The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence
we're just thrilled to have these folks here jerry blaine the author of the
detailclint hill one of the uh special
agentswho was here in dallas at the time and writer lisa mccubbin lisa is the one who who put all these stories together and those of many of the other
agentsso welcome to dallas and welcome to the sixth floor museum thank you thank you um i need to remind folks we need you to turn your cell phones off not just put them on silent but turn them off there's a lot of radio interference in the dealey plaza area and we want to make sure the recordings come out well there are two cameras here those are from c-span the program is being recorded for c-span and they'll uh broadcast this sometime probably in the next week or two we don't have an air date yet and uh stephen fagan our associate curator is recording uh also for our uh oral history program which now totals over 800 people while we're chatting the biographies of our guests will appear on the screens behind us also some photographs uh ones of the
kennedys come from the the national archives and white house photographers and the photographs of the
kennedys that you'll see in dallas come from the 6th floor museum's collections let's see here we'll also have a q a session many of you have filled out the forums already if you don't have a pencil or pen to write with uh hold up your hand and our people come around and give you a pencil to write with i have some...
prepared questions obviously but i know i can't cover everything um and we'll see what we can do toward the end of the program we'll get into our q a session let's get acquainted first we like to do that with these programs raise your hand if you remember the
kennedyassassination weekend raise your hand if you were here in dallas at the time fascinating fascinating all right um let's see and i wanted to make one point you know we're here because of a very sad event but we don't want to make this a sad occasion i'd like to pass on to you a story that came to me while i was about halfway through the book it did not occur to me until i read a passage in the book let me take you back to denver colorado and both jerry and clint worked in the denver office of the
servicebut not at this time in 1963 i think it was i saw president
kennedyand at the time we lived next door to one of the top executives at the local lincoln mercury dealer and he came over one day and told my dad and i said president
kennedy's coming to town and we're going to
servicehis limousine uh he's going to come right by here we just lived a block away from a major east-west street and i can i know when they're coming by if you go out there on 6th avenue you'll be able to see them and then wave to them so i went out there and you know there's no one else there because the the route that he was taking from i think lowry air force base to downtown...
denver was not published so i'm the only one out there and i saw the flashing lights and on here comes the big limousine i'm sitting there waving wave and waving and he went right by he never saw him he got his head down he was reading something it occurred to me reading this book that there were
agentsin that car wondering hey how did that guy know and who else knows there's probably something in the file somewhere it says find out about that kid all right um your book the
detailis getting an awful lot of attention and one of the stories that's been talked about a lot is the moment when you jerry almost gunned down the brand new president of the united states lyndon johnson you were at the white house take it from there what happened well i wasn't at the white house this was about 2 15 in the morning after the assassination and we were all
agentsthat were standing watch and president
kennedyif he came outside he would notify the security command post and we'd get the word around that the president was out moving the vice president before he became president usually only had about two
agentswith him one would be inside and maybe the other one out and so he had no idea the protocol and i hadn't slept in about 40 hours and i was hallucinating and when i relieved the 4-12 shift agent he was still just emotionally brought from dallas and so he pointed to the thompson submachine gun that we had on post and so...
we placed them all there and not knowing whether it was a conspiracy or not we're pretty much on edge when i heard a noise coming from around the house and uh all of a sudden i had my uh the uh weapon to my shoulder and my finger on the trigger and uh i know you'd notice it but you can recognize lyndon johnson's profile so uh fortunately i notified that or noticed that right away so but it was close i i had nightmares over that for a long time afterwards uh those of you who've been here before know where we are but of course the c-span viewers might not know we're actually on the seventh floor of what used to be the texas school book depository building the building's now owned by dallas county it's the dallas county administration building the museum has exhibits on the sixth floor and on the seventh floor and we're in a separate area it's a saturday afternoon in two days it will have been 47 years since president
kennedywas killed right outside of these windows jerry and lisa where has this book been and why has it taken so long for the story from you guys to come out let me start with the motivation first uh when i retired i started looking on the internet and started reading stories about
agentsthat we had served with that were accused of being a part of a conspiracy the driver turning around and shooting president
kennedyalthough if you look closely he would have had to shot mrs
kennedyin the back of the head in order to get to the...
