Why do so many Americans believe JFK conspiracy theories?

Because of the evidence.

In an unusually objective commentary on conspiracy theories published in the Washington Post, University of Miami political scientists Joseph Uscinski and Joseph Parent, note that two other popular conspiracy theories — The Truther and Birther theories — resonate with only 25 percent of the population. (Respectively, these are the theories that the Bush administration either directed or permitted the 9/11 attacks, and that President Obama was foreign-born and faked his Hawaiian birth certificate.)

By contrast, JFK theories resonate with around 70 percent of the population, according to a recent poll.

“Unlike the Birther and Truther theories, which languish for lack of impartial support, JFK conspiracy theories have some impartial support,” the authors write.

“High-quality information does change minds,” they go on. “When the Watergate story first broke, many dismissed the charges as partisan. Because high-quality evidence became available — hearings were held, evidence was presented, co-conspirators admitted to their crimes — virtually everyone now believes that Nixon conspired to commit and cover up crimes.  But unlike the Birther and Truther theories, which languish for lack of impartial support, JFK conspiracy theories have some impartial support.”

They go on:

“Calling it ‘proof’ might be generous, but Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories clear higher evidentiary bars. There is evidence that the government hurried the investigation of the president’s murder and was not eager to find high-profile scapegoats. Most accounts attribute that rush to a pragmatic desire not to wrongfully implicate the Soviets and dangerously destabilize superpower relations.”

“Most notably an official congressional inquiry seemed convinced of a conspiracy, so even those with moderate conspiratorial predispositions have something to hang their hat on. Because of their evolving scapegoats and above-average amount of evidence, JFK conspiracy theories have lodged themselves into the collective consciousness.”

I think Uscinski and Parent have it right. JFK conspiracy theories are popular because there is corroborating evidence, much more evidence than supports improbable theories that hold 9/11 was an “inside job” or Obama was born in Kenya.


See: Why so many Americans believe Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories.


  1. Hans Trayne says:

    I believe when the global public learns about & recognizes Jeff Morley’s courageous & unprecedented struggle for JFK transparency it becomes increasingly clear that entities exist that are fighting the complete truth about President Kennedy’s murder & the mysterious young man accused of stealing his life & are not going to obey the laws directing full disclosure. This, in effect, says it all.

    The JFK assassination is extremely hard on the older crowd (I’m now 61) because us dinosaurs are wedged in between a time when it was unthinkable to suspect government of lying to its citizens, portions of which roamed the world murdering people as horrifically as did the Nazis during the holocaust & sleeping with gangsters and a bold, drugged out, video gamed out, body tattooed out, cell phone glued to their ears out, panhandling ‘gimme’ generation that has little or no faith or trust in much of anything except their own personal gratification.

  2. Jeff,
    Heard you on the Project Censored show this morning on KPFA. Comparing the JFK assassination to other “conspiracy theories” and assigning them outcomes falls into the same trap sprung for any researcher.When you say that “truthers” believe that Bush planned or implemented 9/11, or that it was an “inside job”you fall into the straw man trap.It would be like saying that LBJ and the CIA implemented or planned the Kennedy assassination taken from your research. You are saying nothing of the sort.Neither does 9/11 truth. 9/11 architects and engineers propose no theory, just questions. However, I would suggest that each event should be taken on the facts and the evidence, and lumping together moon landings,Kenya birth certificates,9/11 truth and the JFK assassination does not give respect to many years of research. Remember when those saying the NSA was monitoring and data mining all emails, phone calls and texts? That was 6 months ago-A real nutty “conspiracy theory.”

    • D. Olmens says:

      I find that claim of “we’ve just got a few simple questions” problematic, verging on disingenuous at times. Because no matter what answers are offered, if they provide an explanation that doesn’t support a conspiracy these alternative explanations won’t be seriously considered by some researchers.

      In the case of the NSA eavesdropping, Wired magazine (of all places) was reporting that the NSA was constructing colossal data centers long before Snowden’s revelations. This was a very large clue that the NSA was collecting vast quantities of information.

      But, that isn’t a “nutty” conspiracy theory. Neither is Watergate, neither is Iran Contra, to name two other examples. Why? Because there is evidence. It’s not a theory. How long did it take to emerge? Not long at all. Certainly not five decades.

      The problem here is the conspiracy mindset. I’d argue that some folks will never accept there wasn’t a conspiracy regardless of what information came to light.

      The CIA could release every piece of paper they had in their possession and I’m sure that a percentage of researchers would still claim the CIA wasn’t coming clean. Similarly, if there was a public open day at Area 51 I’m sure some people would turn around and say, “It’s just a diversion for public relations, they’ve moved the aliens”. This kind of thinking was rife during the birther debate. No matter what paperwork Obama produced, it would never be accepted by some. The birthers would have had to have been present at the actual birth to maybe consider it as being legitimate. Even then I’m sure some of them would have had “questions” about the backgrounds of the medical staff (“We’ve discovered that Dr. Smith has ties to…”), documentation (“We observed a curious discrepancy in the paper stock used…”), and so on.

      The burden of proof that conspiracy researchers place on their “questions” is often untenable. Depending on the source of those explanations, e.g. from the government, they’re often also refuted as being “part of the cover-up”. How is that rational and balanced?

      There will be no persuading some people. That’s the way it is. Unfortunately these are often also the people doing the research. There is a problem here.

      • George Simmons says:

        D.Olmens, I think the point that I would like to make here is that the evidence is never given up willingly.

        Take the Watergate example, which you mention. Now, I am not an expert on Watergate, but it seems to me that if it wasn’t for the dedication and courage of certain individuals then the truth may not have come out into the light. At one point, the journalists investigating Watergate were being ridiculed and chastised by the government and other journalists for having got it all wrong. They needed the courage to put their heads on the chopping block as it were and had to stand up and be counted. You need these kind of people to pursue the truth, and I would count Jefferson Morley in that category.
        Now, there would have been times after the Watergate burglarly when you could have stood up and said that there is no evidence of a cover up, and you would have been right. But that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a cover up, as we now know.
        Big secrets can be kept for a long time. The CIA sponsorhip of the DRE and the George Joannides role never came to light until, I think something like 2002.
        And, I was reading something recently where someone said if secrets can’t be kept, please tell me where Jimmy Hoffa is!
        So, we all have to keep an open mind. And, where questions remain unanswered, I feel we have an obligation to pursue the truth.

      • JSA says:

        The JFK assassination conspiracy didn’t take five decades to emerge. It was suspected quite quickly by Robert Kennedy, even by Lyndon Johnson. The problem was that evidence was destroyed and key testimony that should have been listened to: the majority of witnesses who said they thought shots came from the front, the Parkland doctors who said Kennedy had an entrance wound in his throat and in the right temple of his head (with the rear blasted out) were ignored. I would also like to remind you that Watergate almost didn’t get the follow through investigation that it deserved, and from the time of the break-in in June of 1972 to the first critical attacks on Nixon in the Summer of 1973 took at least a year to transpire. The Washington Post was practically the only media organ covering the story for the first few months, in 1972. It almost got buried, and forgotten.

        • Van Helsing says:

          Er parkland Doctors treating the Moribund Kennedy never, I repeat never said there was an entry wound in throat!

          They said there was an exit wound in his throat and entry wound on his upper back near the back of neck.

          There was no entry wound in his temple, nor was the back of his head blown out. There was an entry wound at the back of his head in the occipital lobe and a hole blown out in the right side of the parental lobe.

          No second shooter!!!! Oswald was the lone gunman! He had almost nine seconds to get his shots off, an amateur could fire and reload a rifle in nine seconds.

          No Ronald McDonald was not firing a rifle in the grassy knoll ! Neither was HR Puffenstuff, Willy Wonker or and army of Ommpaloompa’s!

          Lee Harvy Oswald did it! End of story!

          Ya’ll can take your tin foil hats off now!

      • The ballistic evidence is overwhelming supporting a second shooter.You have no questions about the “magic bullet?’ Your argument is that asking questions is “disingenuous”?
        Here is a question. Why do you think the magic bullet is discounted by serious researchers? because it defies the laws of physics.

        • Mike T says:

          The magic bullet does not defy the laws of physics. I have watched a number of recreations of the JFK assassination over the years. One thing to keep in mind is that duplicating the assassination exactly is impossible. Unless you have two volunteers that want to be live test dummies. A more recent test firing was done using test dummies that had similar consistency with human flesh. Anyway, the recent test that I saw on Youtube ended up being extremely close to the JFK assassination. The only difference was that the magic bullet did not have enough velocity left after traveling through two test dummies to penetrate Connely’s wrist at the end of its flight. The test bullet was flat similar to the actual magic bullet, although it was damaged a bit more. Not exact, but pretty darn close.

          The best evidence is the autopsy photos, as well as a B&W video on a JFK documentary that showed the assassination from behind rather than the side, like the Zapruder film. No doubt in my mind that the shots came from the SBD.

          You can believe what you like, but I am sure that there was one assassin, and it was that loser Oswald.

      • Why doesn’t the CIA release their documents? Why have they not done so for over 50 years? They are part of the US Government, the government of the people, by the people, and FOR the people. The CIA has had agents indicted in countless foreign countries for alleged murder and torture. Do Americans know of it? Try to even find ONE non-redacted CIA document. The MENU at CIA HQ is redacted. Wake up, pal. Walt Brown, author of the “JFK Chronology,” the most thorough JFK work ever published, at 32,000 pages.

  3. The best new book on JFK’s assassination is an imaginative and meticulously researched alternate-history novel in which he DOESN’T get assassinated … but instead survives the Dallas ambush and then (with his attorney-general brother Bobby) tries to solve the mystery of who tried to kill him and seek revenge… They become the original conspiracy theorists!… The climax is shocking but entirely plausible — not a sci-fi time-travel fantasy… It’s called “Surrounded By Enemies : What if Kennedy Survived Dallas?”, by award-winning screenwriter and journalist Bryce Zabel… And this novel contains more truth than most non-fiction JFK assassination accounts!….Check it out at http://www.SurroundedByEnemies.com and http://www.WhatIfJFKLived.com … 

  4. TLR says:

    The question is, why are so many Americans still sound asleep about the truth nature of the oligarchy that runs this country? The JFK assassination is just one part of that picture. Even mainstream historians now admit that the government lied about the Gulf of Tonkin “attacks,” which led to the full-scale war in Vietnam. COINTELPRO, MK/ULTRA, BCCI, the Phoenix Program, Contra drug trafficking, the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro, Operation Northwoods, widespread domestic surveillance, the military and intelligence agencies experimenting with chemicals on unwitting Americans during the Cold War…these are not the ravings of “conspiracy buffs” – they are historical facts.

  5. D. Olmens says:

    “Because of the evidence.” Which is what exactly? There is no concrete evidence of a conspiracy at this point in time.

    In the minds of the general public there is a strong initial sense of the implausibility of the official account. There’s a number of likely explanations for this situation.

    Firstly, it seems irrational to many people that someone so powerful could be killed by someone on the margins of society. The myth-building that followed the death of JFK has only reinforced the idea of his exceptionalism, the myth of Camelot, and the unfounded idea that somehow JFK’s Presidency would have somehow radically changed America for the better.

    Secondly, the actual evidence in the case is widely misunderstood and misreported.

    Thirdly, Oswald’s death robbed investigators of any testimony from the assassin.

    Fourthly, there is a natural and well-founded sense of skepticism towards the Government engendered by events that followed such as Watergate, Iran Contra, and so on.

    What conspiracy researchers often call “evidence” is in fact nothing sort of the sort. The decades long microscopic analysis of Dallas has created an enormous haystack of information as might be expected. There is a lot of “had ties to”, or “is connected with”, and that sort of thing, but nothing irrefutable. This isn’t actually “evidence”. I’d argue that most of the research is of very poor quality, by people who have no background in investigative research, and an inability to analyse the event impartially, hence the vast amount of theories, the plethora of postulated participants and so on.

