Thomas Hale Boggs

Thomas Hale Boggs

Thomas Hale Boggs was born in Long Beach, Mississippi, on 15th February, 1914. He graduated from the law department of Tulane University in 1935 and soon afterwards started work as a lawyer in New Orleans.

A member of the Democratic Party he was elected to Congress and served from January 1941 to January 1943. He left politics in 1943 to enlist in the United States Naval Reserve and served in the Potomac River Naval Command during the rest of the Second World War.

After the war Boggs returned to politics and in January 1946 was once again elected to the Senate. He held several posts including majority whip, chairman of the Special Committee on Campaign Expenditures and majority leader.

On the death of John F. Kennedy in 1963 his deputy, Lyndon B. Johnson, was appointed president. He immediately set up a commission to "ascertain, evaluate and report upon the facts relating to the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy." Boggs was invited to join the commission under the chairmanship of Earl Warren. Other members of the commission included Richard B. Russell, Gerald Ford, Allen W. Dulles, John J. McCloy and John S. Cooper.

The Warren Commission reported to President Johnson ten months later. It reached the following conclusions:

(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.

(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.

(5) Oswald killed Dallas Police Patrolman J. D. Tippit approximately 45 minutes after the assassination.

(6) Within 80 minutes of the assassination and 35 minutes of the Tippit killing Oswald resisted arrest at the theater by attempting to shoot another Dallas police officer.

(7) The Commission has found no evidence that either Lee Harvey Oswald or Jack Ruby was part of any conspiracy, domestic or foreign, to assassinate President Kennedy.

(8) In its entire investigation the Commission has found no evidence of conspiracy, subversion, or disloyalty to the US Government by any Federal, State, or local official.

(9) On the basis of the evidence before the Commission it concludes that, Oswald acted alone.

Boggs had doubts that John F. Kennedy and J. D. Tippit had been killed by Lee Harvey Oswald and that Jack Ruby was not part of any conspiracy." According to Bernard Fensterwald: "Almost from the beginning, Congressman Boggs had been suspicious over the FBI and CIA's reluctance to provide hard information when the Commission's probe turned to certain areas, such as allegations that Oswald may have been an undercover operative of some sort. When the Commission sought to disprove the growing suspicion that Oswald had once worked for the FBI, Boggs was outraged that the only proof of denial that the FBI offered was a brief statement of disclaimer by J. Edgar Hoover. It was Hale Boggs who drew an admission from Allen Dulles that the CIA's record of employing someone like Oswald might be so heavily coded that the verification of his service would be almost impossible for outside investigators to establish."

It has been claimed by John Judge that when Alan Dulles was asked by Hale Boggs about releasing the evidence, he replied, "Go ahead and print it, nobody will read it anyway."

According to one of his friends: "Hale felt very, very torn during his work (on the Commission) ... he wished he had never been on it and wished he'd never signed it (the Warren Report)." Another former aide argued that, "Hale always returned to one thing: Hoover lied his eyes out to the Commission - on Oswald, on Ruby, on their friends, the bullets, the gun, you name it."

Thomas Hale Boggs disappeared while on a campaign flight from Anchorage to Juneau, Alaska, on 16th October, 1972. Also killed in the accident was Nick Begich, a member of the House of Representatives. No bodies were ever found and in 1973 his wife, Lindy Boggs, was elected in her husband's place.

The Los Angeles Star, on November 22, 1973, reported that before his death Boggs claimed he had "startling revelations" on Watergate and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Primary Sources

(1) Gerald D. McKnight, Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why (2005)

In May 1964, about the midway point in the Warren Commission's investigation, Director J. Edgar Hoover appeared before the commissioners to provide them with his special insights into the Kennedy assassination and the benefit of his forty years as head of the nation's most prestigious and revered law enforcement agency. Hoover was probably America's most renowned and best-recognized public figure, and the Commission wanted to trade on his eclat.

Hoover was scheduled to give his testimony when the Commission was still working under Warren and Rankin's initial time frame and expected to finish up its work by the end of June. Ford and Dulles did most of the early questioning. What they wanted from America's iconic hero was his assurance that the assassination had been the act of a lone nut. Hoover was quick to oblige, assuring the commissioners that there was not "a scintilla of evidence showing any foreign conspiracy or domestic conspiracy that culminated in the assassination of President Kennedy." Hoover told the commissioners they could expect to be second-guessed and violently disagreed with, whatever their ultimate findings were. He pointed out that the FBI was already inundated with crank letters and calls from kooks, weirdos, crazies, and self-anointed psychics, all alleging a monstrous conspiracy behind Kennedy's violent death. Whether orchestrated or not, his testimony before the Commission provided the director an opportunity to launch a preemptive strike against future dissenters and critics of the Warren Commission and, by extension, Hoover's FBI, the Commission's investigative arm.

