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Please welcome David Talbot. Thank you very much for that introduction. Sound it like my FBI file. Well, I I had some prepared remarks tonight, but I am going to put them aside and just read to you Vincent Bugliosi's entire 1600 page book and answer it point by point if you'll just bear with me for the next several weeks. No seriously. I would like to I would like to begin with just a few remarks and then to impose on you by reading a bit from the book if I could and then answering any questions you might have and then just going out and enjoying this evening before its its gone this beautiful night. All of you staring dreamy passed. Well, they say, "History is a never ending argument." And if that's the case, my book "Brothers", makes two main arguments, I believe. One is that Bobby Kennedy was the country's first assassination conspiracy theorist. And number two, and this is turning out to be the most controversial aspect of my book from the at least some of the early reviews. Is that the Kennedy's were heroes. And they they were heroes for the simple reason that they kept us out of war. As I say, this has become controversial because in the last 20 years or more we've been going through our revisionists interpretation of the Kennedy Presidency. It didn't start with Seymour Hersh's, "Dark Side of Camelot" but of course that best best selling book definitely it was part of this backlash against the Kennedy's. That book portrayed President Kennedy as a decadent prince, reckless, someone who put the country at risk. We now have journalists as prominent as Chris Hitchens who dismissively refer to JFK as a vulgar hoodlum. And even in academia the picture of JFK as a cold war militant has taken firmly hold. But I hope my book is a part of a third wave of the scholarship that challenges this revisional look at JFK. My book concentrates on the tumultuous inner life the Kennedy Presidency. It was the Presidency that I think was the governmental war with itself. I call it Rome on the Potomac in the era of sinister menace hung over the Kennedy Presidency as JFK, I believe tried to lead the country out of the cold war before his time. This provoked a sharp backlash from very powerful forces in the US. We know - remember President Eisenhower's famous farewell address to the nation which he warned us of the encroaching power of the military industrial complex. Kennedy soon found out how powerful these forces were at the Bay of Pigs which was the first great crisis in his administration, the failed invasion of Cuba that the CIA had orchestrated and told him in to use language from today's CIA world. It was a slam dunk. It turned out not to be of course it was a disaster. And Kennedy later feeling sandbag by the CIA and furious that the intelligence they've given him that shattered the CIA into a 1000 pieces and scattered to the winds. The National Security establishment was equally enraged to Kennedy. I think I, if if my book does one thing, I hope it it creates a sense of what the Kennedy's were up against. Because most books don't evoke this kind of poisonous atmosphere that prevailed in Washington in those years. When you read the oral histories and or do interviews with people who are still alive in this world; the intelligence world, the military world, you get a sense of the of the vitriol, the hatred that they had of the Kennedy's. Curtis LeMay the notorious head of the Air Force, referred them as cockroaches, you should have been crushed. JFK and in turn thought of LeMay was a mad man. LeMay of course thought you could actually fight and win nuclear war and he was determined to do this while United States had nuclear superiority in the early 60s. at one point he stand determined that Georgetown dinner party turning to this woman who happened be the wife of the US senator and saying, we are going to have a nuclear war with Soviet Union before the end of the year and if you want you and your children and grandchildren to survive you should take them out west to Tumbleweed Country and that was her only chance of surviving. John Kennedy was a very different man. He was determined - he knew what the nuclear stakes were and he was determined to keep the country from falling into that precipice. In his famous speech at American University in June 1963, I think we see the visionary Kennedy at his best, speech written for him by Theodore Sorensen, his eloquent speech writer and we can't even imagine a leader today using these words and at the height of the cold war imagine the revolutionary message of this speech in which he says, "We must empathize with our enemy, no matter how repelling the value systems of governments that we oppose the soviet system, communist system we are all people and we " and he ends with this, "We all inhabit the same small planet, we all breath the same air, we all cherish our children's future and we are all mortal". The national security elite just did not know what to do with the man like this. They were concerned about his private life, they thought they were snooping on his private life, - one affair that I go into in particular which I knew them was his relationship with