Saturday, 20 March 2021 17:04

The Devil is in the Details: By Malcolm Blunt with Alan Dale

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Malcolm Blunt may, in fact, be the most important little-known JFK researcher of our generation. Jim DiEugenio uses this review of Alan Dale’s excellent new oral history, The Devil is in the Details, to survey Malcolm’s crucial contributions to the evidence that has been exposed today and to pay tribute to his tireless, selfless, and insightful work.

This book is an oral history. The interviewer is Alan Dale and the interviewee is Malcolm Blunt—with minor appearances by authors Jefferson Morley and John Newman.

Dale is the executive director of Jim Lesar’s Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC). He has worked with authors like Newman and Joan Mellen. He is a close friend and admirer of Malcolm Blunt, who is, by far, the major personage in the book. Unfortunately, many people, even in the critical community, do not know who Malcolm is. Why is that?

That is because every once in awhile there comes a character in the JFK case who isn’t interested in doing interviews, starting a blog, writing books or articles, or getting on the radio. This type of person essentially wants to dig into those 2 million pages that were declassified by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB). He or she wants to find out what is and is not in that treasure trove. I was lucky enough to know someone like this back in the nineties. His name was Peter Vea. He was an American living in Japan at the time the ARRB was forming. He said he was returning to the USA, relocating to Virginia and planned on visiting the National Archives to see what had been declassified. He asked if I would be interested in him sending me some of these documents. I said, of course I would. Many of the articles in Probe magazine were based upon the discoveries that Peter made in the archives. And Bill Davy’s fine book, Let Justice be Done, owes much to Peter’s work. But yet, Peter is virtually unknown today.

Malcolm Blunt took up Peter’s baton. The extraordinary thing about Malcolm is this: he does not live in America. He lives across the pond in England. He travels to America to make long visits to the National Archives. Up to now, he has not written a book. He shares his discoveries with other researchers who he thinks would be interested in the particular subject matter. I know this because I have been the sometime recipient of his largesse.

In this book, Alan Dale tried to elicit some of the discoveries Malcolm has made in his many visits to the Archives. In that regard, it is an unusual book, since I know of no prior attempt to do such a thing. The volume is made up of ten long interviews done from 2014–18. There is a lengthy back matter section, consisting of 8 appendixes and a penultimate 3-page section labeled as “Afterthought.”


A ways into the book, on page 321, Malcolm explains why he decided to take this route as his journey of discovery for the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He explains that he was disappointed in most of the books he was reading, which he thought were rather theory heavy but factually light. Plus, so many had different ideas as to what happened. He decided to go the alternative route: no theories, just as many facts as he could find in the documents. He started in Dallas at the police archives there and then moved to the National Archives in Washington. There he began with FBI files and then he went into everything else.

One of the first discoveries he made was rather important. Contrary to what the official story had been, the FBI did not receive the assassination evidence out of Dallas after Lee Harvey Oswald was shot. They were in receipt of it over the weekend and then returned it to Dallas on Sunday. (p. 19) In his testimony before the Warren Commission, FBI employee James Cadigan gave away this information. Since the hearings were closed, Commissioner Allen Dulles had that part of his transcript excised from the record. (p. 20)

Maybe one reason for doing that is because the Dallas inventory of exhibits differs from the FBI inventory list. One example being that the FBI had turned Oswald’s Minox camera into a light meter. Malcolm also notes that the Minox in the National Archives—there were two shown to Marina Oswald during her House Select Committee on Assassinations interview—is inoperable. It is sealed shut. (p. 23) Malcolm thinks the reason for this is that it would reveal police officer Gus Rose’s initials inside the camera. And that would prove the police picked up the camera on their weekend visit to Ruth Paine’s home. Resisting FBI pressure tactics, Rose always insisted he picked up a camera there and not a light meter. (John Armstrong, Harvey and Lee, p. 910) This chicanery would indicate that both Dulles and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wished to keep that camera out of Oswald’s hands. They wanted no indication in public that Oswald owned what was considered at that time a rare and expensive spy camera.

