There is an old adage in the world of espionage, cloak and dagger, and covert operations: Trust no one, not even yourself.
Whether the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the work of one methodical gunman or a vast and complex conspiracy, foreign or domestic, it was by definition a covert operation, an act of espionage. The witness to the murder itself, as well as witnesses to other events possibly related to the crime, must therefore be regarded as intelligence assets. Anyone researching the assassination is essentially sticking their nose into the sinister world of espionage. That is what makes investigating the Kennedy assassination intriguing, but it’s also what makes it dangerous—not to life and limb mind you, but to your reputation as a researcher. That is because most theories, both lone gunman and conspiracy-oriented, are based around the testimony of witnesses.
Since the testimony of most witnesses in the case of the Kennedy assassination contradict the testimony of others, the only thing we know for a fact is that some people remember things the way they happened, and others are mistaken. Some people are lying about what they saw, some are telling the truth. Howard Brennan claims to have seen Oswald shooting from the sixth floor of the Texas School book depository, Jean Hill insists she saw someone else firing from the Grassy Knoll. But was Brennan close enough to the window to identify Oswald beyond the shadow of doubt, or could it have been someone matching his description? Could it have instead been someone like Jean Souetre, a French assassin who was in Dallas that afternoon and quickly spirited away by the CIA after the assassination? Or was it one of the multiple “Oswalds” others have insisted they saw in places Oswald himself could not possibly have been? As for Ms. Hill, her story has changed so many times over the years it is difficult to assess what exactly she saw that afternoon. Poor Hill was so traumatized by the event, she probably doesn’t even know what she saw.
Others are clearly lying about their knowledge of Oswald and the assassination. CIA operative and Watergate bungler Howard Hunt initially claimed to know nothing about the assassination, and stood by a fairly solid alibi. But then Hunt imparted an eerie deathbed confession to his son, claiming that he knew what had really happened that day in Dallas, and that others were involved. He was either lying in life, lying before death, or possibly both. What we’ll never know is whether he ever told the truth. Guy Bannister’s secretary Delphine Roberts initially denied she saw Lee Harvey Oswald at Bannister’s office, a hub of anti-communist activities in New Orleans. Years later she confessed through tears that she had indeed seen Oswald at Bannister’s base of operations for the famed Operation Mongoose. Like Hunt, Roberts was either lying then, or she’s lying now. Fear of being killed by possible conspirators would be a compelling reason to say silent about anything they knew. Prospects of fame and notoriety are equally compelling reasons to tell tall tales.
In the word of espionage and covert intelligence, operatives quickly learn to talk to everyone and yet trust no one. When an intelligence agency receives a defector, they will interrogate the subject whether or not they think it is a legitimate defection. After collecting what intelligence they can from this or any other asset, an operative must attempt to sort out facts from lies or disinformation. Even a legitimate defector or well-meaning intelligence source can provide false intelligence they believe to be true. Whoever is using this intelligence can rarely be sure who or what to trust, and most do their best to interpret this information, perhaps by thinking about what logically fits in with what they already know.
Therefore, one must analyze the testimony of JFK assassination witnesses, and others claiming to know about the case very critically. Industrious and thoughtful researchers on both sides of the picket fence—Warren Commission supporters and Conspiracy Theorists—have collected a huge mass of intelligence from witnesses and other assets over the years. The Warren Commission and House Select Committee have collected sworn testimony from countless witnesses. Numerous affidavits and other intriguing government documents have been released to the public over the years. This paper trail contains almost as much conflicting information as the oral history of the assassination—with differing accounts of the exact make and model of the murder weapon, and opposing opinions on how many shots were fired and from where. It is up to this and future generations of researchers to sort through this morass of testimony and text and attempt to identify what the truth is. Happy hunting, and remember: Trust No One!
3 Comments Add yours
Well isn’t it a fact that almost every person having a story about that awful day that contadicts someone elses “eye witness account ..which incidentally is never a cops best witness why? because you swearr it was ayoung woman ..maybe 15-18..On the other hand I also saw the suspect..he was a younger dark skinned man tall skinny and very confused about my calling him a suspect..The best wit is a camera and a person keeping his mouth shut until he has clearly been stabelized and accountable for his testimony and his malarky ..
Just a couple of points I would like to make ..you said”that is because most theories, both lone gunman and conspiracy-oriented, are based around the testimony of witnesses”..Which is accurate most f the time..but part of my theory of a second gunman firing a head shot and killing JFK is the Zapruder films documenting what happened to the dead body of the President upon that bullet meeting his body…I think I have read that you said ,agreeing by the way with Peter Jennings and Vince Bugliossi (sp) that there are occasions when a body receives the blow to the front lets say of ones head..the head instead of traveling with the bullets destination..will actually move towards the direction from which it came..is that true?..I suppose anything is possible ..but have fired various weapons most of my life and have never once seen that happen..and it as you well know is impossible to prove ..If in fact you have witnessed something like that happening..that is one thing..But I would have to see proof before would buy it.. It contradicts the force of what,,aerodynamics
if that is the right word I am trying to use….If than you are correct and n fact all of the shots came from the rear..how don you explain Mrs. Kennedy crab crawling to the trunk to collect portions of her husbands scalp that I say ended up there because of the bullet hitting him at about appx. the rt temple area and blowing a gaping hole in the rear lower portion of his head which would leave bone , brain matter and blood behind it..Two motorcycle officers had to stop and clean themselves up after they had been “sprayed” as they were riding at the left rear of the limo when the head shot impacted..Far as I know..there was no evidence to support a bullet causing all that awful bloody mess to the front of JFK’s seat..I have another point to make ..but must go for now