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The effectiveness of Public Law 102-526, the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 : hearing before the Legislation and National Security Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations, House of online

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President's personal physician present the night of the autopsy, in a recently
released interview with HSCA investigators in 1977 conceded the possibility of
two gunshot wounds to the head. Ten years earlier in an oral history interview for
the John F. Kennedy Library, Dr. Burkley was asked a simple question
conceming the assassination. Do you agree with the Wan-en Report on the
number of bullets that entered the President's body? His reply was "I would not
care to be quoted on that".

In sum, it is a medical and scientific fact that the damage to the President's skull
did not result from a single shot but was instead caused by two separate bullets.
Furthermore, it is my opinion that at least two gunmen fired upon and
assassinated President John F. Kennedy on 1 1-22-63.

It is imperative that the review board be put in place as soon as possible so that
more evidence can be brought forward so that the American people can after 30
years find the truth conceming the circumstances sun^ounding the assassination
of President John F. Kennedy. The intent of the law was for these documents to
be released. For this to come to fruition, the review board should be nominated
and put in place as soon as possible. They must be allowed to commence work
quickly so that we do not squander possibly the last opportunity to see these
documents in our lifetime. There is no question in my mind that the medical
evidence dictates that President John F. Kennedy was killed as the result of a
conspiracy. What is left to be found out is the how and the why. The immediate
release of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records may bring us
closer to answers to these questions than we have been in the last 30 years.



107



LEFT




^ HIGHER IMPACT POINT FOR
SECOND BULLET FROM THE
RIGHT FRONT



PRIMARY FRACTURE CREATED
BY FIRST BULLET FROM
'"■■ BEHIND

RIGHT



POSTERIOR VIEW



Diagram of back of skull with transverse fracture of right occipital bone,
which has previously gone unreported. this fracture prevents

propagation of FRACTURES RADIATING FROM THE HIGHER IMPACT POINT FOR THE
L^COND BULLET WHICH ORIGINATED FROM THE RIGHT FRONT OF THE MOTORCADE.



108




Enhanced Right Lateral Postmortem Skull Radiograph.

Arrow points to low level of entry of first bullet and the transverse fracture of the

right occipital bone created by it. Faint pencil lines can be seen pointing to this

fracture.



109




Enhanced Right Lateral Postmortem Skull Radiograph. Diverging pencil lines
show projected trajectory of the first bullet which entered low in the back of the
head and exited th*^ nght front. These lines, which have been enlarged for easier
viewing, point to the level of entry of the first bullet low in the back of the head
and match almost exactly the trajectory lines present on CE 388.



no




Warren Commission Exhibit CE 388

Drawn under the supervision of Drs. Humes and Boswell showing the low entry in
the bacl< of the head. The proposed trajectory lines match almost exactly those
drawn on the postmortem skull radiographs by Dr. John Ebersole the radiologist
present the night of the autopsy.



Ill




HSCA Exhibit F-66 HSCA review panels erroneous drawing of their proposed
damage to the skull, drawn under the supervision of Dr. David O. Davis, which
omits the transverse fracture of the right occipital bone. This fracture which was
omitted was created by the first bullet to strike President Kenned/s skull and is
located at the entry point described by the autopsy pathologists.



9



112

Mr, CoNYERS. Thank you, Dr. Robertson, for your cooperation.

I have got a couple of problems here. One, the House Assassina-
tion Committee chaired by my colleague, Mr. Stokes, went into the
question of this theory of which direction of the bullet pretty ex-
haustively, and came to different conclusions. Are you aware of
those hearings and the testimony that came out of that?

Dr. Robertson. Oh, I am very familiar with them, yes. I have
read them extensively.

Mr. CoNYERS. You don't agree with it?

Dr. Robertson. No, I do not, because of the mere fact there is
a fracture located in the skull near the area where the autopsy doc-
tors said a bullet entered. Analysis of the fracture lines confirms
their assessment of where the bullet entered.

Mr. CoNYERS. I et me ask you this. You said that you found nu-
merous very credible eye witnesses to the autopsy which con-
tradicts the conclusions of three governmental review panels.

Dr. Robertson. That is correct.

Mr. CoNYERS. Who are the eye witnesses?