With Jefferson Morley visiting, Malcolm and Alan review what they consider another landmark on the road to discovery about the JFK case. This was the Morley/Newman interview with Jane Roman. (p. 29) In 1963, Jane Roman was a senior liaison officer for the CIA’s Counter Intelligence staff, which meant—among other things—that she handled communications with other federal offices. Morley saw her name on a routing slip concerning documents about Oswald before the assassination. He located her in the Washington area and he and Newman talked to her in the autumn of 1994. Morley had fished out a document that Roman had signed and sent to Mexico City saying that, as of 10/10/63, the latest information CIA had on Oswald was a State Department report from May of 1962.

Here was the problem: that Oswald cable was clearly false. Because—as was her position—she had read and signed-off on, at the minimum, two FBI reports on Oswald from 1963. They arrived on her desk just a week prior to October 10th and one described Oswald being arrested in New Orleans. Her signature was on both Bureau reports. When presented with this puzzle as to why she had been part of a false declaration to Mexico City, Roman replied that her only rationale would be that the Special Affairs Staff had all the data about Oswald under their tight control. She also added that she was not in on any sabotage aspect as far as Cuba went. She then said that the person in control of the cable to Mexico City would have been Tom Karamessines, who was the right hand man to Dick Helms. Helms was the Director Of Plans in 1963, in other words he was in charge of covert operations. (Jefferson Morley, ‘What Jane Roman Said”, at History

When Newman pressed her on what this all meant, Roman replied with something that was probably a milestone at the time. She said, “To me it’s indicative of a keen interest in Oswald held very closely on a need to know basis.” She then added that there must have been a reason to withhold that information from Mexico City. (John Newman, Oswald and the CIA, p. 405) For the first time, someone had an oral declaration from a CIA employee that the Agency had a keen interest, on a need to know basis, about Oswald. This was just weeks before the assassination. And Richard Helms’ assistant was the principal officer on the cable. Later in the book, Malcolm will relate another conversation with a different CIA employee and it will echo this one, except it will be about Oswald back in 1959—before his defection to Russia.


Blunt now goes into areas that, as far as I know, no one has ever broached before. Everyone knows about the CIA and its 201 files, sometimes called personality files. This was a rather common file within the Agency that had about five different reasons to be opened. Yet I had never heard of a 301 file. These are corporate files held in Record Integration Division (RID) and also in the Office of Security (OS). They included companies, charities, churches, banks, and financial service companies. The CIA had interests in dropping people into these organizations for cover purposes. (p. 354) What makes this even more important is another disclosure Blunt made earlier. That is the CIA had something called an IDN system in place prior to 1964. That system named individuals who had been targeted at their organizations. (p. 289) I don’t have to tell the reader how helpful that combination should have been to any real inquiry into the JFK case e.g. with Reily Coffee Company. And why was IDN dismantled in 1964?

Malcolm also points out two pieces of internal subterfuge that impacted the inquiry of the Warren Commission. As he was going through the FBI documents at the Archives, he noticed the code UACB on many of them. What that meant in FBI lingo was this: Do not follow this lead. The acronym literally stands for: Unless Authority Communicated from Bureau. (p. 264) Malcolm said that, within the first 48 hours, many of the FBI documents were marked like this in the bottom left hand corner. (p. 118)

This perfectly jibes with what the late FBI agent Bill Turner once told this reviewer. Turner had been in the FBI for about ten years. He had left by the time of the Kennedy assassination. He had now become a journalist, but he still had ties within the Bureau. In 1964, he was writing a free-lance article on the JFK case. He asked a couple of active agents if he could see some of their reports. He then saw more of these later when the Commission volumes were issued. He immediately recognized something was wrong.

As Turner told this reviewer, there were three steps in any FBI investigation:

  1. The gathering of all relevant leads
  2. The following out of those leads to their ultimate end, and
  3. The collation of all-important information into a report that did not come to a conclusion.

