ABC News has a fascinating account of a plot to assassinate John F. Kennedy - in Chicago - three weeks before he went to Dallas. The story comes from former Secret Service agent, Abraham Bolden. Now 73, Bolden was invited by Kennedy to join the presidential detail and thus became the first black man assigned to protect a president.
"Kennedy was due to arrive in Chicago the morning of Nov. 2 to attend the Army-Air Force football game at Soldier Field and ride in a parade. Newspapers had even printed JFK's detailed travel plan from O'Hare airport to the Loop.
Although police were preparing to line the motorcade route, Secret Service officials in Chicago were deeply troubled about the visit because of two secret threats.
Right-wing radical and Kennedy denouncer Thomas Vallee had arranged to be off work for JFK's visit; Vallee, an expert marksman, was arrested with an M1 rifle, a handgun and 3,000 rounds of ammo. But then there was the phone call to federal agents from a motel manager concerning what she'd seen in a room rented by two Cuban nationals.
"Had seen lying on the bed several automatic rifles with telescopic sights, with an outline of the route that President Kennedy was supposed to take in Chicago that would bring him past that building," said former Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden.
Bolden recalled how agents bungled surveillance of those two suspected Cuban hit men. They disappeared and were never identified.
News reports stated that Kennedy didn't show because he was ill or because of a diplomatic crisis. Official investigations of JFK never determined why the president canceled Chicago Nov. 2. But in his first interview in 44 years, Bolden said JFK stayed away because of an imminent threat.
Bolden said the president didn't come to Chicago because he was basically waved off by the Secret Service, and it wasn't because he had a cold.
Information about Vallee, his similarity in appearance and background to Oswald and details of the Cuban hit squad in Chicago were never given to federal agents in Dallas.
When the Warren Commission began investigating JFK's assassination, Bolden says, he attempted to inform members about the Chicago plot and misconduct by his fellow agents.
During that time Bolden was arrested and prosecuted for soliciting a bribe from a counterfeiter and served a six-year sentence. He says it was a setup to silence him. The main witness has since recanted, and Bolden hopes now to clear his name. "
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