By Dan Schnur and Robert CostaThe Washington PostAs the dust settles over the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, a different kind of American drama is unfolding: the one that began as a story about a president who could not have been less American.
The story began with an allegation made by the CIA that the assassin had been given a false assassination warrant.
It continued as a series of stories that suggested that President Richard M. Nixon had ordered a false warrant, that the CIA was trying to frame Kennedy, and that the Watergate break-in was a cover-up.
Now, in the midst of a major national debate about the president’s fitness for office, a new twist in that story appears to have changed everything: It has become clear that the real assassination warrant, which the CIA initially accused the president of seeking, was not issued by the president but by a U.S. intelligence officer.
That makes the assassination case more likely to become a public scandal and the White House more vulnerable to charges of treason.
“I think it’s going to be very, very interesting to see how it plays out,” said William Baer, the former CIA officer who is now an assistant professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University.
“It seems very obvious to me that the person who was supposed to be responsible for the JFK assassination is now implicated in a crime, and the president is the subject of a criminal investigation.”
Baer’s theory is that Richard Nixon, after a decade in office, has begun to become the target of a political assassination effort.
The new evidence could further expose Nixon’s motives and, in so doing, possibly alter the course of the assassination story.
Baer has long believed that the Nixon campaign was behind the assassination, which was staged by a shadowy group of conspirators led by John Hinckley Jr., a former member of the House Un-American Activities Committee who had been convicted of tax evasion in 1986 and had served time in prison for tax evasion.
A longtime ally of Nixon, Hinckleys attorney told The Post in an interview in July that he had no doubt that Hinckly was the target.
But it was unclear what Hincklys role in the assassination was.
The Post reported that the White Houses counsel, John Dean, told the FBI in a December 1996 report that Hinzley was not involved in the conspiracy.
“Hinckley has not been involved in any conspiratorial activity with the Nixon Presidential Campaign,” Dean wrote.
“He has been cooperative and forthcoming with the FBI, and we have no reason to believe that he was involved in other conspiratorial activities involving the Nixon Campaign.”
In an interview with The Post, Dean said he was aware of some of Hinckys involvement in the Nixon administration, but that he thought it was “very unlikely” that Hinkeys involvement would have been sufficient to merit charges of conspiracy.
According to the Post, Hinkey had told the WhiteHouse counsel in a January 1997 interview that he did not know why Nixon was being investigated.
“No, I don’t think he did anything wrong, I mean, I think he was doing the best he could,” Hincky told Dean.
Hinckyls lawyer, Jack Mitnick, said Hinckily was “completely innocent of anything.”
“He had no role in any conspiracy that took place,” Mitnick said.
“There’s no evidence of any collusion whatsoever.
It was an absolutely stupid, senseless, stupid thing to do.”
The Nixon campaign denied that Hinayys involvement was a factor in the campaign.
“John Hinckleys name was never mentioned in any way in any campaign communications and he never raised his name,” said White House press secretary George Stephanopoulos.
“The suggestion that John Hinley is the sole author of this horrible, unprovoked and unspeakable crime is a disgraceful and disgraceful accusation.
I have no knowledge of any suggestion that he is.”
Hinckllys campaign has denied the allegation that he or any of his associates were involved.
“Mr. Hinayles name was not mentioned in campaign communications, nor was he ever asked to speak on behalf of the campaign,” said Hinkley’s lawyer, Richard Kleeb.
Hinkelly’s involvement was only hinted at during a 1992 presidential debate when he was asked by a reporter about his involvement in political assassinations.
“That’s the way I do things, I get up in the morning, I do my job, and then I go to bed,” Hinkellys response was recorded on video and released by The Washington Post.
The candidate’s comment, made in an appearance on a daytime news program, came on the heels of a series by The Post and the Associated Press of allegations that Hinley had received a “false-flag” assassination attempt.
It appeared that Hinkey’s campaign was concerned that he might become an unwitting target for an assassination attempt, particularly since his father, James Hinckles Sr., had