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Howard Brennan Re-evaluated


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Howard Leslie Brennan - What He Really Tells Us [/url]

http://jfkcountercoup.wordpress.com/

Rather than take the traditional approach to witness evaluation and either support their story or try to discredit it, I'd like to try a different way of looking at Howard Brennan, the only Dealey Plaza witness to identify Lee Harvey Oswald as the Sixth Floor Sniper. As NPIC director Arthur Lundal asked his photo interpreters to do, and exploit the U2 and satellite photos for every bit of information they could get out of them, Brennan really had a lot more to say than he saw Oswald in the window. From his perch on the white rail across from the TSBD, Hard Hat Brennan had a vantage point that put him in the first row of the drama, and we should learn more from what he has to say.

A a fairly reliable witness, Brennan noted the time when he first saw the man in the Sixth Floor window - 12:22, noticed how peculiar the man was behaving, and while he was wrong in that the man appeared to be standing, and only heard two shots, he watched the last shot being fired and notified a policeman (W. E. Barnett) right away that the shooter was in the upper floors of the TSBD. He also gave them an accurate description of the man, met Secret Service Agent Sorrells, and pointed out the black guys from the fifth floor window as they exited the front door.

Since he did recognize and identify them, he also should have been able to reognize and identify and have the cops stop Oswald, if he was the Sixth Floor Sniper, since Oswald is supposed to have left the building by the same door around the same time, but he didn't.

Instead, Brennan says he believes Oswald left the building while he was disctracted by a persistant TV News reporter, and after he went over to the Sheriff's office to make a statement, he went home to find out that he was on TV, filmed standing in front of the TSBD talking to the cop and the Secret Service Agent. We only know this because during his Warren Commission testimony, Brennan was surprised they didn't have any photos of him standing there, and told them the story of how he complained to an FBI Agent Lish who had the segment edited out of the TV News film, a segment that has since disappeared. The idea that a TV Film crew was filming people coming and going in front of the TSBD when the alledged assassin is said to have escaped should have provided plenty of photo evidence of what transpired at that time and place, but is now missing, after being edited by the FBI.

Besides seeing himself on TV, a segment that he says was edited out on the orders of the FBI, Brennan also saw Oswald on TV, and thought that he looked five years different than the Sixth Floor Sniper. While seeing him on TV should have disqualified Brennan from viewing the suspect in a lineup, that didn't stop them, and even though Oswald himself complained about the problems with the lineup, the Dallas police went out of their way to make sure Brennan identified the right guy by asking him a leading question - "Is the second guy from the left the man you saw?" In addition, Brennan said Oswald was dressed in different clothing in the lineup than when he was in the window, and that the boxes as seen in the photos taken after the fact are in a different location than they were during the assassination, confirming a HSCA photo panel conclusion.

Although most of what Brennan has to say is contained in his statement and testimony, during which we learn there is another Howard Brennan and the two should not be confused as the Warren Commission was, Brennan also wrote a book about his experience in which he adds some interesting details to the narrative, including the fact that he met JFK's FBI/SS double, and that he himself is a conspiracy theorists.

Not mentioned in his statement or testimony, Brennan tells us in his book that there was another thing that caught his attention, an automobile that was parked on the street in an area where it should not have been, but the driver apparently knew a policeman who was talking with him really friendly like. Brennan recalled that it was a 55-57 Oldsmobile, with its front wheels turned sharply as if it was ready to make a quick U-turn, and he wondered later if that was a getaway car.

Brennan's statement to the Dallas Police Department:

Before me, the undersigned authority, on this 22nd day of November A.D. 1963 personally appeared Howard Leslie Brennan, Address 6814 Woodard, Dallas, Texas

Age 44, Phone No. EV1-2713

Deposes and says: I am presently employed by the Wallace and Beard Construction Company as a Steam fitter and have been so employed for about the past 7 weeks. I am working in the Kay Railroad yards at the West end of Pacific Street near the railroad tracks. We had knocked off for lunch and I had dinner at the cafeteria at Record and Main Street and had come back to see the President of the United States. I was sitting on a ledge or wall near the intersection of Houston Street and Elm Street near the red light pole. I was facing in a northerly direction looking not only at Elm but I could see the large red brick building across the street from where I was sitting. I take this building across the street to be about 7 stories anyway in the east end of the building and the second row of windows from the top I saw a man in this window. I had seen him before the President's car arrived. He was just sitting up there looking down apparently waiting for the same thing I was to see the President. I did not notice anything unusual about this man. He was a white man in his early 30's, slender, nice looking, slender and would weigh about 165 to 175 pounds. He had on light colored clothing but definitely not a suit. I proceeded to watch the President's car is it turned left at the corner where I was and about 50 yards from the intersection of Elm and Houston and to a point I would say the Presidents back was in line with the last window I have previous described I heard what I thought was a backfire. It run in my mind that it might be someone throwing firecrackers out the window of the red brick building and I looked up the building. I then saw this man I have described in the window and he was taking aim with a high powered rifle. I could see all of the barrel of the gun. I do not know if it had a scope on it or not.

I was looking at the man in this window at the time of the last explosion. Then this man let the gun down to his side and stepped down out of sight. He did not seem to be in any hurry. I could see this man from about his belt up. There was nothing unusual about him at all in appearance. I believe that I could identify this man if I ever saw him again.

C. M. Jones

Notary Public, Dallas County, Texas

WARREN COMMISSION TESTIMONY

...Mr. Belin.

Mr. Brennan, could you please tell the Commission what happened from the time you sat on that retaining wall, what you saw?

Mr. Brennan.

Well, I was more or less observing the crowd and the people in different building windows, including the fire escape across from the Texas Book Store on the east side of the Texas Book Store, and also the Texas Book Store Building windows. I observed quite a few people in different windows. In particular, I saw this one man on the sixth floor which left the window to my knowledge a couple of times.

Mr. Belin.

Now, you say the window on the sixth floor. What building are you referring to there?

Mr. Brennan.

That is the Texas Book Store.

Mr. Belin.

I am going to ask you to circle on Exhibit 477 the particular window that you said you saw a man leave and come back a couple of times.

...Mr. Belin.

Here is a marking pencil. Will you just mark the window that you believe you saw the man. All right. And do you want to put a letter "A", if you would, by that. All right, now you have marked on Commission Exhibit 477 a circle with the letter "A" to show the window that you saw a man in, I believe you said, at least two times come back and forth.

Mr. Brennan.

Yes

Mr. Belin.

Did you see any other people in any other windows that you can recollect?

Mr. Brennan.

Not on that floor. There was no other person on that floor that ever came to the window that I noticed. There were people on the next floor down, which is the fifth floor, colored guys. In particular, I only remember two that I identified.

....Mr. Brennan.

Well, as the parade came by, I watched it from a distance of Elm and Main Street, as it came on to Houston and turned the corner at Houston and Elm, going down the incline towards the railroad underpass. And after the President had passed my position, I really couldn't say how many feet or how far, a short distance I would say, I heard this crack that I positively thought was a backfire.

Mr. Belin.

You thought it was backfire?

Mr. Brennan.

Of a motorcycle.

Mr. Belin.

Then what did you observe or hear?

Mr. Brennan.

Well, then something, just right after this explosion, made me think that it was a firecracker being thrown from the Texas Book Store. And I glanced up. And this man that I saw previous was aiming for his last shot.

Mr. Belin.

This man you saw previous? Which man are you talking about now?

Mr. Brennan.

The man in the sixth story window.

Mr. Belin.

Would you describe just exactly what you saw when you saw him this last time?

Mr. Brennan.

Well, as it appeared to me he was standing up and resting against the left window sill, with gun shouldered to his right shoulder, holding the gun with his left hand and taking positive aim and fired his last shot. As I calculate a couple of seconds. He drew the gun back from the window as though he was drawing it back to his side and maybe paused for another second as though to assure hisself that he hit his mark, and then he disappeared. And, at the same moment, I was diving off of that firewall and to the right for bullet protection of this stone wall that is a little higher on the Houston side.

Mr. Belin.

Well, let me ask you. What kind of a gun did you see in that window?

Mr. Brennan.

I am not an expert on guns. It was, as I could observe, some type of a high-powered rifle.

Mr. Belin.

Could you tell whether or not it had any kind of a scope on it?

Mr. Brennan.

I did not observe a scope.

Mr. Belin.

Could you tell whether or not it had one? Do you know whether it did or not, or could you observe that it definitely did or definitely did not, or don't you know?

Mr. Brennan.

I do not know if it had a scope or not.

Mr. Belin.

I believe you said you thought the man was standing. What do you believe was the position of the people on the fifth floor that you saw--standing or sitting?

Mr. Brennan.

I thought they were standing with their elbows on the window sill leaning out.

Mr. Belin.

At the time you saw this man on the sixth floor, how much of the man could you see?

Mr. Brennan.

Well, I could see at one time he came to the window and he sat sideways on the window sill. That was previous to President Kennedy getting there. And I could see practically his whole body, from his hips up. But at the time that he was firing the gun, a possibility from his belt up.

Mr. Belin.

How much of the gun do you believe that you saw?

Mr. Brennan.

I calculate 70 to 85 percent of the gun.

Mr. Belin.

Do you know what direction the gun was pointing.

Mr. Brennan.

Yes.

Mr. Belin.

And what direction was the gun pointing when you saw it?

Mr. Brennan.

At somewhat 30 degrees downward and west by south.

Mr. Belin.

Do you know down what street it was pointing?

Mr. Brennan.

Yes. Down Elm Street toward the railroad underpasses.

Mr. Belin.

Now, up to the time of the shots, did you observe anything else that you have not told us about here that you can think of right now?

Mr. Brennan.

Well, not of any importance. I don't remember anything else except--

Mr. Belin.

Let me ask you this. How many shots did you hear?

Mr. Brennan.

Positively two. I do not recall a second shot--

Mr. Belin.

By a second shot, you mean a middle shot between the time you heard the first noise and the last noise?

Mr. Brennan.

Yes; that is right. I don't know what made me think that there was firecrackers throwed out of the Book Store unless I did hear the second shot, because I positively thought the first shot was a backfire, and subconsciously must have heard a second shot, but I do not recall it. I could not swear to it.

