J.E. Hoover's FBI "spoon fed" the Warren Comission its data

    In 1963, John Edgar Hoover and Lyndon Baines Johnson knew each other 
    very well.  They had lived across the street from each other for the 
    past 19 years.  A professional bureaucrat of formidable talents, a 29-
    year-old Hoover was appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation 
    in 1924 (Hoover added "Federal" to the title in 1935) by then Attorney 
    General Harlan F. Stone to clean up a corrupt organization.  During 
    WWII, President Roosevelt expanded the FBI's reach charging Hoover with 
    investigations of Nazi and Communist activities in the U.S.  The Cold 
    War gave the Bureau new power and Hoover new glory.  Hoover's dossiers 
    continued to grow as well as his command of Congress, his manipulation 
    and intimidation of the press, and his stature in the country.  Hoover 
    supplied Joe McCarthy with a great deal of the ammunition which enabled 
    McCarthy to sustain his "crusade" far longer than would have been 
    possible without Hoover's connivance.  
    When Robert Kennedy became Attorney General in 1961, Hoover's 
    entrenched power-structures suffered a two-year, 10-month setback.  
    Long before 1961, Hoover had created a direct channel of communication 
    with whoever was the current occupant of the Oval Office--bypassing the
    actual chain of command which went from the President, through the 
    Attorney General, to Director of the FBI.  

    When LBJ assumed the Presidency, Hoover's direct link into the White
    House was re-established.  Johnson's official relationship with Hoover
    was enhanced by personal friendship as well.  "As majority leader [in
    the Senate], Johnson already had neen receiving a steady stream of
    reports and dossiers from the Director . . . which he prized both as
    a means of controlling difficult senators and as a gratification of
    earthier instincts.  For President Johnson, secrets were in themselves
    perquisites of power . . .  No chief executive praised the Director so
    warmly.  In an executive order exempting Hoover, then sixty nine, from
    compulsory retirement at seventy, Johnson hailed him as `a quiet,
    humble and magnificent public servant . . . a hero to millions of
    citizens and an anathema to all evil men. . . .  The nation cannot
    afford to lose you . . .  No other American, now or in our past, has
    served the cause of justice so faithfully and so well' ("Johnson Hails 
    Hoover Service, Waives Compulsory Retirement," NYT, May 9, 1964)."
      -- from "The Age of Surveillance, The Aims and Methods of America's
         Political Intelligence System," by Frank Donner, (c) 1980, Knopf.

    The following memorandum, written by Hoover immediately after his 
    meeting with President Johnson, just seven days after the assassination
    of President Kennedy, is a remarkable document to say the least.  There
    is much information imparted in the memo regarding just how fluid and
    unstable the cover story about who killed JFK still was shaping up to be 
    at that time.  By analyzing the discrepancies between the story Hoover 
    briefed Johnson about on November 29th, and what the final cover story 
    handed down by the Warren Commission would claim almost a year later, 
    we can better appreciate the degree to which the final "official report" 
    was sculpted to fit the constraints the Commission was forced to adhere 
    to, regardless of the actual facts of the assassination.

    This document is what is known in bureaucracy-speak as a "memo for the
    record."  It was a customary practice in the upper levels of the 
    bureaucracy in the days before electronic technology in Washington, D.C.
    An official of high rank would usually return to her or his office
    after such a meeting and dictate a memorandum of as many details of the
    discussion as could be remembered.  It was a way of recording one's own
    professional dealings for future reference.

    Hoover starts out recounting that Johnson brings up "the proposed group"
    --what will become the Warren Commission--to study the report Hoover is 
    trying to complete by the end of the same day.  This has been initiated 
    by Johnson to prevent an independent investigation by Congress of the 
    assassination (Reagan tried to do the same thing with the Tower 
    Commission).  Johnson would publically announce the creation of the 
    Warren Commission later that same day.  This was a critical move by 
    Johnson:  by appointing the Warren Commission, they effectively bottled 
    up Bobby Kennedy, they bottled up the Senate, and they bottled up Texas. 
    The Tower Commission didn't succeed in pre-empting an investigation by
    Congress.  In the end, the Warren Commission didn't either, but it did 
    keep the cork in place, preventing any other "official" examination, for
    well over another decade.

