Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Bagman's "Doomsday Football" - a Zero-Halliburton

The Bagman’s Doomsday Football - a Zero Halliburton

In the immediate aftermath of the assassination of President Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the heir to the power of the presidency, communicated by telephone with three people - Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Judge Sarah Hughes and his personal tax attorney J. Waddy Bullion. He called RFK to get the exact wording of the oath of office, Sarah Hughes to get her to come to Love Field to administer the oath and with Bullion he talked about the need to change his stock portfolio, expressing particular concern about his Halliburton stock.

Russ Baker, in “Family of Secrets,” (p. 132), reports that “Pat Holloway, former attorney for both Poppy Bush and Jack Crichton, recounted to me an incident involving LBJ that had greatly disturbed him. This was around 1 P.M. on November 22, 1963, just as Kennedy was being pronounced dead…The switchboard operator excitedly noted that she was patching the vice president through from Parkland Hospital to Holloway’s boss, firm senior partner Waddy Bullion, who was LBJ’s personal tax lawyer. The operator invited Holloway to listen in. LBJ was talking ‘not about conspiracy or about the tragedy,’ Holloway recalled, ‘I heard him say, ‘Oh, I got to get rid of my goddamn Halliburton stock.’”

Baker also notes that, “Halliburton was also deeply involved in defense contracting, through its subsidiary Brown and Root (Later Kellog Brown & Root KBR) the politically wired Texas engineering firm. Brown and Root had taken a giant leap into military contracting when Lyndon Johnson, its political protégé, became president.” Both G. R. and R.O. Brown were on the Halliburton board, as was John Connally, who was wounded in the fuselage of bullets that killed Kennedy.

Some have considered it peculiar that one thing Johnson did not do once he assumed the presidency, at least on the public record, was to inquire about the national security status, the military posture or the possibility that the nation would be attacked, or was under attack by foreign enemies.

In fact, the new President had twice left behind the military aide with the “black bag” containing secure communication and nuclear attack codes. The “bagman” had been left behind in the motorcade when LBJ was rushed to Parkland Hospital and then again when the new president quickly and secretly left the hospital for Air Force One. While the man with the nuclear codes did catch up to LBJ and remained nearby, he was generally ignored during the crisis.

In his book “The Day Kennedy was Shot,” Jim Bishop relates how Gearhart became “separated from the VIP portion of the motorcade as it raced to Parkland and after arriving he did not know where the President was nor whom he was. The Secret Service kept him away from the booth where LBJ had been placed and that Johnson and Gearhart had been separated again, when LBJ raced to Love Field."

Tagging along almost unnoticed on the trip to Love Field, Gearhart had to force his way onto a policeman’s lap to keep up with the president.

The “bagman” was Ira Gearhart, a military officer who carried a metal suitcase that contained the codes and ciphers the President needed to communicate with military commanders and foreign leaders or to order a nuclear strike. Gearhart had to remember the combination for the safety lock that opened the bag, and was to stay near the President at all times.

In “The Death of a President,” William Manchester wrote, “Warrant Officer Ira D. Gearhart, or Shadow, had been assigned the most sinister task in the Presidential party. No one called him by his Christian name, his surname, or even by his code name. He was the ‘man with the satchel,’ or, more starkly, ‘the bagman’. The bag (also known as ‘the black bag’ and ‘the football’) was a thirty-pound metal suitcase with an intricate combination lock. Within were various Strangelove packets, each bearing wax seals and the signatures of the Joint Chiefs. Inside one were cryptic numbers which would permit the President to set up a crude hot line to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the President of France on four minutes’ notice. A second provided the codes that would launch a nuclear attack. The rest contained pages of close text enlivened by gaudy color cartoons. They looked like comic books — horror comics, really, because they had been carefully designed so that anyone of Kennedy’s three military aides could quickly tell him how many million casualties would result from Retaliation Able, Retaliation Baker, Retaliation Charlie, etc. Taz Shepard had prepared these doomsday books. No one liked to think about them, much less talk about them, and on trips the man with the football was treated as a pariah.”

In his book “Apocalypse Soon” former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara wrote, “The concept of the Football came about in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis. President John F. Kennedy was concerned that some Soviet commander in Cuba might launch their missiles without authorization from Moscow. After the crisis, Kennedy ordered a review of the U.S. Nuclear Command and Control system. The result was the highly classified National Security Action Memorandum that created the Football. It has been suggested that the nickname Football was derived from an attack plan code named Drop-Kick.”

“The playbook is said to contain 75 pages of options, to be used against four primary groups: Russian nuclear forces; conventional military forces; military and political leadership and economic/industrial targets. The options are further divided into Major Attack Options (MAOs), Selected Attack Options (SAOs), and Limited Attack Options (LAOs). With the SATCOM radio and handset, the president can contact the National Command Authority (NCA) and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). To make rapid comprehension of the materials easier, the options are described in a heavily summarized format and depicted using simple images. The Football also contains the locations of various bunkers and airborne command-post aircraft, procedures for communicating over civilian networks, and other information useful in a nuclear-emergency situation.”

“The ‘Nuclear Football,’ otherwise known as the President's Emergency Satchel, is a specially-outfitted, black-colored briefcase used by President of the United States to authorize the use of nuclear weapons. While its exact contents and operation are highly classified, several sources have provided details of the bag. It is presumed to hold a secure SATCOM radio and handset, the daily nuclear launch codes known as the ‘Gold Codes,’ and the President's Decision Book—the ‘nuclear playbook’ that the President would rely on should a decision to use nuclear weapons be made, based on the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP). The National Security Agency updates the Gold Codes daily.”

“The Football is carried by one of the rotating Presidential Aides (one from each of the five service branches), who occasionally is physically attached to the briefcase. This person is a commissioned officer in the U.S. military, pay-grade O-4 or above, who has undergone the nation's most rigorous background check (Yankee White). These officers are required to keep the Football within ready access of the President at all times. Consequently, an aide, Football in hand, is always either standing/walking near the President or riding in Air Force One/Marine One/Motorcade with him.”

As McNamara describes it, “The case itself is a metallic, possibly bullet-proof, modified Zero-Halliburton briefcase which is carried inside of a leather "jacket". The entire package weights approximately 40 pounds (18 kg). A small antenna, presumably for the SATCOM radio, protrudes from the bag near the handle. Contrary to popular belief, the ‘football/ is not handcuffed to aides. Rather, carriers employ a black cable that loops around the handle of the bag and the wrist of the aide.”

“Zero-Halliburton” is the name of the company that manufactured the case, which brings us back to the Halliburton company and LBJ’s phone call to his tax attorney J. Waddy Bullion, concerning his Halliburton stock.

In “From Russia With Love,” a spy thriller novel read by both President Kennedy and his alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, Ian Fleming has his secret agent 007 utilize a custom attaché case that included a concealed dagger, a sniper’s rifle that broke down and fit into the stock and a special latch that exploded if not opened correctly, which seems to have been inspired by the Halliburton case.

According to the official Zero-Halliburton web site: “In 1938, Earle P. Halliburton, a globetrotting businessman, commissioned a team of aircraft engineers to build him cases that could withstand the rough terrain of the Texas oilfields in the back of his truck. The original aluminum case was born, becoming the very definition of protection and ruggedness in business and travel cases. Every effort has been made ensure that only the finest material, the most advanced techniques, and the most precise crafting are employed to make each and every case. That heritage continues today.” 

            “Today, that aluminum case, created nearly 70 years ago is the prototype for style, sophistication, and uniqueness. However, it has never lost sight of its heritage: protecting your belongings wherever your journeys take you. The original aluminum case we introduced to the world over seven decades ago has taken hold of people’s imagination and stands as icon of strength, security, endurance, and fashion. It blazed new territory for design, providing a unique, unmistakable presence that cannot be imitated.”

            “All of our signature aluminum cases start with a two-ton coil of aircraft grade aluminum. After being cut into individual pieces, the aluminum is “deep-drawn” over special steel dies using 440 tons of pressure. As the shape is formed, the molecular structure of the aluminum actually changes, resulting in a shell that’s free of wrinkling, distortion and manufacturing inconsistencies. Following the deep-draw process, the shell is heated to more than 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and then quickly cooled, making the aluminum even stronger and more durable. Each shell is then buffed and electro-chemically anodized to add color and prevent corrosion. After the shell is completed, it takes the skillful hand of a trained craftsman to make each case worthy of the Zero Halliburton name.”

“The heat-tempered aluminum shell has the strength of steel at only one-quarter the weight. Extra strength hinges withstand pulling of over 400 pounds. Innovative neoprene gasket keeps out dust and moisture, providing unrivaled protection.”

“Today, the same creative spirit that challenged the conventions of what business cases should look like-while raising the expected standards for their performance-has given rise to a new generation of inventive cases with unmatched performance. We are expanding the boundaries of personal business and travel products by once again incorporating the most advanced materials available and creating solutions to satisfy your most challenging needs. A perfect combination of sound design principles and innovation that could have only come from Zero Halliburton.”

“In 1946, independent of any relationship with Halliburton, a metal fabrication company called Zierold Company changed its name to Zero Corporation. In 1952, Mr. Halliburton sold his travel case division to the recently created metal fabrication company Zero Corporation, officially ending any Halliburton Company's involvement in the making of aluminum cases. The new division was renamed Zero Halliburton.”

“In January 2007, Zero Halliburton, a division of Zero manufacturing, was sold to Japan’s largest luggage company, Ace Company Ltd. Zero Halliburton remains an American Company.”

Interesting Facts –

“Zero Halliburton cases have been used to carry Apollo mission moon rocks, academy award Oscars and skates for US speed skating team.”

