JAHS Chapter 9
The Smell of Deception
On 1-20-64, we receive another shock. On the first page of a 65-page packet of visual aids and memos from the FBI’s Exhibits Section (CD 298) is a letter from J. Edgar Hoover himself, telling us that 28 copies of this packet have been sent out to Warren Commission counsel and staff per General Counsel Rankin’s request. This amounts to Hoover's personal seal of approval. When we look inside, however, we find that Gauthier's Exhibits Section has stood by the strange numbers reported in his 12-9 memo. We can’t believe it. His conclusions are similar to the original conclusions of the Secret Service, as depicted in the DPD photos. There is photo after photo of the FBI’s model of Dealey Plaza, and photo after photo depicting the limousine in front of the concrete steps at the time of the third shot. At the end of the packet, moreover, is a summary of the Exhibit Section’s findings. Under the heading “What was the aiming pattern of the assassin’s target?” it reads:
a. SHOT ONE hit the target from a distance of 167 feet, measured downward along a 23-degree angle from the horizontal.
(THIS IS THE LIMO’S APPROXIMATE POSITION AT FRAME 197 OF THE ZAPRUDER FILM, WHEN A TREE OBSCURED THE SNIPER"S NEST'S VIEW OF THE LIMOUSINE. THIS IS A BIT OF A SURPRISE AS GAUTHIER'S 12-9 MEMO MADE A POINT OF STATING THAT "IT APPEARS THAT SHOT ONE STRUCK THE PRESIDENT MOMENTARILY AFTER HE CAME WITHIN GUN RANGE WHEN HIS CAR MOVED PAST THE TREE TOP AS VIEWED BY THE ASSASSIN." IT WOULD LATER BE DETERMINED THAT THE PRESIDENT DIDN'T MOVE PAST THE TREE TOP UNTIL FRAME 207 OF THE ZAPRUDER FILM.)
b. SHOT TWO hit the target from a distance of 262 feet, measured downward along an 18-degree angle from the horizontal. The target moved forward 96 feet in 4.4 seconds at 15 mph (22 feet per second) or 5.5 seconds at 12 mph (17.6 feet per second). Line of sight change from shot one: 5 degrees upward, 4 degrees to the right.
(THIS WOULD SEEM TO BE A REFERENCE TO FRAME 313 OF THE ZAPRUDER FILM, THE MOMENT OF THE FATAL HEADSHOT, A SHOT DETERMINED TO HAVE BEEN 260 FEET IN DISTANCE ON 11-27-63 AND EVENTUALLY DETERMINED TO HAVE BEEN 265 FEET IN DISTANCE.)
c. SHOT THREE hit the target from a distance of 307 feet, measured downward along a 15 degree angle from the horizontal. The target moved forward 45 feet in 2.0 seconds at 15 mph (22 feet per second) or 2.5 seconds at 12 mph (17.6 feet per second). Line of sight change from shot two: 3 degrees upward, 1.5 degrees to the right.
(THIS IS KENNEDY’S APPROXIMATE POSITION AT FRAME 358 OF THE ZAPRUDER FILM, APPROXIMATELY 2 1/2 SECONDS AFTER THE FATAL HEADSHOT.)
d. ELAPSED TIME to hit targets two and three after hitting target one: 6.4 seconds at 15 mph (22 feet per second) or 8.0 seconds at 12 mph (17.6 feet per second).
(THIS PASSAGE IS MIGHTY CURIOUS. ON 1-07, THE FBI HAD PROVIDED THE COMMISSION CD 206, WHICH INCLUDED AN FBI LAB REPORT FROM 12-20, CLAIMING "The K51 8mm motion picture camera has been tested to determine the running speed of this camera, and it has been determined that this camera when operated at normal “RUN” speed operates at 18 1/3 frames per second.” FURTHERMORE, ON 1-13,, THEY'D PROVIDED THE COMMISSION WITH A SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT TO THEIR ORIGINAL SUMMARY REPORT. IT CLAIMED "The best estimate of the time interval of the shots fired is that approximately six seconds elapsed from the first to the final shot, with the second shot occurring approximately in the middle of the six second period." SO WHAT'S WITH THEIR OFFERING ELAPSED TIMES FOR TWO DIFFERENT DRIVING SPEEDS, AND THEREFORE TWO DIFFERENT RUNNING SPEEDS? COULD THEY REALLY NOT DECIDE WHICH WAS CORRECT--THAT THE LIMO WAS TRAVELING AT AN AVERAGE SPEED OF 12 MPH, OR 15 MPH? WELL, A CLOSE LOOK AT THE TESTIMONY OF THEIR CAMERA EXPERT LYNDAL SHANEYFELT 'S TESTIMONY ON 6-4-64 REVEALS THAT THE ESTIMATED RUNNING SPEED OF 18.3 FRAMES PER SECOND WAS AN AVERAGE. IN 1967, CBS PURCHASED FIVE IDENTICAL CAMERAS AND FOUND THAT THEY RAN 15.45, 17.7, 18.7, 19.25, AND 20.95 FRAMES PER SECOND, A SIMILAR AVERAGE OF 18.4 FRAMES PER SECOND. PERHAPS, THEN, THE FBI WAS HEDGING ITS BETS. IF THE FIRST SHOT FROM THE SNIPER'S NEST WASN'T FIRED UNTIL AFTER KENNEDY HAD EMERGED FROM BEHIND A TREE, AROUND FRAME 210, AND IF THE LAST SHOT WAS THE HEAD SHOT, AT FRAME 313, AND SHOULD THE CAMERA HAVE BEEN RUNNING AS FAST AS 20.95, CBS' FASTEST TIME, THE TIME-SPAN OF THE SHOOTING SEQUENCE WOULD HAVE BEEN UNDER 5 SECONDS, TOO SHORT A TIME-SPAN FOR OSWALD TO HAVE FIRED ALL THE SHOTS. HECK, EVEN IF ONE ACCEPTS THE FBI'S DETERMINATION THE CAMERA WAS RECORDING AT 18.3 FRAMES PER SECOND, THIS STILL MEANS THE ELAPSED TIME BETWEEN A FIRST SHOT WHEN KENNEDY WAS BEHIND THE SIGN IN THE ZAPRUDER FILM AND A THIRD SHOT HEAD SHOT AT FRAME 313 OF THE FILM WAS BUT 5.6 SECONDS. THIS WAS, ACCORDING TO THE FBI'S EXPERT ON THE RIFLE, ROBERT FRAZIER, THE FASTEST ONE COULD FIRE THIS RIFLE UPON A MOVING TARGET. ONE MIGHT SUSPECT THEN THAT THE EXHIBITS SECTION WAS WELL AWARE OF THIS PROBLEM AND THAT THIS INFLUENCED THEIR PLACEMENT OF THE FIRST AND THIRD SHOTS.)
e. CHANGE OF AIMING PATTERN from shot one to shot three: 8 degrees upward, 5.5 degrees to the right.
