Friday, May 12, 2017

Jacob Carter Interviews Judge John R. Tunheim

Judge John R. Tunheim

For his book Before History Dies - Jacob Carter interviewed a number of important JFK assassination researchers and writers, including Judge John R. Tunheim, the chairman of the Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB). 

Judge John R. Tunheim is a United States District Court Judge. In 1994, after the release of Oliver Stone’s hit movie JFK, the public wanted our government to immediately release all remaining reports relating to the assassination. This demand for transparency helped birth the Assassination Records Review Board, which was created for the collection of all records relating to the assassination of President Kennedy.

Judge Tunheim was the chairman of this board. He was personally involved in the release of around five million pages of documents, and has seen the inner workings of what the government knew about JFK’s murder. I loved interviewing Judge Tunheim because he brings a legal viewpoint to this case. He likes to shape his views on this case through the evidence that can stick in court, and this provides the reader with a good foundation to spring from.

I chose to place this interview in the Lone Assassin section because I would not call Mr. Tunheim a conspiracy theorist. However, he does admit that there are gaping holes in previous investigations of the president’s murder, and he calls for our government to be more transparent about what they have hidden away. Let’s take an inside look at what a judge’s verdict would look like in this case.

JC: Could you please explain how you were involved with the Assassination Records Review Board?

Certainly. I was nominated by President Clinton to serve on the Board, which was a five member decision-making board. We were confirmed by the Senate and took office in the spring of 1994 and we wrapped up our work at the end of September, 1998. We oversaw the review of records that agencies still wanted classified. We made decisions as to what should remain classified and what should be released. We gathered as many records as we could get access to that might even be remotely related to the Kennedy assassination.

Do you feel that it was an overall success?

I think it was a great success, due in part to the manner in which the statute was written. It was written with an eye to open as many records as possible. It was also due in part to the time in which we were able to work. The Cold War was over, so there was less concern about protecting old information, and it was before 9/11, so that the concern for protecting information to fight terrorism hadn’t yet become a frontal assault on everyone like it did in 2001.

I felt it was a good time to release records. The way the statue was written was helpful because we were really the only outside group ever given authority to declassify records. That typically is reserved for the agency itself under presidential policies. Another factor in our success was very strong support from President Clinton. He had the ability to reverse any of our decisions to release information. He chose never to reverse any of our decisions. In fact, he affirmed our decision-making throughout the process.

And I think we had a fairly strong staff, and a good board that focused really on getting as much open as we possibly could. So, all those factors are why I think the work was relatively successful. I think somewhere between five and six million pages are now available to anyone at the National Archives.

Why do you think people have such a hard time either believing in a conspiracy or believing that Oswald did it alone?

It’s a really good question. I think there are a number of different answers. One is the fact that this was in 1963. Investigations, at least initially, were not very professionally done. You know, we would almost laugh today at the thought that someone accused of killing the president would be paraded out in front of the press for short news conferences, or that the accused person would sit in a jail cell that was readily accessible by reporters wandering around the police station.

This was a different time in America, and I think that for starters we don’t trust the investigations of that era, and secondly, frankly speaking, the investigations of that era weren’t as thorough as they should have been in light of the gravity of the crime that had been charged. I think the fact that the Dallas police couldn’t keep Oswald alive for more than 44 hours after the assassination only supports this idea of conspiracy.

As we look back at those black and white footages from the time, we think they just weren’t very good back then. Even 20, 25 years later, investigatory standards had improved so much that when we looked backed we thought the local investigation must have been real shoddy. So, that’s one reason. The second reason is people are prone to believe a plausible conspiracy theory. They’re not going to believe wacky conspiracy theories that don’t make any sense. No one is going to believe that the aliens came down to kill Kennedy. But, if there’s a plausible theory, and plausibility goes along with the poor investigation at the time, people are willing to believe it.

President Kennedy was the most powerful person in the world, and the thought that he could be killed by a 24 year old misfit during a parade is not very believable to people. Therefore, the idea that there was a conspiracy behind it appeals to the mind and especially to people who want to learn more about the assassination. They want to look behind everything and see if they can see more.

Thirdly, I think there’s another reason which probably lends more support to the idea of a conspiracy of some sort, and that is the fact Oswald had a fairly murky life in the several years before the assassination. He was in New Orleans and was associating with some unsavory characters there. He was involved in a pro-Castro effort at a time when our government was trying to kill Castro. He made a strange trip to Mexico City, where he went to the Soviet embassy and also the Cuban embassy. He had associations with people there. I think that there are tentacles there that lead people to believe that Oswald had connections with people who might have wanted Kennedy killed.

That being said, there’s no hard evidence for that at all; all we have is the murky lifestyle of a misfit who wanted the world to think he was an important person. And so, I think those connections lead people to think he must have had some kind of tie in with organized crime via Jack Ruby, or maybe there’s something to this Cuba connection, or maybe there’s a connection with the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. So, there are a lot of these tentacles going out from Oswald, and his life that caused people to believe that he must have been involved in a conspiracy.

I’ve said, you know, I’m a judge. I look at hard evidence. I look at what’s provable in court, and the only evidence that’s provable in court is that Oswald fired the rifle and killed him that day and that he had no involvement with anyone else That doesn’t mean it’s entirely true, but it does mean that is what is provable in court today, and that’s why I say that about the evidence…because there isn’t any direct evidence, at least that is admissible in a court of law, that would suggest any involvement with anybody else.

I have heard it speculated that if a group like the Mafia or the CIA wanted to commit a murder and applied a conspiracy to do it, that it’s next to impossible to prove that conspiracy in court. Could you shed some light on that because of your legal expertise?

Well, I think contrary to what most people believe, it is not all that difficult to prove that someone engaged in a conspiracy. The legal standards in federal court, and in most states make it relatively easy to prove a conspiracy. You have to prove that the person that you’re accusing of conspiracy joined in on an agreement, even if it wasn’t really clear to everybody and even if it wasn’t written down. There must be a meeting of the minds to do something and if you have evidence of that a conspiracy can be proven.

A conspiracy does not even need to be successful in order to be proven. For example, had Oswald lived and testified that he talked about assassinating the president with Jack Ruby ahead of time, and Jack Ruby seemed to agree that this was a good idea, then you’ve got a conspiracy. You could charge Ruby with murder of President Kennedy, even though obviously he was not there in Dealey Plaza that day. So, it’s not too difficult to prove conspiracy. You have to prove a meeting of the minds, but it can be very informal. It can be merely through reactions of people or the discussions that they might have had.

So, it can be proven in court?

It can. If someone had actually come up with evidence of Oswald sitting down with one of the mob guys, one of Trafficante’s guys or Rosselli’s guys or something like that, and the subject of the assassination was discussed in advance, you at least would have the basis for a conspiracy charge, and maybe enough for a conviction depending on how persuasive the evidence was. You might even be able to connect the conspiracy to the mob leader if there’s testimony that that person was aware of the conversation.

So, it’s relatively easy to prove, but in this case you have no such evidence so we cannot even begin to try and prove it.

In light of that, is someone logical for believing in a conspiracy or for saying Oswald did it alone? Does it work both ways?

I think I probably fall somewhere in the middle, although obviously I believe, at least what the evidence shows right now, that Oswald did it alone. But, I never ruled out the possibility or the idea of a conspiracy. I just haven’t seen sufficient evidence to prove that conspiracy yet. And, I say yet because there’s still research being done that’s solid, good research.

There’s also sloppy research being done of course, that happens all the time, but there’s good research being done too. The good research is trying to explore Oswald’s connections to see if there were any that can be linked to the assassination.

Now, is it likely that 51 years after the fact we’re going to uncover something major? 

Probably not. But, there are little pieces here and there that fill out the historical record. I would never discourage people from looking. My answer is it’s always possible to uncover a fact which in light of later review proves something that you couldn’t prove at the time, so I’ve never been discouraging to anyone who thinks there’s a conspiracy and is hunting for it.

Having said that, I haven’t seen the evidence yet that would prove that anyone but Oswald was directly involved.

On that note, the way the CIA has lied in this case and even obstructed justice in some investigations, can you see how people would think the CIA is suspicious, if not complicit in the assassination? Especially in light of the fact that they still have files related to Oswald in 2015?

I agree that the CIA’s actions in refusing to release more records so many years after the fact is unfortunate. I mean, it violates not only the spirit of the law, but also the letter of this law, which is still in force. It requires agencies to declassify and release this information, and if we were still around they wouldn’t be able to do that because we were able to exercise the power granted under the law to release a lot of material that the agency didn’t want released.

I mean, I understand their thinking. They release something voluntarily and in their view that’s precedent for some other issue down the line, so they’re not going to release anything of significance. They do voluntarily through their historical review process routinely review old records from time to time to see what can be released.

Surely at the time the CIA was very much powerful, but also, as the Church Committee found, a somewhat rogue organization that acted above the law. The CIA didn’t share anything with the Warren Commission. The Warren Commission was apparently not fully aware of Operation Mongoose, which was our effort to kill Castro, and destabilize Cuba, so I think it’s understandable why people would be suspicious of the CIA.

But, you’ve got to look at the way the CIA operated at the time. They were rivals with the FBI in many respects. They just didn’t feel that they had to follow restrictions. Today’s CIA is much more subject to governmental control, of course, but they still do what they can to be secretive. One of these ways is to not release information that should have been released a long time ago. Even information about which they misled us back at the time when we should have known and we would have released it had we known the true story.

Why do you think they won’t release those remaining files? What could possibly be the excuse for withholding those files now?

Well, there are two answers to those questions. The first one is embarrassment. They would be acknowledging that they flat out lied to the House Select Committee on Assassinations about George Joannides’ role within the agency in the 1960s. And the second reason is about this precedent concern. If they release these files without being compelled to through years of litigation, then their view is that they will have 200 researchers at their door step saying, ‘we want this information; release them just like this those files were just released,’ and that would establish a precedent.
I think all situations can be distinguished. I don’t think they would have the flood gates open like they think they would. But, I think it’s shameful that they’re not releasing it, and I can’t believe that something so directly related to the assassination should still be protected today.

Is this type of behavior by the CIA not unconstitutional, and almost totalitarian state like?

They weren’t exempt from the President John F. Kennedy Records Collection Act of 1992 which is what governed our work and which still remains on the books and requires agencies to identify assassination records and release them. The difference now is you don’t have an aggressive board to force them to do it. We were there to force them to do it. The National Archives could try to exercise that authority and has chosen not to, so we don’t have an agency pushing the CIA to release information and apparently the White House has decided this is beneath them and they’re not going to push the CIA to do this either.

So, they’re not above the law. There’s no real enforcing mechanisms, so those who have been trying to sue for information are forced to use the Freedom of Information Act which is a traditional way to try and get government records. Under that law, it is difficult to get classified records from a federal agency. You know, it’s not hard to get records from, for example, the Agriculture Department, but when you’re going after intelligence records it’s a lot harder to use the Freedom of Information Act to get to them. If you have a judge who is going to look at these issues carefully, you should be fine, but the CIA can be persuasive with its arguments concerning national security, especially in an age of terrorism.

The agency is not above the law; they have to follow the requirements for assassination records, but there’s no one to force them to do it, and the Freedom of Information Act has been relatively ineffective.

What do you think of the work the Warren Commission did?

The Warren Commission did an exhaustive investigation. They had a good legal team and their investigators did a decent job. The FBI did some of the investigations for them, and history’s judgment is that FBI investigators must have been tainted somewhat by Hoover’s announcement the day after the assassination that Oswald had done it himself. Hoover was still running the FBI at that time with an iron hand of course.

The Warren Commission investigators did not have access to CIA intelligence information; that’s fairly well proven, despite the fact that the former CIA Chief was a member of the Commission, Allen Dulles. Dulles apparently didn’t reveal much that he knew about the CIA to the rest of the Commission. And Chief Justice Warren did not feel it was appropriate for anyone else to look at autopsy photos and X rays because they were relatively gruesome. So, those factors may have suggested an investigation that was not entirely complete.

You also have the Commission’s single bullet theory, which is troubling to a lot of people, but certainly explained the evidence of what they found on the sixth floor and what they found from the timing of the shots and everything else from the Zapruder film.

I think, given the resources and information they had available to them at the time, it was a good investigation. It wasn’t as complete as it should have been. And one thing we have to keep in mind about the Warren Commission is, it wasn’t a special prosecutor, it wasn’t a Watergate grand jury, it wasn’t any of those things. It was a group of politicians chosen to oversee this investigation. And the reason why you have groups of politicians overseeing an investigation is to keep it under control.
I suspect part of the thinking was that if the evidence pointed to a foreign power, President Johnson wouldn’t want the American people to know that because it would require retaliation and no one wanted that provocation at the height of the Cold War. So, by putting politicians in charge of this was a way to control it if it did come to the point being needed to be controlled. I don’t think there was any need of control at the end.

I don’t think anyone told the Warren Commission what to do. In theory it was a group that could have kept secrets that needed to be kept. So, overall they certainly don’t get an A plus for their overall effort, but it was relatively exhaustive; maybe a B, I don’t know. It’s hard to say. 26 volumes and a lot of detail are fairly impressive when you look at the body of work that they created. I think the chief complaint about the Warren Commission over the years was that they were a group of politicians and they reached a result that a lot of people fundamentally disagreed with, and because they disagreed with their result that must mean they didn’t do a good job, and I don’t think that’s a correlation you could make.

One of the most disturbing things about my generation and the way the law of the land is unfolding is that emotion seems to trump the law. I have run into this type of thinking a lot of the time while investigating this case. If you say Oswald has evidence against him, people will turn around and say that that evidence was planted. So, as someone who deals with evidence all the time, what would happen to these types of theories once they were in court?

The theories of someone putting a palm print on the gun and that sort of thing?

Yes, that Oswald was set up and that sort of thing.

Unless you had someone who directly testified that they were involved with doing that, there’s not enough of an evidentiary basis or foundation to those theories to allow them to be admissible in court. I mean they’re admissible in books written about the assassination, everything is, and it’s an interesting theory and some people believe in it, but it’s surely not admissible in court at this point, unless you find someone who was a part of the group and testified that they did this, and this is who we did it with, and this is where we did it and who had this role. No one has been able to find anyone like that, so although such evidence is not admissible in a legal proceeding, it is surely not inadmissible in the court of public opinion.

What about circumstantial evidence? Is there anything in this case that is circumstantial that would sway a jury towards conspiracy?

I hate to say never, because you never know. Juries can sometimes be swayed by outstanding lawyers and certain aspects of the evidence that’s so persuasive to them that it overwhelms other evidence. I just don’t see any evidence of a conspiracy that would be persuasive with a jury today.

Not to say that it doesn’t exist out there, and that’s why I always encourage people who are interested in the subject to look and to read and to think and to use their good sense to evaluate. And if you have the time and money to do investigations, then do it, because that’s how we ultimately get to the bottom of the great questions of history. But, right now I don’t see it.

I mean, civil court is different than criminal court. In criminal court you have to prove a defendant to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a very high standard. In civil court you just have to prove a preponderance of evidence, which means it’s more likely true than not. So, you’re getting a little closer. If the evidence sways a jury 51 percent to 49 percent you’ve proven your case in civil court, so it’s not out of the question, but from all of the stuff that I’ve seen it’s hard to find evidence that’s going to be persuasive to a randomly selected jury.

Do you think the American public will ever come to a conclusion on this case?

I think that the controversy will continue on probably forever in the annals of history. I don’t think that you’re going to firmly convince a majority of the American people that Oswald did it by himself. There’s too much controversy about it. There are too many parts of the initial investigation that had gaps in it that can be filled with very plausible and interesting arguments that people can believe.

But maybe the controversy will diminish more at some point in time. You know, you still have people who are out there trying to prove that it wasn’t John Wilkes Booth who killed Lincoln. They have other theories. So, you’re going to find people who have a contrary view and this is especially true when they have been given their answers from the government, and that’s their right as citizens.

Generally speaking, I applaud them. Go do it yourself. Figure out what you want to believe. But, there’s so much here, so many books written that are contrary to the official conclusion, that I don’t think that this controversy will diminish much in the next 100-150 years.

Do you have any advice for future researchers?

I think the most interesting part of research is to study Oswald. I think there are things we don’t know about him. Assess him. Could he have pulled this off? Could he have met with people that made this suggestion to him? Did he come at this idea by chance because the parade route was going by the building where he worked and he was anxious to be a famous person in history? I mean, who knows? That’s a place to look.

I would like to see more research done in the future on the Soviet Union’s reaction to the assassination. Not that I think the Soviets had any role, but Oswald lived there for two and a half years before he came back in 1962, so who was he in touch with over there? What formulated his opinions over there? The KGB did an extensive investigation into the assassination. What did they find out? What’s in their files? We haven’t had much access into the KGB files or the Oswald surveillance files which are immense. Cuban intelligence. What did they know? Oswald supposedly had connections with Cuban intelligence officials when they were training in Minsk while he lived there. 

What about Mexico City? 

Mexico City has been looked at in some detail, but there is probably more to find there.

These are the kinds of in-depth research that I think have the possibility of shining a greater light on what happened, rather than continuing to debate over the single bullet or the sound wave analysis from the police motorcade tapes. Those areas have been tread over so many times, I’m not really sure we’re going to gain any more information at this point in time. Let’s look at Oswald. Let’s look at his life and see what more we can find out.

So, start with Oswald and work your way out from him?

That’s most interesting to me because you have all this evidence that he fired the shots on November 22, 1963, but the issue of why he would do something like this, what motivated him or who he was connected to, these are the issues that I find to be interesting and compelling, and still present open questions.

Excerpted from the book Before History Dies - Interviews with JFK Assassination Writers 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Secret Service Reports

Thanks to Vince for this One 

Secret Service destroys JFK assassination related documents: what was destroyed and what Gerald Blaine "donated"

Gerald Blaine turned over to the National Archives documents ALREADY MADE AVAILABLE- the Final Survey Report for the Tampa, FL trip of 11/18/63. Blaine mistakenly thought THESE were the documents "conspiracy theorists" thought were usual, he is wrong.
THESE were the ONLY records released by the Secret Service, all in the late 1990's. I have them all, as any citizen with the money can order copies via the collection at the National Archives:

The November 1963 Secret Service shift reports;
RIF #154-10002-10417:
Final Survey Report Philadelphia, PA trip 10/30/63;
RIF#154-10002-10418 :
Final Survey Report Elkton, MD trip 11/14/63;
RIF#154-10002-10419 :
Final Survey Report SECOND New York City trip 11/14-11/15/63;
Final Survey Report Palm Beach, FL trip 11/18/63;
Final Survey Report Cape Canaveral, FL 11/18/63;
Final Survey Report Tampa, FL 11/18/63;
Final Survey Report Miami, FL 11/18/63;

Final Survey report San Antonio, TX, 11/21/63;
Here is what was destroyed, Gerald:
A Summary of the Records Destroyed by the Secret Service in January of 1995.
[special thanks to Bill Kelly and the ARRB's Doug Horne]
The Protective Survey Reports destroyed by the Secret Service in January 1995 were part of a group of records transferred by the Secret Service to the General Services Administration’s Washington  National Records  Center in Suitland,  Maryland on August 7, 1974 under accession number 87-75-4. The instructions on the SF-135 (“Records Transmittal and Receipt” form) were: “Retain permanently for eventual transfer to the National Archives or a Presidential Library.” There were six boxes transferred under the accession number, and the two that were destroyed in January of 1995 contained the following files: 

Box 1 Protection of the President (John F. Kennedy) 

-         Andrews Air Force Base 1961 (Arrivals and Departures) 
-         Andrews Air Force Base 1962 (Arrivals and Departures) 
-         Andrews Air Force Base 1963 (Arrivals and Departures) 
-         Arlington National  Cemetery 
-         Camp David 
-         The Capitol 
-         Churches 
-         D.C. National Guard Armory 
-         D.C. Stadium 
-         Departures from South Grounds 
-         Dulles International  Airport 
-         Embassies 
-         Executive Office  Building 
-         Golf Clubs 
-         Griffith Stadium 
-         Homes of Friends 
-         International Inn 
-         Mayflower Hotel (three folders, for 1961-63) 
-         National Press Club 
-         Other Places Folders (#s 1-4, from January 1961-December of 1962) 

Box 6 Protective Survey Reports for the following trips: 

-         Duluth, Minnesota (9-24-63) 
-         Ashland, Wisconsin (9-24-63) 
-         Billings, Montana (9-25-63) 
-         Grand Teton National Park,  Wyoming (9-25-63) 
-         Cheyenne, Wyoming (9-25-63) 
-         Grand Forks, North  Dakota (9-25-63) 
-         Laramie, Wyoming (9-25-63) 
-         Salt Lake City, Utah (9-26-63) 
-         Great Falls, Montana (9-26-63) 
-         Hanford, Washington (9-26-63) 
-         Tongue Point, Oregon (9-27-63) 
-         Redding, California (9-27-63) 
-         Tacoma, Washington (9-27-63) 
-         Palm Springs, California (9-28-63) 
-         Las Vegas, Nevada (9-28-63) 
-         Heber Springs, Arkansas (10-3-63) 
-         Little Rock, Arkansas (10-3-63) 
-         University of  Maine (10-19-63) 
-         Boston, Massachusetts (10-26-63) 
-         Amherst, Massachusetts (10-26-63) 
-         Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (10-30-63) 
-         Chicago, Illinois (11-2-63): Three Folders [TRIP CANCELLED] 
-         New York City (11-8-63) 

In addition, one folder of vital records was missing from Box 2 in this accession, titled: “Other Places Folder #6” (for the period July-November 1963) 


