Jeremy Gunn at Stanford

(tape provided courtesy of Dr. Gary Aguilar)

Copyright © Joseph Backes

(Dr. Jeremy Gunn spoke at Stanford on May 18, 1998. The tape starts with Dr. Gunn already speaking)

Jeremy Gunn - "...last night with a friend in San Francisco, who was a Berkeley graduate and he says he refers to Stanford as the Berkeley of the West Bay. I don't know if that's appropriate or not. Anyway, I'm sure that some of you are a little bit worried now, I've been going on a few minutes and I have still not reached my second birthday, so let me jump forward a few years and go to November of 1963 when President Kennedy was killed. What I would like to do is talk to you about three different areas that I have been working in and suggest three sorts of themes for you.

"The first one is the story of the assassination itself and the legacy of distrust that that story has left. The second one is to talk a little bit about the work of the agency that I work for, it's an independent agency of the federal government, it was created in 1992 and it's slated to go out of business in September of this year, so we have just about completed our work. And then the third thing that I would like to look at briefly is what the records that we have been able to declassify and release to the public tell us about history, and what they tell us about the Kennedy assassination.

"On November 29th, a week after the assassination President Johnson appointed a commission to investigate the assassination. That commission after it issued its final report went out of business and classified many of the records that it had used to create its...its story. So they released some records, they classified other records, and put them into deep storage.

"The American people were not satisfied with the answer that the Warren Commission gave them. I think now the figure is approximately 70 to 80% of the people in the country, in this country, believe that there was a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy.

"There were several other inquiries that were sponsored by the U.S. government to look into the story of the assassination, there was the Clark Panel, a military review in 1966, Jim Garrison, as you know if you, particularly if you've seen the movie "JFK" did an investigation into the assassination himself. And actually I have a little bit of timely news to report on that, if you remember Kevin Costner, who was really Jim Garrison in the movie, have many of you seen the movie? Widely? Okay so you all know who Kevin Costner was.

[I received this tape courtesy of Dr. Gary Aguilar who attended Dr. Gunn's presentation and was listening to it on a bus on the way down to D.C. When Dr. Gunn said, "Okay, so you all know who Kevin Costner was" and I burst out laughing. I couldn't help it. I'm sure Jeremy meant to say Garrison. But I could just imagine him explaining, "Yes, children it's true, once upon a time people would go to the movies just to see Kevin Costner in a film." ]

"During an earlier phase in the board's work we received a promise from Harry Connick Sr., the father of you know whom, that he would give us, he is the District Attorney of New Orleans, the papers from the New Orleans District Attorney's office from the time of the Garrison investigation. He then later changed his mind and decided not to give us those records. But he...he said he wanted to have nothing further to do with us. So we subpoenaed the records, and we got the district court in Louisiana to agree to give us those records, Judge Liddaday (sic?). Harry Connick was not satisfied with that answer so he appealed it to the 5th circuit, and the 5th circuit looked over the case, went through a long briefing process and the 5th circuit ended up agreeing with us as well and ordered Harry Connick to turn the papers over. Harry Connick, Sr., as opposed to Harry Connick, the singer, Harry Connick Sr. decided to file a petition for cert in the U.S. Supreme Court and today, as a matter of fact this morning, one of the distractions I had this morning was that the U.S. Supreme Court denied the cert in that case, meaning that we now will be getting into the National Archives all of the original records from Jim Garrison's investigation and prosecution of Clay Shaw.

"There are other committees that looked into this issue as well. Senator Schweiker, who later worked for the Church Committee did an investigation into the assassination. When that ended up not proving successful the House Select Committee on assassinations was created in the late 1970's and they too looked at the question of the assassination. But what we have found is that with each of these prior investigations there was a legacy of distrust and doubt that lingered over the Kennedy assassination. Most people in the United States, again between 70 and 80% of the people believe that there was a conspiracy to kill the president.

"Well, let's go back to the Warren Commission and let's look at some of the things that they didn't and see some of the very early problems that we have. On December 9th of 1963 the FBI believed that it had completed its investigation of the assassination and they gave a report to the Warren Commission (See Warren Commission Document #1) It is kind of interesting to see what Warren Commission members thought about that apparently, or supposedly conclusive investigation that had been completed by J. Edgar Hoover and his...friends. In the discussion about the report that had been issued by the FBI, it was then secret, now it's open testimony, Hale Boggs, one of the members of the Warren Commission says, `There is nothing in this FBI report about Governor Connally.' Earl Warren says, `No.' Cooper, John Sherman Cooper, `And whether or not they found any bullets in him.'

John J. McCloy then says, `This bullet business leaves me confused.' Earl Warren says, `It's totally inconclusive.' Senator Russell says, `They couldn't find where one bullet came out and struck the President, yet they found a bullet in the stretcher."

"So you have Commission members who have just read the FBI's conclusive report on this and they can't understand what's going on, what kind of bullets hit President Kennedy, where they went and what the trajectory is, and this is the report of the finest investigatory body in the United States. The FBI devoted a massive amount of resources to it within the few weeks after the assassination.

"Then John J. McCloy says referring to Jackie Kennedy, `She's the chief witness as to how those bullets hit her husband.' That's an important thing. She was the person who was sitting closest to President Kennedy, so she would be the one who would have pretty good evidence about this. The Warren Commission realized that, they understood it, and they pointed her out as the lead witness. Then McCloy says, `This is looming up as the most confusing thing we got, how these bullets hit the president, what happened.' So they go on in this sort of discussion and they are a little bit confused about what's going on. So they don't accept what the FBI has told them.

"The next session of the Warren Commission report, we now have the autopsy report from the doctors, now if you're, if you do criminal trials, if you do murders, homicide cases you will know that probably the medical evidence is the single, most important body of evidence that you need to have, and you need to get your medical evidence lined up the right way. Well, listen to what the Commission members say after they finally receive the autopsy report. So, here again, we have secret testimony, secret discussions in the Warren Commission, this is from January 21, 1964, John J. McCloy says, `Let's find out about these wounds. It is just as confusing now as can be. It left my mind muddy as to what really did happen. Why did the FBI report come out with something which isn't consistent with the autopsy when we finally see the autopsy report?' Commission members already in January 1964 see a disparity between what the FBI has said about the assassination, and how the FBI has analyzed it, and what the autopsy report is of the doctors, the Commission members knew that there was a problem there.

"Well, let's go onto the third Commission meeting, so the first one they were talking about a problem with the bullets, the second one they are talking about a problem with the medical evidence, the third one they get to a problem with Oswald. It's very nice how they did this, it helps me organize my little talk today. It had been reported in early January 1964 that Lee Harvey Oswald was an FBI informant. Now, that would change the whole nature of what's going on here, it's that we have not this lone gunman who doesn't have any connection with the U.S. government but somebody who may have been an FBI informant. Now that was a rumor that came out and the Warren Commission got very excited, nervous, interested in this.

"Umm, I lost my page in this. I'll just have to, I'll just have to wing it. The Warren Commission examines this question of whether Oswald was an informant or not, and they ask themselves the question how would we know whether Oswald was an informant for the FBI, and then they ask Allen Dulles, former director of the CIA, how would they know whether Oswald had been a CIA agent? And Allen Dulles says well you wouldn't know. And they say, well wouldn't the director of the CIA tell us this information? And Allen Dulles says, `Well, if I was the director I wouldn't do it.'

And they say, `Well, how would you find out?' And Allen Dulles the [former] director of the CIA says, `The only way you would find that out is if the President of the United States asks the Director of Central Intelligence was this guy a CIA agent then you might get the right answer.'

"So, with these first three meetings then of the Warren Commission we have three of the big problems of the Kennedy assassination. We have confusing ballistics evidence, we have the confusing story of the medical evidence, and we have the confusing story of who was Lee Harvey Oswald? And how much can we trust the U.S. government to say what it knew about Oswald. These three problems were present right from the beginning.

"Now, what I will suggest to you today and then I will avoid belaboring the issue is that at the time the Warren Commission finished it's job it took those questions and it gave answers to those questions, and then it took all of the evidence that was inconsistent with the answers that they had published and they classified it, buried it, put it away.

