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Security Stripping in Dallas?


Tim Gratz
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Poor security in Florida is no excuse for the events in Dallas.

The fact that no one took advantage of the poor security in Florida to kill Kennedy,

that has no bearing on Dallas. The security arrangements were obviously poor to the point of negligent in both cases. In Dallas the slow turn, detour, walking speed rate of motion, brakes applied in the ambush, open windows, overpass crowds directly overhead, lack of running boards and president in lead car...all these, whether precedented in Florida or not, point to co-ordinated interference in the security of the president, leading to his demise. In Dallas.

I agree with the angle that Dallas had airfields, railroads, roads and highways for escape ...and characters like Ruby and Oswald and the Dallas local police -- and all this made it a better spot for the conspirators than the isolation of peninsular Florida. If it was a pure agency operation, they would have done it overseas, SOP.

Nice Photos, Tim.

Shanet

Edited by Shanet Clark
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Al

That photo seems to indicate more security than what is seen in Dallas pictures.

Jim Root

I have a photo from Kennedy's visit to Miami on Monday, November 18, 1963 that shows Kennedy and Smathers standing up in an open convertible to greet crowds standing within inches of the convertible. Anyone could have shot him at close range with a pistol. As I also said in my post on Kennedy in Key West in November of 1962 he rode in an open Lincoln (his car of choice) down the Key West main street, past at least one tall building. It is apparent there was little security then either.

Shanet says the security was poor to the point of being negligent. That may very well be the case, but it tends to refute the contention sometimes raised that the security was deliberately loosened in Dallas to permit the assassination.

Understand I definitely believe there was a conspiracy (you all know that), but that does not mean that every argument in support of a conspiracy is correct. I think the images of Kennedy in Key West in 1962 and in Miami in Nov of 1963 (and I have also seen a photo somewhere of JFK in Hawaii) conclusively negates the prooposition that there was "security stripping" in Dallas.

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Poor security in Florida is no excuse for the events in Dallas.

The fact that no one took advantage of the poor security in Florida to kill Kennedy,

that has no bearing on Dallas. The security arrangements were obviously poor to the point of negligent in both cases.

.................

In Dallas the slow turn,

detour,

walking speed rate of motion,

brakes applied in the ambush,

open windows,

overpass crowds directly overhead,

lack of running boards and president in lead car...

....................

all these, whether precedented in Florida or not, point to co-ordinated interference in the security of the president, leading to his demise. In Dallas.

I agree with the angle that Dallas had airfields,

railroad tracks,

roads and highways for escape ...

and characters like Ruby and Oswald and the Dallas local police --

and all this made it a better spot for the conspirators than the isolation of peninsular Florida. If it was a pure agency operation, they would have done it overseas, SOP.

(Re-submitted with Emphasis)

Edited by Shanet Clark
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Look at the motorcycles surrounding the car in Tampa. There was not a single one in front of or beside the car in Dallas. That's called security stripping IMO.

Ron

But my point is that the motorcycles were not there in Key West on November 26, 1962 or in Miami on November 18, 1963. Moreover, it looks like from the photo that JFK is standing up in the Lincoln in the Tampa photo. If someone had wanted to shoot at him from a Tampa building, what good would the motorcycles have done? Secret service agents on running boards, perhaps. Perhaps such a secret service agent would have jumped on JFK after the first shot in Dallas and prevented the tragedy.

Looking at four motorcades may be insufficient to make generalizations, but the Tampa motorcade is apparently the only one of four in which the presidential car was surrounded by police motorcycles.

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But my point is that the motorcycles were not there in Key West on November 26, 1962 or in Miami on November 18, 1963.

The motorcade in Miami was cancelled. JFK traveled between the airport and his speaking engagement by helicopter because of security concerns.

Ron

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But my point is that the motorcycles were not there in Key West on November 26, 1962 or in Miami on November 18, 1963.

The motorcade in Miami was cancelled. JFK traveled between the airport and his speaking engagement by helicopter because of security concerns.

Ron

Not true according to Gordon Winslow (I discussed this very point with Mr. Winslow two days ago) Hopefully Mr Simkin will help post the photo of JFK and Sen Smathers in Miami on Nov 18, 1963. There are riding through a crowd in an open convertible. The photo will speak for itself.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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But my point is that the motorcycles were not there in Key West on November 26, 1962 or in Miami on November 18, 1963.

The motorcade in Miami was cancelled. JFK traveled between the airport and his speaking engagement by helicopter because of security concerns.

Ron

Not true according to Gordon Winslow (I discussed this very point with Mr. Winslow two days ago) Hopefully Mr Simkin will help post the photo of JFK and Sen Smathers in Miami on Nov 18, 1963. There are riding through a crowd in an open convertible. The photo will speak for itself.

Tim,

JFK's motorcade in Miami was shortened considerably to a helipad where he was taken the majority of the way by copter t the engagement.

I have always taken an interest in the USSS Aspect of this case and the possible security breakdown. I have attended the USSS School for LE on Dignitary Protection and have taken part in security details here for the past 21 years, from VP GHW Bush to the current president. I have to use some caution when remarking on security issues as to not violate procedural security, but will it address it the best I can.

In March of '03, Barry and Ian over at DP UK published an article I submitted to them in the DP Echo. It details the security issues and action v. reaction to show how it was not neccessarily a security breakdown or at least a conscious security break-down in Dallas. The only issue I could see that differed from previous motorcade's or was beyond the realm of control of the secret service was the positioning of the lead motorcycles.

