Prof. McAdams’s baseless claim

In the Comments section, Marquette University professor John McAdams accuses me and a host of other JFK authors, including G. Robert Blakey, Norman Mailer, Gerald Posner, Anthony Summers and others, of signing a public letter about JFK assassination that was “speculative and poorly sourced.”

He’s wrong.

Just to be clear, McAdams signed one open letter from this group of JFK authors, “JFK’s Assassination,” which appeared in the New York Review of Books in December 2003.

The second letter, “Blocked,” which McAdams criticized, appeared in the New York Review of Books in August 2005.

Contrary to McAdams’s insinuations, there is nothing speculative or poorly sourced about the second letter. All statements in the letter are supported by contemporary documentation, usually from the CIA itself, corroborated by on-the-record interviews. The documents and interview information are available upon request. The McAdams statements are untrue.


  1. JSA says:

    I wish there could be a public debate where John McAdams would have to go up in front of a live audience against a knowledgeable Warren Commission skeptic, with a moderator. I think he’d lose, and he would lose quite quickly. His website has so many inaccuracies and half truths on it, yet he’s been online with it since the 1990’s, so he’s very high up in the search engine rankings, and many people stumble upon his site. The only good thing I could find on his site was a link to However, when I showed someone the Mary Ferrell site, they said “Oh, so you are willing to believe a SECRETARY’s site (Ms. Ferrell??-!) over a PROFESSOR’s (McAdams) site?” I tried to explain that not only was this site dedicated to this lady, but it was a foundation set up in her name. Oh well. These are some of the people who remain unconvinced that there was a conspiracy!

    • jeffmorley says:

      Public debate is a good idea. Do you have a venue in mind?

      • JSA says:

        I don’t know, maybe invite Mr. McAdams to the next JFK conference in Dallas? I’m sure there would be many experts willing to debate him there, and as long as it was moderated, it could be done. Then a film of it could be posted online, maybe even on YouTube.

        Does anybody know if this is a feasible plan? Would he show up?

      • Brian LeCloux says:

        McAdams debated Jim DiEugenio on BlackOp Radio.

      • Nathaniel Heidenheimer says:

        You know, I have wondered about a public debate for a long time.

        Why the heck, not. And why not on the big networks, prime time. Any kind of promotion at all would get huge audiences.

        The Enlightenment says the best idea should win out in a free competition of ideas before an audience of civil society. The question of why there has been no debates before mass audiences should be pushed to the forefront the media. If they are public airwaves (really they are corporate) why not call a bluff? All I am saying is give The Enlightenment a chance. Lets push this!

        • Paul May says:

          The major networks wouldn’t touch a debate. The median age in the U.S. is now 36. The most important demographic to network prime time television is the 18-49 group. Majority of Americans today have no interest in the event. It’s old history to them.

          • Nathaniel Heidenheimer says:

            I totally disagree. You are making your assumption after at 25 years of evangelical Who Cares coming from the major media, and also the fake-left like Chomsky and Goodman who are paid to strip policy implications from the political assassinations, so that the left never goes there.

            The public remains deeply interested in spite of ALL of the marketing begging them not to care. All those youngsters marketed into silence and the employable-indifference that passes for sanity in the internet age….. all of those youth know 7 people who are smart and have told them otherwise. The indifference, like the Warren Report is wide and shallow, and could be penetrated with the least effort of a big media, who wanted to.

          • JSA says:

            There are a few history teachers in US public schools who teach about this event, and not the ‘Lone Nut’ version. We should do more of this, and expose children to good critical thinking about not only the Kennedy assassination(s), but MLK’s, and about other controversial events: Salem witch trials, the Alien and Sedition Act of the early Federalists, the labor movement history, Indian tribal removal policies, the Vietnam War, etc. Kids are better off with well rounded historical educations, and especially when encouraged to use their own critical thinking when looking at events.

      • i already debated mCadams on the radio for 5 hours
        it’s on my website it’s not on john’s website.THAT SHOULD TELL YOU SOMETHING ! ! !

  2. jeff pascal says:

    I think that’s the key point Gerry that lone nutters have to be wrong about every dealey plaza witness, every Parkland Hospital witness, every Bethesda Naval witness, every New Orleans and Mexico City witness etc. the odds seem to me less than zero.But, I don’t get all huffy if someone sincerely believes Castro, or the mob did it,like some, and I don’t think people have to believe what I do. Just have some real questions.

    • JSA says:


      When I’ve debated with Lone Nutters (people I know well) they often concede some of my points about the ballistics, acoustical evidence (published in the Washington Post over ten years ago), and what I can tell them about what the doctors at Parkland saw (including the late Dr. Crenshaw, who went public on NBC before he died). But when I present them with this, their fallback position usually is something like this:
      “Okay, there may have been another shooter. Maybe a limited plot. But there’s just NO WAY that the entire government, or that Lyndon Johnson, the CIA, the FBI, etc. could ALL be in league with each other and keep it a secret—NO WAY.” Their closer is that they just don’t think our government would do something like this. Or they say that we may never know and there’s nothing we can do about it—get over it—it’s history.

