Larry Hancock suggested that the theme of this conference might be a much neglected-issue faced by writers on the Kennedy assassination: What constitutes reliable evidence? How do we recognize it? How then do we interpret its meaning? Would the evidence we present be acceptable in a court of law?
When is historical evidence even stronger than information emerging at a trial? In the case of the book I am writing about Mac Wallace, and no project presented more evidentiary problems to me than the story of Mac Wallace – I had to raise this question: does someone’s having sworn to tell the truth before a grand jury mean that what he said was reliable? Did it constitute evidence? What if this were your only witness?
When the accusations that he had been Lyndon Johnson’s hit man were made, Mac Wallace had been dead for thirteen years. Should historians have taken the charges leveled against him seriously?
I’m talking about self-described Texas wheeler-dealer and con man Billie Sol Estes, who is the source and the only source that I could discover, for the claim that Mac Wallace had been a hit man, henchman, and serial killer under the command of Lyndon Johnson, first as a U.S. Senator, and then as a Vice-President, and then as President.
The only person who came forward to corroborate any of Estes’ charges was a Johnson mistress named Madeleine Brown, whose name is familiar here in Dallas. Brown was unique in having had Lyndon Johnson’s child, and then gone public with that fact. But Madeleine Brown did not have first hand knowledge that Mac Wallace was a murderer of all those Estes-connected people who might have exposed Estes and Johnson in their schemes and scams.
The most Madeleine Brown could claim, apart from her assertions of what she “knew,” was that she had seen Mac Wallace “nearly every day” practicing at the Dallas Gun Club. Brown’s most notorious anecdote was that she attended a party at the home of Clint Murchison on the evening before the Kennedy assassination when, she said, Lyndon Johnson revealed to her his foreknowledge of the Kennedy assassination with this sentence: “Those Kennedy’s, they will never embarrass me again. That’s no threat. It’s a promise.” Is that evidence?
In telling her party story, Madeleine Brown offered a varied guest list. On at least one occasion she claimed she saw Mac Wallace there. In other versions, Mac Wallace was dropped from the list of attendees.
Sometimes Madeleine Brown placed Herman Brown, the founder of Brown & Root, and the person who launched Lyndon Johnson’s political career, on the guest list. Someone must have enlightened Madeleine, because she dropped Herman from the list. He had died in late 1962, a year before the party took place, allegedly. I am using the files about Mac Wallace of Jay Harrison, in my book. They were loaned to me by author Walt Brown, J’s legatee. J writes, in his description of the Madeleine Brown party story: “IF THERE WAS A PARTY.” John Fraser Harrison was a shrewd researcher and long-time observer of the Texas part of the story and I trust his judgments.
I began with a book about CIA and Texas. One of the chapters was to be about Mac Wallace. He had nothing to do with CIA, to my knowledge. What authorized his entrance into the story was the extensive file dating from 1951 through 1964 compiled by another intelligence service, the Office of Naval Intelligence.
I had this file because it was part of the copious set of records of that former military intelligence officer and Dallas police officer J. Harrison. J was an outstanding researcher into the Kennedy assassination and he became a character in my book about Mac Wallace.
On November 22, 1963, J had been assigned by the Dallas police to conduct surveillance on a Black Muslim group that was rumored to be staging a demonstration somewhere along President Kennedy’s motorcade. He was inside the Dallas School Book Depository four minutes after the shots were fired; later in the day he was assigned to protection of Governor John Connally at Parkland hospital. J began his research and investigation into the Kennedy assassination on that day.
As I said, regarding the party that Madeleine Brown discussed eagerly with every researcher who wanted an interview, J was dubious. In his files, as I said, when he refers to that party, he adds, “if there was a party.” I trust J Harrison’s judgments on this as on other Texas matters. J scoffed at the ever changing guest list propounded by Madeleine Brown. Of only one fact was J certain: it was that Madeleine Brown was the mother of a son whose father was Lyndon Johnson. J did not believe that Lyndon Johnson was the mastermind, instigator and main force behind the assassination of President Kennedy. J used the metaphor of a pyramid in describing the planning of the Kennedy assassination. Lyndon Johnson was definitely NOT at the top of the pyramid.
