The portrayal of Secret Service officer George Hickey as killing Kennedy stemmed originally from 1970s research by Howard Donahue, a former high school friend of future Secret Service crew chief Emory Roberts.
Roberts, as it turned out, made many unexplained and indeed suspicious decisions in advance of JFK's killing. Roberts ordered removal of the agents standing on the presidential limo rear platform as part of the standard protection against snipers during a motorcade.
Also, the Roberts detail's seven members including four who had been binge drinking the evening before the motorcade, some until the wee hours of Nov. 22. That drinking grossly violated rules requiring sobriety on such an assignment, especially in guarding the president in a city that included ultra-right haters of the president. Indeed, Kennedy had forced the resignation of the CIA's three top leaders, including Gen. Charles Cabell, the brother of Dallas mayor Earle Cabell.
Thus Roberts and his superiors extending up to the new president, Lyndon Johnson, and their institutional successors all had a motive to put in motion disinformation that would scapegoat the hapless retired agent George Hickey, especially after congressional committees began in the 1970s to reexamine the truth of the Warren Commission report and cover-up.
Secret Service Agents Tell Their TalesThis next section comes from Vincent M. Palamara, who interviewed more than 70 of the Secret Service's 300 or so agents during the JFK era for his authoritative 2013 book Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service and the Failure to Protect President Kennedy. Palamara reported:
Special agent Sam Kinney decided to forego use of a protective "bubble top" in Dallas, not the President Kennedy or his staff as widely claimed by Secret Service defenders seeking to blame the president for his own death. Nonetheless, Palamara portrays Kinney as one of the "good guys" performing his job as best he could under the circumstances.
However, supervisory Emory Roberts forced agent Donald Lawton and "more than likely" agent Henry Rybka at Love Field in Dallas to step off their customary post riding a rear platform of the presidential limousine to use their bodies for protection.
A video widely seen on YouTube of that order has puzzled many viewers through the decades. Roberts can be seen standing up from a front seat perch in the limo following the president and issuing an order. Lawson, at the lower right, is obviously puzzled and frustrated regarding why he was not being permitted to protect the president. Just one version of that three-minute YouTube clip has attracted five million viewers as of this writing. Its first frame is fuzzy but the rest is reasonably clear, given the technology of the era: