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An Imminent Arrest, Again

Don Roberdeau

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Good Day All.... FYI, followed by some previous articles.... Does anyone have any recent updates with respect to the dictabelt work by Dr. Carl Haber and Dr. Vitaliy Fadeyev?



Retired National Archives official charged with stealing sound recordings

By Lisa Rein

The former chief of the National Archives' audio-visual holdings has been charged with stealing nearly a 1,000 sound recordings over a decade.

Tuesday's charges against Leslie Charles Waffen come a year after federal agents raided his home, seizing dozens of boxes from his Rockville basement.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Greenbelt charged the 40-year Archives official with theft of federal property, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a possible fine. Waffen had retired from the Archives shortly before last year's raid.

Charging documents say agents seized 955 "sound recording items"during the raid, although the items are not specified.

Waffen's attorney, Michael Fayad, said he was "not in a position" to comment on the charges.

The audiovisual holdings contain more than 90,000 film, sound and video recordings made by government agencies and private sources. Many are presidential recordings, kept at presidential libraries and museums. Many more are kept at the Archives' facility in College Park.





Federal agents raid home of recently retired National Archives official

By Lisa Rein and Spencer S. Hsu Washington Post Staff Writers

Friday, October 29, 2010; 8:16 PM

Federal agents raided the home of a former official at the National Archives this week and seized up to 20 boxes from his Rockville basement, weeks after his retirement from the government's record-keeping agency.

Leslie Waffen, 65, was chief of the Archives' audiovisual holdings, which contain more than 90,000 film, sound and video recordings made by government agencies and private sources. Agents with the U.S. Marshals Service and the Archives' inspector general executed search warrants a day before government watchdogs criticized the agency in two reports Wednesday for failing to properly safeguard sensitive information.

U.S. Marshals spokesman David Ablondi said his agency, Montgomery County police and Archives investigators arrived in the 500 block of Saddle Ridge Lane at 7:45 a.m. They appeared to wake Waffen and his wife, said a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation. The Archives agents arrived with a moving truck and a list of items they were searching for. Warren directed them to his basement, where they identified and removed "10 to 20 boxes," a law enforcement official said. The agents loaded the truck and left after about 45 minutes.

Ablondi and Archives officials declined to say what was in the boxes.

David S. Ferriero, who took over as chief archivist at the National Archives and Records Administration last year, acknowledged the raid in a statement to employees Thursday and commended the inspector general's office for "their commitment to ensuring the restoration of stolen property back to the National Archives.

"I will not tolerate any violation of the law that protects both records and property that belongs to the U.S. government and the American people," Ferriero wrote. He noted that his staff is improving training, requiring new policies and buying new equipment "to ensure that our holdings are safe."

The government's sound archives date to 1896. A 2004 New York Times article described the efforts of Waffen's team to preserve the only known audio recording of the John F. Kennedy assassination. His department also had custody of the Zapruder film, the famous 8mm color home video of the assassination.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who has tracked Archives security concerns for years, said in a statement: "There's a lot of work to be done because these problems have needed correction for years. I hope there will be a plan to get the organization back on track quickly."

Auditors with the Government Accountability Office said the agency is leaving itself open to hackers as it preserves records electronically. Auditors found the agency did not protect its computer networks with strong firewalls, used weak passwords and failed to encrypt sensitive information.

The report also highlighted a "large and persistent" backlog of paper and media records that need to be preserved.

Sen. Thomas E. Carper (D-Del.), who also follows security issues at the Archives, said the findings alarmed him.

"The items in jeopardy are more than just pieces of paper, collectibles or electronic files - they are priceless links that connect us to our nation's history and help tell the story of America," Carper said in a statement. "So I am sure it is unsettling to the American people - as it is to me - that the monumental task of preserving these valuable artifacts is not always being performed to the standards we all should expect."

Lawmakers criticized the agency last year after the disappearance of a hard drive with sensitive data from the Clinton administration. The drive contained national security information, more than 100,000 Social Security numbers, contact information for Clinton administration officials, Secret Service and White House operating procedures, event logs, social gathering logs and political records.

reinl@washpost.com hsus@washpost.com

Staff writers Ed O'Keefe and Dan Morse and staff researcher Alice Crites contributed to this report.




