What the Warren Commission didn’t know: the Abe Bolden story

7 comments

  1. Thanks for posting this.

    I really like Abe, and Black’s article was a milestone in the literature of this case.

    By the way, I asked Abe why his Black polygraph came back inconclusive.

    He said that he did not tell Black all he knew. For a couple of reasons. First, because of his ongoing lawsuits, second because he knew that early that when the legal arena was more or less exhausted he wanted to write his own book. So why give everything to someone else?

    That’s fine with me. Especially for a guy who went through what he did because he wanted to tell the WC they missed a huge part of the story.

    • BradR says:

      Jim, are there any contemporary sources or witnesses that confirm this story? Did Black name any source aside from Bolden? Could it be possible that the polygraph was inconclusive because Bolden wasn’t telling the truth?
      Bolden was on the White House detail for exactly one month in the summer of 1961. How could he possibly know what the White House detail was doing two and a half years later?

  2. LMB says:

    Thank you for posting his story. I heard this sometime ago. It’s excellent, and first person view from someone right there at the time. Also, the topic might be more correct with What the Warren Commission didn’t want to know.

  3. Agreed.

    I admire Bolden as a public servant.

    And I admire Edwin Black as a fearless writer/investigator of the first rank.

  4. Jean Davison says:

    The Warren Commission learned about Abraham Bolden from a newspaper article. In early press reports like this one, Bolden said he wanted to tell the WC about Secret Service misconduct in Hyannis Port:

    https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=11508&relPageId=3

    Bolden is mentioned in Secret Service chief Rowley’s testimony, during which Rankin says that Bolden had never asked to testify:

    https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=40&relPageId=465

    The FBI tried to interview Bolden for the WC, but his lawyer declined the offer:

    https://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=11393&relPageId=2

    So far as I know, there’s no evidence showing there was a 4-man assassination team in Chicago in 1963. If anyone knows of any, please post it.

  5. The HSCA investigated Bolden’s claims:

    In addition, the committee obtained the testimony of a former Secret Service agent, Abraham Bolden, who had been assigned to the Chicago office in 1963. He alleged that shortly before November 2, the FBI sent a teletype message to the Chicago Secret Service office stating that an attempt to assassinate the President would be made on November 2 by a four-man team using high-powered rifles, and that at least one member of the team had a Spanish-sounding name.(61) Bolden claimed that while he did not personally participate in surveillance of the subjects, he learned about a surveillance of the four by monitoring Secret Service radio channels in his automobile and by observing one of the subjects being detained in his Chicago office.(62)

    According to Bolden’s account, the Secret Service succeeded in locating and surveillance two of the threat subjects who,(63) when they discovered they were being watched, were arrested and detained on the evening of November 1 in the Chicago Secret Service office.(64)

    The committee was unable to document the existence of the alleged assassination team. Specifically, no agent who had been assigned to Chicago confirmed any aspect of Bolden’s version.(65) One agent did state there had been a threat in Chicago during that period, but he was unable to recall details.(66) Bolden did not link Vallee to the supposed four-man assassination team, although he claimed to remember Vallee’s name in connection with a 1963 Chicago case. (67) He did not recognize Vallee’s photograph when shown it by the committee. (68)

    The questionable authenticity of the Bolden account notwithstanding, the committee believed the Secret Service failed to make appropriate use of the information supplied it by the Chicago threat in early November 1963.

    Note “questionable authenticity.”

    http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/select-committee-report/part-1d.html

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