Frequently Asked Questions - 5


DC: What were the top three overlooked leads?
CC: When the category of overlooked leads piles up into the hundreds, I don’t think you can prioritize the top three. And if you think I’m exaggerating, let me expound my answer by saying that in my opinion, every unquestioned witness is an overlooked lead. I could say that we could cite the top three overlooked thematic leads—all of which were provided by eyewitnesses: evidence of extra shots (hitting pavement or earth); evidence of smoke (which was not only seen, but smelled); and the evidentiary value of all of the stills and films taken in Dealey Plaza.

But I am sure you’re referring to specific leads revealed in eyewitness statements. But, again, I say that the general lack of questioning protocol, the lack of centralized eyewitness statements, and the failure to recognize and correct obvious contradictions within eyewitness’ statements all constitute overlooked leads.

Let’s go by the numbers. An investigator for HSCA—without benefit of any disclosed source or methodology—put the number of spectators in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination at a definitive 692. All right—for argument’s sake, let’s go with that number. Of those 692 eyewitnesses, only 57 of them were questioned by local authorities; only 83 of them were called to give testimony or be deposed by the Warren Commission; and only 167 of them were questioned by the FBI. (Forty additional witnesses were never subjected to questioning at all; 37 [mostly police officers and sheriffs] were allowed to simply submit a report, and another three to simply forward an affidavit.)

These numbers, of course, taken as is are highly misleading. It is important to note that my tabulation doesn’t suggest that each agency interviewed different witnesses, for a total of 307 out of 692…which wouldn’t exactly establish complacency on the part of investigators.

No—the base number is most likely 167, since there were no instances where an eyewitness was interviewed by local law enforcement or testified before the Warren Commission but was not questioned by the FBI. But 167, while still not an unreasonable number, is still misleading because there are 65 instances where witnesses did not give or were not asked their opinions about the number or source of the shots. And I am not including instances where an eyewitness actually declared that s/he could not remember, did not form an opinion, was not entirely sure, or did not know. The sixty-five occurrences that I cite are instances where witnesses were being guided through a questioning process by either law enforcement agents or lawyers and were specifically not asked about the number or source of shots, or where law enforcement agents allowed statements without mention of these elements to stand unchallenged.

So, taken as a whole—the number of unasked questions and the number of unidentified eyewitnesses—that’s a lot of overlooked leads.

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