Saturday, February 5, 2011
112 MI Fort Sam Houston
Col. Robert Jones on the Oswald Dossier
THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 1978
US House of Representatives
Subcommitee on the Assassination of John F. Kennedy of the Select Committee on Assassinations. Washington D.C. Room 1310, Longworth House Office Building.
Counsel for HSCA: B. Genzmen, H. Goldsmith;
Representatives Dodd, Fithian and Sawyer.
Highlights of the Executive (Closed) HSCA Testimony of
COLONEL ROBERT JONES:
Upon my assignment to 112, I was appointed the operations officer for the entire group. The 112 MI group had seven regions under its operational control which encompassed a five-state area: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
I was directly responsible for all counterintelligence, operations background investigations, domestic intelligence and any special operations in this area.
I directed the operations for seven regions and reported, through my group commander, to the Security Division of Fourth Army, Deputy Chief of Staff Intelligence.
We had a domestic intelligence function there that we collected information from various local, state and county law enforcement agencies or intelligence divisions. We maintained filings and built an index card file on individuals who may have been going into Mexico and coming back.
HSCA: When did the name Lee Harvey Oswald first come to your attention?
MR. JONES: I would estimate the middle of 1963. I cannot be specific, though. Mr. Chairman, because I spent too many years, but I would believe it was the middle of 1963 when he was arrested in New Orleans, and I had liaison with the New Orleans police and through our regional office in New Orleans, they provided me with his arrest, his activities and we carded him under both the name of A. J. Hidell and Lee Harvey Oswald.
HSCA: Based on this information, what actions did you take?
MR. JONES: Well, he was of interest to us because of the anti-U.S. government position he was taking, his pro-Cuban activities as far as passing out literature and making speeches on the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and I think we also had an interest in local agencies to get any information we could develop, to get information on a place of residence.
Additionally, we requested a file, or availability of a file, from the Central Records facility. This file was forwarded to us an we completed our dossier from information from the Central Records facility and from the local agency check and from the activities of his while he was in New Orleans.
HSCA: Are you saying that you maintained a file on Lee Harvey Oswald?
MR. JONES: Yes. I did have a file on Lee Harvey Oswald.
HSCA: Did this file contain a personality profile on Oswald?
MR. JONES: The personality profile, as I call it, is as much information as we have to develop on an individual, or without doing a comprehensive background investigation, and from this Central Records facility file, local agency check and from his activities, we considered that the personality profile.
HSCA: Were you personally responsible for the maintenance of the file, or were you personally involved in collecting any of this information?
MR. JONES: My position, as Chief of Operations, or Operations Officer for the Group, all reports would come over my desk and I would read them and indicate disposition of the documents.
Under my supervision, we had a domestic intelligence officer who would continue to screen the files and prepare the dossiers and the necessary cards and file them in his section, which was called domestic intelligence, or DI.
HSCA: Did the file on Oswald ever contain a summary report?
MR. JONES: The file only contained information that I just have given you. His activities in New Orleans –
HSCA: Let me rephrase the question, Colonel Jones. Did you, at any time, ever write a summary report or and “after action” report on Lee Harvey Oswald?
MR. JONES: Yes. I do not refer to a summary report. After the assassination of President Kennedy, I did write an after action report which covered all of the report, the actions that I took, the people that I notified, the time and so forth, and it was prepared as an after action report, and maintained in the Lee Harvey Oswald file.
HSCA: Based upon the information that you gathered on Lee Harvey Oswald, what conclusions did you reach as to this individual?
MR. JONES: As to the individual’s character, as to his trustworthiness? I considered the man as a possible security risk or as a person that we should have an interest in from the review of his dossier. The fact that he had defected, gone to Russia, had traveled in Russia, and according to the file, had married a Russian national, and was permitted to return to the United States. That was sufficient enough for him to be of interest to any intelligence operating agency.
HSCA: Would you characterize Oswald as a possible counter-intelligence threat?
MR. JONES: I considered him to be a counter-intelligence threat at any time that he would have been in the area that I was responsible for operations.
HSCA: On the basis of your experience and knowledge of the Lee Harvey Oswald file, would you say that the other American intelligence agencies would have had an interest in Oswald and would have characterized him as a possible security or counter-intelligence threat?
MR. JONES: I would not speak for any intelligence agency as a factual report to this committee, but if I were assigned an operation in any intelligence agency, I would think that a man who had traveled to Russia would certainly be debriefed and be a potential source of information and based upon an investigation that we might conduct on the findings of this and the people considered reliable or targets in areas that we had an interest, he would be a potential source.
HSCA: Based on your expertise and intelligence experience, could you tell us which agency would have debriefed Oswald upon his return from the Soviet Union, if, in fact, that were ever done?
MR. JONES: From my experience, the CIA would have debriefed him at one time and, upon return to the United States, the internal security division of the FBI would probably debrief him.
HSCA: To your knowledge, did the CIA ever debrief Lee Harvey Oswald?
MR. JONES: I have no personal knowledge of it.
HSCA: To your knowledge, did Military Intelligence ever debrief Lee Harvey Oswald?
MR. JONES: The Military Intelligence of my group did not debrief him.
HSCA: Based upon the information which you gathered upon Oswald and also based on your experience, would you say that Lee Oswald’s file was the type of file which should have been destroyed at some point in time.
MR. JONES: The Oswald file, since it pertained to the assassination of the President of the United States, in my opinion, should have been retained for reference or for historical purposes.
HSCA: If you were still Operations Officer in charge of the Oswald file at a time when destruction of these types of files was being considered, under what circumstances would the file have been destroyed?
MR. JONES: I think I would have made a strong case to retain the file with my superiors and then if I were directed to destroy the file, I would have asked them to direct me to do so in writing so that it would be a matter of record.
HSCA: Colonel Jones, I next would like to ask you about the liaison operations between military intelligence and the Secret Service.
MR. JONES: At any time that the President, or Vice President, or anyone at the Secret Service had responsible for physical protection, would be scheduled to arrive in the ara, they would contact our Group Headquarters or our Regional Headquarters and we would augment their force, if necessary, to provide some type of physical coverage, that is, a man on the street, or an observation of people, vehicles, communications, or any other information or support that we could provide.
But in every case, to my knowledge, our people were under the control and supervision of the Secret Service. We never assume responsibility for the President’s protection.
HSCA: Would you characterize these operations as supplementing the manpower of the Secret Service?
MR. JONES: Yes, I would.
HSCA: With specific reference to President Kennedy’s trip to Texas, would you relate to the committee your connection with liaison operations with the Secret Service?
MR. JONES: We provided a small force – I do not recall how many, but I would estimate between eight and twelve – during the President’s visit to San Antonio, Texas; and then the following day, on his visit to Dallas, the regions also provided additional people to assist, that is additional people from Region 2.
HSCA: Did these people which you provided include sources who were in contact with various local law enforcement agencies?
MR. JONES: The people who were in contact with either the intelligence division or the State Police or the Police Department or the FBI or Secret Service, were reporting either directly to me or to the Regional Operations officers.
The information would be provided to the Secret Service if necessary, or to the FBI, but it was normally channels through the region or to the group headquarters. This information would then be made available to the requesting investigating agency.
HSCA: Do you recall the name of any of the military intelligence personnel who performed liaison activities with the Secret Service in Dallas at the time of the President’s visit there?
MR. JONES: Any of the names of the Military Intelligence Group?
MR. JONES: I believe Coyle.
HSCA: Would that be Ed Coyle.
MR. JONES: Yes.
HSCA: Would you describe his position and duties?
MR. JONES: He was Special Agent assigned to Region Two of the group in Dallas and was a special agent and had previous contacts and liaisons with these agencies and was considered a liaison officer for the region.
HSCA: Was he an investigator?
MR. JONES: He was a trained investigator and had the badge and credentials.
HSCA: Would he have worked in plain clothes, civilian clothes?
MR. JONES: Yes, he would have.
HSCA: Yes, he would have.
MR. JONES: I have several other names I would like to ask you about.
HSCA: I have several other names I would like to ask you about. Was James W. Powell one of these liaison personnel?
MR. JONES: Yes, he was a Captain and also wore civilian clothes and was assigned to Region Two of the 112 MI Group.