    Finally, there is clear evidence of the obstruction of official investigations by the intelligence agencies. This may be so, but until it’s clear what they were trying to prevent coming to light this is not evidence of a conspiracy either. Let’s keep pressing for those files to be released and settle this question.

    Unfortunately, as we approach the 50th anniversary the only new information that has come to light recently is either further details of the obstruction of investigations or historical marginalia such as the Air Force One tapes which aren’t evidence of anything and add nothing to claims of conspiracy. Unfortunately for conspiracy writers, at this moment in time, after five decades of research there is zero concrete, irrefutable evidence that Oswald worked with or at the behest of anyone.

    • George Simmons says:

      You write that the “obstruction of investigations…. add nothing to claims of conspiracy”
      I do not agree with that. I feel they add greatly to claims of conspiracy.
      When you look at how the CIA lied to and misled the WC and HSCA, I feel this is a sign that something is rotten.
      The George Joannides saga in this context is particularly significant. They put him forward as a liason to the HSCA without declaring his role in 1963. Thats incredible!
      And even now, 50 years later, they are fighting not to release those files. Why?
      I do agree with you that we should keep pressing for the files to be released.

  6. Michiel says:

    Besides that. The Government themselves said more or less it was a conspiracy.

    So my counter question is: what is so strange that people believe that JFK has been killed by a conspiracy?

    “The United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) was established in 1976 to investigate the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. The Committee investigated until 1978 and issued its final report, and concluded that Kennedy was very likely assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.”

    HSCA Final Assassinations Report

    • TLR says:

      Michiel, you have to realize that this was one committee in one house of Congress, and its findings were not endorsed by anyone else in the government. So basically it has been ignored by officialdumb since then.

  7. Ronnie Wayne says:

    The Hit on Oswald by Rubenstien. On National TV. By a Mobster to shut him up.
    That anybody could perform the magic bullet shot with the piece of junk “used”.
    That the magic bullet was possible at all.
    That he was hit in the front first, and last.

    • Ronnie Wayne says:

      All the pictures, video and statements of the many people including police who rushed to the grassy knoll where shots were heard coming from, smoke was seen and gunpowder was smelled.

      • Ronnie Wayne says:

        Back and to the left, Back and to the left, Back…
        DPD Officer Hargis and SSA Hill splattered with blood and brains on the left rear.

        • Hargis said the brain matter flew up into the air, and that he rode into it.


          This explanation has the huge virtue of being consistent with the Nix, Muchmore and Zapruder films. Brain matter blowing out backwards it not.

        • Jean Davison says:

          Conspiracy books tell you about Hargis to the rear, but how many tell you that everyone to the front was splattered with gore, too? Kellerman, e.g., testified that “body matter” fell on him: “When I got to the hospital, sir, it was all over my coat.”

          His testimony is searchable here:

          The Connallys said this happened to them, too. Consider that the limo was moving forward during this time, yet the people in the front seats were hit with debris.

  8. S.R."Dusty" Rohde says:

    “Why do so many Americans believe JFK conspiracy theories” could be countered with “Why do so many in the Media couch known JFK “Facts” under the misnomer “Theory”? Americans believe in JFK conspiracy theories because almost every agency they thought they could trust has been proven to be deceiving them on this subject.

  9. Melvin Fromme says:

    To convince myself a conspiracy took the life of President Kennedy required visiting Dealey Plaza and standing on the 2nd Elm Street X that marks the fatal headshot. With a friend a bit taller standing behind me (closer to the TSBD)an estimated length of JFK’s limo trunk, a 5 foot gap for the Queen Mary’s front bumper & the estimated distance from the hood & fenders of the Queen Mary to its running boards it became immediately apparent to me JFK was not shot from the TSBD ‘sniper’s nest’ at that spot. My friend blocked the entire 6th floor window & most of the 7th floor from my view & he wasn’t even standing on something to elevate him to the height of a running board. Early Sunday mornings are an optimum time to try this as there is little or no traffic for several hours. See it for yourself, it will change your opinion of what you thought was the truth.

    • Dave says:

      Wouldn’t it be refreshing for a change to see a meticulous Dealey Plaza reconstruction that isn’t predestined to support the Lone Nut theory? Oh wait, you’d need a permit from the City of Dallas first to do that …

      • S.R. "Dusty" Rohde says:

        Actually you wouldn’t. You would just need someone with the skills and time to create the assassination in virtual reality. This intrigues me greatly due to the mathematical precision involved. Particularly in relationship to ballistic trajectories. The beauty of this is that people could actually put themselves into this virtual world…step inside the buildings, walk around the Limo…..stand beside JFK, look up at the 6th floor of the TSBD, the grassy knoll…

  10. Mike Rago says:

    Two days after Oswald was arrested Jack Ruby killed Oswald inside a Police Station while Oswald was surrounded by Police men.

    Given those facts it would be negligent to not believe in a conspiracy.

    Not only that but Jack Ruby told us there was a conspiracy.
    Here is what Jack Ruby said..

    “Everything pertaining to what is happening will never comet to the surface…The world will never know the true facts of what occurred.. I am the only person in the background that knows the truth pertaining to my circumstance…The people had so much to gain and such a material motive to put me in the position I’m in will never let the true facts come above board to the world”

    Hear Jack Ruby say it himself…

    • Barbara says:

      These words spoken by Ruby are so significant and most of the time OMITTED from the record of the “Official Story”. During the various JFK presentations during the 50th anniversary, not one program dedicated to the lone gunman theory ever mentioned or showed this quote. They all said Ruby killed Oswald – period. One lone nut killed another lone nut. Most Americans have never heard or seen this – I wonder why???

      • LMB says:

        Here is more. He states, the man in office now.

        • In the first place, Ruby was not confessing to being part of any plot.

          He had read A Texan Looks at Lyndon, and concluded that LBJ must have done it.

          Which makes his opinion no better than that of a lot of Americans who concluded the same thing.

          You can’t produce any statement from Ruby showing inside knowledge of any plot, since he wasn’t part of any plot.

