- GULFPORT, Miss. - (KRT) -
The father of the White House press secretary claims in his upcoming book,
"Blood, Money & Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K.," that former
President Lyndon B. Johnson was behind the assassination of President John
- Barr McClellan, father of White House press secretary
Scott McClellan and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Mark McClellan,
is preparing for a Sept. 30 release of a 480-page book by Hannover House
that offers photographs, copies of letters, insider interviews and details
of fingerprints as proof that Edward A. Clark, the powerful head of Johnson's
private and business legal team and a former ambassador to Australia, led
the plan and cover-up for the 1963 assassination in Dallas.
- Kennedy was shot and killed while throngs watched his
motorcade travel through Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Vice President Johnson
was sworn in as president shortly after on Air Force One.
- "(Johnson) had the motive, opportunity and means,"
said McClellan, 63, who was a partner in an Austin law firm that served
Johnson. The book, McClellan said in an exclusive interview at his Orange
Grove home, is about "(Johnson's) role in the assassination. He was
behind the assassination, how he was and how it all developed."
- McClellan and his wife have lived in Gulfport since 1998,
where his wife's family lives. McClellan consults for some businesses on
the Coast and writes books.
- McClellan said he includes information in the book that
alludes to Johnson's role in the assassination. An example is a story that
was told to him by the late Martin Harris, former managing partner at the
law firm, as told to Harris by Clark.
- McClellan writes in his book that in a 1961 meeting on
Johnson's ranch outside Johnson City, Texas, Johnson gave Clark a document
that may have helped the assassin:
- "Johnson suddenly let Clark go. `That envelope in
the car,' he said quietly, almost an afterthought, `is yours.' Stepping
toward the car, he muttered, `Put it to good use.' He turned, putting his
arms across Clark's shoulders, pulling him along, (and) the two walked
toward the convertible.
- "As they drove back to the ranch, Clark opened the
envelope. It contained the policy manual for protection of the president."
- Barry Bishop, senior shareholder of Clark's former law
firm, defended the attorney.
- McClellan's theory is "absurd," Bishop said
over the phone. "Mr. Clark was a big supporter of Mr. Kennedy. The
day that President Kennedy was assassinated, there was going to a be a
dinner that evening in Texas. Mr. Clark was a co-sponsor of that dinner."
- McClellan's book is just one of numerous conspiracy theory
books that criticize the conclusion of the FBI's investigation of the assassination,
that found that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman.
- According to the Warren Commission's 1964 report, "Examination
of the facts of the assassination itself revealed no indication that Oswald
was aided in the planning or execution of his scheme."
- But that hasn't stopped people from writing books that
challenge the Warren Commission's findings. Other ideas about who was behind
the assassination include U.S. intelligence agents, the Mafia, Nikita Khrushchev,
the military-industrial complex and Cuban exiles.
- So why should people believe McClellan? What makes his
- "The big beauty is, (readers) don't have to believe
a word I say," McClellan said. "They can believe the fingerprint
examiner. They can believe the exchange of memos and letters."
- "The book is the evidence," said Cecile McClellan,
McClellan's wife, who has edited much of the book. "When you read
that book and look at those exhibits, and say, `Do I believe this?' There
it is It's like (McClellan is) a lawyer presenting this book to the jury.
You make your own decision. He's putting it all out there."
- The theory that Johnson was involved is "exceedingly
unlikely," said John C. McAdams, who is an outspoken supporter of
the Warren Commission's findings and teaches a course on the JFK assassination
at Marquette University in Milwaukee. "What did he (McClellan) find
in the documents, and what does it, in fact, indicate? If he's looking
at all the documents everyone else is looking at, I would want to know
which documents he's interpreting as L.B.J."
- Eric Parkinson, president of Truman Press Inc., the parent
company of Hannover House, said the book comes out at a good time.
- "Now, 40 years later, it's appropriate that this
additional information be brought to light. It (the book) will provide
closure for a lot of people."
- McClellan began working with Clark in 1966 and said he
had no role in the conspiracy. But he did hear rumors about it.
- "When I first started work there and was told that
Clark was behind the assassination, I didn't believe it. It was, `This
guy you really liked, John Kennedy - he was killed by the guy you're working
for now.' I think I went into a bad case of denial."
- McClellan said he learned of Clark's role several times,
from Clark and others in the law firm, including while he was acting as
Clark's lawyer. The case involved the 1969 application for Clark to drill
an oil well and name it after himself.
- At the time, McClellan said he asked Clark about the
rumors he had been hearing. He said Clark talked in code, but he said,
"He wanted the payoff for it. When you mention Dallas, you were talking
about the assassination. We had a discussion about it. That's in the book,
pretty much verbatim."
- But why didn't McClellan go public with the information
- "When you get inside the attorney-client privilege,
you find out a whole lot," McClellan said. "At the time I thought
everything I learned was privileged. I've since found out that there's
no privilege for lawyers who plan crimes," he said, referring to Clark.
- McClellan said he left the law firm in 1982 because Clark
wanted him to represent a company that would conflict with interests of
McClellan's other clients. Then, he said, Clark sued him over a personal
loan. McClellan counter-sued. Then the bank holding the loan sued.
- "When I found out what they were going to do to
me, I got mad. The gloves came off. I said, `Forget it. They're not going
to get away with this anymore.'"
- But it took years before McClellan was able to publish
the book that he said supports his assassination theory.
- Finally in 1994, the 14-year legal battle with the lawsuits
ended with dismissals. By that time, Clark had been dead for two years.
- McClellan said he was trying to get a book out in 1984,
while Clark was alive. "He knew I was going public - from the affidavits
in one of those three lawsuits," McClellan said. And he said a book
agent he approached in 1984 told him to "do an investigation."
- So he began.
- "I wanted to be comfortable with what I knew,"
McClellan said. He said it took a long time to verify fingerprints with
several experts and to find a publisher.
- "A lot of it wouldn't have been available except
that old Clark's records" were bequeathed to Southwestern University,
McClellan said, making them available for research. Previously "they
were stored in his private records. I'm sure if he had thought about it
before he died, he would have probably thrown away a few."
- McClellan had been writing bits and pieces of the book
since he left the law firm. He logged numerous hours of research and 10
researchers helped him, he said.
- Supporters and detractors have talked to McClellan about
possible repercussions from the book, McClellan said, but he's not losing
- McClellan said he hasn't had any overt threats. He said
people imply retributions, like suggesting that "I'm not going to
make it in Austin. `You're going to be out of here.'"
- McClellan said at least some in his family accept his
work on the book.
- "They said, `OK, I guess that's what Dad's doing
now,'" McClellan said.
- But he said he has not had the chance to ask sons Scott
and Mark for their reactions.
- "I assume that they know about it," McClellan
said. "They know what I'm doing. They're not going to comment on it.
The oldest, Mark, was then maybe 15 when I left the law firm."
- When asked if he was concerned for the safety of his
twin sons, Dudley, an Austin lawyer in private practice, and Bradley, a
Texas state associate attorney general, McClellan said: "The Democrats
are pretty much out of power, really, in the state of Texas. So as far
as Republicans go, they're in good shape. My ex-wife (Carole Keeton Strayhorn)
- she's the comptroller of the state of Texas. There's really none of this
influence or anything like that."
- © 2003, The Sun Herald - Biloxi, Miss.
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