When I began, I had only J’s files about Mac Wallace. J did not interview witnesses, and there are no transcripts of interviews in his files. What I did have were documents: court records; marriage records and divorce petitions; probate court appearances; death certificates; the high school yearbook of Woodrow Wilson High School – The Crusader- and the University of Texas yearbook, Cactus-. These included a list of Mac Wallace’s high school classmates and their future lives. Among them was a real life hit man named R. D. Matthews.
There was one murder that Mac Wallace did commit, and for which he was found guilty of “murder with malice” which in our parlance is first degree murder. There were newspaper clippings in J’s records of the trial of Mac Wallace for the murder of John Douglas Kinser in October 1951 and records of the trial; there was a separate binder just on the life and times, the family history of John Douglas Kinser; there was Mac Wallace’s heavily redacted FBI file; and there were those Naval Intelligence files.
There was a complete genealogy of the Wallace family, since J Harrison was a gifted genealogist. There was a genealogy of the Kinser family as well. And there were copious records regarding J Harrison’s exploration of whether a fingerprint – the single fingerprint among the Warren Commission exhibits that had not been identified – whether that fingerprint matched the fingerprint of Mac Wallace when compared to the prints provided by the Austin department of public safety (Texas rangers).
J waited the requisite 25 years after the death of Mac Wallace for the prints to be released, but it still required dogged determination for him to obtain them: the state balked: what was John Fraser Harrison’s status in the case? Just a researcher. Still, the law prevailed and J was able to obtain those Austin prints. There were also affidavits from the two certified latent print examiners that J Harrison enlisted to compare the two sets of prints.
There were few of J’s opinions in these files, although at one point, dubious that Mac Wallace died in 1971, J writes that he investigated the federal witness protection program to find out whether Mac Wallace had disappeared into its recesses. In terms of deciphering the biography of Mac Wallace, there was no need to reinvestigate where there were court documents. I had to discover witnesses.
There is one course of action that the historian these days inevitably takes. Mac Wallace’s FBI file was so heavily redacted – as J shows in the video of the case produced by French journalist William Reymond, whole pages were blacked out – that I filed a freedom of information request that it be “reprocessed.” You don’t ask for a file that is not redacted; you ask that it be “reprocessed,” an apt euphemism. The FBI has accepted our appeal. The case is being handled by Dan Alcorn, for my money, the best FOIA lawyer in the country.
Since the government for decades denied that there are Navy files – there was no point in asking for a more complete file there. We’re lucky to have the classified files that we have. Let us see what the FBI does.
On the Navy files, which many people have in their possession, because J was generous with them, as was the late FBI officer Ted Gunderson, with whom J shared them, the issue is one of interpretation. These are government records, but what do they mean? The Navy did not find in its investigations that Mac Wallace committed any murders, other than that of John Douglas Kinser, and they were unhappy because Judge Betts in 1957 expunged that crime from the record.
At the Kinser trial, as Mac Wallace, through jury tampering, walked out with a suspended sentence, with no jail time, the Judge added that if in five years he had not committed another felony, the murder would be obliterated from his record. Five years to the day Mac Wallace appeared in court in Austin and the murder was erased from his record, as if it had never happened. The Navy was not happy.
Shortly after the Kinser trial, Mac Wallace was employed by a defense contractor in Texas called TEMCO, an aviation firm headed by Lyndon Johnson ally, D. H. Byrd, known here as having owned the Texas School Book Depository on the day of the Kennedy assassination. Mac Wallace was granted a security clearance at the level of SECRET. The Navy files do not reveal how Mac Wallace got that SECRET clearance in the first place. We can speculate there. For me, it’s among many unanswered questions in this story. Another is how he got that job at TEMCO in the first place.
