Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ex-agent refuses to toe party line on JFK slaying

From: "dellsone" <>
Date: Sun Nov 23, 2003 3:40 pm

Subject: Ex-Agent Refuses to Toe Party Line on JFK Slaying

Ex-agent refuses to toe party line on JFK slaying

By Ellen Miller, Special To The News
November 20, 2003

GRAND JUNCTION - Lee Harvey Oswald didn't act alone when he killed President John F. Kennedy, a retired agent said Wednesday, and the president died because Secret Service agents failed at their jobs.

"Officially, the answer to Oswald when somebody asks - because we were ordered to say it - is that the Warren Commission found that he acted alone," retired agent Jerry O'Rourke said. "But was there more than one gunman? Yes, personally I believe so. And my personal opinion about Jack Ruby is that he was paid to kill Oswald."

O'Rourke grew up in Telluride and attended Western State and Regis colleges, then spent 22 years in the Secret Service. Now retired and back home, he spoke Wednesday to the downtown Grand Junction Rotary Club.

O'Rourke said his group of agents, about 10 of them, had protected Kennedy the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, at a breakfast speech in Fort Worth. Then the group left by air for Austin, the next stop planned for the president's Texas tour.

"We got the word (of the assassination) in the air, and we didn't believe it at first," he said. "We were joking. But later, most of the agents had tears in their eyes. Agents believed in Kennedy, and we knew we failed our job in Dallas."

After his White House tour ended during Johnson's presidency, O'Rourke spent a year in the Secret Service intelligence division, which offered him glimpses into the investigation of Kennedy's death. Those glimpses, and the accounts of other agents, have convinced
O'Rourke that Oswald didn't act alone. He cited several reasons: Kennedy had a number of enemies, any of whom could have plotted against him. They included Southerners angered by his insistence on civil rights; organized crime; labor unions unhappy with
investigations of them by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy; Cuban dissidents angry over the failed Bay of Pigs invasion; and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

The shots were impossible to make. O'Rourke learned to shoot as a boy and trained as a marksman in the military. He said his visits to Oswald's perch at the Texas Book Depository convince him that no one could have fired a rifle three times so quickly, hitting the president and Texas Gov. John Connolly.

The trajectory of one of the shots could not have been made from a gunman on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository. The shot entered Kennedy's body at his lower back and traveled up, to exit near his throat.

The circumstances of the autopsy were irregular. Texas law requires autopsies to be done in state, but agents, acting on the orders of White House, took Kennedy's body back to Washington, D.C. The autopsy was performed at Bethesda Naval Medical Center under secrecy that prevails to this day.

Evidence was destroyed. O'Rourke said that on the day of the assassination, one agent was ordered to clean out the cars used in the motorcade, getting rid of blood and other evidence. The agent told O'Rourke that he found a piece of skull, asked the White House
doctor what to do with it, and was told to destroy it.

Instructions were given to lie. The agent in charge of motorcade protection told O'Rourke that he was told by the Warren Commission during his testimony that he did not hear a fourth shot and he did not see someone running across the grassy knoll. But the agent
insisted that his account was accurate.

Evidence about the shots is in conflict. An open microphone on a motorcycle in the motorcade picked up four shots, not three. "In my opinion, Hoover wanted the commission to find that Oswald acted alone," O'Rourke said. "The complete file won't be released until 2027, and the reason for that is most of us will be dead by

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