More than 51 years after John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas, a new conspiracy theory about the JFK assassination has emerged from a highly unlikely source — so unlikely that it raises questions about whether this latest conspiracy theory is just the latest installment in what assassination researchers believe to be cover-up that has held for five decades.
Kennedy, known to history by his initials JFK, was elected in 1960 as the 35th president of the United States, and at age 43, the second-youngest — behind Teddy Roosevelt — to hold the nation’s highest office. But on November 22, 1963, he was assassinated by sniper fire as he rode in an open-top limousine through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.
Though 24-year-old ex-Marine Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested less than two hours after the assassination, he, too, was gunned down while in police custody just two days later.
Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Johnson, created a “blue ribbon panel” headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate the JFK assassination, which ultimately found that Oswald acted alone and no conspiracy to kill the president existed.
Now, more than 50 years after the Warren Commission published its 888-page report, a lawyer who worked on the commission staff has repudiated his own findings — blaming the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the president’s own brother, then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy, for a cover-up that obstructed the Warren Commission’s investigation.
David Slawson, now 83 years old, told former New York Times reporter Philip Shenon, in an article published this week in Politico, that he now believes that the CIA and Robert Kennedy covered up information about a visit by Oswald to Mexico City in September of 1963, when Oswald allegedly visited both the Cuban consulate and Soviet embassy there.
That evidence, Slawson now says, would have proven a conspiracy to kill the president, backed by Cuba and possibly the Soviet Union.
But other researchers have shown that while Oswald likely did visit the Cubans and Soviets in Mexico, he was also impersonated by at least one other individual during that time. The day after Kennedy was killed, the CIA gave the following photo of an unknown person to the FBI, claiming that it was Oswald in Mexico.
An impersonator claiming to be Oswald also made a phone call in which he claimed to be linked to a known Soviet KGB assassin who had been under CIA surveillance.
“For the lone-assassin scenario to stand, the Mexico City evidence at CIA — the tapes of the impersonation and some cables — had to be destroyed or altered,” John Newman, a University of Maryland historian and author of Oswald and the CIA, wrote in an article for PBS Frontline.
Anthony Summers, an Irish journalist whose 1980 book, Conspiracy, is considered one of the definitive works on the JFK assassination, also refuted Slawson’s theory that Cubans commissioned Oswald to kill Kennedy.
“I know of no compelling testimony or evidence to indicate that Oswald was encouraged by Cuban diplomats or Mexican civilians,” Summers wrote in a recent email to the JFK Facts site.
“For me, the opinions of survivors of 1963 and the early investigation are today not really of much significance. What the case needs is evidence, significant items of which could yet surface in the form of solid documentation so far unseen.”
Summers also said that he does not trust Slawson, because in the 1990s, Slawson told him that he had listened in 1964 to audio surveillance tapes of Oswald — but later walked back that admission.
Shenon’s article in which Slawson alleges a conspiracy theory connecting Cuba to the JFK assassination also appears at a time when current U.S. President Barack Obama has announced the first steps toward restoring relations with Cuba.