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March 19, 2004
Kerry Waters Down Denial, Acknowledges Presence at "Assassination" Meeting

John Kerry's campaign has backed off their earlier denials that Kerry was not present for the VVAW meeting in Kansas City, November 1971, where the "Phoenix Project" was brought to debate and a vote:

Senator Kerry of Massachusetts yesterday retreated from his earlier steadfast denials that he attended a meeting of Vietnam Veterans Against the War at which a plan to assassinate U.S. Senators was debated. The reversal came as new evidence, including reports from FBI informants, emerged that contradicted Mr. Kerrys previous statements about the gathering, which was held in Kansas City, Mo. in November 1971.

John Kerry had no personal recollection of this meeting 33 years ago, a Kerry campaign spokesman, David Wade, said in a statement e-mailed last night from Idaho, where Mr. Kerry is on vacation.

The historian Gerald Nicosia, who happens to be a Kerry supporter, released the minutes of the VVAW meeting, as well as FBI surveillance documents he received under a Freedom of Information request while researching a book on anti-war activism. Nicosia says that the evidence of Kerry's appearance and participation in the debate is "incontrovertible". This puts to lie Kerry's earlier contention that he was nowhere near Kansas City in November 1971 and that he had resigned from the VVAW in July of that year.

The Phoenix Project, as I earlier related, was the brainchild of Scott Camil, who had found several volunteers for the mission to assassinate public figures who supported the war, including Senators John Tower, Strom Thurmond, and John Stennis. Camil brought the proposal to the 11/71 VVAW meeting for a vote, and VVAW leadership knew about it; they changed the meeting venue twice on the spur of the moment in a futile attempt to avoid being monitored by the FBI.

While it's true that John Kerry spoke against this plot and later resigned because of it, it's equally true that he warned no one about the existence of the plot or the plotters. What's false has been Kerry's story ever since, and for good reason -- someone who sits in league with putative assassins plotting their crimes and fails to notify authorities implicitly legitimizes the use of violence for political and electoral ends. It should be a disqualification for public office; I for one don't want a Senator who thought, during his political career (he ran for Congress in 1970), that such a debate was a legitimate political discussion.

Kerry needs to explain himself and his participation in the 11/71 VVAW meeting. Non-denials from David Wade won't cut it.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 19, 2004 1:33 PM

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I'm being generous in my interpretation of events: Kerry, hearing about the plans for assassination, was horrified at the thought, argued strenuously against it, and even after successfully opposing the idea, decided that he had to leave the organiza... [Read More]

Tracked on March 19, 2004 5:42 PM

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