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A Corrupted Secret Service and LBJ


Greg Ritsul
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Of all the volumes of information that have come out surrounding the assassination, the one I’ve heard the least about, and become most interested in, is the Secret Service. Their failure to follow even the most basic Secret Service protection codes in Dallas lays a large portion of the blame for the Presidents’ death at their doorstep. But I never understood how this situation came to be. As far as I’m aware, they had always served the President well prior to Dallas.

So how did it come to pass that they allowed the parade route to be changed to that highly vulnerable turn on Elm? And with the bubble top off no less. How is it that Secret Service agents, normally not allowed to drink while on protective duty, were out doing just that until the early hours of 11/22/63? And this while the President had to make do with only the protection of 1 or 2 Fort Worth firemen his last night in Texas. And how was it that no Secret Service agents were stationed on the rear of the Presidents’ car, as they would have been normally? As I also understand it, one or more Secret Service personnel normally assigned to protect the President, were replaced at the last minute with much less seasoned (and therefore presumably more “flexible” in how they carried out their duties) agents. How did the Secret Service become corrupted?

While I have no smoking gun, the one and only short answer I recently found unfortunately made all too much sense – Lyndon Johnson. A short single sentence stated that shortly prior to Dallas, Lyndon Johnson had assumed control of the Secret Service detail. Since I have found so little on the matter, I’m hoping some of you can add whatever info you have on this.

1) Is this really true? And if so, what evidence is there to support this?

2) I had always “assume”ed the Secret Service was more or less on auto-pilot regarding security matters – Eg: they planned and implemented their protective activities with little or no formal direction from the actual people they were protecting. And would certainly not be compromising parade routes, eliminating agents from the presidents detail etc, even at the behest of one of those being protected. What exactly is the nature of the interaction between LBJ and the Secret Service? Was this at all typical for him? Or was it a one time “special” – just for Dallas?

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Of all the volumes of information that have come out surrounding the assassination, the one I’ve heard the least about, and become most interested in, is the Secret Service. Their failure to follow even the most basic Secret Service protection codes in Dallas lays a large portion of the blame for the Presidents’ death at their doorstep. But I never understood how this situation came to be. As far as I’m aware, they had always served the President well prior to Dallas.

So how did it come to pass that they allowed the parade route to be changed to that highly vulnerable turn on Elm? And with the bubble top off no less. How is it that Secret Service agents, normally not allowed to drink while on protective duty, were out doing just that until the early hours of 11/22/63? And this while the President had to make do with only the protection of 1 or 2 Fort Worth firemen his last night in Texas. And how was it that no Secret Service agents were stationed on the rear of the Presidents’ car, as they would have been normally? As I also understand it, one or more Secret Service personnel normally assigned to protect the President, were replaced at the last minute with much less seasoned (and therefore presumably more “flexible” in how they carried out their duties) agents. How did the Secret Service become corrupted?

While I have no smoking gun, the one and only short answer I recently found unfortunately made all too much sense – Lyndon Johnson. A short single sentence stated that shortly prior to Dallas, Lyndon Johnson had assumed control of the Secret Service detail. Since I have found so little on the matter, I’m hoping some of you can add whatever info you have on this.

1) Is this really true? And if so, what evidence is there to support this?

2) I had always “assume”ed the Secret Service was more or less on auto-pilot regarding security matters – Eg: they planned and implemented their protective activities with little or no formal direction from the actual people they were protecting. And would certainly not be compromising parade routes, eliminating agents from the presidents detail etc, even at the behest of one of those being protected. What exactly is the nature of the interaction between LBJ and the Secret Service? Was this at all typical for him? Or was it a one time “special” – just for Dallas?

Greg,

Welcome to the Forum. The SS and their performance has been discussed at length on other threads recently. I'm very interested in your statement that LBJ had assumed control of the Secret Service prior to the Dallas trip. Can you tell me where you got this information?

SAIC Jerry Behn was on vacation at the time of the assassination, leaving ASAIC Floyd Boring in charge of the White House Detail. James Rowley was overall SS Chief, answerable to Secretary of the Treasury, C Douglas Dillon. Statements from agents on the ground in Dallas that day indicate that LBJ and his aides exercised significant influence and I've always considered this to be strong evidence of the VP's involvement in the crime. I don't doubt that LBJ put himself in the command loop. In Texas, apparently anything goes.

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I'll see if I can find it again. I didn't bookmark it as there really was no supporting info with it. Only a short single sentence statement , as I recall.

Of all the volumes of information that have come out surrounding the assassination, the one I’ve heard the least about, and become most interested in, is the Secret Service. Their failure to follow even the most basic Secret Service protection codes in Dallas lays a large portion of the blame for the Presidents’ death at their doorstep. But I never understood how this situation came to be. As far as I’m aware, they had always served the President well prior to Dallas.

So how did it come to pass that they allowed the parade route to be changed to that highly vulnerable turn on Elm? And with the bubble top off no less. How is it that Secret Service agents, normally not allowed to drink while on protective duty, were out doing just that until the early hours of 11/22/63? And this while the President had to make do with only the protection of 1 or 2 Fort Worth firemen his last night in Texas. And how was it that no Secret Service agents were stationed on the rear of the Presidents’ car, as they would have been normally? As I also understand it, one or more Secret Service personnel normally assigned to protect the President, were replaced at the last minute with much less seasoned (and therefore presumably more “flexible” in how they carried out their duties) agents. How did the Secret Service become corrupted?

While I have no smoking gun, the one and only short answer I recently found unfortunately made all too much sense – Lyndon Johnson. A short single sentence stated that shortly prior to Dallas, Lyndon Johnson had assumed control of the Secret Service detail. Since I have found so little on the matter, I’m hoping some of you can add whatever info you have on this.

1) Is this really true? And if so, what evidence is there to support this?

2) I had always “assume”ed the Secret Service was more or less on auto-pilot regarding security matters – Eg: they planned and implemented their protective activities with little or no formal direction from the actual people they were protecting. And would certainly not be compromising parade routes, eliminating agents from the presidents detail etc, even at the behest of one of those being protected. What exactly is the nature of the interaction between LBJ and the Secret Service? Was this at all typical for him? Or was it a one time “special” – just for Dallas?

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Mark S. wrote:

Statements from agents on the ground in Dallas that day indicate that LBJ and his aides exercised significant influence and I've always considered this to be strong evidence of the VP's involvement in the crime.

Mark, can you amplify on what these statements were, and where they were reported?

Thanks.

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Tim, your best source for this is Surviviors Guilt by Vince Palamara.

The matter gets confusing because many of the more suspicious orders have

to do with the motorcade and are difficult to identify as to specific source,

esepcially as Jack Peuterbough was inroduced and apparently viewed on

some occasions as part of the Secret Service party and Lawson and he are

at odds on how certain things (like vehicle sequence changes) happened. In

other occasions the source is vague like "someone from the Vice President's

car".

Vince certainly has the best research and detailing of all the elements though.

-- Larry

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So how did it come to pass that they allowed the parade route to be changed to that highly vulnerable turn on Elm?
According to a lengthy and detailed report compiled by DPD Asst Chief Batchelor, and Deputy Chiefs Lumpkin and Stevenson, the route was not changed, and DPD and the USSS travelled the entire route, including the Elm Street bend, prior to November 22. The report was made to Chief Jesse Curry, dated November 30, 1963.

According to the report (HSCA record #180-10107-10137, file #003019, Box 71, released 05/18/93), the route had not been finalized as of November 14, nor had the location for the luncheon. On Nov 15, USSS asked DPD what they felt was the best route, which they responded Lemmon to Central Expressway, to Main as "the route requiring the least manpower for traffic." "It was pointed out" (the report does not indicate by whom) that the route that would "generate the greatest number of spectators" was the one ultimately selected.

The route was driven "in its entirety" from Love Field to the Trade Mart on Monday, Nov 18. USSS Lawson and Sorrells rode with Asst Chief Batchelor and Deputy Chief Lunday. Running time was determined to be 38 minutes. The report goes into details for "security," manpower and other factors.

Of course, this is DPD's version of events. If someone has a reference to any contradictory or complementary information from USSS about this, please let me know.

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Duke

We now know that both FBI agent Hosty and the New Orleans FBI agent's pre assassination notes were being routed to the office of Richard Helms (Morley/Newman). Interestingly the Hosty November 4, 1963 note was, to my knowlege, never given an exhibit number (therefore it has never been retrieved via the FIA. Morley and Newman demonstrated that information about Oswald was making it up the food chain in as little as seven days (Jane Roman story). If this was consistant then we can assume that the Hosty note, which stated where Oswald was working, would have been in the office of Helms by about the 11th of November.

Since the route was finalized after that date the "who," that decided which route would be taken, has not been identified, I would suggest that the "big fish" (my reference to those responsible for the assassination) was involved in some way with this decission.

If I may speculate, since Senior Military Aid to Kennedy Chester Clifton, as I understand it, kept the Kennedy calander and was responsible for getting Kennedy to and from his daily appointments, he may have had a major imput on the motorcade route decission. This man was assigned by General Maxwell Taylor to this position and Clifton in the motorcade at the time of the assassination. I might also point out that upon graduation from West Point, Chester Clifton's first commanding officier was Edwin Walker.

