As general counsel for the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) in the mid-1990s, Jeremy Gunn had unparalleled access to the government’s records on the JFK assassination. Last year he gave an interesting talk about “Seeking the Truth in the Kennedy Assassination” at the Center for Global Humanities at the University of New England in Portland, Maine.
Some the highlights:
Gunn notes that bad information suffused the story early on. CBS news correspondent Dan Rather said that JFK was falling forward after the fatal shot. The Warren Commission report inverted frames from the Zapruder film, so it looked like the president fell forward.
At 43:10, he says, “There are some records that we found out about subsequently, parts of the record that we didn’t know. There are still efforts to try to to release them. I’m not expecting that there will be anything that will help answer the question of what really happened in Dealey Plaza. I’m expecting that we will continue to learn additional things in the future but I’m not expecting any major revelations in terms of what I saw. Don’t wait until 2017 to learn the truth. It’s not going to be there.”
Gunn is withering in his criticism of the Warren Commission:
“… I believe they did a profound disservice to the American people. They did not conduct a serious comprehensive conscientious investigation… They created a prosecutor’s brief against Oswald… a profound disservice giving life to conspiracy theories.
He says some key witnesses lied or were not candid in interviews, citing CIA director Richard Helms and New Orleans FBI agent Warren DeBreuys.
He says the autopsy in Bethesda was “a disgrace,” a claim about which there is not much controversy.
Gunn talks about one of the most important discoveries of the ARRB: problems with the medical evidence. He says the photo technician who developed the autopsy photos not only cannot authenticate the ones in the National Archives now. She says they are not the photos she developed, and the content of the photos is different. Gunn doesn’t talk about the implications of tampering with the autopsy evidence.
He says Oswald was impersonated in Mexico City, and the CIA covered up its knowledge of this in order to not be blamed for an intelligence failure for allowing Oswald through the security net. But the impersonation of Oswald raises much larger issues than negligence. Impersonation also raises the question of who orchestrated the impersonation, and for what purpose? Again, Gunn doesn’t go there.
Gunn’s talk is informed and thoughtful look about the state of the case.