Crumbling consensus: Warren Commission staffer recants, says there was a JFK conspiracy

It has never been any secret that many serious people at the top of the U.S. government did not believe that President Kennedy was killed by a proverbial “lone nut.” But the elites of Washington have always preferred to ignore such suspicions.

Until today, when former New York Times reporter Phil Shenon reports in Politico magazine on the conspiratorial suspicions of one David Slawson, a retired law professor who investigated JFK’s assassination for the Warren Commission and now admits he got it wrong.

Slawson’s views are not unprecedented in elite power circles of Washington. Far from it.

Breaking the ice on JFK

JFK’s successor Lyndon Johnson always believed JFK had been killed by his enemies. JFK’s widow, Jackie Kennedy, and his brother Robert, suspected conspiracy from the very start, confiding their doubts only in the closest of friends. According to a recent biogoraphy, Jackie could not accept the official account of the hail of gunfire that fatally wounded her husband.

Such suspicions were expressed by CIA officials decades ago. Two weeks after the assassination CIA Director John McCone told Bobby Kennedy that film evidence showed the president had been hit by gunfire from two directions. Mexico City station chief Win Scott who oversaw the surveillance of the accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald six weeks before the assassination, later wrote a memoir in which he said Oswald was the instrument of others.

Former President Harry Truman’s reaction to Kennedy’s murder was perhaps the most telling of all. He called for the abolition of the CIA and its secret operations in a column for the Washington Post.

Yet such stories were unknown or ignored. They were the stuff of “conspiracy theorists,” and who could be more contemptible? In the corridors of power in Washington and the newsrooms of the New York Times and the Washington Post (where I worked for 15 years) the documented suspicions of these insiders were confidently dismissed. The overwhelming consensus was that there was no good reason to doubt the official theory of Kennedy’s murder. To talk about, think about, or express an interest in the causes of Kennedy’s death was generally regarded as a sign of political irrationality, if not mental illness.

That is about to change thanks to Shenon’s landmark interview with Slawson who recants his belief in the “lone nut” theory of Kennedy’s death. His change of heart shows suspicions of a JFK conspiracy have finally penetrated into the consciousness of the bright young men who were selected to refute them.

Shenon in Politoco
From Politico, a Warren Commission staffer recants

In 1964 Slawson exemplified the lawyers chosen to investigate JFK’s murder. The product of the finest universities and law school, they were the ones who could put to bed the “rumors” and the “speculation” about the crime of Dallas. They were superior to what Richard Hofstadter called “the paranoid style in American politics.” They were smart, honest, and they knew how Washington worked. And they trusted the very best men of the CIA.

Now they know better. Howard Willens, a colleague of Slawson’s on the Commission, told JFK Facts last year, “I was naive, to say the least, about the CIA.” CIA deputy director Richard Helms and counterintelligence chief James Angleton were “untruthful” with investigators, he admitted.

Slawson told Shenon it had never occurred to him that the CIA “tried to sabotage us.”

Now Slawson, one of the original apostles of the lone gunman gospel, has now rejected his former faith.

Shenon writes:

“Slawson’s most startling conclusion: He now believes that other people probably knew about Oswald’s plans to kill the president and encouraged him, raising the possibility that there was a conspiracy in Kennedy’s death—at least according to the common legal definition of the word conspiracy, which requires simply that at least two people plot to do wrongdoing. ‘I now know that Oswald was almost certainly not a lone wolf,’ Slawson says.”

Slawson’s not the only one. Shenon, author of a recent book about JFK’s assassination, seems to be undergoing the same sickening epiphany as Slawson: Maybe the official story isn’t true.

That’s a thought a lot of people outside of major news organizations and outside of the Beltway have had for a very long time ago. But let’s not begrudge Slawson his recantation. It is welcome, if overdue.

Slawson now believes the Warren Commission

“was the victim of a ‘massive cover-up’ by government officials who wanted to hide the fact that, had they simply acted on the evidence in front of them in November 1963, the assassination might have been prevented. ‘It’s amazing—it’s terrible—to discover all of this 50 years late,’ Slawson says.”

