JFK murder plots planned in Chicago before Dallas assassination

The I-Team has discovered not just one, but two plots to cut down JFK in Chicago in early November, 1963.
November 5, 2013 8:39:25 PM PST
Coming up on 50 years since the assassination of President John Kennedy, the ABC7 I-Team has uncovered new details about the JFK omen in Chicago-- secret plans to kill JFK here, just weeks before he was murdered in Dallas.

Even though the anniversary isn't for a few weeks, by this moment 50 years ago JFK would already have been dead, and Chicago would have gone down in history as the place.

The Omen in Chicago: the I-Team has discovered not just one, but two plots to cut down JFK in Chicago in early November, 1963, and an intriguing backstory of bungling by the government agencies protecting him.

President John F. Kennedy was never supposed to make it to Texas, never supposed to take this ride, and never supposed to die in Dallas.

As Chicagoans watched storefront TVs and picked up newspapers of the day, there was one storyline almost no one knew a story still evolving five decades later: evidence that President Kennedy was to be targeted here in Chicago.

"The assassination was supposed to take place during the motorcade that was scheduled to come in from O'Hare Airport," said Abraham Bolden, JFK Secret Service Agent.

According to this Chicagoan and former JFK bodyguard-- and from these FBI and Secret Service reports obtained by the I-Team-- it is clear there were two plans by different groups intent on killing the president in Chicago weeks before Dallas.

In October 1963, the White House had publicly announced JFK'S plans to fly into Chicago on November 2. He was to land at O'Hare as he had many times, would be greeted by Mayor Daley as usual, and would attend an Army-Air Force football game at Soldier Field.

Records reveal one Chicago plot had been developed by radical Cuban exile Homer Echevarria, a known smuggler of automatic weapons and machine guns.

"Echeverria had made mention that a plan was underway to assassinate President Kennedy and it was going to be successful. 'We're gonna get him.' That's what he said," said Bolden.

Bolden says Echevarria told a Secret Service informant that his group would "take care of Kennedy." In a boarding house just off the highway from O'Hare and linked to Echavarria, authorities found high powered rifles, ammo and Kennedy motorcade maps.

But then, according to Agent Bolden, FBI officials-- jealous of the Secret Service getting all the glory-- undermined the Cuban investigation.

"They blew the cover. They blew the cover of the informant for the Secret Service. The FBI was sabotaging this case," said Bolden.

The Cubans disappeared, just as a second Chicago plot surfaced.

At this intersection, a right wing radical under surveillance for publicly threatening Kennedy was arrested. Ex-marine Thomas Vallee had high powered rifles and ammo in his car trunk and was en route to a job that would give him direct aim at JFK'S motorcade as it exited the expressway.

An hour later, the White House scrubbed JFK'S trip.

"Since the president's life was in such severe danger, that was the reason he cancelled the trip to Chicago-- the assassination threat," said Bolden.

Kennedy stayed in Washington. The Soldier Field football game went on without him. Three weeks later the assassination happened in Dallas.

"President Kennedy has been assassinated."

Bolden says it was exactly what was to have happened in Chicago.

"I think there would have been an attempt. I think it would've been successful," said Bolden.

Current officials of the FBI and Secret Service did not comment for this report. Bolden left the Secret Service in 1964 after being prosecuted and imprisoned for bribery-- and to this day maintains he was framed for trying to blow the whistle on agency misconduct during the JFK years.

He believes some details of the Chicago plots are hidden in government files still locked up after 50 years.

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