There's an explosive new book that lays out a very detailed – and persuasive – case for the probability that the late President Lyndon Baines Johnson was responsible for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
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 and cover-up.
"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 threatened.
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 matter.
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 fiancé, 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 fiancé, 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 contracts.
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 there.
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 don't recall.
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 Kennedy.
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 Intelligence Officers.
He can be reached at
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.