Reasons for Assassination:
There were various reasons for the CIA to want the assassination of the president. This first being that Kennedy had begun to slightly backtrack on his “Cold Warrior” persona, with many within the CIA believing that he wanted to pull troops out of Vietnam. In addition to this, the nuclear test ban treaty between the US, UK, and the Soviet’s made many hard line anti-communist elements within the CIA believe he was a weak leader that was allowing the Soviets to win. Even more important however, was the looming fear of rapprochement with Cuba, mere years after the failed CIA Bay of Pigs operation.
Even though one may believe the relationship between Fidel Castro and Kennedy to be that of enemies for life, each a symbol of their respective ideology, battling it out on the world stage. However, this turned out to not be the case whatsoever. At the time of Kennedy’s death, Castro was in the middle of an interview with journalist Jean Daniel. After mentioning how if Kennedy survived, he already won the next election, Castro began talking about how he believed that diplomatic relations could be saved between the two countries with Kennedy in power, and how he hoped to reach rapprochement with him. (NSA 2003) Castro told Daniel that, “Kennedy could still be this man. He still has the possibility of becoming, in the eyes of history, the greatest President of the United States, the leader who may at last understand that there can be coexistence between capitalists and socialists, even in the Americas. He would then be an even greater President than Lincoln. I know, for example, that for Khrushchev, Kennedy is a man you can talk with. I have gotten this impression from all my conversations with Khrushchev.” (Daniel 1963) It was this idea of tolerance that terrified the CIA and other intelligence agencies, as they wanted to continue their never ending war on Socialism. Castro even mentions this in the same interview when discussing past relations with the US. He states that, “In the recent past Washington had had ample opportunity to normalize its relations with Cuba, but that instead it had tolerated a CIA program of training, equipping and organizing a counter-revolution. He had told me that he wasn’t in the least fearful of his life, since danger was his natural milieu, and if he were to become a victim of the United States this would simply enhance his radius of influence in Latin America as well as throughout the socialist world.”
Corruption in the Intelligence Communities:
An independent secret intelligence service with hardly any oversight as a result of “national security” is inherently undemocratic and ripe for corruption. The administration run by John Edgar Hoover was no different, with no less than three US presidents attempting, yet failing to remove him from power. He was able to keep his position and increase the FBI’s power and political clout through detailed illegal investigations on politicians in which he would collect dirt to blackmail them with. It is also well known that many in the intelligence community blamed the president for the failed Bay of Pigs invasion due to his lack of increased air strikes on military targets.
In addition to this, it has now been revealed that the intelligence agencies were attempting to meddle in Kennedy’s affairs all the way back before the 1960 election. The contacted a call girl named Sue Young, who was known to frequent Kennedy’s “special” parties that included other girls of her profession, Frank Sinatra, his brother-in-law Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis Jr. The FBI wanted to keep her as an informant, but she was no snitch, and inevitably refused, claiming she had no knowledge of the events. (M.A 2004)
The most damning of all pieces of evidence in regard to the CIA’s involvement in the assassination is the testimony of Robert Morrow. A contract agent of the organization, Morrow claims that he was the one who unknowingly bought the rifles for the assassination. He says that while under contract with the CIA, he outfitted several CIA assassins with four rifles and electronic support equipment. He believed that they were going to be used to kill a Central American head of state, but soon found out the inaccuracy in that belief. In addition to this, Morrow states that two weeks before the assassination, there was a rumor going around about an assassination attempt on the president. Robert Morrow disregarded this fact and was in denial. That is, until he saw the rifle that he personally bought on national TV being touted as the weapon that killed the leader of the free world. Immediately following this, he brought his grievances to his case officer. Of all the things Morrow expected his supervisor to say, the words uttered by him were still unexpected, “Shut up”. (Morley 2019)
In response to Morrow’s claim, the CIA said that they never had a contract agent of his name even on the payroll. However, as he states that his is simply a “linguistic trick” made to deceive the public, as he was never an official agent. As a contracted employee, he was paid by the US army, not the CIA. Morrow then states that since he has come forward, there have been two attempts separate attempts made on his life.
- Daniel, Jean. “I Was With Fidel Castro When JFK Was Assassinated.” The New Republic, 7 Dec. 1963, newrepublic.com/article/120460/fidel-castro-reaction-kennedy-assassination-cuba.
- Deschenes, David. “FBI Agent Jailed for Exposing Corruption in CIA, White House.” FBI Agent Jailed for Exposing Corruption in CIA, White House, 17 Sept. 2014, www.fortfairfieldjournal.com/nationalnews/09171406a.htm.
- English, T.J. “Before the Revolution; How the Mob Owned Cuba.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 13 July 2008, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/10/AR2008071002349.html.
- Holmes, Russ. “Assassination of JFK: An Anonymous Phonecall.” Archives.gov, 28 Nov. 1963, www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/docid-32389606.pdf.
- “Kennedy Sought Dialogue with Cuba.” NSA, 24 Nov. 2003, www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/docid-32389606.pdf.
- M.A, James. “Potential Criminal Informant: Sue Young.” FBI Database, 26 July 1960, www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/docid-32304320.pdf.
- Morley, Jefferson. “JFK Records Suit Tests CIA Secrecy on Assassination.” Just Security, 4 May 2019,
- W.A, Brannigan. Archives.gov, 28 Aug. 2014, www.archives.gov/files/research/jfk/releases/docid-32129399.pdf.