      So what I’m encountering on the part of these folks is DENIAL. It’s kind of like with global warming. They first deny that it’s happening, then they begrudgingly accept that it’s happening but say it’s either not a problem or that it might be good for us, then their final fall back position is: “Hey, there’s nothing we can do about it.”

      It’s like the worst sort of academic laziness and denial, followed by defeatism and surrender. It’s not easy bringing up this stuff with many people either, because they think that the JFK assassination is ‘ancient history’ and that I shouldn’t obsess over it. It sucks being intellectually honest and curious in this country sometimes. The Roman citizens don’t want to hear about problems confronting the empire, they just want their bread, wine and dumb diversions.

  3. Jonathan says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion all LN-ers are either dishonest or historically deficient.

    In the deficient category I put Norman Mailer, for example. In the dishonest category I put McAdams, Reitzes, and certain blog posters.

    There’s debate and there’s sophistry masquerading as debate. There’s been quite a bit of the latter at this site recently.

    • jeffmorley says:

      I disagree. I don’t think John McAdams is dishonest. I have never perceived intent to deceive in what he writes. I don’t know Reitzes but I have no knowledge of him being dishonest either.

      • Brian LeCloux says:

        John McAdams has often been on Wisconsin Public Radio call-in programs–featuring JFK and other topics.
        I doubt they’d have him on if they felt he was deliberately intending to mislead listeners.

        • JSA says:

          Two interesting things about McAdams that I know. 1) He tried to discredit Dr. Crenshaw and said that the man was pretty much a liar and an exaggerator. 2) He has gone on record as stating that man-made global warming is a myth.

          I don’t doubt his sincerity, but I think he’s being dishonest when served new conflicting information (such as the surfaced testimony of Dr. Charles Crenshaw in the 1990’s) that runs counter to his belief that Oswald acted alone and that the Warren Commission basically got the story correct.

      • Eric Hollingsworth says:

        I believe it is Doctor McAdams, and I don’t think he is dishonest so much as he is biased. I think a lot of his bias is based on defending conservatives from those who see a right-wing plot in the assassination.

        He does, however, fall into such conspiracy-like follies as espousing fantastic theories like the jet-effect, or otherwise promoting speculation as fact. He is definitely not the Delphic oracle of the assassination.

        What I find interesting about committed Warren Report adherents is the inability to apply inductive logic when deductive logic fails.

  4. Zebulon says:

    McAdams is an ignorant fool,as is anybody who could still believe that Lee Oswald was guilty of anything more than trusting the CIA . All of the doctors in Dallas thought that the President was shot from the front. How many times are we going to ignore Jean Hill and almost every witness who heard the grassy knoll shots and in some cases saw the shooter? We all know that it was impossible for a poor shooter like Oswald to make the shots the WC claimed he made; certainly not in the 5 seconds that the commission gave him. Crenshaw was the doctor who examined JFK the closest,attended to him the longest and had an unaltered report from the beginning. If he wasn’t important why did LBJ call him directly in the operating room on November 24 to tell him to make sure Oswald didn’t survive? It was impossible for #399 to have hit anything, certainly not the 8 wounds that was supposed to cause. This blog shouldn’t post anything but serious comments from experts like Robert Morrow or Mr. Groden- certainly not the lone nut drivel from reactionaries who only want to confuse the feeble -minded who might still fall for their lies. Freedom of speech stops at yelling “fire” in a crowd, dangerous speech like that of the Warren crowd should also be banned.

    • Paul May says:

      The above post should be removed. It’s denigrating and insulting to this blog.

    • JSA says:

      “Freedom of speech stops at yelling “fire” in a crowd, dangerous speech like that of the Warren crowd should also be banned.”

      Isn’t ‘banning’ opposing viewpoints what Fox News is all about? Do we want this blog to become like that?

    • Jean Davison says:

      The WC did not limit Oswald to 5 seconds — or to 6 seconds, which is the usual story.


    • I agree with Zebulon as far as his attitude, but I am not for censorship. The Dallas doctors were so important the Secret Service sent Elmer Moore over to Parkland in Dec. 1963 to shut them up. Dr. Crenshaw is extremely important. An CE399 is a joke.

      As for John McAdams … whatever nasty comment you want to make is fine with me.

  5. Jonathan says:

    “Prof. McAdams’s Baseless Claim”

    Baseless, as in unfounded.

    Made by one who has studied the JFK assassination. Who acts deliberately, not negligently or recklessly. Deliberately.

    A deliberately unfounded claim. A dishonest claim. Or, perhaps more accurately, a claim made dishonestly.

  6. Ramon F Herrera says:

    There is a very wise saying:

    “Those who are worried to offend have no interest in the truth”.

    It applies perfectly to Professor McAdams.

  7. John McAdams is being quoted in regards to the NOVA special that the forensic evidence in the case disproves conspiracy. Even if there was only one assassin, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a conspiracy and I’d like to know how the forensic evidence proves there wasn’t one.

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