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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Dark Side of the Kennedy Detail

The Dark Side of the Kennedy Detail

On the wall of Mr. Behn’s office hung a framed poem:
Fame is fleeting, fitful flame
Which shines a while on John Jones’ name
And then puts John right on the spot
The flame shines on
But John does not.”---“The Day Kennedy Was Shot, page 41

“As Head of the White House Detail, Jerry Behn commanded his convoy of agents. Behn’s habitual greeting was, “What’s new?” The gambit was depressingly trite, an office joke. This morning [11/23/63] Evelyn Lincoln saw Behn before he saw her, and it is a sign of the widespread antagonism toward the Secret Service that Evelyn looked him hard in the eye and said bitterly, “Jerry, there’s something new.” He turned away without answering.”---“The Death of a President”, page 45

The Washington Post, 9/2/61- " 'Oh, My!' gasped Mrs. Rowley as the ad libbing bystander sidled over to greet them with easy effusion. It was obvious that President Kennedy's presence at the ceremony was as unexpected as it had been unannounced...Kennedy quipped,' He (Rowley) hasn't lost a President in all [his time with the Secret Service]. On a record like that, he deserves a promotion."
Rowley would become the first and only Secret Service Chief to lose a President. Reward? The Beltsville, MD Secret Service training facility is named in his honor. That makes as much sense as giving Clint Hill an award for ALMOST protecting JFK (as for Jackie, she got in and out of her seat in the limousine without his help)!

I love the Secret Service (I truly do-no sarcasm or facetiousness intended or infered: there's a REASON I am the #1 civilian authority on the agency), and 95-99% of the agents were/ are squeeky clean, as the saying goes...but, as you can probably tell by now, I am also the #1 critic of their dreadful performance on 11/22/63. Here is a mere small sampling of why.

Note: all references to be found in my free online book

Agent Elmer W. Moore

Moore told graduate student James Gouchenaur that he "felt remorse for the way he (Moore) had badgered Dr. Perry into changing his testimony to the effect that there was not, after all, an entrance wound in the front of the president's neck." Furthermore, Gouchenaur quoted Moore as saying that Kennedy was a traitor for giving things away to the Russians; that it was a shame people had to die, but maybe it was a good thing; that the Secret Service personnel had to go along with the way the assassination was being investigated: "I did everything I was told, we all did everything we were told, or we'd get our heads cut off."

Forrest Sorrels, SAIC of the Dallas Secret Service office; rode in the lead car on 11/22/63:

From an FBI report dated 11/27/63: “At approximately 10:30 p.m. today a telephone call was received from a female individual who refused to furnish her identity. She advised she is a member of the local theatre guild and that on numerous occasions she has attended functions or speeches where Mr. Sorrels, Head of the Secret Service, Dallas, has spoken. She maintained that Mr. Sorrels should be removed from his position as he was INCOMPETENT AND DID NOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO PROTECT THE PRESIDENT. SHE STATED HE WAS DEFINITELY ANTI-GOVERNMENT, AGAINST THE KENNEDY ADMINISTRATION, AND SHE FELT HIS POSITION WAS AGAINST THE SECURITY OF NOT ONLY THE PRESIDENT BUT THE UNITED STATES. During the time this individual furnished the information set out above an effort was made to determine her name and address however she declined."[Signed] Inspector Tom Kelley Secret Service 9:20 a.m. 12/2/63” [emphasis added]

William R. "Bill" Greer, the inept driver of President Kennedy's limousine on 11/22/63:

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." In addition, Greer told Jackie the following on 11/22/63 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!” Finally, Dave Powers confirmed Greer’s guilt to CBS newsman Charles Kuralt on 11/22/88, also adding that if Greer would have sped up before the fatal headshot, JFK might still be alive today.

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." Bill Greer was born and raised in County Tyrone, Ireland, coming to America in February 1930. Greer also worked as a chauffeur for a wealthy family in Brookline, Massachusetts, which not only was JFK’s birthplace, it was also the town where the future President was raised. Greer also lived in Boston “for a little while.” In a later taped interview, Richard watered down the divergent religious beliefs to “joking banter” between the driver and JFK, the humor relating to “My father, being Irish Protestant, and JFK being Irish Catholic.” Bill Greer was in his late teens—approximately 18 or 19---when he came to America. As author William Manchester wrote: “Even after the newcomers (1,186,000 Irish immigrants) had been established for a generation, newspapers carried two society pages, one for Yankee Protestants and the other for Irish Catholics.” One is reminded of the “colored” and “white only” restrooms, restaurants, and drinking fountains from the pre-Civil Rights days of the early 1960s

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (rode in the Presidential limousine) - "We could see a tunnel in front of us. Everything was really slow then…[immediately after shooting] And just being down in the car with his head in my lap. And it just seemed an eternity…And finally I remember a voice behind me, or something, and then I remember the people in the front seat, or somebody, finally knew something was wrong, and a voice yelling, which must have been Mr. Hill, "Get to the hospital," or maybe it was Mr. Kellerman, in the front seat…We were really slowing turning the corner [Houston & Elm]…I remember a sensation of enormous speed, which must have been when we took off…those poor men in the front…" 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!'” Jackie also told Gallagher: "You should get yourself a good driver so that nothing ever happens to you.” 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." Later, author’s C. David Heymann and Edward Klein further corroborated that the agent Mrs. Kennedy was referring to was indeed Greer.
Manchester wrote: “[Mrs. Kennedy] had heard Kellerman on the radio and had wondered why it had taken the car so long to leave.”

60 witnesses (10 police officers, 7 Secret Service agents, 38 spectators, 2 Presidential aides, 1 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 assassination (Greer denied all of this to the Warren Commission). 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.” Clearly, Greer was responsible, at fault, and felt remorse. In short, Greer had survivor's guilt.

Agent Roy H. Kellerman (Assistant Special Agent in Charge, # 3 man, substituting for Behn-and Boring- in Dallas on 11/22/63)

While telling the FBI on the night of the murder that JFK said "Get me to a hospital" upon being shot, the agent later told the Warren Commission that JFK said "My God, I've been hit." In any event, this was impossible - JFK could not have spoken a word after having been shot thru the throat. In addition, Kellerman told the FBI that, during the shooting, "he observed President Kennedy with his left hand in back of him appearing to be reaching to a point on his right shoulder," an action not shown on any films or photographs, nor described by any witnesses to the shooting. There can be only one of two reasons for this strange testimony---either Kellerman wanted to give an overt reason for having gone to Parkland Hospital unassisted - a "Presidential directive” (The agent testified: “ My decision was to get this man to a hospital, because he needed medical treatment” )-or the agent was attempting to show that JFK was only wounded , thus his "reason" for not coming to the President's aid by vaulting into the back of the limousine, a matter the agent was harshly criticized for by the media and the public.

LBJ: “This fellow Kellerman…he was about as loyal a man as you could find. But he was about as dumb as an ox.”
ATSAIC Emory P. Roberts, commander of the follow-up car on 11/22/63:

Cover-up number one-the drinking incident: Agent Roberts would later write (April 28, 1964): "there was no question in my mind as to [the agents] physical and mental capacity to function effectively in their assigned duties." Like Chief Rowley and Inspector Kelley before both the Warren Commission and the HSCA, Agent Roberts covered up the drinking incident, despite Secret Service regulations that clearly stated that these were grounds for removal from the agency. Sleep deprivation and alcohol consumption wreak havoc on even the best-trained reflexes.

Cover-up number two-SA Henry Rybka: Both Emory Roberts and Winston Lawson placed Agent Rybka in the follow-up car in their (initial) reports, only to "correct" the record later, after November 22, although Rybka was not even mentioned anywhere in Agent Lawson's Preliminary Survey Report to begin with---making it seem obvious that Lawson was covering for Emory Roberts. Incredibly, Emory Roberts made the same "mistake" twice: In the shift report of 11/22/63 (separate from the one depicted in the Commission’s volumes ), Roberts placed Rybka in the "center rear seat" between Hickey and Bennett!

Cover-up number three: The infamous April 22, 1964 reports from Agents Behn, Boring, Ready, Hill, and Emory Roberts, alleging, after-the-fact, that President Kennedy had ordered agents off the rear of the limousine on November 18, 1963 in Tampa, and in other cities. As previously discussed in detail, the Secret Service blamed JFK for the removal of the agents on or near the rear of his limousine and this is simply untrue. Although Agent Roberts admitted recognizing "Oswald's" first shot as a rifle blast , as the Altgens photo confirms, he made a mysterious transmission via radio microphone that is not accounted for in his reports or in the official record. Instead of offering a shout of alarm, alert, or orders to his agents to do something that their own initiative lacked for some reason, i.e., protective action, he did nothing to help the wounded President. Allen Dulles of the Warren Commission asked: “Who would cover straight ahead?” Chief Rowley responded: “The man in the front seat [unnamed: Roberts] has that responsibility.” None of the follow-up car agents, via their individual scanning duties, which had them actually looking AWAY from JFK and at different points of the crowd, had the responsibility of watching ONLY the presidential vehicle. That job belonged to Roberts alone, and it appears obvious that the other agents of the follow-up car relied heavily on Roberts to sound some sort of alarm in the event of trouble in JFK’s car. Roberts' recall of Agent Ready is well documented , although we still have:
Cover-up number four: The alleged speed of the limousine and the alleged distance between the two cars (9-11 mph and five feet in reality, not the 20-25 mph and 20-25 feet stated in both Roberts and Agent Ready's reports) was used as the pretext for the recall of Ready. Taking everything cited to this point into account, there is still another factor that has escaped virtually everyone, and this "factor" came about quite accidentally. In Groden and Livingstone's High Treason , it was noted: "Emory Roberts ordered the agents not to move," which this author took to be an unintended overstatement at the time. So, the author decided to read the passage to Sam Kinney for commentary. Surprisingly, Sam told the author, "Exactly right, and I'm involved in that, too!" Before the author could digest this troubling information, Sam attempted to defend Roberts’ actions by stating that the angle of the follow-up car he was driving wasn’t conducive to any of the other agents taking action (as Hill did), an excuse the author does not find valid. Kinney told a similar story to the HSCA on 2/26/78: “Mr. Kinney’s analysis of Roberts’ order was that if Roberts had permitted Ready to go, and “if ready had done what Hill did, I’ve got one of them,” i.e. because of the impossibility of swerving away at an angle wide enough to avoid both of them.” However, the Nix film (as well as the Zapruder film) demonstrates that, during the shooting, the follow-up car had slowed down, lagging somewhat behind the presidential limousine. Therefore, Kinney’s car---and JFK’s car, for that matter---wasn’t quite close enough or moving fast enough to create the hazard Kinney eludes to. Ironically, if the required five-foot distance between the vehicles had been maintained (as it had been up to right before the shooting), not to mention a faster rate of speed, Kinney would be on firmer ground. In addition, Agent Tim McIntyre told the HSCA on 1/31/78 that the follow-up car was “slightly to the left rear of the limousine,” so, if anything, Hill was in more danger than Ready when he took off to protect Mrs. Kennedy.