Mr. Belin.

Could you describe the man you saw in the window on the sixth floor?

Mr. Brennan.

To my best description, a man in his early thirties, fair complexion, slender but neat, neat slender, possibly 5-foot 10.

Mr. Belin.

About what weight?

Mr. Brennan.

Oh, at--I calculated, I think, from 160 to 170 pounds.

Mr. Belin.

A white man?

Mr. Brennan.

Yes.

Mr. Belin.

Do you remember what kind of clothes he was wearing?

Mr. Brennan.

Light colored clothes, more of a khaki color.

Mr. Belin.

Do you remember the color of his hair?

Mr. Brennan.

No.

Mr. Belin.

Now, I believe you said that after the last shot you jumped off this masonry structure on which you were sitting. Why did you jump off?

Mr. Brennan.

Well, it occurred to me that there might be more than one person, that it was a plot which could mean several people, and I knew beyond reasonable doubt that there were going to be bullets flying from every direction.

....Mr. Brennan.

I knew I had to get to someone quick to tell them where the man was. So I ran or I walked--there is a possibility I ran, because I have a habit of, when something has to be done in a hurry, I run. And there was one officer standing at the corner of the Texas Book Store on the street. It didn't seem to me he was going in any direction. He was standing still.

Mr. Belin.

What did you do or what did you say to him?

Mr. Brennan.

I asked him to get me someone in charge, a Secret Service man or an FBI. That it appeared to me that they were searching in the wrong direction for the man that did the shooting.

And he was definitely in the building on the sixth floor.

I did not say on the sixth floor. Correction there.

I believe I identified the window as one window from the top.

Mr. Belin.

All right.

Mr. Brennan.

Because, at that time, I did not know how many story building it was.

Representative Ford.

But you did say to the policeman it was a window on the second floor from the top?

Mr. Brennan.

Right.

Mr. Belin.

And then what happened?

Mr. Brennan.

He

The Chairman.

May I ask there. By the second floor from the top, do you mean the one directly underneath the top floor?

Mr. Brennan.

Underneath the top floor, excluding the roof, yes, sir.

Mr. Belin.

And then what happened, sir?

Mr. Brennan.

He said, "just a minute." And he had to give some orders or something on the east side of the building on Houston Street. And then he had taken me to, I believe, Mr. Sorrels, an automobile sitting in front of the Texas Book Store.

Mr. Belin.

And then what happened there?

Mr. Brennan.

I related my information and there was a few minutes of discussion, and Mr. Sorrels had taken me then across the street to the sheriff's building....

IDENTIFYING THOSE FROM THE FIFTH FLOOR AS THEY LEFT THE TSBD

...Mr. Brennan.

If I might add a part, that I left out a couple of minutes ago--

Mr. Belin.

Go right ahead, sir.

Mr. Brennan.

As Mr. Sorrels and some more men were discussing this, I mentioned these two colored guys.

Mr. Belin.

Yes.

Mr. Brennan.

Came out of the book store, running down the steps.

Mr. Belin.

You mean the two

Mr. Brennan.

That I had previously saw on the fifth floor.

Mr. Belin.

All right.

Mr. Brennan.

And I immediately identified these two boys to the officers and Mr. Sorrels as being on the fifth floor.

Mr. Belin.

Do you have anything else you wish to add now?

Mr. Brennan.

No; that concludes that.

Mr. McCloy.

They were running out of the building?

Mr. Brennan.

They came running down the front steps of the building on the Elm street side.

Mr. McCloy.

Did they then disappear in the crowd?

Mr. Brennan.

No; they took them in custody, I suppose, and questioned them.

Representative Ford.

The law enforcement officers stopped them, and you did what, then?

Mr. Brennan.

No. I believe Mr. Sorrels or the Secret Service man stopped them.

I am not sure, but I don't believe an officer of the police department stopped them.

Representative Ford.

But you were standing on the steps of the Texas School Book Depository Building talking to whom?

Mr. Brennan.

Mr. Sorrels and another man, and I believe there was an officer standing there, a police officer.

Representative Ford.

And these two Negroes came out of the front door?

Mr. Brennan.

Yes, sir.

Representative Ford.

And you did what then?

Mr. Brennan.

I---

Representative Ford.

Spoke to Mr. Sorrels?

Mr. Brennan.

Spoke to Mr. Sorrels, and told him that those were the two colored boys that was on the fifth floor, or on the next floor underneath the man that fired the gun.

Representative Ford.

You positively identified them?

Mr. Brennan.

I did, at that time....

THE POLICEMAN: WELCOME E. BARNETT

...Mr. Belin.

All right. Before I go any further, do you remember the name of the officer you talked to in front of the School Book Depository Building?

Mr. Brennan.

I don't believe I ever heard it I do not remember his name.

[Note: ..This officer was W. E. Barnett of the Dallas Police Department. In a deposition to the Warren Commission on July 23, 1964 he stated"about that time a construction worker ran from the southwest corner of the intersection (Elm and Houston) up to me and said, "I was standing over there and saw the man in the window with the rifle." He and I and the sergeant (Howard) all three broke and ran for the door (of the School Book Depository building). I kept the man there with me. The Sergeant ran to the back to make sure it was covered. I kept the man there until they took him across the street to the courthouse"..Q. How long do you think it was from the time the last shot was until the time you were at the front doorA. It was around 2½ minutes." (Barnett may have seen the car)....]

THE LINEUP

....Mr. Brennan.

Well, I was just more or less introduced to him in Mr. Sorrels' room, and they told me they were going to conduct a lineup and wanted me to view it, which I did.

Mr. Belin.

Do you remember how many people were in the lineup?

Mr. Brennan.

No; I don't. A possibility seven more or less one.

Mr. Belin.

All right.

Did you see anyone in the lineup you recognized?

Mr. Brennan.

Yes.

Mr. Belin.

And what did you say?

Mr. Brennan.

I told Mr. Sorrels and Captain Fritz at that time that Oswald--or the man in the lineup that I identified looking more like a closest resemblance to the man in the window than anyone in the lineup.

Mr. Belin.

Were the other people in the lineup, do you remember--were they all white, or were there some Negroes in there, or what?

Mr. Brennan.

I do not remember.

Mr. Belin.

As I understand your testimony, then, you said that you told him that this particular person looked the most like the man you saw on the sixth floor of the building there.

Mr. Brennan.

Yes, sir.

Mr. Belin.

In the meantime, had you seen any pictures of Lee Harvey Oswald on television or in the newspapers?

Mr. Brennan.

Yes, on television.

Mr. Belin.

About when was that, do you believe?

Mr. Brennan.

I believe I reached home quarter to three or something of that, 15 minutes either way, and I saw his picture twice on television before I went down to the police station for the lineup.

Mr. Belin.

Now, is there anything else you told the officers at the time of the lineup?

Mr. Brennan.

Well, I told them I could not make a positive identification.

Mr. Belin.

When you told them that, did you ever later tell any officer or investigating person anything different?

Mr. Brennan.

Yes.

Mr. Belin.

When did that happen?

Mr. Brennan.

I believe some days later--I don't recall exactly--and I believe the Secret Service man identified hisself as being Williams, I believe, from Houston. I won't swear to that-whether his name was Williams or not.

Mr. Belin.

All right.

Mr. Brennan.

And he could have been an FBI. As far as I remember, it could have been FBI instead of Secret Service.

But I believe it was a Secret Service man from Houston.

And I--

Mr. Belin.

What did he say to you and what did you say to him?

Mr. Brennan.

Well, he asked me he said, "You said you couldn't make a positive identification."

He said, "Did you do that for security reasons personally, or couldn't you?"

And I told him I could with all honesty, but I did it more or less for security reasons--my family and myself.

Mr. Belin.

What do you mean by security reasons for your family and yourself?

Mr. Brennan.

I believe at that time, and I still believe it was a Communist activity, and I felt like there hadn't been more than one eyewitness, and if it got to be a known fact that I was an eyewitness, my family or I, either one, might not be safe.

Mr. Belin.

Well, if you wouldn't have identified him, might he not have been released by the police?

Mr. Brennan.

Beg pardon?

Mr. Belin.

If you would not have identified that man positively, might he not have been released by the police?

Mr. Brennan.

No. That had a great contributing factor--greater contributing factor than my personal reasons was that I already knew they had the man for murder, and I knew he would not be released.

Mr. Belin.

The murder of whom?

Mr. Brennan.

Of Officer Tippit.

Mr. Belin.

Well, what happened in between to change your mind that you later decided to come forth and tell them you could identify him?

Mr. Brennan.

After Oswald was killed, I was relieved quite a bit that as far as pressure on myself of somebody not wanting me to identify anybody, there was no longer that immediate danger.

Mr. Belin.

What is the fact as to whether or not your having seen Oswald on television would have affected your identification of him one way or the other?

Mr. Brennan.

That is something I do not know.

Mr. Belin.

Mr. Brennan, could you tell us now whether you can or cannot positively identify the man you saw on the sixth floor window as the same man that you saw in the police station?

Mr. Brennan.

I could at that time I could, with all sincerity, identify him as being the same man.

Mr. Belin.

Was the man that you saw in the window firing the rifle the same man that you had seen earlier in the window, you said at least a couple of times, first stepping up and then going back?

Mr. Brennan.

Yes, sir.

Mr. Belin.

About how far were you away from that window at the time you saw him, Mr. Brennan?

Mr. Brennan.

Well, at that time, I calculated 110-foot at an angle. But closer surveillance I believe it will run close to 122 to 126 feet at an angle.

Mr. Belin.

I believe that on Friday we paced the distance between the place where you were sitting and the front door of the Texas School Book Depository Building, and it ran about--

Mr. Brennan.

93-foot...

FILM OF BRENNAN AT THE FRONT DOOR OF TSBD MISSING?

....Mr. Belin.

All right.

Will you put a mark to "G" at the end? And I believe you said that the car that you talked to the Secret Service agent in was at point "G" approximately?

Mr. Brennan.

Right.

Mr. Belin.

Now, are these accurate or approximate locations, Mr. Brennan?

Mr. Brennan.

Well, don't you have photographs of me talking to the Secret Service men right here?

Mr. Belin.

I don't believe so.

