In his deathbed confession, E. Howard Hunt implicated Lyndon Johnson in the plot to kill Kennedy. In fact, Hunt put him at the very top of the “org chart” of that cabal, implicitly naming him the “Mastermind.”
Was it mere serendipity that caused all of the highest-level men behind the plot to kill President Kennedy to come together and develop a plot to assassinate Kennedy? Or was there a single man who had the forcefulness, the cunning guile, the ruthlessness, and a history of criminal, even murderous, acts and the subsequent power to assure the others that it would be covered up for all time, that there was nothing to worry about?
It took someone with extreme powers of persuasion — like Lyndon B. Johnson, inventor of the famous device called the “Johnson Treatment” who had built a lifetime record of experience pulling people together to accomplish his most nefarious objectives. He was uniquely equipped to accomplish these most brazen and audacious crimes: the criminal ones like stolen elections, flagrant abuse of campaign fund handling, murders of people who got in his way. He had practiced his methods for decades, and had accumulated the kind of expertise required to have pulled together and led the powerful men who agreed to the plan to kill President Kennedy.
Such a person had to be driven by passion, and there was no one in Washington who even came close to him in that qualification—certainly not the rather introverted, cerebral, pipe-smoking, tweed-jacketed Princeton alumnus who had previously presided over the CIA, nor the equally deluded and aged head of SOG (his term for “Seat of Government,” being his own government-issued heavy-duty desk chair) J. Edgar Hoover—who also had tentacles throughout the federal bureaucracy but not nearly equal to the powers that Johnson had amassed.
The catalyst behind the assassination had to have been a singular “driving force” who had to have connections to all the key people in multiple agencies of the federal government as well as to local officials in Dallas, Texas (the previous schemes in Chicago and Miami were most likely merely test runs to assure that all contingencies had been anticipated and that the men involved had been properly prepared for the real event). The “key man” had to have the ability to push all the right buttons and get those people—some unwittingly, with only a limited scope of knowledge of the overall plan—to take actions on his command.
He was acting as a forceful CEO of an enterprise that would primarily benefit himself, but sold to the others as being necessary for accomplishing their own interests, whether that be a more aggressive foreign policy, especially toward Vietnam, an end to the “peace process” with the USSR that Kennedy had implemented, a stop to the threat he had introduced to the power of the Federal Reserve, or simply a change to the apparent slippage toward socialism that many feared. Only a very powerful force, a “colossus” as described by none other than Bill Moyers, could have possibly been the driving force that was the essential ingredient, the “critical mass.”
The enterprise, like all major undertakings of humanity, required a powerful catalyst to give it momentum, direction, and the subsequent promise of protection that all the players would expect, a promise that only LBJ could make effectively. That catalyst would have to reach into not only all the federal agencies, especially the military and intelligence organizations, but just as certainly into the state and local authorities in order to simultaneously ignite the fuses within each; it would take a unified “driving force” to do that, and Lyndon Johnson was uniquely capable of providing that kind of reach into every such entity. That element could have only come from a very powerful and dedicated single person, a very forceful person, one who could bring all the elements together. Some may prefer other terms, such as a “CEO,” a “Key Man,” a “Linchpin,” or even the term I’ve used, a “Mastermind,” but that person, regardless of the label one prefers, could only have been a man consumed by power and obsessed for decades about becoming president.
The accumulated evidence demonstrates beyond doubt that Lyndon Johnson really was smart enough to have “masterminded” the plot to kill JFK (a point that many incorrectly believe excludes him from being a worthy candidate for this title). It must be remembered that the dictionary definition of this term means that he did not have to develop the entire plan, merely the germ of the idea, where the people he recruited (e.g. Dulles, among others) would be delegated that responsibility. No other candidate for that role comes close to the manic Johnson, pushing and pulling the other key people to stay on task, including the trial runs (“beta tests” as they might be called today) planned for Chicago and Miami in the weeks before the Texas trip.
For those who insist it was the introverted Allen Dulles — someone without personal connections to such other key people as James Rowley in the Secret Service, or even J. Edgar Hoover, with whom he had battled for turf that he considered his own — a man who in 1963 only had sway with others through an established linear hierarchy, within which he could receive input and issue orders, an obvious question arises: How could he do that when he had been fired two years earlier from his position of power and authority over many others?
