Jump to content
The Education Forum

Hoover memo 11/29/63.


Guest Stephen Turner
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest Stephen Turner

Taken from Hoover's memo to Tolson, and other section heads, 11/29/63.

"The President then asked how it was that Connally was hit. I explained that Connally turned to the president when the first shot was fired and in turning he got hit. The President then asked if Connally had not been in his seat, would the President (JFK) have been hit by the second shot, I SAID YES."

So according to Hoover Connally blocks a shot from the rear, whilst seated in front of Kennedy!!!

" She,(The cashier) became very suspicious when she saw Oswald enter the theater without paying, and carrying a gun.

First I've heard of it.. Where did this idea come from.

Hoover also claims that his experts have proved that "Those shots could have been fired in three seconds, Three shots, three seconds" (had he even viewed the Zapruder film at this point) And says on more than one occasion that Oswald fired from the fifth floor, and that the rifle and carts were located on the fifth floor.

To me this has all the elements of a cover story comming together, but still several drafts away from the final W/C product.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stephen;

I just see it as Hoover being hoplessly out of touch. We can see lots of examples, especially in the earlier tapes/memos, of Hoover asserting things that we now know are ragtime. (As I've cautioned before, WE have had some 43 years to absorb and discuss all this, so we know much more now that "they" did at the time.) Hoover seems to be trying to piece it together, to fit his notion that it was lone nut Oswald.

But if one reads the section you quoted literally, Hoover is advocating a front shot, isn't he...?

The three shots/three seconds bit is Hoover at his dopiest.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.ph...indpost&p=36643

Steve - we ran through some of this on the Dillard thread. I believe we included a bit more on stuff that demonstrated issues with the 6th floor. Carolyn Walther, for example. As a TSBD employee, one would assume that she would have a better appreciation for which floor was which. There were a few other details which I think I included on that thread - wish I had total recall. Someday I'd like to do a thread on a possible '5th Floor TSBD Decoy Shooter.' I think there is some material that would support such a concept. Just found some new stuff the other day - Lord knows if I can find it again.

- lee

Mrs. ERIC (CAROLYN) WALTHER, 4118 Shelley, Dallas, Texas, Stated she is employed in the cutting room for Miller and Randazzo, a dress factory, on the third floor of the Dal-Tex Mart Building, 501 Elm Street, Dallas.

On November 22, 1963 she and another employee, Mrs. PEARL SPRINGER, ate lunch at 12:00 noon and left the lunch room at about 12:20 PM to go down on the street to see President KENNEDY ridy by. They walked out of the front door of the building, crossed the street, and stopped at a point on the east side of Houston Street, about fifty or sixty feet south of the south curb of Elm Street. They stopped next to the curb to await the passing of the President. While standing there, she started looking around, and looked over toward the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) Building. She noticed a man wearing a brown suit and a very dark shirt leaning out a window of the third floo, somewhere about the middle window of the third floor. Shortly after this, a man in the crowed across the street to the west of where she was standing apparently had an epileptic seizure, and an ambulance came by and took the man away. Shortly after the ambulance left, she looked back towards the TSBD Building and saw a man standing on either the fourth of fifth floors, of the window on the south side of the building, which faces toward Elm Street. This man had the window open and was standing up leaning out the window with both his hands extended outside the window ledge. In his hands, this man was holding a rifle with the barrel pointed downward, and the man was looking south on Houston Street. The man was wearing a white shirt and had hand blond or light brown hair. She recalled at the time that she had not noticed the man there a few moments previously when she looked toward the building and thought that apparently there were guards everywhere. The rifle had a hort barrel and seemed large around the stock or end of the rifle. Her impression was that the gun was a machine gun. She noticed nothing like a telescope sight on the rifle or a leather strap or sling on the rifle. She said she knows nothing about rifles or guns of any type, but thought that the rifle was different from any she had ever seen. This man was standing in about the middle of the window. In this same window, to the left of this man, she could see a portion of another man standing by the side of the man with a rifle. This other man was standing erect, and his head was above the opened portion of the window. As the window was very dirty, she could not see the head of this second man. She is positive this window was not as high as the sixth floor. This second man was apparently wearing a brown suit coat, and the only thing she could see was the right side of the man, from about the waist to the soulders.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Stephen Turner

stephen, and Lee thanks for the replies.

Stephen, you may well be correct, I just find it hard to credit that a man in Hoover's position, after 7 days investigation would be so willfully ignorant of the salient facts. He is, I suppose already limiting the investigation to Oswald, and Oswald alone.

Lee, from memory didn't Mrs Ruby Henderson describe two men, one darker complected than the other on the fifth floor?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lee, Ms. Walther worked in the Dal-Tex, as stated in the report. While my online presentation focuses on the autopsy evidence, there is a section on the Warren Commission investigation as well. Below is the page in which I discuss the 11-29 memo:

"On 11 -29, Johnson called Hoover to check on the status of the investigation. Four days after closing ranks to convince the American people not only that Oswald did it, but that he acted alone, and the very day of his creation of the Warren Commission, Johnson finally got around to asking Hoover if Ruby knew Oswald, and Hoover admitted they’re still investigating. Johnson then inquired how many shots were fired and if any of them were fired at him personally. For his part, Hoover told him they’ll wrap up the case by the following Monday, and continued to proclaim such incredible details (incredible because they are so out-of-line with the eventual conclusions of the Warren Commission) as: Oswald fired three shots in three seconds (the commission decided it took almost 6), Oswald raced down from the fifth floor (the sniper’s nest was on the sixth floor), there were three bullets fired and all were in possession of the FBI (they only recovered one and a half bullets, plus some fragments which may or may not have come from a third bullet), the first shot hit Kennedy, the second Connally, and the third Kennedy (this was the accepted theory before the development of the single-bullet theory months later), the intact bullet found on a hospital stretcher in Dallas rolled out of the President’s head after being loosened by heart massage (the temporary theory on the night of the autopsy was that the bullet fell from Kennedy’s back after heart massage; no one ever indicated it was the bullet from the head, outside Hoover), and that Connally wouldn’t have been wounded if he hadn’t turned after the first shot and got in the way of the bullet. This last statement indicates that Hoover was under the impression that the school book depository was somewhere in front of the President when the shots were fired. Strangely, Johnson, who was but two cars behind Kennedy in the motorcade and would have to have known there were no buildings in front of Kennedy, failed to correct him. In any case, it’s clear by the tape of their conversation that the two men have no grasp of what happened the week before. And yet they were determined to tell everyone that whatever it was that happened Oswald was somehow solely responsible.

Even more surprising than the President and the Director’s lack of knowledge, however, is their use of the word “they” when describing the assassin. Johnson asks “Was they aimin’ at the President?”to which Hoover responds “They were aiming directly at the President.” Then, after Hoover explains that the rifle tests indicate that one man could have gotten off all the shots, Johnson lets his views on this be known, responding “ How’d it happen they hit Connally…?” While the “they” in this particular statement might be a reference to the bullets, the taped recordings of Johnson’s conversations available at his Presidential library, the memoirs of his closest associates, and a number of interviews conducted during his lifetime all confirm that Johnson never believed the single-bullet theory, and suspected a Cuban involvement in the assassination. That Governor Connally shared Johnson’s conviction there was a “they” has been confirmed by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who in a 1998 interview quoted Connally as swearing “They were trying to hit me. Don’t tell me they weren’t trying to hit me.” And yet publicly these men always stood by the conclusions of the Warren Report. Why?

