Testimony of Gary Mack

Dallas, Texas -- November 18, 1994 Hearing
MR. MARWELL: The next witness will be Gary Mack.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Good morning, Mr. Mack.

MR. MACK: Good morning.

I trust you have a copy of the letter that I sent. The areas that I have worked on since the mid-1970s are primarily media and photographs, and I have run across some things that I have yet to find answers for, and I listed some of them here.

The first one I want to ask you about and urge you to poke around as much as you can, recordings of the Secret Service radio channels in the motorcade. There were at least two, perhaps three. There is a reference, and I am sorry I don't recall exactly where, but there is a reference that the Dallas Police broadcasts were also monitored by the Secret Service. They had a center set up at the Adolphus Hotel. It was then fed back to Air Force One out at Love Field and then monitored back in Washington.

Those recordings have never surfaced. There is an indication in the testimony from one of the Secret Service agents in the Kennedy car that he had referred to a transcript. Well, a transcript tells me that there must have been a recording somewhere. So I would urge you to check with the Signal Corps or its successor agency or agencies to find out what happened to those transcripts and recordings.

One of the reasons I suggest that is, the agent in question, Agent Kellerman, testified that he had his microphone on when the final shot or shots were fired. It would be theoretically another recording of at least part of the shooting.

Number two on my list first came to my attention in Mark Lane's book Rush To Judgment in the mid-'60s where he quoted Joe Long of KLIF radio, one of the most popular stations in Dallas at that time, and Joe said that the Secret Service confiscated some of their recordings and never returned them. I have confirmed that with several personnel at other stations that recall in the weeks immediately following the assassination numerous visits by Secret Service agents who asked for specific things, and in those days the material, films, audiotapes and videotapes were turned over without receipts, and the recollection of the people in charge is that not everything they loaned to the Secret Service was returned. To my knowledge, there is no specific listing of material, and I think that should be pursued.

When a film of Robert Oswald meeting with his brother Lee Harvey Oswald in custody is known to have been shot and has never surfaced that concerns me. There is no indication that it was a sound film, but the fact that a film like that could vanish is very troubling to me.

Number three on the list, attempts to conduct photo enhancements and blowups of one or more amateur photographs shot by witness Mary Moorman, despite some of the accounts that have appeared in print, at the end of the day Mary Moorman went home with her photographs. They were not confiscated from her, but they were borrowed while she was being questioned the day of the assassination.

In the following months, she loaned the picture to the FBI at least four times. She retained signed receipts for those. She did get a letter to appear before the Warren Commission. She asked for a delay. She had twisted her ankle and could barely walk, and the Warren Commission indicated that they would recontact her and she never heard from them again. So that is the only reason she did not testify.

But she did loan her picture to the FBI and they had told her it was for the Warren Commission and for their investigation. There is nothing in the record that indicates that the FBI or Warren Commission ever did anything with her picture of the assassination. It is the only one known to exist that shows the Grassy Knoll at the time of the head shot, and it is astounding to me that a photograph like that could exist, was known to exist within minutes of the assassination, and yet there is no official interest in that photograph as far as the available documentation shows.

We do have reports of other films and photographs that drew some interest right away, but not this one, and her recollection is, and it is support by a friend of hers named Jean Hill, their recollection is that at some point in the days or weeks following, they were exhibited a giant blowup of one of the other pictures she took in the sequence, and this picture was of the School Book Depository moments before the assassination, and they were looking at windows and trying to see if there were any figures in the windows. Their memory is that they never did see anything, but that tells me that there was official interest, at least, on the part of the Secret Service, that they did some work on one or more of those pictures, and the record is blank. I know of no such documentation and it must be somewhere.

Number four, Secret Service or FBI efforts to locate Cap Field who may have photographed the assassination. That name came from a document that was released in the late '70s, and I tried to follow up on that at that time, contacting the college up in Denton, North Texas State University, and we went through records and just could not find any reference to this guy named Cap Field. There is just no way to tell where that trail went, but there is one document indicating that Cap Field may have taken one or more pictures that day.

Number five, Army or Signal Corps motion pictures of the JFK autopsy at Bethesda. I am not an expert in this area, but I have been told by a person that was familiar with the Bethesda room that there were mountings for a motion picture camera. It was a teaching institution, at least that room was, and a standard autopsy procedure would certainly include an audio recording of the comments, and I have never seen any reference to either one of those, and I would think that somewhere there have to be some recordings of what exactly was said, and I think pun intended that would certainly be the best evidence about what they observed in Washington.

Number six, broadcast recordings of the Dallas Police radio channels. Several radio stations in Dallas at the time did monitor the police broadcasts. Whether they recorded them or not, I have not been able to determine. Without getting into any great detail on the acoustics evidence, it is the belief of Dr. Barger who did the work for the House Assassinations Committee that those Dictabelts in evidence are not the originals, and it is the one mistake he admits to. He says that he has told me and he has told others that when the House Committee showed him those dictabelts they said these are the originals and they did not question that.

