Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
Here's the RSS feed or subscribe to our FFF Email Update to receive Hornberger’s Blog daily.

Circumstantial Evidence in the JFK Assassination


Having recently discovered this Thursday’s legal deadline for the National Archives’s mandated release of JFK assassination records that the CIA, FBI, and other agencies have succeeded in keeping secret for more than 50 years, the mainstream media is repeatedly emphasizing that the records will contain no “smoking guns.”

Well, duh! As I stated in my article yesterday, “I Predict Trump Will Continue the CIA’s JFK Assassination Cover-Up,” ever since the CIA began specializing in assassinations, one of its principal rules has been never to put any reference to a covert state-sponsored assassination into writing. Given such, it’s no big revelation that the records that are set to be released — assuming that President Trump doesn’t grant the CIA’s request to keep them secret — will not contain a videotaped confession, a memorandum detailing how the assassination was to be carried out and covered up, or any other such “smoking gun” type of evidence.

However, it is a virtual certainty that the tens of thousands of records will contain bits of circumstantial evidence that further fill in the mosaic that the assassination of President Kennedy was one of the CIA’s regime-change operations, no different in principle from those carried out in the 1950s-1970s in such countries as Iran, Guatemala, Congo, Cuba, and Chile.

The problem is that mainstream reporters and commentators, generally speaking, have no understanding of or appreciation for the importance and relevance of circumstantial evidence. To them, all that matters is direct evidence, such as a videotaped confession or a signed memorandum showing how the assassination was carried out.

What is circumstantial evidence? The definition provided by Wikipedia is as good as any other:

Circumstantial evidence is evidence that relies on an inference to connect it to a conclusion of fact — like a fingerprint at the scene of a crime. By contrast, direct evidence supports the truth of an assertion directly — i.e., without need for any additional evidence or inference.

It is worth noting that courts consider circumstantial evidence to be of equal value to direct evidence.

When the mainstream media refers to the term of Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s, they always repeat the same mantra — that the ARRB found no “smoking guns.” They are, again, referring to direct evidence and not circumstantial evidence.

An example of circumstantial evidence was the testimony of Saundra Spencer, who was the petty officer in charge of the White House Laboratory at the Naval Photographic Center in Washington, D.C. As such, she worked closely with the Kennedy White House, including on highly classified matters.

It would be virtually impossible to find a more credible witness than Saundra Spencer. I think that everyone, including the Pentagon and the CIA, would attest to her integrity and veracity.

Spencer gave sworn testimony before the ARRB. The mainstream media has never devoted any attention to her testimony. Why? Because her testimony did not constitute direct evidence. That is, since she didn’t testify that she saw who shot the president or some other type of direct “smoking gun” testimony, the mainstream media has ignored what she told the ARRB.

Spencer testified under oath that on the weekend of the assassination, she was asked to develop JFK autopsy photographs, on a highly classified basis.

The ARRB asked Spencer to identify the official autopsy photographs in the record. She examined the photographs and told the ARRB, in direct and unequivocal terms, that those were not the autopsy photographs she developed. The ones she developed showed a big exit-sized hole in the back of the president’s head. The official autopsy photographs in the record show the back of JFK’s head to be intact.

Spencer’s sworn testimony before the ARRB leads to but one conclusion: The official autopsy photographs in the JFK assassination are fakes.

That should be big news, right? Not for the mainstream media, which totally ignored Spencer’s testimony. Why did they ignore it? Because it consisted of circumstantial evidence, that is, evidence from which inferences can be drawn, such as the fakeness of the official autopsy photographs. Since the mainstream media, generally speaking, doesn’t understand the importance of circumstantial evidence, Spencer’s testimony was obviously considered irrelevant and immaterial and surely not something worth writing about.

Spencer’s testimony matched that of Dr. Robert McClelland and other physicians and nurses in Dallas who treated President Kennedy at Parkland Hospital. They too said that there was a big exit-sized wound in the back of Kennedy’s head, which implies that the shot that hit Kennedy in the head was fired from the front. There were more such witnesses, including two FBI agents, as I detailed in my 2013 article “More Evidence of Cover-Up in the JFK Assassination.”

A few months ago, the National Archives released an initial batch of records from the records that are scheduled to be released this Thursday. Among the released records was a fascinating piece of information. The records revealed that the mayor of Dallas, Earle Cabell, was secretly serving as an asset for the CIA.