woman named Mary Meyer who was the divorced wife of a former CIA Official named Cord Meyer, they had known each other since they were in prep school and they began a very I believe a serious relationship while Jack was in the White House. They Mary Meyer was pre hippy hippy a bohemian spirit, a woman who was determined to turn on the Washington power structure, using the powers of LSD and her own - I think charms. I think once the CIA found out about this relationship which they did it was just one more one more a cloud hanging over this presidency. I think what they thought of Jack Kennedy essentially was this that he was a morally compromised, physically debilitated and intellectually dangerous president. The atmosphere the militants atmosphere in Washington became so severe that at one point Kennedy who frequently referred to the possibility of his presidency ending violently somehow in a coup assassination and I think he probably did this more than any other president I can think of in American history with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln, but at one point he goes to friends in Hollywood and implores them to make a film version of the book "Seven days in May" which was a bestseller by Fletcher Knebel about political about military coup that comes close to toppling a presidency. Knebel had been inspired to write this after interviewing Curtis LeMay and hearing the kind of talk about JFK that he was prone - prone to. The pressures on Kennedy were constant to go to war in Berlin, in Laos and Vietnam, but above all on Cuba. Cuba could very could very well become the Iraq of its day. In fact there is a fascinating national intelligence estimate produced by CIA analysts about such a scenario that was produced in 1962 that I came across and it eerily reads just like Iraq today what it says is, if the United States was to invade not like the Bay of Pigs but an all out military invasion we would quickly sweep aside Castro's forces and March on to Havana triumphantly but we would soon become bog down in lengthy occupation of the island, there would be terrorists attacks on our troops respond our troops would respond over respond, civilians would be killed, the civilian population would turn against us, we become increasingly isolated within the world because of our unilateral military action it sounds very familiar. Well, I think John Kennedy was no George W. Bush, he realized that was a possibility distinct possibility he realized what the stakes were he was determined not to get bog down militarily like that in Cuba and he was determined to run the nuclear holocaust which was a distinct possibility through The Kennedy's were constantly trying to stay on top of this world, the shattery world, the CIA's secret war on Castro and it was this particular world that Bobby Kennedy cast his suspicions immediately on the afternoon of November 22nd. He knew that the CIA and the mafia is kind of Frankenstein monster had already come together in a dark alliance to kill Castro, he thought he would stop that, but that alliance is continued and we know from this conversations that day, exactly where he was looking, he was looking at the CIA, the mafia and the Cuban exile community. It's a very dramatic moment in American history. At one point aids comes to that afternoon say he has to surround his house in Virginia with security, with Federal Marshals because they don't trust the FBI or the secret service at that point because they think who is ever killed President Kennedy is coming for Bobby Kennedy next. Despite the dangers that always existed for Bobby Kennedy from that moment on until his own death in 1968, he was determined from that moment on to find out who the killers of his Brother were and to reopen the case. He struggled with great grief and depression the sense of guilt that he should have prevented the assassination of his brother. But after initial burst of energy and sinking into a deep depression he struggles out of this and he comes back to political life, because he knows the only way that he can find justice for his brother is to reclaim the White House that the Kennedy's have lost. He runs for Senate from New York in 1964 and then for the President - say in 1968 an enormous act of courage. Not only he is challenging the sitting President over a war that was started or at least escalated under his Brother, but he knows that he is taking his life in his hands. He knows that whoever has killed his brother those forces are still very much alert and threatened by Bobby's campaign. But he is deeply moved by the wounds of the country's suffering, civil rights, Vietnam war, this endless war like we have today, the country had turned against the war the public that the government seem to determine to plot on. I came across this amazing speech that Bobby gave in Sacramento of shopping mall where he was surrounded as usual by his clutching swarms of people used to - more religious experience than a political experience his campaign. He would be clod out, he would be bleeding and scratched at the end of it, but I I when I hear these words I think of our country today and and the people who were dying and suffering in Iraq. What