president at that time and uh just stories that were defaming the people and so i read a story that involved tampa where i conducted an advance and i went back and looked at my records and i said it's time to set the record straight there are not many of us left and uh we're all gray-haired and we won't be around very long so we wanted to leave a record and uh to find somebody i i must have written probably about seven books to tell the stories but to find somebody that could put the heart and soul to the book lisa mccovin who wasn't even boring at the time of the assassination but uh with joyce my wife and i were friends with her parents and uh she graduated with my son from high school so lisa in the course of this became an agent and i think i'll let her discuss her feelings well first of all it's been an honor and a privilege to have been involved in this project i feel extremely lucky that somehow the stars aligned and jerry and i have known each other for all these years and it was the right time and when we came together to work on this project and it has been just fascinating for me because i was born in january of 1964 and um you know in history class it seems like when you take us history in your junior year of high school you get to about world war ii and it's may and things are winding down and i'd never studied the
kennedyassassination you know of course i knew of it but didn't know much about it what i knew was that when i...
used to go to the blaine's house for christmas eve they always had a great christmas eve party down in
theirbasement they had these great photographs of jerry with lyndon johnson and eisenhower and
kennedyand i was always fascinated by that but being 12 years old at the time or 16 years old i didn't ever really feel comfortable asking him about it so working on this book i feel like i got a rare window into history like no one else has was this your first book i know you've been a journalist for much of your professional life was this your first book this is my first published book as i read through the book i could tell where you were leading me and sometimes when you read books like that i mean you don't it's kind of annoying but with your book i was enjoying getting there i knew what you you that what you were leading to and an emotional moment and it was enjoyable to follow along with how that with how that trail wound around how did you decide to write the book in the way you did um well as jerry said he had spent many years putting stories together and he had contacted a lot of the
agentsalready so i had a lot of material to work with in terms of all of
theirvarious stories and we came up with the idea together of how to put the story together and to me it was what was really fascinating and was important in this book was to show these men as human beings um not just these nameless faceless men and dark sunglasses to me they
were always very mysterious creatures and you know as i've gotten to know them i realized they i mean they're human beings and the stories that i read from the various
agentsand as i started interviewing the
agentswere just so poignant that to me it was really important to um to make the reader understand who these men were and to to love them and and to understand the close relationship they had with the
kennedys so that you know you know what's going to happen in the book everybody knows what's going to happen but you kind of want to know where you know now you start caring about jerry blaine and you want to know well where is he going to be when this happens and so i i wanted to kind of build that drama into it clint you were somewhat reluctant to get involved you've appeared very few times over the years more so than most of the other
agentsthough but how did you get involved in this book and how did jerry talk you into it well i've known jerry since 1959 he actually replaced me in denver when i got transferred to the white house and uh he called me one day and asked me if i'd be willing to contribute to a book he was writing and he told me what it was going to be about and i i was not enthusiastic at all i was very apprehensive about it because i've been offered many chances to write books contribute to books appear on television various things and i just didn't want to do it so then he told me that this book was going to be factual...
no salacious information no gossip that the information would be coming from the
agentsthat were involved and material that they had and then he said that i could check it for fact once he said that then i agreed to contribute as long as i could check it before it was published which i did and i've read the book six times and i know what's in it and uh it's factual not fiction you mentioned salacious material and and some of the
kennedylegacy is is is the talk about his his personal life there's not a whole lot of that in your book why is that well the uh we in the
servicegive the president and his family as much privacy as we can when they get to the second floor of the white house that's where they live we stay out of there unless we have to go there are requested to go there what happens on the second floor that's
theirbusiness not ours same thing goes when they're in residence away from the white house we provide them with an environment in which they can function safely but they live
theirlives as they want to live them we don't interfere and we don't talk about it for several months following the assassination you continued with your assignment which was jackie
kennedyum at some point did people come up to you like after that life magazine came out with frames from the zapruder film where they could see you running up to the to the car did they come up to you and say are you that guy did that happen rarely uh because uh i...
