Did The CIA Have A Hand In The Murder Of JFK?

Tucker Carlson claims a source told his show that the CIA had a hand in this murder.

This is absurd.

As Vincent Bugliosi wrote in his 2007 book Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy:

For years, conspiracy theorists have written books about the Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement in the assassination of JFK. And as conspiracy theorist E. Martin Schotz, a mathematician and practicing psychiatrist, puts it, “I and other ordinary citizens know, know for a fact , that there was a conspiracy [to murder Kennedy] and that it was organized at the highest levels of the CIA.” 1 The fact that Schotz and his fellow conspiracy theorists haven’t been able to come up with any evidence connecting the CIA to the assassination or Oswald has not troubled them in the least. In their opinion, they have been able to come up with motive (JFK’s refusal to give air support to the CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion, his allegedly being soft, in the eyes of some, on Communism, his aim to cut the CIA budget by 20 percent by 1966, 2 etc.), means , and opportunity , which, as mentioned earlier, is not coming up with any hard evidence at all.
Whatever the CIA’s short laundry list of dissatisfactions (some merely illusory, some real) with Kennedy, as I discuss later in the anti-Castro Cuban exile section of this book, Kennedy was highly disturbed with the CIA for its incompetence and its having misled him on the probable success of the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. Perhaps the most famous alleged quote from Kennedy about his animus toward the CIA after the Bay of Pigs debacle was that he wanted “to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” But in the two and a half years after the attempted invasion he never did anything remotely close to this, and it is not known to whom he supposedly said these words. The New York Times only said that Kennedy made this statement “to one of the highest officials of his administration.” 3
The reality is that the relationship between Kennedy and the CIA, though strained by the Bay of Pigs debacle, was not nearly as bad and combustible as conspiracy theorists would want people to believe. And as we shall see, and most important on the issue of motive, the period of difficult relations was apparently short-lived. *
We know that no one has ever come up with any evidence of any kind that the CIA decided to kill Kennedy, and got Oswald or anyone else to do the job for it. Indeed, despite the admitted problems Kennedy had with the CIA over the Bay of Pigs invasion, William Colby, who was a ranking official in the CIA during the period of the assassination and went on to become CIA director, would later write, “The fact of the matter is that the CIA could not have had a better friend in a President than John F. Kennedy. He understood the Agency and used it effectively, exploiting its intellectual abilities to help him analyze a complex world, and its paramilitary and covert political talents to react to it in a low key way.” 4
And in 1996, the CIA released a study titled “Getting to Know the President, CIA Briefings of Presidential Candidates, 1952–1992,” by the CIA deputy director for intelligence, John L. Helgerson. On a one-year assignment, Helgerson interviewed “former presidents, CIA directors, and numerous others involved” in the nine presidencies covered by the subject period to ascertain the CIA’s relationship with the various presidents. On the issue so dear to conspiracy theorists—the CIA’s alleged animosity for Kennedy, and hence, its motive to kill him—it is very noteworthy that Helgerson’s study reported that “the [CIA’s] relationship with Kennedy was not only a distinct improvement over the more formal relationship with Eisenhower, but would only rarely be matched in future administrations. ” And alluding, by implication, to the strained period with Kennedy following the Bay of Pigs invasion in April of 1961, the report goes on to say that “in November 1961, Allen Dulles had been replaced by John McCone, who served Kennedy as DCI [Director of Central Intelligence] for almost two years. In the early part of this period, McCone succeeded in rebuilding the Agency’s relationship with Kennedy. McCone saw Kennedy frequently, and the President—more than any other before or since—would telephone even lower level Agency officers for information or assistance.”
…Since it has been established beyond all doubt that Oswald killed Kennedy, the conspiracy theorists who propound the idea of the CIA being behind Oswald’s act are necessarily starting out in a very deep hole before they even take their first breath of air. This is so because Oswald was a Marxist, and a Marxist being in league with U.S. intelligence just doesn’t ring true. More specifically, why would a passionate pro-Castro follower like Oswald want to join forces with the very U.S. intelligence agency—the CIA—that Oswald knew was behind the Bay of Pigs invasion to overthrow Castro, his hero? The conspiracy theorists realize, of course, the difficulty of knitting these conflicting threads together, and try to get around the problem by saying that Oswald was only “posing as a pro-Castro sympathizer.” In other words, Oswald was really a rightist who was only acting like a leftist. “Oswald’s actual political orientation was extreme right wing,” said New Orleans DA Jim Garrison. “Oswald would have been more at home with Mein Kampf than Das Kapital .” 20 “Oswald was an American agent posing as a Marxist,” says conspiracy theorist James DiEugenio. 21 But this contention cannot seriously and rationally be made. To believe it, one would have to disbelieve not only all of Oswald’s words, including those uttered when he was only a teenager, but all of his conduct, as well as the impressions (many given under oath) of the considerable number of people who knew Oswald personally and spoke of his being a confirmed and passionate Marxist. In other words, one would have to believe that year in and year out for almost a decade, Oswald was putting on an Academy Award–winning performance, fooling everyone, including his family and wife, by the virtuosity of his acting skills.
In its final report, the HSCA took the Warren Commission to task for what it characterized as a virtual lack of investigation of the CIA, which itself was one of the federal agencies investigating the assassination. “Testifying before the Commission,” the HSCA Report says, “CIA Director John A. McCone indicated that ‘Oswald was not an agent, employee, or informant of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Agency never contacted him, interviewed him, talked with him, or solicited any reports or information from him, or communicated with him directly or in any other manner…Oswald was never associated or connected directly or indirectly in any way whatsoever with the Agency.’ McCone’s testimony was corroborated by Deputy Director Richard M. Helms.” 22 Helms had told the Warren Commission, “I had all of our records searched to see if there had been any contacts at any time prior to President Kennedy’s assassination by anyone in the Central Intelligence Agency with Lee Harvey Oswald. We checked our card files and our personnel files and all our records. Now, this check turned out to be negative.” 23
The HSCA Report then goes on to say, “The record reflects that once these assurances had been received, no further efforts were made by the Warren Commission to pursue the matter.” 24 But this simply is not true. Although the HSCA can take justifiable credit in investigating the CIA more than the Warren Commission did, the starting point for any investigation of the CIA, and the principal way to investigate it, would be to look at its entire internal file. If the people responsible for preparing the HSCA Report had bothered to read the very next page in the above-quoted joint testimony by McCone and Helms before the Warren Commission, they would have learned that the Warren Commission did, in fact, do this precise thing.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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