What is missing from most of the research and commentary on President Kennedy’s assassination is much attention to what happened afterwards at a national security level.   That would exclude discussion of what happened in regard to Vietnam – which has received a great deal of attention.  What I’m speaking of is what happened among the national security principals over the first 72 hours immediately after the assassination.  It has always seemed to me that actions in the immediate aftermath of such a crisis could reveal a lot about what the most senior people believed – but would never say in public or put on the permanent record in any fashion.  Of course that presents a serious challenge because if its not recorded, you have to look for much more subtle indications. In my JFK research I spent considerable time with Johnson’s telephone log, his meeting schedule, and as far as possible his personal meetings and contacts during the three days following Dallas.  Someone should do the same sort of thing with the other major NSC principals. And that would include a through review of the biographies and articles done by their friends and acquaintances who might pass on personal remarks they heard relating to that period of time.  Writing out a cross linked chronology of activities and comments for about half a dozen of the principals could prove quite interesting.

My own work led me to speculate in SWHT that certain conversations and meetings during the first 72 hours led to the official issuance of a classified Presidential directive (which remains unlisted and classified but legally binding) pertaining to the control of certain types of information and even evidence related to the assassination. More specifically I connect that to certain phone calls and a meeting related to evidence pertaining to Lee Oswald in Mexico City. With that premise, it then becomes quite interesting to lay down what happened with major items of evidence during the first week, including materials related to the Presidential autopsy, the limousine, material evidence taken out of Dallas , the two sets of Zapruder story boards prepared by NPIC and even the convoluted story of the various editions of LIFE magazine (hint – relate that to the phone call from Johnson to Henry Luce on Sunday evening).  Also relate it to the remark by the CIA Director to a friend the following week that he had seen evidence of multiple shooters.

I would love to see serious researchers carry on that sort of study; I think it would prove far more convincing than a great deal of things that tend to drain off energy from some truly innovative research.  Pursuing that line of study – testing the hypothesis/scenario that much of what we see post assassination is damage control related to a legally issued executive order – would be a worthwhile pursuit.  In support of that idea you might start by pondering the following list of meetings and what might have gone on in each of them.  My thanks to Michael Swanson for recovering this link for me; at this point I can remember a great many documents I have seen over the past 16 years – but putting my hands on them again is a lot more challenging.




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.

5 responses »

  1. Paul Harris says:

    Great piece as usual! I’m interested in your comments that the CIA director told friends he saw evidence of multiple shooters. Can you source that so I can read up about it?

    • It is in Schlesinger’s book – RFK and His Times – he mentions McCone thinking there was more than one shooter in the initial days after the assassination. Sorry, I can’t come up with a page number in a quick scan. This takes us back to the NPIC panel briefing McCone and other parties were given that is totally off the official record.

  2. Anthony Mugan says:

    Thanks for all your efforts in putting together such an interesting blog.

    You raise an important point here. It has for some time struck me as curious as to the speed with which the Johnson administration moved to close down the investigation. If I understand it correctly Ciff Carter began calling key people to prevent a conspiracy charge against Oswald on the 22nd November itself and Hoover began narrowing the FBI investigation down the following. That seems extremely quick to me, given Johnson’s activities in time frame, to have arrived at a conclusion that this was necessary given the Kostikov incident etc to avoid WWIII.
    This makes me think this sequence of actions may have been pre-planned but I wonder if I am missing evidence for a more benign interpretation?

    • Thanks Anthony, much appreciated. I’ve been a bit slow in posting recently as I’m working on the manuscript for a new book in a completely different area and that has me pretty focused at this point in time. I need to do some contemporary posts on national security but with the election noise in progress I’m dubious if anyone is really listening. Its hard to deal with real history when one of the candidates keeps making up his own alternate reality with little objection. Of course its not just here, seems to be a concern world wide at the moment – not a good sign.

  3. Anthony Mugan says:

    There seems to be a large part of the population on both sides of the Atlantic who seem prone to being ‘played’ by extremist or unscrupulous politicians. We’ve got our own problems here in the UK with that too and seems to be pattern accross the western world.
    Throw in a former superpower trying to re-assert itself with an aggressive foreign policy and the possible risk of the USA turning inward looking after November…well, the historical parallels are not encouraging!

    Looking forward to reading more of your insightful posts.

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