The Umbrella System: Prelude to an Assassination
The following article appeared in the June 1978 issue of "Gallery Magazine,"
and is reprinted here with permission of Mr. Sprague. The possibility that
a very rare and special secret weapon system, developed by the CIA at Fort
Detrick, Maryland, was used to immobilize JFK, and thus ensure the success
of "the turkey shoot" carried out in Dealey Plaza is explored in great
Consider also that until the day of the JFK assassination in 1963,
there was *no place* that *anybody* outside of the very small CIA
and Special Forces group (perhaps as many as twenty people) could
get access to that flechette-launching weapon system or anything
To arrive at a solution to a murder as enigmatic and convoluted as that of
JFK, we must confront the existence of the netherworld of secret operations
carried out by covert agencies within our own government: "We have to
start thinking like the CIA, people. . . . Black is white, and white is
November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was slain, was bright
and sunny in Dallas. Why, then, was there a young man with an open
umbrella on Elm Street, less than 30 feet from the President's car
as it slowly passed by? Presented below is an answer to this
puzzle by a former consultant to the House Select Committee on
THE UMBRELLA SYSTEM: PRELUDE TO AN ASSASSINATION
by Richard E. Sprague and Robert Cutler
To the skeptic who refuses to accept the idea that the Central
Intelligence Agency was involved in the assassination of John
Kennedy, nothing could be more convincing than to demonstrate how
one of the CIA's secret poison and weapon systems was used in the
assassination. Such a claim would have been scoffed at by
everyone, but the weapons system itself was made public by Mr.
William Colby, CIA director; Mr. Richard Helms, former CIA
director; and Mr. Charles Senseney, a contract weapons designer
for the CIA in testimony before the Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence (the Church Committee) in September 1975.
The system is based on launching devices of various types, used
to launch a self-propelled, rocket-like dart, or flechette. The
flechette can carry either a paralyzing or fatal poison.
The flechette itself is very simple. It is about the same size
and looks like the tip of a large chicken feather. It is plastic
and has tiny tail fins. Many varieties were developed for
different uses. The great advantage of this weapon is that it is
recoilless, almost silent, and the flechette travels at a high
velocity which increases after launch. The flechettes can be fired
singly or in high-impact clusters.
It is propelled to its target by a solid-state fuel, ignited
electronically at the launcher. It strikes its target, animal or
human, dissolves completely in the body leaving no observable
trace, and totally paralyzes its victim within two seconds.
The launching devices developed by Mr. Charles Senseney at Fort
Detrick, Maryland for the CIA included a cane, a fountain pen, soda
straws, and an umbrella.
The umbrella was used to shoot President Kennedy.
The flechette struck JFK in the throat, causing a small entrance
wound, but leaving no other trace. The missile was about 5
millimeters in diameter, and the wound was 4 millimeters. The size
of the wound as compared to the size of the flechette is consistent
with other findings of this nature. This particular wound,
officially called an exit wound by the Warren Commission, puzzled
medical examiners and critics of the Warren Commission alike. The
critics charged that had the throat wound been an exit wound, it
could not have been so small.
JFK was paralyzed by poison contained in the flechette in less
than two seconds--so paralyzed that the first rifle bullet that hit
him did not knock him down, but left him in a nearly upright
position. A second volley of shots fired at JFK a few seconds
later struck a stationary, visible target. The paralyzing
flechette shot was fired by a man holding the umbrella launcher.
He was in close proximity to an accomplice. Using a radio
transmitter, the accomplice signaled the riflemen through each of
their respective radiomen in the Dal Tex building, the western end
of the Texas School Book Depository building, and on the grassy
An exquisitely timed intelligence murder was performed. The
paralytic poison allowed two volleys of rifle shots to be fired
into JFK. He had become a sitting duck.
In what follows, the basic evidence for this sophisticated
murder technique and weapon system will be presented. Much of the
evidence, in the form of photographs, has been under the noses of
assassination researchers for many years. The testimony given by
Colby, Helms, and Senseney opened the minds of a small group of
researchers, who looked at the photographic, medical, and
ballistics evidence in a new way.
The coauthors of this article and researcher Christopher
Sharrett have now been able to clearly show that JFK's
assassination had to have been a carefully planned, well-executed
intelligence operation, using CIA weapons and techniques.