tried to make sure nobody knew who i was but uh i stayed with mrs
kennedyand children for a full year after the assassination until november of 1964 and then i was returned to the white house
detaildid that make it easier or harder to deal with what had happened that personal uh relationship with jackie it made it more difficult because i had to go through the grieving process with the family but she and the children christmas of 64 was an absolute horror because here we are with these two young children who just lost
theirfather and the widow who just lost her husband and you're trying to make it as merry and christmas as you can but it's just impossible did you did you two stay in touch uh after after that when i left in 1964 they threw a going away party for me in new york where she was living at the time we she had moved to new york and i lived in a hotel room in new york and they wished me well they thought i was being transferred to muddy gap wyoming because they thought for sure they'd never let me back on the white house
detailhaving been with the
kennedys i saw her uh in 1968 when at for the funeral of senator robert
kennedyand i've talked to her a few times on a telephone because of interest she had in the protective activities surrounding her children and uh that was the extent of it all three of you i assume spoke with many of the uh current and former
agentsat the time about this project how did those conversations go and and what kind of...
responses did you get especially from those who would not speak or participate in this project well there were there were i started off really by calling jerry baines wife and jerry had passed on and he was our agent in charge and i talked with her and told her that i was thinking of doing that the second person i touched base with was floyd boring uh surprising probably to many of you but we never discussed the assassination with each other after the assassination occurred there was no trauma counseling there was just an awful lot of work to do so we were left to do the work and our working life was 60 hours a month overtime on average i think i calculated it out we made about a dollar eighty an hour and uh we uh just were constantly working and you'd work and the only way you could relax is take an hour or two after you got off and uh spend time relaxing or drowning down with the uh with the
agentsyou were working with and uh so we just somehow kind of swallowed our emotions we got wrapped up in the new president and uh we had no idea what impact it was going to have on us the rest of our life but there were two
agentsthat i talked to but they told me they didn't want to participate and one was jack reedy and i had a great deal of empathy for jack reedy because he was on the president's side of the automobile and when he heard the first retort he turned around and looked up from where the shot came from and clint to explain later as his eyes scanned over he...
noticed the president's hands goes to go to his throat and so clint took off immediately and jack then turned around and you know for all of his mighty wanted to jump off the car but the follow-up car driver had pulled over and jack even attempted to make it he'd have been run over by the car but then there was a movie and hollywood has played a big impact on all of us in the line of fire they had clint eastwood's uh figure pasted in where jack reedy was on the follow-up car and the theme of the movie was that he failed miserably at his job and uh that was the theme of the movie i you know i'm speculating but i think that's probably what impacted jack and he just said emotionally he couldn't participate a second agent don lawton who was assigned to do the departure advance here in dallas and we were so stripped down of
agentson this trip that'll probably be another question but don was a senior agent and you needed a senior agent to handle a departure so he was left behind you may have seen movies that some of the theorists say he was being told to stand down don was just getting his turn to run by the car and he knew he was going to have to stay there but not being able to be with the president in dallas that day really impacted him one of the things that comes out very clearly in the book is the day-to-day routine of the
agentsendless hours day in and day out of just standing and watching and how do you do a job like that sometimes uh you...
