Well folks, I drafted this the other day and thought it had posted…apparently not, so I’ll try it again. If you somehow saw the earlier version great,…if not,
In the “No Defense” post, I pointed out the problems associated with the fact that there was never any actual legal challenge to the evidence placed into the Warren Commission record. No defense attorney was able to raise issues relating to chains of possession, much less to bring in professionals to cross examine the Commission staff or the FBI personnel did tests and provided material and “expert” testimony to the Commission. Of course the Commissioners themselves realized the extent to which they were at the mercy of the FBI, we have documents recording that fact and other meeting notes which reflect their skepticism that Director Hoover could be trusted to share everything he knew with them, especially as it pertained to Lee Oswald.
But if we look a bit further back in time, we find an even more fundamental issue with the FBI’s investigation. We find that on Saturday morning, November 23, Director Hoover issued a Bureau wide advisory that “Lee Harvey Oswald has been developed as the principal suspect in the assassination of President Kennedy…in view of developments all offices should resume normal contacts with informants.” Basically, the open ended investigation of the President’s murder, covering all types of classes of informants and sources, had lasted not quite a full day. From that point on, the Bureau would of course take calls and leads and respond to them – but in most cases unless a lead could quickly be tied to Lee Oswald, it would get fairly short shift. When we look more broadly at other federal murder cases, we find that is not too atypical, once the Bureau can tie physical evidence to a real person, they focus their resources on making the case against the suspect. That support may go to Justice Department prosecutors or even to State or City officials, but their role becomes one of support for the prosecution.
Now that was Saturday morning – on the next day, Sunday the 24th, senior FBI officer Alan Belmont wrote a memo to Deputy Director Tolson. The memo concluded that Oswald was the sole person involved in the murder and that the investigation was essentially complete (in something less than two days – many people might consider that a bit of a rush). Tolson went on to describe a process in which a report would be prepared which would set forth the items of evidence which would make it clear that Oswald was the man who had killed JFK.
We’ve all seen loads of TV shows where diligent investigators carry on for weeks, months, even years, accumulating evidence – but if you think about it, most of those shows are about private investigators working for the defendant, their lawyers, families, friends, etc. And in all those shows, the prosecutor is trying to convict an innocent person (often someone framed by the real bad people). And the defense attorneys are always going to the Judge saying they need more time and asking for trial postponements. As we know, none of that is applicable to Lee Oswald or the case against him. But while I’m at it, can anybody post an example of when law enforcement has actually detected that someone had been framed? I’ve found a few examples but in those cases the “frame” was ferreted out by people supporting the defendant.
Of course, as far as I can tell, neither the Bureau or the Warren Commission ever considered the possibility that there might have been a “frame” relating to Lee Oswald? But maybe I’ve missed it (or forgotten it; I’ve been doing this way too long). Help is always welcome.
So, we have an investigation that after 24 hours was focused by the Director of the FBI (and earlier by the new President but that’s another story) strictly on Lee Oswald, a conclusion after less than 48 hours that Oswald and only Oswald was involved and that a report would be prepared presenting the evidence to support that conclusion. The report was drafted in a matter of weeks but the the conclusion and evidence began being leaked to the press in only a matter of days. Something that would have upset any trial Judge, if there had been one.
Open investigation closed in 24 hours/focus of investigation directed solely towards Lee Oswald, conclusion reached in 48 hours. Evidence assembled strictly to support conclusion. Evidence not challenged or professionally tested by experts in a trial environment.
Is it just me or don’t we have some sort of systemic problem with the evidence?