The JFK story is amazing. It is terrible. And it is amazing and terrible that it took so long for a major Washington news organization to acknowledge “the massive coverup” that continues to this day.



82 thoughts on “Crumbling consensus: Warren Commission staffer recants, says there was a JFK conspiracy”

  1. There were many, many people up on Capitol Hill who immediately suspected Lyndon Johnson himself in the JFK assassination. Just ask Robert Parker who spent many years as a factotum for LBJ and who LBJ had secured a position as the maître d’ of the prestigious Senate Dining Room. Robert Parker, btw, had a key to every “hide-a-room” on Capitol Hill, perhaps a hundred of them, so he knew a vast amount of folks in the belly of Wash DC.


    It didn’t take long for the enemies of Lyndon Johnson to crawl out of the Capitol woodwork. “Old LBJ must have had something to do with it,” I heard them say the very next day. The suspicion echoed in every corridor from Senate staff attorneys, legislative aides, waitresses, and tourists. Their grief for John F. Kennedy more their cynicism and dislike of Lyndon Johnson even more intense.
    Blacks, who as a group had always mistrusted LBJ, were no exception. A few days after President Kennedy was buried, Clarence Mitchell, director of the NCAAP’s Washington office, got into a heated discussion about President Johnson with Whitney Young, director of the Urban League. They were standing in the corridor outside the Senate Dining Room. Mitchell called me over. Like most people in the Kennedy camp, Young was upset. It was bad enough to lose a dynamic leader like John Kennedy, but to get Lyndon Johnson in exchange was to rub salt in the wounds of grief. Young was telling Mitchell that everywhere he went he heard someone say LBJ was behind the assassination of Kennedy. Young was concerned about the gossip.
    “Johnson’s not that kind of man,” Mitchell said. Then he turned to me. “Tell him, Robert! You’ve known Johnson ever since you were a kid.”
    As depressed as I was over the death of the president, the accusations of murder leveled at Lyndon Johnson made me even sadder. Although he could be the meanest man in Washington, I knew he was no killer. I defended him. I felt that people like the ones Whitney Young were gossiping didn’t understand LBJ and were not being fair to him. That Lyndon Johnson was bored as vice president was clear to anyone who cared enough to watch him. I had seen him often on the Hill between January 1961, when he took his oath of office, and November 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated. I had served dozens of his private lunches, as well as hideaway parties, which he attended for old times’ sake. President Kennedy had turned him into his messenger boy on the Hill. And Johnson had let it be known that he didn’t like being a toothless old lion.


    Robert Parker’s – “Capitol Hill in Black and White: Revelations of the Inside – and Underside – of power politics” by the black former maître d’ of the Senate Dining Room (1986), pp. 131-132. – Robert Parker was an LBJ insider.

    1. Robert Parker may have felt LBJ was no killer, but he did have a personal “hitman”-Mac Wallace-who many say was one of the assassins on 11-22-63.

  2. Jesse Hemingway

    Slawson now believes the Warren Commission

    “was the victim of a ‘massive cover-up’ by government officials who wanted to hide the fact that, had they simply acted on the evidence in front of them in November 1963, the assassination might have been prevented. ‘It’s amazing—it’s terrible—to discover all of this 50 years late,’ Slawson says.”

    Victim’s, so the wolves guarding the hen house are now the victims.

    The poor scared American public can’t handle the fact it was J. Edgar Hoover and Lyndon B Johnson that created the Blue Ribbon group of people known as the Warren Commission.

    So a Blue Ribbon commission was created to investigate JFK’s execution. So what does that mean legally? History has proven that J. Edgar Hoover and Lyndon B. Johnson both lacked personal and moral integrity and character. So logically if they are the standards that represent the creation of Blue Ribbon commission. Yes yes the Warren Commission members were the poor poor victims.

    1. CYA explanation strikes me as a modified limited hangout. Just like the use of the same excuse for the failures of the government on 9/11.

  3. Mr. Photon,

    Please do me a favor and head over to the thread about Mr.Adams, who recently passed away and who did not buy the WC conclusion. I have asked you and Mr. McAdams some questions about your selection of witnesses you deem credible and which ones have to be—using Mr. McAdams words—debunked. I am curious to know how Howard Brennan is held as credible, but Sibert and McClelland need debunking. Thank you for your time.

