ICYM: the curious case of Oswald’s wallet 26 Comments / Assassination / By Jefferson Morley Seen at the crime: Dallas police officers handling Lee Oswald’s wallet at the scene of the murder of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit. Bill Simpich investigates. Share this:Tweet
26 thoughts on “ICYM: the curious case of Oswald’s wallet”
I think that Dale Myers has very clearly demonstrated that the wallet in this film is NOT the Oswald wallet in the National Archives.
There is no evidence whatsoever of who owned the wallet; only conjecture based on a statement made 30 years after the fact.
If this wallet wasn’t important enough to be an issue within one week of the crime it certainly is not significant 50 years later.
Without hard, physical facts this entire discussion is turning into a parody of the conspiracy mindset, with a Rashomon-like effect where every conspiracy theorist sees what he wants to see and then proceeds to make assumptions based on that belief.
They same thing happened with the Cheryl McKinnon story, where a phony witness wrote a clearly false story in a community paper and then disappeared, never to be heard from again. For years CT researchers kept bringing her up, even claiming that another woman photographed was McKinnon, even placing her as a witness on a famous map claiming to accurately portray every witness to the assassination.
Why do you avoid talking about the facts — the WFAA report, Barrett, and Rickstool? Why do you once again bring up Cheryl McKinnon?
Is it to call into question the premise of this site?
Give me Jean Davison any day. I disagree with Jean on almost everything, but at least Jean makes fact-based arguments.
Your reference to Dale Myers flouts logic; it’s an appeal to authority and no more. Rather than cite him as a authority and then jump to something else, why don’t you recount Myers’s reasoning for us?
I get the feeling you don’t want to contribute a whole lot here, Photon.
I’m inclined to believe Barrett’s story, Bentley’s story, and Dale Myers’s analysis.
The Tippit-scene wallet is different from the National Archives wallet (Myers). The flap corners are different. The metal strips along the flap edge are different. Myers does a far better job here than Rickstool, IMO.
There’s no specific reason to believe Barrett “misremembers” (Jean Davison). He displays no sign of memory loss on the matter of the Tippitt-scene wallet and the questions asked of him by Westbrook. In a trial court today, he would present as a credible witness on the matter of the Tippit-scene wallet, IMO.
There certainly is reason to believe that Barrett misremembered — as you acknowledge, the wallet in evidence doesn’t match the Tippit scene wallet. Barrett’s idea that the Tippit wallet was given to Bentley and Bentley lied about where he got it is proven false because the two wallets are not the same.
People who misremember can be just as certain and “credible” in their testimony as people whose memories are accurate because they truly believe what they’re saying. Look it up if you don’t believe me.
It’s possible that Barrett misremembered some details from that day but thanks to the film footage, we know that he didn’t invent the story. We know Westbrook and other officers inspected a wallet at the Tippit murder scene. What we don’t know for certain is, who the wallet belonged to or who discovered the wallet.
Could Barrett be mistaken? Certainly, but the corroborating facts appear to back up his recollection(at least partially if not entirely). This story would have no legs if it were based entirely on Bob Barrett’s memory of that day.
The film showing the Tippit scene wallet was shown on TV on 11/22/63 — it was never a secret. And yet no policeman or anyone else at the scene ever suggested the wallet had any importance whatsoever until Barrett’s comment to Hosty DECADES LATER. Why is that?
The fact that the wallet’s owner isn’t known suggests that no one considered it important at the time. Maybe it belonged to a neighbor who’d dropped it in the area or to one of the witnesses or onlookers who quickly came to the scene –or maybe there’s some other explanation no one has thought of. The cameraman thought it was Tippit’s wallet for some reason, but it wasn’t.
Notice that no one has yet told this story from the “frame-up” point of view, explaining what they think happened and why.
“The film showing the Tippit scene wallet was shown on TV on 11/22/63 — it was never a secret. And yet no policeman or anyone else at the scene ever suggested the wallet had any importance whatsoever until Barrett’s comment to Hosty DECADES LATER. Why is that?”
Regardless of any discrepancies or breaks in the chain of evidence, Hosty and Barrett believe Oswald murdered officer Tippit. After Oswald’s murder, maybe they saw no reason to press the issue? What’s interesting is that Barrett seems to think he might’ve suffered some consequences had he suggested that Bentley lied. I wonder if there are other examples of FBI agents or police officers involved with the case who kept silent about other issues for similar reasons?
