A longer version of the Air Force One recordings from the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas have been located and are for sale. The recordings provide an additional 30 minutes of never before heard audio.
The newly discovered tapes are two hours long, and predate the official recordings that are housed in the National Archives outside Washington and the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Texas. The original shorter recording was believed to be the only existing audio from that day, and has been the basis of studies and reports conducted on the happenings surrounding the assassination.
The DailyMail reports that the new tapes were acquired by the Raab Collection, a historical documents dealer located in Philadelphia. Nathan Raab, vice president of the Raab Collection, said “'As Americans have looked to the history of the Kennedy assassination in search of answers, somewhere in an attic there existed a tape made years before the only known surviving version, of the conversations on Air Force One on that fateful day.”
The tape, which is still in its original box, has a hefty asking price of $500,000. The tape still has its original title on it, “Radio Traffic involving AF-1 in flight from Dallas, Texas to Andrews AFB on November 22, 1963,” and has a typewritten label proving it was made by the White House Communications Agency for Army Gen Chester 'Ted' Clifton Jr.
While the tapes will be sold to a private buyer, a copy will be donated to the National Archives and the John F. Kennedy Library by the Raab Collection.
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The tapes are considered the “highlight” of Ted Clifton’s estate. Ted Clifton was the senior military aide for Kennedy and was a part of his motorcade on November 22, 1963. Along with the tapes are other recordings, videos, and documents from his time serving both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. The estate was put to sale after the death of Clifton’s wife in 2009.
The tapes show that there was some debate as to which hospital Kennedy’s body would go to for autopsy, and whether or not wife Jackie Kennedy would accompany it.
Most notably, however, the tape clarifies on the whereabouts of Kennedy’s “nemesis” Air Force General Curtis LeMay, who would later come under much suspicion in regards to the assassination. He is not referenced in the original, shorter version of the audio from that day. Raab said how the conversation on the tapes definitively pinpoints LeMay’s location at the time of the assassination.
Aside from the location of LeMay, the public shouldn’t expect other answers too quickly. Raab said “It took decades to analyze the shorter, newer version and it will take years to do the same here”.
While the newly found tapes will offer new information about the assassination of JFK, the uncut and original recordings, which reportedly last for about 4 hours, have yet to be located.
“That this tape even exists will change the way we view this great event in history,” said Raab.