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Oswald at the Willard Hotel?

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Oswald at the Willard?

The incident occurred outside the front door to the historic Willard Hotel in Washington D.C.,just around the corner from the White House.

It was September 27, 1963 when the driver of a government limo, waiting for a member of the cabinet, was approached by an unknown male who inquired as to who the car belonged to and called attention to himself.

The stately and impressive hotel is where Francis Scott Key wrote the words to the Star Spangled Banner and where Martin Luther King wrote his "Dream" Speech. It's also where the term "lobbiest" was coined after it became generally known that President Ulysses S. Grant frequented the round bar off the lobby for an after dinner brandy and cigar because his wife wouldn't let him smoke in the White House. Everyone who waited for Grant in the hotel lobby wanted something from the President and they became known as "lobbiests." So it wasn't uncommon for strangers to hang around the Willard Hotel, especially when high profile members of the administration were there for a meeting or to give a speech.

When the stranger wanted to know who he was waiting for, the driver of the government limo, conscious of security concerns, refused to answer. But when the persistent inquisitor again asked who he was waiting for, the driver got out of the car and approached a D.C. police officer standing on the nearby corner. He told the officer he was parked illegally, but waiting for a member of the cabinet, and that the stranger was being belligerent and asking who he was waiting for. The police officer gave the driver permission to continue parking where he was, then walked past the persistent inquisitor and eyeballed him, but didn't question him or determine his identity.

The driver waited for the cabinet member, Secretary of Agriculture Orvil Freeman, and then drove him away without further incident.

But a month later, when the driver saw Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald on national television, he recognized Oswald as the belligerent inquisitor at the Willard and notified authorities. When questioned by the Secret Service, they identified the date Freeman was at the Willard as September 27, 1963, one of the days the where abouts of Lee Harvey Oswald were unknown.

They showed the driver a series of photographs of potential suspects, and he picked out the photo of Lee Harvey Oswald.

According to the official chronology, the accused assassin of the President left his Magazine Street, New Orleans apartment on September 24, the day after Mrs. Ruth Paine picked up his wife and daughter and rifle and transported them to Texas, while Oswald went to Mexico City.

On September 27, Oswald is reported to have visited the Dallas apartment of Sylvia Odio, whose father was in a Cuban prison for harboring an assassin involved in a plot to kill Fidel Castro.

Oswald is then said to have boarded a bus in Houston bound for Mexico City, where he apparently visited the Cuban and Soviet embassies and was intentionally impersonated by someone on the day after he left.

So was Oswald in Texasand Mexico or in Washington DC on September 27, or was someone intentionally impersonating in one or both places? Or was the event at the Willard simply a matter of mistaken identity?

President Kennedy was in California that day, having left DC on his Conservation Tour three days earlier.

On November 22, Agriculture Secretary Freeman was aboard the cabinet plane enroute to Japan when they were called back by news of the assassination.

While the Secretary of Agriculture would normally be an economic, rather than political position, the department of Agriculture was entangled in the Texas murder of Henry Marshall.

In addition, Jack Peuterbaugh, an advance man with the Democratic National Committee, was given a functionary post in the Department of Agriculture. Peuterbaugh attended all of the meetings in Dallas at which decisions were made on the route and timing of the Dallas motorcade, and he was in the pilot car in the motorcade.

After the assassination, Lyndon Johnson kept Orville Freeman as Secretary of Agriculture.

It would be interesting to know why Freeman was at the Willard Hotel that day, whether he gave a speech or not, if the event he attended was open to the public, and whether the persistent inquisitor who pestered his driver could still be identified if he was not Lee Harvey Oswald.

[i'll provide a link to the Secret Service report on this incident as soon as I can get it from my other, recently hacked computer]

Edited by William Kelly
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