From this, we can see that the FBI's photos were not a mistake. The report of their Exhibits Section not only fails to mention the wounding of James Tague, if only to dismiss its relevance, but is in apparent contradiction with the 12-20 report on the Zapruder film by the FBI crime lab, which claimed the timing of the first two shots couldn't be established, but that the third shot was the head shot. This new report, conversely, and surprisingly, seems to be claiming there was a shot after the head shot.
Nix, Nix, Nix
Since the head shot in the Nix film (which was noted in the Exhibits Section's report) occurs when the limousine is in front of the pedestal, with Zapruder in the background, and since the Exhibits Section's report describes the Nix film as follows: "Nix, standing on the Plaza grass across the road from the Pergola (where Zapruder viewed the motorcade) photographed the motorcade as it approached the triple underpass" it certainly seems they knew Nix was standing across from Zapruder, and not far off to his right. As the third shot portrayed in their exhibits is considerably past Zapruder, and since Nix would have to have been in front of the limousine, with it heading his direction, in order for him to catch Zapruder in the background of his film at this time, it only makes sense that the FBI Exhibits Section believed the head shot captured by Nix came earlier, and was in fact the second shot.
This becomes even more clear when one realizes that the head shot in the Nix film occurs just after the limo passes William and Gayle Newman on the North side of the street. Shortly after the shooting, William Newman was interviewed on television station WFAA. He reported: "as the car got directly in front of us well a gunshot apparently from behind us hit the President in the side of the temple.”
So, establishing the location of Kennedy at the time of the head shot should have been a simple matter of establishing William Newman's location in the various films and photographs, and adding on 10-15 feet or so, based on Kennedy's distance from him at the moment of impact in the Nix film.
The Newmans Mark the Spot
Well, all the photos of Bill and Gayle Newman taken just after the shooting show them to be laying on the grassy knoll just west of the second lamp post. There is no evidence they ran after the shooting. Their statements indicate they dived down to cover their children where they'd been standing, and no one else ever claimed they'd ran before covering up their children. So, the Secret Service and FBI should have concluded the third shot struck Kennedy within a few feet of this location, should they have honestly believed the head shot was the third and final shot.
Since both the Secret Service and FBI concluded there was a shot after the shot fired when Kennedy was abreast of the Newmans, however, one might logically conclude that both agencies believed there to have been a shot fired after the head shot.
Or is that too logical?
The Question of Competence
Although, the photographic evidence seems overwhelming that the Secret Service and FBI at one time believed the head shot was the second shot, and that another shot followed, there is an equally compelling argument against this possibility. This argument is based upon the paper trail, and suggests that the Secret Service and FBI were simply incompetent.
Let's examine this first possibility. Could the FBI have concluded the second shot was the head shot?
Certainly not at first. Besides the 11-29 phone call from Director Hoover to President Johnson in which Hoover reported that Kennedy was "hit by the first and the third" shots, and that the "second shot hit the governor", and the 11-29 report by Agent Barrett on the 11-27 re-enactment, reporting that "Governor Connally was struck by the second shot", there is the 12-3 report by Agent Abernathy (CD385 p22), stating that the assassination sequence in Nix's film, which depicts the head shot, began "subsequent to the firing of the first two shots."
Well, then perhaps they came to this conclusion at a later date. The FBI's summary report of 12-9 (written around 12-4, after Gauthier's people had begun their work in Dallas) describes the shooting as follows: "As the motorcade was traveling through downtown Dallas on Elm Street about fifty yards west of the intersection with Houston Street (Exhibit 1), three shots rang out. Two bullets struck President Kennedy, and one wounded Governor Connally." Note that here Connally is mentioned last. This raises the possibility that, through their work in Dallas, the FBI's Exhibits Section Chief Leo Gauthier and his team had, if only for a spell, convinced the Bureau that the head shot was the second shot, and that Connally was wounded by the third shot. That the shot after the head shot didn't miss the car entirely is betrayed by the Exhibits Section's conclusion that each of the three shots "hit the target."
But then there's Gauthier himself, in his 12-9 memo, relating "Shot number two which is believed to have struck Governor Connally." And then there's the 12-10 memo from Webb and the 12-20 report from the FBI crime lab, which makes it clear they believed the head shot was the third and final shot.
And then there's this. In another section of Gauthier's 1-20 report, in a brief description of the Zapruder film, it's made fairly clear the writer believed Connally'd been hit before the head shot. It relates: “The car momentarily became obscured from Zapruder’s line of sight behind a road sign (refer to scale model). As it emerged from behind the sign, the Zapruder film reproduced the action of the occupants of the car as follows: The President is slumped forward in his seat with his right hand partly lowered from the previous waving position, he appears to be leaning toward his left nearer to Mrs. Kennedy; Governor Connally is seen turning his head to the right and rear, falling towards Mrs. Connally, as a circle of light resembling an explosive blast encircles the President’s head.” If the writer of this report felt Connally was not yet wounded and still under his own power at the moment of the head shot, it seems highly unlikely he'd describe him as "falling" towards his wife.
This convinces us that the first possibility is not true. Which leaves us with the second possibility: that the FBI of 1964 was largely incompetent...
And that the Secret Service was no better... Both the worksheets found at the National Photo Interpretation Center and the captions to the photos in the Secret Service's 1-8-64 report to the Warren Commission, after all, have shown us that the Service, too, has concluded that the final shot was the head shot.
Yes, as hard as this may be to accept, the bulk of the evidence suggests that the FBI and Secret Service always believed Connally was hit by the second shot, and meant to express this in their exhibits, but failed to do so due to their collective incompetence. While this might sound unduly harsh, what other "innocent" conclusion can be reached from the undeniable fact the FBI and Secret Service each took measurements in Dealey Plaza, and studied two films of the shooting taken from opposite angles, but were nevertheless unable to locate Kennedy's position at the time of the head shot within 25 feet of his easily recognized position? What other "innocent" explanation is there for the FBI's concluding the first shot was 17 feet closer, the second shot 20 feet farther, and the third shot 13 feet farther from the sniper’s nest than the Secret Service's "corrected" conclusions? While it seems possible that someone had fooled the FBI's Gauthier, a man of questionable competence (see below), with some "marks on the freeway" there can be no excuse for the Secret Service's similar mistakes. Someone's measurements were very wrong, or someone's eyesight was very bad, or both.
