Text Box: Where the FBI and the Secret Service Were Culpable in Kennedy’s Assassination

“There was insufficient liaison…between the Secret Service and other Federal agencies…Although the FBI…had secured considerable information about Lee Harvey Oswald, it had no official responsibility, under the Secret Service criteria existing at the time of the President’s trip to Dallas, to refer to the Secret Service the information it had. The Commission concluded, however, that the FBI took an unduly restrictive view of its role….
“At the time of the trip to Dallas, the Secret Service as a matter of practice did not investigate, or cause to be checked, any building along the motorcade route….
“On Nov. 4 [FBI man] Hosty telephoned the Texas School Book Depository and learned that Oswald was working there…. Agents of the FBI in Dallas did not consider Oswald’s presence in the Texas School Book Depository Building overlooking the motorcade route as a source of danger to the President and did not inform the Secret Service….” —The Warren Report (at pps. 24, 438, and 443).







The Left and the Warren Commission Report

I. F. Stone

I. F. Stone’s Weekly
Vol. XII, NO. 33, October 5, 1964
Washington, D.C. 15 Cents

      All my adult life as a newspaperman I have been fighting in defense of the Left and of a sane politics, against conspiracy theories of history, character assassination, guilt by association and demonology. Now I see elements of the Left using these same tactics in the controversy over the Kennedy assassination and the Warren Commission Report. I believe the Commission has done a first-class job, on a level that does our country proud and is worthy of so tragic an event. I regard the case against Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone killer of the President as conclusive. By the nature of the case, absolute certainty will never be attained, and those still convinced of Oswald’s innocence have a right to pursue the search for evidence which might exculpate him. But I want to suggest that this search be carried on in a sober manner and with full awareness of what is involved.

Text Box: They Finally Listed Rightists

“When the special file [in the Protective Research Section of the Secret Service] was reviewed on Nov. 8 [for the President’s trip], it contained the names of no persons from the entire Dallas-Ft. Worth area, notwithstanding the fact that Ambassador Stevenson had been abused by pickets in Dallas less then a month before…(pps. 432–3).
“Since the assassination, both the Secret Service and the FBI have recognized that the PRS files can no longer be limited largely to persons communicating actual threats to the President. On Dec. 25, 1963, the FBI circulated additional instructions to all its agents, specifying criteria for information to be furnished the Secret Service…. The new instructions require FBI agents to report immediately information concerning:
“Subversives, ultrarightists, racists and fascists (a) possessing emotional instability or irrational behavior, (b) who have made threats of bodily harm against officials… (c) who express or have expressed strong or violent anti-US sentiments and who have been involved in bombing…” (p. 461).
			—The Warren Commission Report.









Slander, Not Controversy
    It is one thing to analyze discrepancies. It is quite another to write and speak in just that hysterical and defamatory way from which the Left has suffered in the last quarter century or more of political controversy. I want to start with my dear and revered friend, Bertrand Russell. He owes it to all of us who have looked to him as a world spokesman of the peace movement, as a great philosopher and humanitarian, to speak more responsibly on this subject, It was not responsible, on the basis of a transatlantic phone call from Mark Lane, to attack the report as “a sorrily incompetent document” which “covers its authors in shame” without having first read it. This is on a par, in its febrile prejudgment, with Lord Russell’s earlier statement comparing Lane’s defense of Oswald with Zola’s defense of Dreyfus, and declaring, “There has never been a more subversive, conspiratorial, unpatriotic or endangering course for the security of the United States and the world than the attempt by the U.S. Government to hide the murderers of its recent President.” This assumes instead of proving. It is slander, not controversy.
    Statements of this kind imply not just one but three conspiracies. One was a conspiracy to kill the President. The second was a conspiracy to kill Oswald lest he talk. The third is a conspiracy by the Warren Commission to hush up the facts. These are monstrous charges, and cannot honorably be made on the basis of surmise. Russell’s American advisers have fed him not evidence but misstatement and poppycock. The Warren Commission was chosen to provide a bipartisan body which would command the widest public respect. Russell calls it “utterly unrepresentative of the American people.” This is nonsense. The two Democrats chosen from either House of Congress, Senator Russell of Georgia and Congressman Boggs of Louisiana, are highly respected even by those who disagree with them. Lord Russell dismisses them as men “whose racist views have brought shame on the United States.” What do their typical Southern prejudices have to do with their probity? Russell dismisses the two Republicans as “Senator Cooper of Kentucky and Congressman Gerald L. Ford of Michigan, the latter of whom is a leader of his local Goldwater movement and an associate of the FBI.” Ford is chairman of the House Republican Conference. He is supporting his party’s ticket in this election but far from being “a leader of his local Goldwater movement” he nominated Romney for President at the Republican convention in the hope of stopping Goldwater. He denies any association with the FBI and there is no evidence of any such link. John Sherman Cooper in the Senate in 1954, when every Democratic liberal Senator except Kefauver lost his nerve, made the one uncompromisingly principled speech against the Anti-Communist Act passed in that year. There never was a more dangerous year in which to stand up against hysteria. I knew John J. McCloy during the war as a public servant of unusual competence. I have criticized Allen W. Dulles constantly over the years. But I would not impute to him or any other member of the Commission conduct so evil as to conspire with the secret services to protect the killers of a President. This is also to assume that Chief Justice Warren, whom the right hates for his decisions protecting Negroes and radicals, would be a party to a conspiracy to protect a cabal of rightist assassins.

