I say persuasive because the author, Barr McClellan, was one of LBJ's top
lawyers, and he provides a lot of information hitherto unknown to the general
public - much more of which he says is buried in secret documents long
withheld from the American people.
"The American public has waited forty years to hear the truth about the JFK
assassination," McClellan says. "For government agencies to withhold
critical evidence and not cooperate with the [1998 investigation conducted
by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB)] is a form of
obstruction of justice. Under the requirements of the Freedom of Information
Act, the public should be granted access to these documents."
According to McClellan and Doug Horne, a former ARRB investigator, hundreds
of relevant documents were withheld from the 1998 investigation into the
JFK assassination. They believe that these materials are now in the
possession of the National Archives, relocated from sealed files previously
controlled by the CIA and FBI.
McClellan also asked for a formal review of the evidence in his book, "Blood,
Money & Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K.," which establishes a direct
connection between LBJ and an individual involved with the assassination
"At this time we need to see what else is missing and what else would be helpful
to presenting the entire truth," McClellan continued. "The Senate
Judiciary Committee and the Department of Justice could make the request
of the National Archives and should do so."
Now, in normal circumstance I would tend to view this latest explanation of who
was behind the killing of JFK as exactly that - just another theory among
dozens. But the circumstances are not normal. Poll after poll establishes that
an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that the official verdict of the
Warren Commission is simply not borne out by what little is known publicly
about the case.
McClellan's new book adds to those facts and names a second suspect he says
was a longtime assassin for Lyndon Johnson, whom he portrays as ...
well, as being homicidal whenever he or his many concealed interests were
Add to that the incredible inconsistencies in the FBI and Secret Service
investigations, which reek with the stench of cover-up, and one can't escape
the conclusion that if LBJ did nothing else in dealing with the aftermath of
the assassination, he sure as hell clamped a lid on any evidence that
contradicted the official finding that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone
gunman acting solely on his own initiative.
I report all of this as a prelude to revealing what I know about the matter but have
never before written about - in the beginning, because I had a wife and
seven children to protect, and since, because I had no reason to revisit the
Let's start with this: McClellan and others before him have discussed the fact that
LBJ faced some pretty awful prospects, including not only being dumped
from the 1964 ticket but also spending a long, long time in the slammer as a
result of his role in the rapidly expanding Bobby Baker case - something few
have speculated about because the full facts were never revealed by the
media, which didn't want to know, or report, the truth.
Sometime in early 1963 I was approached by a young lady with whom I had
worked on Nixon's 1960 campaign staff. She asked me if I would meet with
her fiancÚ, who was in great difficulty - and in danger of being murdered.
At the time I was on the staff of the House Republican Policy Committee, and
one of my assignments was to keep my bosses up to date on what was
going on behind the scenes in the Cold War, analyzing intelligence that
came our way and otherwise engaging in a never-ending clandestine, back-
alley war with the Democrat majority.
I was also writing a Washington column for Bill Buckley's National Review
magazine under the cover name Cato, a fact known only to the top GOP
House leadership, which allowed me to do the column as long as I didn't use
my byline or write it on government time.
Moreover, in my Cato column I had recently broken the story about the Billie Sol
Estes scandal, which involved Estes' crony, Lyndon Johnson.
The young lady knew all that, and that's why she came to me. I agreed to meet
with her fiancÚ, a South Carolinian named Ralph Hill. We met at the Market
Inn, had a couple of martinis, and Hill told me his tale of woe.
He had come to Washington some time before and was steered to a fellow South
Carolinian, one Bobby Baker, the powerful secretary of the Senate and a
very close associate of Vice President Lyndon Johnson.
To make a long story short, Baker advised Hill to go into the vending machine
business and promised him he'd arrange to get some major defense
contractors to install the machines, which vended soft drinks, sandwiches,
cigarettes and the like.
There was only one catch - Baker wanted under-the-table payoffs for his part in
setting up what would be a very lucrative business opportunity with tens of
thousands of potential customers who worked in defense plants.
True to his word, Baker got a number of defense contractors to agree to allow Hill
the exclusive right to install his vending machines on their premises. It was
an opportunity to print money by the barrel, and with those golden
contracts in hand, Hill was able to go to the bank and borrow all the funds he
needed to buy the vending machines and go into business. For a while he
prospered - as did Baker.
