Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Joseph Backes on McCone-Rowley From www.jfklancer.com/forum Sat Sep-18-04

#19036, "Beware of LHO document of unknown origin

Over the weekend of September 11th-12th a document, purportedly from John McCone, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency to James J. Rowley, Chief of the Secret Service giving remarkable information on Lee Harvey Oswald's background was widely circulated. DO NOT ASSUME THIS DOCUMENT IS REAL. It's authenticity is an open question. DO NOT CONTACT ARCHIVES II ASKING FOR IT. THEY ARE OF THE OPINION IT DOES NOT EXIST IN ARCHIVES II. IT MAY BE A HOAX. ...

The LHO document, might be fake, might not be a fake. It's provenance is certainly in question.I got this over that weekend, as a one page scan. Then I got the 3 pager version. I went to Archives II on Monday September 13th and discovered the RIF# given, 121-10002-10136, did not match this document. The RIF# given was most likely associated with this document through a simple search of the JFK database by inputting the number "CO-2-34, 030" seen on page one which will give you 3 hits. You think great! The 3rd one looks like it should match.But, no. It's not.I thought I was given a document with a RIF#. If this was correct I had to see the original in Archives II. The RIF# given did not match the document. That is all I was able to discover. No one should go off and denounce it as fake based solely on that, or being even more lazy cry it's fake based solely on looking at it.BTW, I was the only one inquiring about it on Monday. There were only 3 people looking at JFK records that day. Malcolm Blunt, myself, and Patricia Lambert. I was the only one looking for this particular document that day. The document raises several interesting questions. I want to focus on a question that has nothing to do with the content of the document. What do we as a research community do with documents that are not in the JFK Records Collection at Archives II, that do not have RIF#s? I think we're a bit spoiled by the RIF system. Obviously documents were released to individual members of the public, or the public at large before the JFK Act. Since the JFK Act dealt primarily with documents that were still classified after a certain date, I believe as of a date in Oct. 1992, documents declassified or released prior to that did not go into the JFK Records Collection and therefore did not get RIF#s. Also, there are records at Archives II that are open to the public and accessible to researchers but are not in the database. This is true of many Warren Commission records. So, there are places to look in Archives II that are outside of the online JFK database. There are also JFK records outside the jurisdiction or control of NARA. There are documents released over the years through the work of private researchers, through FOIA, and other means. There are records in private collections in libraries, for example there are records at Texas Christian Univesity (TCU) under the Jim Wright (former congressmen) collection. Also, there are also records at TCU from a guy who was the president of the Chamber of Commerce who presented JFK with a hat and boots at the breakfast in Ft. Worth on the morning of November 22, 1963. There was a man who worked for TIME/LIFE magazine who kept many records that Wallace Millam found at a library, or university in, I think Tennessee. (Sorry I'm doing this from memory, and I do not have total recall.) Now most of these records are available, and one can check that a document is there. All JFK docments regardless of where they came from should have a highly detailed accounting of exactly where they came from and how a researcher or author got them so that source documents can be verified. This is pretty basic stuff. But, unfortunately, it is not well practiced by some members of the research community. Ed Sherry, or Ed Tatro, or their "source," or James Richards, or Dick Russell must come forward with the necessary information as to where this document came from. That would save a lot of time and effort in trying to discover the source. And then we could validate its authenticity. I am not interested in getting any credit for the discovery. I did not discover this. Ed Sherry says he got it from Ed Tatro. Ed Tatro says he got it from "a source" who does not want to be named. (I can come up with one if he doesn't want to use his own.) But, I also had a second source through Larry Hancock, an Australian researcher James Richards who provided the full three pages. But, only Ed Sherry gave me a RIF#. Ed Sherry gave me only one page of the document, and a RIF#. Ed sent a RIF number with a link to the database, as if he was providing a link to the specific RIF. You can't do that. It doesn't work that way. And he also copied the RIF info, well almost. He chopped off the top of it. I think he did a simple search for the number one sees on the doc, C0-2-34. 030. If you put this into the JFK database you get 3 hits. And only one looks like it matches the doc. So, there was a possibility it could be easily found in Archives II. But, nope. So, where to go from here? First off, please stop calling, emailing, or otherwise pestering the Archives II staff for this document. A gentleman was tasked with finding it, Jim Mathis. He spent nearly 3 weeks trying to find it. Unofficially, he told me that officially (yes, I like the contradiction too, but cut him some slack, he doesn't get to make any official policy like that) the position of the Archives II staff is that the document is not in the Archives. This may well be the case. However, it could be there somewhere. There are a lot of places this document could be hiding. Without more information from where it came from it's a near hopeless task of finding it. Without checking anything in the database, or other guide material, but just off the top of my head I can think of several places it could be: 1.) in CIA files, and that breaks down into many categories 2.) Secret Service files, which doesn't breakdown into as many as it should 3.) An employee of the CIA's files 4.) An employee of the SS files 5.) NARA files 6.) Rowley files, or Rowley correspondence files 7.) McCone's files, or correspondence files 8.) HSCA files, which breakdowns into many categories 9.) the staff papers of employee X, of the HSCA Then there's the enormous problem of "interfiling" What is "interfiling"? Well, documents are released and declassified, and just added to boxes, boxes that you might have already copied the entire contents of, or gone through, and now there's new stuff there. And you'll never know. Fun, huh? It's also possible documents are being removed from boxes for various reasons, none of them in my mind legal or appropriate. Keep in mind Bush is reclassifying things, not JFK specifically, but lots of other things open to the public. (See Federation of American Scientists web site http://www.fas.org/ for details.) Malcolm Blunt has told me documents that were in boxes he previously went through can't be found now.Oh, I nearly forgot, on this 3 page scan, on the last page, there appears to be a ghost image of a separate document that kind of burned through in the photocopying if you look carefully. I did find a document that matches that. This is a SS kind of record keeping document, that material was sent out. I found documents like this for SS correspondence to the HSCA. So, this might give credibility to the doc. It certainly could be part of whatever is stapled to the doc, notice the staples in the upper left on page one. If a fake, it's a nice touch. If this is a fake, it's a pretty darn good one. So, I cannot address whether the document is real or not. I await info from Larry Hancock. Here's Larry's info: "The Endless Document"Well maybe the sourceless document would be more like it although it is beginning to feel endless.. Joe, this is the best that I have been able to piece together so far after an ongoing dialog with Ed Tatro, his source (Bill Cheslock), Bill's source (Bill Miller), Bill's source (James Richards according to Bill but not according to James), Jame's source, the document's original source, Dick Russell's source....ad naseum. I have not had direct dialog with Cheslock or Dick Russell although I have a message into Dick as well as his second edition editor. The earliest original source for the document was "reportedly" an FBI agent in Tennessee who gave a copy to James Moore. This is courtesy of an inquiry by Gary Buell who did talk with Moore e.g. "I obtained a scanned copy of the document from Jim Moore. He says he got it from a Tennessee FBI man and does not vouch for its authenticity..." Moore and his copy of the document were the first apparent source and it was Moore who is cited by Dick Russell, although Dick does state that the document is on record in the National Archives....this may be a mistake and hopefully we will hear from Dick himself on it eventually. When exactly this first appearance occurred is not yet documented but it was certainly prior to 1992 when TMWKTM was published. Apparently, the document has been posted on the internet within the past two years by Gary Buell without much dialogue. Which brings us to September 2004. Ed Tatro received the document from Bill Cheslock, a long time acquaintance, with a request that it be circulated for comment. He was given only one page initially. Ed was given to understand that the document was in the archives. He send the document to Sherry and when we received it there appears a RIF number associated with it. To this point it is unclear exactly when or where that number came from.....certainly the first thing I did was a NARA search to confirm it was real and in the archives, which of course the number is, but not for this document....sigh. Stu Wexler did a variety of more complex searches on various names and the CO document number which validated that at least the document related to the right Agency and that it was consistent with other Treasury Department documents pertaining to the JFK investigation. Given a RIF number and this corroboration it seemed like a serious find even given some issues with the contents. While we were doing that various individuals began nay saying it based on content, form, logic and PhotoShop analysis - representing that it was a clear cut and paste job (which by the way is denied by others; the issue of the Confidential stamp also seems to be cleared up by Moore's comment about putting it on himself?). "By the way, I asked Moore about the Confidential stamp. He says it was not on the original document. He added it, as he said he did to other material in his office at the tabloid, I suppose to say hands-off to his office mates." As to a second source, James Richards states he got the document several years ago from a private source making no claims for it but Jamie's impression given his knowledge of the source was that it may well have been created as Agency disinformation at some point and never actually used for that intended purpose. James claims not to have posted it this last week until their was active discussion about it and also states that his version does not have the yellow highlights. Bill Miller claims he took his three page copy from James posting. I claim simply to be clueless. At this point I have questions in to Cheslock inquiring as to why he has stated to various people that he believed it was a document on file at NARA and on where the RIF number originated. I have similar questions to Dick Russell. I agree with your analysis that the document could very well exist in the records; I also feel that it could either be a) real , b) real with intentional defects to make it deniable and c) a very well prepared disinformation piece with intentional defects which could have been used to divert or obfuscate an earlier investigation. For all I know it could have been based on an actual document destroyed long ago. However based on it's content and on it's CO number, I don't think it's something that could have been done off the cuff without a heck of a lot of background knowledge. -- LarrySo, the bottom line is do not go off and use this document until it’s origin can be established. There are lots of idiots in the research community who will do so anyway. This will only cause needless confusion. Archives II will not look for this document anymore, so don’t ask them to. If by some miracle someone eventually discovers it in Archives II, or elsewhere, then and only then should it be used, and then mainly for further study into it's validity.


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