"Now, when the Warren Commission report came out there was doubt in the country about whether this was the true story or not, but I think one of the great tragedies of the Warren Commission and the legacy of the Warren Commission is that they were not completely candid about what they knew the problems were. They wanted to write something, in my opinion, that smoothed over the issues so as not to trouble peoples minds about this. So, the Warren Commission does not release the FBI report, that remains classified after the Warren Commission goes out of business, the FBI report that conflicts with the autopsy report, that conflicts with other information. By the time J. Edgar Hoover died he still believed his version of what happened in Dealey Plaza not the version that the Warren Commission came up with. So there were problems. There were problems right from the beginning.

"We end up having, I think, one of the most peculiar and interesting problems with Lee Harvey Oswald. I mentioned there these three problems with the medical evidence, the ballistics evidence, and the Oswald problem. Who was Lee Harvey Oswald. Now he tells a rather interesting story... It's a little warm up here if you don't mind,...everybody else feel free to take off your, umm...

Dr. Gary Aguilar - "T-shirts."


Dr. Jeremy Gunn - "T-shirts. Oswald was a little bit of an enigma. The Warren Commission analyzes Oswald as if he is a loner, somebody who is a drifter, someone who is not of any particular consequence. Well, that's one way that you can understand Lee Harvey Oswald and there's certainly some evidence to support that.

"But then there is some evidence that is a little bit different from that as well. And a way that the Warren Commission could have been candid is to say what that other evidence was, a way to, I think sew the legacy of mistrust is to present one sanitized version of him, so what the Warren Commission described, sorry, what what the Warren Commission said, so let's just look at a couple of the things that Lee Harvey Oswald did.

"Now when he is 17 years old he is a member of the Civil Air Patrol in New Orleans, [I believe it's really an unauthorized CAP that David Ferrie created.] which is a somewhat right-wing group, in New Orleans. Now, at the time that Oswald is a member of the Civil Air Patrol he also claims to be a Marxist. Now that on its face is a little bit odd. Now, there are a lot of odd people who do things that are

inconsistent, Oswald may have been one of them but that is the first realm of oddity.

Now after becoming a Marxist, or a Marxist-Lenninist as he sometimes refers to himself he decides to join the U.S. military. Now of all of the branches that he could have chosen to join he joins the United States Marine Corps. Now that is probably the last place that you would think of looking for a Marxist, but Lee Harvey Oswald goes and does that. Now the Warren Commission portrays him as being a little bit disgruntled, which he was, and a little bit erratic, which he was, but he also became a radar operator when he worked for the United States government. He was trained in that and then he was set off to Atsugi, Japan as a Marine Corps radar operator, and he wasn't sent just to any place in Japan, he was sent to Atsugi, which was one of the bases for C, er, for the U-2 flights that went over the Soviet Union. Now we are talking about the period 1957-'58, during the Cold War. In fact, while Oswald was in Japan the first Sputnik missile, er, the first Sputnik satellite was launched. So there you have Oswald over, sitting down at the same base, as a radar operator where the U-2 is taking off from.

"Now what would a radar operator know about the U-2? Well, maybe he never saw one of the U-2 planes but these are still the most secret technological devices that the United States government has at this period of time. Oswald is a radar operator, what does he know about the U-2? Well, he would know altitude, trajectory, and he would know speed. All he would have to do is look at his screen. And what he would be seeing on his screen, assuming that nothing else is told to him at all, what he is seeing on his screen is a classified secret, what the U-2's were capable of doing, and Oswald could see that.

"So here you have a 19 year old, think of yourselves when you were 19 years old, some of you may even qualify for that right now, but think of yourself as a 19 year old, and there you are over in Japan, Sputnik is going around the world, the United States is getting very upset about Sputnik, and you know about flights going over the Soviet Union at an altitude that is not supposed to be possible, and a speed that is not supposed to be possible. You got that information in your head. And you are also a Marxist. And you are also a member of the Marine Corps.

"Well, Oswald goes back to the United States after having been in the Marine Corps and decides to get discharged a little bit early. He couldn't wait for those last four months. He said that he needed to go take care of his mother. He went back to New Orleans where his mother was, got on a boat, and went off to go to the Soviet Union, we now know.

"Now, if I were to try to figure out, using my brain, if I wanted to get in the Soviet Union, how would I try to do that, if we are talking about 1958 or 1959. And I know what I would have done would be to go to France, probably because I like France, put that on the itinerary, then to Berlin, then I would have gone to East Berlin, then I would have gone to Moscow. That is how I would have thought about doing it. Now that is the wrong way to do it, which I wouldn't have known. It seems to me to be very common sensical, but not the right way to do it. The right way to get to Moscow, if you want to get there is to go through Helsenki. Well, Lee Harvey Oswald knew that you go through Helsenki, then you got into the Soviet Union, where he stayed for a couple of years. When he first went into the Soviet Union, making a long story short he went into the United States Embassy in the Soviet Union, and some people say he spoke as if he was speaking to the walls and announced that he was defecting and that he was going to tell the Russian government the secrets that he had learned and the information that he knew. Okay? Let me think, allright you have this Marxist Marine who knows about the U-2, at least whether he even knows the term U-2 or not he knows altitude, speed, and trajectory of the most secret information, the most technological information that the United States government has. And he has now gone to the American embassy and announced to the walls that he is going to tell the Russian government.

"Why is he saying it to the walls? (pause)

"In 1964 it was revealed that the Soviet, or the KGB had thoroughly penetrated most parts of the U.S. embassy, including floors of the U.S. embassy that they should not have been able to penetrate. They did it. And that information was released in 1964. So KGB is listening to this and Oswald is speaking to the walls.

"Does Oswald know that the KGB is listening? Or not? Does he have any knowledge? I don't know. But, he says he is going to tell these secrets, so the Marine Corps is now saying that essentially he wants to commit treason.

"Well, he stays in the Soviet Union for a couple of years, has some peculiar experiences, and decides that he wants to come back to the United States.

"Now how does the United States treat this guy, who was, who tried to be a defector to the Soviet Union in the Marine Corps under potentially false purposes, who may have told the secrets of what he...well, the United States welcomed him back.

"Now, it's a little bit odd in the records that I have seen from the FBI, from the CIA, there was a lot of interest in Marxists and in Communists who were in the United States and doing things and the FBI would frequently put either tails on them or put wire surveillance on them. Lee Harvey Oswald marches back, waltzes through, after he has married a Soviet wife, comes back, and the U. S. government does not seem to be interested in him. Now, that's a little bit odd too.

"Six weeks before the assassination Lee Harvey Oswald decides to go from New Orleans down to Mexico City. Now, in 1963, six weeks before the assassination there are probably two or three spy capitols of the world, we could argue about which one was the premier spy capitol, one of them was certainly Berlin, one of them was certainly Vienna, and the third one and perhaps the most important, but we don't need to research that question, was Mexico City.

"Why Mexico City? Mexico City had a Soviet embassy, there was a Chinese embassy, there was a Czech embassy, there was a Polish embassy, there was a Cuban embassy, all in Mexico which is not too far from the United States. It was the...Mexico City was one of the bases for the Soviet Union to do intelligence penetration of the United States. So, Lee Harvey Oswald, six weeks before the assassination decides to go where of all places in the world but to Mexico City. And he goes down to Mexico City and he goes into the Cuban embassy, and out of the Cuban embassy, into the Soviet embassy and out of the Soviet embassy. Meanwhile, there are CIA cameras that are aimed at the doors of the Soviet and Cuban embassies, and pictures are taken, though CIA doesn't have any record of having taken a picture of Oswald, although he went in and out ten times. In theory, there should have been ten pictures. And there are many explanations as to why there may or may not have been photographs taken. But Oswald, also, there is a tape recording of Oswald having called the Soviet embassy on October 1, 1963 where Oswald asks in a sort of a garbled way if he can speak to Kostikov, a person named Kostikov. Now Kostikov, in October of 1963 is the head of or the Director of the 13th Directorate of the KGB. And that was the directorate that did wet operations, assassinations, in the Western hemisphere. So there's Lee Harvey Oswald, this ne'er-do-well, disgruntled Marine, Marxist, Soviet defector who now wants to speak to the head of the assassinations of the KGB 6 weeks before President Kennedy is killed, and the CIA knows that.

"So, what is going on here?

"We go to November 22, 1963. All of that information is known about Oswald that exists in various files throughout the U.S. government, what is the CIA going to do about this information? Imagine that you are working in the CIA, you are doing some kind of analysis for the CIA in 1963 and you then hear that the President has been assassinated and this guy named Lee Harvey Oswald is accused of having committed the crime? What do you do? I mean, it's a pretty strange thing to think here we knew six weeks before the assassination that this guy was talking to the head of assassinations for the KGB for the Western Hemisphere. We didn't do anything about it.

