achieve Rowley’s “non-goal” of blaming JFK for the security inefficiencies in Dallas, but these “documents” were released in 1964 in the Warren Commission Volumes: 18 H 803–9, to be exact! In addition, Rowley’s alleged “desperation” to ‘hide’ JFK’s own alleged culpability in his own death was a monster failure of epic proportions: as we know, Clint Hill testified to the Warren Commission40 and this testimony was mentioned in the Warren Report, a massive best-seller which was also quoted by many major newspapers and magazines the world over and, if that weren’t enough, the five reports were mentioned by Jim Bishop in his own massive best-seller The Day Kennedy Was Shot. Many other books mention these reports (and/or Hill’s testimony). And just WHY would Rowley even NEED these five after-the-fact reports? Why didn’t he just tell Rankin, in “confidence,” about the meeting they all supposedly had on the matter on 11/25/63?

Why, indeed. For what it’s worth, Blaine (on pages 360-363) proceeds to quote from the five reports but does NOT state what they each say in verbatim fashion. Interestingly, nothing is mentioned specifically about JFK’s alleged desires regarding THE motorcade of November 22, 1963, as was requested by the Commission. And, of the five Secret Service reports, four have as their primary source for JFK’s alleged request Agent Boring, including one by Boring himself, while the remaining report, written by SAIC Behn, mentions the same November 18, 1963 trip with Mr. Boring as the others do (Boring’s report was the first one written, then came one each from Roberts, Ready, Behn, and Hill, respectively). Again, both Behn and Boring totally contradicted the contents of their reports at different times, independent of each other, to the author, while Roberts report is nothing more than his having heard BORING telling him to have the agents removed from the car on 11/18/63; Ready and Hill freely admit they weren’t even ON the Tampa trip in the first place in these reports (and, as Blaine omits), Hill wrote “I do not know from whom I received this information ... I do not know specifically who advised me of this request by the President.” (emphasis added) In addition, agents did ride on the rear of the limousine on July 2, 1963 and November 18, 1963 anyway, despite these alleged Presidential requests, as the film and photo record proves.41 Needless to say, with Boring joining Behn in refuting the substance of their reports, the official Secret Service ‘explanation’ falls like a house of cards.

All these reports are supposedly evidence of JFK expressing his desire to keep Secret Service agents off the limousine, particularly in Tampa, Florida on November 18, 1963.

Importantly, no mention is made of any alleged orders via President Kennedy’s staff.

And, again, there is nothing about what JFK said or “requested” on November 22, 1963, the critical day in question!

As a “postscript” to Blaine’s cover stories about the agents removal from the car, on page 343 of his book, Blaine makes yet another embarrassing error: “When it came to the agents and whether they should or should not have been on the back of the car, the [Warren ] report stated that “the configuration of the presidential car and the seating arrangements of the Secret Service agents in the car did not afford the Secret Service agents the opportunity they should have had to be of immediate assistance to the president at the first sign of danger,” but this was in reference to AGENT ROY KELLERMAN’S position in the front seat and the obstacles he may have faced, NOT the agents who should have been on or near the REAR of the car using the UNOBSTRUCTED grab-handles!


VII: Uniquely Insecure
Regarding the issue of the bubbletop, although Blaine (on page 188) states that agent Lawson conveyed to Sam Kinney, the driver of the follow-up car, that the bubbletop was to be removed in Dallas, Sam told this reviewer on 10/19/92 and, again, on 3/4/94 and 4/15/94: “It was my fault the top was off [the limousine in Dallas]—I am the sole responsibility of that.”42 In addition, Kinney’s oft-ignored report dated November 30, 1963 confirms this fact43, as does the former agent’s recently-released February 26, 1978 HSCA interview: “... SA Kinney indicated that he felt that his was the responsibility for making the final decision about whether to use the bubble-top.”44 Blaine later states, on page 244, that the bubbletop “was meant to shield the passengers from the weather—he [agent Sam Kinney] could count on one hand how many times it had been used,” but this is simply untrue on two counts: the bubbletop was often used in nice weather conditions and was used more frequently that Blaine, speaking for the long-deceased Kinney (died 7/21/97), admits.45 On page 193, Blaine states that agent Henry J. Rybka “never worked [the] follow-up [car], other than driving,” yet the record indicates otherwise.46