He then said if you did not do step two—which clearly the agents had not done in the JFK case—then your report was worthless. But, in spite of that, the FBI had come to a conclusion about the Kennedy case anyway. To him, this was a dead giveaway that the fix was in from above. FBI agents simply did not act like that on their own. These two sources of information on the same key issue dovetail with each other. They help explain why the Warren Commission ended up being stillborn.

Malcolm then expands on this point—and again in a way I had not seen before. The US Attorney’s office in Dallas had accumulated four boxes of witness statements and sent them to the National Archives in 1965. This included statements from people like Ruth Paine. According to Malcolm, the boxes contained statements that were “excised from testimony; it’d been cut out. It’s what the US attorneys down in Dallas called ‘No Good Testimony’.” (p. 256) When Blunt went looking for it, he found it has been reduced to two small gray boxes, he said there is “a little bit in the first box; not much in the second box.” (ibid)

Again, one should relate to this something that Barry Ernest discovered. It is what is referred to today as the “Stroud letter.” Marcia Joe Stroud was an assistant US attorney in Dallas. In 1964, she was reviewing some witness depositions from the Texas School Book Depository. One was Victoria Adams and another was Dorothy Ann Garner, Adams’ supervisor at the Scott Foresman bookseller’s office in the Depository. While searching through the National Archives, Barry saw a cover letter dated June 2, 1964. In part, the letter read as follows:

Mr. Belin was questioning Miss Adams about whether or not she saw anyone as she was running down the stairs. Miss Garner, Miss Adams’ supervisor, stated this morning that after Miss Adams’ went downstairs, she (Miss Garner) saw Mr. Truly and the policeman come up.” (The Girl on the Stairs, p. 215)

As Barry writes in his book, the feeling he had when he read this was like getting punched in the stomach. In the entire 888 pages of the Warren Report, one will not see the name of Dorothy Garner. And she was not called as a witness before the Commission. Yet, Stroud had sent this cover letter over Adams’ testimony to the Commission early in June of 1964. The Commission took testimony until early September. (Walt Brown, The Warren Omission, p. 238) This letter certified that after Adams and Sandra Styles went down the stairs, Depository supervisor Truly and policeman Marrion Baker came up the stairs. In other words, the idea that Adams was on the stairs before or after Lee Oswald came up is highly improbable. One has to wonder, was this part of the “no good testimony” that the Dallas US attorneys took? Except this one survived. But it was not discovered until 1999.


Malcolm was and is quite interested in Richard Snyder. Snyder was the State Department employee in Moscow who first greeted Oswald at the American embassy after his arrival there via Helsinki. The book certifies the fact that, as Greg Parker and Bill Simpich have also mentioned, Snyder worked for the CIA before he joined the State Department. He was a part of Operation REDSKIN. This was an attempt to recruit students studying Russian at places like Harvard. At this time, Snyder was being supervised by Nelson Brickham of the Soviet Russia Division of the CIA and one of the people he pitched was Zbigniew Brzezinski. Yet, Snyder denied he was working for the CIA at this time. (p. 107) As Parker wrote, when he went to Moscow, at the time Oswald was in his office, there was an assistant named Ned Keenan with Snyder and Ned had been part of the REDSKIN project. (p. 44)

This circle closes after Snyder left the State Department; he applied for a position in the CIA. As Malcolm notes, they placed him at work for an agency called Joint Press Reading Service. His job there was to read and analyze foreign publications. (p. 280)

The book also reminds us that Snyder’s colleague at the embassy, John McVickar, somehow knew that Oswald would be placed at work at a radio factory in Minsk. (p. 217) Once he got there, Moscow surrounded him with their agents. According to Malcolm, at one time, the KGB enlisted as many as 20 assets to surveil Oswald. (p. 220) And as Ernst Titovets revealed in his book, Oswald: Russian Episode, this included using spies on buses and also bugging his apartment. (Titovets, pp. 61, 115) In the light of this, the recent book co-authored by former CIA Director James Woolsey about the Russians recruiting Oswald as an assassin to kill President Kennedy is preposterous.