Bobby said that the Sacramento this with was this, "Which of these brave young man dying in the rice paddies of Vietnam might have written the symphony, which of them might have cured cancer or played in the world series, which of them might have built a bridge or taught a small child to read? It's ours our responsibility to let these men live." That's the kind of I think the message that American leaders need to deliver today, and just as boldly as Bobby did. After Bobby was killed, the Band of Brothers as he called them the men who had served the Kennedy brothers so loyally and a number of whom he had called on to help him investigate secretly his brother's murder began to drift away. Their heart was cut from them at this point, they weren't able to pursue to take up Bobby's mission and pursue the case either his own assassination or JFK's and if I could I would like to read you a fairly brief section from the book about one of these man particularly pointing story Kenny O'Donnell who some of you know that name who is the Kennedy loyalist from the early days in Boston and then became chief of staff in the Kennedy White House. So if you will just bear with me I will read that passage with my glasses. Enjoy the view of here for a minute. So this takes place after the deaths of both Kennedy's well it begins before the death of Bobby and you see - where it goes from there. Kenny O'Donnell and his fellow Irish mafia war horse, Dave Powers were eye witnesses to history on November 22nd 1963 riding immediately behind the president's limousine in the secret service backup car, the two men saw it all that day. Before the motorcade began JFK tentative as always to political details had asked them to take seats in the follow-up car, so they could closely observe reactions to him and Jacky from the crowds. The two men could never forget what they saw that afternoon. As the shots rang out, powers blurred "Kenny, I think the President has been shot." O'Donnell quickly made a sign of the cross. As both men stared intently at the man they had loved and served ever since he was a scrawny young congressional candidate, a final shot who took the side of his head off. O'Donnell but later recall, "We say pieces of bone and brain tissue and bit of his reddish hair flying through the air. The impact lifted him and shook him limply as he was raged doll. And then he dropped out of our sights, scrolled across the backseat of the car. I said today if he is dead". O'Donnell and Powers both World War II veterans distinctly heard at least two shots coming from the grassy knoll area in front of the motorcade but when they later told this to the FBI, they were informed that there must be wrong. If they did if they did not change their story it was impressed on the man, it could be very damaging to the country. So O'Donnell did all through his account to fit the official version testifying before the Warren Commission, that the shot had come from the right rear the direction of the school book depository. Powers however could not be fully shaken from his story. Even though one of the Warren Commission employees who took his statement kept interrupting him, Powers insisted that he had the impression that the noise appeared to come from the front as well as from behind which is probably why David Powers was never invited to testify before the Warren Commission as the more emendable O'Donnell was. Five years after the assassination, O'Donnell confessed to his friend Boston Congressmen and future speaker to the House, Tip O'Neil; what he had dutifully hidden from the public. He heard two shots from the fence on the grassy knoll. O'Neil who was dining with O'Donnell and a few other people at Jimmy's harbor site restaurant in in Boston was stunned. "That's not what you told the Warren Commission", he said. "You are right" replied O'Donnell. "I told the FBI what I'd heard but they said it couldn't have happened that way and that I must have been imagining things. So I testified the way they wanted me to. I just went didn't want to stir up any more pain and trouble for the family." "I can't believe that", said O'Neil, "I wouldn't have done that in a million years, I would have told the truth." "Tip, you have to understand" said O'Donnell, "the family, every body wanted this thing behind them." Its clear form O'Neil's account and one given by David Powers who suggested that Hoover himself pressured O'Donnell to change his account but the FBI played a key role in this fateful decision and the fateful distortion of the record. But it's equally obvious that O'Donnell was also responding to signals from the Kennedy family and that could only mean his close friend Bobby, the man whom his life and career had completely been completely intertwined with every since they were Harvard room mates. The intensely loyal O'Donnell who was as close as brother to Bobby would never have changed his story without first checking with Kennedy. And Bobby had made it clear that he was not ready to publicly question the official story about the assassination. Whatever his reasons for hiding the truth about Dallas, O'Donnell's decision weighed heavily on him. The Kennedy's have been his life, tough, taciturn, utterly