DC: You write a lot about the failure of law enforcement to consistently
follow up with many witnesses or proper questioning protocol. Why do you
think this happened?
CC: There’s no question that this happened; the theories as to why it happened
abound, and I don’t espouse one particular notion. I believe the failure was
deliberate, and I believe that hastily constructed conclusions and a mandate
for establishing those conclusions were at least some of the factors involved.
Another factor that cannot be downplayed was the lack of cooperative efforts
by the local and federal agencies, each of which undoubtedly felt some sense
of superiority or at least jurisdiction…until the FBI swooped in and took control.
Now—do I believe that all of these failures were designed for the singular purpose
of avoiding any evidence of a conspiracy? Absolutely not. But any complacency
of an “official” body, charged with the responsibility of solving the murder
of the President of the United States, and with unlimited resources to facilitate
that responsibility, is no better than if that body had conspired to devise an
elaborate cover up. Sometimes neglect is just as effective a tool as the proactive
destruction or hiding of evidence.
For example, Edna Case, a manager at the Macmillan Publishing Company, was watching
the motorcade from the window of the company’s third floor office. The day after
the assassination, she told the FBI (incredibly enough) that she did not hear
any shots. Despite her self-admitted lack of value as a material witness, she
was interviewed two more times. Conversely, Marilyn Sitzman—Abraham Zapruder’s
secretary, who was holding on to Zapruder as he filmed history’s most infamous
home movie—was never questioned by any law enforcement agency, nor called before
either of the official governmental investigative bodies to testify. This was
not a witness who was hiding back in the shadows of one of the buildings in Dealey
Plaza, or lost in the three-people-deep crowds gathered at the intersections;
this was someone whose presence was broadcast on television immediately after
the assassination, and mentioned each and every time Abraham Zapruder spoke with
the authorities (well…both times).
As another example, I return to amateur photographer Robert Croft. After the
assassination, Croft could not make himself immediately available to the authorities;
the fact that he was in Dealey Plaza at all was a bit of a fluke, as Dallas was
just a stop-over on his way to Denver, Colorado. Despite the fact that he left
the plaza quickly in order to catch his train, FBI agents were waiting for him
at his Denver office when he arrived for work the following morning.
These two examples alone establish enough of a precedent that most failures on
the part of law enforcement and investigative bodies cannot be explained away
with rote “lack of man power and resources” or “benign ignorance” excuses.