Clearly, withholding these two boxes of materials from any investigator would have kept that investigator from learning about normal protective procedures an concerns related to everyday activities throughout the Kennedy Presidency, and would furthermore have denied the investigator comparative knowledge regarding how JFK was protected in numerous venues just prior to the trip to Texas. Perhaps the reader can better understand now why Jeremy Gunn and David Marwell were so upset with the Secret Service. The records were destroyed in the fourth month following the establishment of the ARRB, and furthermore had originally been tagged:

 “Retain permanently for eventual transfer to the National Archives or a Presidential Library.” Their destruction occurred long after the Secret Service was initially briefed on the requirements of the JFK Records Act in December of 1992 by the NARA staff, and required willful action by officials within that agency; it was hardly an accident. The Secret Service clearly didn’t want the ARRB poking into its past procedures and practices; the agency had been the recipient of severe criticism in the HSCA’s 1979 Report, and apparently did not wish to repeat that experience, or to have its sealed records released to the Archives for placement in the JFK Records Collection, for all JFK researchers to peruse in the future. 
Chronology of Letters Exchanged Between the ARRB and the U.S. Secret Service Over the Destruction of Protective Survey Reports 

On July 25, 1995 Review Board Chairman John R. Tunheim sent a powerfully worded letter to the Director of the Secret Service registering the Review Board’s displeasure about its recent discovery that the two boxes in question had been destroyed over a half a year previously. A letter from Board Chair Jack Tunheim (rather than David Marwell or Jeremy Gunn) addressed directly to the Head of the Secret Service (instead of to the administrative officials with whom the ARRB staff had been dealing) was a powerful signal that the Review Board was immensely displeased and took the matter very seriously. Some key passages in Jack Tunheim’s letter are quoted below:

            In January of this year, Dr. Jeremy Gunnn of the Review Board staff requested of John Machado and Ann Parker of the Secret Service that the six boxes in the accession be made available for his review to evaluate the importance of the material for the JFK Collection in the Archives. Although four of the boxes were made available, we were not provided with boxes (1) and (6), the two most important boxes. On February 7, 1995 – and several times thereafter – Mr. Machado and Ms. Parker informed us that the Federal Records  Center “could not locate” the two missing boxes….Although we repeatedly were told that special requests for these records had been made at the Federal Records  Center, Ms. Ann Parker of the Secret Service finally informed Dr. Joan Zimmeman of the Review Board staff, on July 19, 1995 – six months after we had first requested the boxes – that the records had in fact been destroyed in January of this year at approximately the same time that we had requested them. 

Tunheim’s letter requested full accounting of what had happened to the two boxes; a listing of all other Secret Service records pertaining to President Kennedy that had ever been destroyed; and instructed the Secret Service not to destroy any records of any kind relating to President Kennedy or his assassination without first allowing the Review Board and its staff to review them for relevance. For added emphasis a copy of the letter was sent to the Chief Counsel of the U.S. Secret Service, as well as to John Machado, the apparent culprit who presumably gave the orders to destroy the records. 

The Secret Service made an immediate attempt to de-escalate the matter by assigning an official named W. Ralph Basham, its Administrative Director of Administration, to reply. Basham’s reply, dated July 31, 1995, was a five-and-one-half page single spaced attempt at obfuscation, the administrative equivalent of a Senate filibuster, to use a legislative analogy. In addition to saying, in some many words, ‘Hey, we didn’t do anything wrong, we were following routine destruction procedures established years ago,’ the Secret Service attempted to wiggle out of its predicament by simultaneously suggesting that perhaps the destruction was really the Review Board’s fault because it was not in receipt of the ARRB’s expanded definition of what constituted an “assassination record” until February 1995, after the records were destroyed. Perhaps most disturbing of all was the narrow definition that the Secret Service had used commencing in December 1992 (following its NARA beefing on the JFK Records Act) to define what constituted an assassination record: namely, White House detail shift reports only for the period November 18, 1963 to November 24, 1963. Mr. Basham also tried to downplay the significance of the missing Chicago protective survey reports for the cancelled November 2, 1963 trip (during which conspirators had planned to assassinate President Kennedy) by writing: 

The folder concerning the canceled trip to Chicago would only have contained a preliminary survey report, if any document at all, since final reports are not conducted when a trip is cancelled. This report, if in fact it was even in the prepared folder, would have been of limited scope. [Author’s comments: there were 3 folders on the cancelled Chicago trip, not one, and this attempt to portray the Chicago file as one folder was duplicitous; furthermore, how did Basham presume to know that any reports written about the cancellation of the Chicago trip would have been “of limited scope?” It is easy to make such  claim after evidence is destroyed, because there is no way you can be challenged.] 

The ARRB’s response to this “in your face” piece of administrative obfuscation was signed out by Executive Director David G. Marwell on August 7, 1995, and showed no mercy. Rather than simply allow the matter to “go away” or “die,” as the Secret Service had hoped, Marwell’s leter (co-drafted by him and Gunn) resurrected the seriousness of the matter in no uncertain terms. I quote below, in part: 

Although you concluded your letter by stating that you “trust this explanation will clarify any misunderstandings that may have arisen,” I regret to say that not only does your letter not allay our concerns, it compounds them. 

The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection (JFK Act) forbids the destruction of any documents “created or made available for use by, obtained by, or [that] otherwise came into the possession of …. The Select Committee on Asssassinations…of the House of Representatives.” It is our understanding that the records in Accession 87-75-0004 that the Secret Service destroyed were examined by the House Select Committee on Assassinations and thus were “assassination records” under the JFK Act and they apparently were destroyed in violation of law. [emphasis in original, which is most unusual in official government correspondence – it is the equivalent of shouting at someone during a conversation] 

We see the destruction of these assassination records as particularly ominous in light of the fact that the Secret Service revised its destruction schedule after passage of the JFK Act and that it targeted for destruction records that, at the time the law was passed, were slated to be held “permanently.” [emphasis in the original] 

Rather than refereeing to and applying the standards of the JFK Act, your letter suggests that the responsibilities of the Secret Service extend no further than complying with standard records disposal schedules. After acknowledging that the Secret Service in fact destroyed records in 1995 from Accession 87-75-0004 (related to the protection of President Kennedy), you state that they were “processed in accordance with National Archives and Records (NARA) procedures, and in full compliance with approved records disposition schedules.” The JFK Act, it should be clear, supercedes any law or any disposition schedule related to “assassination records.” 

This was a “right back in your face” response that told masters of obfuscation at the Secret Service that the ARRB wasn’t going to be rolled, and wasn’t going to go away. Marwell’s letter then upped the ante by requesting a ton of information which any Federal agency would have had a difficult time finding the resources to accomplish. Marwell’s letter ended with these words: 

…we specifically request that you assure us that no Secret Service records related to Presidential protection between 1958 and 1969 or to the assassination of President Kennedy be destroyed until the Review Board has received prior written notice and has had an opportunity to inspect the records [emphasis in original]  

Sensing that the ARRB was flexing its muscles and was about to “go nuclear” [which was true – public hearings were being considered], Mr. Basham replied on August 15, 1995 with a calming one-page letter and requesting a meeting to discuss the “additional issues” which he said were raised by Marwell’s letter. That meeting was held the very next day (August 16, 1995) on ARRB turf, in our offices at 600 E Street, in Northwest Washington D.C. 

Following the meeting, which lasted several hours, Jeremy Gunn (our General Counsel and Head of Research and Analysis) signed out a letter on August 21, 1995 to Mr. Basham and Mr. Personnette (Deputy Chief Counsel) of the Secret Service. Gunn recognized for the record that the Secret Service now had a much better understanding of what constituted an assassination record – the ARRB set the definition for this, not the agencies holding records, who all wished to minimize their work – and noted for the record that the Secret Service had agreed that no records related to Presidential protection for years 1958-1969 would be destroyed until after the ARRB had a chance to review them to verify that no assassination records were included. Gunn also recorded the agreement reached on August 16, 1995, that Dr. Joan Zimmerman of our staff would henceforth have full access to all Secret Service records upon demand, not just partial and limied access, as previously. The ARRB threw a face-saving bone to the Secret Service in Gunn’s letter, as well: 

As acknowledged in the meeting, we fully understand and accept your interest in ensuring that no documents are released that would compromise Presidential protection. As we have mentioned before, our professional staff is in possession of current security clearances and we will take all appropriate measures to safeguard the records and ensure full compliance with the law.
On the same date, August 21, 1995, Gunn signed out a letter to the miscreant John Machado (who had ordered the two boxes destroyed), which was much less friendly in tone and which bored in on him with a number of questions about dubious statements previously made by Machado, and made additional requests for information and records 

The crisis had abated, and the Secret Service had avoided embarrassing public hearings which would have exposed their perfidy. The public was not to learn of this business until that one cryptic paragraph was published in the ARRB Final Report in late September of 1998, three years later. Unlike poor JFK, whom corrupt individuals in the Secret Service had helped set up in Dallas in 1963, the Secret Service in 1995, had ‘dodged a bullet.’ 

Professor Jim Fetzer summed up the situation nicely with his comments in the documentary “The Smoking Guns,” which aired on the History Channel in 2003:
“The Secret Service…deliberately destroyed…records that would have revealed that the motorcade in Dallas was a travesty, a violation of at least 15 different Secret Service policies for Presidential protection. This behavior on their part raises the most serious and deserving questions about their complicity in the entire affair…which of course, is the reason why the Secret Service destroyed the records of its own motorcades when they were asked for them by the Assassination Records Review Board.”
Doug Horne, the chief analyst for military records of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) wrote more extensively about the deliberate destruction of Secret Service records in his book, “Inside the ARRB” (2009, Volume V, p. 1451)


In 1995, the Review Board Staff became aware that the U.S. Secret Service had destroyed protective survey reports related to John F. Kennedy’s Presidency, and that they had done so well after the passage of the JFK Records Act, and well after having been briefed by the National Archives (NARA) on the Act’s requirements to preserve all Assassination Records from destruction until the ARRB had made a determination that any such proposed destruction was acceptable
I reported to work at the ARRB on August 7, 1995, and I still distinctly recall that this controversy was raging full force during the first two weeks I was on the job. I recall both General Counsel Jeremy Gunn and Executive Director David Marwell being particularly upset; they were seriously considering holding public hearings in which the Secret Service officials responsible for said destruction would be called to account and castigated, in an open forum, with the media present. 

The thinking at the time was that doing so would: (a) cause the Secret Service to take the Review Board and the JFK Act seriously; and (b) send a warning to other government agencies, such as the FBI and CIA, to also take the Review Board and the JFK Act seriously, lest they, too be dragged into public hearings that would cause great discomfiture and professional embarrassment. 
Eventually – and unfortunately – tempers cooled and no public hearings were held. I suspect that Board Chair Jack Tunheim played a major role in finessing the matter; presumably, the Board Members believed that since the ARRB was still in its first year of its three-year effort to locate and review assassination records, that we would get more out of the Secret Service in the future with honey, than with vinegar. Stern official letters levying charges and counter-charges were exchanged; a face-to-face meeting between high-level officials of the ARRB and Secret Service was held; tempers cooled; and no public hearings were ever held. Relations with the Secret Service remained testy throughout the remainder of the ARRB’s lifespan. It was my impression, during my ongoing discussions with my fellow analysts on the Secret Service Records team for the next three years (from September 1995 to September 1998), that the Secret Service never “loosened up” and reached a comfortable working accommodation with the ARRB like the FBI, the CIA, and the Pentagon (or, at least the Joint Staff Secretariat) did. The Secret Service and the ARRB remained wary adversaries for four years. 