HSCA: Was he, in fact, on duty the day of the assassination?
MR. JONES: Yes, he was.
HSCA: Was Coyle on duty the day of the assassination?
MR. JONES: Yes, he was.
HSCA: The next name I have is Secret Service Agent Winston Lawson. Do you recall that name?
MR. JONES: I just recall the name. I do not know him.
HSCA: Was he with the 112 Military Intelligence Group?
MR. JONES: No, not to my knowledge.
HSCA: I would like to ask the same question about Captain W. P. Gannaway, who is with the Dallas Police Special Services Bureau.
MR. JONES: Was he a Captain in the Police Department or a Captain in the military service?
HSCA: I believe he was a Captain in the Police Department, subject to correction.
MR. JONES: He was not assigned to the 112, not on an active duty status. He could have been a reserve.
HSCA: How about George Wittmayer (sic Whitmeyer)?
MR. JONES: I do not know the name.
HSCA: I would like to ask you about several other names of persons who were not necessarily in Dallas. I would just like to ask you if you have ever heard of the names, or know of these people. The first is Richard Case Nagell?
MR. JONES: I know the name of Arthur. He was assigned to the Security Division of the fourth Army, but I do not know Richard.
HSCA: Guy Bannister?
MR. JONES: I know the name, but I do not know who he was associated with.
HSCA: Guy Johnson?
MR. JONES: I do not know the him.
HSCA: Peer diSilva?
MR. JONES: I do not know him.
HSCA: On the day of the assassination, did you know that Lee Harvey Oswald was located in Dallas?
MR. JONES: No, I did not.
HSCA: Would that have influenced your liaison operations with the Secret Service in Dallas if you had known that Oswald was in Dallas?
MR. JONES: I would have had the Secret Service asked me for possible security risks or people whom I thought might be of interest to them. I believe I would have reported his name to them.
HSCA: Could you describe for the Committee your activities on the day of the assassination.
MR. JONES: I learned of the assassination while at my quarters at post, at Fort Sam Houston. I returned immediately to my office and was in contact with the Region Two personnel in Dallas. I instructed them to intensify liaison with all Federal and State and local agencies, to include the FBI, the Secret Service, the Police Department and anybody else that they might be able to contact to provide some information to my headquarters.
Shortly in the afternoon – I do not know the exact time, but I would say in the early afternoon – I received a telephone call from Region Two advising me that an A. J. Hidell had either been arrested or come to their attention.
HSCA: Did they say how this name had come to their attention?
MR. JONES: I believe – I am not sure of this, and I am not perjuring myself by saying I am absolutely sure – but I am of the opinion to say that he had been arrested, to the best of my recollection.
HSCA: Did your people in Dallas mention a draft card with the name A. J. Hidell?
MR. JONES: I do not recall this. I would like to se my file to refresh my memory. I just cannot recall whether they said this or not.
HSCA: Did they possibly mention a mail order form for a rifle with the name A. J. Hidell?
MR. JONES: Yes, I heard that from Dallas.
HSCA: Upon learning of the name A. J. Hidell, what did you do?
MR. JONES: I then went through my card index and checked the name A. J. Hidell and found that it had also a name of Lee Harvey Oswald, aka – which is “also known as”. And I pulled the file for Lee Harvey Oswald, and it was at that time that I learned the information of Oswald’s defection to Russia, his travel in Russia and his return along with his pro-Cuba activities in New Orleans.
I opened the file and notified San Antonio FBI office that I had some information.
HSCA: Are you saying that you made a phone call to the San Antonio FBI office?
MR. JONES: Yes, I did. And I do not know whether I was called by the Dallas FBI office or whether I was called by them, but I know I did talk to the FBI office in Dallas and gave them this information that I mentioned of Oswald’s defection, trip to Russia, his return, his marriage to a Russian national, his activity with Fair Play for Cuba.
HSCA: Did you give this information in general terms or were you quite specific, referring to the various documents in the file?
MR. JONES: I read quite a bit of it from the dossier and some of it I paraphrased, particularly his travel in Russia and his return. I did not read verbatim, word for word, from the dossier.
HSCA: Did the Dallas FBI office, or any other law enforcement agency or office, ever ask for a copy of the file?
MR. JONES: It is possible that they asked for the 112 MI group or personnel assigned to it a copy of it They did not ask me. But I had an Assistant Operations Officer who worked for me and I had a field grade officer in charge of domestic intelligence files, so it is possible that they could have contacted someone in the office.
HSCA: You, yourself, have no personal recollection of any contact?
MR. JONES: No, I don’t.
HSCA: With regard to providing a copy of the file to any government agency?
MR. JONES: No.
HSCA: Did you speak with the Dallas FBI people more than once?
MR. JONES: I spoke to them, as I related this information from the files and then I spoke to them maybe once or twice that afternoon regarding questions and follow-up information from the file.
HSCA: Did you contact, or were you contacted by any other law enforcement agencies or intelligence agencies concerning any information that you could provide on Lee Harvey Oswald?
MR. JONES: I personally was not.
HSCA: What was your last activity with regards to Lee Harvey Oswald and the assassination of President Kennedy?
MR. JONES: Operations under my responsibility at that time, we would write an after action report that would be similar to a memorandum for the records and in the after action report, we would include what actions we had taken, the persons whom we had reported the information to and the disposition of it.
HSCA: Did the FBI or the Secret Service or the CIA or the Warren Commission or any other government agency or body ever talk to you personally concerning your investigation of Lee Harvey Oswald?
MR. JONES: No, sir.
HSCA: Before your contact with staff members of this Committee, has anyone ever contacted you concerning your knowledge of Lee Harvey Oswald?
MR. JONES: Not any official.
HSCA: Does it surprise you?
MR. JONES: Yes, sir.
HSCA: Would you care to explain how that surprised you?
MR. JONES: I fully expected to be contacted by someone, maybe from the Warren Commission or someone responsible for determining and developing information and determining the facts, because I had reported immediately this information to the FBI and I thought that it was a matter of public records, that somewhere that they would be able to determine that there was a file existent and that I had reported the information.
HSCA: Did anyone in the military or in the Army specifically ever direct you one way or the other as to the giving of information to any government agency?
MR. JONES: No one has ever directed me to withhold information, just the contrary. The Department of the Army and the people that I have talked to have always instructed me and advised me to cooperate fully with anyone conducting an official investigation into this matter.
HSCA: Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions on this particular phase of Colonel Jones’ testimony.
MR. DODD: Colonel, I wonder if you might – first of all, Mr. Fithian, do you have any questions that you want to ask?
MR. FITHIAN: Not at this time.
MR. DODD: Mr. Sawyer?
MR. SAWYER? No.
MR. DODD: I am just curious on one point, Colonel. You again, responding to Counsel’s questions initially, you mentioned that you had a file on Hidell, A. J.
MR. JONES: A. J. Hidell, yes sir.
MR. DODD: Aka Oswald. I am curious if you can tell us, tell the Committee how it was that you did not have two files, given the fact that this seemed to be information pointing to two individuals.
MR. JONES: We do not, or we did not, I should clarify that, keep two files on an alias. We would have two cards, but not two files on an alias. We would have two cards but one file. And in the cross reference, the Hidell card would refer to the Oswald card, and there we would look at the Oswald card and file and pull the Oswald file.
MR. DODD: How did you establish that it was an alias?
MR. JONES: Because we had him listed – I do not know what you have available here. There is a piece of paper, the literature that he was passing out, that had his name at the bottom of it as A. J. Hidell and he was arrested as Lee Harvey Oswald.
MR. DODD: Can I ask you one further question. In response to counsel’s questions, you said you were surprised that you were never contacted by any agency or individual attached officially to the Warren Commission. Did you ever specifically come forward and offer to testify or did you contact anyone within the responsible agencies of government as to any specific information that you felt might be helpful to them in that investigation at the time?
MR. JONES: No, sir, I did not.
MR. DODD: Would you care to explain to the Committee why not?
MR. JONES: I felt that the information that I had provided was sufficient and maybe they did not care to talk to me, because I thought it was a matter of record when I reported to the FBI.
MR. DODD: By your own admission, you were surprised.
MR. JONES: Yes, sir.
MR. DODD: Did you ever mention that to any of your superiors within the Department of Defense or the Department of the Army?
MR. JONES: Oh, yes, we have mentioned it several times in discussing it with my superiors, the role that we played in it.
MR. DODD: I am talking specifically about your surprise over the fact that you had not been called forward.
MR. JONES: No, sir.
MR. DODD: You never made mention of the fact that you thought you might be someone they should be talking to?
MR. JONES: Not that the Warren Commission would be talking to, no, sir.
MR. DODD: I have no further questions.
HSCA: Colonel Jones, I would like to clarify several points. How many people did the Department of Defense Intelligence have on duty assisting the Secret Service in Dallas on the day of the assassination.
MR. JONES: I would estimate between eight and twelve.
HSCA: How many of these people would have been in plain clothes?
MR. JONES: All of them.
HSCA: Would any of these military intelligence personnel have been carrying Secret Service credentials as a part of their liaison work with the Secret Service?
MR. JONES: They would not have been carrying Secret Service credentials. They would have been identified with some type of sign, or something on their lapel, or some code or communication that could be identified in the crowd.
This was handled by the Secret Servicemen and they would always advise our people on the type of signal or sign to wear, but they did not have Secret Service credentials.
HSCA: Thank you. At what approximate time after the assassination did you first learn of the name Hidell?
MR. JONES: I cannot be specific. I would say early afternoon, 1:30, 2:00. I do not kow.
HSCA: Besides the file on Lee Harvey Oswald, how many files were there under your jurisdiction.
MR. JONES: In domestic intelligence?
MR. JONES: Thousands.
HSCA: Did you have a recollection of the file on Hidell or Oswald independently of the fact that you were given the name Hidell over the phone? Le me rephrase that. On the day of the assassination, when you heard the name Hidell, did you know that you in fact had a file on Hidell or Oswald?
MR. JONES: I would not like to state that I knew exactly that we had a file on him, but it is just automatic procedure to have the card when you get a name. But I would not state that I recalled the name A. J. Hidell.
HSCA: Mr. Chairman, I would like to enter into the record a document to be labeled JFK Exhibit No. 101. I would ask the clerk to present the document to the witness.
MR. DODD: What document is that?
HSCA: The document is an FBI communication dated 11-22-63….to the Director of the FBI and Special Agent in Charge in Dallas, from Special Agent in Charge, San Antonio.
MR. DODD: Without objection, so ordered. (The document referred to, having been previously marked for identification as JFK Exhibit No. 101, was received into evidence.)
HSCA: Colonel Jones, have you seen a copy of this document previous to your testimony here today?
MR. JONES: Yes, I have.
HSCA: Would you read through the document and make any comments that you would feel would be appropriate as to its accuracy?
MR. JONES: The second line after San Antonio, advised the news broadcasts tht he learned Lee Harvey Oswald had been arrested, that should be changed. I was advised through a source in the police department.
HSCA: Was it common for you to have sources working with the various law enforcement agencies locally?
MR. JONES: Yes, sir.
HSCA: Are there any other items that you would like to comment on?
MR. JONES: I do not recall at this time stating that Oswald was carrying a Selective Service card, unless I was told by the source in the police department that he had one. I had no other way of knowing that information.
It reads: “According to information he has received, Oswald was carrying a Selective Service card having the name Alex Hidell.” If I had made that statement, I received it from the source in the police department.
The next sentence is, “Jones stated intelligence records here reflect a reference to Ana J. Hidell.” I believe that is a typographical error on the name. I think that should be “Aka and not “Ana.”
HSCA Colonel Jones, could you identify your sources with the Dallas Police Department?
MR. JONES: Without any records, I cannot, but I would state that he was a member of the 112 military intelligence, he was an agent.
MR. DODD: Can I interrupt here, counsel, for a second? Is it possible, Colonel, that Anna J. Hidell could be “an A. J. Hidell”?
MR. JONES: I do not remember the name, Mr. Chairman, as Ann.
MR. DODD: I mean….
MR. JONES: Oh, I see, it is possible. It is possible. The name Ann is completely foreign to me.
HSCA: Colonel Jones, I would like to clarify one point which you made concerning sources within the local law enforcement agencies.
Are you saying that these sources, which were military intelligence personnel, actually worked as law enforcement officers for these local agencies, or that they worked alongside these law enforcement agencies?
Mr. JONES: Our special agents assigned to a military intelligence group were military personnel in most cases, and they would have sources within the police department that would be on the payroll of the police department and report to them. And the source that I received this information from came through a source in the police department through my agent that I considered a source to me.
HSCA: Just to clarify further, are you aware whether any military intelligence agents ever representing themselves to be agents or officers or employees of local law enforcement agencies?
MR. JONES: No, sir.
HSCA: Mr. Chairman, at this time I would like to enter into the record a document to be labeled JFK Exhibit No. 102. This document is an FBI memorandum headed San Antonio, Texas, November 22, 1963, “Death of President Kennedy.”
MR. DODD: Without objection, so ordered. (The document referred to, having previously been marked for identification as JFK Exhibit No. 102, was received in evidence.)
MR. FITHIAN: Colonel, in that first communication that we have here, I suppose it must be obvious, but I cannot quite pull out the translation of “INCT.”
MR. JONES: That is Intelligence Corp. At that time, in 1963, it was known as Intelligence Corps, int for intelligence, c for corps…..
HSCA: Colonel, would it be the practice of our unit that your men in Dallas would write up a report of the event and reports back to you, or to your office?
MR. JONES: They would report in a lead sheet form, a vehicle we call the lead sheet, to our headquarters. They did not have the responsibility nor the function to write the after action report. The office of Control, which was my office, had that responsibility. They would provide written material to my office, though.
MR. FITHIAN: I understand this. I was just wondering if by any chance that you could help us out with any additional information that may have come in through your agents in the area that would shed any light, either on the assassination of the President, or upon Lee Harvey Oswald’s arrest?
MR. JONES: There is one other file that I have not mentioned at this hearing that you might check and that is called Intelligence Records and Reports at Fort George Meade, Maryland. You have two files, or two types of investigative reports in the United States Army Intelligence operations. You have one that was called the Central Records facility that contained mostly background investigations on personnel investigations with the personnel security historians and so forth.
This type of information would be used today in the Defense Investigative Services in making their file checks and conducting background investigations, operational plans and operations per se.
These types of reports and records should be in that file at Fort George Meade, Maryland.
MR. FITHIAN: Do you recall or would it have been a practice for you or your immediate junior to debrief or interview the returning agents after the fact, after they came back from Dallas?
MR. JONES: If so, they would have been debriefed by the Regional Commander and I believe at that time the Regional Commander was Lt. Col. Roy Pate.
MR. FITHIAN: Would that debriefing date or information that was recorded be included in the file that you just cited?
MR. JONES: It would be included in the file of Lee Harvey Oswald, along with the after action reports.
MR. FITHIAN: Would that whole after action report, that is, that entire, if there were interviews with your men in the debriefing and so on, would that entire file have been forwarded to the agencies at the time of the Warren Commission hearings?
MR. JONES: Yes, sir, it should have been. Whether it was, I do not know.
MR. FITHIAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
MR. DODD: Let me just follow up on that a little bit if I can, Colonel, so I understand you correctly.
As a normal operating procedure – maybe we should not talk about normal operating procedures. This was the assassination of the President: I presume there may have been some things done here that were not normally done. But, if I understand the drift of Mr. Fithian’s inquiry, it is whether or not, to your knowledge, the agents who had been specifically assigned to cover the President in Dallas were either on or immediately after November 22, 1963, required to file written reports as to their observations, conduct,et cetera to your particular unit or to some superior officer?
MR. JONES: Yes, sir.
I am of the opinion, and cannot substantiate it without review of the records, that these type of reports would have been submitted by the agents to their regional commander and would have been forwarded to our headquarters at Fort Sam Houston, which would have assisted us in preparing the after action report.
MR. DODD: Did you ever see those individual reports filed by the field agents?
MR. JONES: I have seen some of those reports. Whether all of them, or not, I remember seeing the lead sheet and the agent report and the name of it is Agent Report D Form 341. I believe is the number for it. I do remember seeing some of those because I wrote the after action report.
MR. DODD: Do you recall anything specifically appearing on those reports that would point to or lead to a conclusion other than what is considered the judgment today of the conclusion of the Warren Report? Was there anything else in these reports – What I am trying to get at, was there anything else there that you saw that kind of stuck out in your mind that has not shown up, or did not show up, in the Warren Report?
That is kind of a broad question, but you understand what I am getting at.
MR. JONES: Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your position. I also appreciate the question you are trying to ask me. I did not see anything in those reports that would indicate any kind of a conspiracy or any wrongdoings on any one agency or individual at that time, Mr. Chairman.
I have had some apprehensions and some questions that I would have liked to have asked as a professional intelligence officer, and without the answer to a number of questions that I had after the assassination, and not having the answers, and not being able to have access to all of the information, most all of my remarks concerning what did happen or what could have happened would be speculative.
MR. DODD: Colonel, I am not normally the Chair of this Subcommittee, but I am going to exercise the limited power given to me, sitting in this Chair this afternoon. I am going to ask you to submit some of those questions to us.
MR. JONES: Some of those questions?
MR. DODD: All of them. If you have some questions that you think we ought to be taking a look at – maybe we already are, but if we are not, this has been your professional career, and we would certainly appreciate your assistance.
I will ask – in fact, I will make that a motion here and ask my colleagues to join me in this sin I am about to commit, I suppose. Would any of you care to comment on that?
MR. FITHIAN: I strongly endorse that. As someone in the Colonel’s profession at that time, and particularly the position, is in an infinitely better position to ask questions that I am, and yet there is this really gnawing concern that obviously the people have which got translated into the creation of this Committee; and I do not believe that there is any rule that would at all prevent us from doing second guessing.
This is not a court of law. We are simply trying to get at all the possible aspects of this.
I strongly support it.
MR. DODD. Mr. Sawyer?
MR. SAWYER: I think it is an excellent idea. As a matter of fact, when he mentioned this earlier, I was going to ask him to tell us what they were. I think that is excellent.
MR. DODD: If you would, Colonel, maybe you would submit those to the Committee, some of your own questions and some of your suggestions. We are all ears on this stuff.
MR. JONES: Mr. Chairman, I should preface this by stating just before I returned from Europe I would say less than 12 months, I was the commander of a 511 MI Company with responsibility for debriefing people along the Czechoslovakian border, illegal crossings across the German border.
In addition, we ran both counterespionage offensive cases and counterespionage defense cases. In addition, we conducted positive intelligence penetrations into Czechoslovakia, East Germany and the Soviet Union.
During this time, one member of my command was unfortunate enough to go to sleep on a train and was asleep as it went through the checkpoint and this is an American agent that I am referring to. He was apprehended in East Germany and taken to Czechoslovakia and interrogated by a Soviet KGB major.
This individual was returned to my command and advised me that they had information pertaining to me as an individual personality report and all information about my unit. They turned this man, or thought they did, and requested that he serve as a double agent.
I personally worked the case and tried to make the contact for apprehension and somehow or another, we might have compromised the case, but they did specifically give him a mission as an American individual, just by crossing the checkpoint into East Germany and later going into Czechoslovakia.
We followed up on this and were unable to make contact and later we were able to transport the man out of the area.
So, with this experience and knowledge only a few months before, I was assigned to Texas and then later hearing, or reading, that Oswald had defected to Russia, and that he had married a Russian national, was permitted to return, I would think I would have some questions as to an intelligence officer, whether it be CIA or FBI, that I would want a complete debriefing of Oswald upon his return from the Soviet Union.
I would want a complete, comprehensive background investigation of Oswald when he was assigned to the Marine Corps, all of his assignments that he had on all overseas stations, the access that he had and the manner in which he conducted himself, all of his political leanings or tendencies to make any kind of remarks to his fellow soldiers; and then when he returned to the United States, I believe that some intelligence agency here should have again contacted him and gone through the same steps and processes that we did in Europe to recruit and to train, if necessary, dispatch a turnaround person to become an agent for this intelligence organization.
I am of the opinion that he had some worthwhile information, as any tourist or anybody else who travels in Russia, and certainly, if he had been permitted to marry a Russian national and be returned. Again, I am of the personal opinion that he probably had a mission.
MR. DODD: Your suspicions are shared by many people. We are looking into many aspects of things you just raised. It would be helpful, I think, to the staff and the Committee members if possibly you might prepare a memorandum with some specific points on there that you think we should look into. I appreciate what you are saying.
MR. JONES: All right, sir.
MR. DODD: I have two other questions. You mentioned when you would receive information through your source on the police department about the apprehension, the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald, in search of your files that you then called the FBI office, the FBI office in Dallas or San Antonio.
MR. JONES: I called the FBI office in San Antonio.
MR. DODD: Did you then call the FBI office in Dallas.
MR. JONES: I either called them or they contacted me. I do not know who got to them first, but I know within just a few minutes, I was talking to the people in Dallas, the FBI people.
MR. DODD: Do you recall specifically who you spoke to?
MR. JONES: I knew Mr. Gordon Shankin, the FBI agent in charge of Dallas. I would have asked for him. Whether I spoke to him, or whether he took down all the information, I am not sure. But I am sure that I would have asked for Mr. Gordon Shankin when I called to give him the information because I knew him personally and met with him and talked to him and would have called the person in charge.
MR. DODD: Did you have any reason, or were you contacted on that day or the next day, by any other agency of government, the CIA, the DIA, regarding this information that you had in your files?
MR. JONES: No, sir. I personally was not contacted again. They may have contacted an assistant, I had a military assistant and a civilian assistant.
MR. DODD: My last point is in response to Mr. Sawyer’s questions regarding general operating procedure of agents in the field.
Did I understand you correctly to say that the agents who were assigned to Dallas on that day were in civilian attire?
MR. JONES: Yes, sir.
MR. DODD: Were they dressed in any specific way so as to hide their identity, or was it just coat and tie? Had they work clothes, or were the purposefully attired in such a way as to look as though they came from one stratum of society?
MR. JONES: They were dressed to blend in with the man on the street, the normal coat and tie. Some of them may have had on a sport coat without a tie with an open collar. But they were not dressed in such an attire that they would be covertly coding as an electrician, a plumber or something of this nature.
MR. DODD: You anticipated my next question, just to look like the man on the street without taking on an specific identity?
MR. JONES: That is correct.
MR. DODD: regard to that, is it normal operating procedure, or was it normal operating procedure at that time for one of your agents, if approached by a civilian, as to who they were, to immediately identify themselves as to their real professional responsibilities, or were they to avoid responding to that question in a truthful way?
MR. JONES: Mr. Chairman, our people were placed in civilian clothes in order not to bring attention to themselves and to conduct their business, whether it be background investigation or anything else. We also had civilian automobiles with civilian coloring, and so forth. So, in the event that we were conducting an investigation, the neighborhood was not alarmed to see an enormous staff car, a person in uniform, to be conducting some kind of official business.
So they did wear civilian clothes and would not identify themselves. Only to an official, on official business. If they were interviewing someone or conducting an investigation, they were to identify themselves as special agent John Doe and present their credentials.
But if someone from the street walked up to them and asked them who they were, I am sure that they would not identify themselves as special agents to anyone. But if an official or a police officer or someone in an official capacity asked them to identify themselves, I am of the opinion they would identify themselves as Special Agent John Doe from the 112 Intelligence Group as they were so directed.
MR. DODD: You anticipated my question again. I was going to ask about officials, a police officer or of a lower rank, as long as they were identifiable as an officer.
MR. JONES: Yes, sir. I am sure the two would identify themselves very quickly in time of an arrest.
Mr. DODD: Those are all the questions I have. Mr. Sawyer?
MR. SAWYER: I have one more, Mr. Chairman. Just to satisfy my own curiosity here, and my ignorance, is the ASA, or Army Security Agency, a separate organization within the Army from the one you are with?
MR. JONES: Yes, sir. The group that I was assigned to at the time was military intelligence and investigated persons for positions and also special operations, counterintelligence. ASA was completely separate. It is known as the Army Security Agency.
I do not want to go too much into this, Mr. Chairman, but they were involved in communications intelligence and security and not involved in personnel investigations.
MR. SAWYER: The reason I asked this question, my son served in the Army Security Agency and I was just curious.
