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Evgenia Plotnikova-Doumerc

Student's question: Secret Service

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The House Select Committee of Assassinations) was highly critical of the Secret Service:

"The Secret Service was deficient in the performance of its duties. The Secret Service possessed information that was not properly analyzed, investigated or used by the Secret Service in connection with the President's trip to Dallas; in addition, Secret Service agents in the motorcade were inadequately prepared to protect the President from a sniper."

So, my question is, was it obligatory at that time for the SS to check all the buildings that the President's car was going to pass? If yes, is there any evidence whether it was done or not?

Thanks! :o

Background details of the people answering this questions can be found at:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=1169

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The Secret Service is the CIA. It's a highly classified state secret and intelligence officers must have a "need to know" before they are privy to this fact. The CIA took over Secret Service duties as a result of legislation signed in 1951.

In July of 1951, four years after the CIA was created under provisions of the National Security Act of 1947, and two years after the “super-secret” legislation “legalizing the work of the CIA,” President Truman signed a bill making the United States Secret Service “a permanent Government agency for the first time.”

Prior to that, it had “existed on a year to year basis” for “eighty-six years.”

Besides Presidential protection and suppressing counterfeiting, the Secret Service “takes part in other security activities the nature of which is not made public.”

Six days after Truman signed the new legislation, a New York Times article detailed more information about the Secret Service. It said that the Secret Service had handled counterespionage during the Spanish-American War, and that it didn’t begin Presidential protection until President McKinley’s assassination in 1901.

The Secret Service, originally set up in 1865 to suppress counterfeiting, “gradually took over other functions.”

Prior to this “permanent status” of the Secret Service, “every year Congress had to approve its continuation.”

“Secret Service” agents displayed grossly conspicuous behavior on November 22, 1963, at Parkland Hospital where President Kennedy was taken after he was shot.

In 1967, a New York Times article reported on an interview with O.P. Wright, chief of security at Parkland Hospital. Mr. Wright recounted that a bullet “had dislodged after a stretcher had been moved and it was lying on the floor.”

“Mr. Wright said that for more than half an hour Secret Service men ‘didn't seem interested in coming in and looking at the bullet in the position it was in’ . . . His efforts to get a Federal agent to take the bullet finally led to a matter-of-fact acceptance without questioning or additional investigation, Mr. Wright said.”

The “official” story alleges that President Kennedy was struck by two bullets, one that “disintegrated” after causing the fatal head wound and the other allegedly passing through his throat and causing Governor Connally’s wounds in the chest and wrist (the magic bullet). The bullet that the “Secret Service” was trying to ignore didn’t officially exist, but maybe this bullet was to become the “magic bullet.”

If this bullet had actually become “dislodged,” Mr. Wright’s unwanted help was interfering with plans for a cover-up. If Mr. Wright was mistaken and it hadn’t become “dislodged,” then it was there to factor into the fabricated story of how Kennedy’s wounds were caused. Either way, it was undoubtedly very important that “Secret Service” agents ignore the security chief’s attempts to call their attention to the bullet on the floor.

Twenty-six days after Kennedy was assassinated, a Washington Post article headlined “Kennedy Autopsy Report: Final Bullet Was Lethal” said, “Both bullets that struck the President were tied by ballistics tests to the rifle found in that building where Lee Harvey Oswald worked,” and one of the bullets was “found deep in his shoulder,” but “the one bullet that struck Governor Connally, however, could not be similarly traced to any rifle because it fragmented.”

In this scenario, the “Secret Service” would have to be ignoring the bullet that struck Kennedy in the head, which has since officially “disintegrated.”

The “magic bullet,” which the new story alleges passed through Kennedy’s throat and wounded Governor Connally, is officially the only bullet in evidence, and it was “officially” found on a stretcher, but the “Secret Service” was the source of that official information.

Two days after President Kennedy’s assassination, the Washington Post reported: “Under law, the chief of the Secret Service is empowered to overrule the President on the question of security precautions.”

