A FRAGMENT OF TRUTH?
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Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999
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.
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. 1This
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.2This inspection occurred after
the car was at least partially cleaned and
washed up while parked at the Parkland emergency
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
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." 4Frazier
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
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
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.
UPDATE!! Former FBI Agent John T. Orr, author of "Analysis
of Gunshots in Dealey Plaza," his independent
researcher convinced the FBI to conduct additional
testing on JFK evidence as late as 1997.
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
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 when assassinated.
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 organic material.
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
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
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
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
"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
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." 14Thus,
downplaying and casting doubt that the material is
Dorman then raises the key issue: Could this bullet
fragment prove the existence of a fourth shot, and
thus, finally a conspiracy?
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
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
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 with the thought of cleaning the rear seat area of the limousine. White House garage photos show there was no cleaning done.BACK
3H p. 432-436 BACK
3H p. 437 BACK
Assassination Records Review Board Final Report p.
Interview of Joe Freeman by Debra Conway, March 23,
ARRB Final Report p. 128 BACK
11.) NARA press release August 13, 1998 "Lab Test
on Kennedy Assassination Evidence Announced by National
Archives and Records Administration. BACK
12.) National 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
CE 567 is pictured
in WC Volume 17 p. 256.