Further, as I recall, Taylor, at the exact time of the assassination had been involved in talks with some German(?)/NATO officers but took a break from that meeting. It was, if memory serves me correctly, during that break that Taylor was informed of the assassination. Taylor then chose to continue that meeting, after the assassination, without interruption.

One thing is for certain, the information about where Lee Harvey Oswald was working was available to intelligence agencies before the assassination and before the final route was decided.

Can anyone produce an exhibit number for the November 4, 1963 Hosty note?

Can anyone produce the name of the Military Intelligence person that was with Hosty at the time of the assassiantion?

Jim Root

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Duke

We now know that both FBI agent Hosty and the New Orleans FBI agent's pre assassination notes were being routed to the office of Richard Helms (Morley/Newman). Interestingly the Hosty November 4, 1963 note was, to my knowlege, never given an exhibit number (therefore it has never been retrieved via the FIA. Morley and Newman demonstrated that information about Oswald was making it up the food chain in as little as seven days (Jane Roman story). If this was consistant then we can assume that the Hosty note, which stated where Oswald was working, would have been in the office of Helms by about the 11th of November.

Since the route was finalized after that date the "who," that decided which route would be taken, has not been identified, I would suggest that the "big fish" (my reference to those responsible for the assassination) was involved in some way with this decission.

If I may speculate, since Senior Military Aid to Kennedy Chester Clifton, as I understand it, kept the Kennedy calander and was responsible for getting Kennedy to and from his daily appointments, he may have had a major imput on the motorcade route decission. This man was assigned by General Maxwell Taylor to this position and Clifton in the motorcade at the time of the assassination. I might also point out that upon graduation from West Point, Chester Clifton's first commanding officier was Edwin Walker.

Further, as I recall, Taylor, at the exact time of the assassination had been involved in talks with some German(?)/NATO officers but took a break from that meeting. It was, if memory serves me correctly, during that break that Taylor was informed of the assassination. Taylor then chose to continue that meeting, after the assassination, without interruption.

One thing is for certain, the information about where Lee Harvey Oswald was working was available to intelligence agencies before the assassination and before the final route was decided.

Can anyone produce an exhibit number for the November 4, 1963 Hosty note?

Can anyone produce the name of the Military Intelligence person that was with Hosty at the time of the assassiantion?

Jim Root

<Can anyone produce the name of the Military Intelligence person that was with Hosty at the time of the assassiantion?

Jim, the morning of the assassination we know that Army Intelligence guy Ed Coyle was metting with Hosty and Frank Ellsworth, of the ATTU re a firearms issue. John Powell of Army Intelligence may also have been in that meeting. From the HSCA investigation, it came out that Ellsworth was in the Plaza during the assassination. We knew he was on the sixth floor afterwards. Hosty told HSCA that Ellsworth told him that when someone bumped into him in the Plaza, shortly after the murder, Ellsworth said he was Secret Service. But Ellsworth denied he told Hosty that. I can't help with a Commission Exhibit# in reference to a "Hosty note" The only notes of Hosty that I know of that are relevant are 1. notes Hosty took while questioning Oswald. 2. A note Oswald delivered to Hosty's office, which under orders of BUDIR, was destroyed, as soon as Oswald was shot by Ruby. The secretary at Hosty's office said the note was threatening and violent, but Hosty said that note only was a warning by Oswald not to bother his wife. Personally, I don't think the note was a threat by Oswald.

Roy Bierma

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Royce

Thanks for the information.

In the Hosty testimony before the Warren Commission he makes reference to the 11/4 note that was sent on to the FBI main office and to the State Department just as his privious notes that reached Helms office were. I belive a majority of the Commissioners were there and he was questioned a great deal by them.

It is during this testimony that Hosty stated:

"After the conference that lasted until about 9 a.m, I then left the office and joined an Army Intelligence agent, and an agent of the Alcohol Tax Unit of the Treasury Department. We had a conference concerning a case not related to Lee Oswald. This conference lasted most of the morning until about 11:45. At 11:45 the Army Intelligence agent and myself left, and walked over towards Main Street. The motorcade was scheduled to pass down Main Street near our office at approximately noon. I was now on my lunch hour, so I stood and watched the motorcade go by at the corner of Field and Main Street in Dallas.

After the President passed by, I then went across the street, started eating lunch. While I was eating my lunch, the waitress came up and told me she had just heard a radio report that the President and the Vice President had both been shot. I immediately stopped my lunch."

Am I correct in beliving that this Army Intelligence person would be the Coyle or Powell that you mention?

With the information that I have gathered over the years I have always found it interesting that the FBI Agent in Dallas that was involved with monitoring Lee Harvey Oswald and the person that had reported where Oswald was working along the motorcade route, would be with a Army Intelligence person at the time of the assassination.

Do you know or can you reference further information about these two Army personel?

Jim Root

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