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.” In addition, four other authors have noted Agent Roberts' "switch of allegiance," including Chief Curry. Once at Parkland Hospital, SA Roberts totally usurped his superior, number-three agent Roy Kellerman. Emory ordered Kellerman's agents around and confided in Rufus Youngblood, the soon-to-be SAIC, replacing the absent Behn. What William Manchester reports as having occurred at Parkland makes one both sick and repulsed: "…Powers and O'Donnell bounded toward the Lincoln. Powers heard Emory Roberts shouting at him to stop but disregarded him; a second might save Kennedy's life [Dave, too bad you weren't on the running board of the follow-up car]...Emory Roberts brushed past O'Donnell, determined to make sure that Kennedy was dead. 'Get up,' he said to Jacqueline Kennedy. There was no reply. She was crooning faintly. From his side Roberts could see the President's face, so he lifted her elbow for a close look. He dropped it. To Kellerman, his superior, he said tersely, 'You stay with Kennedy. I'm going to Johnson.'"
It is a shame that Emory Roberts cannot enlighten us on his conduct: having never been questioned by the Warren Commission or the FBI, he died on 10/8/73 at his Brookeville, MD home, after an apparent heart attack. Roberts was 58 at the time. Only author William Manchester spoke to him (on 12/4/64 & 4/26/65, respectively ). 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 ---a year later, during the start of the Nixon administration in 1969, Roberts was promoted to the coveted position of Inspector at Secret Service headquarters, responsible for overseeing a number of protective procedures and policies. Roberts retired from the Secret Service in February 1973.


SA Clinton J. Hill (First Lady Detail), rode on follow-up car on 11/22/63:

Despite riding on an automobile that was only a scant five feet away from JFK's slow-moving car (less than 12 mph) at the start of the shooting, Hill could only arrive in time to "protect" Mrs. Kennedy, the person to which he was assigned to protect. Mrs. Kennedy thought highly of Hill, regarding him as the brightest agent on the White House Detail and “one of us.” In fact, “Hill had not been scheduled to make the Dallas trip, but came only after Mrs. Kennedy made a personal request.” Although Hill was the only agent to overtly respond to the shooting of JFK, and in spite of the award he received for this action , the agent had much survivor's guilt. Mike Wallace asked Hill in 1975: “Is there anything that the Secret Service, or Clint Hill, could have done to keep that [the assassination] from happening?” After a long pause, Hill answered: “Clint Hill, yes.” Wallace: “’Clint Hill, yes?’ What do you mean?” Hill, speaking somewhat in the third-person, responded: “If he had reacted about, oh, five-tenths of a second faster, maybe a second faster, I wouldn’t be here today.” Wallace: “You mean you would have taken the shot?” Hill: “The third shot, yes, sir.” Wallace: “And that would have been alright with you?” Hill: “That would have been fine with me.” Wallace: “…you surely don’t have any sense of guilt about that?” Hill: “Yes, I certainly do. I have a great deal of guilt. It was my fault…if I had reacted just a little bit quicker, I could have, I guess…[sigh]…and I’ll live with that to my grave.” Hill added: “[The doctors said] I have a severe neurological problem…they recommended psychiatric help…they trace it all back to 1963.”

Through photo analysis of the Zapruder film and the Altgen's photo, the author has discovered that Agent Hill was looking directly at JFK upon the moment of the first shot: his guilt is well-founded, for he let several crucial seconds (at least five) go by before belatedly coming to the President's "aid". As author James Hepburn wrote: "Clint Hill, who was later decorated, was the first to move, and it took him 7 or 8 seconds to react. In eight seconds, the average sprinter can cover 80 yards." In addition, photo analysis reveals that Hill did not even push Mrs. Kennedy back into the limousine—she crawled back into the backseat on her own. Also, like Agent John Ready, Hill was involved in the drinking incident the night before.

SA William "Tim" McIntyre (rode on follow-up car on 11/22/63)+ SA Tony Sherman, SA Larry Newman, & SA Joe Paolella:

More troubling are the revelations McIntyre and three of his Secret Service colleagues shared with author Seymour Hersh in 1997 ---and, soon after, on ABC television ---concerning JFK’s private life (and, indirectly, Emory Roberts)…but not for the reason the reader might think: a disturbing and alarming mindset was demonstrated by these men concerning the president they were sworn to protect. As McIntyre put it: "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].” McIntyre repeated the Roberts’ story on ABC (without naming Emory), with this comment included: “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 WHD in the fall of 1963 (fellow former agent Gerald Blaine confirmed to the author on 6/10/05 that McIntyre was indeed “brand new” and lacked experience)! In addition, these feelings of anger and impotence-- especially by Roberts and McIntyre—loom large in the context of the actions and inactions of the Secret Service on 11/22/63. Soon after the airing of the aforementioned television program, Clinton Secret Service Director Lewis C. Merletti wrote a letter to 3,200 current and 500 former agents reminding them not to talk about "any aspect of the personal lives of our protectees." He further reminded the agents to recall their commission book oath, "to be worthy of trust and confidence." Merletti said this "confidence ... should continue forever."
How similar were these other agents’ feelings about JFK to those of their colleague McIntyre (and presumably, by extension, Roberts)? Very---Tony Sherman, who spent two years at the White House with JFK: "I wanted out...I didn't want a part of it...I got mad...I got angry at any president who doesn't treat the White House like I think he should..." Sherman added: "Seventy to eighty percent of the agents thought it was nuts… Some of us were brought up the right way. Our mothers and fathers didn't do it. We lived in another world. Suddenly, I'm Joe Agent here. I'm looking at the president of the United States and telling myself, 'This is the White House and we protect the White House.'" On the ABC special, Sherman related a tale of JFK and prostitutes that occurred during the President’s trip to Honolulu, Hawaii, in June of 1963 (incidentally, two clips are shown of this trip, depicting agents running with the limousine on all four corners of the limousine during the motorcade, motorcycles beside JFK, and SAIC Behn on the trip, among other things). Sherman said: “The Honolulu episode made me angry. It did make me angry…I’m not a holier-than-thou guy…but he shouldn’t be doing this in public.” The agent also added that this debauchery “continued constantly” and was “a regular thing.” Larry Newman: " It [JFK's behavior] caused a lot of morale problems with the Secret felt impotent and you couldn't do your job. It was frustrating...[emphasis added]" On the ABC special, Newman mentioned JFK’s sexual trysts with White House secretaries who were known by the nicknames of “Fiddle” and “Faddle.” The agent also said that this facet of JFK made you not want to associate with the man in any way. Joseph Paolella: " [He] acknowledged that the Secret Service's socializing intensified each year of the Kennedy administration, to a point where, by late 1963, a few members of the presidential detail were regularly remaining in bars until the early morning hours [emphasis added]." This is corroborated by what Abraham Bolden told the author, and it also is best exemplified by the drinking incident of 11/21-11/22/63. Agent Tony Sherman also told author Edward Klein: “His womanizing was so routine and common…that we slipped into the nefarious duty of protecting Kennedy from his wife by alerting him is she was returning to the White House unexpectedly…Some agents felt that if the President could get away with this kind of stuff, so could they…Drinking, partying, and sex became part of traveling with the President” Agent Larry Newman wasn’t finished, either---he spoke at even greater length to author Barbara Leaming about JFK’s womanizing several years later. (Author Palamara did contact Newman, Sherman, Paolella, and McIntyre but did not discuss JFK’s womanizing at any length.)

Agent Thomas B. Shipman (White House Garage Detail, DIED BEFORE THE DALLAS TRIP)

"October 14, 1963: Died of a heart attack while on a presidential protective assignment at Camp David, Maryland."

Because of Shipman's death, Bill Greer drove JFK in Dallas and his immediate replacement, Henry J. Rybka (fresh from Treasury School) was recalled at Love Field by Roberts! Former agent Gerald Blaine told the author that Kinney, Shipman, and Greer were “the three consistent ones” that drove JFK’s car (commenting that Greer “usually” did), also adding that Shipman and Kinney drove the follow-up car, as well. Winston Lawson wrote the author: “Tom Shipman, also a driver, died of a heart attack while up at Camp David, prior to retirement. I don’t know the year and couldn’t find out. I believe Sam Kinney found his body. They would have roomed together in one of the cabins up there.” Former agent Vincent Mroz told the author that Shipman was “in his 40’s or early 50’s.”
What is even more amazing about Shipman’s death is the fact that, out of the literally thousands of agents who have come and gone since the 19th century, as mentioned above, only 34 are listed , including the 5 agents who died tragically in the 4/19/95 Oklahoma City bombing, Leslie Coffelt (the Uniformed Division officer who died on 11/1/50), 5 others who died in the 1990’s, 7 who died in the 1980’s, 2 who died in the 1970’s (inc. J. Clifford Dietrich, who died in a helicopter crash on 5/26/73), 1 other who died in the 1960’s (Thomas Wooge , on 10/17/68) , 1 who died in the 1940’s (11/8/40, to be exact), 3 who died in the 1930’s, 2 who passed away in the 1920’s, and 2 who died in the 1900’s. That’s a very small, sad grouping to be in, indeed. (Interestingly, advance man Marty Underwood told author Harry Livingstone-- "There were a couple of suicides in the thing, with the Secret Service and everything..." Livingstone: "Do you remember who committed suicide?" Underwood: "I don't remember. I think there were a couple..." [Underwood is then cut off by Livingstone] Also, an unnamed agent took his own life "in the late Sixties, in Washington, with his own weapon. There were signs he was beginning to buckle," as former agent Chuck Rochner explained to fellow former agent Marty Venker. Former agent Darwin Horn wrote: “I cannot recall the name of the SA who killed himself in the late 60's. I seem to recall something of that nature occurring though.”
SAIC of PRS Robert I. Bouck:

Bouck was aware of the Joseph Milteer and other threats before 11/22/63. The failure to disseminate and act upon this threat information apparently had dire consequences for Bouck’s career---as the HSCA’s Mr. Matthews stated: “The Chief of the intelligence branch of the Secret Service [Bouck] testified before this committee that he was removed from his position for what he interpreted as the failure of his mission.” This must have been when Bouck testified in executive session of the HSCA on 11/16/77.

Jeremy Gunn of the ARRB “recounted a story involving the opinion of a former CIA employee who had stated that President Kennedy was not very popular with many Secret Service agents, and asked Mr. Bouck to comment on that allegation. Mr. Bouck stated that he did not feel that was true..."

