On December 17, 1963, a lawyer from New York named Mark Lane wrote to Chief Justice Warren to “respectfully request that your Commission give consideration to the appointment of defense counsel” for the accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. He enclosed an article he had written.
The article was published two days later in the National Guardian, a weekly publication of leftist politics.
The headline proclaimed
A report to the Warren Commission by Mark Lane. (Read it here.)
New York Times reporter Peter Kihss wrote about Lane two days later. Under the headline, “Lawyer Urges Defense for Oswald at Inquiry,” the story began:
“A former New York Assemblyman has urged Chief Justice Earl Warren’s investigating commission to appoint a defense counsel for Lee H. Oswald in its inquiry into the assassination of President Kennedy.”
J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI was paying attention. Their report on Lane is here.
Lane’s article proved enormously influential in crystallizing public disbelief over the official account of President Kennedy’s assassination. The article launched Lane into a lifetime career of talking about who killed JFK. He pointed an insistent finger at the CIA. I saw him at Wecht Institute’s JFK conference in Pittsburgh in October. Fifty years later he was still talking about JFK. He pointed out, accurately, that Bobby Kennedy immediately suspected the CIA was involved in his brother’s murder.
Lane tells how he came to write the National Guardian article in the first chapter of his 1968 book, “A Citizen’s Dissent.”