Now, in and of itself, that wouldn’t mean too much to the mainstream media, which would explain why they didn’t report on it. The CIA has lots of secret assets and secret front organizations. To them, it would be no big deal that a city mayor is a CIA asset.

But actually that small bit of information raises all sorts of questions. Such as: How many other public officials across the United States are secret assets of the CIA, including the members of Congress and the federal judiciary? How many federal and state prosecutors and federal judges? How many law enforcement personnel?

In fact, a critical and analytical mind might ask a pertinent question regarding the post-assassination investigation in Dallas: Is it possible that Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade was a CIA asset too, just like the Dallas mayor was?

It would certainly explain the passivity in the JFK assassination displayed by Wade, who was one of the most notoriously aggressive prosecutors in Texas history. Wade, who served as Dallas DA for more than 30 years, was so aggressive that in 2008, long after he had passed away, fifteen people who his prosecutorial team had prosecuted were exonerated as a result of DNA evidence. According to Wikipedia, the culture of Wade’s department was “to convict at all costs.” Wikipedia states that Project Innocence Texas “currently has 250 cases under examination.”

Not so in the Kennedy assassination, where Wade displayed extreme passivity.

For example, Texas law required an autopsy of the president be conducted in Texas. The Dallas Medical Examiner, Dr. Earl Rose, insisted on it. As I detailed in my book The Kennedy Autopsy, a team of armed Secret Service agents, however, said no. Brandishing their weapons and screaming and yelling profanities at Rose, they forced their way out of Parkland with the president’s body and took it to Love Field, where Lyndon Johnson was patiently waiting for it so that it could be taken to Maryland and be placed in the hands of the U.S. military.

During the controversy, a phone call was placed to Henry Wade. Ordinarily, any lawyer would have said that there was no way that Wade or any other prosecutor would permit the body to be carried out of the state without an autopsy. After all, the autopsy is critical evidence in a criminal prosecution. Nonetheless, Wade passively gave his permission to release the body without an autopsy. This occurred two days before Oswald was killed, when a criminal prosecution still appeared likely.

According to a biographical profile of Wade on Spartacus Educational,

Cliff Carter, on behalf of President Lyndon B. Johnson, phoned Wade three times on the night of the assassination. According to Wade, Carter said that “any word of a conspiracy — some plot by foreign nations — to kill President Kennedy would shake our nation to its foundation. President Johnson was worried about some conspiracy on the part of the Russians… it would hurt foreign relations if I alleged a conspiracy — whether I could prove it or not… I was to charge Oswald with plain murder.”

Wade passively acceded to Johnson’s request, which, of course, succeeded in shutting down any state investigation into shooters from the front, something that would be evidenced, circumstantially, by the testimony and statements of Saundra Spencer, Dr. Robert McClelland, two FBI agents, and many more.

A few days after the November 22 assassination — November 26, Wade acceded to a request by the FBI to turn over all the evidence in the case to the FBI. According to a website entitled The Portal to Texas History,

The first key exchange was Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade’s request to Chief Curry on behalf of the Federal government on November 26, 1963 to “return over all the evidence obtained in the investigation of the president over to the FBI for mailing to Washington.”

Obviously there were big problem with Wade’s passivity. The Dallas medical examiner was deprived of the opportunity to document the big exit-sized wound in the back of Kennedy’s head. The autopsy ended up in the hands of the U.S. military in Maryland, where we ended up with fake autopsy photographs. Any investigation into shooters from the front was quickly shut down. It’s worth mentioning that that Wade, Lyndon Johnson, and the U.S. national-security establishment all knew that that federal government lacked jurisdiction over murders committed in Texas, including murders of presidents.

Could Wade’s passivity in the Kennedy assassination be because he was a CIA asset, just like Dallas Mayor Earl Cabell, as those recently released long-secret CIA records reveal? We will probably never know, especially since this is not the type of question the mainstream media would ask. I don’t think it would surprise anyone, especially since Wade once worked for four years as a FBI special agent.

For more information, see:

The Kennedy Autopsy by Jacob Hornberger
JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne Regime Change: The JFK Assassination by Jacob G. Hornberger
The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State by Jacob Hornberger
CIA & JFK: The Secret Assassination Files by Jefferson Morley.


This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.