Whatever the merits, if any, of Hoover's profiling of future Commission dissenters and critics, its first test was a hands-down failure. The Commission's first dissenter was Senator Richard Brevard Russell, Jr., one of the most conservative as well as respected and admired members of the U.S. Senate. Russell wielded great power in the upper chamber and had earned the title "dean of the Senate." During 1963-1964, when the Warren Commission was conducting its business, no U.S. legislator was at the White House as frequently as the senior senator from Georgia.

On September 18, 1964, a Friday evening, President Johnson phoned Russell, his old political mentor and longtime friend, to find out what was in the Commission's report scheduled for release within the week. Johnson was surprised that Russell had suddenly bolted from Washington for a weekend retreat to his Winder, Georgia, home. Russell was quick to clear up the mystery as to why he needed to get out of the nation's capital. For the past nine months the Georgia lawmaker had been trying to balance his heavy senatorial duties with his responsibilities as a member of the Warren Commission, a perfect drudgery that Johnson had imposed upon him despite Russell's strenuous objections. No longer a young man and suffering from debilitating emphysema, Russell was simply played out. But it was the Warren Commission's last piece of business that had prompted his sudden Friday decision to escape Washington.

That Friday, September 18, Russell forced a special executive session of the Commission. It was not a placid meeting. In brief, Russell intended to use this session to explain to his Commission colleagues why he could not sign a report stating that the same bullet had struck both President Kennedy and Governor Connally. Russell was convinced that the missile that had struck Connally was a separate bullet. Senator Cooper was in strong agreement with Russell, and Boggs, to a lesser extent, had his own serious reservations about the single-bullet explanation. The Commission's findings were already in page proofs and ready for printing when Russell balked at signing the report. Commissioners Ford, Dulles, and McCloy were satisfied that the one-bullet scenario was the most reasonable explanation because it was essential to the report's single-assassin conclusion. With the Commission divided almost down the middle, Chairman Warren insisted on nothing less than a unanimous report. The stalemate was resolved, superficially at least, when Commissioner McCloy fashioned some compromise language that satisfied both camps.'

The tension-ridden Friday-morning executive session had worn Russell out. He told Johnson that the "damn Commission business whupped me down." Russell was in such haste to get away that he had forgotten to pack his toothbrush, extra shirts, and the medicine he used to ease his respiratory illness. Although Russell had support from Cooper and Boggs, he was the only one who actively dug in his heels against Rankin and the staff's contention that Kennedy and Connally had been hit by the same nonfatal bullet. Because of Russell's chronic Commission absenteeism he never fully comprehended that the final report's no-conspiracy conclusion was inextricably tied to the validity of what would later be referred to as the "single-bullet" theory. But he had read most of the testimony and was convinced that the staff's contention that the same missile had hit Kennedy and Connally was, at best, "credible" but not persuasive. "I don't believe it," he frankly told the president. Johnson's response -whether patronizing or genuine remains guesswork - was "I don't either." In summing up their Friday-night exchange, Russell and Johnson agreed that the question of the Connally bullet did not jeopardize the credibility of the report. Neither questioned the official version that Oswald had shot President Kennedy.

(2) Bernard Fensterwald, Assassination of JFK: Coincidence or Conspiracy (1974)

"You have got to do everything on earth to establish the facts one way or the other. And without doing that, why everything concerned, including every one of us is doing a very grave disservice. Thus House Majority Leader Hale Boggs delivered an admonishment of sorts to his Warren Commission colleagues on January 27, 1964. Along with Senator Richard Russell, and to a lesser degree, Senator John Sherman Cooper, Congressman Boggs served as a beacon of skepticism and probity in trying to fend off the FBI and CIA's efforts to "shade" and indeed manipulate the findings of the Warren Commission.

Like Russell, Boggs was, very simply, a strong doubter. Several years after his death in 1972, a colleague of his wife Lindy (who was elected to fill her late husband's seat in the Congress) recalled Mrs. Boggs remarking, "Hale felt very, very torn during his work [on the Commission] ... he wished he had never been on it and wished he'd never signed it [the Warren Report]." A former aide to the late House Majority Leader has recently recalled, "Hale always returned to one thing: Hoover lied his eyes out to the Commission - on Oswald, on Ruby, on their friends, the bullets, the gun, you name it... "

Almost from the beginning, Congressman Boggs had been suspicious over the FBI and CIA's reluctance to provide hard information when the Commission's probe turned to certain areas, such as allegations that Oswald may have been an undercover operative of some sort. When the Commission sought to disprove the growing suspicion that Oswald had once worked for the FBI, Boggs was outraged that the only proof of denial that the FBI offered was a brief statement of disclaimer by J. Edgar Hoover. It was Hale Boggs who drew an admission from Allen Dulles that the CIA's record of employing someone like Oswald might be so heavily coded that the verification of his service would be almost impossible for outside investigators to establish...

Congressman Boggs had been the Commission's leading proponent for devoting more investigative resources to probing the connections of Jack Ruby. With an early recognition that "the most difficult aspect of this is the Ruby aspect," Boggs had wanted an increased effort made to investigate the accused assassin's murderer.

Boggs was perhaps the first person to recognize something which numerous Warren Commission critics would write about in future years: the strange variations and dissimilarities to be found in Lee Harvey Oswald's correspondence during 1960 to 1963. Some critics have advanced the theory that some of Oswald's letters - particularly correspondence to the American Embassy in Moscow, and later, to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee - may have been "planted" documents written by someone else. In 1975 and 1976, the investigations of the Senate Intelligence Committee and other Congressional groups disclosed that such uses of fabricated correspondence had been a recurring tool of the FBI's secret domestic COINTELPRO [Counter Intelligence] program as well as other intelligence operations. In any event, Warren Commission member Boggs and Commission General Counsel Lee Rankin had early on discussed such an idea:

"Rankin: They [the Fair Play For Cuba Committee] denied he was a member and also he wrote to them and tried to establish as one of the letters indicate, a new branch there in New Orleans, the Fair Play For Cuba.

Boggs: That letter has caused me a lot of trouble. It is a much more literate and polished communication than any of his other writing."

It is also known Boggs felt that because of the lack of adequate material from the FBI and CIA the Commission members were poorly prepared for the examination of witnesses. According to a former Boggs staffer, the Congressman felt that lack of adequate file preparation and the sometimes erratic scheduling of Commission sessions served to prevent those same sessions from being adequately substantive. Consequently, Boggs cut down his participation in these sessions as the investigation stretched on through 1964...

On April 5, 1971, House Majority Leader Hale Boggs took the floor of the House to deliver a speech that created a major stir in Washington for several weeks. Declaring that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was incompetent and senile, and charging that the FBI had, under Hoover's most recent years adopted "the tactics of the Soviet Union and Hitler's Gestapo"; Boggs demanded Hoover's immediate resignation. Boggs also charged that he had discovered that certain FBI agents had tapped his own telephone as well as the phones of certain other members of the House and Senate. In his emotional House speech, Boggs went on to say Attorney General Mitchell says he is a law and order man. If law and order means the suppression of the Bill of Rights . . . then I say "God help us." As the Washington Post noted, "The Louisiana Democrat's speech was the harshest criticism of Hoover ever heard in the House . . . It was the first attack on Hoover by any member of the House leadership."

At the time, Boggs' startling speech created a sensation in Washington. Observers were uncertain as to his exact motivations in demanding Hoover's resignation, and there was an immediate critical reaction from Hoover's various defenders. It has been reported that sources within the FBI and the Attorney General's office began spreading stories that Boggs was a hopeless alcoholic. However, it was not until almost four years later that the motivation behind Boggs' outburst came into clearer focus.

(3) Bernard Fensterwald, Assassination of JFK: Coincidence or Conspiracy (1974)

The Senate investigators finally established that FBI Director Hoover not only had prepared secret "derogatory dossiers" on the critics of the Warren Commission over the years, but had even ordered the preparation of similar "damaging" reports about staff members of the Warren Commission. Whether FBI Director Hoover intended to use these dossiers for purposes of blackmail has never been determined.

Although it was not until eleven years after the murder of John F. Kennedy that the FBI's crude harassment and surveillance of various assassination researchers and investigators became officially documented, other information about it had previously surfaced.