The Review Board itself consciously soft-pedaled the dispute in its Final Report, devoting only one paragraph (and virtually no details whatsoever) to the incident, on page 149: 

Congress passed the JFK Act in 1992. One month later, the Secret Service began its compliance efforts. However, in January 1995, the Secret Service destroyed Presidential protection survey reports for some of President Kennedy’s trips in the fall of 1963. The Review Board learned of the destruction approximately one week after the Secret Service destroyed them, when the Board was drafting its request for additional information. The Board believed that the Secret Service files on the President’s travel in the weeks preceding this murder would be relevant. 

And that was it – that was the only mention of the entire imbroglio in the Final Report of the Assassinations Records Review Board. My intention here is to give the reader as much additional and relevant, information as I can at this writing, 14 years later. I was never “on the inside” of this problem, but I do have a correspondence file of letters exchanged, and will quote from them liberally to give the reader a sense of what it feels and sounds like when two bureaucracies go to war inside the Beltway. This is of more than mere academic interest, since the evidence presented in this chapter has shown that several Secret Service officials on the White House Detail were complicit in both the President’s death – due to willful actions that greatly lessened the physical security around President Kennedy during the Dallas motorcade – and in the coverup of the damage to the limousine, which if left in its original damaged condition, would have proved JFK was caught in a crossfire, and therefore killed by a conspiracy.

The JFK Declassified Team

Did Lee Harvey Oswald Act Alone? An Army Vet’s Investigation Suggests Otherwise

Beginning their investigation in Mexico City, Marty Scovlund, Adam Bercovici and Bob Baer 
convene to discuss their first move from History's JFK Declassified 

 April 21, 2017

What do you get when you put a retired CIA agent, an Army veteran, and a former Los Angeles police officer together to track down new information surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy? History Channel’s newest show.

“JFK Declassified: Tracking Oswald” follows these three experts over six episodes as they dissect newly declassified government documents to investigate the activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, the former Marine charged with Kennedy’s murder, in the weeks leading up to the crime that rocked the United States.

The trio follows leads that take them to Moscow, Mexico City, New Orleans, Miami, and Dallas, retracing Oswald’s steps “with the goal of separating conspiracy theory from the truth,” according to History Channel. They even discover clues that suggest Oswald may have maintained direct connections with the Soviet KGB, dispelling the long-questioned narrative that he operated alone.
While the prospect of interrogating new details about Kennedy’s death makes the show a must-watch for any history buff, the fact that Task & Purpose senior contributor Marty Skovlund Jr. is one of the hosts makes it all the more worthwhile.

“Bob [Baer] has an intel background, and Adam [Bercovici] had an extensive career with LAPD. So really the only piece they were missing for the investigation was someone with a military background,” Skovlund, a veteran of the 1st Ranger Battalion and Syracuse Recruiting Battalion, told Task & Purpose. “A lot of this investigation delved into military-esque operations, so I was there to analyze those angles.”

“JFK Declassified: Tracking Oswald” premieres Tuesday, April 25, at 10 pm EST on History Channel.

In the meantime, check out the trailer below.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Lingo of Dealey Plaza

The Lingo of Dealey Plaza 

Joshia "Tink" Thompson, is the author of "Six Seconds in Dallas" and "Gumshoe," his recollections of 20 years as a San Francisco private eye in the best Sam Spade tradition.

Thompson once said that in every case he ever worked there came a point in the investigation that a key piece of evidence led to everything falling into place and resolving the crime, except that didn't happen with JFK, at least until now.

Now it can be shown that we have approached the assassination of JFK from all the wrong angles - either as a traditional crime with tampered evidence or a conspiracy of mobsters, rogue CIA agents, big oil men and corrupt politicians sitting around plotting the crime.

But now we can look at it from a different and fresh perspective - that of a covert intelligence operation that was designed to shield the actual perpetrators, a typical covert operation that utilized standard intelligence procedures including deception and disinformation.

If we look at the assassination of President Kennedy as a covert intelligence operation rather than the work of a deranged loner, all the pieces of the puzzle suddenly fit into place, whereas before there were pieces that didn't fit and even had pieces left over.

Any true account must include all the facts and evidence and while the lone nut scenario and various conspiracy theories only utilize what supports their contention, the covert action view takes everything into account.

As with any special interest, in order to begin to understand this approach you need to learn the basic lingo and language used by covert operators.

When I was asked to write a history of golf at the Atlantic City Country Club I suggested they get a golfer as I never played the game, but they said they had plenty of golfers, they needed an historical researcher and writer. All I had to do, the golf pro explained, was to learn the lingo and terminology, and then I wrote, "Birth of the Birdie," a history of golf including how the term "birdie" was coined.

When linguistics professor David Maurer was researching his book on the slang terms of the con artists and the criminal underworld, he was led to write "The Big Con," that was developed into the movie "The Sting."

The US Army author of "Psychological Warfare" Paul Linebarger taught a class on the subject of Black Propaganda for CIA officers and included Maurer's book "The Big Con" as required reading.
And when a former general and head of ACSI was asked how the best case officers handled their agents he said - just like The Sting.

And you can see how both confidence men who pull off the Big Cons like The Sting and covert operators use the same methods and terminology.

Just as The Sting used a fake gambling parlor complete with actors and furniture that disappeared after they pulled off their stunt, JMWAVE had a fake Business front - Zenith Technological Services with a front office that had sales charts and framed certificates on the wall. 

And just like the con artists in The Sting, the covert operators used aliases, cut-outs, cover stories and "inside men" like William Harvey and Ted Shackley who did the planning in the office and "outside men" who served on the street as case officers dealing directly with the agents, assets and operators.

Peter Dale Scott, Larry Hancock, John Newman and Rex Bradford all have compiled lists of aliases, code names and ciphers and their true names, translations and references so those who take this approach can get past the intentional deceptions and understand what's really going on. 

The Convoluted Plot

The Convoluted Plot 

As Larry Hancock reports in his book "Someone Would Have Talked," (Pgs. 484-486), in October 1995 Gene Wheaton faxed John Tunheim, the chairman of the Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB) informing him that he might have some relevant information regarding the board's inquiry. 

Then VP of National Air Cargo company, he included a four page biography to show he was not a quack.

Wheaton told the ARRB he had a friend, an ex-Marine who trained Cuban exiles and was in charge of infiltration sabotage and assassination teams into Cuba, and was privy to their private conversations. 

His Cuban exile sources "confirmed that exiles originally trained for attacks on Castro had killed Kennedy, considering him to be a traitor."

Wheaton also stated, "people above the Cubans wanted JFK killed for other reasons."
"The matter is not complex," Wheaton explained, "but is convoluted."

Wheaton's ex-USMC friend who trained Cuban exiles was identified as Carl Jenkins, a senior CIA officer who did indeed direct paramilitary operations in support of the Bay of Pigs, Mongoose, and at JMWAVE where he was involved in both AMWORLD and Pathfinder operations that are linked to what happened at Dealey Plaza.

The Tipping Point in Switching Cover-Stories for the Dealey Plaza Operation

THE TIPPING POINT - Updated - By William Kelly 

Image result for executive office building and white house washington dc
The White House (left) and the Executive Office Building (EOB - Right) 
Where between 7 and 9 pm on 11/22/63 LBJ Ordered an end to conspiracy 
and it was decided Oswald was a lone nut case. 

Originally posted June 2012 at 

The assassination of President Kennedy, when viewed as a covert intelligence operation, was a previously detailed plan that was set to be used against Fidel Castro of Cuba, and included the black propaganda deception to blame the assassination on communists. 

What happened at Dealey Plaza was not so much a plot as it was a plan, - a military style covert operation, and part of that plan included the disinformation ploy to blame the conspiracy, as it was meant to be seen, on Castro Cuban Communists. 

That part of the plan, besides deflecting investigations from those actually responsible, was also designed to spark an invasion and takeover of Cuba, something that President Kennedy rejected, but it was believed that LBJ would do. 

But he didn't take the bait. LBJ recognized that if it was shown, or even believed that Castro was behind what happened at Dealey Plaza, it would lead to war, not only with Cuba but with the Soviet Union, and eventually end in a nuclear war, and like JFK, he didn't want to go there. So he used that as the excuse to convince the Texas authorities not to charge Oswald with conspiracy, and later to get Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren to head the Warren Commission in order to disprove the conspiracy. 


The Tipping-Point was the moment the big switch occurred in the cover stories from what Peter Dale Scott has called the “Phase One” – the Cuban Castro Commie conspiracy behind the Dealey Plaza operation, to “Phase Two” – giving sole responsibility for the murder to a deranged Lone Nut - Lee Harvey Oswald. [1]

This specific point in time must have been a decision that came early – sometime shortly after the assassination – between the time Oswald was associated with the murder and while his background was being discovered and disseminated within the government and by the mass media.

From what can reasonably be determined, it was LBJ himself who made this decision, with the advice of J. Edgar Hoover, Cliff Carter, Walter Jenkins and probably McGeorge Bundy, sometime between 7 PM and 9 PM, EST, while LBJ was ensconced in the Vice President’s office in the Executive Office Building (EOB) next door to the White House.

This decision is significant on many levels but especially so because by doing so LBJ asserted his authority early on and separated himself from those who planned the assassination and plotted the cover story – the “Phase One” cover story that Castro was behind the assassination, by not adhering to it, and instead deciding that the assassin was to be considered alone and deranged.

The official switch had to have occurred before the day was done, and although there is no direct evidence of it among the conversations on the existing AF1 radio transmission tapes, it may be a subject edited from the existing tapes, or before Air Force One took off. [2]

Generals Clifton and McHugh were aboard Air Force One, as well as LBJ aides Jack Valenti and Cliff Carter, all of whom could have communicated with others by telephone over secure WHCA circuits while Air Force One was still on the ground, or over one of the three radios in use while Air Force One was in the air.  Although there are no such conversations on the existing tapes, there are reliable reports that such things were discussed. T.H. White, William Manchester, Pierre Salinger, Jim Bishop and Maj. H. Patterson have all referred to radio conversations that are not on the tapes, including the determination that Oswald was the lone, deranged assassin. [3]

This decision was vocally and emphatically expressed on Friday night when LBJ’s aide Cliff Carter telephoned Dallas authorities and ordered them not to charge Oswald as being part of a communist conspiracy because it could start a war. [4]

So while it doesn’t appear that the new president was overtly concerned that war was eminent, as he didn’t discuss it on the record or even communicate with the Generals aboard Air Force One, the Joint Chiefs of Staff or Secretary of Defense, that war was a possibility was clearly on his mind. We know LBJ was thinking about it because he used the threat of nuclear war to get the Dallas authorities to change the wording on the warrant charging Oswald with being the assassin, so it didn’t read “in furtherance of an international communist conspiracy,” and then he used the possibility of war as an excuse again to get a reluctant Earl Warren to chair the Commission, which was charged with determining there was no conspiracy, foreign or otherwise.

