A New Look at CE 567
Recently, Warren Commission Exhibit
567 has become a very interesting piece of evidence
in the JFK assassination. What is CE 567? CE 567 is
a bullet fragment. Photos
was found in the presidential limousine after an
inspection of that vehicle by Assistant Special Agent
In-Charge (ASAIC) of the White House Detail Floyd Boring
and Deputy Chief of the Secret Service Mr. Paul J. Paterni. 1 This
inspection occurred in the White House garage on the
night of the assassination, beginning at 10:10 p.m. and
lasting until 12:01 a.m. Nov. 22, 1963. Boring and Paterni
brought this bullet fragment to the attention of SS liaison
officer with the FBI, Orin Bartlet, who personally brought
it to the FBI lab delivering it to FBI agent Robert Frazier.2 This inspection occurred after
the car was at least partially cleaned and washed up
while parked at the Parkland emergency entrance. 3
Prior to Boring and Paterni's inspection, SS agent Sam
Kiney examined the limousine while onboard a C-130 transport
that was taking the presidential vehicle back to D.C.
And Boring's inspection occurred prior to an official
FBI inspection which started at 1:00 a.m. Nov. 23, 1963.
According to the Warren Commission's version of the assassination
there were three shots: One missed all occupants of the
presidential limousine and the limousine itself, one
became the highly controversial CE 399, the magic bullet,
inflicting all the non fatal wounds in President Kennedy
and Connally, and the third and final shot hitting President
Kennedy in the head and killing him. This bullet fragment
is believed to be from the bullet that hit JFK in the
Supposedly, this bullet fragmented when it hit President
Kennedy in the head. This in itself is odd as the bullets
were supposedly all copper jacketed lead core military
type ammunition designed not to fragment. And "officially" CE
399 hit hard bone in Governor Connally, striking his
5th rib, breaking off a five inch piece, then continued
on and hit his wrist --yet did not fragment at all.
FBI agent Robert Frazier testified to the Warren Commission
that CE 567, "consists of a piece of the jacket
portion of a bullet from the nose area and a piece of
the lead core from under the jacket." 4 Frazier
based his conclusion that this is from the nose area
of a bullet based on "the fact that the bullet has
a rounded contour to it which has not been mutilated."5
Interestingly, Frazier himself mentions seeing substances
on both front seat fragments (CE 567 and CE 569) in his
Warren Commission testimony:
Mr. EISENBERG. Getting back to the two bullet fragments
mentioned, Mr. Frazier, did you alter them in any way
after they had been received in the laboratory, by
way of cleaning or otherwise?
Mr. FRAZIER. No, sir; there was a very slight residue
of blood or some other material adhering, but it did
not interfere with the examination. It was wiped off
to clean up the bullet for examination, but it actually
would not have been necessary.
Mr. EISENBERG. Is that true on both fragments?
Mr. FRAZIER. Yes, sir.
Mr. EISENBERG. You also mentioned there was blood
or some other substance on the bullet marked 399. Is
this an off-hand determination, or was there a test
to determine what the substance was?
Mr. FRAZIER. No, there was no test made of the materials. 6
It's possible that the material Frazier refers to as
having been wiped of CE 567 was kept with the bullet
fragment, all of which being considered CE 567.
Ignoring its history for the moment, someone brought
to the attention of Attorney General Janet Reno in 1995
that this fragment may have embedded in it tiny strands
of fiber that this unknown writer believed came from
President Kennedy's shirt collar.
In January 1996, John Keeney, Acting Assistant Attorney
General, wrote to FBI Director Louis Freeh requesting
that the FBI "Initiate an inquiry into specific
aspects of the assassination theory related to collected
bullet fragments and residues now in the possession of
the federal government."7
Who made this request to Janet Reno is unknown to this
author. What -- if anything -- was done by the FBI or
if this was handled, or was attempted to be handled separate
from the activities of the Assassination Record Review
Board (ARRB), is unknown to this author.
At some point the ARRB, per its congressional mandate
to open up the Kennedy assassination files, found that
the Firearms Examination Panel of the House Select Committee
on Assassinations, a Congressional committee that investigated
the assassination of President Kennedy as well as Dr.
