Vincent Bugliosi's Misnamed Reclaiming Historyby David R. Wrone, 28 Sep 2007
In the forty four years of sustained discussion about the official findings of the federal government’s investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy no author can equal the failure Vincent Bugliosi has achieved in his misnamed Reclaiming History.
Invented facts & relations.
A characteristic of his narrative is the frequent use of hypothetical instances as a substitute for a lack of evidence or absence of documentary support for a statement. These he typically expresses with such phrases as “probably” or “must have” and similar wordage. In other words, when no or scant evidence exists to sustain a point he is writing about, he makes it up. For example, in one three page section of the end notes where he discusses the Officer J. D. Tippit murder he uses these made up substitutes for the lack of evidence thirty seven times. In the book as a whole one can only estimate the total number of inventions to be incredibly large. This is not what the civilization we are part of calls history, but is a class of fiction presented as non-fiction known as Munchausen’s work. In the appendix the thirty seven instances are set down.
Mythic reconstruction substituted for evidence.
Closely akin to Vincent Bugliosi’s inventions employed as evidence is his use of imaginary or mythic reconstructions to carry a point when he hasn’t any facts to sustain them. These he plugs into his narrative and employs for all the world as if they were expressions of the November 22nd reality. In this he parrots the Warren Commission’s lavish and pious use of reconstructions as a solution for the lack of evidence in its rush to frame Oswald’s guilt so a doubting America and a skeptical world would believe it. While we could cite many of these stand-in devices to illustrate this common Bugliosian anti-historical trait, perhaps his invention of the path Oswald took from his rooming house at 1026 N. Beckley Avenue to the scene of the Officer J. D. Tippit murder near 10th Street & Patton Avenue, will suffice.
Like the Warren Commission did before him Bugliosi claims Oswald killed Tippit. To do this Oswald officially—following the Warren Report’s scenario--had to move from his room on Beckley three minutes after 1:00 p.m. to the scene of the murder by 1:15 p.m. (radioed in at 1:16 p.m.) the time the Commission set for the shooting.  Responsible critics long ago convincingly proved the feat to have been impossible for him to have performed.  Bugliosi overcomes this severe and ultimately exculpatory time constraint in three ways. First he gratuitously starts Oswald to the Tippit scene several minutes before 1:00 p.m. to gain minutes for his thesis. Next, he adds minutes to the end of the walk where he speciously asserts Oswald arrived later than 1:10 p.m., the time a witness swore he had seen Tippit dead on the pavement.  He then couples the gerrymandered time with an invented pathway. He declares he himself fast walked this route taken by Oswald south of the rooming house to the murder scene, a route he knows by intuition alone. He got there in 11’ 23” minutes, plenty of time for Oswald following this asserted trail and supposed time to have shot Tippit at 1:15 p.m. before a citizen sounded an alert on the police radio at 1:16 p.m. 
But when we examine the path Bugliosi took, upon which his assertions of Oswald as murderer of the police officer must rest, we discover it is all a type of blue sky matter, a theory not history. He invented the route. There is not a scrap of genuine evidence, a fact, a scintilla of data, to mark any route to Tippit. Just as with the Commission’s map of Oswald’s alleged path taken, it is a pining wish. 
The only evidence of what Oswald did after leaving the rooming house is based on his housekeeper’s report. At 1:04 p.m., she stated and attested, he stood at the bus stop just across the front sidewalk and just past the drive way on the right hand side of the house where he could catch a bus going north.  The official record avoids presenting any information on the schedule and route the northbound bus took while Bugliosi also renders them invisible entities just as he did on Oswald’s wait at the stop. But after going north the bus route turned and ultimately passed the Texas Theatre. Furbishing the logic of the bus stop wait, we recall that Oswald told Captain Will Fritz of the DPD during interrogation that after he left his room he went to the movies.  Certainly the north bus component ought to have been included in the evidentiary base and evaluated; a proper inquiry into the assassination of President Kennedy would demand it. 
The Master Theorist.
Not content with mere invention and rampant speculation, Bugliosi pommels all dissenters from the official doctrine that Oswald killed JFK and passionately tars them with the slander brush of ‘conspiracy theorists.’ But contrary to his assertion all dissenters are not theorists, such as the exemplary Howard Roffman and the indubitable Harold Weisberg, as well as many others. But bizarrely Bugliosi is a theorist himself, the castle-master indeed. The hundreds of his invented facts and dozens of mythic reconstructions are simple theories, pure instances of the pernicious breed, including the major theory suffusing his book that asserts Oswald killed JFK.
He so often corrupts facts that it makes his text unacceptable to any person of candor seeking understanding of this national tragedy. Several representative instances of this characteristic are presented in the appendix.
Calculated omission of important facts.
A close brother to distortion of some key evidentiary elements is Bugliosi’s often omission of important relations defining a fact. The result is the presentation of the false nature of the fact under discussion with the end of furthering his theory of Oswald’s guilt. Perhaps the best short example from the great many, yea scores, for us is his treatment of cab driver William Whaley’s identification of Oswald in the police line up. Without context, so important for a reader to judge the fact properly, Bugliosi briefly states that Whaley at 2:15 p.m. on the afternoon of November 23rd picked out Oswald. Whaley, of course, is the cab driver who right after the assassination had driven Oswald to N. Beckley Street and had further attested in various testimonies and affidavits that he had dropped him off at three different addresses! 
We are not told about the bizarre nature of this police line up.  Four men stood in the line up, three well dressed police officials, detectives--W. E. Perry (7H232-235) and Richard Clark (7H235-239), and jail clerk Don Ables (7H239-243)--and then the rudely dressed Oswald. Each was asked to give their name and occupation. The first three gave fake answers. Oswald though gave his true name and said he worked in the Depository, which by then the world knew about, and his picture was in the papers Whaley read that morning.
Oswald stood in the line up bawling out the policemen for framing him, cussing and ranting he was being set up; he had bruises and a black eye. “He talked,” the cab driver recalled, “that they were doing him an injustice by putting him out there dressed different than these other men he was out there with.”  As Whaley added: “. . . you wouldn’t have had to have known who it was to have picked him out by the way he acted.” Moreover, Whaley swore there were six men in the line up when there were four.  Then, incredibly, he testified that he had signed the finished affidavit before he went down to view the line up. To top it all off he did not identify Oswald as his passenger but chose no. 3, whereas Oswald was no. 2 with a large number above his head.  The Commission fiddled the answer and put false information about it in its Report.  The entire incident drives to the heart of the sickeningly incompetent and corrupt police techniques and dedicated false focus that Bugliosi consistently and often piously masks with his simulated erudition. As it is he provides a distorted picture of Whaley’s credibility.
With Bugliosi we have a man with great talent and mighty work ethic whose reputation now stands tarnished. But he is not alone. In addition to the author’s weaknesses, though, we have a wide range of institutions that failed us. We have the refusal of a publisher to publish responsible volumes on this crucial subject. To spew this mind skewing mammoth of disinformation out into the public mind has no saving grace. But we also have a press and a media avoidance of the evidentiary base; we have the refusal of clueless historians to address the reality; and, we have the spurning of the subject by the intelligentsia, its rejection by Congress, and its disdain by lawyers. In short this volume must be seen as part of the breakdown of American society in a time of crisis.
I. Instances of Invented Facts and Relations on pages 49-51 of the end notes.
In these few pages of the end notes Bugliosi often relies on the Warren Commission findings and arguments, which he holds to be valid and uses them sometimes as his own basic position.
Beginning on page 49 of the endnotes P = paragraph. line = line down from the top of the paragraph or page top.
1) p. 49, P 1, line 3, “The Warren Commission estimated that Oswald left the Depository Building at 12:33 p.m.”
Estimated you will observe, not determined or defined by evidence. 12:33 is put forward by Bugliosi as if sound and as an expression of the evidence properly defined and appropriately examined. The time was critical. A quick departure of Oswald from the Depository was key for the Warren Commission’s and Bugliosi’s purposes of coordinating it with the alleged assassin’s walk to the bus, bus ride, taxi cab ride, walk, and then arrival at his rooming house. The housekeeper Mrs. Roberts swore he entered her rooming house about 1:00 p.m. Thus Oswald could not dally leaving the Depository or he could not reach his room by that time. This iron requirement forced the Commission and Bugliosi to ignore, distort, and censor much information showing or suggesting Oswald departed from the Depository later. This it masked by the term ‘estimated.’
Some of the difficulties inhibiting an Oswald early departure from the Depository can be noted. First, we can observe that no one saw him leave the building, or at least officials did not find someone who did. Next, in addition to the possibly several hundred individuals around the area of the site and many films not pegging his departure, the Commission rested the path for Oswald’s exit from the building solely and forever on Depository clerk Mrs. Robert Reid’s testimony.
