Insight

What a Difference a Day (or Two) Makes! By Jim Marrs

Wouldn't any criminal be delighted if he could have complete, secret and unsupervised control over all the evidence in his case for two full days Wouldnt the verdict in this criminal trial be a swift not guilty if he had the opportunity to doctor the evidence

This is exactly the situation which occurred in the murder of President John F. Kennedy beginning the very night of the assassination. Although the proof of the disappearance and reappearance of the JFK evidence has been lying right in front of researchers since the fateful weekend, no one seems to have perceived the significance of the matter. However, at least one person with access to official federal government documents apparently recognized this significance and took steps to conceal it from the American public.

This issue began the evening of November 22, 1963, when Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry began receiving calls from Washington. As he related to Warren Commission member Allen Dulles (WC Vol. IV, p. 195), We kept getting calls from the FBI. They wanted this (assassination) evidence up in Washington, in the (FBI) laboratory, and there was some discussion

Curry made it clear that we felt this was a murder that had been committed in the county, city and county (sic)of Dallas, and that we had prior, I mean we had jurisdiction over this. The FBI actually had no jurisdiction over it, the Secret Service actually had no jurisdiction over it

(Homicide Capt. Will) Fritz told me, he says, `Well, I need the evidence here, I need to get some people to try to identify the gun, to try to identify this pistol and these things, and if it is in Washington, how can I do it

But someone in Washington was most persistent. We got several calls insisting we send this (evidence), and nobody would tell me exactly who it was that was insisting, `just say I got a call from Washington, and they wanted this evidence up there, insinuated it was someone in high authority that was requesting this, and we finally agreed as a matter of trying to cooperate with them, actually. Consistent rumors in Dallas have long been that the calls were made by Cliff Carter, then President Lyndon B. Johnsons assistant. On the basis of this pressure from Washington and against their better judgment, the Dallas police reluctantly released all of the assassination evidence to the FBI.

we finally, the night, about midnight of Friday night, we agreed to let the FBI have all (emphasis added) the evidence and they said they would bring it to their laboratory and they would have an agent stand by and when they were finished with it to return it to us, stated Curry.

However, much of the evidence was never returned to Dallas. Curry told the Warren Commission on April 22, 1964, Subsequently they photographed these things in Washington and sent us copies, some 400, I think 400 copies of different items. So far as I know, we have never received any of that evidence back. It is still in Washington, I guess. Perhaps the Commission has it.

Yes; the Commission is still working with it, responded Commission General Counsel J. Lee Rankin. What the Dallas authorities did receive was very poor reproduction of some of these items on microfilm, according to Fritz.

One of the items returned to the police was the Oswald rifle which, according to former FBI agent Richard Harrison, was taken to Miller Funeral Home on Monday, Nov. 25, for the purpose of placing Oswalds dead hand on the weapon for comparison purposes. Funeral Director Paul Groody confirmed that FBI agents fingerprinted Oswalds corpse and that he had to rush to get the black ink off the bodys hand before burial. (Jim Marrs, Crossfire, Carroll & Graf, 1989, p. 444.)

There is no doubt that the FBI received the assassination evidence late on the night of the crime. A document signed by J. Edgar Hoover himself stating that No latent (finger) prints of value were developed on Oswalds revolver, the cartridge cases, the unfired cartridge, the clip in the rifle or the inner parts of the rifle, was dated November 23, 1963. Yet the journey of this vital evidence apparently was unofficial and was never made clear to the public. The first official word on the transfer of assassination evidence came on Tuesday, Nov. 26, when both Dallas newspapers carried stories announcing that the evidence was to be turned over to federal authorities.

The Dallas Police Department Tuesday prepared to turn over all evidence in the assassination case against Lee Harvey Oswald to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, stated the Dallas Times Herald. FBI agents Tuesday took control of all evidence gathered by Dallas police against accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald on an agreement between Police Chief Jesse E. Curry and Dist. Atty. Henry Wade, announced The Dallas Morning News.

The News went on to explain, Curry went before reporters at noon Tuesday to make the announcement. The disclosure came after Curry held several morning conferences with top aides. The transfer of evidence from city police to federal control was completed four hours later.

So now the FBI was officially on the case and officially in charge of the evidence. But what could have happened during the two days while the evidence was unofficially in their hands. Fabrication, substitution, elimination, alteration -- - anything could have been done to the evidence, with no effective chain of responsibility. Unlike 1963, today the FBI has come under suspicion of poor management of evidence at best and downright falsification of evidence at worst. Under Hoovers iron control, it was have been an easy matter for certain ranking Bureau officials to do with the evidence whatever they pleased.

And evidence exists for just such speculation. For example, FBI document Dallas 89-43 dated Nov. 29, 1963, and first publicly released in 1968, stated brown wrapping paper in the Texas School Book Depository was examined by the FBI Laboratory and found to have the same observable characteristics as the brown paper bag shaped like a gun case which was found near the scene of the shooting on the sixth floor This was incriminating evidence against Oswald, as he worked in the building and had access to the wrapping paper. However, in 1980, another document labeled Dallas 89- 43 and dated Nov. 29, 1963, was found in the National Archives which was identical to the 1968 version except it stated the wrapping paper was examined by the FBI Laboratory and found not to be identical with the paper gun case found at the scene of the shooting.

Other such discrepancies have been brought forward, including the intimidation of witnesses by federal authorities, which prove to any objective researcher that severe questions remain concerning the validity of the governments evidence in the assassination.

The fact that federal authorities had all the assassination evidence under covert control for two days could go far in explaining the contradictions and questionable conclusions of the official investigation. Apparently at least one person understood the gravity of this issue as there was an attempt to obscure it in the Warren Commission materials.

In 1992, the confidential deposition of FBI fingerprint expert James C. Cadigan was made public by the National Archives. In his April 30, 1964, testimony to Warren Commission attorney Melvin A. Eisenberg, the following exchange took place during routine questioning regarding fingerprint matters:

Mr. Eisenberg. Do you know why (Exhibit) 820 was not reprocessed or desilvered

Mr. Cadigan. I could only speculate.

Mr. Eisenberg. Yes

Mr. Cadigan. It may be that there was a very large volume of evidence being examined at the time. Time was of the essence, and this material, I believe, was returned to the Dallas Police within two or three days, and it was merely in my opinion a question of time. We have (sic) a very large volume of evidence. There was insufficient time to desilver it. And I think in many instances where latent fingerprints are developed they do not desilver it.

Mr. Eisenberg. Can you explain why the signature, Lee H. Oswald or L.H. Oswald is apparent while the signature A.J. Hidell is not

Mr. Cadigan. Different inks.

During this otherwise unremarkable questioning, Cadigan had inadvertently let the cat out of the bag. He had declared to one and all that the FBI had a large volume of assassination evidence some of which was then returned to the Dallas police. Later in his deposition, Cadigan made it absolutely clear when this evidence was being handled:

Mr. Cadigan. Initially the first big batch of evidence was brought into the laboratory on November 23rd of 1963 and this consisted of many, many items.

Mr. Eisenberg. `63

Mr. Cadigan. November 23, 1963. It was a very large quantity of evidence that was brought in. There were several agent examiners available to evaluate this material. There were supervisory officials, there were representatives from our Internal Security Division, all of whom had an interest in this matter, and it was decided they wanted certain items treated for latent fingerprints. (WC Vol. VII, p. 435.)

So a virtual posse of FBI agents and officials swarmed over the assassination evidence all day Saturday and Sunday. Obviously this unpublicized and unmonitored access to all the evidence might caused a suspicious mind to question the validity of the evidence later used to establish Oswalds guilt. It is doubly suspicious that in Cadigans original deposition some unknown person scratched out his statement about being rushed to return the evidence to Dallas and scribbled delete in the margin. This same person marked out Cadigans statement that I could only speculate and wrote in No, this is a latent fingerprint matter.

Sure enough, in the version published by the Warren Commission, we read:

Mr. Eisenberg. Do you know why Exhibit 820 was not reprocessed or desilvered

Mr. Cadigan. No, this is a latent fingerprint matter.

Mr. Eisenberg. Can you explain why the signature, Lee H. Oswald or rather L.H. Oswald is apparent, while the signature A.J. Hidell is not

Mr. Cadigan. Different inks. (WC Vol. VII, p. 434.)

Why did someone commit a crime by illegally altering an official government deposition and why did the Warren Commission print an altered version of Cadigans statement. Were they unaware of the alteration Or did someone recognize the significance of the assassination evidence being in the hands of the FBI with no publicity or accountability for two days

Perhaps a study of the stenographic notes and tapes might reveal other alterations to the testimony of Cadigan and others. But dont count on it. According to a notice on the cover sheet of Cadigans deposition, Stenotype Tape, Master Sheets, Carbon and Waste turned over to Commission for destruction.

While the assassination evidence is often ambiguous and contradictory and will certainly be in controversy for years to come, the handling of the evidence clearly points to manipulation and obfuscation at the highest levels of federal authority, a clear view of who was responsible for at least the demonstrable cover-up, if not the assassination itself.

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