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Duke Lane
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I'm trying to find something I'm sure I must've read before: a history of the requests for and furnishing of transcripts of Dallas Police radio broadcasts.

There are, of course, three of these: the Sawyer exhibits, CE705, and CE1947 (if I'm remembering their numbers correctly). The first was only "pertaining to the subject matter" and had relatively few entries; the second was more complete, but not quite entirely verbatim, and didn't identify the officers speaking. The third one was compiled by the FBI.

I'm trying to put as complete a history as possible together, starting with the original request to provide transcripts, through the subsequent requests - and reasons for them, i.e., why the WC wasn't satisfied with them - and when they were submitted to the WC in each case. I'm sure someone's done something on this, but my mind is drawing a blank.

Also, a history of the so-called "critics' copy" - and any others - of the Channel One broadcasts would likewise be helpful, including the "inside source" for them (I'm thinking it was Bowles), etc. A link to anything online would be useful.

Many thanks in advance!

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I'm trying to find something I'm sure I must've read before: a history of the requests for and furnishing of transcripts of Dallas Police radio broadcasts.

There are, of course, three of these: the Sawyer exhibits, CE705, and CE1947 (if I'm remembering their numbers correctly). The first was only "pertaining to the subject matter" and had relatively few entries; the second was more complete, but not quite entirely verbatim, and didn't identify the officers speaking. The third one was compiled by the FBI.

I'm trying to put as complete a history as possible together, starting with the original request to provide transcripts, through the subsequent requests - and reasons for them, i.e., why the WC wasn't satisfied with them - and when they were submitted to the WC in each case. I'm sure someone's done something on this, but my mind is drawing a blank.

Also, a history of the so-called "critics' copy" - and any others - of the Channel One broadcasts would likewise be helpful, including the "inside source" for them (I'm thinking it was Bowles), etc. A link to anything online would be useful.

Many thanks in advance!

Duke:

My piece on the chain-of-possession of the DPD radio recordings [ http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/scally.htm ] contains records of what official transcripts were produced, and when. There were other copies of those transcripts in circulation, but they all seem to have originated from the "official" ones.

I'm working on a fairly major update to the "Chain of Possession", which will have extra details in it - if you need more than what is in the published version of my article, please let me know.

Chris.

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Thanks, guys; both of these links are useful, but aren't quite what I've been looking for. I seem to recall reading something that traced what the WC had asked DPD for, and what was given them. It strikes me that the story went something like this:

  • WC asks for verbatim transcript of transmissions related to the assassination and murder of Tippit;
  • DPD provides "subject matter" transcript of those transmissions (dated December 3, 1963) that they narrowly interpreted as "assassination-related;" these become Sawyer Exhibits A and B;
  • WC feels that tapes are incomplete, leaving them to inquire of various police witnesses their speculation of why JD Tippit was outside of his regular patrol district, which none of them could say for certain. WC consequently requests "complete" transcription;
  • DPD provides fuller transcript (transmitted to WC via FBI on March 9, 1964) noting that "there are some transmissions completely omitted on the log due to the heavy volume of traffic." There is still no indication of Tippit's being ordered into central Oak Cliff.
  • WC requests full transcript of ALL transmissions made on Channel 1 from FBI in letter dated July 16, 1964. This becomes CE1974, dated August 11, 1964. Almost all transmissions are included on this transcript, including order to 78 and 87 to "move into central Oak Cliff."

Whatever it is that I'm thinking that I read had additional background information, references to letters, maybe staff meetings or memos, that detailed why these items were requested, what each contained, etc. The damned trouble is that I've read so much stuff that I can't even remember vaguely where I might've seen something like this. Thought maybe The Third Decade or something along those lines, but no luck there.

It looks like there's info on the "critics' tape" - maybe several versions of it? - in Chris' deal ....

Thanks again; if you think of anything else, let me know!

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Duke, some time back I inquired as to the whereabouts/accessibility of tapes that the FBI made of the DPD Dictabelt recordings, specifically about the hours after the assassination, my interest primarily being what information went out over the police radio that led to the DPD confiscating, at least temporarily, a certain .303 Enfield rifle belonging to a particular TSBD employee.

The esteemed Gary Mack enlisted many behind-the-scenes sources to help seek out the whereabouts of these tapes, but the tapes apparently no longer exist...not in the National Archives, not nowhere, not no-how, to paraphrase a certain Emerald City gatekeeper. Since transcripts are subject to alteration, the tapes would be preferable to transcripts...but, alas, they apparently have become the stuff of which legendary evidence is made.