SA Winston G. Lawson, the lead advance agent for Dallas (rode in the lead car on 11/22/63):

Amazingly, Lawson related on the aforementioned 1995 Secret Service documentary “Inside The Secret Service” that fellow agents had come to him---not to Grant, nor to anyone else---after the assassination and said, “If it had to happen, I’m glad it happened to you.” As author Melanson stated, “The words seem curious, if not cruel.” Lawson quickly added, amidst his tears: “They [his fellow agents] really didn’t mean that in a bad way.” In Lawson’s opinion, he believed they meant that they knew Lawson did all he could do. The agent further added on the documentary: “I’m sure, any other outfit, I would have been fired or perhaps transferred to the boondocks, but they kept me working. I worked Kennedy’s funeral and was at the gravesite [emphasis].” One is reminded of soldiers carrying the bodies of other soldiers who fell in battle during war, whose deaths were indirectly caused by the carrier’s poor judgment under fire. Lawson himself told Melanson on 2/20/02: “There’s always gonna be a political side versus a Secret Service side. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.” They lost in Dallas.

Agent Floyd M. Boring (ASAIC of the White House Detail, Behn’s direct assistant):

“When I got to the Kennedy detail I was actually in charge of that detail at first, and then they sent up the agent from the White House Detail [Behn]. He then was in charge, and I was second in charge”---Floyd Boring, Truman Library Oral History, page 63

For much more on Boring, please see:

Boring is interesing.
Deputy Chief Paul J. Paterni, Chief Rowley's direct assistant who, like another deputy, ASAIC of the WHD (#2 man) Floyd Boring, was a major "behind-the-scenes" player in regard to the aftermath of the assassination. Paterni was a member of the OSS---the predecessor of the CIA--- during WWII and served (in Milan, Italy) with fellow OSS men James Jesus Angleton and Ray Rocca, later liaison to the Warren Commission. What makes this connection even more alarming is the following: Chief Inspector Michael Torina wrote to the author, stating the following: "Specifically, Paul Paterni (my very good friend) served [in the Secret Service] from late 1930's through mid-1960's"(emphasis added) --- meaning, Paterni was a member of the OSS at the same time he was a member of the Secret Service. PRS Agent Frank Stoner wrote to the author: “Paul Paterni was a great agent and I did know about OSS.” The author asked former agent Walt Coughlin, “Did you know about Deputy Chief Paul Paterni's OSS background in WWII?” The former agent responded: “Had heard that. Have no details.” Paterni had joined the Secret Service in 1933 and spent most, but not all, of the Truman and Eisenhower years as SAIC of the San Francisco office. Former agent Darwin Horn wrote: “Paul Paterni was SAIC in SF for many years. Guys loved him.” Horn later wrote: “I am not sure if Paterni took over Chicago when Anheier died. He could have.” Paterni appears to have indeed replaced Harry D. Anheier Sr. as SAIC of the Chicago office in approximately 1957. Paterni then went on to replace Russell “Buck” Daniels as Assistant Chief on 1/31/61
Chief James J. Rowley & Inspector Thomas Kelley:

Michael Dorman of Newsday wrote an article entitled “JFK Plot Leads May Have Been Neglected” from 10/24/97, confirming Rowley’s---and Inspector Kelley’s---knowledge of several threats BEFORE 11/22/63. The article states: "In his testimony before the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978, James Rowley, Secret Service Chief in 1963, stated several leads to conspiracies to assassinate President Kennedy may not have been checked out. He stated the Secret Service had begun looking into several assassination plots, but stopped when President Johnson ordered the FBI to take over the investigation of the president's murder. The Secret Service was ordered to turn over all relevant information to the FBI. Rowley stated the FBI never informed the Secret Service of any of the leads it turned over. One lead was the Miami Secret Service Report on Joseph Milteer. Milteer, a right wing activist, was taped by the Secret Service saying Kennedy would be assassinated with a rifle from a window in a downtown business district. Rowley was asked why Milteer was not put on constant surveillance. A reply to this was made by another Secret Service aid, Thomas Kelley. He replied that they didn't have enough manpower

The ARRB reported: “Mr. Boring was shown Inspector Kelley’s 2/14/64 memo to Chief Rowley re: HR 9958 (USSS document No. 154-10002-10332), and stated that he had never heard Inspector Kelley speak in that manner (as in the memo) of the inadvisability of allowing the FBI sole investigative jurisdiction over future assassination investigations; or of a “Seven Days in May” scenario [military/ intelligence coup]; or of a possible venal Director of the FBI bringing about or allowing an assassination under these new investigative guidelines; etc. He seemed somewhat surprised and speechless by the contents of this memo.”
Nine of the agents from Kennedy’s White House Detail drank alcohol the night before the assassination in Fort Worth (at the Fort Worth Press Club and, presumably, The Cellar “Coffee House”), including four who had critical duties in the follow-up car directly behind his limousine: Bennett, Landis, Hill, and 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.) The owner of the Cellar, Pat Kirkwood, said: “About 3:30 in the morning, these Secret Service men were sitting around giggling about how the firemen were guarding the president over at the Hotel Texas…Jack Ruby used to come over Friday nights and steal my [stripper] girls…Lee Harvey Oswald washed glasses for two nights at the San Antonio Cellar…We didn’t say anything, but those guys were bombed. They were drinking pure Everclear [alcohol].” Likewise, reporter Jack Moseley stated “The…Secret Service activity of which I had knowledge was the large amount of alcohol consumed by members of the Secret Service at the Fort Worth Press Club, where the bar did not close at the regular time that night.” Although this flagrant violation of Secret Service regulations was grounds for dismissal from the service , none of the men were punished in any way whatsoever by Chief Rowley, who did not want to stigmatize the agents and their families. In addition, although all the agents had to report for duty at 8:00 a.m., several stayed out until between 1:30 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. One---Landis—stayed out until 5:00 a.m.! Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on even the best-trained reflexes. DNC advance man Jerry Bruno told the HSCA: “Asked to comment about drinking after hours, he said: "They were not 'one beer' drinkers. They could really put it away', he said. He related an incident on the Naples trip where an agent, whom he did not identify, pulled his gun on a hotelkeeper who would not open a bar late at night to serve them. This trip was in [July] 1963 prior to the Texas one."
Author James Hepburn said that JFK’s Secret Service White House Detail “worked like a troop of boy scouts…they had lost their reflexes." With regard to 11/22/63, perhaps Secret Service Officer John Norris summed it up best: “Except for George Hickey and Clint Hill, everybody else just basically sat there with their thumbs up their butts while the president was gunned down in front of them.”

From the 2/22/78 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:

Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) Director Tom Samoluk told the author in 1996 that JFK’s longtime friend and Presidential Aide Dave Powers “agreed with your take on the Secret Service,” based off a lengthy interview Samoluk had with the gentleman during the process of obtaining Power’s film of the fateful Dallas motorcade from the JFK Library.
SA Jerry O'Rourke, on the Texas trip:

Lee Harvey Oswald didn't act alone when he killed President John F. Kennedy, a retired agent said Wednesday, and the president died because Secret Service agents failed at their jobs. "Officially, the answer to Oswald when somebody asks – because we were ordered to say it - is that the Warren Commission found that he acted alone," retired agent Jerry O'Rourke said. "But was there more than one gunman? Yes, personally I believe so. And my personal opinion about Jack Ruby is that he was paid to kill Oswald." O'Rourke grew up in Telluride and attended Western State and Regis colleges, then spent 22 years in the Secret Service. Now retired and back home, he spoke Wednesday to the downtown Grand Junction Rotary Club. O'Rourke said his group of agents, about 10 of them, had protected Kennedy the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, at a breakfast speech in Fort Worth. Then the group left by air for Austin, the next stop planned for the president's Texas tour.
"We got the word (of the assassination) in the air, and we didn't believe it at first," he said. "We were joking. But later, most of the agents had tears in their eyes. Agents believed in Kennedy, and we knew we failed our job in Dallas.” After his White House tour ended during Johnson's presidency, O'Rourke spent a year in the Secret Service intelligence division, which offered him glimpses into the investigation of Kennedy's death.
Those glimpses, and the accounts of other agents, have convinced O'Rourke that Oswald didn't act alone.

O'Rourke wrote to the author: “Keep in mind, some of the former agents you interview are not going to be receptive to you. Most don’t mind talking about the assassination but they still are very protective. Also, many continue to have some problems (mental?) dealing with what they feel as a failure on their part…Some of the retired agents have contested my beliefs on the assassination but most of those agents were still in diapers when 11/22/63 [the assassination] came about. I always answer them by stating, ‘I was there, were you?’ Some of those guys you interviewed are great guys while the others are…[ O’Rourke ended this comment in this fashion].” O’Rourke added: “As I told you [,] a couple agents have problems with the assassination, Clint [Hill] being one. He is a good friend of mine but I have not seen him in 25 years…Yes, Clint still has problems with 11/22/63…Again, there are a lot of “people” (and agents) that disagree with my findings [regarding] Nov. 22nd but they have not done any research…I have visited with several of the agents that were right with JFK, at the time, and plied them with drink [!] When all of the records are completely released [,] we will know [what happened], if [we are] still alive.”

ATSAIC Art Godrey, on the Texas trip:

Author Anthony Summers, who also interviewed the agent, wrote: “Godfrey…had been unusually close to both [Richard] Nixon and [Bebe] Rebozo. After retiring in 1974, he had visited the disgraced president at San Clemente and watched the Grand Prix with him at Long Beach. Rebozo even asked Godfrey to work for him. As late as 1994 Godfrey was a member of the February Group, an association of diehard Nixon loyalists.”