Dr. Robertson. Roy Kellerman, Secret Service agent, FBI agent
Francis X. O'Neil. If you want to include the autopsy pathologists
themselves, as well as Dr. George Burkley, the President's first
personal physician who verified the location of the wounds, you can
include them as well.

Mr. CoNYERS. So what is the total number of very credible eye
witnesses?

Dr. Robertson. At least six, seven, and in many instances, in
the HSCA interviews, which were not available, I believe, by the
way, to the members of the medical review panel, in many in-
stances these — the eye witnesses who were present in that autopsy
were not asked the specific question of where they saw the location
of wound of entry in the back of the head. So there may be more
who have just not been asked that question.

Mr. PosNER. Mr. Chairman, I know we are very short on time.
I was just wondering if I could make two very quick statements
and maybe ask Mr. Robertson a question.

This is the first time I have heard this information. I think he
implies by what he just said to you that he had interviewed the au-
topsy doctors, Mr. Kellerman who is dead, Mr. O'Neil, and others.

Have you interviewed them?

Dr. Robertson. No, I haven't.

Mr. PoSNER. I have interviewed them.

Dr. Robertson. Roy Kellerman stated this. I have the sworn
commission testimony.

Mr. Posner. I have interviewed the autopsy doctors. I have
interviewed Mr. O'Neil. What is left here on the record today
should not be allowed because it is not correct, which is the impli-
cation that the autopsy doctors agree with their original drawings
in 1963, which were made without the benefit of the X-rays and the
photographs, that they had had done at the autopsy.

To the credit of the House Select Committee on Assassinations
and Congressman Stokes, that committee did a superb job on the
forensics of this case. It was the work of that committee that had
the two autopsy physicians change their mind, that they had been
mistaken about the placement of the wound here, and that it is in



113

fact correctly placed 4 inches higher. I have spoken to them about
this and they have confirmed their change of testimony that they
gave before the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

My last question for Mr. Robertson would be, he is the first
board certified radiologist, I understand, to have looked at this.
There is a peer review journal that is published call Radiology.

Have you submitted that to Radiology and will it be published?

Dr. Robertson. I thought you weren't aware of this material?

Mr. PosNER. I never heard it until now. There is a radiology —
I am asking you, have you submitted it, and if so, will it be pub-
lished?

Dr. Robertson. There are several radiology journals, one of
which I have submitted to, yes. And I could present letters where
objections were raised to my theory.

However, I have recently received a letter, communication from
a physician from Europe who informally peer reviewed my mate-
rial. The objection which the peer reviewer for Radiology raised, as
far as a fracture pattern which may simulate the one which is
present on President Kenned/s autopsy X-rays, it has only been
reported, throughout the medical literature, in the world medical
literature, secondary to revolver wounds, and not those due to
high-velocity rifles.

Mr. Lesar. I would like to request of Mr. Posner if he would be
willing to donate his notes and if he has any tapes on his inter-
views with these doctors to the National Archives, to donate copies
of them, so we can all have access to the original materials on
which he is basing his remarks.

Dr. Robertson. And the original materials that I based my stuff
on are the interviews with the forensic pathology panel.

Also, Dr. Pierre Fink, whose testimony was just recently released
by this law, stated unequivocally to members of the medical review
panel — on its second day after his original testimony, he brought
them all back in and stated without doubt that what this hole —
what he saw, there was one hole in the scalp. That it was located
over the hole of entry and that hole was located low in the back
of the head near the hairline as seen on the autopsy photographs.

I would also like to add that when they inventoried these au-
topsy review materials to be transferred to the National Archives,
on tne photograph of the back of the head, as it was inventoried,
they stated that the entry wound was low, as seen, low in the back
in the head.

Mr. Posner. I would be happy, Mr. Chairman, to ask Drs.
Humes and Boswell if they would agree for their notes to be re-
leased to the National Archives.

I would like to answer for Dr. Robertson, who seemed not to give
you a direct answer. It is my understanding that the leading peer
review journal. Radiology, has rejected his article that he has pre-
sented here. The peer review from other radiologists, for whatever
reason, suggests they do not deem it worthy of publication.

Dr. Robertson. I would like to comment on that. In the area of
medicine usually peer reviews are carried out by unbiased peer re-
viewers, besides the one fellow whose explanation without even —
he didn't even attempt to explain the discrepancy in the scalp de-



114

feet. As far as the fracture pattern goes, his was only related to re-
volver wounds.