If you find out differently, I'd certainly be interested in finding out where the tapes have been...or why and how they were lost/destroyed/vanished.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Mr. Lane, does this help you out ?

Mr. RANKIN. Mr. Chairman, I would like to offer Exhibit 705 being this radio log which covers a great many matters, but in light of the importance of the time and the description and all, I think the entire

log should go in and then we can refer to different items in it.

Mr. DULLES. It will be admitted as Commission's Exhibit No. 705. (The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 705, and received in evidence.)

( 4 H 183 )

Mr. RANKIN. Chief Curry, we were furnished a Commission Document No. 290, dated December 5, 1963, that purported. to be a radio log for your department, and it did not have any item in it in regard to instruction to Officer Tippit to go to the Central Oak Cliff area. Do you know why that would be true?

Mr. CURRY. I don't know why it wasn't in that log except that these logs, after they are recorded, they are pretty difficult to try to take everything off of them, channel 1 and channel 2 is in on them and

they spent many hours going over these and copying these. This would be available and I listened to our recording.

Mr. RANKIN. That is Exhibit 705 you are talking about?

Mr. CURRY. That is right.

Mr. RANKIN. So if there is a discrepancy between the two, are you satisfied that Exhibit 705 is correct?

Mr. CURRY. Is the correct exhibit; yes.

Mr. RANKIN. Commission Document No. 290 does say at the heading that most routine transmissions were left out for reasons of brevity. Would that be any explanation?

Mr. CURRY. Perhaps it could be, yes. Because these would have been routine broadcasts.

( 4H 185-186 )

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Mr. Lane, does this help you out ? ...
Mr. RANKIN. So if there is a discrepancy between the two [sawyer "B" and CE705], are you satisfied that Exhibit 705 is correct?

Mr. CURRY. Is the correct exhibit; yes.

Gil, yes it does, and thanks!

I think it's fair to say, based upon the above excerpt, that Curry said, in effect, that "what you've read is what you've read; what you've read, you've read correctly." If he'd repeated the same thing several more times, it would have made it that much more clear and obvious that CE705 was, in fact, CE705. QED. Amazing, isn't it? Quite a grasp upon the obvious, I think.

The question he wasn't asked - and quite clearly didn't respond to - is whether what CE705, purporting be the "verbatim" contents of the DPD radio tapes was in fact what was on the radio tapes. Curry did explicitly say that he'd listened to the recordings; the impolication being that what was in CE705 is what he'd heard on the tapes.

But that's not what he said. He only said that CE705 was indeed CE705. Read the words; call me mistaken.

He did not say that what was part of the 36-page CE705 was more correct - or totally correct - versus what was on the 3½-page Sawyer Exhibit "B." He could not, at that point, have stated that what was in the 36-page CE705 is all that would have been found in the 110+ page CE1974 that also purported to be a a "verbatim" transcript of the same timeframe (it wasn't) that "superceded" the two earlier "verbatim" transcripts given to the WC when it might have acted on any discrepancies.

He never said "you've got a full and complete transcript in your hands." He knew better ... at least, he did if he'd done as he'd sworn he'd done and actually listened to the tapes.

Is there a lingering question out there about just what makes the chief of a major metropolitan police force lie so blatantly?

I didn't think so.

(I'm sure I'll hear about a "common sense explanation" for this by email in the morning. "I've seen the light, the Report's right." I have a feeling there's a country-western band out there somewhere who'll record the jingle if we come up with the lyrics: "I fought the law and the law won?" Where's that "TM" key on my keyboard?!?)

Beyond that, all I can say is that "Mr. Lane" is my dad, and his name isn't Mark! I'm Duke. :D

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Duke, some time back I inquired as to the whereabouts/accessibility of tapes that the FBI made of the DPD Dictabelt recordings, specifically about the hours after the assassination, my interest primarily being what information went out over the police radio that led to the DPD confiscating, at least temporarily, a certain .303 Enfield rifle belonging to a particular TSBD employee.

The esteemed Gary Mack enlisted many behind-the-scenes sources to help seek out the whereabouts of these tapes, but the tapes apparently no longer exist...not in the National Archives, not nowhere, not no-how, to paraphrase a certain Emerald City gatekeeper. Since transcripts are subject to alteration, the tapes would be preferable to transcripts...but, alas, they apparently have become the stuff of which legendary evidence is made.

If you find out differently, I'd certainly be interested in finding out where the tapes have been...or why and how they were lost/destroyed/vanished.

I'm beyond the point of knowing. If you've got expert advice suggesting that the originals have disappeared, I'd run with that and question upon what basis NARA had determined how to "preserve" these non-existant items. See, for example, the NARA documents in this index relating to "Background Report Prepared for Advisory Committee on Preservation on the Preservation of the Dallas Police Dictabelts" and "Final Report of the Advisory Committee on Preservation on the Preservation of the Dallas Police Dictabelts," clearly non-sensical titles.

As to particular sources, I was provided back in 1993 certain excerpts of a purported DPD "radio tape" by Gary Mack which I'd in turn sent along to someone else to identify their own voice, which he (or rather, his daughter) did. Since that time, such exerpts are "no longer available," and no such recording exists - according to the same source - within the archives of the Dallas County facility that might make such items available to the researching public.

For the sake of saying so, "copyright" cannot be claimed by a public entity - such as the City or County of Dallas, two such separate public entities - over any such materials. I don't know why any private individual with access to and some degree of authority over what's available through Dallas County or any of its subsidiary entities would not make such a recording, if extant, available to its, their, or his "constituents."

I recommend that you contact the curator of Dallas County's Sixth Floor Museum to determine how or if this can be rectified.

In the meanwhile, my understanding is that Chris Scally - a member of and contributor to this forum - has some information available about the chain of possession of the dictabelts (Ch1) and disks (Ch2) following the assassination. You might want to check with him to see if he can fill in any of the holes. Best of luck!

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Duke,

I'm trying to find something I'm sure I must've read before: a history of the requests for and furnishing of transcripts of Dallas Police radio broadcasts.

This is Paul McCaghren testifying before the HSCA:

Mr. CORNWELL. At the termination of the investigation, do you know what was done with the evidence?

Mr. McCAGHERN. All the material in our possession was turned over to Chief Curry, who was the chief of police at that time.

Mr. CORNWELL. So the material, then, would have perhaps included such things as tape recordings of the Dallas dispatcher tapes during---

Mr. McCAGHERN. Yes.

Mr. CORNWELL. Now, after the materials were gathered in the course of this investigation, and turned over to Chief Curry, when did you next come in contact with them?

Mr. MCCAGHREN. I did not see the material again until approximately 1969. It was in 1969. Chief Batchler was then the chief of police. All of this material was found in a locked filing cabinet, in a metal filing cabinet, outside of his office.

Mr. CORNWELL. And you at that time were charged with the responsibility of safekeeping them; is that correct?

Mr. MCCAGHREN. Yes; I was the director of the intelligence division at that time.

Mr. CORNWELL. What did you do with the materials to discharge that assignment?

Mr. McCAGHREN. At that particular time, I kept it in my office until approximately 1971, the latter part of 1971, early part of 1972.

So, I just very quietly removed the files to my own private residence because I didn't trust the people.

I am talking about Fulgum, Dyson, and Moore.

Mr. CORNWELL So you took the materials to your residence and stored them there; is that correct?

Mr. McCAGHREN. Yes; that is correct.

Mr. CORNWELL And for how long a period of time did you maintain them at your residence?

Mr. McCAGHREN. Until 19--well, until this year. (1978)

Mr. CORNWELL And included among the material was a tape recording and a dictabelt tape which we have been discussing here today?

Mr. McCAGHERN. Yes.

Mr. CORNWELL. Now, throughout the period of time that the materials including the tape recording and the dictabelt were in your possession--in other words, continually from 1969, at which time they were removed from the locked filing cabinet--did you or anyone else tamper with the tape recording or the dictabelt?

Mr. McCAGHERN. No, sir. I had control of this property at all times, from 1969 until this year. No one, no one tampered with that material.

Steve Thomas

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Good stuff, Steve. Many thanks for that.

I've actually managed to dig up various documents relating to the original and follow-up requests for and transmittal of the first (Sawyer Exhibits) and subsequent (CE705, CE1974) DPD transcripts. Initially, they were transcribed by Sgt. Gerald Henslee and were limited only to "pertinent" transmissions of "the assassination of President Kennedy and the murder of Officer Tippit; the investigations into said assassination and murder; and the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald," and absolutely nothing more. The determination of pertinence was left to Henslee, apparently, and the resulting transcript - running from around 10:00 a.m. until about 2:00, contained all of "the subject matter" in two-and-a-half pages that took "several days" of listening to the original belts and disks to compile.