Her account presents so many problems that they erode confidence in its employment. [A1] She had been outside watching the motorcade and returned to her second floor desk. The Commission claimed she took two minutes walking from Elm Street to her desk from where she saw him sauntering out. But this is based not on some stop watch of the moment or other chronological device she possessed, but upon three shaky reconstructions the attorneys ran her through that generally fits its theory. Her official time then means Oswald was on the second floor at 12:32 p.m. and then “calmly” walked out in the next minute (i. e., 12:33) where she safely back at her desk spied him. But the Commission has Oswald taking one minute to do the same thing going the other way whose incongruity poses no problem. [A2]
Further complicating the Commission’s (and Bugliosi’s) blueprint for exit is the witness of a Depository clerk, Geneve Hine. She had not left the building to view the motorcade passing, but had stayed at her desk, a position that Oswald would have had to pass on his way out. She did not see him. [A3] Neither the Report nor Reclaiming History utilizes her compromising information, yet both must have known of it.
Adding more possibilities to a delay in Oswald’s departure time is the experience of four individuals who entered the Depository shortly after the assassination to use the phones. Three met a person possibly Oswald. [A4] The Secret Service believed WFAA-TV newsmen Pierce Allman and Terry Ford met him in the lobby; when Oswald stopped and gave them directions to a phone, obviously an act that added time to his exit and flew in the face of the assertion he was an assassin fleeing the scene of his devil work. If one recalls, when Capt. Fritz of the Dallas police interrogated Oswald he had mentioned that when about to leave the building he had met two men and directed them to a phone. [A5] “These are the men referred to by Oswald in his interview with Fritz,” reported the Secret Service after investigating their accounts. [A6]
The activities of newsman Robert MacNeil and army officer James Powell must be noted. The former’s account suggests but not with certainty he also might have seen Oswald, adding minutes to the departure time, and for the latter man there is an unresolved timing issue. Minutes after the assassination MacNeil rushed into the building searching for a phone. The later television commentator recalled meeting with a young man who pointed him to the phone. Over the years he consistently said of the event that: “I can’t confirm” it was Oswald. [A7]
Special Agent Powell of the Army Intelligence, 112th Group, Region III, also rushed in, allegedly about eight minutes after the assassination, 12:38, and apparently saw Allman telephoning, but did not see Oswald. [A8]
2) _____, P 1, line 6, “[With respect to the FBI’s reconstruction of Oswald’s path to the Tippit scene] we have no reason to believe Oswald would have been walking at an average pace”
Many times federal investigators and private individuals have tried to reconstruct the alleged path Oswald took from his room to the scene of the Tippit killing—-officials: the FBI once, the Warren Commission once, HSCA twice, the arch apologist former counsel David Belin twice; citizens: Bugliosi and many others have worn a path between the two sites. The twin problems they faced were a) what route to follow for there were many possibilities, and b) how to get Oswald from his room to the killing site quickly enough to have shot Officer J.D. Tippit four times. If they could not get Oswald there in time he could not have killed him. Officials pared time and fudged evidence in a mighty effort to pull off sufficient minutes. Unbelievably each reconstruction differed in the time they took in following their imagined route and never referred to the other times or explained how each one could differ and why. The FBI walked at an average pace.
Bugliosi in this sentence criticizes the FBI reconstruction as being performed at an average pace whereas he fervently claims Oswald fast walked or came close to a trot. To refute the FBI’s reconstruction he simply invents a fact, by saying “no reason to believe.” This resort to imaginary formulation is not history. In fact, there is no evidence whatsoever on Oswald’s pace or route. None.
3) _____, P 1, line 8: “In heavy traffic (as it was that day)”
Bugliosi wants to use the FBI reconstruction time of Oswald’s move from the Depository to board the bus in order to satisfy his need to get Oswald to his room in time to fit his invented time-frame. To meet the demands of his mathematical calculations he asserts that the actual time of Oswald’s walk to the bus from the Depository and the FBI’s reconstruction of that time were duplicates.
But again we must impose the iron rules of history upon the subject matter. He presents no evidence to prove that the crowd and traffic density during the reconstruction duplicated the crowd and traffic density during Oswald’s alleged flight.
He circumvents the absence of evidence by use of the phrase ‘as it was that day’ that he apparently plucked from the ether. This he imposed on the text to leave the impression it was a 24 carat duplication. It cannot possibly be valid. For example, traffic and crowds on the 22nd were thick. Not true on the reconstruction day.
4) _____, P 2, line 3: When addressing the Commission counsel Belin’s reconstruction of Whaley’s cab ride from the bus station to the rooming house, Bugliosi remarks that: [Whaley according to the Commission left at 12:48 p.m.,] “most likely” this was “several minutes later than Oswald actually left.”
Bugliosi wanted the cab to leave the stand earlier so he could capture additional minutes to fit his theory of an Oswald earlier arrival at his rooming house. This would give him several minutes before the official time. Then he would have Oswald enter and exit and get to the Tippit scene in (Bugliosian) time to kill the officer.
His problem roots in the Commission reenactment of the ride. Bugliosi asserts blithely and without shame or evidence—-no document, no eyewitness, no photograph, no mechanical device, or any other system--that ‘most likely’ the cabbie left several minutes earlier.
‘Most likely’ does not have a scrap of fact behind it for alas it is wholly invented. It is a device to grab those few more minutes; it is not history.
5) _____, P 2, line 4: “Oswald would have probably been walking at a fast pace” [at the time he left the Depository.]
Bugliosi needs Oswald to reach the cab stand prior to 12:48 p.m. so he can leave in the cab earlier than the Commission claimed. The Commission argued Whaley departed at 12:48 p.m. Bugliosi needs some additional time before then to get Oswald to his rooming house earlier than the Commission asserted. By doing this he could have Oswald enter and leave the house and walk to the Tippit scene early enough—or so he pontificates-- to shoot the officer.
Again, we remark there is no evidence whatsoever Oswald fast walked that day from the Depository or for that matter anywhere. Oswald’s known movements belie he was a fast walker. [A9] Let us illustrate. After the assassination in the Depository a searching police officer confronted him on the second floor stopped at the Coke machine and he was not out of breath or worried, just calm. Stopping for a Coke is not the characteristic act of a man in flight. (Truly, 3H262; Baker, 3H251); he sauntered from the Depository (Reid, 3H279); he dallied at the taxi cab stand and finally got into the front seat, not the mark of a man in flight (Whaley, 2H255-256); he then when a woman seeking a ride came up to the cab he offered to get out and let her have it, but she declined his polite offer, which certainly contradicts a charge this man was hurrying from a crime scene (Whaley, 6H431); he stopped the cab blocks short of his rooming house address and walked the additional several blocks, which is diametrically an opposite move of a man in flight (Whaley, 6H429); he waited at a bus stop, surely this is not evidence of a man in desperate flight (Roberts, 7H439); he went to a movie, which to the initiated and uninitiated alike is the opposite of what a man in a hurry to escape with his life would do (Report, p.8-9); and so forth. Manifestly, this is a profile of a person not fast walking in flight from police and in fear of his life and cannot be construed as such except by theory fueled by imagination.
‘Probably’ is an assertion of wish and does not have the wings of evidence to make it fly.
6) _____, P 2, line 6: “the most reasonable assumption is that Whaley put 12:30-12:45 p.m. on his trip ticket” to record a time prior to 12:45.
No evidence exists for this ‘assumption.’ How can an assumption be evidence? Whaley testified he entered all his trip ticket times in quarter hour segments (which in fact he did not) and Oswald’s ride he entered at 12:30 to 12:45 p.m. Bugliosi asserts that Whaley pulled out before 12:45 and that gratuitous chronology provides the author with more minutes to move Oswald to his rooming house. There are no records, witnesses, documents, film, or other pieces of evidence to support this claim.
But the Commission stated Whaley’s record keeping was inaccurate. Since it had to have him enter his rooming house at about 1:00 p.m. it indulged in another of its infamous reenactments. Its counsel rode with Whaley during a reenactment and placed the drop off on Beckley at 12:54 p.m. providing Oswald with six minutes to walk the several blocks to the house. Its premise seems to have been if you do not have the evidence then imagine it.
Bugliosi wants, yea needs, Oswald to arrive at his drop off several minutes before 12:54 p.m. With that he can get him in and out of his room quickly so he can walk to the Tippit murder scene in Bugliosian time to kill the officer.
There is no evidence to sustain this point.
7) _____, P 2, line 7: “he left” the bus depot “at some time prior to 12:45 p.m.”
Related to the previous point (6).
