News / USA

Secret Service Agents Open Up About Kennedy Assassination

Former Secret Service agent Clint Hill explains how the day of President John F. Kennedy�s assassination unfolded, and how it forever changed his life, November 2011.
Former Secret Service agent Clint Hill explains how the day of President John F. Kennedy�s assassination unfolded, and how it forever changed his life, November 2011.
Kane Farabaugh

President John F. Kennedy’s trip to Dallas on November 22, 1963 was intended to boost support in Texas for his 1964 re-election campaign.  But an assassin’s bullet ended his life, an event still shrouded in controversy.  Since that time, Secret Service agents assigned to protect President Kennedy have spoken only rarely about that day.  But in an interview with VOA, former agent Clint Hill explains how the day unfolded, and how it changed his life.

Former Secret Service agent Clint Hill said providing security for President John F. Kennedy was a challenge.

“With President Kennedy it was mix and mingle. He didn’t like anybody to be, come between he and the people,” said Hill.

November 22, 1963 began like most presidential visits... even though it was in a part of the country - Texas - that was not enthusiastic about the president.

“This was an extremely conservative area. Kennedy was not labeled as a conservative by any stretch of the imagination, so it was considered that there could be some problems that could develop. But we had no threats, no information that would lead us to believe that we would have a major problem,” said Hill.

As the president's motorcade made its way through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Hill was on a vehicle behind the presidential limousine.

“I heard an explosive noise to my right rear, the rear of the motorcade," said Hill. "I saw the president grab at his throat and move to his left and I knew something was wrong, so I jumped and ran toward the presidential car with the idea of getting up on top.  

"By the time I just about got to the car, the third shot had been fired, hit the President in the head, caused a massive wound, which caused blood, brains and other material to be exploded out on to the car, onto me, onto Mrs. Kennedy. She was trying to retrieve some material that had come off from the president’s head and went to the right rear. I grabbed her and did the best I could to get her back in the seat.

"When I did that, the president fell to his left into her lap. I got up on top and lay on top behind both of them, and I turned and gave a thumbs down to the follow up car," said Hill.

That event lasted less than a minute, but it scarred Hill for life.

“I feel guilt, I feel responsibility. I was the only agent who was in a position to do anything that day,” said Hill.

The assassination shook the nation, and the Secret Service.

Clint Hill protected three more presidents, but in 1975, overcome by depression, he retired.

In 2009, author Lisa McCubbin requested an interview with Hill for a possible book.  

“He did one interview in 1975 with 60 Minutes that’s a classic interview in which he had basically a nervous breakdown on television. Then he went into seclusion," said McCubbin.

Encouraged by friend, former agent and now author Gerald Blaine, Hill and other agents in Dallas on that day decided to talk, in part, to document how the assassination affected them.

Hill said the release last year of The Kennedy Detail has been therapeutic.

“...especially being able to go out and talk to people about the book and answer it, a lot of the questions that they have because there are still a lot of questions out there,” said Hill.

One question often asked is whether or not there was more than one assassin. Hill supports the findings of the Warren Commission, which concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman.




You May Like

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs