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What happened in Dallas


Duke Lane
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Okay Duke, you've spouted long enough! What do you base your opinion on? What experience do you have to judge the DPD in an arena such as motorcade security?

Please fill us in and then do your homework on what went down along the motorcade route and how it was staffed before your respond. I will give you that and then respond in defense of the the Dallas PD from security prior to and during the assassination, the aftermath of the assassination and scene security, and the execution of Oswald.

I have done my homework and have been involved in Presidential protection details from about every angle. I will be happy to debate you on this.

Al

Al,

EDIT: Apologies for taking so long on my response: we had a "weather incident" here, and there is nothing worse than ice on the roads of Dallas than Texans on the roads in Dallas! The rest of this post is in the original:

As you well know, few if any people here (or even involved in the assassination debate in general!) perhaps other than yourself have the experience of being involved in Presidential protection. Not even every cop in our major cities has that distinction. By that measure, almost nobody has the "right" to judge what happened in Dallas or draw any conclusions from what they've learned because they haven't been involved in Presidential protection details from any angle. By extension, the only people who really do have such a right are people who've not only done it but, more specifically, who did it in 1963.

What's the line about "having a battle of wits with an unarmed man?" I won't go so far as to suggest either of us are witless, but it does seem that you're attempting to define the only people with "wits" as those who've "been there, done that" (whatever "that" may be), and that nobody else can have an informed opinion because ... well, because they're not informed! Sort of puts any "debate" automatically on unequal footing, doesn't it? Appeal to authority: you've got it, nobody else does, you win by default.

Your argument seems to be that everybody did everything perfectly and by the book, but Kennedy got killed anyway, and, well, "there was little anyone could have done to prevent a successful attempt on the life of the president." Leaving aside the impossibility of "preventing" something that's already "successful," it's not as if that wasn't anyone's job or anything to damned sure try! Sheesh, whassamatta me? The only error anyone made was in not stopping traffic, that's all, just a minor little thing that. That and a handful of people who should've been shooed off the bridge were all that stood between "where it became [an] ingenious ... escape" rather than just pure, dumb luck.

Otherwise, everybody gets a gold star?

As to staffing along the parade route, I'm working largely from memory and limited notes (and a map) for the time being. I've got another 35-page report somewhere around here that I couldn't seem to lay my hands on, and a bunch of other stuff to boot. It is probably far less than what you have, but it should at least be sufficient to form the basis of a discussion.

You said that "(i)n a moving motorcade, the Secret Service does not have agents on the ground and rely [sic] on local LE to provide security." The WC agreed with you on the fact that there were no USSS personnel on the ground in Dallas. That means that the assignments DPD - and DPD alone - made were all the ground security in place since, according to the WC (and the agencies in question), no other federal agency (or military) personnel were along the parade route. As to locals, most of the DCSD deputies that were downtown were hanging out at the corner of Main and Houston watching the parade.

Pages 618 through 623, inclusive, of FBI "JFK Exhibit F-679" (part of CD-1, as I recall) are the assignments of officers for "President J.F. Kennedy's Dallas Visit and Parade." It is dated November 21, 1963, and are the plans submitted to "Mr. J.E. Curry, Chief of Police" for "policing the parade, and other traffic and security assignments" submitted by Deputy Chief R.H. Lunday, who was listed as "in charge of detail." His assistant in charge was Capt P.W. Lawrence. Presumably, this report was pro forma to Curry, the details having already been worked out between Lunday, Lawrence, Win Lawson, Forrest Sorrels and David Grant (and Floyd Boring back in DC?).

Not to say that it necessarily means anything, but I have always found it interesting that this report covers only the trip TO the Trade Mart, and that there isn't one for the trip BACK from the Trade Mart. Is this typical? The report covers six pages, detailing where everyone will be and who they are. It is complete with Asst Chief Lunday's signature at the end of the sixth page. It seems odd that someone would provide such detail and then make none about the second half of the trip, or put it in a separate report. Stranger things have happened, though. Maybe Curry didn't need to worry about the trip back simply because he wouldn't be a part of it (tho' it of course turned out that he was).

The manpower used to handle these assignments," report says, "will come from the Traffic Division and available Police Reserves" (emphasis added). A total of 159 officers and reservists were assigned some sort of function in connection with the parade. Eighteen rode in the parade, including five solo motorcycles in the lead, four each assigned to the left and right sides of the car (two at each front and two at each rear), and two more following behind; three officers rode in the advance unit, 2 blocks ahead of the first (police) car in the main motorcade.

Nineteen were assigned to "motor pool" duties at the Trade Mart, and six more were assigned to "traffic and security" at the same location beginning at 7:00 a.m. Five more worked a "no-parking detail" along the parade route, also starting at 7:00 a.m. Of the remaining 111 officers, there are four sergeants and one lieutenant supervising "Parade Route Traffic and Security Assignments," and 14 reservists working "crowd control" along the route. The rest were stationed at or around various intersections along the route.

There were two possible routes from Love Field to the Trade Mart: one that went across Mockingbird to Harry Hines Blvd, Hines to Industrial to Inwood and thence to the Trade Mart (designated route "2" which avoided downtown altogether), and the one that was taken (route "1"). According to the recollections of one of the solo motorcycle cops (I can't find the link or remember his name, but I believe it's on Ken Rahn's site), none of the officers knew which route would be taken until they had left Love Field and taken the first turn. That seems a little abrupt to me since the first group of security would have to already be in place as soon as they took whichever turn they were going to make. Offhand, I don't know (or remember) who made the final decision on the route or when.

The area of coverage for each sergeant along the "1" route was as follows (with the route marked in red on the map, with each of the last points of transfer of responsibility marked as X1 thru X4):

Love Field to Turtle Creek (W.A. Simpson)

Turtle Creek & Cedar Springs to Harwood (B.F. Rodgers)

Main-Harwood to Field (W.C. Campbell)

Main & Field to Houston & Elm (D.V. Harkness)

If one is to believe that it means what exactly what the report says, Kennedy's security technically ended at Elm and Houston.

As the parade moved into downtown and onto Main Street, there were two officers assigned to each corner along Main at Harwood, St. Paul, Ervay, Stone, Akard, Field, Murphy, Griffin, Poydras, Lamar, Austin, Market and Record. In most cases, one of the two officers had either a solo motorcycle or three-wheeler until they reached Record Street, one block east of Houston. The map should be clear enough to show that this is at every intersection along Main. These are all direct intersections, surrounded on all four sides by tall buildings, the only means of open passage being along Main or the intersecting street.

Beginning at Main & Houston, there were three officers at that corner (Fox, Lewis and Denham, along with DCSD not on official duty); three officers at Elm & Houston (Barnett, Smith and Smith); and two officers atop the RR bridge (Foster and White), for a total of eight officers assigned the plaza. (I am presuming that they are all sworn officers as opposed to reservists; I looked it up once, but just don't recall, so I'll give it the benefit of doubt.) One Reservist (H.A. Inmon - sp?) was assigned between Main-Houston and Elm for crowd control.

After Elm & Houston, assignments were (notes in parentheses are verbatim on the report):

Elm & RR Overpass (both officers atop RR overpass - one man on East side & one man on West side) - Foster and White

Stemmons Freeway Serv. Rd. (atop overpass) - J.E. Murphy (three-wheeler)

[something unreadable] RR Overpass across Stemmons Freeway (just North of Elm Street - one man on South catwalk & other man on Nortyh catwalk) - L.A. Lomax and E.V. Brown

[something unreadable] Overpass at Industrial (3 Wheeler atop overpass on East side) - C.E. Shankles (three-wheeler)

Stemmons Service Road & Industrial - J.R. Mackay (3W), R.J. Kosan, W.E. Wilson

From the time that the motorcade made its approach onto Stemmons Freeway (I-35E) northbound to the Trade Mart, there was no on-the-ground security other than the escort motorcycles and lead car until they reached the Trade Mart. This is presumably because they'd be moving at 60+ mph and would be hard targets to hit. The Trade Mart is just about right off the freeway, and several officers were assigned to keep that area secure with an additional 19 officers assigned to the "motor pool" at that location to assist as necessary.

Traffic was stopped along the northbound side of Stemmons prior to the entrance ramp, so the highway was more or less clear ahead of the motorcade from the Elm entrance to the TM (photos show otherwise, tho' the traffic wasn't moving). The officers assigned to stop traffic on Stemmons are not specified. "Security" along the highway was limited to two mounted officers (3-wheelers), one atop the service road overpass and the other atop the overpass on the east side at Stemmons and Industrial, and 2 officers on foot atop the south and north (pedestrian) catwalks just north of Elm. All any of them could have done was watched "a successful attempt on the life of the president" since none of them could have done a damned thing to make an attempt unsuccessful! In truth, they weren't "security," they were nothing more than by-standers.

I said earlier that security "technically" ended at Elm and Houston, but it also effectively ended there since, from that point forward, every single officer without exception was "atop" a bridge or catwalk. None could respond to or prevent any incident occuring beneath the bridges, including the Triple Underpass, and everyone at ground level (e.g., the six officers at the east end of the plaza, on Houston at Main and at Elm) was already behind the action when the shooting started.

Notice, too, that the shooting started as soon as the security ended. Who could have known?

Should anything have happened along that stretch of Elm St after the turn from Houston (as it did), the last two cops on the route were hamstrung: they were 20 feet above the roadway, and a longer distance off the bridge and down the hill to get to street level, with a six-foot high, hundred-foot long fence in the way. Moreover, one of them was on the west side - the far side - of the bridge, separated from Dealey Plaza by more than four railroad tracks and facing away from it. There was only one set of eyes focused on Dealey Plaza, and no feet on its ground.

Al, you also noted that "local LE is and was required to man anything that the motorcade passes under or over, and DPD did that" ... at least, as minimally as could have been done. Offhand, I don't know the length of the Triple Underpass, but it is long enough and dark enough with enough pillars along the walkways that I wouldn't recommend anyone walk through there unarmed, even in daylight! Would an area like this qualify as one of those "points of concern along a motorcade route" that you said local LE is expected to provide as part of the "majority" of their security?

To say that DPD "manned" this bridge is like a mechanic who checked your lug nuts and says he's "performed an inspection" of your car. Two miles later, the rear end falls off, he shrugs and says "well, that wasn't what I'd inspected," but there's no doubt that he performed "an inspection." Did that "inspection" do the job and let you know what to expect? Of course not, but you tell me you're going to defend it as an adequate performance of DPD's expected responsibilities?