  4. @ Photon:
    Your desultory comments are a reminder of the mindless adherence to a lie perpetrated as truth while resting on a foundation of supposition, innuendo, conjecture, and irrational theories. There was no single bullet, but a flurry of bullets that came into the car. There never was a lone nut, but a patsy. There never was a brown bag containing a rifle, nor was the MC rifle paraded before the news cameras ever fired that day. Oswald spoke the truth concerning his location during the execution of JFK. Oswald’s folly was trusting the people who handled him while discovering the JFK plot. THE FBI knew Oswald’s information to them was sound (he was a trusted confidential informant (infiltrator/provocateur). Thus, Marina could only conclude he was guilty because she really didn’t know what Oswald was doing (but his mother suspected he was an informant). When people trust their government, as most Americans pre-1963 did, it is a grand failure, not because individual’s are against the public trust, but because the “government system” is corrupted. We continue to see the depths of corruption revealed as more documents are released. If you want to see the TRUTH about DALLAS, look at the connections between Johnson, Hoover, Dulles, and Organized (Business) Crime. Stop using the worthless Warren Omission Document as a basis to refute the reality of a conspiracy that killed JFK. Hitler said that the bigger the lie the more people will believe it. I say, the longer you tell that BIG LIE, the more people will see past it and what really is behind those defending it: CORRUPTION.

    1. Does raise the question of why our government continues to support such an obvious lie, which inevitably undermines public trust in government. The election and inauguration of Obama in 2009 was an obvious moment when our government could finally have admitted the truth. But, for whatever reason, it did not, and still does not.

      I strongly suspect the real reason is that admitting the truth about the JFK assassination would raise too many questions about 9/11.

      1. Photon, you just blew a chance to tell us-and prove to us-that LHO was the lone shooter/killer. Is it hard to do that?

    2. Rankin: “They found their man. There is nothing more to do. The Commission supports their conclusions, and we can all go home and that’s the end of it.”
      Warren Commission Executive Session of 22 Jan 1964, pg. 14

      It is obvious from reading the minutes of this executive session, that the dye was cast; the Commission would simply rubber-stamp the unfounded pre-conclusion that Oswald was the “lone gunman” who assassinated Kennedy.

      The Warren Commission was a political farce, not an investigation.

      1. Willy,

        Obviously they didn’t “all go home and that’s the end of it.” This was 22 January 1964 and the WC hadn’t even begun taking testimony yet.

        In the transcript you quoted they are talking about a rumor that LHO was an FBI informant and the possible FBI attitude toward their investigation if that were true. (It wasn’t. They tracked the rumor back to someone who admitted making it up.)

        Their comments also show that they thought the FBI summary report on the assassination was inadequate. They didn’t accept it as the final answer.

        1. Jean, “(It wasn’t. They tracked the rumor back to someone who admitted making it up.)”

          Are you referring to William Alexander who worked for Henry Wade? And the scenario when powerbroker attorney Robert G. Storey acting as liaison between the Dallas investigation and the Warren Commission was summoned over night to D.C. by Allen Dulles to “clear things up?”

          I notice recently that you have begun referencing significant events without naming names, maybe in an effort to diminish the importance of the event? Alexander, Wade, Storey and Dulles were involved in this scenario and should be named.

          Obviously if you were referring to another incident the aforementioned does not apply.

          1. Jean, correction, Wade and Alexander flew to DC along with Storey in response to Dulles’ abrupt summons. For an investigation that lacked in adequate funding, this is a rather extreme response to a silly rumor.

            this from PKM, a commenter back in 2013:
            Of course, this led to the executive session on Jan. 27, 1964, spawning the famous phrase “dirty rumor.” Most of the discussion about this point of view centers on the determination of LHO’s status vis a vis the FBI. But the attitude and reaction of the commission to such a “rumor” as something that had to be speedily quashed is itself telling, and is reminiscent of the 11/25/63 Katzenbach memo referring to “rumors and speculation.” The WC Report included a section on Rumors and Speculation that addressed the issue most succinctly.