The timing of the Cliff Carter’s calls to Texas officials, in the name of the White House (8-9 P.M.) seems to indicate that it occurred while LBJ, Walter Jenkins and Carter were in the Vice President’s office at the Executive Office Building, next door to the White House.

As soon as they landed at Andrews, LBJ gave his brief speech before the TV cameras, but shortly before or after the speech, he also quickly and briefly conferred with Secretary of Defense McNamara, National Security Advisor Bundy and Under Secretary of State George Ball (since Dean Rusk was on the Cabinet Plane). From reports, he simply asked them each individually if there were any decisions he had to make immediately, and they each replied no. [5]

According to LBJ’s aide Jack Valenti, they then boarded helicopters that took them to the White House lawn, and walked to the Vice President’s suite of offices in the ExecutiveOffice Building. [6]


Bill Clinton, in his review of Robert A. Caro’s “The Passage of Power” wrote, “Then tragedy changed everything. Within hours of President Kennedy’s assassination, Johnson was sworn in as president, without the pomp of an inauguration, but with all the powers of the office. At first he was careful in wielding them. He didn’t move into the Oval Office for days, running the executive branch from Room 274 in the Executive Office Building. The family didn’t move into the White House residence until Dec. 7. But soon enough, it would become clear that the power Johnson had grasped for his entire life was finally his.”  [7]

Jack Valenti – in “A Very Human President” (1973, p 3) wrote:

“It was a few minutes after 6:00 P.M., EST, Friday, November 22, 1963. Air Force One bearing the new president, and the body of the slain John F. Kennedy, had just landed after a flight from Dallas.” [8]

“The trip of eighteen miles by chopper from Andrews to the White House took seven minutes…The president’s chopper had landed at 6:32 P.M.,…The president was still at the entrance to the Diplomatic Reception Room, talking to Under Secretary of State George Ball, and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. I joined them and we all began to walk, not through the Diplomatic Reception Room, but through the Rose Garden to the walkway that led from the Mansion to the West Wing. We strode to the doorway of the West Wing, but not to the president’s Oval Office. I found it strange that the president would not go to his office. I learned later that LBJ had decided not to use JFK’s office but for the time being to continue using his vice-presidential suite in the Executive Office Building. That is why we descended the stairs from the West Wing first floor to the basement and through this underfloor to the exit at the West Basement. We walked across the private street dividing the West Wing from the EOB and thence up the elevator to the third floor vice-presidential office.”

“The vice-presidential office was a three room suite and within minutes it was crowded. The president ensconced himself in the large, high-ceilinged, fireplace room, comfortably but not luxuriously furnished. Shortly before 7:00 P.M., I escorted Senator J. William Fulbright, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Ambassador Averell Harriman into the office. I fidgeted outside, in the middle of what would have appeared to be an objective onlooker to be a mélange of confusion. No one of the Johnson aides, Marie Fehmer, his secretary; the late Cliff Carter, his chief political agent; Bill Moyers, nor any of the rest, was quite certain of what lay ahead. We were all busy on the phone and trying to assemble what measure of office discipline we could construct. 

Supervising all of this was Walter Jenkins, the number one assistant to the president, a privileged post no one in the Johnson entourage contested, nor chose to. Jenkins, a mild and scholarly man, generous to his colleagues, full of integrity, endlessly at work, sat in the background and, as usual, was on the phone constantly with his notebook in front of him, transcribing conversations as he talked in that swift Gregg shorthand he knew so well.”  [9]

[BK Notes: Where are Jenkin’s notes today? Are they at the LBJ Library or NARA?]

It is not known, or yet established, whether the WHCA did anything to secure the telephones in the Vice Presidential Suite (VPS) in the Executive Office Building (EOB), as they did at the Elms, LBJ’s residence, or whether they used ordinary insecure commercial circuits, but they certainly made a lot of phone calls while there.  [10]

There was also another office in the EOB that the WHCA did re-wire and connect, via radio, to Air Force One – and that was the office of Gerald Behn, the head of the Secret Service White House Detail. Behn, who ordinarily traveled with the President, did not go on the Texas trip and was scheduled to take a vacation instead, but inexplicitly went to his office that morning and ended up coordinating the Secret Service post-assassination response from the phones and communicating with Air Force One via a radio connection set up in his office. [11]


6:30 (CST?) In Dallas, Dallas Police Homicide Capt. Will Fritz, Secret Service Agent Forrest Sorrels and Assistant Dallas District Attorneys Alexander and Allen conferred over dinner at the Majestic Café, evaluating the evidence against Oswald, considered the possibility of conspiracy and discussed what the charges against Oswald should be. [12]

7:00 P.M - LBJ talked with former President Harry Truman.
7:10 - LBJ conversed over the phone with former President Dwight Eisenhower.
7: 20 – LBJ on the phone with Sargent Shriver
7:25 – LBJ calls JE Hoover. Orders full investigation and report.
7:30 - LBJ writes Caroline and John John notes [13]
7:40 – Valenti: “At about 7:40 the congressional leadership came to call. They were ushered in. I sat quietly near the wall of the office, listening to the president importing to them for their help and their counsel.” Shortly after 8 PM, as Valenti puts it, “LBJ sat at his desk to have some soup. It as his first food since his morning breakfast in Fort Worth.” [14]

[BK Notes: Also see LBJ official schedule from LBJ Library: JFKCountercoup2: LBJ 11/22/63]

6:45  McGeorge Bundy in EOB
6:50 Taxewell Shepard
6:55 Secretary Harriman and Sen. Fulbright
7:05 f President Truman
7:10 t General Eisenhower
7:29 t sergeant Shriver
7:35 Mac Kilduff
7:36 Eating dinner in 274 EOB
7:40 Congressional delegation : McCormick, Hale Boggs, Halleck, Albert, Mansfield, Dirksen, Humphrey, Smathers, Kuchel, Morton
8:06 Mac Kilduff, George Reedy, Bill Moyers
8:25 t Ted Sorenson
8:31  f Speaker McCormack
8:45   Kilduff
9:00 f Sen. Russell
9:06 t Justice Goldberg
9:10 t Dick McGuire
9:25     Depart 8212 EOB (for Elms) 

[BK Notes: the above 4 page document created by LBJ's secretaries does not reflect any of the outgoing calls to Texas authorities we know were made by Cliff Carter between 8:30 and 9:30 PM, though the Kilduff reference might be regarding the subject of these calls - the charges against Oswald]

The VP office in the EOB #274 is a three room affair, with a fireplace in one room, televisions and a telephone in each room. Beginning at around 8 PM, as LBJ sat down to his soup, he apparently did so behind closed doors alone with Cliff Carter and Walter Jenkins, with Valenti out of the picture, as Valenti “fidgeted around” outside for over an hour until they emerged from LBJ’s office, their immediate mission, whatever it was, complete. One of the things we know happened was Carter made calls to Texas officials about a rumor that Oswald was going to be charged as part of a Communist conspiracy.

10:00 (EST?) – Vincent Bugliosi

 “No sooner than Fritz and Alexander get back to City Hall from dinner than the telephone rings in the Homicide and Robbery office of the Dallas Police headquarters and Alexander takes the call. It’s Joe Goulden, a former reporter for the Dallas Morning News who is now on the city desk of the Philadelphia Inquirer.”

“‘What’s going on down there? We’re not getting anything straight. It’s all garbled. Is Oswald going to be charged with killing the president?’ the reporter asks.”

“‘Yea, we’re getting ready to file on the Communist son of a bitch,’ Alexander tells him. When Goulden asks Alexander why he called Oswald a Communist, Alexander tells him about all the Communist literature they found at Oswald’s Beckley address. ‘We have the killer,’ Alexander says, ‘but we’re not sure what his connections are.’”

“Goulden wants to know exactly when the charges will be filed against Oswald. ‘As soon as I can draw up the complaint,’ Alexander replies. Goulden says his editor won’t print the part about Oswald being a Communist for fear of a libel suit. The only way he’s print that is if he could say it was part of the formal charge. Alexander, who would later allow that, ‘I let my mouth overlook my ass,’ says sarcastically, ‘Well, how about if I charge him with being part of an international Communist conspiracy? Could you run with that?’”

“He knew he couldn’t draw up a complaint like that, but Alexander was itching to show Oswald for what he was, a damn Communist. Goulden was more than eager to oblige.‘You got it!’ the reporter says.”  (879)   END Bugliosi Quote. [15]

[BK Notes: Joe Goulden, then working for the Philadelphia Inquirer, was a close personal friend and media asset of David Atlee Phillips, the CIA officer responsible for the monitoring of the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City. Goulden was also one of those reporters who later floated the trial balloon story that Oswald was an FBI informant.]  [16]

8-9 PM – Sometime between 8 & 9 PM Cliff Carter, in the name of LBJ and the White House, called Texas authorities, including Texas Attorney General Wagner Carr and some Dallas officials. Since it is not mentioned by Valenti, this must have been when LBJ was in his office with Jenkins and Carter for over an hour, when Cliff Carter began to make a series of calls to Texas officials, ordering them not to promote the idea of a conspiracy.

Between 8 & 9 PM – Waggoner Carr – Attorney Gen. of Texas, reported:  “I received a long-distance telephone call from Washington from someone in the White House. I can’t for the life of me remember who it was. A rumor had been heard here that there was going to be an allegation in the indictment against Oswald connecting the assassination with an international conspiracy, and the inquiry was made whether I had any knowledge of it, and I told him I had no knowledge of it. As a matter of fact, I hadn’t been in Dallassince the assassination and was not there at the time of the assassination. So the  request was made of me to contact Mr. [Henry] Wade to find out if the allegation was in the indictment. I received the definite impression that the concern of the caller was that because of the emotion or the high tension that existed at the time that someone might thoughtlessly place the indictment in such an allegation without having the proof of such a conspiracy. So I did call Mr. Wade from my home, when I received the call, and he told me…that he had no knowledge of anyone desiring to have that or planning to have that in the indictment; that it would be surplusage, it was not necessary to allege it, and that it would not be in there, but that he would double check it to be sure. And then he called back, and – as I recall I did – and informed the White House participant in the conversation of what Mr. Wade had said, and that was all of it.” [17]

There are unsubstantiated reports that the Oswald indictment was to read “in furtherance of an international communist conspiracy,” and supporting the Phase One cover story that what happened at Dealey Plaza was done at the behest of Castro and foreign communist elements. It appears that LBJ decided that was a bad idea, because he said it could lead to war, and instructs Cliff Carter to call Texas officials and tell them not play up the idea of a conspiracy of any kind, Cuban Communists or otherwise.

