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The assassination of President Kennedy during a visit to Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, sent a shock through the whole world. The known policies of the President, and the known politics of many in the city of Dallas, had made some of his friends doubt the prudence of his visit, which was, in some sense, a gesture of defiance or at least of confidence. The tragic result naturally provoked a flood of rumors and speculation; and this speculation was multiplied beyond control when, only two days later, on November 24, the alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald—who had stoutly denied the charge—was shot dead in front of the tele- vision cameras by an intruder into the jealously guarded Dallas gaol. This intruder was Jack Ruby, the proprietor of a Dallas club, an intimate of the Dallas police.

The record of the Dallas police in those two days had indeed been remarkable- It had failed to prevent the assassination. It had failed to protect the suspect. In the general indignation caused by this double failure, the new President, Mr. Lyndon B. Johnson, procured an order transferring the investigation from the State to the Federal Government, and set up a special commission of investigation. This commission was a lay body consisting of Senators, Congressmen and administrators from both parties, assisted by professional attorneys. Its chairman was the most respected figure in the American judiciary, the Chief Justice of the United States, Earl Warren...

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