        2. Yes Jean “Obviously they didn’t “all go home and that’s the end of it.” This was 22 January 1964 and the WC hadn’t even begun taking testimony yet.”

          Of course they had to go through the motions, but as admitted at that meeting those motions would all be set to the agenda of framing Oswald as the lone gunman.
          Yes they were concerned that it would be found out that Oswald was an agent of the government, that is what set their pants on fire in the first place.

          There is absolutely no ambiguity in the result of this meeting, the only way they were going to get through this thing was to play ball with Hoover’s FBI, and the charge to find Oswald guilty.

        3. They found it “inadequate” but was the only real change the inclusion of the magic bullet theory that made the FBI report even less plausible?

          Bottomline, they were working blind with selected information from the intel agencies. They were also led by Warren who had only agreed to the job to squelch foreign conspiracy talk. So they chose to be blind as well.

        4. Despite the Warren Commission’s declaration to thoroughly investigate rumors that Oswald was a paid FBI agent, none of the reporters that had published such stories, Lonnie Hudkins, Joe Goulden, Harold Feldman, were called as witnesses. Neither was Waggoner Carr, the Texas Attorney General that had bought the rumors to the Commission’s attention or Dallas Assistant District Attorney William Alexander who strongly advocated their validity.

          1. The Church Committee, WC, and HSCA found no credible evidence that LHO was ever an FBI informant. There are various accounts of who started this rumor, with people pointing fingers at one another, but it seems to have originated with a reporter, Lonnie Hudkins. Here’s a memo by Rankin I just ran across:


            Type in “Hudkins AND informant” without quotes in the search box here for a good bit more:


          2. The Warren Commission concluded that Oswald was not an agent of the FBI partially based on an “independent review of the Bureau files dealing with the Oswald investigation.” However, Earl Warren refused to accept the FBI files on the grounds that if the Commission looked at them claims would be made to expose the files publicly. The files were returned to the FBI without examination.

          3. David,

            The only reference I see to files being “returned to the FBI without examination” is Meagher’s quoting another CT author who is quoting one of the WC attorneys. On the other hand, your first link refers to the WC’s “independent review of the Bureau files dealing with the Oswald investigation.”

            Even if it could be proven beyond all doubt that the WC examined every scrap of paper in FBI headquarters, it wouldn’t matter. The argument would then be “they sanitized the files” or “they lied.” Right?

          4. “Even if it could be proven beyond all doubt that the WC examined every scrap of paper in FBI headquarters, it wouldn’t matter. The argument would then be “they sanitized the files” or “they lied.” Right?”~Jean Davison

            And what would be unreasonable about those responses? Knowing the MO of both agencies (FBI & CIA), plus the blatant admission by the WC that they would go along with the cover-up, it is most rational to reject the whole Commission project as dissembling and prevarication.

          5. Well Jean, we do know now that material alteration had been discussed at hearings.

            At the Warren Commission’s executive session on January 27th 1964, commissioner Allen Dulles in concluding a discussion on rumors that Oswald was a paid FBI agent said, “I think this record ought to be destroyed. Do you think we need a record of this?”

            A memorandum from Albert Jenner to Warren Commission Counsel J. Lee Rankin on April 10th 1964 discussed a need to sanitize conflicting information about Lee Oswald by saying that “there are details … which will require material alteration and, in some instances, omission”

          6. David,

            “A memorandum from Albert Jenner to Warren Commission Counsel J. Lee Rankin on April 10th 1964 discussed a need to sanitize conflicting information about Lee Oswald by saying that “there are details … which will require material alteration and, in some instances, omission”

            That’s not what it says. Click on the link.

            It says that Ely had written some memos about Oswald in February/March based on media reports. Some of that turned out to be inaccurate, because Jenner’s memo says,”Our depositions and examination of records and other data disclose that there are details IN MR. ELY’S MEMORANDA which will require material alteration and, in some instances, omission.”

            It’s talking about altering Ely’s memos to conform with facts they learned later. NOT about altering info about Oswald.