If Hosty hadn’t brought the wallet issue up decades later, I’m not certain that Barrett or anyone else would’ve. The fact that they didn’t press the issue decades ago doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. People have their reasons for not speaking up.
Your conclusion — Barrett misremebered — is based on these suppositions:
 The Tippitt-scene wallet contained nothing pertinent to LHO/Alek Hidell.
 The wallet in the National Archives is the only wallet containing Oswald-Hidell IDs; it’s the wallet recovered by Bentley.
Correct me if I’m wrong as to your suppositions.
If I’m correct, I can go along with your number  but not your number . Memory ability and corruptions such as suppression and repression vary from individual. In judging memory ability, one must take each person at a time and zero in a specific event to be recalled. IMO Barrett exhibits good, sharp memory recall. A test of his recall in a trial court would be cross-examination. We here don’t have that, so each of us simply has to judge for himself or herself whether Barrett is recalling accurately.
The clincher for me is that he never challenged Bentley. I believe I know why. To do so would have opened a can of worms. Bentley would have stuck to his story, and then the big WFAA report would have been that the police found TWO wallets for LHO. That would spell the big C.
Although I think your points 1 & 2 are true, I believe that Barrett’s memory was wrong because(1)nobody, including Barrett, reported this “important” find to headquarters or to anyone else — it’s not in the DPD radio recordings or in any written report, testimony, or interview at the time or for YEARS afterward, and(2)no one has offered a plausible “frame-up” story explaining what happened (what the plan was,and so on). Do you believe that the frame-up crew prepared TWO wallets for Oswald?
Judging the accuracy of a witness’s memory isn’t that easy. Cross-examination won’t do the job if the witness firmly believes his memory is correct. If you’ll look on Google, researchers have found no strong correlation between witness confidence and witness accuracy. Here’s one quote, e.g.:
Consider the famous study done by Ulric Neisser. The day after the Challenger disaster he asked Emory University undergrads to write a description of how they heard of the disaster – the time of day, what they were doing, how they felt about it, etc. Neisser then asked the same students the same set of questions two and a half years later and compared the two descriptions. He found three things. First, the memories of the students had dramatically changed:
“twenty-five percent of the students’ subsequent accounts were strikingly different from their original journal entries. More than half the people had lesser degrees of error, and less than ten percent had all the details correct.” Second, people were usually confident that the accounts they provided two and a half years later were accurate. And third, “when confronted with their original reports, rather than suddenly realizing that they had misremembered, they often persisted in believing their current memory.”
Certain experiences, people don’t forget.
I can’t remember what shirt I wore last Thursday or what I ate for lunch last Saturday. But I can in great detail remember things like the birth of my first child, my last few conversations with my grandmother from 5 years ago, and where I was and what I was doing when I first learned about the 9/11 attacks.
Also, Barrett might’ve waited decades to talk about the 3rd wallet publicly but that doesn’t mean he didn’t discuss it privately among friends and family.
Let’s get down to bare metal, where one will find you mask reality:
“I believe that Barrett’s memory was wrong because(1)nobody, including Barrett, reported this “important” find to headquarters or to anyone else — it’s not in the DPD radio recordings or in any written report, testimony, or interview at the time or for YEARS afterward….”
FACT: Barrett had no duty to report this wallet to the DPD. And yes, you’re correct: this wallet was buried.
“Do you believe that the frame-up crew prepared TWO wallets for Oswald? ”
No, just one wallet, the wallet found at the scene of the Tippit murder.
It comes down to this: You believe Oswald killed JFK and J.D. Tippit. Case closed. I say, take the 26 volumes of the Warren Commission, flawed as that body was, and it’s case open.
If you want to have a debate, I’d love to have it over the alleged murder weapon.
Hard to believe, I agree, but even details of 9/11 apparently aren’t forever fixed in our memories, though we certainly *think* they are:
“… The emotional, seemingly vivid memory of where you were when 9/11 happened is what’s known as a flashbulb memory. Once thought to be seared into the brain permanently, flashbulb memories have turned out to be fallible, just like memories for more ordinary events.”
