JAHS Chapter 5


11-27--11-30 inc first re-enactment--then ask why no ss report was written...then cut to Connally


11-27

Part 1 Newspaper article--why re-written?

Part 2 SS re-enactment---why re-done? 

Frazier tests

Greer estimation of speed

Connally recollection of third shot throws it all up in the air

new article

11-28

11-29 Barrett report

problem of Barrett report with Greer estimation of speed

changing of Greer's recollection of speed

11-29

Fingerprint problem

propaganda photos

forming of commission

11-29--12-1

Paper bag problem




More Secret Service Secrets

As we weed through Commission Document 87, an over-thousand page Secret Service report detailing their investigation, we find more reasons to doubt the accuracy of the Secret Service's reports. We find pictures of a Secret Service re-enactment, taken from the location of Abraham Zapruder's camera. These were, apparently, taken during the 11-27 re-enactment. The captions to these photos indicate that the Secret Service has indeed concluded that the first shot hit Kennedy when he was behind the sign, and that a second shot, presumably striking Connally, followed, which in turn was followed by the shot striking Kennedy's head. There is something wrong with these photos, however. The SS location for shot 2 seems way beyond the point where Connally is hit in the Zapruder film. The location for shot 3 is past Zapruder, when the head shot in the film comes just as the car pulls even with Zapruder.

 

As Simple as 1, 2...

We decide to super-impose some slides from the Zapruder film onto the photos taken from his location.  While the first shot proposed by the SS takes place when Kennedy is behind the sign in the film, the second shot proposed takes place after Connally has obviously been hit, at a point when he is nearly facing Kennedy. It seems highly unlikely that a bullet coming from the sniper's nest at this moment could enter Connally's right armpit and exit the right front of his chest.  We wonder why the Secret Service assumed Connally'd been turned to his right when hit. Perhaps they'd misunderstood his statements.  If they had, they missed or ignored that he'd claimed to have yelled out after being shot, and that he'd already yelled out by frame 283. 



3???

When we super-impose Zapruder frame 313, the frame depicting the head shot, onto the Secret Service photo for shot 3 we find that the amount of grass behind Kennedy in frame 313 is inconsistent with the amount of grass behind his purported location in the re-enactment photo. We try to convince ourselves this is a result of a slight difference in camera elevation, but the angle of the back seat to the camera also appears wrong. This leads us to believe the 12-5 survey inaccurately recorded and measured Kennedy's position at the moment of the head shot. We now wonder if Agent Howlett's earlier measurement for the distance of this shot wasn't more accurate, and why someone decided to change it. 

We also notice some traffic cones in the photo.  We recall a passage in the Secret Service's investigative file, CD 87, describing a short film of the 11-27 re-enactment. It proclaims: "Immediately after the motorcade passes out of view, Lt. Day of the Dallas Police Department walks onto the street from the right-hand side and places a traffic cone at the point of impact of the third shot. He then walks forward and places a traffic cone at the point of of impact of the second shot and continues forward to place a traffic cone at the point of impact of the first shot and exits to the left." We recall also that Day had told the Dallas Times Herald that these locations had been established from watching a film, undoubtedly the Zapruder film. Well, this is a bit confusing. The cones in the 11-27 photos do not align with the shot locations Howlett reported to the FBI, nor to the shot locations determined by the Secret Service's 12-5 survey. We decide to ask a friend on the Dallas Police Department if he remembers what the cones in the photos were supposed to represent.

While looking through CD87, moreover, we find a related problem. 

On page 297, we find the following description:

This is clearly a description on the back of a photograph. The problem is that page 296 is (as subsequently presented on the Mary Ferrell website) a completely illegible blizzard of white with a few black specks.

Well, wait a second. These black specks look familiar. These black specks, in fact, closely align with an 11-22-63 Dallas Police photo of the view from the sniper's nest down Elm Street (which was eventually published by the Warren Commission as CE 724). It seems clear, then, that the Secret Service has marked up a copy of this photo, and added in the locations of where they believe the shots were fired. 

A Quick Trip Back to the Future

In 2019, I placed the nearly worthless image on CD87 p296 atop the image in CE724, and made the top image partially transparent so I could see the underlying image, with the the numbers 1, 2 and 3 from the top image projected onto the image below. I then cropped this combined image so that it was centered around the three cars in the photo. The result is presented below. 


It then dawned on me that I'd spent some time studying CE 724 a decade to so before, and had myself used it to mark the approximate locations of four shots proposed by the government during its various investigations, along with the location of James Tague when he received a wound on his cheek, presumably from a speck off concrete kicked up by a stray bullet or bullet fragment. 

So I placed the partially transparent image from CD87 atop my marked up version of CE 724.

This is presented below. James Tague's position is marked by a blue star. The four shots are marked by red x's. From left to right: a) the first shot miss as Kennedy goes beneath the tree at Z-160, as proposed by the HSCA in 1979, and as subsequently accepted by most single-assassin theorists; b) the first shot hit through a gap in the tree at Z-190, as proposed by the HSCA in 1979; c) the last possible moment for a hit that travels through both Kennedy and Connally, at Z-224/225, as proposed by the Warren Commission in 1964, and as subsequently accepted by most single-assassin theorists; and d) the fatal headshot at Z-313, as accepted by most everyone.


Well, this is quite eye-opening, isn't it? I mean, really. This photo was taken before the DPD knew anything of the films of the shooting. The alignment of the three cars in the photo was random. And yet, the Secret Service presented the Warren Commission with a copy of this photograph and told them, via a description written on its back, that their investigation has led them to conclude these cars are in the locations the limo was in when the three shots were fired. 

Let this soak in. Nearly seven weeks after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the U.S. Secret Service provided the Warren Commission with a report on his death which included a photo depicting the locations of the president when three shots were fired at him...which indicated: 1) the President was first wounded at a location well beyond where the Warren Commission's investigation and all subsequent investigations would come to conclude both President Kennedy and Governor Connally had been wounded; 2) Governor Connally was wounded in between when the President was first wounded and when he received his fatal blow--by a bullet that did not strike the President; and 3) the President was fatally injured at a location far beyond where the Warren Commission's investigation and all subsequent investigations would come to conclude he'd been fatally injured. 

In short, then, the Secret Service's Exhibit #3 in CD 87 was either 1) a beyond stupid screw-up--a sloppy piece of work reflective of an I-really-don't-care--the-president-is dead-what-does-it-matter? attitude among its members, which inadvertently told the Warren Commission the fatal shot was fired when the limo was down by the steps on the grassy knoll, and had already started to turn; or 2) Bluster Bullshit Balderdash--a deliberate deception, for what purpose, we may never know. 



From the Archives

Our friend sends us copies of the DPD's re-enactment photos. These photos are identical to the photos provided by the Secret Service, with one notable difference. The caption to these photos states that the cones in the photos reflect the locations of the shots. Well, this is mighty curious. As the second cone is just past the location of the head shot, and the third cone is far past this point, this suggests the Secret Service initially concluded the head shot was the second shot, precisely as concluded in our analysis of the eyewitnesses.


The Third Shot Miss

When we superimpose frames from the Zapruder film onto the DPD photos, we discover that Lt. Day's and the Secret Service's original location for the second shot was circa frame 343, quite a bit past the head shot. The third shot, amazingly, comes at a point when Mrs. Kennedy is already on the trunk of the limousine. As Kennedy has been hit at least twice by this point, it seems likely the Secret Service concluded this third shot missed the President.   

But then what happened to it? If Kennedy was hit in the back with the first shot, and hit in the head with the second shot, then this third shot MUST have hit Connally. Connally is laying down in his seat. His right armpit is exposed. A bullet hitting Connally at this moment MIGHT make sense. But that would mean Connally had misled the public on the very day of this re-enactment when he told a TV audience he was hit before the head shot. It would also mean that Connally, a former Secretary of the Navy, had crouched in self-protection a few feet from his President, when his President was under fire.

We re-inspect the film and spot blood near Connally's armpit as early as frame 340 of the Zapruder film, before either of the last two shots in the DPD and Secret Service re-enactment. 

Well heck, did the Secret Service agent running this re-enactment, John Joe Howlett, even look at the film to double-check this theory? 

Apparently so. We recall that this was the 11-27 re-enactment. FBI Agent Barrett, we remind ourselves, reported SS Agent Howlett's conclusions on this re-enactment in an 11-29 memo. Howlett's conclusions were reportedly that the first shot struck Kennedy at a distance corresponding to the limo's location circa frame 200 of the Zapruder film and that the second one to hit him did so from a distance corresponding to the limo's distance circa frame 313, with a shot hitting Connally in the middle. 

This suggests then that Howlett used the cones during the re-enactment, watched or heard Connally's interview on TV, compared the locations of the cones in his re-enactment to the Zapruder film, and then decided the cones were placed in the incorrect locations. 

Heck, this might explain why the SS re-did it all on 12-5. 







The next day we get some really startling news. The FBI’s ballistics expert, Robert Frazier, has conducted a series of tests on the rifle found on the sixth floor, the presumed murder weapon. He has discovered that the fastest the weapon can accurately be fired at a moving target is once every 2.8 seconds. (In the FBI Report of December 10, CD7, p.333-335, an FBI lab report under date of 12-2 states that “It has been determined by actual firing tests that a skilled person can fire three accurately aimed shots with the rifle, K1, in five seconds.”  In his 3-31-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 3H407, however, Frazier explains that he tested the rifle on 11-27-64 and that the fastest he could fire three shots with the rifle was 4.6 seconds. He also testified that the shooting time would have been a second or so longer if he’d been firing at a moving target.)  This means that one of the last two shots was probably not fired by Oswald. 



REFER BACK TO BRONSON IMAGE

If Connally was shot somewhere in the middle of this time, as everyone, including Connally, is now pushing, moreover, and Agent Greer was driving the limo around 15-20 miles per hour, as claimed in an 11-27 FBI interview, this means our presumed sole assassin (Oswald) would have to have fired three times into the car in--eegads-- 2.6 seconds, if Greer was driving 20 mph, and--eegads--3.4 seconds, if Greer was driving 15 mph. And to have made 2 closely-grouped hits, and a near-miss that struck Connally... 

Well, Robert Frazier's tests with the rifle--which suggested it would take someone around 5.6 seconds to pull off such a feat-- prove it highly doubtful he could have done such a thing.

Now, this should have been an "aha!" moment for the FBI, and Secret Service, and anyone else investigating the murder of the president. 

And maybe it was. Look what happened next.  

The 11-28 New York Times has another article of interest. At the end of an 11-27 datelined article entitled “Oswald Unable to Keep $50 Job,” it relates: “the Secret Service re-enacted today the assassination of President Kennedy, which is laid to Oswald. The purpose was 'to test whether it could be done the way we believe it was done,' an official said. The convertible drove the presidential route twice." The 11-28 Dallas Times-Herald fills in the details: "Dallas police and the U.S. Secret Service partly re-enacted the slaying of President John F. Kennedy to determine the trajectory of the bullets which crashed into the presidential car. Traffic was blocked from Houston and Main to Houston and Elm and down Elm to the triple overpass Wednesday as a convertible similar to the presidential car made the same route as President Kennedy on the day of the assassination. On the first trip, Jim Underwood of KRLD-TV took television pictures from the window where Lee Harvey Oswald is believed to have fired the fatal shots. After the convertible passed, Lt. Carl Day of the Dallas Police Department placed traffic markers at the spots where three bullets are believed to have struck. Lt. Day told The Times Herald that placement of the markers was determined by home movies taken by an amateur photographer on the day of the assassination. On the second trip, the convertible paused to take pictures of the window where Oswald is believed to have stood to fire the fatal shots. A number of people witnessed the re-enactment and one amateur cameraman sold Polaroid snapshots at the scene."

An AP article found in the Washington Evening Star on this day describes the re-enactment in a slightly different manner. It reads: "A gray convertible, similar to the black one in which President Kennedy made his last ride, rolled past the Texas School Book Depository Building. A man and a woman sat in the back seat, just as Mr.and Mrs. Kennedy did last Friday. Two men were in the front. Looking down on this scene yesterday were investigators, and a cameraman. They perched in the same window from which the fatal shots were fired. They were re-enacting the President's assassination. This was another phase of the step-by-step investigation into the tragedy that shocked the world. The determined officers continued to sift through the evidence today. Officers attracted little attention as they slowly and methodically went through what they believed happened. Traffic was stopped about a minute as the car  slowly headed down the hill in front of the building. The scene was grimly different. Instead of a jubilant crowd that stood there last Friday, there was a mournful gathering amid hundreds of flowers laid beside the spot where the assassin struck. An officer who said he did not want to be quoted by name said the re-enactment was done "merely to get the sequence of events straight."

Later that day, we see "Preliminary Special Dallas Report #1" by Secret Service Inspector Thomas Kelley (CD87, p267). Kelley announces that "At the foot of Elm Street, at a point approximately 200 feet east of the Houston Street Triple Underpass, on the approach to the Stemmons Freeway, President Kennedy, who was seated on on the right rear seat, was shot. Immediately thereafter Governor Connally, who was seated on the right jump seat, was shot once. The President was then shot the second time." This has us scratching our heads. Kelley's analysis seems to be in line with the scenario proposed by Life Magazine  and CBS' Dan Rather. Could the closest witnesses claiming they'd heard a shot after the President was hit in the head really be mistaken?    