Such a law, which may have changed since Congress was made aware of it in 1984, could not have existed for an agency that was originally set up to suppress counterfeiting, not protect the President, an agency that existed on a year-to-year basis. This “law” was in the bill that Truman signed twelve years earlier, the bill that Truman signed in 1951 making the “Secret Service” a permanent agency.

Since this was the legislation in which the CIA would assume the responsibility of the Secret Service, it was a nice supplement to the National Security Act of 1947 and the “super-secret” legislation of 1949.

Tony

Edited by Anthony Frank

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And just how did the "Secret Service" respond when the man who was going to be President Johnson's accused assassin was discovered???

Let's read what happened . . .

On October 31, 1964, Suffolk County Police arrested Robert Babcock 300 yards from Republic Aviation Corporation in New York, where President Johnson stepped from his plane on the company’s airstrip eight minutes later. He was arrested because he had a telescopic rifle on the seat beside him and a loaded shotgun in his trunk. Detectives spotted him in a routine check and took him into custody twenty minutes before the President passed by.

“The President’s motorcade had been expected to make a number of stops along the motorcade route . . .”

Robert Babcock was questioned by Suffolk County Police and the Secret Service, and “said first that he had been going on a hunting trip when he decided to stop and see the motorcade. He then said he made a bet with barroom acquaintances that he could do what he did without being detected.”

“He was charged with disorderly conduct and jailed for the night.”

If Suffolk County Police hadn’t arrested Robert Babcock, the KGB officers in the CIA would have assassinated President Johnson on October 31, 1964, and Robert Babcock would have been an ideal fall guy, thanks to some “barroom acquaintances.”

There were no bullets for the telescopic rifle, which would have been conducive to persuading him to take this action, but that would be easily rectified, and Robert Babcock would have found it impossible to understand how the murder weapon could be alleged to have been in his possession, and why the loaded shotgun in his trunk made him look more guilty.

The Suffolk County Police gave an alibi to a man who wasn’t supposed to have one, a man who was intrinsic to a Presidential assassination, and the “Secret Service” was so easily appeased because they knew their plans had gone awry and they wanted this to receive as little attention as possible. Where, when, why, and how he obtained the weapons, or if he owned them, was instantaneously of no significance, and the anonymous “barroom acquaintances” that persuaded him to take this action by making a bet with him remained anonymous, while he was simply charged with “disorderly conduct.”

The easily duped Mr. Babcock could’ve simply driven to the area of the first scheduled stop after one or more of the “barroom acquaintances” told him where it was. They could have also told him that where he would park wasn’t actually near the first scheduled stop. Or he could have even been told to first park along the motorcade route, and then drive a certain distance behind the motorcade as it traveled to the area of the first scheduled stop as part of the bet.

The “barroom acquaintances” were undoubtedly sure that he intended to carry out their plans as he left.

As he embarked on his daring venture, his instigators could have also said, “We know nothing’s going to happen but if it does, just get in your car and get out of there,” which would have been very conducive to making it look like he was the assassin.

Pulling out their money and saying, “We’ll see you when you get back, and we’ll know if you didn’t do it,” would have affirmed Robert Babcock’s idea that he was going to come into some easy money with a simplistic act.

Whatever the exact details of this assassination plan were, one thing is certain; the KGB officers who assassinated President Kennedy were going to assassinate President Johnson on October 31, 1964, and Robert Babcock was going to be the accused assassin.

What is also crystal clear from the details given, is that a man can be paid money to sit along the motorcade route of the President of the United States with a telescopic rifle on the seat beside him and a loaded shotgun in the trunk, and the United States “Secret Service” will do nothing but charge him with disorderly conduct and jail him for the night.

This text presents a clear reason why that could happen.

Tony

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Evgenia,

The work done by Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty suggests that there is a standard handbook for security, relative to providing standard procedures to follow to ensure executive protection.

Two interesting pieces from the website dedicated to his writings:

http://www.prouty.org/

Who did, who decided let's go to Dallas? You've been to Fort Worth, you've got to go to Dallas. That's important because whoever decided that knew some things.I have worked with the Secret Service in their good work to keep presidents alive. I went to Mexico City when Eisenhower was going down there in 1956 and I'll tell you, the Secret Service knows the game just like the gorillas in France knew the game. They can keep the President alive. Where were they?