Mark Lane, the long time critic of the Warren Report has often spoken of FBI harassment and surveillance directed against him. While many observers were at first skeptical about Lane's characteristically vocal allegations against the FBI, the list of classified Warren Commission documents that was later released substantiated Lane's charges, as it contained several FBI files about him. Lane had earlier uncovered a February 24, 1964 Warren Commission memorandum from staff counsel Harold Willens to General Counsel J. Lee Rankin. The memorandum revealed that FBI agents had Lane's movements and lectures under surveillance, and were forwarding their reports to the Warren Commission.

In March, 1967, the official list of secret Commission documents then being held in a National Archives vault included at least seven FBI files on Lane, which were classified on supposed grounds of "national security." Among these secret Bureau reports were the following: Warren Commission Document 489, "Mark Lane, Buffalo appearances;" Warren Commission Document 694, "Various Mark Lane appearances;" Warren Commission Document 763, "Mark Lane appearances;" and Warren Commission Document 1457, "Mark Lane and his trip to Europe."

In at least one documented instance, the CIA had been equally avid in "compiling" information on another critic, the noted European writer Joachim Joesten, who had written an early "conspiracy theory" book, titled Oswald: Assassin or Fall Guy (Marzani and Munsell Publishers, Inc., 1964, West Germany). A Warren Commission file (Document 1532), declassified years later, revealed that the CIA had turned to an unusual source in their effort to investigate Joesten. According to the document, which consists of a CIA memorandum of October 1, 1964, written by Richard Helms' staff, the CIA conducted a search of some of Adolph Hitler's Gestapo files for information on Joesten.

Joachim Joesten, an opponent of the Hitler regime in Germany, was a survivor of one of the more infamous concentration camps. The Helms memorandum reveals that Helms' CIA aides had compiled information on Joesten's alleged political instability - information taken from Gestapo security files of the Third Reich, dated 1936 and 1937. In one instance, Helms' aides had used data on Joesten which had been gathered by Hitler's Chief of S.S. on November 8, 1937. While the CIA memorandum did not mention it, there was good reason for the Third Reich's efforts to compile a dossier on Joesten. Three days earlier, on November 5, 1937, at the infamous "Hossbach Conference," Adolph Hitler had informed Hermann Goering and his other top lieutenants of his plan to launch a world war by invading Europe."

In late 1975, during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that featured the questioning of top FBI officials, Senator Richard Schweiker disclosed other secret FBI surveillance of Warren Commission critics. Senator Schweiker disclosed new information from a November 8, 1966 memorandum by J. Edgar Hoover, relating to other dossiers on the critics. According to Schweiker, "Seven individuals [were] listed, some of their files... not only included derogatory information, but sex pictures to boot.

During the Senate Committee session, Schweiker also disclosed that "we came across another FBI letter several months later on another of the critic's personal files. I think it is January 30, 1967. Here, almost three months apart, is an ongoing campaign to personally derogate people who differed politically. In this case it was the Warren Commission [critics].

As will be seen in the chapter on "Links to Watergate," copies - of the FBI's "derogatory dossier" on another leading Warren Commission critic, associated with Mark Lane, were later distributed through the Nixon White House by secret Nixon investigator John Caulfield, John Dean, and H. R. Haldeman's top aides.

Still further information relating to FBI-CIA surveillance of the Warren Commission critics was disclosed in January, 1975 by Senator Howard Baker and the New York Times. On January 17, 1975, the Times disclosed that Senator Baker had come across an extensive CIA dossier on Bernard Fensterwald, Jr., the Director of the Committee to Investigate Assassinations, during the course of Baker's service on the Senate Watergate Committee. Senator Baker was then probing various areas of CIA involvement in the Watergate conspiracy. The New York Times reported that Baker believed the dossier on Fensterwald indicated that the Agency was conducting domestic activities or surveillances - prohibited by the Agency charter's ban on domestic involvement.

Among the items contained in the CIA dossier on Fensterwald was an Agency report of May 12, 1972 titled "#553 989." The CIA report indicated that this detailed surveillance was conducted under the joint auspices of the CIA and the Washington, D. C. Metropolitan Police Intelligence Unit. D. C. Police involvement with the CIA, which in some cases was illegal, subsequently erupted into a scandal which resulted in an internal police investigation in 1975 and 1976, as well as a Congressional investigation.

The May 12, 1972 CIA report on Fensterwald states:

"On 10 May 1972, a check was made at the Metropolitan Police Department Intelligence , Unit concerning an organization called The Committee To Investigate Assassinations located at 927 15th Street, N.W., Washington, D. C. . . .

