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Shane O'Sullivan's Reply to Morley and Talbot

by Shane O'Sullivan

[Editor's note: this is a reply to Jefferson Morley and David Talbot's article entitled The BBC's Flawed RFK Story, which commented on a BBC Newsnight piece by Shane O'Sullivan].

I welcome this new evidence and am sure researchers will make up their own minds about the photographs but it's a shame David and Jeff did not share everything they found. I interviewed the senior CIA official who supplied the Joannides photos and he still believes that the man at the Ambassador is 'not incompatible with Joannides'. For the record, Bradley Ayers has seen the new Morales photos and also stands by his identification of Morales at the Ambassador. I will respond to this new evidence fully in my film.

But I have to say I find the tone of this article absurdly pompous, pitching Morley and Talbot against the mighty BBC. This was one independent filmmaker on limited resources following the evidence and intriguing the BBC enough to give me twelve minutes of airtime to give an honest assessment of available evidence and ask for clarification from the CIA. It has stimulated great debate and helped generate a lot of new information on these guys.

David and Jeff loftily complain of editorial standards and 'titillating charges' when the fact is my story left them just as intrigued and titillated as the BBC and they put their reputations on the line to get the New Yorker to fund further investigation. I remember David telling me they felt like Woodward and Bernstein, ready to hit the road to crack open the Kennedy assassinations. They sought my cooperation and I supported them by sharing everything I had. Not a word about this in their article, of course.

Before my Newsnight story aired, I asked Morley to show the Ambassador photograph to Joannides' daughter. Her response was a frosty 'no comment', which Morley said he found 'telling'. He then slagged off my story publicly the day after broadcast - presumably to appease the Joannides family - before later admitting he spoke too soon and answering the call of the New Yorker.

I find a number of startling omissions in this article. Huge weight is given to the death of a 'Gordon Campbell' who is clearly not the man Bradley Ayers knew at JM/WAVE. Morley omits several new positive IDs of Joannides, then cites a negative ID by Timothy Kalaris without telling us that Timothy's father George was the successor to Angleton as the Head of Counterintelligence. It does make you wonder.

Many inaccuracies, too. David Rabern was not a CIA operations officer and never identified Morales by name. All in all, there's interesting new information here, but it's weirdly skewed. David and Jeff are great reporters but this is not the whole story, or even the whole of their story. My feature-length documentary on the RFK case will be released in the US and UK before the end of the year and will address these issues in more detail.

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