The Top 5 John F. Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Theories

One gunman or two? Soviets or the CIA? The best JFK conspiracy theories.

ByABC News
November 11, 2013, 2:06 PM
The presidential motorcade travels through Dallas a few moments before John F Kennedy was shot.
The presidential motorcade travels through Dallas a few moments before John F Kennedy was shot.
Library Of Congress/Getty Images

Nov. 11, 2013— -- intro: The fifty years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy have done little to quell the public's interest or skepticism about who killed the president.

In 1964, a year after the president's death, the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, better known as the Warren Commission, concluded that Kennedy was killed by a single gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, who acted alone and not part of a conspiracy.

In 1978, however, another government committee, the House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations, found that in addition to Oswald, there likely was a second gunman who fired at the president's motorcade. The commission concluded that the gunmen were part of a "conspiracy," without determining exactly who was behind it, opening the door to five decades and a cottage industry of theories.

According to a 2003 ABC News Poll, 70 percent of Americans believe Kennedy's death was "the result of a plot, not the act of a lone killer." Fifty-one percent believe Oswald did not act alone, and 7 percent believe Oswald was not involved at all in the assassination.

In the years since Kennedy's death more than 2,000 books have been written about the assassination, many of which espouse one or more conspiracy theories.

In no particular order and with no endorsement, here are five of the most popular Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories.

quicklist:1title: The Soviets Did Ittext: The Soviets seem like an obvious choice if you're looking for a dark hand behind Kennedy's assassination.

Proponents of the theory point to two pieces of evidence. First, the U.S. and the Soviet Union were engaged in a bitter cold war. Conspiracy theorists allege that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was so embarrassed by having to back down following the Cuban Missile Crisis he ordered the hit on Kennedy.

The other compelling piece of evidence is Lee Harvey Oswald's connection to the USSR. Though a former marine, Oswald had twice visited the Soviet Union with his Russian-born wife Marina. Both the Warren Commission and the House Committee on Assassinations found little evidence to support a Soviet-backed operation, but one former KGB agent came out years later to say the Russians played a role in the plot. media: 20614093

quicklist:2title: The Mafia Did ittext: This much we know is true, the CIA had contacts with organized crime families to discuss assassinating the president. Only the president was Cuba's Fidel Castro, not Kennedy.

The mob was heavily invested in casinos and other lucrative investments in Cuba before Castro's communist revolution, according to one iteration of the theory. Kennedy botched the Bay of Pigs invasion, ending any hopes of American organized crime returning to Cuba and enraging the mafia.

Furthermore, the mob did not like Kennedy's crusading younger brother Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and hoped the younger brother would lose his influence if his brother was killed.