“Zero Halliburton products have appeared in many movies and televisions shows over the last decades such as ‘Independence day,’ ‘Lost,’ ‘Men in Black,’ ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ and ‘Mission Impossible.’”

On April 24, 1999, President Bill Clinton left NATO's 50th anniversary summit, being held at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.. The carrier and the football were left behind. The aide walked the half-mile back to the White House alone. The integrity of the football and the state of the officer were intact. Similar incidents have occurred with Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush.

A specially modified Zero-Halliburton case was used to carry the special communications and nuclear attack codes by the president’s military aid Ira Gearhart on November 22, 1963.  

Around 1 PM on November 22, 1963, within a half hour of becoming president with the death of JFK, one of the first things President Johnson does is call his tax attorney J. W. Bullion to ask about his Halliburton stock.

According to “A Money Tree Grows in Texas,” (1968, p. 100), a $1,000 investment in Halliburton in 1948 when the company was originally available to the public would be worth $19,700.00 in 1968.

The corporate headquarters for Halliburton was listed as 3211 Southland Center, Dallas, Texas, where the Dallas Sheraton was located, the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) had set up their base station and where “Maurice Bishop” had met Lee Harvey Oswald and Anthony Veciana in the lobby in the summer of 1963.

On the board of directors of Halliburton were John B. Connally, who was wounded at Dealey Plaza, and G. R. and R.O. Brown of Brown Brothers, Brown & Root.

BK notes: As Linda M. points out, R.O. Brown was not one of the Browns of Brown  & Root, and Russ Baker notes that John Connally was not on the board at the time of the assassination. 

In his book “Family of Secrets,” Russ Baker also reports that (p. 131-132), “Meanwhile, the Kennedy assassination had put into the White House Lyndon Baines Johnson, who had a long-standing but little-known relationship with the Bush family. This dates back at least to 1953, when Prescott Bush joined Johnson in the U.S. Senate…That same year, Poppy Bush started Zapata Petroleum with Hugh and William Liedtke, who as law students at the University of Texas several years earlier, had rented LBJ’s guesthouse. Later, Bush became close with LBJ’s chief financers, George and Herman Brown, the founders of the construction giant Brown and Root (which later became part of Halliburton).

After helping establish the Continuity of Government (COG) plans in the 1980s and serving as Vice President, Cheney left government and became head of Halliburton.

Erle P. Halliburton 

Erle Palmer Halliburton (September 22, 1892, near HenningTennessee - October 13, 1957, in Los Angeles) was an American businessman specializing in the oil business.

Prior to United States entry into World War I, Halliburton gained exposure to shipboard engineering as a member of the United States Navy. After his honorable discharge in 1915, he headed for the oilfields of California, where he was able to apply techniques analogous to the technology with which he had worked in the Navy. His drive and his sense of innovation soon brought him into conflict with his boss, Almond Perkins. Halliburton later quipped that getting hired and getting fired by the Perkins Oil Well Cementing Company were the two best opportunities he had ever received.[1]

Halliburton and his wife Vida C Tabor Halliburton established the New Method Oil Well Cementing Company in Oklahoma in 1919. By 1922, this company was operating as Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Company, which later became known as Halliburton Company on July 5, 1961. He also designed the aluminum suitcases which are now manufactured by Zero Halliburton.

Halliburton (/ˈhælɨbɜrtən/NYSEHAL) is one of the world's largest[7] oilfield services companies with operations in more than 70 countries. It has hundreds of subsidiaries, affiliates, branches, brands, and divisions worldwide and employs over 60,000 people.[6]
The company has dual headquarters located in Houston and in Dubai, where Chairman and CEODavid Lesar works and resides, "to focus [the] company’s Eastern Hemisphere Growth."[8] The company will remain incorporated in the United States.[9][10][11]

Halliburton's major business segment is the Energy Services Group (ESG). ESG provides technical products and services for petroleum and natural gas exploration and production. Halliburton's former subsidiary, KBR, is a major construction company of refineriesoil fieldspipelines, and chemical plants. Halliburton announced on April 5, 2007 that it had finally broken ties with KBR, which had been its contracting, engineering and construction unit as a part of the company for 44 years.[12]

Company History:
Zero Corporation is a leading designer and manufacturer of enclosure, cooling, and other systems, primarily for the electronics industry. Zero products include electronic cabinets, card cages, backplanes, power supply, and such thermal management systems as closed-loop air conditioning systems and motorized impellers. Sales to the electronics and related industries account for nearly 75 percent of Zero's annual revenues. Zero is also a leading worldwide designer and manufacturer of air cargo containers, systems, and accessories for companies including American, United, Airbus, and others. On the consumer level, Zero manufactures the world-famous line of Zero Halliburton luggage; these distinctive metal suitcases, briefcases, and carrying cases are sold in more than 30 countries. With manufacturing plants in the United States, Europe, and Mexico, Zero serves a customer base of over 20,000, none of which accounts for more than five percent of Zero's annual sales, which reached $206 million in 1995 (fiscal year ended 3/31/96). Throughout its history, Zero has been so successful at capturing the largest share of its market that the "zero case" has become a generic term.

Scrap Metal Origins

German immigrant Herman Zierold founded a small sheet metal business in Los Angeles in the early part of the century. By the end of the Second World War, Zierold's company had ten employees and annual sales of about $300,000; Zierold himself delivered his company's precision aluminum and sheet metal products. In 1951, Zierold sold his business to Jack Gilbert, who renamed the company Zierold Manufacturing Co. Gilbert had dropped out of high school after his father died during the Depression. Working a variety of jobs, including a stint with Douglas Aircraft during the Second World War, Gilbert decided to go into business for himself. Gilbert's interest was in the nascent electronics industry and the need for precision sheet metal products. "I looked at 30 or 35 companies," Gilbert told Forbes, "until I found Zierold Metal Co. Zierold was into precision aluminum work, and that was the future in sheet metal."

Gilbert offered Zierold $350,000 for the company, with a $50,000 down payment raised by mortgaging his home. Gilbert and Zierold agreed that Zierold would finance the rest; if Gilbert missed installments, the business would revert back to Zierold. According to Gilbert: "Herman went down the street and made a bet with a scrap dealer that he'd have the business back in a year." By the time Gilbert paid off the last of his installments, however, Herman Zierold was accepting stock in the company instead of cash.

In the postwar years, Los Angeles and other areas were overcrowded with sheet metal companies, but Gilbert's former association with Douglas led him in a direction that would help Zierold stand out from the rest. From friends at Douglas, Gilbert learned that company was purchasing precision aluminum boxes to cover their electronic systems, paying as much as $600 for a custom-made box to house electronic components. As Gilbert told Forbes, "I couldn't believe it. I thought those parts ought to sell for about $35."

Gilbert set out to produce a box that was simple and inexpensive to make, developing a process to make deep-drawn boxes. In the deep-drawn process, aluminum was subjected to pressures high enough to press--rather than stretch--the metal around a die, creating a seamless box. Because the metal was pressed, causing its molecules to flow around the die, the process eliminated the weaknesses associated with stretching metal. By developing his own dies, Gilbert was able to produce boxes in standardized sizes far more quickly and cheaply than if the boxes needed to be custom-made. Gilbert began taking orders from the aerospace and electronics industries for boxes of various sizes. The company bore the cost for designing and building the dies, which at the time cost between $300 and $1,200, eating into the profits, if any, of an order and placing a heavy financial burden on the company.

By the mid-1950s, the strain of producing the dies forced Zierold to turn business away. Gilbert sought financing, but he worried about losing control of the company. A Small Business Administration loan, however, kept the business afloat, and in 1957, Zierold received new help in the form of a $250,000 investment by Alfred Reddock, a venture capitalist. After Reddock agreed to join the company's board of directors, Zierold gained the credibility it needed to go public, which it did in 1959. A name change soon followed. For years, many of the company's customers had been mistaking "Zierold" for "Zero," going so far as to make out checks to the company under that name. In response, Gilbert changed the company's name to Zero Manufacturing Co.

Over the next decade, the company continued building its collection of dies. An acquisition offer in the mid-1960s by Bendix led Zero to expand its operations beyond California. With no intention to sell, Gilbert nonetheless met with Bendix in order to discover the reasons behind that company's interest in Zero. Learning that Bendix was intent on acquiring sheet metal operations located near the Californian, southern, and New England aerospace markets, Gilbert traveled to manufacturers in those areas, signing on such large concerns as Martin Marietta and Raytheon as Zero customers. Soon after, Zero opened manufacturing facilities in Massachusetts and Florida. Despite gaining such large companies as customers, Gilbert remained determined that no company would account for more than five percent of Zero's sales; as a result orders generally averaged $10,000 or less.

A Brief Stumble in the 1970s

Gilbert next sought to diversify the company's operations. In 1969, Zero purchased the Halliburton luggage-making operations from the Halliburton oil service company. The Zero Halliburton line soon gained worldwide fame. Sales of the line of luggage and cases for photographic equipment rose from $200,000 at the time of the acquisition to nearly $3 million by the end of the 1970s. The company next moved into producing aircraft hydraulic systems and related aircraft devices. Zero's reputation was also enhanced by being chosen to build the cases that would transport moon rocks gathered from the first lunar landing back to Earth.

