Monday, November 29, 2010

Col. Frank M. Brandstetter

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Cover of Portrait of An Intelligence Officer, published in Europe.

Footnote from PDS Dallas COPA 2010 Talk:

50. Crichton’s collaborator in the 1950s study, fellow 488th member Lt. Col. Frank Brandstetter, was in turn a friend of men like:

1) David Phillips, in charge of Covert Action at the Mexico City Station when Oswald allegedly visited there; Phillips had known Brandstetter since both men were together in Havana in the 1950s (Carlisle and Monetta, Brandy, 146-47)
2) Gordon McLendon, wealthy Dallas businessman whom Jack Ruby described as one of his six closest friends (20 WH 39);
3) George de Mohrenschildt, the oilman whom some see as a handler for the Oswalds in 1962; and also Dorothe Matlack and Sam Kail, the Army Intelligence personnel who coordinated George de Mohrenschildt’s April 1963 visit with CIA and Army Intelligence in Washington
4) Philippe Thyraud de Vosjoli, a French intelligence (SDECE) agent who worked closely with Angleton in Washington. On 11/22 de Vosjoli reportedly panicked on hearing of Kennedy’s death, packed a few clothes into a van, and departed Washington to join Brandstetter in Acapulco. (Tom Mangold, Cold Warrior, 131-33).

BK Notes: Also see references to Manuel Ray, Meyer Lansky, Fidel Castro and others of interest.

From: Our Man In Acapulco: The Life and Times of Col. Frank M. Brandstetter by Rodney P. Carlisle and Dominic J. Monetta (University of North Texas Press, 1999) p. 129

...he met Lieutenant Colonel William B. Rose, chief of the Army Intelligence Reserve Branch Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence (ACSI) at the Pentagon. The contact would later prove momentous, changing the course of Brandy’s military career.

Despite Brandy’s career changes in his private life, he meant to continue his service to army intelligence. He vowed he would not disappear into a reserve control group without duties.

Over the next year Brandy, at age forty-six, began a series of adventures which allowed him to pursue both his personal career in the resort hotel business and his military career as an intelligence officer which he had kept alive through the doldrums of the 1950s. Interestingly, he accumulated more U.S. Army Reserve credit points than any other officer in the Reserve.

Chapter 11 Cuba Si!

When Brandy was pursuing legal action in Dallas to recover his share of proceeds from Sans Souci, he had obtained a copy of Conrad Hilton’s life story, Be My Guest. He thought about the new concepts in Hilton’s hotel work, especially the idea of an international chain of hotels. Brandy considered that there might be a match between his own background in languages, his rich experiences, and the needs of the expanding chain. He checked the business directories and discovered that the president of Hilton International was John Hauser. Hilton International had set up a hotel in Puerto Rico as their first, semi-overseas operation, and then had plans to expand in Latin America, Europe, and the Near East

…In late 1957 Brandy went to New York to meet Hauser. The two men immediately liked one another. Hauser, a marine combat officer in the war, suggested that Brandy might appreciate an appointment as manager for a planned hotel in West Berlin, and after a lunch at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, they shook hands on the offer. Brandy was aboard with the Hilton organization.

Suddenly, Hauser called him in. The hotel in Germany was still under construction. Hauser told Brandy to take a plane to Havana that night. There were problems getting the hotel there into operation and they needed a trouble-shooter….

Brandy flew to Havana that evening, 13 February 1958, to undertake the position. Barbera, who was under medical care at Timberlawn in Dallas, could visit him periodically with a nurse in attendance….

Local ownership was in the hands of the Cuban Culinary Workers’ Union. The union’s leader Sr. Aguille, had the union’s own man, Jose Menendez, appointed as general manger…As Brandy investigated both the delayed delivery of materials and work, he discovered a system of bribes reaching ten or fifteen percent over cost had been required for every detail of construction…The hotel was a mess….Hilton had sent a project manager, Peter DeTulio, to oversee completion of the work, but DeTulio was finding one frustration after another….

Conrad Hilton had recruited the noted gambling expert and author, John Scarne, to serve as the corporation’s representative for inspecting casinos associated with the various hotels in the chain….In effect, Scarne’s job was to identify staff members who were stealing, either from the house or the customers….Scarene had served in the Navy during World War II,….Scarene quietly pointed out that the gambling operation, like most of the major casinos in Havana, was conducted through contract by a group with mob connections. He identified one or two famous member of the American underworld who would stop by the casino occasionally, including Meyer Lansky….

The party of Hilton executives, including Conrad Hilton himself, John Hauser, Charles Bell, who was in charge of food and beverage for Hilton International, and Arthur Elminger,….

…The rumors of Fidel Castro’s forces raiding against the repressive regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, had apparently scared off the tourists, even though the attacks were concentrated several hundred miles away on the eastern end of the island in Camaguey and Oriente provences….

….Manuel Ray, the chief engineer, who had struck Brandy as a thoughtful type with little to say, warned there would be some serious consequences as a result of the layoffs….

The next morning, 9 April 1958,….Four Cuban security police officers strode into the room….The security forces “Blue Buick” had grown famous under the tough regime of Batista, those arrested for questioning and taken away in it usually never came back.

Inside the car, he received a once-over. A burley security police type on each side squeezed him in with his arms and legs locked back; each delivered tight blows to his stomach, kidneys, face. Saying nothing, they continued to beat him as the big car drove slowly through the busy streets of Havana to the headquarters of Police District Nine…

…Clearing his head, Brandy read the nameplate: Major Ventura. This man was notorious, the so-called “Butcher of Havana.” ….Esteban Ventura….

…The Hilton organization, however, could not spare Brandy for a three-week reserve duty. After some difficulty, Brandy was later able to put in two weeks at the Summer Fourth Army Area Intelligence School in Texas. When he returned to Havana, he wrote to Colonel William Rose at the Pentagon, in the Office of Assistant Chief of Staff-Intelligence (ACSI). Brandy reminded him that he would need a new billet in 1959, and sent along a collection of documents amplifying his military background. Rose remembered Brandy very well and responded within a week that he was glad to hear Brandy was “back in Havana, where [he could] take good care of our interests.” Rose suggested that Brandy contact Colonel Sam Kail, the U.S. Army military attaché at the American Embassy in Havana. Brandy followed up, conferring with Kail regularly about the situation in Havana.

Brandy began to learn more about the political situation by listening to discussions and gathering information from ordinary people, from journalists like Jules DuBois,…..When someone pointed out that “the Communists” were in the hills, Manuel Ray corrected him….The peasant soldeiers wore crucifixes and many were devout Catholics, not Communists at all. In the summer, Brandy sent a confidential report via Colone Kail to Army G-2, suggesting an overthrow of the Batista regime by Castro’s forces would soon take place….As an army man, Brandy found the all-knowing tone from State and CIA frustrating, even wrong-headed…

p. 143:
….One noon, Brandy had lunch with Colonel Sam Kail, the military attaché from the U.S. Embssy. Kail and Brandy worked out tentative plans for an evacuation of American tourists if the revolution reached Havana. After lunch, they were irritated to find themselves stuck in the elevator between floors….The Hilton name, Brandy feared, was attracting more and more anti-American attention….

…Soon however, he picked up a rumor from his grapevine that Manuel Ray was a Castro supporter. It seemed to fit, the more he thought about it…A few days after the revolution was completed, Manual Ray, former chief engineer of the Havana Hilton, received a cabinet appointment by the new Castro-led government minister of public works. Ray had apparently been in charge of all the sabotage in Havana in the summer of 1958.

Listening to reporters and his other sources on the grapevine, Brandy heard another, even more frightening rumor. The word was circulating that when the Castro people took over Havana, they would burn the Havana Hilton to the ground. He decided to establish liaison with the Castro forces, and planned to carry a letter through the liens to Castro, inviting him to make the Hilton his headquarters, when and if his troops arrived in Havana. Young Fred Lederer found Brandy in his office, preparing the letter….

…The Conrad Hilton Suite could be the CP – Command Post – for Castro himself. Brandy visualized the communication lines, internal security, and defense perimeter. He had experience setting up and staffing CPs in World War II, so it would be natural.
If Castro came to the city, the invitation would save the hotel….Lederere came from a Prussian military family, was bright and had guts….Lederer’s attempt to get through to Castro occurred on Christmas Eve, 1958….

…Jules DuBois, the Chicago Tribune reporter who had written favorably of Castro, had contacts in the revolutionary camp….

…Batista had fled to the Dominican Republic….Years later, after reading CIA officer David Atlee Phillips’s account of the same evening in The Night Watch, Brandy noted that Phillips claimed to have been the first to hear of the evacuation of Batista at 4:00 A.M. the next time Brandy saw his friend Phillips, he told him had the jump on him!

He knew the end was coming at 8:00 P.M. the night before, beating the CIA by eight hours. Phillips and Brandy had a good laugh over the issue.