Less than three hours after talking to Hoover, President Johnson called Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren into his office and ordered him to chair the committee that would investigate the assassination. Beyond manipulating Warren with his assertions that a war could result from the “wrong sort” of investigation, Johnson also told Warren that the other men on the commission had all agreed to serve if Warren chaired the Commission. This was a lie. Later that evening, Senator Richard Russell, who had not agreed to serve, told Johnson he refused to serve with Warren; in fact, he only agreed after receiving a direct order from his President (which was the same tactic Johnson employed on Warren). Earlier, Johnson called House majority leader Carl Albert and told him of the commission. When Albert voiced Speaker of the House John McCormack’s concern that it would be unwise to have anyone from the Supreme Court on the panel, as the Justice would then have to pass should any aspect of the case wind up in his court, Johnson shot him down, declaring “He’s not gonna pass on Oswald; he’s dead as hell.” That the Warren Commission was expected to find no international conspiracy and that LBJ discounted the possibility of uncovering a domestic conspiracy are made clear by his conversations on this date, only a week after the assassination."

Edited by Pat Speer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

stephen, and Lee thanks for the replies.

Stephen, you may well be correct, I just find it hard to credit that a man in Hoover's position, after 7 days investigation would be so willfully ignorant of the salient facts. He is, I suppose already limiting the investigation to Oswald, and Oswald alone.

I recall talking with Mark Lane in the early 70s. He said: There are enough legitimate mysteries in this case that we don't need to be creating them where the evidence doesn't warrant it.

That's one reason why I'm very cautious about making allegations or casting aspersions. If the only possible interpretation of some sequence of events is sinister, so be it. But if incompetence or ignorance are equally possible explanations, I err on the side of caution.

If we took everyone who has been the target of suspicion on this and other forums, in books, articles and films, it would have to be a "conspiracy so immense" that "sombody would have talked" (apologies, Larry H!) I would incline toward the smallest possible conspiracy. I would hate to accuse some person guilty of nothing more than incompetence.

Just my take on things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

stephen, and Lee thanks for the replies.

Stephen, you may well be correct, I just find it hard to credit that a man in Hoover's position, after 7 days investigation would be so willfully ignorant of the salient facts. He is, I suppose already limiting the investigation to Oswald, and Oswald alone.

I would hate to accuse some person guilty of nothing more than incompetence.

Just my take on things.

I think it may be in one of Schlesinger's books where he quotes RFK as saying that Hoover was becoming senile. THere may be something in that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hoover and Johnson were talking about Connally being shot from the front. Does anyone seriously believe that a week after the assassination, Hoover and Johnson didn't know the official story, that JFK was shot from behind by Lee Harvey Oswald? Humes and crew had the story by the time the autopsy started, Humes even included the shots from behind story from Dallas in his autopsy report, but Johnson had heard nothing about this? Baloney. These men knew what they were talking about, even if Hoover was getting senile. There was a shot from the front, and it didn't make a damn bit of difference to them, because they knew where Oswald was and that's what counted. This was not a conversation about truth and justice.

Giving people the benefit of the doubt is one thing, but let's also use common sense. Especially when we're dealing with pieces of work like Johnson and Hoover.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hoover and Johnson were talking about Connally being shot from the front. Does anyone seriously believe that a week after the assassination, Hoover and Johnson didn't know the official story, that JFK was shot from behind by Lee Harvey Oswald? Humes and crew had the story by the time the autopsy started, Humes even included the shots from behind story from Dallas in his autopsy report, but Johnson had heard nothing about this? Baloney. These men knew what they were talking about, even if Hoover was getting senile. There was a shot from the front, and it didn't make a damn bit of difference to them, because they knew where Oswald was and that's what counted. This was not a conversation about truth and justice.

Giving people the benefit of the doubt is one thing, but let's also use common sense. Especially when we're dealing with pieces of work like Johnson and Hoover.

I'm going to beg to differ just a bit. Certainly Hoover "knew" that the FBI's position was 3 shots by Oswald from the TSBD. But how do we know how aware he was, at this early juncture, of the orientation of the limo and its occupants to the TSBD? WE know where the TSBD was in relation to the victims, but we've had 43 years to study films, photos, aerial plots, visit the site, etc. As this was the FBI's biggest case to date, I doubt that Hoover had time to study such details. Yes, the FBI had the Z-film, but even if Hoover saw it, it doesn't show where the TSBD was (or the grassy knoll, for that matter.)