      • Mike Rago says:

        If you want to understand who was behind the assassination you have to figure out who Jack Ruby was talking about when he said “the people had so much to gain and such a material motive to put me in the position I’m in”.

        Note the his use of the word “motive”.

      • Jean Davison says:

        In his WC testimony Ruby talked about a right-wing conspiracy that wanted people to believe he was part of a plot so they could blame “the Jews” for JFK’s assassination. He claimed Jews were being persecuted and begged Warren to let him take a lie detector test. His testimony is here:


        Believe him or not, but his testimony provides context for that video. Ruby talked about a conspiracy but he repeatedly denied he was part of one. His last denial, not long before he died, is online in an audio file.

        • Mike Rago says:

          “begged Warren to take a lie detector test”

          And what were the results of the lie detector test?

          • Mike Rago says:

            The HSCA concluded that Ruby probably lied when he said that he did not know Oswald.

            “Based on its analysis of the charts themselves, and not considering the negative factors affecting the veracity of the examination, the panel could not form an opinion that Ruby told the truth when answering “No” to the four relevant questions asked in test series 1 and 2.On the contrary, the panel found more indications that Ruby was lying in response to these four questions?


          • Jean Davison says:


            Look at the HSCA’s next page. It emphasized that it could give no opinion on the validity of the test or the reliability of the results.


            The WC, too, concluded the test couldn’t be relied on because of various problems with it — too many questions asked, too many people in the room, Ruby’s mental condition, and other things.

            Polygraphs aren’t necessarily reliable, even under ideal conditions. My point was only that Ruby begged to be given one.

          • Mike Rago says:

            Again, the HSCA concluded that Ruby probably lied when he said he did not know Oswald.

            Please look closely at the quote

            “Based on its analysis of the charts themselves, and not considering the negative factors affecting the veracity of the examination…”

            You say your only point was that Ruby begged to be given a lie detector test but you left the false impression with the readers that Ruby was lying when he implied he was part of a conspiracy when he spoke in the video clip I linked to. When , in fact, he was lying when he said he was not part of a conspiracy. (ie that he did not know Oswald)

          • Jean Davison says:

            The HSCA did not conclude “that Ruby probably lied when he said that he did not know Oswald.”

            You’re quoting a report from the HSCA polygraph panel, which disagreed with the FBI’s interpretation of Ruby’s reaction to that question and three others. IOW, the panel disagreed with the FBI’s “chart analysis” — please see this 3-page section on chart analysis that starts by saying “the test was probably invalid and unreliable”:


            You’re *assuming* that Ruby implied he was part of a conspiracy, but Ruby had
            talked about a conspiracy that didn’t want his true motives to be known in his testimony. He told Earl Warren:

            “…..through certain falsehoods that have been said about me to other people, the John Birch Society, I am as good as guilty as the accused assassin of President Kennedy.
            Now it is the most fantastic story you have ever heard in a lifetime. I did something out of the goodness of my heart. Unfortunately, Chief Earl Warren, had you been around 5 or 6 months ago, and I know your hands were tied, you couldn’t do it, and immediately the President would have gotten ahold of my true story, or whatever would have been said about me, a certain organization wouldn’t have so completely formed now, so powerfully, to use me because I am of the Jewish extraction, Jewish faith, to commit the most dastardly crime that has ever been committed.
            Can you understand now in visualizing what happened, what powers, what momentum has been carried on to create this feeling of mass feeling against my people, against certain people that were against them prior to their power?”

            He’s still talking about THAT conspiracy in the video, imo, except by this time he thought LBJ was in on it too. Ruby was a conspiracy theorist.

            His testimony is searchable here:


          • Mike Rago says:

            It is the report of the HSCA polygraph panel, which states that Ruby probably lied when he said he did not know Oswald.

            Here it is again…

            “Based on its analysis of the charts themselves,

            and not considering the negative factors affecting the veracity of the examination,

            the panel could not form an opinion that Ruby told the truth when answering “No” to the four relevant questions asked in test series 1 and 2.

            On the contrary, the panel found more indications that Ruby was lying in response to these four questions.”

            Of course the test was invalid and unreliable. They made that determination because of the many negative factors they found in how the test was conducted…

            For instance, the questions were of an interrogative nature, the questions were prearranged, there were too many people in the room at the time of the test and the sensor sensitivities were set to low.

            If one wants to see an overt attempt to control the outcome of a polygraph test all one needs to do is look to the Report of the HSCA for the Polygraph Test for Jack Ruby. It is obvious. And it was obvious to the panel.

            However, as stated many times in this thread, even with all the attempts to control the outcome of the test, when the members of the Polygraph Panel looked at the chart itself, and ignored all those negative factors which affected the veracity of the test, they concluded that test indicated that Ruby lied when he answered the relevant questions in test series 1 and 2.

            We know two things , so far about Ruby, 1) he was a murder and 2) he was a liar.

            I normally do not hold the position that the FBI was complicit in the cover up. However it is pretty clear after reading the Polygraph Panel report that at least one member of the FBI, the man who gave the test, has some explaining to do.

          • Jean Davison says:

            If the HSCA agreed that Ruby probably lied about knowing Oswald, surely it would’ve said so in its Final Report, but that’s not what it said. See the first paragraph here:


            It concludes, “…Because there were numerous procedural errors made during the test, the committee’s panel was unable to interpret the examination.”

          • Mike Rago says:

            Again, hopefully for the last time, the Polygraph Panel said,

            “Based on the analysis of the charts themselves….the panel found more evidence that Ruby was lying in response to these four questions.”

            You are quoting the final HSCA report and here is what the final report says…

            “The Warren Commission stated it did not rely on this examination in drawing conclusions although it did publish a transcript of the examination. The FBI in 1964 also expressed dissatisfaction with the test based on circumstances surrounding its administration.

            A PANEL OF POLYGRAPH EXPERTS reviewed the examination and concluded that it was not validly conducted OR INTERPRETED.”

          • Jean Davison says:


            I understand why you believe “the HSCA concluded that Ruby probably lied when he said he did not know Oswald,” but I think you’re mistaken, and here’s why.

