Citing soon-to-be-released audio recordings, the Mail reports that “the former first lady felt that her husband’s successor was at the heart of the plot to murder him.”
She became convinced that the then vice president, along with businessmen in the South, had orchestrated the Dallas shooting, with gunman Lee Harvey Oswald — long claimed to have been a lone assassin — merely part of a much larger conspiracy.
Historian and Kennedy braintruster Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. recorded the tapes, the Mail reports, just after two bullets were delivered into Kennedy’s back and head on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas, as the President’s convertible limousine rolled by.
The tapes have been sealed in a vault at the Kennedy Library in Boston.
Ever since Kennedy was felled, there have been those who have denied that Oswald killed Kennedy and speculated that everyone from mobster Carlos Marcello to the CIA killed the 35th President, so the implication of Johnson in the killing is just one of many such claims. Vice President Johnson was an election thief, as biographer Robert Caro has proven beyond doubt, but the latest serious scholarship — from Vincent Bugliosi (Four Days in November: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy), the man who put the Manson gang behind bars; to Gerald Posner (Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK) — has concluded that the Warren Commission was correct: Oswald killed JFK.
The tapes come to light at the 20th anniversary of Oliver Stone’s fantasy film, JFK, which historians have shown was possibly the most ludicrous celluoloid codswallop in the annals of film-making. One popular myth Stone put forth, for instance, was that Lee Harvey Oswald was a poor shot and could not have hit Kennedy from his perch in the Texas School Book Depository. In fact, the Marine Corps rated Oswald as a sharpshooter and marksman, and tests have shown the shot he took is not a difficult one.
Indeed, if one wishes to go to a fictional film for information about the Kennedy assassination, a more accurate explanation of why Oswald had the skill to kill JFK is found in the movie Full Metal Jacket, courtesy of the fictional Gunnery Sgt. Hartman. He asks the callow recruits at the Marine Corps’ recruit depot at Parris Island if they know what Oswald had in common with Charles Whitman, who used a high-powered rifle to murder 13 people from the tower at the University of Texas in Austin. “Do any of you people know where these individuals learned how to shoot?” he inquires. “In the Marines.… Those individuals showed what one motivated Marine and his rifle can do. And before you ladies leave my island, you will all be able to do the same thing.”
There are other revelations in the tapes. If the goose and gander are entitled to the same sauce, then Jackie Kennedy was, the tapes reveal, committing adultery to get back at her husband for his relentless womanizing. “She did retaliate by having her own affairs,” Klein told London paper. “There was a period during which she was delighted to be able to annoy her husband with her own illicit romances.” Jackie apparently got her revenge, the Mail reports: Executives at ABC say the tapes are “explosive.”
Historian and Kennedy clan chronicler Edward Klein told the Mail that “Jackie regarded the pretty young things in the White House as superficial flings for Jack.” Two of those young things were White House secretaries known as Fiddle and Faddle, who skinny-dipped with the Kennedy boys in the White House pool.
The Mail also reports that Caroline Kennedy, Jackie and JFK’s 53-year-old daughter, offered the tapes to ABC to stop the broadcast of the network’s biopic about the dysfunctional clan, the history of which includes raging alcoholism, sexual assault, a lobotomy, vehicular homicide, adultery, murder — and, of course, assassinations. And not just JFK’s and his younger brother’s.
ABC says the Mail's claims about the tapes are “erroneous.”
Photo of Jackie Onassis: AP Images