Biggest Whistleblower in JFK Case Ignored


The dwindling number of Americans who profess to believe the official story that Lee Harvey Oswald killed President John F. Kennedy and did it alone may be divided into two basic groups, those who know next to nothing about the facts of the case and those whose livelihoods depend upon believing it.   Actually, there is a considerable degree of overlap between the two groups.  Among the second group of assorted journalists, academics, politicians, government functionaries, etc., there are a considerable number who have decided that the course of ignorance is the safer one to take in such a sensitive matter as this.  There is also a good deal of interaction among the two groups.  The knowledgeable ones in the second group have had to work extra hard convincing the others that it is not even necessary that they know anything about the facts of the JFK assassination in order to have a firm opinion in favor of the official position.  For this they have had to draw heavily upon the “Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression.

The most encompassing of the techniques is #11, what I call reasoning backward or using the deductive method exclusively.  In its baldest form, it begins with the premise that the government and major news media are completely trustworthy and all the messy contrary facts that we might encounter must be molded and shaped to fit that premise.  In the JFK case we see the technique in a microcosm when FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover proclaimed the guilt of Oswald the very next day, before there was any investigation at all, and the facts were then lined up to fit that conclusion.  Anything that goes against conclusions grounded in the essential probity of the government and our major opinion molders may be dismissed as “conspiracy theory.” 

While this supposed argument amounts to little more than the schoolyard name-calling of technique #5, it can wear some pseudo-intellectual trappings.  A favorite one is to invoke the observations of the famous philosopher, Sir Karl Popper, as we see Barack Obama’s “information czar,” Cass Sunstein doing here:

Karl Popper famously argued that conspiracy theories overlook the pervasive unintended consequences of political and social action; they assume that all consequences must have been intended by someone.


Here Sunstein pulls in a bit of technique #4, setting up a ridiculous straw man who would argue that everything is secretly manipulated from behind the scenes, while suggesting that even the most obvious things aren’t.


A favorite blanket argument against the possibility of successful conspiracy, that is, of those who would substitute pure deduction for the examination of evidence, is that some participant in the conspiracy would inevitably spill the beans, we would then all find out about it through the workings of our wonderful free press, and then our vaunted justice system would spring into action and the perpetrators of the high-level crime would be duly punished. 


But we can do better than a mere lowly whistleblower or leaker.  What about a lead investigator of the case who has been thwarted and forced into resignation just as he was about to blow it wide open?  If there were any such person in the Kennedy assassination case we would surely know about it, wouldn’t we?


Ladies and gentleman, I give you Robert K. Tanenbaum as he writes in the introduction of Mark Lane’s 2011 book, Last Word: My Indictment of the CIA in the Murder of JFK:


In early 1977, I first met Mark Lane.  At the time, I was deputy chief counsel to the congressional committee investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy.  During the course of the investigation, I set aside an afternoon every week to listen to individuals who had information they wished to share with me and the committee.  On one such afternoon, Mark Lane came to see me.  Before that, I had never met or spoken to him.  When he entered the office, I stood to welcome him and asked him to be seated.  He refused.  Instead, he handed me a sealed envelope.  I asked him if he had any suggestions or thoughts about its contents.  He said, “When you read the contents, I believe you’ll know exactly what to do.”  Immediately, he left.  I never spoke to him again during the course of the investigation and for more than a decade thereafter.

The document in the envelope was a memo dated November 23, 1963, from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to all bureau supervisory personnel.  In substance, it stated that the FBI agents who had questioned Lee Harvey Oswald for approximately seventeen hours had listened to a tape of a conversation between an individual who identified himself as “Lee Oswald” and an individual in the Cuban embassy.  The conversation had taken place inside the Russian embassy in Mexico City by this faux alleged Oswald who telephoned the Cuban embassy.  The call was made on or about October 1, 1963, just about seven weeks before the assassination.  The Hoover memo noted that the agents categorically concluded that the voice on the tape was not that of Lee Harvey Oswald.  Based upon the evidence adduced during the investigation, I had reason to believe that David Phillips, the third-ranking member of the CIA in charge of Western Hemisphere operations, employed a nom de guerre, Maurice Bishop.  Bishop had significant involvement with anti-Castro Cubans and Lee Harvey Oswald.

I had Phillips subpoenaed to appear before our committee in executive session.  I asked him under oath where we could locate the tape of the so-called Oswald conversation of October 1, 1963, while inside the Russian embassy in Mexico City.  Phillips stated that it was CIA policy at the time to recycle the tapes every six or seven days and it was no longer in existence after the first week in October 1963.  I then handed him the Hoover memo which, according to the FBI director, clearly revealed that the tape was evidently available in Dallas on November 22 and 23, 1963.  Phillips read the memo, then folded it, placed it in his jacket pocket, arose, and walked out of the meeting.

I immediately urged the committee to recall Phillips and advise him to obtain legal counsel so that he be given an opportunity to purge potential criminal charges of contempt and perjury.  Also, there were many more questions that he needed to answer.  I further advised the committee of the urgency of the matter and gave them legal options.  They chose to do nothing.  Thereafter, our staff phones were denied long distance telephone access, “franking privileges” were withdrawn, and staffers’ pay was withheld.

Prior to my assignment with the Congressional Committee, I served as an assistant district attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office under legendary D.A. Frank Hogan.  While there, I tried hundreds of cases to verdict.  I was Bureau Chief of the criminal courts, ran the Homicide Bureau, and was in charge of the training programs for the legal staff.

From experience as a prosecutor, I knew well that there is no political way to investigate a case.  There is no liberal or conservative way to gather evidence and there is no Democratic or Republican way to evaluate it.  Unfortunately, the congressional committee played politics with our investigation and subverted it.  The members breached the trust reposed in them by the American people.  They assured me that whatever the facts revealed would be forthrightly presented to the public.  Regrettably, that was false.

Ironically, Mark Lane was a major moving force to have the committee organized and come to fruition.  He supplied compelling evidence that should have energized the congressional probe; instead, ultimately this evidence led to its demise in terms of credibility and integrity.  Recognizing that the committee was less than sincere in its search for the truth, Chief Counsel Richard Sprague and I tendered our resignations.

There you have it.  Just when the congressional investigation that began so promisingly in 1976 was beginning to get some results, it was gutted and turned into a sham by the congressional committee.  What was exposed was not the conspiracy behind the murder of our courageous national leader, rather, it was the true allegiance of the men and women who are supposed to represent the American people. 

That there was a conspiracy to murder JFK and that the CIA was in it up to its eyeballs is revealed by what Tanenbaum has told us.  The CIA had created the legend that Oswald had traveled to Mexico City, had sought to contact the Soviet agent there involved in dirty operations like assassinations, and through the good offices of the Soviet embassy was making arrangements to travel to Cuba, presumably after he had killed the American president.  This was the story that Lyndon Johnson and the CIA had privately foisted off on Judge Earl Warren to frighten him into putting the whole blame on Oswald acting alone, lest we run the risk of nuclear holocaust should the Soviet-Cuban involvement in the assassination be revealed.  (Even today, the University of Virginia’s prestigious Miller Center is embellishing the Cuban connection to Oswald by stating that he had actually traveled to that country.)

The FBI memo that Mark Lane had obtained revealed that the Mexico City “Oswald” was an impostor, and the House investigator, Tanenbaum, had caught the CIA’s Phillips lying about it.  Rather than Phillips being charged with perjury and contempt of Congress for walking out without being excused, Tanenbaum and Chief Counsel Sprague were undercut by their superiors.

Sprague was replaced by Justice Department official and former Notre Dame law professor G. Robert Blakey.

Unlike Sprague, who had insisted upon using the power of subpoena to obtain documents and testimony and who had assembled a group of talented and brilliant counsel, Blakey relied upon the judgment of the CIA and FBI, who placed their operatives on his staff and who provided only those documents what they wanted the Congress to see.  The congressional committee had been captured.

Blakey signed the [CIA] secrecy agreement [which Sprague and Tanenbaum would not sign] and required that all those who worked for him do the same.  He opposed the use of subpoenas he cleared the FBI and the CIA of complicity in the murder, and he refused to explore the CIA’s activities in Mexico City.  -  Lane, Last Word, p. 232

Worse yet, the person Blakey appointed to secure information from the intelligence agencies was “retired” CIA operative, George E. Joannides, whose close association with a militant anti-Castro group at the time of the assassination could well have made him a suspect himself.

Why Don’t We Know?

Readers will have to excuse me for recycling the section heading above from my previous article, “‘Jews’ Tried to Kill Truman in 1947.”   Unfortunately, it is all too appropriate, and the answer to the question is essentially the same.  We don’t know that the House committee on assassinations was taken over by the CIA and we don’t know about the resignations of Sprague and Tanenbaum and the reasons behind them because of the thorough use of the first of the Seventeen Techniques.  Our vaunted free press has dummied up.

There are many parallels that come to mind, but the closest, and perhaps even more egregious is that of the resignation of Kenneth Starr’s chief investigator/whistleblower, Miguel Rodriguez, in the Vincent Foster death case.  The press didn’t report it when he resigned and was trying his best to get the word out about the cover-up, and they failed to report it again when we discovered and published his resignation letter.    They also failed to report that an addendum that thoroughly undermines Starr’s conclusion of suicide had been appended to his report over his strenuous objections by the 3-judge panel that appointed him.

But in no area has the corruption of the U.S. news media been more obvious, from the Saturday Evening Post’sview from the sniper’s window” to the suppression of the news of the bullet hole in the limousine windshield, than in their reporting on the case of the assassination of our 35th president.

David Martin

June 8, 2012



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