Could the champion of the cause be a chameleon, operating from the shadows of power, a man who held no official power? Such a predicate would implicitly require a secret organization, presumably run from some camouflaged boardroom in Washington, complete with all the management tools available in 1963 in order to harness all the disparate people and entities involved. Apparently, based upon what little is known about the structure of this “invisible government,” this mysterious group of men was run by a nameless board of directors, each of whom had an equal, albeit secret, vote.
The premise would necessarily require the existence of an entirely separate organization, an enterprise dedicated to a presidential assassination. If that were the case, does it not follow that the authority residing within such a structure designed to carry out the mission of this “invisible government” had to be conferred upon him when he was chosen for the position by some very powerful men? Are we to infer, in that scenario, that Allen Dulles issued his deadly orders as the enigmatic, albeit secret, CEO, through an amorphous group of anonymous men at the helm of this invisible government?
One might be excused for intuiting this description to be what is essentially the “status quo” with respect to the present state of the investigation into the death of President Kennedy; that’s because it is, and it is precisely where many people would prefer to leave it. Moreover, it can be imputed that the only effective way to run such an organization and allocate its power must necessarily involve the use of standard operational procedures common to such enterprises, developed to ensure orderly deliberation and debate—such devices as Robert’s Rules of Order. Was a simple majority enough, or was a super majority vote required for such a committee to reach a consensus vote to murder the president? Yes, of course this scenario is absurd, which is why such a construct fails this elementary test of logic.
Yet it was indeed a consensus of such powerful men—a confluence of common interests—who were recruited for the purpose. But the missing element in the above scenario is a nucleus for the organization: a single “driving force”. It is axiomatic that such a catalyst could only exist within a single very powerful source, so potent a force that it could only emanate from the one man who could guarantee complete protection for the key people to be recruited; so powerful that it could only exist through a man so “formidable” (as Robert Kennedy once admitted Johnson was), that he could control multiple departments and agencies—law enforcement, intelligence, judicial and investigative—on the federal, state of Texas and city of Dallas levels.
Such a powerful driving force, axiomatically, could only come from a man who was manic by nature: it could only be given life by a man having a lifetime obsession to become president of the United States. That force had to have sprung from a man driven by hunger for greater power, as Robert Caro once described Lyndon B. Johnson’s lust for power: “a hunger so fierce and consuming that no consideration of morality or ethics, no cost to himself—or to anyone else—could stand before it” [Emphasis added.]. The best candidate for being the “driving force” was one whose favorite expression was “power is where power goes” and whose entire career was based upon the inherent premise of that very expression.
In 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson was the most powerful man in the United States, in some ways even more so than John F. Kennedy, owing to the “back channel” alliances he had developed within the Pentagon and CIA. As noted within that link, researchers John M. Newman and Peter Dale Scott have acknowledged that LBJ had access to much greater classified national security data than did JFK. His direct connections to the military and intelligence organizations and law enforcement agencies of the federal government and the state of Texas were unimpeded by the many clashes that John F. Kennedy had experienced with those same chieftains.
Clearly, the “invisible government” was behind the assassination of the president, but — as many researchers fail to realize — in 1963 Lyndon B. Johnson was the CEO of that entity, through the use of the power he was ceded from all of the groups he controlled: from the Texas oil barons; from the heads of the FBI, the CIA, the SS, the NSA; from the financial power centers and his own campaign financial backers like Abe Fineberg and Arthur Krim and all of their loyalists: In sum, it was the zeitgeist of all the anti-Kennedy groups noted elsewhere, in the “establishment” side of politicos at its peak in 1963.
This kind of power was best illustrated by Johnson’s close connections through J. Edgar Hoover, Clint Murchison, H. L. Hunt, Irving Davidson, Fred Black, and Bobby Baker to Mafiosi throughout the country such as Carlos Marcello, Johnny Rosselli and Sam Giancana, et al., and through the CIA’s James Angleton, Cord Meyer, Bill Harvey, and David Morales on down to the numerous Cuban exiles — pretty much as summarized by E. Howard Hunt in his deathbed confession.
