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.