    It is interesting to note that of all the people listed at the bottom of
    page one, retired General Lauris Norstad (who had been head of the NATO
    forces at SHAPE headquarters in Europe before his retirement) was the 
    only one who somehow succeeded in not serving on this Presidential 
    Commission.  Earl Warren did NOT want the job and had sent a memo ahead 
    to the Oval Office, before he answered LBJ's summons, stating he would 
    not participate in such a commission.  But when push came to shove, 
    Johnson's formidable powers of persuasion turned Warren's `no' into a 
    `yes.'  Apparently, even such focused persuasion could not win Norstad's 

    The six topic bullets at the bottom of page one are file listings.  This
    is important for anyone ever finding themself searching for documents
    from the government through Freedom Of Information Act requests.  This
    type of listing is very useful beccause it lets one know that these
    files exist, and that one might be able to find documents using this
    method which one might not find (or even know about) any other way.

    In the middle of the first paragraph on page 3, Hoover relates how the
    Dallas police didn't even make a move to stop Ruby.  This is a pretty
    heavy line by Hoover.  He implies the Dallas cops must have somehow 
    been in collusion to silence Oswald from living to stand trial.  But
    the implication is never fleshed out.

    The second half of page three contains some of the most enlightening
    statements of the whole memo.  Hoover tells Johnson three shots were
    fired.  Johnson asks "if any were fired at him."  This question goes
    a long way towards explaining the duress under which he served as
    president.  LBJ had heard bullets flying overhead--he had been that 
    close to the action.  It was completely out of keeping with the 
    standard security procedures the Secret Service employed to have any 
    such parade appearance be attended by *both* the president and the 
    vice president.  Johnson heard the sounds of those guns very clearly 
    and the message they conveyed.  He lived out the rest of his public 
    life always aware of their possible return.  Not long before he died, 
    LBJ was interviewed by his friend and writer Leo Janos.  In the July, 
    1973 issue of "The Atlantic Monthly," Janos relates that LBJ told him:

      1. "that the assassination in Dallas had been part of a conspiracy;
      2. "I never believed that Oswald acted alone . . .;
      3. "we had been operating a damned Murder Inc. in the Carribean."

    The presence of the vice president 2 cars behind the president in the 
    parade in Dallas was a fundamental breach of the level of security 
    normally adhered to by the Secret Service.  He took the experience back 
    with him to the White House and never forgot its meaning.  He could 
    just as easily be snuffed out if he ever got out of line.

    Then there follows a most curious and confused explanation by Hoover of
    the three shots fired:  "the President was hit by the first and third 
    bullets and the second hit the Governor".  Obviously Hoover did not yet
    know about the injury suffered by James Tague.  Tague's face was nicked 
    by a bullet fragment (or a fragment from the curb it hit) which missed 
    the limousene entirely and struck the curb at his feet, approximately 
    160 feet past the location of the president's car.  This shot would end
    up having to be one of "the three bullets fired" in the official story.

    Johnson then explicitly asks again "were they aimed at the President."
    It would appear that LBJ needed repeated assurance by Hoover that no one 
    had intended to shoot him.  Hoover then says a mouthful when he states
    "I further advised him that we have also tested the fact you could fire 
    those three shots in three seconds."  Apparently they did not yet 
    understand the implications of the Zapruder film (or perhaps they were
    confident they would be successful in never allowing the public to gain 
    any kind of access to it) and that it would be used as a clock.  
    Probably the most confused statements Hoover recounts making are when
    he describes for Johnson's benefit how Connally was hit:  "I explained 
    that Connally turned to the President when the first shot was fired and 
    in that turning he got hit.  The President then asked, if Connally had 
    not been in his seat, would the President have been hit by the second 
    shot.  I said yes."  All we can conclude about this muddled explanation
    is that Hoover was doing his best to explain things that he himself did
    not understand or appreciate the complexity of.