How does it happen you can have a six story building with a lot of empty floors. They never wired or sealed the doors as their manual says they will, nor had anybody on the roof with high powered guns and with radios as their manual says they will, or had a man in Dealy Plaza to look at the man on the roof and to look at the windows as their manual says they will. If you don't drive over 44 mph, a nice figure but it works out in tests, why did they bring that car down to a crawling speed. Those are more important to me than a genealogy of Lee Harvey Oswald or anybody else on the grassy knoll.I think I'll stop there. That's what I call the anatomy of assassinations. It gets you thinking, you know.

Trained U.S. Army Intelligence Units were told their assistance was not needed in Dallas during the JFK visit. William McKinney, a former member of the crack 112th Military Intelligence Group at 4th Army Headquarters, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, has revealed that both Col. Maximillian Reich and his deputy, Lt. Col. Joel Cabaza, protested violently when they were told to "Stand Down" rather than in report with their units for duty in augmentation of the Secret Service in Dallas, McKinney said, "All the Secret Service had to do was nod and these units which had been trained at the Army's top Intelligence school at Camp Holabird, Maryland would have performed their normal function of Protection for the President in Dallas."

The 315th, the Texas unit which would have been involved if its support had not been turned down, had records in its files, according to McKinney, on Lee Harvey Oswald. The 315th had a Dallas office and its records were up to date.

McKinney added that, "Highly specialized classes were given at Camp Holabird on the subject of Protection. This included training designed to prepare this army unit to assist the Secret Service. If our support had not been refused, we would have been in Dallas."

Once they were told that that their unit wasn't needed, they assumed some other unit would get the job. They never dreamed there would be no one along the streets and rooftops.

It's not that the Secret Service didn't do the job... They weren't asked to do the job. Dealey Plaza was left vacant of normal protection.

Very, very clever planning.

Now think about this. Who has the power to make this kind of call? Not Lee Oswald, or Castro, or the Mafia. Another point is that these conversations are based on certin code words. These code words are of key importance. Because once an operation such as "protection for a presidential tour" is set in motion, only someone with this knowledge can make the call and use such code words that are needed to "stand down" an entire Army unit.

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One of the reasons that it's so difficult to give a pure yes or no answer to that question is that as far as I know nobody had ever produced a copy of an actual SS procedures handbook from 1963 - understadably at the time nobody was eager to do that for security reasons and afterwards their procedures had changed considerably.

However to be a little more realistic about matters, even if the guideline had called for that, the SS was faced with a trip which put the President in five cities over a three day period with major social events and public speeches at multiple locations plus motorcades of some sorts in each city. Given the size of the SS at the time they would have literally had to organize a huge mobilization most likely involving military units to accomplish that - not a thing JFK would have encouraged I expect.

In Dallas specifically, major preparation and personnel went into security efforts at the trade center where they expected militant and aggressive protestors on the model of the Stevenson visit. Because of expected demonstrations of the Chief of Police even went on TV and a special new city ordinace was passed related to public meetings and demonstrations, the Chief actually called on all citizens to help ensure that demonstrations did not get out of control.

Bottom line, you can find locations where buildings were checked on the Texas trip and where there were officers on buildings (Fort Worth for example) but sadly the SS and police were preparing for demonstrations and for traffic problems (the daily briefing conducted by DPD for officers focused on traffic and the point car for the motorcade was actually driven by a traffic officer). As the HSCA said, they simply were not prepared for a long distance attack on the President.

On a side note even if the handbook called for something different, there is ample evidence to show that even known rules such as not staying out late and drinking (as applied to next day duty personnel) was routinely violated - including in the early morning hours before the assassination.

-- Larry

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Let's look at the "Secret Service" and the attempt to kill President Reagan on March 30, 1981. Keep in mind that former CIA Director George H. W. Bush was Vice President at the time.

“When Reagan came out of the Hilton, the bulletproof Presidential limousine was not waiting directly in front of the hotel exit, as Secret Service practice usually requires.”

