Richard E. Sprague was born in 1921. He graduated from Purdue University in 1942 and after the Second World War was employed as an engineer at Northrup Aircraft.
In 1950 he co-founded the Computer Research Corporation in Hawthorne, California in 1950 and served as Vice President of Sales. In 1960, he became the Director of Computer Systems Consulting for Touche, Ross, Bailey, and Smart.
In 1966 Sprague began his research into the photographic evidence associated with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. According to Dick Russell, Sprague was "the leading gather of photographic evidence about the Kennedy assassination."
Sprague served a year as photographic expert advisor in the investigations conducted by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison and had amassed and analyzed a majority of the known evidence on film by 1968 when he CO-founded the Committee to Investigate Assassinations.
In 1968 Sprague established Sprague Research and Consulting for Computer Information Systems Consultation. Later he worked as a full time consultant to Battelle Memorial Institute of Frankfurt, Germany.
Sprague worked as an advisor to Henry Gonzalez on House Resolution 203 which proposed the appointment of a committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. He later served as a consultant to Richard A. Sprague and G. Robert Blakey, the first and second General Counsels of the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
Sprague published The Taking of America in 1985. In the book he names the following as being involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy: William Seymour, Clay Shaw, David Ferrie, Guy Banister, Louis M. Bloomfield, Loran Hall, Lawrence Howard, Harry Dean, Richard Case Nagell, Sergio Arcacha Smith, Carlos Prio, Herminio Diaz Garcia, Jim Braden (alias Eugene Hale Brading), John Howard Bowen (alias Albert Osborne), Ronald Augustinovich, Mary Hope, Emilio Santana, Fred Lee Crisman and Jim Hicks.
Richard E. Sprague died in 1996.
The conspiracy to assassinate John Kennedy began in a series of discussions held in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. The men in the discussions were extremely angry that Kennedy had stopped plans and preparations for another invasion of Cuba (scheduled for the latter part of 1963.) One of the instigators was David Ferrie, a CIA contract agent who had been training pilots in Guatemala for the invasion. Meetings held in Ferrie's apartment in New Orleans were attended by Clay Shaw, William Seymour and several Cubans. Plans for assassinating President Kennedy developed out of those early meetings. Others whose support was sought by the group included Guy Banister, Major L. M. Bloomfield, Loran Hall, Lawrence Howard, Sergio Arcacha Smith and Carlos Prio Socarras.
During this period in the summer of 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald was working for Guy Banister on some anti-Castro projects and used the Communist cover of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Oswald attended some of the meetings where JFK's assassination was discussed.
Oswald either approached the FBI or they approached him in the later summer of 1963, and he began to tell the FBI about the plans of the group to assassinate JFK. Oswald had been a secret informant for the FBI since mid-1962.
In September, the group moved the scene of their planning to Mexico City. There they solicited the assistance of Guy Gabaldin, a CIA agent. Meetings were held in the apartment of Gabaldin, attended by Shaw, Ferrie, Seymour, Gabaldin and Oswald on at least three occasions. Others were brought into the conspiracy at this point. These included John Howard Bowen (alias Albert Osborne), Ronald Augustinovich, Mary Hope, Emilio Santana, Harry Dean, Richard Case Nagell, and "Frenchy" (an adventurer who had been working with Seymour, Santana, Ferrie, Howard and others on the Cuban invasion projects in the Florida Keys). Fred Lee Crisman, Jim Hicks and Jim Braden (alias Eugene Hale Brading) were also recruited at this point.
Oswald continued to inform on the group to the FBI in Dallas. In mid- to late September the assassination group decided to make Oswald the patsy in the murder. They had discussed the need for a patsy in the earliest meetings in New Orleans. Billy Seymour, who resembled Oswald, was selected to use Oswald's name and to plant evidence in New Orleans, Dallas and Mexico, which could later be used to frame him. In addition, another man under CIA surveillance in Mexico City also used Oswald's name in a probable attempt to make it appear that Oswald was headed for Cuba. His name may have been Johnny Mitchell Deveraux. His picture appears in the Warren Commission Volumes as CE 237.