Before writing the article for DP Echo, I went to two of my department's motorcycle officers who have been providing such security longer than I have, and doing so on the bikes. They had trained with the DC Motorcycle police for such details and had an extensive background and experience. Neither was very familiar with the Kennedy Assassination and I interviewed them seperately and advised them of the layout of the motorcade and gave them the motorcycles to place. Both referred to a "Flying Wedge" formation for the lead bikes and diagramed it for me on the TRACs accident investigation software. I have attached the diagram they did. Unfortunately, one, who was my original training officer and close friend who I had interviewed for this, was murdered last year by his step-son. The other officer is still available for comment if anyone has a particular question regarding this.

Instead of detailing my support of the USSS actions on November 22, 1963, I will instead respond to any concerns or challenges anyone has. And again, my responses may sound vague, but there are continuing security issues with present policy.

Sorry, but I cannot attach this diagram for some reason. If anyone is interested in seeing it, e-mail me at polinst@mchsi.com and I will attach it to a reply.

Al

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Thanks Al for putting up with us "wingnuts"

A few questions...why is the P in the lead car?

I thought the P was supposed to be in the interior of the parade formation.

Two Why were the windows open along the Dallas route, wasn't this a violation?

Three Why were there observers on the overpass looking straight down on the President, wasn't this a violation?

Four, why was there no Hardtop, isn't this a violation?

Five, why was there no running boards? Violation?

Why were they driving at 8-10 miles per hour? Violation?

What is the policy on drinking the night before?

These are the items most readers are interested in.

The Warren Report was quite hard on the 1963 Secret Service concerning these.

I understand your limits on speaking out, but what can you say about these lapses?

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Thanks Al for putting up with us "wingnuts"

A few questions...why is the P in the lead car?

I thought the P was supposed to be in the interior of the parade formation.

Two Why were the windows open along the Dallas route, wasn't this a violation?

Three Why were there observers on the overpass looking straight down on the President, wasn't this a violation?

Four, why was there no Hardtop, isn't this a violation?

Five, why was there no running boards? Violation?

Why were they driving at 8-10 miles per hour? Violation?

What is the policy on drinking the night before?

These are the items most readers are interested in.

The Warren Report was quite hard on the 1963 Secret Service concerning these.

I understand your limits on speaking out, but what can you say about these lapses?

Tim,

Excellent questions! And there are explanations that clear up alot of the misunderstandings. First of all, the dignitary (President, VP, etc) and his inner circle have final input on how they want things to progress. The SS are tasked with dealing with what they are given.

1 - As far as the positioning of the dignitary in the motorcade, it is generally one of the first two non-LE units in the motorcade. Often times today there is a mock limo either leading or following the dignitary to keep any threats off-balance.

2 - Open Windows - Because this is a rolling security detail (motorcade), this is not a general concern until there is a point of making the dignitary stationary. There is no way to assure that the windows in buildings along long motorcade routes will be closed as the motorcade passes them in such a short timespan. It is the responsibility of the lead units such as advance, pilot and lead LE cars with SS in them to view these possible threats.

3 - Overpasses and such are the responsibility of local LE and the advance car in today's security details assure that they are clear. In Dallas, there was an obvious breakdown in communication with the officers assigned to it as they did not keep it clear and did not post at each end.

4 - Prior to Dallas '63, an open limo was not uncommon. I have photos of Washington, Berlin, Tampa, Miami, Houston that all support the open limo. It is an issue of exposure to the public that was pushed by the Kennedy Staff and most likely JFK himself.

5 - This limo was not equipped with the side running boards and the presidential detail was assigned to the follow-up car with the running boards for quick response. It was a mere five feet to the rear of the presidential limo.

6 - The pace of the motorcade would be at the direction of the Kennedy Staff. The agents had to deal with the security by closing the gap of the limo and follow-up car. This would be an exposure issue and showing JFK and Jackie off to the crowds in Texas is what motivated this slow pace.

7 - Policy is set to be enforced after the fact if there was an issue with it. My agency has a P & P manual that is over five hundred pages in length. Think they don't get violated numerous times a day?

Keep in mind the last time a President was assassinated prior to Nov '63.

SS as with any law enforcement is handcuffed to being reactive in adjusting P & P to what failed. The JFK Assassination is a classic example of this. Bulletproofing the Limo, cutback on open limo exposure, etc...

Part of my class with the SS was history of Dignitary Protection. It gave me an appreciation for what the Dallas Detail went through in the aftermath and how suttle changes have been made over the past forty years.

Al

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1 - As far as the positioning of the dignitary in the motorcade, it is generally one of the first two non-LE units in the motorcade. Often times today there is a mock limo either leading or following the dignitary to keep any threats off-balance.

Al,

Isn't it true that there was usually a press truck in front of the limo in JFK motorcades, and that this truck was left out at Love Field? This, along with the absence of motorcycles, left the limo wide open for shots from the front.

3 - Overpasses and such are the responsibility of local LE and the advance car in today's security details assure that they are clear. In Dallas, there was an obvious breakdown in communication with the officers assigned to it as they did not keep it clear and did not post at each end.

I think that this is one of the clearest signs of some complicity within local LE. The failure to post at both ends of the overpass was certainly convenient for the shooter whom you believe (and I agree) was positioned at the unposted end.

And why would conspirators want some people on the overpass right over Elm? A couple of things come to mind. One, someone in that crowd may have been a potential shooter if JFK reached the overpass still alive. And two, allowing people from the railroad yard onto the overpass to watch the motorcade kept them from lining up behind the fence to watch. That fence had to be kept clear.

Ron

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