BY HUGH TURLEY —This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and stories about that fateful day in November 1963 have already started appearing in the American media. It is a popular belief that if there were a conspiracy, someone would come forward and the press would tell us.
Then why is there still no news about Pfc. Eugene Dinkin, a cryptographic code operator for the Army? Declassified CIA and FBI documents released in the 1990s reveal a strange tale that raises the question: Could Dinkin have learned the details of an assassination plot from the classified documents he handled, or was he a paranoiac who somehow made a number of amazingly accurate prophecies?
On October 16, 1963, when Dinkin was stationed in Metz, France, he wrote a letter to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy warning that the president would be assassinated on or about November 28 and requesting an interview by the Justice Department. Dinkin sent the letter registered mail, and to prevent it from being intercepted, used the return address of an Army friend, Pfc. Dennis De Witt. He did not receive an answer.
Dinkin later changed the predicted assassination date to November 22 and said it would happen in Texas. He believed the military was involved in the plot and that a Communist would be blamed. The day after the murder, the Washington Evening Star reported that the alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was a “pro-Castro Marxist.”
On October 25, 1963, Dinkin traveled to the United States Embassy in Luxembourg to apprise a Mr. Cunningham, the Charge d’Affaires, of the plot to assassinate President Kennedy. He was turned away.
Dinkin was scheduled for a psychiatric examination on November 4, and fearing confinement as a psychotic, he went absent without leave from his unit. He traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, using a false Army identification and forged travel orders. There, he appeared in the press room of the United Nations office on November 6 and 7 and “told reporters he was being persecuted.” Among those who heard his story were the editor of the Geneva Diplomat and representatives of Newsweek and the Time-Life media group.
The AWOL Dinkin was the subject of CIA cables on November 18 and again on November 29, 1963. The latter cable advised the White House, State Department, FBI, and Secret Service of Dinkin’s assassination predictions and of his trip to Switzerland.
Upon returning to his unit in Metz, he was arrested by Army intelligenceofficers and soon transferred to Walter Reed Army hospital in Washington, D.C., where he was treated for “paranoia,” according to an FBI report. Afterwards, he was discharged from the Army.
The FBI interviewed him on April 1, 1964. By then, perhaps fearing prosecution for revealing classified material, Dinkin said his theory came from newspaper articles and acknowledged that it “was extremely ‘wild’ and could be construed [as] ‘crazy’.”
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and CIA Deputy Director Richard Helms informed the Warren Commission about Dinkin’s predictions about the assassination, but his name was never mentioned in the encyclopedic official record.
The journalists who heard Dinkin’s story in Switzerland may have had it within their power to prevent the assassination of President Kennedy. By writing nothing about his documented allegations, they failed to exercise that power. In addition, they knew that he had been detained after coming forward – but in the wake of the assassination with the investigation proceeding, they remained silent. How many other cases like Dinkins remain unreported?
Pfc. Dinkin miscalculated when he went AWOL to contact journalists whom he mistakenly believed were liberty’s guardians. The Roman poet Juvenal asked, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” (“Who will guard the guards themselves?”) It’s still a good question.
As with most opinion columns, those in the Hyattsville Life & Times should be understood to represent the view of the author and not necessarily the publication.