criticisms, and he suggested that “if we could just have . . . a report from two agencies instead of one it might preclude questions in the future.” Ford: I share that view, Dick. I don’t know whether it ought to be another governmental agency or whether it ought to be an independent non-governmental agency. I don’t know. Hale Boggs: Are there such agencies? Ford: I don’t know. J. Lee Rankin, who could have enlightened the commission, remained silent. Only six days earlier he had sent a letter declining assistance volunteered by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. The academy, concerned because the Warren Commission would be a case of the government investigating itself, made a cogent argument for independent review by outside experts and offered to place all its facilities and resources at the commission’s disposal. Rankin, on Warren’s behalf, not only rejected the offer without first submitting it to the members of the commission, but withheld the information even as Russell, Ford, and Boggs were asking if there was a body like the academy in existence. \(The exchange of letters between the Academy and Rankin is published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, AN OTHER procedural questions, Warren’s strongly-held views were overruled by the commission. He did not wish to have witnesses come before the commission \(later, he did not wish to have think it necessary for the commission to have subpoena power. But the members were not inclined, to abjure the power of subpoena. McCloy pointed out: “There is a potential culpability here on the part of the Secret Service and even the FBI, and these reports … may have some self-serving aspects … I think that if we didn’t have the right to subpoena documents, the right to subpoena witnesses if we needed them, that this commission’s general standing might be somewhat impaired.” Russell agreed that subpoena power would reduce the risk of self-serving reports from the investigative agencies. “Understand, I’m not looking for anyone, I’m not suspicious of anyone going out to cover up, but people will be writing about. this thing. I told the president the other day, 50 years from today people will be saying that he had something to do with it so he could be president.” McCloy added: “If we renounce … this type of power, I think it will detract from the prestige of the commission. And I think newspaper accounts said, naturally they will have [subpoena] power. We could use it with circumspection … and I don’t see, Mr. Chief Justice, that there is any connection between public hearings and this. You have grand juries that have the right to subpoena and they are absolutely secret.” Warren finally capitulated, in terms that illuminate his inner worry and provide some unintended humor: “If the rest of you want the subpoena power that is perfectly all right with me, but I was thinking this, that if we have subpoena power, people are going to expect us to use it.” In this way, Warren was dragged, kicking and screaming, into an investigation which with all its shortcomings was still more searching than he wanted to undertake. As the commission’s work proceeded, there were desultory attempts to resolve some of the conflicts in the evidence. Oswald suppOsedly had tried to shoot General Walker but the commission was aware that contemporaneous descriptions of the Walker bullet did not match a 6.5 mm. Carcano rifle. McCloy suggested that the commission should obtain “the full police report on the Walker assault” because although they said at the time that it was a 30-caliber bullet “the difference between 30 and 6.5 isn’t too great and another examination of that bullet may show different.” The Walker bullet was originally identified as a 30.06, not a 30-caliber bullet; but this is omitted entirely from the Warren Report, which merely suggests that the Walker bullet could have come from the 6.5 mm rifle. Also disquieting was Oswald’s marksmanship. The FBI Summary Report did not satisfy the commission on this or other points. As Boggs said, “He was such an expert marksman, for instance. Where did he do his practicing?” McCloy did not see how the president could have been hit in the front from the sixth-floor window of the Book Depository, and found it curious that a road-sign which had concealed the president from a bystander’s camera at a crucial moment had apparently been removed. When Dulles suggested that certain material should be placed in the hands of the CIA, “to explain the Russian parts,” Russell retorted, “I think you’ve got more faith in them than I have. I think Observations Austin The truth about Lloyd Bentsen’s bid for the U.S. Senate was suggested by one picture, published March 5 on page 22 of the Austin daily, showing Mrs. Bentsen, Mrs. Allan Shivers, and Mrs. John Connally at a campaign coffee honoring Mrs. Bentsen. Bentsen was an ally of Shivers when Shivers was the boss of the business-politics machine that ran Texas in the 1950’s. Ralph Yarborough beat this machine down in three successive campaigns between 1952 and 1956. Lyndon Johnson moved in on Yarborough’s crusade as it was winning, converting it to his own presidential candidacy, and Bentsen, forced then to choose between Shivers and Johnson, chose Johnson. But today, Shivers, Bentsen, and Connally are in harness again. It was Connally who talked Bentsen into running, and Connally has publicly endorsed Bentsen. Looking back to the May 23, 1956, Observer coverage of the state Democratic convention in Dallas, I was reminded that they’ll doctor anything they hand us.” But this healthy skepticism was always diverted, so that the commission could consider procedural niceties, and in the last analysis did not influence the Warren Report. \(which does not mention the removal of the road-sign, fails to establish any target-practice by Oswald, and THE COMMISSION held its final executive session on September 18, 1964, , some two weeks after staff lawyer Liebeler’ had written his devastating memorandum attacking item after item of the central evidence. The commission did not spare a moment for the Liebeler memorandum. It had more momentous matters to discuss. “A motion was made, seconded and carried that there be provided 100 copies of the Report and Hearings bound in buckram for the commissioners to distribute as they may determine … leather bound copies … with the names of the proposed recipients stamped on them in gold … for the president and such persons as he might select, for members of the Kennedy family … and for the commissioners. A motion was made, seconded and carried that one set of tthe Report and Hearings with the proposed recipient’s name stamped in gold be furnished each of the staff members …” And so on, with more gold and more leather, which cannot, however, convert the fraud and error between the covers of the Warren Report into a true bill or a valid record. Now that transcripts of some of the commission’s executive sessions are available, it is easier to understand how eminent men produced a sordid document, and easier to assess the role of Chief Justice Earl Warren in this tragic miscarriage of justice. Johnson’s ‘people put out the word there. that he favored Mrs. Bentsen for Democratic national committeeman. It then became an issue in the convention that Bentsen had been quoted in a newspaper clipping that he would not support Adlai Stevenson in 1952 because of the tidelands issue. The whole Shivers machine went for Eisenhower formally in 1952. Bentsen in Dallas denied voting for Eisenhower, but admitted he had had varying degrees of enthusiasm for different candidates, and the convention revolted . against Johnson and chose .Mrs. R. D. Randolph of Houston the’ committeewoman. Judging by the Houston Chronicle poll published March 22, Bentsen is in the race . after a slow start. Yarborough is shown. with a 54-46% lead, which would give him a margin of 144,000 voted on a projected turnout of 1.8 million. The Chronicle’s Bo : Byers reports that their pollsters found April 3, 1970 15 On Lloyd Bentsen, Jr.
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