…As the party wound down,….Brandy issued an order that the guests should not check out – he had in mind the evacuation plans developed earlier with Colonel Kail at the American Embssy, as well as the plans for Castro forces to stay in the hotel….
…Briefly, Brandy had an exchange with Manuel Ray, who confirmed that the mob intended to burn the hotel. Brandy handed him his jacket and went down to the lobby. From the mezzanine, a few guests observed what happened next. Among them was Philippe de Vosjoli, head of French Intelligence – the SDECE (Service de Documentation Exterieure dt de Contre-espionage) – in Cuba, Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Unknown to Brandy, de Vosjoli was staying at the hotel with his wife. He later recorded the events in his autobiography, Lamia, ‘dedicated to Brandy, wherein he recorded seeing “a physically fit man in a white shirt with short sleeves…calmly blocking the path of an armed, angry mob.”
Brandy met the mob and stood his ground at the entrance to the hotel lobby, explaining the hotel was not American property. It belonged to the Cuban people – to the Cuban Culinary Workers’ Union. Hilton managed it, but if they burned down the hotel they would be destroying the Cuban workers’ savings, not American property.
The crowd waved machetes, pistols and rifles…..Gradually, the crowd began to quiet, then broke into groups and argued….The standoff lasted fifteen minutes, then the rioters moved on…

…Meanwhile, the American Embassy evacuation plans that Colonel Kail and Barndy had workd out months before was quietly taking effect….

The barbudos, Brandy remembered, tended to be well behaved by comparison to some of the tourists….

Philippe de Vosjoli, who had observed Brandy confronting the rioters in the lobby of the hotel on 1 January, approached Brandy and introduced himself. Brandy immediately liked the straightforward, pro-American, and strongly anti-Communist Franch agent. De Vosjoli explained his dilemma. He believed a leak somewhere in the French security arrangements might cause the Communists among Castro’s forces to target him personally as a potential enemy. He wanted to evacuate without attracting notice. Brandy believed he should do a favor for a fellow Allied officer, especially one in the same line of business.

He included Philippe de Vosjoli and his wife in the group of American tourists…De Vosjoli would remember Brandy’s kindness in later years, and would share with him many confidences and insights into the problems of Communist penetration of security agencies in the Western democracies. The friendship later grew, based as it was on mutual respect and the memory of the shared risks during the Castro takeover.
…Offshore, by pre-arrangement through Colonel Kail, three U.S. Navy destroyers cruised in international waters, to provide protection and an escort for the ferry across the ninety miles to Key West and the United States….

…Among the New Year’s party-goers who wrote in appreciation were Dr. Curtice Rosser of Dallas, who was Brandy’s friend and Barbara’s personal physician, Ernest Dumler, an industrialist from Pittsburgh; John Thompson, a military reporter for the Chicago Tribune, and Frank Sherman, an attorney from New York City….

Meanwhile the local general manger of the hotel, Jose Menendez, went into hiding…
For the first week of the revolution, Castro remained in Oriente province, finally moving into Havana on 8 January 1959 as order was restored by his troops. The motorcade proceeded directly to the Hilton. As Castro and his entourage entered, Brandy introduced himself and explained that the Conrad Hilton Suite was at the disposal of the Castro party. Brandy had taken the trouble to freshen up the suite with flowers and stock the refrigerator with soft drinks and beer. Castro and his group took a quick look, then declined to stay because the facilities were “too plush.” However, a few days later the group returned, and Castro and his senior officers moved into the suite.

Brandy was summoned by Castro’s security and bodyguards to taste the first meals brought by room service, to ensure against poisoning. Brandy did so, and then arranged for Fred Lederer, the food and beverage manager, to do the tasting…
For a few weeks the Conrad Hilton Suite was converted, just as Bandy had planned, into the Castro forces’ command post….

Frank suggested to Colonel Kail at the embassy that it would be a good idea to arrange for an American news organization to conduct a full-scale television interview with Castro, so that more could be learned about him. Although full assessments of the Castro forces were available, little was known about Castro, the man. Brandy also suggested that the ACSI approach General David Sarnoff, U.S. Army, ret., and Chairman of the Board of RCA (which controlled NBC), as someone who could be trusted. Sarnoff had served as General Eisenhower’s communications officer during the Second World War. Sarnoff recommended that Jack Paar, host of the “Tonight Show,” conduct the interview.

In Cuba, Colonel Kail worked with Brandy to arrange the event…The questions, although innocuous, were exactly the sort needed by the U.S. Army to build a more complete picture of the human side of the new leader of Cuba. Brandy thought back to his days in the Field Intelligence Detachment,….. served as interpreter during the interview.

Chapter 13 Crown, Semenenko and Hilton p. 156

Brandy served the 1959 session of his annual active duty at the Pentagon in the Office of the Army Chief of Staff, Intelligence (ACSI), working under his first ACSI “Big Brother,” Colonel Bob Roth, in the Collection Division….This duty marked his change from Mobilization Resere to a career over the next eighteen years of working directly for ACSI, sometimes on active duty, and at other times, after retirement, on a strictly unpaid and voluntary basis.

Over that time, the officer to whom he reported at ACSI would change almost every two years. In the ACSI office, continuity was provided by Mrs. Dorothe K. Matlack, a long-time civil servant and chief of the Exploitation Section of the Assistant Chief of Staff-Intelligence (ACSI-CX). Dorothe (pronounced Dorothy) personally knew Brandy and other officers who worked to supply a continuing stream of good quality
“humanit,” or human intelligence. Brandy could continue the work of “eyes and ears” that he had begun under Ridgway, knowing that his “Big Brother” in Washington, whoever he would be over time, would receive his reports and that they would at least be considered and reviewed properly. Brandy’s standard operating procedure was to contact only one officer, his “Big Brother” from ACSI, thus protecting himself from possible exposure…

After departing the Pentagon, he visited the executive offices of Hilton International in New York City. He learned that John Hauser was no longer president of Hilton International, the position having been filled by Robert J. Caverly, a new executive…

He moved back to Dallas to be near Barbar, who was in a sanitarium there. He retained both his status as a Hilton manager on leave of absence and his status as a reserve lieutenant colonel, with annual active duty to be served at the Army Chief of Staff Intelligence at the Pentagon….

Brandy now settled into work as vice president and part owner of an auto-leasing business, Continental Leasing. The company,…operated by Dallas businessman Scott Walker, had been established in 1957. The headquarters of the firm later moved to Shreveport, Louisiana….

During this time, Brandy was developing a private plan that he hoped would affect the Cuban situation. He worked on a proposal to acquire used engines from the U.S. Army, particularly large engines from decommissioned army tanks, refurbish and box them, and then sell them in Cuba in 1959….

Meanwhile, he kept in touch with Colonel William Rose at the Pentagon office of the Assistant Chief of Staff-Intelligence. Rose arranged for Brandy to be assigned for training on weekend duties to the 488th Strategic Intelligence Team in Dallas. He contributed to a study of the capability of the Soviet oil fields, working with oil and mining engineer Colonel Jack Crichton, MI and U.S. Army, ret., who was later to explore the oil and gas reserves in the former Soviet Union during the 1990s….

That summer, Brandy finally received a phone call from Hilton headquarters. Effective 1 July 1959, there was an opening in Mexico, to take over as manager of a Hilton-supervised property in Acapulco, the Las Brisas….

Brandy noticed one employee on the records – Ron Urbanek…during World War II he had worked on the Red Ball Express, the truck line that supplied ammunition and other supplies in 1944 and 1945 from the channel ports to Patton on the front in a massive operation…

p. 289:

….After less than an hour, Bronfman convinced Brandy to assume the general manager’s position at Seagrams de Mexico for a year and a half to two years….Brandy met with Harold Fieldsteel, executive vice president for Finance and Administrtion of JES; with F. Shaker, vice president, International Administration and James E. McDonough, who was president of Seagrams Overseas Sales Company (SOSCO)….

P. 314:
During 1980 conservative writers and commentators, like those on Gordon McLendon’s radio stations, argued that American support for the embargo of South Africa was extremely hazardous to the national security of the United States….

Brandy also participated in an association organized by David Atlee Phillips for ex-CIA officers. Phillips had served as chief of the CIA’s Caribbean and Latin American division before his retirement in 1975. He became distressed at the exposes of CIA officers, mainly stemming from the activities of Senator Frank Church’s committee and the work of investigative reporters following the Watergate scandals. Phillips hoped to provide money that could serve as a legal defense fund for such officers, especially if they were libeled in the press and needed to file suit to restore their names. The organization could also conduct, as an outside group, public relations efforts to improve the image of the service as a whole. Brandy urged Phillips to expand his group to include not only former CIA officials, but also officers from other intelligence services, sucha as the army, navy, and air force. Accordingly, Phillips, with the approval of other CIA members, organized the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO). It was Brady’s responsibility to recruit the nucleus of former heads in the intelligence community, now retired, to represent the army, navy and air force. He did this by recruiting Vice Admiral Fritz Harlfinger, U.S. Navy, ret., and Lieutenant General John Davis, U.S. Army, ret., formerly of the ACSI, and deputy director of the National Security Agency (NSA). Brandy was offered a directorship, but he turned it down because of his comparatively low rank as a colonel. The organization needed leaders with significant Washington experience, with “Beltway” knowledge. He prevered to remain in the background…

p. 335. Photo caption: General Walter Dornberger, father of the German rocket program, visits his close friend Brandy at Casa Ternquilidad (Mexico) in 1977.
…Later, when Dornberger passed away, his widow sent the general’s personal library, correspondence files, and mementos given him at West Point and elsewhere to Brandy. She knew that Brandy was an avid collector of such materials and would cherish and preserve them. He dutifully added them to his space collection.

….With Brandy’s supervision and recommendation to Deke DeLoach, Carlos Solana, his chiefi of security, had participated with a small group of Mexican security men in training at the FBI’s facility in Quantico, Virginia,….

…Al Kaplan, who served as Brandy’s public relations man in the 1970s through his own company, moved on to be national director of tourism for the US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce…

After the divorce, Brandy married again. He had met Marianne Porzelt at one of the backgammon tournaments organized at his home…They were married 26 December 1978; the best men were Gordon McLendon and the ex-President of Mexico, Miguel Aleman….