The team needed financial support for the assassination. They received it from Carlos Prio Socarras in Miami, who brought more than 50 million dollars out of Cuba. They also received money from Banister, and from three Texas millionaires who hated Kennedy: Sid Richardson, Clint Murchison, and Jean DeMenil (of the Schlumberger Co.). The Murchison-Richardson contribution also included soliciting the assistance of high-level men in the Dallas police force. They were powerful members of the Dallas Citizens Council that controlled the city at that time.
The group in Mexico City planned to assassinate JFK in Miami, Chicago or Dallas, using different gunmen in each case. The Miami plan failed because the Secret Service found out about it in advance and kept JFK out of the open. The Chicago plan backfired when JFK canceled his plans to attend the Army-Navy game at Soldiers Field in early November. The group set up two assassination teams for Dallas. One was in Dealey Plaza; the second was near the International Trade Mart where JFK's luncheon speech was to be delivered.
The best evidence of CIA (Deputy-Director of Plans) involvement is the fact that the majority of the known participants were contract agents or direct agents of the CIA. In Mexico City, the meetings were held in the apartment of Guy Gabaldin, a CIA (DDP) agent, working for the Mexico City station chief. Others attending the meetings who were CIA (DDP) contract or direct agents included Clay Shaw, David Ferrie, Albert Osborne, Harry Dean, Richard Case Nagell, Ronald Augustinovich, William Seymour, Emilio Santana and Fred Lee Crisman. It is likely (but not yet provable by direct evidence) that the group sought and obtained from the acting or permanent CIA station chief in Mexico, assistance or approval to go ahead with assassination plans. Tad Szulc claims that a CIA source can prove that E. Howard Hunt was acting station chief in Mexico City at the time of the Gabaldin apartment meetings (August and September 1963). Hunt has denied under oath before the Rockefeller Commission that he was in Mexico.
In 1967 Richard Helms told a group of CIA officials, including Victor Marchetti, that both Clay Shaw and David Ferrie were CIA (DDP) contract agents and that Shaw had to be given CIA protection and assistance in his New Orleans trial. This is a strong indication that Hunt and Helms gave "turn of the head" approval to the Shaw-Ferrie assassination plan as a minimum form of support.
The assassination group, having failed in Miami and Chicago, moved an operational team into Dallas during the second week in November of 1963. Shaw, Ferrie, Gabaldin and other high-level plotters travelled in other directions, establishing alibis as planned. On November 22, Gabaldin was in Mexico City, Shaw was in San Francisco, and Ferrie was in New Orleans. The team moving into Dallas included Albert Osborne, William Seymour, Emilio Santana, Frenchy, Fred Crisman, Jim Hicks, Jim Braden, and a new recruit from Los Angeles, Jack Lawrence. There was also a back-up rifle team of Cubans to be used at a location near the International Trade Mart in the event something went wrong at Dealey Plaza.
The teams stayed at two locations in Dallas for two weeks. One was a rooming house run by a woman named Tammie True. During this period final preparations for the assassination in Dealey Plaza were made. These included the collecting of and planting of evidence used to frame Oswald, the recruiting of the Dallas police participants, and the plans for the escape of the team members by car and by train. The riflemen selected were William Seymour in the Depository Building, Jack Lawrence and Frenchy on the grassy knoll, and Emilio Santana in the Dal Tex building. Jim Hicks was set up as radio coordinator and a man with each of the riflemen had a two-way radio...