| Analysis of JFK's Motions and the Shots: |
| Numbers beginning with "Z" are frames of the Zapruder film. |
| Crucial to an understanding of the shots and JFK's |
| reactions to them is an understanding of President |
| Kennedy's hand, head, and upper torso movements at the |
| time he was hit by shots, and the motions of Governor |
| Connally. Contrary to what most media organizations and |
| some researchers state, JFK's hands did not raise to grasp |
| at his throat. The Zapruder film shows quite clearly that |
| just the opposite occurred. Photos #1 through 6, are |
| frames 189, 190, 204, 224, 225, and 227 from the Zapruder |
| film. The President's right hand can be seen making what |
| appears at first to be a slight forward jerk between |
| frames 189 and 190 (1/18 second) and then snapping |
| downward from his forehead to a position well below his |
| throat by frames Z224 and Z225. It also clenches into a |
| fist. His head, during this two-second timespan, snaps |
| into a nearly straight-ahead position, and his left hand |
| raises and clenches into a fist somewhat below his right |
| hand level. His right fist can be seen to be still moving |
| downward between frames Z224 and Z225. |
| The discontinuity between Z189 and Z190 added to the |
| continuous downward, fist-clenching motion of his right |
| hand from Z190 to Z225 has been taken by many researchers |
| as evidence of a shot striking JFK at frame Z189. The |
| theory of discontinuous motion caused by a transfer of |
| momentum from an externally applied force is evident here. |
| Any discontinuity in JFK's motions occurring in the 1/18 |
| second between frames can be taken as evidence of momentum |
| transfer from a projectile, rather than being caused by |
| any internal neurological phenomenon, voluntary or |
| involuntary. What actually occurs between Z189 and Z190 |
| is a backward and upward motion of JFK's head. His right |
| hand remains in a fixed position with respect to the side |
| of the limousine. This indicates a shot from the front. |
| A second such discontinuity occurs between frames Z225 |
| and Z227 (2/18 second), during which time JFK's head and |
| upper torso are driven forward and down into his clenched |
| fists. The fists remain in a fixed position with respect |
| to the side of the limousine. JFK's elbows are flung |
| upward and outward by the force of a rifle bullet striking |
| him in the back. This is the shot that caused the back |
| wound 5 3/4 inches down from the top of his shirt and |
| created holes in his jacket, his shirt, and his back. It |
| did not exit at his throat. |
| A similar analysis of momentum transfer from the rear |
| causing a discontinuity in motion can be made for Governor |
| Connally between frames Z237 and Z238 (photos #7 and 8). |
| Finally, JFK's head motions between frames Z312, Z313, |
| Z314, and Z321 (shown in photos 9 through 12) demonstrate |
| two transfers of momentum--one from the rear, between Z312 |
| and Z313, and another from the right front, between Z313 |
| and Z314 and up to Z321. The latter bullet drove JFK's |
| head and upper torso back and to his left, where he |
| bounced off the rear seat into his wife's arms. |
Throughout the last fourteen years, a number of questions
arising from the evidence obtained at Dealey Plaza have puzzled
serious researchers. While these questions seem to be unrelated,
all of them are answered in a very logical way by this new
interpretation of the evidence.
The questions concern President Kennedy's throat wound, the
motions of his hands and head before the fatal shot struck, the
timing of the shots, the absence of bullets, the presence of a man
carrying an open umbrella, and the trajectory of an early shot from
in front of JFK. Here are the questions:
The Throat Wound and Trajectory of the Throat Shot:
Assuming the throat wound in JFK to be an entry wound, why was
it so small (4mm)? How could a rifle bullet leave such a small
wound (about the size of a soda straw)?
If a bullet did enter JFK's throat, where did it go? Why was no
trace of a bullet found? The entry wound apparently was not at a
downward angle. If a bullet *was* fired from the grassy knoll,
hitting JFK in the throat at Z189 (frame 189 of the film shot by
Abraham Zapruder), where could it have come from to enter at a
*nearly horizontal* trajectory, while missing everything in its
path, including the Stemmons Freeway sign, Abraham Zapruder, a
small tree, the side of the limousine, Secret Service agent
Kellerman, Governor Connally, and the limousine windshield? Where
did the throat shot come from (see photo #13 [CAPTION READS: "TUM
at lower left of Stemmons sign, The Accomplice farther left. (For
actual photograph, see Warren Commission Hearing and Exhibits, Vol.
XXI, P. 770.])
Why is there a *forward* motion of JFK's right hand between Z189
and Z190, if a shot hit him from the front at that time? Why
didn't that bullet drive JFK violently backward (see photos #l and
The Motions of JFK's Hands:
Why did the President's hands clench into fists and drop below
his throat as the result of a bullet striking him in the throat?
Why did his head snap around to the front? These motions, which
can be observed in photos #1 to 6, Zapruder frames 189, 190, 204,
224, 225, and 227, appear to be more like a stiffening action,
taking a little less than two seconds, rather than the grasping at
his throat described by many casual observers. JFK did not grasp
at his throat at all.
Why didn't the bullet fired at frame Z225, striking JFK in the
back, knock him down on the seat? Why are JFK's fists still in the
same position after the bullet hits, Z225 to Z227 (see photo #6,
2/18 second after photo #5)? The motions make it appear that JFK's
head, torso, and fists were frozen in position at Z225. The bullet
forced his head and upper torso down and forward into his fists.