Yet the company stumbled in the early 1970s. Pursuing a plan to round out the company's operations, Zero made a number of other acquisitions seeking to bring the company into the heating and cooling business. However, a downturn in the economy, and especially in the electronics industry, cut deeply into Zero's profits and caused the company to post operating losses--including a $2 million write-off from selling its new acquisitions--in the first two years of the new decade. By 1973, Zero again turned profitable, earning $600,000 on sales of $22 million. The company changed its name again, to Zero Corporation. The company's success, particularly the success of its deep-drawn manufacturing process, had already caused the zero box to become a generic name in the electronics and aerospace industries.

Zero's collection of dies had grown to over 1,500, which gave the company an edge over competitors making costlier custom-made enclosures, while discouraging others from entering the field in direct competition with Zero. By the late 1970s, nearly all of Zero's die collection had been fully amortized. Sales, with customers including 35 of the 50 largest computer manufacturers in the United States, such as IBM, Burroughs, and Digital Equipment, reached $66 million by 1979, with net earnings of $4.7 million, and a five-year compounded growth rate of 25 percent. The following year, Gilbert retired from full-time management of the company and was replaced by Howard W. Hill. Two years later, Hill was joined by Wilford "Woody" Godbold, a former mergers and acquisitions specialist with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, a Los Angeles law firm. Godbold, who was raised in Hawaii, went to Stanford as an undergraduate, and received a law degree from UCLA after a stint in the Navy, had served as Zero's corporate counsel before joining the company as executive vice-president. When Hill retired in 1985, Godbold took over as chief executive officer.

The 1980s and Beyond

Under Godbold, the company again began a series of acquisitions to diversify operations, buying eight companies in the first half of the decade for a total outlay of about $20 million. These new acquisitions--for example, the 1985 purchase of Contempo Engineering Co. of Glendale, California, a maker of air conditioning systems for computer installations--centered primarily on the electronics industry. The company's customer base grew to include 187 of the 200 largest electronics manufacturers, giving Zero an 85 percent share of the enclosure market. Zero's production facilities had grown to include 16 plants in the United States and England. By then, rather than contracting Zero to custom-make a die, many manufacturers were designing their electronics equipment to fit one of Zero's 1,700 basic dies, which had expanded to provide capacity for some 40,000 box sizes ranging from a few inches to six-foot boxes used to house Stinger missiles. "But there always seems to be one more size we haven't made," Godbold told the Los Angeles Business Journal, and Zero continued to design and produce custom dies for new orders. Most orders involved short production runs, producing high margins for the company--generally nine to ten percent, compared to three percent among most metal manufacturers.

Zero's 1985 sales topped $117 million, bringing net earnings of $11.5 million, which included a $7 million gain from the sale of its Ocean Technology subsidiary. Aiding Zero's growth was the growth of its subsidiaries, particular its Electronics Solutions subsidiary, a computer manufacturing subcontractor acquired in 1985. Between 1987 and 1988, revenues jumped from $139 million to $171 million, with a rise in earnings to $16 million in 1988.

However, a slump in the electronics industry, and cuts in defense spending as the Cold War ended, coupled with a slide into a recession as the 1990s began, slowed Zero down. Sales, which neared $200 million in 1990, fell to $160 million. Per share income also dropped, from $1.02 to $0.62. In an effort to cut operating costs, Godbold moved its Los Angeles factory to Salt Lake City, slashing the company's expenses for workers' compensation, health care, and wages. The company consolidated a number of its remaining California plants to cut operating costs further. Godbold, who served as chairman of the California Chamber of Commerce, was widely criticized for the move. Yet, as Godbold told World Trade, "It wasn't an easy thing for us, but the costs of doing business in the state were eating us alive. We had to do it to remain competitive."

The Utah move helped spur the company's sagging profits. Zero also began a new wave of acquisitions, including the 1993 purchase of J.H. Sessions & Sons of Connecticut, which manufactured case hardware such as handles and hinges and other materials for annual sales of $4 million. Orders from the airline industry also picked up--after a long slump due not only to the recession, but also to fears of terrorism surrounding the Gulf War--including a contact to supply baggage/cargo systems to 50 of United Airlines' Airbus planes. Yet the company's foreign sales were hurt by the slide into the European recession, which saw international revenues drop from over $21 million in 1992 to $15.5 million in 1994.

Total sales grew only at four percent between 1992 and 1995, as compared to the company's former 18-year, 25 percent average growth rate. Nonetheless, Zero remained solidly profitable, with net earnings climbing from $9.7 million in 1991 to nearly $15 million by 1994. In 1995, Zero began acquisitions of three new companies, Precision Fabrication Technologies, which manufactured modular enclosures, data communications products, and accessories for the electronics and telecommunications industries; Electro-Mechanical Imagineering, Inc. (EMI), a maker of enclosure, mounting, and protective devices for closed-circuit television security devices; and G.W. Pearce & Sons Ltd., a UK-based deep-drawn aluminum products manufacturer. Combined, these acquisitions added $16 million to Zero's revenues. Total revenues reached $206 million in fiscal year 1996, producing net earnings of nearly $17 million.

Several more acquisitions followed in the first half of 1996. The Zero Halliburton line expanded to include cases for the booming mobile computing market. In January 1996, Zero launched a new subsidiary, Zero Integrated Systems, to design, engineer, and manufacture completely integrated electronic systems, as well as to provide cost analysis and quality testing services. After more than forty years, Zero had at last moved inside the box.

Principal Subsidiaries: Air Cargo Equipment; Electronic Solutions; Integrated Systems; McLean Engineering; McLean Europe; McLean Midwest; Nielson/Sessions; Samuel Groves & Co. Limited (Birmingham, England); Stantron/PFT/EMI; Zero Enclosures.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 29th Movement - Free the JFK Files Now


–Release the Bay of Pigs Reports, the Joannides file and all the remaining government records on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

John F. Kennedy - May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963

Pursing the Negative Template

Most American presidents and historical figures are honored on their birthday, but few people would know that May 29th is the birthday of John F. Kennedy, the thirty-fifth president of the United States, and instead, we think of him on the day he was murdered.

While his birthday goes unrecognized, everybody who was alive at the time or with any sense of history registers November 22 with the assassination of President Kennedy, just as December 7th and September 11th are recognized as watershed benchmarks of modern American history.

John F. Kennedy was born on May 29th 1917 in the master bedroom on the second floor of 83 Beals Street, Brookline, Massachusetts. The Harvard educated Navy war hero would be elected to Congress, serve as a U.S. Senator and President of the United States until he was assassinated while riding in a motorcade through downtown Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Although the Kennedy family says they would rather celebrate JFK’s life, administration and policies rather than his death, they are annually seen kneeling by the eternal flame at the Arlington grave site every November 22nd, and his life and policies go generally unheralded as we live through the 50th anniversary of his administration.

The Bay of Pigs was duly noted, the establishment of the White House Situation Room (WHSR) was honored by naming it after Kennedy, and the Cuban Missile Crisis will be remembered, but the 50th anniversary of the assassination is greatly anticipated with a plethora of feature articles, books, documentary films and major motion pictures due out over the next few years.

This renewed interest in the assassination is expected to fuel the debates over whether the assassination was the act of one deranged gunman or the result of a well planned and successfully executed conspiracy, and add credence to the call for the release of the remaining records related to the assassination that are still being withheld by the government.

Conspiracy theorists, who outnumber those who defend the Warren Commission’s lone-gunman conclusion by an eight to one margin, are both united in the call for the release of all the remaining government records on the assassination, which was mandated by a law that is not being effectively enforced.\

The JFK Act of 1992, although “the law of land,” has seen no Congressional oversight despite the flagrant destruction of files, the loss of many records and the continued withholding of thousands of records, in the name of national security, despite the fact they were created nearly fifty years ago.

Professor Peter Dale Scott, who has studied the assassination closely, suggests a “Negative-Template” thesis in which the most significant records are those that are destroyed, missing or with held, and that any investigation of the assassination itself should focus on those records. 

There are a number of active efforts underway to replicate the destroyed files, locate those that are missing and to free those that are being withheld, all without the support and cooperation of Congress, the courts or the administration.

Despite the reluctance of Congress to conduct oversight hearings of the JFK Act for the past fifteen years, there is an active internet lobby effort to at least try and convince Congress to do its job, however unlikely that seems.

The courts have recently ruled against release of the remaining withheld internal CIA report on the April 17, 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, and seem reluctant to order the CIA to release their operational files on the now deceased CIA officer who ran the anti-Castro Cuban group that the accused assassin associated with, and who later effectively stonewalled the House Select Committee on Assassination (HSCA), assigned to investigate the assassination.

The President, in his first act in office, issued an Executive Order that called for the implementation of a new policy of transparency and open government, and established the Declassification Review Board, which at first said it was going to place a high priority on topics of public interest, including the JFK Assassination, but has since back-tracked and may not pursue any JFK assassination records at all.

Jim Lesar wrote a letter requesting the NARA to A – that goes unanswered, as does the suggestion for the NARA to create a special project to declassify the JFK Assassination Records, as they have done with the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis.  

When the NARA asked for public input, Dan Alcorn suggested they create the special assassination records project, and with over three dozen public votes and positive comments, the suggestion was the top rated idea presented on the public forum.

Yet, NARA has so far failed to respond.

The JFK Act requires all the records to be released by 2017 but it is widely expected that the CIA and other agencies will request the President to continued withholding these records indefinably on grounds of national security. This date should be accelerated and the records released by 2013, which can happen if they are included among the records reviewed by the NDC.

Regardless of whether there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy, there is certainly one to hide the true record of his death, as a group of distinguished British historians put it, “there has never been a more subversive, conspiratorial, unpatriotic or endangering course for the security of the United States and the world than the attempt by the United States Government to hide the murderers of its President.”