            This is a dandy example of a secondary source misreading something and misleading his readers. In a speech Armstrong said:

            Warren Commission Attorney Albert Jenner wrote (LEFT-SLIDE 2) “our depositions and examinations of records and other data disclose there are details in Mr. Ely’s memoranda concerning the Oswald’s background which will require material alteration and,in some cases, omission”. The evidence requiring “material alteration and omission” CONCERNING OSWALD’S BACKGROUND is the key to understanding the lives of Harvey and Lee Oswald.
            UNQUOTE (my emphasis)


            Why rely on sources like this to explain what a document says? Read the document!

  5. It is unfair to criticise Slawson for his change of view. In previous years this officialdom change of heart has proven impossible,even in the face of further evidence. He probably waited until he felt unthreatened ,due to advancing age and reducing significance. I feel the spotlight should now turn to Barack Obama. He has a chance to leave us with a great legacy, that being the resolution of a great wrong. Will he do it?

      1. He once wanted “the most transparent administration ever”.
        The question is could he release the files if he really wanted to do so? With GHWB’s signing statement regarding the ARRB does he not still have the right to withhold whatever he deems necessary (even if he is approaching shall we say infirmity)? Even so it could be a parting shot for democracy and his administration, even in January 17. If such an action was reversed by the next administration would it stir public reaction enough to demand release?

  6. Guess I’m in the minority here but I think some of the things he said are good for Truth about the JFK assassination and History.
    I understand the overdue aspect. I am glad it was not a death bed “confession” or statement. The Oswald still did it bit is naive at best. But, “Helms…Angleton…untruthful”, “the CIA tried to sabotage us”, “Oswald was almost certainly not a lone wolf”, “was the victim of a massive coverup by government officials”, “It’s amazing-it’s terrible to discover all of this 50 years late” are all spot on.
    Along with Willens revelation mentioned by Jeff not too long ago Blakey and Lopez of the HSCA had a change of heart regarding the CIA.
    This is all out there in the public realm now. Even if ignored by the MSM that’s a good thing.

    1. I agree with Ronnie’s take on this. Slawson’s comments are a significant part of an important pattern of recanting. Maybe time is finally loosening some tongues.

    2. If you go further, outside the box of “official” investigators there is Antoino Veciana’s ID of Phillips as Bishop, Hunt’s deathbed confession (ahem) and David Indio Morales (CIA) “We Got that Son of a Bitch”

      1. Thanks Ronnie. Of all the ‘death-bed’ confessions I found Chauncey Holt’s the most compelling. I seem to be in the minority on that though.

        If some posters doubt the importance of people like Slawson expressing their doubts about the WC then they should read Photon’s post struggling to rationalise it.

        1. Vanessa, quickly on the topic of “death-bed confessions”(well, in this case we might say death bed “reactions”)when WG lawyer David Belin was near his death from an airplane accident, someone apparently “tested” how bad his condition was by saying to him “It’s official-there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy”. When he got no response from Belin, he figured Belin was breathing his last breaths.

  7. Since we’re on the topic of former Commission staffers, it’s worth noting the following article by counsel Alfredda Scobey from 1965.

    Ms. Scobey reviews the testimony amassed by the Commission from the standpoint of the lawyer who might undertake the defense of Lee Harvey Oswald, had he lived. She argues that Marina’s testimony would have been inadmissible in court and the Walker incident and Tippit’s slaying would likely have been excluded also.

    I am posting a clean version as well as original article, with notations by Harold Weisberg that point out inaccuracies on various points.

    A Lawyer’s Notes on the Warren Commission Report

    A Lawyer’s Notes on the Warren Commission Report (Weisberg)

    The Mysterious Deletions of the Warren Commission’s
    “TOP SECRET” Transcript of January 22, 1964

    1. “History is molded not entirely by events but by men’s judgment of them; the honest, unbiased, factual report of material plus the analysis and conclusions drawn by trained and diverse minds has not only discovered but in a sense created history in our time.”~Alfredda Scobey

      I submit to this forum that the Warren Commission Report was far from an “honest, unbiased, factual report.”

