by Vince Palamara
While it is a relatively easy task to point out the Secret Service's general deficiencies in regard to the tragic events of November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas, it has been a more difficult feat to lay bare all of the specific things that went wrong in regard to security. This has been achieved primarily through a combination of luck, hard work, and, perhaps most importantly, dealing with primary sources (documents) and primary people (the actual former agents themselves). However, one very significant element has been missing up to now due in no small part to the constant evolution of my own thinking on the subject: who in the agency benefited? Who did not? JUST HOW WERE THESE LAPSES IN SECURITY ALLOWED TO HAPPEN?
After discarding the options of mere innocence, guilt, negligence, and, more recently, the notion of a "benign" security-stripping test that " backfired" into the assassination, I have now come to the FIRM conclusion, based on seven-plus years of heavy, primary research and numerous interviews, that the Secret Service actions (and inactions) in Texas were due largely to a significant breakdown in both the chain of command and the respect of superior authority. In addition, I believe a "malignant" test of the President's security was involved on/'around November 22, 1963, with the actual intent to HARM AND/OR EMBARRASS President Kennedy,rather than merely shaking him into seeing that the Service needed more funds, equipment, and personnel (benefits which would arise from any attempt to harm JFK, successful or otherwise). Furthermore, it is now my strong belief, after shaking off years of equivocation, that several agents HAD to have been involved in the ACTUAL assassination by getting wind of the impending threat and letting it happen, not by an unruly mob out to treat Kennedy like Adlai Stevenson (the byproduct of a "malignant" test), but by a "flurry of shells", to quote Agent Kellerman in a much different kind of context.
If Dallas was the "Superbowl" (a very appropriate analogy), then the "game" was not merely rigged, it was fixed from the very start by a combi- nation of inexperienced "third-stringers" and "bench-warmers". These men, knowingly or unknowingly, let the assassination happen through sheer incompetence, inexperience, and a desire to usurp the authority presented by the chain of command, whether those in this command were present in Texas or "out of the loop" in another part of the country at the crucial moment or moments. Key elements of this "team" chose to call their OWN "plays" in Dallas and, just as in the game of football, the consequences of defeat can wreak havoc on General Management (Treasury officials), the coaches (the brass), and, ultimately, certain players (the agents themselves). A look at the consequences of Dallas--the breakdown of the infrastructure of the Secret Service--is now in order.
C. DOUGLAS DILLON, the Secretary of the Treasury, was responsible for the overall operations of the Secret Service during the Kennedy presidency. Dillon was certainly "out of the loop" on 11/22/63--he was on a crowded Cabinet plane bound for Japan via Hawaii with Dean Rusk, Orville Freeman, and most of the major players, including Press Secretary Pierre Salinger, whose absence on the Texas trip planning was profound. Agent Bob Lilley told me that Salinger, who normally made these trips, was "extremely knowledgable" about proper motorcade planning and security concerns, as the agency had "worked closely with Pierre on all our advance work"--- except in Dallas [author's interviews with Lilley, 1992-1996]. As William Manchester accurately reported, even Andy Hatcher, the number two man, was left behind, ostensibly because he was a Negro, leaving a "third-stringer", Malcolm Kilduff, to make his first major trip on his own (The Death of a President, 1988 edition, p.12; author's interviews with Sam Kinney, 1992-1994. Interestingly, a Negro agent, Robert R. Faison, was a prominent member of the Secret Service on the Texas trip). In Dillon's place, ASST. SEC. ROBERT A. WALLACE had, among other duties, issued an "official" denial to the press at 3:33 p.m. that an agent was killed in Dallas, as the AP, UPI, and all the networks were continually reporting as fact--at this time, AFI was on its way back to Washington with JFK's body [NBC video, 3:40 p.m.] Another deputy, ACTING SEC. G. d'ANGELOT BELIN also "stepped in" in Dillon's absence during crucial parts of 1963 and 1964 [18H810-815; 933-934]; in fact, this man was "confused" by Chief Rowley as being the General Counsel of the Warren Commission (18H810-815]!
Fallout? Although Dillon, a member of the "Stop Castro" lobby in Washington [Destiny Betrayed by Jim DiEugenio, p. 334] and the primary member of the "Dillon Committee" that whitewashed and covered-up the agency's performance on November 22 (ironically formalized on November 22, 1964), a duty he would repeat for another agency as a member of the Rockefeller Commission with another Belin (David), he was replaced in January 1965 by UNDERSECRETARY HENRY "JOE" H. FOWLER.
CHIEF JAMES J ROWLEY was a close, personal friend of J EDGAR HOOVER who usually left day-to-day operations up to his top men, except on important trips (i.e. Germany, June, 1963) [author's interview with Rowley 9/27/92]. However, although quite aware of both the Chicago (11/2/63) AND the Florida (11/18/63) threats before Dallas ["The Third Alternative" by the author, p. 53; HSCA audio tape of Rowley, 9/78], Rowley was left "out of the loop" back in Washington, D.C., attending a luncheon on 11/22/63 [Truman Library Oral History, 1988]. Meanwhile, DEPUTY CHIEF PAUL PATERNI, a member of the OSS during WWII and a former partner of James Jesus Angleton and Ray Rocca ["Who's Who in the CIA"], would provide the only significant hands-on participation from the Chief's office on 11/22/63: he was principally involved in the limousine inspection at the White House Garage with Floyd Boring whereupon bullet fragments, skull particles, and vehicle damage was "noted" before the FBI got their hands on the car [CD8O, p. 3].
Fallout? Rowley took much heat before, during, and after his FBI, WC, and HSCA appearances, in place of many of his more deserving deputies [see also The Day Kennedy Was Shot, by Jim Bishop, 1988 edition, p. 558]. He was ultimately replaced during the Watergate crisis by H. STUART KNIGHT (more on him later).
SAIC GERALD A. BEHN went against protocol, not by removing himself from the 11/18/63 Florida trip (manned by Floyd Boring), but by his absence--- coinciding with his first full vacation---on the Texas trip (Behn was also in Washington "out of the loop"). Former Chief U. E. Baughman stated that the SAIC [Behn] or his immediate assistant [Boring] always accompany the President when he leaves Washington [Secret Service Chief by Baughman, p.129]; in fact, a prominent member of the press corps in Dallas, Jerry ter Horst, wrote that Behn, who "traditionally accompanied" JFK, "would never forgive himself or be forgiven by others" for missing the Texas trip [The Flying White House, p 214]. Instead, yet another "third stringer", ASAIC [#3] ROY H. KELLERMAN, was making his first major trip on his own without either Behn OR Boring [author's interviews with Sam Kinney, 1992- 1994]!
ASAIC [#2] FLOYD M. BORING, although also back in Washington, was lN CHARGE OF PLANNING THE TEXAS TRIP [author's interviews with Boring and Kinney, 1993-1994; Truman Library Oral History, 1988, p. 63; The Day Kennedy Was Shot", 1988 edition, p. 558]! Boring had given ADVANCE AGENT WINSTON G. LAWSON the Dallas assignment [4H342] and had been working prominently with another advance agent, David B. Grant, Lawson's often forgotten partner of 11/13-11/ 22 [17H601], on Kennedy's (cancelled) trip to Chicago (11/2) and Florida (11/18) AND Texas (11/21-11/22); Grant was the sole advance agent on the first two of these three major trips. In addition, Boring was involved both in the critical checks of the PRS for potential threats to JFK for Dallas-which yielded NOTHING-and the important Trade Mart (vs. Women's Building) decision, which ultimately determined the motorcade route choice(s), the speed of the car(s), and the security of the (inferior) building selected (4H337; 21H546; 11HSCA516; 2H1 07-108; 11 HSCA5l6; 2H107-108; 11H5CA523; The Third Alternative, pp 11, 50; "Boring is Interesting", May 1995 Fourth Decade]. Among other things, not the least of which was Behn's adamant stance against the Trade Mart, Boring HAD to have known of the prior (11/2-11/18/63) threats against JFK, as did his afore- mentioned partner:
ADVANCE AGENT DAVID B. GRANT--joined Lawson late on the night of 11/16/63 and was involved in the extremely important meetings (with Betty Forsling Harris, the DPD, and others) which resulted in the following:a deleted squad car, the changes in the motorcade's order of vehicles, the depletion of 18 motorcycles for JFK down to a measley 4 non-flanking units, and the removal of the press, photographers, Cecil Stoughton, Dr. Burkley, Godfrey McHugh, and Ted Clifton towards the rear of the motorcade in defiance of traditional protocol--being close to JFK [The Third Alternative pp. 18, 49; "Boring is Interesting", May 1995 Fourth Decade; Deep Politics and the Death Qf JFK by Peter Dale Scott, pp. 277-278; HSCA interview w/Winston Lawson, 1/31/ 78-new documents just released]. While Lawson, a former Army counter-intelligence agent [4H318] rode in the lead car, Grant was stationed at the Trade Mart on 11/ 22/63 (1nterestingly, as revealed in the newly- released HSCA/Secret Service interviews, Lawson stated that Lt Col. George Whitmeyer, who taught Army intelligence, rode in the pilot car, although he wasn't scheduled to be in the motorcade in the first place!)