    Hoover goes on to claim they found the gun and three shells on the fifth
    floor.  As you can see at this point, the number of variations on what 
    would become the official cover story are quite numerous.  All of the
    the facts of the assassination were working against them.  They had
    a story all worked out--3 seconds, 3 shots, fifth floor--and yet they 
    didn't know the facts.

    Fletcher Prouty commented on this issue to me while we were discussing
    this memo recently.  "It reminds me so much of when the U-2 was lost and
    the guys from NASA began to explain the U-2 flight until a couple of 
    days later when somebody told them, `hey--it wasn't a NASA flight, we
    can't do it that way.'  And they began to change the cover story.  But
    then Kruschev said, `Look, I've got the pilot, I know the story.'  The
    U-2 boys used to work across the hall from me--I'd see them coming and
    going--oh they were shattered, because their cover story had been 
    totally wrong.  So Hoover is in the same kind of a box here--he is 
    trying to explain something that is nothing but a cover story, and 
    almost everytime he turns around, he finds there's another hole in it."

    Near the end Johnson extolls the virtues of his relationship to Hoover
    stating "I was more than head of the FBI - I was his brother and personal 
    friend;  that he knew I did not want anything to happen to his family;  
    that he has more confidence in me than anybody in town."  Pretty 
    laudatory words which substantiate the unusally close rapport these two
    men had.  Then Hoover writes that Johnson tells him "he would not embroil 
    me in a jurisdictional dispute. . . "  This was the reference to Bobby 
    Kennedy and the pre-empting of any other legitimate, independent and
    official investigation that would NOT be under the control of the FBI.
    They would see to it that there would not be the kind of "rash of 
    investigations" Hoover said at the beginning of this meeting "would be a
    three-ring circus."
    It is a known fact that in his later years Hoover's meglomania 
    approached epic proportions.  He had various reasons why he did not want
    any independent investigation which would *not* be dependent upon his 
    agency for the collection of data and use of his investigative staff.
    Johnson was feeling quite vulnerable in these first days and was 
    very dependent on Hoover to tell him what to do concerning how to
    consolidate his position and "reassure" the nation the assassination
    was not political in any way, but rather the random occurence of a lone
    sick mind.  That was the only approach to take if they wanted to avoid
    having to deal with why Kennedy had been killed.  By de-politicizing
    the assassination, they were able to ignore the basic question of why.

    This memorandum shows that the people in the federal government who were
    responsible for creating the Warren Commission, and giving it only a 
    very selected and specific set of "data" by which they reached the 
    conclusions that became the official report, that they did not start 
    with the final cover story--they created it later because even Hoover
    and Johnson didn't know about it a week after the event.  They were still
    making things up a week later.  It goes back to the old truth that it's a
    big mistake to overestimate the abilities and knowledge of people--even 
    in high office.  They can make pretty stupid mistakes and then when they
    have to recant their stories, you are left with the kind of contrivance
    we know as the Warren Report.


                                             daveus rattus   

                                   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.



                                                    WASHINGTON __, D.C.

     1:39 p.m.                                      November 29, 1963

                           MEMORANDUM FOR MR. TOLSON
                                          MR. BELMONT
                                          MR. MOHR
                                          MR. CONRAD
                                          MR. DE LOACH
                                          MR. EVANS
                                          MR. ROSEN
                                          MR. SULLIVAN

        The President called and asked if I am familiar with the proposed
     group they are trying to get to study my report - two from the House,
     two from the Senate, two from the courts, and a couple of outsiders.  I
     replied that I had not heard of that but had seen reports from the
     Senate Investigating Committee.