"So, whether you think the CIA had anything to do with the assassination or whether they didn't have anything to do with it, you got a very interesting person here. One thing I didn't mention, perhaps it's implicit, perhaps not is that Oswald while he was in the Marine Corps not only was reading Marxist literature but learned the Russian language. Now ask yourself this question, how many Marines do you think in the 1950's, 1960's were Marxists, Marxists-Lenninists, announced it, and learned Russian, and defected to the Soviet Union? Are we talking about just the average run of the mill ne'er-do-well. I mean, this is not a ne'er-do-well who sits on the street corner and asks for change, this is a guy who has a pretty interesting life by the time he's 24 years old. He's been right through the security net of the United States in Atsugi, he's been through the security net of the United States when he goes to the Soviet Union, goes through the American embassy there, and he's been through the security net of the United States also in Mexico City. So, we've got a very interesting character here.

"How does the Warren Commission portray him? They portray him as somebody who is just a little bit disgruntled.

"How does the Warren Commission, I said there were three things that were of interest to the Warren Commission right off, how do they treat Oswald? They treat him, not as a potential problem, in terms of how do you understand this, how do you understand these intelligence connections, those are whitewashed in the Warren Commission report, not, not well handled.

"How do they treat the question of ballistics? Remember, we had this problem of the members of the Warren Commission knowing right off the bat there was a ballistics problem. Well, they analyzed the bullets and they came up with the, a very interesting theory, which you all know, the pristine bullet, the magic bullet. They give an interesting description of what happened, which we can talk about later if you're interested, but they come up with an answer which we will just say is a little bit odd. They,'s a little bit odd.

"The third thing, on the medical evidence, now I suggested to you before that that was the most important area of study, the most important...aspect of any homicide case. Now, what should the Warren Commission have done? I would personally give the Warren Commission it's worst grades on how they handled the medical evidence. What they had from the medical evidence is several people who had performed the autopsy of President Kennedy, they had several people who had tried to treat President Kennedy in Dallas, they had photographs of the autopsy, they had an autopsy report, they had a face sheet from the autopsy, so they had some evidence there.

"What did the Warren Commission do with that evidence? Well, they asked some questions to three of the autopsy doctors, and they looked at the face sheet of the autopsy, and they looked at the autopsy protocol. Arlen Spector, who was then then not a senator from Pennsylvania, but was a junior staff member of the Warren Commission wrote a memo where he describes the types of things that should be done by the Warren Commission to investigate this and to make sure that the medical record was straight.

"Well, they didn't do what he suggested that they do. They ended up having a...they ended up writing a rather summary version of this. One of the things that we have tried to do in the Assassination Records Review Board is to collect records that show the background of the Warren Commission. We were able to get the records of the general counsel of the Warren Commission. His name is J. Lee Rankin. His son donated his fathers papers. And in those papers there were the various drafts of the Warren Commission report. In the first draft of the Warren Commission report it says that the, the draft says, that the bullet that went into President Kennedy went in the back. Gerald Ford did an editing job on that where he took that phrase and put `in the back' and a little carrot going up, `of the neck'. So, the wound went from being in the back to the neck. Now, in the Warren Commission, part of the Warren Commission internal deliberations which I just described to you, they talk about how the wound is down below the shoulder, and how the wound is down below the shoulder blade, by the time the Warren Commisison report gets out it is in the back of the neck.

"Again, you have this question, why does this wound get moved up, in what would obstensibly be the version that they first had versus the way that it gets, the way that it appears in the Warren Commission report. Now, people are capable of making many different interpretations of that. You can say that well Gerald Ford did not in fact know, and perhap we can say, well, that's just what he remembered, he made an editorial change, nobody caught it and that's what came out. One of the problems we have here is that fairly consistently the Warren Commission classified or kept secret the information that conflicted with what they said in their official version. And this has been one of the, one of the problems that has ocured with most of the investigations of the assassinations, that a body tries to reach certain types of conclusions, they do their analysis, whether in good faith or not, whether intelligently done or not, whether...conspiratorally done or not, whatever it is that they are doing, they then come up with a conclusion, and then they hide the evidence that is inconsistent with the conclusion that they reached.

"So we have a problem with an increasing number of records about the Kennedy assassination that were secret. Now, you all know about the movie "JFK", I asked you about that. At the end of the movie "JFK", if you remember it, it talks about how there were these secret files and the government won't open them up. It was party because of the uproar, largely because of the uproar, from that event that Congress decided to enact what became the JFK Act.

"I was told by Congressman Stokes that he saw the movie "JFK" with his daughter, they were sitting in a theater in Chicago from what I recall, but Cleveland would have been more appropriate [A note of explanation here, Rep. Stokes is from Ohio, perhaps his daughter lives in Chicago and they saw it there while he was visiting.] place, I think he said Chicago, and he said his daughter turned to him after the movie was over and said, `Daddy, why don't you open those records?' So, he then became the chairman of the House Select Committee, er, he as the former chairman of the House Select Committee helped sponsor the legislation that created our agency.

"What we are is an agency that is unlike the Warren Commission, unlike the Church Committee, unlike the House Select Committee on Assassinations, our job is not to tell the American people who shot JFK, but it is to get the records of the prior investigations, to declassify them, and make them available to the public so that they can see what the evidence is. And for the most part, I would say probably about 95% of the work of our agency has been taking federal records, declassifying them, and sending them out to the archives so that the people can see the records.

"In addition to the work that we have done declassifying records we have also done a few other things which in terms of total hours is small but it is also some of the more interesting things that we have done. Our agency besides having the power to order federal, ...well, let me, one of the things that is interesting, we have the authority to order Federal agencies to give us records that are related to the assassination and , for the most part, federal agencies have cooperated with that there is one little agency whose name I will not use right now, we are still dealing with them, that has refused to give us records so far. And we have been in negotiations with this agency. It is one that you probably haven't even heard of, but we have been in negotiations with this agency, and they have shown us their records, and they in fact do have assassinations records, there are no "smoking guns" in there, so it is not a treasure trove, but they do have assassination records and they have said that they are not going to turn them over becasue they don't need to turn them over. And we have gone back and forth with them, and we are now in the midst of a battle with them to make sure that they turn them over. I am very confident we are going to win that particular battle.

"Another sort of problem that we have is that when we go through the process of declassifying just federal government records that the law provides that the Review Board will make formal determinations about records and that any agency who disagrees with the decision of the Review board has the sole option of then appealing the Board's decision to the President of the United States. Up until very recently there has been only one agency that, attempted to, that had gone to the President. One of the things that we had become involved in, with, then, was for a several week period preparing memoranda back and forth to the President, the FBI on one side and the Review Board on another side, and so we had to make arguments to the President as to why the records should be opened. I happen to think that we made very good arguments. I think they were very persuasive. I was very proud of our agency. And there is a little bit of understandable self pride in this sort of thing. I think they were so good that the FBI after all the briefing had been done withdrew their appeals and let the records be opened, as we had asked to do that. That to me was one of the most interesting experiences about understanding government, understanding bureaucracy, and understanding secrecy in the U. S. government, this interchange that we had with the FBI.

"I learned several lessons then that I had no idea of when I took Political Science in college, didn't learn lessons like this, you learn how bureaucracies work, and you learn how certain sorts of cultures work within agencies. First thing, that was interesting, the FBI has a huge bureaucracy. If they want to file a paper they have a person who writes the paper, who has to give it to his or her boss, who gives it to his or her boss, and it goes all the way up to the director. So, for them to get a brief done in this particular case, it would take them a minimum, if they were working quickly, [of] two weeks to get it through the chain of command. So, the FBI would take two weeks to get a paper filed. We would be able to take that, turn it around within a few hours and get something back sometimes filed the very same day that they filed theirs, and we just kept them off balance. So, that was one thing, the nice lean and mean small agency, without top heavy bureaucracy was able to act much more quickly, sometimes, than the huge agency of the FBI with all of its resources, so that was one part. The second thing that was very interesting to me was how the FBI did not have intellecutal control, or intellectual knowledge of what they even had that was secret. typically when someone makes a FOIA request they will get back a document that will have large sections of it blacked out, which they can't read, and then you can go to a judge and say open this up, and the judge will hear from the FBI about why it can't be opened, and the judge usually, but not always sides with the FBI, and says he can't open this up. We had the advantage in that we could see all the information that the FBI wanted to postpone, and we could also research and go out and see what was in the public record, and we found that time and time again the FBI was trying to keep something secret that was already a matter of public record, it was 90% a matter of public record, or was so much a matter of public record that what they were trying to protect was miniscule, and very, very typically, the FBI didn't even know it, that you had some people making decisions in one wing, and another part of the agency is defending, is off defending some other standard, so you had left hand, right hand, not knowing what the other one is doing, and we ended up being able to show that on some cases things which FBI had said were secret we were able to find testimony that J. Edgar Hoover had made to Congress in 1959 that said 95% of what we thought should be open. And we were able to go and do that and show the President that this stuff is already a matter of public record. The President not deciding anything here at all, again, becasue of the FBI's withdrawl.

