His name was Clay Shaw. He was a wealthy, discreetly gay, businessman in New Orleans. He was indicted by District Attorney Jim Garrison for conspiring to kill JFK. When his case came to trial in 1969, Shaw was swiftly acquitted. He died in 1974. In Oliver Stone’s “JFK”, Shaw was played by Tommie Lee Jones.
In my view, there is no
compelling evidence that Clay Shaw was involved in a conspiracy to kill the President Kennedy. Nonetheless, is is true that a CIA official later described Shaw as “a highly paid contract source” for the agency in the 1950s — something the agency stoutly denied when Shaw was on trial.
Now in 2015, straigh from the Washington Decoded blog comes an appreciative review of the very first biography of Clay Shaw, entitled Man of a Million Fragments. The book is written by Donald Carpenter.
Carpenter, rather than indict or exonerate Shaw for his actions in 1963, performs a useful service. He seeks to tell the story of Shaw’s life and let the event of 1963 fall into place.
In his review, Stephen Roy strives to put the case against Shaw in context. He identifies four key questions about the man
1) “Did he [Shaw] ever associate with David Ferrie and Lee Harvey Oswald?
2) Did he ever use the alias Clay Bertrand?
3) Did he ever work for the Central Intelligence Agency?
4) Did he commit perjury in testimony about these matters?”
For the rest of Stephen Roy’s review, click here.