The next day, we receive the 11-29-63 memo of FBI Agent Robert Barrett (CD5, p.117), which tells us the conclusions reached from the Secret Service's re-enactment. It reads “with the aid of a surveyor and through the use of 8 millimeter movie film…(Secret Service Agent John Joe) Howlett was able to ascertain that the distance from the window ledge of the (suspected sniper’s nest) to where the President was struck the first time in the neck was approximately 170 feet. He stated this distance would be accurate within two or three feet. The distance from the same window ledge to where the President was struck in the head by the assassin’s bullet was approximately 260 feet…Secret Service Agents using the 8 millimeter film had been unable to ascertain the exact location where Governor John B. Connally was struck. SA Howlett advised that that it had been ascertained from the movie that President Kennedy had been struck with the first and third shots fired by the assassin, while Governor Connally was struck with the second shot.”

Well, now we’re really confused. Witness after witness has grouped the last two shots together. Many of these have indicated that the last shot missed. Now we’re being told that Connally was hit by the second bullet, just before the head shot. When we look at the 8mm film viewed by Howlett, the Zapruder film, however, it seems obvious that Connally was hit much closer to the first shot, when Kennedy lifted his arms, than to the last shot, when Kennedy was struck in the head. The film and the eyewitnesses seem to be in conflict. 

And that's not the only problem. On 11-28 Greer wrote a report in which he now said he was driving the limo 12-15 mph through the plaza. This still isn't good enough. Howlett's re-enactment places shots one and three ninety feet apart. That's three shots in 5.1 seconds should Greer have been driving 12 mph. That's still too short a time span for us to believe Oswald fired the shots, or all of them, anyhow.


The next day we get some really startling news. The FBI’s ballistics expert, Robert Frazier, has conducted a series of tests on the rifle found on the sixth floor, the presumed murder weapon. He has discovered that the fastest the weapon can accurately be fired at a moving target is once every 2.8 seconds. (In the FBI Report of December 10, CD7, p.333-335, an FBI lab report under date of 12-2 states that “It has been determined by actual firing tests that a skilled person can fire three accurately aimed shots with the rifle, K1, in five seconds.”  In his 3-31-64 testimony before the Warren Commission, 3H407, however, Frazier explains that he tested the rifle on 11-27-64 and that the fastest he could fire three shots with the rifle was 4.6 seconds. He also testified that the shooting time would have been a second or so longer if he’d been firing at a moving target.)  This means that one of the last two shots was probably not fired by Oswald. 



REFER BACK TO BRONSON IMAGE

If Connally was shot somewhere in the middle of this time, as everyone, including Connally, is now pushing, moreover, and Agent Greer was driving the limo around 15-20 miles per hour, as claimed in an 11-27 FBI interview, this means our presumed sole assassin (Oswald) would have to have fired three times into the car in--eegads-- 2.6 seconds, if Greer was driving 20 mph, and--eegads--3.4 seconds, if Greer was driving 15 mph. And to have made 2 closely-grouped hits, and a near-miss that struck Connally... 

Well, Robert Frazier's tests with the rifle--which suggested it would take someone around 5.6 seconds to pull off such a feat-- prove it highly doubtful he could have done such a thing.

Now, this should have been an "aha!" moment for the FBI, and Secret Service, and anyone else investigating the murder of the president. 

And maybe it was. Look what happened next.  

The 11-28 New York Times has another article of interest. At the end of an 11-27 datelined article entitled “Oswald Unable to Keep $50 Job,” it relates: “the Secret Service re-enacted today the assassination of President Kennedy, which is laid to Oswald. The purpose was 'to test whether it could be done the way we believe it was done,' an official said. The convertible drove the presidential route twice." The 11-28 Dallas Times-Herald fills in the details: "Dallas police and the U.S. Secret Service partly re-enacted the slaying of President John F. Kennedy to determine the trajectory of the bullets which crashed into the presidential car. Traffic was blocked from Houston and Main to Houston and Elm and down Elm to the triple overpass Wednesday as a convertible similar to the presidential car made the same route as President Kennedy on the day of the assassination. On the first trip, Jim Underwood of KRLD-TV took television pictures from the window where Lee Harvey Oswald is believed to have fired the fatal shots. After the convertible passed, Lt. Carl Day of the Dallas Police Department placed traffic markers at the spots where three bullets are believed to have struck. Lt. Day told The Times Herald that placement of the markers was determined by home movies taken by an amateur photographer on the day of the assassination. On the second trip, the convertible paused to take pictures of the window where Oswald is believed to have stood to fire the fatal shots. A number of people witnessed the re-enactment and one amateur cameraman sold Polaroid snapshots at the scene."

An AP article found in the Washington Evening Star on this day describes the re-enactment in a slightly different manner. It reads: "A gray convertible, similar to the black one in which President Kennedy made his last ride, rolled past the Texas School Book Depository Building. A man and a woman sat in the back seat, just as Mr.and Mrs. Kennedy did last Friday. Two men were in the front. Looking down on this scene yesterday were investigators, and a cameraman. They perched in the same window from which the fatal shots were fired. They were re-enacting the President's assassination. This was another phase of the step-by-step investigation into the tragedy that shocked the world. The determined officers continued to sift through the evidence today. Officers attracted little attention as they slowly and methodically went through what they believed happened. Traffic was stopped about a minute as the car  slowly headed down the hill in front of the building. The scene was grimly different. Instead of a jubilant crowd that stood there last Friday, there was a mournful gathering amid hundreds of flowers laid beside the spot where the assassin struck. An officer who said he did not want to be quoted by name said the re-enactment was done "merely to get the sequence of events straight."

Later that day, we see "Preliminary Special Dallas Report #1" by Secret Service Inspector Thomas Kelley (CD87, p267). Kelley announces that "At the foot of Elm Street, at a point approximately 200 feet east of the Houston Street Triple Underpass, on the approach to the Stemmons Freeway, President Kennedy, who was seated on on the right rear seat, was shot. Immediately thereafter Governor Connally, who was seated on the right jump seat, was shot once. The President was then shot the second time." This has us scratching our heads. Kelley's analysis seems to be in line with the scenario proposed by Life Magazine  and CBS' Dan Rather. Could the closest witnesses claiming they'd heard a shot after the President was hit in the head really be mistaken?    




Clearing Things Up 

All the secrecy about Kennedy's death led to mucho speculation in the press, much of which would feed into the public's subsequent suspicions. On 11-27, as we've seen, John Herbers, in a New York Times article entitled Kennedy Struck by Two Bullets, tried to reconcile that the Parkland doctors thought the throat wound was an entrance wound, but that Kennedy was past the school book depository when struck in the head, by reporting "The known facts about the bullets and the position of the assassin suggested that he started shooting as the President's car was coming toward him, swung his rifle in an arc of 180 degrees and fired at least twice more." This was days after the Times had helped the FBI and Police sell that there was but one shooter. And yet, apparently, no one at the Times had bothered to ascertain the whereabouts of Kennedy in relation to the sniper's nest at the moment he was first shot. Apparently, they'd spent so much energy trying to get the "official" word from Washington insiders that they'd failed to note the location of those closest to Kennedy at the time of the shots, or study the photos of the shooting itself. Even a modicum of study should have convinced them that Kennedy was far past the sniper's nest when first hit, and that he could not have received an entrance wound in the neck in such position without turning around in his seat. Astounding. 

And The Times was far from alone in their rush to misinformation. An 11-27 article by Herbert Black in The Boston Globe similarly presents its own scenario. Reporting from Dallas, and citing a source clearly familiar with Dr. Robert McLelland's report claiming the fatal wound was on Kennedy's left temple, claimed: "The Globe has got from an unofficial but authoritative source here what is believed to be an accurate description of the course of events. It is that the sniper, firing from above and behind the President, first hit the President on the right side of the back of his neck. This bullet passed through the windpipe and came out at the throat, just below his Adam's apple, making the large wound which doctors at Parkland Memorial Hospital noted. This wound might not have been fatal, considering the quick medical attention the President received. When he was struck, he apparently turned his head toward Mrs. Kennedy (to the left) and began to slump. A second bullet then tore into his left temple and emerged from the right top of his head, the mortal wound. This information did not come from doctors at the hospital here, who have said they were too busy trying to save the President to study the trajectory of the bullets. It is, however, from a source in position to know the facts, which were ascertained at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, where Mr. Kennedy was taken. This information was doubted at first because it reported that the President was hit on the left temple. It did not seem reasonable that a sniper above and to the right behind the car could hit him on the left side, but information from a film taken of the events tends to corroborate this. The FBI is investigating all aspects of the shooting and that is believed to be the reason why the official medical reports from the naval hospital have not been released."

Now, the writers of these articles shared a common mistake. They both tried to make what may have been mistaken descriptions of Kennedy's wounds, i.e. that the throat wound was an entrance, or that a bullet struck the left side of Kennedy's head, fit the by-now-official solution all shots were fired from the sniper's nest. 

But neither of these writers had viewed the Zapruder film, to confirm their scenarios. 

In some ways, then, an article in that evening's Fort-Worth Star Telegram was even more problematic. This article, The Anatomy of Death in the Afternoon, written by Arthur J. Snider of the Chicago Daily News, was reportedly written "with the aid of movies taken by an amateur." This is clearly a reference to the Zapruder film. Its description of the shooting sequence follows: 

(As presented online by Sixth Floor Museum Archivist Gary Mack, with pertinent sections highlighted) 

"As the fateful car rounded the turn and moved into the curving parkway, the President rolled his head to the right, smiling and waving. At that instant. . .the sniper. . .fired his cheap rifle. . . the President clutched his throat for a bewildered instant, then began to sag. A second blast from the high-powered rifle ripped into the right rear of his head at about a 4 o 'clock position. 

"It was a violent wound. As a motorcycle officer described it: 'It just seemed as if his head opened up.' The President swerved to his left and collapsed into the arms of his wife. Mrs. Kennedy climbed onto the trunk to beseech aid from a Secret Service man. The President slumped against her leg, bloodying her skirt and stocking. 

"Meanwhile, Gov. John Connally had turned to see what happened. A third shot rang out. It struck the governor in the back. The bullet was deflected to his right wrist and lodged in his left thigh. A fragment of rib, fractured by the bullet, punctured a lung." 

Now this article, with its implication that the Zapruder film shows Kennedy turned far enough to his right to receive an entrance wound in his neck from the sniper's nest, would be strange enough. But this isn't the only version of this article. The version in this evening's Chicago Daily News, presumably published after the syndicated version of the article had been wired to Forth Worth, raises even more questions. 

"As the fateful car rounded the turn and moved into the curving parkway, the President rolled his head to the right, smiling and waving. At that instant, about 12:30 PM, the sniper, peering through a 4 power telescopic sight, fired his cheap rifle. 

The 6.5 millimeter bullet--about .30 caliber--pierced the President's neck, just below the Adam's apple. It took a downward course.

"If you're wearing a bow tie, the position is just about where the knot is," said a Dallas neurosurgeon who saw the wound. 

The President clutched his throat for a bewildered instant, then began to sag.  

Meanwhile, Gov. John Connally had turned to see what happened. A second shot rang out.  It struck the governor in the back. The bullet was deflected to his right wrist and lodged in his left thigh. A fragment of rib, fractured by the bullet, punctured a lung.

The car rolled on slowly. Onlookers, instinctively startled by the shots, were still unable to grasp their meaning.

Then, in quick order, the third blast. It ripped into the right rear of the President's head at a 4 o 'clock position.  

It was a violent wound. As a motorcycle officer described it: 'It just seemed as if his head opened up.'  

The wound was so vast and ghastly that a pathologist in Arlington, VA, suggests the assassin may have used flattened "dum-dum" bullets."

Yes, you got it. The order of the shots has been changed. It seems doubtful that Snider himself made this change. He had after all, studied the Zapruder film while writing the article. 

Well, if he didn't change it, who did? And why? 

I believe we have an answer.

Above: Texas Governor John Connally in his bed at Parkland Hospital, 11-27-63. 

At 4:30 PM on 11-27-63 Texas Governor John Connally was interviewed live on television from his hospital bed. In response to a series of less-than-probing questions, courtesy NBC's Martin Agronsky, he both decried the climate of hatred that led to the assassination and expounded upon the complexities and greatness of his long-time friend Lyndon Johnson. He said of Johnson, "I think in our dealings with foreign nations I know of no man in my lifetime that I would rather be dealing my hand than him." He also described the shooting: "we had just turned the corner, we heard a shot; I turned to my left...Almost simultaneously, as I turned, I was hit...I said, "My God, they are going to kill us all." Then there was a third shot and the President was hit again and we thought then very seriously...." 



That night we watch Texas Governor John Connally interviewed live from his hospital bed. (11-27-63 televised interview with Martin Agronsky, transcript printed in the 11-28-63 New York Times.) ”we had just turned the corner, we heard a shot; I turned to my left—I was sitting in the jump seat.  I turned to my left to look in the back seat—the President had slumped. He had said nothing.  Almost simultaneously, as I turned, I was hit and I knew I had been hit badly. I knew the President had been hit and I said, “My God, they are going to kill us all.”  Then there was a third shot and the President was hit again and we thought then very seriously.  I had still retained consciousness but the President had slumped in Mrs. Kennedy;s lap and when he was hit the second time she said, or the first time—it all happened in such a brief span, she said “Oh,  my God, they have killed my husband—Jack, Jack.”  After the third shot, the next thing that occurred—I was conscious, the Secret Service man, of course, the chauffeur, had pulled out of the line, they said, “Get out of here…” Final shot head shot. 



