The Secret Service and CE 399

by Vincent Michael Palamara

The following is a compendium of all the anomolies pertaining to what I like to refer to as the "legitimacy" of CE399, including the Secret Service's handling of it:

[in no particular order]

1) CE2011-O.P. Wright, Darrel Tomlinson, Chief James J. Rowley, and SA Richard Johnsen could NOT identify CE399 as the bullet they all allegedly handled on 11/22/63 ("over-the-counter" references: "JFK-Conspiracy of Silence", p. 133; "Crossfire", p. 365; "Reasonable Doubt", p. 70);

2) 24H412-Although two FBI agents (Todd and Frazier) initialed the bullet they received from the Secret Service, Johnsen and Rowley did NOT, breaking the legal chain of custody;

3) CD7-Although the bullet was "officially" found on a stretcher in a corridor of Parkland Hospital, the FBI(Sibert and O'Neil) reported that it was found in the emergency room!;

4) a)Sibert and O'Neil interview of SAIC Jerry Behn, 11/27/63-the same FBI agents bypassed Johnsen and spoke instead to Behn(not even IN Dallas) about "the location of a bullet which had been found on a stretcher at Parkland";

4) b) RIF#180-10104-10481:HSCA interview of SAIC Behn- Incredibly, Behn "stated that he was in the chain of custody of CE 399-Behn received the bullet from Johnsen, then turned it over to the FBI" [WHAT ABOUT ROWLEY?];

5) Price Exhibits, Warren Commission Volume XXI - O.P. Wright, the man who allegedly gave the bullet to Johnsen at Parkland, does not even MENTION this very important find at all in his report(?!);

6) Darrel Tomlinson, O.P. Wright, Nathan Pool-all described a DIFFERENT bullet than CE399(pointed, hunting-type)["Six Seconds in Dallas"; "High Treason", p. 102; HSCA document-interview with Nathan Pool, 1/10/77; etc.]. According to research done by Josiah Thompson, the bullet was found on a stretcher used by a young boy named Ronny Fuller!;

7) LBJ Library document-Memorandum to File-According to Chief James J. Rowley, CE399 "was found amongst the clothes on one of the stretchers." If that wasn't enough, Governor Connally stated in his autobiography called "In History's Shadow"," But the most curious discovery of all took place when they rolled me off the stretcher, and onto the examining table. A metal object fell onto the floor, with a click no louder than a wedding band. The nurse picked it up and slipped it into her pocket. It was the BULLET FROM MY BODY, the one that passed through my back, chest, and wrist, and worked itself loose from my thigh" (emphasis added-p.18; "The Investigator" Feb-May 1994). Corroborating Connally's memory, from the 11/21/93 Dallas Morning News interview with Henry Wade:" I also went out to see Connally, but he was in the operating room(note the time frame). Some nurse had a bullet in her hand, and said this was on the gurney that Connally was on...I told her to give it to the police, which she said she would. I assume that's the pristine bullet" ("The Investigator" Feb-May 1994). Finally, Gary Shaw (in the 11/22/93 "Dateline: Dallas" issue) came across this passage from the Warren Commission testimony of Parkland nurse Jeanette Standridge:

Specter: "Did you notice any object in Governor Connally's clothing?"
Standridge:"Not unusual"
Specter:" Did you notice a bullet, specifically?"
Specter:" Did you hear the sound of anything fall?"
Standridge:"I didn't"
Is THIS "CE399"? What's going on here?

8) Bill Greer-Although it is an "official" fact that Agent Richard Johnsen gained possession of CE399 (a.k.a. "the magic bullet," linked to Oswald's gun) via O.P. Wright (who obtained it thru Darrel Tomlinson AND Nathan Pool, who obtained it in the PRESENCE of Secret Service agent[s]) at Parkland Hospital, what has never been widely reported is the fact that Agent Greer maintained VERY close proximity to Johnsen and the bullet in question (18H799-800):

  1. BOTH agents guarded the emergency room(Trauma Room 1)-Greer inside, Johnsen outside(2H126; 18H798);
  2. IF the FBI's report is accurate(see # 3[CD7] above), Greer was the ONLY agent stationed inside the emergency room with JFK;
  3. Johnsen rode with Greer in a car on the way to Air Force One (along with fellow agents David Grant, Samuel Sulliman, Ernest Olsson, and Paul Landis)-and we're supposed to believe that ALL these agents remained silent about the bullet!(18H799; 18H723);
  4. Greer rode with Johnsen near the casket in the REAR of Air Force One(from the point of time starting with the swearing in of LBJ, when the MAJORITY of agents/people were up front[18H799; 2H126))...
When we consider that both Greer AND Kellerman remained silent about this bullet until it was announced by Chief Rowley that night during the autopsy (via a phone call TO Kellerman!), we have to wonder about the implications of this "silence"-- in a recently uncovered HSCA document, Roy Kellerman stated that SA Johnsen told him about the bullet while they were still at PARKLAND(HSCA document, interviews with Kellerman, outside contact report, 8/24-8/25/77)!!!! This early knowledge is troubling because of the following:

