Another Week Brings Another Round of JFK Tapes

The National Archives released recordings from Air Force One made in the hours after JFK's assassination in Dallas.
Thu February 2, 2012 4:59 am
White House Photographs | Cecil W. Stoughton

Lately, each passing week seems to bring another round of JFK tapes. On Tuesday, the National Archives released recordings from Air Force One made in the hours after JFK's assassination in Dallas, and last week, the JFK Presidential Library made public 45 hours of secret White House recordings JFK had made during his presidency. 

The just-released tape captures Lyndon Baines Johnson attempting to console the slain president's Rose Kennedy. "I wish to God there was something that I could do, and I wanted to tell you that we were grieving with you," Johnson said, before Lady Bird chimed in to add "We are glad that the nation had your son as long as it did."

The LBJ Library released a shorter version of the recording in 1971, the Boston Globe 's Bryan Bender reported. This latest tape is forty minutes longer and pins down the whereabouts of Air Force General Curtis LeMay after the assassination, a detail that has "remain[ed] an obsession for generations of conspiracy theorists."

The tape's contents range from the graphic—“Kennedy apparently shot in head. He fell face down in back seat of his car, blood was on his head, Mrs. Kennedy cried ‘oh, no’ and tried to hold up his head," a radio operator in the Situation Room says on the tapes—to mundane details on how to avoid rough weather over Arkansas on the flight back to Washington, Bender wrote.

The Air Force One conversations were recorded by the White House Communications Agency, who later gave the tapes to one of Kennedy's senior military aides, the Hill reported. (Looking to kill two hours and twenty minutes? (or just want to flesh out your conspiracy theories?). The whole, unedited recording is available here.)

Last week, the Associated Press' Bridget Murphy made noise over an "eerie conversation" JFK had in the days before his death captured on the White House tapes:

Final recordings President John F. Kennedy secretly made in the Oval Office include an eerie conversation about what would become the day of his funeral.

In talking to staffers while trying to arrange his schedule, Kennedy remarked that Nov. 25 was shaping up to be a "tough day" after his return from Texas and time at Cape Cod.

"It's a hell of a day, Mr. President," a staffer agreed.

And if there wasn't enough JFK-related news out there, last Tuesday, a Boulder developed shelled out $176,000 to purchase the Cadillac hearse that carried JFK's body from Parkland Memorial Hospital to Love Field.

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