Upon a visual and oral signal from the man at the wall and upon a radio command from Hicks, the team fired its first round of shots. Crisman received the command from Hicks and caused Frenchy to fire a shot from a position behind the fence on the knoll, about twenty feet west of the corner of the fence. This shot missed. The umbrella man fired a shot using his small-bore umbrella gun. When this shot struck JFK in the throat, the dart paralyzed JFK and later presented by Commander Humes to the FBI. The shot was fired at Zapruder frame 189: JFK was behind a large oak tree, hidden from the sixth floor window of the TSBD Building. On command from Braden, Emilio Santana fired his first shot two seconds later from the second floor window of the Dal Tex building at Z 225 after JFK came out from behind the sign in Zapruder's film. The shot struck JFK in the back about 5 3/4" down from the collar line, penetrated to a depth of about two inches and stopped. The bullet fell out of JFK's back somewhere in or at the Parkland Hospital, or perhaps travelled down inside the body of the President, and was never recovered.
William Seymour fired his shot from the west end of the TSBD Building upon command from his radio man between Z 230 and Z 237, after Santana's shot. He used a Mauser rifle with no telescopic sight. While he was aiming at JFK, he fired high and to the right, hitting John Connally in the back. The bullet travelled through Connally's chest and then entered his left thigh. The bullet fell out of his thigh in or near Parkland Hospital and was never recovered. Governor Connally's wrist was not hit at that time.
Jack Lawrence did not fire a shot in the first round because from his cupola position he did not have a clear shot.
Hicks gave a second radio command for another round of shots as JFK passed the Stemmons Freeway sign.
Emilio Santana fired his second shot between Z 265 and Z 275. The bullet narrowly missed JFK, passed over the top of his head and over the top of the limousine's windshield. It travelled on to strike the south curb of Main Street, breaking off a piece of concrete which flew up and hit James Tague. The bullet either disintegrated or flew into the area beyond the overpass. It was not found.
William Seymour may have fired a second shot which may have struck JFK in the upper right part of his head at Z 312. That bullet disintegrated.
Upon command from his radio man, Jack Lawrence fired his first shot from a pedestal on the west side of the south entrance to the western cupola on the grassy knoll. The shot may have hit Connally's wrist.
Frenchy fired the fatal shot through the trees from his position behind the fence.
The Lawrence shot or possibly the second Seymour shot produced a bullet fragment that passed through Connally's right wrist at Z 313. At that time his wrist was elevated and nearly directly in front of JFK's head, in such a position that Connally's right palm was facing JFK as the governor fell into his wife's arms. The fragment entered the front of his wrist and exited from the back.
The Power Control Group faced up to the Ted Kennedy and Kennedy family problem very early. They used the threat against the Kennedy children's lives very effectively between 1963 and 1968 to silence Bobby and the rest of the family and friends who knew the truth. It was necessary to assassinate Bobby in 1968 because with the power of the presidency he could have prevented the Group from harming the children. When Teddy began making moves to run for president in 1969 for the 1972 election, the Group decided to put some real action behind their threats. Killing Teddy in 1969 would have been too much. They selected a new way of eliminating him as a candidate. They framed him with the death of a young girl, and threw sexual overtones in for good measure.
Here is what happened according to Robert Cutler's (You the Jury - 1974) analysis of the evidence. The Group hired several men and at least one woman to be at Chappaquiddick during the weekend of the yacht race and the planned party on the island. They ambushed Ted and Mary Jo after they left the cottage and knocked Ted out with blows to his head and body. They took the unconscious or semi-conscious Kennedy to Martha's Vineyard and deposited him in his hotel room. Another group took Mary JO to the bridge in Ted's car, force fed her with a knock out potion of alcoholic beverage, placed her in the back seat, and caused the car to accelerate off the side of the bridge into the water. They broke the windows on one side of the car to insure the entry of water; then they watched the car until they were sure Mary JO would not escape.
Mary JO actually regained consciousness and pushed her way to the top of the car (which was actually the bottom of the car - it had landed on its roof) and died from asphyxiation. The group with Teddy revived him early in the morning and let him know he had a problem. Possibly they told him that Mary JO had been kidnapped. They told him his children would be killed if he told anyone what had happened and that he would hear from them. On Chappaquiddick, the other group made contact with Markham and Gargan, Ted's cousin and lawyer. They told both men that Mary JO was at the bottom of the river and that Ted would have to make up a story about it, not revealing the existence of the group. One of the men resembled Ted and his voice sounded something like Ted's. Markham and Gargan were instructed to go the the Vineyard on the morning ferry, tell Ted where Mary JO was, and come back to the island to wait for a phone call at a pay station near the ferry on the Chappaquiddick side.
The two men did as they were told and Ted found out what had happened to Mary JO that morning. The three men returned to the pay phone and received their instructions to concoct a story about the "accident" and to report it to the police. The threat against Ted's children was repeated at that time.
Ted, Markham and Gargan went right away to police chief Arena's office on the Vineyard where Ted reported the so-called "accident." Almost at the same time scuba diver John Farror was pulling Mary JO out of the water, since two boys who had gone fishing earlier that morning had spotted the car and reported it.
Ted called together a small coterie of friends and advisors including family lawyer Burke Marshall, Robert MacNamara, Ted Sorenson, and others. They met on Squaw Island near the Kennedy compound at Hyannisport for three days. At the end of that time they had manufactured the story which Ted told on TV, and later at the inquest. Bob Cutler calls the story, "the shroud." Even the most cursory examination of the story shows it was full of holes and an impossible explanation of what happened. Ted's claim that he made the wrong turn down the dirt road toward the bridge by mistake is an obvious lie. His claim that he swam the channel back to Martha's Vineyard is not believable. His description of how he got out of the car under water and then dove down to try to rescue Mary JO is impossible. Markham and Gargan's claims that they kept diving after Mary JO are also unbelievable.
The evidence for the Cutler scenario is substantial. It begins with the marks on the bridge and the position of the car in the water. The marks show that the car was standing still on the bridge and then accelerated off the edge, moving at a much higher speed than Kennedy claimed. The distance the car travelled in the air also confirms this. The damage to the car on two sides and on top plus the damage to the windshield and the rear view mirror stanchion prove that some of the damage had to have been inflicted before the car left the bridge.
The blood on the back and on the sleeves of Mary JO's blouse proves that a wound was inflicted before she left the bridge. The alcohol in her bloodstream proves she was drugged, since all witnesses testified she never drank and did not drink that night. The fact that she was in the back seat when her body was recovered indicates that is where she was when the car hit the water. There was no way she could have dived downward against the inrushing water and moved from the front to the back seat underneath the upside-down seat back.
The wounds on the back of Ted Kennedy's skull, those just above his ear and the large bump on the top indicate he was knocked out. His actions at the hotel the next morning show he was not aware of Mary JO's death until Markham and Gargan arrived. The trip to the pay phone on Chappaquiddick can only be explained by his receiving a call there, not making one. There were plenty of pay phones in or near Ted's hotel if he needed to make a private call. The tides in the channel and the direction in which Ted claimed he swam do not match. In addition it would have been a superhuman feat to have made it across the channel (as proven by several professionals who subsequently tried it).
Deputy Sheriff Christopher Look's testimony, coupled with the testimony of Ray LaRosa and two Lyons girls, proves that there were two people in Ted's car with Mary Jo at 12:45 pm. The three party members walking along the road south toward the cottage confirmed the time that Mr. Look drove by. He stopped to ask if they needed a ride. Look says that just prior to that he encountered Ted's car parked facing north at the juncture of the main road and the dirt road. It was on a short extension of the north-south section of the road junction to the north of the "T". He says he saw a man driving, a woman in the seat beside him, and what he thought was another woman lying on the back seat. He remembered a portion of the license plate which matched Ted's car, as did the description of the car. Markham, Gargan and Ted's driver's testimony show that someone they talked to in the pitch black night sounded like Ted and was about his height and build.
None of the above evidence was ever explained by Ted or by anyone else at the inquest or at the hearing on the case demanded by district attorney Edward Dinis. No autopsy was ever allowed on Mary JO's body (her family objected), and Ted made it possible to fly her body home for burial rather quickly. Kennedy haters have seized upon Chappaquiddick to enlarge the sexual image now being promoted of both Ted and Jack Kennedy. Books like "Teddy Bare" take full advantage of the situation.