“If it had been, Reagan would have had a straight-line walk of about eight feet from door to car. Instead, he had to walk diagonally down the sidewalk about twenty-five feet, bringing him around a curve and into the line of fire of accused assailant John W. Hinckley, Jr.”

“Television crew members at the Hilton said they had complained to the Secret Service about bystanders pushing into the area reserved for the press. One bystander, as it turned out, was the accused gunman.”

(Washington Post, 4-1-81, page 16)

“A Secret Service official said the advance agent on the scene concluded that it would be counterproductive to set up an area restricted only to the press on the narrow, curving walk outside the hotel.” (Counterproductive?)

“Henry M. Brown of ABC,” a television cameraman who had photographed most of the event, “said he had complained earlier to the Secret Service that members of the public had ‘penetrated the police line,’ creating crowded conditions in the press area and making it difficult to work. His complaint went unheeded, and Brown went on working. He was standing near the assailant when he started to fire.”

(Washington Post, 3-31-81, page 10)

“‘He just opened up and kept squeezing the trigger,’ Brown said.”

“A Secret Service official said the press area outside the hotel was not a ‘dedicated press area.’”

“Generally, agents want the armored limousine waiting in a direct line with the President’s exit door as he moves from building to car.”

“Such positioning shortens the period of vulnerability and makes it easier for agents to form a human shield as the public figure moves. In some cases, agents have had the car moved one foot or less to have it perfectly aligned with the exit.”

“On Monday, though, Reagan’s limousine was waiting about twenty to twenty-five feet down the driveway from the door. To reach the car, Reagan had to walk down the curving sidewalk. Around the curve, flush against the hotel wall, the assailant waited with his pistol.”

Tony

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Lee, I suggest you obtain the ARRB interview with Col. Prouty and review his remarks to them on the subject of his actual knowledge of SS procedures and of security preparations - I think you will find a considerable varience in his interview with them, a lengthy voluntary interview on his part actually.

It's part of the CD collection I published on the 112th MI.

-- Larry

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Q1) Presidential protection, buildings, open windows:

From what I have read, one of the typical duties of the secret service, when protecting the President, would be to pay particular attention to open windows along a motorcade route. It is impossible to put a SS man in each window on a route, but it is possible to be alert and pay attention to open windows with spectators on the route.

Here's a short extract from Clint Hill's testimony. In fact this is available from the

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKhillC.htm

site.

Arlen Specter: And what building is it?

Clinton Hill: It is the Texas School Book Depository.

Arlen Specter: Now, does that building appear on the Commission Exhibit No. 354?

Clinton Hill: Yes, sir; it does.

Arlen Specter: Did you have any occasion to notice the Texas School Book Depository Building as you proceeded in a generally northerly direction on Houston Street?

Clinton Hill: Yes, sir. It was immediately in front of us and to our left.

Arlen Specter: Did you notice anything unusual about it?

Clinton Hill: Nothing more unusual than any other building along the way.

Arlen Specter: What is your general practice, if any, in observing such buildings along the route of a Presidential motorcade?

Clinton Hill: We scan the buildings and look specifically for open windows, for people hanging out, and there had been, on almost every building along the way, people hanging out, windows open.

Arlen Specter: And did you observe, as you recollect at this moment, any open windows in the Texas School Depository Building?

Clinton Hill: Yes, sir; there were.

Arlen Specter: Are you able to recollect specifically which windows were open at this time?

Clinton Hill: No, sir; I cannot.

I hope this helps. Like Jack White pointed out, you can perform google searches to obtain answers to your questions, if you have trouble, ask us.

When doing research, I would caution you to be skeptical of what is said on the Mcadams site.

Edited by Antti Hynonen

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The House Select Committee of Assassinations) was highly critical of the Secret Service:

"The Secret Service was deficient in the performance of its duties. The Secret Service possessed information that was not properly analyzed, investigated or used by the Secret Service in connection with the President's trip to Dallas; in addition, Secret Service agents in the motorcade were inadequately prepared to protect the President from a sniper."

So, my question is, was it obligatory at that time for the SS to check all the buildings that the President's car was going to pass? If yes, is there any evidence whether it was done or not?