After the controversy arose, his studies indicated that they have two hum tones and that tells him that they are not the originals. This was a theory of mine that I followed as closely as possible without being a scientist. Dr. Barger, I believe, is an honest, decent man, and he stands by his work. His basic observation that was ignored by the National Academy of Sciences study is that the Dallas Police radio system at the time was an FM system.

When I called Dr. Louis Alvarez, who was the one on the National Academy of Sciences panel most involved with this, I asked him, was it an AM system or an FM system? He said, well, it was AM, they were all AM in those days. I said, I am sorry, it was an FM system. It was a relatively new system, how would that affect your findings? He said, Gary, if that is true, we would have to start all over again. He asked me if I could document that, I cannot. The paperwork is gone, but I do know the names and phone numbers of some of the City of Dallas radio engineers who designed the system and installed it and maintained it.

The acoustics issue, despite the difficulties, is far from a dead issue. It needs to be pursued because, as far as I am concerned, while it is great that everybody is releasing documents, and what you are doing has truly great value, at the end of all this work, your documents are going to give us bits and pieces of information, but I just am not convinced that it is going to solve the crime. I don't think it is going to tell us whether there was or was not a conspiracy to kill the President, but the acoustics evidence can certainly do that.

The other element about the acoustics evidence is that one area where Warren Commission member David Belin and House Committee Staff Counsel Bob Blakey agree is that the acoustics evidence should be pursued. In other words, the same analysis that was applied to the Grassy Knoll shot should be applied to the other three shots. If you trace the source of those shots, just like the Grassy Knoll shot, either it is going to lead to that window or it is going to lead to some illogical place, and that would be the way to settle this issue. It would be a real shame if the acoustics thing was just left hanging because it is one of the very few pieces of hard evidence left.

Number seven, numerous still photographs of the Oswald emergency work shot by Dr. Carl Dockery. I first learned about Dockery's pictures from Mike Coleto's book The Oswald File, and I called Dockery and he confirmed it. His memory was that he had his camera with him. He shot an entire roll of film documenting what the autopsy surgeons or what the doctors were doing. He ran out of film and he borrowed a camera from someone out in the hallway, apparently a news photographer, and he has something like six or seven rolls of film with him. As best Dockery could remember, he shot a good 150 photographs.

I have no idea where those are. He has never seen them. They were confiscated by Parkland security and ultimately went to, I believe it was J.C. Price, and I made that phone call, either to him or one other person, and they claimed they did not recall that. So, again, these may be in FBI files. There is an FBI document indicating they were aware of this. I don't know that there is anything of any significance as far as changing history, but I think it is proper to document it, and they are certain there were no other photographs taken in the Oswald emergency work.

Finally, number eight, the numerous confessions in recent years by people who claim to have been involved with some aspect of the assassination. This has been a very frustrating area for me in that I have spent a lot of time working on legitimate issues in this case, as have many other researchers. Since 1990, I have found that I have spent an awful lot of time trying to correct the historical record with some of these phony stories that are coming out, and without going through a list or maybe I could provide you a list sometime in the future, the most significant story in recent years was Ricky White, the Rosco White story. That story and I could give you a stack of stuff this big, a friend and I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours on this thing. It is a complete fabrication. It is my personal belief that everybody involved with that story knew it.

I will give you an example. A few days after the August 6, 1990, news conference, a friend of mine noticed a document in the office of Bud Fensterwald, who was the head of the Assassination Archives Records Center in Washington. Fensterwald had a report on his desk, an interview that had been conducted by Kevin Walsh with a man named Philip Jordan. Philip Jordan was the mysterious Mr. X who Ricky White kept referring to. Philip Jordan was in a position to know whether that story was true or not, and what he told Kevin Walsh was the story was not true. Yet Fensterwald and others stood by as Ricky White claimed that his father killed Kennedy. It is just absolutely outrageous to me that these kind of things go on.

I am not sure there can be legislation to prevent it, but if that is part of your work, I would very, very highly, strongly urge you to come up with some legislation that would provide some criminal penalties for these people who come up with these phony stories.

I was on a museum retreat for the past week-and-a-half down in South Texas, and I got a call from one of the Fox stations with another one. Now we have four gunmen up in the Book Depository. It is just -- it is never ending. These people get attorneys to find out whether they are going to be in trouble so they know exactly what they should or should not say, and it is just mind-boggling.

On the one hand, those of us who research this case and who are amateurs, don't have any formal training in this, we tend to think outside the borders, which I think overall is good for this case because we are not locked into a certain way of studying something. But, on the other hand, there are some profiteers and others who like the limelight, and that kind of thing. It is just mind-boggling what is going on in the research community when these stories come out.

And those of us who know how to research and know how to look things up and know how to ask questions, when we look into this and say, you have serious problems with this story, we are then painted as disinformation agents. Some of these people, and I don't wish to cast the research community with such a wide brush, but they want to seek the truth but you had better find the right truth or you are in trouble. Well, I am not locked into those people, and I wanted to at least offer my assistance with some of these phony stories because you will have a lot of work before you, and I would hate to see you get derailed with stuff that leads nowhere.

