An Interview With Gerald Posner
By W. Tracy Parnell
In 2001, Case Closed author Gerald Posner agreed to take a moment to talk to me by email about the lingering concerns of some critics. His responses appear in blue.
Would you discuss the process that led to the publication of Case Closed?
I submitted an idea to Random House of doing a re-examination of the case in 1989, but Random wasn't enthusiastic, so I came up with the idea for Hitler's Children instead. After Stone's film, the public's interest was way up on the subject, so Random thought a book like mine could be worthwhile, even if the audience were small. All I proposed was a book that would reexamine the case, throw out the bad evidence, and try and narrow the case to the 4 or 5 remaining issues that were truly perplexing and could not be resolved. Then Random would market the book by saying something to the effect of "read this book before you read any other in order to know what the good evidence is" – about half way through my research, I knew that I could reach a conclusion, i.e. Oswald was the shooter who killed JFK. The more troubling issue for me was then trying to determine whether he did it on his own, or whether he did at someone's bequest or as part of a conspiracy.
Were you given an advance for CC that would be considered excessive for an author of your experience at that point in your career?
Absolutely not. It was exactly the same as the advance for Hitler's Children, and less than any book since.
Did you ever consider a conspiracy thesis for your book? If so, which one(s)?
I was open to any thesis, but favored the mob because of Ruby. I did not think that the extreme positions, i.e. everybody and kitchen sink in a vast conspiracy, or Oswald alone, could be proven right - I was wrong, obviously. I would gladly have gone wherever the facts took me.
Some critics seem to be concerned about the relationship between yourself and researcher Harold Weisberg. He apparently states in his book Case Open that you misrepresented your intentions when coming to his home to do research. How do you respond to this and can you discuss your relationship with Weisberg?
That's garbage. I always told Harold – and his wife, and my wife, were at every meeting – that my mind was open and that I was interested in debunking the junk and leaving the solid evidence as a primer on the case. He was interested in me doing a book debunking Mark Lane, who he can't evidently stand. He was not only furious when my book came out because it was not all about Lane, but also because I came to exactly the wrong conclusion as far as he was concerned.
Was there any litigation between you and Weisberg or between you and Failure Analysis Associates or any employees of that firm?
There have been serious claims by critics regarding interviews you conducted. Several people including James Tague and Marina Oswald apparently claim you never interviewed them. Most serious is a claim by Dr. Boswell that you never spoke to him and therefore have perjured yourself before Congress. I am aware that you have responded to Boswell's claims by producing a phone record. Will you provide proof in the future that would verify all of the interviews?
I've always said the same thing, I have tapes of Tague, Marina, Boswell etc etc. They will become part of my archive file that will eventually be donated to some institution. I don't know which, or when. I intend to donate all my research on all of my subjects. I do not want to break it up. I have received an offer to place my Nazi-Mengele materials, but it is a Holocaust specific center, and would not take the rest. I don't want that. Until then, nothing comes out piecemeal.
In CC you state that you prepared a new card index for the Warren Commission 26 volumes. Some critics seem to doubt the existence of this index. Will you ever publish it?
I will donate it with CC materials whenever that happens.
Researcher Vince Palamara says that while you thank Hamilton Brown who is President of the association of retired Secret Service agents in the acknowledgements of CC, you cite no interviews of SS agents. He implies that you may have interviewed SS agents but their responses were not useful in supporting the thesis of CC. How do you respond to this and how many SS agents did you actually interview?
I thanked Hamilton Brown because he was very nice when I dealt with him on the phone. I'm trying to think back nine years. He might have even provided some names or contacts, but I did not interview any Secret Service agents that I can recall. I certainly NEVER had an interview with ANYONE that was not used because it did not fit the thesis of Case Closed – that is because Case Closed didn't have a thesis, so I could go wherever the evidence pointed. That was a great advantage over having to shoehorn "evidence" into a theory like the buffs have to.
What do you think of the new Thomas acoustic study?
Not much. I'm convinced, from extensive email with Steve Barber, and others, that it is seriously flawed.
Do you believe it was possible that Oswald was one of a team of assassins?
I can't see how that is possible since I don't see Oswald having the communications with anyone before JFK's visit, and after Oswald discovers he is visiting, to get a team of assassins together. Also, the Oswald I have come to understand is too much a loner, someone who would only do this on his own, and not trust anyone else to do it with him. I don't see any evidence of another shooter in Dallas on Nov. 22. Could there be another assassin who didn't show up? I doubt it. Could there be someone else who was planning to kill JFK and Oswald got there first. Absolutely. I think there were plenty of groups that wanted JFK dead, and maybe had even discussed killing him (as I am sure is the case with GWB today, or Clinton in the last 8 years) but from everything I have seen, I can't see Oswald was part of any such group. They would have pinned a medal on him, but he was not their boy.
Will there be another edition of CC that addresses the remaining concerns of critics?
Nothing planned. I'm finishing a book on Motown for the next year, and then the next project looks to be on a completely different subject.