It is now in the interests of national security, not to withhold the remaining records on the fifty year old assassination of President Kennedy, but to release them to the public.

The May 29th Movement is hereby launched in order to support of all of these efforts, and to call attention to and build national momentum towards a release of all the remaining JFK assassination records by 2013.

May 29th – JFK’s birthday
June 10thJFK Monument – American U.
Oct – AARC Conference on JFK Act – 20 Years Later
Nov – Dallas COPA
Oct 2013 – CWCFS Conference Pittsburgh
Nov 2013 – Occupy Dealey Plaza in a call to fee the remaining records

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Prequil to the AF1 Radio Transmission Tapes

Prequil to the AF1 Radio Transmission Tapes

A study the assassination of President Kennedy through what is reported on the radio broadcast transmissions provides a unique perspective into the event.

The existing tapes of Air Force One radio communications on 11/22/63 begin at Carswell AFB in Fort Worth, with the pilot of Air Force One reporting his departure and estimated time of arrival in Dallas.

Carswell AFB is a Strategic Air Command facility whose commanding officer, at first, refused to allow the public onto the base to see the President arrive and depart, but later relented under pressure from the White house.

According to William Manchester, “That Friday Lyndon Johnson did not know that John Kennedy had ordered the taping of all Angel conversations while the plane was in flight,” an order that apparently also included the taping of all Special Air Mission (SAM) flights because among the recorded patches on the tapes are communications between the Cabinet plane and the White House and Andrews and the Pentagon and General LeMay’s SAM flight from Canada, neither of which involved Air Force One.

William Manchester’s “The Death of a President” (1967 pages 61-63)

           “Tourists thought of the President’s home as stationary, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. They were wrong. The White House was capable of multiple division. It could be in several cities simultaneously. The (telephone switchboard) girls on the fourth floor of the Executive Office Building remained on duty, but the real White House was wherever Lancer happened to be, and once he hit the road the key switchboard was a jungle of color-coded wires in the executive mansion’s east basement, manned by elite Signal Corps technicians of the White House Communications Agency. It was a national security precaution that Lancer always be within five minutes of a telephone.”

“In the autumn of 1963 the White House telephone number was still NA-tional 8-1414, that winter the digits took over and it was changed to 456-1414, and when the man of the house was home communications were relatively simple. Of course, the President himself didn’t answer the phone. A light would flash on a forty-bulb switchboard on the fourth floor of the Executive Office Building and if you knew a name of a Presidential aide one of the women operators would instantly connect you with the proper extension, from which you could be transferred to the oval office, or the mansion.”

           “But the moment the Chief Executive left his helipad all that changed. Elaborate security precautions went into effect.”

“Even names were changed. Codes replaced them, from time to time names and groupings were changed…The White House was no longer the White House. It was Castle (aka Crown), and during a trip the President’s precise location at any given moment was Charcoal. He, himself was no longer John Kennedy, he was Lancer, who was married to Lace, whose children were a daughter named Lyric and a son named Lark. The First Family was all in the L’s — though Lyric’s and Lark’s grandmother lived in a Georgetown house which was referred to as Hamlet. Secret Service men were in the D’s. Chief James J. Rowley was Domino, Digest, Dazzle, Deacon, Debut, and Tom Wells of the kiddie detail were Drummer, Dresser and Dasher. W’s were for staff; Ken O’Donnell, Lancer’s chief vassal was Wand. Evelyn Lincoln, was Willow, Pierre Salinger, Wayside. Mac Kilduff who was to do Wayside’s press chores on the Texas trip— and, who ironically, had been told to start looking for another job, because Wand had decided that he was expendable had been christened Warrior. General’s Clifton and McHugh were Watchman and Wing. Taz Shepard, who would be minding the store at Castle during the Texas trip, was Witness. V’s were reserved for the Vice-President and his family. Lyndon Johnson was Volunteer, Lady Bird, who had never had much luck with names became Victoria.”

The SAM –  the Andrews based Strategic Air Mission detachment of the Air Force that was responsible for shuttling the President and his cabinet utilized four primary frequencies that were set by the Liberty station at Collins Radio headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Two other radio frequencies were used by the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) on the ground where ever the President was or would be. The Secret Service and WHCA maintained the “Charlie” channel for those units involved in the motorcade, while the Dallas Police Department (DPD) utilized two channels, one strictly for the motorcade, and the Dallas Sheriff’s Department had its own frequency used by its personnel.

Col. Ralph Albertazzle in “The Flying White House – The Story of Air Force One” (1979, Coward, McCann & Georghegan, NY) wrote: “Air Force One’s communications center was in constant radio contact with the motorcade and with the White House Communications Agency’s temporary signal board in the Sheraton-Dallas Hotel. From there, trunk lines linked the traveling White House with the real one in Washington, the Military Command Center at the Pentagon, the State Department and Secret Service Headquarters.” 

As explained by Manchester, the man responsible for keeping the President within five minutes of a secure phone line was Col. George McNally. Manchester: 

                       “Colonel George McNally, alias Star — this was the S group — saw to it that he was much closer than that (five minutes). There were phones in the President’s helicopter, phones aboard Aircraft 26000, portable phones spotted fifty feet away from every airfield space where 26000 could park, and radiophones in his motorcade cars, operating on two frequencies. Like the Secret Service and the Democratic National Committee, Colonel McNally had a corps of advance men. By dawn of that Thursday morning temporary switchboards had been installed in trailers and hotel rooms in San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin and at the LBJ Ranch. Each had its own unlisted phone number.” 

“The Dallas White House, for example, was in the Sheraton-Dallas Hotel. It could be reached through RIverside 1-3421, RIverside 1-3422, and RIverside 1-3423, though anyone who dialed one of them and lacked a code name of his own would find the conversation awkward.”

Manchester: “S’s advance man for the Texas trip was Warrant Officer Art Bales (code name Sturdy) a gaunt thirty-year veteran who knew every executive in the Southwest Bell Telephone Company could bug any line from the nearest manhole or conduit and had the facilities to scramble almost any conversation, or to disconnect it without notice. When out of town the President needed one clear circuit to Washington at all times, which meant that Bales had to pull the plug on a Cabinet member, if necessary.”

“In motorcades Bales would ride in the Signals control car. By tradition this was the last vehicle in the caravan, and his companion there, and his roommate at hotel stops, was a swarthy S man, Warrant Officer Ira D. Gearhart. Gearhart (Shadow), had been assigned the most sinister task in the Presidential party. No one called him by his Christian name, his surname, or even by his code name. He was the “man with the satchel,” or, more starkly, “the bagman”. The bag (also known as “the black bag” and “the football”) was a thirty-pound metal suitcase with an intricate combination lock. Within were various Strangelove packets, each bearing wax seals and the signatures of the Joint Chiefs. Inside one were cryptic numbers which would permit the President to set up a crude hot line to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the President of France on four minutes’ notice. A second provided the codes that would launch a nuclear attack.”

The motorcade had their own radio channel – “Charlie” channel that was set up by the WHCA and included the Secret Service, with an operational base set up at the Dallas Sheraton Hotel, a channel that was monitored by the pilot of Air Force One, Col. Swindel, who decided not to join the other crew members for lunch and remained in the cockpit.

From the information contained in Gerald Blaine’s The Kennedy Detail (w/ Lisa McCubbin, Gallery, 2010­, p. 215), it is apparent that as soon as bullets started flying, Secret Service Kellerman, in the front passenger seat of the target car, was on the radio, tuned to “Charlie Channel” reserved for motorcade security, saying, “Lawson, this is Kellerman. We’re hit. Get us to the nearest hospital! Quick!” when at the same time the second shot was fired and then the third, and fatal head shot occurred, - while he was on the radio talking.

“As he was relaying the message, he heard one bang, and then another, and as Greer trampled down on the accelerator, Kellerman felt the car burst forward with such thrust he felt like it was jumping off the goddamned road. Up ahead the lead car was nearing the overpass when the first shot was fired. Through the open windows of the sedan, Agent Win Lawson heard the sharp report and turned to look back through the rear window. He could see some commotion in the president’s car behind him. Then Kellerman’s voice over the radio, ‘We’re hit!’”

If this is the case, then the sound of the third and fatal head shot should have been broadcast over the open microphone on Charlie Channel, along with Kellerman’s orders, and if it was broadcast, it should have been taped if anyone was taping the proceedings, as the WHCA base at the Dallas Sheraton could and should have been doing.

Without a tape of these broadcasts, we do have the reports and testimony of a number of witnesses who heard what was said, and quote them faithfully, as Air Force One pilot Swindel is quoted in “The Flying White House,” as hearing Kellerman’s sudden broadcast “We’re hit” and “…Cover Volunteer!,” and the resulting chaos clued him that something significant had happened in the motorcade.

We do have tapes of the two DPD channels, recordings that have been studied in detail and have produced numerous and controversial studies and reports on what information is and isn’t on them. At 12:29, the Dallas Police channel reserved for the motorcade was interrupted by a motorcycle radio that malfunctioned for four minutes, during which time the President was assassinated. Tapes of this inadvertent broadcast transmission are said to include the sounds of the rifle shots, though there is some controversy over what it all means. Here, we are only concerned with what are literally spoken words.

As one commentator noted however, the sudden lack of communication ability was also suspicious. “In Dallas the police radio was immobilized at 12.29. Channel One of the DP radio system was rendered inoperative when someone within the dept. keyed his radio microphone button for four minutes, making it impossible for any police communication from the kill zone during the critical moments...and immediately afterward.....Channel One was reserved that day for those officers in the security of the President…From 12.29 till 12.33 the only audible sound on the police audio tape is the rumbling of a motorcycle engine...In Dallas the press telephone within the motorcade was immobilized. At 12.34 the radiophone in the press car carrying the members of the wire services was rendered inoperative, also...In fact a fight broke out between UPI's Merriman Smith and Jack Bell of the AP. Bell finally managed to grab it after Smith has issued the initial report that shots had been fired, but to Bell's dismay, the line inexplicably went dead. In Washington there was a crucial breakdown of communications when the telephone system in the capital went out at approximately 12.33 pm. It was almost an hour before full telephone service resumed...It was explained, that it was due to overloaded phone lines…”

After Kellerman’s broadcast over “Charlie Channel” in the course of the shooting, the second most significant radio communication was made by Merriman Smith, the UPI White House correspondent in the press pool car. Smith clearly heard three shots, immediately picked up the radio telephone from the dashboard of the press pool car, dialed the UPI Dallas office and when it was picked up, yelled, “Bulletin! Preceed! Three shots fired at President Kennedy as he rode in a motorcade through downtown Dallas.”

According to other reporters in the car, Smith then broke the radiophone so it could not be operated, preventing them from filing similar reports.

Wilborn Hampton, the youngest United Press International (UPI) reporter at the Dallas bureau, took the call from Merriman Smith in the motorcade with first word of the president's shooting. Hampton later reported:

           “It had been very hectic in the office for the previous two days. President John F. Kennedy was making a highly publicized trip to Texas, going to five cities and making a major speech in Dallas. Everybody in the Dallas office had been busy on the story. Everybody, that is, except me. Since I was the most inexperienced reporter on the staff, I did not have a lot to do with covering Kennedy’s trip. As a result, I had felt like a fifth wheel around the office since the President had arrived in Texas. The only part I had played so far in covering the President’s visit was to take some dictation over the telephone the previous day from Merriman Smith, who was UPI’s chief White House reporter. But that was about to change in the next couple of minutes. In fact, my whole life was about to change. So, there I was, standing alone by the news desk, while there was a lull in the office. President Kennedy has arrived at Love Field, the Dallas airport, on a five-minute flight from Fort Worth, and he was at that moment driving through downtown Dallas in a motorcade on his way to the Trade Mart, where he was to make his speech.”

           “There had been a flurry of activity in the office with the President’s takeoff from Fort Worth, where he had spent the previous night, and his arrival in Dallas. Although Dallas was considered hostile political territory to Kennedy, a large crowd turned out to greet him at Love Field. Jackie Kennedy was given a bouquet of roses and both the President and First Lady went over to shake hands with some of the people at the airport. Merriman Smith, who was known by everyone who knew him as Smitty, had even called in from the telephone in the press car to dictate a paragraph about how surprisingly large the crowds were. But the office was quiet now, everyone relaxing for a few moments until the President arrived at the Trade Mart, and the frenzy of covering an American President would resume. So I was alone as I stood by the news desk that day. I was wondering whether I should offer to get sandwiches for the rest of the office from the diner across the street.”

“Suddenly the telephone rang. I picked up the receiver and answered, ‘U.P.I.’”

“I immediately recognized Smitty’s voice from the day before. But this time Smitty was shouting.”

“‘Bulletin preceed!’ Smitty yelled. ‘Three shots were fired at the motorcade.’”

Within a minute, Hampton would dictate what Smith told him to another editor who punched it into the UPI teletype machine, pushing a special bulletin button that would sound a bell alarm to prepare news desks around the world for a special bulletin, and then began to type the report which went out to all the UPI teletype machines in the world, including the ones aboard AF1, the cabinet plane and in the Situation Room at the White House.

[UPI’s Bob Chockrum notes that, “Ten bells are for a news flash, five for a bulletin, four for urgent and three for advisory.”]

David Lifton: “The first transmission was the result of Merriman Smith excitedly talking to (Wilborn Hampton) at the UPI Dallas office, which means it went from his lips to UPI's Wilborn Hampton, who took the call; then to staff editor Don Smith, who actually wrote the copy (along with Hampton); and then it was handed to teletype operator Jim Tolbert, who actually punched out the words onto perforated paper, and fed the punched paper-tape into the teletype machine, pressing ‘send’ at 12:34 PM CST.”


[NOTE: "1234 PCS" means "12:34 Central Standard time. The initials on the typed line specifying the time of transmission are those of the teletype operator – Jim Tolbert.]
After Smith filed his first emergency bulletin from the Press Pool Car radiophone, he kept the phone from the AP pool reporter in the back seat, but AP photographer James Alkins, who took a photo of the President’s car in front of the TSBD, immediately ran into the TSBD, located a phone and called his office. The AP wire report went out a few minutes after the UPI report. 


The White House Communications Agency (WHCA) car, as explained by Manchester, is usually the last one in the motorcade, and includes Arthur Bales, the chief WHCA advance man  in Dallas and Ira Gearheart the “bagman” with the strategic communication and nuclear codes. Earlier Bales had lunch with the top Secret Service and advance men at the Dallas Sheraton to go over the details of the motorcade, and the Sheraton was where the WHCA base station – the “Dallas White House” was located.

In his After Action report Bales wrote: “Following is approximately the sequence of events, as recalled by the undersigned, in Dallas, Texas, 22 November 1963.....The motorcade departed for the trip through downtown Dallas and to the Trade Mart. In the WHCA Communications Car were: A telco driver; the undersigned WHCA Advance Officer; the WHCA Courier, Mr. Gearheart; and the Telco special representative (or "Shadow"), Mr. Herb Smith.”

[BK Notes: From an obituary found by a Dallas researcher, we learn that Herb Smith was a senior executive at the Dallas telephone company, a necessary collaborator for Bales.]

Bales: ‘We were approximately six cars and two (Press and Staff) buses behind the President. The motorcade had just passed the last buildings on the route before entering the freeway to the Trade Mart. The WHCA Communications Car was around two corners from and not in sight of the President's car. Three explosions were heard, and I thought that they were backfires from vehicles up ahead. Herb Smith remarked that firecrackers were in appropriate for the occasion. Then the USSS Agent riding with the President announced on the FM "Charlie" radio, "Lawson, he's hit". The motorcade came to an abrupt halt with one bus and the WHCA car still around two corners from the President. Realizing that emergency communications facilities may be required on the spot, I instructed the driver to get Mr. Gearhart immediately to the vicinity of the President and to keep him there regardless of my own location. I, with the Telco representative, Mr. Smith, then started running toward the scene of the shooting. As we rounded the first corner the motorcade suddenly raced away. I commandeered a police car and instructed the driver to take us immediately to the Parkland Hospital. We arrived short minutes after the President.”

[For Bales Complete Report see: JFKcountercoup: WHCA Comm Center After Action Reports ]

When Bales got to the hospital, he immediately began establishing secure phone communications with Washington and the WHCA base at the Sheraton, seizing a wall of public telephones, except for one, the one which Merriman Smith was relaying his second report to UPI.

Bales: “The Parkland Hospital: The very limited telephone facilities at the hospital were tied up by the members of the Press Pool. I immediately seized all but one line (leaving Merriman Smith on the one most remote from the Emergency Rooms) and established direct circuits to the Signal Board in Washington; the Dallas White House Bd; and to the Signal board via the Dallas and Fort Worth White House Boards. I assigned police officers to guard these phones and instructed the individual Signal Operators in Washington who were on these circuits to handle no other calls, but to guard these lines exclusively.”

In an unofficial history of UPI it is noted: “The press car followed the limousine as it raced to Parkland Hospital. As (Merriman) Smith ran up to the limousine parked at the emergency entrance, he saw Kennedy face down on the back seat, with Jacqueline Kennedy cradling her arms around the president's head. Smith saw a secret service agent he knew and asked him about Kennedy. The agent, Clint Hill, responded: ‘He's dead.’ Smith went inside, found a phone and reached (UPI editor in New York) Fallon, who dictated the flash: ‘Kennedy seriously wounded, perhaps seriously, perhaps fatally by assassins bullet.’

Since he jumped out of the communications car at the tail end of the stalled motorcade and ran ahead, Bales hijacked a police car to get to Parkland Hospital, where he immediately established secure communications over pay phones and caught up with Ira Gearheart, the “Bagman.” At Parkland Gearheart was recognized by a Secret Service Agent and stationed in the hall outside the small room where LBJ and his wife were being kept.

Besides emergency numbers and codes to talk to other national leaders, the special attaché case Gearheart carried contained the nuclear codes that could send US nuclear missiles and bombs to their destinations. As Manchester described it, these codes were accompanied by some text cards that allowed the president to quickly determine what the results of his decisions would be.

Manchester: “The rest contained pages of close text enlivened by gaudy color cartoons. They looked like comic books — horror comics, really, because they had been carefully designed so that any one of Kennedy’s three military aides could quickly tell him how many million casualties would result from Retaliation Able, Retaliation Baker, Retaliation Charlie, etc. Taz Shepard had prepared these doomsday books. No one liked to think about them, much less talk about them, and on trips the man with the football was treated as a pariah. He needed Art Bales company. His only job was to stick around, log the satchel, and remember that vital combination in case the duty aide forgot it. Yet both he and his ghastly burden were necessary. At the outset of the nuclear age Harry Truman would have had four hours to think things through if Soviet bombers had appeared over Canada in force. In the Kennedy administration that time had been cut to fifteen minutes, and it was shrinking.” 

Taz Shepard, the President’s naval attaché, set up the White House Situation Room, prepared the doomsday books, was holding down the fort at “Crown” and is mentioned prominently on the Air Force One radio tapes.