Mr. Brennan.

You should have. It was on television before I got home my wife saw it.

Mr. Belin.

On television?

Mr. Brennan.

Yes.

Mr. Belin.

At this time we do not have them.

Do you remember what station they were on television?

Mr. Brennan.

No. But they had it. And I called I believe Mr. Lish who requested that he cut those films or get them cut of the FBI. I believe you might know about them. Somebody cut those films, because a number of times later the same films were shown, and that part was cut.

Mr. Belin.

Who would Mr. Lish be with?

Mr. Brennan.

The FBI.

Mr. Belin.

All right.

We thank you very much for that information.

Is there anything else that you did at point "G" or anywhere else after the time of the assassination before you went to the Sheriff's office?

Mr. Brennan.

I walked up the steps and stood on the outside of the doorway.

Mr. Belin.

Of what building?

Mr. Brennan.

Of the Texas Book Store, while the officers or the men that I was with gave some more orders. And then Mr. Sorrels taken me across to the Sheriff's office.

Mr. Dulles.

You did not go inside the building?

Mr. Brennan.

No; I did not.

Mr. Belin.

Did you notice any people coming out of the front stairs of the building after these two Negroes came out?

Mr. Brennan.

Well, I recall people going in and out, but a different picture I cannot remember.

Representative Ford.

Where were you standing when you identified the two Negroes?

Mr. Brennan.

On the edge of the street, outer side of the sidewalk, when the two colored boys came out of the building and came down the steps.

Mr. Belin.

Was that at point "G"?

Mr. Brennan.

Yes, sir....

BRENNAN: SNIPER WINDOW BOXES MOVED

...Mr. Belin.

I note in window "A" there appear to be some boxes in the window. To the best of your recollection, what is the fact as to whether or not those boxes as shown in this exhibit appear to be similar to the ones you saw on November 22?

Mr. Brennan.

No; I could see more boxes.

Mr. Belin.

In the window or behind time window?

Mr. Brennan.

Behind the window.

Mr. Belin.

I am talking in the window itself.

Mr. Brennan.

No, no. That is--I don't remember a box in the window, these boxes I remember are stacked up behind the window, and they were zigzagged, kind of step down, and there was a space it looked like back of here.

Mr. Belin.

Now, you are pointing to a space which would be on the east side, is that right?

Mr. Brennan.

Yes.

Mr. Belin.

When you say you don't remember

Mr. Brennan.

Well, I can see those boxes there now. I don't know whether you can see them or not. It seems like I can see the boxes in that picture.

Am I right?

Mr. Belin.

I don't know, sir. I can't see them on Exhibit 471. That could be the dirty window here.

Mr. Brennan.

Here they are here. Those boxes there.

Mr. Belin.

Well, here is Exhibit 482.

First of all, I see a box on Exhibit 482, right in the window.

Mr. Brennan.

Yes; I don't recall that box.

Mr. Belin.

Do you recall that it definitely was not there, or just you don't recall whether it was or was not there.

Mr. Brennan.

I do not recall that being there. So, therefore, I could not say it definitely wasn't there....

FROM BRENNAN'S BOOK

Eyewitness to History (Texian Press, Waco, 1987, with J. Edward Cherryholmes)

http://www.kenrahn.c...ennan_book.html - Intro

...I looked at my watch which indicated 12:18. By now I could hear as well as sense the excitement in the air. The sidewalks were lined to capacity.

.....As I sat on the wall, looking around, I had an excellent view of the whole terrain. I could see people in every direction...it was a crowd that was becoming more excited by the minute.

Directly across the street from where I sat was the Texas School Book Depository Building. By now it seemed that every window in the place was open with one or more people peering out. There was a spirit of happy anticipation and I could hear much laughter and happy conversation. People were waving from the buildings and fire escapes.

I had thought all the windows in the Texas Book Depository were occupied, but as I looked closer, those occupied seemed to be confined to the lower floors. As I worked my gaze upward, I was struck by the fact that one floor, the one next to the top, seemed to be completely empty. I didn't think much about it as I reasoned everyone would want to get on as low a floor as possible for the best view. Then, looking at the corner of the building, I noticed one man in the window. What drew my attention to him with all of the other people in the area, I don't know. I looked at my watch and it was about 12:22. As I watched him, he went away from the window for a few seconds and then returned. I thought perhaps he was doing a special job and had just broken away from it for a moment to see what was happening outside.

There was nothing about this young man at first glance that seemed unusual. He appeared to be about average height, maybe 5'8" to 5'10" and of average weight, tending more toward the slender side. I'm not good at guessing ages, but he seemed to be 25–35. He had on light colored clothing. The thing that caught my attention was that he was alone. Most others were sharing this magic moment with someone, but he was a solitary figure who seemed to be in his own little world. After watching him for a while, I turned to look at some of the others and noticed two black men in the window directly underneath the lone man. There were exactly the opposite. They were laughing, smiling, waving to all who could see them and "having the time of their lives." It was a festive mood which everyone seemed to find contagious.

After looking around at the crowd for a few moments, I fastened my attention again on the curious young man who was alone on the sixth floor of the building. The most unusual thing about him, I decided, was his demeanor. It stood out in sharp contrast to that of everyone else. There were undoubtedly those in the crowd who didn't like the President. There had been reports of anti-Kennedy feeling and speculation that some kind of demonstration might take place. But from where I was sitting and from what I could hear, it was a happy, joyous crowd, glad for an opportunity to see their President who was, even then, becoming a legend. If there was animosity in Dallas, most people were keeping it to themselves.

As I looked at the man, it struck me how unsmiling and calm he was. He didn't seem to feel one bit of excitement. His face was almost expressionless. I couldn't detect either happiness or hate. Again he left the window for a few seconds, but almost as quickly he resumed his position there. It was only later that I discovered, along with the nation, that he was, in all probability, checking to make certain no one was coming up to the sixth floor to interrupt what he had planned.

SUSPICIOUS CAR - 55-57 OLDS

While surveying the area, I glanced away to the side of the Depository Building and found something I could not understand. At that time there was a side entrance towards the rear of the building on Houston Street. At some point during the morning hours, the police had sealed off parking in that block and forced all cars to move. Saw horses were placed at Elm and Houston to block traffic. As I looked around I saw a lone car parked beside the Book Depository with a while male seated behind the wheel. The car was an Oldsmobile, a 1955–57 model. It is difficult to tell the exact year unless one is an expert because all those years looked nearly alike. I remember wondering why all the other cars had been made to move and this one had not.

I didn't have the chance to study the driver carefully but he was wearing civilian clothes and appeared to be middle aged.

One thing that interested me about the car was the way it was parked. The left front wheel was pulled sharply away from the curb and the driver had the door partially open. Later I wondered if the reason for this was so the car could make a quick U-turn in a speedy departure. As I was watching the man in the car I saw a policeman who was on foot walk over towards the car and begin talking to the man in a friendly, laughing manner. So far as I could see, there was no attempt made to get the man to move his car and after chatting for a minute or so, the policeman walked back to his post. It was this fact that made me think the police should have made some report about the presence of the car, but I have never seen any other account of this "mystery car."

As each minute passed the crowd grew more and more excited and I could feel this along with everyone else. It was a tingling sensation, a kind of mass intoxication that everyone was getting caught up in. At about 12:26 the word spread that the Presidential motorcade was approaching and it would be only a few minutes until it came into view.

The crowd was now at fever pitch and it was one of the most exciting moments in my life. If nothing else happened that day, I would still remember it always. I looked up at the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository where that quiet, strange man was hunched. He hadn't changed his position or expression at all. He was perfectly calm and his face revealed nothing out of the ordinary. If someone had told me he was shortly about to assassinate the President, there was nothing in his behavior that would have made me suspect it.

Looking back, I know that the man was too calm, too unconcerned. If one can't become excited at seeing the President of the United States, I wondered what it would take to move him. But the thought of assassination never entered my mind. During the several minutes I studied him, our eyes never met and he didn't know I was watching him. I have often wondered since that time what would have happened if he had known. Would he have changed his plan? I doubt it…. He seemed not to be looking at anything in particular, rather gazing blankly into space, as if his mind were a thousand miles away. I've thought since that he was looking at the corner of Houston and Main from where the President would come. He seemed preoccupied. He left the window one last time for just a few seconds and then returned to his lonely vigil, At no time during all these many minutes did I see any rifle or anything that would have led me to believe that he was any kind of threat to the President.

I heard the wail of sirens from cars that were slowly approaching the corner of Main and Houston and swung around in that direction. Everyone around me was trying to do the same thing. Some moved from their positions to get a better look. From my position on the wall, I was head and shoulders above everyone else and glad that I had such a good seat. I could hear a ripple of applause beginning that would continue to swell in intensity as the motorcade drew nearer.

Two cars stopped at the corner of Main and Houston and I learned later that these were Secret Service Agents trying to secure the path of the President.

As the car came abreast of where I was sitting on the wall, Kennedy turned to wave at those on the other side of the street. The next moments have remained fresh in my mind for nearly twenty years. In one respect, the whole experience seemed to take only a few seconds. In another, it resembled slow-motion action that one sees in the movies at times. What has been recorded as taking less than ten seconds seemed like an eternity to me. I'm sure others on the scene felt the same as I. When the presidential car moved just a few feet past where I was sitting, President Kennedy looked back to our side of the street. Just at that moment the whole joy and good will of the day was shattered by the sound of a shot. It took an instant to realize that something had happened. My first instinct was to disbelieve my own ears. Nothing could have been further from my mind at that moment than that someone was trying to kill the President. My first thought was that it must have been a backfire. I'm sure many other people around me must have thought the same thing for there was no instantaneous reaction from the crowd. It was as if no one could really believe that such a thing was even possible, certainly not in Dallas.

I looked up then at the Texas Book Depository Building. What I saw made my "blood run cold."

Poised in the corner window of the sixth floor was the same young man I had noticed several times before the motorcade arrived. There was one difference...this time he held a rifle in his hands, pointing toward the Presidential car. He steadied the rifle against the cornice and while he moved quickly, he didn't seem to be in any kind of panic. All of this happened in the matter of a second or two. Then came the sickening sound of a second shot and I looked quickly back to the presidential car which had moved only a few feet, still not apparently aware that it was the assassin's target.

