"This is almost as bad as the appeasement at Munich."
— Air Force General Curtis LeMay to JFK upon being told that the U.S. would respond to Soviet missiles in Cuba with a blockade, not an invasion. more »
"We know the CIA was involved, and the Mafia. We all know that."
— Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Richard Goodwin, quoted in David Talbot's Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, p. 303.
"If the CIA did find out what we were doing [talks toward normalizing relations with Cuba], this would have trickled down to the lower echelon of activists, and Cuban exiles, and the more gung-ho CIA people who had been involved since the Bay of Pigs...I can understand why they would have reacted so violently. This was the end of their dreams of returning to Cuba, and they might have been impelled to take violent action. Such as assassinating the President."
— Former U.S. diplomat at the UN William Attwood, quoted in Anthony Summers' Not in Your Lifetime. Attwood was selected by President Kennedy to explore a rapprochement with Castro in the fall of 1963.
"I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations.....There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position, and I feel that we need to correct it."
— Former President Harry Truman, writing in the Washington Post of 22 Dec 1963, exactly one month after JFK's murder. Excerpted in the Church Committee testimony of Clark Clifford. more »
"I told the FBI what I had heard [two shots from behind the grassy knoll fence], but they said it couldn't have happened that way and that I must have been imagining things. So I testified the way they wanted me to. I just didn't want to stir up any more pain and trouble for the family."
— Kenneth O'Donnell, former Special Assistant to President Kennedy, quoted in Man of the House, by Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr., p. 178. O'Donnell was riding in the Secret Service follow-up car with Dave Powers, who was present and told O'Neill he had the same recollection.
"We have up here the tape and the photograph of the man who was at the Soviet Embassy, using Oswald's name. The picture and the tape do not correspond to this man's voice, nor to his appearance."
— FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, informing President Johnson of an Oswald impersonation. This phone call itself appears to have been erased. more »
"The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he had no confederates who are still at large; and that evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial."
— Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach to Presidential Assistant Bill Moyers, November 25, 1963. more »
"I would not care to be quoted on that."
— The President's personal physician, Dr. George Burkley, asked in 1967 whether he agreed with the Warren Report on the number of bullets that entered President Kennedy's body. more »
"Flo, they're going to kill him. They're going to kill him when he gets to Texas."
— Anti-Castro activist John Martino, according to his wife. Martino confessed his involvement to his family and a few others. more »
"He looked far ahead and he wanted to change a great deal. Perhaps it is this that is the key to the mystery of the death of President John F. Kennedy."
— Mikhail Gorbachev, former Premier of the Soviet Union. more »
"I think the [Warren] report, to those who have studied it closely, has collapsed like a house of cards.....the fatal mistake the Warren Commission made was not to use its own investigators, but instead to rely on the CIA and FBI personnel, which played directly into the hands of senior intelligence officials who directed the cover-up."
— Richard Schweiker, Senator and former Church Committee member, speaking on Face the Nation in 1976. more »
"So, let us not be blind to our differences — but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."
— John F. Kennedy, in an American Univerity commencement address given on June 10, 1963. more »
"My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it until now."
— John F. Kennedy, during the 1962 Steel Crisis. more »
"They [the FBI] would like to have us fold up and quit."
"The Committee has, however, developed evidence which impeaches the process by which the intelligence agencies arrived at their own conclusions about the assassination, and by which they provided information to the Warren Commission. This evidence indicates that the investigation of the assassination was deficient."
— from the Schweiker-Hart subcommittee report of the Church Committee. more »
"...the Secretary of Defense stated that the phase-out appears too slow."
"Access to Oswald's military intelligence file, which the Department of Defense never gave to the Warren Commission, was not possible because the Department of Defense had destroyed the file [apparently in 1973]..."
— Report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, p. 223. more »
"[the best means of killing Kennedy was] from an office building with a high-powered rifle.....they will pick up somebody within hours afterwards, if anything like that would happen just to throw the public off.""
"The views that we produced at the Photographic Center are not included."
— Saundra Kay Spencer, in her deposition by the Assassination Records Review Board, after being shown the JFK autopsy photos in the National Archives Ms. Spencer had been identified as the NPIC employee who developed them, but she disavowed the official set. more »
"A 'Remember the Maine' incident could be arranged in several forms: a. We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba..."
— One of several "false flag" terror operations presented by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the now-declassified Operation Northwoods documents, to be used to establish a pretext for invading Cuba. Kennedy rejected the plans. more »
"I can't conceive of where they came from this missile."
— Chief autopsy prosector Dr. James Humes, expressing incredulity to the Warren Commission that fragments from Governor Connally could have come from Commission Exhibit 399, the so-called "Magic Bullet". more »
"It is inconceivable that that a secret intelligence arm of the government has to comply with all the overt orders of the government."
— CIA CounterIntelligence Chief James Jesus Angleton, in testimony to the Church Committee. more »
"Oswald went to Russia and stayed three years; came back to the United States in June, 1962, and went to Cuba on several occasions but would not tell us what he went to Cuba for.."
— Memo of FBI Director Hoover of 11-22-63, summarizing a conversion with Robert Kennedy. Oswald had never been to Cuba, at least according to government investigations. more »
"I agreed with him that a carefully phrased denial of the charges of involvement with Oswald seemed most appropriate."
— David Murphy of the CIA's Soviet Russia division, in a memo of a conversaton with Warren Commissioner and former CIA Director Alen Dulles. more »
"If they're going to shoot, they'll shoot."
— Robert Kennedy in 1968 while campaigning for President, telling aide Fred Dutton not to close the hotel window curtains. Quoted in 85 Days: The Last Campaign of Robert Kennedy, by Jules Witcover, p.147.
"And I wish we had gotten here a little sooner after your trial was over, but I know you had other things on your mind, and we had other work, and it got to this late date."
— Earl Warren, explaining to Jack Ruby why it took over 6 months for the Commission to conduct their single interview with him. more »
"I now no longer believe anything the Agency [CIA] told the committee any further than I can obtain substantial corroboration for it from outside the Agency for its veracity."
"he [Dr. Perry] looked like pure hell...between the calls to Bethesda that came in during the night...whether that was an entrance wound or an exit wound in the throat—they were wanting me [Perry] to change my mind."
"...the evidence indicates that Ruby was keenly interested in policemen and their work."
— The Warren Report's explanation for how Ruby came to know virtually every officer on the Dallas police force. more »
"...we've got to take this out of the arena where they're testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this and did that and kicking us into a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour."
"Judging from everything, the U.S. government does not want to involve us in this matter, but neither does it want to get into a fight with the rightists. It clearly prefers to consign the whole business to oblivion as soon as possible."
— Soviet Minister Anastas Mikoyan, in a telegram to his government the day after the Kennedy funeral, which he attended. more »
"But you'll see. All of them together will observe the law of silence.....They don't want to know. They don't want to find out. They won't allow themselves to find out."
— French President Charles de Gaulle after returning from the Kennedy funeral, quoted in David Talbot's The Devils Chessboard, from the memoirs of French information minister Alain Peyrefitte.