you're looking off into black water out there somewhere saying geez what did i waste my four years going to college for but uh the rest of the time we did it you know our
agentswere pre-technology we we used hand signals with each other we had no radio communication we had three by five cards with photographs of people who had threatened the president and on the back of the three by five card we had
theirbiography and so forth and we would memorize those pictures and then people would always ask us why we wore sunglasses because behind the sunglasses your eyes can look right and left and so if you see one of the individuals then you bang on the side of the car and the other
agentsdo that and you do a quick turn over that way they've got
theireye on him and if you feel the threats there then you notify the driver to move on but that was our technology so is it okay for the general public to know that now it's we had a budget i think in 1963 of 4.5 million i i don't think we had that much but we had probably 330
agentsthere were 34 of us on the white house
detailthere were two
agentson the first lady and three
agentson the children and today they have a budget i'll go conservative 1.4 billion and they have somewhere in the neighborhood of about 3500
agentsand 7 000 employees as an organization so it's an altogether different game today but the weaponry is much better too when you get sniper rifles that can do headshots at a mile away and uh some...
of the other technologies and uh larger groups that uh uh use suicide to as a weapon then you've still got a serious problem but i'm positive the
agentstoday have the same heart that's all we do so the business is so much more complicated now that makes me wonder did did you have to show the manuscript to the
servicebefore it went to the publisher then why don't you take one i will talk about no they didn't have to receive approval for this at all from the
servicehowever we did jerry allowed me to take a book and talk to the director mark sullivan about it and he read the book and he called me up and he was very enthusiastic about the book and he invited us to come to his office and have a luncheon with him last monday which everybody did and he indicated that he thought the contents of the book should be read by every new agent in the
servicebecause it would help them understand exactly what had happened in the past and they could use that information what they're doing today and i might add to that we clint did notify director sullivan while we were writing the book he wanted to let him know that it was being done and at first he was what did he say he said oh no not another book and but then he said he found out that clint was involved and he said if clint hill's involved we don't have a problem with it we know it's going to be worthy of trust and confidence you did mostly security work but you lived for a while here in...
the dallas area were you here when word first got out that there was going to be a museum about the
kennedyassassination here in town no i i worked for ibm for 27 years i started i left in july of 1964 and i ended up working on law enforcement and intelligence systems and helped design the fbi national crime information center the wallet system for the cia and mobile terminals fingerprint scanners uh my frustration and i think one of the reasons i left was it almost seemed like a futile job unless we had the type of equipment needed so i worked quite a while on that and uh so i made a call on the
servicebecause the fbi system could check for wanted people and we had no way of keeping track of where these potential threat cases were and so i they had a new data processing manager at the
serviceand so i said well why don't you just tie into the national crime information center and run the inquiries through and if you get a hit at least you'll know where they are and he said well gee that would be an invasion of privacy and after going through the assassination i uh i just couldn't take that so i went into the security side of ibm and here in dallas i worked for oracle international and uh you already had the museum up and running pretty well then and and clint you stayed with the uh with the
servicefor a while um but then you uh retired and and dealt with your with your personal situation correct what's kept you busy since then well i've...
just tried it i tried a number of businesses and i'd have worked but i was a failure at all so i've just kept busy with my family that's about the only thing i've been able to do recently but i did stay with the
servicei was returned to the white house
detailin 1964 and i was assigned to then president johnson uh the first thing that happened was uh president johnson went to his ranch stonewall texas and i was down there and uh one day i was walking between the house and the security room and president johnson saw me he recognized me as having been on the
detaili had met him personally in new york he came to visit mrs
kennedyone day at the carlisle hotel so he knew who i was and as soon as he saw me he called and talked to the agent in charge rufus youngblood and said that he wanted me removed immediately he didn't want me to be assigned to that
detailwith him because i've been with the
kennedys and he thought for sure i was a
kennedyloyalist so mr youngblood went in and talked to him and after about 30 minutes he convinced him that i should stay and so i stayed and eventually within three years i became the agent in charge of his protection and uh when he left office he asked me if i'd be willing to come down to his ranch and run his protective
detailand i told him i didn't think my career ladder should end at the bernalis river so he uh he accepted my denial of going down there to take that job and i went on to be the agent in...
charge of vice president protection then moved to headquarters and they eventually uh promoted me to assistant director for all protection and then i was retired in 1975. in uh 1975 that was the that was the uh the interview on one of the earliest episodes or earliest uh 60 minutes programs and you got a phone call at one point and i know this is in
detailin the book this was a moment when you first talked on camera about the
kennedyassassination and people have remembered it ever since of course now it's on youtube everywhere do people ask you a lot about that appearance and what do you tell them about that moment well they do ask me about it because i it was one of those situations where i completely broke emotionally uh 60 minutes actually did the taping twice the first time they taped it everything went fine when they got back to new york apparently don hewitt who runs ran 60 minutes didn't like the way they did it because they didn't get into my emotions enough and so mike wallace called me up and said hey we have some technical problems with that thing we're gonna have to shoot it again and so i met him for lunch at the at a hotel in washington and they shot it again and this time the questions were quite different than they were the first time and he got right into my emotional baggage and i broke on camera many times people have asked me about that and sure if i've recovered and yes i can say i have actually it was cathartic that that happened...
i'm glad that it happened the way it did because that was the first time i ever really let loose of any of that emotional baggage that i had stored inside me and you had another moment when you and your wife came back to dealey plaza in 1990 the
agentshave an organization called the association of former
serviceheld a conference in san antonio and uh my wife and i decided to go to that and i decided that since we were in the dallas area i didn't tell anybody this but that we were going to go to dallas from san antonio and i was coming to daily plaza i had not been here since the assassination in 1963. so we came to dealey plaza and i spent some time walking houston to helm observing all the angles looking at the trees how much they'd grown what was different between 1963 and 1990 looking at the situation the way the school book depository was situated in relation to the streets came up into the sixth floor you had just opened it as a museum at that time and looked out the window to see what the view was and realized how close it was that the uh it was very easy shot and i came away realizing that i did what i could that day that i couldn't have done anymore and it was a sense of relief to me to know that i'd done everything i could have done you heard three shots three shots all came from the same location uh evenly spaced or different well first i didn't hear the second shot so i only heard two shots first shot came from my...
right rear and i was looking to the left to the grassy area on the left-hand side of elm street when i heard the shot my vision took me to the right toward that shot in so doing my eyes went across the back of the president's car i saw him grabbing his throat and he started to lurch to his left didn't move too far but he started going to his left i knew something was wrong so i jumped off the car and started running for the presidential car trying to get there in time to get up on top to cover because what we tried to do is cover and evacuate and i was trying to get there to cover up so that nobody could do any further damage to the president or to mrs
kennedyabout the time i got to the car just before i got there the third shot i heard and i felt because it hit the president in the head just above the right ear right up in here and blood and brain matter was spewing all over the place including on me about that time mrs
kennedycame out of her seat up and onto the trunk of the rear of the car she was trying to retrieve something that had come off the president's head and went to the right rear i slipped at first trying to get onto the car because bill gribble the driver accelerated the car i gained my footing again got up in the car and helped her get back into her seat when i did that the president fell over to his left into her lap and i could see the upper right portion of his head a large hole about the size of my palm looked like somebody had taken a scoop...
and removed brain matter just throwing it around the car and it was blood and brain matter and bone particles all over the car uh his eyes were fixed i was quite sure it was a fatal wound then i turned to the follow-up car and gave him a thumbs down to let them know it was a dire situation the driver accelerated the car we were going towards stemmons freeway we got up alongside and just passed the lead car which was being driven by chief curry chief of the dallas police uh the advanced agent was in the car with him and we were screaming at him to get us to a hospital and he did that he got in front of the car and led us to the nearest hospital which turned out to be parkland um from the book and from some of the interviews that i've seen you're convinced that there were three shots one hit the president one hit governor connolly and and the third shot hit and killed president
kennedythat's correct um now you know that is in that is contradicted by the warren commission they concluded that uh that first shot hit
kennedyand connolly second shot missed struck near a bystander and the third shot killed him i i recognize that but two of us believe that the second shot hit the governor connell the other person who believes that is nellie connolly who was sitting right beside him when he was hit so i think i'm pretty good company in believing that second shot hit the governor third shot was a fatal winning president i believe there were two mistakes that the warren...
