CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Mr. Verb, we didn't have you on the list ahead of time. Could you spell your name for the record?
MR. VERB: Yes, my name is Hal, H-a-l, and the last name is Verb, that is like pronoun, subject, V-e-r-b.
CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Go ahead, sir. Thank you.
MR. VERB: I am from San Francisco. I am a private researcher. I have been conducting research for about 30 years, in fact, almost from the very first day of the assassination because it was a tremendous event in American history, still unresolved in my mind, and still unresolved in the minds of most of the American public. That is why I am here, and that is why you are here.
I am here as a private citizen who is deeply concerned to know the full truth about the assassination of President Kennedy. Today I wish to call attention to a serious question that has long lingered about the event, and that is precisely the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, and his alleged association, connection or involvement with the U.S. Government as a possible agent for an agency or agencies that represented the U.S. Government.
Regardless of whether one believes or asserts that there was no conspiracy or there was a conspiracy, the unresolved question of Oswald's ties to the U.S. Government looms large and, indeed, hangs over us like the proverbial Damocles sword, and that is over all of us, including the U.S. Government, whether the U.S. Government is in any way connected or not.
Now I realize fully well that virtually no government reveals its agents or its methods of operations, but in the matter of the President Kennedy's death this question can no longer be ignored, and the longer it is avoided the greater the harm that will befall us all.
To focus the attention of the Review Board more closely in this regard, I specifically call your attention to a radio program that I appeared on in December 1966 which was several hours long and concerned the Kennedy murder. I was in the radio station studio, this was in Oakland, California, and the other half of the program was a telephone hook-up to a Maryland writer and researcher Harold Weisberg who had written and began a series of books called Whitewash, the Whitewash series.
At the end of the program, the program moderator received a call from an individual who did not wish to be heard on the radio, and who stated he wished to speak only to Mr. Weisberg confidentially. Now I was able to hear the contents of this discussion, the entire discussion between Mr. Weisberg and the caller, and the phone call from the individual who insisted that he not be identified and who wanted to remain anonymous. In fact, Weisberg asked the individual if you desire to come forward, you always know how to reach me, but this individual never did step forward.
I am going to go into what the nature of this call was. The gist of the phone call was this. The caller had been a barracks roommate of Lee Harvey Oswald who was stationed at El Toro Marine Corps Base in California. The caller stated that about two weeks before Oswald received his so-called alleged hardship discharge, which is all over the record, can be established, he was constantly in the CID Headquarters being briefed for a mission overseas. The caller provided the information that Oswald also had a crypto secret clearance.
Now I raise this matter because if, indeed, the CID was involved in such an event -- I am not here to state flatly that they did engage in this, I don't know, I want the evidence to be presented -- it would necessarily follow that the ONI, which is the Office of Naval Intelligence, must certainly have been aware of this. It just boggles my mind.
I at one time served in an intelligence section during the Korean War, and it is impossible for me to believe that the CID could not have had in some way connection or approval by the ONI.
Now I mention ONI because there is a lot of speculation in the literature, some of which you may have read, you may not have, and none of this speculation has proven to be final, and this speculation is pointing to Oswald being connected in some capacity with the ONI. Other writers will suggest FBI, CIA, my concern here is with the ONI.
Recently Professor John Newman, who has appeared I believe at the last hearing, he has been looking into this matter, and has stated that as significant portion of the ONI files relative to JFK have been destroyed. There are still remaining, however, at least two boxes of ONI files that still have to be gone through. I have not, myself, seen these so I do not know what the nature of those files consist of. I believe it is incumbent upon this Board to reach a fairly definitive determination as why, when and how these ONI files were destroyed and whose responsibility it was for the destruction.
Since ONI files necessarily involve the Navy Department, it appears evident that those individuals from the Secretary of the Navy on downward, and those immediately below charged with their necessary responsibilities be asked precisely about the issues and points raised in my statement today.
If this is not done, history will not be served, and the American people will once again, as in prior investigations, be the ultimate losers. Respectfully, that is my -- I will be willing to send you this entire statement in a letter which I will forward to the Board, and I will answer any questions that you have about this.
CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Thank you, Mr. Verb.
DR. GRAFF: What do you mean, Mr. Verb, by crypto security clearance?
MR. VERB: Well, a crypto secret clearance has to do, as the caller explained -- I didn't get into it further. Actually crypto secret clearance is mentioned in the Warren Commission documents, in its actual Warren Commission volumes. I found that out after having looked into it. You can find them.
Crypto secret clearance is a very specialized high security clearance that very, very few people would obtain in any capacity, and it is interesting to note that at this time while Oswald was in the Marine Corps he was receiving "Communist literature," so you have a pro-Communist, Marxist having crypto secret clearance.
I talked to a General who was an aide to President Kennedy, who accompanied President Kennedy, I asked him about crypto secret clearance. He knew about it. He said, I have not confirmed this, that the only way that you could obtain crypto secret clearance is that you had first top secret clearance. Crypto secret clearance had to do with black box stuff, which is the information provided on atomic warhead missiles in case of atomic attack. I understand the Strategic Air Command has the capacity for this kind of information. I don't know precisely the nature of it, I haven't looked into it further.
But I have spoken to people who have had crypto secret clearance, many people, in fact, that I have spoken to who have pretty much asserted that what I have learned through this broadcast and other means turns out to be fairly accurate, and I only go by what I can document. I am not interested in speculation. I do not go by hearsay to the extent that I simply believe every single theory. I want documentation to prove what can be clearly set in the record and determined to be the truth.
DR. HALL: Have you made requests of the United States Government?
MR. VERB: No, I have not. I have not. In fact, I have never issued a single FOIA request in the years that I have been doing this, although I have relied on other FOIA requests from other -- not necessarily connected with this particular issue, but I have interviewed people who would have been in a position to know precisely what this kind of clearance was, and the nature of ONI and related matters.
DR. HALL: Well, the issue that you raise, of course, is one that goes to the availability or the destruction of materials held by the United States Government.
MR. VERB: Exactly.
DR. HALL: May I ask why you decided or have foregone the opportunity to use the Freedom of Information Act?
MR. VERB: To be quite honest, I am primarily involved in so many other areas. My area that I have been looking into is the photographic evidence, and that takes an enormous amount of time. I write letters and receive letters.
In fact, I should mention one important thing that may go to the heart of the matter. I recently received a call from a person who took Oswald's place in the Marine Corps in his very position after he left and went to Soviet Russia. I hope to be in communication with this person to find out precisely what the nature, if he knows anything at all, about crypto secret clearance.
So my answer would be, I simply have not had the time to do this. If you have been involved in this case, it is very time consuming. I have a full-time job during the day. I am not a member of any particular group or organization, nobody is sponsoring me. All the money I have put into this basically simply because I desire the truth, and I think justice will be served if the truth is known.
DR. HALL: I do think it is the case that part of what the Board is interested in is the efficacy and efficiency of the Freedom of Information Act as it relates to this matter, so my questions are directed to that issue and not directed necessarily to your personal capacity.
MR. VERB: I understand that. Right.
CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Other questions?
MR. VERB: Thank you for the opportunity.
CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Thank you, Mr. Verb. We appreciate your being here today.