Yes, Johnson was there, but he was there very briefly, and with Rufe Youngblood sitting on him for a portion of that time.

Hey, I was very interested in this matter at the time, and it wasn't until some weeks or months later that I understood the relationships of the various landmarks in DP.

When we consider what somebody "knew" at a given time, we have to do so in the context of that time. Not in the context of what we now know. This is an education forum, with the implication that we take a reasonably scholarly and objective approach to this.

I read the early Hoover transcripts (and other materials) as him being relatively clueless and inept, talking without knowing all the facts. Had he known the facts, he might not have been so quick to prejudge the case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Put the assassination in the context of an Operation Northwoods type operation

and the actions of Hoover and the FBI become clear: Hoover WANTED to prove

a conspiracy in the murder of John F. Kennedy.

The assassination was DESIGNED to look like a conspiracy traceable to Castro.

I'd speculate that Hoover, a natural political ally of JCS hard-liners like Gen. Curtis LeMay,

wasn't happy that his Bureau had to clean up the mess in Dealey Plaza, and was prepared

for Johnson to change his mind about calling it a "lone nut" assassination.

Documents uncovered by Anthony Marsh and John Hunt indicate that the evidence

collection in the FBI Lab was kept fluid the morning of 11/23/63, in order, I'd speculate,

to accomodate either Plan A (Castro conspiracy) or Plan B (lone nut).

Here are the contemporaneous notes of FBI Lead Examiner Robert Frazier:

http://home.comcast.net/~the-puzzle-palace/436461A.gif

Note the evidence marked #1, #2, #3 was later changed to Q11, Q12, Q13 -- and

even later all three were grouped as Q14.

Here are Frazier's notes in preparation for his WC testimony, note line #5 where

Frazier cites the distribution of master evidence lists with "the Q & K #s blanked out."

http://tinyurl.com/dlusf

Although as FBI Lead Examiner Robert Frazier was in charge of assigning Q and K

numbers as the evidence came in, Frazier denies assigning the official Q and K

numbers on 11/23/63, a fact corroborated by his own notes.

LBJ didn't get around to calling Hoover until 10:01 am 11/23/63, about 15 hours after the

FBI was assigned to the case.

http://tinyurl.com/oakca

Hoover found the evidence of Oswald in Mexico City "confusing" and practically begged

LBJ to look at the possiblity of the involvement of a "second person."

I'd speculate that Hoover was savagely disappointed in Plan B, and it was hard for him

to get on board. I think he slyly leaked out evidence of conspiracy, like this FBI re-creation

that shows the back wound in its proper location (4 inches below the bottom of the jacket

collar), in order to remind LBJ and the CIA of the leverage he held over them.

http://www.jfklancer.com/photos/Ford-Rankin/FBIreenact.GIF

The reasons JFK was killed can be summed up in two words: Cuba, Vietnam.

They got their "damned war" in Vietnam, but the only reason there's no Disneyland in

Havana today is because some Dallas cop failed to shoot Oswald the afternoon of 11/22/63.

Edited by Cliff Varnell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd speculate that Hoover was savagely disappointed in Plan B, and it was hard for him

to get on board. I think he slyly leaked out evidence of conspiracy, like this FBI re-creation

that shows the back wound in its proper location (4 inches below the bottom of the jacket

collar), in order to remind LBJ and the CIA of the leverage he held over them.

http://www.jfklancer.com/photos/Ford-Rankin/FBIreenact.GIF

The reasons JFK was killed can be summed up in two words: Cuba, Vietnam.

They got their "damned war" in Vietnam, but the only reason there's no Disneyland in

Havana today is because some Dallas cop failed to shoot Oswald the afternoon of 11/22/63.