It flung his elbows outward as though they were pivoting around his
fists and shoulders. Why?
Why didn't JFK duck or turn or shout after he was hit at Z189?
His mouth opened, but there is obviously no lip or mouth motion
between Z224 and the time of the fatal shots. When Governor John
Connally was hit, he screamed "like a stuck pig," said Jackie
Kennedy, and rolled to the floor of the car. One bullet went
completely through Connally, and he is alive today. If JFK had
been able to fall to the floor after the first, nonlethal bullet
hit him in the back, he might have lived, too. But he could not,
because the flechette's poison had paralyzed him. The people who
thought they heard JFK scream were imagining it.
The Timing of the Shots:
Some witnesses said they heard two volleys of shots separated by
a few seconds. The photographic evidence coupled with other
evidence shows there actually *were* two volleys of shots: The
first volley was timed between Z189, when the throat shot hit, and
Z237, when a shot hit Connally. The back shot hit JFK at Z225.
The shots in this volley occurred over forty-eight frames, or about
two and a half seconds. If the Z189 shot is taken out, the other
two shots were separated by only twelve frames, or about a half-
second. The earliest overseas press reports, such as NZPA-AAP (New
Zealand Press Association) datelined Dallas, said, "Three bursts of
gunfire, apparently from automatic weapons, were heard." These
earliest reports had not been tampered with.
The second volley occurred at frames Z312 and Z313, nearly
simultaneously. The shot that missed could have also been fired at
about this same time (see photos #9 and 10).
The questions are:
Were there two volleys of shots, and if so, why?
How could shots fired from three or four widely separated
positions be timed so accurately? Keep in mind that the earliest
reports said "automatic weapons." On-the-spot witnesses heard
shots so closely timed that they reported them to be from automatic
weapons. This takes precision firing under control.
 The authors disagree on the timing of the Connally shot. Cutler
believes it was fired at Z223, Sprague at Z237, a difference of
less than a second. In either case, it was part of the first
volley and was a separate shot from the JFK back shot at Z225.
The Umbrella and The Umbrella Man (TUM):
Questions have always been raised about TUM (The Umbrella Man)
ever since Josiah Thompson and Richard Sprague discovered the open
umbrella in a series of photographs. Photo #13, a picture taken by
Phil Willis at Zapruder frame 202, shows TUM with open umbrella.
Photos #4, 5, and 6 (frames 224, 225, and 227 of Zapruder's film)
show the umbrella protruding from behind the Stemmons Freeway sign.
Photo #14 (by Richard Bothun) [CAPTION READS: TA and TUM seconds
after shooting] shows TUM less than a minute after the shots,
sitting on the edge of the grass near his original position, with
another man seated next to him. The umbrella is lying on the
sidewalk. Photos #15 and 16 (by Wilma Bond) [CAPTIONS READ: TA at
left, casually walking down Elm Street. AND, TUM, folded umbrella
in hand, to right of sign.] show TUM a minute later, standing near t
he highway sign holding the umbrella.
The temperature was a cool and breezy 68 degrees F. The sky was
clear blue. No rain had fallen since early that morning. No
natural reason seemed to exist for a fairly young man to be holding
an open umbrella over his head while the President of the United
States was passing by, ten to fifteen feet away (see diagram of
relative positions of TUM and JFK). An examination of the
thousands of photographs taken during the Presidential procession
and in and around Dealey Plaza that day revealed not a single other
Thompson and Sprague's speculations were that TUM was giving
visual signals--first to go ahead (opening umbrella), then to fire
a second round (raising umbrella). Afterward, the speculation
went, he stayed around to see whether anyone had noticed anything
about the actual shooters.
A closer analysis of the Zapruder film shows that TUM actually
raised and lowered the umbrella very rapidly--too rapidly to have
been a good signal for riflemen as far away as the Dal Tex building
and the grassy knoll (see photos #3, 4, 5, 6, 17 [CAPTION READS:
TA's arm raised at right front of limousene (Z228)]). Why did he
Analysis also shows that TUM actually rotated the umbrella.
This rotation appears in the original Zapruder film, including
frames up to Z236 that show the umbrella in the space between the
sprocket holes. Measurements of this rotation show that it tracks
JFK's position during his travel down Elm Street at this time
period. Why did TUM rotate the umbrella? If he were an observer,
he would turn his head, not the umbrella.