Under JFK, the Secret Service had lost the ability to do their jobs effectively and were often relegated to "butler" and "servant" status. Presidential Aides Kenneth O'Donnell and Dave Powers used the agents as errand boys and JFK treated them as "lookouts" and "go-fors," as his romantic dalliances dictated. Several, if not many, of the agents of the White House Detail were concerned and upset about JFK’s sordid private life and the effect it was having on their collective morale and their abilities to protect the president, as well as in their whole concept of what their jobs in government truly were. In addition, Abraham Bolden told the author: "I had heard that there was some conflict between Kennedy and the White House Detail, that he was trying to scale them back". Bolden later wrote: “The facts are that the S.S. [Secret Service] and F.B.I. were not the cooperating organizations as portrayed by the media in the 1960[’s]. The facts are that President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy made no bones about their dislike of the S.S. as an independent service. Early in 1961 there was great fear within the service that the duties of the S.S. would be given to the F.B.I. and that the S.S. would be made a part of the IRS investigators. The relations between the F.B.I. and the S.S. was a “dogfight” with the F.B.I. oft times refusing to assist the S.S. in collateral investigations. The facts are that most of the agents surrounding the President disliked the President for (1) his stand on civil rights and (2) his studies undertaken by Robert Kennedy to disband the S.S. as the protective agency. The detail was staffed by a core of southern-born agents and it was no surprise to me that, after the James Meredith Mississippi school incident, an attempt on the life of the President would be met by agents standing on the side of the follow-up car waiting for the final shot to hit…Simply put, the S.S. covered up evidence [and] lied to the Warren Commission and to the public for one reason and one reason only: to save the S.S. and not be branded with the taint of gross negligence and be therefore open to judicial proceedings…the attitude of the S.S. against the President and the attitude of the F.B.I. against Robert Kennedy caused these agencies to permit the assassination to occur [emphasis added].” Jeremy Gunn of the ARRB, during an interview of PRS SAIC Robert Bouck, “recounted a story involving the opinion of a former CIA employee who had stated that President Kennedy was not very popular with many Secret Service agents…” Indeed, author Jim Bishop claimed that SAIC Behn and ASAIC Boring were not popular with President Kennedy.
Amazingly, Secret Service Officer John Norris discovered a carefully concealed lookout post in the Executive Office Building’s (EOB) attic in the early summer of 1963 (the EOB was the home of the Secret Service’s Protective Research Section, or PRS)! This vantage point provided an observer with a view directly into the private living quarters of the White House for the express purpose of spying on the First Family. As Norris told author Bill Sloan: “There were cigarette butts all over the floor and all of them looked fairly fresh...There were even some mattresses up there, so it was pretty apparent that someone had been spending a lot of time up there…a crack marksman with a telescopic sight could conceivably even have killed Kennedy from there.” Norris added: “It was obvious to me that somebody had been keeping Kennedy under regular covert surveillance…Maybe it was for his own protection, but frankly I doubted it, and it struck me as very peculiar, very suspicious. That was one main reason that I tried to relay a warning to Kennedy. Another was that everybody was tense and edgy, and there was a lot of talk going around about threats and plots.”
Most importantly, JFK retired/fired the top four Secret Service/Treasury Department officials, roughly coinciding with the dismissal of the top three CIA officials:
a. Deputy Chief of the Secret Service Russell “Buck” Daniels. Daniels was replaced by former OSS officer Paul J. Paterni (See chapter 13)
b. Assistant Secretary of Treasury A. Gilmore Fluse.
c. William T. Heffelfinger, highest-ranking career official.
d. Chief of the Secret Service U. E. Baughman. Baughman was replaced by the SAIC of the WHD, James J. Rowley, who was appointed by President Kennedy for this position, according to Presidential aide Ken O’Donnell.
Baughman's dismissal was the biggest news of all, as was the case with CIA Director Allen Dulles, fired within the same time frame as the Chief. The Chief was on the wrong side of Kennedy's policies and views: he thought the Mafia did not even exist, a view shared by J. Edgar Hoover. Interestingly, Agent Kinney said that U.E. Baughman “was the J. Edgar Hoover of the Secret Service.” Consider this: an undisputed fact---- one that even Gerald Posner left alone in "Case Closed"--- is that Hoover, the head of the FBI, knew about Oswald as early as June of 1960, when Baughman was still head of the Secret Service. The memo concerned "an imposter using Oswald's birth certificate". Dulles, head of the CIA, later became one of the seven members of the Warren Commission - it was he who single-handedly pushed the lone nut theory on his fellow members, a view proselytized by Baughman in a book he wrote before JFK's murder. Charles Cabell, the CIA's second in command, who was also let go during this same time period, was the brother of the mayor of Dallas, Earle Cabell, JFK's host on 11/22/63.
Significantly, in a book the former Chief wrote in 1963 before the Kennedy assassination, Baughman reveals the following detail: "[concerning the day he became Chief of the Secret Service] I remember with absolute clarity the details of that call which was to change my life, give it its final shape. The date was NOVEMBER 22, 1948...[Emphasis added]”
Exactly fifteen years to the date of the call which will "live in infamy" for Baughman, his former boss JFK, the President who let him go, was murdered.
Re: Harvey Henderson & SAIC of Chicago office Maurice Martineau:

Both in his letters and in his interviews with the author, Mr. Bolden expressed much interest and suspicion in Harvey Henderson, his “boss” during his time on the White House Detail: "While in New York on a protective assignment, Harvey Henderson countermand a direct order from the President. This act occurred in September or October 1963 [Mr. Bolden may be mistaken : the time period may have been mid-November 1963, a mere week or so before Dallas]. The President subsequently had Henderson removed from the detail and this act by the President was very unpopular with Jerry Behn, Emory Roberts, and others on the detail."
Mr. Bolden elaborated during a telephone interview with the author: "Do you know what happened to Harvey Henderson? I heard that he had been relieved of his Detail by President Kennedy himself...Harvey had made some threats like, 'We'll get you'...I understand that he told the President "I'll get you, or something to that effect...(it was) no secret that Kennedy wanted him removed from the detail... Harvey was a quick-tempered guy who couldn't take the heat... Where is Harvey Henderson at? I think that you would do well if you could find out where Harvey Henderson was on November 22-can you track him down?" In reference to the elicit Secret Service credentials present in Dealey Plaza on 11/22/63, Mr. Bolden said, in reference to Harvey Henderson, "that's the first thing that crossed my mind - he would have the nerve, the guts, the anger, the craziness, the instability...I'm not saying he was in Dallas, but I'm saying would be something to look at." Unfortunately, Henderson died in 1994 before the author could locate and contact him for comment. Interestingly, information regarding a plot to kill Martin Luther King was furnished to Henderson, the ASAIC of the Birmingham Secret Service office, on 3/11/65, over three years before MLK’s murder.
Bolden further added: "I was personally told by Harvey Henderson, 'You're a nigger. You were born a nigger. You're going to die a nigger. So act like a nigger’"
For his part, former agent Walt Coughlin wrote: “Harvey (The Birmingham Baron) Henderson had left the Detail when I arrived [6/62] but I recall he was there thru most of the 1950’s.” Walt later added: “Harvey Henderson he [Bolden] is probably rite (sic) about [re: racial attitude].”

Maurice G. Martineau was the SAIC of the Chicago field office, and as a member of the Secret Service from 1941 to 1972, served some 32 years with the agency. The agent was a member of the White House Detail during the FDR years, and on temporary assignments during the Eisenhower administration. Mr. Martineau stated, "Any time they [the White House Detail] came thru Chicago, [he] worked very close with the advance team from Washington."
Importantly, Mr. Martineau confirmed that the motorcade was cancelled "at the last minute - I was already out at the airport" to meet JFK's plane when this occurred, he said. Mr. Bolden was a touchy subject: "As far as Bolden is concerned, I'd rather not discuss it. He was a blight on the agency."
Interestingly, Mr. Martineau revealed that he "was subpoenaed to testify before" the HSCA, which he declared "a lot more valid than the Warren Commission." He believed "there was more than one assassin" on 11/22/63, stemming from the HSCA's report, his own role in the investigation, his extensive experience in firearms (agency and recreational), as well as his own gut feelings on 11/22/63: "As soon as I learned some of the details..." When the author conveyed to him Agent Kinney's own beliefs (see previous pages), including Agent Kinney's qualification that his own "outfit was clean," Mr. Martineau stated: "Well...ah...(long pause)...I've got some theories, too, but, ah...without any actual data to back them up, I think I'll keep them to myself."
Abraham Bolden was adamant that Mr. Martineau knew about both the plot to kill JFK on 11/2/63 and the internal "top secret" investigation of the Secret Service Commission books, one of which was "lost or stolen" in Dallas on the Texas trip of November, 1963: "I recalled that in January, 1964, the Secret Service recalled all commission books all over the United States. We were told they were to be me, the redesign of the commission books was for one purpose and that purpose was to render the lost or stolen commission book a counterfeit if and when the persons bearing the lost or stolen commission book were found.”
Mr. Bolden wrote the author: "when Inspector Kelley of the Secret Service came to Chicago in 1961, I discussed with him the fact that during a conversation between SAIC Maurice Martineau and two other agents who were discussing Kennedy's push for racial balance and equal justice in America, Mr. Martineau blurted out angrily, 'The bastard should be killed.' This coming from an agent was dangerous. The prevailing attitude of the Caucasian agents, the majority of whom were southern born, was that Kennedy was moving too fast on Civil Rights and in the Chicago office of the Secret Service, I heard the term 'nigger lover' applied to President Kennedy by more than one or two agents." Mr. Bolden added that "all of (this) information...was discussed with Inspector Kelley, John Hanley (SAIC), Harry Geghlein, and John [sic?] Burke (Assistant SAIC) in the Chicago office to no avail."


The Special Agent In Charge (SAIC) of JFK's White House Detail, Gerald Behn, as well as his immediate assistant, ASAIC Floyd M. Boring, told me emphatically (on audio tape/ You Tube videos) that President Kennedy did NOT order the agents off his limousine, never interfered with their actions at all, was a very nice man, and very cooperative. In fact, Jerry Blaine himself told me the very same thing! Former agents Sam Kinney (on audio tape. You Tube videos) and ATSAIC (Shift Leader) Art Godfrey (in writing/ in two phone conversations) also told me the very same thing AND ADDED THAT JFK'S STAFF WAS NOT TO BLAME, EITHER. I wish Mr. Blaine well with his book---I will buy it and I hope it's a best seller; no malice, misrepresentation, or ill intended. If you Google my name you will see that I spoke to and/ or correponded with many of the agents who protected JFK (from 1991 to 2009): I have been on the History Channel, in over 50 books by other authors, in a presidential report given to President Clinton (Final Report of the ARRB), etc. MANY, MANY THOUSANDS of people are very much aware of my work; to act like it doesn't exist may not be a prudent thing. Bottom line is this: when the top 3 agents on JFK's detail (not just "buck privates") AND JFK's friend and aide, Dave Powers, tell me that President Kennedy did not order the agents off his car and didn't interfere with the Secret Service's actions, I listen...and so have a whole lot of other people. Impeccable sources who, by the way, died many years ago. Vince Palamara: leading civilian Secret Service expert, especially during the JFK era

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Secret Service Agent Jerry Blaine & The AFAUSSS

note: no malice or misrepresentation intended or infered. Just exercising my, ahem, First Amendment Rights. Thanks for letting me know I had some, Mr. Bratton :O)

Former Secret Service agent Jerry Blaine (who seems like a very nice gentleman from the two conversations I had with him [2/7/04, 6/10/05], not to mention several e-mails [6/12/05, 6/13/05, 7/9/05, 7/11/05], as well), who served from Ike to LBJ, is coming out with a book, co-authored by Lisa McCubbin, in the Fall of this year (2010) entitled "The Kennedy Detail." Sounds terrific...then again, I was also a fan of O.J. Simpson's book "If I Did It."

Jerry Blaine seems like a very good man with impeccable pedigree and credentials: my ire is NOT directed at him, per se; he wasn't in Dallas when President Kennedy got his head blown off while his inept colleagues watched and did nothing of value to prevent the assassination (hey, even the Warren Commission castigated the Secret Service, as did the HSCA in the 1970's, albeit a tad milder, and in less detail, than I do). Keeping in mind the title of O.J. Simpson's book, a friend told me a good title for a JFK era Secret Service memoir should be "We Did It, Now Let's Blame JFK & The Staff"! Or, as an alternate title, "We Didn't Prevent It But We'll Sure Blame Ya For It."