"But you saw there a culture of secrecy, a culture that does not want the information to come out. Now, the information that the FBI was trying to protect was not particularly assassination related, it didn't say who shot JFK, and the FBI was not trying to suppress this. This was on a lot of issues that are peripheral to the core of what we are doing but neccessary in order for us to be able to release the documents.

"We have just been told that there is another agency that is now going to be appealing some decisions of the Board, we are trying to negotiate with that other agency and see if we can convince them not to appeal to the President. We know that we have an extraordinarily strong argument and we are going to try to convince the agency that they shouldn't do it.

"One of the things that was interesting for us as well is the briefing that we did for the President on FBI records circulated in the CIA, so they wanted to see, you know, what happened to, what happened to the FBI in this appeal process, and I heard back from some people that one of the reasons the CIA didn't want to appeal the Board's decision was that they didn't want us to do to the CIA what we had done to the FBI.

"One of the things that was funny was immediately after the decision, the FBI withdrew thier appeal, a FOIA request was made on our breifing on this issue, and those have now gone through the laborious FOIA process and those are also available to the public.

"Now, let me jump to the last part of what I wanted to talk to you about, and just try to present to you the question about what are the greater lessons to be learned here. I obviously haven't said who shot JFK. And I don't have an answer to that question. The records don't say who shot JFK, but they do say some things that are interesting, I think worth paying attention to. I think there are four points that I think come out of this. We now have, we will have released or processed, put in the National Archives almost 4 million pages of records about the Kennedy assassination, some things are more closely related than others. The 4 million pages, we could say in some ways it is perhaps the most documented event in history, other than the O.J. Simpson trial, there is more information about the Kennedy assassination than any other event of its kind. Does that mean that because we have all of this information that we have more information about this than anything else? We know more about the Kennedy assassination than we know about other things. Let me suggest four different sorts of lessons or things that come through or out of this, one of them is just the very question or notion of what is [sic] conspiracy mean? Now, conspiracy could mean...well, let me try a question first,...let me just try this. I hope you will endulge me in this. If I had to ask you how many of you believe that there was a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy, and I want this answer to be reasonably loose, I'm not asking if you are absolutely convinced of it, but if you would say probably more than less, how many of you would think there is more likely to [be] a conspiracy to kill the President than not likely?

"And those of you who would say there was not likely to have been a conspiracy?

"That would reflect probably the American population generally. There are probably a few more anti-conspiratorialists than there are conspiratorialists than was represented here, but roughly that breakdown.

"It's very clear to me now, it wasn't clear to me when I started out that conspiracy means two different things and people often get those little sorts of things confused, and it's a really important distinction that I would like to make, one there is just a plain old legal understanding of what a conspiracy is, which is two or more people acting in concert to perform an illegal act. So if you take this one particular notion you would say Lee Harvey Oswald, this is hypothetical, this didn't happen, Lee Harvey Oswald says to Marina in the morning, `I'm going to shoot the President today, but it's a little bit bad, but I'm feeling a little bit shaky, I had too much coffee this morning.' And Marina says to him, `Here, let me give you a sandwich and that will help steady your nerves so you will be able to shoot better.' In that particular scenario, Marina Oswald is part of a conspiracy to kill the President, although her action, was simply to give him a sandwich, she was doing it to help facilitate the murder of the President. That would be a conspiracy. I will call that a small "c" conspiracy. There are others that you could have, two people will get together, and they are going to get at different angles to shoot at President Kennedy, that's a conspiracy as well, but that's not exciting, that's not dramatic, that happens, people do get together and agree to perform illegal acts or take acts in furtherance of an illegal activity. So that's a small "c" conspiracy.

"There is also another kind of conspiracy that I will call the capital "C" conspiracy that believes there are significant forces either in the United States government, or in the world, or among people, who act in secret, who have a certain kind of power that other people don't have and they operate and move the government in mysterious ways.

"There are a lot of different versions of this conspiracy with a capital "C". One of the things that is so difficult about this capital "C" conspiracy is that there is very little evidence that can ever defeat it. But if I were to say, taking this hypothetical, if somebody believes that there was a vast conspiracy to kill President Kennedy and that concpiracy involved the CIA and involved the Director of Central Intelligence, and I were to say to them, `Well, I understand how you might make a circumstantial case for that but there is no direct evidence that the Director of the CIA, John McCone, was involved in the assassination. There is no record that shows that, there is nobody who said that they saw him do it, there just is no direct evidence. It doesn't mean he didn't do it, but there is no evidence.'

"The capital "C" conspiratists will often say, `That doesn't matter, the records were shredded. He lied about it. People knew about it and they have been bumped off.' And what I am suggesting here is a certain kind of approach to an issue that does not allow the counter example or does not allow evidence to contradict it. So you can have this sort of conspiratorial frame of mind.

"And I have decided, during my work at the Review Board, if I didn't believe it before, there are people who have a genetic predisposition to have a capital "C" conspiracy in them, and you don't need to be conservative or liberal you can just have that

"And I have noted that, it seems to me...this is all anecdotal and I don't have any proof for any of can't dismiss anything else I've said but you can dismiss this, that typically in the elite in the United States, people who tend to be government officials, who tend to be media officials, The U.S. Elite do not have this capital "C" conspiracy gene in their bodies. They always believe that there is an answer [in terms] of a bureaucracy, there is a bureaucratic mistake or that there is a mixup, or something liek that. That is how you explain events that seem otherwise unexplainable.

"Whereas, the other part of the..there is a fairly widespread belief in the population that there are these conspiratorial forces.

"It is different in Europe where the capital "C" conspiracy can go righrt through top levels of government officials and it is not so crazy for them.

"When KAL 007 is shot down over Sakhalin Island, [Note of explanation, Sakhalin Island is north of Japan and off the coast of Russia. Russia and Japan fought a war over whose island it was. In 1905 President Theodore Roosevelt, brought the two sides together and they signed a treaty in Portsmith, New Hampshire which ended that war. President Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize for that.-history buff, Joe] in Europe it was common to have the immediate presumption that that was a U.S. intelligence mission and that the U.S. government had decided to sacrifice this plane in order to gather intelligence about Soviet intelligence. Just natural don't need any facts, you don't need any evidence, you just know this is what happened. There is a little bit, there are some strange oddities about the trajectories of the flight and that, that is sufficient for it.

"Anyway, there are these two kinds of conspiracies, and it is important to keep the two sorts of things straight.

"The second, sort of thing, is the problem of using circumstantial evidence in order to be able to make a case. I think that the JFK assasination is particularly interesting because of the number of completely inconsistent, circumstantial cases that you can make. You can make an argument, a pretty convinving argument, particularly to people that don't know all the evidence, a pretty convincing argument that Casro was behind the assassination. You can also make a pretty convincing argument, based on circumstantial evidence, that anti-Castro Cubans were involved in the assassination. You can say the KGB was involved in the assassination. You can get put certain pieces of the puzzle together and it looks as though it's the KGB. You can say the CIA was involved in the assassinatiion. You can say the FBI was involved. You can say disgruntled people within the CIA were involved. You can say there was a right-wing business conspiracy against the President and they did it. You can say LBJ was part of this. you know, after all, it took place in Texas, Johnson wasn't in the car with the President. Johnson's friends are all surrounding this issue. Johnson then gets the body out of Texas, immediately, because they wanted to get back to Washington...very suspicious. It is the one state in the United States that Lyndon Johnson controlled was the state where John Kennedy is killed.

"I mean so, you can make these kinds of cases for a lot of different things. The problem with the circumstantial cases is that you pick and choose among the evidence and you can't say there is necessarily a good reason for one piece of evidence and not a good reason for the other sources of evidence.

"One thing, I have noticed I would say, with almost every book about the Kennedy assassination whether you are talking about the Warren Commission Report or people who think the Warren Commission was a conspiracy itself is that very, very typically people pick and choose among the evidence. They make the case based upon the one they want and they ignore he countervailing evidence and that's why there is just a plethora of conspiracies and non-conspiracies about the assassination of President Kennedy.

"The next thing is trying to understand what it is that we know, I mean, what kind of proof is necessary in order to be able to convince someone of something?

"Now there are different standards that you can use for evidence in a legal basis, you can say one, one would be called, "by the preponderance of the evicence" or "more likely than not" and that was sort of the standard that I asked, that I used with you when I asked if you people believed in a conspiracy. Is it more likely than not that President Kennedy was killed as a result of a conspiracy?

"The second sort of thing is, is there clear and convincing evidence, and not just that you sort of think that it [is] more likely than not but there is pretty clear evidence.

And the third sort of standard that we have, at least in the law, is "beyond a reasonable doubt".

"Those three things mean different things. And I find that when people analyze the Kennedy assassination they frequenlty switch around between which standards of evidence, which standards of proof they want.

"Let me just tell you one thing about where I come out on part of the Kennedy assassination and that is, What is the degree of evidence that incriminates Lee Harvey Oswald? And let me emphasize this, everything I am saying here now this is all personal opinion, this is not the position of the Review Board, it is not the position of the U.S. government, this is just personal opinion. If you take Lee Harvey Oswald and you think of the cases involving the circumstantial evidence and using these standards of proof, how would I come out on Lee Harvey Oswald? And let's suppose that I were an attorney in Dallas, Texas in 1963, and that Lee Harvey Oswald was not murdered by Jack Ruby on November 24th and that he then went to trial and I had the standard,.. I knew two things. I knew, one, that there was a good judge in the case and, two, I wanted to win. So I could either be a prosecutor in Dallas or that I could be a defense attorney for Lee Harvey Oswald, and I could choose either one of them, now the standard in a criminal case is, of course, proof beyond a reasonable doubt, I want to win, if I wanted to win the case and I knew I had a good jude, no question which side I would choose to be on, and that would be, I would be Lee Harvey Oswald's defense attorney. So by the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, I don't think the government has it. But does that mean that it's more likely than not that he didn't do it? I don't know. That is a different, different sort of thing. You need to keep those things in mind. And again the O.J. trial, we are always told a lot about that...

"The last thing I wanted to mention, just in terms of how we understand the evidence and how we deal with what we have is what I will call is the profound underscore profound unreliabillity of eyewitness testimony. You just cannot believe it. And I can tell you something else that is even worse than eyewitness testimony and that is 35 year old eyewitness testimony.

"I have taken the depositions of several people who were involved in phases of the Kennedy assassination, all the doctors who performed the autopsy of President Kennedy and people who witnessed various things and they are profoundly unreliable.

"There were two, the two, there were two FBI agents who were present at the autopsy. They basically, I will exaggerate this, they were with each other all night long and they came out and they wrote a report about what they had seen. I took the depositions of these two people, 35 years later. Their stories just were not the same story. Neither one of their stories moved in any direction to prove that anyone had done anything bad or good with....


Dr. Jeremy Gunn - "... didn't witness it, their testimonies are different. So you are going to come up with two different sorts of stories.

"There is one doctor, this will be the conclusion of the eyewitness testimony, there is one doctor who was one of the treating physicians of President Kennedy at Parkland hospital whom I interviewed. And I asked him some questions and he said he remembered that day very, very vividly. He remembered being in the treating room with President Kennedy in Parkland Memorial Hospital. He remembered seeing Jackie Kennedy walk in. He had never seen her before and what a stunning moment that was for him and how traumatic it was. There was the President who had just died. There's his widow who was there with him. `That just burned in my memory', he said. `I remember Jackie being there in a white suit.'

"And I thought absolutely everyone in the United States knows that Jackie Kennedy was wearing a pink suit. This is the only guy in the UnitedStates who thinks that she was wearing a white suit. There are people who were never present at the autopsy, were never present in Bethesda, never saw Dallas ...everyone knows Jackie was wearing a pink suit. Here you have one of the treating physicians who remembers Jackie wearing a white suit. I assume he wasn't lying to me. I assume he wasn't trying to trick me and I assume he didn't have a second suit theory.


"None of that was true. But here he has this memory. And he described some other things about the autopsy, er, about the treatment of President Kennedy. Let's suppose that I think he's wrong on what he says about something that happened in the treatment room. What can I say? `This guy is so wrong he doesn't even remember what kind of suit Jackie Kennedy was wearing!' You can dismiss his testimony, just dismiss it.

"Or suppose that I think what he says happened at the treating room is was what I think happened too. His memory of the suit, that's not relevant. What is relevant is his professional skill as a doctor. He's not into fashion, he's into being in medicine, so I can trust what he is saying there.

"And that's one of the problems that you have with the Kennedy assassination. You have all this wealth of information and people pick and choose, and then they refute, they argue against one person, they can use an inconsistency that they have made, and you end up having all this confusion.

"So what do we do about it? I'll tell you what I think should have been done, is the Warren Commission should have investigated the assassination the right way the first time, they should have had doctors testify before them, they should have asked the doctors the right questions about the assassination and they should have released all that information to the public. If there is any lesson that is to be learned here, that is the one for me. It should have been done the right way, and the American people should have been told that right off the bat.

I would be happy to try to fend off questions or dodge questions, if anyone has one? Paul?

Paul Hoch- "Jeremy, after the Review Board goes out of business, can you say something about what will be the status of new information, new allegations, new records created? Are you putting anything in place, have you talked of putting anything into place to follow up the Review Board, for continuing access? For example, strengthening FOIA on Kennedy assassination related records?

Jeremy Gunn - "The Board is going to be issuing a final report in September and they will be making recommendations there. And I don't know what the recommendations will be. They haven't decided as yet, but that certainly, one of the questions they have to consider is, ... I'll give a personal opinion, this does not reflect the Review Board, I have no idea what they are going to say. I have certainly learned some of the major problems with FOIA in my own experience. By our ability to be able to see all of the classified records and to know what the issues were we can understand what the agencies are doing, and I'm not attributing malice or evil or anything like that to the agencies, but it is clear that they don't necessarily know what they are doing and they don't have intellectual control over it. So there are real problems with FOIA and FOIA should be fixed. I don't know if the Review Board is going to do it.

Jeremy Gunn - "Gary? Oh, sorry."

Hall Verb - "Mr. Gunn, it is my understanding, having read the Act, that there is nothing that can be held back from any records submitted to the ARRB. Nothing. There is no question about something being stamped "Top Secret", "Secret", or "Withheld for various reasons", to anything submitted to the ARRB. That is my understanding. I may be incorrect on that. Is that correct or am I incorrect?"

Jeremy Gunn - "There are a couple of different issues. We have the authority under our statute to order federal agencies to make their records available to us. As far as I know, this is the first time there has been any law like this. There have been things somewhat like this. But this is really unusual. For us to be able to tell the CIA we want you to bring those records over and taht they have to do it. And the CIA with one tiny little exception, has always made the records available for us that we have asked for. For all practical purposes we have had complete access to that. What we have done, in some cases, we found little treasure troves and pockets of CIA information. Often we found records the CIA did not even know that they have and we have been able to look through them, things where we would hope there might be information about the assassination so we read through that, if we identify information relative to the assassination, we tell the CIA it needs to process it under the Act. If we look through information and it doesn't have anything, then they don't need to. Just a specific example, the CIA finally came up with files on John McCone, who was a Director of Central Intelligence. We just got those a couple of weeks ago and we are now looking through those files to find out whether there is anything relative to the assassination. They have to make those available to us.

"Now there is a different question on...after we get them they are designated assassination records, then they go through the processing. We still can have information be postponed or redacted that would not be made availabe but the Review Board has a very high standard or very low threshold or whatever it is. They maximally want informaion to be released and for the most part records have gone from being largely redacted to very small pieces that are typically technical and say nothing at all about the assassination, not being released.

