Monday, November 18, 2013

50 years ago this week, part 1: The Warren Commission report

50 years ago this week, on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX.

While many outlets, blog and MSM alike, are putting forth retrospectives of the days and events leading up to that fateful day in Dallas, here I'll be switching things up a little and starting with the aftermath.

Tonight:  The Warren Commission report into the assassination.

The report was, and in many respects remains, controversial.  The thousands of hours of testimony and pages of documents were summed up into a single conclusion:  Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he killed President Kennedy.

Many people, including some who were insiders themselves, called the report a cover-up.

Many books have been written about the report (in many ways, the report was almost as historically significant as the assassination itself), so I'm not going to rehash the controversy in its entirety (I'd still be writing when the 100th anniversary rolls around :) ).

If you want to read about the controversy, use Google (the search terms "warren commission cover up" generate 1.8 million results); links to the actual report are below.

The Government Printing Office has released a digitized version of the report; it can be downloaded here.

That .pdf file is more than 900 pages long; if you prefer your reading in more digestible bites, the National Archives offers a web-based version here.

The list of the members of the commission included the names of some of the major players in American politics of the mid- to late 20th century.  While some of the names have faded in prominence over the many years since, some of the people are major parts of American history.

Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court and chair of the commission.

Gerald Ford, then a member of the US House of Representatives from Michigan, later to become Vice President when scandal-plagued Spiro Agnew resigned, after that became President when Watergate-plagued Richard Nixon resigned.

Hale Boggs, a member of the US House from Louisiana for more than a quarter-century, and House Majority Whip at the time.

Richard Russell, a member of the US Senate from Georgia for nearly four decades; most famous as a leader of the anti-civil rights forces in the Senate.

John Cooper, a member of the US Senate from Kentucky.

John McCloy, a lawyer and former president of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development after World War II.

Allen Dulles, a lawyer and director of the CIA early in the Kennedy administration.

J. Lee Rankin, general counsel to the commission, a former Solicitor General of the United States.

In short, a list of insiders' insiders.

Picture courtesy PBS.  (L-R) Ford, Boggs, Russell, Warren, Cooper, McCloy, Dulles, Rankin

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