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Ford Told FBI of Skeptics on Warren Commission


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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...8080702757.html

<QUOTE>

Ford Told FBI of Skeptics on Warren Commission

By Joe Stephens

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, August 8, 2008; Page A05

Confidential FBI files released this week to The Washington Post detail the inner workings of a secret back channel that Gerald R. Ford opened in 1963 between J. Edgar Hoover's FBI and the Warren Commission's independent investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The existence of the private conduit has long been known, first disclosed in documents released 30 years ago. Now, newly obtained, previously classified records detail one visit Ford made to one of Hoover's deputies in December 1963 -- three weeks after being named to the commission.

Declassified FBI memos on Ford's interactions with the bureau are among scores of documents in the FBI's previously confidential file on the former president, , who died in December 2006. At the request of The Post, the FBI this week released 500 pages of the bureau's voluminous file.

A December 1963 memo recounts that Ford, then a Republican congressman from Michigan, told FBI Assistant Director Cartha D. "Deke" DeLoach that two members of the seven-person commission remained unconvinced that Kennedy had been shot from the sixth-floor window of the Texas Book Depository. In addition, three commission members "failed to understand" the trajectory of the slugs, Ford said.

Ford told DeLoach that commission discussions would continue and reassured him that those minority points of view on the commission "of course would represent no problem," one internal FBI memo shows. The memo does not name the members involved and does not elaborate on what Ford meant by "no problem."

Ford also told DeLoach that Chief Justice Earl Warren, who headed the commission, had told its members that "they should strive to have their hearings completed and the findings made public prior to July, 1964, when the Presidential campaigns will begin to get hot. He stated it would be unfair to present the findings after July." They missed their deadline, concluding in a report issued Sept. 24, 1964, that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination.

Much of the material in the FBI file concerns intelligence about Ford's political adversaries when he was president, especially organizations that the bureau thought might disrupt Ford's appearances around the country. But the file also sheds light on the investigation into Kennedy's assassination and the FBI's relationship with Ford, and it shows how the bureau strove to curry favor with powerful politicians.

Another memo in the file, previously released with Warren Commission materials in 1978, details how Ford approached DeLoach in 1963 and offered to secretly inform the bureau about the inner workings of the then-ongoing Warren Commission investigation.

"Ford indicated he would keep me thoroughly advised as to the activities of the Commission," DeLoach wrote. "He stated this would have to be done on a confidential basis, however he thought it should be done."

Five days later, DeLoach had a second meeting with Ford and filed another confidential memo. DeLoach recounted that he "carefully" informed Ford that the FBI had released none of its investigative findings to the media. Instead, he said, it looked as though commission members were beginning to leak portions of the FBI report.

"I referred to this week's issue of 'Newsweek' magazine which contains a rather clear analysis of the report," DeLoach wrote. "I told Congressman Ford that 'Newsweek' was owned by the 'Washington Post' and that apparently some one was trying to curry favor. I told him we, of course, did not get along very well with either the 'Washington Post' or 'Newsweek.' He [said] that he was in the same boat, that he liked neither one of these publications."

The conversation, which has apparently not been previously reported, concluded with Ford saying he would like to take a confidential FBI report on the assassination with him on a family ski trip to Michigan. DeLoach offer to lend him an "Agent briefcase" with a lock, so Ford could safeguard the document.

<END QUOTE>

Best Regards in Research,

Don

Don Roberdeau

U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, CV-67, "Big John," Plank Walker

Sooner, or later, The Truth emerges Clearly

Discovery: ROSEMARY WILLIS Zapruder Film Documented 2nd Headsnap : Westward, Ultrafast, & Directly Towards the "Grassy Knoll"

Dealey Plaza Professionally-surveyed Map Detailing 11-22-63 Victims locations, Witnesses, Photographers, Suspected trajectories, Evidentiary artifacts, & Important information & considerations

President KENNEDY "Men of Courage: 4 Principles" speech, and a portion of fellow researchers articles and my research & discoveries, 1975 to present

T ogether

E veryone

A chieves

M ore

TEAMWORK.gif

National Terror Alert for the United States:

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"Drehm seemed to think the shots came from in FRONT OF or BESIDE

the President." (my EMPHASIS)

----CHARLES F. BREHM, a combat gunfire experienced, United States

Army Ranger, World War II, D-day veteran, & very close Dealey Plaza

attack witness, quoted only minutes after the attack, and while he

is still standing within Dealey Plaza (11-22-63 "Dallas Times Herald,"

fifth & final daily edition, which mis-spelled his name)

"Another eyewitness, Charles Brehm, said he was 15 feet away from the

President when he was shot.