After the shooting, why did TUM sit down and then stand up,
within a few feet of his position in front of the Stemmons Freeway
sign, when everyone else in that vicinity ran or jumped away in the
direction of the grassy knoll? Everyone, that is, except one man
who sat down next to TUM. Who was he, and where was he when the
shots were fired, and what was he doing with TUM?
| No natural reason seemed to exist for a fairly young |
| man to be holding an open umbrella over his head |
| while the President was passing by ten or fifteen |
| feet away. |
| Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty of the Defense Department |
| witnessed a demonstration of the flechette-launching |
| weapon system in his office in Washington, D.C. in 1960. |
| Here is his description. |
| It was in my own office, in a part of the Office of the |
| Secretary of Defense, in the Pentagon in 1960 that I first |
| saw an early version of the weapon fired. On July 29, |
| 1960 I flew to Fort Detrick, Maryland by helicopter from |
| the Pentagon to see developments of this and other new |
| weapons at that top secret installation. I am able *from |
| personal and official experience* to support the Sprague- |
| Cutler thesis that an umbrella weapon was used as part of |
| the JFK murder plot. |
| The inventor of the flechette rocket was shown into my |
| office by a fellow staff member, and I was told that he |
| had something he wanted to demonstrate to the military to |
| see if it could be developed into some useful tactical |
| weapon system. In his hand he held several small plastic |
| tubes which looked to me like soda straws, about "thick |
| malt shake" size. Then he showed me a small plastic, |
| nylon perhaps, rocket. It was a perfectly shaped, |
| miniature rocket, complete with tail fins. Inside was a |
| tiny charge of propellant. |
| Then, without further introduction, the inventor |
| touched a button, and two tiny flechettes zipped out of |
| the "straws" and slammed into the thick soundproofing of |
| the wall across the office. Only their tail fins stuck |
| out from the wall, and the inventor said that it was a |
| good thing he had only a partial charge in them, because |
| they could easily have gone right through a normal wall |
| panel and acoustic board. |
| This early, unengineered weapon was shaped something |
| like a pistol with a flashlight-size chamber above the |
| grip. The inventor contemplated using about twenty-five |
| or thirty "straws" mounted together and fired all at once |
| or in clusters. This would give a buckshot impact and |
| more effective target coverage. I was impressed. |
| I called my boss' office and introduced the inventor. |
| Again we went through the demonstration. It was not long |
| before the weapon system was under top secret control and |
| was being worked on by some of the military specialists at |
| Fort Detrick. I heard about the development of the weapon |
| many times later, but I did not see it again until it was |
| exhibited at the Church Committee hearings. Shortly after |
| that, when I saw Cutler's first "Umbrella Man" book ("The |
| Umbrella Man: Evidence of Conspiracy"), published in |
| October 1975 and describing an "air-rifle" type umbrella |
| weapon, I wrote to him to explain that I thought it much |
| more likely that The Umbrella Man had used the rocket |
| flechette I had seen demonstrated. |
| It remained for Senseney's Church Committee testimony |
| to close the circle when he stated that he had developed |
| just such an umbrella weapon at the same place I had gone |
| with the earlier weapon---Fort Detrick. The rest of this |
| remarkable story is developed by Sprague and Cutler. |
| As you read this article, consider this: It is against |
| Secret Service directives for anyone to be permitted along |
| the route of the President carrying something as |
| conspicuous a weapon concealer as an umbrella. |
| Furthermore, it is abnormal for anyone standing close to |
| the President to open an umbrella in sunlight, raise it, |
| lower it, and maneuver it as this man did. Why was this |
| permitted by the Secret Service? Who had the power to |
| arrange that TUM not be apprehended with the umbrella |
| weapon that day? |
| Consider also that until the day of the JFK |
| assassination in 1963, there was *no place* that *anybody* |
| outside of the very small CIA and Special Forces group |
| (perhaps as many as twenty people) could get access to |
| that flechette-launching weapon system or anything like |
| it. |
| Someone had the power to ensure TUM's nonapprehension |
| and access to the weapon. That Person was the murderer. |
THE WEAPON SYSTEM:
The answers to all of these questions and the analysis of the
evidence must begin historically with the development of the weapon
system itself. There is no better way to describe it than to hear
about it from ex-CIA directors William Colby and Richard Helms and
weapon developer Charles Senseney. Here is their testimony before
the Church Committee on September 16 to 18, 1975, as published in
Volume One (1976) of that Committee's final report, under the
title, "Unauthorized Storage of Toxic Agents."
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1975. Testimony of William E. Colby,
director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Committee met at
10 A.M. in the Russell Building.
Present: Senators Church, Tower, Mondale, Huddleston, Morgan, Hart
of Colorado Baker, Goldwater, Mathias, and Schweiker. Also
present: William G. Miller, staff director, Frederick A. 0.
Schwarz, chief counsel, Curtis Smothers and Paul Michel, Committee
Chairman Church: The particular case under examination today
involves the illegal possession of deadly biological poisons which
were retained within the CIA for five years after their destruction
was ordered by the President. . . . The main questions before the
Committee are why the poisons were developed in such quantities in
the first place: why the Presidential order was disobeyed; and
why such a serious act of insubordination could remain undetected
for so many years.