MR. JONES: It is a very fine organization, and very sensitive operations, and I have the highest regard for them. I would not care to expand, unless so directed, on what they were doing.
MR. SAWYER: Thank you.
MR. DODD: Counsel.
HSCA: Colonel Jones, before we proceed, I have some follow up questions. Before you mentioned the intelligence records and reports located at Fort George Meade, Maryland. Are you saying that, aside from the files on Lee Harvey Oswald, that there may have been other files or other records generated by your operations concerning Oswald or concerning the Kennedy assassination which may be in other locations?
MR. JONES: If the file that I am referring to, the after action report, along with the allied papers of the Lee Harvey Oswald file are not available at Fort Sam Houston, there are only two places, Central Records Facility and Records and Reports.
HSCA: How would these records be filed in other facilities which you just mentioned?
MR. JONES: There is a file which was known in the days of the 60’s, 1960’s, called the vault files.
HSCA: Would you repeat that?
MR. JONES: Vault files. They contained the most sensitive operations files of the intelligence corps, on VIP’s, High-level national security cases would be a part of the central records facility, but they were known as the vault files.
HSCA: Are you suggesting that files concerning the Oswald case or the Kennedy assassination may have been located in the vault files?
MR. JONES: I am suggesting that is another place to look for them.
HSCA: Would they have been filed in the location under Oswald’s name?
MR. JONES: , they would have been filed under personality, Oswald.
HSCA: Besides personality files, were there also subject files, such as a file on the Kennedy assassination?
MR. JONES: Yes, sir. It is very likely that they would be filed under the assassination of President Kennedy.
MR. FITHIAN: If I may interrupt at this point, I was not clear awhile ago as to whether or not the file is under Oswald or under the alias.
MR. JONES: The file is under Oswald, Lee Harvey. The card is Oswald and also under Hidell. There are two cards, one file.
MR. FITHIAN: And each search to be made of the Fort Meade records would be made under Oswald?
MR. JONES: Yes, sir.
HSCA: Just to clarify, Colonel Jones, assuming that the file on Lee Harvey Oswald which you were concerned with is no longer available, would you then direct us to look in several other locations, namely the vault files and the intelligence records and reports files for possible information concerning Oswald and the Kennedy assassination?
MR. JONES: I would recommend that you check those agencies, those files.
HSCA: Are there any other locations, other than the ones that you and I have just been talking about?
MR. JONES: No, sir, not to my knowledge.
HSCA: I would like to direct your attention back to the name of James W. Powell. I believe earlier that you stated that he was a member of the 112 Military Intelligence Group?
MR. JONES: He was a Captain on active duty.
HSCA: Was he on duty in Dallas on the day of the assassination?
MR. JONES: Yes.
HSCA: Do you recall a specific incident involving Mr. Powell, namely that he was caught in the Dallas School Book Depository after it had been sealed off by the local authorities?
MR. JONES: Yes.
HSCA: Could you tell us something about that?
MR. JONES: It was reported to me that one of our agents was apprehended in a sealed off area and I directed the region to establish contact with him and to identify himself (and to obtain his release).
HSCA: Was this case ever investigated to determine whether Powell may have had some involvement in the assassination.
MR. JONES: There was not a case opened up on Captain Powell as a suspect or as an alleged connection with the assassination.
HSCA: Was this incident reported and filed?
MR. JONES: Yes, sir.
HSCA: Would that file –
MR. JONES: That would have been part of the information which would have been submitted from the Dallas Military Intelligence Office.
HSCA: Where would this information have been filed?
MR. JONES: It would have been sent to my office.
HSCA: Would it have been a part of the file on Oswald?
MR. JONES: It would have been a part of the after action report.
HSCA: As you stated earlier, the after action report was included in the file on Oswald?
MR. JONES: Yes, sir.
HSCA: Were you aware of a picture that Mr. Powell had taken of the Texas School Book Depository, specifically of the Sixth floor window of the depository?
MR. JONES: No, sir. I have only been aware of that in the last year or so. I received some phone calls from people who asked me about that, but I had no knowledge of it.
HSCA: Were there any other incidents that day involving agents of Military Intelligence which you are aware of aside form the incident where Powell was caught in the building after it had been sealed off?
MR. JONES: No, sir.
HSCA: Did you state earlier that the picture that Powell took was not reported to you at the time of the assassination?
MR. JONES: I had no knowledge of the picture being taken by Captain Powell until a few months ago.
HSCA: If you had been aware of that picture, what action would you have taken?
MR. JONES: Well, Captain Powell would have been ordered to report to headquarters where he would be completely debriefed.
HSCA: Would that picture have been sent along to any government agencies?
MR. JONES: If I had received it, it would have. As I say, I do not have any knowledge of this photo.
HSCA: Would you say that Mr. Powell violated his duty by not making you aware of this picture?
MR. JONES: I would have to assume that there was a photo. Is there a photo that Captain Powell did take and has it been established that he did have one and on what day he took it, and so forth?
I would state that if he did take a photo and he did not bring it to my attention that he would have been negligent.
HSCA: That answer is responsive. Mr. Chairman, at this time, I would like to introduce into the record a document to be marked JFK Exhibit No. 103, which is a communication dated 11-22-63 to the Special Agents in Charge of New Orleans and Dallas from the Director of the FBI.
MR. DODD: Without objection, so ordered...
HSCA: Would you characterized this document as containing information on an FBI investigative follow-up based on information that you had provided to the FBI?
MR. JONES: I will comment on the second line, beginning of the sentence of the second paragraph, where it states, Oswald stated Hidell had contacted him. This is confusing to me, because we er of the opinion that Oswald and Hidell were one and the same.
HSCA: Did you ever question at any time whether Oswald and Hidell were one and the same person?
MR. JONES: No, I never questioned – the literature that he was distributing, in fact, it had his (sic Hidell’s) name on it, and identified himself when the police arrested him as Oswald, was sufficient enough for me to believe that they were the same.
HSCA: Mr. Chairman, at this time, I would like to have introduced into the record a document to be labeled JFK Exhibit No. 104 which is a copy of a leaflet or throwaway dealing with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.
MR. DODD: Without objection, so ordered….
HSCA: Have you have a chance to review this document before?
MR. JONES: Yes, I have seen it.
HSCA: Can you tell us whether this document would have been included in your file on Lee Harvey Oswald/
MR. JONES: Yes, sir. I believe it was. I will state that it is, or was.
HSCA: Can you tell us where you would have obtained this document?
MR. JONES: From our Regional Office in New Orleans. Regional Headquarters. This, along with an agent report.
HSCA: Would this document, along with the agent report, have led you to believe that Oswald and A. J. Hidell were one and the same person?
MR. JONES: Yes, sir.
HSCA: Is it your recollection that there was there other evidence besides this document establishing that Oswald and Hidell were one and the same person?
MR. JONES: I believe a local agency check established that.
HSCA: Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions on these documents. I will have very few additional questions.
MR. DODD: Why do you not complete your questioning?
HSCA: Colonel Jones, aside from your writing an after action report, were you involved in ay other activities relating to the assassination investigation, or relating to the investigation of Lee Harvey Oswald, and I am referring to the period following the assassination?
MR. JONES: No. The after action report concluded our reporting and the investigative process.
HSCA: Were you aware of a secret cable which was sent on the night of the assassination from the Fourth Army Command in Texas to the U.S. Strike Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida?
MR. JONES: Yes, sir. I was aware of it. This communication was not forwarded by a military intelligence group.
HSCA: Please repeat that.
MR. JONES: The communication, the telegram to the Strike Command at MacDill Air Force Base, was not prepared by the 112 Military Intelligence Group.
HSCA: Who did prepare this communication?
MR. JONES: I do not know the individual who prepared it, but it was sent from the Chief of Staff, Intelligence, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and someone on the staff prepared it. I believe the man’s name is Mr. Arthur Nagel.
HSCA: Did you know whether this communication contained information indicating that Oswald had defected to Cuba in 1959?
MR. JONES: I believe I read the cable after it was prepared. We were not part of the preparation. I take no pride of authorship of it.
HSCA: Did you know whether this communication contained information stating that Oswald was a card carrying member of the Communist Party?
MR. JONES: Only after I read it.
HSCA: Would you characterize either of these items of information as being accurate or inaccurate?
