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Jimmy Carter and the JFK Assassination


John Simkin
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Found an interesting story in Donald Freed´s book, Death in Washington. He claims that Jimmy Carter told Andrew Young that he was convinced that there had been a conspiracy to kill JFK and Martin Luther King. He said that when he became president he was going to appoint Ted Sorenson as Director of the CIA and that he was going to carry out a full investigation into the two deaths. However, the Senate refused to accept Sorenson and he was forced to nominate Stansfield Turner instead. He did what he could but was given the runaround by the CIA´s top officials.

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Wasn't Ted Sorenson one of the first people called in to make up a story to cover Ted Kennedy's butt right after Chappaquiddick? (E.g., Ted impulsively swam the channel that night back to his hotel, and we're supposed to believe it.) I'm not sure Sorenson would have been the best pick to get to the bottom of the assassinations.

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...Jimmy Carter told Andrew Young that he was convinced that there had been a conspiracy to kill JFK and Martin Luther King. He said that when he became president he was going to appoint Ted Sorenson as Director of the CIA and that he was going to carry out a full investigation into the two deaths. However, the Senate refused to accept Sorenson and he was forced to nominate Stansfield Turner instead. He did what he could but was given the runaround by the CIA´s top officials.

The way that Sorenson's nomination was blocked is illustrative of the forces with which Carter had to contend. There was no up or down vote. There was no insinuation of any impropriety or unfitness on the part of Sorenson. CIA Director Bush and his cronies just couldn't have a true Kennedy loyalist in the position of being Director of the CIA during the post Watergate era, and they kicked and screamed until Carter caved in to the political calculus. In hindsight, Carter should have recognized that the battle lines had been drawn sooner than he'd expected, and that he needed to exert the political will to press forward with Sorenson.

T.C.

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Ron is correct that Sorenson would not have been the right person to "crack the case" because he shared Bobby Kennedy's interest in protecting the "secrets of Camelot" that ould have been revealed by a full-scale investigation.

Moreover, while Sorenson was an outstanding speech writer, I doubt that he had the qualifications to be CIA director.

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Moreover, while Sorenson was an outstanding speech writer, I doubt that he had the qualifications to be CIA director.

Ted Sorenson was one of only six men in the room when the Secret Deal to resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis was approved. In comparison, what were George H. W. Bush's qualifications? Anything in his past that might qualify has been denied.

T.C.

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Found an interesting story in Donald Freed´s book, Death in Washington. He claims that Jimmy Carter told Andrew Young that he was convinced that there had been a conspiracy to kill JFK and Martin Luther King. He said that when he became president he was going to appoint Ted Sorenson as Director of the CIA and that he was going to carry out a full investigation into the two deaths. However, the Senate refused to accept Sorenson and he was forced to nominate Stansfield Turner instead. He did what he could but was given the runaround by the CIA´s top officials.
For what it's worth:
In 1977 Jimmy Carter nominated him as Director of Central Intelligence, but the nomination was sunk by Senators bearing grudges from earlier years; and by senators who believed that Sorensen would reform the CIA, something not viewed favorably by many; that Sorensen was a pacifist and unequipped to handle the responsibilities of the position; that he did not have the necessary foreign policy experience; and that Sorensen had acted inappropriately in using some sensitive White House files in drafting his book, Kennedy. Despite the fact that these fears were unfounded or exaggerated, Sorensen's nomination was foiled, in part because President Carter refused to support his nominee, and Sorensen withdrew, knowing that his appointment would be rejected.
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In 1977 Jimmy Carter nominated him as Director of Central Intelligence, but the nomination was sunk by Senators bearing grudges from earlier years; and by senators who believed that Sorensen would reform the CIA, something not viewed favorably by many; that Sorensen was a pacifist and unequipped to handle the responsibilities of the position; that he did not have the necessary foreign policy experience; and that Sorensen had acted inappropriately in using some sensitive White House files in drafting his book, Kennedy. Despite the fact that these fears were unfounded or exaggerated, Sorensen's nomination was foiled, in part because President Carter refused to support his nominee, and Sorensen withdrew, knowing that his appointment would be rejected.

The idea that Sorenson was kept from being found suitable as a CIA Director because he used sensitive material to write his book, Kennedy, is particularly delicious given Gerald Ford's problem only three years earlier in his confirmation hearings to become the first unelected V.P. in history (and eventually president) when he was shown to have explicitly used classified materials to write his book about Oswald.

T.C.

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