President Lyndon Johnson was milliseconds away from being shot dead by a Secret Service agent – only 14 hours after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, a new book has revealed.
The Kennedy Detail, written by Gerald Blaine – an agent detailed with looking after the president – with the help of Lisa McCubbin, has lifted the lid on the murder, and rubbished various conspiracy theories.
And, following JFK’s death on November 22, 1963, he had been ordered to look after the new president’s two-storey house in Washington.
On the evening of the assassination, Blaine heard someone walking towards the house and so he loudly cocked his submachine gun, in the hope that it would act as a deterrent.
The book explains: ‘He firmly pushed the stock into his shoulder, ready to fire. He’d expected the footsteps to retreat with the loud sound of the gun activating, but they kept coming closer. Blaine’s heart pounded, his finger firmly on the trigger. ‘Let me see your face…’
‘The next instant, there was a face to go with the footsteps.
‘The new President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, had just rounded the corner, and Blaine had the gun pointed directly at the man’s chest. In the blackness of the night, Johnson’s face went completely white. ‘A split second later, Blaine would have pulled the trigger…
‘Blaine struggled to regain his composure as the reality of what had just happened washed over him. Fourteen hours after losing a president, the nation had come chillingly close to losing another one.’
Blaine was handpicked to serve on the elite White House Secret Service Detail, the thirty-four man team responsible for protecting the president.
And the new book, which is the first account of the assassination by a member of President Kennedy’s security detail, blows certain theories out of the water.
It includes an account by Clint Hill – the agent who jumped on to JFK’s car to push the First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, down after her husband had been shot.
President Kennedy was shot once in the upper back, killed with a final shot to the head and was pronounced dead at 1p.m.
Only 46, he died younger than any U.S. president to date.
Lee Harvey Oswald, an employee of the Texas School Book Depository from which the shots were suspected to have been fired, was arrested on charges of the murder of a local police officer and was subsequently charged with the assassination of President Kennedy.
But he denied shooting anyone, before being killed by Jack Ruby on November 24, before he could be indicted or tried.
President Johnson created the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination, which concluded that Oswald was the lone assassin.
However, these results were disputed and there has been a suspicion held by many of a government cover-up of information about the assassination and conspiracy theories abound on who killed JFK, and why.
There are grey areas about when President Kennedy was shot from – ahead or behind him – how many shooters there were, what the murder weapon was exactly, why key witnesses and documents went missing.
Some even linked President Kennedy with organized crime rings.