            You quote the polygraph panel’s statement,
            “Based on the analysis of the charts themselves….the panel found more evidence that Ruby was lying in response to these four questions.” But you left out the next, final sentence, which says: “It is emphasized by the panel, however, that NO OPINION could be rendered on the validity of the examination or the reliability of the results for the numerous reasons discussed in this report.”


            If the panel couldn’t find that the test was reliable, how could it draw any valid conclusions from the results? (It couldn’t and didn’t.)

            You also quoted the HSCA’s Final Report:
            “The Warren Commission stated it did not rely on this examination in drawing conclusions although it did publish a transcript of the examination. The FBI in 1964 also expressed dissatisfaction with the test based on circumstances surrounding its administration.

            A PANEL OF POLYGRAPH EXPERTS reviewed the examination and concluded that it was not validly conducted OR INTERPRETED.”

            Again you omitted the next, final statement from the HSCA: “Because there were numerous procedural errors made during the test, the committee’s panel WAS UNABLE TO INTERPRET THE EXAMINATION.”


            The HSCA didn’t say “unable to interpret except to conclude that Ruby probably lied” — it said “unable to interpret” PERIOD.

            Finding that Ruby lied about knowing Oswald would’ve been a significant finding, yet there is no such statement in the HSCA Final Report, which spent only one short paragraph talking about Ruby’s polygraph. The Final Report can be searched at this page:


            The polygraph panel disagreed with the way the FBI agent interpreted the test results, but those results weren’t considered reliable or valid. IOW, they’re saying two things — the results can’t be relied on and the FBI interpretation of these questionable results was wrong TOO.

          • Mike Rago says:

            The HSCA concluded that there was probably a conspiracy.

            In making that conclusion they make explicit their belief that Jack Ruby lied when he said he did not know Oswald.

            See items 2 and 3 below

            The committee found that, to be precise and loyal to the facts it established, it, was compelled to find that President Kennedy was probably killed as a result of a conspiracy.

            The committee’s finding that President Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy was premised on four factors:

            (1) Since the Warren Commission’s and FBI’s investigation into the possibility of a conspiracy was seriously flawed, their failure to develop evidence of a conspiracy could not be given independent weight.

            (2) The Warren Commission was, in fact, incorrect in concluding that Oswald and Ruby had no significant associations, and therefore its finding of no conspiracy was not reliable.

            (3) While it cannot be inferred from the significant associations of Oswald and Ruby that any of the major groups examined by the committee were involved in the assassination, a more limited conspiracy could not be ruled out.

            (4) There was a high probability that a second gunman, in fact, fired at the President. At the same time, the committee candidly stated, in expressing it finding of conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination, that it was “unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.”

            Regarding the Report of the Polygraph Panel

            You keep ignoring this statement by the Polygraph Panel.

            “Based on its analysis of the charts themselves,

            and not considering the negative factors affecting the veracity of the examination,

            the panel could not form an opinion that Ruby told the truth when answering “No” to the four relevant questions asked in test series 1 and 2.

            On the contrary, the panel found more indications that Ruby was lying in response to these four questions”

            Report on Select Committee On Assassination..

          • leslie sharp says:

            Jean, did your research uncover any proof that Ruby and Oswald knew one another? Did you consider the numerous allegations and conclude they were not credible?

          • Jean Davison says:


            The HSCA is talking there about certain associations between each man and one of the “major groups” that had come under suspicion (the Mafia, in particular) — not about an association between the two men.

            Point #3 in your quote says, “While it cannot be inferred from the significant associations of Ruby and Oswald that any of the major groups examined by the committee were involved….”


            That’s “associations *OF* Ruby and Oswald,” not an association between the two. Check out the context on that page and the one preceding where it talks about these suspected “major groups.”

            If you disagree, and no doubt you will, please show me any HSCA quote stating what “significant association” Ruby had with Oswald and how this fact was established.

            Surely they would describe such an important discovery — but where? Quoting the polygraph panel won’t do it, because the HSCA itself ruled that out when it said, “Because there were numerous procedural errors made during the test, the committee’s panel was unable to interpret the examination.”

          • Jean Davison says:


            I found no convincing evidence that Ruby knew Oswald, and certainly no proof that they did.

            How about answering one of my questions for a change? What credible evidence shows the two men knew one another, in your opinion?

          • leslie sharp says:

            Jean, I’ve spent two decades on the topic. There are a handful of highly provocative proofs to indicate conspiracy behind the assassination; Oswald’s alliance with Ruby (or vice versa) is one of the more compelling.

            Aside from the numerous claims coming from in and around Dallas – the EatWell diner in downtown among the more convincing – I am most interested in the sightings that involved the two of them and a pregnant Marina in Central Texas in 1963; there is circumstantial evidence to support the proposition that Ruby and Oswald were involved in running either guns or drugs or both. Further, there are indications that Bolivia may well have been in the equation.

            It should not go unnoticed that the CIA’s John Tilton to whom George Joannides was alleged to have reported was based in La Paz at the time of the murder of Che Guevarra in Bolivia.

            Were Ruby and Oswald somehow aiding and abetting the early machinations of the CIA (or related entities) in Bolivia that were designed to subvert Guevarra’s moves into the greater Latin America? Was Cuba the tip of the ice berg, ultimately little more than a distraction from the far deeper agenda to secure all of Latin America for American and British business and military interests?

          • Mike Rago says:

            Jean here is a quote from your book “Oswalds Game”….

            “The following month Ruby was allowed to take a polygraph test in his jail cell, and he showed no signs of deception when he denied being part of a conspiracy. Because
            of the doubts about his sanity, however, the test results were considered inconclusive.”

            Jean that is not true statement. It leaves a completely false impression on the reader. You say “he showed no signs of deception when he denied being part of a conspiracy”


          • Jean Davison says:


            I wrote “Oswald’s Game” 30 years ago. When it reappeared last year as an e-book I asked that the sentence you quoted be revised, because I hadn’t made clear that I was quoting only the FBI’s opinion.

            The revision says simply that “the test results were considered inconclusive.” That was the conclusion of BOTH the FBI and the HSCA’s polygraph panel. And that’s the bottom line, Mike:
            “Because there were numerous procedural errors made during the test, the committee’s panel was unable to interpret the examination.”

            I hope you’ll now respond to my last post.

          • Mike Rago says:

            It is not the bottom line that the polygraph test was inconclusive.

            It leaves an incomplete and false impression to leave it at that.

            As an author you have a duty to not do that.

            The bottom line(s) is that the test was obviously conducted in a manner to control the outcome of the polygraph test.

            The bottom line is that the HSCA concluded that the test was invalidly conducted AND interpreted.

            I have already shown you the quotes of the HSCA and the Polygraph Panel and you dismiss them as if they do not exist.

            Again here is the quote from the Polygraph Panel. It could not be any clearer…

            “Based on its analysis of the charts themselves,

            and not considering the negative factors affecting the veracity of the examination,

            the panel could not form an opinion that Ruby told the truth when answering “No” to the four relevant questions asked in test series 1 and 2.

            On the contrary, the panel found more indications that Ruby was lying in response to these four questions”.

            There is absolutely no reason to dismiss that quote.

          • leslie sharp says:

            Jean, we’re all human, but I’m sure you appreciate that this is an example of the subtle nuances that can impact debate, let alone the public record. Perhaps you might have considered addressing this particular and obvious misconception several days earlier in light of this admission that you asked the record be set straight years ago.

            What happens in the discourse on this particular site is that those who speak with a degree authority, founded primarily on publishing credentials, are not always challenged; quickly the thread disappears under a new tranche of conversations; any errors, such as this one that fortunately fell under the scrutiny of Mike Rago, are left lingering. Had Mr. Rago not persevered, would you have volunteered this significant adjustment to your original text?

            “We in this country, in this generation, — are by destiny rather than choice — the watchmen on the walls of world freedom.” -JFK

          • Jean Davison says:


            You say, “It is not the bottom line that the polygraph test was inconclusive.”

            That’s not your bottom line but it certainly was the HSCA’s, because in the single paragraph about Ruby’s polygraph in its Final Report, the HSCA concluded:

            “… Because there were numerous procedural errors made during the test, the committee’s panel WAS UNABLE TO INTERPRET THE EXAMINATION.”


            How much clearer does it have to be? Ruby’s exam was flawed and couldn’t be interpreted.

            You say, “The bottom line(s) is that the test was obviously conducted in a manner to control the outcome of the polygraph test.”

            “Obviously” always means “obvious to me.”
            That is your interpretation, which you’re entitled to, but it’s not what the HSCA or its panel actually said.

            Even the FBI agent who conducted the test acknowledged some of the problems with it:


            You say, “The bottom line is that the HSCA concluded that the test was invalidly conducted AND interpreted.”

            I agree. But you don’t seem to recognize that these are two separate things. The test was invalidly conducted and couldn’t be interpreted — and IN ADDITION, the panel disagreed with the FBI’s interpretation of some of these unreliable results.

            I don’t “dismiss” your quotes, I’m saying that IMO you are quoting out of context and misinterpreting. For instance, you quote the polygraph panel:

            “Based on its analysis of the charts themselves, and NOT CONSIDERING THE NEGATIVE FACTORS AFFECTING THE VERACITY OF THE EXAMINATION [IOW, if we look at the FBI’s interpretation in isolation] the panel could not form an opinion that Ruby told the truth when answering “No” to the four relevant questions asked in test series 1 and 2. On the contrary, the panel found more indications that Ruby was lying in response to these four questions.”

            Once again you ignore the panel’s final statement that follows immediately: “It is emphasized by the panel, however, that no opinion could be rendered on the validity of the examination or the reliability of the results….”


            If the HSCA had actually concluded that Ruby lied about knowing Oswald, you should be able to quote the HSCA saying that, specifically. That’s a biggie and should’ve been among its major conclusions. But there is no such quote, and no quote saying that the FBI sabotaged the test.

            One of the four questions the panel thought showed signs of deception was Ruby’s denial that he was a member of the Communist Party. Do you seriously think that Ruby WAS a member of the CP? Do you think the HSCA reached that conclusion? The HSCA said nothing about that either, for the same reason — it reached no such conclusion.

            Again, I understand why you read it the way you do. But I think you should reconsider.

          • Mike Rago says:

            [IOW, if we look at the FBI’s interpretation in isolation]

            No Jean. That is not what the Polygraph Panel was saying.

            The polygraph experts were saying that when they interpret the charts, they could not form the opinion that Ruby told the truth. To the contrary, when they interpreted the charts they found more indications that Ruby was lying.

            The concluded that the polygraph test was not validly conducted and not validly interpreted. That is not my opinion.

            None of this is my opinion. I am quoting what they said.

            You leave out too much. But I can understand why because it does not fit with the way you are trying to spin things.

            I bet you left in the ebook that Ruby begged for a lie detector test….because it fit with the way you want to spin the data.

        • LMB says:

          He “begged”, to be taken to Washington several times. Would you talk if you knew your life (or family) depended on it and it wasn’t safe to do so in that place and time?

          • Ruby clearly said he was not part of any conspiracy, and wanted to go to DC to convince Lyndon Johnson he was not part of a conspiracy.

            Further, is some conspiracy was going to retaliate against him or his family, DC of Dallas made no difference.

        • Jean Davison says:


          How do you explain this statement near the end of the panel’s report:


          (95) The panel concluded that the Ruby polygraph examination was probably invalid and unreliable.[…] The panel could render no opinion regarding the examination results.



          What does “the panel could render no opinion” on the test results mean, if not what it says?

          On that page and the next, the panel disagreed with the FBI’s INTERPRETATION of Ruby’s response
          to four questions, including whether he was a Communist Party member. And yet the HSCA didn’t conclude that Ruby was a CP member or that he lied when he denied knowing Oswald. Can you explain why?

          And do you think Ruby was actually a CP member?

    • Somehow, conspiracists entirely ignore the fact that Ruby made it absolutely clear what kind of conspiracy he believed in.