MR. JONES: I do not know. The agency that supplied anyone with information that Oswald was a card carrying Communist, I certainly had no information in regard to him being a Communist, factual information.
HSCA: How about the information stating that Oswald had defected to Cuba in 1959?
MR. JONES: That information was in our file.
HSCA: You may have misunderstood me. I am referring to information that Oswald had defected to Cuba in 1959, not the Soviet Union in 1959.
MR. JONES: I was not aware of that.
HSCA: Can you possibly speculate as to why such a communication would have been sent to the U. S. Strike Force in Florida?
MR. JONES: It would only be speculation on my part. I would assume that they would fear a national emergency and they would ant to appraise this organization that was the kind of nerve center for activation and deployment of troops in case of emergency., This is the only reason that I can give as to why they would send such a cable.
HSCA: Do you know whether such a communication was sent to any other U.S. strike command base, other than MacDill Air Force Base in Florida?
MR. JONES: I am only aware of its being sent to MacDill Air Force Base.
HSCA: Would that lead you to the conclusion that from the location of the Air Base in Florida, possible activities involving Cuba were contemplated?
MR. JONES: I would not assume that, no, sir. I think that this happened to be one of the strike command headquarters that they would send it to, without any reference, or particular reason to refer to Cuba.
HSCA: Colonel Jones, did you ever receive any information implying in any way that Oswald was employed as an operative or a source for the CIA or the Department of Defense Intelligence or any domestic intelligence agencies?
MR. JONES: Before the assassination?
HSCA: At any time.
MR. JONES: A matter of speculation among intelligence personnel would be all.
HSCA: Could you go into more detail as to this speculation?
MR. JONES: I think that probably in discussing Oswald’s past history and his trip to Russia that he would probably be a potential source. I would think that some intelligence agency has contacted Oswald, that there should be some source contact reports regarding these contacts. We discussed that, yes.
HSCA: If Oswald’s CIA file and Oswald’s military intelligence files did not indicate that he had been debriefed by either of these agencies upon his return to the United States, would that indicate to you that he may have been involved in some covert activity which was being kept out of his file, specifically –
MR. JONES: At least subject….
HSCA: Covert activities involving domestic intelligence operations?
MR. JONES: As I believe, as a matter of cover, that he would have been debriefed, even if he were a source.
HSCA: Assuming that much information was not included in his personal files by either the CIA or Military Intelligence, would that possibly indicate that he had a contact with intelligence agencies and this information was purposefully excluded from files?
MR. JONES: I cannot reconcile in my own mind why he would not be debriefed, even if he were a source, as a matter of security. As a matter of cover, they would debrief him and put some type of information in his files. If not, it would draw attention to the fact that he was a possible source.
HSCA: Are you saying, then, that it would have been more logical to have some records of Oswald’s being debriefed in his files so as not to cause suspicion or bring attention?
MR. JONES: That is correct. That is my assumption.
HSCA: If neither Oswald’s CIA file or Military Intelligence files indicate that Oswald was ever debriefed, would you characterize that as being unusual?
MR. JONES: Yes. I would consider it unusual.
HSCA: Could you explain why?
MR. JONES: Because my experience in intelligence is that you debrief everyone who is going and returning from an Iron Curtain country, whether he is defecting or whether he is going on pleasure or business, they are of interest to the intelligence community. The mere fact that they can verify or attest to some information that you would like to confirm.
We have always, in the past, tried to debrief everyone who has had access to certain areas in the Soviet Union.
HSCA: Which agencies, then, should have debriefed Oswald upon his return to the United States?
MR. JONES: Both Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
HSCA: How about Military Intelligence?
MR. JONES: He was not military. Had he been on active duty and still have been considered military personnel, he would have been debriefed by Military Intelligence.
HSCA: Are you saying, then, that it was a general policy for military intelligence not to debrief civilians, but only to debrief military personnel who were returning from an unfriendly country?
MR. JONES: We would debrief anyone returning to our area of operations overseas are completely different from our intelligence operations stateside because we do not have permission of a charter to operate in the United States as we do in foreign countries.
HSCA: What if Oswald had stopped along his way back to the United States in Europe, if Military Intelligence had a chance to debrief him in Europe, on his way back to the Untied States, do you think they should have done so?
MR. JONES: This intelligence officer would have made contact with him.
HSCA: If Oswald had been an operative, an agent or an employee of any domestic intelligence agency, would you necessarily have known about it?
MR. JONES: Would you repeat the question again with particular reference to domestic intelligence? I do not understand.
HSCA: If Oswald had been an agency operative or an employee of the Department of Defense or CIA in some intelligence capacity, would you have known about this?
MR. JONES: Not all the time. I would have known about it if I had shown more interest in trying to recruit him as a source, because sources of this nature are protected and coded and they are under centralized control. And had he been a coded source and I had an interest in him as a source, we would conduct what is called a name trace, and the name trace would then show the fact that he was the source of some Federal intelligence agency.
HSCA: If Oswald had been an asset, source, agent, or an employee of any domestic intelligence agency, with extremely deep cover, would you have known about it?
By this question, I am referring to the possibility that Oswald may not have been a coded source, but may have had cover so deep that his identity would not have been known.
MR. JONES: In the past, they have protected their sources and they do not identify them or reveal those sources to us unless we have an interest and we are trying to get their source.
HSCA: Colonel Jones, did your file on Oswald include any information on his trip to Mexico City in 1963?
MR. JONES: I cannot state specifically. I know of the Mexican operation, the covers of the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City, and I would not state for the record that I knew of his trips prior to the assassination, but if I reported this in my reports, then we did have the information, but I do not recall reading this, that he made trips to Mexico City.
HSCA: Colonel Jones, do you know the name Maurice Bishop?
MR. Jones: I do not believe so.
HSCA: Mr. Chairman, this concludes my questioning.
MR. DODD: Thank you, counsel. Mr. Fithian?
MR. FITHIAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Counsel has asked one of the questions that I wanted to ask, but this is a little harder.
Colonel, do you have any recollection or do any of your records indicate, that Oswald had traveled abroad to any country other than the U.S.S.R.?
MR. JONES: I believe my records indicate that he had traveled through Finland.
MR. FITHIAN: Not to Cuba?
MR. JONES: Not to my knowledge.
MR. FITHIAN: Would you refer back to that 11-22-63 urgent message? Do you have a copy of that? And I know before I start this line of questioning what your best belief is, but I want to test out something with you to see if, perhaps, in a hypothetical situation, there might be another construction that we could put on this.
MR. JONES: Which exhibit are you referring to?
MR. FITHIAN: It starts out with the top line, Urgent, 11-22-63, 10-2. That is Exhibit 103.
MR. JONES: Yes, sir. I have it in my hand. From the Director.
MR. FITHIAN: Now, just a quick reference to the Hands off Cuba document, do you have that also?
MR. JONES: I have seen it, I am familiar with it.
MR. FITHIAN: First, let me tell you, for example, when we pass out campaign literature, as the other members can tell, we have to put a name down at the bottom of our campaign treasurer, so let us suppose that A.J. Hidell is, in fact, not Lee Harvey Oswald and he is, in fact, someone who is putting together the operation in the hands off Cuba, or Fair Play For Cuba Committee.
Now, assuming that, that that is a bona fide piece of literature, and disregarding the phony box number for a moment, back to the communiqué where it says: “The Bureau of Records indicate membership card of Lee Oswald in the Fair Play for Cuba was signed by A.J. Hidell.” That is a reflection that Hidell, that Oswald had said Hidell had contacted him on August 7 and we have already touched upon the rest of that phrase, asking Oswald to distribute literature.
On down to the bottom of the message, it is directing people in the New Orleans area to make every effort to develop further information concerning any of these Hidells, Alex, Ana or A.J.
Is it conceivable that, just as a college student sometimes loans his identification card to someone else, that Oswald could have been carrying a Selective Service card used an indentification card that was given to him by his friend Hidell, if they were both in this Fair Play for Cuba Committee operation?
I guess what I am asking you is your professional judgment of whether or not there would be a wholly different construction placed on this alias?