(In 1976, it would be revealed that FBI Exhibits Section Chief Leo Gauthier's job entailed such tasks as re-modeling FBI Director Hoover's home. This included replacing the patches of Hoover's lawn destroyed by doggy urine.)
The Question of Integrity
There is, of course, a third possibility, one not so "innocent." Perhaps the errors apparent in the 12-5-63 Secret Service Survey and the exhibits prepared by the FBI are not confusing at all, but clear reflections that the Secret Service and FBI were both trying to make sure that, no matter the speed of the camera, no matter the order of the shots, Oswald had enough time to fire the shots.
This makes a great deal of sense. Back in December, when the Secret Service and FBI created their horribly inaccurate exhibits, no one seriously considered that the Warren Commission would actually double-check their work. It was, in fact, widely assumed they'd rubber-stamp their findings. It was assumed, furthermore, that the Zapruder film would never be shown to the public. The combination of these assumptions, therefore, would make it mighty tempting for anyone trying to use the film to suggest Oswald acted alone to quietly fudge his findings. Particularly when there was already so much evidence to suggest Oswald's guilt. After all:
Most witnesses heard three shots.
Three shells were reportedly found in the sniper’s nest.
Three hits would help explain the two reported entrances on Kennedy and the three impact locations on Connally.
Oswald was a communist-sympathizer. Such a man, in the minds of many Americans, including FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, was imbalanced. To their mind, Oswald didn’t need a rational motive for his actions because, as a communist sympathizer, he was inherently irrational.
President Johnson was anxious for the case to be settled. Johnson, the State Department, and the business community were all anxious to show the world that the United States was a stable and strong democracy. Dragging out a criminal investigation would hurt U.S. business interests, jeopardize the country’s international relations, and allow communists worldwide a powerful propaganda tool. A long and involved investigation could also be used by Johnson’s right-wing opponents to damage him domestically; it might even lead to his downfall. Word had to get out and get out quick that Johnson was definitely not involved, and the easiest way to do that was to say that Oswald acted alone, and concoct a scenario by which he may have acted alone.
Under such circumstances, it certainly seems reasonable to assume both the Secret Service and FBI were fudging their investigations to cover that Oswald may not have had enough time to have fired all of the shots. Consider that Gauthier's 12-9 memo was written under the assumption the limousine was traveling 15 mph, and that his final report included this assumption as a possible scenario. (The speed of the limousine was eventually determined to have been 11.2 mph.)
This raises the question of why Gauthier even considered the possibility the limo was moving at such a speed. Well, FBI agents Sibert and O'Neill's 11-29 report on an interview of the limo's driver, William Greer, indicated Greer had been driving 15-20 mph when the shots were fired. Their interview of Agent Kellerman, riding next to Greer on the limousine's front seat, furthermore, indicated that the limousine had been traveling "approximately 15 miles per hour." Well, this would make Gauthier suspect the limousine was traveling 15 mph, right? Now let's consider that agent Barrett's 12-4 report on an interview with Zapruder indicated that Zapruder's film of the assassination was recorded at 24 frames per second. This film shows the limousine traveling approximately 136 feet in the 152 frames between Z-162 and Z-313. This means that, if the camera was recording 24 frames per second, as claimed, then the limousine was traveling at just under...21.5 feet per second, or 14.65 mph, which rounds up to 15 mph. This approximation of 15 mph confirms Greer's and Kellerman's estimate. One can only assume then that Gauthier was well aware of these memos when conducting his tests. Now consider that the Secret Service's own undated report on Greer, written by Greer himself, indicated he'd been driving 12-15 mph, and was packaged together in the Secret Service report with reports written on 11-29 and afterward. This suggests that they too would be conducting their 12-5 re-enactment under the belief the limo was traveling approximately 15 mph, even if they were unaware of Barrett's 12-4 report suggesting the camera was recording 24 frames per second. (The test results demonstrating that the camera was recording 18.3 frames per second, and that the limo was therefore traveling approximately 11.2 miles per hour were not released until 12-20.)
This leads us to a disturbing possibility... If BOTH the FBI and Secret Service in the first weeks of December were operating under the assumption the limousine was traveling 15 mph and/or that the camera recorded 24 frames per second, as one might reasonably suspect, then they would BOTH have been conducting their investigation under the assumption the limousine traveled 21-22 feet per second. In such case, as the original reenactment by Howlett on 11-27 had determined that the third shot was fired when the limousine was but 90 feet farther down the road than its location at the time of the first shot, they would BOTH have been forced to conclude Oswald would not have had enough time to fire all the shots. 90 feet divided by 21-22 feet per second computes to 4.3-4.1 seconds, after all, presumably less than whatever time the Secret Service had determined Oswald would have needed to fire three shots and far less than the 5.6 seconds or so Agent Frazier had determined would be the minimum time required to fire Oswald's rifle three times at a moving object.
Well, is it really a coincidence then that BOTH the Secret Service and FBI rejected Howlett's conclusions and inaccurately represented the head shot location in their subsequent reports? On 12-5 the Secret Service inaccurately determined that the location formerly believed to be 260 feet from the sniper's nest was really 294 feet from the sniper's nest, and that the limo traveled roughly 110 feet between the first and third shots, not 90. 110 feet, not surprisingly, translates to a 5 second shooting scenario, should the limo have been traveling 15 mph as presumed. (While less than the 5.6 seconds later mentioned by Frazier in his Warren Commission testimony, this 5 second scenario was still more than the 4.6 seconds it took Frazier to fire at three stationary targets in his original tests with Oswald's rifle. It follows, then, that the Secret Service in December 63 would have believed 5 seconds to have been more than enough time for Oswald to have fired all the shots.)
But, should the Secret Service have deliberately fudged its numbers in order to buy Oswald more time, they were not to be outdone by the FBI, which actually claimed the limo traveled 140 feet farther from the sniper's nest between the first and third shots. This shooting scenario, which began and ended with the same shots described by Howlett in his 11-27 reenactment, was nevertheless determined to have involved more than 50% more of Elm Street. This translated to a 6.36 second shooting scenario, even if the limo was traveling 22 feet per second...
It would appear then that the Secret Service and FBI both deliberately fudged their numbers in order to conceal from the Warren Commission the probability Oswald could not have fired all the shots.
I mean, looky here. The following gif is a frame by frame re-constructed and stabilized version of the Zapruder film, prepared by antdavison. Consider what it would take to study this film, along with the plaza in which it was filmed, and come up with a location for the head shot 30 feet or more beyond where earlier studies and subsequent studies placed it. You'd have to be pretty dumb, right?
