I would like to preface this with a story about the Warren Commission. In 1976 I was a check-in agent for TWA (Trans World Airlines) at Dulles airport in Washington DC. Every week we had agents from the CIA, FBI and a host of other intelligence services traveling, most of the time with their weapons. The procedure was to take their weapons and put them in a lock box which would be stored in the cockpit. The agents could travel with their weapons but we would record their seat location and notify the flight crews and they were not allowed to consume alcohol while traveling. Most of the time the agents eagerly parted with the handguns.
In 1976 I checked in two members of the Warren Commission. They gave up their guns without argument. After the check in process was completed, we discussed the JFK investigation and they said, rather emphatically ............"the assassination of President Kennedy was without doubt a conspiracy but it will never come out." To say I was taken back was an understatement.
Lee Harvey Oswald, the Patsy
An Objective Review of the Evidence Concludes That Oswald Was Framed
|President Johnson and|
Senator Richard Russell
meeting in the White House
In November 1963 Richard B. Russell was a powerful United States senator, having served in Congress for 30 years. The morning that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, November 22, Russell was in an anteroom of the Senate chamber, monitoring wire feeds from Associated Press and United Press.
A week later, on November 29, Russell received a telephone call from President Lyndon B. Johnson, an old Senate friend, who asked him to serve on the Warren Commission, established to investigate Kennedy’s assassination. Russell flatly refused, only to receive a second call from Johnson five hours later informing the Georgian that he had been appointed to the Commission and that the news had already been released. This technique was typical of Johnson’s leadership style. Despite his surprise and anger, Russell, who had spent his entire life in public service, reluctantly accepted the position.
As the controversial investigation started, Russell was experienced enough to suspect the motives of the FBI and CIA, the principal investigative agencies in the probe, and others who worked within the government.
At the initial meeting of the Warren Commission on December 5, 1963, Russell accused the FBI of leaking information to the press to force the Commission to accept their ideas. “Something strange is happening,” Russell wrote. He thought the FBI and other organizations were “planning to show Oswald” as the sole assassin, an “untenable position” to him.
At a meeting on December 16 Russell repeated his conviction, adding that he doubted the CIA would provide requested data and suggesting that evidence it did submit would be “doctored.”
During a session on January 27, 1964, Russell drew an admission from former CIA director Allen Dulles that the CIA and FBI “would never publicly admit that Oswald had worked for them, if that had indeed been true.” Russell also believed that Oswald as the sole assassin theory advanced by the FBI had been reached hastily as the result of an incomplete investigation. “They have tried the case and reached a verdict on every aspect,” Russell concluded.
On February 24 a frustrated Russell wrote a letter of resignation from the committee to President Johnson, complaining that the Warren Commission was holding, scheduling, and canceling meetings without his knowledge. Russell reconsidered and never submitted the letter.
One of the most discredited declarations of the Warren Commission concerned the “single bullet” or “magic bullet” that was claimed to have inflicted a non-lethal wound on Kennedy and then started an intricate journey that inflicted all the wounds of Texas Governor John Connelly, sitting beside the president. On September 16, Russell, citing the testimony of Connelly, his wife, who sat beside him, and the Zapruder film, wrote, “I do not share the finding.”
Russell also declared that “a number of suspicious circumstances” and a lack of evidence against Oswald precluded “the determination that Oswald and Oswald alone, without the knowledge, encouragement or assistance of any other person, planned and perpetrated the assassination.” That statement was omitted from the final report of the Commission.
On the following day the Commission met for the last time to present and discuss the official Warren Report. Russell advanced the same two reservations of the previous day but this statement was excised from transcripts of the meeting. Later that day Russell repeated his objections to President Johnson in a recorded conversation. Of the magic bullet, Russell, said, “I don’t believe it.” Johnson replied, “I don’t either.”
Russell was the first Commission member to criticize their report, in the Atlanta Journal Constitution of September 29. Two year later, on November 20, 1966, the AJC called the senator “the great dissenter.”
On June 6, 1968, Russell told Harold Weisberg, a noted investigator and journalist, that “we have not been told the truth about Oswald.” Russell further stated that the FBI and other Federal agencies had deceived the Warren Commission about Oswald’s background and ballistics evidence.
On WSB-TV on February 11, 1970, Russell said, “I have never believed that Oswald planned that altogether by himself…I think someone else worked with him.” Russell also stated that the majority of the Warren Commission “wanted to find” Oswald to be the lone assassin. Many authorities believe the government desired to dispel rumors and conspiracy theories in order to calm the public in the aftermath of the shocking assassination.
Congressional committees have since upheld Russell’s criticisms, citing the FBI and CIA for not adequately investigating the murder and failing to provide useful information to the Warren Commission. While some researchers believe and advance controversial findings that there were two or more shooters who fired up to six bullets, Russell believed that Oswald was the lone shooter and fired three shots.
For an exhaustive account of this story, read “Senator Richard Russell and the Great American Murder Mystery,” an article written by Donald E. Wilkes, Jr. Professor of Law at the University of Georgia Law School, in the November 19, 2003 edition of Flagpole Magazine.