For the record, because Mr. Blaine had his attorney send me a certified letter on the matter, I had 0.0 to do with Jerry Blaine and Lisa Mccubbin's book-as I told Blaine's attorney, Richard Bratton: "I meant, in no way, shape, or form, to misconstrue anyone that somehow I was involved. Again, I am very sorry. I merely "cut and paste" Lisa's blog onto my own to, once again, enthusiastically advertise the book to the world." As Mr. Bratton stated: "this is their book, not yours."

Gee, thanks for the clarification.

Seems this tacky tactic had backfired in a huge way (I have thousands of fans and my work has literally been seen---and continues to be seen---by millions via the History Channel, You Tube, radio, newspapers, 50+ books by other authors, the internet, etc. I get e-mails from around the globe, including from former agents, family members, relatives, friends, etc.): many people were turned off to this and also stated the obvious- an example to summarize: "gee, Vince, over a little &^%* blog he sent that? My God, there are millions of blogs with defamatory, awful misstatements of fact and no one gets flack for those." I will forever be a thorn in the side of those who attempt to blame the President or his staff for their own shortcomings; you can count on that.

What it boils down to it this: on 6/2/05, I sent a 22 page letter (Certified, Return Receipt Requested with a S.A.S.E. to boot), summarizing my work (especially chapter one of my book "Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect The President") to former agent Clint Hill...

By the way, Clint Hill is writing the Foreword to Blaine's book...

On 6/13/05, after not receiving a reply, the author phoned Mr. Hill, who was quite apparently angry---he answered "Hill residence" and at first pretended not to know about the lengthy letter he had to sign for (of which the author received his signed receipt): “About what?,” Hill exclaimed in response to the author’s inquiry. He then became totally quiet. I asked him if he was still there. Then, forcefully, Hill added: “I'm still here, I’m just not interested in talking to you.”

Oh, well, you know the old saying: truth hurts. :O)

I spoke to Mr. Blaine on 6/10/05...

It is just, ahem, a coincidence that his book, "The Kennedy Detail" is coming out this Fall. I believe in coincidences...hey, coincidences happen.


Mr. Blaine told me himself and fellow former agent Walt Coughlin “both had oil interests in Yemen” (Coughlin works for Hunt Oil, as well).

Agent Jerry O’Rourke was part of the shift consisting of ATSAIC Arthur L. Godfrey-shift leader, SA Gerald S. Blaine, SA Kenneth S. Giannoules, SA Paul A. Burns, and SA Robert R. Faison. This group of men arrived in Fort Worth from Washington, D.C. at 2:15 p.m. on 11/21/63 for duty at the Hotel Texas as part of the 4p.m.-12 min shift (JFK arrived 11:50 p.m., ten minutes until midnight). After having helped protect the President during the morning of 11/22/63 in Fort Worth (as part of the 12 Midnight to 8 a.m. shift), this coterie of agents proceeded on to Austin for JFK’s proposed stop after his Dallas trip. Blaine went on to become a member of the Overseas Security Advisory Council---OSAC---for the U.S. Department of State, in his capacity as the OSAC Private Sector Representative representing the IBM Corporation and, later, as the Director of International Security for the ARCO International Oil and Gas Company.

Blaine also told the author: “Paul Rundle [ATSAIC of V.P. LBJ Detail ] and I went to high school together and served in the Korean War together.” The former agent stated that he had started in the Denver office of the Secret Service and later served on the WHD for six years under Eisenhower, JFK, and LBJ, leaving in July 1964 to become director of security for IBM (“The White House Detail was a blackball system. There were 34 or 36 agents assigned to the WHD with 5 people per shift. You got 15% of a GS9 for overtime: 10 cents an hour! Six years of protection----you lose contact with the outside world. It was time for a change,” Blaine said.) The former agent now works for OSAC (see Burke, below). Blaine confirmed that he was not contacted by the HSCA. Blaine would not respond to a follow-up letter. However, the former agent was responsive and friendly when the author phoned on 6/10/05. Blaine said, among other things, that “The Secret Service learned so much from the assassination” and “The Warren Commission did a great job” (!) Blaine did add a more surprising detail: “I was supposed to go from Tampa to Dallas [on 11/18/63]”, stating further that the agent who went in his place, David Grant, was dating Clint Hill’s wife’s sister at the time---she was working for Braniff Airlines then (the two went on to be married, thus making Hill and Grant brothers-in-law). In fact, Blaine had just spoken to Hill on 6/9/05, shortly after---unbeknownst to Blaine---the author had contacted Hill via Registered Mail. Blaine is close to Hill---he attended Hill’s son’s wedding, along with fellow former agent Bill Livingood. The former agent also expounded on his IBM career, stating he served for 27 years as the director of security.

Gerald S. Blaine (started in the Denver office; Member of Inauguration Detail for JFK, 1/20/61; WHD: Ike to LBJ/ 1964; left to work for IBM: became director of security; interviewed for Manchester's book "The Death of a President" 5/12/65; a charter member of the AFAUSSS in 1969; pictured on page 79 of AFAUSSS book from 1991 [Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service. Looking Back And Seeing The Future: The United States Secret Service 1865-1990. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company, 1991]; now the Director of International Security Company for ARCO International Oil & Gas [like Burke, Blaine is part of The Overseas Security Advisory Council and the U.S. Department of State])

THE AFAUSSS-Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service:

ASAIC Floyd M Boring: founded the Association of Former Agents of the Secret Service in 1969;

SAIC Gerald Behn: a charter member of the AFAUSSS in 1969; attended third annual AFAUSS conference in Alexandria, VA, 9/27-9/28/74;

SA Jerry Blaine: a charter member of the AFAUSSS in 1969;

Former Chief U.E. Baughman: a charter member of the AFAUSSS in 1969; attended AFAUSS conference in 1973

SAIC of PRS Robert Bouck: a charter member of the AFAUSSS in 1969; attended third annual AFAUSS conference in Alexandria, VA, 9/27-9/28/74

Paul J. Paterni: a charter member of the AFAUSSS in 1969

Frank Stoner (PRS) : a charter member of the AFAUSSS in 1969; attended third annual AFAUSS conference in Alexandria, VA, 9/27-9/28/74

Chief Inspector Michael Torina: a charter member of the AFAUSSS in 1969; attended AFAUSS conference in 1973

Deputy Chief Ed Wildy: a charter member of the AFAUSSS in 1969

ATSAIC Stu Stout: a charter member of the AFAUSSS in 1969

ATSAIC Art Godfrey: He served in the Army in Europe during World War II, and his decorations included a Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He received the Silver Star for rescuing a soldier and carrying him back to friendly lines in Italy while under enemy fire; MSU graduate; member of WHD Truman to Nixon; a recipient of the Treasury Department's Albert Gallatin Award ;took part in Secret Service school # 8 in January 1956; retired July 1974; mentioned in McNally's book, p. 120; pictured on pages 62, 66, 67 & 102 of AFAUSSS book from 1991; p. 176 of Darwin Horn’s book; interviewed for “The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon” by Anthony Summers (Penguin USA, 2001), including picture; the official photographer for the AFAUSSS; deceased 5/12/02

"My name is James M. (Mike) Mastrovito and I retired in 2004 after a career of some fifty years in law enforcement and intelligence, as an employee of the FBI, the Secret Service and as an independent contractor with the CIA."

Agent Thomas B. Shipman - October 14, 1963: Died of a heart attack while on a presidential protective assignment at Camp David, Maryland.

BEFORE Ken O'Donnell's death: blame JFK. AFTER Ken O'Donnell's death: blame the staff!

BEFORE Ken O'Donnell's death: blame JFK. AFTER Ken O'Donnell's death: blame the staff!

President Harry Truman---“The Secret Service was the only boss that the President of the United States really had.” Rowley oral history, LBJ Library, 1/22/69, page 2.

Kenneth Phillip "Kenny" O'Donnell (March 4, 1924 – September 9, 1977) was a top aide to U.S. President John F. Kennedy and part of the group of Kennedys' close advisors called the "Irish Mafia", which also included Larry O'Brien and Dave Powers. Before Ken's untimely death at the young age of 53, the Secret Service wouldn't have dared to dream of blaming him for their OWN failures in Dallas regarding the removal of the agents in close proximity to President Kennedy---no, the Secret Service (well, a few of them who submitted reports and/ or talked to certain high profile authors [Bishop, Manchester]) did the "blame the victim" routine, or, as I like to call it, "blame-the-deceased-victim-who-can't-defend-himself." However, AFTER O'Donnell's death, the "blame the staff" notion was fertile ground for some of them [see also ###, below].

However, THE JFK ERA SECRET SERVICE HAS PAINTED THEMSELVES INTO A CORNER: they originally ONLY blamed JFK for the removal of agents and never even mentioned the staff as being involved!

In fact, as late as 2004, former agent Clint Hill gave an interview to the National Geographic Channel for their program (later a DVD) "Inside The U.S. Secret Service" (as with former agent Jerry Parr, Hill gave a video taped interview for broadcast as well as a print interview for the channel's website---here is a crucial excerpt germane to the topic discussed in this blog):

"Q: Do you think the president's [JFK's] style played a big part in that day [11/22/63]?

CH: I think it may have played a part in the sense that the agents were not permitted to be up in the back of the car. The previous Monday [11/18/63, Tampa, FL], President Kennedy told the supervisor [ASAIC Floyd Boring] that he did not want the agents up there because they were a kind of a block between himself and the people. That made it look like he didn't want to have the people that close to him."

No mention whatsoever of JFK's staff. This will become even more important later.

In 1995, for the Discovery Channel documentary “Inside The Secret Service”, Clint Hill said much the same thing.

[note: On 6/2/05, the author mailed a lengthy, 22-page letter to former WHD agent Clinton J. Hill (Certified, Return Receipt Requested with a S.A.S.E. to boot) summarizing my work in great detail. On 6/13/05, after not receiving a reply, the author phoned Mr. Hill, who was quite apparently angry---he first pretended not to know about the lengthy letter he had to sign for (of which the author received his signed receipt): “About what?,” Hill exclaimed in response to the author’s inquiry. Then, forcefully, Hill added: “I’m just not interested in talking to you.” Lo and behold, Hill's very good friend, fellow former agent Jerry Blaine (whom I spoke to twice and corresponded/ e-mailed), is coming out with a book in the Fall of 2010! Here is Hill's blurb from PublishersMarketplace website

Statement by Clint Hill, who wrote the foreword to Agent Gerald Blaine's book, for use in promotion of The Kennedy Detail:

"Of all the books written about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Jerry Blaine's The Kennedy Detail is the first book to accurately portray the events leading up to and following that tragic day from the perspective of the Secret Service agents. It is only because of my enduring friendship and complete trust in Jerry Blaine's ethics and integrity that I have agreed to provide information for this historically important book. It is my sincere hope that our current president, and all those who follow, recognizes that by taking risks with his own life, he is in fact risking the future of America."]

Clint Hill's undated report, written around April 1964 [see Volume 18 of the Warren Commission’s Hearings & Exhibits, pages 803-809]

"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 Presidents 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)."

