Per request, here is something of what I know about Howard Burris and a bit of speculation beyond that.  The facts are well documented, most are from FOIA requests I did years.

Burris attended San Antonio College and went on to West Point, he graduated and was commissioned as a Second Lt in 1942. He went on to command bomber units in England and France, serving two combat tours and ending the war as a Major. In 1946 he married the daughter of soon to be Texas governor Jester. Post War he served as headquarters commandant of the Continental Air Command – which was largely a paper unit with no significant assets until 1948.  In 1948 he served on a UN mission to Mexico.

….its easy to speculate that Burris had a number of political connections, through his wife’s family  and very likely via LBJ who always looked for Texans to create his own social/intelligence network in Washington.  Lyndon helped place promising Texas in a variety of Federal Agencies as well as in the military.

In 1949 Burris was appointed Congressional Liaison to the Secretary of the Air Force. By 1950 he was at the Pentagon working as and aide to Secretary of the Air Force Katzenberg.  By 1953 he was Executive Officer to the Secretary of the Air Force.  In 1954 he serves as military attache to the US Embassy in Switzerland and then takes a three year assignment in special missions to Hungary, Poland, and the Soviet Union.

…..given those assignments it is almost certain he was requested to provide reports and observations to the CIA, no doubt he knew senior Agency officers

Upon his return he was selected by LBJ as his military aide and adviser on international affairs.  There are numerous memos from Burris to Johnson on those subjects and its fair to consider that Burris networked himself within the Pentagon and inside Washington to provide Johnson with information.  Burris seems to have provided Johnson some key information in regard to Johnson’s trip to Vietnam, used by Johnson in a manner contrary to his directions on the visit from JFK.

……Burris was known to make reference to the “boys in the woodwork”, no doubt contacts with the CIA and perhaps as importantly military detainees working for the CIA in SE Asia

While serving as aide to Johnson he came into turf battles with Walter Jenkins and Jenkins appears to have pushed him off a bit, having Burris move out of an office in the White House to the Pentagon.  During that period Burris was dual hatted to serve on planning at the Pentagon and appears to have worked on the TFX project as well as Dyna Soar and the SST.  There is little doubt he would have served as eyes and ears for Johnson on such projects. He does a great deal of domestic and international travel in 1963 and also in 1964

……Burris made a somewhat mysterious last minute trip to the Johnson Ranch the day before the assassination, ostensibly he carried briefing documents so Johnson could have a knock down fight with JFK on international affairs.  That appears unlikely during a political trip – any further detail is lacking.

In 1964 Burris retired, with rank as a Colonel, he remained in contact with the White House and went to work as a lobbyist for McDonald Douglas

Burris was also associated with Bobby Baker and used facilities in Baker’s office.  Reportedly he made a lot of key overseas contacts, leveraging oil connections in Dallas with overseas oil exploitation, especially in Iran. One of his sons married into the Shah’s family.

…….there are numbers of nice mysterious leads and connections to Burris but generally speaking his career is pretty self evident, he became a political military officer, a DC insider and with connections both through Johnson and to people in DC, Texas and very possibly folks in the CIA he leveraged it all to became highly successful in investments and became extremely wealthy.   I’ve talked to someone who knew him socially and on the subject of JFK, Burris apparently knew – as many DC insiders did – that there had been conspiracy and coverup in the assassination but of course he, like they, would never have gone the record with that.  Such knowledge was simply “in the wind” in the correct circles, with little detail and much speculation. But then we know it was something Johnson himself gossiped about over the years, privately talked about several different types of conspiracies…and nicely muddying the waters.




About Larry Hancock

Larry Hancock is a leading historian-researcher in the JFK assassination. Co-author with Connie Kritzberg of November Patriots and author of the 2003 research analysis publication titled also Someone Would Have Talked. In addition, Hancock has published several document collections addressing the 112th Army Intelligence Group, John Martino, and Richard Case Nagell. In 2000, Hancock received the prestigious Mary Ferrell New Frontier Award for the contribution of new evidence in the Kennedy assassination case. In 2001, he was also awarded the Mary Ferrell Legacy Award for his contributions of documents released under the JFK Act.

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