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tv   David Talbot Brothers The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years  CSPAN  June 11, 2016 4:00pm-5:01pm EDT

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online for information on our schedule you to keep up with the latest history news. ,> next on history bookshelf david talbot discusses and reads passages from his book, "brothers: the hidden history of the kennedy years" and explores the personal relationship between john f. kennedy and robert f kennedy, arguing that the brothers and their closest advisers continually pushed pretty peaceful resolution of the cold war. he also proposes that robert kennedy spent a great deal of time searching for answers on his brothers associate -- on his brothers assassination. this is about one hour. >> good evening and welcome to book passage. bestwhat we think is the
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view. tonight's guest is david talbot who has come to tell us about "brothers: the hidden history of the kennedy years" and david was born and raised in los angeles. has been a lifelong activist and provocateur, going with days in southern california and also it used the santacruz -- also at uc cruz. his father was a movie and television actor and a left-wing labor activist who cofounded the screen actors guild.
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after uc santa cruz, he wrote in 1978, creed of differences -- differences." after that he was the senior editor of a magazine for five years. after that, he was an editor at the examiner's image magazine from 1985-1994, when the examiner was a full newspaper. is not the publication it today. founded a website and was editor and chief for 10 years. he is now chairman of the board. please welcome david talbot. [applause]
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david: thank you very much for the introduction. it sounded like my fbi file at points. [laughter] remarks,had prepared but i will put them aside and this 1500 book and answer point by point, if you will just bear with me for the next several weeks. to seriously, i would like begin with a few remarks and then to impose on you by reading from the book, if i could, then answer any questions you might have. and then going out and enjoying the evening, this beautiful night. all of you dreaming into looking past me.
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they say that history is a never-ending argument and if that is the case, my book makes two main arguments. one is that bobby kennedy was the country's first assassination conspiracy theorist. and number two, and this is turning out to be the most after brazil aspect -- controversial aspect of the book, is that the kennedy were heroes. and they were heroes for the simple reason that they kept the out of -- us out of war. this has become controversial because in the last 20 years or more, we have been going through a revisionist interpretation of the kennedy presidency. it did not start with hershey's dark side of camelot, the best-selling book however was part of the backlash against the
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kennedy's. that book portrays kennedy as a decadent prints, somebody who put the country at risk. hitchens, whoris dismissively referred to jfk as a hoodlum. , theven in academia picture of jfk as a cold war militant has taken hold. but i hope my book is a third wave of scholarship that challenges this revision on look at jfk. my book concentrates on the tumultuous inner life of the kennedy presidency, a presidency that i think was a government of war itself, i call it rome on the atomic -- potomac. i believe that he was trying to
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lead america out of the cold war at that time and that created a backlash. remember president eisenhower's famous farewell address to the nation, which he warned us of the power of the military complex. and kennedy soon found out how powerful forces were at the bay of take, the first grade -- pigs , the first great crisis of his administration. that the cia had told him to use language -- it was a slamdunk, but it turned out not to be. it turned out to be a disaster. and kennedy feeling sandbagged by the cia in. to scatterd -- vowed the cia to the wind. and they were equally enraged at the kennedys. i think if my book does one
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thing, i hope that it creates a sense of what the kennedys brought, because most books do this kindke -- evoke of atmosphere that prevailed in washington during those years. when you do interviews with people that were alive from this world, the intelligence world or military world, you get a sense of the hatred that they had for the kennedys. the head of the air force referred to them as cockroaches that should have been crushed. jfk in turnabout that he was a madman. he thought he could fight and win a nuclear war and he was determined to do that while they had superiority in the 1960's. at one point, he was at a dinner party and he turned to a woman who happened to be the wife of a u.s. senator and said, we will have a nuclear war by the end of the year and if you want you and
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your children to survive you should take them out west to tumbleweed country and that was her only chance of surviving. john kennedy was a very different man, he was determined -- he knew what the stakes were and he was determined to keep the country from falling into the precipice. in his famous speech at american 1953, ity in june, think that we see the visionary kennedy at his best. the speech was written for him, by his eloquence speechwriter. and we cannot imagine a leader today using these words, imagine the revolutionary methods of the speech in which he says, we must empathize with our enemy, no matter how repellent the value system of governments we oppose, the communist system, we are all people. and the ends with, we all
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inhabit the same planet, we all breathe the same air, we all chairs our children's future and we are all mortal. didnational security lead not know what to do with a mammoth this. they were concerned about his private life, they worse new being on his private life -- snooping on his private life. and one thing i did under -- unnerve them was the relationship that he had with one woman, myers. and i think that they did have a relationship while jack was in the myers. she was able to demand spirit, a woman determined to turn on the washington power structure using her own charms. i think that once the cia found out about this relationship, it was one more clout hanging over
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his presidency. i think what they thought of jack kennedy essentially was this, that he was a morally, my, -- compromise, physically debilitated and intellectually dangerous president. and the atmosphere, the muteness atmosphere -- mutinous atmosphere in washington became so severe that at one point, kennedy who thought that his presidency would end up violently, and he thought of this more often than any other american president i can think of with the possible exception of abraham lincoln, but at one point he goes to friends in hollywood and the floors -- impl ores them to make a film about a middle -- military coup that comes close to topping the presidency. inspired to write this after hearing the kind of
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talk about jfk, that he was prone to. the pressures on kennedy were constant to go to war, in berlin, and laos, in vietnam, and above all in cuba. cuba could have become the iraq of day. there is a fascinating estimate produced by the cia analysts about such a scenario, that was produced in 1962. erily readslyj -- e like iraq today. if there was a military invasion, we would march on to havana, triumphantly. and we would soon become bogged down in a lengthy occupation of the island. there would be a tax on our -- attacks on our troops, civilians would be killed, the civilian population would turn on us and
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we would become increasingly isolated in the world because of our actions. it sounds very familiar. i think that john kennedy was no george w. bush. he realized it was a possibility and he relies what the stakes were and he was determined not to get bogged down in cuba and he was determined to prevent a nuclear holocaust, which was a possibility throughout his administration. the kennedys were consolation i to stay on top of this world, the shadowy world of the cia. and it was this particular world that bobby kennedy had suspicions on. he knew that the cia and mafia, this kind of frankenstein monster, had already come together in an alliance to kill castro. the alliance and to need and we know from his conversations that day exactly where he was
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looking, looking at the cia, mafia, and the cuban exile community. it was a very dramatic moment in history. aides come to him and say that you must surround his house with security car because they do not trust the killedcause whoever president kennedy was coming for bobby kennedy next. despite the dangers that always existed for bobby kennedy from that moment on, until his death in 1968, he was determined to find out who the killers of his brother were and to reopen the case. he struggled with grief and depression, the sense of guilt that he should have prevented the assassination of his brother. but after a burst of energy and going into a deep depression, he struggles out of this and he
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comes back to political life, because he knows the only way that he can find justice is to reclaim the white house. yorkns for senate from new in 1964 and then for the presidency in 1968, and enormous act of current, not only challenging the sitting president over a war that was escalated under his brother, but he knows he is taking his life in his hands. he knows whoever killed his brother, those forces are very much color. -- alert. and threatened by his campaign. but he deeply moved -- was moved by the wounds of suffering, the vietnam war, the endless war like we have today. the country had turned against the government and the government seemed determined to plot on -- plod on. i came across an amazing speech
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that bobby gave in sacramento, where he was surrounded by these swarms of people, more of a religious experience than political. and he would be clawed back and bleeding at the end of it. words i thinkese of our country today and the people who are dying and suffering in iraq. what bobby said was this, "which of these brave young men dying in vietnam might have written a symphony? which of them would have cured cancer or played in the world series? which would have taught a small child to read? it is our responsibility to let these men live." that is the kind of message that american leaders need to deliver today. and as boldly as bobby did. after bobby was killed the band
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of brothers, as he called them, the men who had served the kennedy brothers so loyally and a number of him he had called on to investigate his brother's murder, began to drift away. their heart was cut from them at this point. they were not able to pursue or take up bobby's mission, either his own assassination or jfk's. and i would like to read you a fairly brief section from the book about one of these men, a story about kenneth o'donnell, who was a loyalist from the early days in boston and became chief of staff in the kennedy white house. if you'll just there with me. i will read my glasses. enjoy the view for a minute. [laughter]
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so this place after the deaths of both kennedys. you will see where it goes from there. kenneth o'donnell and his fellow irish mafia warhorse were eyewitnesses to history in 1963. writing immediately behind the president's limousine and the secret service backup car, the two men it all that day. for the motorcade began, jfk had asked them to take seats in the follow-up car so that they could observe the reactions from the crowd. the two men could never forget what they saw the afternoon as the shots rang out, they said, the president has been shot. kenneth o'donnell went across. as both men stared intently at
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the man they had loved ever since he was a young congressional candidate, a final shot took the side of his head off. o'donnell would later recall, we saw pieces of bone and brain tissue flying through the air, the impact lifted him and shook him as if he was a ragdoll and he dropped out of our sight, sprawled across the back seat of the car. i said, he is dead. kenneth o'donnell and powers, heardeterans, distinctly these shots come from the grassy all area, but when they later told the ei, they were informed they must be wrong. if they did not change their story, it could be very damaging to the country. his'donnell did alter account to fit the official version, testifying before the commission that the shots had come from the right rear, the direction of the school book depository. power is could not be shaken from his story, even though an
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employee that took a statement kept interrupting him, powers insisted that he had the impression that the noise came from the front and behind. which is probably why dave powers was never invited to amendables the more o'donnell was. five years after the assassination, o'donnell best to a friend -- confessed to a friend what he had hidden from the public. he had heard two shots from the grassy knoll. o'neill, who was dining with o'donnell and some other people at a restaurant in boston was stunned. that is not what you told the commission, he said. you are right, he replied. i told them what i heard and they said that i must have been imagining things, so i testified the way they wanted me to. i did not want to start any more pain or trouble for the family. i cannot believe that i would not have done that in a million
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years, said o'neill. you have to understand, said o'donnell, the family wanted everything behind them. it is clear from o'neill's account and one given from powers, suggest that o'donnell was pressured, and that the fbi played a role in the decision. record distortion of the . it is equally obvious that o'donnell was looking at signals from the kennedy family and that could only mean, bobby, the man whose life and career had been completely intertwined with him, ever since they were harvard roommates. the intensely loyal o'donnell would never have changed his story without first checking with kennedy and bobby had made it clear that he was not ready to publicly question the story about the assassination. whatever his reasons for hiding the truth about dallas, o'donnell's decision weighed heavily on him. the kennedys have been part of his life, utterly dedicated he had put in slavish hours at the white house.
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but he laughed at the notion it was a sacrifice. it was the best job i ever had, he would say. but now the man he had served was gone, he wished the bullets had hit him instead, he had told his wife. and instead of bringing those killers to justice, he was misleading the country. he never was the same again, no men around kennedy were. o'donnell confided that he would -- what he really witnessed to his son. he said there was fire from two different directions and his father would complain about his experience with the commission. i will tell you this right now, o'donnell called the inquiry the most pointless investigation he had everything, pulling up records to show his son, he would point to a passage and say, look, this is ridiculous. they were not even looking for an answer. o'donnell might have been
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disgusted with his own performance before the commission. in the months after dallas, he would devote himself to helping jackie. the two had clung to each other like old soldiers ever since the assassination. as they flew back to washington, both have been stained with jack's blood. they gathered friends at the georgetown house and interchange at u.s. old ways about jack. but o'donnell could not the dallas behind him. what they had witnessed that they continued to work inside of them. o'donnell experienced nausea for six months after it powers began suffering headaches. the pain was focused on the same part of head where he had seen the bullet blow off the top of his friend's head. he could not get the sound of his own head, like a grapefruit hitting the side of the wall. o'donnell began drinking heavily. when friends told him to go easy on the stuff, the man would give them a cold glare and tell them, go to hell and mind your own
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business. but he listened when bobby and jackie talked to him. he seemed to step forward into human company again. but o'donnell never fully recovered, he lived the rest of his life with a heavy heart. he ran twice for the democratic nomination for government -- governor of massachusetts, but his political talent as a behind -- was as a behind the scenes man and he lost both times. bobby's assassination was the final blow. himnnell had just spoken to about the primary results. it is over, his father told him, after hearing that history had repeated itself. that was the absolute end. when o'donnell died in a boston hospital in 1977, at age 53, his family requested that the cause of death be withheld. but it has been reported that he had succumbed to a liver
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ailment. there was no more bobby to tell him to put down the bottle. his memorial was held at st. matthew's cathedral, where he had escorted bobby's casket, walking slowly to the white house. the irish wake held afterwards at the mayflower hotel, a boston politician reminisced about his fallen friend. without the kennedys he said o'donnell was the music without a heart. [applause] david: thanks. i want to leave you with this, because again this is the part of the book as i am being challenged about -- that i am being challenged about, but i feel deeply about it. there was a moment when i was interviewing the speechwriter that really lifted the rhetoric and vision of the kennedy presidency so high.
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and historian -- and he is still living and is deeply pained to talk about those days. at one point, he is wrestling with the idea -- he says, i know that jack said, live for a purpose. i just cannot believe he died for a purpose. it would give me great consolation if i knew that this dear friend of 11 years have gone to dallas knowing what the stakes were, knowing that he was confronting dark forces, and they killed him for what he believed in. what he was trying to do as the nation -- as a nation. the truth is, i think that his heart does know that, because after bobby died he delivered a beautiful eulogy for bobby kennedy where he works, still to this day. and he was challenging the idea that was already taking hold,
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that the kennedys were cursed. he said, there is no curse upon the kennedys, they have met bill faith because they have at more of their share of courage. they died heroic deaths, because they lived her look lives -- heroic lives. and if i want my book to come -- if there is anything i want my book took, what, it is telling that about the kennedys. thank you very much. [applause] david: yes? >> i know that your book was reviewed in the new york times. that --se the question opened the inquiry on this book, is that the case? david: what i really wanted to do was create a narrative around the kennedy story.
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particularly the assassination, such a dark labyrinth and so many things have gotten lost. it is a rabbit hole, a friend of mine has written about and one me -- and warned me before i wrote this book. but i think that i brought bobby kennedy's light into the dark tunnel and it is revealing because he was the attorney general of the united hates -- state and he knew more about the dark horses -- dark forces. and he was utterly committed to getting to the truth. the truth is, i think that bobby was on the right path. there is now consensus developing around the suspicions, among researchers, including by the way the church committee from the 1970's, which people forget. and both of those committees and the best investigators were looking at the same area.
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they thought something dark had happened within the cia and those guns had been turned against kennedy. so yes, i do hope that the book creates -- you are not supposed to say oliver stone because he has been so stigmatized, but at least that film created uproar. and it forced the government to release documents and a lot was -- law was passed in 1992 and many of the documents i felt were a part of that. and they continue to sit on many documents that are relevant. and a good friend of mine is going to court this summer to try to compel the cia to release these documents, she is a reporter with the washington post and is really the reigning expert on this. mentioned dorothy -- in your book.
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anything else in your book that he wrote about her? i find it intriguing that she suddenly overdosed with a drug that have been not that it had not been prescribed -- that had not been prescribed to her. david: that is a footnote to the store. i remember on what is my line, but she was a gossip on this -- columnist and at one point she scored the scoop of her career, which was an exclusive interview with ruby, a jailhouse interview. she was a very good crime reporter, actually. she had a background in that. and she came back telling friends that she was going to break the kennedy case. she had an interview with ruby. and bobby kennedy thought that she -- thought that jack ruby was
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key to solving the case. all of us were watching. i thought it was a crime movie. within 24 hours, bobby kennedy connections to's the mob. presslater tells his secretary, when i looked at the phone calls that ruby was making before dallas, it looks like my where he was was chief counsel in the 1950's. i think the dorothy kilgallen was onto something. the question is, why did she die suddenly and strangely that night? there are many deaths like this in the kennedy story. i tell you because i think it is particularly interesting. i do not know for sure what happened to her that night. she was a drinker, known to take pills.
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but there were a number of anomalies about that night. and they certainly raised questions. >> the night of her interview with jack ruby? mr. talbot: no, sometime later. she was working on a story to include in the book to read one of the other strange things about it is the manuscript she was working on was never found. "salon" has it, though and is publishing it i heard. any other questions? i think i have answered everything? >> [inaudible question] mr. talbot: i have announced that every time on this book tour. i think the heart of the kennedy family, at least when it came to investigating these crimes, really died with bobby.
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bobby was the last kennedy who had the investigative zeal to get to the bottom of this crime. teddy, i interviewed ted for the book. his press people made it clear to me he would not talk about the assassination and the interview would be over if i brought it up. often, with family tragedies the pain eases over time but they sit with teddy, is actually more painful in some ways today, the memory of his t brothers. theyknow bobby's children, all said kathleen was very open -- she has to say, we were raised to look forward, not backward. you emotionally collapse if you look to backward. acan understand that as survival mechanism, but it holds its own emotional baggage. the truth is, i don't think it
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is up to the kennedy family to get to the bottom of this. it was a crime against american democracy, i think. it is up to the judicial system, political system, and media, which failed miserably to shed light on this. the kennedy's have gone through enough. role may lyndon johnson have played in this? mr. talbot: he knew that people would suspect him immediately because it happened in texas and they all knew how ruthlessly ambitious he was. johnson believe that had prior knowledge or was involved in the conspiracy. in fact, he himself was stunned, i think, and terrified that afternoon. beforethe story of how air force one took off in dallas, they were looking for the new president, and the air force at cachet -- attache was
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muttering,d he was conspiracy, conspiracy, they will kill us all. they came up to him while he was washington, and said mr. president, what you thinking about? and he said, i wonder when the missiles will start to fly. this historian, professor in texas, he told me his interpretation of that was that he thought the tensions everyone knew were boiling within the kennedy administration had exploded. and johnson thought the military had taken over and that they would launch a nuclear war, a primitive strike on the soviet union. the one great tragedy is that bobby and he, because of their
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mutual poisonous hatred for one another, they were not able to put it aside. they could've worked together to solve the crime. >> jack ruby died of cancer while trying to talk with the warren, who refused to meet with him. mr. talbot: that is right thumb he wanted to be taken out of the dallas jail because he knew what happens. he wanted to go back to washington to testify openly about what he thought had happened, and they refuse to do that. i know there is speculation about whether the cancer was induced or that sort of thing, but i do not know enough to comment on. >> [inaudible question]
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a week later he delivered a hawkish speech. remarks today and those reviews simplify the portrait i tried to give of the kennedy reticence he -- presidency. he was very much a man of his , he did not want to get rolled in the races by hawkish republicans. he outfoxed nixon by running as more of a hawk. cuba duringliberate the presidential campaign.
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so he is very much a man of his times. in his inaugural speech you see both of these themes. we have enoughf arms will we be powerful enough not to use them. and of course, he did set off a major escalation, and the building of a -- an anonymous nuclear arsenal. john f. kennedy is a complex guy, and fascinating to be. what he is doing, on the one hand, through hawkish rhetoric and some of his policies, keeping his political opponents at bay. whatare never able to do they did to clinton or to caucus, and every democrat leader virtually you can think of. because he came across as muscular with world policy and so on, he was a war hero. again when the
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chips were down and they were trying to get him to go to war in vietnam, to escalate seriously, or cuba, or nuclear war over berlin, that is what he was being pushed to do. the notchdy flipped of war, he was an artful dancer. i think that provoked enormous rage on the part of these hardliners within the national security establishment, because they were not able to best him. he bested them, again and again. it is a complex story. and i think those reviewers did not capture that sense of him. >> can you envision a person or process that would be strong enough for influential enough to get behind this, as opposed to
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journalism and books? mr. talbot: here is the one thing that makes me hopeful about the times we are in now. a last time the system cracked open, where we did have a lot of information, not just about the but the abuses on the part of the cia and fbi, was in the 1970's after the vietnam war and after watergate. createdthose crises such pressure and cracked in the system that the system itself was forced in some way to investigate itself. you also had democratic presidencies with carter in power, coming in saying he wanted to open the doors to the secrets, and so on. and you had aggressive committees looking into this. i see some parallels today. we have this war in iraq, a terribly unpopular war that has produced great chaos within the
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political system. the bush presidency is so isolated in its reckless pursuit of this war. i think against the rest of the political establishments will, at this point. if you now on top of that get a democratic presidency, particularly a progressive one like a barack obama or hillary clinton, although democrats are sometimes loath to open those doors, they have to have a lot of pressure on them to open those doors. something of a catalyst here and it has to come from the american people. i am not sure what that will be. , as i said earlier, was one of them. but books do not have the same impact as movies. >> this is a post-kennedy question. i am wondering what your thoughts are on why subsequent democrats have been unable to
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replicate that out foxing of the hawks? that is a good question. i think jfk was extraordinary as a leader. and so far, we have not been blessed with that same kind of combination. vision connected to a hardened, toughened, boston pall. veryd by a father shrewdly. whatever you think of joe old, corrupt, patriarchs, he schooled his boys well in the ways of power. politician,a shrewd that i do not see the same ability the jfk had to stand up to the hardliners the way the kennedy did. with hillarycern or barack is whether they have
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the same kind of backbone. because it seems like hillary at this point is so concerned with establishing her bona fides when it comes over military expertise and so forth. jack kennedy after the bay of pigs was willing to say, screw you, to these guys. arthur/under said he had complete contempt for the joint chiefs of staff. he thought they were empty suits. not see that same kind of will yet among the democratic field today. >> [indiscernible question] mr. talbot: he was a legendary cia guy, very ardent anti-communist, another kennedy-hater. now if people later associated with the dallas.
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as headn becomes famous of the watergate burglary team. talk, people wanted him to talk about what he knew in his retirement. cagey guy, a novelist, a fabulist. you have to take things he says with a grain of salt. interestingly, what he does at the end of his life under the encouragement or prodding of his sons is to unravel some of these secrets. is here,is book "american spy," he does a partly there. but that process was aborted when his second wife freaked out because she thought he told too much, and so did his lawyer. it says if the cia was involved
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in the assassination of the president, this is how they might have done it. and he stopped short of going all the way. but, what he did with his son, and i've seen handwritten notes, and audio note, and a video, and what he said was mind blowing. he said in 1963 he was invited to a meeting at a steakhouse in miami where a plot to kill the president was discussed and i was asked to join the plot and i declined because one of the other cia officials i did not trust, he was an alcoholic. and i played a sidelines role, i was a benchwarmer. well, that is remarkable, too. was onlystone" publication to jump on that. i know "60 minutes" was looking into it. but they said you can't trust him, but he did not make things up -- well he did. he said all along, the soviet
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union or castor was behind it. so why is the end of his life did he suddenly incriminate the agency and himself? it is curious. i do not know entirely what to make of it, but it needs more attention from the media. >> what would you point to is the best piece of evidence that oswald was not a lone shooter? mr. talbot: where to begin. just to name a recent one, there is a study on the bullet fragments from the crime scene, fbi metallurgists who studied those fragments and said they must have come from two different guns. for me, i am not a forensics expert. that was a rabbit hole i did not want to go down. what was convincing to me was
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talking to people who had been there. who said what his father told him. and my chapter on dallas i tried to create a sense of what it felt like to be in those cars, because they felt like hunted animals and like the gunfire was coming from multiple directions and that they were caught in a crossfire. and they were not just hysterical people who had the sense of guns, these were world war ii veterans. to me, it is hearing from these people exactly what it felt like, or reading their testimony. a veryan immigrant, patriotic guy standing there with his home movie camera taking pictures capture these horrible moments. later screaming, they have killed him, they killed him, they struck him down like a dog.
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jackie kennedy did not take her famous pink suit off because she wanted them to know what they had done to her husband. say, the trauma of a crime, many people say different things. but there was so much evidence like this. eyewitness testimony. you can see pictures of people pointing to the grassy knoll. i think someone was firing from the book depository, but clearly, fire was coming from some other place, as well. i know you opened with a quote from that 1600 page book that goes through everything -- have you read the book, and what your thoughts on the points he made and details he goes through to refute that? it was a joke because i have not had time to read it. but i read that introduction.
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inspire confidence because what he does is something superficial. he accepts what bobby kennedy was saying in public, and this is an interesting story and a big part of my book very well bobby kennedy does was except the warren commission -- report publicly. if he did not, there would be a firestorm in the media. and he did not want to publicly open the case because he knew he did not have the power. learns hisy he brother is killed his power begins to evaporate as attorney general. i begin the book with a chilly herber,ll from j edgar his arch and him as the head of the fbi, who told him was almost a sense of pleasure that his brother has been killed. he knows the fbi will not follow his directions after that. and they were in charge of the investigation. fashion, he goes
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underground. aides. to trusted he slipped back into the justice department after he was in the senate to look secretly at files with a former fbi man, his right hand investigator. he was doing is very privately, but anybody who knows anything about bobby, and it is also in that heraphies, felt the warner port was to lowell the american people to sleep. for him to blandly accept what bobby was saying strategically in public as the truth of what he thought happened in dallas is ridiculous. so that does not inspire confidence.
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connelly also thought there were shots from a second gun. feeling, he tried to blur it later and say that all's walled was the lone gunmen , any a different bullet, so it was inconsistent. wife nelly, their testimony went against the official story. >> what role did nixon have to play, he was in dallas that day? in on itt: was he
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somehow, i don't think so. passage a fascinating in a memoir in which nixon is in watergate has started to creep closer to the white house. in desperation, he tries to get the cia to get him out of the fix he is in. and richard helms, a very serpentine character, he send with a very mysterious message. he brings helms into his office and says, this watergate thing gets out of hand, and the whole bay of pigs thing could be exposed. and this was 10 years before. elms, normally very composed and crafty, jumps up and says,
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we had nothing to do with the bay of pigs. of course, the cia had everything to do with the bay of pigs and that is a historical fact. is puzzled about this, and later talks to rickman -- ulrichmann. basically what nixon is doing is trying to blackmail the cia. i know about that whole operation and how it backfired against kennedy and got him killed. i'm going to threaten to expose you unless you help bail me out here. so i think that was very interesting, it revealing incident. >> who do think are the more intelligent investigators that you met earlier? mr. talbot: i acknowledged in my book, a number of them were helpful and generous. they did not have to be. sometimes people are more
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proprietary about these things. anthony summers, and irish journalist. he did one of the best early , first titled "conspiracy," and then "not in your lifetime." and another one coming out next post,"om a "washington reporter. and a scholar in berkeley who has been out this for years, his book "deep politics," was interesting. a book on a film by a wisconsin man that came out a few years ago. if you're interested in having a bibliography i would be would help you out. there are a number of them that are quite good.
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for those old enough to remember, when it comes to the liberal,was kennedy where did he stand? people forget how conservative and right-wing much of the country was in the 60's. i remember in school some of the power elite from california came , reagan's cabinet and nixon, they cheered and were happy he was killed. mr. talbot: exactly, southern california was a bastion of john bircher activity. john kennedy twice in his life decided to go into the belly of the beast and confronted that sentiment.
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the sentiment that said any negotiation is treason, which is what they felt. one occasion was in los angeles where he delivered the famous address at the hollywood palladium, and there were thousands of demonstrators in front, right wing demonstrators calling him a traitor. in the second, was dallas. ,nother amazing speech to read was the speech kennedy would have delivered at the dallas trade march if he had lived. is, we essentially said must get over the sense as a country that negotiation and peace is weakness. again, a very radical notion at that time. republicans,he they are all trying to outdo each other when it comes to rattling favors. and the democrats, to some extent are. saying --k o, is
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barack obama saying iran is not off the table. someone who is willing to say, let's rethink america's role in the world. does america have to rule through intimidation. again and again kennedy would say things like, we are just one country in this world and another beautiful speech that he made. we are just one country. a have to learn to live in multi-colored world where we do not dominate everything. is just so relevant for today's world. again, i hope that is conveyed in the book. but yes, he was up against enormously reactionary forces.
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i do not think he would've had an easy time defeating goldwater in 1964. that is another reason he had to go to 1964. when i read his books they drive me crazy. there is one by a british historian saying the kennedys were remiss on civil rights -- while yes, they were slow on civil rights. they were afraid of splitting the democratic party and losing the democratic south. and they finally do the right thing, and they split the democratic party. still something we see today, that started with jack kennedy. because he finally stood up and did the right thing on civil rights. so he had to go to texas because along with florida, probably the only states in the deep south he could have one. we all think of him as this charming, charismatic prints who would've had an easy time being reelected in 1964, but the truth is, he would have had a tough campaign.
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>> in your research did you ever [indiscernible] a nazi collaborator helped cause will get back to dallas? it is a mystery to me why the cia hired hitler's top intel official in the soviet union. mr. talbot: now you're going down a tunnel i was not able to go down. [laughter] the major point you're making is interesting, all's well that went to the soviet union and came back with surprising ease. a senator from pennsylvania on the church committee looked into the kennedy assassination and made a very famous statement,
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saying the fingerprints of intelligence are all over lee harvey oswald. and i believe that is true. maybe one more, and we'll call it a day, and evening? any others? thank you very much for your patience. [applause] >> on history bookshelf, here from the country's best-known american history writers of the past decade. every saturday at 4:00 p.m. eastern. and you can watch any of our programs at any time. you can visit our website, [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] 1965 in the ia drang -- the
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vietnam war veterans reflect on their experiences. joseph galloway, a former war correspondent moderates. he was there and called the ia drang the worst and bloodiest of the entire vietnam war. this conversation was part of a three-day conference at the lbj presidential library in austin, texas. they called it the vietnam war summit, it is 55 minutes. gentlemen, please welcome mr. jim knotts, ceo of the vietnam memorial fund. [applause] after the gulf of tonkin resolution was passed in 1955 saw dramatic increase in ground troops in vietnam. the battle of the ia drang valley was the first major


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