You cannot determine the time Whaley drove away with Oswald by simply inventing it came before 12:45 p.m. The witness as was well shown by the Commission was unstable, confused, and perjured himself, and even told the Commission he thought he gave bad information, all of which Bugliosi converts to make him a solid good witness. The Commission said 12:48 p.m. and Bugliosi wants it to be 12:42 p.m. or earlier to accommodate his cockamamie claim Oswald got to his room earlier than 1:00 p.m. (the witness statement) so he just asserts ‘some time prior.’ He is working with fairy dust as a substitute for historical procedures.
8) _____, P 2, line 8: [The Warren Commission estimated time of departure from the bus cabbie stand at 12:48 p.m. is] “at least three minutes’’ too late.
This relates to points 6 and 7. Here Bugliosi has decided to invent the number of minutes prior to 12:48 p.m. that Whaley left the cab stand and states ‘at least three minutes.’ Again we observe: this is naked, standing without factual support. Bugliosi needs those minutes to move Oswald in and out of the rooming house before 1:00 p.m. in order to have him walk to the Tippit scene in time to kill the officer according to Bugliosian time.
9). _____, P 2, line 9: “It makes little sense” that if Whaley left the depot at 12:48, he would record his departure as being between 12:30 and 12:45.
He continues to wrestle Whaley. After considerable working over by the Commission lawyers, the pliable, confused, and utterly lost Whaley swore it was 12:48. But he is such a poor witness it is decidedly strange and telling on his scholarly pretensions that Bugliosi assumes he is sensible. ‘It makes little sense’ has no meaning as evidence for departure time.
10) _____, P 2, line 12: He states the Commission held that Oswald walked “at a normal pace” from his taxi drop off to rooming house.
He ought to have noted for the reader that there is no evidence on what pace Oswald used. Again, the speed Oswald allegedly walked is pure, bald, conjecture.
11) _____, P 2, line 15: According to the Commission Oswald arrived at his rooming house “around 12:59 p.m.”
Again, to state the central point, ‘around’ disguises an invention, this time by the Commission. It claimed Oswald arrived at his room at ‘around’ 1:00 p.m. giving him a minute, 12:59-1:00 p.m., to sprint up the stairs and in the door. This of course is conjecture not history. The Commission only had the evidence in the house keeper’s statement of when he entered, 1:00 p.m.
12) _____, P 3, line 1: [With a “probable minimum” three-minute error by the Warren Commission the real arrival time was “most likely” 12:56 p.m.]
Here he continues to pound the reader’s intelligence with his invented three minute early cab departure and chastises the Commission again. In an act not defined through evidence this permits him to subtract time from the Commission’s conjectured, 12:59 p.m. time, a conjecture we observe on an invention. ‘Probable’ is not evidence.
13) _____, P 3, line 2: “real arrival time was most likely”
Relating to point 12 above.
At this point he asserts the time Oswald entered his rooming house at 12:56 p.m. In the absence of facts he simply conjures much I suppose like the witches in Macbeth do, but in such a way to support his theory of Oswald the killer. His previous discussions and assertions are not the burden bearers of a sound history just idle speculation. History must deal with the facts and when they are missing a responsible historian says so.
14) _____, P 3, line 6: “no reason to assume” the housekeeper’s statement that Oswald entered at 1:00 p.m. “should be given” precedence over his [Buligosi’s] reconstruction of Oswald’s time at 12:56 p.m...
There is every reason for a historian to accept her statement. He just tosses overboard the evidence. It was carefully examined and tested by the Commission, the FBI, and the Secret Service. She repeatedly stuck to her basic points. There is no evidence upon which to rest his demand. She is a witness and he is an inventor of ‘evidence.’ But note the cheek on what he asks a reader to do here. He or she is to discard solid evidence and substitute for it his forty year after the fact pooka story based on dozens of hypothetical statements, inventions, and conjectures. This is not history.
15) p. 50, P 3, continued from preceding page, line 1 top of p. 50: “should be given”
See above, no. 14.
Here again the conditional and the asserted hypothetical in lieu of fact is used.
16) _____, P 3, line 4: “Assuming an arrival time” at his rooming house of 12:56.
He continues to substitute his invented time--pulled out of the blue we reiterate--as a reality.
17) _____, P 3, line 6: [The arrival time at his rooming house, 12:56 p.m. is based on a Warren Commission “assumption” Oswald walked at an average pace—we “can certainly assume he was not”
It is not ‘we’ but history that is at issue. The pace is not known.
18) _____, P 3, line 8: Part of no. 17.
He chides the Commission for assuming Oswald walked at an average pace, which for him slowed Oswald down too much to arrive at the rooming house at 12:59 p.m. The Commission as we have previously commented needed to have Oswald arrive in the rooming house at 1:00 p.m. to accommodate Mrs. Roberts testimony that he arrived at that time. So the fact the Commission assumed evidence is not the issue for Bugliosi but rather that they assumed too much. But he, Bugliosi, assumes the correct time. Why? He just says he is correct and bald assertion transmogrifies to fact. There is a touch of Bedlam here.
Page 50, P 3, line 10. Here we make note of a fact in the text. Before the Commission Mrs. Roberts testified Oswald left the rooming house “in a hurry . . . walking unusually fast . . . all but running.” This sentence becomes Bugliosi’s coin of truth proving to some corner of his mind that Oswald proceeded to the Tippit murder at the same rate of speed. Unfortunately for history he has decided to omit critical facts.
a) What she also swore to and he clips out of his narrative was Oswald, after departing the house, then stood outside the house at a bus stop waiting. The bus stop and the waiting become invisible to Bugliosi and never enter his thinking. Yet,
b) The rush exit from the rooming house makes sense if he is hurrying to catch the north bound bus to go to the movies.
c) We have previously noted the evidence that Oswald was a slow mover and also gave other points that show he was not in a rush, fleeing for his life. These elements from the official record seem not to find a way to enter into this author’s thinking. His use of the “rushing sentence” is an instance of misrepresentation of the facts.
19) _____, P 3, line 10: [Mrs. Roberts estimated that Oswald stayed in his room three or four minutes] “would clearly seem to be loose and excessive.”
Here he is trying to diminish her testimony in order to award more minutes to his claim Oswald was in and out of the house quickly. This would permit him to get to the Tippit scene early.
‘Would clearly seem’ covers up a wish and a want for those minutes to bolster his theory. These drive the issue not the facts. He errs. Only evidence not theory diminishes solid testimony. She is correct.
20) _____, P 3, line 11: “if we use, based on common sense,” [an amended reconstructed time, Oswald would have left his home for a fatal and serendipitous rendezvous with Tippit around 12:59, earlier.]
History relies upon facts and evidence, testimony and documents, not “common sense.” We must also observe he does not define common sense; his version may be entirely different from a reader’s. Of course, he is attempting to move him out of the house and to the Tippit scene to kill the officer on his invented time schedule. This is a simple instance of manipulation of the evidence to fit his theory and is unacceptable behavior for a putative scholar.
21) _____, P 3, line 12: “would have left . . . around 12:59.”
He either did or did not according to the evidence. This relates to no. 20. He did not leave at 12:59 but three or four minutes after one and at 1:04 was standing, waiting for a bus.
22) _____, P 3, line 13: [Generally] “assuming a departure time as late as 12:59 p.m.”
Again, he ‘assumes’ because he has no evidence and is a prisoner to his theory of the time Tippit died and must either have him leave at this time or chuck his argument. This is old fashioned balderdash.
23) _____, P 3, line 13: [Since] “my best estimate of the time of Tippit’s murder was around 1:12 p.m.”
As previously noted he has invented a number of things along the way and now seeks by fiat to accord them status as evidence! Furthermore, it is not his best estimate at all that provides a historian with an objective rendering of an event but the lay of the facts that infuses sense and awards meaning to objects.
24) _____, P3, line 15: [Oswald arrived at the Tippit murder scene] “around 1:11 p.m.”
Nos. 21, 22, 23 apply here.
Oswald did not arrive around 1:11 p.m.; this is supposed by Bugliosi, a sheer invention passed off as scholarship. By manipulating the facts he alleged Oswald left the rooming house before 1:00—-in the teeth of the only evidence that he left at 1:03 and was standing at the bus stop at 1:04--and that he fast walked, again in the teeth of the known facts that it is impossible to know what pace he used. No matter how one construes the time element for the alleged travel from the rooming house to the Tippit scene, his or the various officials—-12 to 18 minutes—-and Bugliosi’s claims about 11 and one half minutes—-Tippit was dead before Oswald allegedly arrived.
25) _____, P 1, line 2: [There are several routes Oswald] “could have taken” [to the Tippit scene.] He refers to the Commission map CE1119A.
He does not tell the reader the map is based on hearsay and at any rate is inaccurate and unreliable. Commission counsel David Belin made it up on his own, unsworn, without witnesses, and with no checks upon him. He omits alley ways and a road.