King's assassination in the 1970's, recommended analysis
of CE 567 19 years ago. "For unknown reasons the
Panel's recommendation did not appear in the HSCA's March
1979 final report." 8
The ARRB investigated by contacting former HSCA staff
members to determine why this recommendation was deleted
from the report. No one knew why the recommendation was
According to Joe Freeman, an ARRB staffer who located
the HSCA Firearms Panel members, no one could remember
seeing residue, or they didn't think it was important
at the time. The member who made the recommendation,
John Bates, remembered only after Freeman refreshed his
memory. No follow-up on the testing recommendation was
done as far as any of them knew.9
In March 1996, the ARRB, the FBI, the Dept. of Justice
and NARA began a series of meetings to discuss re-examination
of the ballistic evidence. In June of 1996, the FBI provided
a report to the Board stating that an analysis could
be conducted on the fibers adhering to CE 567 and the
materials composing the shirt and tie the president wore
The ARRB's Final Report is kind to NARA, but after more
than two years of obstruction NARA finally agreed
to limited testing of CE 567 to complete the earlier
HSCA recommendation. NARA appears to have decided what
to test and how. Of note is NARA's determination to also
study CE 567 for "suspected biological tissue and/or
organic material, the presence of which was noted by
the HSCA in 1978 and by the FBI in 1996."10
The Archives issued a press release announcing that CE
567 would be tested on August 13th, 1998. They describe
CE 567 as five fragments -- one large copper and lead
fragment and four smaller pieces of possibly organic
material. They stated that the bullet fragment still
has "fibrous/plant debris adhering to it. The NARA
press release stresses that the testing will be done
on the fibrous material on the bullet fragment, not the
fragment itself, and on the four small pieces of possibly
This press release quotes Archivist of the United States,
John Carlin, "Although NARA initially was reluctant
to engage in any testing that might alter an evidence
item I was persuaded to the contrary by the Review Board's
finding that the testing of the fiber was recommended
by the Firearms Examination Panel of the House Select
Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1979. This recommendation
was not in the published Final Report of the Committee
and thus the testing was never done. I agree with the
Board that conducting limited testing to complete this
unfinished business, is in the public interest." 11
It only took two years to get Carlin to allow the testing
to take place.
The release goes on to state that the material in question
might be from clothing the president was wearing or it
might be from material the bullet fragment was wrapped
in, or the tests may prove inconclusive.
I found this line troubling, "NARA choose the FBI
laboratories for the analysis as the best equipped and
most expertly staffed for the purpose." The FBI
lab is not accredited with any institution and has been
heavily criticized lately.
The ARRB was to select one or more independent observers
to verify the appropriateness of the procedure and to
be present throughout the testing, each phrase of which
will be thoroughly documented.
According to Doug Horne, former ARRB Senior Staffer,
one observer was Tracy Shycoff, the former Deputy Director
was selected for this duty, along with Freeman who attended
the preliminary examination by the FBI. These two ARRB
staffers are hardly qualified to "verify the appropriateness
of the procedure," nor were they "present throughout
the testing," as testing continued with the AFIP
after the FBI's testing.
I would like to see the documentation of the testing.
It begs the question where would one get it from? I would
hope such material would be classified as assassination
records and placed in the collection. But it is unknown
if this was done.
The ARRB's Final Report shows a black and white photograph
of CE 567. No photo accompanied the NARA press release.
The very issue of this ongoing testing may be one of
several reasons why both Mr. Carlin and Mr. Steve Tilley
suddenly left the room (in the original archives) during
the ARRB's press conference once handed a copy of the
ARRB's Final Report and did not take any questions.
I was unaware of the exact nature of what was being tested,
foolishly relying on the poorly reproduced photo in the
ARRB's Final Report. Imagine my shock when researcher
Vern Pascall provided me with color copies of photographs
of CE 567 he ordered from the Archives. We are not merely
talking about fibers adhering to CE 567, nor tiny microscopic
particles embedded in CE 567. There are four large particles
of organic material with the bullet fragment in the pictures
of CE 567! I say again, FOUR LARGE PARTICLES! They are
separate and distinct from the bullet fragment, and appear
to be separate from each other. The four large particles
are almost the size of the bullet fragment itself.
These four particles appear to adhere to each other slightly.
There appears to be cotton wadding fiber attached to
this material. The fibers are attached to them, not CE
567. If any fibers are attached to the bullet fragment
they were not readily apparent to this author viewing
the color photos.
What is this material and where did it come from? There
is no mention of such organic material being part of
CE 567 in the Warren Commission volumes. Whatever was
in the HSCA was buried and may only now be available.
I don't know of any RIF document numbers that might pertain
to CE 567. I look forward to seeing the exact documentation
of the HSCA's original recommendations.
The ARRB closed up shop September 30th, 1998.