Especially when you also have the Nix film showing the assassination from the other side available...
I mean, Zapruder's location was known, and you can see him in the Nix film, with the white arcade in the background. Establishing the location of the head shot should have been easy. All that one would need to do was find out where Zapruder lined up with the arcade as he lined up in the Nix film. You would then have Nix's location. From his location, then, you could re-position someone standing out on the street until they were in the exact location of Kennedy at the moment of the fatal headshot. (Note that the Nix gif below has been angle-corrected by Robin Unger to reflect the 3 degree slope of the road.)
Much thanks to Ant and Robin. Hmmm...Ant and Robin--they sound like super-heroes. Maybe they are.
In sum, then, figuring out the location of Kennedy when he received his fatal headshot was fairly basic stuff. A high school kid could do it.
The probability, then, is that the Secret Service and FBI fudged their numbers when they placed Kennedy 29 feet and 42 feet, respectively, beyond his actual location.
If the FBI and Secret Service assumed the Warren Commission was not gonna double-check their work, however, they were sadly mistaken...
Within just a few days of receiving Gauthier's exhibits section's report the Warren Commission counsel tasked with investigating the shooting realized that the FBI had fed them a big steaming pile of nonsense. A 1-23 memo from Gauthier to his boss Nicholas Callahan reveals that on this day he met with Warren Commission counsels Ball, Belin, Eisenberg and Redlich, as well as Inspector Thomas Kelley of the Secret Service, and that the six men spent three hours "re-enacting" the shooting in Dealey Plaza using Gauthier's scale model of the plaza and model cars. (This memo can be found in FBI file 62-109090 Sec. 2 p 143-146). Gauthier reports that Kelley "stated that the versions of the FBI and Secret Service were good approximations" and that "The staff is hoping to eventually be in a position to say exactly where the shots occurred on the Parkway with a plus or minus factor of several feet." He then reports that they will meet again on 1-27, at which time they will view the Zapruder and Nix films and try to come to some sort of agreement on the location of the limo during the shots. Not surprisingly, given the FBI's concern about the Commission, in the comments section of this memo Gauthier (or is it Callahan?) tries to assure his superiors that no one is second-guessing their inept work, although, clearly, they were. He writes: "The points on the Parkway as defined by the FBI are considered to be the best approximations possible and in line with the Secret Service version. Inspector Kelley shares the same views. The FBI has the first shot occurring just before the President's head emerges from behind the sign while the Secret Service approximates the location moments after the President emerges. Approximately one second is involved between the two versions. The Commission realizes that there is no material difference between the FBI's and Secret Service's approximations; however, they wish to attempt to fix shooting sequence with a great degree of accuracy with a plus or minus factor of a few feet." (This is already surprising. How could the Secret Service NOT see that Kennedy was hit before he came out from behind the sign in the Zapruder film?)
Attached to Gauthier's memo is an extensive comparison of the FBI and Secret Service proposed shooting scenarios. It reads:
Shot One: It occurred when the Presidential car was unobserved by Zapruder for approximately twenty feet while moving behind a road sign. Shot one was approximately fixed on the model at a point directly behind the center of this sign. The movie reveals that prior to reaching this sign the President was seen waving and moments later after emerging from behind the sign he was slumped forward. The position on the Parkway where shot one occurred as approximated by the Secret Service varies about one car length (13 feet) or about one half second at 15 mph. The FBI's estimate places the President approximately one-half second nearer to the assassin when shot one was fired.
(THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FIRST SHOT ON THE 12-5 SECRET SERVICE PLAT AND GAUTHIER"S 1-20 EXHIBITS SECTION REPORT WAS 17 FEET, NOT 13 FEET. CLEARLY, GAUTHIER AND KELLEY ARE NOT RELYING ON THEIR PREVIOUS STUDIES. THAT GAUTHIER BELIEVES SHOT ONE RANG OUT WHEN THE MODEL WAS BEHIND THE CENTER OF THE SIGN, WHEN HE'D PREVIOUSLY APPROXIMATED THIS DISTANCE AS 167 FEET, SUGGESTS THAT HIS MODEL OF DEALEY PLAZA WAS INACCURATE. THE WARREN COMMISSION WOULD LATER DETERMINE THAT THE PRESIDENT WAS 167 FEET FROM THE SNIPER'S NEST BEFORE HE WENT BEHIND THE SIGN. IT IS ALSO INTRIGUING THAT HERE, A MONTH AFTER THE SPEED OF THE Z-FILM AND LIMO WERE RE-INTERPRETED, GAUTHIER IS STILL REPEATING THAT THE LIMO WAS TRAVELING 15 MPH.)
Shot Two: It occurred approximately at the time Governor Connally was turning his head to the right rear. This point was established through the interpretation of the relative location of trees, shrubs, street lights, curbing, etc, appearing in the movie. The position on the Parkway approximated by the FBI and the Secret Service varies about 1.5 car lengths (22 feet) or about one second at 15 mph. The FBI's estimate places the Governor approximately one second farther away from the assassin when shot two was fired.
(GAUTHIER HAD PREVIOUSLY SAID THIS SHOT WAS FIRED WHEN THE LIMO WAS 262 FEET FROM THE SNIPER'S NEST. ON 12-5 THE SECRET SERVICE HAD APPROXIMATED THE DISTANCE FOR THIS SECOND SHOT AS 242 FEET, 20 FEET CLOSER.. NOW, GAUTHIER TELLS US THAT THEY ARE EVEN FARTHER APART, 22 FEET. THIS IS INCREDIBLY PROBLEMATIC. IF ONE PROPOSES THAT GAUTHIER'S MEASUREMENTS ARE WRONG, IT STILL DOESN'T EXPLAIN WHY, EVEN AFTER COMPARING SHOOTING SCENARIOS ON HIS MODEL OF DEALEY PLAZA WITH THE SECRET SERVICE, HE STILL HOLDS THAT THIS SHOT WAS FIRED WELL AFTER THE SECRET SERVICE'S SHOT. EVEN STRANGER, GAUTHIER HAS ALREADY SAID THE FIRST SHOT WAS FIRED WHEN THE LIMO WAS BEHIND THE CENTER OF THE SIGN--WHICH IS AT APPROXIMATELY FRAME 210 OF THE ZAPRUDER FILM--AND HAS PREVIOUSLY REPORTED THAT THE SECOND SHOT WAS AT LEAST 4.4 SECONDS AFTER THE FIRST, WHICH WOULD EQUATE TO ABOUT 80 FRAMES. THIS PLACES THE SECOND SHOT IN GAUTHIER"S ANALYSIS AT FRAME 290--AT THE VERY EARLIEST. THIS, OF COURSE, IS WITHIN TWO SECONDS OF THE OBVIOUS HEAD SHOT AT FRAME 313, AND IS WAY TOO CLOSE IN TIME TO FRAME 313 FOR BOTH SHOTS TO HAVE BEEN FIRED BY OSWALD'S BOLT ACTION RIFLE. GAUTHIER'S INABILITY TO REALIZE THIS, OR HIS DELIBERATE IGNORANCE OF THIS FACT, DOES NOT REFLECT WELL ON THE BUREAU AND ITS COMMITMENT TO THE TRUTH.)
Shot Three: It occurred approximately at the time a circle of light resembling an explosive blast encircles the President's head. The position on the Parkway approximated by the FBI and the Secret Service varies about 2/3 car length (14 feet) or about 2/3 second at 15 mph. The FBI's estimate places the President approximately 2/3 second nearer to the assassin when shot three was fired.
(APPROXIMATELY? WHO IS HE KIDDING? THE MAN'S HEAD EXPLODES. AND WHAT'S ALL THIS ABOUT A "CIRCLE OF LIGHT"? IS GAUTHIER AFRAID TO REPORT THAT BLOOD AND BRAIN ARE VISIBLE IN THE FILM? WHY? AND WHY, WHEN THE SECRET SERVICE'S 12-5 PLAT HAS THE THIRD SHOT AT 294 FEET, AND GAUTHIER'S 1-20 REPORT HAS IT AT 307 FEET, DOES HE STATE THAT THE FBI'S THIRD SHOT IS 14 FEET CLOSER TO THE ASSASSIN THAN THE SECRET SERVICE'S THIRD SHOT? DOES HE MEAN BY THIS THAT THE SECRET SERVICE'S THIRD SHOT IS NOW 321 FEET FROM THE SNIPER'S NEST? OR THAT HE NOW BELIEVES THE THIRD SHOT WAS ABOUT 280 FEET FROM THE SNIPER'S NEST, JUST 18 FEET PAST HIS PREVIOUSLY DETERMINED LOCATION FOR THE SECOND SHOT? NEITHER OF THESE SCENARIOS, UNFORTUNATELY, MAKES MUCH SENSE.)
The final words of Gauthier's memo speak volumes, and reads like a really lame alibi, somewhat akin to "the dog ate my homework."
Comments: The FBI's analysis of the shooting sequence was determined independently of a similar study made of the movie by the Secret Service. "WHERE ON THE PARKWAY WAS THE PRESIDENTIAL CAR EXPOSED TO GUN FIRE?" The answer to this question is subject to varying factors such as the speed of the vehicle, the firing position of the assassin and the position of Zapruder. It is a matter of accepting the fact that there will be as many versions as there are analysis made of the shooting sequence. The FBI bases its approximations on an interpretation of the Zapruder movie re-enacted on a scale model, The Secret Service has also used the movie to approximate the shooting sequence; eyewitnesses may vary in locating the car at the time of the shooting; members of the Commission may also have differing opinions regarding this matter.
The Zapruder movie was utilized by the FBI s the best medium for approximating the points on the Parkway where the shooting occurred.
(IF THE ZAPRUDER FILM AND SCALE MODEL WERE USED AS PURPORTED, THEN WHY DID THE FBI EITHER 1) PLACE THE HEADSHOT FAR PAST ZAPRUDER, BY THE STEPS, WHEN THE FILM SHOWS KENNEDY TO BE ABREAST OF ZAPRUDER AT THE MOMENT OF IMPACT; OR 2) MISTAKENLY BELIEVE ZAPRUDER WAS FILMING FROM ON TOP OF THE BLOCK WALL CLOSEST TO THE STEPS, INSTEAD OF HIS EASILY ASCERTAINED ACTUAL LOCATION BY THE ARCADE? COULD THEY REALLY HAVE BEEN SO INCOMPETENT?)
While it's unclear if the commission really understood how incredibly daft or dishonest the FBI and Secret Service would have to have been to make the mistakes and errors just discussed, it is clear they were largely unimpressed with the work of the FBI and Secret Service. At a pivotal point in the 12-16 executive session, Congressman Hale Boggs voiced his disappointment with the FBI’s report of 12-9. He complained: “Everyone has all kinds of questions, reading that FBI report leaves a million questions.” After discussing the Commission’s need to interview the closest witnesses in order to determine which shots actually struck the President, Boggs returned to this theme, declaring “Well, this FBI report doesn’t clear it up.” To this complaint, Chief Justice Earl Warren chimed in: “It doesn’t do anything.” Boggs then observed: “It raises a lot of new questions in my mind.”
After reading such a discussion, one might assume that the Warren Commissioners would make certain that their report, issued over nine months later, would be clear about which shots hit the President. One might also assume that these conclusions would be in sync with the recollections of the closest eyewitnesses. But one would be wrong.
And to their reliance on the FBI... On 1-22-64, President Johnson's assistant Walter Jenkins contacted the FBI to complain about Don Reynolds, the insurance agent whose testimony before congress regarding Johnson's receipt of a kickback was interrupted by Kennedy's murder. Apparently, Reynolds had told someone he thought Johnson was involved in Kennedy's murder. Apparently, this reached Johnson, who was none too pleased, and who now sought the FBI's help in shutting up Reynolds. A 1-31-64 memo from Alex Rosen to Alan Belmont discusses the follow-up to Jenkins' complaint. It reveals its bias by calling Reynolds "an unscrupulous insurance agent," with "an uncontrollable tongue," and concludes further that he is "an opinionated rumor-monger who apparently gets satisfaction out of spreading deliberate exaggerated stories." It reports that Reynolds allegedly said President Johnson would soon be impeached based upon information gathered by the FBI. It reports further that FBI Director Hoover had demanded Reynolds be made to "put up or shut up." It then notes that Reynolds was interviewed by agents in the presence of his attorney on 1-24, and that he denied telling anyone Johnson would be impeached. It then notes that Reynolds' previously furnished "observations and opinions" regarding Kennedy's death were based on "inferences which he drew from conversations and hearsay." It then notes that Reynolds claimed he'd been told that Governor Connally had called Lee Harvey Oswald long distance from Washington while Oswald was staying at the Dallas YMCA. It then reports that Oswald had stayed at the YMCA on 10-3-63 and 10-4-64, and that the YMCA kept no record of incoming calls. It then admits that Jenkins was told the results of the FBI's interview with Reynolds on 1-27. Rosen then acknowledges that, seeing as Reynolds wouldn't disclose who told him Connally had made this call, "no effort has been made to determine the whereabouts of Governor Connally during the period of October 3-4, 1963." There was no mention of the impropriety of Johnson's using the FBI to harass those spreading rumors about him. There was no mention of the impropriety of Rosen's revealing the results of his interview with Reynolds to Jenkins on 11-27, 4 days prior to his reporting on this interview to his immediate superior Belmont.
And that's only half the problem with the Reynolds interview. Upon receipt of Rosen's memo to Belmont, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover fired off a letter to Warren Commission General Counsel Rankin, advising him of Reynolds comments regarding Johnson, and acknowledgement he had nothing to back it up. This was unsurprising. What was surprising, however, was what Hoover added to the copies of this letter sent his subordinates. He added: "Rankin is not being advised that this information was initially received from the White House in view of the statement (appearing in a previous memo) that Walter Jenkins of the White House has indicated that the President does not desire Pierre Salinger to know this information was provided to anyone outside the White House." So there it is. The FBI was willing to keep things from the commission based upon the mere say-so of a Johnson assistant that Johnson didn't want his press secretary to find out what he'd been up to. Well, geez Louise. Lord only knows what else they failed to reveal based purely on Jenkins' say-so.
If there were any thoughts in the Warren Commissioners' minds about expanding their investigation beyond that of the bureau's, however, those thoughts soon fell by the wayside. On 1-22-64 an emergency session of the Commission was called to discuss the discomforting rumor that Oswald was an FBI informant, and the even more discomforting possibility that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was seeking to hide this information from the public. The topic of discussion was so discomforting, in fact, that Chief Warren ordered all transcripts and notes of the meeting destroyed. Fortunately, a stenotypists’s tape was overlooked, and uncovered by researcher Harold Weisberg through the Freedom of Information Act.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren: I thought first you should know about it. Secondly, there is this factor too, that a consideration, that is somewhat an issue in this case, and I suppose you are all aware of it. That is that the FBI is very explicit that Oswald is the assassin or was the assassin, and they are very explicit that there was no conspiracy, and they are also saying in the same place that they are continuing their investigation. Now in my experience of almost nine years, in the first place it is hard to get them to say when you think you have got a case tight enough to convict somebody, that that is the person that committed the crime. In my experience with the FBI they don’t do that. They claim that they don’t evaluate, and it is uniform prior experience that they don’t do that. Secondly, they have not run out all kinds of leads in Mexico or in Russia and so forth…and they could probably say that it isn’t our business…But they are concluding that there can’t be a conspiracy, without those being run out. Now that is not from my experience with the FBI…Why are they so eager to make those conclusions, both in their original report and their experimental report, which is a departure? Now that is just circumstantial evidence, and it don’t prove anything about this, but it raises questions…
After a brief discussion the commissioners came back to the implications of Hoover’s behavior. Everyone on the commission had spent enough time in Washington to hear of FBI Director Hoover’s not-so-secret files, files kept on every prominent figure in America, going back decades. Everyone on the commission knew, or should have known, that Hoover would not hesitate to use these files to protect himself and the Bureau. (It would later be revealed that their fears were justified and that, in anticipation of negative comments about the FBI in the Warren Report, Hoover had files created on every employee of the Warren Commission.)
Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren: They would like to have us fold up and quit.
Congressman Hale Boggs: This closes the case, you see, don’t you see?
Former CIA Director Allen Dulles: Yes I see that.
Warren Commission General Counsel J. Lee Rankin: They found the man. There is nothing more to do. The Commission supports their conclusions, and we can go on home and that is the end of it.
After Allen Dulles pointed out that the FBI was taking a tremendous risk if it was indeed trying to shut down the case, as suspected, Congressman Boggs suddenly became aware of the risk he himself was taking by talking so openly about Hoover’s dark side.
Congressman Hale Boggs: Yes I would think so. And of course, we are even gaining in the realm of speculation. I don’t even like for this to be taken down.
Former CIA Director Allen Dulles: Yes, I think this record ought to be destroyed. Do you think we need a record of this?
After Warren assured them that their statements would not be circulated, the session concluded.
On 1-24-64, in an effort to investigate and/or contain the rumor that Oswald had been an informant, Rankin and Warren met with the Texas Court of Inquiry. The memorandum on this meeting prepared by Rankin was not distributed to the other commissioners, nor to the commission's staff. The secretive nature of this meeting and its subject matter is perhaps best demonstrated by its second to last paragraph, in which Rankin relates: "The Chief Justice decided to present the results of this meeting to the entire Commission on Monday, January 27, 1964 and decided to propose tentatively that necessary inquiries be made concerning these allegations and that this memorandum be prepared for the record."This suggests the possibility that, if the meeting had exposed conclusive evidence that Oswald had worked for the FBI, no memorandum would have been created, and no record of this meeting would have been kept.
The statements in the 1-27-64 executive session are even more revealing.
General Counsel J. Lee Rankin: I don’t see how the country is ever going to be willing to accept it if we don’t satisfy them on this particular issue, not only with them but the CIA and every other agency. (The “it” in this statement would seem to be the commission’s pre-determined conclusion that Oswald acted alone. They had yet to call a witness.)
Eventually, they discussed the possibility that Oswald worked for the FBI, but that Hoover didn’t know. Congressman Boggs brought up the recent capture of the American spy Francis Gary Powers by the Russians.
Congressman Hale Boggs: Let’s say Powers did not have a signed contract but he was recruited by someone in the CIA. The man who recruited him would know, wouldn’t he?
Former CIA Director Allen Dulles: Yes, but he wouldn’t tell.
Chief Justice Earl Warren: Wouldn’t tell it under oath?
Former CIA Director Allen Dulles: I wouldn’t think that he’d tell it under oath, no.
Chief Justice Earl Warren: Why?
Former CIA Director Allen Dulles: He ought not tell it under oath. Maybe not tell it to his own government but wouldn’t tell it any other way.
John McCloy: Wouldn’t he tell it to his own chief?
Former CIA Director Allen Dulles: He might or might not. If he was a bad one then he wouldn’t.
Congressman Hale Boggs: What you do is you make out a problem--if this be true--make our problem utterly impossible because you say this rumor can’t be dissipated under any circumstances.
Former CIA Director Allen Dulles: I don’t think it can unless you believe Mr. Hoover, and so forth and so on, which probably most of the people will.
John McCloy: Allen, suppose somebody when you were head of the CIA came to you, another government agency and said specifically, “If you will tell us,” suppose the President of the United States comes to you and says “will you tell me, Mr. Dulles?”
Former CIA Director Allen Dulles: I would tell the President of the United States anything, yes. I am under his control. He is my boss. I wouldn’t necessarily tell anybody else, unless the President authorized me to do it. We had that come up at times.