27) _____, P 1, line 2: Belin for the Commission stated “that there are two “direct” routes” from the rooming house to the Tippit murder scene.
In referring to previous efforts at timing the alleged Oswald path to Tippit’s murder site Bugliosi refers to David Belin, assistant counsel for the Commission. The Belin statement rests solely upon his unsworn word.
The alleged routes should have been tested and sworn to and with witnesses present, then double checked and criticized by an opposing counsel (the essence of legal truth gathering). Belin did not do this although it was his responsibility. In the second place there are more than two routes, if one counts alley ways, and the like, doubling back, and what not. Observe, once more, that Belin merely asserted what happened without any evidence.
Oswald did not kill Tippit and did not follow any paths.
28) _____, P 1, line 11: “at a normal pace”
Locked in on the speed walker aspect here he states Belin walked off the time between the rooming house and the murder scene ‘at a normal pace.’
It is not known what pace Oswald allegedly took and it certainly is not known what route he took. Belin in a book he later wrote did the walk twice, at 14 and 12 minutes. But what Bugliosi omits is when before the Commission Belin stated it took 17’ 45” to do it. [A10] But any of Belin’s times precludes Oswald as having shot him. [A11]
29 _____, P 1, line 14: [The Warren Commission] “assumed” [Oswald did not take the (short route) to the Tippit scene.]
Both this point and the next relate to the route followed. To repeat our central point on this topic. There is no evidence that Oswald took any route, let alone the longer one.
30) _____, P 1, line 16: [On the shorter route he “would have had to pass” [Helen Markham, a witness near the Tippit murder scene.]
Again, this simple speculation.
31) p. 51, P 1, continuing from p. 50, line 2 from top of p. 51: [From the map one can see the Commission] “believed Oswald took” [it]
32) _____, P 1, line 2: “assumed” [Oswald took the longer route on CE119A.]
One should note in nos. 31 and 32 that this is again hypothetical writing.
33) _____, P 1, line 5: [In reconstructing Oswald’s route] “I assumed Oswald would be walking” [at a brisk pace.]
We have already commented on this assertion. How can a person claiming to be a bona fide historian of the crime of the century assume facts?
We should additionally observe the path set forth in the official route (and presumably Bugliosi’s). It has Oswald changing directions seven times, as in a Chinese puzzle, south from his rooming house, then going east, then South East, then North East, killing Tippit, they traveling South West, they South East, then South West to the theater. A man fleeing for his life would not twist and turn and wander. This mindlessness is not explained by the author and negates his invented argument that Oswald was fleeing for his life.
34) _____, P 1, line 5: “Common sense tells us . . . Oswald would most likely” [not have been walking at a normal, average pace.]
Not true. There is no evidence on what speed Oswald walked. At issue is not common sense, an ingredient that is not defined by him but wrongly assumed to be a universal element of the mind. It often starkly differs from one to another.
Long ago we learned as the nation evolved that historians must rest their accounts on fact and evidence not on imagination and wishes and wants. He uses Earlene Roberts statement that Oswald ran fast, almost running to exit from the front room or television room of the rooming house. But then clips from his account with the scissors of his predetermined conclusion of Oswald’s guilt that she saw him standing outside the house. As we commented above this was at the north bound bus stop. He corrupts her statement.
We should also underscore the fact several teams of officials looked into her statements with the Secret Service not doubting her for a minute. His manipulation of Mrs. Roberts’ witness testimony and affidavits and interviews to fit his imaginary scenario constitutes an unfaithful use of the sources and is not what historians rightly do.
Items 35, 36, and 37 relate to the alleged motive of Tippit allegedly pulling Oswald over. This is all speculative stuff. It cannot be known why Tippit pulled an individual over. There is no evidence.
35) _____, P 2, line 3: [Oswald] “was most likely” walking at a fast pace and that was why Tippit pulled him over.
36) _____, P 2, line 5: Citing a Sheriff Bowles Bugliosi states Oswald “probably” was “walking like the devil possessed.”
How would Bowles know? He would not. He was not there. It is another Dallas absurdity passed off as intelligent police work. ‘Probably’ covers a guess based on a wish.
37) _____, P 2, line 11: He states “even if Oswald had been walking fast earlier, [when reaching the Tippit scene] he would have been slowing down.”
Simply amazing. A double invention.
II. Fact corruption instances.
The following four examples are used to illustrate Bugliosi’s problems with the factual base.
1. His claim that four eyewitnesses saw a rifleman in the sixth floor; three of whom saw him fire.
2. His claim that a withheld page of Mrs. Kennedy’s testimony is not as critics claim with key data but innocuous.
3. His claim that the police sealed the Depository.
4. His claim that contrary to theorists the Secret Service did not wash the limousine in Dallas and taint evidence.
Four eyewitnesses saw a rifleman in the sixth floor; three of whom saw him fire.
In a blatant non-sequitur that in Bugliosi’s peculiar form of scholarship substitutes for a rebuttal to the critic-doubter, he, in what must be classed as pouting language, mentions four eye witnesses saw a rifle pushing out of the window in the alleged sniper’s nest on the sixth floor of the TSBD and three of them saw that rifle fire. This proves, he says, that the ear witnesses’ on the fifth floor’s testimony that they heard something on the sixth is correct. Although, a thoughtful reader will find the logical assumption impossible to follow, except perhaps after a long evening in an Irish bar, he writes: [A12]
I guess we should just forget about the sworn testimony of four other witnesses (Howard Brennan, Amos Euins, James Worrell, and Robert Jackson) who saw a rifle in the sniper’s nest window, three of whom saw the rifle being fired.
Let us examine the evidentiary merits of Bugliosi’s four eye witnesses to a rifle, three of whom, he says, actually saw it discharge.
A 15 year old black youth, small for his age, Amos stood on the northeast corner of the intersection of Elm and Houston Streets about 100 feet or so from the alleged sniper’s window. In the Warren Report Euins is quoted as saying: “And so I saw this pipe thing sticking out of the window.” And, “Then I looked up at the window and he shot again.” [A13]
Evaluation of Euins’ testimony shows it contains such fundamental weakness that we must dismiss his claim. As the first of the fault lines discerned in his alleged witness we observe that over the course of the investigation in various official statements and interviews the teenager shifts what he saw. Initially, the shooting sounded, he swore in a November 22 affidavit, “like automatic rifle fire.” [A14] Three and one half months later, on Tuesday, March 10, 1964, in Washington, D. C., before three Commission members, four assistant counsels, and a bar delegate, he would flick this statement aside to say he heard three single shots. [A15]
But turning from his weapon firing vagaries to other aspects of his testimony we discover change and confabulation are his strong suit, especially revealed in his efforts to identify the race of his alleged sighted assassin. This comes forward in the several official examinations of his claims where three times he changed the racial identity of the man he saw.
Within just a few minutes after the shooting, he had told Sergeant D. V. Harkness, he had seen a black man. [A16] News reporter James Underwood heard the exchange. Euins said: [A17] “It was a colored man.” Are you certain, he was asked? In reply, he affirmed his view of the assassin’s race: “Yes, sir.” Then a mere hour later Euins swore in the Sheriff’s department that the man he had seen in the window was a white man: “This was a white man, he did not have on a hat.” [A18] Then on March 10, before the Commission, he swore he could not see the man’s face or color. “Of what race was he, Amos?” asked the counsel for the Warren Commission? [answer:] [A19] “I couldn’t tell.”
Confronted with three choices of equal worth set before them—black, white, and invisible—the Commission counsels picked and chose, like selecting a pickle in a barrel, to take white as the assassin’s race rather than toss out the teenager’s ramble. White, of course, fit their predetermined conclusion of Oswald the lone assassin.
In addition to his confusion on the weapon type and the assassin’s race, Euins further asserted during the Commission hearings a number of fantasy physical facts. He stated that the rifleman stood in front of sixth floor boxes to shoot, i.e., between the boxes and the window. [A20] This can not possibly be true. Photographs, and the Warren Commission’s own evidence, show the boxes of the alleged sniper’s window to be smack against the window wall and sill, rendering Euins’ statement false. [A21]
Nor are these all the serious faults to be found in his rambling testimony. He also swore that he saw the man stand and lean out. He swore he saw the rifle barrel, stock, and trigger guard in his hands. But both of these alleged visual sightings are physically impossible to configure given the physical characteristics of the sixth floor area, eastern most window. Not only was the window opening too slight for a standing man to lean out of but also for him to fire from it. According to the strictures embodied in Euins’ assertions, to have fired from the window (and poke out the rifle), the feat would require the shooter to have squeezed his bodily frame in an unnatural if not impossible sideways positions, which is not what he testified to, and even then he would still not be able to hit JFK. [A22]
Finally, joining his inability to identify in broad sunshine from 100 feet away someone he saw several times as to race, his irrational physical facts, and impossible firing position, comes the coup de grace to Euins’ claim, the statement of his stepfather. After the boy had told him the various things he claimed to have seen, he remarked to FBI agents: [A23] “he was not sure whether Euins had seen it, or whether he had just imagined it.” As the step father had previously said to FBI agents: [A24] “he questioned the statements given by Euins.”
