Thirty days has November... and DeRosaWorld is bringing you a JFK Assassination fact for each day.
Col. Fletcher L. Prouty spent 9 of his 23 year military career in the Pentagon (1955-1964): 2 years with the Secretary of Defense, 2 years with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and 5 years with Headquarters, U.S. Air Force. In 1955 he was appointed the first "Focal Point" officer between the CIA and the Air Force for Clandestine Operations per National Security Council Directive 5412. He was Briefing Officer for the Secretary of Defense (1960-1961), and for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"What caught my eye right away was the fact that some other person is in the first photo walking in the opposite direction." says Prouty, singling out one particular shot. "Here he is, during one of the most important events in our history, casually walking past two police with guns and the tramps, not even looking at what could've been the killers of the President. This is all within 30 minutes or less after the assassination. It's unbelievable. And note that these tramps have not been handcuffed either, and a civilian is allowed to walk within inches of them."
Then Prouty looked even more closely at the photo. "I was stunned to realize that this unconcerned bystander was none other than my long-time friend and associate Ed Lansdale."
"Right away, since he was there, I just knew that he must be concerned with the cover story. That was his gift…his specialty."
Gen. Edward G. Lansdale was a celebrated CIA man who masterminded various assassination plots for the CIA and was heavily involved in Vietnam. He was CIA, but worked under the cover of an air force colonel. He and Prouty had worked closely together for several years before his resignation ("a paper resignation to comply with his CIA 'cover' assignment") in October 1963. At the time of the assassination, Lansdale was supposed to be visiting his son in San Antonio, but a claim check found in his personal papers places him at a hotel used by the presidential entourage the night before the assassination.
"I personally have no doubt that the photo is of Lansdale," affirms Prouty. "I knew him from 1952 in the Philippines to the time of his death. He was one of my neighbors."
Prouty sent copies of the photos to a friend - another high-ranking Kennedy-era officer who also knew Lansdale.
"The two policemen are carrying shotguns, not rifles," the friend wrote back. "Their caps are different (one a white chinstrap, one black). One has a Dallas Police shoulder patch, one does not, and their caps differ from that of another police officer in photo four. Reasonable conclusion -- they are either reservists or phoneys. And as you know, city cops don't have anything to do with sheriff's offices."
"And as to photo No. 1 - That is a picture of Ed Lansdale! The haircut, the stoop, the twisted left hand, the large class ring. It's Lansdale. What in the world was he doing there? Has anyone asked him?"
Prouty says he wasn't surprised when he realized Lansdale was in Dallas for the assassination -- he was there to make sure nothing went wrong.
"He was there like the orchestra leader, coordinating these things." Prouty says Lansdale "He's a 'producer' and the best one there was."