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Warren Commission Report: Page 456« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER VIII - The Protection of the President)

constitutionally and lawfully provided to succeed thereto in case of a vacancy. It is important to this country that the interruption shall not take place for an hour * * * 224

Enactment of this statute would mean that the investigation of any of the acts covered and of the possibility of a further attempt would be conducted by Federal law enforcement officials, in particular, the FBI with the assistance of the Secret Service.225 At present, Federal agencies participate only upon the sufferance of the local authorities. While the police work of the Dallas authorities in the early identification and apprehension of Oswald was both efficient and prompt, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who strongly supports such legislation, testified that the absence of clear Federal jurisdiction over the assassination of President Kennedy led to embarrassment and confusion in the subsequent investigation by Federal and local authorities.226 In addition, the proposed legislation will insure that any suspects who are arrested will be Federal prisoners, subject to Federal protection from vigilante justice and other threats. 227

Committee of Cabinet Officers

As our Government has become more complex, agencies other than the Secret Service have become involved in phases of the overall problem of protecting our national leaders. The FBI is the major domestic investigating agency of the United States, while the CIA has the primary responsibility for collecting intelligence overseas to supplement information acquired by the Department of State. The Secret Service must rely in large part upon the investigating capacity and experience of these and other agencies for much of its information regarding possible dangers to the President. The Commission believes that it is necessary to improve the cooperation among these agencies and to emphasize that the task of Presidential protection is one of broad national concern.

The Commission suggests that consideration might be given to assigning to a Cabinet-level committee or the National Security Council (which is responsible for advising the President respecting the coordination of departmental policies relating to the national security) 228 the responsibility to review and oversee the protective activities of the Secret Service and the other Federal agencies that assist in safeguarding the President. The Committee should include the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney General, and, if the Council is used, arrangements should be made for the attendance of the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney General at any meetings which are concerned with Presidential protection.229 The Council already includes, in addition to the President and Vice President, the Secretaries of State and Defense and has a competent staff.

The foremost assignment of the Committee would be to insure that the maximum resources of the Federal Government are fully engaged

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