A sad note from a JFK researcher informs us that Kevin Walsh, a former investigator for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, has died. Walsh’s simple suggestion to Oliver Stone led to the JFK Records Act and made a world of difference in expanding the historical record of the JFK assassination.
I met Kevin a few times and liked him immediately for his frank and friendly style. He told me the remarkable story of how retired CIA officer David Phillips had confided to him his private view that JFK had been killed by a conspiracy “likely involving U.S. intelligence officers.”
Here’s the note:
Kevin Walsh, former staff researcher on the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), died of cancer on December 28, 2012 in Washington, DC. He was 62.
My friend, Kevin, a colorful and forceful personality, spent many years trying to get the facts out on the JFK assassination. I first met him in 1974 when he was working for Mark Lane’s Citizens Committee of Inquiry. That group was then working to have Congress re-investigate the JFK case. In September 1976, when Congress formed the HSCA, Kevin was quickly hired as a researcher. About a year later, Kevin was dismissed when he and the Committee’s Chief Counsel, G. Robert Blakey, clashed.
Kevin’s involvement with the JFK case did not end there. When we learned that most of the HSCA’s papers would not be released for 50 years, Kevin and I tried to push back, forming the lobbying group “ACCESS.” Through Kevin’s tireless work on Capitol Hill, all pro-bono, Rep. Stewart McKinney and several co-sponsors introduced a bill to release the HSCA’s records on its JFK investigation. However, the bill stalled, probably due to the opposition of the HSCA’s chairman, Rep. Louis Stokes, as well as Blakey, who did not think their records should be treated any differently than other House Committee files.
One Saturday morning, Kevin showed up at my house on short notice with a letter he was asking me to review and edit. The letter was to Oliver Stone, then directing the movie “JFK,” recommending that the upcoming film contain a trailer informing the audience on how many records on the case were still withheld. Kevin had recalled that the film “Rush to Judgment” had contained such a trailer. I did assist with the letter, but was not optimistic that Stone would be interested.
For once in this case, my pessimism was misplaced. “JFK” did include such a trailer and it was remarkably successful in bringing public interest to the topic. The constituent feedback was so strong that within weeks I was hearing that a JFK records bill was a “done deal.” It wasn’t quite that simple, but eventually the JFK records bill passed, including not only the HSCA records but assassination-related records throughout the Government. Rep. Stokes and then-Professor Blakey turned out to be avid supporters of the bill.
Kevin went on to work as private investigator in other significant matters, including cases involving the death penalty, voter fraud and a famous school shooting. He also spent a lot of his time advocating for recent immigrants to this country, helping to navigate them through the federal, state and local bureaucracies. He leaves behind a developmentally disabled sister, for whom he had been the guardian for the last two decades.
A memorial service is planned for next month.