According to an exclusive report by Fox News, new light has been shed on a little-known incident involving President John F. Kennedy that occurred almost exactly one year before his assassination in Dallas, TX. Former staff member at the John F. Kennedy Library Stephen F. Knott has unearthed details of this event from his research in the library archives.
Knott discovered that in October 1962, President Kennedy took a motorcade in Springfield, Illinois that could have very well had a disastrous outcome. While traversing the downtown area, a vigilant police officer noticed a rifle aimed at the president from a second-story window. This disturbing revelation came to light as Kennedy was scheduled to return via the same route, highlighting a grave security lapse.
“The only thing new that I learned was that there had been a previous near miss, let’s say, almost a year earlier at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which would have been a disaster,” Knott told Fox News.
“President Kennedy visited Springfield, Ill., to lay a wreath at the tomb of Abraham Lincoln and then to deliver a political speech. And while he was parading in an open car through downtown Springfield, a police officer spotted a rifle with a scope on it, emerged from a nearby building under which Kennedy’s limousine was going to pass.”
“What made it even more frightening was Kennedy was scheduled to return on the exact same route,” Knott added. “And thankfully, this Illinois police officer spotted it.”
Local police arrested a 20-year-old man and 16-year-old boy after an Illinois Department of Public Safety employee saw them pointing a .22-caliber rifle. The firearm and a box of ammunition were confiscated, but the pair was never charged with a crime. They had argued that they had only wanted to get a better look at the president, according to reports.
“The Secret Service held these two individuals for a time,” Knott said. “They insisted that all they wanted to do was to get a better look at the president. And it seems to me kind of odd that you use a rifle scope to do that.”
This incident, according to Knott, was a critical juncture that should have prompted a reassessment of presidential security protocols. Despite the apparent risk, no substantial changes were implemented, which may have been influenced by Kennedy’s preference for an unobstructed interaction with the public. Kennedy’s reluctance to be shielded from the people, as evidenced by his refusal to use a bubble top on his limousine, played a role in the maintenance of existing security practices.
Gerald Blaine, a Secret Service agent who was part of the security detail during the Springfield incident, downplayed its significance in his comments to Fox News. While acknowledging the confiscation of the rifle, Blaine viewed the act of using a rifle scope to observe the president as foolish rather than a serious threat.
Knott’s findings also touch upon the broader controversies surrounding Kennedy’s assassination. Initially a believer in various conspiracy theories, Knott has since shifted his stance, now supporting the lone-shooter theory. He believes the evidence firmly points to Lee Harvey Oswald as the sole perpetrator. This change in perspective, as reported by Fox News, highlights the evolving interpretations and understandings of one of the most scrutinized events in American history.