commission made that they did not call sam kinney who was a driver of the follow-up car or emery roberts the shift leader because sam kinney had to keep his eye constantly on the presidential limousine and sam saw all three shots find
theirmark and emery saw all three shots find
theirmark unfortunately they weren't asked to testify lisa it must have been amazingly difficult keeping up with facts like these and trying to separate facts from uh some of the silly stories that are out there how did you do it um it was a lot of long days um uh jerry and i talked about this a lot because i'd read something or read reports and i'd say jerry this contradicts what you're telling me or what clint is telling me and i came to realize that these were the guys that were there and
theirmemories are so vivid and so clear and as i would talk to other
agentsthey would corroborate the stories and i realized that this is the truth and the other people that are writing these other reports and all these researchers that have studied this endlessly they weren't there and you know there's so you can take some of what is written but what i believe is what these men have told me to be true i promise that we'd do a q a um i've got a bunch of the questions already if uh if you still need to fill out uh one of the cards please do so if you need something to write with hold up your hand and our people will come by now here's an interesting one this is a tough one uh...
this is aim this is for jerry you're saying you're spending so much time promoting the book so how's your golf game coming about the same as it was before i started promoting and as well can tell you it's not that good so um if you folks are 99 certain that there was a that there was no conspiracy what might that one percent be well no i'd say a hundred percent uh i think any good investigator realizes that uh a conspiracy where one or more people or two or more people participate in a crime it lasts probably 60 days at most it's been 47 years and there has been no evidence whatsoever of a conspiracy that has been proven no proven facts uh there is a lot of speculation but then they just ignore the facts i've gone through all the volumes of the warren commission and and read through and i have not found anything i felt a real injustice was made when the house select committee on assassination studied and investigated a number of the conspiracies and they finally said well we could find no evidence of a conspiracy however we feel there was a conspiracy now if that isn't a befuddling solution to a conference i don't know what is here's a question that we get here at the museum a lot why wasn't the building meaning the book depository why wasn't it secured and which buildings posed a bigger threat but that really goes to the heart of how you guys did your job and the public perception of well the agent did the advance here win loss...
and uh i think everybody on the
detailagrees that there would have been no better agent than winn he was very specific in it but we go back to 34
agentsand we had 11 experienced
agentsleaving the two months prior to the assassination and so we had to take all of our experienced
agentsand put them off in advance and in case toby had to go to
serviceschool and walt coghlan was in miami and then he went to san antonio so we had all of our resources out usually there were only about five
agentswith the president at any time other than if there were another uh function we were going to and then one of the
agentssay the 4 to 12 agent shift would cover for the day shift
agentsso you'd probably have 10 there but with five
agentsour job wasn't to go after an assassination an assassin our job was to cover the president and evacuate him from the area and i've got to comment on on clint's uh ability that day the vehicle was going 11 miles an hour there were 85 feet for clint to catch up with he ran basically about 15 miles an hour to reach the presidential car and he got there after the third shot hit there was no way anybody could have done anything to save the job that day this question was just handed to me and it it's part of one that that's troubled me as one who has questions about some of the events of that day the question is written was uh where were
servicepeople positioned in dealey plaza not talking about the motorcade where...
were they in the plaza oh sure we had no we had no
agentsin the plaza whatsoever everybody said this uh was the ideal place because of this isolated building but you look at the county uh jail and the courthouse across the way the the other buildings uh there was nothing unusual about this area and you know there wasn't always air conditioning at that time so all of the windows were open and people were hanging out of it and we didn't have the resources wynn had he did most of the advance himself and then dave grant came in to help him finish the last three days so you have to rely on local law enforcement and local law enforcement did not have the resources i mean we all knew that the moving platform which by the way the president rode with the top off by preference everywhere he went it was only if it rained or if the wind was blowing and mrs
kennedywas accompanying him without a hat and that was the only time the bubble top went on so we knew that we had that isolation or that problem of exposure and even the night before president
kennedytalked with kenny o'donnell and mrs
kennedyand she'd asked questions about protection and he said you know it'd be very easy to you know to kill the president just by taking a shot out of a window but this is a democracy we didn't have the resources and the resources in fact were the same that they had after the blair house shooting and we had no threats whatsoever or attempts against president eisenhower so...
