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Secret Service and the Assassination of JFK


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One of the most important aspects of the Kennedy assassination concerns the security arrangements of the motorcade through Dallas. According to the Warren Commission the event was organised by two men: Kenneth O'Donnell (special assistant to the President) and Special Agent Winston Lawson. Although O’Donnell decided the outline of the trip, Lawson made the important decisions. The fact that Lawson was given this task is in itself very strange. Lawson had been a milk product salesman until 1959 when he was accepted to join the Secret Service (he was far from being an outstanding candidate as he had been trying for three years to enter the service). Promotion was rapid and by 1962 he was organizing the security arrangements of the president. As the Warren Commission discovered, he totally ignored all the safety guidelines during the tour of Dallas.

This included the decision to use an open topped car for Kennedy. It was also Lawson’s decision to travel on that particular route and to publish details of it in the local press. Clearly, it would have been impossible for Oswald or anyone else to have carried out the assassination without these decisions being made and then publicized.

Another important factor concerned the seating arrangements in the cars. There were to be four important politicians in the motorcade. John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Ralph Yarborough and John Connally. Yarborough is rarely mentioned in discussing the Kennedy assassination. However, he is an important figure. At that time there was a bitter dispute going on in the Democratic Party in Texas. Johnson and Connally were seen as the leaders of the right-wing faction, whereas Yarborough led the liberal wing committed to civil rights (so much so that Connally and Johnson accused him of being a communist). Conservatives were also concerned that Yarborough was having a growing influence on Kennedy’s views on civil rights. (Yarborough was the only member of the Senate representing a former Confederate state to vote for every significant piece of civil rights legislation during the 1950s and 1960s).

Johnson and Connally went back a long way. Connally had ran all of Johnson’s election campaigns. In 1948 Connally was accused of fraud when he discovered at the last moment the existence of 200 votes for Johnson from Jim Wells County. It was these votes that gave Johnson an eighty-seven-vote victory.

On the morning of the assassination Johnson attempted to get the seating arrangements changed. For some strange reason he wanted Connally to be in his car and for Yarborough to go in with Kennedy. This was a surprising idea as this would have given extra status to his political opponent. Connally clearly was not part of the conspiracy as he insisted in going in Kennedy’s car.

The next interesting issue concerns the behaviour of the secret service during the assassination. Roy Kellerman was the man responsible for protecting Kennedy. The president’s car was followed by a car containing eight more secret service agents.

Rufus Youngblood was responsible for Johnson’s safety. His car was also followed by a car containing eight more secret service agents. When the firing started Youngblood pushed Johnson to the floor and covered his body with his own (some witnesses claimed that Johnson went to the floor of the car before the firing started). The eight secret service agents in the car behind also ran forward to protect Johnson.

The situation in Kennedy’s car was completely different. Kellerman made no attempt to cover Kennedy’s body. He did call for the driver William Greer (also a Secret Service agent) to accelerate. Instead he put his foot on the break and did not accelerate until several seconds later (by which time the shooting had finished). Also, only one agent in the car behind (Clint Hill) ran forward to protect Kennedy. He then laid over Kennedy but because of the distance he had to travel to get to the car it was too late to save him.

These events are described in the Warren Commission report. However, surprisingly, the report fails to raise questions about why the Secret Service (except for Clint Hill) failed to act in the way they had been trained to act in these circumstances.

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  • 7 months later...

John

Remember the Secret Service is part of the Treasury Department and Kennedy had put a notorious republican businessman in this sensitive cabinet position, Clarence Douglass Dillon. Everything about the Secret service performance, the detour, the walking speed, the delayed reaction to fire, everything flows from the C. Douglass Dillon angle........he was sort of Kennedy's Andrew Mellon.

One of the most important aspects of the Kennedy assassination concerns the security arrangements of the motorcade through Dallas. According to the Warren Commission the event was organised by two men: Kenneth O'Donnell (special assistant to the President) and Special Agent Winston Lawson. Although O’Donnell
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  • 2 years later...
John

Remember the Secret Service is part of the Treasury Department and Kennedy had put a notorious republican businessman in this sensitive cabinet position, Clarence Douglass Dillon. Everything about the Secret service performance, the detour, the walking speed, the delayed reaction to fire, everything flows from the C. Douglass Dillon angle........he was sort of Kennedy's Andrew Mellon.

One of the most important aspects of the Kennedy assassination concerns the security arrangements of the motorcade through Dallas. According to the Warren Commission the event was organised by two men: Kenneth O'Donnell (special assistant to the President) and Special Agent Winston Lawson. Although O’Donnell

I believe that Secret Service control shifted out of the Treasury Department since Kennedy's time. In any event, this C Douglass Dillon connection is an interesting one.

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John

Remember the Secret Service is part of the Treasury Department and Kennedy had put a notorious republican businessman in this sensitive cabinet position, Clarence Douglass Dillon. Everything about the Secret service performance, the detour, the walking speed, the delayed reaction to fire, everything flows from the C. Douglass Dillon angle........he was sort of Kennedy's Andrew Mellon.

One of the most important aspects of the Kennedy assassination concerns the security arrangements of the motorcade through Dallas. According to the Warren Commission the event was organised by two men: Kenneth O'Donnell (special assistant to the President) and Special Agent Winston Lawson. Although O’Donnell

I believe that Secret Service control shifted out of the Treasury Department since Kennedy's time. In any event, this C Douglass Dillon connection is an interesting one.

If you havent read, or started reading Vince Palamara's book "Survivors Guilt", please do. I started it, and i havent had a chance to get back to it for a while, but it is a very good read. It goes into great detail, with interviews, past interviews, and alot of long hard work. The buck got passed around quite a bit after the assassination, as to who made what decisions, and who did what! Nobody seemed to know anything! [isnt that odd??] They blew the assignment, and they new it. The heat was on. Anyway, if you have the chance, read his book. Its online now. Check one of the old Forum topics from a few weeks ago, and you will find the site address. I forget who posted it, but thanks for letting us know!

thanks--smitty

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If you havent read, or started reading Vince Palamara's book "Survivors Guilt", please do.

Here is a link to SURVIVOR'S GUILT: THE SECRET SERVICE AND THE FAILURE TO PROTECT THE PRESIDENT

by VINCENT MICHAEL PALAMARA

http://www.assassinationresearch.com/v4n1.html

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