Reply: Not really. The Secret Service didn't have the manpower to check every building along a lengthy motorcade route. They relied to some degree on other federal agencies as well as local police, but even this additional assistance would not have been sufficient to check every building.

Martin Shackelford

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Reply: Not really. The Secret Service didn't have the manpower to check every building along a lengthy motorcade route. They relied to some degree on other federal agencies as well as local police, but even this additional assistance would not have been sufficient to check every building.

Martin Shackelford

Martin is right - it would have been impossible for the Secret Service to have checked every building along the parade route or prevented every window from opening. As long as the limo kept its 35mph speed up, then opened windows might not have been such a concern, but allowing the car to go under open windows of speeds less than a crawl should have gotten more attention in my view. Even more unbelievable to me is they didn't make sure that the police would have a guard in the RR yard directly above the knoll. To allow the potential for an assassin with a rifle take up cover from less than 90 feet to the street was a total collapse of security any way one looks at it. That one small obvious detail may have changed the outcome of the assassination.

In photos of JFK addressing the crowd outside his hotel on the morning of the assassination ... there are open windows all around that parkinglot.

Edited by Larry Peters

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Larry,

Just one small point.

You wrote:

(the daily briefing conducted by DPD for officers focused on traffic and the point car for the motorcade was actually driven by a traffic officer).

The point car has always been one of my biggest bones of contention in this case.

It contained two homicide dtectives, a member of the 112th MI, and was driven by Deputy Chief of Police, Goerge Lumpkin. His job on the force? He was head of the Service Division - the administrative office that covered things like the Fingerprint Section, the ID Bureau, Crime Search and the Headquarters Section (the jail, cooks, porters, etc.)

I would have been happy if they HAD put someone trained in traffic in that car.

Scattered throughout the DPD Archives there are documents stating that the last passenger in the car was a Secret Service Agent. I think there should have been.

Instead, officially anyway, we find the last passenger to be Jack Puterbaugh, Democratic Committee Advance Man. How he would be qualified to spot trouble in the streets is beyond me.

Steve Thomas

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Steve, I'm sorry for the confusion, the reason I picked the term "point" car was to try and differentiate it from the "lead" car which you are describing. Call it the "scout" car if you like but it drove the route a considerable way in front of the motorcade... something like 45 minutes. It was driven by a single traffic officer whose main focus was checking the positioning of assigned traffic officers in intersections and the blocking of designated streets, ramps etc.

This is a further illustration of the fact that in 1963 things like traffic, crowd control and at the very worst, demonstrations, were the things that were on the mind of the DPD and to a large extent even the SS. A lot of the things we automatically think about in our far more security challenged age just were not on the radar screen at the time. Read the days DPD brief and you get a sense of what their priorities were. Today we would have trained security personnel doing a threat evaluation on the route - in 1963 a stalled pick up under the railroad bridge was something to get out of the way, not a potential car bomb - in terms of police experience.

As to the "Lead" car, again in those times the lead car was just that, it lead the motorcade and Greer followed it. In his testimony he describes that as his job, he didn't review maps in advance, didn't drive the route himself to prepare for the next day - he followed the lead car assigned to lead the motorcade. And the lead car was focused on the motorcade as a logistics device and to support the motorcade as part of the days PR agenda - Puterbaugh actually fits there because he had the responsiblity for organizing the motorcade, designating what people went in which car and what sequence the vehicles were in. The ead car was not really about serious security, it was way to close to the President to do much in that regard, to close to even successfully abort or stop the cars behind it in time to avoid something bad, especially the JFK so far up front - and the reserve MI officer in it was not from the 112th, he has been interviewed and was simply there for personal reasons to get a ride in the President's motorcade. He was worked into the car by one of the officers who was his friend.

-- Larry

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Larry,

and the reserve MI officer in it was not from the 112th, he has been interviewed and was simply there for personal reasons to get a ride in the President's motorcade. He was worked into the car by one of the officers who was his friend.

Thanks, I didn't know that. I always wondered how he wound up in the motorcade.

I assume you've got his interview on the CD you put together. Did he have any salient observations?