Just which operatives in the Power Control Group at the high levels or the lower levels were on Chappaquiddick Island? No definite evidence has surfaced as yet, except for an indication that there was at least one woman and at least three men, one of whom resembled Ted Kennedy and who sounded like him in the darkness. However, two pieces of testimony in the Watergate hearings provide significant clues as to which of the known JFK case conspirators may have been there.
E. Howard Hunt told of a strange trip to Hyannisport to see a local citizen there about the Chappaquiddick incident. Hunt's cover story on this trip was that he was digging up dirt on Ted Kennedy for use in the 1972 campaign. The story does not make much sense if one questions why Hunt would have to wear a disguise, including his famous red wig, and to use a voice-alteration device to make himself sound like someone else. If, on the other hand, Hunt's purpose was to return to the scene of his crime just to make sure that no one who might have seen his group at the bridge or elsewhere would talk, then the disguise and the voice box make sense.
The other important testimony came from Tony Ulasewicz who said he was ordered by the Plumbers to fly immediately to Chappaquiddick and dig up dirt on Ted. The only problem Tony has is that, according to his testimony, he arrived early on the morning of the "accident", before the whole incident had been made public. Ulasewicz is the right height and weight to resemble Kennedy and with a CIA voice-alteration device he presumably could be made to sound like him. There is a distinct possibility that Hunt and Tony were there when it happened.
The threats by the Power Control Group, the frame-up at Chappaquiddick, and the murders of Jack and Bobby Kennedy cannot have failed to take their toll on all of the Kennedys. Rose, Ted, Jackie, Ethel and the other close family members must be very tired of it all by now. They can certainly not be blamed for hoping it will all go away. Investigations like those proposed by Henry Gonzalez and Thomas Downing only raised the spectre of the powerful Control Group taking revenge by kidnapping some of the seventeen children.
It was no wonder that a close Kennedy friend and ally in California, Representative Burton, said that he would oppose the Downing and Gonzalez resolutions unless Ted Kennedy put his stamp of approval on them. While the sympathies of every decent American go out to them, the future of our country and the freedom of the people to control their own destiny through the election process mean more than the lives of all the Kennedys put together. If John Kennedy were alive today he would probably make the same statement.
The mini-war waged by assassination researchers and a few Congressmen from 1964 to 1976 to reopen the major assassination inquiries never really disturbed the Power Control Group. But in 1975, simultaneous with the revelations about all of the terrible things the CIA and the FBI did, the researchers and a few of their friends in the media and in Congress began to draw more attention than was comfortable for the PCG...
There may be several second lines of defense positions already prepared for the JFK case. The one that has been implemented in 1975 and 1976 is the "Castro did it in revenge" position. The PCG realizes that while the media will behave like slaves to present the first line of defense (Oswald did it alone), the public isn't buying it any more. In 1969, shortly after the Clay Shaw trial ended, the percent of people disbelieving the lone assassin theory fell to its all-time low of just over 50%. By 1976 it had risen to 80%, despite the faithful efforts of CBS, Time, Newsweek, et al. More importantly, Richard Schweiker, Gary Hart, Henry Gonzalez, Thomas Downing, and a very large part of the House and Senate weren't buying the lone assassin story any more either.
So, a good second line of defense story was needed. It had to be one that the House and Senate and Schweiker, Church, Downing and hopefully Gonzalez would buy. It had to be one which could be created out of existing facts and then shored up by planted evidence, faked records, dependable witnesses lying under oath, and once again, the control and use of the media. The "Castro did it in revenge" story met these requirements. The media had already helped to some extent by publishing information from Jack Anderson, Lyndon B. Johnson and others about Castro's turning around various CIA agents or sending agents of his own, including Oswald, to assassinate JFK. Perhaps even more importantly, Senator Schweiker said he believed Castro might have been behind the assassination and that this possibility should be investigated.