        The President stated he wanted to get by just with my file and my
     report.  I told him I thought it would be very bad to have a rash of
     investigations.  He then indicated the only way to stop it is to
     appoint a high-level committee to evaluate my report and tell the House
     and Senate not to go ahead with the investigation.  I stated that would
     be a three-ring circus.

        The President then asked what I think about Allen Dulles, and I
     replied that he is a good man.  He then asked about John McCloy, and I
     stated I am not as enthusiastic about McCloy, that he is a good man but
     I am not so certain as to the matter of publicity he might want.  The
     President then mentioned General (Lauris) Norstad, and I said he is a
     good man.  He said in the House he might try (Hale) Boggs and (Gerald
     R.) Ford and in the Senate (Richard B.) Russell and (John Sherman)
     Cooper.  I asked him about Cooper and he indicated Cooper of Kentucky
     whom he described as a judicial man, stating he would not want (Jacob
     K.) Javits.  I agreed on this point.  He then reiterated Ford of
     Michigan, and I indicated I know of him but do not know him and had
     never seen him except on television the other day and that he handled
     himself well on television.  I indicated that I do know Boggs.

    Johnson, President Lyndon B.
    Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
    Presidential Commission on Assassination
       of President John F. Kennedy
    Security - Presidential
    Presidential Conferences
    Presidential Travel Security


    Memorandum for Messrs. Tolson, Belmont, Mohr,   November 29, 1963
     Conrad, DeLoach, Evans, Rosen, Sullivan

        The President then mentioned that (Walter) Jenkins had told him that
    I have designated Mr. DeLoach to work with them as he had on the Hill.
    He indicated they appreciated that and just wanted to tell me they
    consider Mr. DeLoach as high class as I do, and that they salute me for
    knowing how to pick good men.

        I advised the President that we hope to have the investigation
    wrapped up today but probably won't have it before the first of the week
    as an angle in Mexico is giving trouble - the matter of Oswald's getting
    $6500 from the Cuban Embassy and coming back to this country with it;
    that we are not able to prove that fact;  that we have information he
    was there on September 18 and we are able to prove he was in New Orleans
    on that date;  that a story came in changing the date to September 28
    and he was in Mexico on the 28th.  I related that the police have again
    arrested Duran, a member of the Cuban Embassy;  that they will hold her
    two or three days;  will confront her with the original informant;  and
    will also try a lie detector test on her.

        The President then inquired if I pay any attention to the lie
    detector test.  I answered that I would not pay 100% attention to them;
    that it was only a psychological asset in investigation;  that I would
    not want to be a part of sending a man to the chair on a lie detector
    test.  I explained that we have used them in bank investigations and a
    person will confess before the lie detector test is finished, more or
    less fearful it will show him guilty.  I said the lie detector test has
    this psychological advantage.  I further stated that it is a misnomer to
    call it a lie detector since the evaluation of the chart made by the
    machine is made by a human being and any human being is apt to make the
    wrong interpretation.

        I stated, if Oswald had lived and had take a lie detector test, this
    with the evidence we have would have added that much strength to the
    case;  that these is no question he is the man.

        I also told him that Rubenstein down there has offered to take a lie
    detector test but his lawyer must be consulted first;  that I doubt the
    lawyer will allow him to do so;  that he has a West Coast lawyer
    somewhat like the Edward Bennett Williams type and almost as much of a

        The President asked if we have any relationship between the two 
    (Oswald and Rubenstein) as yet.  I replied that at the present time we have