These were all men whom Lyndon Johnson had developed for many years, decades even, insinuating himself as closely and personally as he could, using methods (or Johnson “Treatments”) customized for his selected prey. That kind of power was unique to Lyndon Johnson, no one else in Washington had worked so hard to accrue it and practice it and hone its edges with every iteration: He alone possessed that kind of power in 1963. The record of his astounding success stands, even now, half a century later, and thus becomes the biggest proof of his pivotal role: The claim of the title “Mastermind” is proven, ironically, by the even grander title “Colossus,” which best represents his real legacy of having achieved the highest office in the land, his resolve established when he was merely a child and later a high school bully. His lifetime of corruption and criminal behavior attest to the fact that his character traits were consistent over his entire lifetime.
There are many other trails that lead inexorably to a logically based conclusion that Lyndon Johnson was the “driving force” behind JFK’s assassination. Billie Sol Estes is another source, whose 1984 testimony to a Texas Grand Jury about Johnson’s role — as he uniquely saw it from the “inside” — in his belated efforts to redeem himself was compelling evidence to the same point. It is almost an axiom requiring no further proof that, because LBJ fulfilled all of the requirements for that role and that no one else was even close, he was uniquely qualified for the position of CEO of what he himself called “Murder Incorporated.”
Lyndon had not only forced himself onto the ticket in Los Angeles in 1960 by threatening to destroy JFK using information provided to him by J. Edgar Hoover but he even sent his chief administrative assistant, Cliff Carter, down to Dallas to make sure all the arrangements were in place weeks before the assassination. And after the event, he took an active role in managing the cover up, calling DA Henry Wade directly to ensure that he would stop speaking about “a possible conspiracy” and even calling Charles Crenshaw, M.D., who was then treating the alleged assassin Lee H. Oswald at Parkland Hospital, to ask for “a deathbed confession”. Lyndon Johnson was a “hands on” guy who left nothing to chance.
His imprint is reflected in the patterns noted within my first two books: The anomalies with forensic evidence; the incredible witnesses who displaced the credible witnesses; the known threats to the witnesses, especially the Parkland doctors, and even JFK’s top aides — David F. Powers and Kenneth P. O’Donnell — to change their testimony; the capitulation of Lee Rankin, general counsel of the Warren Commission in tricking Senator Richard Russell of Georgia — joined by Senator John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky and Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana — into thinking that his/their dissent would be made a part of the record, but that conflicted with Johnson’s insistence that the committee’s findings be unanimous (that lie only became clear after-the-fact, when the six pages were scuttled and replaced with non-pertinent committee minutes, as reported by Dr. Gerald McKnight in Chapter 11 of Breach of Trust); the clear manipulation of the Warren Commission to play along with obviously contorted processes and the numerous other deceits varying in their degrees of subtlety. Given what we know now, it is an inescapable fact that Johnson was behind all of these deceits through the power he wielded over the men noted above, and next.
The fact that the entire operation required the enlistment of a number of men, both voluntarily and unwittingly, is itself the proverbial “key” to the puzzle: Only Lyndon Johnson, the grandest political player in history, was able to accomplish that. The key people he would enlist held very powerful positions as heads of institutional power structures, such as the FBI (Hoover) and CIA (not McCone, but Helms and Angleton, and indirectly to the “unemployed” Dulles and other loyalists), the Secret Service (Rowley), the military (to certain high level heads, such as Curtis LeMay, and down through the hierarchy to men like Howard Burris and Edward Lansdale), the Dallas police and sheriff’s office and all the others previously named, including the Texas oil men and certain bankers on Wall Street in New York, K Street in Washington, Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Market Street in San Francisco and Federal Street in Boston, to which he dispatched economist Eliot Janeway, for example.
It may be instructive, as to who reported to whom, to note that Allen Dulles visited Dallas and Fort Worth and the LBJ Ranch just three weeks before the assassination. This was reported in the Fort Worth Press a few days before JFK’s trip to Texas. Johnson had spent the better part of four weeks at the ranch before JFK’s Texas trip as he made plans, focused primarily on the Dallas motorcade. For Dulles to go there to consult with him speaks volumes about who was the CEO and who was merely a high-level facilitator in charge of only one branch of that leviathan.