Amos’ testimony is so faulty to rely upon any specifics is fraught with peril!
Even a rural N. Dakota prosecutor with a degree from Billy Bob Law School would have run away from this crate of cracked eggs but at this page in the end notes Bugliosi embraces him. Later on, page 102 text, end notes page 30, he brings forth many of the problems associated with Euins. How square this partial examination of Euins’ flaws with his use when it fits particular needs except to suggest at the worst Bugliosi is dishonest, at the least confused, and at final judgment for understanding the assassination his observations are not to be trusted. [A25]
So, instead of Bugliosi having four witnesses to rifles sticking from the window we have only three left to now examine for merit; and, instead of three seeing the rifle fire we are reduced to two possible.
On his lunch break steamfitter Howard Brennan sat atop a small wall directly across from the Depository and watched the motorcade pass between him and the building. Bugliosi states (page 101 of text, footnotes page 30): “Brennan testified that he heard only two shots, the first and last, and that he looked up in time to see Oswald fire the last shot.” He cites Brennan’s testimony appearing on 3H154 of the Hearings as his source. Bugliosi, however, like the man in the old Greek story, Procrustes, clips out the rest of the quotation in order to fit his assertion of witnesses having seen a rifle being fired. A concerned reader must ask why Bugliosi would corrupt the evidence to try and make his point. When the excised portion is restored to its rightful place it turns out Brennan never saw the man discharge the rifle, which refutes Bugliosi. Indeed in the snipped out portion of his testimony we discover the Commission asked him that very question about seeing the rifle fire: [A26]
Mr. McCloy: Did you see the rifle explode? Did you see the flash of what was either the second or the third shot?
Mr. Brennan. No. . . .
Mr. McCloy. Did you see the rifle discharge, did you see the recoil or the flash?
Mr. Brennan. No.
We have shown Bugliosi consciously corrupted the evidence that Brennan saw the rifle fired. Now we wish to show Brennan testified to a physical impossibility that alone should have disqualified him as a witness. Bugliosi could not have missed this. This is the stuff of many articles and found in a number of books. [A27] The right-wing steamfitter swore that the man stood in the window, which could not be with the window almost closed, and its sill a foot or so off the floor.
But even more critical to evaluating this testimony is its taint. A scholar, as well as a layman, must dismiss his testimony for he committed perjury. In the first Dallas Police line up that Brennan viewed with Oswald in it Brennan swore it did not contain the man he had seen. Returning home he then saw Oswald twice on television and was later told by the Secret Service Oswald was a communist, which was match to the tinder of Brennan’s reactionary political prejudice. Then, on viewing the line up again, Brennan swore Oswald in the line up was the man. [A28] One is proof of the perjury of the other.
In the Zapruder film where each frame moves at 1/18th of a second through the camera we find more evidence requiring Brennan’s testimony to be discarded. At the same time he swore he was looking up at the window and saw the assassin ready himself, we find he looks over his left shoulder at the President receding down Elm Street, from frame 204, and at frame 207 he turns and looks over his right shoulder toward Houston Street an act fully compatible with a reaction to a noise disturbance created by a shot from the rear beyond Houston Street, equivalent to a shot fired at frame 189. [A29] He is not looking at the Depository window as he testified. For the third shot that comes at Z frames 312/313 he has turned back from looking over his right shoulder to looking over his left shoulder at the President. Since he later told CBS News that to his left he saw JFK’s head explode, this means he could not have been looking up at the sniper’s window. Bugliosi unbelievably “solves” this by the rather unusual historical principle of fiat, by claiming he did both! He has no evidence. The “solution” would not be permitted for a member in the flat earth society. [A30]
Further damning facts about his testimony occurred when the Commission put this star witness through a reenactment in Dallas. They handed him a photograph of the south side of the TSBD and asked him to select and mark the windows where he claimed to have seen the three black men peering out of three windows on the fifth and where he saw the assassin, in the alleged sniper’s window, eastern most on the sixth. He failed. He selected two windows on floor six when it was only one, and chose a permanently single window on floor five, one closed on November 22, when he should have chosen three. The Commission attorneys nonplussed gave him hints, like closing all the windows on the east end of the building except the three on five where ear witnesses allegedly peered out as well as the one on six where Oswald allegedly lurked. They also mentioned open windows to him.
Leading the witness and altering the crime scene for defense purposes, aside from the exceptional comprise of ethics, normally does not give one truth and in this instance embarrassingly fails. Bugliosi does not address this issue and its hokey construction, apparently believing the manufacture of evidence in an inquiry into the murder of the president is coeval with actual evidence. [A31]
But Brennan had such poor eyesight he could not identify the figure of a man in the window. Early that afternoon of the 22nd FBI Special Agent Robert Wise took Brennan’s statement on what he claimed to have seen. Wise related: “Brennan volunteered information to the effect he is considered far sighted by his optometrist.” [A32] In 1965 Commission counsel Joe Ball who helped conduct the reenactment admitted to researcher Ed Epstein that during the reenactment: “Brennan had difficulty seeing a figure in the window, much less identifying someone from the sidewalk.” [A33] Again, in rebuttal to possible dissent of Brennan’s vision quality, Bugliosi quotes the devil instead of the evidence, always a dangerous thing for an attorney to resort to, by asserting on Brennan’s own 25 year old dusty and fading recollection that he could see quite well, sharp. But this is pining confabulation, by federal officials’ certain knowledge, Commission staff attestations, his testimony, and the physical evidence, he could not do so in Dallas, which is the only operative fact. [A34]
So, of Bugliosi’s four witnesses to a rifle sticking out the window two have been sifted out by that great arbiter of truth, facts, and two have been removed as having seen the rifle fire. We have two of his claimed four left to examine.
A Dallas Times Herald photographer, Bob Jackson rode in the 7th or 8th vehicle in the motorcade. [A35] After the limousine had turned down Elm Street he heard shots and “then saw the rifle or what looked like a rifle drawn back into the building” in the sixth, eastern most window. He did not see the rifle fire. Jackson said he heard four not three shots and that the last of them came from the front of the motorcade, which would presumably be the area of the Grassy Knoll or pergola but absolutely not from the rear where Oswald allegedly shot from. [A36]
However, Bugliosi hid from the reader the number of shots Jackson heard and the direction he thought the last shot came from. Such testimony naturally would have hurt Bugliosi’s theory of Oswald the lone assassin and he dast not let it enter into his account. The question to ask, one that consistently arises, is why does Bugliosi consider his cherry picking of fragments of witness’ testimony to press into his Oswald-alone-did-it mold to be sound scholarship?
His testimony and the circumstances of where he was and who was with when he saw what looked like a rifle on the sixth requires us to accept his statement. [A37] Three newsmen in the same car, Tom Dillard (6H164), Jim Underwood (6H170), and Malcolm Couch (6H166-167), confirmed Jackson’s shout that he had spied a rifle. He did not see it fire.
We have previously eliminated two who claimed to have seen a rifle and to have seen it fire. Now we see that one, the third of his four, saw a rifle, but did not see it fire. One of Bugliosi dismal quartet remains to examine.
James Richard Worrell, Jr.
The 19 year old high school senior cut class to view the motorcade. He claimed that when JFK entered Elm Street he, James Worrell, had stood with his back to the south wall of the TSBD about ten feet or so from its corner at Elm and Houston. [A38] He heard a shot. After hearing it he tilted his head way back to look up and beheld a rifle barrel, about six inches, sticking out of the fifth or sixth floor windows and then he saw it fire again. He saw the flash and smoke of the discharge. He immediately ran to his left around the corner of the building and east across Houston Street and turned north down Houston stopping across from the rear of the Depository where he saw a man flee the rear of the building. In flight he alleged he heard two more shots.
The next day he heard the police wanted witnesses to step forward so he phoned in to the police station and was taken to headquarters where he gave an affidavit. [A39] After describing the shots he told the police he saw a man run from the rear of the TSBD but could not see his face. He soon changed his account. On the 30th he gave the FBI an interview where he said the man he saw was in fact Lee Harvey Oswald, for time apparently enhances memory. On March 10 the Commission examined him. Now, with time working its wonders he swore he could not identify the man he saw in the rear of the building.
One observes that the excitable youth came forward only after having seen the assassination coverage on television and in the newspapers, which tainted so many witness statements and perhaps his. His changing of identity of the fleeing man clearly suggests this. Moreover, a skeptic must also ask if a person can really bend his head back at a 90 degree angle-—which was his testimony--while close to the building and actually see up to the sixth floor and spot the end of a barrel thrust forward four inches. Does the human eye have the physical capacity to record accurate images from that position? Mine does not, but I am not 19 years old. Further, did the Mannlicher rifle normally show a flash when shooting? No. After extensive testing the FBI stated it did give a wisp of smoke, but no flash. [A40] Thus, Worrell could not have seen it flash. But having found so many weaknesses in Bugliosi’s teenage, television viewing, self-important witness statement there is yet another one to be noted. While Worrell first saw “a man” fleeing, then he saw “Oswald” and then a “man” yet we know from another source he saw nothing.
To the rear of the Depository Building lay the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad tracks. The MKT or Katy had a loading dock directly across from the Depository and facing it. Over the noon hour James Ebert Romack, a MKT employee, sat on the dock eating his lunch. He heard shots and looked at the rear of the Depository while he ate and did so during the aftermath of the shooting. On March 6 the Dallas Times Herald ran a story about Worrell’s claim to have sighted a fleeing man. Romack quickly telephoned the FBI to say that could not possibly be true. It interviewed him.
It seems that on November 22, Romack had the rear of the Depository constantly in view during the motorcade time and for a few minutes after the shooting. No one ran out the back door of the Depository. Also, a policeman almost immediately ran behind the building and Romack yelled to him that he would continue to watch while he continued his search. No one came out. [A41] This episode could have lasted but three or four minutes.
For Worrell to be in intentional error on something so vitally important throws into question everything else the flighty high school senior claimed to have seen. No prosecutor would hazard putting this quirky fellow on the stand, nor would a bona fide historian sully the pages of his book with such testimony.
So Bugliosi’s assertion that three of his four witnesses saw shots being fired from the TSBD alleged sniper window turns out upon examination not to be valid. None did. He misrepresented the evidence. His assertion four men saw rifles also failed to be upheld. Only one did. Why he did not mention other individuals who believed they saw a rifle or similar object poking out the window is curious. For example, Couch (6H156-157) in the news automobile with Jackson and Mrs. Earle Cabell (7H478), riding in the motorcade both saw something sticking out of the sixth floor, eastern most window opening. [A42]
The passion buried in Bugliosi’s unnatural rant against the critic led him to corrupt the evidence to promote disinformation. It had an unfortunate side effect. It overrode his caution and blunted his expertise in criminal activities.
Three comments on issues Bugliosi ignores must be advanced.
The initial observation on the sighting of a rifle or a simulation of a rifle (even a mop handle, and what all) seen on the sixth floor relates to the possibility it could have been a decoy. [A43] This seems so obvious it scarcely needs to be stated.
Are we to assume individuals bright enough to kill the President and get away with it could not think of that standard criminal disruptive device to hold authorities on a blind trail even for a few minutes while they escaped? Some illustrations can be found in the evidentiary base to suggest this method was part of the thought processes of some would be assassins. The first example is: The Joseph A. Milteer documents from Miami on November 9 where a police electronic listening device and undercover agent recorded a reactionary individual explaining how his group would kill the hated JFK with a high-powered rifle fired from a high building and then decoy the police by letting a patsy take the blame. [A44]
The second example of assassins-to-be planning to use a decoy comes from the same benighted Florida city. Just before JFK visited Miami on November 18, the Secret Service uncovered a threat by a right wing group under Diaz-Lenz to murder him and set up a decoy to blame it on Castroites. [A45]
More important than a decoy in considering the statements of witnesses to a rifle or look-alike rifle being seen and helping Dallas police thus peg Oswald to the crime is the impossibility of the sixth-floor eastern most window area being used as a shooter’s stall. This also reinforces the decoy possibility. According to the Commission’s own evidence, the official evidence, the window on the sixth floor was so slightly opened that an assassin could not fire a rifle from it and hit JFK. [A46] The sill of the window was one foot off the floor with the sash opened just slightly. There was a 16 inch sill ledge. A person sitting on the box of books near the window could not fire a scoped rifle and hit the President 60 feet below in the street. Only by firing through two panes of glass, (caused by the raised opened window), and cocking the weapon at a steep down ward angle could the limo be put into the sights. The glass was not broken. The police, the FBI, the Commission, and a host of lemming supporters blindly assumed and unquestionably accepted the Dallas Police assertion it could be done as originally depicted. It could not. To overcome the law of physical matter and the geometry of angle and the barrier of glass, in its Report the Commission had the window opened wide and a picture taken of a hokey reconstruction showing a rifle in a fixed position on tripod falsely claimed copy of reality. [A47]
He claims withheld data from Mrs. Kennedy’s testimony is innocuous.
Page 102 of text, reference to page 30 of the end notes.
In the summer of 1999 a documentary film maker, Mark Sobel, checked Mrs. John F. Kennedy’s printed testimony against the recording secretary’s tape of the event lodged in the National Archives. He announced he had found that when printing the ostensibly true record of its hearing with the widow the Commission had eliminated two clauses in a phrase she uttered, the underline ones: “. . . I could see a piece of his skull sort of wedge-shaped, like that, and I remember that it was flesh colored with little ridges at the top.” [A48] In the printed version the Commission had also inserted for a deleted section the phrase, “Reference to wounds deleted.” [A49] Some assassination critics immediately pointed to the discovery of the skull fragment as important for understanding the nature of the head wounds and for shedding light on the controversies raised by the federal investigation’s control of medical information. The covert excision relates to the cover-up.
Bugliosi’s judgment? This was a minor incident with no vital information revealed. The Warren Commission tempered her remarks, he guessed, to assuage her feelings. The episode, he wrote, “proved the hearts of the Warren Commission members were not made of stone.”
What he did, however, by this device was avoid the key evidence found in her testimony, which we now turn to.
At 4:20 p.m. on Friday, June 5, 1964, at her home at 3017 N Street, N.W., Chief Justice Earl Warren and General Counsel J. Lee Rankin along with a recording secretary questioned Jacqueline Kennedy, JFK’s widow. Robert Kennedy sat in. At 4:30 the interview had finished. Ten minutes. The printed transcript of the interview took four pages in volume 5 of the Warren Commission volumes of evidence, but when these are stripped of the publication paraphernalia the text actually totals about two pages. Although none of this you would know by reading Bugliosi.
Not only was the Warren Commission representatives interview with Mrs. Kennedy incredibly brief, but also it was superficial. Rankin and Warren merely brushed over the assassination to leave a pro forma record for history that she had been interviewed by the Commission. They could hardly have ignored her and published a full report on the murder.
Before we look into what Mrs. Kennedy told the Commission we must comment on the nature of the interview. Here, with JFK’s widow, the Warren Commission had the best witness to the assassination before it, a woman with a keen mind who had sat next to her husband in the limousine and was looking at him when his head exploded. Yet, the Commission avoided her for six months before taking her testimony when she should have been the first witness interviewed and at great length. In one-half year the sharpness of mind fades and other facts whether false or partly false generated by the veritable blizzard of information about the murder swirling in the media silently intrude upon the senses to temper recall. In fact, Mrs. Kennedy complained about this aspect of her testimony, “I used to think my husband did not make any sound . . . then I read the other day it was the same shot that hit them both.” [A50] Several of the key witnesses complained of the long wait to hear them for time dulled memory and alien facts intruded, among them Ike Altgens, Phil Willis, and Abraham Zapruder who all testified in July. [A51]
In the 1960s and 70s critics attempted to acquire the typed copies of the original transcript held in the Archives under confidential classification. By May, 1971, they had pried out pages 6809-6814, 6816-6817 from volume 48, but could not obtain page 6815 that in print included the phrase, “Reference to wounds deleted.” Abruptly in May, 1972, inexplicitly the Archives mailed it to them. Critics Paul Hoch and Harold Weisberg compared it with the printed version in the 26 volumes. They found the Commission had made almost thirty changes in her supposedly verbatim printed account, several quite substantial, many minor.
Among the sentences in the first group of released transcripts was: “I could see a piece of his skull sort of wedge-shaped like that, and I remember it was flesh colored with little ridges at the top.” In the printed version the Commission had deleted, “sort of wedge-shaped like that” and “with little ridges at the top.” The critics made this feature and others known to many individuals and to Jack Anderson, the newspaper columnist. This, it will be observed, was the same doctored phrase that Mark Sobel had announced thirty-seven years later, in 1999, that he had discovered by comparing the printed versions with the recording secretary’s tapes and from which he had garnered much publicity about his find. [A52]
Two other changes must be noted: For the original sentence:
“I was trying to hold his hair on. But from the front there was nothing, I suppose there must have been. But from the back you could see, you know, you were trying to hold his hair on, and his skull on.”
the Commission substituted the phrase:
“[Reference to wounds deleted.]”
Her comment, of course, describes the President’s skull after the death shots. The actual evidence we now know shows two shots hit JFK in the head at Zapruder frames, 312/313, one from the front and one from the back, with severely fragmenting, soft metallic content whose gases and physical reactions exploded the skull at Z337-339 blowing out the rear of the head. The Commission did not want a description of the head wound circulated for their tightly defined scenario excluded that type of bullet used and that kind of destruction being inflicted. It falsely claimed only one rear shot at Z313 hit him. It further declared, it was a hardened metal, jacketed, bullet of characteristics similar to the earlier bullets that wounded him and Governor John Connally the type that did not fragment. [A53]
The other change to be noted includes the last portion of the sentence:
“But I used to think if I only had been looking to the right I would have seen the first shot hit him, then I could have pulled him down, and then the second shot would have gotten Governor Connally.”
For the last eight words in the sentence: “the second shot would have gotten Governor Connally” it printed “the second shot would not have hit him.”
By this change the second shot changes to the one to hit JFK at Z313. She had actually testified to the Governor being hit by a separate shot, which this covert change converts to sustain the Commission’s doctrines. The closest witnesses of Connally (4H152-153) and his wife (4H147) and Roy Kellerman, Secret Service Agent (2H73-74) agree with her; the Zapruder film confirms it. The official version is part of the single bullet invention that one shot wounded JFK and transited the body to hit Connally. A separate shot hitting Connally was physically impossible according to the Commission’s chronological and physical imperatives it had imposed upon their holding to find a single person, Oswald, to be the assassin.
Overall Mrs. Kennedy testified to a conspiracy. She said four shots, when the official conclusions were only three; she swore she did not hear the first shot, but then heard three later shots. Her testimony also placed the first shot much earlier than officially admitted and at a time impossible for Oswald to have fired it. She told Rankin and Warren that Connally was hit by a separate bullet. Her description of the head wound did not conform to the official claims. [A54]
Bugliosi did not address the issues around her testimony but ducked them. Its information would have fatally compromised his dedicated theory of a lone gunman Oswald killing JFK. It would have exposed the official claim as not true. Instead of the revealed transcript proving the Warren Commission members had soft hearts it proved them to be hard-hearted knaves of the first order, here protected by their champion of the bar sinister, Bugliosi.
Bugliosi claims the police sealed the Depository.
Page 131 of the test, reference to page 33 of the end notes.
In another quibble with a lower tier dissenter over when the police blocked off the Depository as a crime scene the quarrelling Bugliosi trounces the individual. In so doing he displays what an average reader might assume is impressive, overreaching scholarship. He concludes police sealed the building about 20 minutes after the assassination. This conflicts with the Warren Report that claims it occurred at 12:37 p.m., or just seven minutes afterward the murder. [A55] Both err. The Depository was never sealed.
In order to mislead he focuses attention exclusively on a minor point. As a first observation, we note a careful reader would discover Bugliosi never tells his readers how many doors there were in the building. Neither does he address their location. He seems to assume merely a back door and a front door, like a house.
But when one turns to the evidence he hid from the reader we find the police never sealed the Depository.
There were five back doors--four dock doors and one walk through door. The Report though says Secret Service agent Sorrels walked through the back door twenty minutes after the murder. [A56] He found no one there guarding it, which becomes Bugliosi’s timing mechanism. [A57] The policeman Romack saw was there only fleetingly.
What does the record say? We turn first to the testimony and relations of Bill Shelley, Oswald’s foreman, and then we shall refer to the building manager Roy Truly’s comments. Shelley related to responsible critics the month after the Warren Report came out that: “All four rear doors were separate and open, only one guarded, and ‘anyone of a thousand different people could have entered or left the building and nobody would have known it.’” [A58]
Shelley’s immediate actions reinforced his statement when he left the building and walked to the grassy knoll. He returned without being encountered by or stopped by police. [A59] (6H330) Several other individuals recorded similar sealing-refuting experiences.
Another excellent witness to an open building besides Shelley is building manager Roy Truly. He provided the FBI an authoritative account of what happened in the building right after the shooting where he reveals that the police and many Dallasites seem to have treated the murder aftermath as a species of circus:
Mr. TRULY related that within fifteen minutes after the shots were fired at President KENNEDY, there were numerous people all over the TSBD building, and he did not know any of them. He assumed that many of them were law enforcement officers, although they were not in uniform. A number of uniformed officers of the Dallas Police Department were making a systematic search of the building and were guarding the doors to the building. [Front doors] About thirty minutes after the shots were fired, Mr. TRULY was on the sixth floor of this building, and any number of newspaper, radio and television reporters, and photographers were on that floor. . . . spectators and others not connected with any law enforcement agency or news media, were wandering around the TSBD building the afternoon following the assassination. [A60]
The implications of not closing off the crime scene for the proper investigation of the crime are profound and would seem obvious. Careless handling of evidence, introduction of foreign matter, and the assassins leaving the crime scene are just part of the possible problems that could arise.
Bugliosi denies the Secret Service washed the limousine in Dallas.
Page 157 of the text, reference to page 35 of the end notes.
In minor details as well as the major issues Bugliosi brings in factual error to advance his agenda. As part of his technique he selects the critics he will attack, usually going for the ones in the lower tiers to pommel, much like, I suppose, the grade school bully who beats up the weak and spindly kid with horn rimmed glasses and then touts himself as a latter day Sugar Ray Robinson.
On the limousine he writes that “critics claim the backseat was washed out with a bucket of water . . .” ‘This is,’ he opines, with information not drawn from the evidentiary base but invented, presented as if an embrace of reality: “highly unlikely the Secret Service would wash away the crime scene before FBI criminalists could examine the car . . .” He further notes the car had residue in it when examined back in Washington, a condition affirming for reasons only reporting to his mind for verification his claim it was not washed in Dallas. History, however, must move by the practical reality, the evidentiary base.
The reality is it was indeed rough washed in Dallas. To sustain this conclusion we have solid evidence: a witness, a photograph, and the limousine. The famed New York Times reporter Tom Wicker who was in the motorcade and at Parkland Memorial Hospital when JFK died wrote a moving piece about the day. As he waited for news from the operating room, he wrote, he wandered outside to the Emergency Door parking stall and saw the presidential limousine parked there with its top off and “a bucket of bloody water” next to it. [A61]
While this is sufficient proof that Bugliosi’s caustic opinion is in error there is additional support in a photograph that backs up Wicker’s observation. Photographer C. Stoughton snapped a black and white picture of the limousine in the stall with the top now attached with its supporting posts adjusted to accommodate it. A man with a bucket of water and a towel works at the limousine. [A62] The witness of one of the nation’s top reporters and the evidence on an official photograph dispels any doubts that it was rough washed, an action that comprised the integrity of the evidentiary base.
But there is another line of evidence to consider, the automobile itself. Of course, the limousine covered with blood and gore could not have been thoroughly “cleaned” in Dallas due to the strictures of time and limitations of facilities but only roughly so for transporting back to base. Evidently, the Dallas wash removed the worst of the blood and gore. Preservation of the crime scene and location of possible minute bullet fragments and other items of possible forensic worth seemed not to be the operative element for the shocked and shaken Secret Service. That evening in the White House garage the FBI forensic team in Washington indeed found residue in it as would be expected. The Secret Service also searched the car. [A63]
Notes for Main Essay
. CE2003, 11; In what must be the most illogical moment in his treatment of the Tippit murder he claims the watch of the witness, T. F. Bowley, was inaccurate and therefore his timing of the death erred, accommodating Bugliosi’s invention. The evidence? Many watches are inaccurate, he says, and he presents an instance in a woman on Dealey Plaza, miles away, and forty minutes before who witnessed the assassination had a watch that ran fast! Therefore, Bowley’s did.
Even the most ardent supporters of his doctrines must close their doors to this one. An observer will note that Bugliosi did not establish for the record that when he timed his reenactment that his own watch ran properly.
. R165. He says a single citizen made the call, but actually in reading the transcript one discovers two citizens made the broadcast over the police car radio to DP headquarters, T. Bowley and D. Benavides. See transcript, CE1974.
. Harold Weisberg and Penn Jones, Jr., interviews.
. The Commission faced the timing problem of how Oswald got from the Depository to his rooming house at 1026 N. Beckley by 1:00 p.m. where as previously noted a witness, the housekeeper Earlene Roberts, set the time of his entrance. On the next to last leg to his rooming house he rode in William Whaley’s cab.