William Colby: The specific subject today concerns the CIA's
involvement in the development of bacteriological warfare materials
with the Army's Biological Laboratory at Fort Detrick, CIA's
retention of an amount of shellfish toxin, and CIA's use and
investigation of various chemicals and drugs. . . . Information
provided by him [a CIA officer not directly associated with the
project] and by two other officers aware of the project indicated
that the project at Fort Detrick involved the development of
bacteriological warfare agents--some lethal--and *associated
delivery systems suitable for clandestine use* [emphasis added].
The CIA relationship with the Special Operations Division at Fort
Detrick was formally established in May 1952.
The need for such capabilities was tied to earlier Office of
Strategic Services World War II experience, which included the
development of two different types of agent suicide pills to be
used in the event of capture and a successful operation using
biological warfare materials to incapacitate a Nazi leader
The primary Agency interest was in the development of
dissemination devices to be used with standard chemicals off the
shelf. Various dissemination devices such as a fountain pen dart
launcher appeared to be peculiarly suited for clandestine use. . .
. A large amount of Agency attention was given to the problem of
incapacitating guard dogs. Though most of the dart launchers were
developed for the Army, the Agency did request the development of a
small, hand-held dart launcher for its peculiar needs for this
purpose. Work was also done on temporary human incapacitation
techniques. These related to a desire to incapacitate captives
before they could render themselves incapable of talking, or
terrorists before they could take retaliatory action. [Or to
prevent guard dogs from barking.]
One such operation involved the penetration of a facility abroad
for intelligence collection. The compound was guarded by watchdogs
which made entry difficult even when it was empty. Darts were
delivered for the operation, but were not used.
Church: Have you brought with you some of those devices which
would have enabled the CIA to use this poison for killing people?
Colby: We have indeed.
Church: Does this pistol fire the dart?
Colby: Yes it does, Mr. Chairman. The round thing at the top is
obviously the sight; the rest of it is what is practically a
normal .45, although it is a special. However, it works by
electricity. There is a battery in the handle, and it fires a
small dart. [Self-propelled, like a rocket.]
Church: So that when it fires, it fires silently?
Colby: Almost silently; yes.
Church: What range does it have?
Colby: One hundred meters, I believe; about 100 yards, 100
Church: About 100 meters range?
Church: And the dart itself, when it strikes the target, does the
target know that he has been hit and [is] about to die?
Colby: That depends, Mr. Chairman, on the particular dart used.
There are different kinds of these flechettes that were used in
various weapons systems, and a special one was developed which
potentially would be able to enter the target without perception.
Church: Is it not true, too, that the effort not only involved
designing a gun that could strike at a human target without
knowledge of the person who had been struck, but also the toxin
itself would not appear in the autopsy?
Colby: Well there was an attempt--
Church: Or the dart?
Colby: Yes; so there was no way of perceiving that the target was
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 1975. Richard Helms' testimony:
Huddleston: Mr. Helms, you said you were surprised, or that you
had never seen the dart gun that was displayed here yesterday.
Would you be surprised or shocked to learn that that gun, or one
like it, had been used by agents against either watchdogs or human
Helms: I would be surprised if it had been used against human
beings, but I'm not surprised it would have been used against
watchdogs. I believe there were various experiments conducted in
an effort to find out how one could either tranquilize or kill
guard dogs in foreign countries. That does not surprise me at all.
Huddleston: Do you know whether or not it was used, in fact,
against watchdogs? Helms: I believe there were experiments
conducted against dogs. Whether it was ever used in a live
operational situation against dogs, I do not recall.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 1975. Testimony of Charles A. Senseney:
Senseney: I worked in the Biological Warfare Section of Fort
Detrick from 1953. . . . I was the project engineer of the M-1
dart launcher and following on microorganism projectiles and so
Smothers: Is this a device that looks roughly like a .45 caliber
pistol with a sight mount at the top?
Senseney: This was a follow-on. It was to replace the M-1
projectile to go into the Army stockpile. It did look like a .45.
Smothers: Did the CIA have, Mr. Senseney, the wherewithal to
utilize this dart launcher against humans?
Senseney: No, they asked for a modification to use against a dog.
Now, these were actually given to them, and they were actually
expended, because we got all of the hardware back. For a dog, the
projectile had to be made many times bigger. It was almost the
size of a .22 cartridge, but it carried a chemical compound known
Smothers: And their interest was in dog incapacitation?
Baker: Your principle job with the DOD, I take it, was to develop
new or exotic devices and weapons: is that correct?
Senseney: I was a project engineer for the E-1, which was type
classified and became the M-1. They were done for the Army.
Baker: Did you have any other customers?
Senseney: To my knowledge, our only customer was Special Forces
and the CIA, I guess.
Baker: Special Forces meaning Special Forces of the Army?
Senseney: That is correct.
Baker: And the FBI?
Senseney: The FBI never used anything.
Baker: Looking at your previous executive session testimony,
apparently you developed for them a fountain pen. What did the
fountain pen do?