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 3/9/64, 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

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)

Furthermore, on 9/18/96, by request of the author, the ARRB’s Doug Horne interviewed Mr. Boring regarding this matter. 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, 11/18/63, 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).”

The author 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 4 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, & Charles T. Zboril, to be exact)!

Furthermore, as noted above, both Clint Hill's written report and his testimony sure convey a more strict approach than one stemming from an alleged kind anecdote. In fact, as mentioned above, Hill twice stated in his report that he DID NOT RECALL who the agent was who told him, and the other agents, not to ride on the rear of the limousine, yet named him under oath to Counsel Specter: Floyd Boring.

Floyd Boring told the author, in reference to JFK's alleged "desires" mentioned by Mr. Bishop, Manchester (“quoting” Boring), and himself in his own report: "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" (emphasis added)! The author reiterated the point - Mr. Boring was still adamant that JFK never issued any orders to the agents; he even refuted Manchester's book. Remember, Boring is admitting it came from him, and not JFK! With regard to exactly who makes the decision regarding the agents’ proximity to the President, Agent Jerry Parr told Larry King: “I would say it was the agent in charge who makes that decision.” When asked, point blank, if JFK had ever ordered the agents off the rear of the limousine, including in Tampa on 11/18/63, Boring told the author again : "Well that's not true. That's not true. He was a very nice man; he never interfered with us at all." In a letter received by the author on, of all dates, 11/22/97, Boring confirmed what he had previously told the author on two previous occasions (9/22/93 and 3/4/94, respectively) when he wrote: "President Kennedy was a very congenial man knowing most agents by their first name. He was very cooperative with the Secret Service, and well liked and admired by all of us (emphasis added)." Boring does NOT mention anything about JFK’s alleged “desires” to restrict security during his two lengthy oral histories (to the JFK and Truman Libraries).

Secret Service & JFK- President Kennedy and the real story of his protection (or lack thereof)

Vince Palamara interview with SA Floyd Boring 3/4/94

Comments on the matter (often in writing and on audio tape)to Vince Palamara--
SAIC Gerald Behn: "I don't remember Kennedy ever saying that he didn't want anybody on the back of his car."
ASAIC Floyd Boring: “No, no, no-that's not true...[JFK] was a very easy-going guy...he didn't interfere with our actions at all."
ATSAIC (Shift Leader) Art Godfrey: "That's a bunch of baloney; that's not true. He never ordered us to do anything. He was a very nice man...cooperative.” When I was working [with] President Kennedy he never ask [ed] me to have my shift leave the limo when we [were] working it."
SA Winston Lawson (lead advance agent for Dallas; rode in lead car): “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. I am sure it would have been on a “case by case” basis depending on event, intelligence, threats, etc. Jerry Behn as Special Agent in Charge of the White House Detail…would have been privy to that type of info more than I [see above]. However, it never came to my attention as such. I am certain agents were on the back on certain occasions."
JFK Aide Dave Powers (rode in follow-up car 11/22/63): "Unless they were ‘running’ along beside the limo, the Secret Service rode in a car behind the President, so, no, they never had to be told to "get off" the limousine."
SA Robert Lilley: "Oh, I'm sure he [JFK] didn't [order agents off his car, agreeing with Behn]. He was very cooperative with us once he became President. He was extremely cooperative. Basically, 'whatever you guys want is the way it will be'." In interviews and correspondence on four separate occasions, Lilley reiterated this view. Lilley also refuted the Bishop and Manchester accounts, adding that, as an example, on a trip with JFK in Caracas, Venezuela, he and "Roy Kellerman rode on the back of the limousine all the way to the Presidential palace" at speeds reaching "50 miles per hour."
SAIC of PRS Robert Bouck: On 9/27/92, Bouck confirmed to the author that having agents on the back of the limousine depended on factors independent of any alleged Presidential "requests": “Many times there were agents on his car.” On 4/30/96, the ARRB’s Doug Horne questioned Bouck: “Did you ever hear the President personally say that he didn’t want agents to stand on the running boards on his car, or did you hear that from other agents?” Bouck: “I never heard the President say that personally." The former agent also told the ARRB that JFK was the “most congenial” of all the presidents he had observed (Bouck served from FDR to LBJ).
SA Samuel A. Kinney (driver of the follow-up car on 11/22/63): Sam told the author on 3/5/94, regarding the “official” notion of history that President Kennedy ordered the agents off the rear of the limousine and the like: "That is absolutely, positively, no, no: he had nothing to do with that [ordering agents off the rear of the limousine]...No, never-the agents say, 'O.K., men, fall back on your posts'...President Kennedy was one of the easiest presidents to ever protect; Harry S. Truman was a jewel just like John F. Kennedy was...99% of the agents would agree...(JFK) was one of the best presidents ever to control-he trusted every one of us [Emphasis added]." In regard to the infamous quote from William Manchester, Kinney said, "That is false. I talked to William Manchester; he called me on the book...for the record of history that is false - Kennedy never ordered us to do anything. I am aware of what is being said but that is false". Finally, just to nail down this issue, the author asked Kinney if an exception was made on 11/22/63: "Not this particular time, no. Not in this case".
ASAIC of VP Detail Rufus Youngblood: "There was not a standing order" from JFK to restrict agents from the back of the limousine - the agents had "assigned posts and positions" on the back of the President's car. On 2/8/94, Youngblood added: "President Kennedy wasn't a hard ass...he never said anything like that [re: removing agents from limo and the like]. As a historian, he [Manchester] flunked the course---don't read Manchester." Youngblood knows of what he speaks: he was interviewed by Manchester on 11/17/64.
SA Donald Lawton: When the author told Lawton on 11/15/95 what fellow agent Kinney said, namely, that JFK never ordered the agents off the rear of the limousine, he said: "It's the way Sam said, yes" (Meaning, he agrees with Kinney, it happened the way Kinney said). In a letter to the author dated, ironically, 11/22/97, Lawton wrote: "If you spoke with Bob Lilley as you stated then you can take whatever information he passed on to you as gospel [see Lilley’s comments, above].”
Cecil Stoughton, White House photographer: Stoughton wrote the author: "I did see a lot of the activity surrounding the various trips of the President, and in many cases I did see the agents in question riding on the rear of the President's car. In fact, I have ridden there a number of times myself during trips...I would jump on the step on the rear of the [Lincoln] Continental until the next stop. I have made photos while hanging on with one Tampa [11/18/63], for example. As for the [alleged] edict of not riding there by order of the President- I can't give you any proof of first hand knowledge."
SA Lynn Meredith: "I have always believed that the following [ten]adverse situations all contributed to the unnecessary and unfortunate death of President Kennedy: (1) No Secret Service agents riding on the rear of the limousine...I do not know first hand if President Kennedy ordered agents off the back end of his limousine."
SA Sam Sulliman: Sulliman told the author on 2/11/04 that agents were on the back of the limousine a lot; in fact, he remembered riding there on the trips to Ireland and Germany. When told of Art Godfrey’s comments on the matter (see above), the former agent agreed with his colleague. Regarding the notion that JFK ordered the agents off the car, Sulliman told the author twice: “I don’t think so.” Sulliman also said that JFK was “easy to get along with.” As for who exactly was responsible for the decision to remove the agents from the rear area of the limousine, Sulliman told the author: “I can’t tell you who made the decision.”
Frank Stoner, PRS: During an interview conducted on 1/17/04, former agent Stoner, who served in the Secret Service from January 1945 until 1969, said that Manchester was “probably trying to sell books” when he suggested that Kennedy ordered the agents off the back of the limousine. In fact, the 84-year-old former agent laughed at the mere suggestion. Stoner also agreed with several of his colleagues that JFK was “very personable”: “He was an old Navy man. He understood security. He wouldn’t have ordered them off the car.”
SA Gerald O'Rourke: "To my knowledge President Kennedy never ordered us to leave the limo.”
SA Vince Mroz: the former agent said that President Kennedy was “friendly, congenial---he was really easy to get along with…just like Truman.” When asked, point blank, if JFK had ever ordered the agents off the car, Mroz said forcefully: “No, no---that’s not true.” When asked a second time, the former agent responded with equal conviction: “He did not order anybody off the car.”
SA Walt Coughlin: "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.” Finally, to clarify this matter further, the author asked Coughlin: “So far, combing the literature, books, interviews, etc., I've found that Behn, Boring, Blaine, Mroz, Godfrey, Lawson, and Dave Powers said that President Kennedy did not order the agents off his limousine---do you think William Manchester and others took "poetic license" on this matter?” Coughlin responded: “Yes I do.”

SA Larry Newman: Newman phoned the author unexpectedly on 2/12/04 to say that “there was not a directive, per se” from President Kennedy to remove the agents from their positions on the back of his limousine.
SA Frank Yeager: In a letter to the author dated 12/29/03, 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…” 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…[it was]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… 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.

