Former U.S. Secret Service Agent Paul Landis in a forthcoming book and recent interview has appeared to challenge the long-held conclusion by the Warren Commission that a proverbial “magic bullet” killed John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 in Dallas.
Following the assassination, President Lyndon Johnson dispatched a commission led by then-Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate the crime.
Then-future Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, who was on the commission’s staff, is widely credited with formulating the single-bullet theory – that several of the wounds to Kennedy and Texas Democratic Gov. John Connally were caused by the same round.
FOX News host Jesse Watters reported Landis had discovered a bullet still intact and lodged in the leather rear seat of the presidential vehicle. He pocketed the round amid the chaos and later placed it on Kennedy’s stretcher after arriving at Parkland Hospital.
However, the round was ultimately found on Connally’s stretcher, which Watters said led the Warren Commission to assume it had exited Connally’s body – and therefore provided the basis for the theory that the bullet had “magic[ally]” caused extensive damage to both Kennedy and Connally in otherwise incongruous parts of their bodies.
Landis, who was assigned to first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, told “Jesse Watters Primetime” he took the swift action in fear that souvenir hunters or other individuals would take off with the bullet, after he found it lodged in the limo’s upholstery.
On coming forward with interviews and his forthcoming memoir, “The Final Witness,” Landis said “it just happened.”
“I reached the point where I had not talked about the bullet… I did not read the Warren Commission [report] until four years ago,” Landis said Monday on “Jesse Watters Primetime.”
He said that despite his purported placing of the bullet on Kennedy’s stretcher and it somehow finding its way onto Connally’s — through collision of bumping of gurneys or some other maneuver — he trusted the outcome of the Warren report, which had been based on the supposition the round instead had naturally fallen out of the governor’s body.
“I just accepted the fact that whatever they were talking about a ‘magic bullet’, I figured they had to have it right,” he said.
Landis said the commission never interviewed him during its investigation, adding that he also has not seen evidence to change his mind from believing that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin.
On the day of the assassination, Landis was a few feet behind Kennedy’s vehicle when the shots rang out. He recounted to Watters being in close proximity the moment one of the rounds struck Kennedy’s head and “exploded.”
“I heard the first shot [and] turned, looked over my right shoulder where the sound came from; turned back. I looked at President Kennedy. He was leaning slightly to his left and he had his arms raised up towards his throat. But I just thought the first shot hit him,” Landis recalled.
“But I was quickly scanning around. And then a few seconds later… I heard a second shot. I [was] still looking at the limo, I saw no reaction. Everybody seemed to be the same.”
He recounted watching his partner Clint Hill jump on Kennedy’s limo, when a third shot rang out and the president’s head “exploded.” Landis ducked as his vehicle drove through “the mist of blood and flesh and brain matter.”
“At that point we zoomed through the underpass and headed to Parkland Hospital,” he said.
Oswald reportedly used a C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, which was found on the Texas School Book Depository’s sixth floor, above the street where Kennedy was killed.
Over the weekend, JFK’s nephew, Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., was in Los Angeles when an armed man was detained after impersonating a U.S. Marshal at his campaign event.
On “The Story” Monday afternoon, Kennedy campaign manager Dennis Kucinich – a former Ohio Democratic congressman – said the incident plus Kennedy’s family history of assassinations is even more reason why President Biden should approve Secret Service protection for him.
“We do not want to go through what this country went through when President Kennedy was assassinated,” Kucinich said, adding that then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., received USSS protection much earlier than the semi-standard 120-day window.
The Secret Service has said it cannot independently deem which individuals are to be protected.
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