II. My initial review: honesty prevails
“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.” (Emphasis added)
Mr. Hill’s undated report was presumably written in April 1964, as the other four reports submitted to the Warren Commission 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 Commission:
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.”
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.
Returning to Hill’s book, Hill writes on pages 276-277: “What was most useful, from the Secret Service standpoint, were the special handles on the trunk and the steps on the rear bumper area where two additional agents could ride, and have immediate access to the occupants, should the need arise.” Then, in an awkward sentence, Hill continues: “But, as I’d been told the day before, the president did not want us there, on the back of the car.” Lisa McCubbin was also the co-author of Gerald Blaine’s The Kennedy Detail : boy, does this stuff sound familiar—the mantra of JFK-is-to-blame.
V. Other items of interest
After noting that President Kennedy trusted Kellerman “completely” (page 274) and wrongly noting that the SS-100-X was in service since March 1961 (page 276; it was actually in service since June 1961, 3 months later), Hill totally gleans over the infamous drinking incident of 11/21-11/22/63 involving NINE agents of the Secret Service, including Clint Hill himself, 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.
Regarding the issue of the bubbletop, although Hill states (on page 284) 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.” In addition, Kinney’s oft-ignored report dated November 30, 1963 confirms this fact, as does the former agent’s recently-released February 26, 1978 HSCA interview:
On page 286, Hill states that Bill Greer, the driver of JFK’s car, was “a Catholic”, yet his own son Richard told me on two occasions that his father was a Methodist. (When asked, “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.”)! In addition, Hill states that Greer “spoke with a bit of a brogue”, something not in evidence on his lengthy 1970 interview available on my You Tube Channel.
Did Bennett ride in the follow-up car and participate on these trips for this purpose? I strongly believe this to be the case. Thanks again, Clint, for the confirmation.
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.
As the ARRB’s Doug Horne wrote in a memo dated April 16, 1996: “The ‘final decision’ to approve the Texas trip made ‘late Tuesday night’ indicates that decision came on September 24, 1963 … the Secret Service Protective Survey Reports … which were destroyed in 1995 commence with trip files starting on this same date: September 24, 1963.”
Mastrovito destroyed a vial containing a portion of JFK’s brain, along with 5 or 6 file cabinets of material, according to the two page document.
-Blaine says he was never interviewed by any author of any book [C-SPAN], yet, William Manchester, in his massive best-selling book “The Death of a President”, references a 1965 interview with Blaine, even thanking Blaine AGAIN in his 1983 book “One Brief Shining Moment.” If that weren’t enough, I interviewed Blaine twice, not including e-mails, for my own book “Survivor’s Guilt”, while Blaine is mentioned in the updated version of Waldron & Hartmann’s “Ultimate Sacrifice”;
-Blaine later added that he was NOT interviewed by Manchester [joint 6th Floor Museum interview video with Clint Hill]---a fact disputed by Manchester’s own notes and book---and confirms (as I already knew) that Floyd Boring was not interviewed by Manchester;
-Blaine states in his book that Ike rode in a CLOSED car all the time, yet numerous photos and films demonstrate the opposite: Ike most often rode in an OPEN car [You Tube video compilation of 35+ photos];
-Blaine claims that the bubbletop was rarely used by JFK and, if it was, it was only used in bad weather conditions, yet this author has found quite a few photos and films showing the bubbletop in use in bright, no-rain conditions by a smiling JFK (who allegedly hated the top), including those depicting the PARTIAL top: just the front and rear pieces assembled with the MIDDLE part missing, thus allowing a semi “open” car and protection, as well [2 You Tube compilations+ numerous blog photos];
-In PERHAPS a misstatement, Blaine says on that same solo 6th Floor Museum video “We were violating our fellow agents who have passed on”;
-On MSNBC, Chris Matthews asked Blaine if ANYTHING could have been done to prevent the assassination.
-Blaine was NOT in Dallas on 11/22/63 and both is co-author Lisa McCubbin and I were born after that date (I mention that only because he made an issue out of it on C-SPAN);
-During yet another 6th Floor Museum appearance (with Hill & Blaine, hosted by Gary Mack), co-author Lisa McCubbin mentions that, during the writing of the book, she would find things that contradicted what Blaine was telling her. Ultimately, she copped out, stating “he was there”…no, he wasn’t there on 11/22/63 in Dallas AND WHAT ABOUT ALL HIS COLLEAGUES WHO REFUTE HIM? Geez. McCubbin strikes me as a good investigative reporter. One wonders if her closeness to Blaine (she grew up with him and even dated his son!), along with the allure of big money, swayed her to “look away”, so to speak, at all the conflicting and contradictory evidence