SA James Goodenough: “President Kennedy was a pleasant and cooperative person to work for."
SA Radford Jones: "JFK was an easy President to protect...The President was always considerate of the agents...I would say he was no more difficult to protect than any other President."
SA Darwin Horn: "never heard him tell the agents to get off of the car...You will have to ask some of the other agents who worked him full time. [Art] Godfrey would have been perfect but he passed away some time ago.” See Godfrey’s comments, above.
SA Jerry Kivett: "I never heard anyone say that he was difficult to protect."
John F. Norris, Uniformed Division of the Secret Service: On 3/4/94, in an interview with the author, Norris also joined his colleagues in refuting the notion that JFK ordered the agents off the rear of the limo: “I would doubt that very much,” Norris said.
Maurice G. Martineau, SAIC of Chicago office: Martineau joined his colleagues in refuting the Manchester story that JFK ordered the agents off the rear of the car. Martineau said this to the author in two telephonic interviews on 9/21/93 and 6/7/96, respectively.
Abraham W. Bolden, Sr. :In reference to Kennedy's alleged "requests", Mr. Bolden told the author on numerous occasions in 1993-1996 that he "didn't hear anything about that...I never believed that Kennedy said that [ordering removal of agents]”. Bolden, an ardent critic of the agency’s lax protection since 1963, also wrote the author: “No-one could have killed our President without the shots of omission fired by the Secret Service. Observe the feet of [four] Secret Service agents glued to the running boards of the follow-up car as bullets [sic?] pierce the brain of our President!!!"
DNC Advance man Martin E. “Marty” Underwood: Underwood told me that "many times" agents were posted on the back of the JFK limousine. During this 10/9/92 interview, Underwood confirmed to the author that JFK never ordered the agents off the rear of the car.
Michael W. Torina, Chief Inspector of the Secret Service on 11/22/63: Torina, the author of the Secret Service’s own official manual on protective techniques [“The United States Secret Service” by Walter S. Bowen & Harry E. Neal (New York: Chilton, 1960),
page 209], did contribute significantly to a book about the Secret Service written in 1962 in which it is plainly stated: “Agents of the White House Detail ride in the same car with the President. Others will walk or trot alongside, while still others ride in automobiles in front of and behind the Presidential car [“What Does A Secret Service Agent Do?” by Wayne Hyde (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1962), page 28 (and acknowledgments) On the same page is a picture of agents walking right by JFK’s car in 1961].”
SA Gerald Blaine: Blaine told the author on 2/7/04 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 the author 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. Surprisingly, Blaine, the WHD advance agent for the Tampa trip of 11/18/63, 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 had to be HIS source for this story! In addition to Emory Roberts, one now wonders 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 (see below ^^^). Blaine would not respond to a follow-up letter on this subject.
However, when the author phoned Blaine on 6/10/05, the former agent said the remark “Ivy League charlatans” came “from the guys…I can’t remember who [said it]…I can’t remember.” Thus, Blaine confirms that he did not hear the remark from JFK (When asked if agents rode on the rear of the limousine on the Italy trip in 1963, Blaine said forcefully: “Oh yeah, oh yeah.” It turns out he was one of the agents)
Chief James Rowley: Rowley told the Warren Commission: "No President will tell the Secret Service what they can or cannot do.” [5 H 470]“Most Presidents have responded to our requests…” [Rowley oral history, LBJ Library, 1/22/69, page 2]
Newsmen- ABC’s Ron Gardner, ABC’s Jim Haggerty (former Eisenhower Press Secretary), & UPI’s Robert J. Serling: Shortly after the assassination on 11/22/63 before a television audience of many millions of people, Gardner reported: “Secret Service agents normally walk directly beside the car. We can’t see any in these pictures .” Also on the very same day before an enormous television audience, Haggerty maintained that agents normally walked or jogged near the rear of the president’s car, adding that he had a hand in planning many motorcades (as did his successor, Pierre Salinger). For his part, Serling wrote on 11/23/63, based in part on “private conversations” with unnamed agents: “There are two absolute rules for motorcade protection: The agent running or riding at the President's shoulder must never leave that position unless relieved. The other is to turn out the manpower in all secret service cars the moment trouble arises and get secret service bodies around the President.”
Jacqueline Kennedy (rode with President Kennedy in the limousine): For her part, 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…[emphasis added]” [“Just Jackie: Her Private Years” by Edward Klein (Ballantine Books, 1999), pages 58-59 & 374: based off an interview Klein had with Kitty Carlisle Hart re: Hart’s conversation with Jackie]
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1:40 p.m., 11/29/63: "You see, there was no Secret Service man standing on the back of the car. Usually the presidential car in the past has had steps on the back, next to the bumpers, and there's usually been one [agent] on either side standing on these steps...[ellipsis in text]...Whether the President asked that that not be done, we don't know (emphasis added).” So, as of 11/29/63, a week after the murder, the myth hadn’t been set in motion yet.
June Kellerman, the widow of Roy H. Kellerman, ASAIC WHD: In a letter to the author dated 12/2/97, Mrs. Kellerman wrote: "Roy did not say that JFK was difficult to protect,” which confirms the author’s two prior telephonic interviews with her conducted on 3/2/92 and 9/27/92, respectively. (For his part, Kellerman did not mention JFK's alleged desires even once during his very lengthy, two-session interview with the Warren Commission , not to mention his reports and his later HSCA and private researcher contacts)

Jean Brownell Behn, widow of the late Gerald A. Behn, SAIC WHD (see above): Mrs. Behn told the author on 11/18/95 that Jerry did not like William Manchester's book "The Death of a President" and confirmed that she also did not believe that JFK had ever conveyed to Jerry the idea of having the agents not ride on the rear of the limousine. In a follow-up letter dated 11/28/97, she stated: "The only thing I can tell you is that Jerry always said 'Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you read'”

Floyd Boring (and quite a few of his colleagues) categorically denied to the author what William Manchester reports in his acclaimed massive best-seller “The Death of a President”: "Kennedy grew weary of seeing bodyguards roosting behind him every time he turned around [indicating the frequency of the event], and in Tampa on November 18 [1963], just four days before his death, he dryly asked Agent Floyd Boring to 'keep those Ivy League charlatans off the back of the car.' Boring wasn't offended. There had been no animosity in the remark." Incredibly, Boring told this author: "I never told him that." As for the merit of the quote itself, as previously mentioned, Boring said: "No, no, no-that's not true.” 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 8/23/93 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). [see ^^^, below]
And, if that wasn't enough, AGENTS DID INDEED RIDE ON THE REAR OF JFK'S LIMOUSINE IN ITALY (7/2/63) AND IN TAMPA (11/18/63)---Italy film clip, courtesy Jim Cedrone of the JFK Library; Newly discovered still photos from Naples: “John Fitzgerald Kennedy: A Life In Pictures” by Yann-Brice Dherbier & Pierre-Henri Verlhac (New York: Phaidon Press, 2003), pages 183 and 231. Corbis stock photos discovered by the author in 2005 (and also forwarded to former agents’ Blaine, Coughlin, & O’Rourke). Regarding Italy: See also “Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye” by O'Donnell, Kenneth P., David F. Powers, and Joseph McCarthy (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1972), page 433 [Note: All references to this book are from the Pocket Book paperback edition published in 1973]. The "Tampa Tribune", 11/19/63 (downtown area picture w/ agents Lawton & Zboril holding onto the rear handrails); Cecil Stoughton photo, taken from the follow-up car, 11/18/63 (suburban area picture depicting same); short clip in David Wolper's 1964 film "Four Days In November" depicting the start of the Tampa trip: agent Zboril is running on the left-rear end of the limo, holding onto the handrail, while agent Berger is riding on the opposite side; agent Lawton is seen running along Berger's side; B & W photos discovered by Ian Griggs and Frank Debenedictis; B & W photos from photographers’ Tony Zappone and Tommy Eure.

The deathblow to the Tampa tale

The author wrote to former Florida Congressman Samuel Melville Gibbons on 1/7/04 and asked him if he had heard President Kennedy order the agents off the rear of the limousine. Gibbons rode in the rear seat with JFK and Senator George Smathers on the Tampa trip of 11/18/63. Gibbons response in full, 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.”

Furthermore, an amazing document was released in the 1990’s concerning, among many other related topics, the issue of the agents’ presence (or lack thereof) on the limousine. This is a 28-page “Sensitive” memorandum from Belford Lawson, the attorney in charge of the Secret Service area for the HSCA, addressed to Gary Cornwell & Ken Klein dated 5/31/77 and revised 8/15/77. Apparently, Attorney Lawson was suspicious of Mr. Boring, for he wrote on the final page of this lengthy memorandum: “Subject: Florida Motorcades in November 1963…Was Floyd Boring, the Senior SS Agent on the White House detail, lying to SS Agent Hill when he told Hill that JFK had said in Tampa…that he wanted no agents riding upright on the rear bumper step of the JFK limousine? Did JFK actually say this? Did Boring know when he told this to Hill that Hill would be riding outboard on the JFK follow-up car in Dallas on November 22, 1963? Did Boring say this to Ready or Roberts? [Lawson’s emphasis]” On page 27 of the same memo, Lawson wrote: “Why did only one Agent, Hill, run forward to the JFK limousine?”

William “Tim” McIntyre, WHD (rode on the follow-up car on 11/22/63): The author contacted McIntyre on 6/13/05 (McIntyre had previously been contacted via mail in 2004, based on the strong recommendations of former agents’ Larry Newman and Tony Sherman, but did not respond back). Asked about the Tampa trip of 11/18/63, the former agent said: “I was there on the follow-up car.” Regarding the question of agents being on the back of the car, McIntyre said: “I believe so---Zboril was on the back,” which he was (He also mentioned Don Lawton and Emory Roberts as being on the trip, which they were). Regarding the matter at hand, McIntyre stated: “I can’t remember if they were told to be off the car.” So, in spite of these strong recommendations from his colleagues to ask him about this specific subject, McIntyre now allegedly “can’t remember”?


SA Sam Kinney Kinney also told the author that Ken O'Donnell did not interfere with the agents: "Nobody ordered anyone around.”

ATSAIC Art Godfrey: "He [Ken O'Donnell] did not order anyone around."

Boring told the JFK Library: “…of all the administrations I worked with, the president and the people surrounding the president were very gracious and were very cooperative. As a matter of fact, you can’t do this type of security work without cooperation of the people surrounding the president…[emphasis added]”

Indeed, Chief James J. Rowley told the JFK Library in 1976: " could talk to them [JFK’s staff]...It made for a very happy relationship."

Aide David F. Powers (rode in the follow-up car on 11/22/63): As mentioned above, in a personal letter to the author dated 9/10/93, Mr. Powers wrote: "Unless they were ‘running’ along beside the limo, the Secret Service rode in a car behind the President, so, no, they never had to be told to "get off" the limousine". This comment rivals Behn’s shocking statements to the author due to the source: President Kennedy’s longtime friend and aide and a man who was on countless trips with the President. For the record, Agent Bob Lilley endorsed Mr. Powers view: "Dave would give you factual answers." In addition, the ARRB’s Tom Samoluk told the author that, during the course of an interview he conducted with Powers in 1996, the former JFK aide and friend agreed with the author’s take on the Secret Service!

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, as mentioned above, Powers refutes this whole idea. Again, JFK’s staff is not mentioned as a factor during any of the agent’s Warren Commission testimony, nor in the five reports submitted in April 1964.

Press Secretary Pierre Salinger: JFK had a good relationship with the Secret Service and, more importantly, did NOT argue with their security measures. This was based on the author's correspondence with noted journalist Roger Peterson from 2/99 (from Peterson's very recent conversations with Salinger).


Clinton Secret Service Director Lewis C. Merletti---
“The Washington Post” reported on 5/14/98: “During private meetings, sources said, Merletti told officials from [Kenneth] Starr's office [investigating the President Clinton/ Monica Lewinsky matter] and the Treasury and Justice departments that trust and proximity to a president are crucial to protecting him ...the service ran through the history of assassination attempts, showing instances where they succeeded or failed, possibly depending on how close agents were to an intended victim. Sources said they produced rare photographs of John F. Kennedy's fateful 1963 motorcade through Dallas, where agents were not standing on running boards on the back of his exposed automobile when shots rang out because the president several days before had ordered them not to…Merletti indicated to the court that the assassination in a moving limousine of President John F. Kennedy "might have been thwarted had agents been stationed on the car's running boards (emphasis added).” To drive the point home even further, here is an excerpt from Director Merletti’s testimony, as reported in “The Washington Post” from 5/20/98: "I have attached, as Exhibit A to this Declaration, photographs of President John F. Kennedy's visit to Tampa, Florida on November 18, 1963. We use these photographs, and the ones attached as Exhibit B, in our training exercises. Exhibit A demonstrates the lengths to which protective personnel have been forced to go to try to maintain proximity to the President. In the photographs contained in Exhibit A, agents are kneeling on the running board of the Presidential limousine, while the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed [note: a contradiction---according to prior official agency mythology, the agents shouldn’t even be there at all!]. I can attest that this requires extraordinary physical exertion. Nevertheless, they performed this duty in an attempt to maintain close physical proximity to the President. Exhibit B, by contrast, scarcely needs any introduction. It is a series of photographs of the Presidential limousine, taken just four days later, on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. As can be seen, at the instruction of the President, Secret Service agents had been ordered off of the limousine's running boards. An analysis of the ensuing assassination (including the trajectory of the bullets which struck the President) indicates that it might have been thwarted had agents been stationed on the car's running boards. In other words, had they been able to maintain close proximity to the President during the motorcade, the assassination of John F. Kennedy might have been averted. Exhibit C contains a series of photographs taken during the actual assassination that demonstrate how critical and tragic the absence of proximity to the protectee can be (emphasis added).”