But whatever he was paying Baker was not enough to satisfy the man who, for all
intents and purposes, had the Senate under his thumb. He saw that the
members of the Democrat majority got whatever they wanted - money, bimbos,
LBJ's help, you name it. They were all in his pocket.
He could arrange multimillion-dollar contracts for the defense industry or take
them away if he wanted. He was LBJ's guy and was all-powerful and a very
dangerous man to have as an enemy, a fact Ralph Hill learned when
Baker put the bite on him for bigger payoffs.
The problem for Hill was that he had big payments to make on the loans he'd
taken out to buy the equipment and set himself up in business, had
some pretty steep overhead, and simply didn't have enough left over to
boost his payments to Baker.
He tried to explain that fact of life to Baker, but the secretary of the United States
Senate wasn't having any. He simply repeated his demands and threatened
Hill that if he didn't pay up he'd see that Hill lost all those juicy defense plant
Bad went to worse, Baker made good on his threats, and Hill was facing
bankruptcy. Moreover, it was made known to him that if he didn't simply fold
his tent and go off without making trouble for Baker, he might meet with an
unfortunate - and probably fatal - accident.
But Hill was facing bankruptcy and the loss of everything he had, and he simply
would not give up. He was fighting for his life. And he had the guts to hang in
He asked me to help him. But I was completely a creature of the House side of
Capitol Hill - the Senate side was foreign territory and, I hate to admit it, I
didn't even have the vaguest idea of who this Bobby Baker, the Senate's
imperial potentate, was.
I told Hill that his only way out was to expose Baker publicly, to get the story out
- once it was public, Baker could not afford to retaliate. I advised Hill to file
suit against Baker, laying out all the sordid details in the complaint, and once
he had served Baker, to give me the complaint papers and I'd see that
the media on the Hill got their hands on copies.
He did and I did - and I now found myself a potential target, not only of Baker's
but of the media as well, but that's another story. I was able to get
only two reporters to write the story - the late Clark Mohlenhoff, one of the
best investigative reporters in Washington, and one other whose name I
For the most part, the Washington press corps kept the lid on the story - until the
late Bob Humphrey, then the GOP Senate leadership's spokesman, an
incredibly gifted strategist and a mentor, asked me to tell the story to the late
Delaware Republican Sen. John Williams, a crusader for good
government and a crackerjack of an investigator.
Sen. Williams asked me to introduce him to Hill and I did. They got together with
some Senate investigators for the GOP minority and Hill told them the whole
story, including the part played by Vice President Johnson. Williams
got his committee to launch an investigation and the lid came off.
A few days later, the attorney general, Bobby Kennedy, called five of
Washington's top reporters into his office and told them it was now open season
on Lyndon Johnson. It's OK, he told them, to go after the story they
were ignoring out of deference to the administration.
And from that point on until the events in Dallas, Lyndon Baines Johnson's future
looked as if it included a sudden end to his political career and a few years
in the slammer. The Kennedys had their knives out and sharpened for him
and were determined to draw his political blood - all of it.
In the Senate, the investigation into the Baker case was moving quickly ahead.
Even the Democrats were cooperating, thanks to the Kennedys, and an
awful lot of really bad stuff was being revealed - until Nov. 22, 1963.
By Nov. 23, all Democrat cooperation suddenly stopped. Lyndon would serve a
term and a half in the White House instead of the slammer, the Baker
investigation would peter out and Bobby Baker would serve a short sentence and
go free. Dallas accomplished all of that.
Sometimes I wonder: If I had not met Hill and convinced him to go public with the
story, and the Bobby Baker case and Lyndon's part in it had not come out as
a result, would Dallas not have happened? I don't like to think about that.
And that's why I am convinced that McClellan is on to something. I hope he
persists. There's an incredible amount of sordid government corruption that
needs to be aired in public. As McClellan says, it's about time that the
American people learned the truth about the death of John Fitzgerald
And a lot more.
Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist who writes for NewsMax.com. He is editor &
publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was
Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He also
served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and
helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska
Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee
of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association of Former
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.