In early March, the WC requested a "verbatim" transcript from DPD, which was completed on March 20 (while WC counsel was in Dallas interviewing witnesses), transmitted to the local FBI office, which in turn sent them to FBI/DC a week later (with WC counsel still in town), and Hoover to the WC just shy of mid-April. The depositions of several police officers including Sgt. Henslee, Lt. Pierce, Sgt. Putnam and Sgt. Bud Owens (Tippit's immediate superior) were taken on April 8 and 9, 1964, without benefit of the new (CE705) transcript.

They were left, then, to conjecture how it came to pass that JD Tippit went from his normal patrol area in district 78, into district 109 (Lancaster & 8th), and then into district 91 where he was killed. Most of the rationale involved Tippit's being on the way downtown in case he was needed, but remaining on the far side of the Trinity River from downtown as part of a "normal procedure" to move in closer when emergencies involved the movement or reassignment of other officers in the general area. Sam Pierce actually came to the almost-verbatim conclusion that he might have been moving in but then, on Channel 2, dispatchers ascertaining his position and telling him to remain "at large" in the area (exactly what did happen, but on Channel 1 ... just not on the transcript he was reading!).

The CE705 transcript, incidentally, ran 36 pages - 10 times as long as the first one - and included the order for Tippit and Nelson to "move into central Oak Cliff," as well as the order to Tippit to "remain at large." Only Chief Curry was questioned about this transcript and the meanings of the "new" transmissions, which of all people he was probably least qualified to comment on given his activities of the morning and afternoon (at Parkland and Love Field until about 4:00).

Because of the "importance" of these transmissions, the WC requested in July that the FBI again make verbatim transcripts from the originals (did they not think that what DPD had already given them was verbatim? Did they no longer trust DPD to provide them with one that was verbatim?), which were transcribed by the FBI at DPD HQ during the days of July 21-24 inclusive. These actually contained transmissions well beyond the scope of the original "subject matter" that Henslee so narrowly interpreted, including overnight transmissions, as well as those throughout Saturday and several hours past Oswald's murder.

(There are, incidentally, no "pertinent" transmissions relating to "the assassination of President Kennedy and the murder of Officer Tippit [or] the investigations into said assassination and murder" after Oswald was arrested. Once he was captured, the "investigations" ended.)

What would become CE1974 was not delivered to the WC until August 22, and to my knowledge, no depositions therefter included any discussion of this last set of more complete (but still incomplete) transcripts. The transcripts of the timeframes included in the earlier transmissions - about 10:00 a.m. until about 2:00 p.m. - had now grown from 36 pages to about 110, or about three times as many as the CE705 "verbatim" transcript, and about 50 times as many as the original "subject matter" transcript.

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Duke,

Back in 2006 I exchanged some emails with Chris Scally regarding tapes of DPD radio transmissions. For some source, I had read that the FBI came in, gathered up all the DPD Dictabelts of that weekend, and made standard magnetic audiotapes of them. This was, according to my source, to preserve the contents of the actual Dictabelts, because it was assumed that in the course of the investigation the tapes would be listened to over and over...and partly because the DPD had a history of recording over used Dictabelts.

My interest was to determine when Wesley Frazier's Enfield rifle became a matter of interest in the investigation, because the DPD already had the Carcano 91/38 in custody long before Frazier's rifle was confiscated. Gary Mack emailed me, and put me in touch with Chris Scally...and here's the final email in our exchange, which I believe will clarify some things about DPD tapes and transcripts:

Hi, Mark:

OK, here's what I've got, but I'm afraid it isn't any good for your purposes. (1) Although they existed in bygone days (eg. March 1964), there are NO actual recordings now in the public domain for any time after 2:06 pm on November 22. The ones in the Archives end ten minutes later, I believe - at 2:16 pm. (2) The best/most complete transcript for the time from 2:00 pm onwards is the one done by the Dallas Police in March 1964, which runs straight through to 6 pm on November 24. The transcript was Warren Commission Exhibit 705, and is published in the Commission's Volume 17, pages 390-455. You'll find this among the Commissions Exhibits on Mary Ferrell's website (http://www.maryferrell.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page) or on the History Matters site ( http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/contents.htm) I've had a look through the transcript myself, but haven't seen ANY reference to Frazier's rifle - it is, of course, possible that the officer(s) who went to get the rifle were told to do so directly by someone in their office, rather than being told over the radio - in which case, there wouldn't be anything on a recording or transcript. I'm really sory I cannot be of any further assistance on this, but if there is anything further I can do, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Chris Scally.

