One of the constants in the discussion of the JFK assassination is the desire for names. Names of those who knew of a conspiracy before the attack, names heard afterwards, the names of the organizers, of those who went to Dallas for the ambush. And of course names have emerged over fifty plus years. Perhaps most importantly, names were even given to official bodies dealing with the assassination.
The challenges in dealing with names are many. It’s as critical to vet the credibility of the sources as it is to explore the names themselves, not just to verify that they are of real people but to test whether they make sense in terms of an “operational context” – in other words can they be associated with each other, do their common motives make sense and in particular do they actually have any recorded history with each other or with what we have learned about the nature of the actual attack on President Kennedy in Dallas.
Most recently, during the tenure of the ARRB, a source confidentially brought names of individuals to the attention of that body – assuming that they would be investigated and certainly assuming that they (and he) would never be disclosed to the public. Those assumptions proved to be wrong, the ARRB paid virtually no attention to the names or to him as a source, and the materials he submitted were disclosed in the public release of ARRB documents.
The source was Gene Wheaton, the names were those of a long time CIA paramilitary officer and a well-known anti-Castro fighter. Thanks to documents on the MFF site, a basic verification of his information was possible and in the end he was shown his own documents and asked for comments in an interview conducted by my friend William Law. After many years that interview is now on line.
I’ve written and presented at length on Wheaton and his experience with the ARRB so I won’t belabor that here. What is most significant is that the names Wheaton provided were not of the conspiracy participants themselves, but of individuals who quite confidentially discussed knowing that people they had worked with and trained had been involved in the attack on JFK. Given that the two men known to Wheaton refused to talk further, we are left with the research challenge of determining the names of individuals who would fit the profile given to us by the remarks heard by Wheaton. And that requires an in depth understanding of the assignments and activities individuals involved in anti-Castro operations during the period of 1960-1963. Initially that seemed like an impossible task, however with much plodding, grunt level work over the years – and some striking new documents finds by my friend David Boylan – we are at the point where we now have that detail.
Equally importantly, that research has disclosed that the names which surface in the Wheaton research have connections to information provided earlier to the HSCA. HSCA sources and investigators surfaced information from John Martino and Rolando Otero, both of whom held secondary knowledge about the attack in Dallas, information which they could only have obtained from individuals deep within the conspiracy. And as it turns out, our newest research discloses a number of connections between the names which emerge from all three sources – Wheaton, Martino and Otero.
Beyond the names themselves, the history of the individuals who emerge from the sources and the research reveals a level of covert operational association over several years. It shows a group of individuals involved in high risk missions involving paramilitary operations – including extremely well planned and organized sniper attacks – and the commonality of commitment and risk taking that would be necessary to a conspiracy to murder a President. And it demonstrates that those individuals could well have had the degree of mutual trust, solidarity and confidence in each other to come together in such a task. All of which is surprising because certain of their associations were completely unknown, even as recently as a couple of years ago.
Putting these connections and associations together is an ongoing task but we now have the data, organizing and presenting it in a structured form (which extensive citation) is the real challenge. And for those interested, that will first surface in my presentation at the JFK Lancer conference in November.
I hope to see many of you there.