that's one of the things that changed as a result of dallas presidents don't ride in open cars yes that's right i had a opportunity at our luncheon to take a look at president obama's car i hardly had the energy to open the door it's not obama's car
servicecar prepared for the president united states who happens to be at the president obama clinton make sure you know let's take your
serviceclinton you were gonna you were gonna add something while jerry you mentioned about this this particular building why was this building secured where the windows open or closed we came down main street all the windows were open and every building down main street people were hanging out the windows people were on balconies people on wolf rooftops which building should we have secured on main street or at the corner of houston and elm you're only going to have a building secure how about the rest of them so you just couldn't do it isn't it true though that the public perception is you guys check all windows but in reality you don't there's no way at that time we were unable to today it's different there there are ways that they do they do checks on on various areas when they have a motorcade of course they don't ride an open car either right um let's see excellent question how well or not well did all the agencies work together and share information at that time that's probably the answer right there well we did we had...
pretty good cooperation with all the government agencies including the fbi i i won't say anything bad about the bureau they they did the best job that they could uh there was a lack of exchange with information sometimes but for the most part there was good cooperation between the
servicethe fbi the cia whatever he wanted nsa all of them we we all were in this together and we all helped each other the problem in this case as i as best i understand is that oswald was not really on anybody's list he had no history of violence right and you know just because he didn't like some of
kennedy's policies which he freely espoused uh doesn't put anyone on a list well he was you know the fbi talked with him because he's of his uh defection but he really didn't have the kind of record that would cause them to notify the
servicethat he might be a threat um one of the questions that comes up a lot is uh was what was the uh was the limousine driving too slow is it was there a minimum speed that you had to stay above is there some regulation that says you can't make a tight turn like the one off of houston onto elm street are those all in the uh the manual and the guidebook no no there are no guidelines like that and it's been one of the misconceptions uh that was a difficult turn that they made out here and i've heard comments of witnesses that say the car stopped and i think one of the big mistakes if you watch the zapruder film going...
at natural speed you'll see how fast this happened it happened less than six seconds the first sound which sounded different to bill greer and roy kellerman in the front seat bill wondered if he'd had a blowout so he tapped the pedal real quick to see if there was stability in the car but if you watch a zap rooter film you don't even see a slowing down of the car and uh you can now it was difficult making the turn because it's greater than a 90 degree turn when you go out here you'll notice that elm turning or houston turning onto elm is a pretty sharp turn and that's a pretty good sized car doesn't have a great turning radius and so he had to slow down considerably so much so that the motorcycle outriders had a difficult time keeping
theirbikes upright as they made the turn and then when we got going he was trying to get up to 11 to 12 miles an hour which was what we were running when we came down main street unless
theircrowds were too close to the car they had to slow down even more but that was generally what we were running and
kennedy's driver bill greer had not driven the route before he arrived with myself on air force one but he knew to follow chief curry in the car in front because curry obviously did would know the route that was his instruction okay um lisa is this your first time to dealey plaza and what did you think the first time you did get here no um the first time i came was in january of 2009 is that right or was it this...
