Gary Cornwell was born in Texas in 1945. He eventually became a prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime and Racketeering Section for seven years, and served as the Chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force in Kansas City, where he successfully tried and convicted the chiefs of the Mafia families in both Kansas City and Denver.
In 1977, Cornwell was asked to head the investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, as the Deputy Chief Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations, G. Robert Blakey insisted that the HSCA conclude that Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy because of a left-wing political agenda. Cornwell and Gaeton Fonzi argued against such a conclusion. Later, Blakey was to argue in his book, The Plot to Kill the President, he co-wrote with Richard Billings, that the Mafia boss, Carlos Marcello, organized the assassination.
When the HSCA concluded its work in 1979, he became assistant regional counsel in charge of special investigations for the U.S. Department of Energy in Denver.
Cornwell's book on the assassination, Real Answers, was published in 1999. It is highly critical of the FBI and the Warren Commission investigations. As Cornwell points out: "The case should have been solved in 1963 and 1964, and because the government decided not to look for the real answers when it had the chance, the opportunity was probably lost forever."
In the book Cornwell discusses: (1) How and why scientific evidence reflects that the Warren Commission was wrong in rejecting eye-witness testimony that a shot was fired from the grassy knoll by a second gunmen. (2) Why the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that there was a conspiracy. (3) Why the Zapruder Film has tremendous historical value, but has more often been a source of illusion than illumination. (4) Why the one thing that can be said about the Kennedy case with absolute certainty is that the statement Case Closed is as much a lie today as it was thirty-five years ago.
The main findings of the Select Committee, as summarized in the Table of Contents to the final Report, were that:
(1) Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at President John F. Kennedy. The second and third shots he fired struck the president. The third shot he fired killed the president.
(2) President Kennedy was struck by two rifle shots fired from behind him.
(3) The shots that struck President Kennedy from behind him were fired from the sixth floor window of the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository building.
(4) Lee Harvey Oswald owned the rifle that was used to fire the shots from the sixth floor window of the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository building.
(5) Lee Harvey Oswald, shortly before the assassination, had access to and was present on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building.
(6) Lee Harvey Oswald's other actions tend to support the conclusion that he assassinated President Kennedy.
(7) Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy.
(8) Other scientific evidence does not preclude the possibility of two gunmen firing at the president.
(9) Scientific evidence negates some specific conspiracy allegations.
(10) The committee believes, on the basis of the available evidence, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.
(11) The committee is unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.
(12) The committee believes, on the basis of the available evidence, that: the Soviet Government was not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy.
(13) The Cuban Government was not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy.
(14) The anti-Castro Cuban groups, as groups, were not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy, but that the available evidence does not preclude the possibility that individual members may have been involved.
(15) The national syndicate of organized crime, as a group, was not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy, but that the available evidence does not preclude the possibility that individual members may have been involved.
(16) The Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency were not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy.
(17) Agencies and departments of the U.S. Government performed with varying degrees of competency in the fulfillment of their duties. President John F. Kennedy did not receive adequate protection. A thorough and reliable investigation into the responsibility of Lee Harvey Oswald for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was conducted. The investigation into the possibility of conspiracy in the assassination was inadequate. The conclusions of the investigations were arrived at in good faith, but presented in a fashion that was too definitive.
(18) The Secret Service was deficient in the performance of its duties.
(19) The Secret Service possessed information that was not properly analyzed, investigated or used by the Secret Service in connection with the president's trip to Dallas; in addition, Secret Service agents in the motorcade were inadequately prepared to protect the president from a sniper.
(20) The responsibility of the Secret Service to investigate the assassination was terminated when the Federal Bureau of Investigation assumed primary investigative responsibility.
(21) The Department of Justice failed to exercise initiative in supervising and directing the investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the assassination.
(22) The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) performed with varying degrees of competency in the fulfillment of its duties.
(23) The FBI adequately investigated Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the assassination and properly evaluated the evidence it possessed to assess his potential to endanger the public safety in a national emergency.
(24) The FBI conducted a thorough and professional investigation into the responsibility of Lee Harvey Oswald for the assassination.
(25) The FBI failed to investigate adequately the possibility of a conspiracy to assassinate the president.
(26) The FBI was deficient in its sharing of information with other agencies and departments.
(27) The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was deficient in its collection and sharing of information both prior to and subsequent to the assassination.
(28) The Warren Commission performed with varying degrees of competency in the fulfillment of its duties.
(29) The Warren Commission conducted a thorough and professional investigation into the responsibility of Lee Harvey Oswald for the assassination.
(30) The Warren Commission failed to investigate adequately the possibility of a conspiracy to assassinate the president. This deficiency was attributable in part to the failure of the Commission to receive all the relevant information that was in the possession of other agencies and departments of the Government.
(31) The Warren Commission arrived at its conclusions, based on the evidence available to it, in good faith.
(32) The Warren Commission presented the conclusions in its report in a fashion that was too definitive.