Is ‘The Truth About Dallas’ credible?

As the JFK critical literature continues to grow, we would like to lay out one last time how we arrived at our conclusions, and why we are as confident as ever about what happened during those fateful days in Texas.

With those words, former Warren Commission staffers Howard Willens and Richard Mosk restated the case for why Americans should believe the official theory of JFK’s death.

I invite readers to comment on the findings of Willens and Mosk (which appear in the summer issue of the American Scholar) and why young people should believe them or not.

Howard Willens

Howard Willens, Warren Commission defender

I will publish the five most illuminating and incisive responses as follow-up posts in JFK Facts. These comments will not appear in the Comments section of the site. They will appear as bylined blog posts.

Willens spoke with JFK Facts in September 2016 about his experiences on the Warren Commission. I gave my reaction at that time.

Requirements: You have to read and comment on the entire article, not just the portion that is available for free. Your comment must not be more than 750 words. Responses that include links to relevant documents will receive priority.

Source: The American Scholar: The Truth About Dallas – Howard P. Willens and Richard M. Mosk



From a 5-Star Amazon review of Jefferson Morley’s CIA and JFK: The Secret Assassination Files,

“Can’t imagine a more meticulous take down of the CIA’s decades-long subterfuge surrounding the assassination.”

Jefferson Morley’s new ebook, CIA and JFK: The Secret Assassination Files, available on Amazon, provides the fullest account of the role of CIA operations officers in the events leading to the death of JFK, with a guide to what will be declassified in October 2017.



  1. Ronnie Wayne says:

    Let’s back up. So one has to pay $10 bucks to comment or be a member of Phi Beta Kappa to do so for “free”? Did I misinterpret the qualifications for participation?

  2. Kennedy63 says:

    The article can also be read on this website without subscription or log in:

  3. Tom says:

    My takeaway from the article is that a lot of intelligent, patriotic Warren Commission lawyers and investigators thought, naively, that government agencies were beyond reproach. Instead, they were told half-truths, fed misinformation or led down blind alleys. Years later came the epiphanies and the attempts, like the American Scholar article, to justify their investigation in spite of them.

    It is all human nature in the end—a president trying to prevent war, investigators trying to justify their conclusions and government agencies trying to save face, save jobs, or much worse.

    • Bill Clarke says:

      October 4, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      “It is all human nature in the end—a president trying to prevent war”

      Can you please tell me what exactly JFK did to prevent war in Vietnam?

      • Tom Bason says:

        Sorry Bill, I was referring to LBJ and his creation of the Warren Commission to forestall rumors of war with Russia as a result of the assassination.

  4. Gary Aguilar, says:

    Willens’ defense of the work of the Warren Commission he served on is more notable for what he omits from the official record than what he includes. “What the critics often forget or ignore,” Willens writes, “is that since 1964, several government agencies have also looked at aspects of our work,” as if the Church Committee and the HSCA had reviewed and applauded the Commission’s work. Indeed, they did look at it, issuing stinging rebukes, principally for the Commission’s having been rolled by J. Edgar Hoover and, to a lesser extent, by the CIA and the Secret Service.

    “It must be said that the FBI generally exhausted its resources in confirming its case against Oswald as the lone assassin,” the HSCA concluded, “a case that Director J. Edgar Hoover, at least, seemed determined to make within 24 hours of the of the assassination.” In sum, they concluded that Hoover had divined the solution to the crime before the investigation, and then his agents confirmed his epiphany. The intimidated Commission went right along. And with good reason, only part of which Mr. Willens tells.

    He admits that the “FBI had originally opposed the creation of the Warren Commission” and that Hoover “ordered investigations of commission staff members.” But he doesn’t tell that Hoover deployed one of his favorite dirty tricks to deal not only with support staffers, such as Mr. Willens, but also with the commissioners themselves. “[D]erogatory information pertaining to both Commission members and staff was brought to Mr. Hoover’s attention,” the Church Committee reported.