The Castro story strategy was implemented in 1975. Gradually at first, a story appeared here or there in the press about the assassins assigned to kill Castro. Then the media began to reprint the Jack Anderson story about Castro's turning around of some of these agents. New authors of the story appeared. Anderson's original story seemed to be forgotten. These articles never seemed to have an identifiable source or any proof. Hank Greenspun of the Las Vegas newspaper circuit and the man involved with Howard Hughes, Larry O'Brien, released a story to the Chicago Tribune. He said his information came from reliable sources.
The momentum began to build. More and more "leaked" information about Castro and assassins and Oswald being a pro-Castroite hit the establishment media. The stories and the sequence of events began to be predictable, if a researcher had understood the PCG and their fight for survival in 1975 and 1976. Then the Church committee and the Schweiker sub-committee issued statements that they were going to investigate the "Castro did it" theory. The PCG began feeding them information in various forms and various ways that would back up the idea. The JFK sex scandal was released by Judith Exner. The PCG provided her with an incentive to spice up the "Castro did it" theory with a little sex involving JFK and one of the assassins assigned to Castro, John Roselli.
The PCG realized they had the double advantage of drawing attention to Roselli and Castro and the turn-around assassin idea, while at the same time gnawing away at JFK's image. There was press speculation that Exner was a Mafia plant in the White House to find out how much JFK knew about the Castro assassination plans. Since Frank Sinatra had introduced Judith to both JFK and Roselli, there was speculation about Sinatra's Mafia friends linked to the rat pack, to Peter Lawford, to JFK's sister and to JFK himself. All of this was meat for the PCG's grinder. It certainly drew Schweiker's attention away from Helms, Hunt, Gabaldin, Shaw, Ferrie, Seymour and all of the other operatives involved in JFK's murder. In fact, the Schweiker staff, which had the names and locations of several participants and witnesses that could pinpoint the Helms-Hunt-Shaw-Gabaldin group as the real assassins as early as September, 1975 did not interview more than one or two of them and did not follow up on the rest at all. Their attention was diverted by the second line of defense strategy and they were also influenced by infiltration by the PCG.
Downing and Gonzalez hired Dick Sprague as chief counsel. Sprague very rapidly hired the equivalent of his own FBI. He sensed from the start that he might be up against both the FBI and the CIA, so he carefully screened his investigators, lawyers, researchers and other personnel to prevent intelligence penetration of the staff. However, some personnel were "handed" to him by both Gonzalez and Downing.
It goes almost without saying that the PCG would have tried to infiltrate the staff. What they learned by their early infiltration was that Sprague and his crack team were not only on the right track in both the JFK and MLK investigations, but also that the tactics used by the PCG in those weeks were making the staff and some of the committee members suspicious about the PCG itself.
Faced with the new committee and Sprague's staff, the PCG had devise a strategy that included:
1. Attacking Dick Sprague to discredit him with dirt and print it in the media.
2. Using the media to spread PCG propaganda and control the sources of all stories concerning the Select Committee.
3. Using PCG Congressmen to provide biased, distorted quotes to the media for its use.
4. Trying to discredit the entire committee by making it appear to be disorganized and unmanageable.
5. Controlling the voting and lobbying against the continuation of the committee in January and February.
6. Influencing members of the House to vote against the Committee through a massive letter and telegram campaign.
7. Exaggerating the emphasis placed on the size of the budget requested by Sprague without considering the need for such a budget.
8. Demanding that the committee justify its existence by producing new evidence.
9. Splitting the committee and attempting to create dissension; creating a battle between Henry Gonzalez and Richard Sprague and between Gonzalez and Downing.
10. Hamstringing the staff so they could not receive salaries, could not travel, did not have subpoena power, could not make long distance telephone calls; blocking access to the key files at the FBI, Justice Department, CIA and Secret Service.