9 PM – LBJ calls Arthur Goldberg
9:10 PM – In Dallas DPD jail LHO is told he is to be charged with murder of Tippit. [18]

Bugliosi wrote (p. 177):

 “Henry Wade is returning home after dinner with his wife and some friends when he hears a report on the radio that Oswald is going to be charged with being part of an international Communist conspiracy to murder the president. Wade, the Dallas DA since 1951, can barely believe his ears. There is no such law on the Texas books, and anyone familiar with Texaslaw knows that if you allege anything in an indictment, you have to burden of proving it.”

“Wade barely gets in the door when the telephone rings. The caller is Wagner Carr, attorney general for the state of Texas. He had just received a long-distance call from someone in the White House who had heard a similar report. Carr wants to know if Wade has any knowledge of it. Wade said he didn’t.  

“‘You know,’ Carr says, ‘this is going to create a hell of a bad situation if you allege that he’s part of a Communist conspiracy. It’s going to affect international relations and a lot of things with this country.’”

“‘I don’t know where the rumor got started,’ Wade says, ‘but even if we could prove he was part of an international conspiracy, I wouldn’t allege it because there’s no such charge in Texas.’”

“Within a few minutes, Henry Wade gets phone calls from his first assistant, Jim Bowie, and U.S. Attorney Barefoot Sanders – both of whom have gotten very concerned calls from Washington. Wade assures both of them that he will check into the rumor.”  

“Wade immediately decides to take ‘charge’ of he matter and goes down to the police department to make sure that no such language appears in any complaint against Oswald. His man down there, Bill Alexander, denies to Wade that he had anything to do with the rumor, not telling Wade that his own lips had given birth do it.” [19]

According to Valente, “at 9:27 PM, the president came out of his office followed by Walter Jenkins and Cliff Carter. He smiled at Marie Fehmer and then he motioned for me to come to him. He put his arm around me and said, ‘Drive home with me, Jack. You can stay at my house tonight and then we will have a chance to do some talking. Are you ready to leave now?’ Well, I thought, I suppose I'm ready in view of the fact I was not sure precisely why I was even here in the first place. [20]


In The Kennedy Detail (p. 256). Gerald Blaine writes, “Lyndon Johnson was now the President of the United States, but the White House was still the residence of the Kennedy family. Johnson would meet with his staff there as soon as he arrived, but he couldn’t stay the night in the mansion. It wouldn’t be right. Johnson decided he would stay at his home the Elms until Mrs. Kennedy had time to move out, but this created yet another urgent and unprecedented situation for the Secret Service. The Elms was located in an upscale neighborhood called Spring Valley, in northwest Washington,  D.C., and due to the unusual circumstances, it required an immediate upgrade in security.” [21]

“Paul Rundle, the agent who’d come from the Denver office prior to Blaine and Hill, was put in charge of securing Johnson’s residence. There would be three perimeters of security. The first, outer layer would be manned by the D.C. metropolitan police, the next perimeter would manned by the National Guard, and the third and final layer of protection would be the Secret Service agents from the presidential and vice presidential details, supplemented by agents from nearby field offices.” [22]

Gerald Blaine, in The Kennedy Detail (p. 261 – 262), wrote, “Afterward, the supervising agents who had been on the Texas trip were requested to stay, and while the memories were still fresh, type up their recollections of everything that had happened that day. There would of course be an investigation and Rowley knew his men would be at the center of it?” [23]

[BK Notes: See: Mary Ferrell Archives for these reports ]

Blaine: “Agents Andy Berger, Sam Sulliman, Dick Johnson, and Ernie Olsson went with President Johnson on Marine One from Andrews Air Force Base to the White House and stayed with him as he met with White House staff and key members of Congress at his offices at the  Executive Office Building. None of these Kennedy Detail agents had ever been to Johnson’s residence before, so Rundle gave them a quick tour. Every half hour the agents would rotate posts in a counterclockwise direction, just as they did at the White House – with one major difference. Tonight, along with the .38-caliber revolver each agent always carried, every security post would be armed with a Thompson submachine gun.” [24]

So, from the Executive Office Building next to the White House they ostensibly went to the Elms, LBJ’s Spring Valley residence a five minute drive away. I say ostensibly because they left the EOB in two cars two minutes apart, but according to at least one report, LBJ didn’t arrive at the Elms until over an hour and a half later, indicating they possibly went somewhere else first.

In The Kennedy Detail, Gerald Blaine wrote: “At 9:25 P.M. the afternoon shift traveled with President Johnson to the Elms at 4040 Fifty-Second Street, just five minutes from the White House, where Agent Paul Rundle was waiting to brief them on the new security.”

An unofficial chronological timeline however, indicates:

9:27 PM – LBJ leaves EOB for Elms 4040 52nd St. (per Valenti)

10:40 PM – According to Vincent Bugliosi, (Reclaiming History, p. 178), at 10:40 PM, LBJ had still not arrived. “Horace Busby, LBJ’s longtime aide, speechwriter and confidant, is waiting for President Johnson to arrive at Johnson’s home, the Elms, a large brick home in the Spring Valley section of Washington…The Elms is being overrun by Secret Service agents and telephone people installing new lines. After LBJ arrives and has a meeting with his close aides, friends, and Mrs. Johnson he retreats into the sunroom with Busby.”

10:59 – LBJ Arrives at Elms. SS Agent Paul Rundle – briefs him on arrival.

If LBJ leaves the EOB at 9:27 PM and doesn’t arrive at the Elms until 10:59 PM, that’s an hour and thirty-two minute discrepancy in the record – for LBJ to drive the five minute trip across town. It could be a mistake or a typo, but those times appear in more than one record, and if it is in fact correct, then there’s quite a bit of time there in which the whereabouts of the new President of the United States is unknown. According to their exact timings of events, the Secret Service agents left the EOB two minutes before LBJ and Valenti, Carter and Jenkins, but according to two accounts, LBJ didn’t arrive there until over an hour and a half later. [25]

“Listen,” Rundle said to his men when they arrived at the Elms, apparently ahead of LBJ, “There are rumors flying all over the place but the truth is, nobody knows what might have been behind the assassination. They’ve got this guy Oswald in custody in Dallas, and while he could easily just be a deranged sociopath, there’s still the chance that he was part of a larger conspiracy. Could be Cuban, Mafia, or some Soviet-backed plan to overthrow the government. It’s just too early to know, but the orders we’ve been given are to be excessive in our protective measures.”

Rundle vocally mentions “Cuban, Mafia or some Soviet-backed plan to overthrow the government,” but doesn’t seem to consider the possibility it was a domestic conspiracy, an inside job, a coup d’etat.
Returning to the Elms (aka “Valley”) was one of the items on the checklist of answers to questions that had been asked over the Air Force One radio transmissions and is on the existing tapes, as well as the order for the WHCA to disconnect the regular telephone lines at the Elms and install secure circuits for the President.

Gerald Blaine, one of the Secret Service agents assigned to secure the Elms that night, also mentions the installation of secure telephone lines, but by the time LBJ got there, they had somehow not yet finished the installation.

As recalled by Jack Valenti:

I fell in beside the president and with Cliff Carter we marched down the hall of the Executive Office Building flanked in front and rear by Secret Service agents. Were emerged onto the street separating the West Wing from the EOB and climbed into the big black limousine waiting for us, two Secret Service men in the front seat. The rest of the agents piled into another car in black and we headed towards the Elms, the large dwelling the Johnsons had purchased from Mrs. Perle Mesta.
When we arrived at the circular driveway at the entrance to the home it had all the appearance of a small convention. A security post had been set up at the driveway approach and a legion of agents was literally surrounding the house. When we stopped, agents Ruffus Youngblood, the soft-talking southerner who had so courageously flung his body over LBJ’s to protect him from whatever might be assaulting him, spoke: “Mr. President, we have not had the time to really arrange phone communications here. For the time being, we are operating over your residence phones.”

Youngblood also vouchsafed the totally unnecessary information that the phones were taking a helluva beating from the incoming calls. An emergency phone had been put in to take care of the Secret Service communications net and it would be several hours before the presidential communication system could be set up at the Elms. The president nodded, and climbed the step to his front door. He had left this home as one man and he was returning very much another. [26]

[BK Notes: According to Blaine, it was SS Agent Rundle who briefed LBJ on his arrival at the Elms, while Valenti says they were met by Youngblood, who told him the secure phone lines were not yet installed. That secure lines were not yet installed is hard to believe since Bales, the WHCA agent in the motorcade was able to quickly establish, in a matter of minutes, a number of secure and open lines to DC at Parkland Hospital, yet after the secure lines were ordered installed in a special communications patch from Air Force One at around 3 PM, they were still not yet be working seven or eight hours later.] [27]

Vincent Bugliosi, in “Reclaiming History” (p. 178) quotes LBJ, on his arrival at the Elms, as saying, “I guess I am the only person in the United States who doesn’t know what happened today.”
“When he hears of talk out of Dallas about a possible Communist conspiracy being behind the assassination, he says, ‘No, we must not have that. We must not start making accusations without evidence.’” [28]

Mrs. Johnson embraced him warmly, kissing him and hugging him. The president said, “Bird, I would like a bite to eat and could you fix something for the rest?” Mrs. Johnson opened her arms as if to collectively embrace us. “Darling, we have food in the dining room. Come sit down and relax.”
First, though, the president wanted to sit in the library. Mrs. Johnson brought him a large glass, cocked with ice and orange juice and the president sprawled in the massive black chair in the library. He sipped his orange juice, and then abruptly, though easily and without apparent thought, lifted his glass to a picture of the late Speaker Sam Rayburn, on the wall, the grim bulldog visage staring at us, the bald pate looming above the stern countenance. “I salute you, Mr. Speaker, and how I wish you were here now, when I need you.” The words were spoken softly. The president was obviously moved by the spark of that moment.

By this time the house was beginning to fill with Johnson people who came to see the new president. Horace Busby, the scholarly Texan who for years was the chief wordsmith for the president, gripped the edge of the president’s chair and began to talk to him in low tones. Shortly, the president and all of us moved to the dining room where we ate the first full meal most of us had had in a long time.
The time sped by. About midnight, the president decided to go to bed. He beckoned to Cliff Carter, Moyers and me and we climbed the stairs to the second-story bedrooms.

“Bill,” he said to Moyers and Carter, “you and Cliff find a bedroom on the third floor. Put your things up there and then come on down so we can talk.” They headed to the third floor and the president took me by the arm. “You stay in this bedroom, Jack,” he said. We went inside the bedroom. He sat down on the chair near the doorway.

“I suggest you call Mary Margret and get some clothes sent up here for you. I also think you ought to get your affairs in order in Houston so you can dispose of your business. I want you to be on my staff at the White House. You can live with me here and at the White House when we finally move there….

The president had clearly thought this through and he was not giving me any alternative, even if I chose to explore one. The president rose and I followed him to his bedroom at the end of the hall. He got into his pajamas and lay on the vast bed, triggering the television set into life by remote control. He sat half-upright on the left side of the bed and motioned me to a chair at his side. We watched now the unfolding drama on the TV set, the endlessly probing eye of the camera and narrator’s voice recounting just who Lyndon Johnson was, his background, his career, and there were speculative accounts by various commentators on how fit a president he would be.