I saw Governor John Connally reacting to being wounded and the instinctive response of his wife to try and help him. I remember thinking, "Oh my God! He's going to kill them, he's going to kill them all!" The immensity and horror of what I was witnessing almost overwhelmed me. I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream, but I couldn't utter a sound. I could only watch the whole monstrous drama unfold.

Just then a woman close to me screamed in full realization of what was happening. She uttered something like, "Oh, my God!" But even as she did my eyes darted back to that solitary figure who was changing history. He was aiming again and I wanted to pray, to beg God to somehow make him miss his target. There wasn't time to pray, not even time to think about what I was seeing but the sight became so fixed in my mind that I'll never forget it for as long as I live. There was nothing I could do. It was a hopeless, sinking feeling. I would have gladly given my life in that moment to be able to save the President, but no one could move fast enough to shield him with his own body. Then another shot rang out.

All of this took only a few seconds. I didn't realize at that moment that I was the only person who was actually watching the man firing the rifle. Simultaneous with the third shot, I swung my eyes back to the Presidential car which had moved on down to my left on Elm, and I saw a sight that made my whole being sink in despair. A spray of red came from around the President's head. I knew the bullet had struck its intended target. Later, I would learn that the whole scene had taken less than ten seconds. In retrospect, it seemed like several minutes.

By the time the third shot had been fired, there was sheer pandemonium. Everyone was fully aware that the noise they were hearing was shots, not backfire. This was really happening. It was like a nightmare, only I couldn't wake up from it. No one had to tell me what was ahead. The moment I saw the effects of the third shot, I knew that the assassin had been successful. No person could have survived that kind of wound.

Mass confusion and hysteria set in and I must admit, I was feeling it too. People were screaming. Men and women dressed in their fine suits and dresses, fell to the ground, getting them dirty, but hopefully getting out of the line of fire. At that moment, no one but me seemed to know where the shots had come from. By now uniformed policemen and plain clothes police, who I assumed were Secret Service or F.B.I. Agents came running from every direction. I jumped from the wall to try to get out of the line of fire. I never saw so many guns in my life. Most of the police were running towards the triple underpass which perhaps was a hundred feet or so ahead of the motorcade. Some were running towards an area to the right, slightly raised, which has come to be called the "Grassy Knoll." Much speculation has been raised about whether there was another gunman there who was trying to catch the President in a cross-fire. Having witnessed the whole scene, I can say with certainty there was only one gunman present that day and all shots were fired from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. It is easy to understand why many thought the shots were coming from the area of the underpass as the buildings and open area combine to produce an "echo" effect.

Even as I hit the ground, my first instinct was to look back up to that man on the sixth floor. "Was he going to fire again?" I wondered. By now the motorcade was beginning to speed up and in only a couple of seconds the President's car had disappeared under the triple underpass. To my amazement the man still stood there in the window! He didn't appear to be rushed. There was no particular emotion visible on his face except for a slight smirk. It was a look of satisfaction, as if he had accomplished what he had set out to do. He seemed pleased that no one had realized where the shots were coming from. Then he did something that puzzled me. Very slowly and deliberately he set the rifle on its butt and just stayed there for a moment to savor what he had done, like a hunter who has "bagged his buck." Then, with no sense of haste, he simply moved slowly away from the window until he disappeared from my line of vision.

I thought, "Any moment now, someone will set the police straight and they'll charge the building to get him!" Some people were starting to get up off the ground, but as I looked around, no one was moving towards the building and I didn't see any police available! Everyone was still trying to find out where the shots had come from.

The last thing I wanted to do was to get involved. I knew in that moment that I had to make a decision, the most important decision of my life. I didn't have the time to think of all the possible consequences that might come to me as a result. I haven't figured out why, of all the people who were present at the scene that day, I was the only person who saw the assassin fire, but Fate or God apparently chose me to be the witness. I was scared! I'd lived my whole life as a man who tried to mind his own business and not get involved in other's troubles and now suddenly I was in a position where I might be called upon to play a part in one of the most momentous events in our nation's history. As I got up from the ground, I realized I had to make a decision I would live with the rest of my life. I didn't have time to dwell on the fact that I might be putting my life in jeopardy and possibly that of my wife as well.

I began to look for a policeman. Someone had just murdered the President of the United States before my eyes and there was no way under heaven that I was going to allow him to get away with it.

In that moment, while I was looking for police help, I heard someone say something behind me which made me angry and sick at the same time. I've said, before and during the time the motorcade passed I didn't hear one adverse word directed towards the President, but just as I began to look for help, I heard a man behind me say, "I wonder if they got him!" All of my life I have tried to control a quick temper. My first instinct was to turn and go after whoever it was who had said it. I'm certain I would have taken out all of the frustration I was feeling at that moment on that individual. I didn't even take time to think about how big he might be. At that moment I wanted to strike back for the loss that had come to me in the death of "My President." But there were higher purposes to think about and I knew I couldn't think about myself at that moment. I had to do everything I could to help catch THE ASSASSIN.

Finally, I saw a policeman standing at the Southwest corner of the SCHOOL BOOK DEPOSITORY and I ran across the street to get his attention.[1][4] There was much noise and confusion and people were trying to get out of the area. As I approached the policemen he said, "What do you want?" I said, "The man you want is in the building!" He said, "Are you sure?" I responded, "I sure am." He grabbed my arm and we both ran to the front of the School Book Depository.

THE SUSPICIOUS CAR GONE

I glanced back towards the street to the side of the building. The car I had seen PARKED there before the motorcade passed WAS GONE. Although only a few moments had elapsed and all exits were blocked except one, the car had disappeared. The policeman who had been talking to the driver was gone, but I assumed he was looking for the gunman...

Many times since, especially in recent years, I have thought about the car parked alongside the Texas Book Depository and wondered where it came from and where it went. I have always wondered why the policeman allowed the car to be parked illegally beside the building with its wheels turned outward when other cars had been made to vacate the area. Of course, the paramount question in my mind was, "Who was the man sitting behind the wheel that day?"

As I watched the car, it never occurred to me that an assassination was about to take place and this might be the "get-away" car. Even though I could not have positively identified the man behind the wheel, I can say this for certain. The man was white, middle-aged and dressed in civilian clothes. I didn't have an opportunity to study his face, so identification is impossible but I have always felt that somehow he was involved in the assassination.

Later, I would remember, "if that was a 'get-away' car, why didn't it wait to pick up the killer?" Was it possible that he was being left on purpose? These questions and others tormented me for years after that experience and will never be fully answered. The one thing I knew for certain—there was a car there before the assassination and it disappeared before the assassin had time to get out of the building.

[Authors Note: Howard did not report the presence of the car beside the Book depository Building initially because he did not make an association. Subsequent to that time he had already made a formal statement and probably realized that to insert this new item might cast some doubt on his testimony. He thus determined not to say anything he could not verify absolutely. In retrospect, he acknowledged he probably should have reported it, but he wanted to be sure his testimony would stand since it was critical.]

While I was waiting for the policeman to return, I looked around again at the scene. The chaos and anguish of a few minutes earlier had subdued. There was no one still sitting on the ground and the noise and confusion had begun to settle. A curious, almost eerie quiet had descended over the area. Shortly after we got to the front steps of the building a plain clothes policeman came out of the door.[2][5] He asked me what I had seen and I told him. I gave him a description of the man I had seen on the sixth floor with the rifle. "He was a young man about 25 to 35 years old. He seemed to be of average height, not over six feet and he had dark hair that was beginning to recede." He went to a police car that was parked nearby and broadcast the description I had given him. I learned later that this was the first description broadcast to all units of the Dallas Police Department and may have led Officer J. D. Tippit to stop Lee Harvey Oswald. After the broadcast, he and another officer returned to where I was standing. "Please come with me, I want you to show me where you saw the man with the rifle," indicating I should follow them into the building. "Wait a minute," I said, thinking of my wife and family, "I can't go in there with you." I was concerned that the man who moments before had shot the President was still in the building. "All right then will you stand right there until we come back?" I nodded yes and he went back into the building with two other policemen. Other officers were now returning from the "Grassy Knoll" and were surrounding the building.

As I stood there in front of the Depository I had a chance to think back over the past few minutes. It seemed impossible that only a short time ago I had been just another average American who had come to see the President pass by and now because of that I was an eyewitness to an assassination that would change the entire course of history.

TV REPORTER AND CAMERAMAN AT SCENE

Before I could reflect any longer I was confronted by a television reporter and cameraman. They wanted to interview me and find out what I knew about the shooting. I did not want to talk to him and I certainly did not want my picture broadcast. If there were more people involved than the young man I had seen then showing me on television as an eyewitness would be like hanging a target over my heart for someone to shoot at.

He kept asking "Who are you, what do you know about the shooting of the President?" I turned my back on him without answering. He continued to try to get me to talk even though I moved away from him. Finally I said "I don't know anything."

I learned later that my wife, Louise, had been watching television and was the reporter trying to interview me. Even though my name wasn't given, she knew that I must have seen the assassination. My little grandson, who was less than two, pointed at the TV and said, "There's Granddaddy!" My daughter Vicki had watched the whole scene in a beauty shop. I felt exposed to the whole world as I tried to evade that reporter and cameraman. I don't know how long the reporter stayed with me, but it had to be several minutes: Each time he'd approach me I'd turn or move away a few steps. It is my sincere belief that Lee Harvey Oswald came out of the front door of the Depository while I was trying to avoid the TV reporter. If my attention had not been distracted I might have spotted him right there.[3][6]

In retrospect, maybe it's just as well my attention was diverted. If Oswald and I had come face to face, and I showed recognition, he might have killed me to keep me from identifying him as he later killed Officer J. D. Tippit. Everything seemed to work in Oswald's favor to make his escape from the Texas Book Depository possible.

About 25 minutes after the President was shot a man came out of the Depository and identified himself as Special Agent Forrest Sorrels with the Secret Service.[4][7] I gave him the same information that I had given to the other officers a few minutes before. Mr. Sorrels asked if I would accompany him to the Sheriffs office across the street and give them a written statement. "Of course, I will," I said. "I want to see that man caught. I'll do all I can to help you.".

As I shut the car door and walked towards the house, I knew I had to tell Louise that I was an eyewitness to the assassination. I couldn't just say nothing. Sooner or later she would find out. When and if the killer was caught, I would surely have to make an identification, so I decided the best thing to do was tell her the whole thing. When I opened the front door, Louise was standing there and I can never forget the look on her face. Somehow, she knew, I thought. But how?

My little grandson, Tyson, came running towards me, crying. "Granddaddy, I saw you on TV!" In a moment I knew that Louise had seen the reporter trying to interview me and realized something was wrong. "Howard, how are you involved?" she asked, looking me straight in the eyes. I hesitated for a minute trying to think what to say, finally I said, "It's just a case of being in the right place at the wrong time. Louise, I was there. I saw him do it. I saw the man shoot President Kennedy. It was the most terrible thing I've ever seen in my life." I told her the whole story, how I'd found a good seat on the wall and watched the man before the President came. About the awful moment when all hell broke loose and the shots rang out...

....As we watched TV, they showed the reporter trying to interview me again. I felt rage and fear at the same time. My privacy was being violated and there was nothing I could do about it. I wondered who was watching TV that might recognize me. I felt panic because I realized that if I was in any danger, then certainly Louise and my daughter Vicki and grandson Tyson might also be. By now, I recognized that I must be the only eyewitness, for I had heard of no one else coming forth as one….

While we were discussing this latest news, I saw something on the television that made me quake. I'm not certain of the exact time, but I believe it was about 5:30 p.m. that the first picture of Lee Harvey Oswald was flashed on the screen. I remember thinking, "It's him! He's the one who did it!" But I never said a word at the time, not even to Louise. Showing the picture of Oswald before any identification was made seemed very strange to me. Millions of people were seeing Oswald before I, the one person who could positively identify him, had been taken to an official lineup. I felt a sense of resistance within myself. How is this man going to get a fair trial?" I thought. "He is already guilty in the minds of everyone who is seeing him?"....

SA FBI ROBERT C. LISH MAKES TV FILM DISAPEAR

....Pushing my way through this mob I found the office I'd been instructed to go to. Mr. Sorrels was there and another man who identified himself as Agent Robert C. Lish of the F.B.I. Lish was a short man of a medium weight and build who curiously wore his hat most of the time. I remembered talking to him earlier on the phone. I told Mr. Lish, "I'm not at all satisfied with this situation!" Lish looked a bit puzzled. What do you mean?" he said. "My picture has been on the television several times today without my permission and I know someone is going to recognize me and put two and two together. I want it taken off and I want it taken off right away!" Mr. Lish nodded and said something to another man who was in the room who immediately left. From that moment, my picture never appeared on that television channel again.

"I want to keep my identity a secret!" I told them. "We'll do all we can to help you do that," Lish said. "We want you to look at a lineup and see if you can find someone in it who resembles the man you saw on the sixth floor. I said, "I'll be glad to cooperate, but I don't think it's fair for me to make an identification. Any one of a million people who saw him on television a while ago could make the same identification." Lish smiled diplomatically.

I was led into a darkened room with lights at one end. When we arrived, a group of several men, perhaps as many as seven, were led in and made to stand in line with numbers over them. As soon as I saw him, I think he was number two, I knew without any doubt whatsoever that they had captured the man whom I saw fire the shot that killed President Kennedy. I felt a surge of emotion, a sense of outrage at this young man who had literally thrown the whole world into chaos. As I was looking at each of the men in the lineup I saw a face that I recognized. It was a Dallas Detective that I knew. He was perhaps the most well-known of all the Dallas Police and his picture had been in the papers many times. If he was there, that meant only one thing. My privacy had been broached. I felt sick and a little betrayed. I'd come to City Hall with the understanding that I would be dealing only with the F.B.I. and/or the Secret Service, not the Dallas Police.

DALLAS PD OFFICER ASKS LEADING QUESTION

The officer walked over to me sticking out his hand to shake. He greeted me by name and I knew if he knew who I was and what my connection with the case was, then others must know. He asked me, "Does the second man from the left look most like the man you saw?" He was talking about Oswald and I knew what he wanted me to say.

I felt even more angry and betrayed. I hadn't agreed to make an identification to the local authorities. I knew that there were ways my identity could become known though the leaks in the police department and I didn't want any part of it. I knew that they had Oswald on enough charges that he wasn't going anyplace. He had been charged with resisting arrest and carrying a firearm without a permit. There was overwhelming evidence that he had killed Officer Tippit and so my identification in that moment wasn't absolutely necessary. If they needed me later, I knew I could identify him.

I said brusquely, "He looks like the man, but I can't say for sure!" I needed some time to think. I turned to Mr. Lish, who had detected my resentment and said, "Let's go back to the office. We have some talking to do." As we went, I commented that the man in the lineup wasn't dressed the same way the man in the window had been.

"We forgot to tell you that he changed his clothes immediately after leaving the Depository, Lish said. When we reached the office I responded angrily, "You promised me anonymity. You people haven't kept your word." Sorrels looked genuinely puzzled. "What do you mean?" "If this Detective knows who I am and what my connection with the assassination is, then it won't be long before everybody finds out." Sorrels tried to be reassuring, "We'll do everything we can to protect your identity, Mr. Brennan, but this isn't entirely our jurisdiction." I wasn't sure just what he meant, and said so. "There isn't anything we could do about it," Sorrels explained. "The law is clear that murder, even assassination, is a state offense and must be turned over to local officials for investigation and prosecution!"

So it was out and I had to deal with it. No matter how hard they might try, it was only a matter of time before people would find out that the unidentified witness whose description had helped catch Oswald was really Howard Brennan. Suddenly, I didn't feel very good. I felt very vulnerable, exposed to naked light, and I didn't like it one bit. I knew I was going to be sorry that I decided to become involved.

While we were talking, Captain Fritz came in and asked me, "Can you make a positive identification of any of those we showed you in the lineup?" Having felt betrayed in my quest for anonymity, I was in no mood to hurry the process of exposure. I said, "You already have your man on enough charges to hold him for a long time. I'm not going to make a positive identification at the moment. If and when the time comes and you need it or have to let him go, we'll deal with it then." I wasn't saying, "Yes, Oswald is the man," nor was I saying, "No, he isn't the one."....

BRENNAN MEETS JFK'S DOUBLE

...About 9:30 we heard a knock at the door and we both went to answer it. Louise stayed a little behind me. It was Agent Lish of the F.B.I. Looking out I could see a car parked at the curb. Looking further I could make out that he wasn't alone but had brought someone with him. "I'd like to see you if you aren't too tired."

"That's perfectly O.K. I don't think I'm going to sleep very much tonight anyway. Why don't you come in and have a cup of coffee?" Lish came in and seemed more informal and friendly than I had remembered while at City Hall. "I thought we might get better acquainted and maybe answer some of your questions," he said. As we started to pass pleasantries, another man stepped from the shadows on the porch where I had only seen his figure and moved into the light. Louise gave an audible gasp that all of us could hear and I felt a shock run through me. There standing in our little hallway was John F. Kennedy, alive again. At least that's what I thought at that instant. The man standing there was the exact double of the late President in every detail. Had I not known that the President was dead, I would have staked my life that I was being visited by him. Every feature about him, his face, his hair, his build, even his clothes looked exactly like the President. It was as if a ghost had suddenly appeared. Even his voice sounded so much like Mr. Kennedy's. My mind simply couldn't absorb it all and Louise was struck dumb, her eyes wide open in amazement. Lish introduced the double as a fellow agent and apologized for not preparing us for this shocking experience. We all sat down at the kitchen table. Later I would learn that many American Presidents have had doubles, including President Roosevelt. All my life I had heard that there is someone, somewhere who looks exactly like you, but until that night I'd never known it for the truth. The agent told us some of his experiences doubling for the President. They were fascinating. We emptied the coffee pot, made another pot, drank that and just kept the coffee and cookies in supply as we kept at vigil. A President was dead, a killer was being interrogated, a nation was in shock. Everything had slowed down to a crawl and on this Friday night as the hour grew later and later, it seemed unbelievable that my wife and I were sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee and eating cookies with F.B.I. agents we hadn't even known a few hours ago....

All of which leads to more questions, like who was JFK's double in Dallas and what was he doing there?

Are there any other photo or film evidence of the illegally parked Oldsmobile, what became of it, and who it belonged to?

Who was the TV News reporter and what happened to the film that the FBI Agent Lish had edited out of the news film?

The photo of Brennan here http://jfkcountercoup.wordpress.com/ appears to be from that news film. Who took the film and what became of the rest of it?

While Brennan's tentative and then positive identification of Oswald can be discounted by him having seen Oswald on TV before viewing the lineup, and the DPD's leading question, Brennan does offer other, important insights into what was happening at Houston and Elm Streets at 12:30 on 11/22/63.

Edited by William Kelly
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While Brennan's tentative and then positive identification of Oswald can be discounted by him having seen Oswald on TV before viewing the lineup, and the DPD's leading question, Brennan does offer other, important insights into what was happening at Houston and Elm Streets at 12:30 on 11/22/63.

Bill, why did you leave out all the other qualifiers about this guy?

I know you are trying to say that he went ahead and offered other things of interest. But his ID of Oswald can be more than just "discounted".

Jim, I know you are more hard-core than I am, but you are correct, it's more than just being "discounted."

Here's Ian Grigg's more in depth review of the so-called lineups, and Brennan's participation. - BK

Did Howard Leslie Brennan Really Attend

an Identification Lineup?

by Ian Griggs

Introduction

As I think we are all aware, Lee Harvey Oswald seemed to be officially declared "guilty" within a very short time of his arrest. When I say "officially" I mean in the eyes of the Dallas Police Department, the FBI and the Dallas District Attorney's office. Since it was so obviously an "open-and-shut" case and the murderer of Kennedy and Tippit was safely in custody, there was nothing more to do but cross the T's and dot the I's 1. I think the expression "Case Closed" saw the light of day in Dallas 30 years before Gerald Posner used it as the title of his nasty little book.

Maybe this was also the reason that the separate identity parades which Oswald attended were conducted in such a haphazard, unfair and downright sloppy manner. They could almost have been filmed and shown to future police recruit classes as how not to do it!

