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Monday, October 17, 2011

"Back on Nov. 22, 1963, a team of Secret Servicemen failed in their task to protect the life of the president of the United States"

October 15, 2011
Paul J. Nyden: The JFK assassination: Agent recalls dark day
By Paul J. Nyden
The Charleston Gazette

"The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence"

By Gerald Blaine and Lisa McCubbin

Simon & Schuster Gallery Books, 427 pages. Hardcover, $28.

Back on Nov. 22, 1963, a team of Secret Servicemen failed in their task to protect the life of the president of the United States.

Jerry Blaine, a member of that elite team, tells his story for the first time in his book, "The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence."

Blaine also writes about the tragic memories of several of his fellow Secret Service agents. Kennedy often banned them from his car [bullshit!]and frequently jumped into crowds of people gathered around him, giving little notice to his protectors.

Blaine is the first member of Kennedy's Secret Service detail to write a book about the assassination [false: Chief U.E. Baughman, Bill Carter, Rufus Youngblood, and Abraham Bolden all wrote books years before Blaine].

On that tragic day in 1963, there were only 43 Secret Service members assigned to protecting Kennedy. The Secret Service's annual budget of $4.1 million funded 300 agents.

After JFK was killed, the agency expanded. Today, the Secret Service has 4,000 agents and an annual budget of more than $1.6 billion.

Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots that day [false]. The first shot was fired at Kennedy, and the second hit Texas Gov. John Connally. When the third shot hit Kennedy in the head, Secret Service agents immediately knew, Blaine recalls, that the devastating wound would prevent him from functioning as president, even if he were not killed [what about the KNOWN missed shot that even the Warren Commission acknowledged???].

Kennedy's trip to Texas was the first time his usually private wife Jacqueline made a political appearance with him since he was elected president three years earlier [false---the trips to Canada, France, Mexico, and Costa Rica immediately spring to mind].

During his trip Kennedy received warm welcomes from people in Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth [and Dallas before the shooting].

"It was the hidden loner the Secret Service agents worried about most," Blaine writes.

And while there are no apparent ties with Oswald, the "Dallas Morning News" printed a full-page advertisement the day of the assassination paid for by the American Fact-Finding Committee. The ad accused Kennedy of being a traitor who supported communism.

In a foreword to Blaine's book, Clint Hill, a fellow Secret Service agent also on duty in Dallas that day, wrote: "No matter how much training you've had, nothing prepares you for the emotions and nightmares that follow the horror of seeing a human being alive one instant, their head blown open the next."

Throughout his book, Blaine and his fellow agents tell how friendly the president, his wife and children were to them.

Blaine vigorously dismisses "baseless and unreasonable conspiracy theories" about the assassination, despite a growing literature that argues Oswald was not acting alone.

Blaine also rejects more personal gossip, including the story that Kennedy had an affair with actress Marilyn Monroe [not a "story": it is true]. He argues a president has the right to privacy, and the Secret Service is obligated to protect that privacy.

Immediately after Kennedy's death, the exhausted team of Secret Service agents switched to protect Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and other top government figures.

Blaine offers a variety of other intriguing stories, including the drama of his own first encounter with Johnson, hours after Kennedy died.

Reassigned to Johnson, Blaine was on duty outside the back door of Johnson's large two-story house in Washington, D.C.

About 15 minutes into the watch, Blaine heard someone walking toward him from the clockwise direction. That alarmed Blaine because agents routinely walked counter-clockwise when moving around buildings where any president was located.

Blaine activated his Thompson submachine gun, put it against his shoulder and prepared to fire. Despite the noise of the gun, the person kept coming closer. With his finger on the trigger, Blaine said, "Let me see your face, you bastard." [What?!?!? THAT is not in the book---???]

He could not immediately identify the person who rounded a corner. He pointed his gun directly at the man's chest, ready to pull the trigger.

The man turned out to be President Johnson.

"Fourteen hours after losing a president, the nation had come chillingly close to losing another one," Blaine writes [if false, unbelievable...if true, unbelievable].

Lisa McCubbin, a reporter who has worked for three major television news networks, co-wrote the book. Blaine also gives major credit to other Secret Service agents, both living and dead, who shared memories, reports, oral histories, diaries and other personal documents.

Clint Hill, assigned to protect Jacqueline Kennedy in Dallas, was particularly helpful. Hill will appear with Blaine at the West Virginia Book Festival at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 22 in West Virginia Room 105 at the Charleston Civic Center.

Shortly after the assassination, Blaine left the Secret Service and provided high-level corporate security for companies, including IBM. He retired in 2003 and now lives in Colorado with his wife.
Posted By: ANonyMouse

There's a bit of rewriting of history here. In his book, Mr. Blaine agrees with the findings of the Warren Commission except for 1 serious area: Secret Service agents on the scene insist that they saw all 3 shots hit targets in the limo, as stated in your article. The problem with that is that one shot hit a curb way down the street near the underpass and a piece of that curb struck a bystander, James Tague, who was standing beside the road. The only way a bullet could have hit that curb is if it had missed the occupants of the limo. A bullet hitting JFK or Connally would have had to go through the windshield to get to that curb and that didn’t happen. The Warren Commission recognized this problem and decided that one bullet, the "magic bullet", must have hit both JFK and Connally. If agents saw all three shots hit people, a fourth shot must have hit the curb, meaning 2 shooters. So Mr. Blaine actually lends credence to the conspiracy theories he doesn’t believe, with this information.

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