"I think that this is really a very interesting experience in U.S. government to be able to say that we are going to take a citizens' body now and they are going to have effective control over the records of the intelligence community. That hasn't happened before and they still can appeal to the President. But to be able to say to the CIA, to the National Security Agency, to the National Reconnaissnce Office, whatever the agency is of the government...the most secret agencies of the have to make these records available for us and then we are going to make the decisions on what can be released, that's new, and it has been a remarkable success, I think.

The Board still redacs a modest amount of informtion but there is no information that I have seen, myself, that has been redacted or postponed that explains the Kennedy assassination, it's typically, some file number of something like that that doesn't have probitive informaion. So when we are finished in September of this year, all of those secret files that you have heard about in the movie, those are going to be open to the public and everything relative to the assassination that we have been able to find is going to be open and available to the public, then you get to decide for yourselves what happened. Gary?"

Dr. Gary Aguilar- "There in Willaim Sullivan's book, former assistant head of the FBI, he said that in the days right after the Kennedy assassination that Hoover and his boys destroyed lots of documents pertaining to what he asumed was something related to the Kenendy assassination. How would we know, or would we ever be able to really know, whether some of these intellegence agencies that have been known to destroy documents in the past, certainly the CIA in [regards to] Iran, and other situations, how do we know, or is there any way of really knowing whether they have destroyed files and whether the files we have are complete? And as a follow up to that, one part of the story that did not come out of the Review Board when it sent out it's press release which I got via email was a story that appeared in AP today and that is apparently in the files that came out of New Orleans and Harry Connick, at least one file cabinet is now missing. So, the question is in general, how can you know that you are not pouring through documents that have now been cleansed, by deletion or destruction, and is there any way of getting hints that perhaps that might have happened?

Jeremy Gunn - "If a file was created 35 years ago, and destroyed 34 years ago, and there's no cross reference to that file, we are not going to know about it, unless somebody comes and tells us about that. So, such things are possible. One of the things about intelligence records certainly with the FBI, less so but still with the CIA, is the way they do cross referencing you can sort of get your way into it. If you find one little mother load you can work your way into other things, that is one of the things that we have learned about how these things go. I don't know what has been destroyed or not. I can say we have not reached, for practical purposes any sign that anything from the FBI that was in their central filing system has been destroyed. There is a seperate set of files for the FBI which are Hoover's personal and confidential files, and there are different versions of the personal and confidential files. One of the projects that we have taken on ourselves is to try and do everything we can to try and document the personal and confidential files. There is a version of Hoover's, these are Hoover's secret files that he kept in his outside office, seperate from the main filing system of the FBI, we have looked through all of the personal and confidential files that still exist for assassination related issues and found a few documents which are being processed and will be released under the Act, and we have pursued different sorts of means to try and find those things out. But, once again, if something was destroyed 30 years ago we are not going to be able to find that.

"My own take on this, and I don't know, is for practical purposes I don't see significant bodies of evidence that were destroyed and not accounted for. There are thigns that are missing. I have tried, I file, I know I sometimes try and file something and look for it the next day and I can't find it, and things like that happen, so there are missing records, and sometimes I find it a week late in the wrong file, I put it in the wrong place, things like that happen, sometimes you think you are filing it and accidentally you threw it away. So stuff like that happens, no doubt. We have not seen, I haven't seen anything that looks as though it's systematic to do that, and I think the records are probably fairly reflective of what the agencies created. One of the big problems is records that were never created that should have been created. The best example I can think of for this is, I think the most telling story for CIA, was the 1967 report, the Director of Central Intelligence, Richard Helms asked the CIA, certain people in the CIA, to find out about the Castro assassination plots. This was an internal CIA investigation, under the authority of the Director of Central Intelligence to find out what they did, to find out what they had been doing about trying to kill Castro, this was done in 1967, so they are talking about basically the previous eight years, from 1959 to 1967, what had the CIA done? So, they went around and they interviewed the various people at the CIA, and the story they tell is very confusing, people saying, just like the two FBI people whom I mentioned, two people were supposed to be at a meeting, one of them says, `I was never at this meeting.', the other one says, `I remember him at this meeting because I hadn't seen him in ten years earlier, and I was stunned to see him. We had been at camp together.' They had these stories that were utterly irreconcilable, and no particular reason to think one of the two people is lying on this particular issue, whether they attended a meeting or not..

"So, they also, absence of records on many things, where on the assassination of Castro, you just don't want to put that in writing, the record is never created, so that is going to be a problem. And you are going to have that problem even if you are talking about something that happened fairly recently. So, it is a problem. I don't see that as the answer to what's going on with the Kennedy assassination. One of the thoughts that I had had at the beginning, is, `Okay, the original problem is defined as all the records relating to the Kennedy assassination that are in various government offices, and those need to be opened up, those are the secret files. So, I thought that when we started this prospect, now what happens if we go and we find all these records, and we then open them up, what are people going to say? Are they going to say, `Ah, well, there's another file that you didn't find, that's where it is!' And there is going to be this constant ability to say "it's always somewhere else". And you know, maybe it is. I can't prove that it isn't, but I haven't seen the evidence of destruction on any kind of significant basis. There are some examples of it. The Secret Service destroyed some records in 1993 that they should not have destroyed. I don't see any...I see ineptness as part of the problem, I don't see a conspiratorial explanation for those particluar records.


"Doesn't anyone want to know who shot JFK?

Unknown woman - "Could you talk a little bit more about the ballistic evidence that the Warren Commission received.....?

Jeremy Gunn - "To my mind, one of the least convincing parts of the Warren Commission is the Commission Exhibit #399. This is a bullet that appears basically pristine, that the Warren Commission decided had been shot through, well, the Warren Commission decided had gone through the back of President Kennedy's neck, out the front of President Kennedy's throat, went into Governor Connally and went through several parts of his (Connally's) body, then emerged basically unscathed. And they had this one bullet performing all of these actions. I just cannot, again, this is just personal opinion, I just cannot beleive that that happened.

I don't know what happened, but I don't believe that that one happened. The Warren Commission tried several ballistics tests to see if they could replicate this by shooting it through goats, wrists, human cadaver wrists, and taking the bulelts out and let them do it and see how deformed the bullets were. Any bullet that went through any kind of bone ended up being really deformed. They would look at it and say, `This bullet looks squished.' And when you see Commission Exhibit #399, the one that did all of this damage it doesn' just doesn't pass muster.

"I think what probably happened is the Warren Commission decided that they had to take the evidence that they had and they had to come up with the best explanation that they could and so they put these things together, and try to have things fit. And it was probably putting a square peg into a round hole, or a can't put a round hole into a square peg, can you? Try as you will. That was sort of the problem.

"There were many other problems, let me give you one example...that, there was an interesting discussion I had last week, there was a problem, the person who picked up the bullets, the shells, there were three shell casings that were found under the window of the sixth floor, the depository, they were picked up, the person who, who was supposed to have picked them up testified to the Warren Commission. He was asked the question, `Did you pick up the shell casings?' He answered and he said, `No I didn't do it.' And they went off the record, and the Warren Commission, he then came back and said, `Oh, I was mistaken. Yes, I did, I am the one who picked them up.' Now that seems a little bit strange. I told that to a...there is an agency that we deal with that helps us find people, it's an agency of the U.S. government that's called FINCEN, and I've talked there, they are mostly former law enforcement officials, and I've talked to this former law enforcement official about that and I said "You know that's pretty suspicious if you are trying to get chain of custody on something and the person who suppossedly picked up the shells can't remember whether he did it or not in the murder of the President".

"And the law enforcement officer said to me: "Oh, that's nothing, that's the way things are always done. When you are collecting evidence, you know, different people pick up stuff, usually you have to decide that one person is going to be the person who will testify in court so they say they picked up stuff even though they didn't. That is just standard police procedure, no big deal"

"And I thought, well, how do you deal with that story? Let's assume that he's probably right, that is how things typically happen, typically things are not done the right way, not that police officers go into court and routinely perjure themselves, not because they are involved in any major conspiracy to cover up anything on any kind of of crime but it is just that it is an easier way to do things. So perhaps that is standard police procedure, I think he was probably right, and they followed then standard police procedure in the assassination of a President. Now I think if I were a Dallas police officer and the President had been murdered, I don't think I would I follow standard procedure, I think I would follow impeccable procedure, I would want to make sure I do it the right way. I don't need to worry about one person needing to testify about everything, you get whoever needs to testify, they are imported to do it.