MR. JONES: I would have to agree with you, that that is possible, that there could be a card. A. J. Hidell and he could have had it in his possession and posing as A. J. Hidell. But I believe our local agency checks on the fact that he was arrested and that he was arrested as A. J. Hidell or carrying this identification, and he identified himself, and our local agent revealed it was Oswald.
MR. FITHIAN: Are you saying that the normal procedure would have been to have arrested this man for violating some rule about passing out literature, they said as they booked him, who are you; and he said: I am A. J. Hidell, or whatever and he pulls out this A. J. Hidell identification card, Selective Service card.
They know he is not, or they discover he is not A.J. Hidell?
MR. JONES: I think they discovered, I think we discovered he is not.
MR. FITHIAN: That he is, in fact, Lee Oswald?
MR. JONES: Lee Harvey Oswald.
MR. FITHIAN: Now that establishes the rational for identifying the alias, the also known as entry, so I am not in any way faulting that. I guess what I am saying is that it does appear that there could be an altogether different construction based on this and that, in fact, that there did exist an A. J. Hidel still yet to be located.
MR. JONES: I think that is a possibility, but only a possibility. I am of the opinion that A. J. Hidell and Lee Harvey Oswald are one and the same.
MR. FITHIAN: I understand that. I just wanted to go through that scenario, as a not-too-far-fetched possibility.
MR. JONES: That is right.
MR. FITHIAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
MR. DODD: Mr. Sawyer?
MR..SAWYER: I have no questions.
MR. DODD: Let me just follow up, if I can briefly on that point, Colonel.
You seem pretty convinced that these two names are identifying one and the same person, and I wonder if you might give us a bit more information on how that contact, how that relationship developed as a result of your contacts in New Orleans in undercover work?
MR. JONES: Could I have a minute to look at this?
MR. DODD: Certainly.
MR. JONES: I think I read in either the agent reports or in the message here that he has been identified as being arrested as Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans. Yes, I am referring to Exhibit 101. The intelligence records here reveal a reference to A. J. Hidell, who reportedly is distributing Hans off Cuba literature, referencing New Orleans, that Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested in New Orleans, date unknown, for distributing pro-Cuban literature.
I think that our conclusion is based upon the fact that our office in New Orleans reported him as having the literature of A. J. Hidell and the literature as Lee Harvey Oswald being one and the same from the Police Department in New Orleans and then, of course, our local agent check would substantiate that.
MR. DODD: I do not really expect you to come off the top of your head and answer this, but do you know who, in New Orleans, would have been the person who would have developed that information?
MR. JONES: No, sir. The only way I could refresh my memory would be to look at the agent report, the agent report that followed the Hands Off Cuba would have identified the man who was at the Police Department and conducted the local agency check, which would be the Police Department file check.
MR. DODD: Let me go back to Captain Powell.
MR. JONES: Yes, sir.
MR. DODD: Did you know Captain Powell personally?
MR. JONES: No, sir, I did not.
MR. DODD: You knew him by face, you could identify him if you saw his photograph?
MR. JONES: Captain Powell probably has been at our Group Headquarters. I know the name. Probably the face. I might know the face. I do not know that I could pick him out but I know the name from Dallas and seeing agent reports and so forth.
MR. DODD: You never had any personal contact with him?
MR. JONES: No, sir, not physically.
MR. DODD: I would like to go back a little bit further and I would like you to be as brief as you could here, and I will tell you why I am asking the question so you can appreciate what I am trying to get at.
I was rather impressed by our concern that the FBI and the CIA, to name two agencies specifically, that those two agencies had not conducted a more thorough debriefing of Lee Harvey Oswald on his return to the United States.
MR. JONES: To my knowledge, Mr. Chairman – as I …I hope that I am not making an accusation, but if the files records and reports do exist, I have not seen it. I will try to preface that by saying I have not seen such a report, debriefing reports, nor have I seen source contact reports.
MR. DODD: I should have stated it in proper terms. If, in fact, these two agencies did not conduct debriefing sessions, you would find that surprising?
MR. JONES: Yes, sir, I would.
MR. DODD: I do not want to appear argumentative…..
MR. JONES: I have worked with CIA’s liaison officer, special agent in the Texas area. I have five years in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and I have personally briefed CIA agents myself on activities that pertain to Department of Defense and any information that might assist them.
I have assisted then on their cover stories. I am knowledgeable of CIA operations from Europe in connection with positive intelligence operations and counterintelligence operations where we both have an interest in the same source. We have coordinated some of our operations as pertaining to debriefing.
MR. DODD: Would you characterize yourself as an expert as procedures within the CIA, FBI with regard to this whole area of briefing and debriefing people, of people who come from behind the Iron Curtain?
MR. JONES: No, sir, I would not consider myself an expert on the procedures with the FBI or CIA, Mr. Chairman...
MR. FITHIAN: Now, the report, the reports of these agents are the ones that you referred to earlier that would be in the Fort George Meade file?
MR. JONES: Would possibly be in the Intelligence Records and Reports file located at Fort George Meade. I do not know whether they are there or not.
MR. FITHIAN: That would be the logical repository?
MR. JONES: Yes, sir.
MR. FITHIAN: I have no further questions, unless counsel would like to pursue it.
HSCA: Under what subject heading would those reports be filed?
MR. JONES: There would be one Oswald file that would be personality to check. The other would be a subject file, the Assassination of President Kennedy.
I would recommend you check IRR, Intelligence Records and Reports, and also the vault file…..
MR. DODD: Colonel, the last point we have is our rules provide for each and every witness to take five minutes, if you so desire, to add any of your own thoughts or additions to questions that you have already responded to expand upon whatever you want. So the time is yours, if you would like to use it for the next five minutes or so.
MR. JONES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am hopeful that the information that I have provided this hearing along with the actions that I took on the 22 November when President Kennedy was assassinated and also the actions before then and all of this information may be or will be, of value to this Committee.
I must apologize for my lack of memory, and I certainly have not had total recall of all the events and people’s names that came to my mind, and I believe that I recorded somewhere in written form – I apologize that I cannot give to this Committee more detailed information., I do feel that it is my patriotic duty to work in any way that I can and be of assistance to this committee and as to your staff members, I have enjoyed working with them. They have been most cordial and have been very kind to me.
If I can be of any assistance in the future, it will be my pleasure. Thank you……
In The Secret Service Agent on the Knoll by Debra Conway (w. Michael Parks, Mark Colgan) JFK Lancer.
12. Robert Jones' initial contact with the HSCA was by a HSCA staffer named Harold Wheat. During this interview with Mr. Wheat, Jones admitted that he was aware of Oswald's trip to Mexico before the assassination. He also stated that he did not believe Oswald acted alone. "To believe that you would have to assume it was a suicide mission." Jones told the HSCA that to his surprise neither the FBI, Secret Service, CIA nor Warren Commission ever interviewed him.
Bachelor Exhibit No. 5002 Continued p. 3
SPECIAL SERVICE BUREAU
Gannaway, W. P. Captain in Charge
Dyson, W. F. Lieutenant
Revill, J. Lieutenant
Kaminski, E. Lieutenant
Cornwall, F. I. Lieutenant
Gilmore, J. R. Lieutenant
Ingargiola, T. Lieutenant
Four officer workers
HSAC Report excerpt on Col. Jones. From Page 184
The committee did obtain evidence that military intelligence person-
nel may have identified themselves as Secret Service agents or that
they might have been misidentified as such. Robert E. Jones, a retired
Army lieutenant colonel who in 1963 was commanding officer of the
military intelligence region that encompassed Texas, told the commit-
tee that from 8 to 12 military intelligence personnel in plain-
clothes were assigned to Dallas to provide supplemental security for
the President's visit. He indicated that these agents had identification
credentials and, if questioned, would most likely have stated that they
were on detail to the Secret Service. (30)
The committee sought to identify these agents so that they could be questioned. The Department of Defense, however, reported that a search of its files showed "no records * * * indicating any Department of Defense Protective Services in Dallas."(31) The committee was unable to resolve the contradiction.
(4) Conclusion.--Based on its entire investigation, the committee
found no evidence of Secret Service complicity in the assassination.
(17) Oswald's military intelligence file--On November 22, 1963,
soon after the assassination, Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Jones, op-
erations officer of the U.S. Army's 112th Military Intelligence Group
Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Tex. contacted the FBI
offices in San Antonio and Dallas and gave those offices detailed in-
formation concerning Oswald and A. J. Hidell, Oswald's alleged alias.