Much of Brandstetter’s career as a G-2 officer and as a reservist with the staff of the army’s Assistant Chief of Staff-Intelligence (ACSI) was confidential, and for that reason, documentation on a number of his activities was inappropriate, or where permissible, difficult to obtain… - v=onepage&q&f=falsexxx

Also See: Brandy: Portrait Of An Intelligence Officer by Chuck Render and Frank M. Brandstetter. (Elderbery Press, Aug. 2007)

Book Summary of Brandy: Portrait Of An Intelligence Officer (Europen Edition)

Chuck Render was born in Southern Illinois where he joined the Air Force Reserve on his 17th birthday in January of 1955. He resigned as a Technical Sergeant flight engineer in 1965 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. He completed his baccalaureate and masters degrees at Murray State University in Kentucky and taught math, reading and music in Bluford, Illinois before completing his doctorate at the University of Illinois. He became Assistant Director of Administrative Studies at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago, and then Director of Institutional Analysis with rank of Associate Professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. In 1985, he was recalled to active duty in the Pentagon, serving in the Office of the Chief of Air Force Reserve and then with the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs with duties in Operations and Plans. He retired from the military as a full "bird colonel" in 1995 after 40 years as an Air Force Reservist and moved to Clarksville, Tennessee.

Frank Maryan "Brandy" Brandstetter (right) was born in 1912 in Bratislava and schooled by the Sisters of Charity and military officers throughout his childhood. In his mid-teens, he became a penniless immigrant on the streets of New York and began a life-long career, working his way up through the ranks in the hotel business. In January of 1941, he was sworn in as a U.S. Army Private, was promoted to Sergeant, but was plucked from the ranks, commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, and assigned to Army Intelligence. After jumping with the famed 506th "Band of Brothers" on D-Day, he served at General Matthew B. Ridgway's side throughout the war and afterward in thefledgling U.N. Organization. Brandy served his country for more than 50 years as an Army Reservist, on active duty and off, even at his own expense after his mandatory retirement age. As this book was being written, he was still residing in his fortress-like Casa Tranquilidad (House of Peace) on the mountainside in Acapulco, several hundred yards below the giant landmark cross and chapel he built.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Secret Service Hidden History

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The Secret Service – The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency. By Philip H. Melanson, PH.D. (Carroll & Graf, 2002/2005)

On November 22, 1963, when the first bullet tore into JFK’s upper body and the final shot slammed into his head, everything changed – the nation and the Secret Service. The agency had lost Lancer, its codename for President John F. Kennedy, the first president under its protection to be killed.

The Secret Service immediately began a pattern of lies about its fatal missteps in Dallas that day and the days preceding it. The agency was experiencing the worst crisis it had ever faced.

At least two agents lied to the Warren Commission. Even worse, as they created the fiction about how thorough they had been, they implicitly pinned the blame on the fallen present himself, hinting that Kennedy’s recklessness or fatalism – not anything the agents had done in Dallas – ignited a tragic sequence of events.

Kennedy’s critics still chant the mantra that the president brought it on himself. These outright lies and half-truths cannot absolve the Secret Service for losing the life of a president for the first time in history.

Within hours of the assassination, Agent Roy Kellerman, who had sat in the front seat of Kennedy’s limousine, assured the FBI, “The precautions employed in Dallas were the most stringent and thorough ever employed….for the visit of a president to an American city.”

He did not related how he had frozen for those six or seven seconds after the first shot – a time span that allowed the “kill shot” to the president’s head.

Agent William Greer, the driver of Kennedy’s car, neglected to admit how he had failed to hit the gas after the first shot or swerve the vehicle to throw off the unseen sniper’s aim. The limo continued rolling at snail’s pace down Dealey Plaza. Worse, it actually slowed down almost to a complete stop.

As Greer followed the established procedures and waited for a command from Kellerman to take action, the president was a proverbial sitting duck. The agents had those six or seven seconds to do something, anything, before the president’s head was nearly blown off. They did nothing and covered up their actions – or lack of them – to the Warren Commission and others.

The Service’s advance team in Dallas chose a flawed motorcade route and failed to check such potential sniper perches as the Texas School Book Depository and other buildings, and to secure an overpass. For years, the fiction that Kennedy had refused to allow agents to place a bulletproof bubbletop on the limousine persisted. The top was not actually bulletproof.

On November 21-22, the night before the assassination, nine of Kennedy’s agents who were “on call” were out drinking. The next day, several of the agents failed to notice that the motorcycle formation surrounding Kennedy’s limo was all wrong.
Because of poor coordination among the Secret Service, the FBI, and the Dallas Police, agents had no idea that a well-armed band of Cuban exiles, the commandos of Alpha-66 (who had threatened Kennedy’s life) were in Dallas at the time of the assassination.

…The Secret Service has done little to contest these bromides, allowing much of the blame to fall squarely on the slain president……For starters, the motorcade route should never have included a dog-leg turn that would slow the limo and reduce it to the pace of a sitting duck. Kennedy didn’t take agents out drinking the night before. Greer and Kellerman’s inactions was not Kennedy’s fault….

…The assassination of John F. Kennedy traumatized the nation, and for the Secret Service, the assassination brought a maelstrom of questions from the press and legislators, all demanding answers to one crucial question: The U.S. Secret Service had failed at its most important assignment – to protect the life of the president. How could this have happened?

In no dispute is the fact that President Kennedy’s trip to Texas was purely political in purpose…Secret Service documents reveal again and again the dominance of politics over protection in planning for the trip. In a disturbing development for the agency, the president’s protectors were not informed about the trip by the White House until political planning and publicity were well underway. The idea of a presidential visit to Texas had been discussed by President Kennedy, Vice President Johnson, and Texas Governor John Connally in a Texas hotel room on June 5, 1963, long before the Secret Service had any inkling of the plan. On September 13, 1963, the White House confirmed the trip, and the Dallas newspapers announced it as a fact, although the dates and itinerary were not actually settled.

On October 4, Connally visited the White House to work out the basic agenda for a motorcade and luncheon. He also held a press conference in Dallas to announce the visit. Finally, three days later, on November 4, the Secret Service was first informed by the White House staff that the president would be going to Dallas; learned that the logistics of the trip had been planned before they were apprised of it.

The head of the Secret Service’s Dallas field office, Agent Forrest Sorrells, was directed on November 4, 1963, by the head of the White House protective detail, Gerald A. Behn, to check out possible luncheon sites. The two venues considered best were the Trade Mart and the Women’s Building. The Secret Service preferred the Women’s Building….However the president and his inner circle had already selected the Trade Mart,…dropping the news on the Secret Service at the last minute.

Governor Connally was given the primary responsibility for arranging the political agenda…When Governor Connally heard that the luncheon might not be held at the Trade Mart if the Secret Service had its way, he threatened to boycott the entire trip. As the host politician whose political image was on the line, Connally was not about to oversee a presidential luncheon held at an inferior facility…The Secret Service had been sent on a fool’s errand when told to look for a luncheon site that could be best secured; politically, there was only one site…

On November 14, 1963 , Agents Sorrells, of the Dallas field office, and Lawson, form the White House detail, were riding over the proposed routes when they were informed by a member of the Democratic National Committee that the luncheon would definitely be held at the Trade Mart. Given the Love Field landing and a downtown motorcade, the Trade Mart luncheon site dictated most of the motorcade route, which would logically wind through Dealey Plaza and in front of the Texas School Book Depository.

The Dallas Times Herald announced the general route two days later, stating that it “apparently will loop through the downtown area probably on Main Street en route from Dallas Love Field.” On November 19, 1963, the precise route was published by the Dallas newspapers – three days before the president’s visit.

Thus, there was no attempt to exercise any secrecy regarding the president’s itinerary or motorcade route. The closest thing to secrecy seems to have been the way in which the politically determined plans concerning the trip were made known to the Secret Service at the last possible minute…

As was usual for the Secret Service, it met with local law-enforcement authorities in advance of the trip in order to obtain their help in placing protection. On November 18, 1963, Agents Lawson and Sorrells and two representatives of the Dallas Police Department drove over the motorcade route, taking notes on crowd control, traffic patterns, and the location of intersections, overpasses, and railroad crossings. They discussed how to seal off the motorcade route from other traffic so that there would be no snarls and drew up plans to assign police to each of the overpasses along the route, to keep spectators off them and to protect the president’s open limousine from being hit by any falling objects. At all railroad crossings, police officers would control the switching mechanisms….

….Strangely, this meticulous advance work did not include checking the triple overpass that crossed Elm Street just after the soon-to-be-infamous grassy knoll. No one cleared the area of spectators or guarded it with police – as it should have been – when the presidential limousine headed directly at and under it….

Agent Lawson later testified to the Warren Commission: “I recall thinking we were coming to an overpass now, so I glanced up to see if it was clear, the way most of them had been, the way all of them had been until that time on the way downtown, and it was not and I was looking for the officer who should have been there, had been requested to be there, and made a kind of motion through the windshield trying to get his attention to move the people from over our path the way it should have been. We were just approaching this overpass when I heard a shot.”

Along with the failure to secure the overpass and the knoll, agents neglected to check the tall buildings along the motorcade route either in advance, by checking lists of employees against Secret Service files, or at the time of the motorcade, by body-searching them before the president passed by. As Secretary of the Treasury Douglas Dillon informed the Warren Commission in a confidential memorandum:

“Except for inauguration and other parades involving foreign dignitaries accompanied by the president in Washington, it has not been the practice of the Secret Service to make surveys or checks of the buildings along the route of a presidential motorcade... With the numbers of men available to the Secret Service and with the time available, surveys of hundreds of buildings and thousands of windows are not practical…Nor is it practical to prevent people from entering such buildings…Even if it were possible with a vastly larger force of security officers to do so, many observers have felt that such a procedure would not be consistent with the nature and purpose of the motorcade to let the people see their president and welcome him to their city.”

…The two critical questions hurled by the press and public alike at the Service in the immediate aftermath of the assassination and beyond were: How had the Agents failed in Dallas? And how had the Service missed Oswald? Within days, the Service was harangued because Oswald was not in its files, either on a list of four hundred dangerous persons or in its general files on more than forty thousand U.S. citizens. The Secret Service had combed through its protective research files and found no dangerous persons in the Dallas area, although there were two in Houston.

Unfortunately, the Warren Report revealed just how limited were the resources of the protective research section, “a very small group of twelve specialists and three clerks.”

In the week before Kennedy arrived in Dallas, the Service did make a special effort to identify the individuals who had formented a near-riot by throwing rocks during the Adlai Stevenson incident. Agents worked with the Dallas police, who found an informant willing to identify the ringleaders of the demonstration by viewing a television film of the incident; then the Secret Service made still pictures of these ringleaders and distributed the images to agents and police who would be stationed at Love Field and at the Trade Mart. None of these potential troublemakers was ever spotted before or during the Kennedy visit.

Additionally, the Stevenson episode promoted the Service to pay “special attention to extremist groups known to be active in the Dallas area.”

….The real question was why Oswald was not brought to the attention of the Secret Service by the FBI, who did have a file on him and knew that he was in Dallas….The FBI’s interest in Oswald was as a potential subversive, a security risk, not as a violence-prone potential assassin…Dallas FBI Agent James Hosty had interviewed both Oswald and his wife Marina. Oswald resented these interviews and had allegedly written a note to Hosty – the contents of which are not known for certain – warning him not to annoy Marina. The note was destroyed by Agent Hosty shortly after the assassination…

Dallas police documents sitting in Warren Commission files show that despite the public attention focused on the Secret Service and the FBI’s failure to identify Oswald as a potentially dangerous person, the real failure to discover both Oswald and an extremist group in Dallas (Alpha 66) lay with the local police. Even though the Service’s protective research section had files on more than forty thousand persons, the agency depended in large part on local police for “identifying” and “neutralizing” potentially dangerous persons in the area to be visited by the president. Documents reveal that operational responsibility for identifying and investigating indigenous groups and individuals who might constitute a threat or embarrassment to President Kennedy fell to a twenty-man Dallas Police Department unit – the Criminal Intelligence Section, headed by Lt. Jack Revill.

In and around Dallas, the Criminal Intelligence Section investigated fourteen groups, including the Klu Klux Klan, the Black Muslims, and the local Nazi Party. As its name implied, the Criminal Intelligence Section had a clandestine capability. As a police memo describes: “This Section [Criminal Intelligence] had previously [before beginning to work on protective research for Kennedy’s visit] been successful infiltrating a number of these organizations; therefore, the activities, personalities and future plans of these groups were known.”

The Criminal Intelligence Section made two glaring errors in protective intelligence gathering for the president’s visit, errors that cannot be laid upon the Secret Service [BK – or JFK]. One was the omission of notice about Oswald. Unlike the FBI, whose written instructions to agents called for reporting persons who made threats against the president, the Criminal Intelligence Section had a broader mission of identifying persons who might threaten or embarrass the president. The Dallas detectives compiled a list of four hundred names, but so broadly was the net cast that four dozen persons who belonged to the Young People’s Socialists League were placed on the list simply because of the left-wing nature of their group. But Oswald, whose defection to the Soviet Union as a self-pronounced Marxist had been covered in the local press, was not included on the list.

The Criminal Intelligence Section evidently missed a specific chance to catch Oswald in its data net: He had joined one of the fourteen groups under surveillance – the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which many law-enforcement officers deemed a communist organization…

Meanwhile, Oswald, with his wife and two children, had been staying at the home of Michael and Ruth Paine. Michael Paine was a member of the ACLU and regularly attended its meetings. Oswald attended the October 25, 1963, meeting of the Dallas ACLU, with his host. During the meeting, Oswald spoke and, after it broke up, got into a heated argument with a man who defended the free-enterprise system against Oswald’s leftist remarks. The ACLU was under surveillance by police on a continuing basis, even before protective-intelligence gathering for the president’s visit had begun, meaning that they either ignored Oswald or missed him entirely.

Within a few days of the ACLU meeting, Oswald formally joined the ACLU and opened up a post office box in Dallas. On the postal form, he authorized the receipt of mail for the ACLU and also for the pro-Castro FPCC, yet another red flag revealing Oswald’s seemingly leftist or pro-communist leanings, and one missed or ignored by police intelligence.

Besides missing Oswald, the police Criminal Intelligence Section made another glaring error about a group that would have perhaps tipped off the Service to potential trouble in Dallas. The Stevenson incident had of course caught the attention of the Service, which was especially interested in “extremist groups” in the Dallas area and always seeking out intelligence on any cadre that contemplated assassination as a political weapon. Yet the police intelligence unit failed to report such a group to the agency. The group was Alpha-66.

The Dallas chapter of Alpha-66 was holding meetings in a house on Harlendale Street in Dallas for several weeks prior to the assassination. Perhaps the most militant and violent of all anti-Castro groups, Alpha-66 was composed of Cuban exiles, many of whom had fought in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion. Alpha-66 was basically a right-wing commando group that launched missions against Castro’s Cuba from the U.S. coast – missions involving both sabotage and assassination.

Before the Kennedy assassination, the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) had been investigating the owner of a Dallas gun shop regarding illegal arms sales. They discovered that Alpha-66 had attempted to purchase bazookas and machine guns. The group, according to the gun-shop owner, had a large cache of arms somewhere in Dallas, but ATF never reported the allegation to the Secret Service.

The agency would have immediately regarded the presence of a group of commandoes enraged that Kennedy had refused to provide U.S. air cover for the Bay of Pigs invasion; many exiles held him personally responsible for their disastrous defeat at the hands of Castro’s army. Also, Kennedy had banned Cuban exile groups from launching raids against the island from U.S. soil and had publicly criticized Alpha-66 for violating his ban, to which the national head of Alpha-66 replied, “We are going to attack again and again.”

When the Dallas band of Alpha-66 did come to the attention of the Secret Service after the assassination, an FBI informant in Dallas reported that the head of the Dallas chapter, Manuel Rodriguez, “was known to be violently anti-President Kennedy.” According to another Warren Commission document that was accidently released in 1976 while it was still classified, Rodriguez was “apparently a survivor of the Bay of Pigs.”

Although the police Criminal Intelligence Section had missed Alpha-66 and its leader, another law enforcement unit with less intelligence gathering capacity, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, stumbled onto the group. At 8:00 A.M. on the day after the assassination, the Sheriff’s Office passed along a “hot tip” to the Secret Service: For about two months prior to the assassination, Oswald had been meeting in a house on Harlendale Street with a group that the Sheriff’s Office assumed to be the pro-Castro FPCC. The group reportedly met there for several weeks, up to either a few days before the assassination of the day of after. The group gathering at the house was actually Alpha-66.

The confusion appears to have resulted from the fact that Manuel Rodriguez, the head of the Dallas chapter, bore a resemblance to Lee Harvey Oswald, a fact that was independently confirmed by the FBI. The Bureau checked into a report that Oswald had been in Oklahoma on November 17, 1963, accompanied by several Cubans, and discovered that the Oklahoma witnesses had seen Rodriguez, not Oswald. According to an FBI memorandum signed by J. Edgar Hoover, Rodriguez was five feet nine inches, 145 pounds, with brown hair; Oswald’s autopsy report listed him as five feet nine inches, 150 pounds, with brown hair.

The Dallas Police Criminal Intelligence Section’s inability to find or report on Alpha-66 is all the more inexplicable because of a tape recording that surfaced in 1978 during the reinvestigation of the John F. Kennedy case conducted by the House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations, 1976-78.

Secretly recorded at a meeting of the Dallas John Birch Society the month before the assassination, the tape caught an anti-Castro Cuban exile and Bay of Pigs survivor – though not a member of Alpha-66 – denouncing Kennedy – “Get him out. Get him out. The quicker, the sooner the better. He’s doing all kind of deals. Mr. Kennedy is kissing Mr. Khruschev. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had kissed Castro too. I wouldn’t even call him “President” Kennedy. He stinks. We are going to see him one way or the other. We’re going to give him the works when he gets to Dallas.”

As with the ACLU, the John Birch Society was being monitored by the Criminal Intelligence Section, falling into the realm of extremists meeting the scrutiny in the wake of the Stevenson episode. The “Birchers” loathed Kennedy because of his alleged softness on communism and his civil-rights policies.

The Criminal Intelligence Section’s failure to discover or report the anti-Castroite’s assertion that “we’re going to give him the works when he gets to Dallas” or to uncover or report the presence of Alpha-66 and its allegedly “violently anti-Kennedy” leader comprises a gaffe that may have well contributed to the lax or flawed protective measures for Kennedy in Dallas. If the Secret Service had received even an inkling that the local Cuban exiles were threatening the president in any way, the agency well might have tightened precautions.

Not long before the Dallas trip, the Service had received word of a plot to assassinate President Kennedy, allegedly being planned by an unspecified group of Cuban exiles, the scheme was to ram Air Force One in midair with a small plane as the president approached Miami. Kennedy’s itinerary was changed and no threat materialized. Thus, in Dallas, the Service would have been wary of any Cuban exile group, especially a commando group such as Alpha-66. Had its presence been detected and reported, the Secret Service might have been able to persuade the president to accept additional protective measures, or agents might have operated with a keener sense of looming danger.

To summarize, the copious documentary record of the Secret Service’s performance during the agency’s most tragic episode does reveal that the failure most often attributed to it- the inability to identify Oswald as a potentially dangerous person – was not a Secret Service error at all. But failure in the gathering of protective intelligence did occur. The Criminal Intelligence Section of the Dallas Police Department had the best opportunity and the best reason to discover both Oswald and Alpha-66, but neither was reported to the Service…

In terms of protective performance during the shooting, though political priorities had predetermined much of the situation – an open car with no agents allowed on the running boards – agents failed to take immediate evasive and protective action that might have saved the president’s life. The extensive post-assassination criticism and analysis produced improved protective methods and technology.

Despite the Warren Commission’s findings and government insistence on the lone-gunman/Oswald conclusion, several of the agents in the presidential detail did not accept the assertions.

Later, some of the men expressed their belief that the case was really a conspiracy, as the vast majority of the U.S. public came to believe. Researcher Vince Palamara interviewed numerous Kennedy agents and cites Agents Sam Kinney, Abraham Bolden, Maurice Martineau, Marty Underwood, and John Norris as those who “believe this [conspiracy] to be the case.” In addition, says Palamara, June Kellerman, the widow of agent Roy Kellerman, stated that both Kellerman and fellow agent Bill Greer, who were in the front seat of Kennedy’s limo, asserted that there was more to the assassination that the “official” version let on.

The assassination of a political leader has a profound political impact, no matter the motive or method of the killer or killers. In an instant, the will of the people expressed at the polling places is shattered – bullets for ballots…

Certain conspiracies have a more profound impact on a democratic political system than the lone gunman or a few men. Though the impact on policies and the political dominoes of President Kennedy’s assassination are the same whether his assassin was a disaffected loner, a team of Mafia hitmen, or a CIA executive action squad, there is a key difference. When a powerful organized interests conspire to remove those leaders who threaten them, the very core of democracy is compromised.

If it happens frequently, there is no democracy (and no standard on how often is too often). It is proudly asserted that the United States has never suffered a coup d’etat - an overthrow of a duly elected leadership. If, however, John F. Kennedy was killed by organized political interests, then there was one, even if the perpetrators were not the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And the Secret Service knows it.

There are lone nuts and there are conspiracies. By the legal definition of the knowing participation of more than one person, the assaults against Lincoln, Truman, and Malcolm X were undeniably conspiracies. A conspiracy of line nuts is not as politically threatening as a conspiracy involving a foreign government, a criminal organization (the Mafia, the Cali drug cartel) or elements of the U.S. intelligence community…

In contrast, if CIA case officers and anti-Castro Cuban commandos successfully plotted to kill President Kennedy and frame a patsy while they escaped, it is truly a political murder instead of a murder that happens to be political in its target and impact. (If Hinkley had decided that to really impress Jodi Foster he needed to kill Elton John, the politics would disappear).

So when is the murder of a political leader a political assassination? And when is an assassin politically motivated as opposed to being insane? History has shown there are no easy answers.

Philip H. Melanson (1944 – September 18, 2006) was a Chancellor Professor of Policy Studies at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

An active member of COPA – the Coalition On Political Assassinations, he served as coordinator of the Robert F. Kennedy Assassination Archive, which is the world's largest collection on the subject, and also served as chair of the Political Science Department for 12 years.

An internationally recognized expert on political violence and governmental secrecy, Melanson wrote numerous books and articles related to these subjects. He appeared on NPR, BBC, CBS, and CNN news programs.

He made 95 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, which resulted in the release of over 200,000 pages of federal government documents on topics relevant to his research.

• Knowledge, Politics, and Public Policy (ed.) (Cambridge, Mass.: Winthrop Publishers Inc., 1973).
• Political Science and Political Knowledge (Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press, 1975).
• The Politics of Protection: The U.S. Secret Service in The Terrorist Age, (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1984).
• The MURKIN Conspiracy: An Inquiry into the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1988).(ISBN 0-275-93029-7)
• Spy Saga: Lee Harvey Oswald and U.S. Intelligence (New York: Prager, 1990) (ISBN 0-275-93571-X).
• The Robert F. Kennedy Assassination: New Revelations on the Conspiracy and Coverup, 1968–1991 (New York: Shapolsky Publishers, 1991). Paperback edition, 1994.
• The Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York: SPI Books, 1991). Paperback edition, 1994.
• Who Killed Martin Luther King? (Berkeley, Cal.: Odonian Press, 1991).
• Who Killed Robert Kennedy? (Berkeley, Cal Odonian Press, 1991).
• Shadow Play: The Killing of Robert Kennedy, The Trial of Sirhan Sirhan, and the Failure of American Justice. with William Klaber, (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997). Paperback edition, 1998. (ISBN 0-312-15398-8)
• Secrecy Wars: Privacy, National Security and the Public’s Right to Know (Dulles, Virginia: Brassey’s Inc., January 2002). (ISBN 1-57488-324-0)
• The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency with Peter Stevens, (New York): Carroll and Graff, 2002) (ISBN 0-7867-1617-7).

Notes and references
1. Marquard, Bryan. "Philip Melanson. Professor doggedly sought to open government", "The Boston Globe", 2006-9-22.

Peter, Frank and JFK

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From The Kennedy Detail, by Gerald Blaine (w/Lisa McCubbin, Gallery, S&S, 2010, p. 119-221)

The Summer of '63

...One of the president's trips to Palm Springs, California ended up being tabloid fodder.

President Kennedy's sister Pat was married to actor Peter Lawford, who was a member of the infamous Hollywood "Rat Pack." The Rat Pack was basically a group of entertainer friends - Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Kennedy's brother-in-law Peter Lawford - who would often show up on stage at each other's Las Vegas gigs, thereby giving the audience and impromptu and usually hilarious performance. Their 1960 movie Ocean's 11, with Angie Dickinson, brought them all together on the big screen. [BK notes: As did their remake of Gunga Din - Sergeants 3].

President Kennedy enjoyed hanging out with the Hollywood set, which was so different from the Washington political crowd, and Palm Springs was exactly the distraction he needed after the Cuban Missile Crisis in December, 1962.

Floyd Boring, Jerry Blaine, and a young agent from Stew Stout's shift named Andy Berger were assigned the advance for the president's trip. Andy Berger was a twenty-six-year old agent who had been plucked from the New York Field Office earlier that year. He was a New Yorker through and through, and while he and his wife, Dolly, had had a tough time adjusting to life in Washington, he loved being on the Kennedy Detail. IT had been a tense few weeks in Washington and the agents were looking forward to the week in sunny Palm Springs.

Shortly before they left Washington, Ken O'Donnell - the president's aide - informed Floyd Boring that the president would be staying at Bing Crosby's home and that the agents would be in charge of securing the property.

Unbeknownst to the Secret Service advance team was the fact that the president's brother-in-law Peter Lawford had been helping with behind-the-scenes arrangements, and had committed to Frank Sinatra that the president could stay at Sinatra's home. In the weeks prior to the president's visit, Sinatra had a state-of-the-art security system installed, along with a helipad on his desert property.

The three-man Secret Service advance team flew to Palm Springs, settled into their hotel, and visited the Crosby residence the next day. Mrs. Crosby gave the agents a tour of the house and they immediately began establishing posts for the coverage of the area. No sooner had the three agents started the survey that Peter Lawford showed up at the house. He had a look of deep concern on his face and wanted to see what he could do about changing the president's quarters from the Crosbys' to the Sinatra residence.

Politically the White House had concerns about rumors of Frank Sinatra's possible connections with organized crime, but rather than risk any fallout, they'd let the Secret Service agents be the designated hit men. Nobody in Washington had bothered to tell Sinatra or Lawford about the change in plans. Floyd Boring explained the situation to Lawford, who was nervous about breaking the news to his buddy Sinatra. Boring offered up Blaine and Berger to go with Mr. Lawford to visit Mr. Sinatra.

When Peter Lawford, Jerry Blaine, and Andy Berger showed up at the Sinatra residence, the agents could detect a heavy cloud descending over the President's brother-in-law as they waited for someone to answer the door. As the more senior of the two agents, Blaine had offered to be the bearer of the bad news. But when Sinatra opened the door, Blaine suddenly felt awkward. He was a huge Sinatra fan, and this was not going to earn him any points with the crooner.

"Come on in," Sinatra said cheerfully.

Blaine was trying to be cool and confident. He knew he had to say something right away.

"Good morning, Mr. Sinatra," Blaine started. He could feel Lawford urging him to speak.

"Uh...Mr. Sinatra, I'm afraid to inform you that Mr. Bing Crosby's home has been selected for the president's visit this weekend."

Sinatra looked at Lawford with raised eyebrows.

Poor Peter Lawford looked dejected and humiliated. "Sorry, Frank," he said. "We got overruled. I just found out myself."

Sinatra was very astute and ultimately understood that the agents were operating on orders that must have originated fairly close to the president. He knew what it was all about.

Andy Berger stepped up to the plate. "It's not his fault, Mr. Sinatra. This was purely a security decision made by the Secret Service."

The minute Andy Berger spoke up, Frank immediately detected his New York accent and asked Andy where he was from. Suddenly the mood switched and Andy and Frank began talking about their New York-New Jersey connection. Before long, Frank Sinatra invited them for a soft drink, and they ended up laughing and talking for about a half hour.

Sinatra was gracious and said he understood. Miraculously, it seemed the problem had disappeared.

By the time the president arrived, everything had smoothed over - nobody wanted to make a big deal over the issue in his presence. Blaine and Berger sensed a rift between Sinatra and Lawford, but when the story was relayed back to the Secret Service supervisors, everybody agreed that had it not been for Andy Berger's New York roots, the situation could have ended up much worse....



12:39 P.M.

...Within five minutes after the president's limousine arrived at the hospital, the police cruiser pulled up with Andy Berger and Dr. Burkley. As Berger and Dr. Burkley rushed inside, another agent directed them to Trauma Room No. 1 Berger's heart pounded as he looked at the hallway floor and realized they were following a trail of blood....

Standing outside the room where the president was being treated, Andy Berger felt devastated. He didn't know where to go or what to do. Since the vice president was adequately guarded, Roy Kellerman told him to protect the lobby area leading to the trauma rooms.

Agents and policeman were everywhere and there was a sense of paranoia throughout the hospital. Andy tried to imagine what could have happened. Who had shot the president? Was it part of a larger plot?

An FBI agent showed up saying he'd received a call from J. Edgar Hoover. He immediately produced his credentials and said, "Hoover wanted me to let you know I'm available."

Andy checked his credentials and recorded his commission book number, then directed him to Roy Kellerman. A representative from the CIA appeared a while later, and again Andy followed the procedure. [BK notes: Who from the CIA was at Parkland Hospital?]

(p. 244)...After a short discussion it was decided that for security reasons Kilduff would not publicly announce President Kennedy's death until Vice President Johnson, who was constitutionally now the President of the United States, had left the hospital....

The various options were discussed and Vice President Johnson finally agreed that he and Mrs. Johnson would go to Air Force One, but they would not allow the plane to leave without Mrs. Kennedy.

Back at the entrance to the lobby outside the trauma rooms, where Agent Andy Berger was on post, a tall man in a gray suit had somehow managed to get past the outer security and was barreling his way into the lobby, nearly knocking over a nurse as he shouted, "I'm FBI!"

The man appeared violent and distraught. Yea, right, you're FBI. Before he could get any farther, Andy knocked him to the ground and held him down.

Sprawled on all fours, and enraged but unable to break free, the man growled, "You're not in charge now! What's your name?"

"My name?" Andy asked incredulously as he pressed hard into the man's chest. "What the hell's your name? If you're FBI show me your goddamned indentification!"

It turned out the man was indeed a Dallas FBI agent, but at this point Andy had no respect for him. Every agent - FBI, CIA, Secret Service - knew the protocol, and this guy had completely ignored it.

Andy let the man go but refused to allow him inside. Finally the FBI agent realized he wasn't getting anywhere and angrily walked towards the exit. Glaring at Andy, he yelled, "J. Edgar Hoover will hear about this!"

(p.366): At the end of August, the Democratic National Convention was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Attorney General Robert Kennedy had lobbied to be Lyndon Johnson's vice presidential running mate, but President Johnson was worried that having Kennedy on the ticket would cost him votes in the South. Instead Johnson chose Hubert Humphrey, a U.S. senator from Minnesota. Robert Kennedy was slated to speak at the convention, and there was a great deal of concern that he would cause a disruption. When Jackie Kennedy decided that she too would like to make an appearance to thank the party for all the support they'd given her husband, Clint Hill worked with Nancy Tuckerman and Pamela Turnure, who had been Jackie's press secretary, on the security advance in Atlantic City.

As it turned out, former attorney general Kennedy did not upset the proceedings. When he appeared on stage, he received an uninterrupted standing ovation that lasted nearly twenty minutes, and his heartfelt speech about how much his brother John F. Kennedy had depended on and appreciated the support of the Democratic Part was the highlight of the convention. At the end of the speech he urged the party to offer just as much support to the 1964 candidates, President Lyndon B. Johnson and Hubert Humphrey.

Frank Sinatra's last performance at Skinny D'Amato's 500 Club in Atlantic City was in August, 1964, which should have been the big party renominating John F. Kennedy for his second term in office.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

LBJ Residence - The Elms


LBJ's Residence - The Elms, 4040 52nd Street, Washington, D.C. - Spring Valley
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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AND CODE NAMES (The Kennedy Detail, G.Blaine, p. 406)

Crown - White House –
Valley - Vice President's Residence

Volunteer - Vice President
Victoria - Mrs. Johnson
Velvet - Lynda Johnson
Venus - Lucy Johnson

Duplex - Special Agent In Charge (SAIC) (Jerry) Behn (at the White House)

Dagger - Assistant SAIC Rufus Youngblood (aboard AF1)

Air Force One Radio Transmissions – 11/22/63 Transcript
Reel 2 Side One - Patch 3

- Air Force Once, this is Crown, come in.
- This is Dagger on Air Force One, to Crown.
- Roger. Roger. I have Freedom …I have Witness standing by for a patch.
- We’ll have Witness in one minute. Could we go ahead with traffic for -
- Roger. You have someone calling Behn. Is that a Roger?
- This is Dagger calling Behn.
- Stand by.
- Dagger.
- Duplex is on, go ahead.
- Dagger to Duplex
- This is from Volunteer and Victoria relative to activities tonight.
- Go ahead Dagger, this is Duplex.
- You are aware that we will go to Crown for meeting?
- That is affirmative.
- Go ahead.
- Volunteer will reside at Valley for an indefinite time. I repeat Volunteer will reside at Valley for an indefinite time. Victoria requests…. to go to Valley with agents.
- Will you say again? Will you say again? Venus will go to Valley with agents?
- That is a Roger. Venus will go to Valley with agents.
- Victoria will go to Valley after first going to Crown. Over.
- Victoria will go to Valley after first going to Crown. Okay.
- That’s affirmative.
- Do you also understand that for residential purposes Volunteer will reside at Valley?
- That is affirmative. That is affirmative.
- Alright. That is all the traffic I have. ….you will get.
- Okay, okay.

Reel 2, Side One - Patch 5

- Air Force One. Air Force One, this is Crown, come in.
- Request Victoria … repeat … cance l … for commercial telephones. That is Volunteer and Victoria’s commercial telephones at Valley should be temporarily discontinued and security lines should be put in ,… get ……land…. personnel on that… you understand? Over.
- That’s a Roger, Roger, cancel commercial lines at Valley, at Valley, and install blocker circuits, blocker circuits. Is that a Roger?
- That’s a Roger.
- Roger. Will do.

From: The Kennedy Detail – (Gerald Blaine, Lisa McCubbin, Gallery, S&S, 2010) 256-262


Lyndon B. Johnson was now the President of the United States, but the White House was still the residence of the Kennedy family. Johnson would meet with his staff there as soon as he arrived, but he couldn’t stay the night in the mansion. It wouldn’t be right. Johnson had decided he would stay at his home the Elms until Mrs. Kennedy had time to move out, but this created yet another urgent and unprecedented situation for the Secret Service.

The Elms was located in an upscale neighborhood called Spring Valley, in northwest Washington, D.C., and due to the unusual circumstances, it required an immediate upgrade in security.

Lee Harvey Oswald was in custody in Dallas, but even if he was the man who’d killed President Kennedy, there was still the very real possibility that he was part of a bigger conspiracy to eliminate other government leaders.

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

...At 9:25 P.M. the afternoon shift traveled with President Johnson to the Elms at 4040fifty-second Street, just five minutes from the White House, where Agent Paul Rundle was waiting to brief them on the new security.

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

None of these Kennedy Detail agents had ever been to Johnson’s residence before, so Rundle gave them a quick tour. Every half hour the agents would rotate posts in a counter-clockwise direction, just as they did at the White House – with one major difference. Tonight, along with the .38 caliber revolver each agent always carried, every security post would be armed with a Thompson submachine gun...


NOVEMBER 23, 1963

2:15 A.M.

Standing outside in the pitch-black darkness, Agent Jerry Blaine tried desperately not to yawn. He was on post at the rear corner of President Johnson’s large two-story French chateau-style house close to the back door, and with the exception of the forty-five minute nap in Austin and some catnaps on flights, it had now been nearly sixty hours since he’d had any sleep. Blaine was almost to the point where he was hallucinating.

When he’s taken over from Any Berger just before midnight, the two simply looked at each other without saying anything. What could be said?

Blaine had been at this particular post for about fifteen minutes when he suddenly heard the sound of someone approaching from the clockwise direction. It wasn’t rotation time, and he knew a Kennedy Detail agent would never approach from that direction.

Instinctively Blaine picked up the Thompson submachine gun and activated the bolt on top. The unmistakable sound was similar to racking a shotgun. He firmly pushed the stock into his shoulder, ready to fire. He’d expected the footsteps to retreat with the loud sound of the gun activated on the trigger. Let me see your face, you bastard.

The next instant, there was a face to go with the footsteps.

The new President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, had just rounded the corner. In the blackness of the night, Johnson’s face went completely white.

A split second later, Blaine would have pulled the trigger.

President Johnson looked at Blaine, said nothing, and turned around and went back in the house.

Jesus Christ! I almost shot the new president. What the hell was he coming around the wrong way for?

With all these new security measures put into place that night, in the chaos nobody had thought to inform President Johnson about the standard counterclockwise movement protocol.

Blaine struggled to regain his composure as the reality of what had just happened washed over him. Fourteen hours after losing a president, the nation had come chilling close to losing another one.

The Elms 4040 52nd St. NW DC

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Homes of the Presidents Before They Were Presidents (Scott Anderson)

Lyndon Johnson and John Kennedy

Located just a few blocks from the Nixons' Tilden Street home, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson lived in this gated chauteau-style mansion at 4040 52nd Street, N.W., called "The Elms," while Johnson served as John F. Kennedy's vice president.

The future president reportedly joked that "Every time somebody calls it a chateau, I lose 50,000 votes back in Texas."

He returned to this home the night of November 22, 1963, not long after being sworn in as president following Kennedy's assassination in Dallas earlier that day…

Read more at Suite101: Homes of Presidents Before They Became President: See Where Presidents Lived in D.C. Before Entering the White House

4040 52nd St NW
Washington, DC 20016

Value Range: $5.73M – $9.44M
Bedrooms: 10
Bathrooms: 9
Sqft: 9,116
Lot size: 76,134 sq ft / 1.75 acres
Property type: Single Family
Year built: 1929


This 9116 square foot single family home has 10 bedrooms and 9.0 bathrooms. It is located at 4040 52nd St NW Washington, Washington, DC. The nearest schools are Mann Elementary School, Westland Middle School and W. Wilson Senior High School.

Then apparenly owned by the Algerian government.

Embassy Reception
Venue: Algerian Embassy Residence, The Elms, 4040 52nd Street, NW
Hosted by: H.E. Idriss Jazairy, Ambassador of Algeria

Now owend by the Syrian Arab Republic?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dealey Plaza Echo Analysis - Acoustical Forensics

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Dealey Plaza Echoes


- Acoustical Forensics 101

By William E. Kelly

On November 22, 1963, when shots rang out at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, many witnesses looked for a smoking gun on the grassy knoll, searching for irrefutable evidence of conspiracy and an elusive gunman who didn’t take credit for shooting the president.

Those shots are still reverberating in the halls of justice, where attorneys keep asking for more studies of the acoustical evidence that indicate there were at least four shots, two guns, an ambush and conspiracy to kill the President.

It was four days after Christmas 1978 when a college physics professor was brought into the congressional hearing room and placed under oath. In a cold objective scientific manner he testified about his experiments on the sounds contained on a Dallas police department dictabelt tape.

In summary he told the congressmen, committee counsel and reporters present that, “It is our conclusion, that as a result of a very careful analysis, it appears with a probability of 95 percent or better that there was indeed a shot fired from the grassy knoll.”

The addition of acoustical evidence came early in the course of the House Select Committee on Assassination (HSCA) inquiry when it was discovered that a Dallas police officer kept some memorabilia in an attic trunk, including the dictabelt of police radio broadcasts of November 22, 1963. A study of that tape revealed that a police radio switch was locked on and continually broadcasted for approximately five minutes, during which time the assassination took place.

The HSCA hired an acoustics expert Dr. James Barger, to evaluate the tape to determine if the microphone with the open switch was in Dealey Plaza, and if the sounds of gunshots were on the tape. Dr. Barger, a sonar projects officer at the U.S. Navy Underwater Sound Laboratory, and chief scientist at Bolt, Beranek & Newman, Inc., had previously studied the White House Watergate tapes as well as the recordings of the shootings at Kent State.

In August of 1978 Dr. Barger had microphones set up along Dealey Plaza and recorded the sounds of rifles fired from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository and the grassy knoll. Those recordings were refined, measured on an oscilloscope, and compared to the graphs of the sounds recorded in 1963 by the Dallas Police dictabelt.

When he testified before the HSCA in September 1978, Dr. Barger concluded that 1) the microphone with the open switch was indeed in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination, 2) there is a 97 percent probability that two of the impulses on the tape were caused by gunshots, 3) that there is a 65 percent probability that there are three shots recorded on the tape, and 4) there are indications of a fourth shot, given a 50-50 probability this shot came from the grassy knoll.

In a refined analysis of the one impulse on that tape that Dr. Barger identified as possibly originating from the grassy knoll, two other acoustical experts, Professor Mark Weiss and Mr. Ernest Aschkenasy, were asked to see if they could come up with more precise statistics.

After identifying the location of the microphone, thus reducing their chance of error, they reported that they had increased the probability of a shot originating from the grassy knoll from 50 percent to 95 percent.

What’s more, Weiss testified, their analysis wasn’t the result of some arcane experiments that used imprecise measuring devices, but instead they used principles in physics that could be understood (and thus duplicated) by high school students. Nor did the tests involved any subjective judgments, but were based on everlasting and relatively simple mathematical principles.

“If I were a lawyer,” Weiss testified, “I probably would express it as beyond a reasonable doubt that shot took place.”

Mr. Weiss: “We had no preconceptions as to what we were going to find, if anything. When we first heard the tape recording and began to examine the data, our initial reaction was, somebody has got to be kidding: this can’t be gunshots. But as we examined the data more carefully, subjecting it to all the tests that we have, the results of the analysis convinced us. We did not have any objective other than to do the best we could to find out what these data really represent.”

Mr. Aschkenasy: “The numbers could not be refuted. They just came back again and again the same way, pointing only in one direction, as to what these findings were. There just doesn’t seem to be any way to make these numbers go away, no matter how hard we tried.”

Mr. Weiss: “The principles we used are basically the fundamental principles in acoustics, namely that sound moves out in all directions, it is reflected, and the speed of the sound is constant in whatever direction it may go, so that the farther you are from the source of the sound, the longer it will take for that sound to reach you, whether or not it is the original sound or the reflecting echo.”

“In a situation such as an echo generated in Dealey Plaza, you have reflecting surfaces in the walls of buildings, fences, etc., so if you have a very short, sharp sound, such as a rifle firing, you would hear something like – bang, bang, bang, and diminishing in amplitude as you get echoes over a larger period. If the buildings are the same 15 years later, as they are in Dealey Plaza, and a rifle is shot form exactly the same spot, you would have exactly the same sequence of echoes.”

“These acoustical principles have been established a very long time, they have been known for several hundred years. These are fundamental things in acoustics, the things taught in high school or undergraduate level college physics.”

“Bascially we used a large survey map of Dealey Plaza, on a scale of one inch corresponding to ten feet, a ruler that could be extended, a hand calculator for computing some very simple things, and an oscilloscope for observing the wave shapes of the sounds that we get when we played back the tape recordings, and a device that enabled us to plot these patterns on paper to examine them in very fine detail.”

“The basic idea is that if a sound heard on the police tape was the sound of gunfire, then I ought to be able to find a position for that microphone and a position for that gun such that I could predict a pattern of echoes that would match the sounds to a high degree of accuracy. The graph made by the sound of the shot, and the echoes that were received by the microphone on Dealey Plaza can be likened to fingerprints. The pattern of sounds is unique and that pattern is as much a fingerprint that identifies two things – the location of the sound – the rifle, and the location of the receiver – the microphone.”

“Although they were smudged by noise, we sought to match the fingerprints we had that had been recorded in 1963. We did that match in a numerical way that allowed us to score each match. I could then say that the match of a predicted pattern with the observed pattern is so close that the probability that the sound is something other than a gunshot becomes very small.”

“So we start out to predict what the echo structure would be at various locations at Dealey Plaza by using the simple concept that sound would travel in all directions from a source and that it will reflect off surfaces and travel back. We have become familiar with the acoustical structure of Dealey Plaza by using the map to know where the echo reflecting surfaces are, and we had to know where the source of the sound, where the shooter was.”

“If after diligent searching we could not get a pattern of echoes, a predicted pattern of echoes that would clearly match the impulses visible on the police tape, then we would have to conclude we did not have a shot, or the microphone and/or the shooter was not anywhere near the positions we assumed.”

“Both are variables. So we moved them around, a process of experimentation, trial and error, until we closed in on a set of positions that gave us a reasonable accurate match. We got a set of positions which gave an extremely good match to this early set of echoes, but this set of data was not as good for the other echoes that were out at a distance.”

“The committee asked us if there was any way to take Dr. Barger’s statement of 50-50 percent and move it off center either way, and it really didn’t matter to us which way it moved. We were totally independent. So we adjusted again until the light finally dawned, that we weren’t dealing with a shooter here and a microphone here. We were dealing with a stationary shooter alright, but also with a microphone that was in motion, going down the street – a microphone on a motorcycle in the motorcade.”

“So we started moving the microphone down the street at 11 miles an hour, the speed of the motorcade, now predicting what the echo pattern would be at every position. As soon as we started doing that, it became obvious immediately that we could quite easily find positions for the rifle and the motorcycle.”

“In fact, there are 22 peaks for which I can predict an echo path that will match it to within one-thousandth of a second, a terrific fit to begin with. Once we knew approximately where everything was, we then tried to adjust positions, and we found that if you moved the shooter five feet you could compensate for the initial moving of the microphone by about one foot and get a range of fit of prediction to greater than one millisecond.”

At that point in the proceedings, one of the committee counsel asked, “So the only two locations in Dealey Plaza which would produce this echo pattern would be a microphone moving at 11 miles per hour within about one foot of a designated spot approximately 120 feet behind the president’s limo, and a rifle firing from the grassy knoll within an area five foot in circumference?”

Mr. Weiss: “That is correct.”

G. Robert Blakey: “The results of the acoustical project not only led the committee to reexamine the FBI firing data, but it also led us to look for a motorcycle policeman about 120 feet behind the president’s limo, to the left side of the road, with a microphone on the left handlebar that had a faulty switch.”

“Ultimately, the committee found film coverage of a motorcycle policeman on Houston Street several car lengths behind the president’s limo as it turned in front of the Texas School Book Depository, from Houston onto Elm, the place that the acoustical experts suggested it would be. The officer riding the motorcycle was identified as H.B. McLain, who rode 120-180 feet – five to seven car lengths behind the president’s limo, who was on the left side of the motorcade, with a microphone, unlike other Dallas police motorcycles, mounted on the left handlebar. Officer McLain testified before the committee that his microphone also stuck open quite frequently without his knowledge.”

“It is hard to imagine this could be an accident,” Weiss testified, “but you can’t express it in those terms. There is noise, motorcycle engine noise, electrical noise, static coming in, so we excluded from consideration anything that was at that level. We took into account everything that might affect the accuracy of our predictions. We took into account the map’s accuracy, the temperature, the change in architecture of the Plaza, distortion of the microphone and transmitter, static produced by the recorder, and if there is any weakness in the results of our analysis it has escaped us entirely. Anything that would have significant impact on the measurements we have made would be contrary to anything I can imagine.”

Mr. Weiss: “This procedure has nothing to do with human responses or interpretations, such as a polygraph, which may vary from one observer and evaluator to another. This is pure, basic physics and geometry.”

“The impulses we studied couldn’t have been produced by a motorcycle backfire because it has a visible supersonic shockwave preceding it, and even if a motorcycle backfire could produce such a shockwave, that motorcycle as up there on the grassy knoll behind the stockade fence in Dealey Plaza.”

Dr. Barger: “Once we checked the procedures used by Professor Weiss, their parameters and their echo-producing objects, we received from them the results of their match. Drs. Kalikow, Rhyne, and Mr. Schmidt and I, at Bolt, Beranek and Newman, reviewed their results, and we concluded they had successfully achieved a match having a high correlation coefficient, with a plus or minus of one-one-thousandth of a second error for each match. Whereas we had used a plus or minus six one-thousands of a second error, a larger acceptance window, because we didn’t know where the motorcycle was exactly. The effect of reducing this acceptance window is to greatly reduce the likelihood that noise bursts that occur could mimic the fingerprint of a shot from any place and received at that microphone. It reduces it very substantially.”

Mr. Aschkenasy: “If there are any other sounds which resemble sounds produced by a bullet in a supersonic flight followed by the sound of muzzle blast, then they must be considered, but I don’t know that there are.”

“If someone were to tell me that the microphone that picked up that impulse was not at Dealey Plaza, and that in fact it was transmitting from another location, then I would go there and expect to find a replica of Dealey Plaza at that location. That is the only way it can come out.”

Representative Louis Stokes, Chairman of the committee, told Weiss that his testimony might very well “change the course of history.”

Stokes told Weiss, “as a scientist you are aware of the enormous impact that your testimony has here today, because if the committee accepts your testimony, the committee accepts, in effect, the fact that on that particular day in 1963 when the President was assassinated, there were two shooters in Dealey Plaza.”

Although most of the HSCA members were impressed with the acoustical evidence, Rep. Robert Edgar (R. Pa.) asked Dr. Author Lord, a physics professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, to listen to the acoustic expert’s testimony and evaluate their presentation. Dr. Lord later said, “Weiss and Aschkenasy did a nice job. They used a neat technique, I guess you’d call it acoustical forensic pathology, but it’s never been done before. They look good, but there’s no precedent for it.”

Longtime critics of the official inquiries were also skeptical of the acoustical findings. They warned that the acoustics could be a red herring, and draw attention away from other, even more significant evidence. They reason that if the HSCA base its conspiracy conclusion only on the acoustical evidence, and the acoustical experts who restudy the evidence disagree, they can then eliminate the reason for instigating a proper investigation of all the evidence.

The acoustical evidence isn’t the only evidence of conspiracy, and it isn’t probative evidence that bears on the identity of those responsible for the crime, but it is objective, scientific evidence that can be duplicated and confirmed, and used to help convince those with the authority to instigate a proper criminal investigation.

After the Justice Department asked the National Science Foundation (NSF) to evaluate the acoustical tests, a $23,000 grant was awarded to a team of scientists to evaluate the previous studies done by Barger, Weiss and Aschkenasy. The director of this task force was Harvard University physics professor Norman S. Ramsey.

At the same time, Barbara Jorgenson of the Academy of Sciences said the results of these studies of the acoustical evidence “is not going to end the controversy. This is only going to answer one small part.”

The acoustical study is only one small part of all the available evidence, the relevancy and meaning of which is questionable, but it is the only officially funded study (up to that time), and was the last report due before the Congress and Justice Department were to take any further action.

This “hot potato” became a time-bomb as the acoustical tapes and scientific reports filtered down through government agency channels.

The “red herring” theory began to take effect first, when the FBI released a report in December, 1980, even though they weren’t asked for their opinion. The FBI stated the HSCA acoustics experts did not show that the gunshots were on the dictabelt or that other sounds originating in Dealey Plaza were recorded on it.

In an interview with the Dallas Morning News reporter Earl Golz, Blakey called the FBI study a “sophomoric” analysis, and “irrelevant because they critiqued something we didn’t do….they didn’t have an understanding of the uniqueness of the acoustical pattern of Dealey Plaza and the probability that the shots heard on the tapes were fired there.”

Over a year went by before the contract for the study was awarded, and another year would come and go before the Ramsey group’s report was due. After breaking two deadlines, it seemed like they would release it whenever they agreed on a conclusion, and that didn’t seem likely to happen quickly.

Although Ramsey himself wouldn’t comment on his study until it was finished and released, one member of the Ramsey task force, University of California physics professor Luis W. Alverez, said he strongly disagreed with the method by which the HSCA acoustical expert James E. Barger found a gunshot sound from the grassy knoll.
Facilited by the production and release of a plastic 45 rpm recording of the tape by Gallery, a girlie magazine, amateur electronics sleuth were not discouraged from offering their opinions either, and Anthony J. Pellicano, Gary Mack and Steve Barber all submitted their analysis to the acoustical teams. Pellicano pointed out some inconsistences on the tape, including the sound of a carillion bell. Mack responded with the fact that there were two such bells near Dealey Plaza in 1963, but they are no longer there today.

Steve Barber, a drummer from Mansfield, Ohio also sparked controversy by noting that on the tape there’s the broadcast of Dallas County Sheriff Bill Decker, saying, “send all my available men up there to the railroad…” over the radio approximately 30 seconds after leaving Dealey Plaza, which forced Barber to conclude the sounds on the tapes were not recorded in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination.

Others have attributed this to “cross talk” where the tape skips.

When former HSCA chief counsel G. Robert Blakey was asked about the new studies, he responded by saying, “It’s almost diabolical, it’s outrageous what they are doing. They have put the acoustical evidence in a process that is guaranteed to raise questions about it. No scientist worth his salt is even going to come in and say everything is perfect. The typical way that scientists do things is to find things that are wrong.”

Instead of following standard scientific procedure for authenticating test results by duplicating the previous tests to see if the same results can be independently obtained, the Ramsey group studied the HSCA acoustical reports prepared by Barger, Weiss and Aschkenasy, and sat back and criticized it.

Even though the HSCA acoustical experts said that most high school physics students could duplicate their experiments with an oscilloscope and a calculator, the $24,000 Ramsey study never conducted any such experiments to confirm or refute the original HSCA tests.

Before it was even released, Blakey called the Ramsey report “a great study of a study.” He predicted that, “The ball will be handled so that it will be back in the Congress’ lap and the Department of Justice will have gotten out from it entirely. Nothing else is going to be done about it. They just want this case to die.”

Congressman Edgar’s consultant, Dr. Lord of Drexel, said that the acoustical studies must be done over a long period of time. “The analogy that the acoustics is like a fingerprint is good, but you can’t say that on the basis of seeing one fingerprint that all fingerprints are different.”

Well there are now a number of case studies worth considering, including Kent State and new recordings found of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, as well as a tape of the shotgun death of Oswald’s friend George DeMohrenschildt, as well as the March, 1981 attempted assassination of President Reagan.

Accoustical forensic pathology – it’s new, it’s interesting, it’s worth studying, but Justice shouldn’t rest on it, and as evidence in a homicide, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor, at least until more tests are done.

“If this were an active, current case, they wouldn’t be taking this kind of time,” Blakey said. “They just want this thing to die. They want to cloud it with enough uncertainty and questions that it will not continue to be a matter that is of concern to people.”

“There was a conspiracy to kill my president, and yours, and for some reason that entirely escapes me, people don’t want to investigate it further.”


Barger Report:

Testimony of Weiss and Aschkenasy:

Weiss and Aschkenasy Report:

Testimony of H. B. McLain:

HSCA Report: - analysis

NAS Ramsey Report:

Don Thomas :

Don Thomas : Echo Correlation Analysis

Don Thomas Overview: (3 parts)

Washington Post (George Lardner, 2001) :

Wiki Links:

Dale Myers:

More Myers: - entry212818

Michael O’Dell :

J.C. Bowles :