Steve Thomas

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Steve, I didn't do the interview myself but I think I have documented it in print somewhere - I would be less than honest if I could tell you where that was off the top of my head. I think I've been writing on this too long...and at this point I can't even recall who briefed me on the interview, could be one of two or three folks I was working with about 4-5 years ago...sigh.

It may very possibly be in the article I did to go with the documents on the 112th CD, I should have put it there. In any event, the best I can do from memory is tell you that one of the DPD officers in the car was good friends with the reserve officer and told him he had a great position in the motorcade - apparently his friend asked if he could get in. The DPD officer actually took his friend to the

DPD morning briefing and from there to the airport to meet the President and then just slid him into the car as if he was assigned to be there. These days that sort of thing would be laugable (well maybe) but as you know Puterbaugh was introduced at the airport variously as a White House Aide and/or somebody from the DNC and nobody questioned either.

My impression is that the fellow just gracefully eased away at the hospital, knowing full well he wasn't really supposed to be there and certainly not wanting to make a big issue for his buddy at that point in time as to why he was.

-- Larry

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Evgenia,

The work done by Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty suggests that there is a standard handbook for security, relative to providing standard procedures to follow to ensure executive protection.

Two interesting pieces from the website dedicated to his writings:

http://www.prouty.org/

Who did, who decided let's go to Dallas? You've been to Fort Worth, you've got to go to Dallas. That's important because whoever decided that knew some things.I have worked with the Secret Service in their good work to keep presidents alive. I went to Mexico City when Eisenhower was going down there in 1956 and I'll tell you, the Secret Service knows the game just like the gorillas in France knew the game. They can keep the President alive. Where were they?

How does it happen you can have a six story building with a lot of empty floors. They never wired or sealed the doors as their manual says they will, nor had anybody on the roof with high powered guns and with radios as their manual says they will, or had a man in Dealy Plaza to look at the man on the roof and to look at the windows as their manual says they will. If you don't drive over 44 mph, a nice figure but it works out in tests, why did they bring that car down to a crawling speed. Those are more important to me than a genealogy of Lee Harvey Oswald or anybody else on the grassy knoll.I think I'll stop there. That's what I call the anatomy of assassinations. It gets you thinking, you know.

Trained U.S. Army Intelligence Units were told their assistance was not needed in Dallas during the JFK visit. William McKinney, a former member of the crack 112th Military Intelligence Group at 4th Army Headquarters, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, has revealed that both Col. Maximillian Reich and his deputy, Lt. Col. Joel Cabaza, protested violently when they were told to "Stand Down" rather than in report with their units for duty in augmentation of the Secret Service in Dallas, McKinney said, "All the Secret Service had to do was nod and these units which had been trained at the Army's top Intelligence school at Camp Holabird, Maryland would have performed their normal function of Protection for the President in Dallas."

The 315th, the Texas unit which would have been involved if its support had not been turned down, had records in its files, according to McKinney, on Lee Harvey Oswald. The 315th had a Dallas office and its records were up to date.

McKinney added that, "Highly specialized classes were given at Camp Holabird on the subject of Protection. This included training designed to prepare this army unit to assist the Secret Service. If our support had not been refused, we would have been in Dallas."

Once they were told that that their unit wasn't needed, they assumed some other unit would get the job. They never dreamed there would be no one along the streets and rooftops.

It's not that the Secret Service didn't do the job... They weren't asked to do the job. Dealey Plaza was left vacant of normal protection.

Very, very clever planning.

Now think about this. Who has the power to make this kind of call? Not Lee Oswald, or Castro, or the Mafia. Another point is that these conversations are based on certin code words. These code words are of key importance. Because once an operation such as "protection for a presidential tour" is set in motion, only someone with this knowledge can make the call and use such code words that are needed to "stand down" an entire Army unit.

That is not true. Colonel Robert E. Jones was the Operations Officer of the 112th and when he gave testimony the the HSCA, he said nothing about any orders to stand down and in fact said that the 112th did in fact provide some protection.

''We provided a small force — I do not recall how many, but I would estimate between 8 and 12 — during the President's visit to San Antonio, Texas; and then the following day, on his visit to Dallas, the regions also provided additional people to assist, that is additional people from Region."

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