I have long been fascinated with the counterfeit Secret Service agent legend of the Kennedy assassination. First of all, it’s strange. They remind me of the Men in Black of UFO lore. While witnesses report these agents shooing them away from areas like the grassy knoll, the Secret Service claims that of the 28 agents assigned that day, they had no men on foot in Dealey Plaza. So who were these people, who were they with if not the Secret Service, and where did they go? The danger for a conspiracy is to have too many people involved. John Wilkes Booth considered that and cleverly had his conspirators all compromised with names on ledgers, public meetings in restaurants, and letters discussing the plot. Too many people involved means too many people that might blurt something out.
Within 24 hours of the assassination all Dallas SS agents were required to hand over their ID badges. So the Secret Service was aware of the allegation and needed to check it out. Former SS agent Abraham Bolden said to author and researcher Vince Palamara that it was widely known in the Service that an unauthorized person was using SS credentials the day of the assassination in Dallas. Hence, the service-wide surrender of all Secret Service agent’s IDs to Washington.
Vince Bugliosi, the main defender of the Warren Commission says the SS agent encounters were either plain clothed Dallas police officers or bystanders assumed the men in suits were federal agents. As usual with his debating style he omits various facts. He apparently did not interview a single Dallas police officer that was on foot in Dealey Plaza, out of uniform. He ignores testimony of officers such as Robert Craig that held they were prevented from doing extra security duty that day in Dealey Plaza. Most likely no officers in black suits walking about if that is the case. Also, some of the witnesses of the alleged agents were themselves Dallas police officers such as Joe Marshall Smith and Sergeant D.V. Harkness. Wouldn’t they have been familiar with their own men?
Here is a brief list of agent encounters:
- Dallas police officer Joe Marshall Smith encountered a man dressed in a sports shirt and pants that produced SS identification. Smith noted the man had dirty hands like that of a mechanic. He allowed him to go about his business.
- Sergeant D.V. Harkness sees several men in suits that in his words were “well armed” behind the schoolbook depository building a few minutes after the assassination. He approached them and they identified themselves as Secret Service agents, showing credentials.
- Malcom Summers goes the fence at the knoll and is stopped by a man in a suit wielding a small automatic firearm. He says to Summers, “Don’t you all come up here any further. You might get shot.”
- Gordon Arnold, a soldier on leave from basic training wishes to view and film the motorcade from the railroad overpass. He prevented from doing so by a man, with SS credentials.
- Shortly after the assassination, Texas HP pulls over a speeding car. Inside are three well-dressed men. They claim to be Secret Service agents and are pursuing leads to New Orleans. Later, the Secret Service will disavow sending agents to New Orleans that day.
Author Gus Russo said he interviewed Secret Service agent Mike Howard who had been in charge of security for the Fort Worth leg of the JFK trip. Howard said they deputized everybody they could including agents from ATF, deputy sheriffs, Customs agents, Border Patrol agents, and so on and that these men were all over the place including Dealey Plaza. He added that ATF and Secret Service ID’s were virtually the same. (Except SS agents wore pins.) There was apparently a lot of overlapping that went on between the two agencies in 1963. Frank Ellsworth, a Dallas ATF agent at the time of the assassination, told Russo, "In 1963, if you would have asked me if I was a Secret Service agent, I most likely would have answered yes—our roles overlapped that much."
However, something does not seem quite ring true with this story. It has been well known that the weakest part of Kennedy’s security detail was the Dealey Plaza area. None of these deputized men have ever come forth or been interviewed by anybody including the two main government investigations. I’ve never read about this mass creation of security personnel any place else in my investigation. Secret Service expert Vince Palamara never mentions it in his research and none of the agents that he spoke to mentions this either. Gus Russo (who I might add is a lone nut believer) is the only investigator that comes up with this. Not only that but for a deputy sheriff or Customs agent to go around telling people he is a Secret Service agent when he is not, is a felony. If they were there, they were not a damn bit a good were they?
One thing is certain—not a single innocent bystander was behind the white picket fence on the grassy knoll. Those spectators that tried to get there were chased off by men in suits. If there is going to be a shooter back there behind the fence, that area needs to be cleared. And perhaps was?
Mars, Jim, Crossfire; Fetzer. James, Death in Dealey Plaza; Buglosi, Vincent, Reclaiming History; Kauffman, Michael, American Brutus
Vince Palamara, Survivor’s Guilt. Online book on the Secret Service around the time of the Kennedy assassination. Features many interviews with SS agents and background details. Click HERE.
Good article on the phony agents at JFK Lancer: