RIP: Kevin Walsh, catalyst for JFK disclosure

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.

 

9 comments

  1. Steve R. says:

    Sad. Kevin was a good guy.

  2. Kim says:

    This is an off topic comment. Kevin was a valued volunteer with our organization. We are aware of the memorial service, but have been unable to obtain details. I would be grateful if someone familiar with the event would contact our organization, Literacy Council of Montgomery County, with information.

  3. Michael Smithey says:

    I met Kevin in St. Croix, USVI, shortly after he was dismissed from his investigating position with the HSCA. Since I have always been interested in the JFK assassination his arrival was a wonderful happenstance. It was so easy to like Kevin and enjoy his company. Kevin had a brilliant mind and a photographic memory. The funny thing about his stay in St. Croix was that he always thought he was being surveilled. When I met Kevin he was so conflicted about all of the information he had read in the archives and turned up in his investigations, yet, he felt, the real story was not being told. At the time, he wanted to divulge what he knew in a new book which he described was like ‘pissing’ in the wind. It has been one of my great experiences to have spend time with Kevin…..he was a real decent human being.

  4. ruth says:

    So sorry to hear of

    Kevin was one of the good guys.
    He was a devoted advocate and a good brother to his sister…He offered quiet, practical help to many ordinary people. The world is poorer without him.

  5. Earl Katz says:

    Hi Michael! I’ve knew Kevin Walsh since our days working on the JFK assassination at Mark Lane’s Citizen’s Commission of Inquiry. I influenced Kevin to come to St. Croix where I was living. Years later I hired him to investigate voter fraud. Kevin was one of a kind. He was a loyal fried who had the courage and heart of a lion. I will sorely miss him. I’m now involved with a feature film about the JFK assassination.
    http://publicinterestpics.org/blog/2010/11/legacy-of-secrecy/

  6. Stephanie Galipeau says:

    I grew up with Kevin and I am very saddened by his death. He was a wonderful guy and I cared for him very much. He will be missed.

  7. ed. says:

    as one of Kevins best and oldest friends (bff) I can tell you how devoted he was to any cause he was working on. He’s investigation into the Kennedy assignation started immediately and never ended. he was convinced that there was a conspiracy from the start he’s devotion to he’s ideals was only surpassed by he’s devotion to he’s beautiful sister Geannie. love you Kev. P.s. we had a memorial gathering in he’s home town with friends and family. where we spread his ashes at some of his favorite places He will be remembered and greatly missed. ( Mothers apple pie and the girl I left behind )

  8. Steve R. says:

    Thank you all for your memories of Kevin. If anyone who posted here would like to share a few recollections of Kevin, please drop me a note at sdresq at gmail.com

  9. I knew Kevin since the 7th.grade and we graduated together from high School.I never knew he had gotten so far in life. I must say, People like Kevin earn my deepest respect. The Nation, and other nations Need People like him.Helps Keep politicians clean and hopefully somewhat fearfull. His passing is really a great loss.

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