'He was waving, then the FIRST shot hit him and that awful look

crossed his face.' " (my EMPHASIS)

CHARLES F. BREHM, a combat gunfire experienced, United States Army

Ranger, World War II, D-day veteran, & very close Dealey Plaza attack

witness (quoted to the "Associated Press," 11-22-63)

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Interesting article, Don.

Sounds like Ford was a very active point man for the conspirators. What a sorry legacy Ford leaves in US history.

As for who were the two WC members who Ford claimed were unconvinced that JFK was shot from the TSBD, I would assume one of those was Hale Boggs. Don't know who the other might be.

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Lest we forget, Ford was the recipient of a Profiles in Courage Award, presented by Ted and Caroline Kennedy at the JFK Library.

And just what had the first Unelected One done to demonstrate his courage?

Why, pardon Richard Nixon, of course -- one of the most cowardly and criminal acts of obfuscation in American history. Ford, acting on orders, made certain that the deep political truth of Watergate would forever be denied to history.

And the Kennedys blessed him for it.

Charles

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Guest David Guyatt
Lest we forget, Ford was the recipient of a Profiles in Courage Award, presented by Ted and Caroline Kennedy at the JFK Library.

And just what had the first Unelected One done to demonstrate his courage?

Why, pardon Richard Nixon, of course -- one of the most cowardly and criminal acts of obfuscation in American history. Ford, acting on orders, made certain that the deep political truth of Watergate would forever be denied to history.

And the Kennedys blessed him for it.

Charles

I understand that one common factor connecting Gerald Ford and Edgar Hoover was that they were both 33rd Freemasons. Wether this has any bearing I can't say. I am probably incorrect in resurrecting a distant and fading memory that says that Ford was a Rockefeller gofer...

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Much of this is old news, and discussed on my webpage.

From Patspeer.com chapter 1:

Hoover's leaking of his own report did not exactly go unnoticed.

From the transcript of the 12-16-63 Executive Session of the Warren Commission:

Chief Justice Earl Warren: Well, gentleman, to be very frank about it, I have read that report two or three times and I have not seen anything in there yet that has not been in the press.

Senator Richard Russell: I couldn’t agree with that more. I have read it through once very carefully, and I went through it again at places I had marked, and practically everything in there has come out in the press at one time or another, a bit here and a bit there.

A short while later, Congressman Gerald Ford asked if the Commission should heed Acting Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach’s written request they release the FBI’s findings to the public. After they decided to hold off, Ford explained why he asked.

Congressman Gerald Ford: I was called by one of the top AP or UP people here, and he didn’t know that you had received the letter (from Katzenbach) and we had copies, but he was one of the top AP or UP people at Dallas at the time. He said “Jerry, I’m surprised that we got, and the other press services got, stories out the very same day.” In effect, he was saying what they have asked us to do. The minute he said that it led me to the belief that he was inferring that there had been a deliberate leak from some agency of the Federal Government, and now they wanted us to confirm by Commission action what had been leaked previously. Now, somebody had to give this information to both AP and UP in order for that to happen...

Chief Justice Earl Warren: I read those dispatches.

Congressman Gerald Ford: : Didn’t that come to your mind?

Chief Justice Earl Warren: Surely did. I spoke to Katzenbach about it.

Senator Richard Russell: I mentioned that the first day we sat here.

Chief Justice Earl Warren: Yes, you did. Senator Russell asked Katzenbach where it could have come from and he said there was only one source. (He means Hoover.)

Senator Richard Russell: Do you recall the first day I asked him that?

John McCloy: There were leaks long before we got the documents.

Congressman Hale Boggs: And after that, at the second meeting, there was the Evening Star with that whole thing.

Senator Richard Russell: Every day there was something.

Chief Justice Earl Warren; Yep, until it was all out and I tell you frankly I just didn’t find anything in that report that has not been leaked to the press.

Earlier in the 12-16 executive session of the Warren Commission, an odd incident took place, which might lead one to conclude it was not only Hoover who was anxious to convict Oswald as the lone assassin. Commissioner and former CIA Director Allen Dulles showed up with copies of Robert J. Donovan’s book The Assassins, a history of the many assassination attempts upon U.S. Presidents, and handed them out to both counsel and his fellow commissioners. He told them “It’s a fascinating book, but you’ll find a pattern running through here that I think we’ll find in this present case.” He was referring, of course, to Donovan’s assertion that American assassins are predominantly disgruntled loners… lone-nuts. Was Dulles pushing for this conclusion from the outset? And was it just a coincidence that Dulles’ former boss, former President Dwight Eisenhower, had written an article for the 12-14 Saturday Evening Post, also claiming that assassinations in the United States “do not follow a pattern of political conspiracy and coup d’etat…the facts are that four of thirty-six Presidents have been assassinated, and a President in office and a President-elect have been targets of assassination attempts. These acts all had one thing in common: they were the work of crackpots, of people with delusions arising from imagined wrongs or festering hatreds.” In closing, Eisenhower assured the public “We must and shall rally behind our new President, Lyndon B. Johnson…” Huh? Were Eisenhower and Dulles reading from the same script? And, if so, who was writing this script?

