The Warren Commission came to the conclusion that John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald. This theory has been supported by several other investigators including Arlen Specter, Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Hugh Aynesworth, Gerald Posner, John McAdams and Kenneth A. Rahn.
As Lee Harvey Oswald could not fire his bolt-action rifle fast enough to wound John F. Kennedy and John Connally with separate shots, the Warren Commission argued that a single bullet hit Kennedy in the back of the neck and exited from the throat just below the Adam's apple. The same bullet entered Connally's back, exited from his chest, went completely through his right wrist, and lodged in his left thigh.
(G1) Warren Commission Report (September, 1964)
(1) The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally were fired from the sixth floor window at the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository. This determination is based upon the following:
Witnesses at the scene of the assassination saw a rifle being fired from the sixth-floor window of the Depository Building, and some witnesses saw a rifle in the window immediately after the shots were fired.
The nearly whole bullet found on Governor Connally's stretcher at Parkland Memorial Hospital and the two bullet fragments found in the front seat of the Presidential limousine were fired from the 6.5-millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano rifle found on the sixth floor of the Depository Building to the exclusion of all other weapons.
The three used cartridge cases found near the window on the sixth floor at the southeast corner of the building were fired from the same rifle which fired the above - described bullet and fragments, to the exclusion of all other weapons.
The windshield in the Presidential limousine was struck by a bullet fragment on the inside surface of the glass, but was not penetrated.
The nature of the bullet wounds suffered by President Kennedy and Governor Connally and the location of the car at the time of the shots establish that the bullets were fired from above and behind the Presidential limousine, striking the President and the Governor as follows:
President Kennedy was first struck by a bullet which entered at the back of his neck and exited through the lower front portion of his neck, causing a wound which would not necessarily have been lethal. The President was struck a second time by a bullet which entered the right-rear portion of his head, causing a massive and fatal wound.
Governor Connally was struck by a bullet which entered on the right side of his back and traveled downward through the right side of his chest, exiting below his right nipple. This bullet then passed through his right wrist and entered his left thigh where it caused a superficial wound.
There is no credible evidence that the shots were fired from the Triple Underpass, ahead of the motorcade, or from any other location.
(2) The weight of the evidence indicates that there were three shots fired.
(3) Although it is not necessary to any essential findings of the Commission to determine just which shot hit Governor Connally, there is very persuasive evidence from the experts to indicate that the same bullet which pierced the President's throat also caused Governor Connally's wounds. However, Governor Connally's testimony and certain other factors have given rise to some difference of opinion as to this probability but there is no question in the mind of any member of the Commission that all the shots which caused the President's and Governor Connally's wounds were fired from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository.
(4) The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald. This conclusion is based upon the following:
The Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5 - millimeter Italian rifle from which the shots were fired was owned by and in the possession of Oswald.
Oswald carried this rifle into the Depository Building on the morning of November 22, 1963.
Oswald, at the time of the assassination, was present at the window from which the shots were fired.
Shortly after the assassination, the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle belonging to Oswald was found partially hidden between some cartons on the sixth floor and the improvised paper bag in which Oswald brought the rifle to the Depository was found close by the window from which the shots were fired.
Based on testimony of the experts and their analysis of films of the assassination, the Commission has concluded that a rifleman of Lee Harvey Oswald's capabilities could have fired the shots from the rifle used in the assassination within the elapsed time of the shooting. The Commission has concluded further that Oswald possessed the capability with a rifle which enabled him to commit the assassination.
Oswald lied to the police after his arrest concerning important substantive matters.
Oswald had attempted to kill Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker (Resigned, U.S. Army) on April 10, 1963, thereby demonstrating his disposition to take human life.
What evidence does the Warren Commission provide to support the statement: "shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally were fired from the sixth floor window at the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository"?
Tonight we've asked if there was a conspiracy involving perhaps Officer Tippit, Jack Ruby, or others... On the basis of the evidence now at hand at least, we still can find no convincing indication of such a conspiracy. If we put those three conclusion together, they seem to CBS News to tell just one story - Lee Harvey Oswald, alone, and for reasons all his own, shot and killed President Kennedy. It is too much to expect that the critics of the Warren Report will be satisfied with the conclusions CBS News has reached, any more than they were satisfied with the conclusions the Commission reached.