11. Trying to insert their own man at the head of the staff.
12. Brainwashing Henry Gonzalez into believing that Sprague and others were agents.
13. Sacrificing Henry Gonzalez when it became obvious the PCG could not control him as their chairman.
14. Leaking stories that seemed to make the committee's efforts unnecessary.
The final report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), issued in 1979, concluded that a conspiracy existed in the assassination of President Kennedy. This news should have delighted hundreds of researchers who had disagreed with the no-conspiracy finding of the Warren Commission. The fact that it did not, is due to the HSCA conspiracy being a simple one, with Lee Harvey Oswald still firing all but one of the shots from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository Building. The existence of another shooter and another shot, from the grassy knoll, was "proved" by the HSCA, based primarily on acoustical evidence presented in the very last month of their public hearings. Dr. Robert Blakey and Richard Billings, chief counsel and report editor for the HSCA, co-authored, in 1981, a book, The Plot to Kill the President, following the publication of the HSCA's final report. The book claimed that the other shooter and Oswald were part of a Mafia plot to kill JFK.
To over simplify the current (1985) situation, most JFK researchers feel that the American public had been deceived once again. The HSCA reaffirmed all but one of the Warren Commission's findings, including even the famed single bullet theory. The simplified conspiracy finding is now subject to review by the Justice Department and the FBI because it is based on very questionable acoustical evidence. Justice commissioned the so-called Ramsey Panel to review this evidence, in 1981, under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences. It found no evidence from the acoustics that a grassy knoll shot was fired. So, we are back to no-conspiracy and Oswald being the lone assassin. And even if there was a conspiracy, Blakey claims it involved the Mafia and not the CIA. The HSCA report and all of its volumes of evidence omitting any reference to CIA involvement, concluded that the CIA was not involved, and did not reveal any evidence that the HSCA staff had collected showing that CIA people murdered JFK, and that the CIA has been covering up that fact ever since.
Any followers of CIA activities connected with the JFK assassination, since 1963, must ask the question, how did they do it? How did the CIA turn things completely around from the 1976 days when Henry Gonzalez, Thomas Downing, Richard A. Sprague, Robert Tanenbaum, Cliff Fenton and others were pursuing the truth about the assassination, to essentially the same status as when the Warren Commission finished its work? How did they produce the final cover-up? The answer is that the CIA controlled the HSCA and its investigation and findings from the early part of 1977, forward. The methods they used were as clever and devious as any they had used previously to control the Warren Commission, the Rockefeller Commission, the Garrison Investigation, the Schweiker/Hart Committee and the efforts of independent researchers.
The first step taken by the CIA was to use the media they control, along with some members of Congress they control, and two planted agents on the staff of and consulting for, Henry Gonzalez, to get rid of both Henry and Richard A. Sprague. In taking this step, they used the old Roman approach of divide and conquer. They made Gonzalez and his closest staff assistant, Gail Beagle, believe that Sprague was a CIA agent and that Gonzalez must get rid of him. They also made Gonzalez believe that some of his other associates, both in the HSCA and outside, were CIA agents. At the same time, they used the media to attack Sprague mercilessly. The key people in doing this attack on Sprague were three CIA reporters, George Lardner of the Washington Post, Mr. Burnham of The New York Times, and Jeremiah O'Leary of the Washington Star. In all HSCA committee meetings and in Rules Committee and Finance Committee meetings, these three reporters sat next to each other, passed notes back and forth, and wrote articles continually attacking and undermining both Sprague and Gonzalez, as well as the entire committee. The CIA had the support of top management in all three news organizations in doing this.
Gonzalez eventually tried to fire Sprague, was over-ruled by the committee, and then resigned from the committee. Sprague eventually resigned, because it became obvious that the CIA controlled members of the Finance and Rules Committees and other CIA allies in the House, were going to kill the committee unless he resigned. There are many more details to this story, which requires a book to describe. Suffice it to say, the CIA accomplished their first two goals by March 1977. The next steps were to install a CIA-controlled chief counsel and to get a chairman elected who could be fooled or coerced into appointing such a counsel. Lewis Stokes was a perfect choice for chairman. He was, and probably still is, a good and honest man. But he was completely bamboozled by what the CIA did and is still doing. The selection and implementation of a CIA man as chief counsel had to be done in an extremely subtle manner. It could not be obvious to anyone that he was a CIA man. Stokes and the other committee members had to be fooled into believing they had made the choice, and had picked a good man. Professor Robert Blakey, an apparently scientifically oriented, academic person, with a history of work against organized crime, was the perfect CIA choice. Once Dr. Blakey took over as chief counsel, he accomplished goals numbered 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 very nicely. The fourth and fifth goals having been achieved, Blakey set about the other parts of his assignment very rapidly after he arrived. For Goal 3, he fired Bob Tanenbaum, Bob Lehner, and Donovan Gay, three loyal Sprague supporters, quickly.