John McCloy: You wouldn’t tell the Secretary of Defense?
Former CIA Director Allen Dulles: Well, it depends a little bit on the circumstances. If it is within the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Defense, but otherwise I would go to the President, and I do on some occasions.
General Counsel J. Lee Rankin: If that is all that is necessary, I think we could get the President to direct anybody working for the government to answer this question. If we have to we would get that direction.
Former CIA Director Allen Dulles: What I was getting at, I think under any circumstances, I think Mr. Hoover would say certainly he didn’t have anything to do with this fellow. (Dulles was apparently saying that Hoover, unlike himself, would ignore even the President’s requests on such an issue. As Hoover misled the commission about the results of the FBI’s internal investigation, Dulles’ skepticism about Hoover proved accurate.)
They then proceeded to discuss the best way to handle the rumor. This led to Rankin's meeting with Hoover to discuss the matter. On 2-6 FBI Director Hoover sent the commission a sworn affidavit under penalty of perjury stating that to his knowledge Oswald was never a paid source or operative for the FBI. On 2-27 he sent the commission a similar letter stating that, while Jack Ruby had been approached by the FBI about employment as a PCI (Paid Confidential Informant), and had been contacted by the FBI 8 times between March 11, 1959 and October 2 1959, he had, in fact, "furnished no information whatsoever." This, then, allowed him to claim that "Ruby was never paid any money, and he was never at any time an informant of this Bureau."
Of course, these were the kind of statements Commissioner Dulles acknowledged Hoover and his men would make, regardless of the truth, unless directed by the President to tell the honest to goodness truth.
If Dulles and the commissioners had had any doubts about Hoover's predilection to lie, moreover, these doubts should have been washed away on 3-7, when Hoover issued a clearly deceptive statement, published by the AP and UPI wire services nationwide. In attempting to shut down speculation about Ruby's status, Hoover completely side-stepped what he'd already told the commission--that Ruby had been approached by the FBI about becoming an informant, and that he'd met with the FBI 8 times afterward. Instead, he declared: "To set the record straight and to refute the misinformation which has been maliciously circulated, I want to state unequivocally that Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack L. Ruby were never FBI informants; that they were never employed by this Bureau in any capacity; nor did they ever render any services for or receive any sums of money from the FBI."
This, then, highlights the commission's predicament. By failing to ask President Johnson to give the Presidential directive described by Mr. Rankin, they'd given Hoover free reign to not only deceive them, but the country. This made it difficult for them to go back and point out Hoover's deceptions, and, let's face it, they were deceptions; while Hoover's statement regarding Ruby was apparently true, in that Ruby had never been a paid informant, it was deceptive in its failure to reveal that Hoover's FBI had actively pursued Ruby, and had tried to make him an informant. Apparently, this was something Hoover, and the Commission, wished to conceal. When Hoover was called before the Commission in May, he was not asked a single question about Ruby's status as an informant, and no acknowledgment of Ruby's meetings with the FBI were revealed to the public. This, then, can be taken as an indication the Commission was more interested in “dissipating” rumors for the public, at minimal cost to themselves politically, and with minimal friction between themselves and Mr. Hoover, than in establishing the truth. This indifference, moreover, would be exposed many more times throughout the course of their investigation.
Perhaps the commissioners were just too much on the "inside" to be objective. A National Security Agency document (RIF #144-10001-10119) reflects that commissioner John McCloy met with the agency on 1-27-64 and "discussed work of Warren's Commission." The “Top Secret Dinar” from a redacted NSA official reveals:
“During our talks, McCloy, on his own initiative, brought up the subject of criticism of the European press, especially the French, of Warren’s commission.
In a lengthy monologue he condemned accusations that the commission intends, in the name of public interest, to gloss over the evidence of the assassination and with its authority support the conclusions reached by the FBI.
He wants to assure us that he will not permit any distortion or concealment of the facts; however, from materials at his disposal, he is more and more convinced that Oswald committed the crime by himself. I acknowledged his information with the statement that interest in the commission’s report is great everywhere because of the shock of Kennedy’s assassination and of the world position of the USA.
McCloy’s statements confirm the opinion circulating here that the commission is mainly interested in proving that the assassination was not linked with any foreign centers. At the same time, public statements made by Mark Lane, hired by Oswald’s mother to defend her son before the commission, must be treated very carefully even in our press. Our friends consider him an unscrupulous politician interested only in his career. He is financed by groups which lean toward the Chinese viewpoint.”
Above: "Oswald's mother" and that "unscrupulous politician," Mark Lane.
Of course, Dulles himself was no angel. If a judge, in a court of law, had been a former CEO of a company rumored to be involved in a crime, he would be expected to recuse himself from the case, even if there was little substance to the rumor. Dulles, as a long-time lawyer, certainly knew this, but, instead of stepping down, he did just the opposite. He used his position as commissioner to help defend the CIA against charges of its involvement. The 3-11-64 Los Angeles Times reveals that Dulles called a press conference the day before in which he discussed his work on the Warren Commission just long enough to dismiss all rumors Oswald was an FBI or CIA informant as "perfectly ridiculous."
Huh... What Dulles acknowledged was entirely possible while talking in Executive Session of the Warren Commission became "perfectly ridiculous" once he stepped outside.
And that's not the worst of it. Dulles not only used his position as Commissioner to defend the CIA, he used the CIA to guide the direction of the Commission. On 1-30-64, in a personal correspondence available on Princeton University's website, Dulles wrote General Counsel Rankin to make some suggestions on areas of interest. Included with his letter was an article by British Labor leader R.P. Dutt, in which Dutt asks if the assassination was a "C.I.A. Job?" Included with this article was a biography on Dutt, clearly written by the CIA itself, in which it is asserted that Dutt's "standing with Moscow is excellent." Dulles then told Rankin "I suggest that you might wish the CIA to send you directly all important items of this general nature and also items bearing on the future Communist propaganda treatment of the assassination issue with their estimate, preferably coordinated with the State Department, showing the general trend of such propaganda, if there is one. It has been my experience that the Communist party of the Soviet Union exercises a good deal, but not complete, control over the propaganda activities of the various Communist parties in the free world and often uses these parties or selected ones to launch various trial balloons in the propaganda field."
In just a few days, Dulles had went from acknowledging the commission's inability to answer questions about Oswald's background to pushing that those even daring to ask such questions were at the beck and call of the Soviets.
