Kerry Still Backpedaling on Presence at 1971 Anti-War Meetings

By Marc Morano | July 7, 2008 | 8:21 PM EDT

(Clarifies content of FBI files related to 1971 meeting)

( - Five days after reported that Democrat John Kerry had attended a 1971 anti-war meeting at which the possible assassination of U.S. senators was discussed, the presidential hopeful is still backpedaling on statements regarding his whereabouts during that meeting.

Kerry at first denied attending the November 1971 meeting of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) in Kansas City, Mo. But according to FBI files obtained by, Kerry was in attendance at the 1971 meeting that included talk of possibly assassinating U.S. senators. VVAW members discussed targeting then-Senators Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, John Tower of Texas and John Stennis of Mississippi because of their continuing support for the Vietnam war.

Early last week, Kerry's presidential campaign spokesman David Wade told the New York Sun, "Kerry was not at the Kansas City meeting." Wade added that Kerry had resigned from the VVAW "sometime in the summer of 1971."

But following the March 18 publication of the report, in which the FBI files were used to corroborate Kerry''s attendance at the meeting, Wade reversed himself.

"If there are valid FBI surveillance reports from credible sources that place some of those disagreements in Kansas City, we accept that historical footnote in the account of his work to end the difficult and divisive war," Wade said in a statement late last week.

Kerry also retreated from an earlier comment he made in response to a question about former VVAW executive director Al Hubbard. Kerry and Hubbard appeared together on an April 18, 1971 broadcast of the news show Meet the Press to discuss their anti-war efforts.

But Hubbard, who had passed himself off as a decorated Air Force captain, was later shown to have lied about his military record. An investigation in 1971 by a CBS News reporter revealed that there were no military records showing that Hubbard had either served in Vietnam or was injured there.

When asked about his relationship with Hubbard at a televised press conference two weeks ago, Kerry said, "I haven't talked to Al Hubbard since that week" of the April 1971 Meet the Press appearance.

But after reported that FBI files and eyewitness accounts from former VVAW members had placed Kerry and Hubbard in the same place on several occasions after the Meet the Press appearance, the Kerry campaign conceded that the senator was also incorrect on that point.

Other news outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post and ABC News picked up on aspects of the stories this week, reporting on the FBI surveillance of Kerry and his group and Kerry's inaccurate assertions regarding when he resigned from the VVAW and the last time he saw Hubbard.

Gerald Nicosia, author of the book Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans' Movement and a Kerry supporter, told last week that Kerry was being less than truthful about his anti-war activities.

"I am having some problems with the things he is saying right now, which are not matching up with accuracy," Nicosia said.

"I am in kind of an awkward position here. I am a Kerry supporter and I certainly don't want to do anything that hurts him. On the other hand, my number one allegiance is to truth. So I am going to go with where the facts are, and John is going to have to deal with that," Nicosia said.

Kerry hosted a reception in Nicosia's honor in 2001 when the book was released and praised it as an "important new book [that] ties together the many threads of a difficult period in our history every American should take the time to understand in its totality."

More recently, Nicosia offered some advice for Kerry: "The chickens are coming home to roost, and unfortunately he is starting to backtrack and I personally don't think backtracking is going to work because people are going to go at him and find the discrepancies," Nicosia said.

See Earlier Articles:
Kerry Lying About Anti-War Past, Supporter Alleges (March 18, 2004)
Kerry Says Credibility Not Damaged By Former Comrade's Lie (March 11, 2004)
Kerry-Linked Anti-War Group Can't Bury Deceit (March 3, 2004)

E-mail a news tip to Marc Morano.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.