On February 19th, 1999 NARA announced a statement on
the status of the lab testing on CE 567. "Examination
of four small pieces of possibly organic material showed
that the material consisted of human tissue in varying
states of preservation. Samples were taken of each of
the four pieces and were submitted to the Armed Forces
DNA Identification Laboratory for mitochondrial DNA analysis.
The initial tests were inconclusive, so additional samples
were submitted for analysis. NARA has monitored the testing
and awaits the final results of the tests.Results of
these tests may be compared to DNA samples from other
Warren Commission exhibits."12
It needs to be stressed that each of the four "possible
organic fragments had samples removed from them twice.
Once for the FBI test, and now once for the Air Force
DNA ID lab.
On February 20th, Michael Dorman, staff writer for Newsday wrote
an article on this which rather sensationalized the story
and added some confusion. Dorman wrote that federal officials
"may soon ask blood relatives of President John
F. Kennedy and the late Texas Gov. John Connally to submit
body tissue samples for DNA tests aimed at resolving
lingering questions about the Kennedy assassination." 13
To date it is unknown if any federal officials have asked
for such samples from blood relatives of either President
Kennedy or Governor Connally.
Dorman quotes Steve Tilley, the archivist in charge of
the JFK Records Collection, who despite NARA's own statement
that the material is human states, "The FBI laboratory
was unable to identify the material. We know the material
is organic - but that's about it. The next step is for
the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology to conduct DNA
tests." 14 Thus,
downplaying and casting doubt that the material is human.
Dorman then raises the key issue: Could this bullet fragment
prove the existence of a fourth shot, and thus, finally
Remember, officially, there were three shots, one missed,
two becomes CE 399, the magic bullet, inflicting all
the non-fatal wound in JFK and Connally, and three hits
JFK in the head killing him. This head shot fragmented,
so officially CE567 must be from the head shot, as CE
399 did not fragment.
Dorman consults with Secret Service agent Lem Johns.
As there is some kind of fiber attached to the bullet
fragment, and the organic particles, and there is a nick
in the tie JFK was wearing when assassinated Johns believes
the fragment may have been a bullet that hit the tie.
Since CE 399 did not fragment, and as the Warren Commission
postulated, passed through JFK's neck, we would have
another shot to the neck area, thus a fourth shot.
However, Johns' statement ignores some solid facts. Harold
Weisberg proves in his book Post Mortem that
the tie was nicked not by a bullet but by a scalpel as
the clothes were cut away in order to expedite resuscitative
measures at Parkland hospital. In addition, the collar
-- which some mistakenly believe the bullet also passed
through as it then went on to braise the knot in the
necktie -- likewise does not contain holes. These are
slits and they do not match up or correspond with each
other indicating the path of one item through the collar.
And of more importance is the fact that Dr. Kemp Clark
repeatedly stated in a press conference at Parkland hospital
that the neck wound was one of entrance.15 He
was by no means alone in that assessment.
However, the possibility remains that CE 567's organic
materials could prove a fourth shot. As previously stated
CE 567 is believed to be from the head shot. Therefore,
it is inconceivable for any Connally material to be adhering
to CE 567. As all of Connally's wounds are attributed
to CE 399, if this organic material comes from Connally
then we have a whole new ballgame.
ARRB interview with Floyd Boring by ARRB staffers Dr.
Joan Zimmerman and Doug Horne, September 18th, 1996.
See MD # 259 in ARRB medical materials released to
the public July 31,1998. BACK
3H 435 BACK
See LIFE magazine November 1983 p. 56-57 wherein a previously
unpublished photograph clearly shows a metal bucket by the
foot of a motorcycle policeman. Another unidentified man is
leaning half into the car apparently cleaning the limousine. BACK
3H p. 432-436 BACK
3H p. 437 BACK
Assassination Records Review Board Final Report p. 127 BACK
Interview of Joe Freeman by Debra Conway, March 23, 1999. BACK
ARRB Final Report p. 128 BACK
press release August 13, 1998 "Lab Test on Kennedy
Assassination Evidence Announced by National Archives and
Records Administration. BACK
Archives Statement on Status of Lab Test on Kennedy Assassination
Evidence dated February 19, 1999 . BACK
"DNA Tests On A JFK Bullet? / Relatives may give
samples Newsday 2/21/99 BACK
See Press Conference 1327-C, from the traveling White House.
This is the first press conference of the LBJ Administration
and is available from the LBJ Library. BACK
CE 567 is pictured in WC
Volume 17 p. 256.