Senseney: The fountain pen was a variation of an M-1. An M-1 in
itself was a system, and it could be fired *from anything*
[emphasis added]. It could be put into--
Baker: Could it fire a dart or an aerosol or what?
Senseney: It was a dart.
Baker: It fired a dart . . . a starter, were you talking about a
fluorescent light starter?
Senseney: That is correct. Baker: What did it do?
Senseney: It put out an aerosol in the room when you put the
Baker: What about a cane, a walking cane?
Senseney: Yes, an M-1 projectile could be fired from a cane; also
Baker: Also an umbrella. What about a straight pin?
Senseney: Straight pin?
Baker: Yes, sir.
Senseney: We made a straight pin, out at the Branch. I did not
make it, but I know it was made, and it was used by one Mr. Powers
on his U-2 mission.
Huddleston: Were there frequent transfers of material between Dr.
Gordon's [a researcher at Fort Detrick] office and your office,
either the hardware or the toxin?
Senseney: The only frequent thing that changed hands was the dog
projectile and its loaders 46-40. This was done maybe five or six
in one quantity. And maybe six weeks to six months later, they
would bring those back and ask for five or six more. They would
bring them back expended, that is, they bring all of the hardware
except the projectile, okay?
Huddleston: Indicating that they have been used?
Huddleston: But it could have been used on a human being?
Senseney: There is no reason why it could not, I guess.
Schweiker: Mr. Senseney, I would like to read into the record
[from a CIA document] at this point a quote from paragraph nine
[exhibit 6, document 67]: "When funds permit, adaptation and
testing will be conducted of a new, highly effective disseminating
system which has been demonstrated to be capable of introducing
materials through light clothing, subcutaneously, intramuscularly,
and silently, without pain."
Now, I just have a little trouble, Mr. Senseney, reconciling
your answers in conjunction with this project, when the CIA
document makes clear that one of the very specific purposes of the
funding and the operation was to find a weapon that could penetrate
light clothing subcutaneously, which obviously means through the
skin, and intramuscularly, which obviously means through the
muscles of a person. And are you saying that you have absolutely
no recollection at all that tests or programs were designed to use
any of these devices to permeate clothing on people and not dogs?
Senseney: We put them on mannequins.
Schweiker: What's that?
Senseney: We put clothing on mannequins to see whether we could
penetrate it. These were the requirements. You almost read the
exact requirements that the SDR quoted from the Special Forces
Schweiker: I would not expect you to test them on live human
beings. I would hope that you did use mannequins, Mr. Senseney.
Wouldn't that be directed toward people-usage, though? That is the
point we're trying to establish.
Senseney: That is what the Special Forces direction was. You have
to look at it this way. The Army program wanted this device. That
is the only thing that was delivered to them. It was a spin-off,
of course, from the M-1. The M- 1 was a lethal weapon, meant to
kill a person, for the Army. It was to be used in Vietnam. It
never got there, because we were not fast enough getting it into
the logistics system.
Schweiker: What was the most-utilized device of the ones with
which you worked and supervised?
Senseney: The only thing I know that was really used was the dog
projectile. The other things were in the stockpiles. I don't
think anyone ever requested them.
Schweiker: How do you know for certain it was for dogs?
Senseney: Well that is what they asked us to test them against.
They wanted to see whether they could put a dog to sleep, and
whether sometime later the dog would come back and be on its own
and look normal.
Schweiker: Of the devices that came through you, which of these
were utilized in any capacity other than for testing?
Senseney: That was the only one that I know of--the dog
projectile. I call it a dog projectile. We were developing it
because the scenario read that they wanted to be able to make
entrance into an area which was patrolled by dogs, leave, the dog
come back, and then no one would ever know they were in the area.
So that was the reason for the dog projectile.
Church: Thank you Senator Schweiker. I think it is clear that the
CIA was interested in the development of a delivery system that
could reach human beings, since not many dogs wear clothing. And
you would agree with that, wouldn't you?
Schwarz: Along the same line, I assume you must agree that
spending money in order to make darts of such a character that they
cannot be detected in an autopsy does not have much to do with
Senseney: No, that would not have anything to do with dogs.
SUMMARY OF TESTIMONY:
In 1960, the CIA purchased from the Army at Fort Detrick, Maryland
a poison-dart weapon system, consisting of small flechette-type
projectiles, self-propelled by solid-state rocket fuel, and
launched by a series of devices, including umbrellas. The
flechettes were about 5mm in diameter and about an inch long. The
poisons carried were of two types. One was a lethal poison,
apparently used against enemies in Vietnam. The other was a
quick-acting, paralyzing poison that took effect in less than two
seconds and lasted for several hours. This was intended for use
against dogs guarding a secured enemy area. It had to cause
paralysis fast enough to prevent the dog from barking.