Predictably, on pages 306-307 & 312-313, Blaine covers up the infamous drinking incident involving NINE agents of the Secret Service, including Clint Hill, Paul Landis, Glen Bennett, and Jack Ready! Interestingly, they were all from Shift Leader Emory Roberts’ particular shift. Significantly, none of the agents from the V.P. LBJ detail were involved in the drinking incident.47

Blaine doesn’t even touch the issue of the Secret Service and their involvement of removing motorcycle coverage for JFK on 11/22/63. During a November 19, 1963 security meeting in Dallas, with no Secret Service men present, it was agreed that eighteen motorcycles would be used, some positioned along side the limousine, similar to the plan used in the prior Texas cities of San Antonio, Houston, and Fort Worth.48 However, there was another meeting on November 21, 1963 in which those plans were changed.49 Captain Perdue Lawrence of the Dallas Police testified to the Warren Commission: “I heard one of the Secret Service men say that President Kennedy did not desire any motorcycle officer directly on each side of him, between him and the crowd, but he would want the officers to the rear.”

And yet:

Mr. Dulles: “... do you recall that any orders were given by or on behalf of the President with regard to the location of those motorcycles that were particularly attached to his car?”

Mr. Lawson: “Not specifically at this instance orders from him.” (emphasis added)50

The House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) summed up the situation best:

The Secret Service’s alteration of the original Dallas Police Department motorcycle deployment plan prevented the use of maximum possible security precautions ... Surprisingly, the security measure used in the prior motorcades during the same Texas visit shows that the deployment of motorcycles in Dallas by the Secret Service may have been uniquely insecure.51
Blaine ALSO does not deal with the issue of the press and photographer’s displacement from the motorcade. Dallas Morning News reporter Tom Dillard testified to the Warren Commission:

We lost our position at the airport. I understood we were to have been quite a bit closer. We were assigned as the prime photographic car which, as you probably know, normally a truck precedes the President on these things [motorcades] and certain representatives of the photographic press ride with the truck. In this case, as you know, we didn’t have any and this car that I was in was to take photographs which was of spot-news nature.52
On pages 221-222, Blaine, referring to the president’s physician, Admiral George Burkley, writes:

Normally the admiral rode in a staff car in the motorcade, or in the rear seat of the follow-up car, but he and the president’s secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, had misjudged the timing of the motorcade’s departure from Love Field and wound up scurrying to the VIP bus. He was furious for not having been in his normal seat but had nobody to blame but himself. His sole purpose for being in the motorcade was to be close to the president in case anything happened, but who could have predicted this?” (emphasis added)
Again, the record indicates otherwise: “Dr. George Burkley ... felt that he should be close to the President at all times ... Dr. Burkley was unhappy ... this time the admiral protested. He could be of no assistance to the President if a doctor was needed quickly.”53 Burkley also said: “It’s not right ... the President’s personal physician should be much closer to him,” even to the extent of “... sitting on an agent’s lap”.54 Burkley stated a few years after the assassination:

I accompanied President Kennedy on every trip that he took during his time as President ... I went on all trips ... we had a regular setup ... all the possible angles were covered by cooperation with the Secret Service, in that we knew the areas of most likely danger. We knew where additional medical aid would be available, and things of that nature ... When we were in Fort Worth, Mrs. [Evelyn] Lincoln and I were in the second car in the motorcade ... [in Dallas] I complained to the Secret Service that I should be either in the follow up car or the lead car ... this was brought to their [the Secret Service’s] attention very strongly at the foot of the stairway from the airplane [Air Force One] ... Most of the time, however, I was within one or two cars of the President. This was one of the few times that this did not occur. (emphasis added)55
In fact, Burkley rode in the lead car in Miami on November 18, 1963.56 “The only other time that it did not occur, to my direct recollection, is when we were in Rome [July 2, 1963]”57 (emphasis added), which was a model of very good security in every other respect.