dedicated, he put in slavish hours at the White House. But he laughed at the notion, was a sacrifice. "Tough job my ass, it was the best job I ever had", he would say. But now the man he had served was gone. He wished the bullets had hit him instead, he told his wife. And instead of helping bringing the president's killers to justice, he was misleading the country. The assassination was the end of his life, his son Kenny Jr. told me. He never was the same again. None of the men around Kennedy were but especially him. O'Donnell confided what he really witnessed and really passed it to his son as well. He said there was fire from two different directions, recall the younger O'Donnell and his father would bitterly complain about his experience with the Warren Commission. I'll tell you, that's right now, he told them. They didn't want to know. O'Donnell called the enquiry the most pointless investigation, I've ever seen. Pulling out the records of his testimony to show Kenny Jr. he would point to a passage with disgust and say, "Look, this is ridiculous. They weren't even looking for an answer to this." O'Donnell might also had been disgusted with his own performance before the Commission. In a month after Dallas, O'Donnell would devote himself to helping Jackie. The two had clung to each other like old soldiers ever since the assassination. As they flew back to Washington that day, both were stained with Jack's blood. Kenny and Bobby found (indiscernible) by gathering friends at Jackie's Georgetown House and entertaining her with old stories about Jack. But O'Donnell could not put Dallas behind him, what he and David Powers witnessed that day, continued to work inside them. O'Donnell experienced ranching doubts of nausea for six months after Dallas. Powers began suffering violent headaches. The pain was focused in the same part of his scull where he had seen the bullet blow off the top of his friend's head. He couldn't get the sickening sound out of his own head like a grape fruit splattering against the side of a wall. O'Donnell began drinking heavily, when friends warned him to go easy on the stuff, the man nicknamed the cobra would fix them with a cold glare and tell them go to hell and mind your own business, but he listened when Jackie and Bobby sat him down and talked to him. There (indiscernible) his daughter Helen. He seemed to step forward into human company again but Kenny O'Donnell never fully recovered he just lived the rest of his life with a heavy heart of his son, he went twice to democratic nomination for Governor of Massachusetts but his political talent was as behind the scenes man, not as a campaigner and he lost both times. Bobby's assassination was the final blow. Kenny Jr. was with his father the night he heard his father just spoke to RFK on the phone about the California primary results, its over his told them after hearing "The history had repeated itself" that's all he said recalled Kenny Jr. that was the absolute end. When O'Donnell died in Boston hospital in September 1977 at age 53 his family requested that the cause of death be withheld but the press reported he had succumbed to a liver ailment. There was no more Bobby to tell them to put down the bottle. His memorial service was held at St. Mathews Cathedral where he (indiscernible) Jack's casket 14 years before walking slowly up Connecticut Avenue from the White House. But the Irish wake held afterwards at the Mayflower Hotel a Boston politician reminisced about his fallen friend. Without the Kennedy he said, "O'Donnell was the music without the heart." Thanks. I just want to leave you with this because again this is the part of the book that I am being challenged by some historians about, but I feel, you know, very deeply about it and there was a moment when I was interviewing Ted Sorenson the eloquent speech writer who really left it I think he indiscernible) and the vision of the Kennedy Presidency is so high and Sorenson is still living and still deeply pained to talk about those days with intrusive journalists like myself but at one point he is wrestling with his idea. He said, "I know that Jack Kennedy is dead lived for a purpose I just can't believe he died for purpose." He said, "It would give me great consolation if I knew this dear friend of 11 years this man I serviced so closely had gone to Dallas knowing what the stakes were, knowing that he was confronting these dark forces and that they killed him for what he believed in what he was trying to do with the nation." The truth is I think Ted in his heart does know that's the case because after Bobby died he delivered a beautiful eulogy for Bobby Kennedy at the law firm where he works still to the state of New York and he was he was challenging his idea that it was already taking hold in the media that the Kennedy's were cursed and he said there is no curse upon the Kennedy's they have met their share of the ill fate because they had more than their courage and conviction required to try and tempt fate. They died heroic deaths because they lived heroic lives. If there is one thing I would like my book to accomplish its its conveying in that sense with the Kennedy Presidency. Thank you very much