      He believe in a conspiracy to blame the Jews (and kill the Jews) and that part of it was to blame him for the Kennedy assassination.

      Quoting Earl Warren:

      And I was satisfied myself that he didn’t know and never did know Oswald, never heard of him. But the fellow was clearly delusional when I talked to him. He took me aside and he said, “Hear those voices, hear those voices?” He thought they were Jewish children and Jewish women who were being put to death in the building there.

      It’s page 15 of the interview transcript here:


  11. Dave says:

    No one heard or saw Oswald come down the stairs from 6th floor in the 90 seconds after the shots, before Baker saw him in the 2nd floor lunchroom. Victoria Adams and Sandra Styles worked on 4th floor and left their window perch right after the shots and went down the stairs – they did not see or hear Oswald coming down. Read “The Girl on the Stairs”. Unless Oswald had a secret Bat-pole from the 6th floor to the 2nd floor lunchroom, HE COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT.

    • Jean Davison says:

      Sandra Styles didn’t corroborate Ms. Adams’ time line. Here’s a recent video in which she says they could’ve come downstairs before or after Oswald:


      Oswald would’ve been descending the stairs at the same time Truly and Baker were coming up, because they met on the 2nd floor. If Adams and Styles were on the stairs at that time, they should’ve seen T&B either coming up or at the bottom of the stairs, where Truly paused to yell for the freight elevator. But Adams neither saw or heard the two men. That alone says they weren’t on the stairs at the right time to give Oswald an alibi.

      • leslie sharp says:

        Jean, your certitude may discourage new students from questioning you or the presentations you make … but I viewed this video and must say that Ms. Styles is not contradicting Adams but simply acknowledging the possibilities; possibilities that I suspect are being posed by those conducting the interview.

        In a recent thread on this site, in essence you support WC Ball’s questioning of Truly to establish that Truly had his timing all wrong. Now you argue that Truly’s time on the stairs is in question. Coming from one who does not trust eyewitness testimony, I am perplexed. Why is Styles believable all these decades later but doctors recalling the emergency room etc. are not?

        I reiterate the possibility that Truly was manipulated, and I hear a degree of manipulation in this interview of Styles. She’s relatively confident, but it is apparent that the video has been severely edited; one would have to have been present during the original interview to know what transpired, let alone base an argument upon.

        • Jean Davison says:


          I’m in no way arguing that “Truly’s time on the stairs is in question.” I have no idea where you got that.

          Styles’ memory could be wrong, but so could Adams’. Any witness could be wrong, so it’s a good idea to look for evidence that supports or refutes a memory. Ball tried to establish a time by focusing on where Truly talked to Fritz. If you think you can show that Truly gave him Oswald’s address earlier, by all means, go for it.

          With Adams’ story, the important thing is that neither woman saw or heard Truly and Baker anywhere. Evidently, one of two possibilities must be true. (1) T&B hadn’t gotten to the back of the building yet and Oswald was still on an upper floor behind the women (who worked on the 4th floor).

          OR (2) T&B had already moved past the fourth floor on their way to the roof after talking to Oswald in the lunchroom, i.e., Oswald went downstairs ahead of them and was already off the stairs. Either way, the ladies aren’t there at the right time to give Oswald an alibi. (If there’s some other explanation for why they didn’t see or hear T&B, what would it be?)

          Re the ER doctors, I see no need to rely on eyewitness memory about the location of the wounds when there are photos, film and x-rays showing where they were.

          • leslie sharp says:

            Jean, I would assume that if Truly was found to be mistaken about when he talked directly to Fritz, that would place his time on the stairs in question as well. Perhaps not. Strange that some but not all of his testimony is acceptable.

            Similarly, it is strange that the Warren Commission cherry picked the testimony of other witnesses just as you are wont to do.

            If you, these decades later, are left with hypothesizing as you have with “evidently, one of two possibilities must be true,” would you as a juror send Oswald to his death with such questions still unresolved? I recognize that either possibility in and of itself would not sway the case, but the accumulation of similarly conflicting possibilities throughout the Kennedy murder investigation creates a mosaic of a failed legal case against Oswald.

      • Dave says:

        I suggest you read Barry Ernest’s “The Girl on the Stairs” or at very least, its “Epilogue”. The WC version of Adams’ deposition by David Belin was deliberately misleading to discredit her as a witness, and did not reflect the changes she had asked be made. The June 2, 1964 letter outlining those changes (with important corroborating statements from Adams’ supervisor Mrs. Garner) from Martha Joe Stroud, Dallas Assistant US Attorney to the WC’s J. Lee Rankin – guess what – never made it into the WC Report.
        Also, when Ernest went looking for the original stenographic tapes of Belin’s interview of Adams, surprise again: they could not be found among WC tapes in the National Archives.
        Not to mention Ernest’s discovery of TWO different “official” versions of Adams’ testimony (an unsigned WC version, released in 1967; and a signed version with her corrections, released in 2011). Adams was convinced that Belin or someone else with the WC distorted the questions and her answers in her WCR testimony. Because if they accepted it as she told it, then the story of Oswald the sixth floor gunman falls apart.

        • Jean Davison says:

          The revisions Adams requested that are listed in Martha Joe Stroud’s letter are 6 single words including “and” and “there.”


          Do you see any important revisions there?

          Miss Garner could’ve been mistaken, but if in fact Truly and Baker came upstairs after the women left, the women could’ve missed seeing them if T&B were in the 2nd floor lunchroom talking to Oswald when they passed by. IOW, there’s no guaranteed alibi for LHO even if Garner is correct.

          The WC didn’t accept Adams’ time estimate and explained why:


          • leslie sharp says:

            Can you comment on this paragraph from a review of Ernest’s book relating to Victoria Adams … assuming it to be true, I believe it is representative of why the Warren Commission should be shunned for its handling of witness testimony in the final report.

