Testimony of Peter Dale Scott

Hearing of 10/11/94 -- Washington, DC.
CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Our next witness we would like to hear from is Mr. Peter Dale Scott from Berkeley, California.

Good morning, Mr. Scott.

MR. SCOTT: Good morning, and thank you for arranging for this public hearing and, indeed, for the spirit in which all of you have indicated you are engaging on this really very significant process.

I submitted to you a written statement with, I think, in all, five categories of information. Since then, I have had occasion to think and talk about this, and I realize even with the very first category which, on the face of it, ought to be the easy category, there are, in fact, problems which I would like to go into today.

My first category, which would seem absolutely uncontroversial, records pertaining to Oswald, to Ruby or to the murders of which they were accused. Then I realized that there has been an enormous amount of game playing from the government even in this area. You heard some of it from Mr. Alcorn preceding me, and I think that you are going to spend a lot of time with the first category just cleaning up the record, getting the complete record on Oswald, the complete record on Ruby, and I foresee certain pitfalls. I also foresee some early and useful results of your work. Because, in a way, where there has been deception, where there has been withholding, where there has been concealment defines for you precisely the points where you should begin to press hard with your own review.

I want to insert something about the policy level because it has come up with preceding speakers. The week between November 22nd and November 29th, when the Warren Commission was created, is a week about which we now know some of the history. Enough has been released of Presidential phone calls, et cetera, to make it abundantly clear as, indeed, Lyndon Johnson said in his own autobiography, and Earl Warren in his, that it was talk of a possible nuclear war with millions of casualties which led to the creation of the Warren Commission. I think it is imperative to have all of the Presidential, the White House and the NSC documentation with respect to that perceived threat in that week.

Presidential phone records were released in the last year. I saw them in January of this year, and it was quite striking to me that in those Presidential phone records, those which seem most obviously pertinent to this issue were still being withheld. They should not be withheld from your Board for your review.

Another area of conspicuous deception and conspicuous withholding is the area of Oswald in Mexico City. I don't want to make it sound more serious ultimately than the question of Oswald in the Soviet Union, but it is much closer to the date of assassination, and it is also a record which, itself, is tinged with the possibility of pre-assassination indications that Oswald presented himself as an assassination. I refer you here to Warren Commission Document 1359, a top secret document, I believe the only top secret document transmitted to the Commission from the FBI, still I believe mostly withheld, but which the history of the last 30 years has established to us, I think, pretty clearly that it is a report about an alleged Oswald assassination offer in the Cuban Consulate in September or October of 1963, pretty clearly withheld because the sensitivity of the source. But now that former FBI Director Clarence Kelly has revealed that source, the Informant Solo, there should be no reason now, I think, to withhold that document.

On the CIA side, Mexi Cable 7012 of November 22nd, the first assassination -- post-assassination cable in the Oswald 201 file still withheld should not be withheld from you.

Now a problem that I foresee here, which may seem almost ridiculous and trivial if it weren't for the fact that this is a problem that is being created by people inside the government in response to earlier requests, is what I would call the non-Oswald problem. That we have records which clearly are talking about someone who was not Oswald but who identified himself as Oswald. That is what I mean by a non-Oswald, not anybody who was not Oswald, but somebody who prior to the assassination identified himself as Oswald. This, I think, should be a top target for you. This is what led me to think that there had to be certain postulates spelled out to clarify the apparently easy category of documents pertaining to Oswald, or that matter Ruby.

I would like to lay out as my first postulate that Oswald records include records of anyone who has identified himself as Oswald or who has been identified as Oswald. That is what I call the non-Oswald problem, and there certainly are documents relevant to it. This leads to a larger category which I suspect will become more meaningful to you as you proceed in your work, that every record pertinent to deceptions and concealments about Oswald and/or Ruby is an assassination record, and that, as a specific application of that, records of the withholding, alteration or concealment of assassination records themselves constitute assassination records.

The cable that was already supplied to you, I draw your attention to the notations in the margin of a classification in 1976 and an upgrading in 1977 to a classification which is, itself, classified by an agency which is also being withheld, that, that is the record of that upgrading, is, itself, a part of the assassination record.

Dr. Newman already referred to this, but this will be extremely important to you, I think, in proceeding into the FBI area, that if any file contains records of Oswald or Ruby, and you should begin with pre-assassination records of Oswald and Ruby, that then the whole of that file is presumptively an assassination record until it has been determined otherwise by your review.

Finally, with respect to any assassination record, deception, alteration or concealment implies that a truth is being concealed, and the records of the concealed truth, whatever the content of that truth, should be deemed to constitute an assassination record.

Now to come back to the non-Oswald problem and non-Oswald records, the documentary records suggest that tapes of someone, not Oswald, who identified himself as Oswald were listened to in Dallas right after the assassination. This documentation is real. It was challenged, and it was challenged, I believe, on false premises, and I want to give you, when I am finished today, one of the five or six documents that I found in the Archives which I think undercut the grounds under which that documentation was challenged by the House Committee.

