Even those inclined to suspect a conspiracy was behind JFK's murder will likely remain unpersuaded by Pacepa's circumstantial, speculative case that the Soviet Union ordered Lee Harvey Oswald to assassinate Kennedy. The author, who was head of Romania's secret security agency before defecting to the U.S. in 1978, maintains that Khrushchev plotted the assassination, only to have a change of heart, but Soviet agents were unable to deprogram Oswald. Pacepa's version of history gives the KGB months to prevent the assassination (and its potentially devastating blowback) by simply eliminating Oswald once his determination to kill Kennedy became clear. Pacepa relies heavily on the work of the Warren Commission, the House Committee on Assassinations and author Edward J. Epstein; his own experience of Romanian intelligence provides only anecdotes and what he calls an ability to recognize the Soviet fingerprint in the case. While there is reason to doubt that the former Soviet Union was fully forthcoming about Oswald's time there, this book offers no convincing Soviet motive for the assassination. (Sept. 14)
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In the Western world, Ion Mihai Pacepa is undoubtedly the person most knowledgeable about Soviet espionage. His Red Horizons is a masterful portrait of a Communist bloc country, and Programmed to Kill
is a rich cornucopia of information about the KGB, the Romanian intelligence service, Soviet spycraft (the discussion of 'illegals' is exceptional) and the personalities atop the Kremlin. No previous author could have written with such authority and understanding. His analysis of Oswald must be considered one of the basic books about the Kennedy assassination. (Michael Ledeen, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of The War Against the Terror Masters)
For those who love conspiracy theories, especially those about the Kennedy assassination, this is a rich one. Fiction or non-fiction? I will let the readers judge, but Pacepa's book makes for a fantastic read. (Donald T. Critchlow, co-editor of American Conspiracies Revealed and author of The Conservative Ascendancy)
This is a fascinating and provocative book that will definitely change our understanding of one of the 20th century's most disturbing and puzzling episodes. (Vladimir Tismaneanu, University of Maryland, author of Stalinism for All Seasons: A Political History)As in a novel of Agatha Christie, every chapter of Programmed to Kill tightens the noose around the culprit, leading to the ineluctable conclusion that the whole series of events started from the Kremlin. The story lends perfectly to a non-fictional 'whodunit' movie.
(Claude Matasa, professor, University of Illinois)General Ion Mihai Pacepa has given us a new and very different point of view of the JFK assassination, clarifying what has been the conspiracy theorists' haven in the 20th century. In the FBI we taught that 'the truth is in the details,' and the General exquisitely reveals the truth-with verifiable, consistent, meshing-together, and incontrovertible facts about the involvement of the Soviet leadership and the KGB in this tragedy from start to finish, and even afterward in covering up their malfeasance. The General's credibility—from the time of his initial debriefings and to the present—continues to ring true. He speaks the 'language of intelligence' and admirably translates it for those who lived through that time but were unaware of how to interpret what the plethora of facts really meant. A younger generation can now also profit from the General's insight to see this historic event clearly.
(Wayne A. Barnes, retired Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation)
General Pacepa is a former 'voice from within' that tells us how lack of expertise made possible a profoundly incorrect reading of even such clear facts. (Dorin Tudoran, editor-in-chief Democracy at Large, Washington D.C.)
It took a quarter of a century to uncover the KGB hand behind the attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II. And it took the highest ever intelligence defector from the Soviet bloc to unravel President Kennedy's assassination. General Pacepa is the only researcher into the JFK assassination who had direct knowledge of the KGB's ties to Lee Harvey Oswald, and who learned from Khrushchev himself about his deep hatred for Kennedy. Pacepa was also involved in Moscow's frenzied effort to throw the blame for Kennedy's death on the U.S. But that was not enough to answer all the questions about the assassination. It took Pacepa many years to sift through all the information he had gathered and analyze it with American eyes. His Programmed to Kill
is meticulously detailed. It covers all the bases left open by government investigations and the hundreds of books published on the assassination. (Arnaud de Borchgrave, editor at large for UPI and The Washington Times, Director Transnational Threats, Center for Strategic and International Studies)Programmed to Kill sends a wake-up call about the inherent evil of the KGB, whose former officers are now running Russia.
(Nestor Ratesh, former director of Radio Free Europe's Romani)
Answered many lingering questions lying around the JFK assassination landscape. (Bernie Reeves Raleigh Metro Magazine
)Mr. Pacepa's book is valuable . . . confirms what many of us have long believed.
(Joseph C. Goulden The Washington Times
)Any . . . collection interested in true crime and American history analysis needs this new survey . . . offering insights into questions left unanswered.
(Midwest Book Review
Fascinating and engrossing account, which should be required reading for the entire American intelligence community. (Justin P. Liuba Epoch Times
A superb new paradigmatic work on the death of President Kennedy. (Stan Webber H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online