Text Box: The Metal Files That Never Were

“Oswald’s apartment, too, was filled with fascinating things. Besides the batches of leaflets with the legend ‘Hands Off Cuba’ and bearing the unauthorized imprint of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, police found seven metal file boxes filled with names of Castro sympathizers. How did he manage, in so short a time, to compile so extensive a list?”
			—Oswald and the FBI (The Nation, Jan. 27).

“Commission finding—The Dallas police inventories of Oswald’s property taken from his room at 1026 North Beckley avenue do not include any file boxes. A number of small file boxes listed in the inventory as having been taken from the Paine residence in Irving contained letters, pictures, book and literature, most of which belonged to Ruth Paine, not to Oswald. No lists of names of Castro sympathizers were found among these effects.”
			—The Warren Commission Report, p. 666.









This Is Demonology
    This is what I call demonology, and this is what has so often been used against the Left. Demonology is the notion that because a man disagrees with you politically, he must be impervious to honor, duty, patriotism, and mercy—in short a demon, i.e. all of one piece, black evil, and not a human being, i.e. fill of contradictions. Demonology also implies that such a person is fair game for any libel or slander, since ipso facto beyond the pale of decency. This is the standard applied by the House Un-American Activities Committee and the Eastland Committee and McCarthy before them to the Left-wingers. It is no less evil when applied to the right. Here is a sample from Joachim Joesten’s book, “Oswald: Assassin or Fall-Guy.” To provide a motive for the conspiracy he alleges, Joesten writes:
    “Cuba sticks in the craw of the CIA. The fiasco of the Bay of Pigs cost Allen Dulles his job. Moreover, once Kennedy began a policy of easing the Cold War, some of the CIA, like much of the Pentagon, would be dismantled and the agency brought under presidential control. I am sure there are men in the CIA, just as there are General Walkers in the army, who simply couldn’t accept this situation and who thought of Kennedy as a traitor. And traitors are executed.”

Text Box: The Kind of False Rumors That Might Have Provoked Armed Action Against Cuba

“Literally dozens of allegations of a conspiratorial contact between Oswald and agents of the Cuban government have been investigated by the Commission…‘D’, a young Latin American secret agent approached the U.S. authorities in Mexico shortly after the assassination and declared that he saw Lee Harvey Oswald receiving $6500 to kill the President…‘D’ and his allegations were immediately subjected to intensive investigation. His former employment as an agent for a Latin American country was confirmed, although his superiors had no knowledge of his presence in Mexico or the assignment described by ‘D’. Four days after ‘D’ first appeared the U. S. Government was informed by Mexican authorities that ‘D’ had admitted in writing that his whole narrative about Oswald was false….
“The investigation of the Commission has thus produced no evidence that Oswald’s trip to Mexico was in any way connected with the assassination of President Kennedy, nor has it uncovered evidence that the Cuban government had any involvement in the assassination. To the contrary, the Commission has been advised by the CIA and FBI that secret and reliable sources corroborate the statements of Senora Duran [a Mexican national employed in the visa section of the Cuban consulate in Mexico City] in all material respects and that the Cuban government had no relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald other than that described by Senora Duran….
“Speculation—on Nov. 27, 1963, in a speech at the University of Havana, Fidel Castro, under the influence of liquor, said ‘The first time that Oswald was in Cuba…’ Castro therefore had knowledge that Oswald had made surreptitious visits to Cuba.
Commission findings—Castro’s speeches are monitored directly by the U.S. Information Agency as he delivers them. A tape of this speech reveals that it did not contain the alleged slip of the tongue. Castro did refer to Oswald’s visit to the ‘Cuban Embassy’ in Mexico….
			The Warren Report, at pps. 307–9 and 659.













This is libellous in the extreme. It implies that Allen Dulles would be a party to killing Kennedy and hushing up the truth because he lost his job after the Bay of Pigs. Such charges, as sloppy as they are wild, are dishonorable and dissolve the fabric of society. They seek to destroy a man’s reputation on the basis of evil surmise and guilt by association. People on the Left ought to recall the all too recent past before allowing themselves to be drawn into folly by such tactics.
    The Joesten book is rubbish, and Carl Marzani—whom I defended against loose charges in the worst days of the witch hunt—ought to have had more sense of public responsibility than to publish it. Thomas G. Buchanan, another victim of witch hunt days, has gone in for similar rubbish in his book, “Who Killed Kennedy?” You couldn’t convict a chicken thief on the flimsy slap-together of surmise, half-fact and whole untruth in either book. Here again elementary fairness is involved. The Joesten book implies that the rightist Texas oil millionaire H. L. Hunt was involved in the plot to kill Kennedy. Buchanan names an oilman he calls Mr. X. This imputes murder to a man whose views we dislike, and does so without evidence of any kind. Buchanan writes as if he were penning a whodunit. “I believe the murder of the President,” says Buchanan, “was provoked, primarily, by fear of the domestic and international consequences of the Moscow Pact: The danger of disarmament which would disrupt the industries on which the plotters depended and of an international détente which would, in their view, have threatened the eventual nationalization of their oil investments overseas.” And the whole commission, from Chief Justice Warren down, and its whole staff, and the vast network of the police, the FBI, and CIA and the Secret Service all conspired to keep this secret? Not one man felt impelled by conscience to break out and tell the truth? People who believe such things belong in the booby-hatch.

Text Box: A Whopper of Neo-Nazi Origin

“The Enquirer story goes on to say that the Dallas police suspected Oswald and Ruby of being involved in an attack on General Walker, and was going to arrest thte two when the FBI intervened and asked the police not to do so for ‘reasons of state.’ The police agreed only upon receipt of an official communication from the FBI. While the National Enquirer is not the most reliable newspaper in the world, the story bears inner marks of authenticity because the recipient of that FBI letter was, of course, Chief of Pllice Curry, who leaked it to reported Henshaw.”
	—Joachim Joesten: Oswald: Assassin or Fall Guy? (Marzani & Munsell) 1964. Page 124.

“Commission finding—This allegation appeared in the November 29 issue of (actually printed on Nov. 25 or 26) of a German weekly newspaper, Deutsche National Zeitung and Soldaten Zeitung published in Munich [Germany’s leading neo-Nazi organ—IFS]. The allegation later appeared in the National Enquirer of May 17, 19764. The Commission has been reliably informed that the statement was fabricated by an editor of the newspaper. No evidence in support of this statement has ever been advanced or uncovered. In their investigation of the attack on General Walker, the Dallas police uncovered no suspects and planned no arrests. The FBI had no knowledge that Oswald was responsible for the attack until Marina Oswald revealed the information on Dec. 3, 1963.”
	The Warren Commission Report, Appendix XII: Speculations and Rumors, p. 662.











Gen. Walker Also Cries Whitewash
    If the FBI and the CIA were so powerful, why didn’t they take advantage of the murder by a supposed Communist and Castroite to set off a wave of anti-Red hysteria, to poison our relations with Cuba and the Soviet Union? Why did they clear the Communists at home and abroad of complicity? Why did they disprove the wild stories about Oswald’s links with Castro? The box at the bottom [of this paragraph] gives a sample of the wild whoppers an unscrupulous secret service could have set loose. If they had so much power in the Warren Commission why didn’t they hush up its damning criticism of the FBI and the Secret Service (see [first box above])? If Oswald was innocent, why did they have to kill him to shut him up? If he was killed as part of a conspiracy, why was he killed in full view of the TV cameras when he might have been bumped off on a fake ambush while being moved at night to another prison? This is an insane morass of paranoid conjecture, and those who remain in it even after the Warren report are either unscrupulous or sick. Look at the ultimate lunacy: General Walker, who regarded Kennedy as a tool of the Communists, is sure he was killed by the Reds. He attacks the Warren report as a whitewash. “There’s bound to have been a plot,” Gen. walker says. On the other hand Leftists who lean to the Chinese viewpoint and regarded Kennedy in his lifetime as a warmonger and tool of the right, are now sure he must have been killed by a rightist conspiracy. How wacky can you get?

Text Box: How The Warren Commission Decided Oswald Was Neither A Soviet Nor U.S. Agent


















Back to Split in the Left
Back to Reactions to the WC Report
Back to The WC Period