From this, one might assume someone at the Chicago Daily News, in order to make its interpretation of the evidence fit the Governor's widely-watched recollections, re-wrote Snider's article at the last second, after the version printed in the Star-Telegram had already been transmitted. Beyond this possibility, it's difficult to see how two articles written by the same man and published on the same evening could contain such widely divergent conclusions.

Above: Connally wipes tears from his eyes, while his dutiful wife Nellie, as always, offers her support.

On 11-28, the transcript of Connally's interview was printed in the New York Times. The Times summarized his description of the shots as follows "Shot one struck the President. Shot two coursed through the Texas Governor's body. Shot three struck the President." 

The shot sequence described by Connally, which was previously described by Dan Rather, was then rubber-stamped by Dr. Robert Shaw, the Parkland Hospital thoracic surgeon who'd presumably saved his life. An article in the 11-28 New York Herald-Tribune (found in the St. Petersburg Times) reflects: "The Dallas doctor who performed emergency surgery on Texas Gov. John Connally said yesterday that authorities have been able to reconstruct the sequence of shots that killed President Kennedy last Friday. Eyewitness accounts by Gov. and Mrs. Connally, and a crucial Polaroid picture taken by a spectator, reveal that the President was killed by the third shot, the bullet that tore away a piece of his skull." It then asserted that "Shaw said that medical authorities here felt the first bullet that hit the President, a bullet in the front of his throat which lodged in his right lung, was not a mortal wound but was one which, with proper care, the President could have survived." 

The article then presented the shot sequence, according to the "authorities" and Dr. Shaw: "The first bullet entered President Kennedy's trachea, in the front of his neck, coursing downward into his right lung. The bullet was removed in Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, where an autopsy was performed." (Well, this would be news to those performing the autopsy, who not only insisted no bullet was recovered from Kennedy's lung, but anywhere in his body.)

The article continued: "Gov. Connally states he turned, saw the President slumping, then he felt a terrific blow to his right shoulder which stunned him. That was the second shot. The governor then was conscious of a dull explosion, the shot that struck the President and went through his skull, killing him. We know that the first shot went through his throat because authorities have a Polaroid picture, taken by a spectator right after the first shot. It shows the President slumping. His head is intact, undisturbed. Additionally, Mrs Connally said the third shot struck the President in the head." (This bit about the Polaroid, of course, is nonsense. The Polaroid photo to which Dr. Shaw made reference is undoubtedly the Moorman photo. While Dr. Shaw had based his conclusion the first shot didn't hit Kennedy in the head on his acceptance that this photo, which he believed shows the head undisturbed, was taken after one shot had been fired, it would later be shown that this photo was not only taken after at least two shots had been fired, but after Kennedy had been struck in the head. Oops.)

But from there the article only got stranger. It then claimed "Dr. Shaw admitted he was 'a little baffled' by the first shot. 'The assassin was behind him, yet the bullet entered at the front of his neck. Mr. Kennedy must have turned to his left to talk to Mrs. Kennedy or to wave to someone.'"  (This was more nonsense. The supposed sniper's nest was behind Kennedy and to his right. If Kennedy had turned to his left, he would have been facing directly away from the rifle, not towards it. Oops again.)

And yet, although Dr. Shaw was clearly not informed enough to make an accurate conclusion regarding the shot sequence, and the Connallys not competent to do so due to their being too close to the action, and Dan Rather not competent, period, the shooting sequence they'd proposed--that Kennedy had been hit by the first and third shots--became the "official" shot sequence. It was reported in a number of 11-28 articles that on 11-27 the Secret Service had performed a re-enactment of the shooting in Dallas. The results of this re-enactment, subsequently reported by both the Secret Service and FBI, indicate that they'd already assumed the last shot was the shot striking Kennedy in the head. Based upon the mixed information they'd received prior to 11-27, this is impossible to understand. But, when one considers that, by 11-27, they'd received word from both the Connallys and Connally's doctor that the head shot was the final shot, well, it becomes a bit easier...particularly when one considers that Life Magazine, as Dan Rather and CBS before it, had taken from its viewing of the Zapruder film that the first bullet strike observable in the film must have been the first shot, and the last bullet strike observable in the film the last.

The 11-29 issue of Time Magazine, already on the streets, we should reflect, had reported the shots a bit differently than had the Connallys and Shaw. It reported: "a shot...The President's body slumped to the left; his right leg shot up over the car door. Blood gushed from the President's head as it came to rest in Jackie's lap...John Connally turned...there were two more shots, and a bullet pierced his back..."  

And the 12-2 issue of Newsweek, Time's primary competitor, nearly concurred, claiming: "'Crack!' A rifle shot split the air. 'Crack!' 'Crack!' Two more followed. The President of the United States--caught apparently by the first--spun in his seat. 'I thought it was a backfire,' said Patrolman James M. Chaney, who was riding a motorcycle 6 feet from the right rear fender of the President's car. 'The President jerked his head around...then (came) the second shot and his head exploded in blood..." Turning to look, Governor Connally took the third bullet just below the right shoulder blade. It ripped out through his chest, pierced his wrist, and lodged in his thigh. But the turn saved his life."

But Time's sister publication, Life Magazine, had purchased the Zapruder film depicting the shooting, and had described the shooting in its own 11-29 issue, already on the streets, in the manner pushed by Dan Rather, the Connallys and Shaw. 

Here is how Life first described the shooting in its 11-29 article entitled Split Second Sequence As The Bullets Struck: "Then came the awful moment. In these pictures, which run consecutively from left to right, it begins as the car comes out from behind the sign. The President's wave turns into a clutching movement toward his throat. Governor Connally, who glances around to see what has happened, is himself struck by a bullet and slumps over. As the President's car approaches a lamppost, Mrs. Kennedy suddenly becomes aware of what has happened and reaches over to help while Governor Connally slumps to the floor. The President collapses on his wife's shoulder and in the last two small pictures the First Lady cradles him in her arms." The article/photo essay then cuts to a presentation of Mrs. Kennedy's climbing out onto the back of the limo, which is described as a "crawl for help." 

Tellingly, the horrific head shot, after which Kennedy's head jerks back and to the left, is not described. Apparently, this shot was just too horrid for Life Magazine--which had broken barriers by showing starving American children during the depression and dead American soldiers during World War II--to describe to its readers.

But if Life was doing its part to preserve the dignity of Kennedy, and conceal the possibility of conspiracy from the public, it failed miserably. In a newspaper summary of the Life article on the Zapruder film, the first frame, frame 233, was captioned "The President's hand moves convulsively as he is shot." Fair enough. But the second frame, frame 269, was captioned "Gov. John B. Connally Jr. of Texas, on jump seat, turns toward back and is also hit." This led the public, which was not allowed to see the Zapruder film for themselves, to conclude Connally was hit seconds after Kennedy, by what could have been a second shot fired from Oswald's rifle. This was true, moreover, to Life's account of the shooting. In time, Life's article and the newspaper coverage it received would fuel the widespread rejection of the Warren Commission's single-bullet theory, holding that Kennedy and Connally were in fact hit by the same bullet. In attempting to reinforce that Oswald had acted alone, Life Magazine had instead planted the seeds of doubt...  

Which grew in harmony with the seeds of confusion planted by the other news sources... Around the same time as the 11-29 issue of Life was hitting the streets and mailboxes in the states, the 11-30 edition of The Illustrated London News--a magazine that had been published for over 120 years, mind you--was hitting the streets and mailboxes in England. This issue featured the magazine's initial article on the assassination. Amazingly, its opening line asserted "President Kennedy was shot twice in the head as he drove through Dallas on November 22..." Now, one might wish to think this article had been written before any details of the shooting had emerged. But one would be wrong. This 12 page article included photos of Kennedy's funeral, on the 25th. 

The incredible confusion wrought by these and other conflicting reports was to have long-term effects. One of the first biographies on Kennedy to come out after the shooting, John F. Kennedy, by Urs Schwarz, was to extrapolate and embellish: "a shot. It was 12:30 p.m. C.S.T. and in a split second a thousand things happened. The President's body slumped to the left; his right leg shot up over the car door.  A woman close by at the curb saw it. "My God!" she screamed.  "He's shot!" Blood gushed from the President's head as it came to rest in Jackie's lap. "Jack!" she cried. "Oh, no! No!" John Connally turned--and by turning, probably saved his own life. There were two more shots, and a bullet pierced his back, plowed down through his chest, fractured his right wrist, and lodged in his left thigh." (This account, as you've probably noticed, not only had the shots impact in what even at that time was thought to be the wrong order, but had a woman bystander yelling out "My God!" and Jackie Kennedy yelling out "Oh, no! No!"--exclamations later attributed to Governor Connally.)

And that's but one example. Another rush release, JFK: A Complete Biography 1917-1963, by William H. A. Carr, was to report "As the Presidential limousine slowed to make a left turn on to Commerce Street at the Triple Underpass, a well-known Dallas landmark, the Governor's wife, Nellie Connally, turned and said laughingly to the President 'You can't say that Dallas isn't friendly to you today.' Just then there was a crack of a rifle shot. Jack Kennedy, who had opened his mouth to answer Mrs. Connally, said 'Oh!' and lifted his right hand to his throat, where a bullet, traveling an almost vertical course, had smashed through the skin just above his necktie, tearing its way down through his chest. Jackie, puzzled by her husband's guttural sound, but unaware that he had been shot, leaned over to him, her face reflecting her concern. Governor Connally turned around to see what was wrong. At that instant, another shot split the air. The bullet struck Connally in the back, ripped through his chest, emerged to break his wrist, and finally lodged in his thigh. Utterly bewildered by the sounds, the driver had slowed his car again now, after making the turn. Then the third and last shot rang out. This slug hit the back of the President's head. In the words of patrolman James M. Chaney, who was on a motorcycle six feet away, 'his head exploded in blood.'" (This account, as you've probably noticed, was wrong or at odds with the currently accepted story on just about every fact: it had the shooting taking place on the wrong street; it had the shooting occur while Mrs. Connally was still talking to President Kennedy, instead of moments after; it had the first bullet hit Kennedy's neck  from the front and head into his chest; and it had this bullet enter above his necktie.)

The extent of the media's confusion, moreover, is probably best reflected by the fact that Facts on File, the most trusted source book for newspaper stories, summarized the shooting in its 1963 edition as follows: "Three shots were fired as the President's car approached an underpass...the first two bullets hit the President, who was sitting with Mrs. Kennedy in the rear seat, and he fell face down in the seat. The third bullet hit Governor Connally, who was sharing the jump seat with his wife...The bullet tore through Connally's back, smashed three ribs, punctured his lung, broke his wrist, and penetrated his left thigh."  When the Warren Commission report came out some months later, of course, it offered that Connally was hit by one of the first two bullets, and that only one rib had been smashed. 

(The confusion over the wounds and shot sequence, even among historians, unfortunately, continues. In 1998, Anna K. Nelson, an historian working for the Assassination Records Review Board, wrote a chapter on her work for a book entitled ""A Culture of Secrecy – The Government Versus the People's Right to Know." Amazingly, however, she revealed that some of those in the position to know just can't be bothered. When discussing the Warren Commission's conclusions, she wrote "Three shots had been fired; one hit the president but did not kill him, one went astray, and the third killed Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally of Texas..." Yikes. The Warren Commission, of course, concluded that the first bullet to strike Kennedy wounded Connally, and not the last. Still, her display of ignorance was destined to be outdone. The year 2006 saw the publication of LBJ: Architect of American Ambition by Randall B. Woods, a history professor from the University of Arkansas. This was a 1,000 page effort published by Free Press, a division of Simon and Schuster. Amazingly, Woods reported: "As the motorcade turned onto Elm Street, a shot rang out. Connally remembered being covered with a fine mist of blood and tissue. The president's head had been partially blown off. The second shot hit Connally in the back, passed through his body, through his hand, and into his thigh. A third shot rang out, but by that time pandemonium had broken loose." Woods, amazingly, had not only presented the fatal head shot as the first shot, but had completely failed to account for Kennedy's back wound and throat wound.)

But I digress. Back in 1963, on the night of the 28th, President Johnson addressed the nation. Once again, he wrapped himself in the flag and asked the country to "banish rancor from our words and malice from our hearts--to close down the poison springs of hatred and intolerance and fanaticism." He closed his brief address with an appeal for his fellow Americans to "remember your country and remember me each day in your prayers."  

He didn't bother to tell the nation what they undoubtedly would like to have known: that a British journalist, John Wilson, had contacted the American embassy in London on the 26th to tell them that he'd been imprisoned by Cuban President Fidel Castro in 1959, and that while he was in prison he got to know a gangster named Santos (almost certainly Santos Trafficante, who was imprisoned at the time), and that Trafficante was regularly visited by a gangster type named Ruby. Yep, gulp, a credible source came forward within days of Oswald's murder to tell the American government that, oh yeah, by the way, Jack Ruby, Oswald's killer, was not a mere nightclub owner and friend of the Dallas Police, but a one-time associate of Santos Trafficante, the mafia's head honcho in Florida, and a man closely associated with two forces wanting Kennedy dead: the organized crime figures who'd backed Kennedy in the 1960 election only to be targeted by Kennedy's justice department, and the anti-Castro Cuban leaders who felt betrayed by Kennedy at the Bay of Pigs, who were subsequently denied a second shot at over-throwing Castro after Kennedy cut a deal with Khruschev. 





11-29

Now, a look at Lyndon Johnson's diary for the next day, 11-29-63, proves equally intriguing. It notes that an "official picture" was taken between 9:45 and 10:10, that Johnson then met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 10:10 to 11:10, and that he then met Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, CIA Director John McCone, and National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy from 11:15 to 11:30, that he then called Congressman Hale Boggs and Senator Everett Dirksen at 11:30 and 11:40, respectively, and that McNamara, McCone and Bundy left at 11:45. 

