Paul Bleau and the Supposed Chicago Plot Against JFK
Updated: Sep 19
Conspiracy theorist Paul Bleau was largely responsible for Oliver Stone coming to Quebec City.
One reporter from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) had the temerity to actually question Bleau about the supposed plot against JFK in Chicago:
Mr. Bernatchez, a gentleman with a distinguished career, came to shake my hand before I was on air. He had an all-business air about him that foreshadowed what would be his skeptical tone during our 12-minute talk. This was further confirmed when a poker-faced assistant of his asked me if I believed all this stuff involving intelligence in the conspiracy. I responded yes, when I really should have pointed out the complexity of the case.
For example, when he asked what I based my affirmation about there being prior plots on, I answered that the plots I discuss in the documentary were about Chicago and Tampa during the month that preceded Dallas. I explained that there were FBI files (I should have added HSCA) about Tampa and that the Chicago plot was based on Edwin Black’s research as well as Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden’s witnessing of the goings-on. He seemed surprised. When he said that the conspiracy was not acknowledged by the media, I talked about how five government investigations that succeeded the Warren Commission and revelations from these as well as from the investigators/insiders themselves presented a very different account from what is concluded by the obsolete Warren Commission—which is what seems to be the basis on which Lone Nut scenario believers continually turn to.
There are actually no FBI or HSCA files on a plot in Tampa.
Bleau tells Bernatchez that the "Chicago plot was based on Edwin Black's research as well as Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden's witnessing of the goings on."
This makes it sound like these are two separate sources for the Chicago plot. But Black got all of his information from Bolden.
What Bleau does not want to admit is that Abraham Bolden is the ONLY source of information about the supposed plot in Chicago. There is not one piece of evidence to corroborate his allegations.
And guess what?
Abraham Bolden’s story about the Chicago plot has changed over the years.
1967 Mark Lane Press Conference
Mark Lane held a press conference in December 1967 along with Assistant District Attorney Richard Burnes from Jim Garrison’s office. They had spent several hours with Bolden, and he told them that he was given the names of the people involved in the Chicago plot. At least one of the men was followed through the streets of Chicago. Lane told the press that “The identities of those who planned the assassination (in Chicago) of President Kennedy are known to the United States Secret Service. One of these men has been sought by District Attorney Jim Garrison for some time.”
Springfield News, December 6, 1967
1968 Interview by Bud Fensterwald
Bolden said that the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office, Maurice Martineau, received a personal phone call from James Rowley, head of the Secret Service. He supposedly told Agent Martineau that the Secret Service “had word of an assassination plot” which was supposed to take place during JFK’s visit to Chicago. The agents were told to keep it all hush-hush and were shown pictures of the four men who were allegedly in the plot. The agents investigated and found that the four men were staying with a landlady.
A phone call came in from the FBI in Washington which was taken by agent Jay Stocks. He was warned about a “serious and dangerous four-man conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy at the Army-Air Force game.” The assassination would take place at an expressway overpass. A telex then came in from Rowley about the plot. A tip came in from a landlady who said four men were renting rooms and she had seen four rifles with telescopic scopes. She told the police that “perhaps there was some threat there.” Two of the men were followed and then brought in for questioning.
Bolden claimed a telex came in from the FBI, and then a phone call came in from the FBI. Bolden was not sure if the call was from the local office or from Washington. Two of the four suspects were put under surveillance and were apprehended and brought into the Chicago office. Bolden saw one of the men and he picked out the picture of ex-mobster Jim Braden as being similar. He did not recognize a picture of Thomas Vallee.
This time the phone call came in for Martineau from the Chicago office of the FBI who had information about JFK’s upcoming trip. (Page 55 – 56)
A woman who owned a rooming house on the city’s North Side had gone into one of the rooms to do some housekeeping and had discovered two rifles equipped with telescopic sights. She had rented the room to two men she believed to be Hispanic, and had also seen two white men going in and out of the room. Knowing that the president was due to visit Chicago, she grew concerned and called the authorities.
Notice that there is no threat to JFK. In fact, Bolden writes “Martineau professed to believe that this was not yet a Secret Service matter, in that there had been no direct threat to the President in connection with the rifles.”
In a book of over 300 pages, Bolden devotes only one page to this supposed plot.
Now, of course memories fade over time. But what makes this even more suspicious is that when Bolden talked to Lane in 1967 and to Fensterwald in 1968, he tied the alleged Chicago plot to the Garrison Investigation. Here is an excerpt from his interview with Bud Fensterwald:
In December 1967, Jim Garrison indicted Edgar Eugene Bradley for conspiring to kill JFK, a charge that had absolutely no foundation. Garrison also believed that Manuel Garcia Gonzalez was one of the gunmen on the grassy knoll.
Where did this all come from? Perhaps from some rumors right after the assassination:
This page reads:
Larry Fanning, Executive Editor, "Chicago Daily News", had previously advised that on November 2, 1963, four men were reportedly arrested in Chicago, Illinois, and charged with carrying a concealed weapon. One of these individuals, according to Fanning's source, was believed to be the subject Oswald.
SAC Marlin W. Johnson has periodically maintained contact with Mr. Fanning in an effort to determine Fanning's sources for this story. On January 21, 1964, Mr. Fanning advised SAC Johnson that he had looked into the matter thoroughly and there was absolutely no truth whatsoever in the story. He stated he could not tell Mr. Johnson exactly how the story originated.
Was this the genesis of the story about the Chicago plot? I also find it interesting that the story of Thomas Vallee and the four-man assassination team both feature landladies. In both cases, it was a landlady who called the police or Secret Service. Might Bolden have been conflating the Vallee story with the rumor above?
I am sure that some people will respond to this article by claiming that evidence of the Chicago plot has been destroyed by the Secret Service.
And they did destroy some records.
In episode 4 [of JFK: Destiny Betrayed], Tunheim and Samoluk discuss the Secret Service destruction of two boxes of domestic survey reports, Here is an excerpt from a transcript: (19:25)
Judge Tunheim: They destroyed a group of records which involved threats to President Kennedy in the fall of 1963. They have what they're called threat sheets and there were many threats made to President Kennedy's life during the year 1963. They fought us on the release of those records. They even enlisted Vice President Gore's wife to help them because she had a very legitimate concern for mental health records. And the idea was that this might disclose the names of people who had mental health problems.
No doubt Tunheim and Samoluk were right to be upset about the destruction of two boxes of records. But right after their appearance in JFK: Destiny Betrayed, the documentary moves to supposed plots against JFK in Chicago and Miami. The juxtaposition is not by accident - since there is no documentary evidence that there was a threat in Chicago, JFK; Destiny Betrayed uses Tunheim and Samoluk to imply that the destroyed records contained valuable information related to the supposed plot.
The committee was unable to document the existence of the alleged assassination team. Specifically, no agent who had been assigned to Chicago confirmed any aspect of Bolden's version. One agent did state there had been a threat in Chicago during that period, but he was unable to recall details. Bolden did not link Vallee to the supposed four-man assassination team, although he claimed to remember Vallee's name in conjunction with a 1963 Chicago case. He did not recognize Vallee's photograph when shown it by the committee.
The Secret Service wrote a letter to the ARRB noting that "the folder concerning the canceled trip to Chicago would only have contained a preliminary survey report, if any document at all, since final reports are not conducted when a trip is canceled." Preliminary survey reports are just the basic plans for a trip.
The reason for PRS interest is "subj was reported by confidential source to have made critical remarks re JFK adm."
Just critical remarks? Was there really a threat?