The day after the assassination Whaley swore before a notary public that he had taken Oswald to 500 N. Beckley, which was five blocks from the rooming house. (Whaley Exhibit A) Four months later, in the morning of March 12, before the Commission in Washington, he swore to a different drop off site. Now, he told the commissioners hhad let him out at the intersection of two streets that ran parallel. (R162; 2H258) Later under Commission pressure he corrected the problem of two different addresses and on April 8, 1964, before counsel David Belin in a deposition in Dallas swore he had dropped him off at 700 N. Beckley Avenue. (6H430; R162-163) His trip log said 500 N. Beckley. (CE370)
The Commission selected the 700 block as the “correct” site, which by that reckoning it guessed Oswald now afoot walked the several blocks remaining. They guessed (no evidence) he would arrive at 12:59 p.m. or thereabouts to enter his rooming house. (R163) Recall, Oswald, it was asserted, was a man in flight for his life after having killed the most powerful man on earth. Yet, he got out of the cab several blocks from his rooming house and walked the rest of the way to his room! No explanation appears in the official records for this odd behavior, which Bugliosi regards as normal.
. 6H430-431; Weisberg, 53-56, 77-79.
. R161; see Weisberg, just cited.
Notes for Appendix
[A2]. Following H. Weisberg, Whitewash, 110-112.
[A4]. USSS Agent Roger C. Warner, report to chief, January 1, 29, 1964, CA 2 34 0 30, CD 354.
[A5]. R629; Preliminary Report #3, US Secret Service, 11-29-64, CO 2-34-0 30.
[A6]. Ibid.; interview of Terrence Ford by Dallas police, Detectives F. Hellinghausen and T. Wardlaw through Lt. J. Revill to Captain W. Gannaway. February 18, 1964, Dallas Police files; see too, 89-43-4323 and 4498 of June, 1964, and 89-43-4700, pp. 131, 134, of July; and 100-10461-8220, p. 14, of October.
[A7]. MSNBC, December 29, 2003, interview; FBI SAS Gerald Caswell and James Rogers, December 3, 1963, interview, NY89-75, CD 206; MacNeil, The Right Place at the Right Time (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1982), chapter 13; Jerry Organ, “MacNeil’s Newshour,” The Fourth Decade, vol. 2, no. 3. (March, 1995).
[A8]. CD 354. The telephone logs of the Depository have not been seen by me to check on the Allman time. The alleged time is from Powell’s statement. Powell filed a report with his unit. But the Army reportedly destroyed all its Oswald and assassination files and the report. From its Houston headquarters the 112th within an hour of the assassination had phoned Dallas police with the information the alleged alias A. J. Hidell, found on the man arrested in the Texas Theatre, belonged to Oswald. Weisberg, Army Intelligence files, Hood College; Earl Golz, “Army Apparently Did Not Tell Commission of Oswald’s Alias,“ Dallas Morning News, July 19, 1978. On Hidell see Meagher, Accessories, xxv n, 48 n, 49-50, 62, 105, 181-199, 230-234, 236; and, Weisberg, Whitewash, 139, 146.
[A9]. Roy Truly, building manager who accompanied Officer Marrion Baker, to the meeting: “He didn’t seem to be excited or overly afraid or anything.” (3H225); Officer Baker: “He appeared normal, you know.” (3H252); Mrs. Robert Reid, who saw him leave the building: “he was moving at a very slow pace, I never did see him moving fast at any time.” (3H279); William Whaley, cab driver; Oswald ambled, not fast walked, up to the cab stand in a normal way ([:mffaltkey:WH-2-255 |2H255]]), and got in the front seat next to the driver (2H256); when a lady wanted to know if the cab was taken, Oswald sitting in the front seat said: “I will let you have this one.” (2H256); Whaley let him off several blocks before his rooming house. (2H256-258); E. Roberts: “I saw Oswald standing at the curb . . . on the same side of the street as our house.” (7H439).
[A11]. Oswald was standing by the bus stop at 1:04 p.m. Add 14 minutes for one reenactment to this and you get 18 minutes past the hour or 1:18 p.m.; add 12 minutes for another and you get 1.16; add 17’ 45” and you get 1.21.45 with the call to police over Tippit’s murder made at 1.16 p. m. with Bowley witnessing the body in the street at 1:10 p.m.
[A12]. Reclaiming History, 92.
[A13]. Report, 64.
[A14]. Amos Lee Euins, affidavit, Sheriff’s Department, November 22, 1963, printed as CE367 in the Hearings volumes.
[A15]. Hearings, volume 2, pages 201-210. (2H201-210)
[A16]. Harkness, 6H370.
[A17]. Underwood, 6H170. Harold Weisberg, Whitewash (Hyattstown: By the Author, 1965), 105. Doyen of the first generation critics Weisberg’s work is exclusively based on the Report and 26 volumes and follows the admonition that the answer to the question ‘what happened’ not the answers to the question ‘who did it’ is central to scholarship.
[A23]. FBI SA Leo Robertson to SAC, Dallas, November 29: 89-43-1244.
[A24]. E. Modon to SAC, December 14, 1963, 44 1639 2440, p. 1.
[A25]. See the analysis based on a careful examination of the primary documents by the responsible scholar, Howard Roffman, Presumed Guilty (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, Inc., 1975), 189-190, as well as the treatment by Weisberg, Whitewash, 105, and his Whitewash II (Hyattstown: By the author, 1966), 86-89
[A27]. He claimed to have read the literature, but his treatment of Brennan suggests he did so hurriedly. The works of the first generation of solid, responsible critics, based on careful use of primary evidence, reveals the flaws in Brennan’s testimony: Roffman, Presumed Guilty, 188-199; Weisberg, Whitewash, 39-42, and Whitewash II, 41-42, 88-89; Meagher, Accessories After the Fact, 10, 12, 13, 28, 78n, 372, 397, 430. Brennan’s testimony alone demolishes his credibility, 3H140-161, 184-186, 211; 11H206-207.
[A29]. Wrone, Zapruder Film, 102-103, 112. 120, 164, 189, 195-196.
[A30]. Roffman, Presumed Guilty, 193, CBS, September 27, 1964.
[A32]. FBI serial, R. Wise, to SAC, November 22, 1963, 89-43-136. He did not wear glasses that day.
[A33]. Leo Sauvage, The New Leader. “The Duality of the Warren Report,” (June 20, 1966), 24; Epstein, Inquest, 110.
[A34]. On Brennan see: Brennan testimony, 3H140-161, 184-186, 211; 11H221, 11206-207, with SSA Forrest Sorrels’ testimony about him in 7H348-351, 354-355. Scholarly treatment is found in Roffman, Presumed Guilty, 61-62, 188-99; Weisberg, Whitewash, 24, 34, 39-42, 99, 105; Whitewash II, 2, 41-42, 73, 87-89; Meagher, Accessories, 12-13, 78 fn.
[A35]. Washington Post, November 23, 1963; 2H155-164.
[A36]. 2H159; reference of Jackson’s story of this event in the Washington Post on the 23rd is corrupted by Cmdr. J. J. Humes in the autopsy protocol where “some shots” heard is converted to three shots, cf. autopsy of JFK, Warren Report, 539, where compare with Post story.
[A41]. FBI SPC Forest Lucy to SAC Dallas, March 6, 1964, 100-10461-408[?]
[A44]. See, CD1397, MM 89-35, Threat to Kill President Kennedy, December 9, 1963; Bill Barry, “JFK Plot,” Miami News, February 2, 1967; documents and tape transcript in Weisberg, Frame Up, 238-246, 464-481.
[A45]. SA Ernest Aragon to J. J. Rowley, Chief SS, December 30, 1963, SS 1-16-602-111; CD87:206.
[A47]. Report, 99.
[A48]. JFKLancer web site, http://jfklancer.com/LNE/jbkwc.html.
[A50]. Transcript of testimony, 6815.
[A52]. Pages 6809-6817, vol. 48, of original transcript; Weisberg, Post Mortem, 380-384; Weisberg, Mrs. Kennedy files, Hood College.
[A53]. Zapruder film; Wrone, Zapruder Film, photographic section; Dr. Randolph Robertson, forensic radiologist, “The Head Shots,” Pittsburgh conference, November 2004.
[A54]. Weisberg as previously cited.
[A55]. Warren Report 155-156.
[A58]. Geo. and Pat Nash, The New Leader, “The Other Witnesses,” Oct. 12, 1964.
[A60]. FBI SA Robert Gemberling’s report as cited in Weisberg, Whitewash II, 35-36.
[A61]. Wicker, “Wicker Describes,” Times Talk, December, 1963.
[A62]. Stoughton photograph.