Lyndon Johnson’s Role in the Kennedy Assassination

by Lew Rockwell, Lew Rockwell:


The New York Times has published an article today entitled “Lyndon Johnson Was No Friend of Martin Luther King Jr.” which describes how Johnson worked closely with former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to destroy King. While there is a common perception today that Hoover was acting alone in his efforts to destroy King, whom Hoover was convinced was part of the supposed communist conspiracy to take over the United States and the rest of the world, the article shows that Hoover was supported in his efforts by a vast segment of the federal government, including President Johnson.


How, then, do we reconcile Johnson’s purported support of the civil-rights movement, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964? The answer is that Johnson wanted to do anything and everything to distract people’s attention away from the role he played in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and cause people to look at Johnson as a great ally and supporter of President Kennedy’s pro-civil-rights legacy.

How do we know that Johnson was complicit in the regime-change operation that took place on November 22, 1963? We know it by his words and his actions on that fateful day. 

In honor of the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, The Future of Freedom Foundation is launching a new video series that I am hosting entitled “The JFK Assassination—60 Years Later.” FFF is today publishing the introductory episode in this series — Episode 1.

In Episode 2, I will be detailing the role that was assigned to LBJ on the day of the assassination. LBJ’s own words and deeds on that day convict him of having participated in the assassination.

First of all though, keep in mind that for Johnson, the stakes in November 1963 were extremely high. At that time, he knew that a noose was tightening around his neck arising from investigations for official corruption in which he had been embroiled. (See here under “Don B. Reynolds and Bobby Baker.”) There is reason to believe that President Kennedy’s brother, Bobby Kennedy, who was the U.S. Attorney General, was secretly involved with tightening that noose, with the aim of having Johnson removed from office and, therefore, as JFK’s vice-presidential candidate in the upcoming 1964 election. It is no secret that Bobby Kennedy loathed Johnson and that the feeling was mutual.

Johnson knew that his only way out of the noose was by removal of President Kennedy from office, which would thereby elevate Johnson to the presidency, which, he was convinced, would immunize him from criminal prosecution for official corruption. He turned out to be right. In the crisis-filled environment following the assassination, no one displayed any appetite for going after the new president and criminally prosecuting him for official corruption. LBJ’s politically astute embrace of the civil-rights movement, along with other features of JFK’s agenda, such as Medicare and Medicaid, solidified the “let’s leave LBJ alone” mentality. 

While Johnson was waiting inside Parkland Hospital to see whether Kennedy would die, LBJ expressed his concern that the assassination could be the first step in a surprise Soviet nuclear attack on the United States. Keep that thought in mind because as I will show in later episodes of my new series, it is an extremely important one in understanding the overall strategy of the regime-change operation and the role that was assigned to Johnson in covering it up.

After Kennedy was declared dead at 1 p.m., Johnson headed to Dallas Love Field, where both Air Force One and Air Force Two were parked. On the way to the airport, Johnson once again expressed his concern that the assassination could be the first stage in a first-strike surprise nuclear attack by the Soviets on the United States. He even scrunched down in seat of the car, expressing concern for the possibility that the Soviets might be planning an ambush of his vehicle as a prelude to launching an all-out nuclear attack on the United States.

In both a theoretical and a practical sense, Johnson’s concern was valid. After all, the Cuban Missile Crisis, which involved the installation of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba and the prospect of all-out nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, had taken place just a year before. As unlikely as it might seem, a nuclear attack certainly was not beyond the realm of reasonable possibility. At the very least, Johnson himself appeared to consider it to be a very real possibility, as reflected by the concern he expressed twice. 

However, once he got to the airport, his actions belied his words. He issued an order to have seats removed from the back of Air Force One to make room for Kennedy’s casket. Yet, as a native Texan, he had to know that under Texas law, the Dallas County medical examiner was required to conduct an autopsy, which would ordinarily take about 2-3 hours. 

Over at Parkland Hospital, however, a team of Secret Service agents headed by a man named Roy Kellerman, went into action immediately after Kennedy was declared dead. Armed with a Thompson submachine gun, Kellerman announced that he was operating under orders to prevent an autopsy and take JFK’s body back to Washington. When Dr. Earl Rose, the Dallas County medical examiner, stood his ground and pointed out that state criminal law required the autopsy, a Secret Service agent physically picked him up, moved him to a nearby wall, and wagged his finger in his face. The other Secret Service agents pulled back their coat pockets and brandished their guns. Amidst screaming, yelling, and the use of profanities, the Secret Service team forced its way out of Parkland with President Kennedy’s body and headed to Dallas Love Field. 

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