Ironically, Donovan’s book, originally written in 1952, was re-issued in January 1964 with a new chapter on the Kennedy assassination that, due to the FBI’s leaking their out-dated impression of the wounds, stated the first shot lodged in Kennedy’s back and the second shot struck Connally. It is a sublime twist of fate then that the book Dulles touted as a valid resource would be re-written within weeks of the assassination to include information Dulles knew to be false. If Dulles ever noted the irony, however, that moment is lost to time.

Also ironic is that, after raising the possibility in the 12-16 executive session that Hoover was behind all the leaks, Congressman Ford met the next day with the FBI's most wanted leaker, Cartha DeLoach. Despite his earlier promise to keep the FBI "thoroughly advised" on the workings of the commission, however, Ford decided to keep the confidence of his fellow commissioners and instead told DeLoach that, in DeLoach's words, "There was no criticism of the FBI at yesterday's meeting. There was no allegations by any one, including the Chief Justice, that the FBI had leaked portions of this report." Apparently, DeLoach figured out that Ford was onto him. His 12-17 memo on this conversation reflects that "I went over very carefully with Congressman Ford that the FBI had not had any "leaks" whatsoever. I told him we were well aware that the department had done considerable talking; furthermore, it now appeared somewhat obvious that members of the Commission were beginning to leak the report. I referred to this week's issue of "Newsweek" magazine which contains a rather clear analysis of the report. I told Congressman Ford that "Newsweek" was owned by the "Washington Post" and that apparently some one was trying to curry favor. I told him we, of course, did not get along very well with either the 'Washington Post" or "Newsweek." Even if he was telling the truth about the leaks to Newsweek, DeLoach knew full well the leaks began in the beginning of the month, before either the Justice Department or the Commission had come into possession of the FBI's report. As DeLoach and Hoover were too clever by half, it also makes sense that they would attempt to cut off speculation that they were the source of the leaks by leaking it through sources outside their usual pattern. It seems probable, then, that DeLoach was trying to blame the Commission for leaks that he himself had orchestrated.

In any event, if the 12-16 executive session showed that some tasked with investigating Kennedy’s death were displeased with the performance of the FBI, there was no such indication from Hoover’s ultimate boss that he shared their displeasure. A 12-17-63 letter from Hoover to Johnson uncovered at the LBJ Library and published by Mark North indicates that these two couldn’t be happier in their new mutually accommodating relationship.

Hoover wrote:

"My dear Mr. President: I cannot tell you how much our time together yesterday means to me. Your very real appreciation of the matters I was privileged to discuss with you and your complete understanding of our problems smooth the way to our mutual desire to serve our country in fullest capacity. I shall treasure your photograph and your autographed message as I do your friendship and trust.

Sincerely yours, Edgar"

The next day, on 12-18, the FBI's Alex Rosen, who was charged with investigating the physical facts of the assassination, wrote a memo in which he insisted the FBI's delay in seeking the autopsy report was because "the family of the President had requested the report from the U.S. Naval Hospital at Bethesda be kept as confidential as possible." This assertion is suspicious at best, as FBI Director Hoover was such a sensitive guy that when he called Robert Kennedy to tell him of his brother's death, he is reported to have blurted "the President's dead" and hung up. Hoover's hatred for Robert Kennedy was so great, in fact, that when Robert Kennedy was himself assassinated the FBI deliberately minimized the news coverage of his funeral by delaying the announcement of the arrest of Martin Luther King assassination suspect James Earl Ray for two whole days, and then announcing it during Kennedy's funeral. This assertion comes courtesy Hoover's boss at the time, former Attorney General Ramsey Clark.

More to the point, this "oh, the Kennedys wouldn't let us" excuse presented by Rosen, which would be repeated by Warren Commissioner John McCloy and Junior Counsel Arlen Specter in the months and years to come, was ultimately rejected by Hoover himself. A 1966 memo by Rosen once again blaming the Kennedys for the confusion over the President's wounds received a terse response from Hoover, who obviously knew better. Hoover wrote: "The confusion... would never have occurred if we had obtained the autopsy report originally. The Kennedys never asked us to withhold it and if they had we should have disregarded it." (Hoover is absolutely right on this point. Many of the conspiracy theories he so despised would not have reared up if the government as a whole had not been so strangely secretive about the autopsy in the first place.)