I mean, it's not as if Dutt was the only European asking serious questions about the assassination. Nor the only Brit. The February '64 issue of Gun Review, the Official Journal of the The British Sporting Rifle Club, boasted an article by Lieut. Col. A Barker, which concluded:
"Three shots apparently struck the car in which the President was travelling; the time taken to fire these shots is variously reported as 5.5 seconds, 8 seconds and 15 seconds. Even allowing for the fact that the Mannlicher bolt action is reasonably quick and easy to work, the added telescopic attachment undoubtedly would tend to hinder its quick manipulation when the gun was reloaded. Much play has been made of the assassin’s marksmanship capabilities and there is no doubt that it is possible for an expert to fire three rounds in 5.5 seconds with such a weapon. To do so demands constant and recent practice however, and it seems doubtful whether the man Oswald had any opportunity to keep his marksmanship up to scratch since he left the U.S. forces. It seems that there had been no such opportunity during his sojourn in Russia, since lack of shooting facilities was one of the things he complained about.
Nor was the President an easy target. The problems associated with a moving target and a depressed line of fire have already been mentioned (dependent on how long it took for the occupants of the car to realise what was happening and for the driver to accelerate out of range), together with the state of the gun and Oswald’s skill...so the accuracy of the shots seems remarkable."
(Thanks to Paul Rigby for posting this article online.)
And yet, with thoughts such as Barker's spreading across Europe like wildfire, the American media chose to stick its head in the sand, and continued to push the leaked findings of the FBI’s summary report on an unwitting public.
Some publications, like UPI's joint venture with American Heritage Magazine, entitled Four Days, simply replayed that Kennedy was hit by the first shot, Connally the second, and Kennedy the third, and accurately called Oswald Kennedy's "alleged assassin." (In a curious move, this book was re-issued in 1983 without correction.)
Other books influenced by the FBI report, however, were not as open-minded. The Dangerous Assassins by Jack Pearl, published January 1964, included an account of the Kennedy assassination that was even more biased and less accurate than the account of the shooting in Robert Donovan's rush re-released The Assassins. On the inside page, Pearl identified Oswald as Kennedy's assassin--no "accused," no "alleged," not even a "presumed." Now that might be acceptable if it reported the evidence against Oswald with something approaching accuracy. But it did not. Instead, Pearl added so many details into his narrative that were at odds with what was already known or would soon be known, that his assertion of Oswald's guilt carried little real weight. For example, not only did he claim Oswald was an "expert marksman" whose shooting ability placed him "head and shoulders above his fellow Marines,"that Oswald bought a car and drove to Mexico City while seeking passage to Cuba, and that Oswald test-fired his rifle "innumerable times at a rifle range on the outskirts of town," all of which were later proved to be untrue, Pearl claimed that:
Oswald was stopped at the entrance to his work on the morning of the shooting by a "special patrolman" who asked him about the long package he was carrying. (This is a fabrication.)
Oswald was only allowed access to the building after he claimed this package held venetian blinds, and his claim was confirmed by another employee. (While Oswald was purported to have told his ride to work, Buell Frazier, that the package held window blinds, he was not questioned about this at work.)
Oswald locked an elevator on the sixth floor before the shooting to hasten his escape after the shooting. (There's no evidence for this. The elevators were on the fifth floor at the time of the shooting, after being ridden to that location by Bonnie Ray Williams from the sixth floor, and James Jarman and Harold Norman, from the first floor.)
Oswald calmly ate fried chicken while waiting for Kennedy's arrival. (The chicken found on the sixth floor was Bonnie Ray Williams' lunch.)
Nellie Connally was looking at President Kennedy when the first shot was fired. (This was not true. She said she looked at him after hearing the first shot.)
The second shot was aimed at Governor Connally. (Pure speculation.)
The third and fatal shot struck Kennedy on the back of his head and "blew a considerable hole in his forehead when it emerged." (While shattered beneath the scalp, his forehead was intact.)
After the shooting, Mrs. Kennedy climbed out onto the back of the limousine to help agent Clint Hill climb aboard. (She was in a panic, and didn't know what she was doing. Hill thought she was reaching for a piece of the President's head.)
While trying to evade capture, Oswald shot Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit three times. (The Warren Commission concluded he'd been shot at five times, and hit four times.)
After shooting Officer Tippit, Oswald bought a ticket and went into a movie theater. (Oswald purportedly aroused suspicion when he failed to buy a ticket, and sneaked into the theater.)
When confronted in the theater, Oswald pulled his revolver and fired at a police officer, only to find that the shell in his revolver was a dud. (The bullet was not a dud. The bullet did not fire because the hammer was blocked by the finger of one of the officers.)
The Mannlicher-Carcano rifle found in the depository was identified as Oswald's rifle by his wife, Marina. (She never ID'ed the rifle. She thought it looked similar, but knew nothing of rifles and could not say for sure if it was even the same type of rifle.)
Tests performed on this rifle proved that the three slugs removed from President Kennedy and Governor Connally were all fired from this rifle. (One intact bullet was found on a hospital stretcher. One partial bullet was found in the limousine. These two bullets were traced back to the rifle. The third bullet was, at least officially, never located.)
Tests performed on Oswald showed that he'd recently fired a rifle. (Totally false. While this was the story put out by the Dallas Police and the FBI, the tests suggested the opposite.)
None of these statements, as we've seen, were supported by the evidence. Some of them appear to have been pulled out of thin air.
Above: the same mug shot as found in the Dallas Police Archives (L) and as subsequently published in the Warren Commission's volumes (R). The darkening of the image, especially around the eyes, gave Oswald a morose, creepy appearance, that he otherwise lacked. In a rough parallel to the Robert Louis Stevenson story, in which Dr. Jekyll became a maniac called Mr. Hyde when under the influence of a specific drug, Mr. Oswald became a maniac over the months following Kennedy's assassination when filtered through the prism of the national media and Warren Commission. This was not justice, moreover, but propaganda.
But the most widely circulated magazines were not to be outdone when it came to Oswald-bashing. The 1-25-64 TV Guide on America's coffee tables included a long article recounting the first few days after the assassination, and the role television played in bringing America the news. This largely self-congratulatory article displayed an amazing bias, however, that was far more damaging to the cause of justice than barely read and boldly inaccurate books like Pearl's. While not stating that Oswald was the assassin and a psychopath, a la the New York Times and Newsweek, the article described him in such a way that his guilt was more than clear. It described Oswald’s first trip before the press as follows: “Oswald entered, an animal-like figure looking puffy-eyed and morose, flanked by beefy, stone-jawed police, and wearing the T shirt about which he was later to complain because no one had offered him a clean one.” Its description of a later press conference was even worse: “Oswald looked a little weasel-like…As the police led him out, a reporter slipped up close to him, and said, “Oswald, what did you do to your eye?” “A policeman hit me,” whined Oswald for 180,000,000 to hear.”