Concerning the events of November 22nd, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, the report of the Warren Commission is probably as close as we can ever come now to the truth.
Why did Walter Cronkite and CBS news believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone?
I'm contented with the basic finding of the Warren Commission, that the evidence is overwhelming that Oswald fired at the President, and that Oswald probably killed President Kennedy alone. I am not content with the findings on Oswald's possible connections with government agencies, particularly with the CIA. I'm not totally convinced that at some earlier time, unconnected with the assassination, that Oswald may have had more connections than we've been told about, or that have been shown. I'm not totally convinced about the single-bullet theory. But I don't think it's absolutely necessary to the final conclusion of the Warren Commission Report. I would have liked more questioning, a more thorough going into Marina Oswald's background. But as to the basic conclusion, I agree.
What aspect of the lone assassin theory did Dan Rather have most doubts about? Why did it not stop him from believing this theory?
(G4) Michael Kurtz, Crime of the Century: The Kennedy Assassination From a Historians Perspective (1982)
The most persuasive of the eyewitnesses, Howard Leslie Brennan, swore that the man he saw fire from the window was "standing up." Photographs of the building taken seconds before and after the shots reveal the window open only one foot from the bottom. Since an individual standing up and firing, as Brennan testified, would have been compelled either to fire through glass or to shoot with the rifle at knee height, the commission conceded that "although Brennan testified that the man in the window was standing when he fired the shots, most probably he was either sitting or kneeling."
The commission relied heavily on Brennan's testimony, since he was the only eyewitness who saw Lee Harvey Oswald fire the shots. According to the commission, Brennan described the man to the Dallas police, who then broadcast a description of the suspect at 12:45 p.m., fifteen minutes after the assassination. Since Brennan was the only witness who saw the actual gunman, his description must have been the basis for the police broadcast. Yet the commission failed to explain how Brennan could have estimated the height, weight, age, and physical build of the man over one hundred feet away, "sitting or kneeling" behind a concrete ledge and a double thickness of glass.
The commission further failed to investigate Brennan's testimony that he gave his description to Secret Service Agent Forrest V. Sorrels, about ten minutes after the last shot. Since Sorrels did not arrive back at the scene until twenty to twenty-five minutes later, Brennan's memory seems faulty. Sorrels, moreover, himself testified that while riding in the motorcade he had a clear view of the sixth-floor window of the building and saw no one there. Thus, the commission chose to ignore the testimony of Sorrels, a professionally trained observer, which clearly exculpated Oswald and instead chose to believe the testimony of Brennan, which contains many contradictions.
Why did the Warren Commission rely heavily on the testimony of Howard Brennan? Why does Michael Kurtz believe the Warren Commission was wrong to rely on Brennan's testimony?
David Belin: Now, about how many minutes was this after the time that you had turned that young couple over to Lemmy Lewis that you heard this whistle?
Roger Craig: Fourteen or 15 minutes.
David Belin: Was this, you mean, after the shooting?
Roger Craig: After the... from the time I heard the first shot.
David Belin: All right. Your heard someone whistle?
Roger Craig: Yes. So I turned and saw a man start to run down the hill on the north side of Elm Street, running down toward Elm Street.
David Belin: And, about where was he with relation to the School Book Depository Building?
Roger Craig: Directly across that little side street that runs in front of it, He was on the south side of it...
David Belin: And where was he with relation to the west side of the School Book Depository Building?
Roger Craig: Right by the... well, actually, directly in line with the west corner... the southwest corner,
David Belin: He was directly in line with the southwest corner of the building?
Roger Craig: Yes.
David Belin: And he was on the south curve of that street that runs right in front of the building there?
Roger Craig: Yes.
David Belin: And he started to run toward Elm Street as it curves under the underpass?
Roger Craig: Yes ; directly down the grassy portion of the park.
David Belin: All right. And then what did you see happen?
Roger Craig: I saw a light-colored station wagon, driving real slow, coming west on Elm Street from Houston... actually, it was nearly in line with him. And the driver was leaning to his right looking up the hill at the man running down.... And the station wagon stopped almost directly across from me. And... the man continued down the hill and got in the station wagon. And I attempted to cross the street. I wanted to talk to both of them. But the... traffic was so heavy I couldn't get across the street. And hey were gone before I could...