Former Carter & Reagan SAIC Jerry Parr told Larry King on 7/14/98, with no firsthand knowledge whatsover: “The critical factor [in Dallas]…was the fact that he [JFK] ordered the two agents off the car…which made him very vulnerable to Lee Oswald’s attack.”

Actor John Malkovich repeated the myth of JFK’s alleged orders to millions of theater patrons in the Secret Service “sponsored” blockbuster 1993 Clint Eastwood movie “In The Line Of Fire”: “You wanted to station agents on his bumpers and sideboards-he refused. And do you know why I think he refused? I think he refused because he had a death wish.”

NON JFK era Agent Dennis V.N. McCarthy wrote in his book “Protecting The President”: "(talking about 11/22/63) ...and the President himself waved off the agents who customarily rode on the car's running boards [emphasis added; “Protecting The President” by Dennis V.N. McCarthy with Philip W. Smith (New York: Dell Publishing Co, Inc., 1985), page 188].

In addition, former NON JFK era agent Marty Venker said in the book “Confessions of an Ex-Secret Service Agent,” written by George Rush: "John Kennedy…had vetoed the idea of agents riding on his limo’s rear bumper-where one of them might’ve stopped a bullet…So, in a way, part of the blame for JFK's death rested with the man himself [emphasis added; “Confessions of an Ex-Secret Service Agent” by George Rush (New York: Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc., 1988), page 25].”

NON JFK era agent Joe Petro wrote in his book: "As I read the Warren Commission Report, it seems that the president was the one who said, No agents on the back of the car [emphasis added; “Standing Next To History: An Agent’s Life Inside The Secret Service” by Joseph Petro with Jeffrey Robinson (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2005), page 20].”

Even a 1986 pictorial book on JFK, “John F. Kennedy” by Lois E. Anderson (CT: Longmeadow Press, 1992), got into the act: “The president’s frequent disregard for security precautions was a source of anxiety to the Secret Service men assigned to protect him.” [Page 135]

“Assassinations That Changed The World” History Channel 1996 [narrator]: “…the bubbletop was removed. He had insisted that no Secret Services agents ride on the back bumper or side running boards, and that motorcycle officers not flank his car, but stay to the front and back.”

*****Agents agree that NOT having the agents near JFK causes his death*****

SA Lynn Meredith: "I do believe if agents had been riding on the rear of the limo in Dallas that President Kennedy would not have been assassinated as they would have been in Oswald’s line of fire…To elaborate a little more on the assassination in Dallas, I have always believed that the following [10] adverse situations all contributed to the unnecessary and unfortunate death of President Kennedy: (1) No Secret Service agents riding on the rear of the limousine…
Former agent Harry Neal wrote: “It is my personal belief that had they [Secret Service] been permitted to stay on the presidential car, the body of one of the agents might have completely obscured the President from Oswald’s vision. In that event, either no shots would have been fired, or the agent might have been killed or wounded. But the President would not have been hit.” [“The Secret Service In Action” by Harry Neal (New York: Elsevier/Nelson books, 1980), page 93.]
An unnamed former JFK-era agent told author Philip Melanson in February 2002 that not having agents on the running boards of the limousine was a major factor in Kennedy’s death. [Melanson, Philip H. with Peter F. Stevens. The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2003, page 285]
Former Secret Service Chief Frank J. Wilson wrote: “Agents on running boards at Dallas might not have saved the President from the first bullet but might have saved him from the second one, which was fatal,” a view later shared by Reagan Agent Joseph Petro.["Special Agent” by Frank J. Wilson and Beth Day (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965), page 247. “Standing Next To History: An Agent’s Life Inside The Secret Service” by Joseph Petro with Jeffrey Robinson (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2005), page 20]

*****important "loose ends"*****

William Manchester Manchester also wrote, somewhat redeeming himself (a little) [see pages 37-38, 1988 edition]: “It was a good idea, for example, to have agents perched on the broad trunk of the Presidential Lincoln when crowds threatened to grow disorderly. The trouble was that they were always there...Kennedy grew weary of seeing bodyguards roosting behind him every time he turned around [indicating the frequency of the event], [emphasis added].”

Jim Bishop wrote [see pages 39-41, 134, 558. All references to Bishop’s book are from the 1992 Harper Perennial edition]: "No one wanted to weigh the possibilities that, if a Secret Service man had been on the left rear bumper going down Elm Street, it would have been difficult to hit President Kennedy (emphasis added).” Bishop also noted: "The Secret Service men were not pleased because they were in a "hot" city and would have preferred to have two men ride the bumper of the President's car with two motorcycle policemen between him [JFK] and the crowds on the sidewalks."

Author Gerald Posner , via his best-selling book “Case Closed”: "As the President and his staff had requested… no Secret Service men rode on the running boards attached to the rear." Not only is it a matter of common knowledge that Clint Hill rode briefly on the rear of the limousine four different times, albeit before entering the sight of the assassination, Dealey Plaza (and against the ‘new’ Secret Service wishes), no actual Secret Service agents are credited in the actual text or endnotes of Posner’s book. So where did Posner get his information? The author e-mailed Posner and received this surprising reply on 3/4/98: “Without checking my files (you're asking about research six and seven years ago), I don't remember interviewing any SS agents for the record, and I don't remember off hand even talking to any for background. I am almost certain I merely relied on orig. docs, or the agents' original interviews and/ or testimony,” a view Posner later confirmed to researcher W. Tracy Parnell. That said, Posner did contact, but did not interview, none other than Agent Floyd M. Boring, who in turn put him in touch with Percy Hamilton Brown, the Executive Secretary of the Former Agents of the Secret Service (although Brown is credited on page 503 of his book, in the Acknowledgements section, it was only through the author’s interview with Boring that his contact with Posner was inadvertently revealed). In this author’s view, Posner’s statements to myself and Parnell appear to be true. In addition, it appears that, ostensibly, like Boring, Brown was of no actual help to Posner, but his name was put in the tail end of the book anyway.[“Case Closed” by Gerald Posner (New York: Random House, 1993), page 233. See also “Murder In Dealey Plaza “ by Prof. James Fetzer (Chicago: Catfeet Press, 2000), pages 163, 166, 183-184. On the very same page, Posner also credits Secret Service Archivist Mike Sampson, a young man not even born when the assassination occurred and, to make matters worse, misspells his last name as “Simpson.”]

Manchester, page 667. Of the 21 agents/ officials interviewed by Manchester, only Roberts, Greer, Kinney, and Blaine were on the Florida trip. Blaine was the advance agent for Tampa (riding in the lead car), Greer drove JFK’s car, Kinney drove the follow-up car, and Roberts was the commander of the follow-up car. That said, in the author’s opinion, Roberts is still the main suspect of the four as being Manchester’s dubious source for this quote: after all, he was asked to write a report about JFK’s so-called desires, citing Boring as the source for the order via radio transmission (see above). The others---Greer, Kinney, & Blaine---were not asked to write a similar report. In addition, Manchester had access to this report while writing his book (see next footnote). Also, unlike the other three, Roberts was interviewed twice and, while Greer never went on record with his feelings about the matter, one way or the other, Kinney adamantly denied the veracity of Manchester’s information, while Blaine denied the substance of the information, although he DID mention the “Ivy league charlatan” remark coming from a secondary source. Finally, of the 21 agents interviewed by Manchester, Blaine is the only agent---save two headquarters Inspectors (see next footnote)---whose interview comments are not to be found in the text or index. Since, in addition to Blaine, three other agents---Lawton, Meredith & Newman---also mentioned the remark as hearsay, in some fashion or another, it is more than likely that Manchester seized upon the remark and greatly exaggerated its significance…AND attributed it to Boring, while his actual source was likely Roberts (and/ or Blaine). Again, since Boring wasn’t interviewed, the comment had to come second-hand from another agent, who, in turn, received the remark second-hand from Boring. Ultimately, the question is: did Boring really give out this order on instructions from JFK?

Interestingly, Manchester, having interviewed 21 different agents/ officials for his book [pages 660-669], chose to include interviews with Secret Service Inspectors Burrill Peterson and Jack Warner. What’s the problem? Well, these men, not even associated with the Texas trip in any way, were interviewed more than any of the other agents: four times each (Peterson: 10/9/64, 11/17/64, 11/18/64, 2/5/65; Warner: 6/2/64, 11/18/64, 2/5/65, 5/12/65)! Only Emory Roberts, Clint Hill, Roy Kellerman, and Forrest Sorrels had two interviews apiece, while all the other agents/ officials garnered just one interview each. And, more importantly, unlike all the other 19 agents, save one, Gerald Blaine (a Texas trip WHD agent), these two Inspectors are not even mentioned in the actual text or the index; their comments are “invisible” to the reader. It appears, then, that Manchester’s book was truly a sanitized, “official” book, more so than we thought before (as most everyone knows, the book was written with Jackie Kennedy’s approval: it was her idea, in fact [page ix]. Manchester even had early, exclusive access to the Warren Commission itself: “At the outset of my inquiry the late Chief Justice Earl Warren appointed me an ex officio member of his commission…and provided me with an office in Washington’s VFW building, where the commission met and where copies of reports and depositions were made available to me [page xix]). Inspector Peterson figured prominently in the post-assassination press dealings (or lack thereof)---as Agent Sorrels testified: “…I don't think at any time you will see that there is any statement made by the newspapers or television that we said anything because Mr. Kelley, the Inspector, told me ‘Any information that is given out will have to come from Inspector Peterson in Washington.’"[7 H 359] Peterson became an Assistant Director for Investigations in 1968 [“20 Years in the Secret Service” by Rufus Youngblood (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1973), page 220], while Inspector Warner would go on to become Director of Public Affairs (a position he held until the 1990’s), acting as a buffer to critical press questions during the assassination attempts on President Ford and other related matters [“The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency” (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2003) by Philip Melanson with Peter Stevens, pages 101, 201, 224, 237]. Warner would also later become a consultant to the 1993 Clint Eastwood movie “In The Line of Fire.”

Secret Service propaganda: blame the victim (JFK), blame the staff

Secrets of the Secret Service