I just finished reading the 448 page “Cover Your Ass” book by agent Blaine. As a former Secret Service Agent and the first African American to be appointed to the White House Detail, I was dismayed at the continued attempts by former agents to deny culpability in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The attack upon my credibility in the book, “The Kennedy Detail” was expected; but I was hoping that the former Kennedy body guards would show a modicum of contriteness in the book instead of trying to blame Kennedy’s assassination on the President himself. Unlike the general reading public, I was an agent during the critical period on November 22, 1963. In my book, “The Echo from Dealey Plaza”, I relate to the public what I saw while serving on the white house detail and the disrespect and hatred towards the President that I heard expressed by some of my fellow agents.
Although, Blaine refers my claims of racism in the secret service white house detail in 1961 as being unfounded, on page 25 of my book, I document by secret service file memo 3-11-602-111 the stark racism that prevented me from carrying out my protective responsibilities in Miami Florida. Mr. Blaine also states in his “cya” book that Agent Faison, who was the first African American permanently, assigned to the White House Detail in 1963 took issue with my “unbelievable” charges of racism in the secret service. If there was no racism in the secret service in 1963 then how is it that just eight years ago, 57 African American Agents filed a class action suit, (that is still pending in federal district court) charging overt racism by the agency.(see http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17358992)?
Blaine and other agents can feed the public with the “cya” account of the secret service actions during the Kennedy area but I was there and was a witness to the incompetence, laxity of certain agents surrounding the president, the drinking and cavalier attitude among many of the agents on the detail, the references to President Kennedy as being a Ni—r lover and their disdain for his stand for racial justice and equal opportunity for All Americans. I was present among a few agents who were discussing the protection of President Kennedy in which the statement was made that if an attempt were made on the life of the President, they would take no action.
Blaine states in his book that I said that I discussed the conduct of my fellow agents on the detail with Chief James Rowley. I make no such claim. On page 45 of The Echo from Dealey Plaza, I specifically state that I discussed the problems of Kennedy’s protection with Chief U. E. Baughman. I did not go to Rowley because I knew that he already knew of the conduct of the agents and would do nothing about it.
As far as agents being forbidden to ride on the special running boards of the presidential vehicle, that rumor was not circulated until “after” the assassination of the president. There was no official memorandum or other notification of such an order advising agents of this change in protective policy. This rumor is no more than a scandalous assertion put forth by agents who failed in their duty to properly protect the President of these United States.
Lastly, Blaine derides me concerning the Kennedy investigations that took place in Chicago during November, 1963; however, he has no knowledge of the chicanery that took place in the Chicago office of the secret service during that time. Unlike Blaine, I was there. I was there when in early November, 1963 the Chicago office of the secret service investigated a character named Echevarria. Echevarria stated that President Kennedy was about to be assassinated. I heard the investigating agent dictating the reports in early November, 1963. The investigation took place prior to the assassination in Dallas. On the afternoon of November 26, 1963, Inspector Kelly, SAIC James Burke, and representatives of the FBI had a meeting in the Chicago office of the secret service. Kelly and Burke were the lead investigators representing the secret service in Dallas prior to the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald. The Echevarria investigation took place during the first two weeks in November. I was there in the office when the reports that had already been dictated by the investigating agents and typed by the secretaries were rounded up and banded in a single stack in the office of SAIC Martineau. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that these collected investigative reports were dictated by the agents PRIOR to the assassination of Kennedy. However, after Kelly and Burke ended their conference, these same reports were restructured and the dates of the investigation were changed to indicate that the Echevarria investigation was conducted AFTER the assassination and had reference to the concern for the protection of President Johnson as Blaine claims in his “CYA” book. I was there. I know what happened and Blaine may fool the general public, but he can’t fool me.
Blaine refers to me as the convicted felon and uses that phrase in an attempt to discredit me and my autobiography, The Echo from Dealey Plaza. I may well be a convicted felon but I sleep well at night knowing that I did everything that I could do to save the life of President Kennedy. Can the agents standing on the running board of the follow-up car in Dallas, Texas and watching the president’s head blown to pieces, say the same thing? I doubt it. They know the truth too.