The Doomsday bag, that he helped prepare, was then at the side of Ira Gearheart, outside the Parkand hospital room where they were being kept by the Secret Service. At some point, after it was determined that the President was dead, it was decided to take LBJ to Love Field and put him aboard Air Force One. Although some of the Kennedy aides thought Johnson would fly back to DC aboard the same plane he flew in on, Air Force One was chosen, they said, because it had better communications equipment.

When LBJ was rushed out secretly, before the death of the President was officially announced, Gearheart was momentarily left behind, and rushing to catch up, and had to sit on the lap of a Dallas policeman for the ride to Love Field. After they were gone, Assistant Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff made the official announcement that the President had died.

The official UPI history reads: “When White House deputy press secretary Malcolm Kilduff gave official word at the hospital that Kennedy was dead, Hampton, Joe Carter and Preston McGraw set up a three-man relay between a pay phone and the news conference - one at the conference, one running between and a third dictating to the bureau. That was backed up by Virginia Payette on a second phone and Smith, who had found a third line. Smith then went back to Air Force One, and witnessed the swearing-in of Lyndon Johnson as president. Smith's account of the assassination won the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.”

While the WHCA tapes only recorded the radio communications from Air Force One while it airborne, we know that the first thing LBJ did as President was to make three phone calls. One was to the office of Judge Sarah Hughes, who he had arranged to be appointed to the federal bench and was still waiting for their arrival at the Dallas Trade Mart. LBJ instructed her office to get in touch with her and have her go immediately to Air Force One to administer the oath of office. Another call was made to his personal tax lawyer J. Waddy Bullion and the other to the Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, ostensibly to get the exact wording of the oath of office, but more likely just to let Bobby know that he was now President.

The call to Bullion was the most bizarre, and possibly significant. Whether LBJ made the call to Bullion from Parkland Hospital or Air Force One is not clear, but it was undoubtedly made by a land-line telephone before the swearing in ceremony while the plane was still on the ground.

Although Bullion’s son has written a book, “In the Boat” (i.e. with LBJ) that claims that LBJ’s call did not get through to his father, Russ Baker talked with one of Bullion’s law partners, who was privy to the conversation, and reported that: “Pat Holloway, former attorney to both Poppy Bush and Jack Crichton, recounted to me an incident involving LBJ that had greatly disturbed him. This was around 1 P.M. on November 22, 1963, just as Kennedy was being pronounced dead. Holloway was heading home from the office and was passing through the reception area. The switchboard operator excitedly noted that she was patching the vice president through from Parkland hospital to Holloway’s boss, firm senior partner Waddy Bullion, who was LBJ’s personal tax lawyer. The operator invited Holloway to listen in. LBJ was talking ‘not about conspiracy or about the tragedy,’ Hollway recalled. ‘I heard him say: ‘Oh, I gotta get rid of my godamn Halliburton stock.’ Lyndon Johnson was talking about the consequences of his political problems with his Halliburton stock at a time when the president had been officially declared dead. And that pissed me off….I really made me furious.’” 32

[Russ Baker, Family of Secrets (Bloomsbury, 2009, p. 132) Note 32 – “Author interview with Pat Holloway, March 11, 2008. Haliburton had merged with Brown & Root in 1962.”]

Bullion’s book, “In the Boat” includes “accounts of the family's relationship with the Johnson's as well as a in depth analysis of the hunting trips that both John and Robert Kennedy made to the LBJ ranch, as well as a very detailed analysis of the Johnson Trust which was formed to divest the family of assets which would be a conflict of interest while holding the office of President.”

J. Waddy Bullion: Was born and raised in Eden (Texas) and taught at Eden High School. completed the University of Texas Law School in three years, majoring in tax law, and made the highest grades in the history of the school. After graduation he served as Special Attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel of the Bureau of IRS until World War II. He served as a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve and during the last three years of the war, was Assistant to the Administrative Aide to the Commander-in-chief of the United States.”

In “A Money Tree Grows in Texas” Jas. Walker Davis notes that “A $1,000 investment in Haliburton Company in 1948 when the company was initially available to the public would be worth as of the year-end 1968, $19,700.00. This included the following stock distributions: 2 for 1 in 1953, 5 for 4, 1955; 2 for 1, 1964, 2 for 1, 1969.” 

The Corporate office of Haliburton – 3211 Southland Center, Dallas, Texas – is in the same building in which the Dallas Sheraton was located, and among the corporate officers of Haliburton at the time were R. O. Brown and G. R. Brown (of Brown & Root) and J.B. Connally, a Hailburton director and governor of Texas who was wounded in the shooting.

It is also significant that J. W. Bullion was the personal tax attorney for not only the new President but he also included Jack Crichton as a client.

Jack Alston Crichton was one of the oil men who knew Oswald, the accused assassin, through George DeMohrenschildet, and arranged for Illya Mamantov to assist authorities in interpreting Marina Oswald in the immediate aftermath of the assassination. Crichton was also chief of the local U.S. Army Reserve Intelligence Unit, whose commander, Lt. Col. George Whitmeyer was an unauthorized passenger in the Pilot Car, a half mile ahead of the motorcade, which was driven by Deputy Police Chief Lumpin, another U.S. Army Reserve Intelligence officer.

It should be noted that this car stopped briefly at the corner of Houston and Elm and informed one of the police officers on traffic duty, directly under the alleged assassin’s window, that the motorcade was forthcoming. Those in the Pilot Car were also tuned in to the special WHCA “Charlie Channel” radio, which they used it to keep abreast of the location of the motorcade.

Peter Dale Scott also points out that Jack Crichton was affiliated with the Dallas Civil Defense Post, and relates the possible significance of another strange and possibly wayward telephone call that was made at 12:25 PM, five minutes before the assassination. At that time, the U.S. Fourth Army Headquarters at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas received a telephone call over the regular, unsecured phone line: “This is Silver Dollar calling to test communications. I read you loud and clear. How do you read me?”

“Silver Dollar” was the code name for the National Emergency Airborne command and control “Doomsday” plane – NEACAP. As Scott correctly surmises, “The fact that NEACAP was airborne and making test calls might seem irrelevant to events on the ground in Dallas, until we learn that Crichton’s Dallas Civil Defense Post was part of its network. Those with resource to such secure networks are in a position to manipulate our country’s history, when necessary by provocation-deception plots.”

“Silver Dollar,” the NEACAP “Doomsday” plane, was one of several command and control planes operated by the Strategic Air Command as part of a fleet that also included “Speckled Trout,” a plane often used by General Curtis LeMay, Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

At 1:20 PM, while LBJ was still at Parkland, Andrews AFB issued an order for a plane to pick up Gen. LeMay in Toronto, Canada. At 1:46 PM, twenty six minutes later, an Air Force SAM C-140 departed Andrews to pick up LeMay in Canada, at the exact same time the Cabinet plane over the Pacific turned around to return to Hawaii

At 1:50 PM, LeMay changed his point of pickup from Toronto to Wiarton, Canad.a

The first news story naming Oswald was an AP report issued at 2:35 PM CST, while 26000 (Air Force One) was still on the ground in Dallas.

At the end of LBJ Tape Reel 1, Air Force One has yet to depart Dallas, and the first patch on Reel 1 Side 2 begins with Jerry (Behn), head of the White House detail of the Secret Service in Washington, being informed that they are still waiting for LBJ to be sworn in.

Air Fore One finally departs Dallas at 2:47 PM CST (3:47 EST) for Andrews, and is in the air at the same time as the Cabinet Plane and LeMay’s plane, and they are all using the same four radio frequencies that can be heard on the Air Force One radio transmission tapes.

According to Jim Bishop's book "The Day the President Was Shot" contains another revealing incident:

"Officials at the Pentagon were calling the White House switchboard at the Dallas-Sheraton Hotel asking who was now in command. An Officer grabbed the phone and assured the Pentagon that Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara and the Joint Chief of Staff ' are now the President"."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Stranger" & the Missing Code Books on 11/22/63

“Stranger” and the Missing Code Books – Coup or Faux Paux? 

“’We have to know who Stranger is,’” Secretary Rusk said. ‘We don’t know what is happening in Dallas. Who is the government now?’” 

 “The messages kept coming off the wire service machine and finally one started grinding out the story of Lee Harvey Oswald and his previous life in Russia and his membership in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. This went against all the preconceived theories we had established.”

“ 'If this is true,’ Secretary Rusk said, ‘this is going to have repercussions around the world for years to come.’" 

On November 22, 1963, most of President John F. Kennedy’s cabinet were in an airplane over the Pacific on their way to Japan for a regional conference, including Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Secretary of the Treasury Douglas Dillon, Secretary of Interior Stewart Udall, Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges, Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman, Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz and Press Secretary Pierre Salinger.

The existing Air Force One tapes begin, not with radio communications with Air Force One, but with riveting conversations between the Cabinet plane and the White House Situation Room.

Air Force One and a similar plane nominally referred to as Air Force Two were both in Texas with the President and the Vice President, while the Cabinet was aboard SAM 86972, all planes operated by the Special Air Mission, a detachment of the 89th Military Air Wing out of Andrews Air Force base, Maryland, near Washington D.C.

SAM 86972 was a VC-137C modified version of the Boeing 707-120 commercial airliner, but with different interior furnishings and electronic equipment. Its primary mission was to provide first class, worldwide transportation for the Vice-President of the United States, Cabinet members and international dignitaries. 