I think, putatively, there did exist tapes of someone identifying himself as Oswald who, in fact, was not Oswald. They were listened to in Dallas. The FBI is still talking about the existence of those tapes on November 25th of 1963, which is two days after other documents suggest that they had been destroyed. There is a surplus of CIA documentation about the destruction of these tapes, but they still existed in April of 1964 when they were heard by Mr. Slawson and Mr. Coleman of the Warren Commission staff, as they will tell you.

I think you can see that this is, in fact, not a frivolous or trivial matter. If it was someone who was not Oswald who identified himself as Oswald, that goes to the very heart of the case that we are talking about.

There are other examples of what I would call non-Oswald evidence which should be considered assassination records, the photographic records from the time of Oswald's visit, and then any record which is pertinent to government knowledge of him before the assassination, not only of him but also of his documentation.

Here is another big area of deception because six weeks before the assassination someone in the Cuban Consulate, a woman called Silvia Duran -- I will be coming back to her -- typed on Oswald's visa application that the applicant, quote -- this is in Spanish, of course -- "states that he is a member of the American Communist Party" and "displayed documents in proof of his membership." The House Committee in 1978 heard from all three pertinent witnesses, the two consuls, Mirabal and Azcue and from Duran herself, all three of them were reported to have said that Oswald identified himself as a Communist and supplied documentation in the form of a Communist Party card.

Now Duran's testimony has been altered repeatedly, and even as late as '78, I think partly to protect her because she was living in Mexico, but here is the documentary record as we have it. On November 23rd, she was interviewed. We have reports of a signed statement which she signed at that time. I do not believe that any American government official has officially received that signed statement. It is probably still the property of the government of Mexico. I am going to suggest to you that you should obtain that signed statement of November 23rd.

There was a cable sent about it by the CIA on the same day, Mexi Cable 7046, and it says very succinctly that Duran stated that Oswald stated he, Communist and admirer of Castro. There is a ten-page memo typed up three days later in which that reference has been deleted. There is further alteration -- by the way, it is not a new statement, it is a new statement of the November 23rd statement.

Then there is a version of the November 23rd statement in the Warren Report, and it says that she does not remember whether or not he said that he was a member of the Communist Party, and the Warren Report used that reversal of the original typed statement to suggest that the original typed statement must have been wrong.

I would have said, putatively, the documentary -- and I won't pursue it but there is more -- is consistent that he did say he was a Communist and that he did supply documentation, and you need to know everything about that documentation and the circumstances in which the November 23rd statement was altered, not once but twice.

Now pertinent to the altered version, the Warren Report said on page 309 that the Commission has been advised by the CIA and FBI that secret and reliable sources corroborate the statements of Senora Duran in all material respects, and this means not what she said in October or, I believe, on November 23rd, but what the FBI was reporting she had said in May of 1964. Those secret and reliable sources were never seen by the Warren Commission, I suspect never seen by the House Committee, they should be seen by you.

There was a personality file for Silvia Duran in the Mexico City Station, a P file, as they call it. The CIA told investigators that they had no record of such a file. They did have such a record. I can supply the number of it to you. You should see that personality file or find out what has happened to it.

Finally, I want to say that I suspect that both the CIA and the FBI knew a great deal more about what was going on in that consulate than the record has suggested. There were, I want to suggest to you, double agents, or what the CIA would call human assets inside perhaps both embassies, certainly the Cuban Embassy, which is pertinent here.

Ed Lopez, a researcher for the House Committee, has since said in print that the CIA had some double agents planted in the Cuban Embassy. Gaeton Fonzi, who talked to Ed Lopez at some length, wrote in his book that the consensus among employees within the Cuban Consulate was that it wasn't Oswald who had been there. The assets said that they reported that to the Agency, but there were no documents in the CIA file noting that fact.

If Mr. Fonzi is right, then we have a missing report, or perhaps that is frivolous, I could say a nonreport on the non-Oswald, and the Board, I think, should resolve this problem and review the relative facts.

I want to suggest to you that the FBI may have been tracking all of this in a file which I am quite sure has never been seen by the Warren Commission, never been seen by the House Committee, and never certainly seen by me or by the Archives today. I have found a reference to it in a cover sheet which I am going to leave with you. It is Mexico City FBI File 105-2137, which is then struck out and replaced by a different file number with a different name, Lee Harvey Oswald. [See editor's note] I hope you will pursue that original file. I predict that it will lead to some third agency which has been protected in here, and we probably have not been talking about the villain agencies in what I have been saying to you, the FBI and the CIA have problems and they need to be resolved, but I think you will go through those problems into some other agency where, whether the documents exist or not, the heart of the problem resides.

Thanks very much. I will answer any questions if you have any.


CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Thank you, Mr. Scott.

Are there any questions, Board members?

[No response.]

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: I don't believe so. Thank you very much, Mr. Scott. We appreciate your assistance and testimony today.

[Editors Note]

Peter Dale Scott informs me that he actually testified as follows:

"I have found a reference to it in a cover sheet which I am going to leave with you. It is Mexico City FBI File 105-2137, on Harvey Lee Oswald, which is then struck out and replaced by a different file number with a different name, Lee Harvey Oswald."

This matter is referred to in the ARRB Final Report, p. 81. Apparently the FBI did not find the Harvey Lee Oswald file, 105-2137, and now can only produce the second file, 105-3702.

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