There are actual documents coming to light in the past week that say it's a possibility. Watching this happen is almost an out-of-body experience for me.
Relating Kennedy's assassination to his desire to tell the world the truth about extraterrestrial visitation was, in fact, the central organizing premise of my UFO-themed TV series Dark Skies (co-created with Brent Friedman) that ran on NBC from 1996-1997. On one level, it's true that Brent and I conceived the idea of JFK's death being connected to UFO disclosure as a way of putting the two most compelling modern conspiracies -- the JFK public execution and the UFO cover-up -- into an atom collider, thus creating the Ultimate Conspiracy. But it was more than that. We both accepted the validity of the Roswell event as the crash of a piece of technology that came from some place that wasn't here on Earth. And, if you accept that premise, then the world as we knew it in the 1950s and 1960s (through today, of course) is simply not the same as it appears. For us, that included the Kennedy assassination. As the series log-line stated: "History is a lie."
Now, almost a decade and a half later, the breaking news seems to be that maybe we were a lot closer to the truth than we thought. The best summary of it to date comes from Lee Spiegel of AOL News in a new column. I'd urge you to read Lee's thoughtful examination over some of the other versions getting traction on the Internet, specifically the coverage from the Daily News.
I remember vividly thinking in 1995 that it was possibly one of the most subversive acts ever propagated on an American television network -- devoting 20 hours of programming, produced at a cost of over $40-million, to the theory that President Kennedy died over UFO disclosure. Even as the executives who sponsored us at Columbia TV then at NBC gave us the greenlight to series, none of them really believed the concept. For them, it was just "pushing the envelope" to get an audience.
Now, some researchers are taking this premise seriously. Certainly no one is embracing the every detail of what we did in Dark Skies. It was obviously fiction, designed to attract an audience. But people are talking about the Big Picture idea and saying that it might just have some merit to it.
What a difference those years have made. It reminds me of the famous quotation from Max Planck, the great physicist who is regarded as the founder of the quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize. He said, "New ideas come to be accepted not because their opponents come to believe in them, but because their opponents die and a new generation grows up that is accustomed to them."
THE NEW INFORMATION
It turns out that the Freedom of Information Act has caused the release of some previously classified documents in response to requests from William Lester, a history teacher, who asked for them while working on a book, "A Celebration of Freedom: JFK and the New Frontier." Granted, Lester's website looks a bit amateurish and his book looks less-than-mainstream but... the actual point is that he got two documents released and they raise serious questions.
Both documents are presumably written by Kennedy which makes them interesting but so does the date: November 12, 1963. That, of course, is just ten days before his murder on the streets of Dallas. One document is to the CIA director, asking for UFO files; and the other to the NASA administrator, asking for cooperation with the former Soviet Union on mutual outer space activities. Here's what Lester told Spiegel of AOL News:
"One of his concerns was that a lot of these UFOs were being seen over the Soviet Union and he was very concerned that the Soviets might misinterpret these UFOs as U.S. aggression, believing that it was some of our technology. I think this is one of the reasons why he wanted to get his hands on this information and get it away from the jurisdiction of NASA so he could say to the Soviets, 'Look, that's not us, we're not doing it, we're not being provocative. In fact, just to show you that it's not us, what do you think about us working together on the exploration of space?'"
Spiegel's excellent AOL News piece on this goes beyond those documents and enters the fray over the Majestic-12 controversy. Perhaps the most intensely scrutinized documents ever to emerge on UFOs have come to be known as the work of the organization that allegedly produced them: Majestic 12 or MJ-12. This top-secret group of military officials and scientists allegedly appointed by Truman in 1947 to keep close tabs on the activities of alien beings on Earth after Roswell.
Majestic-12 was a huge part of the Dark Skies series. It was the place where the action was. Frank Bach (J.T. Walsh) ran the place with his old-guard attitude (the people can't handle the truth) and he butted heads with John Loengard (Eric Close) a young turk of truth (the people have a right to know).
I'm currently writing a film on assignment, Majic Men, about the investigators who broke the Roswell case and the quest of one of them, Stanton Friedman, to authenticate these documents.
I can't try the case here, but one key point emerges. If any of the documents which validate the existence of Majestic are real, they put this organization squarely in opposition to Kennedy at a time when he was already bridling against the secrecy of the CIA. And there is one in particular, the so-called "Burned Memo" that refers to the problem that JFK (called by his secret-service name "Lancer") had become and what steps might be needed to keep him in the dark.
This memo was leaked to researcher Robert Wood, who retired from McDonnell Douglas in 1993 after a four decades plus career. In the 1990s, Wood obtained a series of these MJ-12 documents. The first page of this key memo was allegedly written by the director of Central Intelligence, and it says:
"As you must know, Lancer has made some inquiries regarding our activities, which we cannot allow. Please submit your views no later than October. Your action to this matter is critical to the continuance of the group."
Again, if you want to read any of these documents, they are all available from the AOL News piece. Go here to read them.
So, still far from conclusive evidence, but definitely more than the figments of a couple of Hollywood screenwriters overheated imaginations.
Do I think that President Kennedy was assassinated solely because he was asking questions about UFOs? No, I don't.
Do I think that UFOs were a contributing factor? Yes, I believe that is a distinct possibility.
Be sure to read Richard Dolan's JFK and Our Secret History essay.
Here are some key videos from the Dark Skies series that deal with the connection between JFK and UFOs.