Fact check: CBS News’ JFK revelation is actually seven years old

William Coleman

William Coleman: the man who met Castro

CBS News and the U.K. Daily Mail are reporting that New York Times reporter Phil Shenon’s forthcoming book on the Warren Commission makes a “startling revelation:” that Fidel Castro was questioned by Warren Commission.

In fact, Anthony Summers, author of “Not in Your Lifetime,” broke the story about Castro’s meeting with Warren Commission staffer William Coleman in The Times of London on January 7, 2006. (You can read the story here.)

Coleman told the story to Summers at a party in Washington and then denied it in a letter to Summers. (Summers tells the backstory on his blog.)

So what does this episode tell us about the JFK story in 2013?

Point #1, Kudos to Shenon for confirming Summers’s reporting.

Point #2, Bob Schieffer and other avatars of major U.S. news organizations are not always up to date on the latest research about the JFK assassination story.

Point #3: Shenon’s book shows that William Coleman, a distinguished lawyer, felt compelled to tell a public lie in his letter to Summers. I don’t know why Coleman denied the story; maybe he will comment more candidly now. I think it is safe to say that Coleman denied the story because he thought there were “national security” implications to the Castro meeting that required secrecy.

Coleman’s misleading letter, written 40 years after the assassination, is one more piece of evidence that JFK’s murder in 1963 was a “national security event” whose details remain sensitive in the 21st century.







  1. Thomas says:

    Read more at a link provided and saw that Mr. Shenon said that there’s “no evidence to suggest there was a conspiracy or anybody else involved.”

    I have to laugh whenever I read things like that and makes me wonder how anyone can make such blanket statements with confidence. I’m glad he trusts that the CIA and FBI were merely trying to avoid looking bad.

  2. Mark Groubert says:

    Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) joined Casey’s tribute to Coleman. Specter recalled working as an assistant counsel with Coleman on the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President Kennedy. “Bill Coleman was one of the senior lawyers and I one of the junior lawyers, although when the masthead was finished, we were all assistant counsel. The one thing I never understood about Bill Coleman’s assignment on the Warren Commission was how he avoided being assigned the ‘single bullet theory.’’ And certainly I would have yielded that to Bill, but he managed to avoid it.”

  3. Robert Harper says:

    Coleman is also one of the members of the WC to hear the tape recordings of the Oswald imposter in Mexico City as I recall.

    • TLR says:

      I don’t know about Coleman, but David Slawson did.

      Slawson dropped this little bombshell on researcher Amanda Rowell in 1992: “Yes, I listened to the tape of Lee Harvey Oswald’s telephone conversations with the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. I did not feel that the voice sounded any different from what I expected his voice would sound like…since Oswald was killed only two days after the assassination, of course he was not around, still talking. No one, therefore, can honestly claim to have compared his voice on this tape or anyplace else with what he actually sounded like.” (Livingstone, Killing the Truth)

      Slawson seems to imply that there are no recordings of Oswald’s voice from the assassination weekend, when indeed there are several, not to mention from New Orleans. But here is further proof that the Mexico City tapes were not destroyed by the CIA.

  4. Mark Groubert says:

    (8) Letter to the New York Times signed by David Talbot, Jefferson Morley, Anthony Summers and Norman Mailer (17th June, 2007)

    Bryan Burrough’s laudatory review of Vincent Bugliosi’s book on the Kennedy assassination (May 20) is superficial and gratuitously insulting. “Conspiracy theorists” — blithe generalization — should according to Burroughs be “ridiculed, even shunned … marginalized the way we’ve marginalized smokers.”

    Jeff: are you now saying that Bugliosi’s book “Reclaiming History is one of the “best” books on the JFK assassination? I am confused. Or are you saying that Burrough’s laudatory review of the book is well-deserved?

  5. Thomas says:

    It looks like Mr. Shenon is making a career of tearing apart official investigations but then concluding they basically got it right anyway. I read several reviews of his book, “The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation” at Amazon and that is a major complaint from many readers. Perhaps it is how he maintains his insider status with people in Washington and at the NY Times i.e., tip the boat but don’t sink it.

    The new book could be helpful if his investigation found new morsels of information that are useful but also a setback because the mainstream media will jump on his reassuring conclusions.

  6. Phillip Dodge says:

    It is only a little over one week before Roger Stone’s book blows the lid off the assassination cover-up and all of the Warren Commission’s white washing will be exposed forever more. There isn’t anybody I know in the assassination community even the hard core lone gunman theorists who will not be buying the Stone book as they all want to know what an “insider” has to say after hearing 50 years of misinformation. I am looking forward to seeing all the commentary that will no doubt be flying about eight days from now.

  7. Craig says:

    “It is only a little over one week before Roger Stone’s book blows the lid off the assassination cover-up ”

    I have it now.

    Amazon sent it last week.

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