Well, we knew pretty fast. The police work was superb – and just a few days later the questions were not who, but why? We still ask them today. But during these tense hours waiting for answers, our mind drifted back 50 years ago, to the day when an even greater crime occurred, when a president of the United States was murdered and there was no delay in announcing who did it.
The problem, a half century later, is that despite the almost immediate identity of the bad guy, we still don’t really know who did it. At least we don’t know the trigger men, although the highly placed government officials behind it are known. And one of the first hints of a conspiracy, to those few with the perception to grasp it at the time, was the incredible speed with which the alleged assassin was identified, complete with motive, and soon rubbed out. His name was Lee Harvey Oswald and his only recorded defense, which now echoes loudly with the passing years, was a shouted, “I’m just a patsy.”
We now know that Oswald’s identity was broadcast so fast, and the alleged motives for his act were so quickly promulgated, that this obscure “lone nut” as described, was anything but. The cover-up apparatus was out of control; it stole a start. But there was no referee at the time to call it out. It clearly was pre-arranged that so much detail on a supposedly unknown figure was made public almost before the act.
It took 15 years before Gaeton Fonzi – at the time on the government payroll – and others linked Oswald to the intelligence community, and learned that the first people to attempt to portray him as a Castro agent were a Florida group financed by the CIA.
They confirmed why in 1975 Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Richard Schweiker described Oswald as having “the fingerprints of intelligence all over him.” He meant the ease with which Oswald, who had been stationed at a CIA base in Japan and had a top security clearance, was able to defect to the Soviet Union, return to the U.S., engage in high-profile pro-Castro activities, and still be made to appear as an obscure figure whose sick mind led him to commit the crime of the century. Sen. Schweiker’s committee reopened the investigation into the death of JFK, and now, bit by bit, we know the truth.
Can you imagine the public reaction had we, within days of the 1963 assassination, learned that the Secret Service and Dallas police relaxed security for the president’s motorcade? It was decades before that was revealed.
We expect to learn more this year. Some of the most respected researchers are working on books, geared to the anniversary, and new information is anticipated as they discover documents and connections that were classified for years.
So, the next time we question the slowness of police activity in a major event, it is well to remember the past, and be wary of information too quick afoot.