According to official descriptions, “The interior of SAM 86972 was divided into three sections: Forward (crew area), center (stateroom) and aft (passenger). The forward section had a communications center, a galley, lavatory and 13-seat compartment with one table and two overhead bunks. The center section was designed for VIP, with conference tables, swivel chairs, projection screen, two convertible sofa-bunks and a lavatory. The aft section was a combination staff and passenger areas, and contained a Xerox machine, reclining seats, overhead bunks, tables, galley two lavatories. The VC-137B was usually operated by an augmented crew of about twenty, including three pilots (two were qualified aircraft commanders), two navigators, two flight engineers, one crew chief, two communication systems operators, six flight attendants and four security guards.”

Press Secretary Pierre Salinger had just sat down with a book when the wire service machine bell rang five times and then began to clatter text on paper.

Robert Manning, the assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, a former newsman, knew that the bells meant breaking news, so he went over and began reading the jumbled text as it came over the wire, tapped out by an automatic typewriter:


Manning immediately took the disjointed report to Dean Rusk, the senior cabinet member on board in the state room, and Rusk read it, and told Manning to get Salinger.

In his book “With Kennedy,” Pierre Salinger wrote: “By 7 A.M., our sleek blue and white presidential Boeing 707 jet was lifting off Hickam Field, headed for Wake Island and Tokyo. I was immersed in my reading sometime later when I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked up. It was Robert Manning, ‘The Secretary wants to see you up forward,’ he said. Up forward was the private cabin reserved for the President, but used on this trip by the Secretary of State as the senior officer aboard.”

“I found the Secretary, grave-faced, holding a yellow piece of paper in his hand. I recognized it instantly as coming from the plane’s teletype machine. Because this plane was used a great deal by the President, it carried sophisticated communications equipment not usually carried on commercial airliners. One of these extra communications items was a newspaper teletype. The other members of the Cabinet on the trip were already in the cabin. As we waited for Myer Feldman of the White House staff and Walter Heller, the chairman of the President’s Council on Economic Advisor’s, I looked over Secretary Rusk’s shoulder, the words on the page were badly scrambled – but what I managed to read was unbelievable.”

“I kept reading it over and over again as Feldman and Heller pushed their way into the cabin. The words stayed on the paper. They would not go away. Secretary Rusk read us the last brief bulletin.”

“‘My God!’ gasped Orville Freeman…..Then there was an interminable silence as each man became lost in his private sorrow.”

“‘We’ve got to turn back right now,’” I said to Secretary Rusk.” 

“That’s right, but we have to verify this somehow. Get us in communication with the White House and see if you can get Admiral Felt at CINCPAC…”

“I pushed my way through the forward door of the cabin into the communications section of the plane. ‘Get the White House and Admiral Felt,’ I ordered the communicators, Sergeants Walter C. Baughman and Darrell Skinner. In less than a minute, from almost 6000 miles away, I was talking to the White House Situation Room, the operating nerve center of the nation.”

In the basement of the White House, the Situation Room was set up in the aftermath of President Kennedy’s first crisis, the Bay of Pigs, in early 1961. Historian Arthur Schlesinger, in his book "A Thousand Day," notes that JFK thought that one reason the Bay of Pigs failed was because he received secondhand updates on the situation.

Michael Bohn, who once worked in the White Situation Room and wrote it’s history in his book “Nerve Center” (2003), reported that, “Kennedy and national security adviser McGeorge Bundy wanted a place where they could get the same real-time info the Pentagon and the CIA got, and where the chief executive and his closest advisers could weigh this data in confidence and come to their own conclusions. In retrospect, lack of timely updates may have played a minor role in the Bay of Pigs fiasco. But in the weeks between the Bay of Pigs and May 15, Kennedy's naval aide Tazewell Shepard enlisted a bunch of Seabees and turned part of the West Wing basement ‘into a facility that some political scientists say changed the fundamental nature of the presidency.’"

As the Air Force One radio transmission reveal, Salinger was put through to “Crown,” the code name for the White House, and when he asked for the latest situation on the President, the operator asked if he wanted the Situation Room.

Note: This patch on the Air Force One tapes can be found at (6:30) on the LBJ Library Tape at [03:57] on the Clifton Tape.

Salinger uses his code name, “Wayside.”

1 - White House, White House, this is Wayside, do you read me?
2 - This is White House. I read you loud and clear Wayside. Over.
3 - Can you give me the latest situation on President? Over.
4 - You want Situation Room? Is that a Roger?
5 - Repeat that transmission please?
6 - This is Crown, This is Crown. Do you want Situation Room? 
7 - I want the Situation Room That’s affirmative.
8 - Roger, Roger getting them now.
9 - Stand by Please.
10- Wayside, Wayside, this is Crown. Situation Room is on. Go ahead.
11- Situation Room. This is Wayside, do you read me? Over.
12- This is the Situation Room. I read you. Go ahead. 

In the Situation Room, Navy aide Oliver Hallett answers the radio call. He is getting his information over the same news wires that put out the first reports on the assassination – Associated Press and UPI, that they call the “tickers.”

13- [Salinger] - Give me all available information on President Over. 
14- [Hallett] - All available information on President follows. Ah, Connally. He and Governor Connally of Texas have been hit in the car in which they were riding. We do not know how serious the situation is, we have no information. Mr. Bromley Smith is back here in the Situation Room now. We are getting our information over the tickers. Over.  
15- [Salinger] - That is affirmative, affirmative. Please be advised that this is the plane on which the cabinet is on the way to Japan. Those heading to (Japan) are turning around and returning to Honolulu and will be there in about two hours. Over
16 [Hallett] - I understand. Those heading to Japan are turning around and heading to Honolulu and will be back there in two hours. Is that correct? Over. 
17- That’s Affirmative. Affirmative. Will need all information to decide whether some of this party should go directly to Dallas. Over.
18- This is Situation Room. Say again your last please?
19- Will need to be advised to determine whether some members of this party should go directly to Dallas? Over.
20- Roger, you wish information as to whether some members of that party should go to Dallas.
21- Affirmative. Affirmative.
22- Do you have anything else, Wayside?
23- Any information you can give me as quickly as possible.
24- The Associated Press is coming out now with a bulletin that the President was hit in the head. That just came in. Over. 
25- Roger. Will get any new information to you. 
26- Where are you Wayside?
27 - Wayside is off the line. This is the radio operator. We are returning to Honolulu and should be back in Honolulu in about two hours. Will be in the air for about two hours and in to Honolulu and you can contact us on the ground there later.  
28- I understand. This is….Hold, hold on the line there Wayside, we have some more information coming up. 
29-…right back.

1- Ah, Wayside, Wayside, this is Situation Room. I read from the AP bulletin. Kennedy apparently shot in head, he fell face down on the backseat of his car. Blood was on his head. Mrs. Kennedy cried “Oh no,” and tried to hold up his head. Connally remained half seated slumped to the left. There was blood on his face and forehead. The President and Governor were rushed to Parkland Hospital near the Dallas Trade Mart where Kennedy was to have made a speech. Over  
2 - I read that, over.
3 - This is Situation Room. I have nothing further for you now. I will contact you if we get more. 
4 - Wayside, Roger and out
5 - Situation Room out.

The Navy aide in the Situation Room, Oliver Hallett, within the hour, would also learn from the wire service reports that the accused assassin was former Marine Lee Harvey Oswald, who Hallett had known from his stint as a Navy attaché at the US Embassy in Moscow. Hallett was in the room when Oswald turned his passport over to the embassy officer (Snyder).

Note 2 : When  Salinger was writing his book, the White House Communications Agency gave him a copy of a transcript of the Air Force One radio communications that included his conversations with the White House Situation Room. Salinger said that he gave his copy of the transcript to the JFK Library in Boston, but when Vincent Salandria requested this document, it could not be located.

As Salinger reported in his book, he said, “Situation Room, this is Wayside [my code name]. Can you give me latest situation on Lancer [the President’s code name]? 

“The answer came right back: ‘He and Governor Connally have been hit in car in which they were riding.’”

“I replied: ‘Please keep us advised. Secretary Rusk is on this plane headed for Japan. We are returning to Honolulu. Will be there in a bout two hours. We will need to be advised to determine whether some members should go direct to Dallas.’”

“I put the microphone down and told Sergeant Baughman to keep the line open and working on our call to Admiral Felt and stepped back into the cabin to report to Secretary Rusk. He promptly ordered the plane to turn around.”

“The radio operator called me forward almost immediately to take a call from the Situation Room: ‘AP bulletin is just coming in. President hit in the head. That just came in.’”

“‘Understand. President hit in the head,’ I replied, heading back to Secretary Rusk’s cabin. We were then 1200 miles from Wake Island and 800 miles from Hawaii. Secretary Rusk had swiftly taken control of the situation. If the President lived, he felt it was essential that certain members of the party on the plane go immediately to Dallas, to his side. Others should get back to Washington as soon as possible. The Secretary decided that he, Bob Manning, and I should go to Dallas, and that the others on the plane should go back to the Capital….Communications were established with Admiral Harry D. Felt.”

Admiral Harry D. Felt, the commander of the Pacific Command – CINPAC, as we later learned, was the only theater commander to raise the military alert status as a result of the assassination, increasing it from Defcon 5 to Defcon 4, a state of increased readiness over an area that included all the US forces in the Pacific, including Vietnam.

Salinger: “The plane roared through the early morning skies. We were informed that a jet had been set up for a trip to Dallas, if necessary. I got two more messages. The first was from ‘Stranger.’ He said our plane was to turn around and go back to Washington.

