By: Dr. J. P. Hubert
Phillip F. Nelson has written a book published in 2010 entitled LBJ: The Mastermind of JFK’s Assassination which states categorically that LBJ was indeed the mastermind behind the JFK Assassination. As far as I am aware, this is the first major work to make such a claim.
Previously, attorney Barr McClellan at one time a partner in the Austin Texas law firm that handled all of Lyndon Johnson’s legal work authored a book; Blood, Money and Power: How LBJ Killed JFK (New York: Hannover House, 2003) in which he argued that LBJ asked Edward A. Clark the head of the firm to arrange the murder of JFK. McClellan claims that Clark was the mastermind while LBJ had no role in either planning or carrying out the plot.
Douglas P. Horne in his 5 volume recent work Inside the ARRB, 2009 argues that at the least LBJ was aware of the conspiracy to assassinate JFK, gave his approval (LBJ attended the pre-assassination meeting on November 21, 1963 at the home of Clint Murchison along with J. Edgar Hoover for example) and that he in concert with Hoover was an active and integral participant in the cover-up. As far as I am aware, Horne does not contend that LBJ was the actual mastermind of the plot.
Nelson builds on material from multiple other works in an attempt to establish that Lyndon B. Johnson had a long history of planning and carrying-out complicated schemes without being discovered, many of which were illegal. He establishes to a high degree of probability that LBJ was a completely self-centered man, totally lacking in moral conscience who would do virtually anything to achieve his life-long goal of becoming President of the United States including committing murder.
Nelson (and McClellan) argue forcefully that Lyndon Johnson was afflicted with an untreated bi-polar major depressive disorder which should have rendered him ineligible for the Presidency had it ever become widely recognized. However, due to his unprecedented ability to manipulate almost everyone he ever met, Johnson was able to position himself as Vice President, virtually a heart-beat away from the Presidency.
In perhaps his most startling assertion, Nelson alleges that Johnson began planning the murder of JFK at the Democratic National Convention in 1960 when he essentially blackmailed JFK into placing him on the Democratic ticket. According to Nelson, (who wrote that LBJ was the only man who ever actively sought out the job of Vice President), it was only a matter of time before Johnson made his move to have Kennedy killed, thereby ascending to the position of President of the United States his life-long dream.
Nelson's claims are truly extraordinary but certainly not incompatible with the evidence now available. Unlike McClellan who alleged that the JFK Assassination was a Johnson ordered and Clark masterminded Texas affair, Nelson makes a quite convincing case that LBJ managed to co-opt multiple diverse entities—all of whom despised Kennedy—utilizing to his best advantage their various abilities in his plot to assassinate JFK and once in power to utilize many of the same organizations and individuals to cover-up the crime.
It has been clearly established that Johnson had numerous close contacts in the FBI (Hoover was a personal friend), the CIA, Joint Chiefs of Staff (including General Curtis Le May whose position Johnson supported not only during the Cuban Missile Crisis but with regard to his desire to commence a land war in Vietnam), the Mafia, certain members of the Secret Service and of course local Texas officials all of which would appear to provide him the means and opportunity reaquired to carry out the "crime of the century."
It goes without saying that LBJ had the motive given that the US Congress and the Kennedy administration were closing in on his prior illegal activities as a result of their investigation of Bobby Baker. There are many credible reports that Johnson feared not only political oblivion but impending imprisonment.
I am currently still in the process of carefully analyzing the many claims that Phillip Nelson has made and attempting to research some of his supporting documentation. Nelson’s hypothesis is extremely interesting to say the least. It may succeed in finally identifying the public face responsible that is, the individual who had ultimate control over events and stood most to personally benefit. I welcome comments from other JFK Assassination researchers and interested readers.