[Join New York Times bestselling author Roger Stone in Buffalo Thursday, December 5th from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Wyndham Garden Amherst, 5195 Main Street in Williamsville.]
When the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination came upon us last month, the question of “Who Killed JFK” emerged yet again.
The answer? Lyndon B. Johnson.
So says Roger Stone and investigative reporter Mike Colapietro in a startling new book of bombshells bearing the provocative title: The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ.
Drawing on Stone’s decades of high-level involvement in presidential politics and his close association with President Richard Nixon, this book is filled with one blockbuster story after another.
The cast of characters in this book are as vivid as they are numerous. Nixon, Nixon’s attorney general and campaign manager John Mitchell, an LBJ mistress, Lee Harvey Oswald’s killer Jack Ruby, J. Edgar Hoover, Arlen Specter, Texas oil zillionaire H.L.Hunt, Genovese Mafia family member Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, Joe McCarthy’s famous lieutenant and later super lawyer Roy Cohn – and more.
Mitchell, learning from Stone that Stone wanted to someday write a book about the eternal controversy that is JFK’s assassination advised: “Wait until the fiftieth anniversary.” Stone agreed.
Fifty years is a long time. Those who live through a massively national traumatic event – any given war, the Great Depression, 9/11 and certainly the assassination of a president – never forget it. They recall every last detail of where they were when they heard the news of Pearl Harbor or 9/11 or, in this case, that the President of the United States had been shot dead in the streets of Dallas, Texas on a Friday in 1963.
Without question, what follows after the initial shock of those five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance – are endless questions. Always including “how did this happen?” and “who is responsible?”
Conspiracies accompany these events always. Was it Lee Harvey Oswald? The mob? Fidel? The CIA? One might as well just sit in the corner and ponder the origin of the universe with more hope of getting an answer. Many – and I count myself among them – have given up and moved on.
Not Roger Stone.
The world knows Roger Stone, to take from the blurbs on the back of his book, as, variously:
- A seasoned practitioner of hard-edged politics” – The New York Times
- “The most dangerous person in America today” – The Village Voice
- “Notorious” – Vanity Fair
- “Skilled in the Dark Arts of Politics” – The Atlantic
Or, in the words of The Washington Post, as someone who “doesn’t mince words.” As, indeed, he does not in this book.
So what is Roger saying in this book that John Mitchell advised him to hold back until the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination?
The tale of Nixon’s Watergate-related downfall is well known. In the aftermath, the Nixon post-presidential years, Roger spent considerable time with the resigned president. The Washington Post began calling him “Nixon’s man in Washington”, the New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd referring to him as “the keeper of the Nixon flame.”
The aging ex-president, once JFK’s friend when both were young House members and famously Kennedy’s opponent in the legendary 1960 presidential election, would spend hours talking one-on-one with his young former White House and campaign aide.
“Generally speaking, when we talked about his peers and the circumstances surrounding the Kennedy assassination, he would grow taciturn, blunt, and sometimes cryptic. When I asked him point blank about the conclusions of the Warren Commission into the assassination of President Kennedy, he said ‘Bullshit’ with a growl, but refused to elaborate.”
Spending volumes of time with Nixon and other former Nixon aides over the years has produced startling details that Roger records in his book. In Nixon’s case, Roger reveals the shocking news that “Nixon indicated Johnson was a conspirator” in JFK’s assassination.
That once taking office as president himself in 1969 Nixon “ordered the CIA to deliver all records pertaining to the Kennedy assassination to the White House after his inauguration in 1969 in order to confirm his belief.” Roger adds that “this request would play a role in Nixon’s downfall in Watergate.”
Then there is shocking revelation.
As Nixon watched television on Sunday, November 24, 1963 – watching along with millions as accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was being transferred to another prison in front of a shoving crowd of media – Jack Ruby darted from the crowd, gun in hand, and shot Oswald point blank. Assassinating the assassin.
Stone quotes former Nixon aide Nick Ruwe (later Nixon’s Ambassador to Iceland) who was with Nixon that day:
“The Old Man (Nixon) was white as a ghost. I asked him if everything was all right. ‘I know that guy,’ Nixon muttered. Ruwe said that Nixon didn’t elaborate. He knew better than to ask questions.
Incredibly, a US Justice Department document provided by the FBI regarding Jack Ruby’s connection to Richard Nixon in the late 1940’s proved Nixon’s recollection was correct.”
Said Nixon to Stone much later:
“It’s a hell of a thing. I actually knew this Jack Ruby fella. Murray Chotiner (Nixon’s Senate campaign manager in 1950) brought him in back in ’47. Went by the name of Rubenstein. An informant. Murray said he was one of Lyndon Johnson’s boys…we put him on the payroll.”
Catch that? There is former President Nixon telling Roger Stone that Jack Ruby, assassin of Lee Harvey Oswald, was in fact “one of Lyndon Johnson’s boys.”
“Nixon never flatly said who was responsible for Kennedy’s death, but he would say both he and Johnson wanted to be president; the only difference, Nixon said was he refused to kill for the job.”
Thus begins to unfold the central premise of The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The flat out charge by Stone that “Lyndon Johnson was behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy.”
Stone notes that the paranoid Johnson, never in favor with the Kennedys – particularly JFK’s brother Bobby, then attorney general – feared not simply that he would be dumped from the Kennedy ticket but that he was eventually headed into not just political exile but jail as well.
It is important to note here that Stone takes the time to paint a particularly detailed portrait of LBJ the man. It isn’t a pretty picture. “Johnson was a man of great ambitions and enormous personal greed, both of which, in 1963, would threaten to destroy him.” This certainly is not unknown, but Stone spares do detail in describing the kind of man he says was not only responsible for killing JFK but had been behind other murders as well.
Doubtless readers will find this as fantastical. But there is no doubt that Lyndon Johnson was one ruthless guy. Robert Kennedy, no LBJ admirer, had called his brother’s vice president “savage” and an “animal.” The two were oil and water.
Stone details fascinating accounts that include a much more graphic version of the LBJ selection as vice president. Long on public record are what can easily be viewed as cleaned-up stories about the hours in Los Angeles between the time of JFK’s nomination victory and the public announcement of the Kennedy-Johnson ticket.
The assassination was financed, says Stone, by LBJ’s Texas rich oil allies – angry over the threat of losing the oil depletion allowance. LBJ’s control over the Dallas Police Department was “total” – and, of course, it would be in the hands of the Dallas police that Lee Harvey Oswald was murdered by Jack Ruby, described to Stone by Nixon as “one of Lyndon Johnson’s boys.”
Not left out is the story of LBJ mistress Madeleine Brown, who quotes her alleged vice-presidential as saying on the night of November 21st that: “After tomorrow those goddamn Kennedys will never embarrass me again-that’s no threat-that’s a promise.”
One bombshell after another like these are virtually littered throughout this book, making it a fascinating addition to the virtual libraries of books on the Kennedy assassination.
Now comes Roger Stone’s addition to that library. His commitment to wait until the fiftieth anniversary fulfilled, using a lifetime’s worth of serious political experience, relationships and a long friendship with Richard Nixon, he has finally put out his story.
It seems to have worked: his book landed firmly on the New York Times Bestseller list upon release.
Will this end the “who shot JFK?” story? After fifty years, one suspects definitely not. This question is surely one of those destined to last as long as America itself. But without doubt, Roger Stone – “Nixon’s man” – has added a new twist to the tale. And a riveting twist of the tale at that.
In a book of bombshells that is both fascinating and truly startling, Roger Stone lays the responsibility for John F. Kennedy’s death – and more - at the doorstep of a man who is without doubt going to be a subject of eternal controversy himself, JFK’s own vice president: Lyndon Johnson.
Did LBJ kill JFK? Roger Stone says yes.
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House Political Director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at firstname.lastname@example.org