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Examining the JFK News Leak Controversy

On the day President John F. Kennedy was shot, Time magazine Washington correspondent Hugh Sidey, one of a group of reporters who had gathered outside Parkland Hospital in Dallas, claimed two priests left the building and one of them leaked the news of Kennedy’s death before the White House could make an official statement.

 Father Oscar L. Huber, the Roman Catholic priest who administered last rites to Kennedy, denied sharing news of the president’s condition. He spent the rest of his life arguing his point and trying to repair his damaged reputation, says Patrick Huber, professor of history and political science at Missouri University of Science and Technology and a distant cousin of Father Huber.

Huber published his latest book, He’s Dead All Right: Father Oscar L. Huber, the Kennedy Assassination, and the News Leak Controversy, this fall to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. It is Huber’s attempt to set the record straight.

The book contains an article on Father Huber and the so-called news leak controversy that originally appeared in the January 2007 issue of Southwestern Historical Quarterly, a biographical sketch of Father Huber and a selection of nine primary documents, including Father Huber’s own accounts of administering last rites to the president. It also includes a series of letters he exchanged with Sidey, who was one of the principal journalists to claim that the priest leaked the news of Kennedy’s death before the official White House announcement.