year was this year this year 2010. we were um we were in the middle of writing the book and i said to jerry you know i've never been to dallas and i think i'd probably need to go so jerry and his wife joyce and i came here and it was it was really invaluable and i'm sure my comments were the same as everybody else who gets there you say wow it's a lot smaller than i ever imagined it was and um and then to go up to the museum on the sixth floor and just see like clint said the shot and how easy it was and how close everything was now the trees are are taller quite a bit taller and more mature than they were in 1963. it just gave me a great perspective on on just how to describe the situation and try to give the reader a feel of what it was like for those people who haven't been here as i would guess most readers haven't so that they feel like they are seeing everything as the agent saw it because as has been mentioned this was
theirfirst time on this route and um you know they didn't know what buildings were around the corner only the advance agent had been here and knew the lay of the land okay um i got a question here that it refers in a way to something that that's bothered me and if i could if i could ask you gentlemen to to speculate one of the really interesting stories is that within a minute after the shooting a dallas police officer joe marshall smith ran toward the parking lot toward the grassy knoll and stockade fence area and he...
encountered a man and smith had his gun drawn he encountered a man who identified himself and flashed some credentials that he was
serviceand yet there were no
servicemen on the ground who might any idea what who that person could have been i mean clearly he had some identification that looked official to the officer any idea what that could have been i had no idea i don't know i'm going to have to keep digging aren't i i can't help it it wasn't a
serviceagent no that you could be sure if there were no
agentsin the area other than on the motorcade they had a story out somebody passed the story that somebody had lost
theiridentification and so the
servicereissued in 64 new commission books that is absolutely false and so president
kennedy's car was stripped down to the frame and rebuilt and was uh i guess i assume bulletproof and or at least bullet resistant and it was used by president johnson did he ever comment about having to ride in that car uh not to me i rode the front seat when he was in the back so he never said anything about that to me how did you feel in that car uh it was a little bit uh emotional to know that this was a car in which the event assassination had occurred but like you say they had stripped it down and it was now armored uh i can't recall exactly what how what the strength of the armor was but it was sufficient uh that was the first armored car that the
serviceowned after the...
assassination where the
servicetried to locate an armored car for use by the president and the only one they could find was the one being used by j edgar hoover who happened to belong to al qaeda which happened to be a car that had been used by al capone so we we got that card it was we called it 150 t was the number on the car uh it was very lightly armored barely couldn't uh stop a handgun but at least it had some resistance as you've prepared this book and searched through your mind to come up with the with the information and the stories has it been helpful was it painful to go through all this well painful uh from the aspect of uh i operated mainly on the internet and i found out i really wasn't touching on the items i wanted to so i started using the telephone and you know a five minute or one question would go to an hour and a 15-minute telephone conversation and uh all of a sudden i started detecting the emotions and the difficult thing was bringing the emotions out to the people who carried that burden all the years they uh it was buried very deep inside and i found out like without the trauma counseling everybody handled this differently but it truly had an impact on on
theirlives lisa ran into a article in usa today that said that the young between the ages of 18 and 29 82 percent believe it was a conspiracy and you know i realize that people don't like to think that a president could die at the whim of one individual but there were some...
circumstances that came through i think one of them slowing the zap rooter film down because everybody created a history but this is what i call a blame society because people come up with the theory and then they blame that lousy right wing or that lousy left wing or it was the blacks or the hispanics or cuba or russia or organized crime uh it's a it's a sad tribute you know when you look at something like in chile where the miners were trapped they didn't ask to hang the mine owner or bring a government agency and they said let's get these people out of there that's the way we used to operate and i think when president
kennedywas assassinated it was the end of the age of innocent so well you asked the question what do we want to do with this book um first and foremost what jerry just said was the most important point but for me i just felt it was um a heart
breaking and heartwarming story of of people they were a band of brothers and they've all said to me that all of these guys there it was a very small group of men and they spent more time with each other and with the
kennedyfamily than they did with
theirown families they ate together they slept together they played together worked together and they were a band of brothers and to me that was a very important point to get in the book another question here some folks are wondering if the book is going to be turned into a film but actually there's a tv special yes um the discovery channel has...
filmed a documentary based on the book and we actually filmed it here in dallas in june of this year and it was a reunion of seven of the