Cliff, the May 24 re-enactment was the WC's baby and the FBI was just taking orders. In the Examining the Examinations section of my presentation, on the Movement of the Back Wound slide, I get into it and examine Specter's role in the re-enactment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd speculate that Hoover was savagely disappointed in Plan B, and it was hard for him

to get on board. I think he slyly leaked out evidence of conspiracy, like this FBI re-creation

that shows the back wound in its proper location (4 inches below the bottom of the jacket

collar), in order to remind LBJ and the CIA of the leverage he held over them.

http://www.jfklancer.com/photos/Ford-Rankin/FBIreenact.GIF

The reasons JFK was killed can be summed up in two words: Cuba, Vietnam.

They got their "damned war" in Vietnam, but the only reason there's no Disneyland in

Havana today is because some Dallas cop failed to shoot Oswald the afternoon of 11/22/63.

Cliff, the May 24 re-enactment was the WC's baby and the FBI was just taking orders. In the Examining the Examinations section of my presentation, on the Movement of the Back Wound slide, I get into it and examine Specter's role in the re-enactment.

Pat, I like your presentation of the photos here.

http://homepage.mac.com/bkohley/PhotoAlbum30.html

Slide 0013.

The re-enactment was Hoover's baby until Specter took over afterwards, however.

The FBI marked the back wound according to the bullet hole in the jacket.

Specter used a pointer-rod to demonstrate the trajectory of the SBT.

In the photo published on pg 125 of Groden's THE KILLING OF A PRESIDENT

Specter pointed to an inshoot at the top of JFK's collar -- even though the hole

in the jacket was 5 & 3/8 inches below!

There was no "higher white mark," as per your analysis, however -- not that I

can see, FWIW.

Hoover's FBI blatantly -- dare I say disrespectfully! -- contradicted/debunked

the SBT on the very day it was publicly presented by Specter and the WC.

The SBT arrived to the world stillborn. I suspect that Hoover was sending LBJ

and the CIA and the WC a message: the cover-up succeeds only by the grace of

one J. Edgar Hoover.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote name='Stephen Turner' date='Jun 20 2006, 02:58 PM' post='65978']

Hoover also claims that his experts have proved that "Those shots could have been fired in three seconds, Three shots, three seconds" (had he even viewed the Zapruder film at this point) And says on more than one occasion that Oswald fired from the fifth floor, and that the rifle and carts were located on the fifth floor.

To me this has all the elements of a cover story comming together, but still several drafts away from the final W/C product.

Interresting thread.

Re the cover story that this gun could get off three shots. The official reports were

that it took the fastest trigger at FBI 2.3 seconds to get off each shot.

(Sorry can't give the cite-this is from memory). Which presented the big problem for the WC as

thge Z film was rolling at 18 frames a second. We see JFK hit, then just 1.3 seconds later we see Connally raeact to a shot. He always said he wasnot hit by the first shot, that he could hear it .

SO darlin Arlin came up with the brilliant SBT.

I agree with the idea that plan A was to blame Castro.

This is still very much the "plan" (gee where is Tim Gratz when we need him ?:lol:.

Recent books saying that the Kennedy brothers were trying to kill Castro are PART of this plan

in my opinion., whether or not said authors are aware they are being "had".

Dawn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The FBI marked the back wound according to the bullet hole in the jacket.

Correction:

It was inded the autopsy face sheet that was used to mark the low back wound.

Why would Specter himself mark a wound location 5+ inches below his SBT

trajectory?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The FBI marked the back wound according to the bullet hole in the jacket.

Correction:

It was inded the autopsy face sheet that was used to mark the low back wound.

Why would Specter himself mark a wound location 5+ inches below his SBT

trajectory?