Yes, let’s get down to the crux of the matter. The “planted wallet” idea is absurd.
It’s not just that the Tippit scene wallet was “covered up.” It was covered up IMMEDIATELY. The ID is supposed to tie Oswald to the murder scene and yet it’s immediately swept under the rug. It’s not a question of anyone’s “duty” to report it. Why in the world wouldn’t the police WANT to report it? As Barrett said, it would be “slam-dunk evidence” placing Oswald at the scene. So why didn’t they use it?
Since I can never get a conspiracy scenario about anything from anybody (and believe me I’ve tried), how does this sound?
“Hey, the killer may’ve dropped this and it’s got ID. Let’s call it in!”
“What, are you crazy? No, let’s wait till the perp is arrested and say we found it in his pocket.”
“Beats me, maybe someone on a JFK forum can explain it some day.”
“Don’t count on it!”
That’s not all the ‘splaining that needs to be done. Is it plausible that someone created a Hidell ID in advance and carried it around on 11/22 along with snapshots of Oswald’s family?
Here’s what I suspect happened. Somehow, a wallet shows up at the Tippit murder scene; it shows up and finds its way into Westbrook’s hands. It is de facto an indictment of Oswald for both JFK’s and Tippit’s murders. The cops on the scene know now who they’re looking for, at least in terms of Tippit’s murder.
Bentley asks Oswald in the car what his name is. Clearly Bentley didn’t have to do that if he already had Oswald’s wallet and ID. Oswald is non-responsive. Bentley than fishes a wallet out of Oswald’s pocket in search of Oswald’s identity.
At DPD HQ, cooler heads are at work. Someone or some persons at HQ see that there is a two-wallet problem, and that spells set up and conspiracy. The Tippit wallet has to go; it gets buried.
This scenario is easy for me to accept. It fits recorded history. It requires one to believe the DPD would bury a crucially important item. But such belief is not preposterous, given the way the DPD and the FBI mishandled the physical record in this case.
Jonathan, is it possible the wallet surfaced prematurely, and out of sync with the proscribed plan? I realize this implies that many in the DPD were involved in a highly compartmentalized fashion, but I don’t think that prohibits one from considering the possibility. And it may be that their timing was off … case in point is McDonald’s knee jerk comment at the theatre.
I think that Bill Simpich has considered it likely that a number of DPD were up to their necks in the assassination.
I begin with Occam’s Razor: look for the simplest explanation.
I think there were two wallets. Why? Because I think those seeking to implicate Oswald overplayed their hand.
Oswald was the designated patsy. He was set up. Purposefully. The backyard photos. The Paine garage stuff.
Either Oswald did it. Very hard to believe. Impossible to believe.
Or he was set up.
Jonathan, I agree. If Oswald didn’t murder Kennedy, then he was set up, and if he was set up there was a conspiracy.
Those that advocate he was a lone assassin are on the defensive; they must answer the contradictions and discrepancies in their argument. I’ve heard Ocam’s Razor applied in the reverse … the simplest explanation is that Oswald was a lone assassin. Nothing could be further from ‘the simplest explanation.’
Up is down … the rabbit hole. More and more I’m realizing the power of the cover up that is ongoing as we speak.
Jonathan, you say: “I get the feeling you don’t want to contribute a whole lot here, Photon”
My observation is that photon is a skilled technician at compartmentalization but cannot or will not draw a complete picture of even one aspect of this case. The wallet scenario is the perfect example.
photon, can you, in a complete paragraph, describe your assessment of happened between the arrival of the police at the Tippitt murder scene and the arrest of a Lee Harvey Oswald in the Texas Theatre, incorporating all of the wallets under scrutiny…. and can you do so without citing any other author or investigator, simply what you as an individual believe to have occurred based on the research you have done? I challenge you.
Compartmentalization was the single most critical component in the success of the conspiracy and cover-up; I also contend that the cover up began prior to the murder of Kennedy on 112263 through that compartmentalization process. Very few knew the details of the plan, many knew that it was pending, and it proceeded from there.
photon exhibits a similar method of arguing and in fact mirrors that compartmentalization … one followed by both McAdams and to a lesser degree Davison.
I continue to challenge photon to present one single paragraph in support of his contention that Oswald was a lone assassin in any area of the investigation of his choosing.