Now here is a photo of Johnson with three of those who'd attended this meeting. The fourth, Maxwell Taylor, was in the previous meeting. As this was the only day I've found on Johnson's schedule in which these four men were simultaneously at the White House, and as this was a day on which "official pictures" were taken, it seems probable this photo was taken on this day, 11-29-63.

Above: From L to R: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Maxwell Taylor, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, President Lyndon Johnson, and the odd man out still looking for a chair-- CIA Director John McCone. 

So why is this illuminating? Well, look at the topic of conversation provided for this meeting on LBJ's Daily Diary... 

While Johnson did discuss creating a high-level commission with Mansfield, it seems clear he discussed this as well with his national security team. He most certainly didn't call these busy busy men into his office to discuss "Mrs. Kennedy's budget"--a topic of conversation provided for a later call with Lawrence O'Brien. 

So, yes, it seems clear, then, that Johnson discussed the creation of the Warren Commission with these men, and that this was the de facto birth of the Warren Commission. 

Now look again at the "official" photo. A couple of things catch my eye... For one, it appears to be a staged photo, that is, not one taken while these men were actually discussing anything of importance. For two, it seems designed to show all those viewing this photo that these men--physical representatives of the State Department, military, and CIA (the three faces of American influence and power-- negotiation, brute force, and clandestine activity) are all under the control of one man, Lyndon Johnson. 

Well, as propaganda posters go, this one was fairly well drawn, if not the least bit subtle...

Now, here's this same pose captured from another angle.


Just kidding. That's a Chinese propaganda poster showing Chairman Mao speaking to his subjects. Note how comfortable he is as the object of their attention--as their leader. Note how enamored they are with his every word. The net effect, then, is that this guy is just fabulous. Now, in 1963 the United States was in a war of silence against the Chinese communists. It spied on them at the same time it pretended they didn't exist. Well, the U.S. would never use the brainwashing techniques employed by communists, would it? I mean the U.S.A. was better than that, right? It would never spend government time and resources taking and disseminating photographs designed to make its military leaders and top spies look like members of the president's personal fan club. Yeah? Right? 

Yeah, right. Here's the Johnson pose above captured from another angle.

Yep, there's no doubt about it. With the posing of these photos, and the creation of  his "high-level commission," Johnson was trying on his big-boy dictator pants. Just as some suffer from penis-envy, some suffer from dic...tator envy. I mean, just look at these photos... They show Johnson not just in charge, but pretty much worshipped by his subordinates. 

Later that day, at 1:15 P.M., Johnson called his closest adviser, future Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, to discuss the make-up of his newly decided-upon high-level commission charged with investigating the assassination of his predecessor. Building upon earlier discussions, Fortas suggested that they create a seven man commission, chaired by the Chief Justice, with two from the Senate, two from congress, one (Allen Dulles) from the intelligence community, and a general from the military. Johnson then decided that having businessman John McCloy on the commission would be better than having a general. Johnson then picked Senators Russell from Georgia and Cooper from Kentucky as his senators. As to his congressmen, Johnson said "I would think Jerry Ford would be good from the Republicans," and Fortas agreed. When Fortas' suggested Hale Boggs from the Democrats, Johnson complained that Boggs was "talking all the God-damned time." Even so, when, after some discussion, Fortas offered "I wonder if we aren't stuck with Hale," Johnson agreed.  Johnson then dismissed that any of these men should even be consulted beforehand, declaring "I think we oughta order 'em to do it, and then let 'em bellyache." Bing. Bang. Boom. Just like that, Johnson had picked the men charged with investigating, among other things, his own involvement in the assassination. By including the Chief Justice, he had dampened the possibility anyone from the Judicial branch would complain. By including members of both the Senate and the House, he had dampened the possibility anyone from the Legislative branch would complain. 



Above: President Johnson (R) respects the personal space of his closest confidant and advisor, future Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas (L). 

Johnson then called Hoover to tell him that he'd made a decision, and that he was creating a Presidential Commission to review the FBI's report on the assassination. An unhappy Hoover warned him "It'd be a three-ring circus." Johnson then asked Hoover about 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, Johnson finally got around to asking Hoover if Ruby knew Oswald. Amazingly, Hoover told him they were still investigating! Johnson then asked how many shots were fired and if any of them were fired at him personally. For his part, Hoover told Johnson the FBI would wrap up the case by the following Monday. He then shared 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 fell from the head), 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 had no grasp of what happened the week before. And yet they had decided to tell everyone that whatever it was that happened Oswald was somehow solely responsible. 

Even more surprising than their overall lack of knowledge, however, is Johnson and Hoover's use of the word "they" when describing the assassin during this phone call. Johnson asked "Was they aimin' at the President?" to which Hoover responded "They were aiming directly at the President." Then, after Hoover explained that the rifle tests indicated that one man could have gotten off all the shots, Johnson let his views on this be known. He responded "How'd it happen they hit Connally...?" While the "they" in this particular statement might be a reference to the bullets, the tape-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 conclusions of the Warren Commission, and suspected a foreign involvement in the assassination. That Governor Connally privately shared Johnson's conviction there was a "they" has been confirmed, furthermore, by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who in a 1998 interview with Jim Douglass quoted Connally as swearing "They were trying to hit me. Don't tell me they weren't trying to hit me." 

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 commission that would investigate the assassination. Beyond manipulating Warren with his assertions that a war could result from the "wrong sort" of investigation, Johnson told Warren that the other men on the commission, including Senator Richard Russell, had all agreed to serve if Warren chaired the commission. This was a lie. 

Johnson then called Speaker of the House John McCormack. He told him, in his crude yet effective manner, that with his presidential commission set to investigate the assassination, he couldn't have a congressional committee conducting its own investigation, and using the investigation for political purposes, blaming it on Khruschev and whipping up a red scare. He then instructed McCormack to "take care of the House of Representatives for me," which momentarily confused McCormack, and led to his asking "How am I going to take care of them?" Johnson then ordered, as if speaking to a servant (as opposed to the leader of the legislative branch of government), "Just keep them from investigating!"

Above: President Johnson (L) respects the personal space of his one-time mentor, and subsequent "man" on the Warren Commission, Senator Richard Russell. Thomas Jefferson is not amused.

Later that evening, Johnson called Senator Richard Russell and ordered him to serve on his presidential commission--a commission on which his membership had already been announced. Russell, who'd spoken to Johnson earlier that day and told him he would not serve on his commission, reinforced this point and stressed that he refused to serve on any commission chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren. Johnson then bullied Russell by telling him "You're damn sure gonna be at my command...You're gonna be at my command long as I'm here." He then cut Russell off by simultaneously playing to Russell's vanity, and bragging about his own new-found power. 

LBJNow you just get ready to do this and you're my man on there, and period. 

RR: Well if you hadn't announced it, I would absolutely be-- 

LBJ: No, you wouldn't. No, you wouldn't. 

RR: Yes, I would. Yes I would. 

LBJ: I told Warren, Warren told me he wouldn't do it under any circumstances--didn't think the Supreme Court Justice ought to go on it. He wouldn't have any thing to do with it. He said a man that criticized this fellow that went on the Nuremberg trial, Jackson, he told me what he thought about Goldberg. He thought he was terrible [unintelligible] and I said let me read you one report. And I just picked up one report and read it to him. And I said okay, now, forty million Americans are involved here. 

RR: I may be wholly wrong, but I think Mr. Warren would serve on anything you'd give him any publicity on. 

LBJ: Well you want me to tell you the truth? You know what happened? Bobby and them went up to see him today and he turned them down cold and said "no." Two hours later I called him and ordered him down here and he didn't want to come. I insisted he come, he came down here and told me no twice and I just pulled out what Hoover told me about a little incident in Mexico City and I say now, 'I don't want Mr. Khrushchev to be told tomorrow and be testifying before a camera that he killed this fellow and that Castro killed him and all I want you to do is look at the facts and bring in other facts you want in here, and determined who killed the President and I think you'd put on your uniform of World War I, fat as you are, and do anything you could to save one American life. And I'm surprised that you the Chief Justice of the United States would turn me down.' And he started crying and said, well I won't turn you down. I'll just do whatever you say, but he turned the Attorney General down. 

RR: Well, you ought not to be so persuasive. 

LBJ: Well, I think I ought to. 

RR: I think you did wrong in getting Warren and I know damned well you did wrong getting me but I hope to do the best we can. 

LBJ: I think that's what you'll do. That's the kind of Americans both of you are. Goodnight. 

And so Johnson had his commission of distinguished Americans... He got what he wanted...and he got it, as he had so many times before in his long political life, by lying through his teeth. As discussed at the outset of our story, he won Warren over with an appeal to domestic tranquility. The bit about Khruschev and Castro was secondary. I mean, think about it. He wasn't about to tell Russell that he'd placed Warren on the Commission so that those suspecting Kennedy'd been killed by southern racists--Russell's supporters, who were looking to him to help fight off the Civil Rights movement--would be mollified when the Commission came down and said Oswald had acted alone. And he wasn't about to tell Russell that he was being used in a similar manner--that he wanted Russell on the Commission to clear the communists. 

There's yet another lie that's worth noting in light of future developments. Johnson lied to Russell when he said Warren had turned down Robert Kennedy. It wasn't Kennedy but Kennedy's assistant Katzenbach--acting at Johnson's request--who'd tried to rope Warren on to the Commission. Well, Johnson's lying about this formed the template of his future lies--that the creation of the Commission--and its blaming it all on the Oswald--was the brainstorm of Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy, not po' lil' innocent Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Earlier that day, Johnson called House majority leader Carl Albert and told him of his plans. When Albert voiced Speaker of the House McCormack's concern that it would be unwise to have anyone from the Supreme Court on the commission--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 hand-picked by Johnson, and was expected to find no international conspiracy, and not even investigate a domestic conspiracy, is made clear by Johnson's conversations on this date, only a week after the assassination.

While one might think the passage of this week would lead to more accurate articles in the press, moreover, this sadly wasn't true. An article on How the President Was Shot in the 12-9-63 issue of U.S. News and World Report, which is reported to have went to press on 11-29, offers that "Oswald's gun, a 6.5 mm Carcano Italian carbine, had its telescopic sight aligned for the distance from which the sniper fired at the presidential car--about 250 feet. This meant the gun had presumably been 'zeroed in'--test fired several times from the distance the sniper intended to fire fromwith crosshairs on the gunsight adjusted accordingly. This, in turn, indicated that the sniper had made careful calculations of the distance between his vantage point in a storage-building window and the parade route." 

Well, this was the worst kind of nonsense. In their study of Oswald's rifle the FBI had found no evidence the telescopic sight on Oswald's rifle had ever been zeroed-in, let alone zeroed-in for the distance in question. This article, then, was undeniably unfair to Oswald. But it quickly changed course. The article continued: "The sniper, too, almost certainly had carried out target practice to check his calculations. He had been out of the Marine Corps for four years. Without practice he might have been rusty."  Well, oops. The FBI would ultimately find no credible evidence Oswald had practiced with his rifle in the weeks before the shooting.

The 11-29 Chicago Daily News runs a similar article regarding the evidence against Oswald. This article sizzles in its bias. The assassination is now "the crime of the century--so monstrous as to paralyze humanity." Oswald is no longer the "prime suspect" for this crime, moreover, or even a "presumed assassin." No, he has now become, officially--because it's in the papers--"a hate-filled sniper" and"lunatic." This change in tone is really not that surprising. What is surprising, however, is that the evidence against Oswald as recounted by Dallas DA Wade is getting less accurate, not more. Among other things, the article claimed that Wade had "outlined" the following items of evidence: 