On 10 May 1972, a check was made (DELETION)

On 11 May 1972, a physical check was made of 927 15th Street .... to verify the location of the above-mentioned organization. This check disclosed that the Committee To Investigate Assassinations is located in room 409 and 414 of the Carry Building."

After setting forth a room by room analysis of the offices and businesses located on the same floor as the Committee, the report went on:

"A discreet inquiry was made with (DELETION) of this building showing no government interest concerning the Committee To Investigate Assassinations. This source stated that on a daily basis that traffic coming and going from this office is very busy. This source stated that on a daily basis the office is operated by two individuals one of whose name is Jim."

Former Warren Commission member Hale Boggs would no doubt have been pleased that these activities of the FBI and CIA were finally brought to light. As his son has pointed out, Boggs' denunciation of J. Edgar Hoover in April of 1971 was based in part on his knowledge of the FBI's murky surveillance of Warren Commission critics. Whether Boggs believed the FBI's surveillance of him was based on the fact that he himself had privately become a fierce critic of Commission's conclusions is not known.

On October 16, 1972, Hale Boggs vanished during a flight in Alaska from Anchorage to Juneau. Despite a thirty-nine-day search by the Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard, no trace of the twin-engine plane on which Boggs was traveling has ever been found.

Had he been alive today, Boggs would probably have become Speaker of the House, having held the number two leadership post in the Congress at the time of his disappearance. There is no doubt Boggs would have been a singularly important figure in any re-opening of the Kennedy case.

(4) Ronald Kessler, Washington Post (21st January, 1975)

The son of the late House Majority Leader Boggs has told The Post that the FBI leaked to his father damaging material on the personal lives of critics of its investigation into John F. Kennedy's assassination. Thomas Hale Boggs, Jr. said his father, who was a member of the Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination and its handling by the FBI, was given the material in an apparent attempt to discredit the critics (of the Warren Commission).

The material, which Thomas Boggs made available, includes photographs of sexual activity and reports on alleged communist affiliations of some authors of articles and books on the assassination.

Boggs, a Washington lawyer, said the experience played a large role in his father's decision to publicly charge the FBI with Gestapo tactics in a 1971 speech alleging the Bureau had wiretapped his telephone and that of other Congressmen.

(5) Gerald D. McKnight, Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why (2005)

In May 1964, about the midway point in the Warren Commission's investigation, Director J. Edgar Hoover appeared before the commissioners to provide them with his special insights into the Kennedy assassination and the benefit of his forty years as head of the nation's most prestigious and revered law enforcement agency. Hoover was probably America's most renowned and best-recognized public figure, and the Commission wanted to trade on his eclat.

Hoover was scheduled to give his testimony when the Commission was still working under Warren and Rankin's initial time frame and expected to finish up its work by the end of June. Ford and Dulles did most of the early questioning. What they wanted from America's iconic hero was his assurance that the assassination had been the act of a lone nut. Hoover was quick to oblige, assuring the commissioners that there was not "a scintilla of evidence showing any foreign conspiracy or domestic conspiracy that culminated in the assassination of President Kennedy." Hoover told the commissioners they could expect to be second-guessed and violently disagreed with, whatever their ultimate findings were. He pointed out that the FBI was already inundated with crank letters and calls from kooks, weirdos, crazies, and self-anointed psychics, all alleging a monstrous conspiracy behind Kennedy's violent death. Whether orchestrated or not, his testimony before the Commission provided the director an opportunity to launch a preemptive strike against future dissenters and critics of the Warren Commission and, by extension, Hoover's FBI, the Commission's investigative arm.

Whatever the merits, if any, of Hoover's profiling of future Commission dissenters and critics, its first test was a hands-down failure. The Commission's first dissenter was Senator Richard Brevard Russell, Jr., one of the most conservative as well as respected and admired members of the U.S. Senate. Russell wielded great power in the upper chamber and had earned the title "dean of the Senate." During 1963-1964, when the Warren Commission was conducting its business, no U.S. legislator was at the White House as frequently as the senior senator from Georgia.