    2. Warren Commission Executive Session of 22 Jan 1964

      “Lee Harvey Oswald, FBI agent – badge #179 ($200. pr mo from Sep 1962 to day of assassination) Source Wagner Carr Attny Gen Texas, info received from District Attorney Wade (former FBI)”

      Read the last page. You’re a fly on the wall witnessing the cover-up of the crime of the century:

      Boggs: “This closes the case, you see. Don’t you see?”

      Dulles: “Yes, I see that.”

      Rankin: “They found their man. There is nothing more to do. The Commission supports their conclusions, and we can all go home and that’s the end of it.”

  8. Howard Willens has a great web site where that includes all of his files. many of the memos have not been publicly available. These memos are very interesting and in my opinion show that the WC effort is more complicated than publicly portrayed. Some members appeared to have diligently tried to find the truth but were stymied by the CIA or the FBI that they relied on to do the footwork. Others seemed prepared to simply adopt the December FBI report as final with some only some cosmetic improvements.

    The sheer volume of requests to Hoover for further investigation on numerous issues or people is illuminating. A sophisticated bureaucrat would have known all they had to do was run out the clock on the WC.

  9. It is impossible to rule out Oswald having been influenced by somebody else; however, even if he was iin contact with individuals in Mexico City there is no evidence that anybody else was involved in the planning or execution.
    At least these revisionist theories start off with the facts-all evidence points to Oswald as the lone shooter, no evidence points to anybody else being involved in the shooting. I suppose that even an innocuous comment from a Cuban Embassy staffer derogatory toward JFK could have set Oswald off on the path to assassination, but without evidence it is pure speculation. Shenon’s book is interesting, but with only colloquial sources hardly definitive.

    1. It’s interesting that a person would rally around a narrow specific point of view (Oswald as lone shooter, no one else involved or suspicious under any conditions) as if his life depended on it.

    2. “..there is no evidence that anybody else was involved in the planning or execution.”~Photon

      To the contrary Photon, there is no evidence that Oswald owned the alleged murder weapon. There is no evidence that Oswald was at the window firing said alleged weapon. But there is an abundance of evidence that Oswald was framed by the very perpetrators of the crime he is accused of.

      How’s that for a more accurate ‘generalization’ than the nonsense you peddle?

      1. H.P. Albarelli Jr.

        “No evidence that Oswald owned the weapon.” I think the evidence is substantial. Begin with the several photos of Oswald holding the weapon. [As well as wearing the handgun.]And consider that he most likely made at least 3 copies of the photos while employed at Jaggers.

        1. There is no documented evidence or eyewitness account proving that anyone ever took possession in March of 1963 of a rifle that had been received at Post Office Box 2915 in Dallas.

        2. “the several photos of Oswald holding the weapon. [As well as wearing the handgun.]And consider that he most likely made at least 3 copies of the photos while employed at Jaggers.”~H.P. Albarelli Jr.

          To say that these photographs are disputed as per their authenticity is an understatement.
          In my opinion they are fake. And this can be proven as the same face appears on all three copies. It is the same shot, and too small on one shot, and the shadows to not align with the light of the rest of the picture to the shadows on this single, triple use photo of Oswald’s face.
          Any analysis that proves the shadow of the figure is correct as per background, is irrelevant – ONLY THE FACE is the paste-on.
          there are other matters involving finding a photo of an officer holding the rifle and magazine showed up years later.

          1. H.P. Albarelli Jr.

            That’s simply not true, Willy. There are three separate photos.Perhaps more… and where did Marina get the photo she sold to LIFE weeks after all the photos had been swept up bu DPD and FBI? she faked a photo also? hardly.

          2. H.P. Albarelli Jr.

            David, do you remember the details of four, any four, photos you took 2 years ago? I suspect not. And your point is with mentioning Marina’s testimony? and the photo she sold to LIFE? Willy- the photos have never been proven to be fake.

          3. “Willy- the photos have never been proven to be fake.”~H.P. Albarelli Jr.

            They have not been proven so by whom? By experts you give credence to?

            I have proven them false myself to my own satisfaction. I am proficient at photo analysis, and trust my own eye.
            I know this idea is shocking to those who are starstruck with “authority”.

          4. I would expect one would recall taking a photo of their spouse holding firearms and communist literature. Particularly details like the location and if one or more photos were taken.