On 12-19, President Johnson met with his top advisers from the Pentagon and CIA in order to re-evaluate the U.S. government's position regarding Cuba. According to historians Thomas Powers and Max Holland, President Johnson told this audience that Kennedy was killed as an act of retribution "by unnamed persons seeking vengeance for the murder...of...Diem." (The recently-assassinated President of South Vietnam.) This was ten days after Hoover gave Johnson a report saying Oswald acted alone. It's not that Hoover's report took awhile to sink in. It never sank in. David Wise, the Washington Bureau Chief of the New York Herald Tribune during this period, would eventually write of a long "background" discussion he had with Johnson in January, 1964. while visiting Johnson's ranch in Texas. Wise reported that Johnson discussed the deaths of Dominican dictator Trujillo and Vietnamese President Diem, declared flatly "we took care of them," and then wondered aloud if Kennedy's death wasn't "some kind of terrible retribution." Apparently, neither Wise nor any of the other journalists privy to Johnson's thoughts in this period ever violated Johnson's trust and told the Warren Commission investigating Kennedy's death that the government had been targeting the leaders of foreign nations, and that Johnson suspected this behavior may have somehow boomeranged back and hit us in the President.

On 12-20-63 Hoover aide Cartha Deloach wrote a second memo regarding the 12-16 executive session of the Warren Commission. Even though Congressman Ford had hid the commission's discussion of Hoover's leaks from DeLoach, this discussion was leaked right back to Hoover anyhow. Deloach wrote: "Pursuant to the Director's instructions, I met with Senator Richard B. Russell at 3:45 p.m. Inspector Jim Malley accompanied me. I told the Senator that the Director probably had the greatest respect for him than any other man on the Presidential Commission; consequently, the Director was most anxious that any misimpression which the Senator might have gotten, regarding leaks concerning the captioned matter, be straightened out immediately. I mentioned that the Director had maintained throughout that there should be no press release unless it emanated from either the President or either the Presidential Commission...I told him that there had been others who thought that a press release, based upon the FBI report, should be issued immediately. I reiterated that under no circumstances had we "leaked" any information...The Senator inquired as to the identity of the sources who had been "leaking" information. I told him it appeared quite obvious that considerable of the information came from the Dallas Police...I told him also that the (Justice) Department undoubtedly had "leaked" considerable information...Senator Russell told Mr. Malley and me that he was glad to hear an FBI denial in the matter...He (Russell) stated that Attorney General Katzenbach had directly implied that the "leaks" had come from the FBI. He quoted Katzenbach as telling the members of the Presidential Commission, "J. Edgar Hoover has chewed his men out for leaking information and they won't be doing any more of this." (Note: to this, Hoover added in his own handwriting, "This certainly shows Katzenbach's true colors.") DeLoach's memo, continued:"I told the Senator that Katzenbach was obviously lying in implying such action on the part of FBI representatives. The point was made that sometimes a person tries to cover up his own guilt by blaming others."

That last line may be one of the most ironic ever written, for it has been the verdict of almost everyone to study the matter that Hoover and Deloach were in fact the ones behind the leaks. When asked in 1978 by the HSCA who leaked the FBI report, Katzenbach responded: "I think that the Bureau leaked it. The Bureau constantly leaked things of this kind and constantly denied it and constantly blamed it on other people. There is not a reporter in town who does not know that...I wanted a formal statement." As discussed previously, in his 1976 interview with the staff of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Operations (The Church Committee), the former Chief of the FBI's Domestic Intelligence Division, William Sullivan, confirmed that it was indeed Hoover who had ordered the report "leaked."

Edited by Pat Speer
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Earlier in the 12-16 executive session of the Warren Commission, an odd incident took place, which might lead one to conclude it was not only Hoover who was anxious to convict Oswald as the lone assassin. Commissioner and former CIA Director Allen Dulles showed up with copies of Robert J. Donovan’s book The Assassins, a history of the many assassination attempts upon U.S. Presidents, and handed them out to both counsel and his fellow commissioners. He told them “It’s a fascinating book, but you’ll find a pattern running through here that I think we’ll find in this present case.” He was referring, of course, to Donovan’s assertion that American assassins are predominantly disgruntled loners… lone-nuts. Was Dulles pushing for this conclusion from the outset? And was it just a coincidence that Dulles’ former boss, former President Dwight Eisenhower, had written an article for the 12-14 Saturday Evening Post, also claiming that assassinations in the United States “do not follow a pattern of political conspiracy and coup d’etat…the facts are that four of thirty-six Presidents have been assassinated, and a President in office and a President-elect have been targets of assassination attempts. These acts all had one thing in common: they were the work of crackpots, of people with delusions arising from imagined wrongs or festering hatreds.” In closing, Eisenhower assured the public “We must and shall rally behind our new President, Lyndon B. Johnson…” Huh? Were Eisenhower and Dulles reading from the same script? And, if so, who was writing this script?

Yes, Pat, but if you look at the minutes of the meeting, I think McCloy pointed out that Lincoln's assassination WAS a conspiracy, and that line of reasoning didn't hold water.

But Robert J. Donovan is an interesting author, and is apparently still alive.

BK

http://reportingcivilrights.loa.org/author...jsp?authorId=14

August 21, 1912- ) Born Robert John Donovan in Buffalo, New York. Graduated from high school in Buffalo; failure of father's business frustrated college plans. In 1933 took job as copyboy at Courier-Express in Buffalo; promoted to reporter. Joined staff of New York Herald-Tribune in 1937. Covered City Hall beginning in 1942. After wartime service in Europe, including stint at Stars and Stripes in Paris, reported from Washington for Herald-Tribune (1947-63). Covered 1948 Harry Truman campaign. Became Washington bureau chief for Los Angeles Times in 1963, and associate editor in 1970, serving until 1977. Currently lives in Washington, D.C. His books include The Assassins (1955), Eisenhower: The Inside Story (1956), PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II (1961), The Future of the Republican Party (1964), Conflict and Crisis: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1945-48 (1977), Tumultuous Years: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1949-53 (1982), Nemesis: Truman and Johnson in the Coils of War in Asia (1984), The Second Victory: The Marshall Plan and the Postwar Revival of Europe (1987), Confidential Secretary: Ann Whitman's Twenty Years with Eisenhower and Rockefeller (1988), Unsilent Revolution: Television News and American Public Life, 1948-1991 (1992, with Ray Scherer), and Boxing the Kangaroo: A Reporter's Memoir (2000).

THEN NO MENTION OF THE ASSASSINS in SPRING OF 2000 MEMOIRS. WHAT GIVES?

http://press.umsystem.edu/spring2000/donovan.htm

"The host had brought out a pair of boxing gloves and asked the president if any of his friends would like to indulge in the Australian sport of boxing kangaroos. Once the president of the United States had selected me, there was almost no way out, unless I ran home to tell my mother."

In Boxing the Kangaroo: A Reporter's Memoir, Robert J. Donovan shares many exciting events that highlighted his stellar journalistic career. As an investigative reporter during five presidential administrations, Donovan has had many "insider" experiences. His memoir delightfully humanizes each of the five presidents he reported on: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.

Donovan began his career working as a night copyboy for the Buffalo Courier-Express, earning seven dollars a week. In 1937, he got a job as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, where he worked for many years. By 1942 the Herald Tribune had assigned Donovan to cover City Hall and the lively activities of Fiorello La Guardia. After his service in World War II he returned to the Herald Tribune to cover the man from Missouri who followed FDR. Ultimately, Donovan served as chief of the New York Herald Tribune Washington bureau and the Los Angeles Times Washington bureau.

Donovan traveled across the country with Harry S. Truman during his "Give 'Em Hell, Harry" campaign. He covered Dwight D. Eisenhower's election, about which he says there was never a doubt--Ike, the war hero, mesmerized the country. He was a personal friend of John F. Kennedy, having written about the President's PT-109 heroics in World War II, and was on the scene the day Kennedy was assassinated: "The drama in the second press bus, in which I rode in the presidential motorcade in Dallas, is unforgettable. `Why has the motorcade stopped?' a reporter asked as we drew near the Texas School Book Depository. . . . `I heard a shot,' another said. A voice in the rear contradicted him. `That was a motorcycle backfiring.'" Donovan would find out shortly before the rest of the world that, in fact, it was not a motorcycle backfiring, but the firing of an assassin's bullet that killed the nation's thirty-fifth president.

Boxing the Kangaroo is one of the best "I was there" accounts of American history. This fascinating book will appeal to journalists, American history buffs, and the general reader alike. <H4 style="LINE-HEIGHT: 150%">About the Author</H4>Robert J. Donovan lives in Washington, D.C. He is the author of numerous books, including Conflict and Crisis: The Presidency of Harry S Truman, 1945-1948 and Tumultuous Years: The Presidency of Harry S Truman, 1949-1953.

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