    Mr. Willens forgot to mention that Hoover had a personal spy on the Commission, Rep. Gerald Ford, who tattled on Commissioners who were skeptical of the Bureau’s work. “Ford indicated he would keep me thoroughly advised as to the activities of the Commission,” FBI Agent Cartha DeLoach wrote in a once secret memo. “He stated this would have to be done on a confidential basis, however he thought it should be done.” On the memo, Hoover scrawled, “Well handled.” Hoover’s success was obvious to subsequent investigators.

    HSCA chief counsel Bob Blakey was impressed with neither the Commission’s vigor nor its independence. “What was significant,” Blakey wrote, “was the ability of the FBI to intimidate the Commission, in light of the Bureau’s predisposition on the questions of Oswald’s guilt and whether there had been a conspiracy. At a January 27 [1964] Commission meeting, there was another dialogue [among Warren Commissioners]:

    “John McCloy: ‘… the time is almost overdue for us to have a better perspective of the FBI investigation than we now have … We are so dependent on them for our facts … .’
    “Commission counsel J. Lee Rankin: ‘Part of our difficulty in regard to it is that they have no problem. They have decided that no one else is involved … .’
    “Senator Richard Russell: ‘They have tried the case and reached a verdict on every aspect.’
    “Senator Hale Boggs: ‘You have put your finger on it.’ (Closed Warren Commission meeting.)”

  5. Bogman says:

    I realize Mr. Willens is probably well-intentioned, but to ignore the vast body of documents released since the JFK Records Act and the resulting revelations that Morley and other researchers have discovered through their diligence is insulting.

    And to constantly point to the HSCA as bolstering the WC’s case while ignoring the fact that its top chief – Robert Blakey – has completely disavowed ANYTHING the CIA told his investigators because of the Joannides outrage, among other deceptions.

    Even Willens admits he was exasperated with Helms’ ridiculous excuses during the ’70s on why the CIA never told the WC about plots against Castro.

    And really, when a mobster is best friends with the appointed head of executive action for the agency – Bill Harvey – who is an avowed enemy of the Kennedys who they demanded he be THROWN OUT of the agency, not fricking PROMOTED and get more autonomous power.

    That relationship has yet to be fully investigated. Just one of many threads that still need to be.

    Sorry, Mr. Willens, I’m sure you felt like you did your best but the nation’s leading spooks had other ideas on the course of the investigation.

  6. Bogman says:

    i will give Willens and the pro-WC crowd this: no solid evidence of the CIA’s direct involvement in Dealey Plaza that day has surfaced. There’s highly suspicious if not incriminating evidence of CIA activities before and after, but no ‘smoking gun’ that ties them directly to the shooting. But that might be the result of agency operatives who know how to pull off political assassinations without being detected.

    What would that evidence look like? To me, it could be evidence that CIA operatives or assets were in Dallas that day, such as Harvey, Morales, Phillips, Sturgis, Joannides, etc. At this late date, I dont think we could expect much more than that but it would be enough.

    We would also need a plausible scenario how the agency was able to frame Oswald so well, whether he was a shooter or non-participant.

    The evidence we do have of direct CIA involvement are wisps of uncorroborated evidence here, hearsay evidence there. They include:

    o Veciana’s identification of Oswald with Phillips in Dallas in September
    o the man behind the grassy knoll who showed current Secret Service credentials, which I believe the CIA was in charge of producing or had access to
    o admissions of guilt or pre-knowledge by Morales, Martino, Hunt, Phillips, etc., usually from second-hand sources but good ones – family members and close friends
    o the bullets from the Oswald gun were from a lot surreptitiously purchased for the CIA

    Thoughts anyone?

    • Jean Davison says:

      “We would also need a plausible scenario how the agency was able to frame Oswald so well, whether he was a shooter or non-participant.”

      The fact that after all these years no one has offered a plausible scenario showing how Oswald could have been framed is a sure sign that’s not what happened.

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