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Missing Code Books on 11/22/63


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“Stranger” and the Missing Code Books – Coup or Faux Paux?

“’We have to know who Stranger is,’” Secretary Rusk said. ‘We don’t know what is happening in Dallas. Who is the government now?’”

“The messages kept coming off the wire service machine and finally one started grinding out the story of Lee Harvey Oswald and his previous life in Russia and his membership in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. This went against all the preconceived theories we had established.”

“ 'If this is true,’ Secretary Rusk said, ‘this is going to have repercussions around the world for years to come.’"

On November 22, 1963, most of President John F. Kennedy’s cabinet were in an airplane over the Pacific on their way to Japan for a regional conference, including Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Secretary of the Treasury Douglas Dillon, Secretary of Interior Stewart Udall, Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges, Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman, Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz and Press Secretary Pierre Salinger.

The existing Air Force One tapes begin, not with radio communications with Air Force One, but with riveting conversations between the Cabinet plane and the White House Situation Room....

JFKcountercoup: "Stranger" & the Missing Code Books on 11/22/63

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Prequil to the AF1 Radio Transmission Tapes

A study the assassination of President Kennedy through what is reported on the radio broadcast transmissions provides a unique perspective into the event.

The existing tapes of Air Force One radio communications on 11/22/63 begin at Carswell AFB in Fort Worth, with the pilot of Air Force One reporting his departure and estimated time of arrival in Dallas.

Carswell AFB is a Strategic Air Command facility whose commanding officer, at first, refused to allow the public onto the base to see the President arrive and depart, but later relented under pressure from the White house.

According to William Manchester, “That Friday Lyndon Johnson did not know that John Kennedy had ordered the taping of all Angel conversations while the plane was in flight,” an order that apparently also included the taping of all Special Air Mission (SAM) flights because among the recorded patches on the tapes are communications between the Cabinet plane and the White House and Andrews and the Pentagon and General LeMay’s SAM flight from Canada, neither of which involved Air Force One…..

JFKcountercoup: Prequil to the AF1 Radio Transmission Tapes

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  • 1 year later...

Bill, the more and more I ponder the code books the less I realize we know. So far I've been unable to confirm that even the President's plane carried encryption equipment for secure

voice circuits. Whether or not they had secrute data circuits, like an encrypted teletype circuit is another question. It appears they may not have had such equipment other than

on the Kneecap / Silver Dollar and SAC airborne command aircraft. One of the reasons the bomb bag officer traveled with the president was to show him the code pages for

the SIOP, apparently then the President would use voice codes over a clear circuit from AF1. That explains one set of codes. One other codebook would be the name codes

used for the different personages so that you could do clear voice circuits without the world overhearing and knowing who was talking to who. Clearly the plane the delegation

to Japan didn't have that book, question is, who did and where were they kept. Its pretty clear a bunch of these protocols never got actually tested in drills or anything like

that ....even the bomb code book and SIOP were unknown to some of the Presidents and certainly the VP's.

Anyway, I'll be interested if someone has been able to take this communications and code thing futher. After trying to discuss it with one former AF1 comm guy and running into

a brick wall it became clear how much of a challenge it was going to be, certainly I never could find anyting in the various books about AF1 or even the Situation Room.

-- Larry

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Bill, the more and more I ponder the code books the less I realize we know. So far I've been unable to confirm that even the President's plane carried encryption equipment for secure

voice circuits. Whether or not they had secrute data circuits, like an encrypted teletype circuit is another question. It appears they may not have had such equipment other than

on the Kneecap / Silver Dollar and SAC airborne command aircraft. One of the reasons the bomb bag officer traveled with the president was to show him the code pages for

the SIOP, apparently then the President would use voice codes over a clear circuit from AF1. That explains one set of codes. One other codebook would be the name codes

used for the different personages so that you could do clear voice circuits without the world overhearing and knowing who was talking to who. Clearly the plane the delegation

to Japan didn't have that book, question is, who did and where were they kept. Its pretty clear a bunch of these protocols never got actually tested in drills or anything like

that ....even the bomb code book and SIOP were unknown to some of the Presidents and certainly the VP's.

Anyway, I'll be interested if someone has been able to take this communications and code thing futher. After trying to discuss it with one former AF1 comm guy and running into

a brick wall it became clear how much of a challenge it was going to be, certainly I never could find anyting in the various books about AF1 or even the Situation Room.

-- Larry

Hi Larry, Thanks for your interest in this important subject, and thanks for all the other contributions you have made, and I too have thoughts along the same lines as you do.

Incredibly enough, we have located and I have talked with "Stranger" - Maj. Patterson, and others, and I think we can fill in some of the blanks, though maybe not all of them.

Any further assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Looking forward to seeing you in Dallas in November.

BK

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Great work on finding "Stranger" Bill! I'm certainly continuing to look and some of the military research I'm into these days does take me back and forth across that line of travel so I will keep looking.

One of the things that I was surprised about was that a brand new type of voice security system was installed by NASA for John Glen's orbital flight - at the time it was a one of a kind thing

requiring custom equipment on both ends of the radio links. I can find plenty of examples of security radio voice systems coming into play in the early 60's but those were almost always

land line phones, with send/receive hardware on both ends. Later the encryption gear becomes transistorized and commonplace for radio but during the early 60's it's murky.

The other thing that amazes me is that apparently they never had drills on any of the protocols. JFK's personal friend, the Navy officer who literally set up the situation room, got the

task of coverting the SIOP into a series of graphic panels which went along with the bomb bag so the president could quickly scan options and pick atomic attack codes. But there is no

sign the presidents or VP's every got briefed on ran through operations drills with the material...maybe they did...but maybe not. I have verified that when JFK ordered the SIOP changed

following the Cuban missile crisis that it took two or more years for that to happen, apparently not through any duplicity but more sheer beauracracy.

Much of what was considred high national security then looks less so now, for example there was a backup national command communications center in case somebody took out the

Pentagon...but it had a huge antenna farm, was quite exposed and a Spaznetz team with a mortor could have taken it down in maybe 15 minutes. I have to say as much as everyone

dislikes LeMay, it appears only SAC really took atomic warfare seriously. And if their are any baby boomers who want a hard dose of defense reality for the time period when we grew

I recommend Shield of Faith by Bruce Briggs.

-- Larry

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