The flechette completely dissolved in the body, leaving no
trace, so that enemy agents would not be suspicious. The dogs
recovered after several hours and behaved as though nothing had
The launching devices did not have to be very accurately aimed
and fired, because the weapon was designed for close range. The
flechette could hit any part of the body of a dog or human and
still cause complete paralysis. The solid-state fuel was ignited
by completing an electrical circuit.
The umbrella used a battery-powered circuit. The battery and
trigger button were located in the handle of the umbrella. Wires
running up the shaft connected the button and battery to the
igniter, which was mounted on the shaft. The trigger button
activated the igniter, firing the solid propellant, which sent the
flechette through the rocket launcher--a straw-sized metal tube--to
WHAT HAPPENED IN DEALEY PLAZA?
Here is the way the assassination team used the weapon system to
TUM took aim by sighting along the launcher and tracking JFK as he
moved down Elm Street. He continued to track JFK after firing the
flechette at Z189. He quickly raised and lowered the umbrella
after firing. This motion may have been caused by operating a
reloading mechanism in the umbrella to put a second flechette into
the firing position. It could also have been a signal to a
radioman accomplice to transmit a beep, calling for a second volley
of shots (see next section).
The flechette struck JFK in the throat at Z189, entering above
his collar, creating a 4mm entry wound and causing immediate
paralysis. The trajectory can be seen from photo #13 to have
cleared the edge of the limousine. The flechette was traveling at
an angle from the right front of the limousine, and it missed the
other occupants of the car. The paralysis took place in about one
and a half seconds, from Z189 to Z216. By Z224 (see photo #4),
JFK's arms, fists, head, and shoulders had been in a paralyzed
state for a half-second. The flechette made no noise when
launched, so that no one heard a shot at the time of Z189.
The flechette's momentum was small because it was extremely
lightweight. As a result, only a small transfer of momentum
occurred, driving JFK's head only slightly upward and backward.
This can be detected by a careful comparison of photos #1 and 2,
Z189 and Z190. JFK's right hand can be seen to remain in a fixed
position between these two frames (1/18 second) with respect to the
side of the car. His head moves up and back in comparison to his
hand or the car.
The Rifle Shots:
The first rifle shot was fired from the second floor of the Dal Tex
building. It struck JFK in the back, five and three-quarters
inches below his shirt-collar line, at frame Z225. Since JFK's
muscles were paralyzed, he was like a rigid, sitting duck target.
His head and upper torso were driven down and forward, and his
elbows were flung upward and outward, because no muscles would stop
a rotating elbow and arm motion pivoting around two frozen points-
-his fists and his shoulders. (Observe all of these points between
photos #5 and 6, Z225 and Z227--2/18 seconds apart.) If JFK had
been in a nonparalyzed state, the back shot would have knocked him
much farther forward and down.
The flechette dissolved in JFK's body, leaving no trace, except
for the small entrance wound in his neck. The poison would not
have shown up in the autopsy, even if tests for it had been made.
However, because there was no apparent reason to suspect poison, no
tests for it were made.
The Timing of the Shots and The Accomplice:
After Jim Hicks made his statement to Jim Garrison's investigators
in 1968 about being a radio coordinator for the firing team,
researchers were convinced that radio communications were used
between radiomen located near each of the riflemen and some central
Hicks appears at the center of the plaza on the south side of
Elm Street, near Houston Street. In the Zapruder film, he is seen
during the shooting with both hands showing, no radio transmitter
visible, and no other indication that he is doing anything but
observing at the time of the shots (photos #1, 2, and 3). Hicks'
real role was as the radio system supplier and tester. Later Hicks
shows up with the radio in his back pocket, walking down Elm Street
(see photo #18, taken by Willis [CAPTION READS: Hicks in light
jacket with radio in back pocket (Same as #13 above)]).
In 1977, Cutler, Sprague, and Sharrett discovered the real radio
coordinator in a series of photos. In photo #13 he appears with
raised hand, standing to the left of the Stemmons Freeway sign, on
the north curb of Elm Street. He is about twenty feet away from
TUM. Because his identity is unknown, he will be called TA (The
Accomplice) in this article. His raised hand appears in photos #4,
5, and 6. Early observations of his hand concluded he was waving
at the President. Closer analysis shows he was not waving. His
hand remains raised and motionless, except for a slight clenching.
TA can be seen sitting next to TUM in photo #14 and walking away
down Elm Street in photos #15 and 16. The radio can be seen in
photo #19, taken by Jim Towner [CAPTION READS: TA, radio in back
pocket, heading down Elm Street.], in TA's belt at the back, and
also in photos #14 and 15.
