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Has anyone done any research into J. Lee Rankin, chief counsel for the Warren Commission. Apparently Rankin had doubts about the Warren Report. In 1978 he told Michael Ewing, staff member of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, that the CIA/Mafia plots to kill Fidel Castro would have had a “very direct bearing on the areas of conspiracy which we tried to pursue.” He also asked Ewing, “Are you looking into the plots on the basis of whether they were covered up by the CIA because some of the very people involved in them could have been involved in the President’s assassination?”

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKrankin.htm

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John

As usual you begin a thread that allows us to take it in many different directions. I appreceate that!

To begin with the negotiations to appoint Rankin began at the first meeting of the Warren Commission. Warren had his own man but ultimatly Dulles and McCloy got theirs

“Are you looking into the plots on the basis of whether they were covered up by the CIA because some of the very people involved in them could have been involved in the President’s assassination?”

I find this portion of Rankin's statement (by itself) can be viewed in many ways, how about just as a general question (that gives direction)? If you notice he uses "plots" and "assassination" as two seperate events.

When you say "He also asked" was it in the same context or was there conversation between the statements?

Jim Root

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When you say "He also asked" was it in the same context or was there conversation between the statements?

This is the extract of the document that you will be interested in (report of a telephone conversation between J. Lee Rankin and Michael Ewing, staff member of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (1978).

Though I stated that I didn’t want to go into his past work over the phone at this time, he went on to make several points. First, he stated that he believed that “hindsight makes it clear that both Hoover and the CIA were covering up a variety of items” from the Commission and he personally. He said that the had been continually saddened over the years by “all the disclosures about Hoover’s performance in our area and a number of others.” I commented that he (Rankin) was apparently not one of Hoover’s favorite people and he laughed and said “That is now abundantly clear, though I’ve never read my dossier.” He said that he finds the FBI performance “quite disturbing in hindsight. We would have found their conduct nearly unbelievable if we had known about it at the time.” He commented that the destruction of the Hosty note was “a crime—a crime committed by the FBI, and one which directly related to the assassin’s most important actions and motivations during the final days” before the murder. He again said that he finds the Hosty note destruction “almost beyond belief, just unconscionable.” I commented that we have heard testimony to the effect that if the staff had known about it at the time, that the decision to use the FBI for investigative work might have changed. He agreed, saying, “We couldn’t have used the people involved in any further way, that’s clear. The FBI would have to have been regarded as a suspect in that instance and that in turn would have affected everything.” He indicated that he would have gotten his own investigators at that point.

He further stated that “Hoover did everything he could” to get the Commission to adopt the earliest FBI report on the shooting, which Rankin said “we of course finally rejected.”

He then made a point of inquiring about our work relating to the CIA-Mafia plots against Castro. He said: “One thing which I think is very important, and I don’t know if you are getting into this - and I don’t know if it is proven or not - is whether the CIA used the Mafia against Castro.” He said that there were reports in recent years that this was true and that it involved an assassination conspiracy against Castro. He said, “Do you know if this has been proven?” I said yes it had, and briefly explained the history of the plots and their concealment from anyone higher than Helms at the time. Rankin then responded, “Ah yes. I’ve been very afraid that it was all true. But I haven’t followed all the books and reports in recent years.” He went on to say, “I would find the plots with the Mafia - the Mafia being mixed up with the CIA and these Cubans - frightening. You’ve got to go after that.” He went on to say “That again is something that would have been beyond belief at the time.” He said Helms’ role in the plots and his concealment of them from the Commission “would have been just unconscionable.” He expressed great anguish over hearing that the plots were in fact confirmed. It seemed strange that he has not followed public developments on the plots more carefully, but he indicated that he simply does not follow these areas and has not read “any of the Church Committee reports.”

When I said that we were devoting considerable time to investigating the CIA/Mafia plots he said, “Good, good. That is crucial.” He went on to say “that would have changed so much back then” if he had known of the plots. He said that he found the plots all the more disturbing in light of the fact that Robert Kennedy was pushing his investigations of the Mafia so heavily during that same period.

He repeatedly expressed the view that both the FBI and CIA had concealed important material from the Commission, and that the CIA/Mafia plots would have had a “very direct bearing on the areas of conspiracy which we tried to pursue.” He also asked, “Are you looking into the plots on the basis of whether they were covered up by the CIA because some of the very people involved in them could have been involved in the President’s assassination?” I said that yes that was an area of our investigation, and he replied strongly, “Good. Good. You have to look at it that way.” I also said that we were looking into charges that Castro might have retaliated for the plots by killing Kennedy, and he replied, “Where is any evidence of that? I think the other approach would be much more logical.” This was apparently in reference to probing those involved in the plots themselves.

I told him that we would of course make extensive material available to him in reference to our questioning of him, noting that we want him to refresh his memory as to his old memos, etc. as well as other documents that we will give him in advance. He was very appreciative of this and said he would like to know more about the CIA/Mafia plots and our work on them.

He remarked a couple times that he has nothing to regret about his work on the Commission, and that he tried his hardest to make it the best investigation possible. He said he still believes very strongly that he had a good staff of the finest legal minds. He did of course say that the agency cooperation and input (FBI and CIA) was and is the key issue to him.

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John

I believe this was the "heads up"call that Rankin received before he testified before the HSCA. I read that several years ago so I am drawing off my memory. My thoughts were and have been focussed on this paragraph:

"He repeatedly expressed the view that both the FBI and CIA had concealed important material from the Commission, and that the CIA/Mafia plots would have had a “very direct bearing on the areas of conspiracy which we tried to pursue.” He also asked, “Are you looking into the plots on the basis of whether they were covered up by the CIA because some of the very people involved in them could have been involved in the President’s assassination?” I said that yes that was an area of our investigation, and he replied strongly, “Good. Good. You have to look at it that way.” I also said that we were looking into charges that Castro might have retaliated for the plots by killing Kennedy, and he replied, “Where is any evidence of that? I think the other approach would be much more logical.” This was apparently in reference to probing those involved in the plots themselves."

I felt, and feel, he was saying three specific things"

The intellegence community had the ability to withhold information from Warren Commission. The intellegence committee did, in fact, withhold infromation from Warren Commission. The intellegence community was involved in bizarre plots around the globe.

Rankin: "I think the other approach would be much more logical.”

Ewing: "This was apparently in reference to probing those involved in the plots themselves."

Two additional things here. Ewing was not quite sure what Rankin ment.

Secondly, I always keep, in the back of my mind, the fact that Rankin was the man chosen by Dulles and McCloy (Ford).

Jim Root

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The WC did not know about the note, says Rankin? Really. This is some info from Martha: :unsure:

QUOTE

Marina told the WC that Oswald said "he would telephone them--I don't know

whether he called or not--or that he would visit them." 1 H 57 (This was

after Oswald found out Hosty had been to the Paine home)

Testimony: 2/3/64.

In her testimony of 3/19/64 Ruth stated "He (Oswald) told me that he had

stopped at the downtwon office of the FBI and tried to see the agents and

left a note." Ruth believed Oswald to be irritated by Hosty's visit:

"Irritated, that he left the note(at FBI office) saying what he thought.

This is reconstructing my impression of the fellows bothering him and his

family, and this is my impression then." "I will just go on to say that I

learned only a few weeks ago that he (Oswald) never did go to the FBI

office. Of course knowing, thinking that he had gone in, I thought that was

sensible on his part. But appears to be another lie." (3 H 18-19)

UNQUOTE

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