This all coincides with another genuine find by Malcolm Blunt. He allowed Kennedys and King to use this hidden jewel in Vasilios Vazakas’ fine series, Creating the Oswald Legend, Part 4. (Click here for details) I am speaking here about the stunning discoveries by Betsy Wolf about the creation and routing of Oswald’s file at CIA after the defection.

We have seen above how the Russians clearly suspected that Oswald was not a genuine defector, to the point that they used an extensive combination of human and electronic surveillance to monitor his every move. What happened at CIA would imply they were correct. There is no trace in the Warren Report or its 26 accompanying volumes of testimony and exhibits, that they had any hint of what Malcolm uncovered at the National Archives. It was not until over a decade later that the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) began to uncover this troubling but revealing mystery about Oswald. The person who did it was HSCA researcher Betsy Wolf. Yet most of the startling discoveries she made were not detailed or explained in the HSCA report or its accompanying volumes. In fact, as Malcolm found out, much of her work only exists in the form of her handwritten notes. He could not find where her original work product about the Oswald file had been typed into memorandum form. Further, her work was deemed so sensitive that much of it was delayed on a timed-release pattern (i.e. it was not declassified until after the Assassination Records Review Board closed its doors in 1998).

Since much of what Malcolm discusses in the book is based on Wolf’s notes, I will source most of what follows from those notes as used by Vasilios in his first-rate article. Betsy Wolf was puzzled by the fact that the CIA had not set up a 201 file on Oswald after they knew he had defected to Moscow—in fact they did not do so until 13 months later. What further bewildered here was this: he had offered the Russians secrets of the U2 spy plane. Oswald was familiar with the U2 from his tour in the Far East at Atsugi air base in Japan where the high altitude aircraft was housed. In late October of 1959, the CIA was getting this kind of information through both the Navy and the State Department; the latter since Snyder was a diplomat. This data—plus the fact that there were more than five documents on Oswald at CIA—should have caused the opening of a 201, or “personality file.” In fact, Betsy discovered that four documents on Oswald arrived at CIA the first week after the defection. Yet, in apparent violation of CIA’s internal guidelines, no 201 file was opened.

This leads to the second conundrum about the routing of Oswald’s original file: its destination. In an interview the HSCA did with CIA Officer William Larson, he said that the Oswald documents should have gone to the Soviet Russia (SR) Division. (HSCA interview of 6/27/78) They did not. These early files instead went to Office of Security (OS). What made that puzzling is that in this same interview, Larson said that OS did not set up 201 files. (Ibid) And Malcolm adds this: there was a bridge between OS and CI/SIG (Counter Intelligence/Special Investigations Group). This was James Angleton’s super-secret compartment which, quite literally, spied on the Agency’s spies. (p. 31)

Just from the above, this is all rather fishy. Did someone not want a 201 file set up on Oswald? When Betsy interviewed Director of Central Reference H. C. Eisenbeiss, he said that the way documents were funneled into the Agency—called dissemination of files—was governed by written requests from customer offices. (Wolf notes of 9/18/78) This would indicate that someone from OS directed Oswald’s files bypass the general system and go only to OS instead. After all, as Malcolm notes, some of these early documents from State and Navy had multiple copies attached for expected distribution to various departments. In one case, as many as fifteen copies were included. (pp. 344–45)

Only toward the end of her search did Betsy find out what had happened. Betsy’s notes include an interview with the former OS chief Robert Gambino. According to Malcolm, her handwritten notes are the only place anyone can find anything about this particular interview. (Wolf notes of 7/26/78) Gambino told her that CIA Mail Logistics was in charge of disseminating incoming documents. In other words, someone made this request about the weird routing of Oswald’s files from OS’s Security Research Service. (p. 324) And this was done prior to Oswald’s defection. Malcolm concludes that with what Betsy unearthed, there should now be no question that the CIA knew Oswald was going to defect before it happened.