By this time Moyers and Carter had come in, Carter sitting at the foot of the bed and Moyers sitting on the right side. We watched in silence for some time.

I had picked up a notepad and was doodling when the president began to speak, almost as if he were talking to himself. He mused about what he ought to do and began to tick off people he needed to see and meetings he should construct in the next several days. I scribbled down the essence of what he was saying so I would have a clear view of what he wanted, so it could be done without fret or delay. Within an hour I had scrawled over thirty pages of that notebook. It became my direction-finder the next several days as all the president had described was put into concrete action.

[BK Notes: Is Valenti’s notepad available from the LBJ Library or NARA?]

That night the president had what might be called his first staff meeting. Bill Moyers, Cliff Carter, and I listened more than we talked.

The president seemed relaxed, stretched out on his bed, watching the bright glow of the TV set. He was surrounded by men whom he trusted, and in whose persons he fully knew reposed love and respect and enduring loyalty to him. Here in this bedroom was the man the whole world was inspecting via television, and whose measure was begin taken in every chancellery in every capital in the every country on all continents. He had spent over thirty years in the political arena. He knew all the tremors and soft spots and the unknowns that infested every cranny of the political jungle. He could catalog a thousand good and bad qualities, achievements, as well as errors made visible by those national leaders whom he knew.

He was mindful of what lay ahead of him, and this was evident. There was not what one would call eagerness to greet the next day, but there was studied appraisal of the weights and scales into which a hundred swift decisions must be fitted and he gave no outward sign that he was anxious or worried or hesitant.

It was early morning when he finally signaled he was ready to get some few hours sleep. Moyers, Carter, and I, still gripped with an inflexible tension (at least I was) said our goodnights and each took to our beds. I wandered to my bedroom and or an hour I lay awake, trying to assess the capricious wind that had carried me so fast to so a strange place…. 


It doesn’t appear that LBJ made many or any phone calls from the Elms that night, and had apparently made all the calls he had to make from the EOB. Besides the phone call from Cliff Carter to the Dallas authorities, ensuring the wording of the assassin’s indictment did not charge him with “the furtherance of a communist conspiracy,” it is also reported that LBJ talked on the telephone with J. Edgar Hoover that night. The conversation with Hoover, in which LBJ refers to what happened at Dealey Plaza as a “shooting scrape,” probably occurred before Carter’s phone calls to Texas, and it is known that the FBI had decided, early on, that Oswald was to be the lone assassin.

As the details of Oswald’s past came out through the media, and people came to find the left-wing Cuban Commie story simply unbelievable, the alternative deranged lone nut scenario was adopted, however unbelievable it too was for the general public to accept.

Caro, in the excerpt of this book published in the New Yorker, neglects to mention that immediately after the assassination, while still in Dallas, LBJ made one of his first phone calls to his personal tax attorney J. Waddy Bullion.

As Russ Baker notes (in Family of Secrets), besides having LBJ as a client, attorneys J. W. Bullion and Pat Holloway also served as attorneys for John Crichton, an Army Reserve Intelligence officer involved in Civil Defense activities related to emergency preparedness for nuclear war, who also arranged for a translator immediately for Marina Oswald, the alleged assassin’s wife. [30]

Peter Dale Scott, in his “The Doomsday Project and Deep Events: JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11,” shows how Crichton was involved in not only the “Doomsday” emergency planning with Army Reserves and Civil Defense, but also on the ground in Dallas assisting in obtaining a translator for Marina and networking intelligence from forty Dallas policeman who were also members of Crichton’s Army Reserve Intelligence Unit. [31]

Among Crichton’s Army Intelligence officers, Chief George Lumpkin was in the pilot car of the motorcade that stopped at Houston and Elm and informed the traffic patrolman there, as well as the Sixth Floor sniper leaning out the window sixty feet away, that the motorcade was approaching. [32]
Capt. Gannaway, who identified Oswald as being affiliated with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in one of the earliest news wire report out of Dallas, was also in Crichton’s unit, as well as Deputy Chief Stringfellow, who sent a cable directly to Fort MacDill, Florida informing them of Oswald’s communist background and Cuban connections. [33]

Other facets of the same intelligence network were pushing the Phase One cover-story that Castro inspired Communist conspiracy was behind what happened at Dealey Plaza, and a full scale military attack on Cuba was one possible response to the assassination.

[Scott: From a presentation made by the author at the November 2011 COPA meeting in Dallas.The Asian-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 47 No 2, 21 November 2011. Original video presentation is available and you can read the entire text with footnotes at Dave 

Peter Dale Scott: A more ominous provocation in 1963 was that of Army Intelligence, one unit of which in Dallas did not simply withhold information about Lee Harvey Oswald, but manufactured false intelligence that seemed designed to provoke retaliation against Cuba. I call such provocations phase-one stories, efforts to portray Oswald as a Communist conspirator (as opposed to the later phase-two stories, also false, portraying him as a disgruntled loner). A conspicuous example of such phase-one stories is a cable from the Fourth Army Command in Texas, reporting a tip from a Dallas policeman who was also in an Army Intelligence Reserve unit: Assistant Chief Don Stringfellow, Intelligence Section, Dallas Police Department, notified 112th INTC [Intelligence] Group, this Headquarters, that information obtained from Oswald revealed he had defected to Cuba in 1959 and is a card-carrying member of Communist Party.”

This cable was sent on November 22 directly to the U.S. Strike Command at Fort MacDill in Florida, the base poised for a possible retaliatory attack against Cuba.

The cable was not an isolated aberration. It was supported by other false phase-one stories from Dallas about Oswald’s alleged rifle, and specifically by concatenated false translations of Marina Oswald’s testimony, to suggest that Oswald’s rifle in Dallas was one he had owned in Russia.
These last false reports, apparently unrelated, can also be traced to officer Don Stringfellow’s 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit. The interpreter who first supplied the false translation of Marina’s words, Ilya Mamantov, was selected by a Dallas oilman, Jack Crichton, and Deputy Dallas Police Chief George Lumpkin. Crichton and Lumpkin were also the Chief and the Deputy Chief of the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit. Crichton was also an extreme right-winger in the community of Dallas oilmen: he was a trustee of the H.L. Hunt Foundation, and a member of the American Friends of the Katanga Freedom Fighters, a group organized to oppose Kennedy’s policies in the Congo.

We have to keep in mind that some of the Joint Chiefs were furious that the 1962 Missile Crisis had not led to an invasion of Cuba, and that, under new JCS Chairman Maxwell Taylor, the Joint Chiefs, in May 1963, still believed “that US military intervention in Cuba is necessary. ”This was six months after Kennedy, to resolve the Missile Crisis in October 1962, had given explicit (albeit highly qualified) assurances to Khrushchev, that the United States would not invade Cuba. This did not stop the J-5 of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (the JCS Directorate of Plans and Policy) from producing a menu of “fabricated provocations to justify military intervention.” (One proposed example of “fabricated provocations” envisioned “using MIG type aircraft flown by US pilots to…attack surface shipping or to attack US military.”)

The deceptions about Oswald coming from Dallas were immediately post-assassination; thus they do not by themselves establish that the assassination itself was a provocation-deception plot. They do however reveal enough about the anti-Castro mindset of the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit in Dallas to confirm that it was remarkably similar to that of the J-5 the preceding May – the mindset that produced a menu of “fabricated provocations” to attack Cuba. (According to Crichton there were “about a hundred men in [the 488th Reserve unit] and about forty or fifty of them were from the Dallas Police Department.”)

Flashboard, America’s emergency network in the 1980s, was the name in 1984-86 of the full-fledged Continuity of Government (COG) emergency network which was secretly planned for twenty years, at a cost of billions, by a team including Cheney and Rumsfeld. On 9/11 the same network was activated anew by the two men who had planned it for so many years.

But this Doomsday planning can be traced back to 1963, when Jack Crichton, head of the 488th  Army Intelligence Reserve unit of Dallas, was part of it in his capacity as chief of intelligence for Dallas Civil Defense, which worked out of an underground Emergency Operating Center. 
As Russ Baker reports, “Because it was intended for ‘continuity of government’ operations during an attack, [the Center] was fully equipped with communications equipment.” A speech given at the dedication of the Center in 1961 supplies further details:

This Emergency Operating Center [in Dallas] is part of the National Plan to link Federal, State and local government agencies in a communications network from which rescue operations can be directed in time of local or National emergency. It is a vital part of the National, State, and local Operational Survival Plan.

Crichton, in other words, was also part of what became known in the 1980s as the Doomsday Project, like James McCord, Oliver North, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney after him. But in 1988 its aim was significantly enlarged: no longer to prepare for an atomic attack, but now to plan for the effective suspension of the American constitution in the face of any emergency. This change in 1988 allowed COG to be implemented in 2001. By this time the Doomsday Project had developed into what the Washington Post called “a shadow government that evolved based on long-standing ‘continuity of operations plans.’” [34]

Two important things should be noted – for one, Stringfellow is part of the Special Services Bureau, run by Capt. Gannaway, who worked closely with the Secret Service in a project using news film and photos of the Stevenson incident in order to identify the perpetrators, possible threats to the president. Gannaway was also a US Army Reserve officer who is quoted on the Air Force One radio tapes on wire service news reports out of Dallas, identifying Oswald as the accused assassin and associating him with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

In addition, Ian Griggs, in his book, “No Case to Answer,” and Prof. Phil Melanson (in Third Decade article “The Dallas Mosaic) report that the Special Services Bureau, to which Lumpkin, Gannaway and Stringfellow were attached, did not operate out of the regular Dallas Police Department headquarter offices at City Hall, but instead had their own separate offices at the Dallas Fairgrounds Park, where Crichton’s Civil Defense bunker is also located.

The Dallas Civil Defense bunker, with its special communications equipment to handle any emergency, even nuclear war, was located below the patio of the Dallas Health and Science Museum, at the same Fairground Park.

Though it has yet to be established, the Dallas Police Special Services Unit may have occupied the same building, or at least one very near the Civil Defense command and control bunker that contained the special communications equipment that could monitor all radio communications. 
Chief Lumpkin, in the lead pilot car, whether intentionally or not, had informed the Sixth Floor Sniper of the impending arrival of the motorcade when he conversed with the traffic patrolman below the window. Other members of the same Army Reserve Unit within the Special Services Unit of the Dallas Police would, within a few hours, identify the assassin as being a FPCC Cuban Communist and send a report to the US Air Force in Floridanotifying them of this, increasing the possibility of a reactionary and violent response to the assassin’s Cuban connections.

And it appears the Dallas Special Services Unit Headquarters and the special Dallas Civil Defense emergency command and control bunker were both located at the Dallas StateFairgrounds Park, possibly in the same or nearby buildings. [35]


Oswald is asleep and is awaken to be formally arranged. In the presence of Capt. Frits, Chief Curry, Asst. Deputy Chief M.W. Stevenson, D.A. Henry Wade, and Asst. DA Maurice Harrell, Oswald was brought before Judge David Johnson and presented with Complaint # F-154. 

