Book Excerpt: 'A Simple Act of Murder: November 22, 1963' by Mark Fuhrman

More congressional investigations followed. Later in 1975 a Senate select committee chaired by Idaho senator Frank Church was convened to investigate the federal intelligence agencies. Church created a subcommittee, chaired by Senator Richard Schweiker, whose purpose was to investigate the performance of intelligence agencies in the investigation of the JFK assassination. The Schweiker subcommittee report, released in May 1976, documented the failure of the FBI, the Secret Service, and the CIA to examine the possibility of a conspiracy. Meanwhile, the Church Committee had uncovered several CIA plots to assassinate Fidel Castro. In some of these plots the Agency had been conspiring with high-ranking Mafia members to assassinate the Cuban leader. Belief in a conspiracy reached an all-time high. By the time the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) was established in September 1976, a Gallup poll was reporting that 80 percent of the American people believed President Kennedy had been the victim of a conspiracy. The HSCA was charged with answering the questions about Lee Harvey Oswald's guilt and the possibility of a conspiracy. (The HSCA also investigated the possibility of a conspiracy in the assassination of Martin Luther King.) After two years of investigation and hearings, the HSCA determined that "President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy." While the Committee did not identify any conspirators, it suggested that the Mafia and/or anti-Castro Cubans had been involved. Because the HSCA's charter had run out, it recommended that the Justice Department continue the investigation.

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