  • "A Federal crime laboratory in Washington found Oswald's fingerprints on the rifle used to murder the President." (While this is presumably a reference to a palm print lift IDed as Oswald's on the 29th, it seems strange that the writers of the article would be inaccurate on two key points: 1, that it was fingerprints, as opposed to a single palm print; 2, that it was found by a Federal Crime Laboratory, as opposed to the Dallas Police Department. This suggests that perhaps just perhaps Wade was avoiding the embarrassing fact that the FBI had found no trace of this print on the rifle on the morning of the 23rd, and the even more embarrassing explanation that it had been completely lifted from the rifle by Dallas Police Lt. J.C. Day on the evening of the 22nd, and that he'd failed to take pictures of it before performing the lift, and failed to tell the FBI about it afterward.) 
  • "His fingerprints also were found on two cases of books on which the assassin is believed to have propped the rifle. Wade did not indicate which laboratory made the identification." (This was also inaccurate. Oswald's prints were purported to have been found on only one box believed to have propped up the rifle. They were found on another box, but it was the box on which he was believed to have been sitting.) 
  • "A palm print matching Oswald's was found on one of the boxes. Paraffin tests of Oswald's hands showed he recently had fired a gun. These findings were made by the Dallas city-county crime laboratory." (This was also misleading. The paraffin tests for Oswald's hands were positive, which was consistent with his having fired a gun, but not proof he had fired a gun. As Wade was "outlining" the evidence Oswald shot Kennedy, moreover, it seems a wee bit suspicious that he failed to mention that the test for Oswald's cheek, which would have been consistent with his having fired a rifle, was negative.) 
  • "A neighbor who drove Oswald to work on the day of the assassination said the young man carried a long, wrapped package. Oswald said these contained window shades, according to this account. The police believe it was the death rifle." (This avoided that this "neighbor," Buell Wesley Frazier, described a package much too small to hold the rifle.)
  • "An elevator operator said Oswald carried the package to the deserted fifth floor storeroom from which the shots were fired." (This, as far as can be determined, was made up from whole cloth. No one saw Oswald with the package in the building. And besides, the shots were fired from the sixth floor.) 
  • "Oswald's handwriting, according to the FBI, is on an order for the rifle received by a Chicago firearms firm." (This was accurate, but avoids the strange circumstance that the rifle found in the depository was a different model than the one Oswald ordered.) 
  • "Police have obtained a photo of Oswald holding a rifle that appears to be the same weapon." (This was accurate, but incomplete. They'd actually obtained three such photos, and had made multiple copies of these photos, to be passed out as souvenirs.) 
  • "His blonde wife, Marina, told police she had seen Oswald's rifle at their suburban Irving home the day before the slaying. Police could not find it when they searched the home afterward." (This was also misleading. Marina told police she'd seen the green blanket which at one time held the rifle, and not the rifle itself. As she discovered when the police came out to see her, however, this blanket was just a shell. As a result, neither she nor anyone else could say when the rifle had last been in the blanket. It could have been taken from the unlocked garage days or even weeks before the assassination.) 
  • "Police say that cloth fibers attached to the rifle butt match clothing worn by Oswald on the fatal day." (This is intriguing for two reasons. The cloth fibers were purported to have been overlooked by the Dallas police, and only discovered by the FBI crime lab in Washington. Were they now trying to make it appear they'd found the fibers? The second reason is far more compelling: the "police" claim Oswald wore the matching clothing on the fatal day, but it does not say he was wearing this clothing at the time of the shooting. This was for good reason; Oswald claimed he'd changed his shirt after leaving work, and, by the time of this article, not one witness had identified the shirt he was wearing when arrested, whose fibers matched those found on the rifle, as the shirt he'd worn to work, and was wearing at the time of the shooting.)
  • "There are witnesses, still unidentified, to corroborate other parts of the story. Some say they saw Oswald leave the warehouse after the shooting. A woman says she remembers him boarding the bus. Three say they saw him shoot officer Tippit." (This last statement was inaccurate. While a number of witnesses identified Oswald as the man they saw fleeing the scene of the shooting, only one witness, Helen Markham, said she saw the actual shooting, and identified Oswald as the man pulling the trigger.)



  

The Fingerprints of Incompetence

On 11-29, we see a lab report that helps us relax...for a minute. A report by the FBI's Latent Fingerprint Section informs "One latent palm print on a piece of cardboard...taken from a carton from the room in which the shots were fired was identified as the right palm print of Oswald. One latent fingerprint and one latent palm print developed on the cardboard box marked 'A' from the same room have been identified as the fingerprint and palm print of Oswald." (FBI file 105-82555 sec 12, p 172). We find out the first box was the box supposedly used as a seat by the shooter, and that box "A" was the box supposedly used as a gun rest by the shooter. 

We become aware of a problem, however. The photos of the prints on box "A" show a whole mess of prints. And only two of these are Oswald's. We talk to Latent Fingerprint Section head Sebastian Latona and he admits that there are in fact 11 unidentified prints on box "A", 13 unidentified prints on boxes "B" and "C" (which were stacked below "A" by the window), and 2 unidentified prints on box "D", the presumed seat of the shooter. We wonder whose prints these are. We recall the 11-23 statements of James Worrell, who claimed he saw someone other than Oswald run out the back of the depository after the shots. Perhaps, we think, Oswald had an accomplice. We recall the bureau's guidebook, The Science of Fingerprints, which reads:

"Following the location of any latent prints at the scene of a crime, the prints of all persons whose presence at the place under inspection has been for legitimate purposes must be excluded from further attention. It is advisable, therefore, during the initial stages of an investigation where latent prints are found, to secure the inked prints of all members of the household, the employees, and any police or other officials who may have touched the objects on which the latent impressions were found. Inked prints taken for this purpose are referred to as elimination prints."

We then ask Latona if he is gonna follow standard procedure and have elimination prints made of the depository employees and Dallas police, and anyone else who may have innocently handled the boxes. Silence.

On 11-29-63 we see a Secret Service report on an 11-28 interview of Linnie Mae Randle. Although the FBI's 11-2report on an 11-22 interview with Randle reflects that she initially believed the bag Oswald took to work on the 22nd was approximately 3 feet long (long enough to have carried the rifle), thisnew report quotes her directly, and suggesteither that the first report was inaccurate or that she'd had a talk with her brother Buell Frazier about the length of the bag he said was about two feet long, and had decided to agree with him. The report quotes her as saying "At about 7:10 A.M., Friday, November 22, 1963, Oswald came by my house. I glanced through the window of the kitchen-dining area and saw him walking across the street, and coming up the driveway. He was carrying a package. It was wrapped in brown paper. The package seemed to be about 2 feet or over in length. It seemed to have some weight to it from the manner in which he, Oswald, was carrying it." (CD 87, p. 186).

We wonder as to why Randle was re-interviewed but not her brother. We then see an FBI memo to file from Dallas SAIC Shanklin regarding a phone call he had with Inspector James Handley this morning. (This memo can be found in the Weisberg Archives.) Shanklin writes "Bureau is going to fly the brown paper sack back to Dallas. Have one of the agents take it out and have him (Note: he must mean Frazier) identify it as the same paper that he (Note: he must mean Oswald) carried out that morning."

We then find out that Frazier has just today been re-interviewed by FBI agent James Anderton, and that his memorandum has just been placed in the files of the FBI's Dallas office. (Strangely, this memorandum was never sent to headquarters, and was never added to the bureau's assassination file. So how do we know about it, then? Well, it was uncovered in a lawsuit by Harold Weisberg, and can be found in his online archives.) 

The memo details that Frazier "recalls that on the morning of November 22, when Oswald rode to work in his car, he had something in a brown paper sack, the kind you would obtain in a dime store, specifically that the paper in the sack was of a flimsy, thin consistency. Frazier stated that he could not observe the sack very well since Oswald threw it in the back seat of his car, and upon arriving ...
at work Oswald carried the package in a vertical position under his right arm, appearing to be holding the end of whatever was in the sack, which he recalled was about two feet in length. Mr. Frazier was questioned as to the ends of the sack and if two sacks had been placed together, but he could recall only seeing one sack described above." 

Anderton's memo then enters virgin territory: "Mr. Frazier stated that between 11:00 PM and midnight, November 22, 1963, he was in the polygraph room of the Dallas Police Department and before taking the polygraph examination a police officer, name unknown to him, brought in a large paper sack, approximately three to four feet in length and the type a grocery store receives their five-pound bags of sugar in, specifically that the paper in the sack was very thick and stiff. He stated that this sack shown to him appeared to actually have been made by someone cutting down a larger sack. He said he told the police officer that this sack had never been seen by him before. He also said that this sack was definitely not the one he had observed in possession of Oswald the morning of November 22, 1963."

Uh-oh. That sounds pretty definitive. Frazier has drawn a line---the bag shown Frazier was not the bag he saw in Oswald's possession. Period. Now, this is a problem for a couple of reasons. One is that it leaves us at a loss as to how Oswald got the rifle into the building. Second is that the FBI has already determined that Oswald's prints were on the bag sent the FBI. Well, if he didn't carry the bag into the building, how did his prints get on the bag? Was the paper comprising the bag sent the FBI taken from some other source--perhaps some paper Oswald had touched at work, or while in police custody? Or were the prints simply misidentified?

The Dallas Police have come up with their own explanation. Another 11-29-63 memo from Anderton (similarly not sent to Washington, and similarly found in the Weisberg Archives) reveals: ""Lt. Carl Day, Dallas PD Crime Lab, advised that on 11/22/63, he recovered a heavy brown sack appearing to be homemade and appearing to have been folded together at one time. This sack when laid out was about four feet long but when doubled was about two feet long. Lt. Day recalls that on evening of 11/22/63, about 11:30 p.m., one of Captain Fritz's officers requested that he show this thick, brown sack to a man named Frazier. Lt. Day said that Frazier was unable to identify this sack and told him that a sack he observed in possession of Oswald early that morning was definitely a thin, flimsy sack like one purchased in a dime store. Lt. Day stated that he and other officers have surmised that Oswald by dismantling the rifle could have placed it in the thick, brown sack folded over and then placed the entire package in the flimsy paper sack." Anderton then adds: "however, the entire package would have been longer than two feet since the stock of the rifle alone was over two feet."

Curiously, considering Anderton's memo on Frazier was not relayed to headquarters, we discover that the content of Anderton's memo on Day has been immediately relayed to headquarters.

Yes, an 11-29 memo from Inspector J.L. Handley in Dallas to Assistant Director Alex Rosen in Washington relates: "Lieutenant Carl Day, Dallas, Texas, Police Department Crime Laboratory, advised that on November 22, 1963, he recovered a heavy brown sack appearing to be homemade and appearing to have been folded together at one time. This sack when laid out was about four feet long but when doubled was about two feet long. Lt. Day recalls that on the evening of 11-22-63, about 11:30 p.m., one of Capt. Fritz's officers requested that he show this thick, brown sack to a man named Frazier. Lt. Day stated that Frazier was unable to identify this sack and told him that a sack he observed in possession of Oswald early that morning was definitely a thin flimsy sack like one purchased in a dime store. Lt. Day stated that he and other officers have surmised that Oswald by dismantling the rifle could have placed it in the thick, brown sack folded over and then placed the entire package in the flimsy paper sack." This memo then notes: "however, the entire package would have been longer than two feet since the stock of the rifle alone was over two feet." (FBI assassination file 62-109060 section.14 page 123-125) 

Hmmm. This shows us that the Dallas police are, at least at this point, ready to accept that the bag found in the sniper's nest was not the bag seen by Frazier or Randle. This in itself is intriguing. Maybe they know something we don't. Such as that the bag--which they did not photograph on the 22nd--was not found in the building at all, but taped together by detectives after they found out Oswald had carried a bag to work that morning...

Something very strange is going on. The next day, we see an 11-30-63 report by Vincent Drain on an interview purportedly conducted with Lt. Day, purportedly the day before, the very day Anderton spoke to Day. 

"Lt. Carl Day, Dallas Police Department, stated he found the brown paper bag shaped like a gun case near the scene of the shooting on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building. He stated the manager, Mr. Truly, saw this bag at the time it was taken into possession by Lt. Day. Truly, according to Day, had not seen this bag before. No one else viewed it. Truly furnished similar brown paper from the roll that was used in packing books by the Texas School Book Depository. This paper was examined by the FBI Laboratory and found not to be identical with the paper gun case found at the scene of the shooting. The Dallas Police have not exhibited this to anyone else. It was immediately locked up by Day, kept in his possession until it was turned over to FBI agent Drain for transmittal to the Laboratory. It was examined by the Laboratory, returned to the Dallas Police Department November 24, 1963, locked up in the Crime Laboratory. This bag was returned to Agent Drain on November 26, 1963, and taken back to the FBI Laboratory.

Lt. Day stated no one has identified this bag to the Dallas Police Department." (CD5, p129).

To our surprise, this report on Drain's interview with Lt. Day from 11-29-63 directly contradicts the previous day's memo on Anderton's 11-29-63 phone call with Lt. Day. It appears that Drain is lying. But why?

The thought occurs that a decision has been made to claim the paper bag was used by Oswald to smuggle the rifle into the building, no matter what Frazier says, and that Drain (and/or Drain's superiors) are attempting to hide that Frazier viewed the bag on the night of the shooting, and insisted it was not the bag he saw in Oswald's possession. 

(The FBI would later recognize a mistake in this report and submit a re-written version of this report to both their files and the Warren Commission's files. This mistake was not that the bag was not shown to anyone else, however, but that the "similar brown paper" taken from the depository didn't match the "paper gun case." In 1980, after this switcheroo was discovered by researcher J. Gary Shaw, and discussed in an article by Jack White, for that matter, Dallas newsman Earl Golz contacted Vincent Drain and asked for his response. Author Henry Hurt did so as well. Although Drain acknowledged approving and initialing the second "corrected" version of this report, he told both Golz and Hurt that he was shocked and surprised by the mistake in the original report, and that this report was a "fake" that he had not approved or initialed. Although, unsurprisingly, the FBI maintained that Drain was responsible for the mistake, his claim the original report was a "fake" has some unexpected support. From J. Edgar Hoover, of all people. Although more than a dozen FBI agents, including Drain, received reprimands from the FBI for supposed mistakes regarding Oswald and the assassination, Drain was not reprimanded for writing an incorrect report that, much to the embarrassment of the Bureau, had to be withdrawn and replaced in the files of the Warren Commission. This is hard to fathom, should Drain have truly been responsible.) 

An 11-30-63 FBI memo (found in the Weisberg Archives) adds fuel to this fire. It reveals that the FBI is not quite as willing to let go of this seemingly valuable piece of evidence as the Dallas Police. As a response to Inspector Handley's request from the day before, the bag has been flown to Dallas, accompanied by SA Gibbon McNeely. 

And this even though the FBI knows Frazier has already been shown the bag, and has already stated he feels certain it was not the bag he saw in Oswald's possession on the 22nd... 

What on Earth is going on?


On 11-30, yet another strange article was published. This article, by Richard Dudman for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, did what earlier articles should have done, and presented a laundry list of unanswered questions. It presented some quotes from Parkland doctor Robert McClelland, confirming that the Parkland doctors thought Kennedy's throat wound was an entrance wound. It then related "He said the doctors afterward tried to explain how the shot in the neck could have been fired from the book warehouse. 'We postulated that if it was a wound of entry, as we thought it was, the President might have been turned in such a way that it could hit him there,' he said. 'He would have had to have been looking almost completely to the rear.'" Dudman then reported what other articles evaded: "The motion pictures, however, showed the President looking forward." 

Dudman then noted "Uncertainty surrounds the number of shots that were fired. Most witnesses have said they heard three, within a space of about five seconds. Investigators have accounted for them as the one that entered the President’s throat, a second that struck Gov. Conally, riding in the front seat, and a third that struck the back of the President’s head and caused extensive brain damage. The first bullet is said by the doctors in Dallas to have entered the throat, coursed downward and remained in the President’s body. The second was extracted from Gov. Connally’s thigh. It had lodged there after entering the right side of his back, passing through his body and through his wrist. A third, which may be the one that struck the back of Mr. Kennedy’s head, was recovered from the stretcher on which he was carried into the hospital. A fourth was found in fragments in the car. Still another bullet was found by Dallas police officers after the shooting. It was in the grass opposite the point where the President was hit. They did not know whether it had anything to do with the shooting of the President and Governor." 

Well, heck, that's five bullets. And yet Dudman ultimately concluded "If there were two snipers, and Mr. Kennedy’s car was caught in the crossfire, the rapid-fire shooting would be more easily explained. Tests have shown, however, that a single sniper, using the bolt-action Italian rifle with telescopic sight found in the warehouse, could have fired three shots easily in five seconds. One shell would have been in the chamber, so that the bolt would have had to be moved only twice. The weapon could have been rested on a box, so that it would not have been necessary to aim again for the subsequent shots." He was thereby telling his readers, hey, guess what, there's reason to suspect Oswald wasn't the only shooter...and no one is telling you about it. A pretty ballsy article, all in all. Especially when one considers that within the article Dudman revealed the source of his suspicions--his own observations... He wrote: "Another unexplained circumstance is a small hole in the windshield of the presidential limousine. This correspondent and one other man saw the hole, which resembled a bullet hole, as the automobile stood at the hospital emergency entrance while the President was being treated inside the building. The Secret Service kept possession of the automobile and flew it back to Washington. A spokesman for the agency rejected a request to inspect the vehicle here. He declined to discuss any hole there might be in the windshield." 

Well, that makes it clear as day. Dudman suspected a shot came from the front! 

No, actually, that's incorrect. He suspected TWO shots came from the front. At another point in the article, he wrote: "There have been two other reports of injury to the President’s head. One of the physicians who attended him in Dallas said afterward that he had noticed a small entry wound in the left temple. Another person, who saw the President’s body a ‘few minutes after he died,’ told the Post-Dispatch he thought he had observed a wound in the President’s forehead. He asked that his name not be used. Reports of the temple and forehead wounds could have referred to the same injury." 

The strangest thing about Dudman's article, however, was that it went unreported in the national news. Apparently, the Washington Press Corps thought one of their colleagues' claiming he saw a bullet hole in the President's limousine--and as much as admitting that this had led him to suspect that more than one sniper had fired on Kennedy--unworthy of the public's attention. 

Also on 11-30, CIA Director John McCone called Johnson to inform him that Gilberto Alvarado, the Nicaraguan intelligence agent who'd claimed he'd witnessed Oswald discussing Kennedy's assassination in the Cuban consulate in Mexico, had admitted he'd lied. Upon hearing this news, Johnson is reported to have laughed. Seeing as Hoover and Katzenbach had already agreed to tell the people Oswald had acted alone and had had no confederates, and seeing as Johnson had already pressured Warren into chairing a Commission whose findings would help avert a war with the Soviets, one might assume Johnson was relieved as well as amused. 

If he was relieved, however, it was destined not to last. An 11-30 UPI article, found in the Hartford Courant, trumpeted "Accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald wrote at least part of a book intimating he went to Russia as a secret agent for the United States." This article, built around an interview with stenographer Pauline Bates, who'd worked briefly with Oswald on his never-finished book, proceeded to run through a laundry list of Oswald's complaints about the Russian way of life. Unstated but implicit in these complaints was that Oswald preferred the American way of life. This, of course, supported the possibility Oswald was what he'd hinted at: a U.S. intelligence operative. 





Not Exactly in the Bag

On 12-1-63 we read yet another report about the paper bag roadblock. The FBI still can't figure out how Oswald, or anyone, got the rifle used to kill Kennedy into the building. On 11-29, agent Vincent Drain followed up on agent Anderton's interview of Buell Frazier, in which Frazier mentioned that, oh yeah, he'd taken a lie detector test regarding his refusal to ID the bag. Drain talked to Dallas Police Captain Will Fritz, who confirmed that Frazier had told him on the day of the shooting that the bag he saw was "about two feet in length, and of brown paper." (CD7, p290). Drain then talked to Dallas Detective R.D. Lewis, who confirmed that Frazier, while being given a polygraph test, "was shown what appeared to be a homemade brown heavy paper gun case." Lewis stated further that "Frazier said that it was possible this was the case, but he did not think it resembled it. He stated that the crinkly brown paper sack that Oswald had when he rode to work with him that morning was about two feet long."Detective Lewis also told Drain "that if this was not identical to the sack that was turned over to the Bureau, it is possible that Oswald may have thrown it away." (CD7, p291). Apparently, Lewis believed Frazier. 

And that's fine. But how is it that Anderton interviewed Frazier and Day on the 29th and reported Frazier was shown the bag, and Drain interviewed Lewis on the 29th and reported Frazier was shown the bag, while at the same time Drain supposedly interviewed Day on the 29th, and reported no one saw the bag? 

Was Drain's report on his interview with Day a fabrication written by someone else, presumably one of his superiors? Did Drain even talk to Day? And, if not, was this phony report written to replace Anderton's report?

The widespread desire to close the case, particularly as it relates to the paper bag and its use by Oswald to bring the rifle into the building, however, is demonstrated by a 12-1 article in the Philadelphia Bulletin, datelined the day before, describing the events of 11-22. This article describes the morning's events as follows: "Oswald picked the blanket roll off the floor and put it on a white leather chair. He was busy with the bundle for perhaps ten minutes, police said. From it, they added, he took the bolt-action rifle which was used to kill the President. Police said he transferred the rifle from the roll to a brown paper bag." Later in the article, Buell Frazier, who gave Oswald a ride to work, further describes the bag: "As they drove off, Frazier said, he glanced to the back seat where he saw a paper-wrapped bundle. 'He said, yes, it was his--and he muttered something about curtain rods,' said Frazier. As a matter of fact, said Frazier, Oswald had told him the day before that he would be bringing some rods to exchange them for other rods he wanted for his room at Mrs. Johnson's. 'It didn't look to me as long as a rifle ought to be,' said Frazier. 'It seemed to me it should have been longer. If it was a rifle, he had taken it apart, to put it together in the warehouse." A few paragraphs later, the article returns to the bag one last time: "Frazier doesn't remember what Oswald did with the paper-wrapped bundle. 'I just lost track of it,' he said, although I guess he took it out of the car because I didn't see it again." 

Well, this is quite puzzling, Frazier has signed a statement saying he saw Oswald remove the package from the car, and carry it into the building, and now he says he "guesses" Oswald took it out of the car? Someone's playing games. Either Frazier is lying to the press, for no apparent reason, or the writer of this article is twisting his words to hide that he got a good look at the bag and felt quite sure the "paper-wrapped bundle" was much smaller than a bag holding the rifle. That the article allows Frazier's assertion that the rifle had to have been broken down to fit inside the bag, sack, or bundle, but fails to tell its readers that the bag described by Frazier was a foot shorter than the rifle, even when the rifle was broken down, and that Frazier had refused to ID the bag found near the sniper's nest as the bag he saw in Oswald's possession, suggests that the writers and their sources in the Dallas Police were more concerned with telling a seamless tale than in getting at the truth. 

The New York Times, in an article published the day before, was even worse. The Times avoided the problems with the bag by reporting: "Mr. Frazier noticed that Oswald put a long package wrapped in brown paper sacks into the back seat, saying it was curtain rods. Evidence showed he had removed it from the Paine garage, where he had kept it with his other belongings wrapped in a blanket. Only the blanket was there when the police came to check. Mr. Frazier said Oswald carried the long package into the depository building and that was the last he saw of him before the assassination." This, disturbingly, not only avoids the sticky issue that the "long" package described by Frazier was not nearly long enough to have held the rifle, but completely misinforms its readers by asserting there was any evidence whatsoever that the "long package" had ever been in the garage. That the "long package" had been wrapped in the blanket sitting on the garage floor for almost two months, was either pure speculation, or deliberate misinformation. (The FBI had already tested the paper sack and had (reportedly) found it to match the paper sample taken from the roll in use at the depository on 11-22. They would soon determine that the depository changed rolls every few days, and that, accordingly, the sack or bag had most probably been created within 24 hours of the shooting.) 

On 12-2-63, we find out that Dallas FBI agents Odum and McNeely, desperate to get around the problem created by Frazier's refusal to ID the bag, have visited the school book depository, gathered up some paper and some tape, and created a replica sack to show those who knew Oswald. Significantly, the report on their actions of the day before tells us the paper was described as "60 pound paper, 24 inches wide" and that the tape was "gummed, brown paper tape, three inches wide, made on 60 pound paper stock." (CD7, p292). It also tells us that after creating the sack, they took it, along with the original sack, which had been stained by the FBI during testing, over to show Ruth Paine, at whose home Oswald had stayed the night before the shooting. She "advised that she does not recall seeing Lee Oswald in possession of any sack resembling either of these sacks, nor does she recall seeing him in possession of paper or tape of the type used on either of these sacks." (CD7, p293). 

Perhaps hoping he would change his mind, they then showed these sacks to Buell Frazier. In their 12-2 report, Odum and McNeeley re-tell Frazier's story. They write: "As he started to drive out of the yard, Frazier glanced back and noticed a long package, light brown in color, lying on the back of the rear seat and extending from approximately the right rear door to about the center of the seat...Frazier designated an approximate spot on the back seat where he felt the package extended to from the right rear door and measurement by Special Agents Bardwell D. Odum and Gibbon E. McNeeley determined that this spot was 27 inches from the inside of the right door, indicating that Frazier estimates that as the length of the package." They then recount Frazier's recollection of how Oswald carried the package into the building: "Oswald had this package under his right arm, one end of this package being under his armpit and the other end apparently held with his right fingers...Frazier stated that when he saw this package under the arm of Oswald, he reached the conclusion that the package was wrapped in a cheap, crinkly, thin paper sack, such as that provided by Five and Ten Cent Stores." They then describe showing Frazier the replica sack. Agent Odum held the sack under his arm, and they measured how much of the sack was visible to Frazier, when held under his arm. It was 9" by 1". According to Odum's report, Frazier then advised Odum "that he now realizes that his conclusion that the sack was thin, crinkly paper, of the type used in Five and Ten Cent stores, was based to a considerable extent upon the fact that the color of the sack was a very light brown as compared with the type of dark brown paper used for heavier grocery sacks. He noted that the color of the replica sack was the same color as the package which he had seen in possession of Oswald on the morning of November 22, 1963." Odum then shows Frazier the original sack. He writes: "Frazier examined the original found by the sixth floor window of the TSBD Building on November 22,1963, and stated that if that sack was originally the color of the replica sack, it could have been the sack or package which he saw in the possession of Oswald on the morning of November 22, 1963, but that he does not feel he is in a position to definitely state that this original is or is not the sack." This is incredibly disingenuous, and fails to note that Frazier was shown this sack, on the night of the shooting, before it had been discolored by the FBI's tests, and had refused to identify it as the sack or bag brought into work by Oswald. Odum then reports: "Frazier indicated on the replica sack the estimated width of the package in possession of Oswald on the morning of November 22, 1963, and this was found to be an approximate width of six inches." (CD7, 294-297).

They then showed the sack to Frazier's sister, Linnie Mae Randle. She also has her doubts about the sack. Odum reports: "Mrs. Randle states that at the time she saw Oswald walking across the street, he was carrying a long package wrapped in brown paper or a brown sack in his right hand. It appeared to contain something heavy. She stated that it was long but did not touch the ground as he walked across the street. She examined a replica of the sack...She stated that this was the same kind of paper that made up the sack or package that she saw Oswald carrying, and was the same heavy grade of paper, since she recalls noting that there was something heavy in the sack when she saw it, and it was the same color paper as the sack she had seen on the morning of November 22, 1963. She was shown the original paper sack...She stated that if the original sack was previously the same color as the replica sack, that the original sack could have been the one which she saw Oswald carrying on the morning of November 22, 1963...The action of Oswald walking across Westbrook Street was re-enacted by Special Agent McNeeley, carrying the replica sack...in accordance with Mrs. Randle's observations, Special Agent McNeeley grasped the top of the sack with his hand...When the proper length of the sack was reached according to Mrs. Randle's estimate, it was measured and found to be 27 inches long. She demonstrated the width of the sack as it appeared to her, noting that it did have something bulky in it originally. Her designation on the replica sack was found to be 8 1/2 inches for the width of the original package she had seen Oswald carrying." (CD7, p298-299). 