For seven years, the Navy tried to remove Mac Wallace’s SECRET security clearance. Their arguments, viewed up close, reveal nothing so much as the political and intellectual limitations of the Navy and FBI investigators. They focused on two issues: one was that Mac Wallace was a sexual pervert. For them, that meant either a homosexual or someone who engages in oral sex.
The other persistent charge was that Mac Wallace was a Communist or a Marxist. To analyze this charge, you have to know what a Communist or Marxist is. In the history of research into the Kennedy assassination, where we encounter the charge that Lee Harvey Oswald was a “Marxist,” we find many books and articles that reveal nothing so much as that the author has no idea what a Marxist or a Communist is. More often than not, the author has never met a Marxist or a Communist. (You can’t discuss a Communist Party membership card, and “Fair Play For Cuba” in the same breath, or you will lose your credibility. Stalinists and Trotskyists were as oil and water.
They have no idea of what behavior is characteristic of a Marxist, what alliances, what choices a Marxist would make. The left-wing students at Tulane University in New Orleans who were given copies of Oswald’s “Fair Play for Cuba” leaflets did know and instinctively stayed away from Lee H. Oswald.
Regarding witness testimony in the writing of history, it is certainly true that witnesses or interview subjects lie, exaggerate and obfuscate, and embroider, as we have already seen with Madeleine Brown. Often it is impossible to find corroborating evidence to check these interviews.
Yet witness testimony is often indispensable, as I’ll show in a moment with my interview with Joseph F. Dryer, Jr., and the matter of the death of George de Mohrenschildt, Oswald’s CIA asset Dallas handler.
Let me add that government documents also lie. CIA at the highest levels, at the Office of General Counsel, for example, deliberately created documents designed to place a lie into the written record. This I’ve discussed in A Farewell To Justice in CIA’s chief counsel Lawrence Houston’s efforts to cover up Clay Shaw’s use of the alias “Clay Bertrand.”
CIA also sanitizes libraries and web sites. I’ve been searching for years for the Bruce/Lovett report. This was a report commissioned by President Eisenhower, a task awarded to Ambassador David K. E. Bruce, who had been a critic of CIA since its inception. Bruce was assigned to examine the activities of the clandestine services after Eisenhower had assigned the task to James Doolittle, who was famous for the fire bombing of Tokyo and was a close friend of the aforementioned D. H. Byrd.
With the assistance of Allen Dulles, Doolittle presented President Eisenhower with a report that was a whitewash, to use author and researcher Harold Weisberg’s apt term. Appalled, Eisenhower then assigned the task to David K. E. Bruce. Since then CIA has, to my knowledge, managed successfully to erase this document from any library that might have been so bold as to possess it. It seems to me the task of the historian invariably becomes that of the whistle blower. Let’s blow the whistle on CIA’s incursions into the first amendment.
Back to Mac Wallace, and, inevitably, to Billie Sol Estes. Billie Sol Estes was a farmer in Pecos, Texas who had entered into a symbiotic relationship with Johnson. Johnson supplied favors emanating from the Department of Agriculture. In exchange, Estes set aside a considerable portion of his profits for a Johnson “slush fund”.
In Texas, as in Louisiana, the law was that you could make campaign contributions any time even when the person wasn’t running for office. Before it was over, Estes enriched Johnson to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The scams involved cotton allotments and grain storage contracts and an attempt to corner the market on anhydrous ammonia fertilizer, on which Billie Sol undersold all competitors. In addition to the Department of Agriculture, Estes relied on finance companies and other entities to keep the three ring circus going.
When a local Pecos Birchite named John Dunn bought a newspaper called the Pecos Independent and began to expose Billie Sol Estes, Estes and Johnson scrambled. According to a long list of researchers, Mac Wallace was the instrumentality to silence those who could expose Lyndon Johnson and destroy his political career.
Along the way, Wallace supposedly became so active a murderer, according to Johnson mistress Madeleine Brown, that not only did he kill the businessmen who knew too much, not only was he involved in the Kennedy assassination, but he also found time to kill the nanny of her children, one of whom was Lyndon Johnson’s son, Steven.