Cliff, if you re-read the testimony of Frazier, Shaneyfelt, and Kelley, you'll see that the re-enactment was run by the Commission, basically Specter. It was he who decided what angles were to be measured, etc. He pushed for the use of the autopsy photos in peforming the re-enactment. He saw an autopsy photo on the day of the re-enactment. This autopsy photo was of the back wound, the very photo necessary for him to accurately mark the back wound on the FBI stand-in. This back wound was marked acurately. It follows then that he used the autopsy photo he saw in the re-enactment. Here is the passage in my presentation:

"Since the back wound used in the Warren Commission’s re-enactment of the assassination was far lower on the back than the entrance in the Rydberg drawings, it seems obvious to many that the re-enactment showed the impossibility of the single-bullet theory, and that this led them to create the Rydberg drawings. A thorough reading of the Warren Commission’s timeline, however, indicates that the Rydberg drawings were created long before the re-enactment. But how could this be? And if the Rydberg drawings were available to the re-enactors on May 24, 1964, why weren’t they used to establish the location of the back wound?

Warren Commission Counsel Arlen Specter, in his 2000 autobiography, Passion for Truth, finally shed some light on this matter by explaining that on the day of the re-enactment he was shown an autopsy photo of the back wound by a member of the Secret Service, Thomas Kelley. (Kelley had admitted his role to researcher Harold Weisberg many years before.) While Specter doesn’t say if he consulted this photo before placing the chalk mark on the jacket of the stand-in, one can only assume he used it to confirm its location. Kelley himself testified that the basis for the chalk mark was the face sheet, which seems about right. When one looks at the photographs taken just after the re-enactment, however, one can see what appears to be a second chalk mark on the jacket of the JFK stand-in, in the location of the wound in the Rydberg Drawings. In addition, one can see that Specter is ignoring the lower chalk mark, whose location he has presumably just verified, in favor of this higher wound. So where did this higher mark come from? The Rydberg drawings? The Warren Report, which was written collaboratively by the Warren Commission’s counsel, including Specter, acknowledges that, during the re-enactment, the FBI measured the approximate trajectory needed to support the single-bullet theory, and that afterwards this angle was compared against the President’s and Connally’s wounds. The Report states “That angle was consistent with the trajectory of a bullet passing through the President’s neck and then striking Governor Connally’s back…The alinement of the points of entry was indicative and not conclusive that one bullet hit both men…Had President Kennedy been leaning forward or backward, the angle of declination of the shot…would have varied…The angle…was approximately the angle of declination reproduced in an artist’s drawing…made from data provided by the autopsy surgeons.” Specter was thus citing the Rydberg drawings, which he had expressly refused to trust before the re-enactment, as support for his theory. Why he failed to trust them before the re-enactment isn’t known. But we should suspect he was aware that the artist who made the drawings was, in opposition to Dr. Humes’ sworn testimony, and in opposition to Specter’s subsequent words in the Warren Report, not provided with any data outside the verbal descriptions of the doctors. Specter’s April 30, 1964 memo to Rankin, we should remember, admitted that the Rydberg drawings “were made from the recollections of the autopsy doctors as told to the artist.” No mention of measurements.

When one considers that Specter admitted to U.S. News in 1966 that he’d seen the back wound photo (but coyly side-stepped the fact it didn’t match the Rydberg drawings by declaring “It showed a hole in the position identified in the autopsy report”), and that Specter failed to mention his seeing any autopsy photos when called before the HSCA (despite repeated discussion of the commissioners’ decision to withhold them from him) it seems obvious that Specter is hiding something. But what? Specter and Kelley’s use of the photos wrongly denied them in their passion for truth can only be considered admirable. On the other hand, if one looks at the re-enactment photo re-printed in the Doubleday edition of the Warren Report, it is clear that a bullet passing through the stand-in’s back and continuing on to hit Connnally’s stand-in in his armpit would most likely exit from the President’s stand-in’s chest, and not his throat. There is no way one can say this trajectory works. Specter had seen the Zapruder film. He knew Kennedy wasn’t leaning forward before the first shot. He knew that his theory left no room for deflection and he knew that the wounds didn’t align. It seems logical, therefore, to assume that Specter’s “crime” was one of rejecting his self-identified “passion” for the benefit of his career. An old story, indeed… and as American as apple pie…

