Author Topic: The Photographers' vehicle and security stripping  (Read 7097 times)


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The Photographers' vehicle and security stripping
« on: July 12, 2013, 10:07:26 PM »
    One of the examples of security stripping was the photographers' vehicle that was usually (though not always) in front of the President's limo during the longer motorcades.

    In these two clips we see flatbed trucks positively overflowing with photographers. In the San Diego clip there are actually two vehicles. One can only imagine the amount of high quality footage we would have of the assassination if they had been in place in Dallas.

Start watching around 0:30

Start watching around 4:50

    There were some motorcades where the photographers had been placed farther behind the president, but in Dallas they seemed to have expected a flatbed truck.

    Dallas Morning News photographer Thomas Dillard (WC testimony (H 6 162-67)):
    "We lost our position out at the airport. I understood we were supposed to have been quite a bit closer [to the President]. We were assigned as the prime photographic car which, as you probably know, normally a truck precedes the President on these things and certain representatives of the photographic press ride with the truck. In this case, as you know, we didn't have any and this car that I was in was to take any photographs which was of spot-news nature...and the whole parade, the whole trip to town, I could only distinguish the President's car on very few occasions in high rises in the ground, when we got on hills. It was difficult because the people in the cars ahead of me were sitting on the backs of cars which pretty well covered the President's car for me. We had a very, very poor view of the President's car at any time from the time the parade started."

    Dillard told Richard Trask: "The sad thing news-wise was the custom always was that a selected group of press people - photographers - were to ride a flat-bed truck in front of the President. That was standard procedure in all presidential parades. I was one of the selected photographers. I was the head man at my paper and a pretty good photographer...It was understood the flatbed was going to be there. But at the last moment it was canceled. We bounced around and ended up on one of those Chevrolet convertibles." (Pictures of the Pain)

    Henry Burroughs 10/14/98 letter to Vince Palamara---"I was a member of the White House pool aboard Air Force One when we arrived with JFK in Dallas on that fateful day. We, the pool, were dismayed to find our pool car shoved back to about #11 position in the motorcade. We protested, but it was too late." (Survivor's Guilt)

    More security-stripping in the motorcade:

    From Capt. Fritz's WC testimony (H 4 202-247): "Well, we had taken some precautions but those were changed. We were told in the beginning that we would be in the parade directly behind it, I don't know whether it was the second or third car, but the Vice President's car, that we would be directly behind that, and we did make preparation for that. But at 10 o'clock the night before the parade, Chief [M.W.] Stevenson called me at home and told me that had been changed, and I was assigned with two of my officers to the speakers' stand at the Trade Mart."

    The HSCA found the SS's protective measures for the motorcade were deficient. Among other things, the Committee said:
    "Surprisingly, the security measures used in the prior motorcades during the same Texas visit show that the deployment of motorcycles in Dallas by the Secret Service may have been uniquely insecure." (HSCA Report Vol. XI p 529)

    Dallas Policeman (motorcycle escort), Marion L. Baker (WC testimony H 3 250-1): "When we got to the airport, our sergeant instructed me that there wouldn't be anybody riding beside the President's car." Baker receives these instructions about five minutes before the motorcade leaves Love Field.

    Billy Joe Martin, another motorcade officer, reports that the four motorcycle officers covering the Presidential limousine are ordered that under no circumstances are they to leave their positions "regardless of what happened." (February 14, 1969 Clay Shaw trial testimony)
    Martin will eventually explain to the Warren Commission that the Secret Service told them that they didn't want anyone riding past the President's car and that they were to ride to the rear. (6H293) Martin allegedly tells his girlfriend Jean Hill, "Johnson's Secret Service people came over to the motorcycle cops and gave us a bunch of instructions...They also ordered us into the damndest escort formation I've ever seen. Ordinarily, you bracket the car with four motorcycles, one on each fender. But this time, they told the four of us assigned to the President's car there'd be no forward escorts. We were to stay well in back and not let ourselves get ahead of the car's rear wheels under any circumstances. I'd never heard of a formation like that, much less ridden in one, but they said they wanted the crowds to get an unrestricted view of the President. Well, I guess somebody got an an 'unrestricted' view of him, all right." (Jean Hill: JFK: The Last Dissenting Witness, by Bill Sloan with Jean Hill (New York: Pelican, 1992), Hill quoting Martin)

    It is standard practice that a military aide occupied the front seat of JFK's limousine during motorcades. Major General Ted Clifton was one such person. Another person was Presidential aide General Godfrey McHugh. But McHugh is placed in the back of the motorcade. He will later acknowledge that this is unusual. This is the first time he is advised not to ride in the car, "so that attention would be focused on the President." (May 11, 1978 interview with the HSCA's Mark Flanagan). McHugh said that he was asked by the Secret Service "for the first time" to "ride in a car in the back [of the motorcade], instead, as normally I would do, between the driver and the Secret Service agent in charge of the trip." (CFTR radio (Canada) interview 1976 Interview with McHugh conducted late 1975 via phone.) (Palamara, Survivor's Guilt)

    WC testimony of Police Chief Jesse Curry (H 4 171):
    Mr. CURRY - In the planning of this motorcade, we had had more motorcycles lined up to be with the President's car, but the Secret Service didn't want that many.
    Mr. RANKIN - Did they tell you why?
    Mr. CURRY - We actually had two on each side but we wanted four on each side and they asked us to drop out some of them and back down the motorcade, along the motorcade, which we did.
    Mr. RANKIN - So that you in fact only had two on each side of his car?
    Mr. CURRY - Two on each side and they asked them to remain at the rear fender so if the crowd moved in on him they could move in to protect him from the crowd.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2013, 03:08:12 PM by TLR »

Alan Dale

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Re: The Photographers' vehicle
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2013, 10:41:17 PM »
It does make ya wonder, doesn't it?
Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny.



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Re: The Photographers' vehicle
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2013, 07:42:06 AM »
I've used this forum host before, and never had trouble imbedding videos. I don't know why they don't appear here. It should work with the Insert Hyperlink icon.