            It is worth noting that much of this ‘evidence’ would not have been admissible in court had Oswald lived to stand trial.

          5. The House Select Committee on Assassinations questioned Marina Oswald about the camera she used to take the photographs, asking if she could “recall whether to take pictures with this camera, you would look down into the viewfinder or whether you would hold the camera up to your eye and look straight ahead” to which Marina answered “I think it is straight” and then answered yes when asked if “you would put the camera up by your eye”. However, the Imperial Reflex camera entered into evidence as the source of the photographs is a camera that one looks down into.

    3. Ramon F Herrera

      [Photon:] “but without evidence it is pure speculation.”


      Mr. Photon:

      Aren’t you aware that what you -and LNs in general- are in essence doing is bragging, again and again:

      “My side can destroy and hide documents, yours cannot”.

      While sticking your tongues at us?

  10. Let me just say I applaud Mr. Slawson. It takes courage at any age to re-evaluate your opinion based on new information and go public with it, especially when it involves something as highly charged and controversial as the JFK case.

    It appears his mind was changed after Shenon showed him new documents with information Slawson did not have previously. The fact he now thinks the CIA (and RFK apparently) covered up details of Oswald’s trip to Mexico is just the start. It’s the gateway to the entire conspiracy.

    1. “It’s the gateway to the entire conspiracy”. How So? Did O really go to Mexico? That’s not his picture and it didn’t sound like him to Hoovers agents. I’ve read “Our Man in Mexico” among other books and still wonder of O got on the bus in front of the FBI agent (Gaudet?).

      1. It’s all the weirdnesses and incongruities and the fact that his meeting with Kostikov (whether you think it was the real Oswald or not) was used by LBJ to form the Warren Commission is what points to conspiracy.

        Mexico City was called the Casablanca of Latin America during the Cold War, and for good reason. Strange that a would-be assassin would just happen to be there leaving a very strange trail just weeks before the assassination.

  11. Yawn.

    Apparently Mr. Slawson managed to ignore five decades worth of solid research that makes a mockery of his Warren Report. As I understand Slawson’s late-life epiphany, the CIA lied and there has been a cover up. Who would have guessed?

    Among his many laughable comments, Slawson thinks “it’s very likely that people in Mexico encouraged him (Oswald) to do this.” Riiiight! Did “people in Mexico” also encourage Jack Ruby to follow the president’s body to Parkland Hospital, hang out around police headquarters all weekend, and murder Oswald in order to save Jackie the emotional trauma of a trial?

    Slawson’s nonsense is not, in any way, a win for the conspiracy side.

  12. Here’s the crux, if there was a conspiracy, then there would have been ‘prosecutorial misconduct’. Important people and institutions would have their reputations tarnished for posterity. Oswald’s estate could sue for damages. Where would it stop? OMG!

  13. I agree with Thomas that it is interesting to see mainstream media people like Shenon start “tiptoeing” toward acknowledgment of a conspiracy. But it greatly saddens me to see Slawson only getting there at age 83. What a difference his testimony that he now believes he (and we) may have been the victim of a coverup would have made 40, 30, even 20 years ago. Now it will probably sink beneath the surface pretty quickly, as an old man’s lament. Politico even helpfully gives the story the categorization of “History Dept.,” presumably to ward off anybody who doesn’t wish to read about “ancient history.”

  14. Slawson is just sad. Rather than look at the facts, and see the obvious: that the single-bullet theory was total hoo-ha, for example, and that his boss Warren and his colleague Specter at the very least knew it was hoo-ha, he can only accept the possibility more than Oswald was involved in the assassination if he simultaneously blames Robert Kennedy for the cover-up. That’s like a global-warming denier finally seeing the light, but only after coming to believe that Bill Clinton and Al Gore’s environmental policies were the main cause of global warming. Pathetic!

    1. I agree, they drag in RFK to avoid the more ominous implications. The fundamental question persists: Why didn’t the CIA have Oswald monitored prior to Nov 22?

      The good news is that any serious researcher that examines this trail must inevitably reach some dark corners. Those corners are now being held to light.