            “Then, another odd thing happened. When David Belin and the Warren Commission requested her to testify, it was her alone. Sandra Styles was not with her. In fact, Barry could find no evidence that the Commission questioned Styles at all. Further, during her appearance, Belin had handed her a diagram of the first floor of the Texas School Book Depository, the place where she and Oswald worked at that time. He asked her to point out where she saw two other employees (i.e., William Shelley and Billy Lovelady) when she arrived at the bottom of the stairway. When Barry went to look up this exhibit in the Commission volumes—Commission Exhibit 496—he discovered something odd. It was not the document in the testimony. It was a copy of the application form Oswald filled out for his job at the Depository.”
            (Green & diEugenio)

            An aside, the letter from Ms. Stroud to Mr. Belin was on behalf of renowned attorney Barefoot Sanders. Perhaps an oversight on your part, and an innocuous detail, but in light of the details you normally capture, I was surprised.

          • Jean Davison says:


            You’re focusing on unimportant details and ignoring the crucial point made by the WR 50 years ago: If Adams had come downstairs immediately after the shots, she should have run into Truly and Baker (as Oswald did), and she should NOT have seen Lovelady and Shelley on the first floor, because L&S didn’t return to the building that quickly.

            The fact that Adams saw L&S and not T&B shows that she came downstairs later than she thought she did.

            I don’t know if the WC staff interviewed Styles or not. Being lawyers, they may have believed that who Adams saw and didn’t see helped establish the time much better than a timing estimate from another witness.

            Barry Ernest and other JFK researchers have interviewed Styles several times. She had never, to my knowledge, agreed with Adams that they came downstairs immediately. Here’s an old newsgroup thread, e.g.


          • leslie sharp says:

            Jean, I recognize that these details are not important to those who place complete faith in the Warren Commission and the report that ensued.

            However, for those who do not believe the commission acted honorably or responsibly, details matter. If Adams was interviewed but Styles was not seems significant given that there was so much weight placed on the timing of Oswald leaving the 6th Floor. If you can provide clarification, that indeed Styles was interviewed around the time that Adams was interviewed, that would be appreciated.

            By Styles own admission, she was “easily led.” What I do not understand is what might she or Adams have been doing for 15-20 minutes if it was that long before they went down the stairs? I am very curious about Victoria Adams’ history.

            I respect Ms. Styles’ reflections of the events in response to the researcher’s questions; however, the argument we are engaged in relates to the Warren Commission Report … what information/evidence did they secure, what testimony did they value and what contradictory evidence or testimony did they disregard and/or manipulate.

          • Jean Davison says:


            I place no “faith” in the WC or anyone else. Do you have a better explanation for why Adams saw Lovelady/Shelley and not Truly/Baker when she came downstairs? Do you see why this is significant in establishing the time?

            Styles told researcher Sean Murphy that she was interviewed but didn’t recall whether it was by the FBI or someone else:


            The “15 to 20 minutes” illustrates how unreliable time estimates can be. That’s what I’ve been saying.

          • leslie sharp says:

            Jean, I’m not sure what you mean when you say you place no faith in the WC. Do you not agree with the conclusions drawn in the Warren Report?

            Styles was either interviewed by the WC or she wasn’t. If she was, there would be a paper trail, no? If she wasn’t, why wasn’t she? She was clearly one of only a few dozen people within close proximity of an alleged assassin at the time, hardly an insignificant witness. I respect Sean Murphy’s interview but it has no relevance to this question if Ms. Styles did not know or understand who precisely interviewed her. The onus is on the WC to explain why they have no record of the interview.

            I’m not concerned with reliability of times in this specific exchange: I’m concerned with: if the two women did wait 15-20 minutes before descending, what might be their reason for that delay, and did anyone with the WC attempt to discover that reason. 15-20 minutes meant these women were “unaccounted for” in the immediate aftermath. Their descending immediately may have created complications as the WC concluded their report, so a 15 minute delay could have served to sort out those complications… or better yet, the confusion left in the aftermath serves just as well. We are discussing it five decades later. My argument: testimony was and is being to this day, cherry picked to suit hypotheses.

          • Jean Davison says:

            I stopped having “faith” in anything I read many years ago when I checked Rush to Judgment’s footnotes and discovered I’d been misled. Eventually I came to agree with the WC conclusion, but because of the evidence, not faith.

            Styles didn’t claim they waited 15-20 minutes — someone told her (incorrectly) that that’s how long it took for the police to arrive.

            The “15-20 minutes” is obviously wrong. By that time the building would’ve been sealed off and the women couldn’t have gotten outside.

            Adams’ estimate of how quickly she came downstairs can also be cross-checked against other events that show she’s wrong, but apparently you don’t see this point.

            The WC seemed to rely on FBI reports in deciding who to call. If Styles told the FBI or whoever interviewed her the same things she’s said ever since then (that she wasn’t sure or disagreed with Adams), what difference does it make that they didn’t call her?

          • leslie sharp says:

            Jean, Likewise, you do not seem to get the point about the WC’s failure to call Styles to testify. If you are suggesting that they took direction from the FBI – that because the agency did not think that Styles had anything to offer, the commission decided to NOT pursue corroborating or conflicting testimony of ALL the specific employees in closest proximity to the sniper’s nest and/or the alleged assassin in the immediate aftermath; if so, that is all the more worrisome.

            You are suggesting that you pursued your own private investigation and did not rely on the Warren Report; I’m curious how that works … did you have access to material that the WC did not? Did Norton fund your efforts? Was Mailer involved at that time, or did he take up the story of Oswald a decade later on his own? Do you know if Random House funded his pursuit?

  12. anonymous says:

    “High-quality information…Calling it proof or ‘clear high evidentiary bars’ might be generous.”

    Generous? Friends of Cass Sunstein might call it proof, but Isaac Newton wouldn’t.
    Here is high-quality information of coverup that would entertain Newton:

    “JFK theories resonate with around 70 percent of the population, according to a recent poll.”

    Warren Commission apologists are increasing in numbers since 911:

    “theories that the Bush administration either directed or permitted the 9/11 attacks”

    Straw man? – Bush couldn’t watch TV without choking on a peanut.

  13. Brian H says:

    If it looks like a Rat moves like a Rat and smells like a Rat?????? It’s not about providing the truth for the debunking community it’s about creating doubt.

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