Posner: Oswald Acted Alone

Posner: There is absolutely no evidence that I found of the Secret Service having been compromised on Nov. 22, 1963. I think that one of the mistakes the American public makes today is that we judge pre-Nov. 22, 1963, presidential security by what we expect it to be after Kennedy's assassination. We expect to go to a site and see Secret Service scouring buildings and looking up at windows. We expect to see sharpshooters on top of rooftops. We expect today, post-9/11, for individuals to be checking under manhole covers and looking for a bomb. The security that applies to presidents today is, in part, a result of the assassination that took place 40 years ago. We've learned lessons. There were, in fact, no Secret Service scouring the buildings and looking up at the top. Almost impossible to imagine that happening today. They followed their rules. Their rules just turned out to be, in retrospect, poor.

ABCNEWS: How important is the shooting of Officer J.D. Tippit in understanding the assassination of President Kennedy?

Posner: I believe that the shooting of Officer Tippit shortly after the assassination of the president is they key to understanding that Lee Harvey Oswald was without question involved in the assassination. Oswald is a person of great political interest. He is involved in politics. He talks about Marxism. He defected to the Soviet Union. And he gets the word that the president has been shot, and according to what he tells the police, he says, "Gee, that must mean we're getting off work early. I can go home for the day." The last person in Dallas who would have gone home for the day after learning that the president had been shot outside the place that he worked would have been Oswald. He would have been hanging around and asking questions and finding out if the president was alive or dead and what had taken place.

Instead, he gets on a bus that's a little slow. He's very tightfisted, doesn't spend money very easy. [He] takes a taxi. That's remarkable. Goes back to the place that he's staying at. What does he do? What anybody does after the president's been shot — he grabs a pistol.

Then he walks down the road and in the middle of that is stopped by a policeman who has a general description of the shooter. Now Oswald, the patsy, doesn't know anything. Nothing's wrong, but he decides he better shoot this policeman just for the hell of it. So he shoots J. D. Tippit dead on the spot and then keeps going. The killing of Tippit is the evidence for those who refuse to acknowledge it, that this man is up to his eyeballs in the assassination of the president. There is no question of Oswald's guilt in this case when you look at his murder of Tippit so shortly after the murder of Kennedy.

ABCNEWS: In custody, Oswald consistently denied shooting the president. How do you understand that?

Posner: I'm not surprised that Lee Oswald denies his guilt in killing the president that weekend in Dallas. I don't think he would have admitted it a week later or a month later, or a year later. He was in the perfect position that he wanted to be in all the time. Finally, at the age of 24, Lee Harvey Oswald had arrived. All the cameras were around and he was the buzz of activity. He was the object of everybody's questions. And he was able to stand there and have the great fun of saying "Not me. You've got the wrong person. I'm just the patsy," and put everybody through the ultimate game.

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