Evelyn Lincoln, JFK’s secretary, confirmed Burkley’s feelings on the matter to the HSCA:

Mrs. Lincoln also mentioned what she thought was a curious incident in Dallas prior to the assassination. She said she was with Dr. Burkley ... when they left Love Field for the beginning of the motorcade. She said they were somewhat surprised at being ‘shoved’ back in the motorcade into a bus. She said they usually rode in an automobile a few cars behind the car carrying the President.58
It appears even Jackie Kennedy and, by extension, Dave Powers, were wondering about this situation regarding Burkley: On the weekend after President Kennedy’s funeral, Powers showed Mrs. Kennedy the color still frames from the Zapruder film as displayed in that week’s Life magazine. The pictures, of course, depict Jackie leaving the rear seat to crawl onto the back of the car. “Dave, what do you think I was trying to do?” she asked. Dave could only suggest that maybe she was searching for the President’s doctor, Rear Admiral George G. Burkley, who was in a bus at the rear of the motorcade.”59

Incredibly, as documented in agent Andy Berger’s report60, Blaine writes on page 233, with regard to Parkland Hospital: “A representative of the CIA appeared a while later.” Also, as Blaine never even mentions, JFK’s Military Aide, General Godfrey McHugh, a devout Kennedy loyalist was relegated to the distant VIP car in the Dallas motorcade61, stated that he was asked by the Secret Service “for the first time” to “ride in a car in the back [of the motorcade], instead, as normally I would do, between the driver and the Secret Service agent in charge of the trip.”62

Indeed, McHugh had just occupied this very spot on JFK’s previous trip to Florida, not to mention countless other times beforehand when either he or fellow military aide, General Ted Clifton, rode in this position. (Greer admitted that many times an aide rode in the front seat of the limo with the driver and the supervisor63, as the film and photo record bears out.) McHugh admitted that this was “unusual”: “That’s exactly what I thought.” The reason? “To give the President full exposure ... they told me it would be helpful politically to the President.”64 (emphasis added)

There’s that qualifier again: “politically.” The HSCA’s Mark Flanagan, who interviewed McHugh, reported: “Ordinarily McHugh rode in the Presidential limousine in the front seat. This was the first time he was instructed not to ride in the car so that all attention would be focused on the President to accentuate full exposure.”65

In yet another matter Blaine chose to ignore, Dallas Sheriff Bill Decker, who rode in the lead car with Lawson and Sorrels, told his men to in no way participate in the security of the motorcade.66 As verified in several films and photos, Decker’s men were standing idle at the corner of Main and Houston as mere spectators, nothing more. Indeed, Deputy Sheriff Luke Mooney told author Larry Sneed: “I was merely a spectator with a number of other plain clothes officers on Main Street just north of the Old Red Court House. We in the sheriff’s department had nothing to do with security.”67

Decker had given this unusual order to his men after telling Forrest Sorrels the previous day that he had agreed to incorporate additional personnel for security purposes, and even offered his full support to the agent: Decker had agreed to furnishing fifteen of his men for duty!68 Incredibly, the Dallas Morning News on October 26, 1963 reported the following, based on an interview with DPD Chief Jesse Curry: “LARGE POLICE GUARD PLANNED FOR KENNEDY—Signs Friday pointed to the greatest concentration of Dallas police ever for the protection of a high-ranking dignitary when President Kennedy visits Dallas next month ... The deployment of the special force, he [Curry] said, is yet to be worked out with the U.S. Secret Service.”69 Yet Homicide Detective Gus Rose said: “I didn’t hear of any extraordinary security measures being set up thus we continued our normal rotation.”70

Blaine also is seemingly unaware of the following, as noted by reporter Seth Kantor: “Will Fritz’s men called off nite before by SS. Had planned to ride closed car w/ machine guns in car behind Pres.” (Which could mean someplace behind JFK’s car, as was the case in Chicago, IL, on 3/23/6371 & New York on 11/15/63.)72

Furthermore, Milton Wright, a Texas Highway Patrolman who was the driver of Mayor Cabell’s car, wrote this reviewer: “As I recall, prior to the President arriving at the airport we were already staged on the tarmac. I do not recall what position I was in at that time but it was not #1[the number taped to his car’s windshield]. At the last minute there was a lot of shuffling and I ended up in the 5th vehicle. My vehicle was the last to leave downtown after the shooting because the police set up a road block behind my car.”73

