TESTIMONY OF DR. LOWELL LEVINE, CONSULTANT TO THE CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER, NEW YORK CITY, AND CALVIN S. McCAMY, CHAIRMAN OF THE AMERICAN NATIONAL STANDARDS WORKING GROUP ON PRINT QUALITY FOR OPTICAL CHARACTER RECOGNITION
Mr. PURDY. Mr. McCamy, if you have any comments during the questions directed to Dr. Levine, please feel free to add them. Dr. Levine, what is your occupation?
Dr. LEVINE. I am a dentist.
Mr. PURDY. How does the process of dental identification work?
Dr. LEVINE. The forensic odontologist or forensic dentist will examine a particular piece of dental evidence and attempt to find all the particular unique and individual characteristics in that piece of evidence. He will then attempt to secure a prior record which contains those same characteristics.
Mr. PURDY. In the case of the X-rays of President Kennedy, what was your task?
Dr. LEVINE. My task basically was to examine the films taken during the course of the autopsy of President Kennedy and to determine if in fact the person who was X-ray was the late President.
Mr. PURDY. To what extent are X-rays considered adequate for identification purposes?
Dr. LEVINE. X-rays are excellent dental evidence for identification purposes. They contain the positions of the teeth in relation to each other. They contain the shapes and sizes of the fillings and the lining or basing materials that the teeth contain. We can find anomalous or bizarre situations, pathology such as cysts, roots, and consequently there are a myriad of areas for comparison in X-ray film.
Mr. PURDY. Do X-rays exist showing the teeth and jaws of President Kennedy taken prior to the autopsy X-ray?
Dr. LEVINE. Yes sir, they do.
Mr. PURDY. Where are they?
Dr. LEVINE. There were 22 such films in the custody of the National Archives.
Mr. PURDY. Generally, what do these films show?
Dr. LEVINE. Thirteen of the films are dental X-ray type films. The other nine are marked JFK sinus. The X-ray films show teeth, jaws, dental restorations, bony patterns, and the like. The sinus films are both anterior, posterior, front to back, and lateral skull films taken side to side.
Mr. PURDY. What is the basis for your opinion as to whether or not the autopsy X-rays were actually made on President Kennedy?
Dr. LEVINE. Well, the first thing that I did was to compare each of the photographs in the National Archives with each other and I was very readily able to determine that all the films were taken on the same person, President Kennedy. There are four sources of the films, including a Captain Petter of the U.S. Navy Dental Corps, and a Dr. Robert Morris of New York City. The sinus films were taken by Dr. Stephen White of New York City, and by Drs. Groover, Christie, and Merit in Washington, D.C., through the years 1960 to 1962. These names appear either on the films themselves or on the film mounts, which is normal procedure.
Mr. PURDY. Dr. Levine, will you please examine these items marked JFK exhibits F-295 and F-296 and tell us what they represent?
Dr. LEVINE. May I walk over there, Mr. Counsel?
Mr. PURDY. Yes.
Dr. LEVINE. F-295 is a composite of certain of the films in the National Archives, and autopsy films 1 and 2. I have in fact examined autopsy films 1, 2, and 3 and was able to authenticate all of those, but at the time I had my permission to do the photography work it was my understanding that I was not to photograph injury pattern and in order to authenticate film No. 1 that would have showed injury pattern in that the frontal sinuses were used to authenticate autopsy film 1.
Mr. PURDY. Dr. Levine, what do the autopsy Nos. 1, 2, and 3 represent, what views of the President?
Dr. LEVINE. They are all skull films. Autopsy 1 is a front to back and back to front--an AP-type film. Nos. 2 and 3 represent lateral films taken from side to side, so to speak.
Mr. PURDY. Mr. Chairman, I would like to have these exhibits, marked JFK F-295 and F-296, introduced into the record at this time.
Chairman STOKES. Without objection, they may be entered into the record at this time.[The above-referred-to JFK exhibits F-295 and F-296 follow:]
JFK EXHIBIT F-295
JFK EXHIBIT F-296
Mr. PURDY. Could you please demonstrate the areas of comparison in the exhibits?
Dr. LEVINE. Yes, sir. The four films on top in F-295--and these in F-296--are actually duplicates of each other with certain of the areas of comparison color coded in red. The four films on top were taken by Dr. Robert Morris in New York City I believe on January 18, 1962, right side and left side. The film in the lower corner on both the exhibits on the "J" side is the Stephen White film taken on August 14 of 1960, and the film on the left side is the Drs. Groover, Christy, and Meritt film taken in Washington, D.C., and this is of a lateral skull film on August 17, 1960.
This is the dentition and supporting structures on both autopsy 2 and autopsy 3. We can see some very distinctive areas that makes comparison not too difficult. But one thing we must understand, the dental films are taken by placing the piece of film in the mouth, and so you get the one tooth.
The lateral skull films are taken by passing the X-rays, so to speak, through the skull to the film on the other side, so that we get a composite very often, or the teeth of both sides superimposed upon each other, which has happened in the four films here. We have elements then of both the right and left sides in autopsy 2 and autopsy 3.
Autopsy 3 is very evident from the very distinctive shapes of the fillings. For example, in the upper second molar we see a "W" shape filling and we can follow them as we go forward. So that there is absolutely no difficulty in authenticating that.
One of the elements that has stayed throughout is a kidney-shaped area of cement base in the lower left second molar, and this shows very readily in this area here, in the 60 film, in both autopsy films. There are others, too, just to point out---
Mr. PURDY. Dr. Levine, I appreciate your pointing out a couple of those areas. Based on the comparison X-rays that you have used, are you able to state a firm opinion as to whether or not the three skull X-rays you viewed from the autopsy materials are in fact X-rays taken of President Kennedy?
Dr. LEVINE. Yes, sir, there is absolutely no question of that.
Mr. PURDY. Mr. Levine, will you please examine this item marked "JFK exhibit F-323" and identify this report you have submitted to us. If the clerk will give the report. [Document handed to the witness by the clerk.]
Mr. PURDY. Dr. Levine, is this the report you submitted to the staff of this committee?
Dr. LEVINE. Yes, it is.
Mr. PURDY. Mr. Chairman, I would like this report marked "JFK exhibit F-323" and have it entered into the record at this time.
Chairman STOKES. Without objection, it may be entered into the record at this time.
[The above-referred-to JFK exhibit F-323 follows:]
JFK EXHIBIT F-323
Mr. PURDY. I have no further questions for Dr. Levine. I will move on to Mr. McCamy. What is your occupation?
Mr. McCAMY. I am a scientist specializing in photography and the measurement of color.
Mr. PURDY. Have you examined the photographs said to be taken of President Kennedy at the time of the autopsy?
Mr. McCAMY. Yes, I have.
Mr. PURDY. Did anyone else on the photographic panel examine these materials?
Mr. McCAMY. Yes; they were examined in great detail by Frank Scott, by David Eisendrath, by Bennett Sherman, and by one of the professors from RIT.
Mr. PURDY. Did you observe anything of interest in the photographs which is relevant to the issue of the authenticity of the autopsy photographs?
Mr. McCAMY. Yes; there were numbers embossed on the edges of the color films. These numbers indicate the batch numbers of emulsions. Sometimes but not always, a manufacturer of the film can date the film knowing these numbers. David Eisendrath copied down two of these numbers from the color film and he prepared a letter to the manufacturer, Eastman Kodak, asking about the date of the films. As it happened, he had some old boxes of film on which the dates were known. He took the numbers of some of those films and submitted them at the same time just as a control procedure.
Mr. PURDY. Did you notice anything else on the autopsy photographs relevant to the issue of authenticity?
Mr. McCAMY. Might I remark that the Eastman Kodak Co. did respond. They were able to date David Eisendrath's films and they were able to date the films that were taken at the time of the autopsy and they said the films were manufactured in 1963, which is an appropriate finding.
Mr. PURDY. Thank you. As I was saying, Mr. McCamy, is there anything else you observed on the autopsy photographs relevant to the issue of authenticity?
Mr. McCAMY. Yes. Of course we examined the films in great detail to see whether or not there were any indications, any evidence whatsoever, of falsification of the photographs. We found no disturbing of the surface of the film. We found nothing taken away from the film or added to the film, no evidence of any cutting or pasting or construction of a montage, in short, found no evidence whatsoever of any such faking.
Mr. PURDY. You mentioned earlier to members of the staff that you were able to view some of the photographs stereoscopically. Could you briefly state what it means to view photographs stereoscopically and why you believe this is evidence of authencity?
Mr. McCAMY. Yes. We have an exhibit. The human eyes are located a short distance apart.
Mr. PURDY. Mr. Chairman, could we examine this item and mark it as JFK exhibit F-294 and enter it into the record at this time.
Chairman STOKES. Without objection, it may be entered into the record at this time.[The above referred to JFK exhibit F-294 was marked erroneously and should have been marked JFK exhibit F-203.]
JFK EXHIBIT F-203
Mr. McCAMY. As you can see on the diagram, if a person looks at a small square peg in front of him, the right eye may see the front and part of the side of the peg. The left eye can see the front and part of the left side of the peg. This is a disparity, a difference in the two views that the two eyes see.
Another fact is observed. For the right eye, the peg lines up with the left hand spot in that diagram in the background where, for the left eye, the peg lines up with the right hand spot, so we have what is called parallax, that is, a difference of a linement in the photograph.
Mr. PURDY. Mr. McCamy, were there autopsy photographs in which you were able to observe parallax?
Mr. McCAMY. Yes, sir.
Mr. PURDY. Which autopsy photographs were those?
Mr. McCAMY. They were photographs of the back of the head, of the top of the head, the front of the body showing the neck wound, the back showing the back wound.
Mr. PURDY. Mr. McCamy, based on your viewing of these photographs and your determination that parallax was evident in them, to what extent are you able to say that these photographs were unaltered?
Mr. McCAMY. I would say on the basis of the examination of these photographs, stereoscopically, it is highly unlikely that they were altered in any way.
Mr. PURDY. Why do you have this opinion based on viewing them stereoscopically?
Mr. McCAMY. Let me take four cases because--
Mr. PURDY. Mr. McCamy, if we could deal with the general principle of stereoscopic vision, could you tell us why your ability to view them steroscopically permits you to say they are authentic.
Mr. McCAMY. Yes. Suppose, first, we take the possibility that someone substituted a body and that it was not the body of the President. Viewing these photographs stereoscopically provides the best kind of view because you can observe not only lateral dimensions but dimensions in depth, so it provides the best kind of view for identification. In this case, we must remember we are looking at professional photographs taken at short range, not distant photographs, so there is very little difficulty in identifying the person and the things seen. The fact that it is in stereo gives the observer full advantage of the information available to him.
Mr. PURDY. Mr. McCamy, then it is your opinion that based on your examination of these stereo pairs that you are able to conclude that it is very unlikely these photographs are altered?
Mr. McCAMY. Yes, extremely unlikely. We have considered the possibilities of various photographic techniques that could have been used in a train of events to produce these photographs. Some of them are virtually impossible because of the stereoviewing. Others would be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible.
Mr. PURDY. Thank you, Mr. McCamy. Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions.
Chairman STOKES. Thank you, Counsel. Dr. Levine, Mr. McCamy, thank you both for your testimony here this morning and you are now excused. [Witnesses excused.]