“Well, I guess this is the trial,” Oswald cracks, after having already been charged with the murder of Tippit.

“No sir,” Judge Johnson says, “I have to arraign you on another offense.”

“Lee Harvey Oswald, hereinafter styled Defendant, heretofore on or about the twenty-second day of November 1963, in the County of Dallas in the State of Texas, did then and there unlawfully, voluntarily, and with malice aforethought kill John F. Kennedy by shooting him with a gun against the peace and dignity of the State.” 

“Oh, that’s the deal, is it?” Oswald said. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I want Mr. John Abt of New York. A-B-T,” he spells out.

The charge reads: “with malice aforethought…against the peace and dignity of the State,” rather than “in furtherance of an international communist conspiracy.” [36]

At the same time - Asst. DA Alexander, Capt. Gannaway and Lt. Jack Revill of the Special Services Bureau aren’t at Dallas City Hall or at the SSB HQ at the Fairgrounds Park, but instead are still in pursuit of the “international communist conspiracy.”

While Oswald was being arranged, in the middle of the night, with a warrant signed by the same Judge Johnson, they raid the home of Joe Molina, the credit manager of the School Book Depository, known to be a card-carrying Communist and affiliated with Oswald as a co-worker. [37]

Awakening Molina, his wife and four adopted kids, they search the house for two hours and question him about his affiliation with Oswald (“never talked to him”) and a radical subversive group that Molina, a Navy vet belonged to - GI Forum.


2:15 AM NOVEMBER 23, 1963 – The Elms backyard, Washington, D.C.

As Peter Dale Scott describes, Archival History reflects what is part of the official historical record, while Deep Politics is conducted, for the most part, behind closed doors, off the official record and in person to person meetings of which there is little or no documentation.

And while there is no official record or documentation of LBJ, as the new president, actually talking in person or over the telephone or radio with his military commanders, Secretary of Defense or National Security advisors until after he arrives at Andrews, we suspect that he did.

We also know that he did confer on a number of occasions with J. Edgar Hover, who LBJ assigns the responsibility of issuing a report on the assassination.  

What some find quite odd is the fact that the head of the FBI J. Edgar Hover at 5 PM, the end of the normal working day, packed up his papers and left his office and went home.

At one time, LBJ lived adjacent to J. E. Hoover and the two shared a common fence through which they built a gate so they could visit each other without leaving the privacy of their property.

J. E. Hoover’s Residence: 4936 (formerly 4926) 30th Place NW DC

LBJ:  4921 30th Place

But at the time of the assassination, that was not the case, as LBJ had since moved to the Elms on 52nd Street.

It is quite clear from this incident that LBJ did have this opportunity to take an off the record visit to a friend after leaving the EOB and before arriving at the Elms, and discretely visit a neighbor while at the Elms, though those neighbors have yet to be positively identified. 

What I do think significant is the fact that after LBJ put Valenti, Carter and Jenkins to bed, he went out for a nocturnal stroll, and in the course of walking around outside his back yard, LBJ bumped into Agent Blaine, who almost shot him with a Thompson submachine gun when he approached from an unexpected direction.

(Blaine, Kennedy Detail, p. 264-265): “2:15 A.M. Standing outside in the pitch-black darkness, Agent Jerry Blaine tried desperately not to yawn. He was on post at the rear corner of President Johnson’s large two-story French chateau-style house close to the back door, and with the exception of the forty-five minute nap in Austin and some catnaps on flights, it had now been nearly sixty hours since he had any sleep. Blaine was almost to the point where he was hallucinating. When he’d taken over from Andy Berger just before midnight, the two had simply looked at each other without saying anything. What could be said?”

“Blaine had been at this particular post for about fifteen minutes when he suddenly heard the sound of someone approaching from the clockwise direction. It wasn’t rotation time, and he knew a Kennedy detail agent would never approach from that direction. Instinctively Blaine picked up the Thompson submachine gun and activated the bolt on top. The unmistakable sound was similar to racking a shotgun. He firmly pushed the stock into his shoulder, ready to fire. He’s expected the footsteps to retreat with the loud sound of the gun activating, but they kept coming closer. Blaine’s heart pounded, his finger firmly on the trigger. Let me see your fact, you bastard.”

“The next instant there was a face to go with the footsteps. The new President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, had just rounded the corner, and Blaine had the gun pointed directly at the man’s chest. In the blackness of the night, Johnson’s face went completely white. A split second later, Blaine would have pulled the trigger.”

“President Johnson looked at Blaine, said nothing, and turned around and went back into the house. Jesus Christ! I almost shot the new president. What the hell was he coming around the wrong way for?”

“With all the new security measures put into place that night, in the chaos nobody had thought to inform the President about the standard counterclockwise movement protocol. Blaine struggled to regain his composure at the reality of what had just happened washed over him. Fourteen hours after losing a president, the nation had come chillingly close to losing another one.” [38]

Where was LBJ going at two in the morning? Or was he returning from somewhere? Was he visiting his neighbors? Who were his neighbors? And did he visit any of them on the night of the assassination?

The machine gun incident with Blaine at 2:15 A.M. should require answers to those questions.
Blaine also thought it significant, and when called to a special meeting in the office of Secret Service Chief Rowley the next day, he thought he would be questioned about it.

Kennedy Detail (p. 285): “Jerry Blaine had written down everything he could remember about the Saturday morning incident with President Johnson at the Elms and had arrived early for the meeting with Secret Service chief James Rowley.”

But when he got to the meeting, they didn’t mention that and were concerned, instead, with the Tampa trip. It was the records, the advance reports about the Tampa trip and proposed trip to Chicago that was called off, that were intentionally destroyed by the Secret Service after they were requested by the Assassinations Records Review Board. [39]

As Blaine put it, “So this wasn’t regarding the Johnson near incident after all. It was about Tampa. But why was he so concerned about Tampa now?

Why were they so concerned about Tampa now? Why were they so concerned that they had to destroy the existing archival records?


In conclusion, while I started out trying to pinpoint the time and place where the decision was made to forgo the “Phase One” Cuban Commie Cover Story, I think I not only did that with some degree of precision and certainty, I also discovered some other interesting and important facts.  

1) For one, although there is no archival record of it, President Johnson, in the first hours of his presidency, conferred closely with his national security and military advisors, while aboard Air Force One.

2) Meanwhile, on the ground in Dallas, members of the Dallas Police Special Services Unit (SSU), specifically, Chief Lumpkin, Deputy Chief Stringfellow, Capt. Gannaway, all members of Jack Crichton’s 488th US Army Reserve Intelligence Unit, along with Asst. DA Alexander, actively promoted the Phase-One Cover Story that the assassination was the result of a Cuban Communist conspiracy. It might also prove significant that the HQ of the Dallas PD SSU was located at or near Crichton’s Civil Defense bunker under the patio of the Dallas Health and Science Museum at the Fairgrounds Park.

3) Third, upon his arrival at the Vice President’s suite in the EOB in Washington, between 8 and 9 PM, in closed consultation with Cliff Carter and Walter Jenkins, LBJ decided not to go with the “Phase One” cover-story, a decision that Cliff Carter related to the authorities in Dallas. In addition, other significant telephone calls were also made at this time from this location.

4) Then, from 9:27 PM when LBJ left the EOB, there is a large – hour and a half gap in the known whereabouts of the president, until he arrived home at the Elms at 10:57 PM.

5) And finally, at 2:15 AM the next morning, SS agent Blaine encounters LBJ walking around unescorted in the backyard of his home, presenting the possibility he was visiting a neighbor, as he had previously done when J. E. Hoover lived nearby at his previous residence.

The purpose of this article is to establish the “Tipping Point” in the official change in cover-stories and that, despite the fact that there are gaps in the archival records, those blank spaces are significant, and it is possible to fill in those gaps and determine what actually occurred. [40]

Notes (Incomplete - am working on updating this - BK) 

[1] - Peter Dale Scott – “Phase I” & “Phase II”
[2] – Air Force One Radio transmission tapes; LBJ Library Tape (1978); Clifton/Raab Tape (2012).
[3] – What’s Not on the AF1 Radio transmission tapes.  
[4] – Cliff Carter/WH phone calls to Texas officials. See Wagner Carr, et al.
[5] – LBJ at Andrews – White, T.H. “In Search of History” (p.669)
[6] – Valenti, Jack – “A Very Human President” (1973, p. 3)
[7] – Clinton, Bill – Review of Caro.
[8] – Valenti, Jack – “A Very Human President” (1973)
[9] – Valenti, Jack – “A Very Human President” on Walter Jenkins
[10] – EOB Phone Records?
[11] – SS WHD Chief G. Behn’s office phone records?
[12] – Capt. Fritz, SS, Asst. DA Alexander, confer over dinner at Majestic Café.
[13] – LBJ Phone calls & notes from EOB –
[14] – Valenti on LBJ at EOB from 8PM – 9:30PM – The Tipping Point
[15] – Bugliosi, Vincent – “Reclaiming History” (p. 169) Joe Goulden calls Alexander re: indictment to read “Communist Conspiracy.”
[16] – Joe Goulden & DA Phillips
[17] – Wagner Carr gets call from WH (EOB)
[18] – Warren Report
[19] – Bugliosi, V. “Reclaiming History”
[20] – Valenti, J. “AVHP”
[21] – Blaine, Gerald “The Kennedy Detail”
[22] – Blaine, G. “TKD” re: notes.
[23] – Blaine, G. “TKD” See: Mary Ferrell Archives Link for these SS reports.
[24] – Blaine, G. “TKD” re: Missing hour & half. 9:27PM-10:59 PM / JFK Assassination Timeline; / Bugliosi, V. “Reclaiming History”
[25] – Blaine, G. “TKD” re: SS Briefing
[26] – Valenti, J. “AVHP”
[27] – Blaine, G.
[28] – Bugliosi, V.
[29] – Valenti, Jack. “A Very Human President”  
[30] – Baker, Russ. “Family of Secrets”
[31] – Scott, P.D. “The Doomsday Project - & Deep Politics”
[32] – Lumpkin, pilot car motorcade.
[33] – Gannaway, Stringfellow & DPD SSU & 488th AR
[34] – Scott, “The Doomsday Project”
[35] – Griggs, Ian, “No Case to Answer”; Melanson, Phil, “The Third/Forth Decade,” “Dallas Mosaic,” re: DPD SSU and Dallas Civil Defense Bunker at the Dallas Health & Science Museum.
[36] – Bugliosi, V.; “Reclaiming History,” re: Oswald indictment.
[37] – Bugliosi, V.; re: Raid of Molina residence.
[38] – Blaine, G. “The Kennedy Detail” (p. 265)
[39] – Blaine, G. re: Rowley meeting over Tampa. SS advance reports missing.
p. 357
[40] – Conclusions.