The Reliability of Eyewitness Testimony

Illogical as it may seem, the least reliable form of identification is that of the eyewitness. This is an obvious anomaly since it is natural to assume that this would be the most accurate and straightforward means of verifying a person's presence at a certain place at a certain time.How often do we use the phrase "I saw it with my own eyes" as a means of stressing that something is true? The human perception and memory are, however, nowhere near as accurate as we mistakenly believe.

I know that this is not a view shared by all researchers. Indeed, in the 1997 book Assassination Science, Dr David Mantik goes to great lengths to claim the opposite. I can only speak from my own professional experience over many years in dealing with eyewitnesses giving descriptions of people they have seen. I even recall an occurrence in 1974 when my witness got the person's colour wrong!

Was There Really a Howard Brennan Lineup?

It should have been a relatively simple task to track down the records of the Oswald lineups. That, however, was not the case. Apart from discrepancies in some of the official records and documentation, I encountered some confusing claims in assassination literature. For example, I read in Ray and Mary La Fontaine's Oswald Talked that "(John) Elrod says today that he was put on a chain with Oswald, (and) appeared in lineups ..." That is patently untrue, but then as far as I am concerned, so is the title of that book 2.

One "official" account (published in the Warren Commission Report) indicates that between his arrest at 1.50pm on Friday 22nd and his death less than 46 hours later, Lee Harvey Oswald was put up on five separate lineups before no less than nine witnesses 3. Four of these lineups are scrupulously described 4 and it is a simple matter to trace who appeared on them, either as witnesses or as Oswald's companions in the line, and which police officers organised them. During the preparation of this paper, I began to form a suspicion that the other lineup, the one involving Howard Leslie Brennan, never actually took place.

This suspicion grew rapidly when I found another "official" version (again, published in the Warren Commission Report), which indicated that the only lineups attended by Oswald on Friday 22nd were those "at about 4:20" (obviously Helen Markham), "two hours later, at 6:20pm" (this would be Callaway, Guinyard and McWatters) and "a third lineup at about 7.40pm" (obviously the Davis sisters-in-law). The fourth and final lineup described is one at 2:15pm the following day 5.

Only 32 pages separate these two conflicting "official" accounts but in that brief space, Howard Leslie Brennan's possible attendance at an Oswald lineup has been completely erased from the record. The Warren Commission appears to be backing both horses in a two-horse race - and hoping that nobody notices. Well I have noticed, and as far as I am concerned, there can only be one of two possible explanations here:

  1. Howard Leslie Brennan never attended a lineup at which Lee Harvey Oswald appeared;
  2. Howard Leslie Brennan did attend an Oswald lineup but when he either failed or refused to identify him as the man he claimed to have seen in the sixth floor window, it was decided by the authorities to expunge all reference to Brennan being at the lineup.

I will deal with the four definite lineups first before returning to the vexed question of Mr Brennan later.

How the Oswald Lineups Were Organised

Under English Law, with which I am obviously far more conversant, the rules and procedures for the conduct of identity parades (lineups) have always been very strictly laid down and adhered to. In England, in 1963 as now, it was required for the parade to consist of at least eight persons plus the suspect. They were to be "of similar age, height, general appearance and position in life" as the suspect.

Unfortunately for Oswald, the situation in Dallas, Texas in November 1963 was somewhat different.

The Oswald lineups were conducted in what was known colloquially as the showup room (sometimes also called the assembly room or the lineup room) in the basement of DPD Headquarters. I believe I am one of very few researchers who has had the opportunity to visit this part of the old City Hall 6. It is no longer used for that purpose and now serves as a combined office and refreshment room. The raised wooden platform on which the members of the lineups were paraded is still in its original position on the left as you enter but the set of horizontal lines on the wall behind it, indicating the lineup members' height, together with the numbers 1 to 6, has long been painted out 7.

This showup room was "perhaps 50 feet long and 20 feet wide" 8 and was the scene of the well-known press conference held at 12.30am on the morning of 23rd November. This was the occasion when Oswald was paraded before the press and Jack Ruby gained admittance and corrected DA Henry Wade when he misquoted the name of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee as Free Cuba Movement 9.

Standing there, on that platform, as I did in November 1996, it is easy to drift back in time and imagine the scene back in November 1963. It's a pretty scary experience.

The procedure for each of the Oswald lineups was that he was included with just three other individuals 10. Those three would line up first and Oswald was then invited to take whatever position he chose. All four men were then handcuffed together and they stood under strong lighting facing a one-way nylon screen. They could not see through it but the eyewitness, who stood on the other side of it, could see them. The members of the parade were allocated the numbers 1 to 4, these numbers being displayed over their heads.

When the eyewitness was in position, each man was asked to step forward in turn and state his name and place of work. The eyewitness then studied the four men full-face and then in profile. The witness was instructed that if he recognized the suspect, he should indicate that person's number to one of the officers conducting the lineup.

I have never heard it asked where the other people on these lineups came from? I think it important that this is addressed and to answer it, we can do no better than go to the Warren Commission testimony of DPD Detective Elmer L. Boyd 11. He is being questioned by Assistant Counsel Ball, who puts just that same point to him:

BALL: "What is the usual thing - when you are going to have a showup and you are in charge of investigation, who picks the people who appear in the showup?"

BOYD: "Well, most of the time we call down to the jail office and have them send us down - if he's already in jail, we just have them send up there and get him and just how many we want in the showup and we tell them to give us this particular one - or three or four men - whatever the case may be."

BALL: "Who picks them?"

BOYD: "The jailers upstairs."

BALL: "Do you tell them to get all the same color?"

BOYD: "Yes sir; we always tell them to get them all the same color. I never have had much trouble getting them all the same color."

BALL: "What about the size and weight?"

BOYD: "Now, we always tell them to get them as near the same size and age and weight as they can. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't."

I don't think I need to labour this point. It seems that there were no set rules and regulations laid down for the procedure when assembling a lineup. It appears almost to have been made up as it went along. Even the number of people on it seemed to be up to the individual whim of the officer in charge 12. It did not seem particularly important that the size, age and weight of the lineup members were similar to that of the suspect. As Detective Boyd said: "Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't." Let us give credit where credit is due however. At least they tried to get people the same colour as the suspect - and as far as I can find, there were no females on any of the Oswald lineups!

In each of the four lineups I am discussing here, Oswald was accompanied by three other people - but not always the same three. Some of them appeared on more than one lineup. The total number involved in those four lineups with Oswald was eight 13.

The following are brief descriptions of Oswald and the eight people who appeared with him on those four lineups 14.

Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspect in the assassination of President Kennedy and the murder of Patrolman J D Tippit. Age 24, 5'9" tall, weight 131 pounds, brown hair, grey eyes, wearing a brown shirt and dark trousers. (He changed to a white tee-shirt for the final parade.) He had a black eye and cuts to his forehead and lip. According to Detective Boyd, Oswald's clothes were "a little rougher in character" than the others and the others were "better dressed than Oswald". It is on record (an FBI report reproduced on page 625 of the Warren Report) that during an FBI interview on 23rd, "Oswald complained of a lineup wherein he had not been granted a request to put on a jacket similar to those worn by some of the other individuals in the lineup."

William E Perry, an Acting Detective with the DPD Vice Squad. Late 20s, 5'11", 150 pounds, brown hair, blue eyes, medium fair complexion. Wearing brown sports coat, no tie. Commission Exhibit 1054 shows two photographs of Perry with the next two gentlemen I describe.

Richard L Clark, a DPD Vice Squad Detective. Late 20s, 5'11", weighed about 177 pounds, blond hair, blue eyes, fair complexion. Wearing red vest (for the benefit of my fellow Brits, that means waistcoat), white short-sleeved shirt, brown trousers with belt. This man was very blond, two inches taller than Oswald and 46 pounds heavier!

Don R. Ables, a civilian Jail Clerk employed by the DPD at City Hall. Ables was in his mid 20s, 5'9" tall, weighed around 165 pounds, and had dark hair, brown eyes and a ruddy complexion. On each of the three lineups he attended, he wore a white shirt, a grey-knit sweater and dark trousers. (7H 239-242). There is an individual photograph of Ables at Commission Exhibit 745.

Richard Walter Borchgardt, a remand prisoner being held on suspicion of firearms, burglary and theft offences. He was 23 years old, 5'9", 161 pounds and had brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.

Ellis Carl Brazel, another prisoner, on remand for motoring offences. He was 21 years old, 5'10", 169 pounds and had blond hair, green eyes and a ruddy complexion.

John Thurman Horne, also on remand for motoring offences. He was 18 years old. Other details not known.

David Edmond Knapp, another prisoner, on remand on suspicion of burglary and theft. He was also 18 years old. No other details.

Daniel Gutierrez Lujan, another prisoner, arrested on 21st November on suspicion of narcotics offences. He was 26 years old., 5'8", 170 pounds and had black hair, brown eyes and an olive complexion. He confirmed that he was of Mexican descent. This man was an inch shorter than Oswald but nearly 40 pounds heavier!

I will now take you through those four lineups and as I do so, I am sure that you will agree with me that the deck was very much stacked against the suspect. With respect to our friend John Kelin, "Fair Play" - certainly towards the suspect - had been tossed out of the window! I will spend some time setting the scene for the first lineup but the subsequent ones were conducted in an identical manner.

The First Lineup - Mrs Helen Louise Markham - the Utter Screwball

The first lineup was convened less than three and a half hours after the murder of Patrolman J D Tippit. Its purpose was to give 47-year old Dallas waitress Mrs Helen Louise Markham the opportunity to pick out the man she claimed to have seen shoot the officer. I will point out here that there are problems establishing the exact times of all these lineups. In each case, I will use the time given in the official DPD investigation file 15. According to that document, this lineup was held at 4.35pm.

As on all three lineups on Friday 22nd, Oswald selected the no. 2 position in the four-man lineup and was handcuffed to the man on either side of him. His companions were Acting Detective Perry (no.1), Detective Clark (no. 3) and Jail Clerk Don Ables (no.4).