David Belin: Could you describe the man that you saw running down toward the station wagon?
Roger Craig: Oh, he was a white male in his twenties, five nine, five eight, something like that; about 140 to 150; had kind of medium brown sandy hair... you know, it was like it'd been blown... you know, he'd been in the wind or something-- it was all wild-looking; had on blue trousers...
David Belin: What shade of blue? Dark blue, medium or light?
Roger Craig: No; medium, probably; I'd say medium. And, a light tan shirt, as I remember it.
David Belin: Anything else about him?
Roger Craig: No; nothing except that he looked like he was in an awful hurry.
David Belin: What about the man who was driving the car?
Roger Craig: Now, he struck me, at first, as being a colored male. He was very dark and had real dark short hair, and was wearing a thin white-looking jacket, it looked like the short windbreaker type, you know, because it was real thin and had the collar that came out over the shoulder (indicating with hands) like that... just a short jacket.
David Belin: You say that he first struck you that way. Do you now think that he was a Negro?
Roger Craig: Well, I don't... I didn't get a real good look at him. But my first glance at him... I was more interested in the man coming down the hill... but my first glance at him, he struck me as a Negro.... I drove up to Fritz' office about, oh, after 5... about 5:30 or something like that and talked to Captain Fritz and told him what I had saw. And he took me in his office... I believe it was his office.... it was a little office, and had the suspect setting in a chair behind a desk.... beside the desk. And another gentleman, I didn't know him, he was sitting in another chair to my left as I walked in the office. And Captain Fritz asked me was this the man I saw and I said, "Yes," it was.
David Belin: All right. Will you describe the man you saw in Captain Fritz' office?
Roger Craig: Oh, he was sitting down but he had the same medium brown hair; it was still... well, it was kinda wild looking; he was slender, and what I could tell of him sitting there, he was... short. By that, I mean not myself, I'm five eleven... he was shorter than I was. And fairly light build.
David Belin: Could you see his trousers?
Roger Craig: No; I couldn't see his trousers at all.
David Belin: What about his shirt?
Roger Craig: I believe, as close as I can remember, a T-shirt... a white T-shirt.
David Belin: All right. But you didn't see him in a lineup? You just saw him sitting there?
Roger Craig: No; he was sitting there by himself in a chair... off to one side.
David Belin: All right. Then, what did Captain Fritz say and what did you say and what did the suspect say?
Roger Craig: Captain Fritz then asked.... "What about this station wagon?" And the suspect interrupted him and said, "That station wagon belongs to Mrs. Paine"... I believe is what he said. "Don't try to tie her into this. She had nothing to do with it."
How does Roger Craig's testimony raise doubts that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone?
(G6) Harold Weisberg, Whitewash (1965)
The Commission was reconstructing the crime, ostensibly to find out what happened, not to prove that Oswald alone committed it. When the motorcade turned toward the Depository Building on Houston Street, for several hundred feet there was a completely unobstructed view of it from the sixth-floor window. The police photographs and the forgotten Secret Service reconstruction of 1963 also show this. There was not a twig between the window and the President. There were no curves in that street, no tricky shooting angles. If all the shots came from this window, and the assassin was as cool and collected as the Report represents, why did he not shoot at the easiest and by far the best target? Why did he wait until his target was so difficult that the country's best shots could not duplicate his feat?
Look at the drawing of Dealey Plaza. Do you agree with Harold Weisberg about Houston Street? If so, why would the gunman in the Texas Book Depository wait until the motorcade reached Elm Street?
(G7) Richard H. Popkin, The New York Review of Books (28th July 1966)
In one of Victor Serges last works, The Case of Comrade Tulayev, written over fifteen years ago, the Russian equivalent of the Oswald story is set forth. An alienated young man, unhappy with the many aspects of his life in the Soviet Union - the food, his room, his job, etc. - acquires a gun, and manages to shoot Commissar Tulayev one night when he is getting out of a car. An extensive investigation sets in, followed by an extensive purge. Millions of people are arrested and made to confess to being part of a vast conspiracy against the government. The actual assassin is, of course, never suspected, since no one can imagine him as a conspirator. He continues to lead his alienated unhappy life, while the government uncovers the great plot.