What could either man atop the bridge have done should something have happened beneath it? How could they have effectively monitored anyone walking underneath the bridge - much less caught up to them - when the bridge is 10 lanes wide (three lanes each at Elm and Commerce, plus two in each direction at Main)? It is long enough from east to west that two men stationed atop of it directly across from each other would have to yell quite loudly to even get the other's attention, much less advise him to make sure (!?) that whoever went beneath the bridge came out the other side ... and then, what if they didn't come out? What could they do about investigating where they'd gone?

Along the Main St and Houston St portions of the parade, there were two men stationed at or near each intersection, one mounted (either solo or 3-wheeler). You can picture the open area of any four-lane downtown thoroughfare intersecting with two-lane sidestreets: if as many as six or more officers (not counting those in the motorcade), half mounted, can converge on any one spot in a very brief span of time, why leave an expanse as large as Dealey Plaza with security only at one end (and who would naturally relax their vigilance once the motorcade - or the VIP cars at a minimum - went by them), with ALL of them on foot only?

Of the eight officers in DP, six were assigned to the eastern end, and the two atop the bridge essentially ineffective except as "lookouts" for trouble in the plaza (which they couldn't have responded to anyway ... and they weren't even equipped with handhelds to alert anyone else either!) and for clearing the top of the bridge (only). Plus, one of them was assigned to look the other way on the west side of the bridge, away from the approach of the motorcade. So JFK was effectively abandoned by DPD as soon as he took the turn onto Elm, and the only thing anyone could do - the only thing they actually were able to do - was watch when trouble came down. DPD was no longer "security," they were merely spectators.

You also called the motorcade route "an ideal killing zone throughout for a sniper" (my emphasis), and cited the "terrain afforded thoughout" as if DP and the downtown streets were even similar in their challenges. DP, as quite distinct from the rest of the parade route, not only had many more vantage (read: firing) points, but it likewise had more escape routes. It had more streets converging into it and spreading out from it than any other intersection previously encountered, and had two levels - above and below the bridge - to guard. Because of the curves in the road, it also offered arguably the only place along the downtown parade route that someone could have fired from a window without having to lean out of it - becoming much more conspicuous - to aim and fire at "the target."

And for this, DPD provided officers on foot only, with most of them at the trailing end of the parade, and the rest (one officer) hardly in a position to respond to anything, much less prevent it!

Such was DPD "security" planning ... and it was planned. It is debatable whether the intention was to have provided NO security at DP as they did, but that doesn't change the fact of what was. Despite the "Keystone Kops" image they obtained as a result of the events of this one weekend, DPD was NOT incompetent or ill-trained.

If someone with as little training and experience as I have (some military LE, but not enough - and too long ago - that I would consider myself a "real cop") can recognize some of the obstacles of Dealey Plaza, it is absolutely inconceivable that officers - and ranking officers to boot! - with years of experience, trained to look for such obstacles, trained to prevent crimes, not merely react to them, and trained and expected to protect the life of the President of the United States who was visiting the city so very visibly and so close on the heels of the Adlai Stevenson debacle, could not properly evaluate and recognize DP as a "point of concern" on which to focus and plan adequate security for, in the heart of the very city they patrol every day! No, that was really more than anyone should expect.

But hey, in life there are no absolutes, least of all when it comes to what you can conceive and believe in this case!

Let's move on. The shots have been fired, the motorcade's sped out of the plaza, people are running up the knoll, and Officer Joe Smith (who was stationed at Elm & Houston with two other officers, also on foot) encounters someone he thinks suspicous and halts him, drawing on him. The man displays SS creds which Smith is satisfied with, and afterwards testifies how stupid he felt for drawing down on a fed (he was still fooled six months later!).

You said that "in a moving motorcade [which this was], the Secret Service does not have agents on the ground." In this case, the WC (and HSCA) agreed with you, having been advised by USSS that there were, in fact, none of its agents on the ground in DP. Every other federal agency, military and civilian, said the same thing. We also know that no police were assigned there either.

"Who was this man" might be an important question, but a more important question is: "how did he know he could be there?"

Let's think about this a moment. The average person on the streets doesn't know PRS procedure. USSS doesn't talk about their means and methods, not even what they did 40 years ago or not (they won't even confirm or deny the manhole or 120° turn stuff!). Everyone knows the President travels with a lot of security (by most people's standards, anyway), so why would anyone suspect that the Secret Service would NOT be on the ground in Dealey Plaza that day? How did he know that a real SS agent (who could call his bluff and cause all sorts of trouble) wasn't within earshot as he identified himself as one of them?

Moreover, we've got to assume that these DPD guys got some sort of briefing about what to expect as far as DPD's security arrangements vis-a-vis the President's own, if only to ensure that they didn't interfere with PRS duties. I think most people would expect that they'd been briefed how to recognize an agent or where to find one. How, in other words, does this guy with the fake creds know the cop's NOT going to know he's not SS ... AND that nobody who would know the difference was going to be there? It seems a pretty risky thing to do otherwise.

Who knew where security would and - more importantly - wouldn't be? The arrangements had only been finalized within the past day, and even if it had been a week earlier, where would the information have circulated, who would know the details? Certainly Lunday and Lawrence, who put it together; Chief Curry to whom the report was made; Lawson and Sorrels as the "seniors" for USSS; the PRS team(?) and DPD officers taking part in the "visit and parade." Who else? DCSD wasn't involved in security, and didn't participate at all in the parade except for Sheriff Decker in the lead car. The FBI doesn't provide security (at least, Hoover's didn't!), so they wouldn't have a need to know. Who else would? Published parade route or not, this kind of information isn't the kind that gets put in the newspaper.

Clearly that information had limited circulation, and if someone was able to take advantage of it in such as way as to "ingeniously pull [the assassination] off and escape" and use "Secret Service" credentials to aid in effecting that escape ... that information could only have come from a limited number of sources. Frankly, in my wildest dreams, I cannot imagine a Secret Service agent plotting to take the life of someone he's sworn to protect (the book Mortal Error notwithstanding). Could it happen? I suppose so, but I'd suspect it has a likelihood somewhere close to that of a gnat's breath provoking an elephant stampede.

We have to postulate one of only a few things about this incident: first, that it didn't happen. That the patrolman, in his haste and confusion (isn't it easy to attribute these things to DPD?), was not told by anyone that they were SS (or any other federal agency), was not presented with credentials of any kind (maybe just the guy's license?), did not really encounter anybody who even looked the part, and despite his tesimony to the contrary, was not embarrassed about drawing on a fed. He would not, after all, be the first JFK witness who was "mistaken."

Second, that it was pure happenstance. This guy was just playing an adult version of "cops 'n' robbers," thinking it would be real cool to look like he was protecting the president, slinking around in the shadows and feeling like a real James Bond. Being behind the fence at such a crucial time was all part of the play-acting, and gee, he was so really into it that he'd convinced a cop who'd drawn a gun on him that he was really one of the President's men! Guy's probably still chuckling about it today.

Third, that he was there for a reason - to distract police from other activities or other locations ("that's okay guys, I've already looked in that trunk!") - and either knew or was somehow confident that his scam wouldn't be detected, that some guy ten feet away when he was challenged by someone wouldn't say "hey, he's not one of us!" That kind of confidence is born of certainty, which is based on good information. It had to have come from somewhere. (All of this also means he wasn't a Dallas cop because someone - even if not Smith - might have recognized him.)

Or fourth, that he was winging it. He and his compadres were in town to kill the President of the United States, just crossing their fingers and hoping they'd would get away with it ... and it was pure, dumb luck that they did!

That's usually how things like this are planned, right?

Let's look at the immediate aftermath: an "all downtown units" call goes out, "signal 19." Do you know how many patrol units alone responded to that call and where they were from? Here's some help:

The officers from districts #31 and 32 were assigned to Parkland in case anything went wrong (it did, so they never left there - shown as
light red
on the map below);

The districts immediately surrounding #106 (DP patrol area -
dark red
on the map) and responding to the "all downtown units" call were #41, 42, 52, 54, 71, 73, 101, 103, 104, 106, 107, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118 and 119 (these are
medium red
on the map);

Also responding to the call from outlying areas were districts #21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 35, 36, 37, 38, 43, 44, 49, 51, 53, 55, 61, 62, 93, 94, 95, 96, 76, 77, 79, 81, 82, 87, 102 and 108 (
yellow
on the map);

Assigned to remain in their districts were #45, 46, 47, 48, 56, 57, 58, 59, 65, 67, 68, 85 and 86 (
turquoise
);

Assigned to patrol a different district was #78 (
dark blue
), "at large" in districts #91, 92, 93 and 94 (the officer assigned to those districts was at lunch).

There is no mention of #33, 34, 63, 64, 66, 69, 72, 74, 75, 83, 84, 88, 89, 97, 98, 108 or 109 anywhere on the record (that I've found).

It might be useful to see where these districts were situated (the map should be fairly readable when downloaded and zoomed; I have a much larger copy to send if you want it by email): click the link to see the fast-load version or high-res version.

This is what police coverage around town looked like after the signal 19: click the link to see the fast-load version or high-res version.

(The dark blue patrol zones, by the way, are the only ones that DPD felt needed extra coverage, which they assigned to one man. I guess presidential assassins only flee to the southeast; is that your experience, too?)

In addition, there were several patrol sergeants and lieutenants who had responded and aren't accounted for by this map, plus headquarters personnel and others not associated with Traffic or the Reserves (the two divisions, remember, that were assigned duties relating to the parade), many if not most of the officers assigned to security along the parade route, many of whom had walked to the scene (as had a small handful from HQ), and don't forget Homicide, ID and Crime Scene folks, too.

Now there is a whole batch of officers contributing to scene search and security, heckuva deal! Most were probably there within 10-15 minutes, helped out where they could; some performed some actions on their own initiative, others were assigned to crowd and traffic control (and not doing such a great job, you say).

Then about half an hour later, a citizen calls in "officer down," and DP all but empties out of cops. I made a list of the officers who responded to the signal 19 in Oak Cliff (or at least those who called in on the radio at some point, made a report about it, testified about being there, or were referred to by other officers in their reports or testimonies; many left without informing anyone, and some so testified), but can't find it right now, so suffice it to say for now that most of the "yellow" officers, some of the "turquoise" ones and a lot of others who'd been elsewhere downtown and had responded to the first signal 19 were next heard from in Oak Cliff.