The nanny had seen Johnson & Brown together at a compromising moment: this was enough for Johnson to send the nanny packing off the face of the earth – utilizing Mac Wallace as her killer. For this murder, there is absolutely no evidence beyond Madeleine Brown’s assertion.
Brown and Estes also repeat lies about H. L. Hunt circulated by two Hunt employees, Paul Rothermel and John Curington, who had embezzled the Hunt food division of millions of dollars. Brown and Estes and Stephen Pegues (about whom more in a minute) write as if Curington was a credible witness in implicating Hunt in the Kennedy assassination – he wasn’t. (I have a long addendum to my book “Our Man In Haiti” about Rothermel and Curington).
In some versions of this story, Mac Wallace also killed Lyndon Johnson’s sister, with whom Wallace had an affair; Josefa knew too much about Johnson’s business, and had participated in his 1948 campaign for the Senate thirteen years earlier. She was “loose-tongued,” they say. She talked too much about her brother. Now, all these years later, Josefa had to go.
Surely Mac Wallace was her killer, according to Estes, who told this “fact” to amateur historian Stephen Pegues, whose manuscript, which is called Texas Mafia, remains unpublished. (I have a copy because J Harrison had a copy).
That Mac Wallace did not attend the Christmas Eve party where, supposedly, Josefa fell ill, did not prevent his being accused of her murder. She was on the list of Mac Wallace’s victims sent by Estes’ lawyer Douglas Caddy to the Justice Department. The list of Mac Wallace’s victims reached as high as seventeen.
In the past decade, on an annual basis, books have emerged all insisting that Lyndon Johnson and one or another of his apparatchiks, whether Clifford Crawford Carter, Johnson’s operative on the ground in Texas, or his lawyer, Edward Clark, was behind the Kennedy assassination.
These books find the indictment of Mac Wallace as Johnson’s hit man indispensable to their charge that Lyndon Johnson was behind the Kennedy assassination. In most of these books, Wallace participated in the assassination.
For evidence that Mac Wallace murdered agriculture official Henry Marshall, and a slew of other Estes’ cohorts, as I mentioned earlier, we must turn to Billie Sol Estes’ testimony in early 1984 before a grand jury in Robertson County, Texas.
Under oath, and with a tape recorder manned by an investigator from the district attorney’s office whirring away -the recording was at once made available illegally to reporters – Estes indicted Johnson, Carter and Wallace in the first of many murders: that of agriculture official Henry Marshall in June 1961.
This was the only murder for which Estes was given state immunity and so it was the only one he discussed at the Grand Jury. Later, in a letter to the Justice Department, Estes named a litany of victims, all murdered by Mac Wallace. Is there evidence enough to accept this charge for which there is neither witness nor documentary evidence other than Estes’ word?
And why, I would ask, have so many writers accepted Estes’ word as if it were gospel? Allow me to add that testifying shortly before his second experience as an inmate, Estes got up on the stand and admitted that he was a serial liar, and was addicted to exaggerating and bragging. So we have the witness himself in an effort to disarm listeners admitting outright, and under oath, that he was a liar.
The task of a writer focusing on Mac Wallace immediately turns to Billie Sol Estes and the credibility of his testimony. Would he lie under oath? He himself told us that he would.
Among the tasks of the historian is to conduct a detailed analysis of Billie Sol Estes’ charges. This is not difficult because Billie Sol Estes talked often, not only to that grand jury, but in a book by a French journalist named William Reymond; in a video made by Reymond; in a video made by Lyle Sardie called LBJ: A Closer Look; and finally in a self-published memoir, called Billie Sol Estes: A Texas Legend. This book was ghosted by Tom Bowden. Is Billie Sol Estes consistent in his story? Does he contradict himself? How often and in what context?
