In the context of thoughts on evidence and methodology, one of the subjects that has to emerge is that of the “cover-up”.  If you have read SWHT and my detailed (some might say “plodding”) study of that subject in Chapter 15 I’m not going to belabor any detail here but you know that I come down separating the coverup from the conspiracy.

I do so by trying to separating what I call “suppression” from “cover-up”.  The calls to Dallas from DC ordering that no charges of conspiracy be filed were clearly suppression of an investigation of conspiracy.  Johnson’s refusal to respond to Hoover’s Saturday morning phone call about Oswald being impersonated in Mexico City certainly suggests a desire to suppress probing for conspiracy.   Along with suppression goes what I call “management”, simply the process of moving to the side anything that smacks too strongly of conspiracy – its like the old school movies, only what is actually in front of the camera counts (obviously today what is in front of the camera is only part of the film).  As far as the Warren Committee inquiry went, if something is causing you problems (let’s say its a professional ballistics panel that absolutely states that in no way could CE399 have done what the WC shooting scenario claims it did, you simply have your staff guy write a memo concluding differently and you bury the thing so nobody sees it.)

Now all that does not mean you are literally covering up a conspiracy that you know the details of, it means you are suppressing any real investigation of one even if you suspect it.  And it means you simply control the record, something that is quite doable (especially if the evidence never had to face a legal challenge).

Of course now we know that many people in positions of authority did worry about conspiracy and some did some digging on their on – one of the most interesting to me is the investigation that was covertly ordered at JMWAVE, using the AMOTS (US Cuban intelligence service) to check out possible Cuban exile involvement in the assassination of the President.  We now know it was ordered, we even know some of the details of what was probed – but the report disappeared and station chief Shackley actually lied, stating that the JFK investigation was not assigned to the CIA so he had not done any inquires.  The HSCA chided him for negligence, they didn’t know then that he had lied to them.

But wait – how can I say there was no cover-up, what about Oswald?   Absolutely right, there were cover-ups, and they not only happened in 1964 but they still continue.  Not in the sense that somebody has a full investigative report of the details of the conspiracy stashed away though (I wish).

Both the CIA and FBI and the ONI covered up contacts and monitoring of Lee Oswald.  We know that, we just don’t know the full extent of what they covered up.  And given recent legal efforts by Mr. Jefferson Morley you can be sure they are still quite dedicated about not disclosing things they had on record about Oswald.

The Secret Service covered up known threats against JFK in 1963, in Chicago and elsewhere.  And they were still destroying trip records for that period when instructed not to by the ARRB.  JFK was at risk, they had some idea who from but they failed to protect him, probably innocently but not something you want on the record.

So, my thought is that its best to be careful with words and not paint with a broad brush.  Separate the suppression and management from the actual coverup and you begin to see what actually waht was known from what nobody dared to pursue….why is of course yet another story.









About Larry Hancock

Larry Hancock is a leading historian-researcher in the JFK assassination. Co-author with Connie Kritzberg of November Patriots and author of the 2003 research analysis publication titled also Someone Would Have Talked. In addition, Hancock has published several document collections addressing the 112th Army Intelligence Group, John Martino, and Richard Case Nagell. In 2000, Hancock received the prestigious Mary Ferrell New Frontier Award for the contribution of new evidence in the Kennedy assassination case. In 2001, he was also awarded the Mary Ferrell Legacy Award for his contributions of documents released under the JFK Act.

3 responses »

  1. rich schrader says:

    It’s likely that Johnson feared pressure to invade Cuba, if the evidence, real or planted led to Castro. It’s also possible he didn’t want a full-throttle investigation given what he knew superficially. Conspiracy planners would have counted on that.

    The strongest example of a lets-end-the-discussion cover-up is the manner in which Johnson (and Warren) handled the three dissenting members of the WC. Their questions regarding the ballistic evidence and possible other shooters were largely ignored. In addition, the staff’s inquiry into Ruby’s background was hurried and ultimately curtailed. And much of the very fruitful DeMohrenshild testimony was ignored. How do you think a Presidentially-appointed commission (say, a fantasy/liberated Obama’s 2nd term), equipped with new evidence from AARB , especially the strong FBI material, would fare?

    • Rich, I do think Johnson feared pressure on Cuba, especially as so much was planted pointing in that direction. New information from the FBI agent sent down to Mexico City supports the view that the response from DC was to suppress any investigations, not pursue them. But when you dig a little deeper and begin to understand CIA operations in Mexico City it gets even more interesting.

      Truthfully we have only been digging in the documents about Mexico City long enough to begin to realize the complexity of the situation on Mexico City and I put a lot of that into NEXUS. You find JMWAVE running its own operations in MC apart from the the CIA station, while doing training for station personnel such as the surveillance and tape teams. You find Angleton with his own operation, trying to compartmentalize CI from the station chief. Many games running simultaneously there. And now that we understand a lot more about how the telephone taps were run we understand more about the Oswald impersonation calls, the sort of questions that Johnson would have to have pursued with the CIA after Hoover told him Oswald had been impersonated. And when you get to that point you find that it certainly was not the Cubans doing the impersonation and implicating themselves…which leads you into some scary territory where it might not be good to go at all on about November 23/24, 1963.

      As to a new Presidential Commission, I don’t think it would fare much better than the HSCA unless you change the model. Now if the President were to go to the Justice Department and order a criminal investigation of conspiracy (not just murder so its not all about whether or not Lee Oswald pulled the trigger or not), then you might get somewhere. Justice is a lot more sophisticated in conspiracy investigations than they were some decades ago – and if you brought in come crack criminal investigators and offered them all the standard tools including doing deals for leniency or even better, immunity from prosecution then you might get somewhere. But it has to be a conspiracy investigation with criminal staff, no other configuration would stand a chance…at least that’s my opinion. Oh and while you are at it, throw in a charter to pursue the question of obstruction of justice or perjury by several people offering in evidence to the WC, including the autopsy team – just to liven things up.

      • rich schrader says:

        Good thought — conspiracy investigation plus a serious review of evidence to get a finding of obstruction of justice. Of course, as in all else these days, the politics are daunting…

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