An important part of the book deals with Malcolm’s friendship with CIA officer Tennent ”Pete” Bagley. Bagley worked out of the Counterintelligence unit in the Soviet Russia division; he also worked in Europe at, among other stations, Bern and Brussels, where he was chief of station. Malcolm met him after he was retired and living in Brussels. In retirement, Bagley was writing books about his career. They largely focused on the CIA’s battles with the KGB, for example, on whether or not Yuri Nosenko was a plant or a real defector. Bagley thought he was the former.

While putting together Betsy Wolf’s discoveries about the odd nature of the opening of Oswald’s files at CIA HQ, Malcolm decided to talk to Bagley about it. He told him how his old Soviet Russia division was zeroed out of information about Oswald’s defection for 13 months—even though, at times, the CIA was getting 15 copies of an Oswald document. (pp. 344–45) Malcolm then drew the routing scheme up as he had deciphered the entry path from Betsy’s work.

Bagley looked at the illustration of the routing path. He then looked up at Malcolm and asked him something like: OK, was Oswald witting or unwitting? Malcolm did not want to answer the question, but Bagley badgered him. He blurted out, “Unwitting.” Bagley firmly replied: Nope. He had to be witting and knowledgeable about how the CIA was using him and, therefore, he was working for them in some capacity.

In this reviewer’s opinion, what Malcolm Blunt did on this issue— excavating the heroic work of Betsy Wolf, piecing it together part by part, then showing it to Bagley—constitutes one of the keystone discoveries made possible by the ARRB. Its importance should not be understated. It is a hallmark achievement.


Malcom follows up on this discovery by commenting on it in two ways: one through a comparison, one by creating a parallel. He and Alan note that another defector’s files, Robert Webster, did not enter the system like this. They were normally distributed and went to the Soviet Russia Division. (p. 68) He then says that this almost incomprehensible CIA anomaly with Oswald in 1959 is then bookended by another attempt to rig the system (i.e. with Oswald in Mexico City in the fall of 1963). What are the odds of that happening to one person in four years? (p. 295) He also adds that, to him, the weaknesses in the Mexico City story are the tendentiousness of the alleged trip down and his return. Both David Josephs and John Armstrong agree with that analysis.

Malcolm’s recovery of Betsy Wolf’s notes also contributed something else that was important about Mexico City. Something that, to my knowledge, no one knew before. Miraculously, Betsy got access to a chronology penned by Ray Rocca. As James Angleton’s first assistant, Rocca cabled Luis Echeverria on November 23rd. Echeverria was the Secretary of Interior in Mexico who would eventually take over the Mexico City inquiry—thereby foreclosing the Warren Commission and getting out ahead of the FBI. Rocca wired Luis about the relationship between Oswald and Sylvia Duran. How did Rocca know that Echeverria would eventually be running the inquiry about Oswald at that early date? At that time, James Angleton was not even in charge of the CIA investigation for the Warren Commission.

Secondly, on that same day, a CIA agent escorted Elena Garro de Paz to the Vermont Hotel. This is the woman who would try to discredit Duran by saying that Duran was seen at a twist party with Oswald and had some kind of sexual affair with the alleged assassin. Since Duran worked at the Cuban embassy, this implied that somehow Castro was a part of the plot. (John Newman, Oswald and the CIA, pp. 379–85) How on earth did anyone know about the significance and the opposition of these two witnesses within 24 hours of the crime?

In addition, there is this nugget of new information. The National Security Agency (NSA) had intercepts on Mexico City communications. The Warren Commission knew about this. So J. Lee Rankin sent a letter to Jack Blake of the NSA about this information, since he knew it was independent of the CIA coverage. (pp. 63–65) There is no evidence today that there was a reply.

