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The Deep State Went After JFK on Russia Too


It is fascinating to see both the rightwing and the leftwing excoriate President Trump for trying to establish friendly relations with Russia, especially since it’s not the first time this has happened. It also happened to President Kennedy. As the old saying goes, it’s déjà vu all over again.

Like Trump, Kennedy was called a traitor, an appeaser, and a coward for seeking to establish friendly relations with the Soviet Union, whose principal member was Russia.

Back then, it was the deep state — that is, the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA — and the rightwing who were condemning Kennedy for his outreach to Russia. To capture a sense of the deep rage that was felt toward Kennedy, take a look at the following two images on the Internet:

The first image is a flier entitled “Wanted for Treason” that the rightwing was circulating in Dallas on the day that Kennedy was killed. It accused him of betraying the Constitution and our friends and befriending our enemies, including Russia. It also pointed out that Kennedy had been caught in “fantastic LIES to the American people (including personal ones.…).” [Caps in original.]

Sound familiar? That was the sentiment of the conservative movement and the upper echelons of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA — i.e., the U.S. deep state.

The second image is an advertisement entitled “Welcome Mr. Kennedy to Dallas” that appeared in the Dallas Morning News on the day of his assassination. It too reflected the mindset of the U.S. national-security establishment. It angrily condemned Kennedy for going soft on the Russians and other communists and for scrapping the Monroe Doctrine for “the Spirit of Moscow.”

Kennedy’s reaction? He considered such people to be “nut-balls.” That’s what he told his wife Jacqueline shortly before he was assassinated.

While Trump has merely questioned the national-security establishment’s position that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Kennedy was in an all-out, take-no-prisoners war against the U.S. national security establishment.

Kennedy’s war began with the CIA’s ill-fated invasion of Cuba in 1961, continued through the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and culminated with Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963.

After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, where Castro’s communist forces handily defeated the CIA’s paramilitary army, Kennedy was livid because he realized that the CIA had intentionally lied to him and tried to set him up. To secure the president’s permission to launch the invasion (against a country that had never attacked the United States), the CIA told the president that the operation could succeed without U.S. air support. It was a lie, and the CIA knew it was a lie. The CIA figured that once the invasion started, the president would have to send in the air support to avoid losing face with a communist defeat.

But much to the CIA’s surprise, Kennedy stuck by his guns and let the CIA’s army go down to defeat. But he was angry. He fired Allen Dulles, the highly revered CIA director and he reputedly vowed to tear the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter them to the winds. He also put his brother Bobby in informal charge of supervising the agency, which was anathema to CIA officials.

The CIA was equally livid with Kennedy, if not more so. CIA officials believed that he had shown weakness and cowardice in the face of communist aggression.

During the months that followed, the president’s attitude toward the Pentagon worsened as well, especially since the Joint Chiefs of Staff were pressuring him to send U.S. troops into Laos and Vietnam to stop the communists, who, the Pentagon and the CIA were convinced, were coming to get us.

Moreover, the Joint Chiefs of Staff came up with a weird, nut-ball plan they called Operation Northwoods, which called for plane hijackings and terrorist attacks on American soil carried out by CIA agents posing as Cuban communists. The idea was that the president would now have a pretext to invade Cuba. To his everlasting credit, JFK rejected the plan.

Even worse, the Pentagon was asking Kennedy to consider a first-strike, surprise nuclear attack on Russia, much like the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Military officials told Kennedy that “we” would win the war because “we” would wipe all everyone in Russia while they would only kill an estimated 37 million Americans. That was the meeting where Kennedy walked out and indignantly remarked to an aide, “And we call ourselves the human race.”

Then there was the Cuban Missile Crisis, which Kennedy resolved by agreeing not to invade Cuba, thereby leaving the communist regime running Cuba to remain in power permanently. Gen. Curtis LeMay, one of the president’s biggest enemies in the war between JFK and the national security establishment, called it “the worst defeat in our nation’s history.” He also accused the president of being an appeaser in the face of communist aggression, a reference to Neville Chamberlain’s response to Hitler.

But it was after the Cuban Missile Crisis that the war became full-blown.  Kennedy realized that the U.S. national-security establishment’s Cold War against Russia and the rest of the communist world was just a great big unnecessary and highly dangerous racket. On June 10, 1963, he threw down the gauntlet in his now-famous Peace Speech at American University. Without advising or consulting with the Pentagon or the CIA before delivering the speech, Kennedy announced an end to the Cold War. There was no reason, he said, why Russia and the United States couldn’t live in peaceful and friendly co-existence despite their ideological differences. That was heresy in the minds of the U.S. deep state.

Kennedy was well aware of how dangerous his moves were. During his presidency, he persuaded friends in Hollywood to turn the novel Seven Days in May into a movie. The movie posited a military takeover of the U.S. government to “save” the nation from what the military believed was a naïve, incompetent president. In response to a question from a friend, Kennedy stated that a young U.S. president who was perceived to be weak and incompetent ran the risk of being ousted from power by the U.S. national-security establishment. At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, his brother told the Soviet ambassador that the military was getting extremely close to taking control of the situation.

Of course, Kennedy wasn’t the only president who recognized how dangerous the U.S. national security establishment was. President Eisenhower warned of the dangers to America’s political system posed by the “military industrial complex,” which was his term for the “deep state.” And thirty days after Kennedy was assassinated, the Washington Post published an op-ed by former president Harry Truman, who had brought the CIA into existence in the first place, stating that the CIA had become a sinister force in American life. The timing of Truman’s op-ed could not have been a coincidence.

If Kennedy had won the war against the U.S. national-security establishment, there is a good possibility that the federal government would have been converted back to a limited-government republic in the early 1960s. That’s because the only reason that the federal government was converted to a national-security state was to wage a “cold war” against Russia and the rest of the communist world. No more cold war, as Kennedy announced, would have meant no more need for a national-security state.

Unfortunately, however, Kennedy lost the war, which is why, more than 50 years later, President Trump is getting excoriated for doing what Kennedy did — rejecting the admonitions of the U.S. deep state and reaching out to Russia in a spirit of peace and friendship.

For more information, see:

JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne

The Kennedy Autopsy by Jacob Hornberger

Regime Change: The Kennedy Assassination by Jacob Hornberger

The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State by Jacob Hornberger

CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files by Jefferson Morley


This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.