TA undoubtedly was using a button-type beeper transmission
technique for signaling all radiomen to have the riflemen shoot in
volleys. The button was in his raised hand. A wire connection to
the battery-powered transmitter was mounted on his belt at the
back. The first beep was transmitted as soon as TUM launched the
flechette. The second beep was transmitted a second or two ahead
of Z312. The first signal triggered rifle shots from the shooter
in the Dal Tex building and the shooter on the west end of the
sixth floor of the TSBD (Texas School Book Depository). The man on
the knoll did not have a clear shot at that time and did not fire.
The Dal Tex shot hit JFK in the back at Z225, and the TSBD shot hit
Connally at Z237.
Three shots were fired in the second volley--by the Dal Tex
rifleman, whose bullet narrowly missed JFK and hit the south curb
of Main Street; by the TSBD rifleman, whose shot struck JFK in the
head at Z312; and the man behind the fence on the grassy knoll,
who now had a clear path and fired the fatal shot. His bullet
struck JFK in the right temple and exploded at Z313. The fourth
rifleman was positioned right by the octagonal structure at the
west end of the semi-circular wall on the grassy knoll north. He
did not shoot, because the Stemmons Freeway sign and a tree were in
his way. He had a clear shot after the limousine had passed the
sign, but by then JFK was dead. He would have fired had the others
missed their target.
TA and TUM got together, for about two minutes, immediately
after the shots, probably to discuss the results and to observe any
police or Secret Service activity in the area (see photo #14).
Then they went in separate directions, up and down Elm Street (see
photos #15 and 16).
| ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS: |
| The questions plaguing researchers can now be answered. |
| * The President's small throat wound was caused by a |
| small flechette. |
| * The flechette dissolved, leaving no trace, |
| explaining why no bullet was found. |
| * No bullet was fired from the grassy knoll at the |
| time of the first hit. TUM had a clear shot at Z189. |
| * TUM's flechette was actually moving in a slightly |
| upward trajectory, explaining the backward and upward |
| motion of JFK's head between Z189 and Z190. |
| * The flechette's small momentum explains why there |
| was no violent backward motion. |
| * JFK's fists clenched and his head snapped to face |
| forward while his right hand snapped downward because |
| his muscles were paralyzed quickly by the poison. |
| * The bullet at Z225 didn't knock JFK down, because |
| he was paralyzed. |
| * The paralysis affected the muscles, fixing them in |
| position and preventing those portions of JFK's upper |
| body from moving when he was hit in the back. His |
| elbows were not fixed and were flung outward. |
| * JFK did not make a sound, because his vocal cords |
| were paralyzed (see testimony). |
| * There were definitely two separate volleys of |
| shots. Each of the four gunmen were prepared to |
| shoot twice upon radio coordinating commands. One |
| knoll gunman could not fire the first volley, because |
| of obstructions. The other did not fire at all. |
| * All the questions about TUM and the umbrella are |
| answered by knowing he was using an intelligence |
| weapon system with umbrella launcher and flechette |
| dart. |
| * Raising and lowering the umbrella was a signal to |
| TA for a radio beep to order a second volley. |
| * The umbrella rotated because TUM was tracking JFK. |
| * TUM and TA sat down together to assess what |
| happened. |
| * TA was the radio coordinator and was standing |
| behind TUM, where he could see TUM's signal and |
| transmit a beep to the radiomen, ordering the first |
| volley. |
What conclusions can be drawn from this analysis?
FIRST: Some higher-level individuals within the CIA furnished
one of their secret weapons systems to be used in the
assassination. It is doubtful that more than a very few
umbrella launchers were made for the CIA at Fort Detrick.
This may have been the principal reason for the CIA cover-up
that began on November 22, 1963.
SECOND: The degree of sophistication in such a complex
intelligence murder--including the planning for the paralysis,
the radio coordination, the firing positions creating a cross
fire in two volleys, gaining access to the buildings, setting
up a patsy (Oswald), and all of the other techniques used--
indicate that lower-level anti-Castro Cubans, or even Mafia
members, could not have pulled it off without CIA guidance and
supervision. Skill and intelligence training, plus detailed
management, were required from the only organization capable
of running such an operation.
THIRD: The Select Committee on Assassinations and the Senate
Intelligence Committee have a lot more interrogating to do.
They must question the people who designed the weapon system
and those who made it available to the assassination team.
Richard E. Sprague is currently a consultant to the Battelle
Institute, a think tank in Columbus, Ohio, and was formerly a
consultant to the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
He has written numerous books and articles, including the
self-published "The Taking of America 1-2-3."
Robert Cutler is an architect and a assassination researcher.
He has self-published five books on the Kennedy assassination,
the latest of which is "Seventy-six Seconds in Dealey Plaza."
(Information on obtaining books by Mr. Sprague and Mr. Cutler
is available from "Gallery.")
yer friendly neighborhood ratman
ko.yan.nis.qatsi (from the Hopi Language) n. 1. crazy life. 2. life
in turmoil. 3. life out of balance. 4. life disintegrating.
5. a state of life that calls for another way of living.