The second peer reviewer was a radiologist who had already re-
viewed this material in his capacity for an investigative body of the
government.

Mr. CONYERS. Dr. Robertson, you are in a distinctly lonely minor-
ity in your theory. You are aware of that, aren't you?

Dr. Robertson. Yes. I believe I am going to put forward this the-
ory, I welcome an unbiased peer review of this material, and I also
know that final truth concerning the location of the wound in the
back of the President's head is lying in a cemetery in Arlington
with an eternal flame flickering over it right now.

Mr. CoNYERS. I am glad you know that. I am sorry that you
aren't able to prove it more effectively. You are entitled to your
views, however. And it is in that spirit that we allowed you to come
before the committee in the first place, because one of the great
services this committee can perform is to air these views that con-
tinue to exist about the entry and location of the bullet.

But I must say that the letter that we have from the editor of
Radiology, dated November 12, 1993, states that your manuscript
on this subject was rejected for lack of compelling evidence to jus-
tify your thesis. And when we add the numerous testimony from
other medical authorities and the excellent work in this area com-
piled by the House Assassinations Committee and many others,
your assertions are very short of any compelling evidence to sup-
port them, from my point of view.

Dr. Robertson. I will attempt to get this published in the peer
review literature somewhere in the world, and we will see how it
goes from there.

Mr. CoNYERS. Well, you could leave a copy of whatever it is you
are trying to get published in your medical journals with this com-
mittee for our examination. Are you willing to do that?

Dr. Robertson. I would be very willing to do that, yes, be-
cause — and unfortunately I have not completed my most recent
draft because as a result of my being allowed into the National Ar-
chives to see the original autopsy material and subsequent to the
revelations of the eye witness testimony to those present the night
of the autopsy, I can incorporate many new elements which would
bolster my theory.

Mr. CoNYERS. Thank you very much. Well, in the coming year,
we will be looking forward to tnat manuscript. We thank you for
your offer to submit that to the committee.

Dr. Robertson. Thank you for allowing me to testify today.

Mr, CoNYERS. You are welcome.

We now turn to Major Newman, who has been before the com-
mittee before.

We welcome you as our final witness.

STATEMENT OF MAJ. JOHN M. NEWMAN, U.S. ARMY, PhJ).,
AUTHOR, KENNEDY AND VIETNAM

Major Newman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. McCandless, Mr.
Stokes, for allowing me to address this important issue this morn-
ing. I am honored to be here.



115

I want to point out my statement reflects only my own views, not
those of any government organization. I want to state that no one
in any oflficiaf capacity, either directly or indirectly, or subtlely, has
attempted to inhibit or influence what I might say here this mom-

As I indicated in my testimony of July 22, 1993, it is my view
that a great deal more than who killed John Kennedy is at stake
here. It is nothing less than the faith of the people in our institu-
tions. In the final analysis, these institutions require the consent
of the governed to work properly. I thank you very much for your
continued interest and your leadership in this matter.

I will skip over some of the things I was going to say on the re-
lease process because they have already been said this morning. I
think it is a mixed bag. I am encouraged by the CIA's release, not
only because it is rather extensive, but also because, as Director
Woolsey said, we are seeing some of the warts that would indicate
to me that this is a genuine release.

I am very disturbed by the FBI's lack of compliance and equally
disturbed by the slowness of the administration to get the Review
Board in place. I would like to add my voice to those that would
encourage you to amend the act and allow the Review Board its
full 2 years of work. There is an awful lot of work to be done.

Let me turn to the files, what is in them, what is missing. The
question of Oswald's associations and contacts seems to be central
to the case surrounding — ^the controversies surrounding Kennedy's
assassination, and in general I think it is safer to say that the

freater the links between Oswald and intelligence agencies or im-
erworld figures, the more difficult it is, although not impossible,
to sustain the lone gunman hypothesis. There is still information
in these files being withheld on this subject.

I thought the committee might be interested in seeing this photo-
graph here of Oswald and Ferrie. It is attached in your packages,
of the Frontline investigation which shows £in association between
David Ferrie, a pilot who in 1963 was working for Carlos Marcello,
then fighting deportation orders by Attorney General Kennedy. I
would hasten to point out this does not confirm reports of Oswald-
Ferrie contacts in 1963, however.

