Folks, I hope someone is making a list of these…we need to have it handy for all those folks you talk to on the 50th anniversary of the assassination.
The point in play is that over the 48-72 hours following the murder, there were a lot of things going on that LIFE magazine did not cover in its various assassination issues. Those things would undoubtedly have come up in a trial, with good defense counsel, meaning that they did involve some considerable risk for those involved. Here’s another one…
During the conversation with Johnson on Saturday morning, Director Hoover pointed out that the evidence against Oswald was “not very. very strong” and clearly stated it might be hard to get a conviction (can you picture that in a LIFE magazine issue). This was some 12 hours after Oswald had been charged (with murder, but not conspiracy, that first version of the charges had been torn up and discarded). Yet within only hours of that conversation Hoover issued a directive that Oswald had been identified as the principal suspect and all offices should cease aggressive, proactive development of informants.
Now that’s all well and good but lets think about that evidence issue for a moment, so its Saturday morning, the autopsy is over, most of the primary evidence is back in DC and Hoover is not yet comfortable with the case against Oswald. So what clinches matters? Well there are a number of things, such as the bullet fragment matching (which is now a an officially rejected forensics technique) but a big item was the infamous CE399, the “magic bullet” carried from Parkland, found on a stretcher there. To a large extent, the Warren Commission based their shooting scenario, hence their finding of Oswald as the sole shooter, on their version of CE399’s trajectory (and the fact that it was a MC bullet).
But what should make the average person perk up their ears, is hearing that the highly specialized Army Wounds Ballistic Board concluded that the scenario (of the bullet going through JFK and causing all of the governor’s wounds) was simply impossible. They based that on both extensive shooting tests and on repeated viewings of the Zapruder film (aside from unknown parties who carried the film to NPIC, the panel probably spent more time with the film than anyone else). The WC presented the panel’s report as supporting their findings but somehow neglected to include it as a Commission exhibit. The two lead Doctors on the panel stated flatly that CE399 could not have been the bullet that hit the governors wrist; the only person to disagree with that position was the individual who summarized their work for the WC, Arlen Specter.
Ponder that at then consider the following – the individual who recovered the bullet at Parkland and another who saw it there say that CE399 is not the bullet they handled (Mark Oakes got their statements on videotape). They saw a sharp nosed, hunting bullet…not a blunt nosed military round. The FBI agent who was given the bullet at Parkland has stated stated that he cannot confirm it as CE399. Secret Service Chief Rowley stated he could not identify the bullet given to him by the Dallas agent as CE399. Yet the agent who received the bullet from Rowley says that indeed what he was given is CE399.
Now if I were a skeptical person, I might just wonder if someone tried to improve the evidence against Oswald but bringing a MC bullet into the game…perhaps not realizing that it was not going to pass muster as the bullet which ended up having to bear the responsibility for some many wounds.
Seems like an issue that might raise a few eyebrows next year.
PS. Thanks to Russ for catching the needed edits…