Hope this information is helpful in your research.

Edited by Mark Knight
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Duke,

Good stuff, Steve. Many thanks for that.

In early March, the WC requested a "verbatim" transcript from DPD, which was completed on March 20 (while WC counsel was in Dallas interviewing witnesses), transmitted to the local FBI office, which in turn sent them to FBI/DC a week later (with WC counsel still in town), and Hoover to the WC just shy of mid-April. The depositions of several police officers including Sgt. Henslee, Lt. Pierce, Sgt. Putnam and Sgt. Bud Owens (Tippit's immediate superior) were taken on April 8 and 9, 1964, without benefit of the new (CE705) transcript.

Thank you.

Don't know if this will aid in your research, but there was also a Secret Service copy.

I had remembered that during some other research, I ran across the fact that Dallas SA Roger C. Warner was also involved in transcribing the tapes.

CD 87, p. 339 is a 12/1/63 report from Warner and SA Elmer Moore relating that Deputy Chief Lumpkin had provided the actual tapes of both channels to Warner and Moore

on November 29, 1963. "Both channels were recorded by SA Warner and sent to Washington Protective Research Section for filtering, re-recording and transcription. Copies will be returned to this office and will be attached to this report when received."

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...bsPageId=335970

Steve Thomas

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Duke,
Good stuff, Steve. Many thanks for that.

In early March, the WC requested a "verbatim" transcript from DPD, which was completed on March 20 (while WC counsel was in Dallas interviewing witnesses), transmitted to the local FBI office, which in turn sent them to FBI/DC a week later (with WC counsel still in town), and Hoover to the WC just shy of mid-April. The depositions of several police officers including Sgt. Henslee, Lt. Pierce, Sgt. Putnam and Sgt. Bud Owens (Tippit's immediate superior) were taken on April 8 and 9, 1964, without benefit of the new (CE705) transcript.

Thank you.

Don't know if this will aid in your research, but there was also a Secret Service copy.

I had remembered that during some other research, I ran across the fact that Dallas SA Roger C. Warner was also involved in transcribing the tapes.

CD 87, p. 339 is a 12/1/63 report from Warner and SA Elmer Moore relating that Deputy Chief Lumpkin had provided the actual tapes of both channels to Warner and Moore

on November 29, 1963. "Both channels were recorded by SA Warner and sent to Washington Protective Research Section for filtering, re-recording and transcription. Copies will be returned to this office and will be attached to this report when received."

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...bsPageId=335970

Steve Thomas

Guys:

A bit of updated information on the Secret Service transcript.

The SS transcript is located in Box 14, Folder 4, Item 11 of the DPD Records, and consists of an 82-page transcript by an "unknown author", dated "11/22/63" (sic), with an explanatory note, "copy sent to the Secret Service". In May of this year, I received a full hardcopy of the transcript from Paul McCaghren of the DPD, and it is 84 pages long, pages 69 and 70 being the two missing from the one in the DPD records. Pages 1 to 74 are Channel 2, from just before 10:15 am to 2 pm. From page 74 to the end is a Channel 1 transcript, starting at 12:27 and ending at 1:55 pm.

This is the worst transcript of the lot. To me, it appears to have been written by someone who was totally unfamiliar with Dallas itself, andd with DPD radio parlance. The transcript does not record the speaker, and is full of errors, ranging from place names to numerous "unreadable" passages. As an example of what it is like, the Kimbrough transcript, and the extant recordings, show the following exchange at 12:54 -

Disp: You are in the Oak Cliff area, are you not?

78: Lancaster and Eighth.

Disp: You will be at large for any emergency that comes in.

78: 10-4.

The same passage in the Secret Service transcript reads (p. 54)

You are in the Northwest area are you not?

Unreadable.

You will be at large if any emergency comes in.

10-4.

Ironically, Paul McCaghren told me that this transcript was created by Jim Bowles in late 1963, rather than the Secret Service, as CD87 indicates. However, I cannot believe that Bowles could or would be so inaccurate in describing place names, etc.

Hope this adds something to the discussion.

Chris

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