- Go ahead, please
- Wayside? Wayside? This is Stranger. Do you read me? Over.
- This is Wayside. Go ahead.
- Kilduff asked that all cabinet members return to Washington immediately. Over.
- We are enroute to Honolulu, where we have ah....Washington. Over
- Roger Roger, will they notifiy us of time of arrival and location? Over
- Roger, Roger, we do not have any to the exact status...go...Dallas...Wayside....go ahead.
- Wayside this is Stranger, I'll get that information...over.

Salinger: “My report of these messages seriously troubled Secretary Rusk. He wanted to know who Stranger was. Aboard every presidential jet there is usually a White House codebook. We searched for it for about five minutes, but there was none aboard this plane.”

“'We have to know who Stranger is,’” Secretary Rusk said. ‘We don’t know what is happening in Dallas. Who is the government now?’” 

“And certainly this was a question running through everybody’s mind. We had no further word on President Kennedy. Was his shooting an isolated event or part of a national or international conspiracy? Certainly, if the latter were true, our own plane was not immune to attack because any foreign power which had planned the shooting of the President would certainly not be unaware of the fact that six of his ten Cabinet members were in an airplane high over the Pacific.”

Salinger says, and as the tapes confirm, “The decision was made that I was to break the code and find out the identity of Stranger.”

- Liberty?
- Go ahead.
- 86972, 86972 Andrews.
- 86972 You are loud and clear.
- Roger. Give me the name, the real name of Stranger please...from the White House
- Roger. Say again the name. What is the name sir? Stranger.
- Stranger – S-T-R-A-N-G-E-R 

“In a minute, I got the answer back.”

- SAM Command Post is on will you give them a call?
- ....Mr. Jackson from the state department.
- We are returning to Hickham field...three zero Zulu...We are standing by for more information.
- Stand by for just a moment sir.
- Roger, Roger Seven two, Let us know when you are going to leave Hickam and what your destination is.
- Okay we will keep you advised, have Wayside give them a call.
- That's a Roger 72.
- 86972 – Andrews.
- Andrews.
- Roger. In reference to request. A Major Harold R. Patterson, Major Harold R. Paterson.

Salinger: “Stranger was Major Harold R. Patterson, a high-ranking officer in the White House Communications Agency. He was, at the time of his transmission to our plane, in Washington D.C. I knew Paterson well. He was one of the most trusted members of the White House staff and he would not have sent us the message without very clear instructions….”

“The messages kept coming off the wire service machine and finally one started grinding out the story of Lee Harvey Oswald and his previous life in Russia and his membership in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. This went against all the preconceived theories we had established.”

“’If this is true,’ Secretary Rusk said, ‘this is going to have repercussions around the world for years to come.’ His words were prophetic because even today, only in the United States is the report of the Warren Commission, fixing the sole responsibility on Oswald, widely believed…”

“It took us only eight hours and thirty-one minutes to make the non-stop flight from Honolulu to Andrews Air Force Base. We arrived there at 12:31 A.M., Washington time, and stepped out of the plane into a barrage of lights from television cameras…”

In an article, “The Tokyo Flight - Coincidence or Conspiracy?” Ronald L. Ecker considers the idea that if the assassination was a high level coup, the presence of the cabinet on the plane over the Pacific was possibly part of the plot. He reviewed these same facts and concluded, “And that was the extent of the missing code book crisis. The code book should not have been missing, but its absence, which proved to be of no real consequence, does not by itself mean something sinister. Still, Rusk's concern over 'Stranger' illustrates the fact that conspirators would certainly have been able to take advantage of there being no code book on board under a worst-case scenario.”

Just as Col. Fletcher Prouty suspected he was sent to Antartica to get him out of the way at the time of the assassination, there is the suggestion that it wasn’t a coincidence that most of the cabinet were on a plane on the other side of the world, and additional evidence of chichainery is the fact that the code book was missing.

While one such incident may be happenstance, and two might be a coincidence, three such incidences stretches credulity, and John Judge presents just such a case.

Judge recalls meeting a SAC pilot who told him that the code books aboard SAC planes were also missing on the day of the assassination.

John Judge, the director of COPA – the Coalition on Political Assassinations, attended the University of Dayton, in Dayton, Ohio, also the home of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. While there in the 1970s, Judge was a guest at the Wright-Pat Officers Club, where he talked with an officer who said he was a Strategic Air Command pilot of a nuclear armed B-52 during the Cuban Missile Crisis and when President Kennedy was killed. This pilot told Judge that he came to within 30 seconds of reaching the Fail Safe point during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Then on the day JFK was assassinated, they were in the air on their regular shift that maintained a fleet of armed bombers in the air on a 24 hour basis. When they learned that the President had been shot, over civilian commercial radio, they thought they would receive new orders and in preparation for that they opened the plane’s safe to get the code books that are needed to translate and confirm any orders, and it was missing. While they didn’t get any orders while airborne, when they returned to their base, they compared notes with other pilots, and they too said their code books were missing.

Scene From Dr. Strangelove:
"Captain, the Code Book is missing, and Plan R says we should bomb Havana"

Slim Pickins: "Well Golly-Gee, let's go get them commie bastards"

John Judge also recalls reading an early batch of records released under the JFK Act from the Segregated Section, possibly an NSA document which was labeled “Defcon Status.”

Judge requested that file and a box of records were brought out. One of the items in the box included a false press report that Air Force Gen. LeMay was killed in an airplane crash that morning.

Other files in the box included reports for each continental – theater commands, indicating that the Defcon status for all of the commands remained unchanged except for one – Southeast Asia and the Pacific Command – CINPAC, which went from 5 to 4. 

Larry Hancock, in “Someone Would Have Talked” (Lancer 2006, p. 304) wrote: “But Johnson himself shows no indication of seriously fearing Soviet involvement. In the hours following the assassination he ordered absolutely no actions pertaining to military preparedness or national security. Nor did he direct any special intelligence activities against either the Soviets or Cubans. This lack of action on Johnson’s part is confirmed by a White House memorandum written on December 4, 1963, by Bromley Smith in regard to ‘Changes in Defense Readiness Conditions as a Result of the Assassination of President Kennedy.’ This memo summarizes the authority granted to the Joint Chiefs and documents their ‘Defcon’ actions following the assassination. According to the memo, the Joint Chiefs, acting on their own initiative, increased the defense readiness condition from Defcon 5 (the lowest peace time condition) to Defcon 4 at 2:50 EST on November 22 and returned to Defcon 5 at 12:30 on Sunday November 24. The Commander in Chief Pacific (CINPAC) on his own initiative had directed his forces to Defcon 3 at 3:13 PM on November 22, something he was fully authorized to do. This memo provides solid proof that the US military did not move overall to a major elevation of defense readiness, suggesting any fear of foreign involvement or that the assassination was a precursor to an attack.”

Bromley Smith, author of this report, was also present in the White House Situation Room shortly after the assassination and is specifically mentioned on the Air Force One tapes.

Larry Hancock: “Beyond that there is no evidence that the Joint Chiefs or the Secretary of Defense took any other than very limited precautions. When the Chiefs were informed of the assassination, they remained in a meeting together, not even dispensing to their respective operational or command centers. Given that the assassination occurred at the height of the cold war (only a year after the Cuban missile crisis), and that certain defense scenarios anticipated elimination of US leaders as part of any Soviet attack, this apparent lack of a stronger reaction seems rather amazing.”

Both Hallet, author of this report, and Bromley Smith were present in the White House Situation Room shortly after the assassination and is mentioned on the Air Force One tapes. 

I think this is that report:

Home/Archive/Documents/JFK Assassination Documents/Department of Defense/Joint Chiefs of Staff/JCS Files, JFK Library/

Bromley Smith

1. By the authority granted under Joint Chiefs of Staff Emergency Action Procedures (SM-600-63) dated 12 June 1963, the JCS [redacted] or higher authority are authorized to declare Defense Readiness Conditions [DEFCONS] 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. A copy of Chapter Four of this publication is appended under Tab A.
2. Acting on this authority, the JCS after news of the Dallas shooting was received issued their message 3675 at 2:15 p.m. November 22.
3. Acting on this message [redacted] Copies of the three messages are appended under Tab C
4. [redacted] A copy of this directive is appended under Tab D (U.S. forces in Vietnam are in DEFCON 3 on a continuing basis)
5. [redacted] The NMCC received no other notifcations other than those specified above and appended. If a commander took precautions within his command [redacted] he need not necessarily inform the JCOS of them. NMCC received no other message.

If this report is correct, and U.S. forces in Vietnam are on a constant DEFCON 3 basis, then their status went to DEFCON 2, one step away from war. 

The commander of CINPAC, the only command to change its alert status, was Admiral Felt, the person Secretary Rusk tried to contact as soon as he learned that President Kennedy had been shot.

"Stranger," - Major Harold Patterson, recalls the incident and says that when Salinger requested to know his identity, Salinger was told to check the code book on the plane, but this part of the conversation is not on the existing Air Force One radio transmission tapes, further proof that many of the relevant recorded conversations have been eliminated from the edited tapes that exist today.


Besides the Joint Chiefs issuing the still classified Message 3675 at 2:15 PM on 11/22/63, they apparently also ordered all Air Force planes honor radio silence, as Gerald Blaine reports: 

“Art Godfrey’s midnight shift agents in Austin were headed back to Washington D.C. on a Strategic Air Command (SAC) KC135 that had departed Bergstrom Air Force Base at 3:00 PM. They’d rushed from their hotel to the base, and by the time they had boarded the plane, they still didn’t know whether President Kennedy was alive or dead. The military had all their units on radio silence because of a Strategic Air Command order, and except for the droning of the engines and occasional bits of information gleaned from commercial radio reports heard by those in the cockpit and passed back to them, there was complete silence during the long flight to Washington.”