Now here, once again, Odum acts as though the recollection of the witness is consistent with the sack carried by Oswald being the sack found in the sniper's nest. This just isn't true. Two witnesses saw the sack. The FBI performed two tests to determine the length of the sack seen by the witnesses. They put the replica sack in Frazier's back seat. This confirmed for Frazier that the sack he saw was about 27 inches long. They then re-enacted Oswald walking across the street to get Randle's best estimate of the length of the sack. This led her to conclude the sack she saw was...27 inches long. We've seen some evidence photos. The sack photographed by the FBI is about 38 inches long, approximately 40% longer than the sack described by both Frazier and Randle. It also appears to have been slightly tapered from one end to the other--from about 8 1/2 inches wide at the open end to about 9 1/4 inches wide at the closed end, for an average of 8 7/8 inches wide. Frazier, of course, said the bag in Oswald's possession was about 6 inches wide. 

Time for math. 27 x 6 = 162 sq. inches. 38 x 8.875 = 337.25 sq. inches. This means the bag shown Frazier--assuming it was the bag sent on to the FBI--was more than twice as large as the bag he recalled seeing in Oswald's possession. 

It was also made from a thicker paper. No wonder he'd refused to ID the bag!









The FBI's 11-26-63 Report on its Obtaining the Negatives to the Dallas Police Photographs of the Trigger Guard Prints


Yes, we've already looked at this. But look again. It's right there. As late as the 26th, the Dallas Police were uncommitted about the nature of the trigger guard prints, and were unsure whether they were fingerprints or palm prints. 

Well, this explains how Wade could tell the press the print he'd been told about was a palm print. He told them that because that's what he'd been told. 

In any event, the negatives for the trigger guard photos weren't the only thing requested by the FBI on 11-26. They wanted everything. 

And they got more than everything. Included with the familiar bits of evidence already sent the FBI was a print purportedly lifted from the side and underside of the rifle barrel on the 22nd. 

Here, in a rarely-seen document uncovered by Archives spelunker Malcolm Blunt, is the FBI's receipt for both the negatives of the trigger-guard print, and what is presumably the lift of the barrel print. 


Well, heck, that's strange. Why did Vincent Drain think the prints in the photos were Oswald's? Was it just wishful thinking? And why was he less optimistic about the latent he'd received? And, while we're thinking of it, why was there no mention of this latent in the report on the three negatives Drain put into the record, that was subsequently published as CD5, p167? I mean, they were received at the same time, and presumably sent out at the same time. To be clear, both Drain's report and his receipt note that the three negatives of the trigger guard prints and the latent were sent to the Bureau on the 26th. 

That this amounted to special treatment, moreover, becomes obvious when one follows the bread crumbs. Let's first explain that the DPD's file on the case was entered into evidence by the Warren Commission as Commission Exhibit 2003. Well, within this file, on page 116 to be precise, one can find a list of the evidence provided the FBI on the 26th, which has been signed by Vincent Drain. This list, moreover, includes a "Partial palm print off underside gun barrel" and 3 "Negatives of partial prints found on trigger housing." Now, that's well and good. He received this evidence and sent it to the bureau on the 26th. Only he didn't, not all of it. Archives spelunker Malcolm Blunt was able to find within the archives an inventory list prepared by Agents Drain and DeBrueys on the 27th, that included everything on the first page of the list signed by Drain on the 26th...aside from the barrel lift and the negatives.


To be clear, Qs 6-13 on Drain's and DeBruey's list referred to, respectively, a cartridge case found by the window, a second cartridge case found by the window, the bullet ejected from the rifle, a fragment removed from Connally's wrist, the paper bag presumed to have held the rifle, the shirt Oswald was wearing when arrested, the blanket removed from the Paine's garage which Oswald's wife claimed had at one time held a rifle, and a bullet removed from Officer Tippit's body. And K1 and K3 referred to the rifle found in the building and the revolver found in Oswald's possession, respectively. Apparently, all of this remained behind on the 26th, and was shipped out the next day along with a few other items, including Q48, the third cartridge case found by the window, which was not provided FBI Agent James Hosty until 1 AM on the 27th. 

And, yeah, I know, it could be that Drain shipped the print and the negatives out late on the night of the 26th, and the rest of the stuff the next morning. But this seems doubtful. The University of North Texas website has scanned and placed online many of the DPD's documents, including the original of the inventory list signed by Drain, and published by the Warren Commission. Here is the signature section of this document.


Well, I'll be. Someone--presumably Lt. Day seeing as he's the only one to sign the list with a blue pen, has written "2 pm" beneath Drain's signature. It appears then that the items sent out on the 26th were sent out on the afternoon or evening of the 26th, and that the items sent out on the 27th (which were, after all, prepared for shipment by Drain and DeBrueys on the 27th) personally delivered by Drain and DeBrueys, perhaps 24 hours or more later.  
 
So why is this important, or, at the very least, intriguing? Here's why. The lift received by the FBI on the 26th was not found to be a match with Oswald's right palm print until the 29th--the same day the print on the cardboard torn from Box D, and the two prints discovered on Box A (which were not sent on to Washington until the 27th, let's remember) were determined to match Oswald's prints. Well, what caused this delay? The paper bag, let's recall, was flown from Dallas to Washington on the morning of the 23rd, was tested for prints using chemicals, and was identified as having Oswald's prints that very same day, within 18 hours or so of its coming into the FBI's possession, and 12 hours or so of its arrival in Washington. So why, with a print that had required no chemicals to become visible, and had already been lifted from the rifle, did it take the FBI 60 hours or more to come to a conclusion regarding the value of this print, that is, whether or not it matched one of Oswald's prints? 

This question has never been answered.

It is curious, moreover, that FBI fingerprint examiner Sebastian Latona testified that he received the stuff delivered by Drain on the 27th on the 27th, but that he knew nothing of the palm print shipped out on the 26th until the 29th. Here is his testimony.  

Mr. LATONA. This Box D, I received this along with Box A for purposes of examining for latent prints. 
Mr. EISENBERG. Was that examined by you or under your supervision for that purpose? 
Mr. LATONA. Yes, it was. 
Mr. EISENBERG. When was that received? 
Mr. LATONA. That was received on the 27th of November 1963. 
Mr. EISENBERG. Mr. Chairman, may I have this admitted as 648? 
Mr. DULLES. What date? 
Mr. LATONA. 27th. 

Mr. EISENBERG. When did you receive cartons 653 and 654? 
Mr. LATONA. I received cartons 653 and 654 November 27. 

Mr. EISENBERG. I now hand you a small white card marked with certain initials and with a date, "11-22-63." There is a cellophane wrapping, cellophane tape across this card with what appears to be a fingerprint underneath it, and the handwriting underneath that tape is "off underside of gun barrel near end of foregrip C 2766," which I might remark parenthetically is the serial number of Exhibit 139. I ask you whether you are familiar with this item which I hand you, this card? 
Mr. LATONA. Yes; I am familiar with this particular exhibit. 
Mr. EISENBERG. Can you describe to us what that exhibit consists of, that item rather? 
Mr. LATONA. This exhibit Or this item is a lift of a latent palmprint which was evidently developed with black powder. 
Mr. EISENBERG. And when did you receive this item? 
Mr. LATONA. I received this item November 29, 1963. 

Mr. DULLES. Do I understand then that if there is a lifting of this kind, that it may obliterate---- 
Mr. LATONA. Completely. 
Mr. DULLES. The original print? 
Mr. LATONA. That is right. 
Mr. EISENBERG. So that you personally, Mr. Latona, did not know anything about a print being on the rifle which was identifiable until you received, actually received the lift, Exhibit 637?
Mr. LATONA. On the 29th of November.
Mr. EISENBERG. Seven days after the assassination. And in the intervening period, correspondingly, the FBI had no such knowledge? 
Mr. LATONA. As far as I know. 

Well, how about that? Although Drain rushed over the lift and negatives on the 26th, Latona--the FBI's top fingerprint examiner--claimed he knew nothing about the lift prior to the 29th! This stinks to high heaven. Drain personally delivered boxes 648, 653 and 654 on the 27th, and Latona acknowledges receiving them on the 27th, and it only makes sense that Drain would have asked him about the print. 

So what happened? Why did Latona either 1) lie about the print, or 2) tell the truth about the print and reveal that the print supposedly lifted from the rifle was not sent directly to the FBI's fingerprint section, but somewhere else, where it remained for 2 1/2 days or so? Did Latona's superiors hide the print from him until they could decide what to do with it? We can only guess. 

Still, even so, it seems likely that the arrival of this print set off some alarm bells, and that the FBI either delayed declaring it a match until they'd had some time to think about it, or perhaps, just perhaps...decided it was not a match, but then caved to outside pressure.

Of course, one need not swallow this conjecture to doubt the print was a match. The Warren Commission's charts and photos supposedly showing this print to be a match are, once again, a bunch of black blobs. As a consequence, there is simply no way for a layman--or anyone outside a privileged few, who've studied the FBI's charts--to conclude this print matched Oswald's print. 

But that changed circa 2003, when researcher John Hunt was allowed to make a scan of the barrel lift in the archives...and wisely shared his scan with the research community. 

I present Hunt's scan below, on the left. On the right is Oswald's right palm print as found in the Warren Commission's volumes. 

And so I ask you, is this a 


                                             Match?




Or No Match?

I honestly don't know.The prints bare a strong resemblance, but there are clear differences between the two.

I'm not sure if this is related to the age of the lift when scanned by Hunt, or not. 

But one thing is clear. 

The central loop in the print on the barrel lift (CE 637) is not a clear match with the central loop in the FBI's photo of the palm print found on the paper bag (CE 632). 

They are placed side by side below, with the bag print on the left and the supposed rifle print on the right. Keep in mind that these are supposedly the identical loop from Oswald's right palm. (While both images are of low quality, they are taken from the best quality versions of these images available to the public.)


In any event, I suspect these images are of sufficient quality for someone who knows about this stuff to determine if they're a match. I currently suspect they are, but blow back and forth. If someone wishes to prove me wrong, or give us a strong reason to believe these prints are a match besides the usual fallback position ("Uhh, an expert once upon a time said so") then by all means please do. 

Still, let's continue our study of the history of the barrel print under the assumption it was a match. 

Let's return to 11-29-63. The FBI has just concluded the print they've been handed is a match for Oswald's right palm print.

As this print was the long-awaited print connecting the rifle to Oswald, one might assume the FBI would rejoice upon this discovery.. 

But, first, a question needed to be answered. Where did this print come from, and why hadn't the FBi been told of its existence on the 22nd, or anytime prior to the 26th? 

Here, then, are the reports and testimony in which Lt. Day attempted to answer this question, starting with an FBI memo on an 11-30 -63 interview with Day (found in the Weisberg Archives). 

The FBI's 11-30-63 Memo on Its 11-30-63 Interview of Lt. J.C. Day



While the basic substance of this memo is repeated in the report to follow, there are a couple of nuggets here that never made it to the report, and deserve our attention. One is that at this point Lt. Day claimed he took the trigger guard photos "about six-thirty" and a second is that he lifted the palm print "at approx. eight to eight thirty."

Lt. Day, of course, had control of this evidence until after 12:00. So why didn't he compare this palm print with Oswald's prints, and share the conclusions of his comparison with the FBI? As we've seen, he shared with them that he'd found a match between the print found on the cardboard and that he was trying to match up Oswald's prints to the prints found on the trigger guard. So why no mention of the print purportedly lifted from the rifle barrel?

There's also this....


This is a clear reference to a print Day never lifted or photographed, but that he nevertheless felt significant. 

Let's follow the bouncing ball until it disappears...

Here, then, is the official report on this initial interview.


The FBI's 12-2-63 Report on its 11-30-63 Interview of Lt. J.C. Day




Well, okay. This is interesting. When interviewed by FBI agent Bardwell Odum, Lt. Day acknowledged taking three photos of the left trigger guard. This supports our analysis of the photos published in First Day Evidence. He also claimed the palm print lifted from the barrel was completely concealed by the wooden stock, and that there were traces of another print "near the back end of the portion of the gun"that he never got a chance to photograph or lift. 

Should you find this all confusing, moreover, you're in good company as Capt. Fritz, apparently, had trouble keeping track of which print was which. 

As we've seen, the Dallas Police Archives, now available online on the University of North Texas website, contains a few surprises. Another one is presented below, with an arrow pointing out this particular surprise.

The Palm Print Purportedly Lifted from the Barrel as Presented in the Dallas Police Department's Evidence Book

Well, this proves that as of the creation of this evidence book (presumably late November or early December '63, after the sniper's nest boxes had been sent the FBI), Capt. Fritz thought the print found on the trigger guard was a palm print AND that the lift performed by Lt. Day and provided the FBI/Warren Commission was of this print. 

So yikes, he either failed to understand that this print was purported to have been lifted from the barrel OR added this passage into his book before it was decided the lift of Oswald's palm had come from the rifle barrel, and not the trigger guard.  

(FWIW, this page from the DPD's evidence book can be found in the Warren Commission's records, in CD 81, on p753, to be precise.)

So now let's jump forward to Lt. Day's 1-08-64 letter to Deputy Chief Lumpkin, which amounts to being his first and only report on his activities on 11-22-63. 


Lt. Day's 1-08-64 Letter to Deputy Chief Lumpkin 

"Lieutenant Day returned to the Identification Bureau about 7 :00 P.M. and started checking the rifle for prints. Two fingerprints were found on the side of the rifle near the trigger and magazine housing and a palm print was placed on the underside of the gun barrel near the end of the stock. It appeared probable these prints were of the right palm and fingers of Lea Harvey Oswald, but the rifle was released to the FBI to be sent to Washington, D. C. before the examination was completed and positive identification of the prints could be made. The prints were not very good for comparison purposes."(26H833-834)

Okie dokie. Lt. Day now seems to think he returned to the police station around 7:00. That's a wee bit surprising considering there are photos of him standing in front of a clock at the station on the evening of the shooting, and the clock reads 6:17. And that's not even to mention that he'd previously claimed the photos of the trigger guard taken at the station were taken around 6:30.

