[disinfo ed.’s note: The following is from the Preface to The Man Who Killed Kennedy by Roger Stone, excerpted with permission from Skyhorse Publishing.]
I recognize that those who question the government’s official contentions regarding the assassination of John F. Kennedy are labeled by many in the mainstream media as “nuts,” “kooks,” and worse. Yet the events of November 22, 1963, have haunted and interested me since the time—as an eleven-year-old boy—I saw the indelible image of John-John saluting his father’s flag-draped coffin and wept. My family is Catholic and, although I’m sure my Republican parents voted for Richard Nixon in 1960, they were still proud of our first Roman Catholic president.
I realize that delving into the world of assassination research and a belief in a conspiracy will lead some to brand me as an extremist or a nut, but the facts I have uncovered are so compelling that I must make the case that Lyndon Baines Johnson had John Fitzgerald Kennedy murdered in Dallas to become president himself and to avert the precipitous political and legal fall that was about to beset him.
I feel that I am uniquely qualified to make the case that LBJ had John F. Kennedy killed so that he could become president. I have been involved in every presidential election since 1968 with the exception of 1992, when I sat out Republican efforts and George H. W. Bush—who, as a Reaganite myself—I never had much regard for anyway, went down to ignominious defeat. I first met the then former Vice President Richard Nixon in 1967. In 1968, I was appointed chairman of Youth for Nixon in Connecticut by Governor John Davis Lodge. I later attended George Washington University in Washington DC by night and worked in the Nixon White House press operation by day. In 1972, I was the youngest member of the senior staff of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP).
Ambassador John Davis Lodge was the brother of JFK’s ambassador to Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge. John Davis Lodge was a congressman and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He was also governor of Connecticut, Eisenhower’s ambassador to Spain, Nixon’s ambassador to Argentina, President Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to Switzerland, and my mentor.
It was John Lodge who introduced me to former Vice President Richard Nixon when I was sixteen years old in 1968. Lodge was an old school Brahmin who nonetheless spoke Spanish, Italian, French, and German. He enjoyed a brief career as a B-movie actor in Europe, appearing onscreen with Marlene Dietrich and Shirley Temple.
When Lodge was in his eighties, he served vigorously as the chairman of Ronald Reagan’s campaign for President in Connecticut, a post I had recruited him for as the Northeast regional director.
In 1979, we sat in his Westport, Connecticut, home enjoying a cocktail. I knew that JFK had planned to fire ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge upon his return from Dallas on November 24, 1963. I also know that Lodge knew why he had been summoned to see the President.
Lodge had done Kennedy’s dirty work coordinating a campaign with the CIA to assassinate Catholic Vietnamese President Diem. I couldn’t resist asking John Lodge about his brother.
“Did you ever ask your brother who really killed Kennedy?” I said.
His lips spread in a tight grin. “Cabot said it was the Agency boys, some Mafiosi,” he looked me in the eye . . . “and Lyndon.”
“Did your brother know in advance?” I asked.
Lodge took a sip of his Manhattan.“He knew Kennedy wouldn’t be around to fire him. LBJ kept him at his post so he could serve his country.”
Seven weeks before the JFK assassination, Richard Starnes for the Washington Daily News wrote an article titled “’Spooks’ Make Life Miserable for Ambassador Lodge” and subtitled “Arrogant’ CIA Disobeys Orders in Viet Nam.” The article slammed the CIA’s role in Vietnam as “a dismal chronicle of bureaucratic arrogance, obstinate disregard of orders, and unrestrained thirst for power.” The article went on to chronicle the turf war between US Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge and the CIA. “Twice the CIA flatly refused to carry out instructions from Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, according to a high United States source here.” The article continued: “’If the United States ever experiences a ‘Seven Days in May’ it will come from the CIA, and not from the Pentagon,’ one U.S. official commented caustically.” Seven Days in May was a prescient book, read and endorsed by JFK, that gave a fictional chronicle of an attempted military coup in America. John Kennedy was so impressed by that book and its message that he even let them film the movie adaption at the White House while he was away one weekend.
The Starnes’ source ominously referencing Seven Days in May was probably from someone in the military, and not Lodge, but it is nonetheless significant. Another source told Starnes “They [CIA] represent a tremendous power and total unaccountability to anyone.” Starnes continued: “Coupled with the ubiquitous secret police of Ngo Dinh Nhu, a surfeit of spooks has given Saigon an oppressive police state atmosphere.”
The Starnes article was a caustic and detailed denunciation of the CIA’s authoritarian behavior in Vietnam and its uncontrollability by the Kennedy Administration. “One very high American official here,” the article continued, “a man who has spent much of his life in the service of democracy, likened the CIA’s growth to a malignancy, and added he was not sure even the White House could control it even longer.”
That last quote probably came out of the mouth of Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge.
The next day on October 3, 1963, Arthur Krock, a columnist for the New York Times and a close friend of the Kennedy’s wrote a column “The Intra-Administration War in Vietnam” that was based on the Starnes article. The Krock column featured those incendiary quotes that Richard Starnes had collected about the CIA from their opponents in the State Department and Pentagon. The CIA wanted to keep the Diem-Ngu regime and the bitter enemy of both the CIA and Diem was Vietnam Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge who was the point man in the Kennedy Administration for getting rid of Diem and Ngu.
On November 1, 1963, the Diem-Nhu regime was removed in an American backed coup. Kennedy had been on the fence regarding their removal and he was shocked when Diem and Nhu were both assassinated and not allowed exile. Just as many in the CIA bitterly opposed Kennedy over Cuba policy, there is no doubt that the removal of Diem was a bitter nut to swallow for many in the Agency.
Three weeks later there was Dallas.
Nixon introduced me to his former campaign aide, John P. Sears, who would hire me for the staff of Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaigns in 1976 and 1980. President Reagan then asked me to coordinate his re-election campaign in the Northeastern states in 1984, a slightly broader reprise of my role in his 1980 election.
In my capacity as Reagan’s Regional Political Director for the Northeast, I helped coordinate thirteen presidential trips, giving me a unique perspective on how the Secret Service interacts with presidential aides during a presidential visit. This perspective, I believe, has given me keen insight into the many anomalies in the way the Secret Service and Vice President Johnson’s aides acted in the run-up to President Kennedy’s visit to Dallas.
It was in Nixon’s post-presidential years that I spent the most time with the former president. The Washington Post said I was “Nixon’s man in Washington.” New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd called me “the keeper of the Nixon flame.” Nixon had a voracious appetite for political intelligence and gossip; I fed him a steady diet of both. It was also in this period that Nixon asked me to evaluate various speaking requests he received.
I spent hours talking one-on-one with former President Nixon in his office at 26 Federal Plaza in downtown Manhattan, his apartment on the East Side, and later in his modestly appointed townhouse in Saddle River, New Jersey. Nixon was neither introspective nor retrospective in the conversations. “The old man,” as staff called him behind his back, was passionately interested in what was happening today and what would happen in the future, but it was difficult to get him to dwell on the past. Generally speaking, when we talked about his peers and the circumstances surrounding the Kennedy assassination, he would grow taciturn, blunt, and sometimes cryptic. When I asked him point blank about the conclusions of the Warren Commission into the assassination of President Kennedy, he said “Bullshit” with a growl, but refused to elaborate.