A look at the behavior of Lyndon Johnson, the FBI, the news media, and the Warren Commission in the days immediately following the assassination.
While J. Lee Rankin, General Counsel to the Warren Commission, and the man tasked with heading its investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, is reported to have told his staff that the truth was their "only client," much evidence has arisen over the years to indicate that this simply was not so. The available record, in fact, now suggests that the Commission had another client, one whose interests were to be placed above and beyond the Commission's search for truth. This client was called... "national security" or, more specifically, President Lyndon Johnson.
One need looks no further than the memoirs of Chief Justice Earl Warren, (for whom the commission was named), for that matter, to see that this is true. There, in the final pages written at the end of his long successful life, Warren admitted that he was strong-armed into chairing the Commission only after Johnson, Kennedy's successor, told him that if people came to believe there was foreign involvement in the assassination it could lead to a war that would kill 40 million. This, one can only assume, gave Warren the clear signal he was NOT to find for a conspiracy involving a foreign power. But when one reads between the lines--and reads other lines--a fuller picture emerges. Warren was also told he was NOT to find for a domestic conspiracy, or at least anything that could point back to Johnson.
There were signs for this from the get-go. The Voice of America, the U.S. Information Agency's worldwide radio network, had initially reported, in the moments after the shooting, that Dallas, Texas, the scene of the crime, is also "the scene of the extreme right wing movement.’ It soon stopped doing so. This suggests that someone in the government was particularly sensitive to the idea that the right wing would be blamed for the shooting, and had ordered the Voice of America to downplay the possibility of a domestic conspiracy.
This "sensitivity," moreover, was in the air and spreading. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, whose discussions in the days after the shooting sparked the creation of the Warren Commission, testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations on 8-4-78 that he sensed that the rest of the world would suspect Johnson's involvement, and that this in effect "disqualified" Johnson from leading an investigation into Kennedy's death. Katzenbach then explained that this feeling had led him to believe that "some other people of enormous prestige and above political in-fighting, political objectives, ought to review the matter and take the responsibility" of identifying Kennedy's assassin...
To request copy of restored PDF press red info button