When Mrs Markham had been brought in and was in position on the other side of the one-way nylon screen, each man was asked to step forward and state his name and place of employment. Perhaps significantly, only Oswald was truthful here. The three DPD employees (by their own admission in their later sworn testimony), each gave fictitious answers. Oswald was the only one of the four with facial injuries; he had been named and shown on TV that afternoon and it had also been broadcast that his place of employment was believed to be the source of the attack on Kennedy. In view of those facts, it cannot be claimed that everything was being arranged with scrupulous fairness to the suspect!

As for the witness, she was hardly in a fit state to undertake the responsible task of identifying (or not identifying, as the case may be) the killer of Patrolman Tippit. Homicide Detective L. C. Graves, one of those organising the lineup, said that she was "quite hysterical" and "crying and upset" 16 and there was even talk of her being sent to hospital. In his testimony, Captain Fritz stated: "We were trying to get that showup as soon as we could because she was beginning to faint and getting sick. In fact I had to leave the office and carry some ammonia across the hall, they were about to send her to the hospital or something and we needed that identification real quickly, and she got to feeling all right after using this ammonia." 17.

According to the Warren Report, Mrs Markham "identified Lee Harvey Oswald as the man who shot the policeman" 18. The Report also stated that "in testimony before the Commission, Mrs Markham confirmed her positive identification of Lee Harvey Oswald as the man she saw kill Officer Tippit" 19.

Sylvia Meagher, in Accessories After the Fact, argued that the testimony of this alleged eyewitness to the shooting of Tippit by Oswald, lacks any semblance of credibility 20. Several members of the Warren Commission staff have subsequently voiced their opinions of Mrs Markham's value as a witness. Assistant Counsel Liebeler has described her testimony as "contradictory and worthless" 21, whilst Assistant Counsel Ball described her as "an utter screwball" 22.

Norman Redlich, another Warren Commission staff member, is quoted as saying "The Commission wants to believe Mrs Markham and that's all there is to it." 23. I think this remark is very important since Mrs Markham was the only witness who ever claimed to have actually seen Tippit being shot. Like it or not, the investigators were stuck with her! If she had announced that the Earth was flat, they would have been hard-pressed not to believe her!

What the Warren Report does not divulge about the testimony of its star Tippit witness is the fact that she required considerable prompting concerning her identification of Oswald. In her testimony, she initially stated six times that she recognised nobody in the lineup. Tiring of this, Assistant Counsel Ball unashamedly produced one of the most amazing leading questions ever asked: "Was there a number two man in there?" After a few similar questions, he managed to get her to say "I asked... I looked at him. When I saw this man I wasn't sure but I had cold chills run all over me ... when I saw the man. But I wasn't sure." 24.

As already stated, I do not intend to deal with the other lineups in as much detail as this one. I will, however, reveal a few discrepancies and some glaring examples of unfairness, inconsideration and downright bias shown against the suspect.

The Second Lineup - a Trio of Confused People

Oswald attended a second lineup at 6.30 that same evening 25. It was held in the same showup room and featured exactly the same four people as for Mrs Markham. They took up the same positions, with Oswald again choosing to stand between Perry and Clark in the number 2 position.

On this occasion, the lineup was viewed simultaneously by three witnesses. These were Ted Callaway, Sam Guinyard and Cecil McWatters. Not only does it strike me as strange that three witnesses should attend the same parade - but here, they were not even witnesses to the same crime!

The Warren Report tells us that Callaway and Guinyard "picked Oswald as the man who had run south on Patton with a gun in his hand" immediately following the Tippit murder 26.

McWatters was the driver of the bus in which Oswald was alleged to have attempted to make his getaway after killing the President and according to the Warren Report, McWatters identified Oswald as the man who had boarded his bus shortly after the assasssination 27.

Whilst the Warren Report states that each of these three witnesses identified Oswald, there are serious doubts in each instance. Callaway had been so observant at the scene that he had asked another witness which way the gunman had fled 28. Guinyard's overall powers of observation were so acute that twice in his testimony he told Assistant Counsel Ball that the four men in the lineup "wasn't all about the same colour." They were, in fact, four white men 29. As for McWatters, it appears from his testimony that he was totally confused about exactly who he was trying to identify. As Joe Backes has stressed in a recent Fair Play article30, it now appears that McWatters was under the impression that he was identifying Roy Milton Jones, a teenager who was another passenger on his bus and was totally unconnected to Oswald.

I think it accurate to say that the so-called "identifications" of Oswald by each of these three witnesses, Callaway, Guinyard and McWatters, were decidedly unsafe.

The Third Lineup - The Sisters-In-Law

Barbara Jeanette Davis and her 16-year old sister-in-law, Virginia Ruth Davis, lived in separate apartments at 400 East 10th Street on the 22nd November 1963. That is the house right on the corner of 10th and Patton. Neither of them claimed to have seen the actual shooting of Tippit. They did, however, see a man running from the approximate area of the crime and they later retrieved four spent cartridge cases which he had emptied from a revolver.

Together, they attended an identity lineup at City Hall at 7.55pm on the 22nd 31. The lineup again had Oswald in the no. 2 position but this time his companions were two of the remand prisoners, Richard Borchgardt and Ellis Brazel (at positions 1 and 3 respectively), with Jail Clerk Don Ables again at no. 4. The procedure was identical to the two previous lineups.

The Warren Report deals with the result of this lineup in a very cold and matter-of-fact way. It states that the ladies "viewed a group of four men in a lineup and each one picked Oswald as the man who crossed their lawn while emptying his pistol." 32. A few lines later, we read that the two women "were sitting alongside one another when they made their positive identification of Oswald. Each woman whispered Oswald's number to the detective. Each testified that she was the first to make the identification." I find it difficult to imagine two witnesses sitting next to one another at an identity parade and casually indicating their opinions by whispering to a detective. To me that almost defies belief.

It seems there were two lineups in operation here. We had the Oswald lineup behind the screen whilst in front of it we had a row of three chairs on which, from left to right, sat Virginia Davis, Barbara Davis and an unnamed DPD detective 33. As the Warren Report said, each of the witnesses whispered Oswald's number to the detective. When they were later asked if they had watched any televison that afternoon, both ladies claimed that they had not. Virginia Davis, however, also stated "Our television was blurred anyway, so we couldn't hardly tell." 34. Now don't you agree with me that such a remark is significant!

At one stage, I thought it odd that these two near-eyewitnesses to a murder would not have subsequently switched on their television, but that remark convinces me that they did! Well, wouldn't you?

The Final Lineup - The Two Taxi Drivers

This lineup was assembled in the same City Hall showup room at 2.15pm the following day, Saturday 23rd November 1963 35. Again, it was an example of two witnesses attending together. This one, however, is even stranger than the one involving the Davis sisters-in-law. At least those two ladies claimed to have seen and experienced roughly the same thing.

The two men on this fourth lineup were William Wayne Whaley and William W Scoggins. Whaley was alleged to have carried Oswald from downtown Dallas to Oak Cliff in his cab. Scoggins claimed to have seen both Tippit and his killer on Tenth Street a few minutes before the shooting. These two men were not even witnesses in the same case! The only thing that had in common, apart from their first name, was the fact that they were both cab drivers. In the absence of any other explanation, I can only assume that to be the reason they attended the same lineup.

The lineup consisted of Oswald with three different remand prisoners, the teenagers John Horne and David Knapp and the Hispanic, Daniel Lujan. This time, Oswald forsook his previous number two position and occupied the number three position, with Knapp on his right and Lujan on his left.

It was now over 24 hours since the deaths of Kennedy and Tippit. The world's media - radio, TV and the press - had covered very little else in that period. Oswald's name, his photograph, his description, his place of work, his undoubted guilt, his defection to the Soviet Union and his personal history had been thrust unceasingly at the public through every branch of the media. Lee Harvey Oswald was now probably as famous as the late President himself! As if that were not enough to indicate him as the suspect, his actions and attitude on this fourth lineup certainly gave away a few clues.

Consider the following from Whaley's testimony: "But you could have picked him out without identifying him by just listening to him because he was bawling out the policemen, telling them it wasn't right to put him in line with these teenagers and all of that ... he showed no respect for the policemen, he told them what he thought of them. They knew what they were doing and they were trying to railroad him and he wanted his lawyer ... I said anyone who wasn't sure could have picked out the right one just for that." Whaley thought that Oswald was in a line "with five others ... just young kids they might have got them in jail" 36.

In view of that, is it any surprise that both Scoggins and Whaley picked out Oswald? He might just as well have had the word KILLER tattooed across his forehead!

The "Other" Lineup - Howard Leslie Brennan

As I said in my opening remarks, I originally believed that the four lineups I have described were the only ones which took place. However, the Warren Report states that Howard Leslie Brennan also attended a lineup at City Hall at which he "identified Oswald as the man who bore the closest resemblance to the man in the window but he said he was unable to make a positive identification." This is reported to have occurred at an unstated time "during the evening of November 22" 37.

As far as I can find, the only corroboration of this claim that Brennan attended a lineup are in his own Warren Commission testimony, in his posthumously-published 1987 book Eyewitness to History 38 and in the confusing testimony of Secret Service Agent Forrest V. Sorrels 39. Shortly after the completion of this paper, however, I learnt of another source which claimed that Brennan had attended the same lineup as the Davis sisters-in-law 40. This is discussed at the end of this section.

In Brennan's testimony, he said that he was picked up by Secret Service Agent Patterson "at 6 o'clock, at my home, and taken to the Dallas Police Station" 41. Somewhat confusingly, he went on to say that there were "a possibility seven more or less one" in the lineup. Since the lineup positions were permanently numbered from 1 to 6, it was not possible for there to be more than six people on the same lineup 42. When asked by Mr Belin: "Were they all white, or were there some Negroes in there?" Brennan produced the incredible reply: "I do not remember" 43. He was never asked and did not volunteer the time of the lineup.

In his book 44, Brennan quoted a different time for his journey to City Hall and described how he received a telephone call at home "about 7:15pm." He said that he was asked by FBI Agent Robert C. Lish to "come down to make an identification." He was then driven to City Hall by "one of the FBI (sic) agents who had been watching the house." This man has been identified as Dallas-based Secret Service Agent William H. Patterson 45 It is unfortunate that there is no further explanation of this odd occurrence and why the Secret Service had apparently mounted a surveillance operation on Brennan's home.

