Whodunnit: xviii: Truth vs. Agenda (b)

Another thing in Salandria’s speech that struck me was his assertion that, while Air Force One was in flight back to Washington from Dallas, the presidential party received word “‘there was no conspiracy…(and) of the identity of Oswald and his arrest…’” Salandria gives as his source Theodore H. White’s “The Making of the President, 1964.” From my reading of “Making,” White was not on Air Force One, and since his book is not foot-noted, how and when he learned of ths announcement is unknown. (It occurs in his text immediately following Johnson being sworn-in as president, which took place before the plane’s departure at 2:47 CST. It landed at 4:58.) Salandria, for no reasons I saw, concluded that the announcement came from presidential assistant McGeorge Bundy in the White House Situation Room, and that it was “conclusive evidence of high-level U.S. governmental guilt” since there was no proof yet pointing towards Oswald’s guilt and “overwhelming, convincing evidence of conspiracy…” In Salandria’s end notes this “overwhelming, convincing evidence,” existing between 2:47 and 4:58 p.m., turns out to be a news story the following day in a Dallas newspaper quoting the District Attorney as saying “‘preliminary reports indicated more than one person was involved…’” (“(P)reliminary” indications hardly indicate “overwhelming, convincing evidence” IMHO. Plus the conspiracy the D. A. had in mind – see below – isn’t the one Salandria thought was being covered up.) Still it is refreshing to see him, at least for the time being, not implicating a governmental agency in the cover-up.
Aside from raising again the question of why the conspirators would want to conceal Oswald’s leftist links, since they were hoping to start a war or two with the Reds, the Air Force One announcement is puzzling in many ways. There must have been dozens of people aboard, but with one exception (see even further below) none of them seem to have heard what White reported. Second, the responsibility of charging anyone with anything lay, not with the federal government, but with Dallas authorities so unless McGeorge Bundy controlled the local D.A., whom Salandria has just praised, what happened was out of his hands. Third, before the plane was in the air, both the Dallas police and the FBI suspected Oswald had killed Kennedy. They had eye witnesses to his killing Tippit; they knew of his links to Cuba and Russia; they knew he worked in the Book Depository where shell casings had been found; and his wife had told them he owned a rifle. Finally as late as 10:20 p.m., radio stations in Dallas were reporting he would be charged with killing the president “as part of an international Communist conspiracy,” following a leak from the assistant D.A. who expected to be assigned the case. So the blanket Bundy had supposedly thrown over the news didn’t seem to have been working.
In support of the announcement White said was made, Salandria offered that Pierre Salinger, Kennedy’s press secretary, who was on a different plane with several cabinet members headed toward Tokyo, reported in his book “With Kennedy” that he heard a similar one. Salandria doesn’t quote what Salinger said he heard or at what time he heard it. The Berkeley Public Library didn’t have that book, so I couldn’t check. It did have Salinger’s “P.S.: A Memoir,” which mentions several cables (or calls) received during that flight, none of which resemble the one White reported. Salandria also said that Robert Manning, an assistant secretary of state, who said he was on Air Force One, “reported having heard the same account of Oswald being designated as the presumed assassin.” But note that (a) the White statement didn’t say Oswald had been named as an “assassin” and (b) the Manning statement, as reported by Salandria, didn’t say there was no conspiracy. Finally Salandria end-notes Manning’s account to an oral history published in 1993, 30 years after Kennedy was killed. Perhaps Manning was White’s one and only source. Or perhaps he was interviewed by the oral historians close to their publication date. I’ll pause for a moment while I ask you to remember where and when it was that you heard that Al Queda had been accused of carrying out 9/11 and exactly how that news was worded.
And that was less than 15 years ago.