Malcolm explored the papers of a relatively unknown personage who I recently wrote about, Comptroller of the Currency James Saxon. While going through his papers at the Kennedy Library, he came to the same conclusion I did: Kennedy was using Saxon to challenge the suzerainty of the Federal Reserve Board. (Click here for details) In fact, he even goes further than I—and even author Donald Gibson—did in that regard. He tells Alan that Kennedy wanted Saxon to actually attempt to supersede the Federal Reserve as far as its control of the banking system. (p. 269) This was Kennedy’s way of loosening the money supply and injecting a Keynesian stimulus into the economy. (p. 270) This would serve as a complement to his tax cut and would precede his planned capital improvements program. Malcolm also adds that—because of this—the longtime chair of the Federal Reserve—hard money banker William McChesney Martin—was not a fan of Kennedy. (ibid) And for whatever reason, Lyndon Johnson agreed with Martin. The new president did not renew Saxon’s five year term when it expired in 1966.

Because Malcolm has spent so much time in the National Archives, he is in a good position to alert us as to what is there and what is not—but should be. One of his most interesting discoveries is the fact that the Office of Security file series on Oswald has a rather large hole in it. Since Oswald’s file was originally opened by that department, they later put together a series on the alleged defector. Both CIA Directors, Robert Gates and George Tenet, called for the assembly of all CIA files on Oswald for the Review Board. Yet that series did not come forth until the Board called for it themselves. They did this based on the work that Betsy Wolf had done for the HSCA, this is how they proved it existed. (pp. 327–28) It was supposed to consist of seven volumes. Yet somehow today, it is missing Volume Five. That one does not exist today. Yet as Malcolm notes, Betsy Wolf took notes on it, so it did exist at one time.

This is only the beginning of a very serious problem about these Kennedy assassination files. As Malcolm and John Newman note, somehow, some way, many of them have simply disappeared. (p. 240) And it’s not just from NARA. Malcolm found out that the papers of author Edward Epstein from his book Legend were housed at Georgetown. Reader’s Digest had financed the rather large budget for that book, which included payment for a fleet of researchers, including Henry Hurt. They then placed much of the documentation under the name of their since deceased editor, Fulton Oursler Jr., at Georgetown. One of the boxes contained many of the interviews done with the Marines who knew Oswald. Some of these subjects were not interviewed by the Warren Commission. These were made off limits to Malcolm and he told Pete Bagley about it. Bagley knew Oursler and got permission for Malcolm to see the interviews. Blunt flew over and requested the box. When he got it, the Marine interviews were gone. (p. 51)


There are many other areas that I have not addressed, simply because this review would be twice as long if I did. But I would like to close this discussion of Blunt’s discoveries with the story of Cliff Shasteen. Shasteen was the 39-year-old proprietor of a barber shop who cut Oswald’s hair in Irving, where Ruth and Michael Paine lived. You will not find his name in the Warren Report and the reader will soon understand why. He said that he cut Oswald’s hair about every two weeks, a total of three or four times, while other barbers who worked for him also cut Oswald’s hair. (WC Vol. 10, p. 314) Oswald usually came in on a Friday night or on a Saturday morning. Cliff also recalled a youth, aged about 14, who came in with Oswald, and once by himself—and that was about four days before the assassination. (WC Vol. 10, p. 312) While there by himself, he began spouting Marxist philosophy, shocking the adults in his presence, including Shasteen. (Ibid; see also Michael Benson, Who’ Who in the JFK Assassination, p. 415) As Benson notes, even though Shasteen testified before the Commission, neither they nor the FBI ever found out who the sometime companion was. Shasteen greatly regretted not taking him out for dinner to find out where he got his philosophy from.

Malcolm and Alan mention this intriguing incident and the testimony of grocery store owner Leonard Hutchison, where Shasteen said he also saw Oswald. (p. 265; see also Sylvia Meagher, Accessories After the Fact, pp. 364–65) But for many years, the identity of the companion who wanted to put on a show, minus Oswald, was unknown. Thanks to some fine work by Greg Parker, we now have a good idea who the “Marxist” was. His name very likely was Bill Hootkins. (p. 305; also, click here and scroll down) And this is where it all gets rather interesting. In fact, it may explain why the FBI never found out his identity.