Re compartmentalization: Exactly right. Every intel organization and operation is divided into compartments. No one person in the organization or operation typically has the complete picture of what’s going on. The complete picture is assembled higher up in the food chain by analysts. And even they do not ever have the complete story of the inner workings of the intel unit providing them raw information.
Compartmentalization is aimed not just at tightening security but also at providing personal protection to individuals who are case officers and agents. Compartmentalization is ingrained in in intelligence operatives.
Angleton made sure he had what he believed was the complete picture. But he did not run a typical intel operation. Shackley I’m pretty sure, and his deputy Morales, probably sought to have and did have a pretty complete picture of what was going on within JM/WAVE. But JM/WAVE wasn’t an intel operation; it was a terrorist operation aimed at Castro’s Cuba.
Re Photon: I don’t believe you’re going to get what you want from Photon. Photon offers little to nothing of his or her own factual analysis. Photon’s style is hit-and-run.
Myers made a persuasive argument about why the mystery wallet is not the same as the wallet taken from Oswald after his arrest. However, he hasn’t proven that Barrett and others were mistaken in their recollections about the Oswald/Hiddell IDs surfacing at the Tippit murder scene.
Also we still don’t know who the ‘bystander’ was who turned the wallet over to the police nor do we know who the wallet belonged to. So for now, Barrett’s claim has legs.
FWIW, I believe it’s probable that Oswald killed Tippit and it’s possible that Rookstool’s conclusion is true.
I defer to the detailed critique of Myers’ analysis by Michael T. Griffith, on the issue of the wallet within his essay here, rather than the pronouncements by Photon:
Griffith believes the two wallets are the same, but the photos here show they are not:
I wish figure 3 was clearer.
The film footage frames of the wallet in Figure 4 has the neon pink rectangle obstructing a better view of the flap’s edges which sort of look curved like the arrest wallet.
But isn’t the issue really about Barrett (with corroboration by others) that he was told it contained Oswald’s I.D.?
If we have more than one wallet (and they need NOT be identical if someone got messy), we have the planting of evidence to frame Oswald.
In his book, Bugliosi said the wallet found at the Tippit murder scene was Tippit’s, and he studied the case for years and has now been found clearly wrong on that point. In a case of this magnitude, seems like that would’ve been a simple thing to know who’s wallet it was from the get go. But the authorities had and have no answers.
You ask for a detailed description of a conspiracy but seem to ignore the reality that the DPD, FBI, CIA et al went on a massive cover-up almost from the start.
One for instance: once Hosty started talking about Mexico City with Oswald, the FBI pulled him from any further interrogation. Hosty says in his book that he felt if allowed to pursue that line of questioning, Oswald would’ve broke.
This takes place on the night of the assassination. That isn’t fantasy from a CT. It’s from the FBI agent who was responsible for keeping tabs on Oswald and who interrogated him that night.
The problem is we don’t know for sure WHY the government went in to full cover-up mode and left a trail of unanswered questions, unpursued leads, destroyed evidence, tampered witness testimony and more in its wake. That behavior is what has led many to suspect a conspiracy was covered up by a government that knew it couldn’t afford that to come to light.
The conclusion I’ve come away from in reviewing the assassination is that the suspect (government) will NEVER honestly investigate itself. And that’s why confusion reigns to this day.
I’m still looking for a document that shows the CE# of the Hidell/Oswald wallet.
I’m not asking for a “detailed description of a conspiracy,” only for any story imaginable that can show how the planted wallet idea could possibly make sense. Supposedly “they” created a wallet for the patsy (even though he’d probably be carrying his own), then after planting it, instead of using it to tie him to the murder scene, “they” made it disappear immediately! Even fairy tales have to have some logic behind them, right?
The wallet wasn’t given a Commission Exhibit number but it was assigned FBI No. B1. The Hidell ID had its own number (D71) on a long list of FBI exhibits:
As I understand it, the FBI didn’t want Hosty to bring up Mexico during Oswald’s police interrogation because it didn’t want the CIA’s highly classified Mexican surveillance program to be compromised at that point(day one).
I can’t even find evidence of the Hidell wallet on the DPD JFK archive site. I did find Bentley’s report to Curry a week after the assassination where he mentions a wallet but not the Hidell alias: