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The CIA and JFK

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Gosh, we can hardly wait for the CIA's public confessions of guilt for past sins this week. We already know the documents will include details of their sinister plans to work with the Mafia in attempting to clandestinely murder Fidel Castro.

But then, what about that very same team's successful assassination of President John F. Kennedy? That's what Malcolm X meant when he referred to the Kennedy killing as "the chickens coming home to roost."

Of course, Vincent Bugliosi's doorstop in the guise of a book insists there was no conspiracy behind Lee Harvey "I'm a patsy" Oswald, despite E. Howard Hunt's sort of bedside admission that he had participated in such a plot.

My source for the following was an executive at KCOP-TV in Los Angeles in the early 1980s. His office had previously been Mort Sahl's office when he was doing a talk program with news anchor George Putnam.

"Working at KCOP could be very frustrating at times," he tells me, "so I kept a toy Rocky Balboa punching doll in my office for the occasional release of pent-up anger. On one Friday afternoon, I happened to give Rocky a swift kick, sending him careening into the ceiling where he dislodged some of those cheap, suspended ceiling tiles -- and an old, forgotten 'spot reel' of two-inch video tape that had been hidden there came tumbling down.

"Even at that late date, KCOP was still using two-inch video playback machines, so I was able to put the reel up and check it out. It was a pristine copy of the the Zapruder film -- real time, slowed down, blown-up, and configured in all sorts of forensically-inspired ways.

"There is only one reason that this tape would have been secretly stashed where it was. And without ever having the opportunity to meet Mort or otherwise ask him, I am convinced that this was indeed his copy, perhaps residue of the [New Orleans District Attorney Jim] Garrison investigation and probably placed there for protection and forgotten. I stayed late at the station that night and made many, many more copies of this tape in every available video format -- then spent the next day secretly hiding these copies in the ceilings and walls of KCOP for future generations to find--not unlike re-burying the singing frog in that old Warner Brothers cartoon.

"Years later, now being long gone from KCOP, I noticed that the places where I stashed copies of Mort's secret copy of the Zapruder film are now precisely where stands the set of 'Hell's Kitchen.' It would have been impossible for them to have built this set without dislodging a copy or two--but whether they have or not resurfaced after all these years, it seems perversely appropriate that they are stuck somewhere in the sinew of 'Hell's Kitchen.' Until now, I was the only one who knew anything of this story.

"I did, however, employ one of the copies when I produced one of those silly JFK assassination shows with Jack Anderson. We discovered actual photos of E. Howard Hunt on the grassy knoll and confronted Hunt with the evidence -- and Hunt was not too pleased. But Anderson wanted to protect his CIA friends by blaming everything on [Mafia chieftain] Sam Giancana, so the broadcast took a different twist. But that's another story...."

Which, incidentally, serves to remind me: Tony Soprano was shot to death by his daughter Meadow because he had neglected to reserve a parking space for her.

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