In contrast, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, a solution emerged within hours: one lonely alienated man had done the deed all by himself. The investigation by the Dallas Police and the FBI then proceeded to buttress this view, and to accumulate all sorts of details about the lone assassin, some false (like the murder rap), some trivial (like his early school records), some suggestive (like the bag he carried into the Book Depository), some convincing (like the presence of his rifle and the three shells). From its origins in Dallas on the night of November 22, 1963, the career of the theory of a single conspirator indicated that this was the sort of explanation most congenial to the investigators and the public (although the strange investigation of Joe Molina, a clerk in the Book Depository, from 2 a.m. November 23 until the end of that day, mainly for his activities in a slightly left-wing veterans organization, suggests a conspiratorial explanation was then under consideration).
The Warren Commission, after many months of supposed labor and search, came out with an anticlimatic conclusion, practically the same as that reached by the FBI in its report of December 9, 1963, except for details as to how it happened. The Commission, clothed in the imposing dignity of its august members, declared its conviction that one lone alienated assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, had indeed carried out the crime...
However, the official theory was in many ways implausible. It involved a fantastic amount of luck. If the FBI and Warren Commission reconstructions were correct, Oswald had to get the rifle into the building without attracting attention. Only two people saw him with a long package, and none saw him with it or the rifle in the building. He had to find a place from which he could shoot unobserved. The place, according to the official theory, was observed until just a few minutes before the shooting. He had to fire a cheap rifle with a distorted sight, old ammunition, at a moving target in minimal time, and shoot with extraordinary accuracy (three hits in three shots, in 5.6 seconds, according to the FBI; two hits in three shots in 5.6 seconds, according to the Commission). If the official theory of the Commission is right, Oswald had no access to the rifle from mid-September until the night before the assassination, and had no opportunity whatsoever to practice for at least two months. Having achieved such amazing success with his three shots, Oswald was then somehow able to leave the scene of the crime casually and undetected, go home, and escape. But for the inexplicable (according to the official theory) Tippit episode, Oswald might have been able to disappear. In fact, he did so after that episode, and only attracted attention again because he dashed into a movie theater without paying.
The critics have argued that the Commissions case against Oswald, if it had ever been taken to court, would have collapsed for lack of legal evidence. A legal case would have been weakened by sloppy police work (e.g., the failure to check whether Oswalds gun had been used that day), confused and contradictory reports by witnesses (e.g., the mistaken identification of Oswald by the bus driver), and questionable reconstructions by the Commission (e.g., testing the accuracy of the rifle with stationary targets). The Report (against the better judgment of at least two of the Commissions staff, Liebeler and Ball) had to rely on some of the shakiest witnesses, like Brennan and Mrs. Markham. It also had to impeach some of its best, like Wesley Frazier.
What reasons does give Richard H. Popkin give for not believing the Warren Commission report concerning the assassination of President John F. Kennedy?
(G8) Marina Oswald, interviewed in San Jose Mercury News (28th September, 1988)
Twenty-five years after the assassination of President Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald's widow says she now believes Oswald did not act alone in the killing.
''I think he was caught between two powers - the government and organized crime,'' said Marina Oswald Porter in the November issue of Ladies' Home Journal, published Tuesday.
Testimony by Oswald's widow, who married Dallas carpenter Kenneth Porter in 1965, helped the Warren Commission conclude that a deranged Oswald acted alone in the Nov. 22, 1963, assassination.
''When I was questioned by the Warren Commission, I was a blind kitten,'' she said. The commission, appointed to investigate the assassination, concluded it was the work of a single gunman, Oswald. But in 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, relying in part on acoustical evidence, concluded that a conspiracy was likely and that it may have involved organized crime.
Since then, Porter, 47, has drawn new conclusions. ''I don't know if Lee shot him,'' she said. ''I'm not saying that Lee is innocent, that he didn't know about the conspiracy or was not a part of it, but I am saying he's not necessarily guilty of murder.''
''At first, I thought that Jack Ruby (who killed Oswald two days after the assassination) was swayed by passion; all of America was grieving,'' she said. ''But later, we found that he had connections with the underworld. Now, I think Lee was killed to keep his mouth shut.''
Porter said that in retrospect, Oswald seemed professionally schooled in secretiveness, ''and I believe he worked for the American government.''
''He was taught the Russian language when he was in the military. Do you think that is usual, that an ordinary soldier is taught Russian? Also, he got in and out of Russia quite easily, and he got me out quite easily,'' said the Russian-born Porter. She had emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1961 after marrying Oswald, who had defected to the Soviets and then changed his mind and returned to the United States.
In the months preceding the assassination, a man posing as Oswald reportedly appeared in several public places in the Dallas area.
''I learned afterward that someone who said he was Lee had been going around looking to buy a car, having a drink in a bar. I'm telling you, Lee did not drink, and he didn't know how to drive.
''And afterward, the FBI took me to a store in Fort Worth where Lee was supposed to have gone to buy a gun. Someone even described me and said I was with him. This woman was wearing a maternity outfit like one I had. But I had never been there,'' she said.
Porter said she hopes the truth will emerge when the Warren Commission materials are declassified.
''Look, I'm walking through the woods, trying to find a path, just like all of us,'' she said. ''The only difference is, I have a little bit of insight. Only half the truth has been told.''
The evidence provided by Marina Oswald after the assassination helped to identify Lee Harvey Oswald as the killer. Why, according to this article, did Marina change her mind about her husband? Are there any other reasons why Marina told the FBI what they wanted to hear in November, 1963?
(G9) Harold Weisberg, Whitewash (1965)
The narrative continues with Mrs. Linnie Mae Randle, Frazier's sister with whom he lived, noticing Oswald approaching with a "heavy brown bag," in the Commission's words rather than Mrs. Randle's. "He gripped the bag in his right hand, near the top. 'It tapered like this as he hugged it in his hand. It was... more bulky toward the bottom than toward the top." If this seems like a novel or dangerous way to carry a rifle, especially with the metal portion not attached to the stock and more likely to punch a hole in paper, it did not seem so to the Commission. And if Oswald's "gripping" and "hugging" might be expected to leave marks of at least crumpling on the bag, the Commission did not so expect and the bag itself shows no markings of the shape of a rifle, assembled or disassembled. The creases where it was folded in four are still sharp and clear. After untold handling, examination and testing, these creases are strong enough to keep the bag from lying flat when extended to its full length...
Knowing Oswald's sleeve length and height, as the Commission did, measuring the length of a package he could have held in his grip without touching the ground was simple and provided an accurate means of approximating the length. Actually, it requires a tall man, which Oswald was not, or a man with abnormally short arms (we don't know his arm length), for a 28-inch package to even barely clear the ground. The Commission had a passion for reconstructions. All of them had unsatisfactory results and at best jeopardized the Commission's findings. Some disproved the Commission's theories. The minimum length of the disassembled rifle was 34.8 inches. The Report does not quote a package reconstruction...
The only suggestion of any connection between Oswald and the bag was through fingerprints. Because Oswald worked where the bag was reported to have been found, the presence of his fingerprints was totally meaningless. Sebastian F. Latona, supervisor of the FBI's Latent Fingerprint Section, developed a single fingerprint and a single palmprint he identified as Oswald's. More significantly, "No other identifiable prints were found on the bag".
After all the handling of the bag attributed to Oswald, first in making it, then in packing it, then taking it to Frazier's car, putting it down in the car, picking it up and carrying it toward if not into the building for two blocks, and then, at least by inference, through the building, and when removing and assembling a rifle Marina testified he kept oiled and cleaned, how is it to be explained that he left only two prints? The only thing as strange is that this bag was also handled by the police and was the only evidence they did not photograph, according to their testimonies, where found. Yet the freshest prints, those of the police, were not discovered.
The Warren Commission believed Lee Harvey Oswald took the rifle into the Texas Book Depository in a brown paper bag. What evidence does Harold Weisberg provide to raise doubts about the evidence of the brown paper bag.
