Letters to the Editor

From the issue of April 19, 2001

  JFK and the CIA: We Didn't Do It
Allow me to repeat that we were not part of any conspiracy: I read with much interest Jefferson Morley's fact-filled article on the Revolutionary Student Directorate (DRE) and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy "Revelation 19.63," April 12). For the record no member of the DRE had any involvement in an "assassination conspiracy," as claimed by former Cuban counterintelligence official Fabian Escalante. In retrospect I can see that we unknowingly may have opened a Pandora's box, the extent of which we will probably never know.

I do not agree with the statement of former CIA agent Ross Crozier that the DRE held an "extremely bitter animosity" toward Kennedy. In fact many of us sympathized with his liberal social views. President Kennedy did what any other president would have done at the time, which was, in a very pragmatic way, to put the interests of the United States first. After all, that is what presidents are elected to do.

I have always believed that the "Cuban problem" is exactly that, and only Cubans can place the interest of the Cuban nation above everything else. At this point in history, in my opinion, only a process of dialogue and reconciliation can lead to a pluralistic Cuban society.

As far as the present U.S. policy toward Cuba, I think it is time to correct the errors of the past 40 years. The existing strategy has been a total failure. Exiled Cubans, in spite of our success stories, and especially those on the island, have suffered enough. It is my fervent prayer that this will come to an end.

Luis Fernandez-Rocha, M.D.

JFK and the CIA: Flawed Theory
Spook central may have stonewalled, but forget the conspiracy: I read Jefferson Morley's article with interest. I studied the assassination of President Kennedy for more than a year at the University of Miami School of Law and wrote two papers on the subject. I write now to point out what I think is an oversight by Mr. Morley.

He stated that the House Select Committee on Assassinations' 1979 report "chillingly conclud[ed] that ďin all probability' there had been a conspiracy perpetrated by Oswald and persons whom the committee could not identify." Although this is accurate, Mr. Morley does not address the subsequent denunciation of a piece of "evidence" that was crucial to the committee's conclusion. The committee relied upon a recording of Dallas police radio channels, which it believed recorded a fourth, additional shot (based on inaudible "impulse patterns"), possibly from the infamous grassy knoll.

Since the committee believed Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots, a fourth shot would have had to have come from another shooter. The presence of another shooter would, by definition (absent two unrelated shooters at Dealey Plaza), prove a conspiracy. Shortly after the issuance of the committee's report, however, the police officer at Dealey Plaza, whose open microphone supposedly had been recorded, insisted that the recording was not of his microphone. A private citizen who listened to the recording heard words over the part of it that was supposed to reveal these shots/impulses. He heard: "Hold everything secure," which matched exactly the words recorded on another police channel one minute after the assassination: "Hold everything secure until the homicide and other investigators can get there...." A panel of twelve scientists appointed by the National Academy of Sciences, the Ramsey Panel, concluded that the work of the House Select Committee on Assassinations in this analysis was "seriously flawed." (This information about the flawed acoustical evidence can be found in Gerald Posner's book Case Closed on pages 237-240.)

Thus once this premise of the committee is removed, much of its analysis of conspiracies becomes lost in the murky realm of tangential connections, such as the minimal interactions between Oswald and the Revolutionary Student Directorate, or DRE, in New Orleans during the summer of 1963.

I fully agree with Mr. Morley that the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies were less than cooperative with the Warren Commission and House Select Committee on Assassinations. But I think this says more about the nature of those institutions than about a possible connection to Oswald and the assassination of President Kennedy.

Melissa Ruth

JFK and the CIA: Busted
Oswald, cop killer: In his laudable article regarding the CIA's connection to the Cuban-exile DRE, Jefferson Morley made a misstatement. He wrote, "Ninety minutes later Dallas police arrested a suspect in the shooting [of President Kennedy]: Lee Harvey Oswald." In fact Oswald was taken into custody at the Texas Theater in connection with the murder of Dallas patrolman J.D. Tippit. It was not until Oswald had been questioned for a couple of hours at police headquarters that he began to emerge as a possible suspect in the shooting of JFK.

Robert Dorff
Prescott, Arizona

JFK and the CIA: Oxymoronic Intelligence
If we didn't have our CIA, we wouldn't need a CIA: Here we are on this dusty mote deep on the edge of nowhere, and everybody is all over each others' backs. Without intrigue, power-control struggles, territorial pissing contests, and exclusivity in general, I believe none of us would have a so-called life at all -- thoughts brought to the fore by Jefferson Morley's article "Revelation 19.63."

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