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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

NORMAN KATZ: "I was there, at the White House, assigned (as a military attaché) to the Secret Service, when that horrible dispatch came in advising us of the President’s shooting and death."

NORMAN KATZ: "I was there, at the White House, assigned (as a military attaché) to the Secret Service, when that horrible dispatch came in advising us of the President’s shooting and death."


Eyewitness Turns Back Clock a Half Century to JFK's Assassination

Foundation for Belmont Education-sponsored event brings history to students with a visit from Secret Service agent Norman Katz.

By Lisa Gibalerio
Thanks to grant funding provided by the as, tenth graders at the Belmont High School were given the opportunity to hear from Norman Katz, one of the Secret Service agents on duty in Dallas when John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

“Assassinations have happened before,” he told the audience of sophomores, “and they will happen again.”

Katz outlined how far security measures have come in the 50 years since Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas.

“In the early 1960s, we weren’t even thinking about assassination; we were just there to offer general protection.”

He added that 50 years ago, there were 312 Secret Service agents employed by the US Government; there are more than 7,000 today. President Obama, he stated, receives more than 400 death threats a year and wears a bullet-proof suit and underwear.

Technology back then, he said, consisted of hand signals and walkie-talkies – when they worked, he added.

The students seemed especially rapt when he described the moments that JFK was shot and killed. The limousine, he said, should have sped off when the first shot was fired, but the driver slowed down thinking the limo had backfired. The second shot hit Kennedy in the neck.

“He would have survived that neck shot,” Katz said, “it was the third shot that shattered his brain.”

The students saw photos of that were taken during the shootings as well as photos of JFK’s autopsy.

For a group of students born 35 years after these events occurred, they certainly left this presentation with a clear idea of what happened on that fateful November day in Dallas in 1963. And from the perspective of a man who was standing just a few feet away when it happened.

The White House

During the Kennedy &

Johnson Years

Former Secret Service officer Norman Katz

spoke to a jam packed meeting this morning

detailing his first hand accounts and

experiences of being in Dallas during the

Kennedy assassination, working with

President Johnson and being present in the

White House during the days of the Cuban

Missile Crisis.

Norman was in Dallas in the Presidential

Secret Service detail on the day of the

assassination. He was not part of the caravan

detail, but was at the Dallas headquarters in

the backup detail. Norman shared with

attendees his and his colleague’s views of the

c o n s p i r a c y t h e o r i e s o n Ke n n e d y ’ s

assassination. He is a firm believer that Lee

Oswald was the only shooter and fired all the

shots from the Book Depository. He offered his

reasons and shared with all his private photos

which revealed details that have not been

shown on newspapers or TV. He commended

President Johnson for the consideration he

showed to Mrs. Kennedy at that time, by

insisting that his plane’s departure be delayed

until she and the President’s body were on Air

Force One.

He described the tension that existed in the

White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

He described the behavior and actions of

several of the leaders of the day including

Bobby Kennedy, General Curtis LeMay and

Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. The

world came very close to nuclear war that day

and the issue was in doubt until Nikita

Khrushchev ordered the ship carrying the

missiles to Cuba to turn around. Norman was

in the midst of all the action during those 13

days. The US was ready to bomb the Cuban

missiles and anticipated a retaliatory strike

from Russia. In fact, during the crisis Norman

called his mother to tell her to fill the bathtub

with water in anticipation of the destruction of

vital services in New York.

One of the most interesting insights he shared

with his audience was the behavior of the

presidents and how they treated others. The

worst was President Johnson. He detailed

how Presidents Kennedy and Johnson

chased women. Marilyn Monroe was a

regular at the Kennedy White House while

LBJ chased women everywhere. He would

have the women that were on Air Force One.

He was not secretive at all, in fact, he was

quite open about his actions. Norman

detailed that on several occasions President

Johnson would walk down the aisle of Air

Force One completely naked. He also

observed President Carter, who publicly

professed that he wasn’t a drinker, having his

morning double bourbon before the day


Norman answered several questions from

members of the audience, many on the

assassination of President Kennedy. Thank

you, Norman, for sharing your observations

and comments about these very historical



NORMAN KATZ: "I was there, at the White House, assigned (as a military attaché) to the Secret Service, when that horrible dispatch came in advising us of the President’s shooting and death."

Norman Katz contacted me out of the blue via e-mail and wrote "I can assure you I am who I say I am" and promised more information...then promptly disappeared

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