ATSAIC [deputy of the ASAIC's] EMORY P. ROBERTS was in command of the other 7 agents in the Secret Service follow-up car for all three major trips in November, 1963: Chicago (11/2-cancelled), Florida (11/18) and Texas(1 1/21-I 1/22). While the other two ATSAlC's, Stewart G. Stout and Arthur L. Godfrey, were elsewhere (Stout at the Trade Mart, Godfrey in Austin at the Commodore-Perry Hotel [author's interviews with Godfrey, both in 1996]), Roberts was in a position to exhibit a lot of power, made manifest first by his critical positioning of the other seven agents in the car, especially agents HENRY J. RYBKA (a member of the car on 11/21-11/22 before Dallas [Shift Reports of 11/21-11/22/63 via ARRB; Sturges film, Carswell AFB; 25H787]) and PRS agent GLENN A. BENNETT, who was making his very first trip ever [HSCA interview of Bennett, 1976; author interview of Kinney], riding in this most important of protective vehicles (Bennett was an administrator--if there were ostensibly, NO threats found by PRS of Dallas, WHY was Bennett placed here [he needed reminding by Lawson-17H631]? Could it be that he was (covertly) actively searching for KNOWN threats and this was covered-up afterwards [see author's article in the April 1997 "JFK/ Deep Politics Quarterly"]? As for Rybka, as discovered by this author, he was recalled by Roberts at Love Field [seeWFAA/ABC video and author's COPA 1995-1996 presentation videos], although Roberts would later cover this up by "mistakenly" placing Rybka IN the car via TWO written reports after-the-fact [ 18H739; Shift Report of 11/22/63 via ARRB]; even Lawson made this same "mistake" in his Final Survey Report (LBJ Library copy].
In addition, once on Elm Street and after recognizing the first shot as a RIFLE blast (not a firecracker), Roberts recalled agent John D. Ready, the closest agent to JFK on the follow-up car, an action which he later erroneously blamed on the speed and distance between the two cars [18H734-735; 749-750] and ordered the other agents not to move [author's interviews with Sam Kinney, 1994]! From this moment on, Roberts totally usurped ASAIC Kellerman's proper authority in Dallas, and overtook the reigns of command, especially at Parkland Hospital [see "The Strange Actions (and Inaction) of Agent Emory Roberts", October 1996 "JFK/DPQ" by the author). However, Roberts wasn't the only agent to usurp Kellerman's authority on Elm Street...
Driver William R. Greer, as has been documented many times by this author [see "47 Witnesses: Delay on Elm Street" Jan/March 1992 Third Decade for example], turned around in his seat twice to stare at JFK without speeding up and evacuating the scene, and disobeyed a direct order from his superior, Roy Kellerman, who was sitting less than two feet away from him in the front seat of the limousine; this all occurred before the fatal head shot arrived. For his part, Kellerman proved to be an inexperienced "third-stringer", not making any attempt to come to the aid of the wounded President although, like Greer, he also saw JFK hit via turning around in his seat. Kellerman claimed that JFK said both "Get me to a hospital" [Sibert & O'Neil interview of Kellerman 11/22/63; 2H73] and "My God, I've been hit" [2H73] AND made the equally-ludicrous claim that JFK, with "his left hand in back of him appear [ed] to be reaching to a point on his right shoulder", an action not seen by any other witness or photographic artifact associated with 11/22/63!