                                   - 2 -


    Memorandum for Messrs. Tolson, Belmont, Mohr,   November 29, 1963
     Conrad, DeLoach, Evans, Rosen, Sullivan

    not;  that there was a story that the fellow had been in Rubenstein's
    nightclub but it has not been confirmed.  I told the President that
    Rubenstein is a very seedy character, had a bad record - street brawls,
    fights, etc.;  that in Dallas, if a fellow came into his nightclub and
    could not pay his bill completely, Rubenstein would beat him up and
    throw him out;  that he did not drink or smoke;  that he was an
    egomaniac;  that he likes to be in the limelight;  knew all of the
    police officers in the white light district;  let them come in and get
    food and liquor, etc.;  and that is how I think he got into police
    headquarters.  I said if they ever made any move, the pictures did not
    show it even when they saw him approach and he got right up to Oswald
    and pressed the pistol against Oswald's stomach;  that neither officer
    on either side made any effort to grab Rubenstein - not until after the
    pistol was fired.  I said, secondly, the chief of police admits he moved
    Oswald in the morning as a convenience and at the request of motion
    picture people who wanted daylight.  I said insofar as tying Rubenstein
    and Oswald together, we have not yet done so;  that there are a number
    of stories which tied Oswald to the Civil Liberties Union in New York in
    which he applied for membership and to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee
    which is pro-Castro, directed by communists, and financed to some extent
    by the Castro Government.

        The President asked how many shots were fired, and I told him three.
    He then asked if any were fired at him.  I said no, that three shots
    were fired at the President and we have them.  I stated that our
    ballistic experts were able to prove the shots were fired by this gun;
    that the President was hit by the first and third bullets and the second
    hit the Governor;  that there were three shots;  that one complete
    bullet rolled out of the President's head;  that it tore a large part of
    the President's head off;  that in trying to massage his heart on the
    way into the hospital they loosened the bullet which fell on the
    stretcher and we have that.

        He then asked were they aimed at the President.  I replied they were
    aimed at the President, no question about that.

        I further advised him that we have also tested the fact you could
    fire those three shots in three seconds.  I explained that there is a
    story out that there must have been more than one man to fire several
    shots but we have proven it could be done by one man.

        The President then asked how it happened that Connally was hit.  I
    explained that Connally turned to the President when the first shot was
    fired and in that turning he got hit.  The President then asked, if
    Connally had not been in his seat, would the President have been hit by
    the second shot.  I said yes.

                                   - 3 -


    Memorandum for Messrs. Tolson, Belmont, Mohr,   November 29, 1963
     Conrad, DeLoach, Evans, Rosen, Sullivan

        I related that on the fifth floor of the building where we found the
    gun and the wrapping paper we found three empty shells that had been
    fired and one that had not been fired.  that he had four but didn't fire
    the fourth;  then threw the gun aside;  went down the steps;  was seen
    by a police officer;  the manager told the officer that Oswald was all
    right, worked there;  they let him go;  he got on a bus;  went to his
    home and got a jacket;  then came back downtown, walking;  the police
    officer who was killed stopped him, not knowing who he was;  and he
    fired and killed the police officer.

        The President asked if we can prove that and I answered yes.

        I further related that Oswald then walked another two blocks;  went
    to the theater;  the woman selling tickets was so suspicious - said he
    was carrying a gun when he went into the theater - that she notified the
    police;  the police and our man went in and located Oswald.  I told him
    they had quite a struggle with Oswald but that he was subdued and shown
    out and taken to police headquarters.

        I advised the President that apparently Oswald had come down the
    steps from the fifth floor;  that apparently the elevator was not used.

        The President then indicated our conclusions are:  (1) he is the one
    who did it;  (2) after the President was hit, Governor Connally was hit;
    (3) the President would have been hit three times except for the fact
    that Governor Connally turned after the first shot and was hit by the
    second;  (4) whether he was connected with the Cuban operation with
    money we are trying to nail down.  I told him that is what we are trying
    to nail down;  that we have copies of the correspondence;  that none of
    the letters dealt with any indication of violence or assassination;
    that they were dealing with a visa to go back to Russia.

        I advised the President that his wife had been very hostile, would
    not cooperate and speaks only Russian;  that yesterday she said , if we
    could give assurance she would be allowed to remain in the country, she
    would cooperate;  and that I told our agents to give that assurance and
    sent a Russian-speaking agent to Dallas last night to interview her.  I
    said I do not know whether or not she has any information but we would
    learn what we could.

