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Jacob Esterline

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From the article: On the conference’s closing day, the white-haired Mowatt-Larssen walked us through his theory on who killed JFK. He started out with a key idea — that if the CIA killed Kennedy, the plot would have necessarily involved three people: a mastermind and two others — one to handle Lee Harvey Oswald and one to deal with Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who shot and killed Oswald before he could be interrogated.

Then Mowatt-Larssen, using his access to classified CIA files, went looking for officers who would have had a motive, and access. “It takes an agent to find a mole,” he said. “Who would betray his country? We were looking for a team of rogues.”

After going through the names of ranking officers during the years before the assassination, and then cross-referencing them, he settled on Jacob Esterline, the CIA’s project director on the failed Bay of Pigs assault on Cuba, as the likely mastermind, the man with the best motive, and the probable ringleader. In his role as the CIA’s director of Western Hemisphere, he would have had access to Oswald, as well.

“The rogues must be expert, and they need a motive,” Mowatt-Larssen explained. “To me, JFK is the motive. He pulled the plug on the Bay of Pigs. And he was reckless. He almost got us into a thermonuclear war with the Soviets.”

Esterline went on to serve as chief of the CIA’s Miami office, and as deputy director of the CIA’s Western Hemisphere Division. He died in 1999. Of course, there is no shortage of conspiracy theories about the death of JFK, but Mowatt-Larssen currently serves as director of the Belfer Center’s Intelligence Project — at Harvard’s Kennedy School, no less — so his speculation carries some weight.


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It would seem that the Ruby contact role would be an afterthought if we postulate that, first, Ruby was just one of a cast of characters handling Oswald (or, "Oswald") in New Orleans and Dallas; and, second, that Oswald was intended to die before he could be arrested.  David Atlee Phillips, for one, would seem more likely as a handler for the supporting cast.  The mastermind would be higher than Phillips.

Edited by David Andrews
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