That Specter was willing to take shortcuts in order to help establish that his single-bullet theory was indeed “close-enough” is made clear by his using Connally’s actual jacket in the re-enactment in order to establish the entrance location on his back, but disregarding the location of the entrance on Kennedy’s clothes. This allowed him to mark his own point of entry, based upon his subjective (and, as it turned out, liquid) impression of the bullet entrance. Also suspicious is that there was no effort by the FBI to measure the right to left trajectories of bullets entering the car from the sniper’s nest, while the car traveled down Elm. This allowed the commission and its experts to say the alignment of Kennedy with Connally was “close enough” for the single-bullet theory to have occurred, without them making any actual calculations. When one considers that if Specter had returned to Washington and informed the Commission that their operating premise of Oswald’s sole guilt was made doubtful by his (Specter’s) failure to get a couple of wounds to align, and that he’d used evidence expressly denied him to make this determination, his career would have been shot, then one can see how easy it was for Specter to determine the trajectory was “close enough.” After all, he was just a 33 year old assistant district attorney, by no means an expert in forensic pathology or wound ballistics. And after all, the proposal for the re-enactment (contained in an April 27 memo by Norman Redlich, chief counsel Rankin’s chief deputy), promised Rankin and the Commission that the point of the re-enactment was not to establish the facts “with complete accuracy, but merely to substantiate the hypothesis which underlies the conclusions that Oswald was the sole assassin.” Hopefully, Specter, currently the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will tell the rest of us with a “passion for truth” the whole truth after his political career is finito.

But I wouldn’t hold my breath. Over the last forty years, Specter has repeatedly defended his single-bullet theory. It seems way too late in the game for him to admit he was wrong. In his memoirs, he tries to defend his actions as best he can. When he discusses being shown the autopsy photo at the re-enactment, for instance, he describes it as “a small picture of the back of a man’s body, with a bullet hole in the base of the neck.” This disguises the fact that the photo was copied by HSCA illustrator Ida Dox and that her drawing shows the bullet hole to be inches below the base of the neck. Specter then admits he failed to tell anyone at the commission he saw the photo, but discounts the role of cowardice in his decision by adding “an unauthenticated photo was no way to establish facts for the record.” Oh, hogwash! He admits he was shown the photo by Thomas Kelley, the Secret Service inspector responsible for conducting its investigation of the assassination. And he was undoubtedly aware the Secret Service had the photos. It would have been a simple matter then of his stopping by Bethesda for ten minutes and talking to Dr. Humes, to verify the wounds, and John Stringer, the photographer, to verify it was one of the photos he took on the night of the autopsy. He would then have an authenticated photo. Instead, he played it safe. Later in his book Specter recounts visiting the National Archives in 1999 and looking at the autopsy photos with Dr. Boswell. Not surprisingly, they convinced themselves the President’s back and neck wounds were “consistent with the Single Bullet Conclusion.” As if at this point we should take their word on it. Unfortunately, it seems the closest thing to an acknowledgement of error we’ll ever get from Specter is his admission that the Rydberg drawings were “rough” and that he would never have had them created if he knew that people would credit them “with more precision than was intended.”

Ironically, Specter’s failure to tell the Commission that the wound he saw on the autopsy photograph was too low on the President’s back to support his proposed theory left a permanent stain on the reputation of another prominent Republican, Gerald Ford. It was recently discovered that Ford, who would eventually become President, but who in 1964 was merely an influential Congressman from Michigan, was the member of the Warren Commission who had the words “a bullet had entered his back slightly above the shoulder” changed to “a bullet had entered the back of his neck,” in a draft of the Warren Report. When this was revealed in 1998, Ford explained that he believed this wording was more precise. Apparently, he was confused by the Rydberg drawings, which did indeed depict the back wound as residing at the base of the neck. Thus, the back wound was officially moved to the back of Kennedy’s neck by a series of mistakes, first by Humes and Boswell in the original creation of the Rydberg drawing, then by Warren in his withholding of the photographs, then by Specter in his failing to report the inaccuracy of the Rydberg drawings, and finally by Ford in his changing the language of the report. Truth by committee had become a lie. "

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...