The JFK Theory That Would Change Everything

John F. Kennedy's first presidential term came to an abrupt, tragic, and shocking end on November 22, 1963, when he was shot in the head as he rode in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza while on a campaigning tour in Dallas, Texas. He was pronounced dead under an hour later at Parkland Memorial Hospital. The shocking assassination of the 35th president stunned the country and the world, and the events took an even more unbelievable turn when, just under an hour after Kennedy's death, police arrested a Texas School Book Depository employee and former U.S. Marine named Lee Harvey Oswald in connection with the killing, according to the JFK Library.

Just two days after being taken into custody, on the morning of Sunday, November 24, Oswald himself was shot and killed by Dallas nightclub owner named Jack Ruby. A crowd of media, police, and onlookers had gathered to watch Oswald being transferred from where he had been held in the basement of Dallas police headquarters to a more secure holding cell in the county jail. Emerging from the midst of the crowd, Ruby fatally shot Oswald with a concealed .38 revolver, supposedly in retaliation for the president's murder, according to History.

The Warren Commission determined Oswald was a lone gunman

Newly sworn-in president Lyndon B. Johnson immediately ordered an investigation into the Kennedy assassination just one week after his death. Known as the Warren Commission, the group of seven members, which was led by Chief Justice Earl Warren and included two U.S. senators, two U.S. representatives, a former CIA director, and a former World Bank president, announced their findings after an almost yearlong investigation, according to History. They concluded that Oswald was acting alone when he decided to plan and execute the assassination of the president, in what became known as the "lone gunman" theory, per

The official findings, which were released in a 888-page report that was made public in September 1964, stated that there was no larger conspiracy in regard to the actions of either Oswald or Ruby, and the assassination was not a part of a larger organized conspiracy or criminal enterprise. They determined Oswald to be the lone gunman responsible for killing Kennedy, and concluded that Ruby had also acted alone when he shot Oswald in return.

Many people doubted the lone gunman theory

However, it didn't take long for the public to begin doubting the findings of the Warren Commission. Many other theories soon began to arise that contradicted the lone gunman theory, as quite a few people believed it was near impossible that an ordinary citizen like Oswald would have the motive or ability to concoct a plan to kill the president of the United States completely on his own. A 1978 preliminary report released by none other than the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations even declared that Kennedy was "probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy," via History. They also concluded there was a high probability that a second gunman had also fired shots at Kennedy.

While many conspiracy theories that have grown up around the assassination have been outlandish, impossible, or just plain absurd, there is one popular conspiracy theory that has persisted for the past 60 years because it just can't be definitively disproved. After digging into the events of the day, some theorists have come to believe that the CIA was responsible for the Kennedy assassination. According to Dave Perry, an author and researcher who has devoted the last 40 years to investigating the murder of President Kennedy, the conspiracy theory that claims the CIA was involved is the most interesting because "of all of them, this is one I can't debunk," via CNN.

Some people believe the CIA was behind President Kennedy's assassination

According to the theory, the CIA wanted President Kennedy dead because he had plans to pull United States forces out of Vietnam and finally bring an end to the Cold War, via The CIA fervently opposed this plan, believing that to do so would endanger American values, and so Kennedy had to be stopped. President Kennedy may have also been made aware of the secret CIA plot to assassinate Fidel Castro in Cuba, which was then backed by the Soviets. The CIA and other staunch anti-communists could have believed President Kennedy was standing in the way of their plans. "Supposedly Kennedy was fed up with the shenanigans that the CIA was pulling. He found out the CIA was trying to kill (Cuban leader Fidel) Castro, which is a fact. So the argument is that the CIA felt that Kennedy was going to disband them. And as a result of that, they were the ones that ordered the killing of Kennedy," Perry explained to CNN.

Was Oswald a double agent?

Further digging showed that Oswald had been in Mexico City from late September to early October 1963, where he attempted to contact both the Cuban and Soviet consulates, according to Britannica. While some believe this may have indicated that Oswald was really in cahoots with the Cuban government, others think his trip to Mexico City was motivated by his alliance with anti-Castro and anti-communist elements within the CIA who put the assassination plot into motion. The culmination of these suspicious events led some people to ultimately conclude that the CIA arranged to have Kennedy taken out, and then had Oswald himself murdered to cover their tracks. This theory was further supported by the fact that Allen Dulles, the former head of the CIA, was a member of the Warren Commission.

Regardless, Kennedy expert Perry believes that the key to unlocking this theory lies in understanding exactly what Oswald was doing in Mexico City, mere weeks before the shooting. "We know Oswald was in the Russian embassy in Mexico City. We even know who he talked to. But we don't know what was said. Then a few weeks later, he shoots Kennedy. It may have been something that they overheard involving him and the Russians. Or, maybe the CIA had Oswald on the payroll. He might have been a double agent," said Perry (via CNN).