Let me turn to a subject which I think is very central, Oswald
and Ruby. There are some new files and some troubling aspects,
I think, surrounding allegations of an association between Ruby
and Oswald. It is troubling not because we can prove these allega-
tions or not. It is troubling because they dramatize gaps, contradic-
tions, and possible deliberate obfuscations of the original record.

One John Franklin Elrod, an unfortunate alcoholic who hap-
pened to be walking along the railroad tracks not far fi'om where
Kennedy was shot on November 22, 1963, was thrown into the Dal-
las jail, arrested on suspicion of involvement in Kennedy's assas-
sination. He claimed that in 1964 he told the FBI that Oswald had
identified a prisoner in the jail, one Lawrence Miller. Miller had
been arrested 2 days earlier with Jack Ruby's auto mechanic,
Donnell Whitter with U.S. Army weapons stolen from a National
Guard Armory in Terrell, TX.

Elrod claimed Oswald spoke of a meeting he had attended with
Miller and Jack Ruby, where a contract had been discussed, and



116

money had changed hands. The FBI report which went to Washing-
ton at the time, however, made no mention of Oswald as the source
of this information.

More troubling still is the Dallas FBI attachment to Elrod's FBI
interrogation which attempted to discredit Elrod's claim by stating
flatly that Elrod had never been in the Dallas jail that dav. The
FBI will have some difficulty therefore in explaining the Dallas po-
lice record which shows clearly that Elrod was arrested that day
and thrown into the jail — a record, by the way, that did not surface
until February 1992.

Another Dallas police document which has recently surfaced and
which adds to the possibility that Oswald may have associated with
Ruby is the December 11, 1963, memorandum — attached — signed
by the Dallas police detective W. S. Biggio. The memorandum cites
a report that Oswald had driven Jack Rub/s car several times
prior to the assassination. Even though the original source was an
unidentified auto mechanic of Ruby's, no one in an official capacity
ever asked Whitter, who was known to have been a mechanic who
worked on Ruby's car, about this.

Moreover, it seems strange to me that a 14-page report on
Whitter is still classified. As this withdrawal sheet indicates here,
and it is attached, the document was reviewed as recently as June
of this year. I find that withholding of such documents unsatisfac-
tory, not in the spirit of the JFK Records Act.

TOy did the Dallas FBI bureau conceal Elrod's November 22 in-
carceration in the Dallas jail? Perhaps this was just an innocent
mistake, and those of us who serve in the government certainly
know how easy it is to come across sloppy recordkeeping.

It strikes me that it was precisely to get at such documents as
this that this act was passed, and I have great reservations with
"closing the case" before having seen all of the evidence. I thought
that one of the reasons for passage of the act was to allow people
to look at all the evidence and then draw conclusions one way or
the other.

Let me turn to another very important subject, Oswald and the
CIA. Did the CIA, contrary to decades of denials, debrief Lee Har-
vey Oswald? The new release of files pursuant to the JFK Records
Act strengthens the evidentiary base that the CIA did in fact de-
brief Oswald.

Of particular note is the fact that the chief of the CIA's Soviet
Realities Branch — ^in the Soviet Russia Division of the Directorate
of Plans — wanted to lay on interviews at the time of the
redefector's return to the United States in the summer of 1962, a
fact he recorded in a memorandum for record 3 days after the as-
sassination.

The House select committee rather foolishly ignored this memo-
randum simply because of a typographical error, a zero for a two.
How many typographical errors have we made? Thanks to the JFK
Records Act, we have a much more complete version of this memo-
randum, and what is new is that it was the Chief of the Soviet Re-
alities Branch, or SR 6, who wrote it. This branch was responsible
for, among other things, creating, or painting, to use spy jargon,
legends for sleeper agents in the Soviet Union and to brief employ-
ees on what it was like to be a sleeper agent in the Soviet Union.



