It's been nearly 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Questions still remain about whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone or was part of a larger conspiracy.
new evidence about that fateful day. It comes from a book called "The
Kennedy Half-Century," written by professor Larry Sabato, director of
the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.
the moment shots rang out in Dealey Plaza the search for definitive
answers in the Kennedy assassination has proved elusive. Was Oswald
acting alone, or was he a member of a conspiracy?
888-page Warren Report issued in 1964 found no evidence that anyone
assisted Oswald in planning or carrying out the assassination. The
report had many critics and conspiracy theories multiplied over the
years. Hundreds of books have been published about the case and dozens
of documentaries and films, most notably Oliver Stone's 1991 Academy
Award-winning film "JFK." But the strongest official confirmation for
conspiracy buffs came in 1979 when the House Select Committee on
Assassinations concluded that President Kennedy was "probably
assassinated as the result of a conspiracy." A key piece of evidence was
an audio recording that the committee believed captured the sound of
four gunshots being fired. One of the gunshots apparently came from a
second location, the so-called Grassy Knoll, a patch of land that was
ahead of the president's limousine.
This year, political scientist Larry Sabato had the tapes
re-analyzed using state-of-the-art technology. He says they do not
capture gunshots at all, but the sounds of an idling motorcycle and the
rattling of a microphone.
Sabato also says analysis of
the recordings showed the sounds -- which were of police radio
transmissions -- were not from Dealey Plaza, but from a location more
than two miles away.
A new poll conducted as part of the
book found 75 percent of Americans still reject the Warren Commission's
conclusion that Oswald acted alone.
Sabato said on "CBS
This Morning" his book has completely blown the 1979 House Select
Committee on Assassinations report "out of the water." He added, "Their
evidence simply does not hold. And they concluded there was a
conspiracy. Does it mean that no one encouraged Oswald or that Oswald
had no compatriots working with him? I can't say that for sure because
the Warren Commission was also deeply flawed. They made so many mistakes
in their process, they didn't interview key witnesses that I
interviewed 50 years after the assassination and I was stunned to find
out they weren't part of that study."
Sabato said he
believes Oswald was the gunman who shot both President Kennedy and Gov.
Connally. "If anyone else participated beyond the picket fence on the
Grassy Knoll, they either missed or didn't fire," he said.
Sabato said we're never going to know what really happened. "If we can
go 100 years into the future, I guarantee you whatever replaces
television, there will be documentaries proposing new theories about the
Kennedy assassination," he said.
He continued, "That's
because the Warren Commission did not go down the hot trails when we had
the chance to interview the right people. They could have done it but
essentially they were lied to by the CIA, the president at the time,
Lyndon Johnson did not want a thorough study, and so we didn't get one.
It was on a political timetable with a political conclusion that Oswald
Investigators were under pressure to report
and report quickly, Sabato said. "They may have gotten their
conclusions right, but it was such a flawed process," he said. "And this
is the murder of a young president. This is the youngest president ever
elected. The youngest to die. We needed a thorough investigation and
the American people would have waited and paid whatever was necessary to
Sabato called both the government
investigations -- the Warren Report and the House Select Committee on
Assassinations report -- "flawed."
"When you really get
into the details, it is amazing how many pieces don't fit. Just to cite
one, right after the president was shot, some Dallas policemen ran up
the Grassy Knoll and they encountered people who had Secret Service
credentials. They let them go. They had their guns drawn. They let them
go. You know what they found out since? There were no Secret Service
agents in Dealey Plaza, they were all with the motorcade. They went with
the motorcade to Parkland. Who were these people?"
about other conspiracy theories, Sabato said he can believe anything,
but the problem is "where is the proof?" He said, "In the end, you have
to have proof. What could stand up in a courtroom?"
to the theories surrounding his death, Sabato turned to other discussion
from his book, including his assertion that Kennedy would not have
survived his presidency because of his thin security detail. "John F.
Kennedy loved to mix with people," Sabato said. "There would be crowds
of hundreds of thousands and they would engulf him with virtually no
security. It's amazing he lasted until Nov. 22."