"So, do I believe this police officer, this former police officer, who told me this story or not? This is once again where you come up wih this messy kind of evidence and people will latch on to the version that they want. If you bellieve that in this case in the assassinatiion of the President the police are going to get it right and if they don't get it right they are involved in some kind of cover up, if that is the predisposition in which you approach the evidence, then you've got the obvious answer, the police are lying and they know something, and they are trying to sppress the evidence. If you are this kind of casual guy you say, `Ah, that is the way it always happens. No big deal, nobody ever thinks anything about it in the police department.

"Which is the right answer? I don't know.


Hal Verb - "Can I ask you another question? I am interested in the mechanics of procedure of the Board. You may or may not be familiar that there is a raging controversy among the research community about film alteration including the famous Zapruder film, a lesser known film, the Nix film and also autopsy forgery, fakery and X-rays. I am not interested in your opinion (laughter) about this. But what I am interested in has anybody come forward to present what hey claim is evidence and...I'm not talking about receiving a book which anybody can send, and the second question is, if this does occur, what is the mechanics of procedure about handling this body of information, since it could be considered assassination related in the sense that somebody has come up with what they claim is evidence? What is he procedure of the Board? Do they go to somebody and say I want to get this analysis done by Doctor So and So, I want this military analysis? What is the actual mechanics of the procedure?

Jeremy Gunn - "There are several different things, I guess this should be, maybe we will try one more question, then we will do the...there are several different things that we do and that we have done. And the answers are, can be, complicated and right now it is not a matter of public record so that I can't give very many details but this will all become publicly available, certainly before we go out of business. So, none of this is going to be classified. It's just... I can't say it here [and] now.

"But we have looked into the question of the Zapruder film. We have looked into the question of the authenticity of the autopsy photographs. One thing that we did is we got basically every person who was still living who was involved in the creation of autopsy records and we put them under oath in front of the original autopsy records in the National Archives. So in some cases we subpoenaed people who did not want to come. We brought them to Washington, we brought out the original autopsy photographs and the original autopsy X-rays and photographs of the brain and asked them a series of detailed questions. And the answers that they give are sometimes quite interesting. And all of that testimony is going to be released to the public.

"I'll give one little teaser to you here, we found one of the people who was involved in develoding the autopsy photographs and we got her testimony and that's one of the things that will be released later and she tells a very interesting story. We have tried to pursue every reasonable lead that we can on that.

"One of the things that is crazy about the JFK assassination is that people come up and say all kinds of nutty things. The number of people who claim to be former CIA officers who were present in Dallas on November could fill a stadium with them. And what do you do when somebody says, `I was a CIA officer or somebody told me that they were a CIA officer and they were instructed to go to Dallas on Nov 22nd.' You know, that's possible. How do we find that out? And so we have chased down a lot of leads by that. By, we go to the CIA, we go through the filing system, we go through the record system and try to identify people. One thing that you end up believing, if nothing else, is that people are not reliable about what they say about what they have done in the past and what they saw and what they observed. In some case because they are just outright con people, not con men, but con people and sometimes they don't know or sometimes there is just a little bit of exaggeration of the story. Anyway we tried several different things on that. Last question.

Unknown woman, (student?) "Um, well this may be a hard question but having been exposed to a vast amount of information on the subject, what is your personal opinion?

Jeremy Gunn " I don't know."

(same person) - "If you had to take a guess, would you take one?"

Jeremy Gunn - " I don't know. The evidence is really confusing. One way that you can look at it is and it is probably an appropriate way and this is not very scientific...-

Dr. Gary Aguilar [who would speak into his audio recorder at times, mainly to identify speakers from the audience, speaks, "The question is who shot JFK?", and obliterates some of what Jeremy Gunn is saying]...My father when I talk to him about this issue he always wants to know if I have found the file that says who killed JFK. I don't know. So you suppose there is a file that says, `We know who killed JFK', and it is signed by John McCone and J. Edgar Hoover and it says that Lee Harvey Oswald did it. You know who is going to believe that? Or that it says so and so did it? I don't know how anyone would be able to prove anything at all.

"One of the things that I is think is interesting is that even if you were, if one were to say that there is more exculpatory evidence about Lee Harvey Oswald than there is inculpatory evidence, so it is more likely than not, just basing this on the evidence, that Lee Harvey Oswald didn't do it. So, that may be the case. We could say, we could take that as an hypothesis, the evidence is principally suggestive that Oswald didn't do it. On the other hand, there is more evidence pointing to Oswald than any other person at all. So if your standard is where does it point more than anybody it has to point at Oswald. I mean he is on the 6th floor, he does some funny things that day...he does behave strangely, he has been to the Soviet Union, he is a Marxist, there are a lot of problems that he has. The curtain rod story is, to me, not believable,... among other thigs. There are a lot of problems Oswald has. So there is more evidence pointing to him than to any other person. After Oswald, if you say Oswald is not the leading candidate, then who is the leading candidate? The amount of evidence that we have drops to, fairly, close to zero. You don't know who it is. So that means, you know, by plurality, Oswald is more likely than anyone else. But that's not the way you dedcide culpability. It's not a very convincing answer.

Anyway, thank you very much (applause).

(This is the end of Gunn's formal remarks. He responds in the following segment to further questions. The questions and to some extent the answers are dificult to pick out from other conversations going on at the same time. These remarks appear to be from an informal reception after the talk.)

Jeremy Gunn - "...If you have something that slam dunks the...then we would be-

Paul Hoch - "other than that I know the feeling from my own day job, it's fair to say, cause you lost a lot of

Jeremy Gunn - "Well, we rehired so we are about the same. Really, about 95% of what we do is processing the records that have already been identified. I think there is probably somewhat of a misconception about; as though 80% of our work is out doing research and 20% is doing records, that is just not the way that it is. And we are just trying to wrap up things now."

unknown - "Can I ask you what [is] the status of the Zapruder film and whether we are likely to get it, sort of in the public domain anytime soon? I am writing an article for Sceptic Magazine debunking Posner, trying to do just what he described, and we'd like to look at the pictures, but without being charged for them."

Jeremy Gunn - "There are two issues with the Zapruder [film]. One is who owns, who possesses the original of that, whether that is U.S. government property or not. The other quesion is who has the copyright to it, and those are separate issues. So, the U.S. government could own the raw stock for the original but not have the copyright. And if I were you, I wouldn't hold your [sic] breath for the copyright being, coming into the public domain. I don't know the answer, and that has not been resolved.

"The Board made the decision last April to...they said that they... the language of the resolution is that they intend to advise, or they intend to tell the Archivist, I don't remember what the word is, they intend to instruct the Archivist of the Untited States to transfer the Zapruder film to the JFK Collection in August of 1998. So, they were stating a future intention at that point. But in terms of the copyright issue, I wouldn't imagine that that would be... So, if the film is taken for public use, if there is "a taking", there has to be compensation and the Board has been less concerned about the copyright issue than in getting the original into the Archives.

[There is a break in the recording of the tape. It was switched off. Then back on.]

Jeremy Gunn - "We actually want to be able just to freeze the system where it is now, that even though when Windows 2007 comes out, we'll still be humming along on Windows 95 but that is the system that is there and people can use it. And if 50 years from now, people don' know what this antiquated system is, there is nothing I can do about that. But it will at least be there in it's antiquated form.

unknown - " It is a major problem with computer records. In my business we have all these old tapes which we cannot read any more.

Jeremy Gunn - "Understandable. That is why we want to keep our hardware and software and data all together in the very same system. This is what I wanted to do, so to some extent this is alleviated. You know, a hundred years from now this equipment will break down and peole won't know how to use it and they will think how could they ever have done it this way? There is nothing I can do about that. Ask someone in a 100 years to help you there.

unknown - "Has your commission investigated Jack Ruby at all?

Jeremy Gunn - "A little bit. There has not been too much to do with Ruby. One of the things we have not done is to try and investigate things. We can go to Chicago and interview people. It ends up being, creating more of the stories that people have to tell. Some may be true, some may be untrue. But a lot of the Ruby stuff has already been identified. Now there is a lot of Ruby stuff that is being processed. All the FBI records on Ruby, for example, are part of the Act and those are being swept into it. So what I'm sayiing is, separately from what has been previously identified as Ruby, we have not pursued a lot on that."

unknown - "How can I get a copy of your final report?"

