Phillip K. Elliott--reporter for UPI
Ted W. Powers--reporter for UPI
Dave Blair--reporter for UPI
Les Dale Owens--AP and Daily Texan magazine
Ned Spelce--KTBC TV reporter
Richard "Cactus" Prior--KTBC TV reporter
Frank Cormier--AP reporter & close friend of Helen Thomas"
Roger Stone and Mike Colapietro in their new book The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ , state that the dinner party did take place, but that it was a smaller affair than Wood, Joesten, and McClellan stated; and that LBJ made the earlier referenced statement to Madeline Brown on the morning of November 22, 1963, not the night before. I would note that only two of the men who I believe were directly involved in the operational end of the murder of JFK --Jack Ruby and Mac Wallace--are reported as being at the party. If Stone and Colapietro are correct about the smaller dinner party--and I believe they probably are correct about that if nothing else--Ruby and Wallace would be the first two who I would take off of Ira Wood III's possible "guest list."
It is the attendees at the private meeting who are of the most interest to history. This group included many of the movers and shakers of the most hawkish wing of the Military-Industrial Complex, including the "independent" Texas oil interests who would take the biggest financial hit if Kennedy reduced the oil depletion allowance from 27.5% to 14.5%, several members of organized crime, and individuals who would make billions off of the coming war in Vietnam. Finally, every single person in that room strongly disapproved of Kennedy's detente with Nikita Khrushchev, his failure to launch a nuclear war against the Soviet Union over Cuba, and the Bay of Pigs.
A meeting of this group of individuals should have been a "red flag" for any normal political counterintelligence force, but J. Edgar Hoover controlled our national counterintelligence operations through the FBI. Coincidence? To quote President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, "In politics, there is no such thing as a coincidence." These are the people you would need to be "in the know" to assassinate a sitting U.S. President in Dallas, Texas in 1963.
So why would these men risk getting together the night before JFK's assassination?
I believe the answer is simple: because they all shared the same set of illnesses: greed and concomitant lust for power, micromanagement as an obsession, especially if it was their asses on the line, and megalomania bordering on a Messiah Complex. Here are three examples:
J. Edgar Hoover's failings in this regard are legendary. Maintaining his position as Director of the FBI, especially as he was approaching his 70th birthday in 1965 (mandatory retirement age for federal employees), Hoover was convinced (correctly I believe) that John and Robert Kennedy would use that as a reason to ease him out the door.
Back in the 1930's when FBI agent Melvin Purvis was hunting down John Dillinger, Hoover required Purvis to make daily, and sometimes even hourly progress reports. A few months later, when "Creepy" Alvin Karpis of Ma Barker's gang was the new public enemy number one (a title he gained after John Dillinger's extra-judicial execution in Chicago), Hoover held up the capture of Karpis until he could fly to New Orleans, and supervise the arrest himself. When (according to Karpis), a dozen FBI agents had him stopped in his car, surrounded with Thompson sub-machine guns and other weapons, J. Edgar Hoover "bravely" (don't snicker too loudly) stepped out from behind his phalanx of agents to announce to Karpis he was under arrest. Hoover only took that much risk because the newspapers were still lauding Purvis for Dillinger's death, and Hoover did not want to share the spotlight with anybody.
LBJ was without a doubt the premier political deal-maker in the U.S. of the Twentieth Century. When he lost the Democratic Presidential Nomination to JFK in 1960, it was a massive blow to his gigantic ego. Because his family had a tendency to be short-lived, LBJ thought that 1964 would be his last chance for an eight year Presidency, because he would turn 64 in January, 1973, the same age at which his father died. In late 1963, LBJ, who had remained untouched by scandal in spite of his wide-spread influence peddling, was facing the reality that business associate Billy Sol Estes, was about to go down on charges of fraud; and that LBJ's friend and protege, Bobby Baker, was probably not far behind. The only way that he could keep his power--and keep himself out of the prosecutor's sights--was if he remained Vice-President, or better still, became President. LBJ believed it was his destiny to be President of the United States, and he wasn't about to let some Irish-Catholic, silver spoon Boston politician and his little brother stop him. After he dove head first into Vietnam, LBJ micromanaged the conflict, at times giving General Westmoreland and other subordinates orders from 10,000 miles away that had no relationship with what was actually happening in Southeast Asia.
Richard Nixon was Macbeth with five o'clock shadow. In his checkered career, Nixon had ongoing ties with both the Mob and Big Oil going back to perhaps as early as 1942. Nixon was a member of the Office of Price Administration (OPA) before he joined the Navy in 1943, and his desk was (according to Carl Oglesby in The Yankee and Cowboy War , 1976, pp, 35-9) the first one across which a U.S. Customs report on the re-importation by Standard Oil of Kansas (in an attempt to circumvent tire rationing laws) of prewar, American manufactured tires from Cuba (with the help of Bebe Rebozo) would have landed. However, the particulars of that event are lost to history, as virtually all OPA records were destroyed after the War. We do know that Nixon's future friend and fellow U.S. Congressman George Smathers represented Standard Oil of Kansas. We also know that Mr. Smathers had a long term relationship--both personal and professional--with Meyer Lansky, who is usually considered by Mob historians as the brains behind the National Crime syndicate. The final fate of those illegally re-imported tires, as well as the legal penalties assessed on those who broke this law, are lost in the mists of history.