The most important weapon used by the CIA and Blakey to pursue goals 9 and 10 was instituted within one week after Blakely arrived. It is by far the most subtle and far reaching technique used by the CIA to date. It is called the "Nondisclosure Agreement" and it was signed by all members of the committee, all staff members including Blakey, all consultants to the committee, and several independent researchers who met with Blakey in 1977. Signing the agreement was a condition for continued employment on the committee staff or for continuing consulting on a contract basis. The choice was, sign or get out. The author signed the agreement in July 1977, without realizing its implications at the time, in order to continue as a consultant. The agreement is reproduced in full the Appendix and is labelled Exhibit A. The author's consulting help was never sought after that and the obvious objective was to silence a consultant and not use his services.
This CIA weapon has several parts. First, it binds the signer, if a consultant, to never reveal that he is working for the committee. Second, it prevents the signer from ever revealing to anyone in perpetuity, any information he has learned about the committee's work as a result of working for the committee. Third, it gives the committee and the House, after the committee terminates, the power to take legal action against the signer, in a court named by the committee or the House, in case the committee believes the signer has violated the agreement. Fourth, the signer agrees to pay the court costs for such a suit in the event he loses the suit.
These four parts are enough to scare most researchers or staff members who signed it into silence forever about what they learned. The agreement is insidious in that the signer is, in effect, giving away his constitutional rights. Some lawyers who have seen the agreement, including Richard A. Sprague, have expressed the opinion it is an illegal agreement in violation of the Constitution and several Constitutional amendments. Whether it is illegal or not, most staff members and all consultants who signed it have remained silent, even after three and a half years beyond the life of the committee. There are only two exceptions, the author and Gaeton Fonzi, who published a lengthy article about the HSCA cover-up in the Washingtonian magazine in 1981.
The most insidious parts of the agreement, however, are paragraphs 2, 3 and 7, which give the CIA very effective control over what the committee could and could not do with so-called "classified" information. The director of the CIA is given authority to determine, in effect, what information shall remain classified and therefore unavailable to nearly everyone. The signer of the agreement, and remember, this includes all of the Congressman and women who were members of the committee, agrees not to reveal or discuss any information that the CIA decides he should not. The chairman of the committee supposedly has the final say on what information is included, but in practice, even an intelligent and gutsy chairman would not be likely to override the CIA. Lewis Stokes did not attempt any final decisions. In fact, the CIA did not have to do very much under these clauses. The fact that Blakey was their man and kept nearly all of the CIA sensitive information, evidence, and witnesses away from the committee members was all that was necessary. Stokes never knew what he should have argued about with the CIA director. It is this document which proves beyond doubt that the CIA controlled the HSCA.
The author attempted to point out to Stokes in a letter dated February 10, 1978, copy included herein, Exhibit B, the type of control the agreement gives the CIA over the HSCA. Stokes replied in a March 16, 1978 letter, Exhibit C, that he retained ultimate authority and was not bound by the opinion of the Central Intelligence Director. He also claimed that paragraphs 12 and 14, on extending the agreement in perpetuity and giving the government the right to file a civil suit in which the signer will pay all costs, were legal. He said in the letter that the purpose of the agreement was to give the HSCA control over the conduct of the investigation including control over the ultimate disclosure of information to the American public. That is a key admission about what has actually happened. The only question is, who is controlling the information in the heads of the staff investigators who discovered CIA involvement? Was Louis Stokes working for the public or for the CIA?