Billie Sol Estes claimed that he had made tapes that prove his contentions, in particular a tape on which Cliff Carter spills the beans and names Mac Wallace as the killer of Henry Marshall. Estes never made this tape available in his lifetime. It is certain that there is a tape of Cliff Carter made by Estes; Tom Bowden heard it and went to the LBJ to check other tapes to be sure it was Cliff Carter he was listening to. He was.
An essential means of assessing the validity of the Texas evidence relating to the Kennedy assassination, and involving Mac Wallace in murders including that of President Kennedy, is to open a wide angle lens on the research that has been done into the Kennedy assassination in the past fifty years. Then we might determine whether what we already know about the circumstances of how President Kennedy died is consistent with this Texas scenario.
As a historian of the Garrison investigation, I was much taken aback when I heard Texas researcher and historian Tom Bowden say (it was on William Reymond’s video), that the Kennedy assassination was an example of “Texas Justice” and Texas justice alone, nothing else. Bowden says that Texans, and only Texans were involved. During the six months that Oswald lived in New Orleans, from April to September 1963, there were events suggestive of Oswald’s working with several intelligence agencies. The most well-known is the FBI. He also was involved with Customs. The Immigration and Naturalization service. And, of course, with CIA.
It isn’t difficult to locate Oswald’s intelligence connections. In the New Orleans story you will find evidence of Oswald’s relationship with the FBI. In New Orleans, his handler was Warren de Brueys, the agent who went to Dallas on the day after the assassination to compile Commission Document 75.
Forgive me for repeating what many here know. We have Oswald in New Orleans arrested on Canal Street for the staged fight with Cuban exile and self-styled member of DRE, Carlos Bringuier. At the police station, Oswald requested of Lieutenant Francis Martello that he call the FBI and tell them “you have Lee Oswald in custody.”
Oswald requested that agent Warren de Brueys come down to the police station to talk to him. Although de Brueys was not the Special Agent In Charge, he was a power in the New Orleans field office; an ordinary sniveling Marxist arrested for a street fight does not know the name “de Brueys.”
To further clarify these points, you might interview William Walter, who was a security patrol clerk at the New Orleans FBI field office at the time, and who is still alive, although he has suffered from cancer in the intervening years. Among Walter’s responsibilities was to answer the telephone.
Walter took Francis Martello’s call, and then, in the next few days, searched the office for files with Oswald’s name. He discovered a certain file in the locked file cabinet of the Special Agent in Charge, whose name was Harry Maynor; the file jacket was marked “Oswald-de Brueys” and meant that Oswald was a “security informant” of the Bureau and de Brueys was his handler. Walter also discovered that there was more than one file with Oswald’s name on it in the New Orleans field office.
Walter went on to be interviewed by HSCA. The interview is painful to read as the lawyers sought to humiliate him at every turn. They could not shake Walter’s testimony. Robert W. Genzman, the Staff Counsel, and Michael Goldsmith, the Senior Staff Counsel for HSCA , together questioned Walter. They too might be interviewed. Clearly, they saw William Walter as a threat.
Genzman subjects Walter to a disrespectful third degree about the format of the November 17th teletype sent by Director Hoover to several field offices warning of a possible threat to President Kennedy during his trip to Dallas. It was Walter who received the teletype on behalf of the Bureau. Genzman attempts to insinuate that Walter is lying and that there was no November 17th warning teletype. The claim is that no one had been able to locate a copy of this teletype. Walter finally says, “I don’t feel happy about me being here today and everybody suspecting me, that somehow I dramatized this… phantom teletype.”
Before it is over Michael Goldsmith has accused Walter of violating FBI rules and protocols by stealing FBI documents from the office. Finally Goldsmith becomes belligerent: “We will give you a chance to get that straight (why Walter took notes on the teletype). See if you can answer my question, and I will repeat the question….”
See what Genzman says now. See what Walter says now. I’ve talked to Walter recently and he told me that he KEPT the blue copy of the teletype himself: he has a copy of the original! He telephoned me and told me this. He was asking me in what venue he should release the original of the teletype!