(G10) Michael Kurtz, Crime of the Century: The Kennedy Assassination From a Historians Perspective (1982)
The evidence against Oswald is impressive: the discovery of his rifle bearing his palmprint on the sixth floor of the Book Depository building; the testimony of eyewitness Howard Brennan; Oswald's prints on the cartons and paper sack at the window; the discovery of three cartridge cases from his rifle by the window; the discovery of two bullet fragments fired from his rifle in the limousine; his departure from the building soon after the shooting.
On the other side of the coin, the evidence in Oswald's favor is equally impressive: eyewitness identification of him on the second floor of the Depository building fifteen minutes before the assassination and two minutes after it; the lack of his prints on the outside of the rifle; the questions as to whether the cartridge cases had actually been fired from the rifle during the assassination; the extremely difficult feat of marksmanship an assassin firing from the window faced; the lack of corroboration for Brennan's contradictory and confused identification.
Thus, the evidence about Lee Harvey Oswald's involvement in the assassination is inconclusive. The fact that Oswald may have shot the president does not, of course, preclude the possibility that he may not have. Obviously, Oswald remains a prime suspect. But an objective evaluation of the evidence simply does not permit a definitive conclusion about his guilt or innocence.
Why does Michael Kurtz say the evidence against Oswald is inconclusive?
ABC News: Let me ask you: 40 years after the fact and 25 years after your investigation, who killed John F. Kennedy?
Blakey: Lee Harvey Oswald killed John Kennedy. Two shots from behind. The evidence is simply overwhelming. You have to be lacking in judgment and experience in dealing with the evidence to think that Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill President Kennedy. That's really not the problem. The problem is: Was there something beyond Lee Harvey Oswald? And now what you do is you look at the evidence.
ABC News: How many shots were fired at Dealey Plaza?
Blakey: What we did is determine that there were in fact four shots. Our scientists looked at a tape we found, and they did a scientific analysis of it, and it indicated four shots in the plaza, three from the depository and one from the grassy knoll. That meant there were two shooters in the plaza, two shooters in the plaza equal a conspiracy.
The first shot from the depository by Lee Harvey Oswald missed. The second shot about 1.6 seconds later, hit the president in the back of the neck. (The bullet exited Kennedy and) hit John Connally. It hit his wrist, hit his leg. Now six seconds from the second shot, we think a shot came from the grassy knoll. It missed the president. The shot from the grassy knoll missed. The X-rays, the autopsy, all of that indicates the president was not hit by a shot from any other direction. Seven-tenths of a second after that, the third shot, fourth in the row, third shot from the depository, hits the president right in the back of the head.
The shot from the grassy knoll is not only supported by the acoustics, which is a tape that we found of a police motorcycle broadcast back to the district station. It is corroborated by eyewitness testimony in the plaza. There were 20 people, at least, who heard a shot from the grassy knoll.
Does G. Robert Blakey believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was involved in the killing of President Kennedy? Does Blakey agree with the findings of the Warren Commission?
(G12) Michael Granberry, Dallas Morning News (22nd November, 2003)
And then came the first shot. Like most witnesses, Winston Lawson recalls two more, though puzzled by the quicker pace between the second and the third, which all but tore the president's head off. The madness that ensued found him and other agents racing to Parkland Hospital, where he was among the first to see the president's body, crumpled in the Lincoln.
"You could see the damage to the head, which was devastating," he says. "You could see the color of the skin, which was gray, but not gray, really. I knew it had to be a fatal wound. I never saw the president alive again or his body again."
Instead, he embarked on a 40-year trial of re-examination. "I must have thought a million times, what could I have done to prevent it?" he said. "And what could I have done about 20,000 windows?"
He says he believes fervently that Oswald acted alone. Conspiracy buffs, he says, neglect to consider the 10 miles of the motorcade's route, stretching from Love Field, to Lemmon Avenue, to Turtle Creek, to Cedar Springs, to Harwood, to Main, to Elm, to history. The trip was to take 35 minutes before arriving at the Trade Mart.
"There were a million better places from which to have fired a weapon," said Lawson.
Why does Winston Lawson believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman?
(G13) David R. Wrone, review of Case Closed by Gerald Posner in Journal of Southern History (February 1995)
Gerald Posner argues that the Warren Commission properly investigated the assassination of JFK. He claims to have refuted the critics, purports to show what actually occurred, and asserts simple factual answers to explain complex problems that have plagued the subject for years. In the process he condemns all who do not agree with the official conclusions as theories driven by conjectures. At the same time his book is so theory driven, so rife with speculation, and so frequently unable to conform his text with the factual content in his sources that it stands as one of the stellar instances of irresponsible publishing on the subject...
