Walt Brown has a Ph.D. in history from the University of Notre Dame, and teaches history at Ramapo College in New Jersey.
Brown, a former special agent of the Justice Department, is a longtime researcher of the Warren Commission and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He is also the editor of JFK/Deep Politics and the author of several books on the subject including: The People V. Lee Harvey Oswald (1992), Treachery in Dallas (1995), Referenced Index Guide to the Warren Commission (1995), JFK Assassination Quizbook (1995) and The Warren Omission(1996).
Brown's most ambitious project was The Global Index to the JFK Assassination, a CD-ROM of 2400 pages, which indexed not just the WC, but also the HSCA, and 100+ of the best known JFK books. There are 17,185 names and over 4 million references, and it is cross-referenced by 175 categories; so if you cannot remember the name of a particular Secret Service agent (or 174 other possible categories), you look through the alphabetic listing of the hundreds of SS agents listed, find the name, and then go to that listing in the Index.
I learned much from 1991 through the beginning of 1998: the contradictions in the evidence, the plethora of theories and shooters, the variety of 'sponsors' and the various and sundry - and often abysmal - ways in which the most recent batch of research, or the 'conspiracy du jour' reached the public. I also began to form the very serious impression, subconsciously at first, and through introspection and with a lot of help, that Cuba was the line in the sand. The assassination was about real estate, not about agencies with initials, or groups with acronym names, or either oil taxes or the price of pretzels in Pakistan. It wasn't done by Mossad or by Chinese or Bulgarian intelligence, as some would have us believe, but by people within our own house - people who viewed events in Cuba, shook their head sadly, and pronounced one quintessential word: "enough."
And in their own minds, they were not pronouncing a death penalty against John F. Kennedy for his failure(s) there; they were going to turn him into the ultimate martyr for Cuban freedom. They succeeded, in part: JFK did become the ultimate martyr, although 35 years later, that little island 90 miles off our shores is still a festering boil on American pride.
A Texas-based assassination research group has publicly named a man believed to have left a previously unidentified fingerprint on a box making up the so-called "sniper's nest" on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.
At a May 29 press conference in Dallas, researcher and author Walt Brown said that the fingerprints belong to Malcolm E. "Mac" Wallace, a convicted killer with ties to Lyndon Baines Johnson. The fingerprints have been officially unidentified since President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
Brown presented data showing a 14-point match between Wallace's fingerprint card, obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the previously unidentified print, a copy of which was kept in the National Archives. The match was made by A. Nathan Darby, an expert with certification by the International Association of Identifiers.
The Texas researchers forwarded their findings to the Dallas Police Department, who passed it on to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Copies have also gone to Assassination Records Review Board, the federal panel created to oversee the identification and release of records relating to the JFK assassination.
Malcolm Wallace, convicted in a 1951 murder and suspected in others, has been linked to the 1961 death of U.S. Department of Agriculture investigator Henry Marshall. Marshall was reportedly close to connecting Lyndon Johnson to fraudulent activities involving businessman and convicted swindler Billy Sol Estes.
Estes alleged in 1984 that LBJ ordered the killings of Marshall, President Kennedy, and half a dozen others, and that Wallace carried them out. A grand jury decided that same year that Henry Marshall was murdered as a result of a conspiracy involving then-Vice President Johnson, his aide Clifton Carter, and Wallace. No charges were possible since all three men were by then deceased.
Wallace was killed in a single car automobile accident in January 1971.
Barr McClellan, a Houston attorney and part of the Texas research team, told Fair Play that he began to focus on Wallace during his work as attorney-partner with Ed Clark, whom he described as an Austin power broker and one of those behind the assassination. "John Cofer, Wallace's attorney from the start, was our partner specializing in criminal cases," McClellan said. "From that position of insight, I knew Wallace played a key role in the assassination."
In the petition filed with the ARRB, McClellan wrote: "My direct involvement with Clark as his law partner and sole attorney occurred when he sought an additional payoff for the assassination." Negotiations for the payoff, McClellan told Fair Play, were "in May 1974 in a secret meeting with two members of the Railroad Commission."
The Wallace fingerprint match by Darby has been disputed by Glen Sample, who represents California-based researchers whose investigation parallels the Texas research. While Sample says the California group still believes Wallace "was one of the shooters" of President Kennedy, they do not believe his fingerprints are those from the TSBD box.
On September 30, I mailed out the October, 2003 issue of the JFK/Deep Politics Quarterly, which contained positive, endorsement references to Barr McClellans upcoming work, Blood, Money, and Power: How L.B.J. Killed JFK. (That work also contains a jacket blurb, by me, which is valid in the sense that it reflected my opinions on theto be corrected galley proofs of the book that I read in July.) Several days later, I received the publishers edition of the book, and I have been deeply troubled by inconsistencies between what I read (and editorially corrected) in the page proofs and that which appears in the publishers edition, available for sale.
To readers of the journal, as well as to readers of my own works, I must issue an apology in that I would not have so eagerly endorsed this work had I known what the publishers edition would look like. I have known Barr McClellan for almost six years, and although weve never actually met, we have spent many hours together in the search for truth in the events of November 22, 1963. I have no reason to think that his work is in any way an attempt at deceit, but at the same time, I have no answers to the why? of how it went from a solid, stand-on-its-own-legs work in July to an almost fictionalized account in October. If anyone reading this found as much disappointment in the book as I did, I apologize if you made this reading selection based on my endorsement. For those who have read the JFK/Deep Politics Quarterly at any time in the past nine years, you know that when I review a published work, I tend to be critical, not laudatory. Had I not known Barr (from the proverbial Adam), and this book crossed my desk, I would have had no choice BUT TO BE CRITICAL of it, as it contains egregious errors of a factual nature and it takes literary license beyond bounds in its attempts to factionalize events not actually known, but highly suspected, by the author. I should also add that if the premise of this book was Oswald only, and it had such errors and faction, any reviewer who has had material published in the journal would have had a field day.
Chronology: Barr McClellan initially sent me his manuscript in 1998. It was an interesting read with respect to what he called Bubba Justice, a parochial nickname for the ol boy legal network in Texas. The vast majority of that manuscript dealt with that topic and devoted very little space to McClellans close working ties with Ed Clark, portrayed as LBJs cover-up lawyer in matters dealing with the JFK assassination.
There the matter rested until I became aware that the book was to be published, with the original publication date set for late 2002, and then moved to early 2003. Since I had not been privy to that process, I assumed the author was moving ahead, on his own, and I wished him well.
He sent me the new manuscript early in 2003, and I edited it thoroughly, both for mechanics (grammar, usage, spelling), and, more importantly to me, for factual accuracy. I rewrote parts of it for greater clarity in matters pertaining to events in Dealey Plaza. The edited manuscript was then Fed-Exd back to Mississippi in the depths of winter.
In June, I was asked to take a peek at the galleys, and another researcher, who had also worked extensively with Barr, was asked to do likewise. When the galleys arrived, in page-proof form, it was immediately obvious that the manuscript I had returned in February had been massively altered, and, in particular, there were glaring errors of fact in the galleys that had been added following the February edit. One case in point was a notation regarding Will Fritz, cited as the Dallas Police Chief. I was wholly at a loss to explain how that, and other, similarly obvious errors had made their way into the manuscript, but I had to remind myself that I had only been the editor, not the author.
I faxed the first 154 galley pages back to Barr in early July, but then literally hit a wall as I found error after error in the part(s) covering events from Love Field to Bethesda. These concerns were ALL directly addressed in a lengthy conference call held on July 11, 2003, involving Barr, the Texas-based researcher who also had great input into the work, and me. At the end of that phone call, both editors were assured that the provable corrections of fact that had to be made would ALL be made.
With that in mind, and with the long-held belief that John Kennedys murder could not have been accomplished without LBJ, and mindful that it had been LBJ who had created the Warren Commission, I wrote the blurb (along with the rectangle below it) for attribution on the back dust flap of a book that, as of July 11, I believed to be factually accurate, although it was always understood that I was taking Barrs knowledge of the inner workings of the legal system as truth.
I still believe that Barrs knowledge of the Clark-LBJ tie is accurate. Beyond that, however, both editors BEGGED Barr not to use faction, the name he gave to the blending of fact and fiction as a way of connecting the dots. I wrote source? so many times in the margin I grew weary of the task. If Barr could not be dissuaded from leaving out his educated guesses, both editors again implored him to italicize them, so the reader would know where documented material parted company with faction.