        The President asked how Oswald had access to the fifth floor of the
    building.  I replied that he had access to all floors.  The President 
    asked where was his office and I stated he did not have any particular 
    place;  that he

                                   - 4 -


    Memorandum for Messrs. Tolson, Belmont, Mohr,   November 29, 1963
     Conrad, DeLoach, Evans, Rosen, Sullivan

    was not situated in any particular place;  that he was just a general
    packer of requisitions that came in for books from Dallas schools;  that
    he would have had proper access to the fifth and sixth floors whereas
    usually the employees were down on lower floors.  The President then
    inquired if anybody saw him on the fifth floor, and I stated he was seen
    by one of the workmen before the assassination.

        The President then asked if we got a picture taken of him shooting
    the gun and I said no.  He asked what was the picture sold for $25,000,
    and I advised him this was a picture of the parade showing Mrs. Kennedy
    crawling out of the back seat;  that there was no Secret Service Agent
    on the back of the car;  that in the past they have added steps on the
    back of the car and usually had an agent on either side standing on the
    bumper;  that I did not know why this was not done - that the President
    may have requested it;  that the bubble top was not up but I understand
    the bubble top was not worth anything because it was made entirely of
    plastic;  that I had learned much to my surprise that the Secret Service
    does not have any armored cars.

        The President asked if I have a bulletproof car and I told him I
    most certainly have.  I told him we use it here for my own use and,
    whenever we have any raids, we make use of the bulletproof car on them.
    I explained that it is a limousine which has been armorplated and that
    it looks exactly like any other car.  I stated I think the President
    ought to have a bulletproof car;  that from all I understand the Secret
    Service has had two cars with metal plates underneath the car to take
    care of hand grenades or bombs thrown out on the street.  I said this is
    European;  that there have been several such attempts on DeGaulle's
    life;  but they do not do that in this country;  that all assassinations
    have been with guns;  and for that reason I think very definitely the
    President ought to always ride in a bulletproof car;  that it certainly
    would prevent anything like this ever happening again;  but that I do
    not mean a sniper could not snipe him from a window if he were exposed.

        The President asked if I meant on his ranch he should be in a
    bulletproof car.  I said I would think so;  that the little car we rode
    around in when I was at the ranch should be bulletproofed;  that it
    ought to be done very quietly.  I told him we have four bulletproof cars
    in the Bureau:  one on the West Coast, one in New York and two here.  I
    said this could be done quietly without publicity and without pictures
    taken of it if handled properly and I think he should have one on his

                                   - 5 -


    Memorandum for Messrs. Tolson, Belmont, Mohr,   November 29, 1963
     Conrad, DeLoach, Evans, Rosen, Sullivan

        The President then asked if I think all the entrances should be
    guarded.  I replied by all means, that he had almost to be in the
    capacity of a so-called prisoner because without that security anything
    could be done.  I told him lots of phone calls had been received over
    the last four or five days about threats on his life;  that I talked to
    the Attorney General about the funeral procession from the White House
    to the Cathedral;  that I was opposed to it.  The President remarked
    that the Secret Service told them not to but the family wanted to do it.
    I stated that was what the Attorney General told me but I was very much
    opposed to it.  I further related that I saw the procession from the
    Capitol to the White House on Pennsylvania and, while they had police
    standing on the curbs, when the parade came, the police turned around
    and looked at the parade.

        The President then stated he is going to take every precaution he
    can;  that he wants to talk to me;  and asked if I would put down my
    thoughts.  He stated I was more than head of the FBI - I was his brother
    and personal friend;  that he knew I did not want anything to happen to
    his family;  that he has more confidence in me than anybody in town;
    that he would not embroil me in a jurisdictional dispute;  but that he
    did want to have my thoughts on the matter to advocate as his own

        I stated I would be glad to do this for him and that I would do
    anything I can.  The President expressed his appreciation.

                                       Very truly yours,

                                       [signed J. E. H.]

                                       John Edgar Hoover

                                   - 6 -