I think I will leave it at that, and I will follow this up with a written.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Thank you, Mr. Mack.

Any questions?

MR. MARWELL: It would be helpful in your written submission if you give us some details on the issues that you have mentioned today.

MR. MACK: Absolutely. I would be happy to.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Mr. Mack, the reference to Cap Field that you mentioned in your number four, is that in an FBI record that you saw the name?

MR. MACK: Yes, it was, and I believe it was in one of the documents that was released along with, and it might be the same one, that came out in late '77/early '78 that identified Charles Bronson as having taken a film of the assassination. That document went to Earl Golz of the Dallas Morning News. Earl found Mr. Bronson, but Cap Field, and my memory is Cap Field is on that list, and that is the only documentation.

What I have found living here and talking with people is that there are a lot of people in the Dallas area who, for one reason or another, just would prefer not to come forward. I learned a story just a few weeks ago. A retired Kodak executive remembered that while they were processing Abraham Zapruder's film out in the Dallas office out by Love Field, that a woman had come in, and this was a woman in her late 30s, a brunette, who had taken a picture at the assassination scene, and her picture was the first one out of the processor, and they were working on this because it was quicker to do stills than it was moving film.

He didn't catch her name, but he stood next to her while she was explaining her story to some of the Federal investigators who were already there. She was running from Main Street up to Elm Street across the grass, realized she wasn't going to get there close enough, stopped and took a picture. In the foreground were some people standing on the south curb of Elm Street. The Kennedy limousine was directly behind them, directly behind the limousine was the Book Depository Building. When the picture came out of the processor, the first thing they noticed was the exposure was terrific but the focus was way, way off. It was virtually useless, and she was told that. Well, she apparently went home and whether anyone even got her name or that is unknown.

If this story is true, and I have no reason to doubt it, the man -- we sought him out, he did not seek us out, today if we can locate that slide, and this is a color slide, computer enhancement can return it literally to almost the best clarity you could have had at the time. Of course, back in those days nothing like that existed. The Kodak executive's name is Jack Harrison. Jack said they were pushing the technicians very hard to do whatever you can to sharpen this picture and approve it, and they just said, hey, there is nothing we can do.

So here is a woman with a potentially important photograph, a still photograph. What is especially interesting to me is that from the description of her position, what the picture showed, she may very well be the real Babushka Lady.

That is an area in the research community that is very controversial at this point, and without going into any great detail, I do not believe that Beverly Oliver is the Babushka Lady, or, let me rephrase that, she certainly could be but the rest of the story is a fabrication. That is my personal belief based on the work I have done.

What has happened, though, apparently, is the story from Jack Harrison that this woman existed, she has a photograph that could have some important answers. It is probably sitting in a shoe box somewhere in her closet and she has no idea, and how do you find a woman like that. How do you get people to come forward. Maybe your work will do that.

DR. HALL: Mr. Chairman, I have a question for Mr. Mack.

Do you have any knowledge, Mr. Mack, given the time and effort you have put in to this enterprise of any former public officials who took with them materials related to the assassination that are now held in private hands that would otherwise be deemed public documents?

MR. MACK: I have to think. It seems to me, yes. I don't know of any original materials, if that is what you are asking. Several police officers kept copies of things, mostly photographs. I don't know of any original material, but I would have to think about that.

DR. HALL: Could I ask, Mr. Chairman, that, Mr. Mack, as part of the statement that you provide to us, if you would speak to that issue, I would be most appreciative.

MR. MACK: I would be happy to. That is an interesting thought.

DR. NELSON: I think just to clarify your point that we are looking for documents and might miss some of these questions, actually under the statute the term document is very widely interpreted, and it means in some ways information that emerges in whatever form, whatever form of the media, so that, in fact, photographs in this instance would be regarded as proper material.

I just thought I would clarify that point because --

MR. MACK: One comes to mind. A local photographer who worked for the NBC affiliate named Jimmy Darnell filmed the loading of the President's casket on to Air Force One. He filmed it from close range, and after he was done, a Dallas Police officer came up to him and said, you shouldn't be doing that, that is sacrilegious, give me your camera. Jimmy had just joined the station and hadn't been in the business very long and he did turn over the camera or gave him the film, and the officer -- Jimmy knew the officer's name and he told me the officer's name, and I don't recall it. It will come to me in a minute.

I called him and he had no knowledge of such a film and didn't recall doing that, but was not really surprised, it was not the kind of thing he would be enthusiastic to admit. He said that if he had done that, he would have given it to Chief Curry, which means it would have gone to the FBI, so the TV station filed a Freedom of Information Request right away and got an answer within like four days that they files do not have any such film.

Since there is such controversy, and legitimate controversy, I should add, about the condition of the President's body in Dallas versus the body in Washington, I would doubt very highly there would be anything significant in this film of loading the body onto Air Force One, but you never know, and what else was on that film that has also vanished.

It is just one that comes to mind.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Other questions?

[No response.]

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Thank you, Mr. Mack. We appreciate your testimony.

MR. MACK: Thanks.

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