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military response to jfk assassination

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Thanks Evan, I did dig pretty deeply into the work of the real specialists such as Bruce Blair as well as the actual practitioners including Admiral Miller. It was hugely educational for me and I think a lot of folks

will find surprises in it. As it turns out there we often huge practical disconnects between the military side and the civilian, national command authority. Looking at the whole body of work, over several decades

really made that stand out. The book will be going into edit the end of next month and hopefully will be available by September.

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I would recommend as basic homework reading Manchester's research on this since he interviewed all the principals in regard to their movements and actions starting within months of the event.


Considering the complexity of the issues you've presented, it's impossible for you to convey the meaning of an entire book in a few paragraphs, let alone ALL the research behind it as well. I'm sure it is at least somewhat frustrating for you. But thank you for trying, and for your patience in explaining your conclusions.

I am definitely looking forward to reading Surprise Attack. The subject you're covering is fascinating, and I am unaware of any one else who has presented more than speculation.

QUESTION: Is Manchester's research/interviews for "The Death of a President" available? I thought that much of it, or all of it, was still classified, or unavailable from the Kennedy family? Considering the 'access' that he was granted, I have to believe he was aware of a lot of things that were not put in the book for various reasons.

Considering the number of high-ranking people who were spreading lies, Manchester undoubtedly received 'bad' info from some, and it seems reasonable to assume that the Kennedy family insisted some things not be printed. After all, their public position was in agreement with the WC, although there was some degree of 'hedging' involved.

Aside from any censoring by the Kennedy family, do you think Manchester's book is a credible source of info? In other words, he left some stuff out, but what he did print was the truth, as he believed it?


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Tom, indeed Manchester himself has refused to release his actual notes as far as I know...and many have prompted him for them. My understanding is that he had a bit of a falling out with Jackie, its totally rumor and gossip but I think was putting in more negatives about Johnson than she wanted at that point in time....or another interpretation is that it simply had to much about Johnson in it, meaning too much personal focus on him rather than JFK and his friends and staff. My impression is he stonewalled her on that point and the book retained information rather than having it taken out. It may well be that he agreed to hold the notes and interviews due to some pretty negative comments he was getting from Kennedy staff about Johnson. My understanding is that the notes and transcripts are his personal property, he is the only one that could make the decision on release and has chosen not to do so, as far as I know simply on the grounds that they are personal property, not historical documents. Someone else may know if he gave a more detailed explanation or announced any plans to turn them over to some archive.

Now having said that, as far as I can tell Manchester was an absolute fanatic about sources, he went to the mat with Johnson on the AF1 tapes and finally got at least an edited version. Johnson was so afraid of Manchester and the book that he assigned one of his staff to try and spy on Manchester and find out what was going to be in it. I/we have found a couple of places where it seems that he was not told the full story but those relate to national security issues, for example he was told there was no secure voice communications available on AF1 and that is pretty unlikely. Certainly there as a secure teletype and at least one source who was doing communications with the plane that day and who does not want to be named suggested to me that it was totally unreasonable to think there was not secure voice as well. Actually the technical aspects of the communication on the plane seem to be one of the most closely kept secrets. I've come to believe that part of that, especially at the time, was standard security practice but another part was that Johnson was so unprepared, inept and....well anyway....that some folks may have been trying to cover up for his total failure to live up to his duty as CIC.

A simple answer to your question is that there may well be areas where Manchester was not given the full or true story of events in Dallas, but as far as the national security, command and control and related areas that are the focus of Surprise Attack, I found his information to be quite accurate. In my book I do highlight some areas where I think certain he was given a cleaner, or better sounding story after the fact than what really happened that day. Nothing really unusual there, I found the same thing in regard to more than a dozen other national security crises that I evaluate in the book, some of them much more egregious.

-- hope that answers your question, if I went off on a tangent and missed something just let me know.. Larry

Edited by Larry Hancock
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Thanks David, that pretty well resolves any existing question of access....what we would want to see is far out in time, looks like I'll have to leave that to someone else. Good to see the wording in the legal agreement though, it is pretty definitive in terms of Manchester having his hands tied by the law suit. No wonder if was reportedly so bitter about it.

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