On page 224, Blaine writes: “It was very rare for both the president and vice president to be together at the same time in the same place.” This is an understatement—being in the same MOTORCADE was unique!74 Agent Youngblood later wrote: “It is strictly taboo, from the security standpoint, for the President and the Vice President to ride together in the same car, boat, plane, wagon, or anything else.”75 As J. F. terHorst (from the White House Press Corps), a man who covered every major presidential trip—including November 22, 1963—both at home and abroad, and Colonel Ralph Albertazzie (Nixon’s Air Force One pilot) observed in their book: Beyond the Environs of Washington, the Vice President rarely accompanies the President. The reason is not only a matter of physical security but one of politics ... But Texas was a special case, the exception that proved the rule.”76 As HSCA attorney Belford Lawson succinctly put it: “Why for the first time in American history were the President and Vice-President together in the same motorcade?”77

Blaine ALSO ignores the fact that the roofs along the route were not manned or checked. SAIC of the Nashville office Paul Doster told the Nashville Banner back on May 18, 1963 that “a complete check of the entire motorcade route” was done for JFK’s trip to Nashville. In addition, Doster stated: “Other [police] officers were assigned atop the municipal terminal and other buildings along the route. These men took their posts at 8 a.m. and remained at their rooftop stations until the president and his party passed.” The roofs of buildings were also guarded on November 18, 196378, four short days before Dallas, in addition to San Antonio on November 21, 196379, just the day before, as well as in Fort Worth on the morning of the assassination.80


VIII: Driving Questions
On page 201, regarding agent Bill Greer, the driver of JFK’s car in Dallas, Blaine writes: “And, God forbid, if he [Greer] ever did have to make a sudden getaway, he knew the 7,500-pound car with its 300-horsepower engine just didn’t gather speed as quickly as he would like.” If that wasn’t enough, Blaine adds, on page 212: “[Greer, after the shooting commenced] quickly tapped on the brake to see how the car would respond.” Finally, on page 356, Blaine delivers the coup de grace: “Yes, Bill Greer put his foot on the brake after the first shot. But for God’s sake, it had nothing to do with a conspiracy, or negligence—he was merely responding as any professionally trained driver would respond.”

Oh, really? Sixty witnesses (ten police officers, seven Secret Service agents, thirty-eight spectators, two Presidential aides, one Senator, Governor Connally, and Jackie Kennedy) and the Zapruder film document Secret Service agent William R. Greer’s deceleration of the presidential limousine, as well as his two separate looks back at JFK during the assassination81 (Greer denied all of this to the Warren Commission82). By decelerating from an already slow 11.2 mph, Greer greatly endangered the President’s life, and, as even Gerald Posner admitted, Greer contributed greatly to the success of the assassination. When we consider that Greer disobeyed a direct order from his superior, Roy Kellerman, to get out of line before the fatal shot struck the President’s head, it is hard to give Agent Greer the benefit of the doubt. As ASAIC Roy H. Kellerman said: “Greer then looked in the back of the car. Maybe he didn’t believe me.”83 Ken O’Donnell stated: “Greer had been remorseful all day, feeling that he could have saved President Kennedy’s life by swerving the car or speeding suddenly after the first shots.”84 In addition, Greer told Jackie the following on November 22, 1963 at Parkland Hospital, shortly after the murder: “Oh, Mrs. Kennedy, oh my God, oh my God. I didn’t mean to do it, I didn’t hear, I should have swerved the car, I couldn’t help it. Oh, Mrs. Kennedy, as soon as I saw it I swerved. If only I’d seen it in time! Oh!”85 Finally, Dave Powers confirmed Greer’s guilt to CBS newsman Charles Kuralt on November 22, 1988, also adding that if Greer would have sped up before the fatal headshot, JFK might still be alive today.86

