SIGN UP for our newsletter ✉️ :

Get the latest stories delivered straight to you

Was JFK assassinated by the CIA? Why the conspiracy theory lives on

In 1963, the world watched in horror as US President John F. Kennedy was brutally assassinated while riding in a presidential motorcade through Dallas, Texas, sparking wild conspiracy theories.

In Kennedy's last moments, he rounded a corner through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas and was shot in the head in front of the Texas School Book Depository. A total of three shots were fired within a six-second window.

Within minutes of the event, Dallas police had apprehended and arrested Lee Harvey Oswald in the book depository, but before he could face trial for JFK's murder he was shot dead by a man named Jack Ruby.

One of the most popular conspiracy theories claims that Oswald did not orchestrate the assassination of JFK, with believers alleging the CIA was behind the death of America's 35th president.

Potential motivation for CIA involvement revealed

Speaking to Yahoo News' Conspiracies Unpacked, Futurist Dr Richard Hames said that when it comes to speculation of CIA involvement, there are "certainly motives there".

"Kennedy had fired Allen Dulles who was the head of the CIA, and he was planning on a 20 per cent cut to their budget," Dr Hames said.

"And his policies in terms of trying to get out of Vietnam and making friends with Castro were quite clearly not in the interests of the CIA."

Surprisingly, Oswald himself also blamed the CIA for the slaying, telling Dallas reporters that he was "just a patsy" (public figure of blame).

"Could the CIA do this kind of thing? Yes, the power, the money and the reach they have would suggest that they could," Dr Hames said.

JFK and his wife Jackie in their car before the assassination
The harrowing footage of the assassination, named The Zapruder Film after the man who recorded it, is at the heart of conspiracy theories. Source: Reuters

Second conspiracy theory claims second shooter never caught

JFK's assassination fascinated the public and led to many analyses of the shooting by professionals and conspiracy theorists alike.

One popular theory claims that there was a second shooter, perhaps located on the grassy knoll in front of the book depository, who participated in the killing.

"Even the most professional riflemen find it difficult to believe that someone with his [Oswald's] level of skills with that rifle could have taken those three shots in six seconds," Dr Hames said.

"It's almost impossible, so that gives credence to the possibility that there was a second shooter."

Jack Ruby's assassination of Oswald, which happened a mere 48 hours after JFK was killed, was also part of a "distraction" according to Dr Hames.

X marked on the road where JFK died, aerial shot of the book depository, road and grassy knoll
The location of the assassination is now a popular tourist destination for conspiracy theorists and history buffs alike. Source: Getty Images.

Overall, Dr Hames said that there is some credence to the conspiracy theory, stating it's "very plausible" that JFK's assassination involved some "collusion".

Regardless, the event continues to fascinate people all over the world 59 years later, with millions visiting the famed depository (now a JFK museum) and posing alongside a morbid "X" which has been painted on the road where the president lost his life.

Do you have a story tip? Email:

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.

Yahoo News daily newsletter banner
Yahoo News daily newsletter banner