So it turns out that William Walter lied to the HSCA lawyers, telling them there were two white and one yellow copy and that he didn’t have one and he didn’t know where a copy of the November 17th teletype could be found.
I mention this incident by way of commenting on how fragile witness testimony is. That the subject is under oath makes no difference as to whether they lie. Even the most frank and seemingly straightforward witness may not be telling the whole truth. Yes, there was a warning teletype regarding the weekend of the assassination, but yes also: Walter knew then and knows now where a copy could be found.
By no means does this mean that you should not interview witnesses, only that their testimony to you, as to government bodies, must be handled with skepticism.
Oswald was also involved with Customs and the immigration and naturalization service in New Orleans, as New Orleans INS officer Wendall Roache told the Church committee. (I wrote about Oswald and Customs in A Farewell To Justice). The review board sent people to search for transcripts from David Smith and from Wendall Roache. They weren’t there; we will never see them.
As for CIA, and the New Orleans evidence as it must be made to mesh with the Texas evidence, we have no choice but to deal with Oswald’s unlikely acquaintance with Clay Shaw, and with Shaw’s unlikely acquaintance with David Ferrie. Shaw denied he knew both of them.
Yet, and I offer these details for those who are new to the case, there are witnesses Black and white, educated and uneducated – we have a judge, we have attorneys at law, we have civil rights leaders, and Ku Klux Klan enthusiasts, who were witnesses to Oswald’s appearance in Clinton and Jackson in the company of Shaw and Ferrie. This confabulation could not have entered into a conspiracy to make up this story since, as Verla Bell, a member of CORE at the time, explained to me, Blacks and whites did not talk to each other at all in segregated Louisiana. The only girlfriend Oswald had during that summer, as far as my eight or so years traveling back and forth to East Feliciana Parish was named…Gloria Wilson.
There are no Texans visible on the scene. In the many Johnson books, not a single author even attempts to reconcile these details of the attempted framing of Oswald Oswald’s in Louisiana with the “Johnson as mastermind” scenario.
It has to be telling that not one of the books expounding this thesis connects any of its analysis with any of the evidence developed by Jim Garrison. No Johnson book mentions any other forces or individuals or agencies as being involved in the Kennedy assassination. It’s as if these authors are following a pre-existing scenario.
In contrast, Jim Garrison, because he worked in law enforcement, knew he had to draw connections between his discoveries and what had already been learned about the Kennedy assassination. To account for Clay Shaw’s involvement with Oswald, Garrison looked to the relationship between George de Mohrenschildt, J. Walton Moore, who ran the CIA’s field office in Dallas, and Oswald.
Moore had asked de Mohrenschildt to “keep tabs” on Oswald, a fact de Mohrenschildt clarified only on the day of his violent death, a decade after Jim Garrison’s investigation. Looking at what constitutes evidence, in the matter of whether De Mohrenschildt’s death was a suicide, I found that witness testimony was illuminating.
I had no idea when I interviewed Joseph F. Dryer, Jr., in Palm Beach, that de Mohrenschildt had made contact with him on the day of his death. De Mohrenschildt had known Dryer in Haiti, and my subject with Dryer on that day was CIA and Haiti. Now we have de Mohrenschildt, far from being suicidal, eagerly making a date for lunch with Dryer for the day after he died. That tells us something
Witness testimony of course is subjective. Witnesses can lie, misremember, or operate out of some agenda of their own. Gordon Novel in New Orleans comes to mind. Yet there was no doubt in my mind that Dryer was not inventing this scenario.
Dryer was astonished by his own memory of this last contact with de Mohrenschildt. As a person of prodigious self-confidence based in part on his social class, Dryer had no need falsely to interject himself into the narrative. I had no doubt of his reliability.
Jim Garrison hypothesized that Clay Shaw belonged to the intelligence services. But he possessed only hearsay evidence that Shaw worked for CIA, and was in contact with Oswald as part of a CIA-generated assignment. Garrison had the Paese Sera newspaper articles about PERMINDEX and Centro Commerciale Mondiale. In those articles, Shaw was mentioned as a member of the Centro Board of Directors.