In both his book and in his testimony, Brennan described his experience at the lineup. He said that he had entered the room and immediately recognised Oswald as the number two man in "perhaps as many as seven" 46. However, he steadfastly refused to identify him. He explained that he felt personally threatened by the whole situation and as it was obvious that the police had got their man, his identification of Oswald would not make any difference. According to the account in his book, he was driven back to his home, arriving at "about 9:00 in the evening" 47. Brennan lived at 6814 Woodard Street, Urbandale, a section of East Dallas, about six miles by road from City Hall.

Forrest Verne Sorrels' Warren Commission testimony describes that it was his idea to get Brennan to a lineup that evening and he had arranged for SA Patterson to bring Brennan to City Hall. He said that Brennan was reluctant to identify Oswald and had said: "I am sorry, but I can't do it ... I just can't be positive. I'm sorry." 48. Like Brennan, Sorrels seemed uncertain of the number of men on the lineup, eventually settling for five, together with Oswald 49.

A Strange Claim

As mentioned a few paragraphs earlier, shortly after completing this paper, I was informed by a fellow researcher of a claim that Howard Brennan had been present at the same lineup as the Davis women. The origin of this was the Judy Bonner book The Investigation of Homicide 50.

On page 13, she writes: "7:40pm - Third 'show-up'. Howard Brennan identifies Oswald as man he saw in sixth floor window of Texas School Book Depository when shots were fired at motorcade. Jeanette and Virginia Davis identify him as man they saw fleeing from scene of Tippit's shooting."

On page 156, she says: "At the third show-up, Howard Brennan picked Oswald..."

Unfortunately, Ms. Bonner fails to offer anything remotely resembling a source note for this unique piece of information. Brennan attended the same lineup as the Davis women? Who says so? I can find nothing to substantiate her claim. Quite the opposite, in fact. There is nothing in the accounts or testimony of the Davis women that they shared that lineup with Brennan or with anyone else. Ms. Bonner states that Brennan identified Oswald, but we know that he never did that. Ms. Bonner's book is very DPD-orientated. She was a local newspaper crime reporter with contacts in the police department. She later moved to London and worked on the Daily Mirror.

I think Judy Bonner's unique, interesting but uncorroborated remarks here can safely be accepted as untrue - and that is precisely how I intend to regard them.

No Mention of a Brennan Lineup

I think it significant that Brennan's attendance at an Oswald identity lineup is not mentioned in any of the following places where one would expect to find it described in detail: *** Commission Exhibit 2003 (page 293 of the exhibit), which is the Warren Commission's official and comprehensive listing of all the identity parades involving Lee Harvey Oswald. It is called SHOWUPS OF OSWALD. It details the four lineups I have described and includes the names of all persons present, together with their function. The 12 members of the Dallas Police Department personnel supervising these parades are all named, as are Oswald's lineup companions. There is no mention of Brennan.

(Reproduced on pp. 458-459 of Dale Myers' With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit, are two pages of handwritten notes relating to the Oswald lineups. Myers gives their source as Box 1, Folder 10, Item 3, pages 1 and 2 at the Dallas Municipal Archives and Records Center. These notes are identical in every respect to those described as SHOWUPS OF OSWALD and were obviously the source of the information contained therein. I cannot overstress the fact that only four lineups are covered. There is no mention whatsoever of a separate Howard Brennan lineup or of Brennan being present on any of the four documented lineups.

*** The name Brennan does not appear in the testimony or affidavits of any of the DPD Officers who supervised the lineups 51. Captain Fritz described the other lineups in detail in his testimony 52 but he volunteered nothing whatsoever about one involving Brennan. When specifically asked by John J. McCloy if he was present "at the showup at which Brennan was the witness" Fritz produced one of the most confusing answers even the Warren Commission ever heard.: "I don't think I was present but I will tell you what, I helped Mr. Sorrels find the time that that man - we didn't show that he was shown at all on our records, but Mr. Sorrels called me and said he did show him and he wanted me to give him the time of the showup. I asked him to find out from his officers who were with Mr. Brennan the names of the people that we had there, and he gave me those two Davis sisters, and he said, when he told me that, of course, I could tell what showup it was and then I gave him the time." Mr McCloy, doubtless as confused by this as you and I are now, sought basic clarification and asked: "But you were not present to the best of your recollection when Brennan was in the showup?" Fritz replied: "I don't believe I was there, I doubt it." Mr McCloy obviously felt it prudent not to pursue the matter and immediately went on to ask Fritz questions about a totally unrelated subject (the Neely Street house) 53.

*** The name Brennan does not appear in the testimony of any of Oswald's lineup companions 54.

*** The name Brennan does not appear in the testimony of any of the other eyewitnesses who attended the lineups. (See my remarks concerning the Davis sisters-in-law above.)

*** The name Brennan does, however, appear in the Warren Report where it is stated that he "identified Oswald as the person in the lineup who bore the closest resemblance to the man in the window but he said that he was unable to make a positive identification." 55.

Is there any logical reason that a lineup which took place with Brennan as the witness would not be mentioned by any of the participants? The obvious conclusion is that it never took place.

There is, however, the other more sinister possibility which I touched upon earlier. Supposing that Brennan lineup did take place but Brennan completely failed to pick out Oswald, perhaps by choice. This is exactly what he claimed in his testimony 56. If the powers that be were unable to get Brennan to identify Oswald at all, would it not be in their interests to expunge all reference to that lineup? Yes, I agree that this smacks of a combination of Orwell's 1984 and Kafka's The Trial - but it would not be unique in this case. Howard Leslie Brennan had very quickly been elevated almost to celebrity status but if, when it mattered most, he failed to deliver the goods, what else could the authorities have done except adopt a head-in-the-sand attitude, deny that he even attended a lineup, and hope that the problem would go away? Perhaps it did go away - until now.

Brennan's co-authored book, Eyewitness to History, over which the investigators and report writers had no direct influence, did not appear until 24 years later, four years after his death. What about the Warren Report, you may ask? Why does that document state that Brennan attended an Oswald identity parade if the plan was to delete all reference to it? Well, as I detailed earlier, 32 pages after stating that Brennan did attend a lineup, the Report stated that he did not. This is an outstanding example of the Commission confusing even itself as it seeks to confuse the future readers of its Report.

I leave you to ponder the answer here. Whatever that may be, I contend that it was yet another ingredient in the deliberate and well-organised plan to railroad Lee Harvey Oswald, a plan that continued even after his untimely death.

Edited by William Kelly
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There is, however, the other more sinister possibility which I touched upon earlier. Supposing that Brennan lineup did take place but Brennan completely failed to pick out Oswald, perhaps by choice. This is exactly what he claimed in his testimony

You are right, the name Brennan does not appear in any of the posted lineups, except for one place.

Brennan does appear in Box 6, Folder# 1, Item# 73, page 3 with the Davis sisters. His name is out of place as though it was added later. I says that Brennan "failed to identify"

http://jfk.ci.dallas.tx.us/17/1794-003.gif

Steve Thomas

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The following notes may explain what was going on with Brennan, from

Crossfire, pp. 25-29:

Brennan's supervisor, Sandy Speaker told Jim Marrs, in 1979:

They took [brennan] off for about three weeks. I don’t know if

they were Secret Service or FBI, but they were federal people. He

came back a nervous wreck and within a year his hair had turned

snow white. He wouldn’t talk about [the assassination] after that.

He was scared to death. They made him say what they wanted him to say.

Speaker also told Marrs that, “Much later, it was determined that Brennan

had poor eyesight and, in fact, a close examination of the Zapruder film shows

that Brennan was not looking up at the time of the shooting." He also said that

he heard “at least five shots and they came from different locations.” (Which

no doubt explains why the WC wasn't interested in talking to him or the others

who were with Brennan at the time). Speaker went on to describe how he and the

other workers who accompanied Brennan had been threatened (in 1979) to keep quiet or

they and their families would be targeted.

Shortly after the WCR was issued in September, 1964, Life magazine jumped on board

with a story written by Gerald Ford, which described Brennan as the most important

witness to appear before the commission. . ."a neat, Bible-reading steam fitter from Dallas."

The article then said that the confusion caused by differing descriptions of Oswald

was due to two different descriptions (one from Brennan, the other from Oswald's personnel

file) but that "Brennan later identified Oswald in a police lineup."

It seems that all this confusion began minutes after the assassination and continues to

this day.

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Jim,

But the Davis sister says he was not there.

ANd you say it looks like he was added.

Very interesting work by Griggs.

If you look at the cards outlining the lineups, they all follow the same pattern.

First there is the name of the witness or witnesses.

Then comes the name of the officers with Oswald

Then comes the name of the officers with the witness

Then comes the names of the people in the lineup

Not in this case though. Brennan's name is tacked on at the end.

See Box 15, Folder# 2, item# 63 in the Dallas Municipal Archives here:

http://jfk.ci.dallas.tx.us/box15.htm

It is my personal belief that when Brennan failed to identify Oswald (for whatever reason), the authorities tried to write him out of the picture, but were forced to put him back in the picture when Forrest Sorrels testified. I don't have any evidence of that though.

Steve Thomas

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  • 4 weeks later...

Jim,

But the Davis sister says he was not there.

ANd you say it looks like he was added.

Very interesting work by Griggs.

If you look at the cards outlining the lineups, they all follow the same pattern.

First there is the name of the witness or witnesses.

Then comes the name of the officers with Oswald

Then comes the name of the officers with the witness

Then comes the names of the people in the lineup

Not in this case though. Brennan's name is tacked on at the end.

See Box 15, Folder# 2, item# 63 in the Dallas Municipal Archives here:

http://jfk.ci.dallas.tx.us/box15.htm

It is my personal belief that when Brennan failed to identify Oswald (for whatever reason), the authorities tried to write him out of the picture, but were forced to put him back in the picture when Forrest Sorrels testified. I don't have any evidence of that though.

Steve Thomas

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  • 7 years later...

Does anyone have Brennan's 11-23-63 and 12-18-63 FBI statements? I have been able to locate the attached, but both seem to end in the middle of a sentence. They seem to be missing page 2. Thanks!

Edited by Greg Wagner
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  • 2 months later...

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