The remastermind: Dictaphone expert helps refine JFK recording

By Steve Lathrop

Albany Democrat-Herald

It has been 45 years since Bill McWilliams first became immersed in the continuing investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

"I was right in the middle of it all," he says.

He still is, in his own way.

From his home in North Albany, McWilliams works with engineers at the Lawrence Livermore National Loboratory in California, trying to determine the exact number of shots fired in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Widely considered an expert Dictaphone technician, McWilliams was recruited by researchers who are using advanced techniques in sound reproduction to provide them with first-hand information on the machine and the assassination as they search for additional evidence.

It was McWilliams who serviced the now-famous Dictabelt #10 at the Dallas police station the day of the assassination. It is the machine that recorded events as they crackled forth from a motorcycle policeman's open microphone.

"I heard it all as it happened," McWilliams says.

The research, which has been going on since 2005, was authorized by Leslie Waffin [sp] of the National Archives, who released the machine to the lab to apply the latest techniques in sound reproduction.

Dr. Carl Haber and Dr. Vitaliy Fadeyev have led the research using a digital optical camera called a Smartscope to scan the grooves of the belt and create a digital image of sound patterns.

It is fed into computers programmed to clean up the sound removing excess noise, static and voices.

"The sound is reproduced without the stylus riding on the grooves," said McWilliams. "And the computer can eliminate any unnecessary noise."

Already involved for more than a year, McWilliams supplies equipment, specifications and mechanical data for the dictabelt recordings.

"It's a slow process. They are still working on it," he said. "Ultimately they are trying to find out if there were more shots fired."

The day of the assassination, McWilliams not only heard the event, he witnessed the transfer of the mortally wounded president from the ambulance to the hospital, which was located directly behind the Dallas Police Station.

"I believe there were more shots fired," he says. "Maybe this will answer that question."

In addition to his work on the assassination investigation, McWilliams never is far from a Dictaphone, which were in wide use between the late 19th- and early 20th century. Dictabelts that had grooves cut into a plastic belt, rather than onto a wax cylinder, were introduced in 1947. Then the tape recorder gained popularity, and Dictaphones fell out of favor.

McWilliams may be the world's largest provider and repairer of vintage machines. His shelves are lined with wax cylinders, vacuum tubes, cassettes and magnetic tape analog recording and dictating equipment — technological relics that predated tape recorders and cell phones.

"He's known all over the country," said his wife Dorothy.

Working from a large shop behind his home, McWilliams and his son Doak have created a website and also sell parts on eBay.

"I don't deal much with the computers," he admits. "I don't really trust them." He doesn't ignore them, either; he simply prefers being able to use his hands. His entire inventory has been indexed by hand to back up the computer log.

McWilliams spent 33 years with Dictaphone after his graduation from Texas Institute of Technology. He eventually becoming a regional service director.

The Korean War veteran retired in 1989 and moved to Albany in 2000.

He now owns about 200 machines dating back to 1889, a year after Dictaphone — then Columbia Graphophone — was created.

"I've always collected," he says. "Some are pretty unique."

His largest is 6 feet tall, and 300 pounds and the smallest is a hand-held device that fits into a shirt pocket. Also included is a 1953 model that was the world's first audio machine to announce the time.

"There are probably no more than two or three of them in the world," he said.

The collection evolved into repair work, parts sales and consultation. It also has star quality.

"I get a lot of calls to rent or loan machines to movie prop companies," he said.

The Kevin Costner movie "Thirteen Days" and the PBS series "Meaning of Grace" both used vintage Dictaphones from McWilliams' inventory.




The sound of 40-year-old gunfire in Dealey Plaza Applying today's technology to fragile recording of JFK assassination

12:10 PM CDT on Saturday, July 31, 2004

By KATHARINE GOODLOE / The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON – It could be the ultimate artifact for historians and conspiracy theorists alike: the only sound recording from the moment of John F. Kennedy's assassination, made by a Dallas police motorcycle radio.

