'You Wonder How It All Connects'

The Kennedy assassination has been the holy grail for a generation of conspiracy theorists. More than 200 books -including an additional 10 to be published this fall-have examined Kennedy's murder and raised questions about the Warren Commission's conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was his lone assassin. But none of the exotic scenarios stands up to scrutiny.

The CIA felt betrayed by JFK because of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and because of his subsequent threats to break up the agency. in the film "JFK," writer-director Oliver Stone suggests that Lyndon Johnson and Pentagon hawks were in on the conspiracy because President Kennedy was thinking of pulling out of Vietnam.

The CIA was clearly into assassination plots--documents show that it asked the mob to help knock off Fidel Castro--but there is no evidence of treason. Nor is there any solid evidence that JFK planned to pull out of Vietnam.

Mob bosses like Sam Giancana felt double-crossed: they helped get Kennedy elected in West Virginia and Chicago, and JFK's brother Robert over at the Justice Department thanked them by cracking down on organized crime.

FBI wiretaps of Mafia headquarters show no active plotting. Also, Oswald is an unlikely mafioso. Seven and a half months before the Kennedy assassination, he attempted to kill a retired right-wing general--with the same rifle he would later use in Dallas.

Since the United States was apparently determined to kill him--the CIA made at least half a dozen attempts--the Cuban leader decided to shoot back.

Fidel Castro knew that the United States could wipe Cuba off the map.

Survivors of the Cuban brigade that invaded the Bay of Pigs wanted revenge for being set up and abandoned. Secret paramilitary group Alpha 66 joined with rogue CIA agents to shoot Kennedy.

There is no evidence for this claim. The witness alleging the plot was discredited by a congressional investigation.

The cold war was at its height, Khrushchev had been embarrassed by the Cuban missile crisis and the KGB had an assassination squad that had killed Western officials before. The KGB recruited Oswald while he was in Russia.

The Kremlin did not want to start World War III. It also never recruited Oswald. Moreover, former KGB officer Yuri Nosenko told Gerald Posner, author of a compelling new assassination history ("Case Closed") that the emotionally unstable ex-marine was to be"avoided at all costs."