No credible evidence connects Oswald to the murder. All the data that Posner presents to do so is either shorn of context, corrupted, the opposite of what the sources actually say, or nonsourced. For example, 100 percent of the witness testimony and physical evidence exclude Oswald from carrying the rifle to work that day disguised as curtain rods. Posner manipulates with words to concoct a case against Oswald as with Linnie Mae Randle, who swore the package, as Oswald allegedly carried it, was twenty-eight inches long, far too short to have carried a rifle. He grasped its end, and it hung from his swinging arm to almost touch the ground. Posner converts this to "tucked under his armpit, and the other end did not quite touch the ground". The rifle was heavily oiled, but the paper sack discovered on the sixth floor had not a trace of oil. Posner excludes this vital fact.
To refute criticism that the first of three shots (the magic bullet) inflicted seven nonfatal wounds on two bodies in impossible physical and time constraints, he invents a second magic bullet. He asserts that Oswald fired the first bullet near frame 160 of the Zapruder film, fifty frames earlier than officially held, and missed. The bullet hit a twig or a branch or a tree, as he varies it, then separated into its copper sheath and lead composite core. The core did a right angle to fly west more than 200 feet to hit a curbstone and wound Tague while the sheath decided to disappear. The curb in fact had been damaged. He omits that analysis of the curb showed the bullet came from the west, which means the bullet would have had to have taken another sui generis turn of 135 degrees to get back west with sufficient force to smash concrete, which he pretends was not marred.
He asserts proof of a core hit because FBI analysis revealed "traces of lead with a trace of antimony" in the damage. What he omits destroys his theory. He does not explain that a bullet core has several other metallic elements in its composition, not two, rendering his conclusion false. He further neglects to inform the reader that by May 1964 the damage had been covertly patched with a concrete paste and that in August, not July, 1964, the FBI tested the scrapings of the paste, not the damage, which gave the two metal results.
Why does David R. Wrone reject the theories put forward by the Warren Commission and Gerald Posner?
(G14) Michael Kurtz, Crime of the Century: The Kennedy Assassination From a Historians Perspective (1982)
On 1 November, "Oswald" entered Morgan's Gunshop in Fort Worth and acted "rude and impertinent." A few days later, the night manager of the Dallas Western Union office saw "Oswald" pick up several money orders. On 9 November, "Oswald" test drove a car. The salesman, Albert Bogard, remembered "Oswald's" telling him that he would return in a couple of weeks when he would have "a lot of money" On 10 November "Oswald" applied for a job as a parking attendant at Allright Parking Systems in Dallas. As he talked with Hubert Morrow, the manager, "Oswald" inquired about the Southland Hotel, where the parking lot was located, and whether the building provided a good view of downtown Dallas.
On the afternoon of 22 November, Dr. Homer Wood saw Oswald's picture on television and recognized him as the man he saw at the Sports Drome Rifle Range in Dallas on 16 November. Dr. Wood, his account corroborated by his son, remembered "Oswald's" firing a 6.5 mm. Italian rifle with a four-power scope. Considering "Oswald's" purchase of ammunition a few days before, the repair work done on his rifle by Dial Ryder, we see a pattern clearly emerging. "Oswald" bought ammunition, had his rifle repaired, inquired about the view from a Dallas building, remarked about coming into possession of a lot of money very soon, and called attention to himself at the firing range.
All these incidents clearly cast suspicion on Oswald. Yet, the real Lee Harvey Oswald did not participate in any of them. The evidence demonstrates that he was elsewhere when each of these events took place. Yet the evidence also demonstrates that they did take place and that numerous reliable eyewitnesses saw a man who they believed was Lee Harvey Oswald participate in them. While no absolute evidence exists to explain this curiosity, it is not unreasonable to hypothesize that someone impersonating Oswald went to great lengths to focus attention on himself during the three weeks prior to the assassination.
What is the significance of the fact that someone impersonated Lee Harvey Oswald during November, 1963?