tv Face the Nation CBS October 27, 2013 10:30am-11:30am EDT
>> schieffer: today on "face the nation," a new book raises serious questions about the investigation of the kennedy assassination. plus the chaos over the roll out of obamacare. washington finally found something to agree on-- the kickoff of the obama health care law has been a disaster. the government says the web site can be fixed and late last week h.h.s. kathleen sebelius make a sparkling admission. >> i didn't realize it wouldn't be operating opt male before the launch. >> schieffer: we'll hear from house oversight committee chairman darrell issa who is investigating, and we'll ask new hampshire democratic senator jeanne shaheen why she is so
worried. then we'll begin our coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of john kennedy, with an interview of jeanne shaheen, author of a new book, "a cruel and shocking act." for context, we'll bring in lyndon johnson's press secretary turned snooze executive tom johnson. legendary "washington post" reporter bob woodward. and the "wall street journal's" peggy noonan. we'll cover it all, past, present, and future because this is "face the nation." captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news in washington, "face the nation" with bob schieffer. >> schieffer: good morning, again. we welcome california congressman darrell issa. he is the chairman of the oversight & government reform committee. friday, mr. chairman, your committee, along with the senate
committee, announced you'd start issuing subpoenas soon if you didn't get the documents that you had "from secretary sebelius' department. what exactly are you looking for now? and what is it you hope to find out? >> bob, we're looking for quick answers so that we can, on behalf of the american people, straighten out as much as can be straightepped out that's above the water-- which the web site-- and the 90% that's below the water like an iceberg that are the other problems in obamacare, and just quickly. 2500 counties, almost 68-- almost 60 p58% of those counties only have two or one companies bidding for health care. so it's not just the web site. it's a question of cost and benefit to the american people. >> schieffer: the white house is saying and they told me again last night that they believe they can get this thing fixed by the end of november. and if they do, they say they'll be back on schedule and people will be able to buy this
insurance before the deadline. >> well, i hope so. i hope for the american people that they can fix this and fix it quickly. but let's understand, your next guest, jeanne shaheen, senator shaheen, she is talking about extending, and recognizing the american people don't just have a right to get on and make a quick selection, they have a right to a competitive opportunity that was promised to them. they have a right to find out who the doctors are because in fact they were promised they'd get to keep the doctor they have, and under bronze plans and some of these plans, there's no way they're going to get to keep them. and it's one of the reasons i'm trying to push to the original goal which was make health care affordable, something that is so far not happening in this act. >> schieffer: well, what is it you think you will have to subpoena the administration for, the information that you want? i mean, what do you specifically want? >> a lot of it has to do with the contractors-- the jackettors have already told us in fact people represented that the
white house was telling them they needed these changes, including instead a simple let me shop for a program and decide to register, they were forced to register and go through all the thidges that have slowed down the web site before they could find out about a price. the american people have a right, even if they don't need to use the exchange, to be able to find out what those prices are and look at them competitively against other opportunities. >> schieffer: the white house, the president, his chief of staff, denis mcdonough, both have said they stand by secretary sebelius, that the secretary still enjoys full confidence in her. do you think she should lead? >> you've had me on before asking about full confidence in eric holder. this president has to understand, this was his signature legislation. they voted it on a purely partisan basis, but they had unlimited money, $600 million, just to do this part, and billions to do the other part. the president has been poorly serveed in the implementation of his own signature legislation.