Well, that too was fortuitous to those who "ingenious(ly) pulled it off and escaped" and suddenly, the only people who might've eventually caught them have left the crime scene and gone somewhere else. Scene security - as much as it was ever "secure" in the first place - had just taken a massive hit if not been crippled. If there was a chance to get away undetected, this was as good as it was going to get. Pure, dumb luck again?

"Site security?" Check out the "Willis 15" thread for some photos taken shortly after the downtown shooting and tell me it looks "secure!" This is something you call "defensible?"

Yet you apologize for DPD by saying that their (only?) "major screwup was allowing DP to be opened up to pedestrian and vehicular traffic immediately after the incident," passing off "allowing unauthorized personnel atop of the overpass" (which is a straw man because no shots came from atop the bridge) as "poor judgement or miscommunication," saying they were "stretched very thin" so apparently couldn't do any better than they did? You can attribute these criticisms to "20/10 hindsight," but I'm not paid to anticipate these things and keep anyone alive. Those who were did a remarkable job of it ... but unfortunately, those "remarks" aren't particularly laudatory!

No, the ingenuity is not in having pulled it off and escaped, the real ingenuity is having people cover for them ("I've seen no evidence in 42 years that suggests anyone other than Lee Harvey Oswald ...") and make excuses for 40 years as to why nobody could've caught 'em (and probably shouldn't have been expected to be able to anyway), and how, in the case of JFK's security, "the operation was a success even tho' the patient died" (and that despite at least two official findings to the effect that security was at least deficient if not downright laughable).

As to who it was that "pulled it off and escaped?" Who cares? As long as it's nobody's "fault" that they got away, all is well in Wonderland ... and ya ain't gonna hear Oswald complaining about it.

As to the "execution" of Oswald, you do have a way with words!! :angry: For now, all I'll say is that the entire deal that went down was political, ordered by the City Manager and the Mayor at the behest of the Citizens Council (who held tremendous sway over the council and mayor, and who would later regret their decision because of the end result's effect on business!), overriding anything the cops may have preferred. How much political appointee Chief Jesse Curry argued with them is not a matter of record, but it's certain he didn't tell the city fathers to go to hell. It makes one wonder how much they'd looked to their political bosses for guidance in determining how much security to provide to POTUS, doesn't it?

Even while not willing to point fingers yet, I still find it interesting that USSS - or someone apparently well-connected to it - has at least gotten past the "Oswald did it alone" claptrap, and recognizes, at least, that the "ingenuity" was in pulling it off and getting away with it. It still doesn't answer the question of who pulled it off, but at least it's a step in the right direction!

Finally, you pointed out how "ridiculous" the concept of USSS watching each and every window along any route is (despite various CTs suggesting that this was SOP), especially through a downtown area. I think the concept of welding all the manhole covers shut falls in the same category, but I don't know because PRS will not discuss the methods by which they protect the president, then or now. While the 120° turn prohibition likewise sounds reasonable on the surface, I don't know if that was really the case or if it's just some crap someone made up or expounded as fact simply because it seemed reasonable: would Lawson have objected to the Main-Houston-Elm turns if he'd actually driven over them and seen the last one up close and personal and not been overruled by his superiors?

Thanks for the feedback!

Edited by Duke Lane
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Duke,

First class analysis of the security, or lack thereof, provided by the DP.

I've got a couple of comments but I'll hold them over until your debate with Al is over.

Mark,

Thanks. It's not complete, but it's a start. Now if only the "debate" would! :(

Actually, I'm glad for the challenge, cuz I needed to get to this eventually. This is just a jump-start. You should see some of the stuff that follow it!!

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Okay Duke, you've spouted long enough! What do you base your opinion on? What experience do you have to judge the DPD in an arena such as motorcade security?

Please fill us in and then do your homework on what went down along the motorcade route and how it was staffed before your respond. I will give you that and then respond in defense of the the Dallas PD from security prior to and during the assassination, the aftermath of the assassination and scene security, and the execution of Oswald.

I have done my homework and have been involved in Presidential protection details from about every angle. I will be happy to debate you on this.

Al

Al,

EDIT: Apologies for taking so long on my response: we had a "weather incident" here, and there is nothing worse than ice on the roads of Dallas than Texans on the roads in Dallas! The rest of this post is in the original:

As you well know, few if any people here (or even involved in the assassination debate in general!) perhaps other than yourself have the experience of being involved in Presidential protection. Not even every cop in our major cities has that distinction. By that measure, almost nobody has the "right" to judge what happened in Dallas or draw any conclusions from what they've learned because they haven't been involved in Presidential protection details from any angle. By extension, the only people who really do have such a right are people who've not only done it but, more specifically, who did it in 1963.

What's the line about "having a battle of wits with an unarmed man?" I won't go so far as to suggest either of us are witless, but it does seem that you're attempting to define the only people with "wits" as those who've "been there, done that" (whatever "that" may be), and that nobody else can have an informed opinion because ... well, because they're not informed! Sort of puts any "debate" automatically on unequal footing, doesn't it? Appeal to authority: you've got it, nobody else does, you win by default.

Your argument seems to be that everybody did everything perfectly and by the book, but Kennedy got killed anyway, and, well, "there was little anyone could have done to prevent a successful attempt on the life of the president." Leaving aside the impossibility of "preventing" something that's already "successful," it's not as if that wasn't anyone's job or anything to damned sure try! Sheesh, whassamatta me? The only error anyone made was in not stopping traffic, that's all, just a minor little thing that. That and a handful of people who should've been shooed off the bridge were all that stood between "where it became [an] ingenious ... escape" rather than just pure, dumb luck.

Otherwise, everybody gets a gold star?

As to staffing along the parade route, I'm working largely from memory and limited notes (and a map) for the time being. I've got another 35-page report somewhere around here that I couldn't seem to lay my hands on, and a bunch of other stuff to boot. It is probably far less than what you have, but it should at least be sufficient to form the basis of a discussion.

You said that "(i)n a moving motorcade, the Secret Service does not have agents on the ground and rely [sic] on local LE to provide security." The WC agreed with you on the fact that there were no USSS personnel on the ground in Dallas. That means that the assignments DPD - and DPD alone - made were all the ground security in place since, according to the WC (and the agencies in question), no other federal agency (or military) personnel were along the parade route. As to locals, most of the DCSD deputies that were downtown were hanging out at the corner of Main and Houston watching the parade.

Pages 618 through 623, inclusive, of FBI "JFK Exhibit F-679" (part of CD-1, as I recall) are the assignments of officers for "President J.F. Kennedy's Dallas Visit and Parade." It is dated November 21, 1963, and are the plans submitted to "Mr. J.E. Curry, Chief of Police" for "policing the parade, and other traffic and security assignments" submitted by Deputy Chief R.H. Lunday, who was listed as "in charge of detail." His assistant in charge was Capt P.W. Lawrence. Presumably, this report was pro forma to Curry, the details having already been worked out between Lunday, Lawrence, Win Lawson, Forrest Sorrels and David Grant (and Floyd Boring back in DC?).

Not to say that it necessarily means anything, but I have always found it interesting that this report covers only the trip TO the Trade Mart, and that there isn't one for the trip BACK from the Trade Mart. Is this typical? The report covers six pages, detailing where everyone will be and who they are. It is complete with Asst Chief Lunday's signature at the end of the sixth page. It seems odd that someone would provide such detail and then make none about the second half of the trip, or put it in a separate report. Stranger things have happened, though. Maybe Curry didn't need to worry about the trip back simply because he wouldn't be a part of it (tho' it of course turned out that he was).

The manpower used to handle these assignments," report says, "will come from the Traffic Division and available Police Reserves" (emphasis added). A total of 159 officers and reservists were assigned some sort of function in connection with the parade. Eighteen rode in the parade, including five solo motorcycles in the lead, four each assigned to the left and right sides of the car (two at each front and two at each rear), and two more following behind; three officers rode in the advance unit, 2 blocks ahead of the first (police) car in the main motorcade.

Nineteen were assigned to "motor pool" duties at the Trade Mart, and six more were assigned to "traffic and security" at the same location beginning at 7:00 a.m. Five more worked a "no-parking detail" along the parade route, also starting at 7:00 a.m. Of the remaining 111 officers, there are four sergeants and one lieutenant supervising "Parade Route Traffic and Security Assignments," and 14 reservists working "crowd control" along the route. The rest were stationed at or around various intersections along the route.

There were two possible routes from Love Field to the Trade Mart: one that went across Mockingbird to Harry Hines Blvd, Hines to Industrial to Inwood and thence to the Trade Mart (designated route "2" which avoided downtown altogether), and the one that was taken (route "1"). According to the recollections of one of the solo motorcycle cops (I can't find the link or remember his name, but I believe it's on Ken Rahn's site), none of the officers knew which route would be taken until they had left Love Field and taken the first turn. That seems a little abrupt to me since the first group of security would have to already be in place as soon as they took whichever turn they were going to make. Offhand, I don't know (or remember) who made the final decision on the route or when.

The area of coverage for each sergeant along the "1" route was as follows (with the route marked in red on the map, with each of the last points of transfer of responsibility marked as X1 thru X4):

Love Field to Turtle Creek (W.A. Simpson)

Turtle Creek & Cedar Springs to Harwood (B.F. Rodgers)

Main-Harwood to Field (W.C. Campbell)

Main & Field to Houston & Elm (D.V. Harkness)

If one is to believe that it means what exactly what the report says, Kennedy's security technically ended at Elm and Houston.

As the parade moved into downtown and onto Main Street, there were two officers assigned to each corner along Main at Harwood, St. Paul, Ervay, Stone, Akard, Field, Murphy, Griffin, Poydras, Lamar, Austin, Market and Record. In most cases, one of the two officers had either a solo motorcycle or three-wheeler until they reached Record Street, one block east of Houston. The map should be clear enough to show that this is at every intersection along Main. These are all direct intersections, surrounded on all four sides by tall buildings, the only means of open passage being along Main or the intersecting street.

Beginning at Main & Houston, there were three officers at that corner (Fox, Lewis and Denham, along with DCSD not on official duty); three officers at Elm & Houston (Barnett, Smith and Smith); and two officers atop the RR bridge (Foster and White), for a total of eight officers assigned the plaza. (I am presuming that they are all sworn officers as opposed to reservists; I looked it up once, but just don't recall, so I'll give it the benefit of doubt.) One Reservist (H.A. Inmon - sp?) was assigned between Main-Houston and Elm for crowd control.

