Friday, May 27, 2005

The JFK Assassination

On April 1, 1997, I was interviewed telephonically by a representative of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), concerning my years with the U. S Secret Service Intelligence Division, when I was the custodian of the Kennedy Assassination file. The report of this conversation is noted in the ARRB file number MD 261, pages 1892 and 1893 and it is available on the internet. I will make some comments and corrections to this report as it appears that at the time of the interview some of my statements were misconstrued. These comments and corrections are as follows:

Paragraph 2 - In regard to my "culling" of the files, further explanation may be helpful. A CO-2 number was assigned to the assassination as soon as it occurred and until the Warren Commission issued it's final report, all information and material pertaining to the assassination in any way was given this sole number. Thus, much extraneous information, such as tips and "confessions" by mental cases was placed in this file. The "culling", did not destroy all of these reports. Those "culled" were given separate file numbers and many of these cases were eventually destroyed in accordance with the official retention and destruction schedule of the Secret Service. Professor Blakey did request certain files of persons whom had been given the original assassination number, but were subsequently given separate numbers and had been destroyed, and I recall explaining to his staff in detail why these files no longer existed as I had made the decision that they did not belong in the JFK Assassination File.

Paragraph 4 - This paragraph is somewhat of a garble. I tried to explain that threat cases had historically been given file numbers by headquarters rather than the field offices. In the early days of the Secret Service, the CO-2 cases were directed from headquarters and given the Chief's office designation. Later, with the advent of the Protective Research Section, which was renamed the Intelligence Division, the CO-2 numbering system was retained. Cases did not go directly to the Chief's office, nor originate in that office.

Paragraph 5 - In regard to my comment that I had kidded Assistant Director Kelley for never having written a final report in the Assassination case, I note that AD Kelley wrote detailed reports regarding his participation in the interviews with Lee Harvey Oswald. There was no need for him to write a closing report as the FBI took over the investigation. This was a private joke between the two of us, as he, being my boss, was always requesting reports from me.

Paragraph 6 - I have been asked several times about my decision to destroy the piece of the President's brain. I make no apologies for this decision. In view of what is being offered for sale on e-Bay these days, I believe I made the correct one.

Paragraph 7 - In paragraph seven, there is a line which reads "Before November, 1963, the Secret Service had sent its records to the Federal Records Centers and to presidential libraries." I did not make this statement. I told the interviewer that the Secret Service had sent its records only to the Federal Record Center in Alexandria, Va. I further explained that when presidential libraries requested records for their particular administration, the Federal Record Center had sent Secret Service records along with general government records - without the knowledge of the Secret Service.

I would hope that the above comments and corrections are helpful to the ARRB and to others interested in this matter.


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