so if somebody doesn't layoff, an--leave, and there isn't a rel restructuring, not just a 60-day somebody comes in and tries to fix it-- then he's missing the point of management 101, that these people should serve him well and they haven't. >> schieffer: you're saying it would be best if she went. >> if she can't get a team in to meet his agenda, she shouldn't be there. and when she says she didn't know, why didn't she know that the president's signature legislation was in fact in trouble? >> schieffer: let me also ask you about something else, and this is this brouhaha that's grown up since german chancellor merkel revealed that the n.s.a. had been tapping in and listening to her phone calls. did we go too far? >> well, remember, the n.s.a. works for the president. it's a question of th the
presidenting wanting to hear what president merkel is saying. the question of whether or not our key allies are being listened to it is an easy one, no. we have an agreement-- >> schieffer: and that is with great britain, australia, canada, and new zealand. we don't spy on them. but isn't it fair to say we spy on everybody else and everybody else spies on us? >> have a good intelligence agency, and n.s.a. whose job it is to look at open source, interview people, and try not only for ourselves to have situational awareness not only for ourselves but our allies. if what you do in germany helps the germans and us, but i don't believe ever listening to the head of state of an ally would be appropriate. >> and would hope if it's happened that the president is just as upset as all of us are in congress. >> schieffer: reporter, thank you so much, mr. chairman. i want to go to portsmouth, new hampshire, and democratic senator jeanne shaheen. senator, thank you for joining
us. >> good morning gleeft person brought in to fix obamacare and the web site told reporters friday that the problems would be fixed by november 30. do you still want them to extend the time that people have to enroll in this program? >> well, let me begin by saying that i support the affordable care act. i voted for it. i think it's important that we make it work for the millions of americans who haven't been able to get health insurance at a price they can afford. and that's my goal. it's to fix it. and as you said, jeffrey zients, the person brought in to address the web site concerns, has indicated he hopes to have it up and running by the end of november. i hope that's accurate. because we have-- we're hearing from lots of constituents in new hampshire that they want to enroll in health insurance, but they can't because of the problems with the web site. the roll out has been a disaster. and so what i'm proposing is
that we extend the period in which people can enroll, so we can make sure we can get as many people who want health insurance able to enroll and be able to be covered. >> schieffer: i understand 10 democrats have signed on to your proposal. i guess what i would say is it-- and i talked to white house yesterday about this, and they would not criticize you, but they said it's really not going to be necessary to extend that deadline. so i guess i'd ask you, do you have faith in them? do you believe that that can actually happen? >> well, i hope that's accurate because my goal is to fix the affordable care act, to make sure people can get that access to high. health care. unlike a lot of proposals from people whose goal is to repeal it and make sure it doesn't work. i want it to work.
to extend the enrollment period-- we're a month in-- to the marketplaces and the web site and people are not believe able to enroll. >> schieffer: just to cut to the chase here. you want to go ahead and extend that deadline, whether they're able to meet the current deadline or not? you still think that is necessary. >> well -- let me-- >> schieffer: am i right or wrong? right? >> well, yes. the law said that people were going to have six months to enroll. that they would not have beenv to be subject to penalties until the end of that period, and that's the concern. you know, i've heard from people like kyle up in lancaster, new hampshire, who said he's gone to the web site with his wife every day since october 1, and they've still not been able to enroll, and so i don't want them to feel like they have to be penalized if they can't enroll because the system is not working. >> schieffer: same question i asked chairman issa-- do you still have faith in secretary sebelius? the president says he does.
>> well, i think our number one goal at this point is to get the marketplaces working, to make sure the web site is working, to make sure the millions of people who want to enroll in health insurance through the affordable care act can do that. and there's going to be plenty of time to place blame on who is responsible on whether it should have worked on day one or didn't work or whatever. but right now, everybody's goal should be let's get this working. let's make sure people can get the health care they want and need. >> schieffer: so you're not ready to say whether or not secretary sebelius should leave? >> i think it's too early to start placing blame. i think we need get the marketplaces working. we need to get the web site working. and we all ought to be focused on how we make sure that the people who want health care in this country can get enrolled and be covered. >> schieffer: one final question, again, the same question i asked chairman issa.
what about this hubbub over the german chancellor revealing that we have been tapping in and listening to her cell phone. is it time to rein in the n.s.a. >> i'm not on the intelligence committee soy i haven't seen the classified information, but i think the revelations from snowden and the secrets that have been revealed are doing significant damage to our bilateral relationships with germany, with mexico, with the other countries where the suggestion is that we've listened in. so i think we have repair work to do. and i think we have hard questions we need to ask of the n.s.a. about what's really happening in this program. >> schieffer: all right, well, senator, thank you so much for joining thus morning. >> thank you. >> schieffer: we want to turn now to a fateful day you're going to be hearing a lot about over the next months because november 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of john kennedy, a day that many
believe changed america forever. the first word of it for many of us came from walter cronkite. >> from dallas, texas, the flash apparently official, president kennedy died at 1:00 p.m. central standard time. 2:00 eastern standard time. some 38 minutes ago. >> schieffer: the nation was plunged into shock. noct like this had ever happened. was it the beginning of world war iii? we were terrified. then came the news that an angry exmarine who had once defected to the soviet union had been arrested. >> lee h. oswald, the 24-year-old man who dallas police say is a prime suspect in the assassination of president kennedy, was questioned for six hours at the dallas police station this evening. >> here is oswald.
at the police station. he is saying there, "i did not do it it. i did not do it." >> reporter: vice president lyndon johnson was sworn in as president and brought kennedy's body and his widow back to washington on air force one. >> i will do my best. that is all i can do. i ask for your help and god's. >> schieffer: two days later a grieving nationwide was shocked once more as an unbelievable scene unfolded in the basement of the dallas police station. on live television, the accused assassin, lee harvey oswald, was gunned down and killed. >> oswald has been shot. >> by a dallas strip joint operator named jack ruby. >> here comes oswald. >> schieffer: the nation was reeling, desperate for answers. had oswald acted alone or parent
of a conspiracy? was a foreign government behind the murder? could it have been prevented? the new president appointed a high-level commission, headed by the chief justice of the united states, earl warren to investigate. >> as of this moment, the report of the president's commission is public record. >> schieffer: 10 months later, the warren commission presented its final report and concluded that oswald had killed the president, acted alone, and there was no conspiracy. >> the commission has found no evidence that either lee harvey oswald or jack ruby was part of any conspiracy. >> schieffer: over the years there have been thousand of theories and allegations of various conspiracies. but as yet, there has been no conclusive evidence to contradict the commission findings. yet, questions remain. in his new book "a cruel and shocking act: the secret history of the kennedy assassination," former "new york times" investigative reporter
phil shenon connects the dots that shows the f.b.i. and c.i.a. not only withhold information from the warren commission, but prior to the assassinations, did not tell f.b.i. agents and other law enforcement authorities in dallas all that they knew about oswald. had they done so, shenon believes the assassination might well have been prevented. phil shenon spent five years investigating the warren commission and the kennedy assassination. we have plenty to talk to him about. he's with us this morning. we'll talk to him in one minute. i'm beth... and i'm michelle. and we own the paper cottage. it's a stationery and gifts store. anything we purchase for the paper cottage goes on our ink card. so you can manage your business expenses and access them online instantly with the game changing app from ink.
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prevented? >> well there's a tremendous amount of material, that shows both the f.b.i. and c.i.a. were very aware of the threat that lee harvey oswald posed. and, you know, i'm not the only one who believes that. former f.b.i. director clarence kelly, when he was at the f.b.i. in the 1970s, he was perplexed by the kennedy assassination as anybody else. he went into the raw files and found that there was plenty of evidence that had somebody just connectedly the do the in those few days before president kennedy arrived in dallas, the assassination was preventible, perhaps easily preventible. >> schieffer: part of those thoughts have to do with oswald going to mexico city. that part is well known, but what he did there is not so much well known. as you have gone back, found out how much the c.i.a. knew what he was doing down there. one of the things you uncovered was a memo by j. edgar hoover written to the warren commission in june of 1964, somewhat,000 tw
never, ever got to the commission. tell bus that memo, you where you found it. >> it was sitting in the national archives. it was classified for years and years and years after the assassination. put butt it turns out in the middle o warren investigation, hoover wrote a letter saying that the f.b.i. has learned that oswald marched into an embassy, almost certainly a cuban embassy, and announced he was going to kill president kennedy. this document for the warren commission disappears. so the warren commission never knows that oswald was talking openly, weeks before the assassination, about killing the president. if the commission had seen this, it would have raised questions. >> schieffer: had the f.b.i. known about it, the people in dallas at that time, had known what the c.i.a. think about this, they certainly would have alerted the people on the
ground. >> that's the thing. there was knowledge, especially about this mysterious trip that oswald takes to mexico city, that was sitting in the f.b.i. files in washington, and at c.i.a. headquarters in langley, virginia. and, again fsomebody had just shared any of that with the f.b.i. office in dallas, those people would have gone and questioned oswald and the world world probably be a very different place. >> schieffer: one of the reasons there's been so many thoughts about was there a conspiracy, is the fact that after they conducted the autopsy-- well, teleus what happened to the notes that the doctor who conducted the autopsy-- what became of them? >> there are so many jaw-dropping events just in the first few hours after the assassination in terms of the destruction of evidence, it is just a big theme of my book is how much vital evidence disappears about the assassination and about lee harvey oswald. the night after the assassination, the autopsy-- the pathologist who carried out the
autopsy of president kennedy is at his home in maryland pushing into the fireplace the autopsy reports and his notes from the morgue. several hours later in dallas you have a handwritten note from oswald that he had left there, torn up and flushed down the toilet. hours after that, you have marina oswald putting a match to a photograph that shows her husband holding the assassination rifle. this is just the first weekend, and the story thereafter is destruction, destruction, destruction of evidence. >> schieffer: as you recount in your book, the reason the corkt decided to destroy the original report, it had blood on it. and he decided to recopy it. >> that's what he said. he said that he noticed that his notes and the original autopsy report had the president's blood on them. he was concerned that this would become sort-- some sort of grisly souvenir. and so he pushed them into his fireplace. of course, we don't really know. maybe there was some error he was trying to hide or something else that he had been ordered to
leave out of the final autopsy report. >> schieffer: one of the most interesting parts of the book is how lyndon johnson convinced earl warren to be the chairman of this committee. warren wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. >> you've got to feel bad for chief justice warren. he did not want to run this investigation, and he initially turned it down flat. he said, i don't do it. it's a terrible conflict of interest." of course a few minutes later his phone rings at his chambers in the supreme court and he is ordered to go to the oval office immediately and encounters a man he doesn't know, lyndon baines johnson, and he is in his face telling him he had to do this. >> schieffer: he left in tears. >> apparently, warren was in tears, and johnson takes a certain pride in that. >> schieffer: warren seemed to think, as i read your book, it was his job more to protect the kennedy legacy in many ways than it was to get to the bottom of this. he seemed to just want to get it
over with. >> he clearly loved president kennedy and the kennedy family. he was as shocked as anybody about what had happened in dallas. and wepetedly, in the history of the warren commission, you see the chief justice making decisions that are designed to protect the privacy of the kennedy family, and the legacy of president kennedy. >> schieffer: the result was the autopsy photos were never seen by the investigators on the warren commission. >> there was huge turmoil in-- on the staff of the warren commission because chief justice warren, he saw the awful, gruesome autopsy photos, and he made the decision that nobody would see them, none of the other commissioners, none of the staff. they would never be seen, even though they were the most important evidence, the medical evidence, that was needed by the staff. and there's a big fight on the part of the staff to try to get the chief justice to change his mind. >> schieffer: whatever happened to them? >> they were retained by robert kennedy at the justice department. and robert kennedy was also very insistent that they not be
released. >> schieffer: we'll hear more from phil shenon in part 2 of "face the nation" and i'll be back with personal thoughts. [ male announcer ] it is more than just a new car... more than a new interior lighting system. ♪ it is more than a hot stone massage. and more than your favorite scent infused into the cabin. it is a completely new era of innovation. and the highest expression of mercedes-benz. introducing the 2014 s-class. the best or nothing.
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♪ [ male announcer ] laura's heart attack didn't come with a warning. today her doctor has her on a bayer aspirin regimen to help reduce the risk of another one. if you've had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. many of us left who covered the assassination of john kennedy, but only those of us who were alive before that awful weekend can really know how much it changed america. we have been a confident. we had won world war ii. we believed in our leaders. we came to see our presidents as all but invincible. because of television, we've come to know john kennedy and his family more intimately than any of his predecessors. then in a matter of seconds, he was killed by a mad man. as the entire nation watched in horror and shock as the events of the weekend unfolded on
television in real time, the first time that had ever happened, our national confidence was shaken to the core. that weekend began one of the most violent decades in our country's history-- more assassinations, vietnam, the beginnings of watergate, a time that americans came to question almost everything we had once taken for granted. as it always had, the nation rebounded from those dark days, but it was never quite the same. it was the weekend america lost its innocence. back in a minute. revolutionizing an industry can be a tough act to follow, but at xerox we've embraced a new role. working behind the scenes to provide companies with services... like helping hr departments manage benefits and pensions for over 11 million employees. reducing document costs by up to 30%... and processing $421 billion dollars
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"face the nation." we're going to continue our conversation with phil shenon. it is well known that lee harvey oswald went to mexico city in the weeks before the assassination. the warren commission concluded the trip didn't figure in the killing of president kennedy. but this man thought otherwise. he is winston scott, seen here in a 1962 home movie taken in mexico city where he was the c.i.a. station chief. though he and others told the commission that the c.i.a. had limited know of oswald's visit, he later wrote that he knew and suspected much more. when he died in 1971, a top
c.i.a. official flew to mexico city and removed several boxes of documents from scott's house. one of those documents quietly declassified in the mid-1990s was a section of scott's unpublished memoirs, a section devoted to oswald's trip to mexico. lee harvey oswald became a person of great interest to us. quote scott, "oswald's visits at both the communist cuban embassy and the soaf embassy in mexicoico city during his brief five-day stay in september-october, 1963, are together with what is known what took place during these visits sufficient to make him a suspect agent acting on behalf of the soviets in self things, possibly including the assassination of president kennedy." so i have to ask you, phil, is winston scott and what he wrote in this diary to be taken
seriously? was that conjecture on his part? we have the information that he might have had evidence to back that up. >> apparently, in his memoirs, he describes photographs, c.i.a. photographs that were taken of oswald in mexico city, and he describes tapes of wiretapped conversations in which oswald was involved, and all of that disappeared. those-- certainly none of that material was ever provided to the warren commission. >> schieffer: was he the one that came up with the story about that oswald actually had some sort of a relationship with a woman, a cuban woman in mexico city? that was new to me when i read your book. >> there is some evidence to suggest he had a brief relationship with a young mexican woman who worked at the cuban embassy in mexico city. the warren commission actually wanted to interview that woman, but chief justice warren made the decision she would not be interviewed because he said she was a communist and we don't interview communists. >> schieffer: but this information was not passed on to the warren commission, and was
not passed on to the amies in dallas in those days before president kennedy came to dallas. >> absolute. and when scott told the warren commission there was not a conspiracy, in the memoir he said exactly the opposite. >> schieffer: so for whatever reason he didn't shoot straight with the warren commission. >> i think that's clear. >> schieffer: there was another, tom johnson, in the 1970s was the publisher of "dallas times herald," and later the head of cnn. we want to bring tom in now. he is with us this morning. tell us what you discovered-- when was it, 1975-- about some information that you came to know about. >> bob, it was 1975. i was sitting by an agent of the
f.b.i. that i had come to know over time. we were talking about the warren commission and whether there had been any new information that was discovered. he told me that oswald had come to the dallas office of the f.b.i., had left a threatening note several days before the assassination, and that that note had been flushed-- that is to say, had been destroyed. >> schieffer: how did that come about? how did you-- what did you find out about how the note came to be destroyed? and do you know what was on the note? >> i did not know precisely what was on the note. the work that diwith a great deal of cooperation, incidentally, from then-f.b.i. director clarence kelly showed the note had been been a threatening note, threatening to ploa up the dallas office of the f.b.i., the building, if the agents did not cease trying toirnt view oswald's wife,
marina. >> schieffer: we know, of course, they had been in contact with both marina and lee harvey oswald because he had defected to the soviet union, and she was, of course, a russian national. >> the fact that she spoke no english at the time, and the two agents were showing up at the residence to try to interview her as a matter of some routine for those citizens of russia who were living in the united states. but she was terribly frightened, and thought perhaps that these men were even k.g.b. >> schieffer: and you were not about to publish something like this, though you checked it out. if i remember, you flew to washington and met with the then-head of the f.b.i., clarence kelly. >> i had heard so many rumors over the years, so many conspiracy theories, and here i was as the publisher of the dallas paper, they felt this information had to be checked every possible way. so i asked for an emergency meeting with the then-f.b.i. director clarence kelly.
he and assistant director james adams agreed to see me the following day. i flew to washington and described to thoam what i had learned. i also asked them to confirm it or deny it for me with one condition, that they would advise me of the their findings and we could then go forward with publication if it was true. >> schieffer: and they told you it was. >> and on a saturday morning in september of 1975, director kelly called me to say that it was true. he was very saddened, i think, to learn of it, and went forward with the publication. >> schieffer: and, phil, i want to get back to your book. as far as you know, this information never got to the warren commission. >> no, absolutely not. i mean the decision was made two days after the assassination to destroy this note, and we'll never know exactly what was in that note. it's been described in different ways. but, no, the warren commission knew absolutely nothing about it. >> schieffer: you know, one of
the most fascinating parts of your book to me, because i've worked in washington for more than 40 years now, and i know how hard it is to keep a secret around here. i mean, you can barely keep one through a 24-hour news cycle. but you revealed a secret that was held for 50 years and that is that an investigator on the warren commission actually interviewed fidel castro-- never made a record of it-- but tell us how that happened. >> well, this is a gentleman boy the name of william coleman, a young lawyer from philadelphia who is on the staft warren commission. >> schieffer: when who went on to become secretary of transportation in the ford administration. >> that's correct. he's in charge of the conspiracy team on the warren commission. and he actually knows fidel castro from his days in jazz clubs in harlem, and apparently during his visits to new york, castro would visit. and he, coleman, is sent out on a boat to the waters off ciewrk very secretly, to meet with fidel castro, to hear what
castro has to say-- which is he insists he did not have any involvement in president kennedy's assassination. >> schieffer: you know, tom, lyndon johnson never accepted the warren commission report that there was no conspiracy. he told joe califano, one of his senior aides, others in the information, the kennedys were trying to get castro, and castro got him first. did he ever have any evidence of that or was that just a suspicion that he had? to the best of my knowledge, president johnson, former president johnson, never had any hard evidence of that. >> schieffer: and, phil, did you ever find anything to indicate that castro did, indeed, have this connection? we know when oswald went to the cuban embassy in mexico, he tried to get a visa to go to cuba, but the cubans wouldn't give him one. my sense of that they turned him away. they didn't want to deal with
him. >> that's apparently correct, or at least that is the story we were told at the time. you know, in mexico city, oswald is dealing with cuban spies and soviet spies, and mexicans sympathetic to castro, who might have had reason to want to see the end of john kennedy's presidency, all & all those connections went uninvestigated by the f.b.i. and c.i.a. they didn't want to find out what the truth was down there. >> schieffer: tom uinterviewed castro yourself many years after that. were you with the "l.a. times? in. >> i was then with cnn. >> schieffer: did you ever get any sense that castro, there was a castro connection here? >> president castro said to me, and larry register, under no dns anybody in his government have any connection with the assassination. and i'll never forget hissy quote as translated to me.
he said, "if there were ever any evidence, they would have incip railted my little island." >> schieffer: phil in your book you talk about-- and there's no question about this. there have been reports about it sense-- there is no question the administration before that was trying to sabotage castro in every way they could. they were trying to topple him. the bay of picion had been, you know, a complete failure. but right up until the assassination, the c.i.a. was still trying to carry out some sort of a move to assassinate castro. >> they were trying to kill him. on the day of president kennedy's assassination, a c.i.a. officer in paris is handing a poison pen to a man apparently assigned to kill castro. no, the kennedy administration was very clearly trying to oust castro and almost certainly violently. >> schieffer: and from time to time came up with these various
plots-- bring in the mafia to see if they could help and that sort of thing. castro had to know about that. >> he did. he did know aboutt that. just weeks before the assassination, castro gave an interview in havana saying he was aware the kennedy administration was trying to kill him and there would be retaliation if that continued. >> schieffer: but apparently, tom johnson, came away that he thought the consequences would be disastrous for cuba if he did try something. we'll never know. obviously, he's going to deny it, but we'll never know any more than that. we'll be back in one minute. we're going to bring in peggy noonan and bob woodward into this discussion. >> we're watching an official reenactment of the murder of president john f. kennedy, filmed from the window where the alleged assassin was. when we made our commitment to the gulf, bp had two big goals:
help the gulf recover and learn from what happened so we could be a better, safer energy company. i can tell you - safety is at the heart of everything we do. we've added cutting-edge technology, like a new deepwater well cap and a state-of-the-art monitoring center, where experts watch over all drilling activity twenty-four-seven. and we're sharing what we've learned, so we can all produce energy more safely. our commitment has never been stronger. now. joining us at the table, peggy noonan, columnist for the "wall street journal," and bob woodward, our old friend at the
"washington post." peggy, as you sit here and listen to phil retell this story, and tom, what goes through your mind here? >> well, it's a heck of a story. we are 50 years-- we are half a century into the story, and we are still learning new things about it, which is kind of amazing. but i also wondered,aise mentioned a moment ago, i wonder if we were not as a fully functioning nation lucky not to know all of this at the time. you wonder how destabilizing it would have been to have known of the grave doubts and the mischief and in some cases, the dishonesty of people running the united states and running great report of the tragically killed president. in a way, i mean, it's the opposite of these days where we know everything, and that has its own destabilizing effect. >> schieffer: phil writes in
his book at one point, dean rusk told the-- who did he tell, the attorney general or somebody to shut down this investigation about trying to find out if it was castro? >> it's an amazing story, but the u.s. ambassador to mexico city, a fellow by the name of tom mann, says many years after the assassination, he was called immediately after president kennedy's murder, by dean rusk, and told to shut down any investigation in mexico city that might point to any cuban involvement in the assassination. he was shocked by that. he thought the same orders were given to the f.b.i. and c.i.a. in mexico city, and it's thought because the c.i.a. was concerned their covert operations in mexico city might be exposed. >> schieffer: bob, you you and i have seen a lot of these things. >> too much. >> schieffer: the first thing that agencies tend to do is try
to make sure they can't be blamed for something. and, clearly, that is why the f.b.i. and the c.i.a. did not come clean with the warren commission, and why maybe they didn't even tell the amies in dallas what was going on. >> well, initially, in the watergate cover-up, part of the argument was, oh, you'll expose convert operations in mexico because they were laundering $89,000 of money that helped finance watergate. i think there's a theme in all of this that you have laid out that connects somewhat to what's going on now. and that is the power of this secret world-- c.i.a., f.b.i.-- particularly in what you've looked at, phil, the assassination plots geens castro. i mean, it's stunning, and this information really didn't get to the warren commission. and it's not saying that castro did it, but that there's all
this secrecy and the people at the top or the people investigating the commission does not get the evidence. we look now at what's going on with all the n.s.a. wiretapping and people saying, "well, they didn't know, or they did know." it clearly is much more extensive than people expected. you connect this with the drone strikes in pakistan, and yemen, which is our government conducting regular assassinations by air. you know, what's-- what's going on here? hois in control of it? and who can find out? you know, i think-- it's in the "new york times" this morning that there is a review that siewns rice and the national security adviser for obama has done on middle east policy. they need to review the this secret world and its power in their government because you run
into this rats nest of concealment and lies time and time again then and now. >> schieffer: i want to go back to just-- because those of us who have seen one commission after another-- and i always had the highest regard for the warren commission because of the reputation of the people who were on it. but this thing was just one step away from being totally dysfunctional. talk a little bit about that. >> just thinking,un, bob is describing this powerful secret government, and the members of the warren commission staff who really did this hard work, did the digging, they were young men who had no experience in government, most of whom had no experience in investigating. they had no idea what they were up against in the c.i.a. and the f.b.i. and these agencies that were determined to hide the full truth. >> schieffer: and the commission members themselves, though, you know, here you had earl warren who didn't want the job. you had richard russell, this distinguished senator from georgia, who could not stand
earl warren and told lyndon johnson that he wouldn't be on a commission that included earl warren, and johnson said,"i'm sorry, it's too late. i've already announced you're on the commission and you're anything to have to do it." he showed up for very few meetings. some of the other commission members seldom came when they met. you have gerald ford who went on to become president who early on called the f.b.i. and said, "listen, i'll be glad to be your guy, and i'll keep you informed." i mean, these tales are just astonishing to me how they ever got anything done. >> of the seven commissioners, really only two or three were ever involved in this investigation at all. >> i think in part what we're talking about is the deep state, even then, even 50 years ago, there were so many key agencies, and they had so much going on, and there was so much information coming in, and there were humans who were mishandling
it-- and i mean some innocent people such as i think the agent in dallas who was doing his best with lee harvey oswald but didn't think he should be followed in the days before the assassination. it was an honest judgment. but my point is in governments, which are living organisms, there can be so much stimuli coming in, that you lose it, but also people realize they're kind of powerful on midlevels. and we see this same thing today when there's even more information coming in. there's opportunity for even more mischief, things that get lost, but also things that get bottlenecked. bureaucracy can have a profound effect and being powerful but can also lose a million threads. >> it's for a good purpose-- we want to stop terrorism in this country and the world. so all of this power has gone to the intelligence agencies. it's actually-- it's astounding what we spend on it, tens of
billions of dollars. the problem is-- and the peep who do lot of this work do it in good faith-- but it's on automatic pilot. kill this person because we think he might be a terrorist. in some cases, they have these signature strikes. well, it looks like terrorists. they're doing things like terrorists do. so let's kill them. or let's get chancellor merkel's conversations on the cell phone. now, what's interesting here is the technology that gives us the information about the terrorists is very similar, essentially, to the technology that allows us to get conversations of world leaders on cell phones. and somebody's got to look at this and see where it's going. i mean, it is-- you get to a point where what do you worry
about? secret governments. >> schieffer: let me ask both of you. tell me what your take is now on this whole rolled out of obamacare? where does this go, peggy. >> oh, it has been, i believe, a political disaster for the white house. it has made people in america nervous, anxious, and confused. look, bottom line, it seems to me, this whole thing should be delayed. but deep inside myself, i really think, look, they can probably get this tech end to work in a certain amount of time, but the internals of the law, the content of the law is already causing problems. i wish we could stop the whole thing, go back to point one, and say let's try this again. i think it's not working. >> it clearly isn't working. and, you know, we'll see.
they've put a lot of people on it. and they promised to deliver. but, again, this connects to this theme of we've got an incredibly powerful government that gets on automatic pilot and you have people with inexperience who don't know about nuts and bolts questions, people who don't go in and say, "well, now is this going to work? let's test it?" we were talking earlier about the raid that killed osama bin laden. that was run by leon panetta, who was c.i.a. director, who knew to make sure you checked all of the boxes, and they literally had a place where it was a compound that they reconstructed and they practiced. and we didn't been practice obamacare. >> schieffer: all right, we have to end it there. tom jawnsop, thank you. you did some greet reporting back there, but when you did honest work, being a real shoe leather reporter. >> thank you, bob.
>> schieffer: and phil shenon, congratulations. it's a remarkable book. >> thank you. >> schieffer: we'll be right back. ♪ [ ding! ] losing your chex mix too easily? time to deploy the boring-popcorn decoy bucket. then no one will want to steal the deliciousness. ♪ with a variety of tastes and textures, only chex mix is a bag of interesting.
special coverage of the 50th anniversary of the kennedy assassination ploond for next month. i will be hosting a prime-time special, "as is happened, john f. kennedy " on saturday november 16, followed by a live broadcast of "face the nation" from the site of the school book depository, which is now the 6 form museum in dallas, the nmorning, november 17. plus there will be coverage all that week on "cbs this morning "and the cbs evening news with scott pelley. bam in a minute. i'm beth...
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