Once the autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital was underway, Greer "said that a bullet had been found on a stretcher-or rather as it fell from a stretcher- in Parkland Hospital...could this be the bullet that went INTO THE NECK and, in the jostling of the President on the stretcher, FELL OUT?" As author Jim Bishop reported (thru his interview with Greer [and Kellerman])," GREER's THESIS had a supporter. Roy Kellerman ... said he remembered a Parkland doctor astride the chest of the dead President, applying artificial respiration. Kellerman...thought the bullet in the BACK...might have been squeezed out by manual pressure..."("The Day Kennedy was Shot", page 498,530; see also Tomlinson-2H412; Greer-2H127; Kellerman-2H93)!

Why would they even need Rowley's call to "alert" them to the bullet found at Parkland and given to the FBI (two agents -- Sibert and O'Neil -- were in attendance with Greer and Kellerman at the autopsy)? Why would Rowley "order" Kellerman to tell the autopsy doctors about something he already knew about? It gets better (or worse, depending on which way you see it)...

9) During an interview conducted on 9/29/92, the author learned that Agent Richard Johnsen DID NOT REMEMBER having possession of CE399!?!? ("The Third Alternative-Survivor's Guilt:the Secret Service and the JFK Murder", p. 43-see also pages 30,31,52,53, and 65;"The Investigator" Dec '93/Jan '94-article by author). Furthermore, Johnsen mentions in his first report that the bullet, quote, "may" have originated from Governor Connally's stretcher -- obviously, one of the components of the "single bullet theory" is having the bullet on Connally's stretcher; if the bullet was found on JFK's stretcher (or Ronny Fuller's, or elsewhere), the theory is in big trouble. Interestingly, Johnsen retired in 1979, having never been questioned by the FBI, the Warren Commission, or the HSCA, and when I tried, I received very cantankerous responses(it was the day after contacting Johnsen that I received the infamous call from the Executive Secretary of the Former Agents of the Secret Service, "Percy" Hamilton Brown, telling me very angrily to "cease and desist from contacting any more of my associates...I gave you no authority to do so." As former agent Bob Lilly told me, "Who died and made him boss?!" Sam Kinney told me, "Hey, it's a free country!"). As for Johnsen's "second" report, a sort of mini-report enclosed with his first report having to do with the acquisition of CE399, it is UNSIGNED. (18H799-800;this report actually exists seperately, as new documents uncovered from the LBJ Library reveal, although the same report as reproduced in the Warren Commission Volumes gives the impression it is part of the same[first] report, due to its juxtoposition on TOP of the first report). There may be more to Johnsen's present "amnesia" over this evidence than meets the eye...

10) CBS' Eddie Barker [whose son is a Secret Service agent!] interview of O.P. Wright ("Postmortem", p. 46)-"...I got hold of a Secret Service man and THEY[sic?] didn't seem to be interested in coming and looking at the bullet in the position it was in then. So I went back to the area where Mr. Tomlinson was and picked up the bullet and put it in my pocket, and I carried it some 30 or 40 minutes. And I gave it to a Secret Service man that was guarding the main door into the emergency room..."Who was the first agent Wright spoke to? And was his use of the word "they" a mistake? NO...

HSCA attorney Belford V. Lawson*, in charge of the Secret Service area of the "investigation," is the author of a recently uncovered memo in regard to an interview with Nathan Pool conducted on 1/10/77 and headlined "POOL's CO-DISCOVERY OF THE 'TOMLINSON' BULLET." In the memo, Pool mentions the fact that TWO Secret Service agents were by the elevator, one of which " remained there throughout most or all of Pool's stay". Before we can catch our breath, a THIRD Secret Service agent enters the picture; although all these men were in the immediate vicinity of the discovery of the bullet, one particular agent "was within 10 feet when Pool recognized the bullet". According to Pool, the bullet was pointed, and he added that it "didn't look like it had hit anything and didn't look like it had been in anything".

Lawson felt that further develpoment of Pool's testimony may reveal the following:


And you thought only "assassination buffs" came up with compelling assertions...

*a former adviser to JFK on civil rights; a D.C. political figure; any relation to WINSTON G. LAWSON, in charge of the advance security in Dallas?

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