Kennedy Assassination Theories Include American Government - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Kennedy Assassination Theories Include the Government

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President John F. Kennedy President John F. Kennedy
Lee Harvey Oswald Lee Harvey Oswald
Nov. 22, 1963. Nov. 22, 1963.

LAS VEGAS -- Two different government investigations into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy reached two very different conclusions, but both of those probes ran into roadblocks put up by agencies that could have been targets of the investigations.

The Warren Commission found that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing the president. A House investigation said Oswald did it, but he almost certainly had help. One Las Vegan says both of those probes were sabotaged by the very agencies who had the most to gain by the president's death.

Oliver Stone's brilliant but still controversial movie JFK brought to the forefront the most disturbing of all the conspiracy theories -- the idea that elements of the U.S. government were involved in the plot to kill the president.

Stone has been pilloried for his thesis, but he is hardly alone. Attorney General Robert Kennedy suspected the mob and Jimmy Hoffa were involved in the murder and then later included the CIA. The widow Jackie Kennedy never believed Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. She thought Vice President Lyndon Johnson gave the green light.

Someone else who knew a bit about conspiracies, President Richard Nixon, felt LBJ had presided over a coup by having the president killed. And Johnson told close friends he thought the Cubans had arranged the hit and then later thought the CIA was directly involved.

"If we had had cell phones Nov. 22, 1963, the case would have been solved that afternoon and a dozen prominent Americans would be hanging for killing JFK," John Barbour said.

Special Section: JFK Assassination Coverage

Las Vegan Barbour's interest in the case is both personal and patriotic. In the 70s, he was the host and producer of the most popular television show in the country. But his career stopped in its tracks when he tried to publicize the work of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, portrayed in the film by Kevin Costner. Barbour wanted to put Garrison on national television to talk about the only criminal case ever prosecuted in the JFK murder. Instead, Barbour was fired.

WATCH: The Jim Garrison Tapes by John Barbour

He pressed on anyway and produced his own film about Garrison in which the lawman made the case that Oswald had been a patsy.

"He felt the CIA was telling Lee Harvey Oswald there's a plot to kill the president and we want you to infiltrate that. That's how they set him up," Barbour said.

As soon as word leaked out that Garrison was investigating the JFK murder, a campaign was launched against the district attorney. It is now well established that Garrison's office was infiltrated and his phones bugged in an attempt to thwart his effort to interview witnesses.

"All of these subpoenas were torn up by the government and thrown away. They literally broke the law to prevent Jim Garrison from prosecuting Clay Shaw," Barbour said.

If Garrison's case was as weak as critics said it was, Barbour wonders why the CIA went to so much trouble to sabotage it, and to smear Garrison. Why not let the case collapse in court on its own?

Forensic historian Patrick Nolan, the author of "CIA Rogues and the Killing of the Kennedys" is not a big fan of Garrison's but says there's no doubt the CIA did a number on him.

"He knew early on that some of the people connected to Lee Harvey Oswald were also connected to the CIA, and were connected with the mob. I think he started to put the pieces together, and they shut that down pretty quick," Nolan said.

The Mob's Possible Connection to the Kennedy Assassination

The heart of Garrison's case was that Oswald, a supposed die-hard communist, had been working with anti-communist Cubans funded by the CIA. One of his associates was CIA pilot David Ferrie. Garrison found a photo of the two men together. And his witnesses say Oswald, Ferrie and Shaw met to discuss the plot to kill Kennedy. Most of the evidence about CIA involvement was either distorted or ignored by media accounts as being conspiratorial. Barbour isn't surprised.

"In the 70s, the church committee investigated. They found the CIA had over 1,000 assets working in television, radios, newspaper, magazines. That was in the 70s. Can you imagine what they have now?" Barbour said.

Questions Linger 50 Years Later

The cover up didn't start with Garrison though. John Kennedy had been at war with an out of control CIA. After the failed Bay of Pigs fiasco, he fired longtime CIA director Allen Dulles and others. The Kennedys were also at odds with FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover, who tried to hang onto his job by collecting personal dirt on the brothers. But Hoover's agents did most of the legwork for the Warren panel, which included ousted CIA boss Dulles.

It is no accident the Warren report ignored possible motives and involvement by the CIA and FBI. Even writers who think Oswald acted alone agree there was a cover up.

"They certainly lied and covered up evidence after the assassination. We know now they were trying to cover up their attempted hits on Castro and their attempted hits with the mob," said Gerald Posner, a journalist and author.

"The people who actually carried out or masterminded the plot intentionally muddied the waters from the very beginning," he said.

Garrison failed in his prosecution of Clay Shaw, but 20 years later -- after Shaw had died -- the CIA confirmed that Shaw had been a covert operative for the agency. The counsel for the House probe said in 2003 that the CIA withheld information and "unilaterally deprived the commission of the last chance to learn the full truth."


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