But this wasn’t evidence: You can’t present newspaper articles as evidence in a court of law. Garrison lacked the resources to investigate in Italy.
In the years to come, a group of Shaw defenders all came up with the same explanation for Shaw’s connections to CIA. Something is wrong when a varied group of people all use the same language.
The Shaw defenders, as if by rote, all utilized the same adverb: Shaw “routinely” provided information to what was then called CIA’s Domestic Contact Service when he returned from trips abroad that he took on behalf of the International Trade Mart. Shaw had nothing more to do with CIA than that. One states that Shaw “had never received any renumeration” from CIA.
If you’re patient, as Jim Garrison was, and you work long enough, there will be victories. Garrison consoled the disenchanted New Orleans investigators for HSCA, Robert Buras and L. J. Delsa, by saying “The truth will come out.”
The JFK Act, of which Garrison did not live to take advantage, convicts Shaw of outright perjury. At Shaw’s trial in New Orleans when his own lawyer Irvin Dymond, asked, “Have you ever worked for the Central Intelligence Agency?” and Shaw’s replied, “No, I have not,” he was committing perjury.
Suddenly into my hands popped a document – which I published in “Our Man In Haiti” – released by CIA’s History Staff in 1992. History staff Chief J. Kenneth McDonald states, “These records do reveal, however, that Clay Shaw was a highly paid CIA contract source until 1956.” The key words are “highly paid.”
The end date “until 1956” requires some elucidation. That CIA document commenting on Shaw’s employment states that Shaw was employed “until 1956.”
Lest anyone take that end date as gospel, meaning that the year 1963 was not included, and hence Shaw could not have been working for CIA at the time he was seen with Oswald and Ferrie, note that another CIA document, one dated 6/28/78, describes Shaw’s service to CIA as running from 1949 through 1972.
From the New Orleans research, I learned that the end dates on CIA documents are invariably inaccurate. William Gaudet, a CIA asset based at Shaw’s International Trade Mart and the editor of Latin American Reports, remarked that the end dates on documents about him were never correct, and that in fact he never left CIA service.
Another example of the falsity of CIA’s end dates came to me in my research for the study of CIA and Texas. Looking into Herman Brown, founder of Brown & Root and his brother, George, I was aided by records that emerged from CIA that had been inspired by the Garrison investigation. The document released by CIA about Herman and George Brown was generated because the name “George Brown” had emerged in Garrison’s conversations that dealt with Lyndon Johnson and why he was withholding Warren Commission records that Garrison longed to see.
George Brown was Johnson’s benefactor. The document describing Herman and George as long-time assets of the clandestine services lists the end date of Herman Brown’s service as 1966, four years after Herman’s death.
Shaw was guilty of perjury, both in his denial of knowing Ferrie and Oswald, and then in his denial of having worked for CIA. All those histories defending Shaw are called into question. The JFK act assists us here; we learn from the documents that various CIA components had files on Clay Shaw, not primarily the Domestic Contact Service, but the clandestine services and the Office of Security as well.
The argument that Paese Sera was only repeating lies told to it by the KGB can be traced right back to Richard Helms. I don’t have to repeat to this audience that Helms was convicted of perjury for lying about CIA’s role in the coup in Chile against Salvador Allende. The Paese Sera editors with whom I spoke held the KGB and CIA as equal in their malfeasances; they despised both of these agencies.
We return to the well-established fact that Lee Harvey Oswald was seen with Shaw and CIA contract pilot David Ferrie in Clinton and Jackson, Louisiana in August 1963. Oswald was driven to the East Louisiana State Hospital at Jackson where he applied for a job. Without indulging in speculation we can conclude
a. that Oswald had CIA connections
b. that Shaw was on assignment, since it is impossible that he would befriend a nondescript, uneducated person like Oswald, who was not a potential or actual sexual partner. The presence of Ferrie on the scene adds another CIA connection.