Jeremy Gunn - (humurously) "Send a self addresed stamped envelope,...No, I'm not sure how-

unknown - "email? is there a way to do it by email?

Jeremy Gunn - "For the first-

unknown- "yeah, but they said there is a way to do it by email, you can ask for it by email-

Jeremy Gunn - "For the final report that probably-

unknown - "Maybe not."

Jeremy Gunn - "I haven't actually thought of an electronic version. I don't suppose there's any reason why we couldn't do that, that's actually a good idea. We'll proably do that. We will certainly be printing a hard copy of the final report and I don't know how that, what I assume will be something along the following lines taht it will cost ten dollars, or I don't know what the price [will be] whatever the price of publication is and then you will be able to send [to] either the Government Printing Office the National Archives, send ten dolalrs and get your copy.

unknown (Paul Hoch?) - "Ten pages?"

Jeremy Gunn - "I don't know how long it is going to be. My best guess right now, and it hasn't been written though, though that's something I'm working on, it will be in the 200-300 pages area. The outline of the final report is now being shaped. So, Chapter Four of the final report, for example, gives the standards for the release of information, what kind of CIA information was released and what wasn't, why certain CIA stations were released and others are not. You know, what the Board found. So, Chapter 4, is one for people who are going to use FOIA, is extremely valuable, that's a hint. It's exteremly valuable for FOIA. It gives the Board's standards for what really needs to be secret and what does not and it is very different from what the government has said before. Now, the Board is applying JFK Act not FOIA standards so there is a difference. However, there will be much of great use for FOIA people there.

"Chapter 6 of our report is going to talk about a lot of the work that we have done to try and find new records, so I think peole who are interested in the JFK story are going to be interested in Chapter 6 of our report.

"[If] people want to know what the Board's recommendations are, [that] will be Chapter 7. These [chapter] numbers are all, can change. But that's where the draft is. Now, one of the chapters is our compliance chapter and will say what each of the agencies did in order to comply with the JFK Act. Each of them is signing a statement under oath saying they have identified all of the assassination records they have no idea where else they might be and they have all been turned over to the [National] Archives. So it is all being done under oath. It doesn't mean that they are not lying but I assume that the people who are doing this are being honest about that. We haven't seen, except for a few strange cases, examples of deception."

Dr. Gary Aguilar - "How long you here for?"

Jeremy Gunn - "I'm going back tomorrow morning."

Dr. Gary Aguilar- "Oh. How long have you been out here for?"

Jeremy Gunn - "Just a couple of days."

Dr. Gary Aguilar - "You've got a nice time-

Jeremy Gunn - "Oh yes. I know what the weather has been like. 149 straight days of rain."

Dr. Gary Aguilar - "Well, it hasn't been straight, but we've had a lot of rain. 109 days in the last year.

"If something new and important came in, you know, even in the next two weeks, would you, you know, do what you could to incorporate it in the body of what your'e doing?

Jeremy Gunn - "It would depend on how significant it was, how much time it would take to do it, the likelihood of success. If good leads come in, we will follow them up. But it would have to be a pretty good lead before we do something."

Paul Hoch - "...after the Board goes out of business, I mean right now if I sent you any piece of paper to the Assassination Records Review Board it becomes-

Jeremy Gunn - "it becomes a board record, yes

Paul Hoch - "It becomes a board record, but afterwards it would be stored at the Archives, right? I mean like would it be possible to voluntarily add records-

Jeremy Gunn - "That would be-

Paul Hoch - "If J. Lee Rankin's son, if J. Lee Rankin's son came up with a document in October-

Jeremy Gunn - "The Archives would then take it through it's typical acquisition policy. Right now, one of the things that is different with the JFK Act is that the board has the authority, according to our reading of the statute, to tell the Archives to include something in its collection. This is not the way the Archives normally does it and I don't think they particularly like that but they have not formally contested that. So, after we are out of business-

Paul Hoch - "it goes back to the noraml standards."

Jeremy gunn - "-and I presume that if they thought the information was valuable or probative or if Jim Rankin came up with some more records they would accept them.

Paul Hoch - "And if I sent something to the FBI. So, the FBI will keep accumulating, even if it's regular 62 whatever file, the FBI will keep accumulating records. Is anyone worried about what happens to those? The access to those?

Jeremy Gunn - "Yes, the presumption I would think is that agencies would continue to transfer assassination records to the Archives. There won't be anybody to oversee that process but the agencies should continue to do that.

Dr. Gary Aguilar - "On May 11th there was a hearing before one of the Commitees [Hearing on H.R. 2635, "The Human Rights Information Act". Witnesses discuss whether U.S. government information on human rights abuses in Guatemala and Honduras should be subject to expedited declassification.

Held by the Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, May 11, 1998.] and one of the people who was testifying, which is one of he reasons I happened to read it, was Jennifer Harburry of Guatemala, then Charity Surgery. I sent it to you ( I don't think Dr. Aguilar was refering to Jeremy gunn with the "you" there, maybe he was.)

A woman interupts - "no, I mean I saw her on TV."

Dr. Gary Aguilar - "Oh. it was on TV? Well, I don't watch TV, sorry, so I never see it."

same woman - "C-SPAN"

Dr. Gary Aguilar - "In any case, one of the CIA people that was there defending how valiantly the CIA was being open, was crowing about how they had released 14,000 pages on Guatemala. Of course the part that they didn't tell them was that they had 180,000 pages and so when Wolsey originally promised the whole 180,000 pages and they didn't do that they were very, very quiet about the fact that, `Oh, we are being so forth coming.' but we are not going to tell you the fact they were not going to give you more than 90% of the documents.

"In any case, there is one little anecdote about [Earl] Warren and J. Lee Rankin, because his name came up tonight that I thought was very amusing to me. And it's in "The Abuse of Power" book by Stan Cutler on the Nixon tapes, and Nixon is in the Oval Office with Haldeman and Colson trying to figure out how to capitalize on the fact that after no one was impressed at the White House's internal investigtion "proving" that they were innocent in Watergate that they were still very frustrated now that the FBI had investigated and after "the most exhaustive investigation since the Kennedy assassination" it had proved that the Nixon White House is innocent. And so they are figuring out, `Well, now what can we do to get this out to the publlic that they were inocent?' And they said, `I know what we'll do, we'll create a Blue Ribbon Commission to evaluate the FBI's investigation, does that ring any bells here?, and they can go pronounce to the public. `Good idea! Who should we appoint?' Out of their mouths now: `Earl Warren and J. Lee Rankin'

As a final question, I have found myself persuaded that autopsy photographs probably are missing and I'm sure that you probably got a lot of conflicting testimony from these people about that. But it is very clear from at least their earliest testimony they were talking about autopsy photographs they took that aren't there that should have been taken to document the wounds. I mean just: "You need to document this wound. Yes, this is how you document...This is the image you need to take." And you get Fink saying, `Yeah, I took that image. No, Any image that you're showing me now...I took an image and it ain't here.

"Do you have any more information or anything that you can tell me?"

Jeremy Gunn - "We haven't any new photographs. I asked everyone who is involed in that question and there were a variety of answers. So we pursued that, but we don't have any new photographs."

Dr. Gary Aguilar - "How about any new autopsy notes?"

Jeremy Gunn - "No."

Paul Hoch - "Roughly do you know how many people you have deposed? Or, actually what I am interested in is, is it primarily the medical area?

Jeremy Gunn - "Disproportionately medical area.

"I took a deposition from Ann Goodpasture, as well. According to my understanding now is she has a hearing problem. When she testified before the House Select Committe on the Assassination, she had a problem hearing the questions and the testimony that she gives there does not reflect what was going on. There is one person in my office who, she has a certain range of voices that she can hear and there is a person whom I work who called with her and she could not hear this other person but she could hear my voice. So, I did not have any problem communicating with her and I would not have known she had a hearing problem.

She (Goodpasture) was fully cooperative with everything I did. Her own accounting of the House Select Committee is that it was a miserable experience because she could not hear the questions. She didn't know what she was saying. Her testimony reads to me reads as though she was being uncooperative, and that is sort of what I had been expecting but she was not that way at all.

Paul Hoch - "She did not say, `I cannot hear your questions.' I know how hard that can be."

Jeremy Gunn - "She did not say that. That's why she left the CIA early...because of her hearing...

That's all folks!

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