Many scholars believe it can answer a mystery from Nov. 22, 1963: three shots or four?

Spurred last year by the 40th anniversary of the assassination, researchers at the National Archives are trying to preserve and copy the recording, which is too fragile to be played again and has never been authentically copied. It could, they say, offer the only hard evidence of how many bullets were fired that day.

Researchers have long studied inferior copies of the recording. Some say it shows three shots were fired at Kennedy's motorcade and concluded Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone; others say it shows four shots were fired and concluded Oswald was aided by a second gunman.

So as the Archives aims to copy the recording, they're also reviving the debate surrounding it.

"There is not closure on this issue," said Gary Mack, curator of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. An authentic copy of the recordings, he said, "might be able to resolve part of the Kennedy assassination, one way or the other."

The controversy surrounding the assassination, though, has also surrounded the recording. The Dallas Police Department created the original recordings inadvertently. A radio stuck in the "on" position relayed sounds of the killing to headquarters, where they were etched onto dictation belts. But they are alternately noisy and inaudible, so years passed before anyone examined them for echoes of gunfire.

They lay untapped during the Warren Commission investigation, the first government inquiry into Kennedy's assassination. That panel concluded Oswald was the lone gunman, firing three shots at the motorcade.

Controversy about the dictation belts' contents was revived during the House Select Committee on Assassinations investigation, and the belts became the linchpin of their 1979 report. The recording, the committee said, indicates four shots were fired – including one from the grassy knoll. Their conclusion that Oswald likely did not act alone set conspiracy circles ablaze.

But some scholars point to the delay in finding the tapes as reason to question their authenticity. Others conducted studies on the recording's sound waves that both rejected and reaffirmed the House committee's findings. Even now, the debate continues.

"The evidence remains controversial and probably inconclusive from the standpoint of history," said John Tunheim, a federal judge in Minneapolis who chaired the Assassination Records Review Board. "It really has gone back and forth."

One step toward reconciling the debate, experts said, is producing an authentic copy of the recordings for use in future research.

That's the goal of the National Archives, which received the set of five dictation belts from the Justice Department in 1990, as many of the assassination records were made public. But the keynote belt, which recorded the actual killing, was worn and split from use by Dallas police, the FBI, the Secret Service and other government inquiries.

Too fragile to be played again, but too important to be ignored, the Archives simply stored the belt without copying it in the hopes future technology would enable them to reproduce the recording without harming the original. More than a decade later, that day is almost here.

Although many of copies of the dictation belt exist – some are even available online – most are not well documented, and none is deemed authentic by the Archives. That designation matters because a bona fide copy would validate further research.

"The question of what is authentic and what is not is debated every day by researchers," Mr. Tunheim said. "So when you make a copy, it's important to be done under perfect circumstances."

The Archives revived a push for an authentic copy of the belt after a spate of calls from researchers near the 40th anniversary of the assassination in November. Most wanted an authentic copy of the main dictation belt, said Leslie Waffen, who oversees custody of the belt for the Archives.

"We couldn't say to them that we had a true and actual copy of the belt," Mr. Waffen said. "We said we really ought to look into this further and see if there's anything available, technology-wise, for us."

What they found is optical scanning, which digitally charts the grooves in the dictation belts and reproduces them on a data map. The end product would be a visual display, which Mr. Waffen said is likely to be more useful to researchers than an audio one.

"You have to get beneath the noise to pick something out of there," he said. "We're hoping the optical scanning method will allow people to do that."

The technique would also avoid further wear on the original belt – a key factor in the Archives mission to preserve its authenticity. The Archives hosted a forum this summer to discuss the method, but decided the technology is a year away from being feasible, Mr. Waffen said. No official estimate is available, but Mr. Waffen expects the procedure will cost less than $1,000.

But will such a copy further research or merely fan existing conspiracy theories?

Mr. Mack, who was one of the first people to believe the recordings included echoes of gunfire, said their continued study could yield three outcomes. It could confirm the Warren Commission's report, uphold the House committee's report, or do neither, he said.

"Many people have tried to resolve which group of scientists is correct," he said. "The Dictabelt itself is a starting place."