So a minimum of research allows us to conclude that all those writers insisting that Shaw’s connection with CIA was solely about his being “debriefed” “routinely” by the Domestic Contact Service, are serving some agenda other than the truth.
What agenda are those writers blaming Lyndon Johnson serving? Why do they, without exception, fail to refer to any intelligence service as having even been interested in the assassination of President Kennedy?
As for Oswald: Books that contend that he was recruited to participate in the assassination by Mac Wallace – weren’t they both Marxists? – are at once highly questionable given what we know not only from the New Orleans research, but from general CIA research. WERE they both Marxists? If Oswald was part of James Angleton’s false defector program, like Robert Webster, we can hardly call him a “Marxist.”
Was Mac Wallace a Communist or Marxist, as Barr McClellan writes in Blood, Money and Power, a book that goes to great lengths to denounce Mac Wallace as Lyndon Johnson’s hit man? That’s an easy question because in researching Mac Wallace’s life when he was president of the student body at the University of Texas you can find the answer to exactly to exactly the nature of his politics.
I have many letters that Mac Wallace wrote and that offer his political views. Fortunate is the biographer that has letters that contain the voice of the subject, because there is no substitute for the protagonist’s own voice. Since I found these letters, I have to ask why all these writers who have been so eager to denounce Mac Wallace didn’t search for his letters too. It was as if they didn’t want to know too much.
With all that we have learned from the New Orleans investigation, what then are we to do with the books depicting Oswald as entirely Texas-connected, recruited by Mac Wallace. To my knowledge, Mac Wallace did not possess intelligence connections. We now turn to one of the cornerstones of the Texas evidence, a book called The Men On The Sixth Floor.“ This book insists that Mac Wallace recruited Lee Harvey Oswald. This claim is made as well in Barr McClellan’s Blood, Money and Power.”
Both of these books situate Lyndon Johnson as the mastermind of the Kennedy assassination, although one author was well acquainted with J Harrison and had to have known that J doubted that conclusion. Neither finds an intelligence component involved. Both elevate Mac Wallace to being the recruiter of operatives that would carry out the assassination of President Kennedy.
The Men On The Sixth Floor introduces us to a Chickasaw Indian named Loy Factor: in his records, J Harrison did weigh in on the credibility of Factor: J concluded that Loy Factor, a convicted murderer, learned what he did, including the architecture of the Texas School Book Depository, from reading books while he was in jail. It was significant to J Harrison that “Factor” didn’t surface for twenty years or more after the assassination.
I would propose that every word written about Mac Wallace in all these books be subjected to a more thorough investigation. That includes: J. Evetts Haley’s A Texan Looks At Lyndon; Estes own books in all their incarnations , Madeleine Brown’s memoir, Texas In The Morning; The Men On The Sixth Floor; Stephen Pegues manuscript, Texas Mafia; Barr McClellan’s work with its claim that some of the material is “faction” without knowing what Norman Mailer and Truman Capote meant by “faction” (they did not mean outright fiction); Phillip Nelson’s book; Roger Stone’s 2013 book throwing Richard Nixon in as a source; Gaylon Ross’s earlier book focusing on Madeleine Brown; and whatever other works I’ve missed.
All these books repeat the errors of those that came before them. Some of the errors date back to A Texan Looks At Lyndon. All of these books are short on investigations of witnesses. Where they have access to the Office of Naval Intelligence files, they don’t examine the Navy’s thinking and the quality of the ONI’s analysis. They blur the nuances of Mac Wallace’s character, and draw primarily from his detractors, like his classmate Arno Nowotny. In the interest of full disclosure, I have reinvestigated the fingerprint evidence.
There is, obviously, more work to be done on the subject of Mac Wallace, and of the Billie Sol Estes accusations. That I humbly acknowledge. I welcome all insights from people interested in the Mac Wallace story as I attempt to connect the dots.