New Book Marks 48th Anniversary of U.S. Kennedy Assassination

Posted November 22nd, 2011 at 1:25 am (UTC-5)
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As U.S. citizens reflect on the 48th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a former member of the agency responsible for guarding the U.S. president tells VOA that the shooting exposed weaknesses in the security detail.

Former U.S. Secret Service agent Gerald Blaine says a lack of manpower contributed to Mr. Kennedy's assassination during a presidential motorcade on November 22, 1963. He said the 34 agents accompanying the president in Dallas, Texas, that day communicated with hand signals rather than radios, as the president traveled with his wife and the state governor in an open-air convertible.

The sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, from where suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald is believed to have made the fatal shots, has been turned into a museum.

Blaine said the assassination of the young president, which shocked the world, led to security improvements such as better funding for the Secret Service and closed vehicles for motorcades.

He said security tightened further after an unsuccessful attempts on the lives of Presidents Gerald Ford in 1975, and Ronald Reagan and 1981. Now, anyone who will be near the president must be screened by metal detector. Blaine has written a book about the Kennedy assassination called The Kennedy Detail.

But despite all the security, a U.S. president is still under threat of attack. On November 11 of this year, shots were fired at the White House. Authorities have detained a 21-year-old man in connection with the shooting. He appeared in court for the first time Monday.