Whatever the research generates, scholars said it's unlikely to snuff out the conspiracy theories that have gripped Americans for the past four decades.

"There's always been a swirling controversy with the Kennedy assassination, and there always will be," Mr. Waffen said. "But at least in this case we can provide a solid piece of material researchers can turn to."

E-mail: kgoodloe at dallasnews.com


Best Regards in Research,


Donald Roberdeau

U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, CV-67, plank walker

Sooner, or later, The Truth emerges Clearly

For your considerations....

Homepage: President JOHN F. KENNEDY "Men of Courage" speech, and

Assassination Website Homepages Detailing Evidence, Witnesses,

Suspects + Outstanding Researchers Discoveries and Considerations.... http://droberdeau.bl...ination_09.html

Dealey Plaza Map Detailing 11-22-63 Victims precise locations,

Witnesses, Films & Photos, Evidence, Suspected bullet trajectories, Important

information & Considerations, in One Convenient Resource.... http://img831.images...dated110110.gif

Visual Report: "The First Bullet Impact Into President Kennedy: while JFK was Hidden Under the 'magic-limbed-ricochet-tree' ".... http://img504.images...k1102308ms8.gif

Visual Report: Reality versus C.A.D. : the Real World, versus, Garbage-In, Garbage-Out.... http://img248.images...ealityvscad.gif

Discovery: "Very Close JFK Assassination Witness ROSEMARY WILLIS Zapruder Film Documented 2nd Headsnap: West, Ultrafast, and Directly Towards the Grassy Knoll".... http://educationforu...?showtopic=2394

T ogether

E veryone

A chieves

M ore

For the United States:



Edited by Don Roberdeau
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Ex-Archives official admits theft


By Ruben Castaneda

A former National Archives employee on Tuesday admitted in federal court thathe stole nearly 1,000 audio recordings and sold some on eBay.

Leslie C. Waffen, 66, who was chief of the Archives’ audiovisual holdings,pleaded guilty to embezzlement of government property. He is scheduled to besentenced March 5 in federal court in Greenbelt.

Federal officials said Waffen sold items belonging to the Archives on eBay inSeptember and October of last year. They said they found “documentary evidence”in Waffen’s home he had been selling items belonging to the Archives since atleast August 2001.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Arun G. Rao said in court that one item sold by Waffenwas an original master copy of a voice recording of Babe Ruth on a December1937 hunting trip. The recording sold for $34.74, Rao said.

“This case is especially egregious because the defendant was a high-rankinggovernment employee who violated his obligation to protect historical recordsthat belong to the National Archives and Records Administration,” U.S. AttorneyRod J. Rosenstein said in a statement. “These items were entrusted to theNational Archives to be used by all citizens, not to be auctioned for personalprofit to the highest bidder.”

Authorities said a tipster led them to Waffen, who worked for the Archives for37 years. Last October, weeks after Waffen retired from the agency,federalagents raided his Rockville home.

Rao said in court that agents seized 6,153 sound recordings from Waffen’s home,and that officials confirmed that 955 of them belonged to the NationalArchives.

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero said the agency has bolsteredsecurity in its facilities. For instance, guards now check the bags of everyone— including employees — leaving the D.C. and College Parkfacilities, a practice that will be expanded to all Archives’ facilitiesnationwide, authorities said.

“I am disappointed and angered by Mr. Waffen’s violation of the trust placed inhim by colleagues and the American people to safeguard our nation’s history,”Ferriero said. “It is an outrage that an employee entrusted with protecting ourheritage became a threat to those holdings.”

Rao said that during sentencing, the government will argue that the recordingsWaffen took are valued at at least $70,000. Waffen’s defense attorney will aguethe stolen recordings are worth between $30,000 and $70,000.

The audiovisual holdings contain more than 90,000 film, sound and videorecordings made by the government and private sources. many are presidential recordings,kept at presidential libraries and museums. Others are held at the Archives’facility in College Park.

A 2004 New York Times article described Waffen’s efforts to preserve the onlyknown audio recording of John F. Kennedy’s Assassination.

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