Was his memory fading? Or was he gradually changing his story to decrease the amount of time he had with the rifle?

And what about the other print on the rifle barrel, the one he could see before removing the stock? Where has that gone? Down the memory hole?

Apparently so...

(1964-ish Black and White Television Interview found on youtube)

"I returned to the Identification Bureau somewhere around 6:30 or 7 in the evening, and started processing the gun to see what we could do in the way of fingerprints. I removed the stock--it was a rather long stock it went near to the end of the barrel. The gun simply laid in on top of the stock. On the underside of the barrel, near the end, there was a palm print, partial palm print, found. This was lifted in our usual investigative process, using powder then tape. But it didn't come off very well. It was a rather dim print, indicating it was an old print. A fresh print will take powder, and is easily seen. But an old print won't take much powder, and is rather dim. I could tell though from the lift it appeared to be the right palm, of Oswald."

So here, in a black and white interview conducted within a year or two of the assassination, Lt. Day boasted that he did in fact match up the palm print with Oswald's right palm. 

Well, then, why didn't he tell this to the FBI? Or write up a report? 


Let's look then at Lt. Day's 4-22-64 testimony before the Warren Commission.

The Testimony of Lt. J.C. Day before the Warren Commission (4-22-64)

Mr. DAY. I took it to the office and tried to bring out the two prints I had seen on the side of the gun at the bookstore. They still were rather unclear. Due to the roughness of the metal, I photographed them rather than try to lift them. I could also see a trace of a print on the side of the barrel that extended under the wood stock. I started to take the wood stock off and noted traces of a palmprint near the firing end of the barrel about 3 inches under the wood stock when I took the wood stock loose.
Mr. BELIN. You mean 3 inches from the small end of the woodstock? 
Mr. DAY. Right--yes, sir.
Mr. McCLOY. From the firing end of the barrel, you mean the muzzle? 
Mr. DAY. The muzzle; yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Let me clarify the record. By that you mean you found it on the metal or you mean you found it on the wood?
Mr. DAY. On the metal, after removing the wood.
Mr. BELIN. The wood. You removed the wood, and then underneath the wood is where you found the print?
Mr. DAY. On the bottom side of the barrel which was covered by the wood, I found traces of a palmprint. I dusted these and tried lifting them, the prints, with scotch tape in the usual manner. A faint palmprint came off. I could still see traces of the print under the barrel and was going to try to use photography to bring off or bring out a better print. About this time I received instructions from the chief's office to go no further with the processing, it was to be released to the FBI for them to complete. I did not process the underside of the barrel under the scopic sight, did not get to this area of the gun.

Well, this is fairly wild, when you think of it. The other barrel print has returned to Lt. Day's story. Lt. Day has claimed that, beyond the prints he'd placed under cellophane on the trigger guard, there were two prints visible on the rifle when he handed it over to the FBI--one down by the sight that was partially visible with the wood stock attached, and one near the end of the barrel which he was able to lift, that was completely covered by the wood stock. 


Mr. BELIN. Do you know what Commission Exhibit No. 637 is?
Mr. DAY. This is the trace of palmprint I lifted off of the barrel of the gun after I had removed the wood.
Mr. BELIN. Does it have your name on it or your handwriting?
Mr. DAY. It has the name "J. C. Day," and also "11/22/63" written on it in my writing off the underside gun barrel near the end of foregrip, C-2766.
Mr. BELIN. When you lift a print is it then harder to make a photograph of that print after it is lifted or doesn't it make any difference?
Mr. DAY. It depends. If it is a fresh print, and by fresh I mean hadn't been there very long and dried, practically all the print will come off and there will be nothing left. If it is an old print, that is pretty well dried, many times you can still see it after the lift. In this case I could still see traces of print on that barrel.

Well, let's stop right here and note that Lt. Day has defended his supposed decision to lift this print before photographing it on the rifle. This goes against the recommendations of the FBI, and all the training Day has ever received. But it's actually worse than that. He has continued to insist that his making the lift made no difference and that the FBI missed the prints on the barrel due to its incompetence, not his.


Mr. BELIN. Did you do anything with the other prints or partial prints that you said you thought you saw?
Mr. DAY. I photographed them only. I did not try to lift them.
Mr. BELIN. Do you have those photographs, sir? I will mark the two photographs which you have just produced Commission Exhibits 720 and 721. I will ask you to state what these are.
Mr. DAY. These are prints or pictures, I should say, of the latent--of the traces of prints on the side of the magazine housing of the gun No. C-2766.
Mr. BELIN. Were those prints in such condition as to be identifiable, if you know?
Mr. DAY. No, sir; I could not make positive identification of these prints.
Mr. BELIN. Did you have enough opportunity to work and get these pictures or not?
Mr. DAY. I worked with them, yes. I could not exclude all possibility as to identification. I thought I knew which they were, but I could not positively identify them.
Mr. BELIN. What was your opinion so far as it went as to whose they were?
Mr. DAY. They appeared to be the right middle and right ring finger of Harvey Lee Oswald, Lee Harvey Oswald.
Mr. BELIN. At the time you had this did you have any comparison fingerprints to make with the actual prints of Lee Harvey Oswald?
Mr. DAY. Yes, sir; we had sets in Captain Fritz' office. Oswald was in his custody, we had made palmprints and fingerprints of him.

Mr. BELIN. Is there any other processing that you did with the rifle? 
Mr. DAY. No, sir.
Mr. BELIN. At what time, if you know, did you release the rifle to the FBI?
Mr. DAY. 11:45 p.m. the rifle was released or picked up by them and taken from the office.
Mr. BELIN. Was that on November 22? 
Mr. DAY. November 22, 1963.
Mr. BELIN. At what time did these same photographs which are the same as Commission Exhibit 720 and 721 of this print----
Mr. DAY. About 8 o'clock, somewhere around 8 o'clock, in that neighborhood. 

Mr. BELIN. Of what date? 
Mr. DAY. November 22, 1963.

Now, here we go. Day initially claimed he took these pictures around 6:30. He's now pushed the taking of these pictures back to about 8 o'clock. Well, that, in turn, pushes his lift of the palm print from around 8:30 to around 10:00. And this strengthens his story a bit, in that it greatly decreases the amount of time between when he supposedly lifted the palm print to when he was told to stop working on the rifle and hand it over to the FBI. And this makes his failure to photograph the barrel print almost excusable. 

But no, this doesn't actually excuse Day's strange behavior regarding the barrel lift. 

Mr. BELIN. What about the lift which has previously been marked as Commission Exhibit 637? 
Mr. DAY. About what?
Mr. BELIN. When did you turn that over to the FBI?
Mr. DAY. I released that to them on November 26, 1963. I did not release this----
Mr. BELIN. You are referring now----
Mr. DAY. On November 22.
Mr. BELIN. You are referring to Commission Exhibit 637? 
Mr. DAY. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Is there any particular reason why this was not released on the 22d?
Mr. DAY. The gun was being sent in to them for process of prints. Actually I thought the print on the gun was their best bet, still remained on there, and, too, there was another print, I thought possibly under the wood part up near the trigger housing.
Mr. BELIN. You mean the remaining traces of the powder you had when you got the lift, Exhibit 637, is that what you mean by the lift of the remaining print on the gun?
Mr. DAY. Yes, sir. Actually it was dried ridges on there. There were traces of ridges still on the gun barrel.
Mr. BELIN. Can you tell the circumstances under which you sent Commission Exhibit No. 637 to the FBI?
Mr. DAY. We released certain evidence to the FBI, including the gun, on November 22. It was returned to us on November 24. Then on November 26 we received instructions to send back to the FBI everything that we had. 
Mr. BELIN. Did you do that?
Mr. DAY. Yes, sir; and at that time I sent the lift marked----
Mr. BELIN. 637. 
Mr. DAY. Yes. The gun was sent back again, and all of the other evidence that I had, including cartons from Texas Bookstore, and various other items, a rather lengthy list. 
Mr. BELIN. Had the FBI in the interim returned the gun to you then after you sent it to them on November 22? 
Mr. DAY. Yes, sir. 

Mr. McCLOY. Am I to understand your testimony, Lieutenant, about the fingerprints to be you said you were positive---you couldn't make a positive identification, but it was your opinion that these were the fingerprints of Lee Oswald?  
Mr. DAY. Well, actually in fingerprinting it either is or is not the man. So I wouldn't say those were his prints. They appeared similar to these two, certainly bore further investigation to see if I could bring them out better. But from what I had I could not make a positive identification as being his prints.  
Mr. McCLOY. How about the palmprint?
Mr. DAY. The palmprint again that I lifted appeared to be his right palm, but I didn't get to work enough on that to fully satisfy myself it was his palm. With a little more work I would have come up with the identification there.
Mr. BELIN. Lieutenant Day, what is the fact as to whether or not palmprints are a sound means of identification of an individual?
Mr. DAY. You have the same characteristics of the palms that you do the fingers, also on the soles of feet. They are just as good for identification purposes.
Mr. BELIN. Is there anything else you did in connection with the rifle, the cartridges, the live cartridge, or the taking of prints from any of these metallic objects that you haven't talked about yet?
Mr. DAY. No, sir; I believe that is the extent of the prints on any of those articles.

Mr. BELIN. Did you make a positive identification of any palmprint or fingerprint?
Mr. DAY. Not off the rifle or slug at that time.
Mr. BELIN. At any other time did you off the rifle or the slugs?
Mr. DAY. After I have been looking at that thing again here today, that is his right palm. But at that time I had not no----
Mr. BELIN. When you are saying you looked at that thing today, to what are you referring?
Mr. DAY. Your No. 637 is the right palm of Oswald.

Mr. BELIN. Handing you what has been marked "Exhibit 629" I ask you to state if you know what this is.
Mr. DAY. That is the right palm of Lee Harvey Oswald. 
Mr. BELIN. Do you know where this print was taken?
Mr. DAY. Yes, sir; it was taken by Detective J. B. Hicks in Captain Fritz' office on November 22, 1963.
Mr. BELIN. Did you take more than one right palmprint on that day, if you know?
Mr. DAY. Yes, sir; we took two, actually we took three. Two of them were taken in Captain Fritz' office, and one set which I witnessed taking myself in the identification bureau.
Mr. BELIN. Any particular reason why you took more than one?
Mr. DAY. In most cases, when making comparisons, we will take at least two to insure we have a good clear print of the entire palm. 
Mr. BELIN. Now, based----
Mr. DAY. One might be smeared where the other would not.
Mr. BELIN. Based on your experience, I will ask you now for a definitive statement as to whether or not you can positively identify the print shown on Commission Exhibit No. 637 as being from the right palm of Lee Harvey Oswald as shown on Commission Exhibit 629? 
Mr. DAY. Maybe I shouldn't absolutely make a positive statement without further checking that. I think it is his, but I would have to sit down and take two glasses to make an additional comparison before I would say absolutely, excluding all possibility, it is. I think it is, but I would have to do some more work on that.
Mr. BELIN. Could you do that here in Washington before you go back, sir, or would this necessitate going back to Dallas?
Mr. DAY. If I had the proper equipment I think I could do it here. I don't have very good equipment for making comparisons here. I need two fingerprint glasses. It was my understanding-the prints had been identified by the FBI. I don't have official word on it. 

Mr. McCLOY. Can you restate again for the record what you can positively identify in terms of fingerprints or palmprints and Oswald's----
Mr. DAY. The palmprint on the box he apparently sat on I can definitely say it is his without being in fear of any error. The other, I think it is his, but I couldn't say definitely on a witness stand.
Mr. McCLOY. By the other, you mean the other palmprint?
Mr. DAY. The palmprint and that tracer print aside the trigger housing or the magazine housing.
Mr. McCLOY. Thank you very much.


Day's testimony raises a lot of questions, both about the FBI's competence (Did the FBI really miss not one but two prints on the rifle barrel?), and his own credibility. Day was given a set of Oswald's prints to work with around 8:00 or so. He compared these prints to the palm print on the cardboard, and the prints on the trigger guard. So why didn't he compare these prints to the barrel lift? That he was told to stop working on the rifle at 10, or even before, has no bearing on this, as Day had a set of prints and a lift card, and failed to send either of these to the FBI on 11-22-63. 

So what gives? Why didn't Day compare Oswald's prints to the lift? He had the night of the 22nd. He had the whole next day, if he wanted it. And he had a half-day after that before Oswald was killed. During this 2 day period, his agency was responsible for the investigation of the President's murder. During this period, his superiors, Curry and Fritz, made repeated comments indicating they hoped more evidence would be forthcoming that would help them better tie Oswald to the rifle. And yet Day claims he pulled a print from the assassination rifle on the night of the shooting, but that he never got around to comparing this print to Oswald's prints before handing this print off to the FBI on the 26th. He had time to compare a possibly meaningless palmprint found on a piece of cardboard to Oswald's prints, mind you, but not a print he claims he lifted from the rifle used in the assassination.

It's transparent BULLSHIT. (Should someone actually invent and patent transparent bullshit, they should name it after Day.)

Day's failure to study the lift from the rifle on 11-22 makes no sense unless...unless...there really was no lift from the rifle on 11-22.



JAHS Chapter 6


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