On November 22, 1963 at approximately 12:30 PM (CST), President John F. Kennedy the 35th president of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Forty-five minutes after the shots were fired in Dealey Plaza Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested at the Texas Theater. However Oswald was not arrested for shooting the president. He was arrested for the fatal shooting of a Dallas policeman, J.D. Tippitt. Oswald denied his guilt in both shootings. Two days later Lee Oswald was gunned down by Jack Ruby in the basement of the Dallas police station as he was being transferred to the county jail. Oswald always claimed he was a “patsy”.
At the time of the assassination of President Kennedy it was not a federal crime to assassinate a president. Even though three previous presidents had been assassinated, presidential assassination did not become a federal crime until 1965.
After the assassination Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson automatically assumed the presidency. Although it was not necessary Johnson chose to be officially sworn in aboard Air Force One with the late President’s wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, as a witness. That was the first and only time a woman, Federal Judge Sarah Hughes, administered the oath of office to a president.
Questions about the assassination continue to circulate even today. The original investigation led by Chief Justice Earl Warren determined that Lee Oswald was the single shooter that killed Kennedy and severely wounded Texas Governor John Connally.
In 1968 a panel of four medical experts appointed by Attorney General Ramsey Clark determined Kennedy had been struck by two bullets. They stated that both bullets had been fired from behind and above the car which would be consistent with shots from the Texas School Book Depository.
In 1975 President Gerald Ford who had served on the Warren Commission set up a commission to investigate CIA activities. Led by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller the commission explored the possibility that E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis, two of the Watergate criminals, were in Dallas the day of the assassination. They determined neither man had been present in Dallas on that date.
In addition in 1975 the Church Committee while investigating illegal intelligence gathering by the CIA, the NSA, and the FBI found that the handling of the investigation of the Kennedy assassination by the CIA and FBI was seriously deficient. It was suggested that senior officials in both organizations consciously withheld potentially vital information from the Warren Commission.
In 1979 the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that President Kennedy was probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy. The final report and supporting volumes of HSCA had been sealed until 2029 and only portions have been released until the 1992 JFK Act.
In 1992 the movie JFK resulted in a renewed and intense interest in the Kennedy assassination. That interest was the catalyst for the “President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992.” From 1994 through 1998 the Assassination Records Review Board was responsible for gathering and unsealing about sixty thousand documents. Almost thirty thousand documents were released with requirements for redaction by some government agencies. An additional five thousand documents are scheduled to be released by October 2017 with the conditions that “continued postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm to the military, defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations” and “the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”
Those provisos only lead to continued rumors of conspiracies involving persons in high places to swirl even fifty one years after the event. The true events of that fateful day may not be known in our lifetimes or perhaps never revealed at all.
It is interesting to note that Lee Harvey Oswald never admitted to or was convicted of the assassination of President Kennedy. Jack Ruby’s shot prevented Oswald from ever having a fair trial. Some speculate there was never sufficient evidence that would have convicted him.
“View from the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale” is a story of “what-ifs”? What if the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 was a conspiracy? What if accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was innocent? What if someone knew the truth and could prove it? What if someone you trusted turned out to be hiding a secret so big it could change history?
This is a tale of friendship, love, political intrigue, and murder.