      1. Or is the question — how come the CIA kept such close tabs on Oswald then claimed they didn’t know him after the assassination?

          1. Willy,

            Since your link leads to 171 pages of John Armstrong files, I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

          2. Jean,

            When you get to that page you will see a column to the right. As is clear in the URL, go to that column and click on pg. 786 and move forward from there for the relevant information.

            “Shanklin said that from an initial examination of the photograph of the individual who visited the.Soviet Embassy In Mexico City on October 1, 1963 was heavier, and with more hair. Also the Agents who have talked to Oswald have listened to this tape provided by CIA of the call allegedly made by Oswald to the Soviet Embassy, and they do not think the Individual was Oswald, as his voice is different, and he spoke in broken English. I told Shanklin It Is imperative that we solve the question as to whether there Is another individual involved with Oswald. To this end, a check must be made of Oswald’s whereabouts on or about October 1, 1963, and we must resolve whether there is an A.J. Hidell.”~Tolson, November 23, 1963

            The “Flash Files” are separate from the 201 files normally kept on a single individual
            Oswald 201 File (201-289248). By taking the pre-assassination 201’s and putting them in a temporary flash file index and limiting access to those until after the assassination, and then feeding them back into the 201, created a confusion between stations in and out of the loop.

          3. Willy,

            I see no “page 786” at that link. What is Armstrong’s definition of a “Flash file”? Do you have a quote of some kind?

  15. The mainstream media, typified by Philip Shenon, are tiptoeing carefully into conspiracy areas. They always add caveats like “He (Slawson) still does not buy into any of the popular conspiracy theories,” but the further down the rabbit hole you go the uglier it gets. The untiring conspiracy theorists, warts and all, will eventually be vindicated.

  16. “He now believes that other people probably knew about Oswald’s plans to kill the president and encouraged him, raising the possibility that there was a conspiracy in Kennedy’s death.”

    This statement summarizes why I have always considered the Lone Nut vs Conspiracy debate a false polarity. It can be both. You can have a magic bullet and you can have Oswald shooting and still have a set-up. The most effective assassination is one where somebody else does the shooting (lone nut = Oswald) but you LET IT HAPPEN, MAKE SURE IT HAPPENS, perhaps HELP HIM IN HIS PLANS then step back and blame him.

  17. Message to Slawson:

    Five random, salt-of-the-earth railroad men don’t hallucinate smoke and the smell of gun powder at the same moment in time. There was at least one shot from the front.

    But you’re on the right track!

  18. The theory that Castro supporters in Mexico encouraged Oswald to kill Kennedy makes no sense. As I understand it, the timeline is as follows: In September, Oswald travels to MC, and returns to the US. The trip to Dallas is announced. In October, Oswald, upon the initiative of a third party, obtains employment at the TSBD. In mid to late November, the parade route is announced. Oswald, seizing on this opportunity, kills the president. How could anyone in Mexico have known in September that Oswald would ever be in position to do their bidding? Serendipity defined.

    It’s difficult for me to describe to young people today that there was a time when most people accepted as evidence of truth, the mere fact that a government representative proclaimed it as such. Mark Lane said it best. I have to paraphrase, but I’ll do my best. He said that when he first started discussing the murder of JFK back in the 60’s, the most common objection was “how can you doubt the Warren Commission?” When he speaks to audiences today, that’s a punch line.

  19. Modified limited hangout. It sounds as if Slawson still believes — or says he believes — that Oswald did all the shooting.

    1. Certainly he won’t speculate or assert anything he is not sure of. While not satisfying in terms of offering a cohesive theory, the integrity of that approach does lend all the more credibility to what it is that he does offer, clear knowledge that information essential to the execution of his assignment was “officially” withheld from him in order to thwart him from his duty to that assignment. It will be up to other sources to fill in blanks that he does not have the information for. Suffice to say, he was railroaded.

  20. Slawson said he now believes others knew about “Oswald’s plan to kill the President”. Were those plans Oswald’s alone? Slawson is getting there, but I still have trouble thinking it was only Oswald who had original plans to kill JFK. The others did more than just “encourage him(Oswald)”, they wanted to kill JFK, too.

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