When this reviewer asked Richard Greer, the surviving son of Bill Greer, on 9/17/91: “What did your father think of JFK?” Richard did not respond the first time. When this author asked him a second time, Greer responded: “Well, we’re Methodists ... and JFK was Catholic.” Bill Greer was born and raised in County Tyrone, Ireland, coming to America in February 1930 and, if that weren’t enough, “worked one summer on the estate of Henry Cabot Lodge,”87 JFK’s two-time political opponent (a staunch Republican defeated twice by Kennedy) and Ambassador to Saigon during the CIA and U.S. government–sponsored assassination of President Diem of Vietnam on November 2, 1963 (Lodge was principally involved88). Obviously, Greer, just from his association with Lodge, as well as his work in and around Boston, had to have known about Kennedy, as well as his rich family, Ambassador father Joe, and their controversial heritage of alleged bootlegging, Nazi sympathizing, and political history in Boston.89

The sequence is crucial:

First shot (or shots) rings out: the car slows.
Greer turns around once.
Kellerman orders Greer to “get out of line; we’ve been hit!”
Greer disobeys his superior’s order and turns around to stare at JFK for the second time, until after the fatal headshot finds its mark!
As stated before, Greer was responsible, at fault, and felt remorse. In short, Greer had survivor’s guilt.

But, then, stories and feelings changed.

Agent Greer to the FBI, November 22, 1963: “Greer stated that he first heard what he thought was possibly a motorcycle backfire and glanced around and noticed that the President had evidently been hit [notice that, early on, Greer admits seeing JFK, which the Zapruder proves he did two times before the fatal head shot occurred]. He thereafter got on the radio and communicated with the other vehicles, stating that they desired to get the President to the hospital immediately [in reality, Greer did not talk on the radio, and Greer went on to deny ever saying this during his Warren Commission testimony] ... Greer stated that they (the Secret Service) have always been instructed to keep the motorcade moving at a considerable speed inasmuch as a moving car offers a much more difficult target than a vehicle traveling at a very slow speed. He pointed out that on numerous occasions he has attempted to keep the car moving at a rather fast rate, but in view of the President’s popularity and desire to maintain close liaison with the people, he has, on occasion, been instructed by the President to ‘slow down’.90 Greer stated that he has been asking himself if there was anything he could have done to avoid this incident, but stated that things happened so fast that he could not account for full developments in this matter ... .”91 [The “JFK-as-scapegoat” theme—and so much for Greer’s remorse from earlier the same day.]

Finally, what did Jacqueline Kennedy think of Greer’s performance on 11/22/63? Mary Gallagher reported in her book: “She mentioned one Secret Service man who had not acted during the crucial moment, and said bitterly to me, ‘He might just as well have been Miss Shaw!’ ”92 Jackie also told Gallagher: “You should get yourself a good driver so that nothing ever happens to you.”93 Secret Service agent Marty Venker confirmed that the agent Jackie was referring to was Agent Greer: “If the agent had hit the gas before the third shot, she griped, Jack might still be alive.”94 Later, authors C. David Heymann and Edward Klein further corroborated that the agent Mrs. Kennedy was referring to was indeed Greer.95 Manchester wrote: “[Mrs. Kennedy] had heard Kellerman on the radio and had wondered why it had taken the car so long to leave.”96 In addition, Jackie “played the events over and over in her mind ... . She did not want to accept Jack’s death as a freak accident, for that meant his life could have been spared—if only the driver in the front seat of the presidential limousine [Agent William R. Greer] had reacted more quickly and stepped on the gas ... if only the Secret Service had stationed agents on the rear bumper ... .”97 (emphasis added)

Incredibly, ASAIC Roy Kellerman told the following to FBI agents’ Sibert & O’Neil on the night of the murder: “The advanced security arrangements made for this specific trip were the most stringent and thorough ever employed by the Secret Service for the visit of a President to an American city.”98 Perhaps THIS is why JFK reassured a worried San Antonio Congressman Henry Gonzalez on 11/21/63 by saying: “The Secret Service told me that they had taken care of everything—there’s nothing to worry about.”99 If that weren’t enough, President Kennedy told an equally concerned advance man, Marty Underwood, on 11/21/63: in Houston, “Marty, you worry about me too much.”100

On pages 230-231, Blaine seeks to pass the blame on to others once again, this time in the form of JFK’s Chief of Staff, Ken O’Donnell: “Ken O’Donnell agreed... that Johnson should return to Washington as soon as possible and that yes, he should leave Dallas on Air Force One.” However, O’Donnell denied this, telling author William Manchester: “The President and I had no conversation regarding Air Force One. If we had known he was going on Air Force One, we would have taken Air Force Two. One plane was like the other.”101 In fact, when Arlen Specter of the Warren Commission asked O’Donnell, “Was there any discussion about his [LBJ] taking the presidential plane, AF–1, as opposed to AF–2?” O’Donnell responded: “There was not.”102 In this regard, O’Donnell later wrote in his book Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye that a Warren Commission attorney—the aforementioned Arlen Specter—asked him to “change his testimony so that it would agree with the President’s”: an offer O’Donnell refused.103 With this in mind, author Jim Bishop reported: “Emory Roberts suggested that Johnson leave at once for Air Force One ... Roberts asked Kenny O’Donnell and he said: ‘Yes.’ Johnson refused to move. Roberts returned to O’Donnell and asked again: ‘Is it all right for Mr. Johnson to board Air Force One now?’ ‘Yes,’ O’Donnell said, ‘Yes.’ ” (emphasis added)104

This author believes O’Donnell when he says he had no part in LBJ going to Air Force One over Air Force Two. This was a Secret Service (Emory Roberts) decision. Presidential aides Ken O’Donnell and Dave Powers best summed up the situation when they wrote: “Roberts, one of President Kennedy’s agents ... had decided to switch to Johnson as soon as Kennedy was shot.”105 In addition, four other authors have noted Agent Roberts’ “switch of allegiance”, including Chief Curry.106 Incredibly, Roberts was the President’s receptionist during the Johnson administration while still a member of the Secret Service, receiving a Special Service Award from the Treasury Department for improving communications and services to the public in 1968!107 LBJ thought highly of Roberts, and the feeling was mutual—President Johnson told a gathering that “Emory Roberts, who I am sorry can’t be here today—he greets me every morning and tells me good-bye every night.”108 (For the record, LBJ didn’t think much of Roy Kellerman: “This fellow Kellerman ... he was about as loyal a man as you could find. But he was about as dumb as an ox.”109)

Also predictably, on pages 334-335 & 356-357, Blaine seeks to minimize former agent Abraham Bolden’s claims of Secret Service negligence and conspiracy.110

Blaine (on pages 350 and 352) seeks to cast away ANY notion that the Secret Service agents believed there was a conspiracy, yet there is the record that says differently:

From the February 22, 1978 House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) interview of Miami SAIC John Marshall, former White House Detail agent who conducted all the advance work on President Kennedy’s frequent trips to Palm Beach: TWICE DURING THE INTERVIEW, MR. MARSHALL MENTIONED THAT, FOR ALL HE KNEW, SOMEONE IN THE SECRET SERVICE COULD POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN THE ASSASSINATION. THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME AN AGENT HAS MENTIONED THE POSSIBILITY THAT A CONSPIRACY EXISTED, BUT IT IS THE FIRST TIME THAT AN AGENT HAS ACKNOWLEDGED THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE SECRET SERVICE COULD HAVE BEEN INVOLVED.
In addition, former agents Jerry O’Rourke, Sam Kinney, Abraham Bolden, and Maurice Martineau believed there was a conspiracy, as well!111


IX: Perfect Sense
The Kennedy Detail, a book firmly rooted in the “Oswald-did-it-alone” camp, also contains contradictory evidence of conspiracy in its pages. On page 216, Blaine describes the shooting sequence in this manner: “... the first shot strikes the president, the second shot strikes Governor Connally, and the third shot strikes JFK in the head ... ” There is no acknowledgement of the Warren Commission’s fictional single bullet theory or the known missed shot that struck bystander James Tague! This is a pattern Hill and Blaine repeat on national television.112 On page 217, Blaine writes that agent Clint Hill saw “a bloody, gaping, fist-sized hole clearly visible in the back of his head,” clear evidence that JFK was struck by a shot from the FRONT, as also confirmed by Hill’s report113 and Warren Commission testimony114, not to mention the reports (plural) from fellow agent Paul Landis (whose contents were confirmed by Landis to the HSCA)115, no matter what Landis or Blaine say now (see pages 225 & 352-353), as well as the statements made by agent Sam Kinney to Vince Palamara116 (and, ironically, in Blaine’s own book, pages 216 & 218, regarding blood hitting his windshield!) and agent Win Lawson, who also “saw a huge hole in the back of the president’s head.”117 Blaine also uses this same language later in the book (page 258):

Now the men who just four and a half hours earlier had seen the back of President Kennedy’s head blown off hauled the casket holding his dead body...” Finally, regarding Hill, Blaine describes his friends’ recollections of the autopsy (page 266): “Six inches down from the neckline, just to the right of the spinal column, there was a small wound, a hole in the skin... All Clint could see was that the right rear portion of President Kennedy’s head was completely gone.
On page 261, Blaine writes: “[7:55 p.m., 11/22/63] For about twenty minutes [Chief James J] Rowley gave [the agents] what could only be called a pep talk... There was no feeling that he blamed anyone or that the assassination could somehow have been prevented.” On page 275, Blaine says of SAIC Behn (deceased 4/21/93): “From everything Jerry Behn had heard about the tragedy in Dallas, nobody was to blame.” Blaine carries this incredibly dumb statement even further during television interviews for the book—he told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on 11/12/10: “No, there was nothing that could have been done to stop it.”

On pages 264-265, Blaine related how he almost shot President Johnson on 11/23/63 with his Thompson submachine gun, a tale of dubious merit that garnered much press before the release of the book.

Blaine seems to be unaware of the following, as reported by the Assassination Records Review Board in 1998: “Congress passed the JFK Act of 1992. One month later, the Secret Service began its compliance efforts. However, in January 1995, the Secret Service destroyed presidential protection survey reports for some of President Kennedy’s trips in the fall of 1963. The Review Board learned of the destruction approximately one week after the Secret Service destroyed them, when the Board was drafting its request for additional information. The Board believed that the Secret Service files on the President’s travel in the weeks preceding his murder would be relevant.”118

On page 359, Blaine identifies the agent recalled at Love Field as SA Don Lawton, the OTHER agent (along with SA Henry Rybka) “ostensibly” left to secure Love Field for the President’s departure, and takes this reviewer to task for his misidentification. In the interest of time, please see this reviewer’s online videos wherein he fully explains himself, his rationale, and his belief that, regardless of WHO the agent is (and he is willing to concede that it was probably Lawton after all), the SUBSTANCE of what is being depicted in the video—the essence—remains the same.119 Suffice to say that many people were “fooled” by this footage—former JFK agent Larry Newman, the ARRB, The History Channel, Rybka’s family, millions of YouTube viewers, countless authors and researchers, and even a December 2009 Discovery Channel Secret Service documentary “Secrets of the Secret Service”!

Although very well written, along with some nice photographs, as well, The Kennedy Detail is really a thinly veiled attempt to rewrite history (a la Gerald Posner and Vince Bugliosi, who believe 11/22/63 was the act of a single lone man) and absolve the agents of their collective survivor’s guilt (and to counter the prolific writings of a certain reviewer). In the eyes of those from The Kennedy Detail, the assassination was the act of TWO "lone men": Oswald, who pulled the trigger, and JFK, who set himself up as the target. Simply put: President Kennedy WAS indeed a very nice man, did not interfere with the actions of the Secret Service, did not order the agents off his limousine (in Tampa, in Dallas, or elsewhere), and did not have his staff convey any anti-security sentiments, either. The sheer force and power of what these men all told me, a complete stranger, in correspondence and on the phone, is all the more strong because, not only did they have a vested interest to protect themselves, the vast majority believe that Oswald acted alone and that all official "stories" are correct.

In light of the work of this reviewer, future pensions, professional and personal reputations, and so forth, The Kennedy Detail makes perfect sense. After the reviewer’s letter to Clint Hill, it truly WAS "a book that HAD to be written." A postscript: Gerald Blaine stated on 11/11/10 on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”: “We felt we were 100% failure.”120

Finally, you said something we can ALL agree on, Mr. Blaine.

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