Was Bush Sr Involved in the Reagan Assassination Attempt?

September 25th, 2012

Moments of intense national emergency are the shady trees under which conspiracy theories grow. Political assassinations by nature attract intense, hasty scrutiny. When hundreds of millions of people are demanding answers and want a crime solved as quickly as possible, mistakes are made. There is a temptation for law enforcement to find the first available suspect and stick with it, even as evidence may emerge connecting others to a particular event. When the public is hungry for revenge, law enforcers face intense pressure to act quickly.

While most modern conspiracy theorists focus their attention on the 911 attacks or the JFK assassination, there is also a theory connecting George HW Bush to the assassination attempt made against Ronald Reagan in 1981. Is it far fetched to think that the Vice President of the United States, a former Director of the CIA, would be involved in an attempt to assassinate the President? Let’s take a look at a video, found below, which demonstrates some news events from that chaotic moment in history.

The two most noteworthy pieces of information from the news reports in the video concern John Hinckley, Jr, the would-be assassin who shot Ronald Reagan and several others on March 30, 1981. First of all, he was seen taking calls from a pay phone each day at the same time despite having a telephone in his hotel room. This seems to indicate that he was having some type of ongoing, off-the-record telephone communication. The government’s official theory is that he acted totally alone, mainly due to his obsession with actress Jodie Foster.

The other interesting detail in the video is the fact that the Hinckley and Bush families had an ongoing friendship at this point in history. On the day of the assassination, Neil Bush and Hinckley’s brother Scott were set to have lunch. Let’s examine some of the details that supporters of the theory cite to demonstrate how the political environment might have been a motive for a conspiracy.

The Relationship Between Reagan and Bush in the Period Leading Up to the Assassination Attempt

At the time of his election, Ronald Reagan was viewed as one of the most anti-establishment candidates to ever achieve the office of the Presidency. He was from the Goldwater wing of the Republican Party, which was naturally opposed to the high-finance, big government wing represented by people like Nelson Rockefeller and George Bush, Sr.

In fact, while on the campaign trail, Ronald Reagan was outspoken in his opposition to internationalist, central bank connected politicos. According to this citation by supporters of the conspiracy theory, Reagan said, when asked if he would appoint members of the Trilateral Commission, an internationalist think tank, to cabinet positions, “I don’t believe that the Trilateral Commission is a conspiratorial group, but I do think its interests are devoted to international banking, multinational corporations, and so forth. I don’t think that any Administration of the U.S. Government should have the top nineteen positions filled by people from any one group or organization representing one viewpoint. No, I would go in a different direction.”

In order to secure the Presidency, Reagan wound up choosing the internationalist faction’s chief front man of the day, former CIA Director George HW Bush, as his Vice President, putting Bush “one heartbeat away” from the Presidency. However, it was well-known that the conservative policies of Reagan’s caucus inside the GOP were anathema to the internationalist, New World Order crowd represented by spy chief Bush.

Is the Federal Reserve Connected to the Reagan Assassination?

It turns out that the shareholders of the Federal Reserve might have had a motive as well. According to Bix Weir, Ronald Reagan took distinct and swift action on monetary policy shortly after becoming President. He notes a Reagan biography by Lou Cannon which makes reference to a moment when, on the third day of his Presidency, Reagan left the White House without Secret Service protection to discuss his reservations about the Federal Reserve System with then Fed Chairman Paul Volcker.

Reagan also swiftly began a gold commission around that time to look at the high inflation caused by Bretton-Woods. These policies would have put him at the opposite ideological pole from the banking establishment of the time. A couple of months later, John Hinckley, Jr, an allegedly lone gunman, opens fire on the President, seriously wounding him.

It’s Always a Crazed, Lone Gunman

Over a long window of time, the public will struggle with the concept that a crazy lone gunman would want to attempt to kill the President. For someone in a position of executive power over the US government, there are countless powerful and evil people with motives to conspire against them. Throughout distant history, Kings and Emperors were usually murdered by political factions opposed to them, rather than nutcases looking to become overnight celebrities. With regards to US history, however, the government has typically presented the same motiveless crazy person story for every assassination.

John Hinckley, Jr’s connections to the Bush family probably were close enough to warrant an investigation at the time. This did not happen, presumably because it is extraordinarily politically complex to accuse the sitting Vice President of a crime. According to Wikipedia, Hinckley’s father was a contributor to George Bush, Sr’s Presidential campaign. Both the Hinckley and Bush families were in the oil business. The two families were close and knew each other well.

Motives aside, there is no specific hard evidence which connects George HW Bush to the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. John Hinckley, Jr’s guilt is not in question, as there were many witnesses to the fact that he is definitely the gunman. There are unanswered questions, though. What are the odds that the Vice President’s family would be friends with the family of a gunman who would attempt to kill the President under which he serves? Who was John Hinckley, Jr talking to on the pay phone each day in the months leading up to the assassination attempt? Obscured by the fog of time, we may never know.

It’s also worth noting that, shortly after recovering from his assassination attempt, Reagan authored Executive Order 12333. This order banned CIA agents from conducting clandestine activities against Americans, which was later repealed by George W Bush under authorities taken via the PATRIOT Act. Also included in Reagan’s executive order was this provision: “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.”

Why did Reagan, then himself a recent victim of an assassination attempt, write this executive order?

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About the Author: Barry Donegan

Barry Donegan is a singer for the experimental mathcore band Look What I Did, a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.