SAIC OF VP (LBJ) DETAIL, H. STUART KNIGHT was also absent from the Texas trip, although he was replaced by his deputy in Dallas, ASAIC RUFUS W. YOUNGBLOOD, on 11/25/63, he was back in Washington on 11/21-11/22/63, inactive ("20 Years in the Secret Service", by Youngblood, pp. S6-97; author's interviews with Knight 1992-1994 and Youngblood 1992-1994]. Although "official" history tells us Youngblood received a medal for his fast actions in Dallas covering LBJ (who wasn't even a target) after the first shot sounded, Senator Ralph Yarborough, who sat in the very same car with Youngblood and LBJ, said that this never happened-not only did Youngblood never even leave the front seat, the agent and LBJ were listening to a walkie-talkie with the volume set too low for the Senator to hear what they were picking up ["The Death of a President", p. 166 - surprisingly, Dave Powers, who rode in the follow-up car in place of Cecil Stoughton, agreed with Yarborough on this]
Fallout concerning Behn, Boring, Kellerman, Roberts, Lawson, Grant, Knight, and Youngblood? Behn was demoted -with Knight- on January 1965 to a non-protective function known as "Special Investigations", which dealt in a tedious area of fraud. Who were these two replaced by? Rufus Youngblood, who became Kellerman's equal on 11/22/63 and Behn's equal soon after, while becoming Knight's superior immediately. While Lawson was tabbed as the "one and only first ever-advance agent ever to lose a President" by an emotional Lawson himself ["Inside the Secret Service" video 1995; see also Manchester, p. 312], his long-forgotten partner,David Grant,went on to become an advance man during the Nixon years and lived in near-total anonymity from the events of Dallas until this author "(re)discovered" him for the research community- Roberts became the Records Sec. to LBJ [interview with Kinney 1994], sharing important duties with another Roberts, Mrs. Juanita Roberts, Johnson's Chief Private Secretary (Manchester, p. 403; Bishop, pp. 430, 528]. To date, this author has been unable to confirm if this was Emory's wife, nor have I been able to confirm if Roberts, who died unexpectedly in the late 1960's, was the same agent who took his own life in Washington with his own weapon (the agent showed signs he was beginning to buckle), according to agents Marty Venker and Chuck Rochner ("Confessions of an Ex-Secret Service Agent" by George Rush and Marty Venker, pp. 216-217]. Emory Roberts was the SECOND agent to die after Dallas. Who was the first? Fellow ATSAIC Stewart G. Stout-Stout died immediately after Dallas, cause unknown to date-Agents Kinney and Boring would NOT tell me how he died during my interviews with them! In fact, Boring expressed much doubt that Stout was EVEN IN DALLAS, which he unquestionably was [2HKellerman; see also 18H665-702 and SS Shift reports via ARRB]. Interestingly, on another November day when a President was in the midst of an assassination attempt (Truman), not only was Floyd Boring temporarily in charge of the detail, but Stout was with him, as well, performing the very same duties: armed and ready, safely away inside a building (Blair House and the Trade Mart, respectively)!
What about Boring? He was PROMOTED to Inspector right after Dallas, a highly coveted position of power and prestige (author's interviews with Jerry Behn (9/27/92) and Floyd Boring 1993-1994]! And, while Behn, Kellerman, Rowley, and Lawson were subjected to public and media scrutiny of a negative sort, coupled with testifying to either the FBI, the WC, the HSCA, or all of the above, significantly, those who I feel strongly were "out of the loop" on purpose--Boring, Grant, and Roberts--testified to NO ONE associated with any of the official investigations! Although the HSCA did have Boring's and Grant's addresses, they were apparently not contacted (as borne out by the footnotes or lack of them- in the HSCA's Report and accompanying volumes). Roberts was interviewed by Manchester, and I strongly suspect that he was the source for the erroneous quote, attributed to Boring, that JFK had told the agents to get off the rear of the limousine in Florida on 11/18/63 (Boring denied that this was true AND that he was ever contacted by Manchester, and he is joined by notable colleagues Kinney, Godfrey, Lilly, Behn and many others as denouncing the whole mythology of JFK "desiring" to do away with the agents on/near the rear of the limousine, the motorcycles, the bubbletop, etc, [see "Boring is Interesting" and the 1995-1996 COPA videos for more on this issue] As noted in my previous work, it is this "JFK-as-Scapegoat" theme, adopted by Roberts, Boring, Grant, and perhaps even Lawson, that, along with the impossible lack of PRS subjects for Dallas, greatly contributed, along with this breakdown of infrastructure, to what occurred on 1 1/22/63).
To summarize: while Dillon was "out of the loop" (and out of the country with Salinger et. al.), and while Chief Rowley and SAIC Behn were inactive in D.C., Boring was pulling the strings for Dallas via D.C., whereupon his deputies, Advance agent Grant and ATSAIC Emory Roberts, upstaged, commandeered, and, ultimately usurped the authority of "third -stringers" Roy Kellerman and Asst. Press Sec. Mac Kilduff (essentially a non-player), not to mention Roberts' fellow ATSAIC's Godfrey and Stout AND Grant's "hapless" partner, advance agent Lawson. In addition, Young- blood took Knight's place both in Dallas and AFTER Dallas, and Greer joined in his comrades Roberts and Boring in usurping Kellerman 's authority.
This, I believe, is the key to what ultimately transpired on November 22, 1963-mixing in JFK's fraudulent security "desires" with a healthy dose of infrastructure breakdown spelled a deadly potion for the planing and implementation of security concerns-and agent behavior-in Dallas.
Maybe there is a REASON a healthy majority of the agents went for unauthorized drinks on the eve of the murder after all...
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