After Elm & Houston, assignments were (notes in parentheses are verbatim on the report):

Elm & RR Overpass (both officers atop RR overpass - one man on East side & one man on West side) - Foster and White

Stemmons Freeway Serv. Rd. (atop overpass) - J.E. Murphy (three-wheeler)

[something unreadable] RR Overpass across Stemmons Freeway (just North of Elm Street - one man on South catwalk & other man on Nortyh catwalk) - L.A. Lomax and E.V. Brown

[something unreadable] Overpass at Industrial (3 Wheeler atop overpass on East side) - C.E. Shankles (three-wheeler)

Stemmons Service Road & Industrial - J.R. Mackay (3W), R.J. Kosan, W.E. Wilson

From the time that the motorcade made its approach onto Stemmons Freeway (I-35E) northbound to the Trade Mart, there was no on-the-ground security other than the escort motorcycles and lead car until they reached the Trade Mart. This is presumably because they'd be moving at 60+ mph and would be hard targets to hit. The Trade Mart is just about right off the freeway, and several officers were assigned to keep that area secure with an additional 19 officers assigned to the "motor pool" at that location to assist as necessary.

Traffic was stopped along the northbound side of Stemmons prior to the entrance ramp, so the highway was more or less clear ahead of the motorcade from the Elm entrance to the TM (photos show otherwise, tho' the traffic wasn't moving). The officers assigned to stop traffic on Stemmons are not specified. "Security" along the highway was limited to two mounted officers (3-wheelers), one atop the service road overpass and the other atop the overpass on the east side at Stemmons and Industrial, and 2 officers on foot atop the south and north (pedestrian) catwalks just north of Elm. All any of them could have done was watched "a successful attempt on the life of the president" since none of them could have done a damned thing to make an attempt unsuccessful! In truth, they weren't "security," they were nothing more than by-standers.

I said earlier that security "technically" ended at Elm and Houston, but it also effectively ended there since, from that point forward, every single officer without exception was "atop" a bridge or catwalk. None could respond to or prevent any incident occuring beneath the bridges, including the Triple Underpass, and everyone at ground level (e.g., the six officers at the east end of the plaza, on Houston at Main and at Elm) was already behind the action when the shooting started.

Notice, too, that the shooting started as soon as the security ended. Who could have known?

Should anything have happened along that stretch of Elm St after the turn from Houston (as it did), the last two cops on the route were hamstrung: they were 20 feet above the roadway, and a longer distance off the bridge and down the hill to get to street level, with a six-foot high, hundred-foot long fence in the way. Moreover, one of them was on the west side - the far side - of the bridge, separated from Dealey Plaza by more than four railroad tracks and facing away from it. There was only one set of eyes focused on Dealey Plaza, and no feet on its ground.

Al, you also noted that "local LE is and was required to man anything that the motorcade passes under or over, and DPD did that" ... at least, as minimally as could have been done. Offhand, I don't know the length of the Triple Underpass, but it is long enough and dark enough with enough pillars along the walkways that I wouldn't recommend anyone walk through there unarmed, even in daylight! Would an area like this qualify as one of those "points of concern along a motorcade route" that you said local LE is expected to provide as part of the "majority" of their security?

To say that DPD "manned" this bridge is like a mechanic who checked your lug nuts and says he's "performed an inspection" of your car. Two miles later, the rear end falls off, he shrugs and says "well, that wasn't what I'd inspected," but there's no doubt that he performed "an inspection." Did that "inspection" do the job and let you know what to expect? Of course not, but you tell me you're going to defend it as an adequate performance of DPD's expected responsibilities?

What could either man atop the bridge have done should something have happened beneath it? How could they have effectively monitored anyone walking underneath the bridge - much less caught up to them - when the bridge is 10 lanes wide (three lanes each at Elm and Commerce, plus two in each direction at Main)? It is long enough from east to west that two men stationed atop of it directly across from each other would have to yell quite loudly to even get the other's attention, much less advise him to make sure (!?) that whoever went beneath the bridge came out the other side ... and then, what if they didn't come out? What could they do about investigating where they'd gone?

Along the Main St and Houston St portions of the parade, there were two men stationed at or near each intersection, one mounted (either solo or 3-wheeler). You can picture the open area of any four-lane downtown thoroughfare intersecting with two-lane sidestreets: if as many as six or more officers (not counting those in the motorcade), half mounted, can converge on any one spot in a very brief span of time, why leave an expanse as large as Dealey Plaza with security only at one end (and who would naturally relax their vigilance once the motorcade - or the VIP cars at a minimum - went by them), with ALL of them on foot only?

Of the eight officers in DP, six were assigned to the eastern end, and the two atop the bridge essentially ineffective except as "lookouts" for trouble in the plaza (which they couldn't have responded to anyway ... and they weren't even equipped with handhelds to alert anyone else either!) and for clearing the top of the bridge (only). Plus, one of them was assigned to look the other way on the west side of the bridge, away from the approach of the motorcade. So JFK was effectively abandoned by DPD as soon as he took the turn onto Elm, and the only thing anyone could do - the only thing they actually were able to do - was watch when trouble came down. DPD was no longer "security," they were merely spectators.

You also called the motorcade route "an ideal killing zone throughout for a sniper" (my emphasis), and cited the "terrain afforded thoughout" as if DP and the downtown streets were even similar in their challenges. DP, as quite distinct from the rest of the parade route, not only had many more vantage (read: firing) points, but it likewise had more escape routes. It had more streets converging into it and spreading out from it than any other intersection previously encountered, and had two levels - above and below the bridge - to guard. Because of the curves in the road, it also offered arguably the only place along the downtown parade route that someone could have fired from a window without having to lean out of it - becoming much more conspicuous - to aim and fire at "the target."

And for this, DPD provided officers on foot only, with most of them at the trailing end of the parade, and the rest (one officer) hardly in a position to respond to anything, much less prevent it!

Such was DPD "security" planning ... and it was planned. It is debatable whether the intention was to have provided NO security at DP as they did, but that doesn't change the fact of what was. Despite the "Keystone Kops" image they obtained as a result of the events of this one weekend, DPD was NOT incompetent or ill-trained.

If someone with as little training and experience as I have (some military LE, but not enough - and too long ago - that I would consider myself a "real cop") can recognize some of the obstacles of Dealey Plaza, it is absolutely inconceivable that officers - and ranking officers to boot! - with years of experience, trained to look for such obstacles, trained to prevent crimes, not merely react to them, and trained and expected to protect the life of the President of the United States who was visiting the city so very visibly and so close on the heels of the Adlai Stevenson debacle, could not properly evaluate and recognize DP as a "point of concern" on which to focus and plan adequate security for, in the heart of the very city they patrol every day! No, that was really more than anyone should expect.

But hey, in life there are no absolutes, least of all when it comes to what you can conceive and believe in this case!

Let's move on. The shots have been fired, the motorcade's sped out of the plaza, people are running up the knoll, and Officer Joe Smith (who was stationed at Elm & Houston with two other officers, also on foot) encounters someone he thinks suspicous and halts him, drawing on him. The man displays SS creds which Smith is satisfied with, and afterwards testifies how stupid he felt for drawing down on a fed (he was still fooled six months later!).

You said that "in a moving motorcade [which this was], the Secret Service does not have agents on the ground." In this case, the WC (and HSCA) agreed with you, having been advised by USSS that there were, in fact, none of its agents on the ground in DP. Every other federal agency, military and civilian, said the same thing. We also know that no police were assigned there either.

"Who was this man" might be an important question, but a more important question is: "how did he know he could be there?"

Let's think about this a moment. The average person on the streets doesn't know PRS procedure. USSS doesn't talk about their means and methods, not even what they did 40 years ago or not (they won't even confirm or deny the manhole or 120° turn stuff!). Everyone knows the President travels with a lot of security (by most people's standards, anyway), so why would anyone suspect that the Secret Service would NOT be on the ground in Dealey Plaza that day? How did he know that a real SS agent (who could call his bluff and cause all sorts of trouble) wasn't within earshot as he identified himself as one of them?

Moreover, we've got to assume that these DPD guys got some sort of briefing about what to expect as far as DPD's security arrangements vis-a-vis the President's own, if only to ensure that they didn't interfere with PRS duties. I think most people would expect that they'd been briefed how to recognize an agent or where to find one. How, in other words, does this guy with the fake creds know the cop's NOT going to know he's not SS ... AND that nobody who would know the difference was going to be there? It seems a pretty risky thing to do otherwise.

Who knew where security would and - more importantly - wouldn't be? The arrangements had only been finalized within the past day, and even if it had been a week earlier, where would the information have circulated, who would know the details? Certainly Lunday and Lawrence, who put it together; Chief Curry to whom the report was made; Lawson and Sorrels as the "seniors" for USSS; the PRS team(?) and DPD officers taking part in the "visit and parade." Who else? DCSD wasn't involved in security, and didn't participate at all in the parade except for Sheriff Decker in the lead car. The FBI doesn't provide security (at least, Hoover's didn't!), so they wouldn't have a need to know. Who else would? Published parade route or not, this kind of information isn't the kind that gets put in the newspaper.

Clearly that information had limited circulation, and if someone was able to take advantage of it in such as way as to "ingeniously pull [the assassination] off and escape" and use "Secret Service" credentials to aid in effecting that escape ... that information could only have come from a limited number of sources. Frankly, in my wildest dreams, I cannot imagine a Secret Service agent plotting to take the life of someone he's sworn to protect (the book Mortal Error notwithstanding). Could it happen? I suppose so, but I'd suspect it has a likelihood somewhere close to that of a gnat's breath provoking an elephant stampede.

We have to postulate one of only a few things about this incident: first, that it didn't happen. That the patrolman, in his haste and confusion (isn't it easy to attribute these things to DPD?), was not told by anyone that they were SS (or any other federal agency), was not presented with credentials of any kind (maybe just the guy's license?), did not really encounter anybody who even looked the part, and despite his tesimony to the contrary, was not embarrassed about drawing on a fed. He would not, after all, be the first JFK witness who was "mistaken."

Second, that it was pure happenstance. This guy was just playing an adult version of "cops 'n' robbers," thinking it would be real cool to look like he was protecting the president, slinking around in the shadows and feeling like a real James Bond. Being behind the fence at such a crucial time was all part of the play-acting, and gee, he was so really into it that he'd convinced a cop who'd drawn a gun on him that he was really one of the President's men! Guy's probably still chuckling about it today.

Third, that he was there for a reason - to distract police from other activities or other locations ("that's okay guys, I've already looked in that trunk!") - and either knew or was somehow confident that his scam wouldn't be detected, that some guy ten feet away when he was challenged by someone wouldn't say "hey, he's not one of us!" That kind of confidence is born of certainty, which is based on good information. It had to have come from somewhere. (All of this also means he wasn't a Dallas cop because someone - even if not Smith - might have recognized him.)

Or fourth, that he was winging it. He and his compadres were in town to kill the President of the United States, just crossing their fingers and hoping they'd would get away with it ... and it was pure, dumb luck that they did!

That's usually how things like this are planned, right?

Let's look at the immediate aftermath: an "all downtown units" call goes out, "signal 19." Do you know how many patrol units alone responded to that call and where they were from? Here's some help:

The officers from districts #31 and 32 were assigned to Parkland in case anything went wrong (it did, so they never left there - shown as
light red
on the map below);

The districts immediately surrounding #106 (DP patrol area -
dark red
on the map) and responding to the "all downtown units" call were #41, 42, 52, 54, 71, 73, 101, 103, 104, 106, 107, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118 and 119 (these are
medium red
on the map);

Also responding to the call from outlying areas were districts #21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 35, 36, 37, 38, 43, 44, 49, 51, 53, 55, 61, 62, 93, 94, 95, 96, 76, 77, 79, 81, 82, 87, 102 and 108 (
yellow
on the map);

Assigned to remain in their districts were #45, 46, 47, 48, 56, 57, 58, 59, 65, 67, 68, 85 and 86 (
turquoise
);

Assigned to patrol a different district was #78 (
dark blue
), "at large" in districts #91, 92, 93 and 94 (the officer assigned to those districts was at lunch).

There is no mention of #33, 34, 63, 64, 66, 69, 72, 74, 75, 83, 84, 88, 89, 97, 98, 108 or 109 anywhere on the record (that I've found).

It might be useful to see where these districts were situated (the map should be fairly readable when downloaded and zoomed; I have a much larger copy to send if you want it by email): click the link to see the fast-load version or high-res version.

This is what police coverage around town looked like after the signal 19: click the link to see the fast-load version or high-res version.

(The dark blue patrol zones, by the way, are the only ones that DPD felt needed extra coverage, which they assigned to one man. I guess presidential assassins only flee to the southeast; is that your experience, too?)

In addition, there were several patrol sergeants and lieutenants who had responded and aren't accounted for by this map, plus headquarters personnel and others not associated with Traffic or the Reserves (the two divisions, remember, that were assigned duties relating to the parade), many if not most of the officers assigned to security along the parade route, many of whom had walked to the scene (as had a small handful from HQ), and don't forget Homicide, ID and Crime Scene folks, too.

Now there is a whole batch of officers contributing to scene search and security, heckuva deal! Most were probably there within 10-15 minutes, helped out where they could; some performed some actions on their own initiative, others were assigned to crowd and traffic control (and not doing such a great job, you say).

Then about half an hour later, a citizen calls in "officer down," and DP all but empties out of cops. I made a list of the officers who responded to the signal 19 in Oak Cliff (or at least those who called in on the radio at some point, made a report about it, testified about being there, or were referred to by other officers in their reports or testimonies; many left without informing anyone, and some so testified), but can't find it right now, so suffice it to say for now that most of the "yellow" officers, some of the "turquoise" ones and a lot of others who'd been elsewhere downtown and had responded to the first signal 19 were next heard from in Oak Cliff.

Well, that too was fortuitous to those who "ingenious(ly) pulled it off and escaped" and suddenly, the only people who might've eventually caught them have left the crime scene and gone somewhere else. Scene security - as much as it was ever "secure" in the first place - had just taken a massive hit if not been crippled. If there was a chance to get away undetected, this was as good as it was going to get. Pure, dumb luck again?

"Site security?" Check out the "Willis 15" thread for some photos taken shortly after the downtown shooting and tell me it looks "secure!" This is something you call "defensible?"

Yet you apologize for DPD by saying that their (only?) "major screwup was allowing DP to be opened up to pedestrian and vehicular traffic immediately after the incident," passing off "allowing unauthorized personnel atop of the overpass" (which is a straw man because no shots came from atop the bridge) as "poor judgement or miscommunication," saying they were "stretched very thin" so apparently couldn't do any better than they did? You can attribute these criticisms to "20/10 hindsight," but I'm not paid to anticipate these things and keep anyone alive. Those who were did a remarkable job of it ... but unfortunately, those "remarks" aren't particularly laudatory!

No, the ingenuity is not in having pulled it off and escaped, the real ingenuity is having people cover for them ("I've seen no evidence in 42 years that suggests anyone other than Lee Harvey Oswald ...") and make excuses for 40 years as to why nobody could've caught 'em (and probably shouldn't have been expected to be able to anyway), and how, in the case of JFK's security, "the operation was a success even tho' the patient died" (and that despite at least two official findings to the effect that security was at least deficient if not downright laughable).

As to who it was that "pulled it off and escaped?" Who cares? As long as it's nobody's "fault" that they got away, all is well in Wonderland ... and ya ain't gonna hear Oswald complaining about it.

As to the "execution" of Oswald, you do have a way with words!! :huh: For now, all I'll say is that the entire deal that went down was political, ordered by the City Manager and the Mayor at the behest of the Citizens Council (who held tremendous sway over the council and mayor, and who would later regret their decision because of the end result's effect on business!), overriding anything the cops may have preferred. How much political appointee Chief Jesse Curry argued with them is not a matter of record, but it's certain he didn't tell the city fathers to go to hell. It makes one wonder how much they'd looked to their political bosses for guidance in determining how much security to provide to POTUS, doesn't it?

Even while not willing to point fingers yet, I still find it interesting that USSS - or someone apparently well-connected to it - has at least gotten past the "Oswald did it alone" claptrap, and recognizes, at least, that the "ingenuity" was in pulling it off and getting away with it. It still doesn't answer the question of who pulled it off, but at least it's a step in the right direction!

Finally, you pointed out how "ridiculous" the concept of USSS watching each and every window along any route is (despite various CTs suggesting that this was SOP), especially through a downtown area. I think the concept of welding all the manhole covers shut falls in the same category, but I don't know because PRS will not discuss the methods by which they protect the president, then or now. While the 120° turn prohibition likewise sounds reasonable on the surface, I don't know if that was really the case or if it's just some crap someone made up or expounded as fact simply because it seemed reasonable: would Lawson have objected to the Main-Houston-Elm turns if he'd actually driven over them and seen the last one up close and personal and not been overruled by his superiors?

Thanks for the feedback!

Okay Duke, Here Goes,

I will address this somewhat generic but in simplistic terms so that all can follow and not get too specific as to compromise present day security procedures that could compromise the safety of current dignitaries.

I have attended the USSS School for LE on dignitary protection and have taken part in upwards of 30-40 details involving Presidents, Vice-Presidents, their spouses, cabinet members and presidential and vice presidential candidates over the past twenty-two years. I have been a grunt in motorcade route security, airport detail security, site arrival and site staging security, and motorcade security where I have been a scout and lead car driver. I have been in-charge of airport security, site security and motorcade security.

What has evolved in the past forty plus years since the JFK Assassination is that the role of the secret service has shrunk into a tighter perimeter of security of the protected party than from past practices. I will not explain this as it could compromise what the current practice is.

I will use my experience and training to explain my perspectives on Dallas. My training focused on past practices dating back to well pre-Kennedy, to date.

The USSS is responsible for planning for the safety of the President and any other dignitary on a visit outside the confines of the White House. Their focus is on overall protection from start to finish, but their hands-on activity is restricted to within the motorcade and when the president is stationary and on the ground. In other words, at point of arrival and deaprture (airport(s)), speaking engagements, and overnight stays. The dignitary is at most risk when stationary and there is downtime. When the dignitary is moving in the motorcade, the USSS relies a great deal on local law enforcement and whoever else they call in to provide additional security. Local Law enforcement provide in motorcade security such as scout and lead cars/motorcycles to clear the area ahead, intersection security to clear intersections and provide safe passage and a clear route without vehicular traffic to slow the progress of the motorcade. And crowd control along the routes where there is an expectation of heavy crowds and confined spaces. Also for turns and manuervers. They also provide vehicles within the motorcade to prevent vehicular traffic from overtaking the principle party of the motorcade. The majority of the security for local law enforcement is consistent with the greater numbers of USSS and white house security details in providing security on the ground when the protected party is stationary, such as the point of arrival/departure, engagements and overnight stays. In the case of a motorcade, the security relies on the mobility and ability to accelerate out of trouble.

With this in mind, please direct your questions of concern specifically and I will address them.

Al

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Al,

As you well know, few if any people here (or even involved in the assassination debate in general!) perhaps other than yourself have the experience of being involved in Presidential protection. Not even every cop in our major cities has that distinction. By that measure, almost nobody has the "right" to judge what happened in Dallas or draw any conclusions from what they've learned because they haven't been involved in Presidential protection details from any angle. By extension, the only people who really do have such a right are people who've not only done it but, more specifically, who did it in 1963.

What's the line about "having a battle of wits with an unarmed man?" I won't go so far as to suggest either of us are witless, but it does seem that you're attempting to define the only people with "wits" as those who've "been there, done that" (whatever "that" may be), and that nobody else can have an informed opinion because ... well, because they're not informed! Sort of puts any "debate" automatically on unequal footing, doesn't it? Appeal to authority: you've got it, nobody else does, you win by default.

Your argument seems to be that everybody did everything perfectly and by the book, but Kennedy got killed anyway, and, well, "there was little anyone could have done to prevent a successful attempt on the life of the president." Leaving aside the impossibility of "preventing" something that's already "successful," it's not as if that wasn't anyone's job or anything to damned sure try! Sheesh, whassamatta me? The only error anyone made was in not stopping traffic, that's all, just a minor little thing that. That and a handful of people who should've been shooed off the bridge were all that stood between "where it became [an] ingenious ... escape" rather than just pure, dumb luck.

Otherwise, everybody gets a gold star?

As to staffing along the parade route, I'm working largely from memory and limited notes (and a map) for the time being. I've got another 35-page report somewhere around here that I couldn't seem to lay my hands on, and a bunch of other stuff to boot. It is probably far less than what you have, but it should at least be sufficient to form the basis of a discussion.

You said that "(i)n a moving motorcade, the Secret Service does not have agents on the ground and rely [sic] on local LE to provide security." The WC agreed with you on the fact that there were no USSS personnel on the ground in Dallas. That means that the assignments DPD - and DPD alone - made were all the ground security in place since, according to the WC (and the agencies in question), no other federal agency (or military) personnel were along the parade route. As to locals, most of the DCSD deputies that were downtown were hanging out at the corner of Main and Houston watching the parade.

Pages 618 through 623, inclusive, of FBI "JFK Exhibit F-679" (part of CD-1, as I recall) are the assignments of officers for "President J.F. Kennedy's Dallas Visit and Parade." It is dated November 21, 1963, and are the plans submitted to "Mr. J.E. Curry, Chief of Police" for "policing the parade, and other traffic and security assignments" submitted by Deputy Chief R.H. Lunday, who was listed as "in charge of detail." His assistant in charge was Capt P.W. Lawrence. Presumably, this report was pro forma to Curry, the details having already been worked out between Lunday, Lawrence, Win Lawson, Forrest Sorrels and David Grant (and Floyd Boring back in DC?).

Not to say that it necessarily means anything, but I have always found it interesting that this report covers only the trip TO the Trade Mart, and that there isn't one for the trip BACK from the Trade Mart. Is this typical? The report covers six pages, detailing where everyone will be and who they are. It is complete with Asst Chief Lunday's signature at the end of the sixth page. It seems odd that someone would provide such detail and then make none about the second half of the trip, or put it in a separate report. Stranger things have happened, though. Maybe Curry didn't need to worry about the trip back simply because he wouldn't be a part of it (tho' it of course turned out that he was).

The manpower used to handle these assignments," report says, "will come from the Traffic Division and available Police Reserves" (emphasis added). A total of 159 officers and reservists were assigned some sort of function in connection with the parade. Eighteen rode in the parade, including five solo motorcycles in the lead, four each assigned to the left and right sides of the car (two at each front and two at each rear), and two more following behind; three officers rode in the advance unit, 2 blocks ahead of the first (police) car in the main motorcade.

Nineteen were assigned to "motor pool" duties at the Trade Mart, and six more were assigned to "traffic and security" at the same location beginning at 7:00 a.m. Five more worked a "no-parking detail" along the parade route, also starting at 7:00 a.m. Of the remaining 111 officers, there are four sergeants and one lieutenant supervising "Parade Route Traffic and Security Assignments," and 14 reservists working "crowd control" along the route. The rest were stationed at or around various intersections along the route.

There were two possible routes from Love Field to the Trade Mart: one that went across Mockingbird to Harry Hines Blvd, Hines to Industrial to Inwood and thence to the Trade Mart (designated route "2" which avoided downtown altogether), and the one that was taken (route "1"). According to the recollections of one of the solo motorcycle cops (I can't find the link or remember his name, but I believe it's on Ken Rahn's site), none of the officers knew which route would be taken until they had left Love Field and taken the first turn. That seems a little abrupt to me since the first group of security would have to already be in place as soon as they took whichever turn they were going to make. Offhand, I don't know (or remember) who made the final decision on the route or when.

The area of coverage for each sergeant along the "1" route was as follows (with the route marked in red on the map, with each of the last points of transfer of responsibility marked as X1 thru X4):

Love Field to Turtle Creek (W.A. Simpson)

Turtle Creek & Cedar Springs to Harwood (B.F. Rodgers)

Main-Harwood to Field (W.C. Campbell)

Main & Field to Houston & Elm (D.V. Harkness)

If one is to believe that it means what exactly what the report says, Kennedy's security technically ended at Elm and Houston.

As the parade moved into downtown and onto Main Street, there were two officers assigned to each corner along Main at Harwood, St. Paul, Ervay, Stone, Akard, Field, Murphy, Griffin, Poydras, Lamar, Austin, Market and Record. In most cases, one of the two officers had either a solo motorcycle or three-wheeler until they reached Record Street, one block east of Houston. The map should be clear enough to show that this is at every intersection along Main. These are all direct intersections, surrounded on all four sides by tall buildings, the only means of open passage being along Main or the intersecting street.

Beginning at Main & Houston, there were three officers at that corner (Fox, Lewis and Denham, along with DCSD not on official duty); three officers at Elm & Houston (Barnett, Smith and Smith); and two officers atop the RR bridge (Foster and White), for a total of eight officers assigned the plaza. (I am presuming that they are all sworn officers as opposed to reservists; I looked it up once, but just don't recall, so I'll give it the benefit of doubt.) One Reservist (H.A. Inmon - sp?) was assigned between Main-Houston and Elm for crowd control.

After Elm & Houston, assignments were (notes in parentheses are verbatim on the report):

Elm & RR Overpass (both officers atop RR overpass - one man on East side & one man on West side) - Foster and White

Stemmons Freeway Serv. Rd. (atop overpass) - J.E. Murphy (three-wheeler)

[something unreadable] RR Overpass across Stemmons Freeway (just North of Elm Street - one man on South catwalk & other man on Nortyh catwalk) - L.A. Lomax and E.V. Brown

[something unreadable] Overpass at Industrial (3 Wheeler atop overpass on East side) - C.E. Shankles (three-wheeler)

Stemmons Service Road & Industrial - J.R. Mackay (3W), R.J. Kosan, W.E. Wilson

From the time that the motorcade made its approach onto Stemmons Freeway (I-35E) northbound to the Trade Mart, there was no on-the-ground security other than the escort motorcycles and lead car until they reached the Trade Mart. This is presumably because they'd be moving at 60+ mph and would be hard targets to hit. The Trade Mart is just about right off the freeway, and several officers were assigned to keep that area secure with an additional 19 officers assigned to the "motor pool" at that location to assist as necessary.

Traffic was stopped along the northbound side of Stemmons prior to the entrance ramp, so the highway was more or less clear ahead of the motorcade from the Elm entrance to the TM (photos show otherwise, tho' the traffic wasn't moving). The officers assigned to stop traffic on Stemmons are not specified. "Security" along the highway was limited to two mounted officers (3-wheelers), one atop the service road overpass and the other atop the overpass on the east side at Stemmons and Industrial, and 2 officers on foot atop the south and north (pedestrian) catwalks just north of Elm. All any of them could have done was watched "a successful attempt on the life of the president" since none of them could have done a damned thing to make an attempt unsuccessful! In truth, they weren't "security," they were nothing more than by-standers.

I said earlier that security "technically" ended at Elm and Houston, but it also effectively ended there since, from that point forward, every single officer without exception was "atop" a bridge or catwalk. None could respond to or prevent any incident occuring beneath the bridges, including the Triple Underpass, and everyone at ground level (e.g., the six officers at the east end of the plaza, on Houston at Main and at Elm) was already behind the action when the shooting started.

Notice, too, that the shooting started as soon as the security ended. Who could have known?

Should anything have happened along that stretch of Elm St after the turn from Houston (as it did), the last two cops on the route were hamstrung: they were 20 feet above the roadway, and a longer distance off the bridge and down the hill to get to street level, with a six-foot high, hundred-foot long fence in the way. Moreover, one of them was on the west side - the far side - of the bridge, separated from Dealey Plaza by more than four railroad tracks and facing away from it. There was only one set of eyes focused on Dealey Plaza, and no feet on its ground.

Al, you also noted that "local LE is and was required to man anything that the motorcade passes under or over, and DPD did that" ... at least, as minimally as could have been done. Offhand, I don't know the length of the Triple Underpass, but it is long enough and dark enough with enough pillars along the walkways that I wouldn't recommend anyone walk through there unarmed, even in daylight! Would an area like this qualify as one of those "points of concern along a motorcade route" that you said local LE is expected to provide as part of the "majority" of their security?

To say that DPD "manned" this bridge is like a mechanic who checked your lug nuts and says he's "performed an inspection" of your car. Two miles later, the rear end falls off, he shrugs and says "well, that wasn't what I'd inspected," but there's no doubt that he performed "an inspection." Did that "inspection" do the job and let you know what to expect? Of course not, but you tell me you're going to defend it as an adequate performance of DPD's expected responsibilities?

What could either man atop the bridge have done should something have happened beneath it? How could they have effectively monitored anyone walking underneath the bridge - much less caught up to them - when the bridge is 10 lanes wide (three lanes each at Elm and Commerce, plus two in each direction at Main)? It is long enough from east to west that two men stationed atop of it directly across from each other would have to yell quite loudly to even get the other's attention, much less advise him to make sure (!?) that whoever went beneath the bridge came out the other side ... and then, what if they didn't come out? What could they do about investigating where they'd gone?

Along the Main St and Houston St portions of the parade, there were two men stationed at or near each intersection, one mounted (either solo or 3-wheeler). You can picture the open area of any four-lane downtown thoroughfare intersecting with two-lane sidestreets: if as many as six or more officers (not counting those in the motorcade), half mounted, can converge on any one spot in a very brief span of time, why leave an expanse as large as Dealey Plaza with security only at one end (and who would naturally relax their vigilance once the motorcade - or the VIP cars at a minimum - went by them), with ALL of them on foot only?

Of the eight officers in DP, six were assigned to the eastern end, and the two atop the bridge essentially ineffective except as "lookouts" for trouble in the plaza (which they couldn't have responded to anyway ... and they weren't even equipped with handhelds to alert anyone else either!) and for clearing the top of the bridge (only). Plus, one of them was assigned to look the other way on the west side of the bridge, away from the approach of the motorcade. So JFK was effectively abandoned by DPD as soon as he took the turn onto Elm, and the only thing anyone could do - the only thing they actually were able to do - was watch when trouble came down. DPD was no longer "security," they were merely spectators.

You also called the motorcade route "an ideal killing zone throughout for a sniper" (my emphasis), and cited the "terrain afforded thoughout" as if DP and the downtown streets were even similar in their challenges. DP, as quite distinct from the rest of the parade route, not only had many more vantage (read: firing) points, but it likewise had more escape routes. It had more streets converging into it and spreading out from it than any other intersection previously encountered, and had two levels - above and below the bridge - to guard. Because of the curves in the road, it also offered arguably the only place along the downtown parade route that someone could have fired from a window without having to lean out of it - becoming much more conspicuous - to aim and fire at "the target."

And for this, DPD provided officers on foot only, with most of them at the trailing end of the parade, and the rest (one officer) hardly in a position to respond to anything, much less prevent it!

Such was DPD "security" planning ... and it was planned. It is debatable whether the intention was to have provided NO security at DP as they did, but that doesn't change the fact of what was. Despite the "Keystone Kops" image they obtained as a result of the events of this one weekend, DPD was NOT incompetent or ill-trained.

If someone with as little training and experience as I have (some military LE, but not enough - and too long ago - that I would consider myself a "real cop") can recognize some of the obstacles of Dealey Plaza, it is absolutely inconceivable that officers - and ranking officers to boot! - with years of experience, trained to look for such obstacles, trained to prevent crimes, not merely react to them, and trained and expected to protect the life of the President of the United States who was visiting the city so very visibly and so close on the heels of the Adlai Stevenson debacle, could not properly evaluate and recognize DP as a "point of concern" on which to focus and plan adequate security for, in the heart of the very city they patrol every day! No, that was really more than anyone should expect.

But hey, in life there are no absolutes, least of all when it comes to what you can conceive and believe in this case!

Let's move on. The shots have been fired, the motorcade's sped out of the plaza, people are running up the knoll, and Officer Joe Smith (who was stationed at Elm & Houston with two other officers, also on foot) encounters someone he thinks suspicous and halts him, drawing on him. The man displays SS creds which Smith is satisfied with, and afterwards testifies how stupid he felt for drawing down on a fed (he was still fooled six months later!).

You said that "in a moving motorcade [which this was], the Secret Service does not have agents on the ground." In this case, the WC (and HSCA) agreed with you, having been advised by USSS that there were, in fact, none of its agents on the ground in DP. Every other federal agency, military and civilian, said the same thing. We also know that no police were assigned there either.

"Who was this man" might be an important question, but a more important question is: "how did he know he could be there?"

Let's think about this a moment. The average person on the streets doesn't know PRS procedure. USSS doesn't talk about their means and methods, not even what they did 40 years ago or not (they won't even confirm or deny the manhole or 120° turn stuff!). Everyone knows the President travels with a lot of security (by most people's standards, anyway), so why would anyone suspect that the Secret Service would NOT be on the ground in Dealey Plaza that day? How did he know that a real SS agent (who could call his bluff and cause all sorts of trouble) wasn't within earshot as he identified himself as one of them?

Moreover, we've got to assume that these DPD guys got some sort of briefing about what to expect as far as DPD's security arrangements vis-a-vis the President's own, if only to ensure that they didn't interfere with PRS duties. I think most people would expect that they'd been briefed how to recognize an agent or where to find one. How, in other words, does this guy with the fake creds know the cop's NOT going to know he's not SS ... AND that nobody who would know the difference was going to be there? It seems a pretty risky thing to do otherwise.

Who knew where security would and - more importantly - wouldn't be? The arrangements had only been finalized within the past day, and even if it had been a week earlier, where would the information have circulated, who would know the details? Certainly Lunday and Lawrence, who put it together; Chief Curry to whom the report was made; Lawson and Sorrels as the "seniors" for USSS; the PRS team(?) and DPD officers taking part in the "visit and parade." Who else? DCSD wasn't involved in security, and didn't participate at all in the parade except for Sheriff Decker in the lead car. The FBI doesn't provide security (at least, Hoover's didn't!), so they wouldn't have a need to know. Who else would? Published parade route or not, this kind of information isn't the kind that gets put in the newspaper.

Clearly that information had limited circulation, and if someone was able to take advantage of it in such as way as to "ingeniously pull [the assassination] off and escape" and use "Secret Service" credentials to aid in effecting that escape ... that information could only have come from a limited number of sources. Frankly, in my wildest dreams, I cannot imagine a Secret Service agent plotting to take the life of someone he's sworn to protect (the book Mortal Error notwithstanding). Could it happen? I suppose so, but I'd suspect it has a likelihood somewhere close to that of a gnat's breath provoking an elephant stampede.

We have to postulate one of only a few things about this incident: first, that it didn't happen. That the patrolman, in his haste and confusion (isn't it easy to attribute these things to DPD?), was not told by anyone that they were SS (or any other federal agency), was not presented with credentials of any kind (maybe just the guy's license?), did not really encounter anybody who even looked the part, and despite his tesimony to the contrary, was not embarrassed about drawing on a fed. He would not, after all, be the first JFK witness who was "mistaken."

Second, that it was pure happenstance. This guy was just playing an adult version of "cops 'n' robbers," thinking it would be real cool to look like he was protecting the president, slinking around in the shadows and feeling like a real James Bond. Being behind the fence at such a crucial time was all part of the play-acting, and gee, he was so really into it that he'd convinced a cop who'd drawn a gun on him that he was really one of the President's men! Guy's probably still chuckling about it today.

Third, that he was there for a reason - to distract police from other activities or other locations ("that's okay guys, I've already looked in that trunk!") - and either knew or was somehow confident that his scam wouldn't be detected, that some guy ten feet away when he was challenged by someone wouldn't say "hey, he's not one of us!" That kind of confidence is born of certainty, which is based on good information. It had to have come from somewhere. (All of this also means he wasn't a Dallas cop because someone - even if not Smith - might have recognized him.)

Or fourth, that he was winging it. He and his compadres were in town to kill the President of the United States, just crossing their fingers and hoping they'd would get away with it ... and it was pure, dumb luck that they did!

That's usually how things like this are planned, right?

Let's look at the immediate aftermath: an "all downtown units" call goes out, "signal 19." Do you know how many patrol units alone responded to that call and where they were from? Here's some help:

The officers from districts #31 and 32 were assigned to Parkland in case anything went wrong (it did, so they never left there - shown as
light red
on the map below);

The districts immediately surrounding #106 (DP patrol area -
dark red
on the map) and responding to the "all downtown units" call were #41, 42, 52, 54, 71, 73, 101, 103, 104, 106, 107, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118 and 119 (these are
medium red
on the map);

Also responding to the call from outlying areas were districts #21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 35, 36, 37, 38, 43, 44, 49, 51, 53, 55, 61, 62, 93, 94, 95, 96, 76, 77, 79, 81, 82, 87, 102 and 108 (
yellow
on the map);

Assigned to remain in their districts were #45, 46, 47, 48, 56, 57, 58, 59, 65, 67, 68, 85 and 86 (
turquoise
);

Assigned to patrol a different district was #78 (
dark blue
), "at large" in districts #91, 92, 93 and 94 (the officer assigned to those districts was at lunch).

There is no mention of #33, 34, 63, 64, 66, 69, 72, 74, 75, 83, 84, 88, 89, 97, 98, 108 or 109 anywhere on the record (that I've found).

It might be useful to see where these districts were situated (the map should be fairly readable when downloaded and zoomed; I have a much larger copy to send if you want it by email): click the link to see the fast-load version or high-res version.

This is what police coverage around town looked like after the signal 19: click the link to see the fast-load version or high-res version.

(The dark blue patrol zones, by the way, are the only ones that DPD felt needed extra coverage, which they assigned to one man. I guess presidential assassins only flee to the southeast; is that your experience, too?)

In addition, there were several patrol sergeants and lieutenants who had responded and aren't accounted for by this map, plus headquarters personnel and others not associated with Traffic or the Reserves (the two divisions, remember, that were assigned duties relating to the parade), many if not most of the officers assigned to security along the parade route, many of whom had walked to the scene (as had a small handful from HQ), and don't forget Homicide, ID and Crime Scene folks, too.

Now there is a whole batch of officers contributing to scene search and security, heckuva deal! Most were probably there within 10-15 minutes, helped out where they could; some performed some actions on their own initiative, others were assigned to crowd and traffic control (and not doing such a great job, you say).

Then about half an hour later, a citizen calls in "officer down," and DP all but empties out of cops. I made a list of the officers who responded to the signal 19 in Oak Cliff (or at least those who called in on the radio at some point, made a report about it, testified about being there, or were referred to by other officers in their reports or testimonies; many left without informing anyone, and some so testified), but can't find it right now, so suffice it to say for now that most of the "yellow" officers, some of the "turquoise" ones and a lot of others who'd been elsewhere downtown and had responded to the first signal 19 were next heard from in Oak Cliff.

Well, that too was fortuitous to those who "ingenious(ly) pulled it off and escaped" and suddenly, the only people who might've eventually caught them have left the crime scene and gone somewhere else. Scene security - as much as it was ever "secure" in the first place - had just taken a massive hit if not been crippled. If there was a chance to get away undetected, this was as good as it was going to get. Pure, dumb luck again?

"Site security?" Check out the "Willis 15" thread for some photos taken shortly after the downtown shooting and tell me it looks "secure!" This is something you call "defensible?"

Yet you apologize for DPD by saying that their (only?) "major screwup was allowing DP to be opened up to pedestrian and vehicular traffic immediately after the incident," passing off "allowing unauthorized personnel atop of the overpass" (which is a straw man because no shots came from atop the bridge) as "poor judgement or miscommunication," saying they were "stretched very thin" so apparently couldn't do any better than they did? You can attribute these criticisms to "20/10 hindsight," but I'm not paid to anticipate these things and keep anyone alive. Those who were did a remarkable job of it ... but unfortunately, those "remarks" aren't particularly laudatory!

No, the ingenuity is not in having pulled it off and escaped, the real ingenuity is having people cover for them ("I've seen no evidence in 42 years that suggests anyone other than Lee Harvey Oswald ...") and make excuses for 40 years as to why nobody could've caught 'em (and probably shouldn't have been expected to be able to anyway), and how, in the case of JFK's security, "the operation was a success even tho' the patient died" (and that despite at least two official findings to the effect that security was at least deficient if not downright laughable).

As to who it was that "pulled it off and escaped?" Who cares? As long as it's nobody's "fault" that they got away, all is well in Wonderland ... and ya ain't gonna hear Oswald complaining about it.

As to the "execution" of Oswald, you do have a way with words!! :huh: For now, all I'll say is that the entire deal that went down was political, ordered by the City Manager and the Mayor at the behest of the Citizens Council (who held tremendous sway over the council and mayor, and who would later regret their decision because of the end result's effect on business!), overriding anything the cops may have preferred. How much political appointee Chief Jesse Curry argued with them is not a matter of record, but it's certain he didn't tell the city fathers to go to hell. It makes one wonder how much they'd looked to their political bosses for guidance in determining how much security to provide to POTUS, doesn't it?

Even while not willing to point fingers yet, I still find it interesting that USSS - or someone apparently well-connected to it - has at least gotten past the "Oswald did it alone" claptrap, and recognizes, at least, that the "ingenuity" was in pulling it off and getting away with it. It still doesn't answer the question of who pulled it off, but at least it's a step in the right direction!

Finally, you pointed out how "ridiculous" the concept of USSS watching each and every window along any route is (despite various CTs suggesting that this was SOP), especially through a downtown area. I think the concept of welding all the manhole covers shut falls in the same category, but I don't know because PRS will not discuss the methods by which they protect the president, then or now. While the 120° turn prohibition likewise sounds reasonable on the surface, I don't know if that was really the case or if it's just some crap someone made up or expounded as fact simply because it seemed reasonable: would Lawson have objected to the Main-Houston-Elm turns if he'd actually driven over them and seen the last one up close and personal and not been overruled by his superiors?

Thanks for the feedback!

___________________________________________

Excellent post, Duke.

I've read somewhere that presidential advisor Dave Powers, who was riding in "Halfback" right behind Kennedy's limo, felt that they were "riding into an ambush." (Wonder what gave him that impression.)

FWIW, Thomas

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Okay Duke, you've spouted long enough! What do you base your opinion on? What experience do you have to judge the DPD in an arena such as motorcade security?

Please fill us in and then do your homework on what went down along the motorcade route and how it was staffed before your respond. I will give you that and then respond in defense of the the Dallas PD from security prior to and during the assassination, the aftermath of the assassination and scene security, and the execution of Oswald.

I have done my homework and have been involved in Presidential protection details from about every angle. I will be happy to debate you on this.

Al

Okay Duke, Here Goes,

I will address this somewhat generic but in simplistic terms so that all can follow and not get too specific as to compromise present day security procedures that could compromise the safety of current dignitaries.

... I will use my experience and training to explain my perspectives on Dallas. My training focused on past practices dating back to well pre-Kennedy, to date.

The USSS is responsible for planning for the safety of the President and any other dignitary on a visit outside the confines of the White House. ... When the dignitary is moving in the motorcade, the USSS relies a great deal on local law enforcement ... (which) provide(s) in motorcade security such as scout and lead cars/motorcycles to clear the area ahead, intersection security to clear intersections and provide safe passage and a clear route ... crowd control along the routes where there is an expectation of heavy crowds and confined spaces. Also for turns and manuervers. They also provide vehicles within the motorcade to prevent vehicular traffic from overtaking the principle party of the motorcade. ... In the case of a motorcade, the security relies on the mobility and ability to accelerate out of trouble.

With this in mind, please direct your questions of concern specifically and I will address them.

Al

Al,

I've already raised several issues, most especially the security - or lack thereof - from the eastern end of Dealey Plaza, particularly within the plaza and generally through to the Trade Mart, that amount to an indictment of DPD's arrangements.

You stated that you can "defend" DPD's plans and actions "from security prior to and during the assassination, the aftermath of the assassination and scene security," so please feel free to do so without my having to sift through that long diatribe to extract specific questions. You can find what needs a "defense" as easily as I can.

I don't think there's a particular need to use "generic [and] simplistic terms" to let people "follow" this: if someone doesn't understand something, I'm confident that they're up to the task of asking questions. I'm not asking you to "compromise present day security procedures that could compromise the safety of current dignitaries," merely to comment on the issues I've raised specific to the Dallas PD's arrangements on that particular day 42 years ago.

Perhaps most importantly, you can address why the report on "Assignments for President J.F. Kennedy Visit and Parade" did not include similarly detailed logistics for the trip BACK TO Love Field. Did someone know, perhaps, that there wouldn't be one?

Back to you, Al ....

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I don't think there's a particular need to use "generic [and] simplistic terms" to let people "follow" this: if someone doesn't understand something, I'm confident that they're up to the task of asking questions.

__________________________________

Yeah, take me for example. I ain't shy...

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Excellent post, Duke.

I've read somewhere that presidential advisor Dave Powers, who was riding in "Halfback" right behind Kennedy's limo, felt that they were "riding into an ambush." (Wonder what gave him that impression.)

FWIW, Thomas

Thomas,

See 7 H 473, Powers' affidavit dated 5/18/64: "... the first shot went off I noticed then that the President moved quite far to his left after the shot from the extreme right hand side where he had been sitting. There was a second shot and Governor Connally disappeared from sight and then there was a third shot which took off the top of the President's head and had the sickening sound of a grapefruit splattering against the side of a wall. The total time bewteen the first and third shots was about 5 or 6 seconds. My first impression was that the shots came from the right and overhead, but I also had a fleeting impression that the noise appeared to come from the front in the area of the triple overpass. This [impression] may have resulted from my feeling, when I looked forward toward the overpass, that we might have ridden into an ambush."

In the movies, they do things that you can't see in real life, like depicting the disappointed lover riding off in a cab and then focusing on what the first couldn't see: the arrival of the paramour just seconds later. In this scene, it might be dramatized by the crowd being blurred while the sharply-focused police were left behind the motorcade with none up front, the motorcade leaving the "security zone." Men aiming rifles would replace the cops as the sharp focal points standing out from the blurred crowd. You'd then "ride" the bullets zipping into the kill zone, be looking out from JFK's eyes as they hit, and then all would suddenly go black. Maybe they'd have his vision fade in and out from there to Parkland before going out for the last time as the last rites are performed?

It's pretty clear that, from the moment the motorcade turned into the plaza, it was left out in the open, unprotected. The motorcycle outriders were told not to move forward of the rear wheels of the limo "no matter what happened." This was later ascribed to JFK's directions, when that was never in fact the case. Even had he made that suggestion (or order), the USSS was not beholden to it: ultimately, only the SS makes that decision. It's their job, and the protectee does not tell them how to do it.

As Al has pointed out, on-the-ground security is the responsibility of local law enforcement. It is documented that security was effectively withdrawn as of the time the motorcade took the turn onto Elm St., and that by these arrangements, made Kennedy an open target from that point forward. I am standing by awaiting the "defense."

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Duke,

I agree, excellent post and points. I will look forward to Al's comments. I have a personal experience, two in fact with this and in both instances the individual are/were either defensive or pretend at ignorance. I will not mention one here, but the other is my husband's cousin. He was SS for a president for over 20 years. Two years ago I decided it was time we talked about the assassination issue. And the lack of security JFK had in Dallas. Cousin stated he knew zero about this. I did not challenge him as it was Thanksgiving and we were at his home (replete with photos of his famous charge all over the place).

I think people, SS and police officers, especially anyone who might have actually been in Dallas that day become unnecesarrily defensive, as if we are somhow accusing THEM, if we point out the obvious: that JFK's security that day SUCKED. Normal standards were NOt observed. The San Antonio detail was told they were not needed.

Dawn

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... Pages 618 through 623, inclusive, of FBI Sorry, that is HSCA "JFK Exhibit F-679" (part of CD-13, as I recall) are the assignments of officers for "President J.F. Kennedy's Dallas Visit and Parade." It is dated November 21, 1963 ...

Not to say that it necessarily means anything, but I have always found it interesting that this report covers only the trip TO the Trade Mart, and that there isn't one for the trip BACK from the Trade Mart.

... Yet you apologize for DPD by saying that their (only?) "major screwup was allowing DP to be opened up to pedestrian and vehicular traffic immediately after the incident," passing off "allowing unauthorized personnel atop of the overpass" (which is a straw man because no shots came from atop the bridge) as "poor judgement or miscommunication," saying they were "stretched very thin" so apparently couldn't do any better than they did? You can attribute these criticisms to "20/10 hindsight," but I'm not paid to anticipate these things and keep anyone alive. Those who were did a remarkable job of it ... but unfortunately, those "remarks" aren't particularly laudatory!

Some adds:

HSCA document F-679 is also WC Lawrence Exhibit 2 found at 20H489 et seq. Immediately preceding that is Lawrence Exhibit 1, seven handwritten pages entitled "Instructions to Capt. Lawrence by Chief Batchelor," which Lawrence followed nearly to the letter.

Lawrence Exhibit 3, dated 11/22/63, is "Supplemental Assignments" for the motorcade, and Lawrence Exhibit 4 is Lawrence's 7/15/64 follow-on report to Chief Curry, presumably at the behest of the WC. It states in part:

... other assignments would be made
after the President left the Trade Mart
(emphasis added)

... in other words, they had nothing pre-planned for the return trip, even despite the fact that the plans TO the Trade Mart were compiled and discussed for several days leading up to November 22, including in a meeting at DPD with USSS personnel during which these arrangements (and the fact that motorcycles were not to be at the sides of the limousine) on the evening of November 21.

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... Pages 618 through 623, inclusive, of FBI Sorry, that is HSCA "JFK Exhibit F-679" (part of CD-13, as I recall) are the assignments of officers for "President J.F. Kennedy's Dallas Visit and Parade." It is dated November 21, 1963 ...

Not to say that it necessarily means anything, but I have always found it interesting that this report covers only the trip TO the Trade Mart, and that there isn't one for the trip BACK from the Trade Mart.

... Yet you apologize for DPD by saying that their (only?) "major screwup was allowing DP to be opened up to pedestrian and vehicular traffic immediately after the incident," passing off "allowing unauthorized personnel atop of the overpass" (which is a straw man because no shots came from atop the bridge) as "poor judgement or miscommunication," saying they were "stretched very thin" so apparently couldn't do any better than they did? You can attribute these criticisms to "20/10 hindsight," but I'm not paid to anticipate these things and keep anyone alive. Those who were did a remarkable job of it ... but unfortunately, those "remarks" aren't particularly laudatory!

Some adds:

HSCA document F-679 is also WC Lawrence Exhibit 2 found at 20H489 et seq. Immediately preceding that is Lawrence Exhibit 1, seven handwritten pages entitled "Instructions to Capt. Lawrence by Chief Batchelor," which Lawrence followed nearly to the letter.

Lawrence Exhibit 3, dated 11/22/63, is "Supplemental Assignments" for the motorcade, and Lawrence Exhibit 4 is Lawrence's 7/15/64 follow-on report to Chief Curry, presumably at the behest of the WC. It states in part:

... other assignments would be made
after the President left the Trade Mart
(emphasis added)

... in other words, they had nothing pre-planned for the return trip, even despite the fact that the plans TO the Trade Mart were compiled and discussed for several days leading up to November 22, including in a meeting at DPD with USSS personnel during which these arrangements (and the fact that motorcycles were not to be at the sides of the limousine) on the evening of November 21.

Duke,

Very interesting. It's either the biggest stuff-up in USSS history or it was planned as a one way trip. It raises some interesting questions.

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Very interesting. It's either the biggest stuff-up in USSS history or it was planned as a one way trip. It raises some interesting questions.

Three that pop immediately to mind are:

1) How did Oswald stage-manage all of this?

2) Could there
possibly
have been a conspiracy?

3) Can Al Carrier
really
"defend" this all away?

Stay tuned ...! Somehow I suspect it will all get much more interesting ....

;)

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