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The person who killed Kennedy was a professional assassin, who used a high quality weapon, and shot from the best possible location. Oswald was a disposable decoy who worked for the CIA. The FBI said he used an inferior weapon, and that he shot from a location inconsistent with almost all the other evidence they collected. The main mystery of November 22 and November 24 is not, who shot Kennedy? The key mystery is, how did the FBI get away with a cover-up so poorly handled that, nearly fifty-five years later, almost no one believes it?

The key mystery is, how did the FBI get away with a cover-up so poorly handled that, nearly fifty-five years later, almost no one believes it?

Mainstream media ask over and over, why is trust in government so low? Then they point to polling statistics that show trust in government is low. If the deplorables would just get their heads on right, they would learn not to be so paranoid. It hurts, after all, when you want to help people, and they spit in your face. Why do the deplorables reject us?

The deplorables reject you because they don’t like a national security apparatus they paid for to execute their president, then lie to them about it. They expect more honesty and competence from their agencies. They do not expect to see assassinations and cover-ups so incompetent your grandmother would dismiss the lies, backtracks, and basic research. Have a mobster shoot your patsy in the gut while under police escort in a jailhouse? Hijack the president’s body from Parkland hospital at gunpoint? Allow the new president to organize a board of inquiry that has no independent investigative power? We taxpayers expect better than that.

If we keep these motives in mind, we can see why the deep state would undertake a risky act like assassination of the president.

The national security state does not like to operate under constraints. It has three obvious methods to grant itself autonomy, and authority that comes with freedom of action: (1) keep activities secret; (2) create fear and uncertainty – that is, insecurity; (3) above all, ensure existing government apparatus does not exert control or oversight.

If we keep these motives in mind, we can see why the deep state would undertake a risky act like assassination of the president. President Kennedy and his brother threatened all three of these methods and goals, especially the third one. Kennedy and the national security state developed deadly, unrelieved antagonism toward one another, starting with the Bay of Pigs. The relationship became more and more strained, until the security state promoted a more sympathetic, compliant overseer to the Oval Office on November 22.

Not surprisingly, the state carried out the assassination competently enough. National security agencies have plenty of professional assassins on hand. Lee Oswald was not one of them. He was a low-level CIA asset, what they would have called an errand boy at the time, or a bag man if he had worked for the mob. Ruby was not that much higher in the mob’s hierarchy. Both of them were disposable. Ruby knew he was disposable. He should have said, “Find someone else.”

Not surprisingly, the state carried out the assassination competently enough. National security agencies have plenty of professional assassins on hand. Lee Oswald was not one of them.

Competent as the presidential assassins were, the cover-up was ham-handed, and therefore incompetent from the start. You do not bring your $25,000 diamond ring to an unpracticed, indelicate jeweler for repair. Neither do you have people like President Johnson and FBI Director Hoover handle investigation of a president’s execution. Why the deep state thought that might be a good idea is another mystery.

Yet these omissions and oversights are not so mysterious. Agencies, like people, do what they are good at. Security agencies are far better at professional assassinations than they are with cover-ups. A cover-up requires more planning than the murder, and far more political skill. Even then a discerning historian can uncover mistakes. The Kennedy cover-up was poorly planned. Evidence of mistakes lies everywhere.

If they seemed to be winging it, from the guns-drawn standoff between hospital staff and the Secret Service at Parkland, to Oswald’s press conferences and his murder while in custody, …it is because security agencies actually were winging it.

The state focused on the question, “Who is our patsy?” After they identified Oswald as their man, they did not give a lot more thought to the cover-up problem. If they seemed to be winging it, from the guns-drawn standoff between hospital staff and the Secret Service at Parkland, to Oswald’s press conferences and his murder while in custody, to the shifting story about whether Castro and the Communists were involved, it is because security agencies actually were winging it. Even the whole Warren Commission fiasco, the desire to settle the question with twenty-six volumes of information to support a false conclusion, indicates a fundamental misunderstanding about how cover-ups work. Johnson wanted a report that would be good enough while he was in office. He did not get one that would stand up after he left.

Kennedy’s assassination and attacks on September 11 are connected. Both show the state’s need to create conditions favorable to itself.

So we have to ask fifty-four years and five weeks after the big event – as people in the know called it back then – why did the security agencies think they could get away with it? If a presidential execution and coup d’etat lead to fundamental distrust decades later, how much autonomy have you bought for yourself? You try another crime, like blowing up skyscrapers with people in them, to achieve conditions of secrecy, insecurity, and freedom from control, but this time the crime’s secret half-life turns out to be far shorter than the previous effort. On this occasion, people look at destruction of building seven and say, “Good God, what have they done now?” Silently they ask, without quite knowing it, why can’t they leave us alone? Publicly they express anger at the state and the wars it spawns. When opportunity arrives, they elect an authoritarian leader like Donald Trump.

Kennedy’s assassination and attacks on September 11 are connected. Both show the state’s need to create conditions favorable to itself. You cannot change this pattern of behavior without destroying the state, or short of that, without radical measures to counter critical conditions like secrecy. That is the significance of Snowden’s disclosures. The state cannot operate as it likes when people expose its crimes and quasi-crimes. If you perceive the state’s activities as patriotic efforts to protect all of us, then Snowden is indeed a traitor. If you see state secrecy – and everything the state does behind that veil – as self-serving efforts to preserve both autonomy and influence, then Snowden and others who drop the veil are heroes. I don’t see any other way to look at it.


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