117

In addition, a memorandum from James Angleton's mole hunting
unit, the CI/SIG, which stands for counterintelligence special inves-
tigations group, has surfaced. These new files have handwriting on
them which gives the name of a CIA domestic contact employee,
which appears to be one Andy Anderson, as a CIA contact for Lee
Harvey Oswald. This document — which, like the SR 6 document,
was in a soft file, meaning it wasn't in the original Oswald 201
file — confirms recollections of other Clandestine Services employees
that Andy Anderson did in fact debrief Oswald.

There are two examples — I will skip over them. One was shown
on the Frontline documentary last night. There is nothing conspira-
torial about the fact that tne CIA debriefed Lee Harvey Oswald.
They should have. That was their job. The debrief was routine. The
troubling aspect is why the CIA has doggedly denied that the de-
brief ever took place.

The answer to this question has really been available all along,
and the answer is that this denial is part of a broader lie, I would
say, that the agency has been telling for decades, that it was never
interested in Lee Harvey Oswald.

This false statement of no interest in Oswald was not advanced
to hide a routine debrief, but to excuse the agency from an act it
failed to do, namely to launch a counterintelligence investigation of
Oswald at the time of his defection to Russia.

This failure was deeply troubling to the House select committee
which probed the agency vigorously but unsuccessfully on this
question. For 14 months the CIA failed to properly investigate Os-
wald, a man who left the CIA U-2 spy base in Japan to defect to
Russia and boldly announced his decision to commit an act of espi-
onage.

The debrief story is integral to the larger enigma of why the CIA
was apparently asleep at the switch for 14 months. Perhaps be-
cause of the CIA's interest in and contact with Oswald, the CIA
panicked when President Kennedy was shot.

I think it prudent to reserve judgment until we have all of the
CIA's materials in this matter. Happily, nearly all will be available
soon, most before the end of this year. One thing is certain, how-
ever. The new files released pursuant to this act make it clear that
the CIA's past denials of interest in Oswald are not true.

Finally, let me turn to one last subject, the medical evidence.
There are two documents in these files on the medical evidence.
They are surfacing as a result of the act. I have identified just two
to mention to you this morning. I have included them in the report.
They are both House select committee files.

The first is the sworn testimony of the Dr. John Ebersole. He tes-
tified on March 11, 1978, that Kennedy's body arrived in Bethesda
with a sutured wound to the neck and the back of the head miss-
ing, observations that would be deeply troubling because the au-
topsy photographs show no such hole and because the neck was
certainly not sutured in Dallas.

The second document is an HSCA outside contact report of their
interview with a Paul O'Connor, the medical technician at the Be-
thesda autopsy on November 22. O'Connor told the select commit-
tee on August 25, 1977, that Kennedy's body arrived in Bethesda
in a body Dag, inside a pink shipping casket, and that there was



118

no brain. Of course, Kennedy left Dallas with a brain, was not in
a body bag, and was not in a pink shipping casket,

I am aware, as you are, of all the controversies surrounding the
question of whether his body was removed from the casket and
why if that is so and the implication of forged evidence and so on.
I certaiinly have no competence to say who is right or wrong. But
this is the first time, at least that I am aware of, that files from
an official government investigation have surfaced that do pertain
to this.

I would point out there is intense public interest in this, and we
need to pay attention to it if for no other reason than to say and
assure ourselves that these types of documents aren't being with-
held in this new release of files. And I will leave it to our medical
colleagues to sort all of this out.

In conclusion, I will just say that I believe we have come a long
way since the passage of the JFK Records Act. But a lot more,
clearly, needs to be done. The fact that the agency, the CIA has al-
lowed us to see documents that are in some cases embarrassing
convinces me they are attempting to comply with this legislation in
good faith.

There will probably always be a hard core of opinion on both
sides of this issue. If the other Federal agencies including the FBI,
Department of Defense, and everybody else follow the CIA's lead,
the American people will have reason to be satisfied that they at
least have access to the same facts that have been in the posses-
sion of their government for all these years.

The painful evidence of all this is how damaging withholding was
to public confidence. Let's get this Review Board up and operating
quickly and ensure it has the fiill term of review intended under
me legislation.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

[The prepared statement of Major Newman follows:]



119



Statement of Major John M. Newman, Jr., US Army, Ph.D, to
the November 16, 1993 Hearing of the Legislation and



Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on GoverThe effectiveness of Public Law 102-526, the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 : hearing before the Legislation and National Security Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations, House of → online text (page 9 of 26)