(208) This information suggested the existence of a military intelli-
gence file on Oswald and raised the possibility that he had intelligence
associations of some kind. (209)
The committee's investigation revealed that military. intelligence
officials had opened a file on Oswald because he was perceived as a
possible counterintelligence threat. Robert E. Jones testified before the
committee that in June 1963 he had been serving as operations officer
of the 112th Military Intelligence Group at Fort Sam Houston, Tex. 33
Under the group's control were seven regions encompassing five States:
Texas, Louisiana. Arkansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Jones was
directly responsible for counterintelligence operations, background in-
vestigations, domestic intelligence and any special operations in this
five-State area. (210) He believed that Oswald first came to his atten-
tion in mid-1963 through information provided to the 112th MIG by
the New Orleans Police Department to the effect that Oswald had been
arrested there in connection with Fair Play for Cuba Committee ac-
tivities. (211) As a result of this information, the 112th Military
Intelligence Group took an interest in Oswald as a possible
counterintelligence threat.(212) It collected information from local
agencies and the military central records facility, and opened a file
under the names Lee Harvey Oswald and A.J. Hidell.(213) Placed in this
file were documents and newspaper articles on such topics as Oswald's
defection to the Soviet Union, his travels there, his marriage to a
Russian national, his return to the United States, and his pro-Cuba
activities in New Orleans.
Jones related that on November 22, 1963. while in his quarters at
Fort Sam Houston, he heard about the assassination of President
Kennedy. (215) Returning immediately to his office, he contacted MIG
personnel in Dallas and instructed them to intensify their liaisons with
Federal, State and local agencies and to report back any information
obtained. Early that afternoon, he received a telephone call from
Dallas advising that an A.J. Hidell had been arrested or had come
to the attention of law enforcement authorities. Jones checked the
MIG indexes, which indicated that there was a file on Lee Harvey
Oswald, also known by the name A. J. Hidell.(216) Pulling the
file, he telephoned the local FBI office in San Antonio to notify the
FBI that he had some information. (217) He soon was in telephone
contact with the Dallas FBI office, to which he summarized the docu-
ments in the file. He believed that one person with whom he spoke
was FBI Special-Agent-in-Charge J. Gordon Shanklin. He may have
talked with the Dallas FBI office more than one time that day. (218)
Jones testified that his last activity with regard to the Kennedy
assassination was to write an "after action" report that summarized
the actions he had taken, the people he had notified and the times of
notification. (219) In addition, Jones believed that this "after action"
report included information obtained from reports filed by the
military intelligence agents who performed liaison functions with the
Secret Service in Dallas on the day of the assassination. (220) This
"after action" report was then maintained in the Oswald file.(221)
Jones did not contact, nor was he contacted by, any other law enforce-
33 Questions had been raised about the contents of some FBI
communications on November 22, 1963, that reflected information allegedly
provided by military intelligence. In his testimony, Jones clarified several
points and corrected several errors in these communications.
ment or intelligence agencies concerning information that he could pro-
vide on Oswald. (222) To Jones' knowledge, neither the FBI nor any
law enforcement agency ever requested a copy of the military intelli-
gence file on Oswald. (223) To his surprise, neither the FBI, Secret
Service, CIA nor Warren Commission ever interviewed him. (224) No
one ever directed him to withhold any information; on the other hand,
he never came forward and offered anyone further information rele-
vant to the assassination investigation because he "felt that the infor-
mation that [he] had provided was sufficient and ...a matter of
The committee found Jones' testimony to be credible. His statements
concerning the contents of the Oswald file were consistent with FBI
communications that were generated as a result of the information
that he initially provided. Access to Oswald's military intelligence
file, which the Department of Defense never gave to the Warren Commission, was not possible because the Department of Defense had destroyed the file as part of a general program aimed at eliminating all of its files pertaining to nonmilitary personnel. In response to a committee inquiry, the Department of Defense gave the following explanation for the file's destruction:
1. Dossier AB 652876, Oswald, Lee Harvey, was identified
for deletion from IRR (Intelligence Records and Reports)
holdings on Julian date 73060 (1 March 1973) as stamped on
the microfilmed dossier cover. It is not possible to determine
the actual date when physical destruction was accomplished,
but is credibly surmised that the destruction was accom-
plished within a period not greater than 60 days following the
identification for deletion. Evidence such as the type of dele-
tion record available, the individual clerk involved in the
identification, and the projects in progress at the time of dele-
tion, all indicate the dossier deletion resulted from the imple-
mentation of a Department of the Army, Adjutant General
letter dated 1 June 1971, subject: Acquisition of Information
Concerning Persons and Organizations not Affiliated with the
Department of Defense (DOD) (Incl 1). Basically, the letter
called for the elimination of files on non-DOD affiliated per-
sons and organizations.
2. It is not possible to determine who accomplished the
actual physical destruction of the dossier. The individual
identifying the dossier for deletion can be determined from
the clerk number appearing on the available deletion record.
The number indicates that Lyndall E. Harp was the identify-
ing clerk. Harp was an employee of the IRR from 1969 until
late 1973, at which time she transferred to the Defense Investi-
gative Service, Fort Holdbird, Md., where she is still a civil
service employee. The individual ordering the destruction or
deletion cannot be determined. However, available evidence
indicates that the dossier was identified for deletion under a
set of criteria applied by IRR clerks to all files. The basis for
these criteria were [sic] established in the 1 June 1971 letter.
There is no indication that the dossier was specifically identi-
fied for review or deletion. All evidence shows that the file was
reviewed as part of a generally applied program to eliminate
any dossier concerning persons not affiliated with DOD.
3. The exact material contained in the dossier cannot be
determined at this time. However, discussions with all avail-
able persons who recall seeing the dossier reveal that it most
probably included: newspaper clippings relating to pro-
Cuban activities of Oswald, several Federal Bureau of Investi-
gation reports, and possibly some Army counterintelligence
reports. None of the persons indicated that they remember
any significant information in the dossier. It should be noted
here that the Army was not asked to investigate the assassi-
nation. Consequently, any Army-derived information was
turned over to the appropriate civil authority.
4. At the time of the destruction of the Oswald dossier, IRR
was operating under the records disposal authority contained
in the DOD Memorandum to Secretaries of the Military De-
partments, OASD(A), 9 February 1972, subject: Records
Disposal Authority (Incl 2). The memorandum forwards
National Archivist disposal criteria which is similar in nature
to the requirements outlined in the 1 June 1971 instructions.
It was not until 1975 that the Archivist changed the criteria
to ensure non-destruction of investigative records that may
be of historical value. (226)
Upon receipt of this information, the committee orally requested
the destruction order relating to the file on Oswald. In a letter dated
September 13, 1978, the General Counsel of the Department of the
Army replied that no such order existed:
Army regulations do not require any type of specific order
before intelligence files can be destroyed, and none was pre-
pared in connection with the destruction of the Oswald file.
As a rule, investigative information on persons not directly
affiliated with the Defense Department can be retained in
Army files only for short periods of time and in carefully
regulated circumstances. The Oswald file was destroyed rou-
tinely in accordance with normal files management proce-
dures, as are thousands of intelligence files annually.(227)
The committee found this "routine" destruction of the Oswald file
extremely troublesome, especially when viewed in light of the Depart-
ment of Defense's failure to make this file available to the Warren
Commission. Despite the credibility of Jones' testimony, without access
to this file, the question of Oswald's possible affiliation with military
intelligence could not be fully resolved.
From the Index:
(208) Executive session testimony of Col. Robert E. Jones, Apr. 20, 1978,
House Select Committee on Assassinations, pp. 18-19, 42
(JFK classified document 014677).
"[Col. Robert Jones] told the committee that from 8 to 12 military intelligence personnel in plain clothes were assigned to Dallas to provide supplimental security fro the President's visit. He indicated that these agents had identification credentials and, if questioned, would most likely have stated that they were on detail to the Secret Service."
--House Select Committee on Assassinations Report, page 184
Quoted in "The Final Investigation: HSCA and Army Intelligence" by Paul Hoch in THE THIRD DECADE, Vol.1 #5, July 1985, page 6.