On September 18, 1964, a Friday evening, President Johnson phoned Russell, his old political mentor and longtime friend, to find out what was in the Commission's report scheduled for release within the week. Johnson was surprised that Russell had suddenly bolted from Washington for a weekend retreat to his Winder, Georgia, home. Russell was quick to clear up the mystery as to why he needed to get out of the nation's capital. For the past nine months the Georgia lawmaker had been trying to balance his heavy senatorial duties with his responsibilities as a member of the Warren Commission, a perfect drudgery that Johnson had imposed upon him despite Russell's strenuous objections. No longer a young man and suffering from debilitating emphysema, Russell was simply played out. But it was the Warren Commission's last piece of business that had prompted his sudden Friday decision to escape Washington.

That Friday, September 18, Russell forced a special executive session of the Commission. It was not a placid meeting. In brief, Russell intended to use this session to explain to his Commission colleagues why he could not sign a report stating that the same bullet had struck both President Kennedy and Governor Connally. Russell was convinced that the missile that had struck Connally was a separate bullet. Senator Cooper was in strong agreement with Russell, and Boggs, to a lesser extent, had his own serious reservations about the single-bullet explanation. The Commission's findings were already in page proofs and ready for printing when Russell balked at signing the report. Commissioners Ford, Dulles, and McCloy were satisfied that the one-bullet scenario was the most reasonable explanation because it was essential to the report's single-assassin conclusion. With the Commission divided almost down the middle, Chairman Warren insisted on nothing less than a unanimous report. The stalemate was resolved, superficially at least, when Commissioner McCloy fashioned some compromise language that satisfied both camps.'

The tension-ridden Friday-morning executive session had worn Russell out. He told Johnson that the "damn Commission business whupped me down." Russell was in such haste to get away that he had forgotten to pack his toothbrush, extra shirts, and the medicine he used to ease his respiratory illness. Although Russell had support from Cooper and Boggs, he was the only one who actively dug in his heels against Rankin and the staff's contention that Kennedy and Connally had been hit by the same nonfatal bullet. Because of Russell's chronic Commission absenteeism he never fully comprehended that the final report's no-conspiracy conclusion was inextricably tied to the validity of what would later be referred to as the "single-bullet" theory. But he had read most of the testimony and was convinced that the staff's contention that the same missile had hit Kennedy and Connally was, at best, "credible" but not persuasive. "I don't believe it," he frankly told the president. Johnson's response -whether patronizing or genuine remains guesswork - was "I don't either." In summing up their Friday-night exchange, Russell and Johnson agreed that the question of the Connally bullet did not jeopardize the credibility of the report. Neither questioned the official version that Oswald had shot President Kennedy.

Russell enjoyed a deserved reputation for devotion to his senatorial responsibilities and mastery of the legislative details of the business that came before the Senate. Consequently, he was sensitive and apologetic about the fact that time constraints had limited him to being only a part-time member of the Commission. As he told Johnson, "This staff business always scares me. I like to put my own views down." When he left Friday afternoon for his Georgia home, he was not at ease in his own mind about McCloy's compromise language. He told Johnson, "I tried my best to get in a dissent. But they came around and traded me out of it by giving me a little ole thread of it." Russell was referring to his less-than-enthusiastic acceptance of McCloy's compromise language. What Russell was not aware of at the time was that wholesale perfidy, not mere pressure for consensus, would stigmatize the Commission's September 18 executive session as one of the most disgraceful episodes in the history of the Kennedy assassination investigation. Rankin suppressed the entire record of the divisions among the commissioners over the single-bullet construction to leave the false impression that the commissioners were in universal agreement on this crucial point. The unreported record revealed that Russell, and by extension the American people, were misled by Rankin's unprecedented deception, whose sole purpose was to hide the fact that unanimous Commission support for the single-bullet "solution" was a fraud.

Russell was more outspoken than any of his colleagues in his displeasure about both the quality of the FBI investigation and the information the FBI and CIA fed to the Commission. He suspected that both agencies were not giving the Commission everything they knew about the assassination. For instance, during the January 27, 1964, executive session the commissioners were wrestling with how to approach FBI director Hoover to help them disprove the rumors and allegations that Oswald had been an FBI source or informant. They discussed the unlikeliness of any possibility that the FBI or CIA, investigating themselves, could be counted upon to be forthcoming with whatever information they had, especially if the allegations were true. Russell was certain that the FBI "would have denied that he was an agent." The Georgia senator was certain the CIA would take the same tack. When he turned to Allen Dulles, the former CIA director agreed with him. Russell, expressing the hopelessness of their quandary, remarked to Dulles, "They (CIA) would be the first to deny it. Your agents would have done exactly the same thing."