At this time, late in 1963, Hootkins was Ruth Paine’s private Russian language student. Ruth worked with the sons and daughters of the Dallas elite at a private school, St. Mark’s. She had an agreement to tutor them at that facility, so she would pick Hootkins up at his home, drive him to the school, and then return him to his house. What makes this even more intriguing is that Hootkins became a rather proficient and prolific actor, and his career may have started at this time. (Click here for details)

According to Parker, FBI agent Jim Hosty knew about Ruth’s work at St. Mark’s and later learned about the Hootkins lessons. But as Parker notes, somehow, no one in the FBI put together Hootkins and Shasteen, even though Shasteen’s description fit Hootkins quite well. And Ruth Paine had Hootkin’s contact details in her address book—a point which Ruth tried to brush off. But as Shasteen also noted, he saw Oswald drive up to his shop with Hootkins in a car he described that matched one of the Paine automobiles. (John Armstrong, Harvey and Lee, p. 582)

Parker incisively notes the manner in which Ruth answered questions to the FBI about the incident. When asked if she had any idea about who the kid was, she said she knew of no boy of 14 associated with Oswald from the neighborhood. As Greg notes, Hootkins was not from that neighborhood. She also denied ever letting Oswald drive her car alone. Yet, when Oswald drove to Shasteen’s, he was with Hootkins. The answer also leaves open the possibility that it may have been her husband Michael who allowed Oswald to take the car.

Of the early critics, only Sylvia Meagher ever mentioned Shasteen and Hutchison. But this reviewer finds it interesting that one of the lead investigators on Shasteen was FBI agent Bardwell Odum. (WC Vol. 10, p. 318) As most of us know, Odum was quite friendly with the Paines. In fact, as Carol Hewett points out, Odum cooperated with the Paines to posthumously separate Oswald from his Minox camera. (The Assassinations, edited by James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, pp. 238–49) According to Parker, the other two barbers working with Shasteen had their statements “fragrantly altered” by the FBI. “They were specifically told what to add—and what was added had the sole purpose of trying to distance Hootkins from the whole affair.” (3/19 email from Parker)

Blunt takes this intriguing episode a bit further. It only seems that no one noticed this rather interesting episode. It appears that someone, somewhere actually did notice. During his talk with Shasteen, Oswald was asked where he picked up his yellow shoes. Oswald said he went down to Mexico every so often and that is how he got them. (p. 303) It turns out that Malcolm later discovered that this might be a case of file seeding, that is of an agency planting disinformation in another agency’s files, because it turned out that the CIA began sending materials over to the FBI about one Ramon Cortez. Cortez was in the import/export business and owned a company called Transcontinental, which sent black market vehicles from the USA into Cuba. Cortez owned a shoe factory in Tijuana called Clarice. The CIA began to push the Cortez/Transcontinental documents onto the FBI in, get this, December of 1963, when they had this information in 1961.

As much file work as Malcolm has done, and for as long as he has done it, he still understands the Big Picture issues. Led by people like Paul Hoch, Tony Summers, and Peter Scott, he addresses what had been the conventional wisdom about Jim Garrison for many years. Namely that there was no there, there. And whatever was there was worthless. Blunt takes issue with that thunderous cliché. He says that Garrison was a patriotic man who was doing his best under the stress of a terrible attack by the CIA. When Malcolm reviewed his materials, he concluded that “the guy did miracles, really.” (p. 378) He then mentions the newest documents on Permindex, which John Newman used for Jacob Hornberger’s ongoing webinar. (Click here for details) About John Kennedy’s assassination, he states that considering who he was and where he was headed—for example in the Middle East—his loss was incalculable. (pp. 273, 384) He sums it up tersely with, “Jesus Christ! What we lost when we lost that man.”

Let’s all hope we don’t lose Malcolm Blunt.

Last modified on Monday, 22 March 2021 06:30
James DiEugenio

One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today (2018), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).   See "About Us" for a fuller bio.

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