Features: The Warren Commission, The Truth, and Arlen Specter: Part 1

IT IS DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE the Warren Commission Report is the truth.

Arlen Specter knows it.

It is difficult to believe that "all the shots which caused the President’s and Governor Connally’s wounds were fired from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository."

Arlen Specter knows it.

It is difficult to believe that "the same bullet which pierced the President’s throat also caused Governor Connally’s wounds."

Arlen Specter knows it.

It is difficult to believe that the "weight of the evidence indicates that there were three shots fired" and that the Commission "found no evidence that anyone assisted Oswald in planning or carrying out the assassination" and that any evidence which would indicate the possibility of others being involved with Oswald "has not come to the attention" of the Commission.

Arlen Specter knows it is difficult to believe some of the fundamental conclusions of the Warren Commission Report.

That is why he said he would be "delighted" to answer some of the disturbing questions raised by critics of the Report. That is why he took a good deal of time from his busy schedule as Philadelphia’s district attorney to grant a series of in-depth interviews to Greater Philadelphia Magazine last month.

If anyone could clear up the main points of contradiction between the Report’s conclusions and much of the evidence and testimony presented before it, it would be the Commission investigator responsible for ascertaining the facts related to the actual moment of the assassination — the sequence of events, the number of shots fired, the source of the shots, the number of assassins. It would be Arlen Specter.

The interviews revealed that Arlen Specter is unequivocal in his support of the final conclusions of the Warren Commission Report. They also revealed that Specter displays an articulate confidence in discussing those findings of the Report based on postulations and theories deduced from the evidence and testimony.

In general, however, he could not explain satisfactorily certain basic inconsistencies which exist between the Commission’s conclusions and the details of the hard-core evidence. In fact, he appeared at times evasive and, uncharacteristically, embarrassingly uncertain.

From the interviews, and from an extensive examination of the evidence and testimony both published and in the National Archives in Washington, have been drawn these important points:

• The Commission early assumed that its implicit mission was to determine how Lee Harvey Oswald could have assassinated President Kennedy, and this assumption permeated its evaluation of the evidence.

• The main focus of the investigation was based’ on testimony and exhibits which were accepted without question, despite the availability of conflicting evidence which questioned their very validity.

• In attempting to ascertain the facts of what was .perhaps the most shocking murder in American history, the Commission refused to "press" (Specter’s word) for evidence that would be considered essential, vital and prerequisite to a finding in any court in the country with the least unnoteworthy of homicide cases under consideration.

• Much evidence which did not conform to the principal theory upon which the Commission based its conclusions was ignored, regarded as irrelevant or left unexplained.

• The Commission repeatedly accepted "possibilities" over "probabilities" because the preponderance of the latter did not corroborate the conclusions it was reaching.

• The most significant factor regarding the source and direction of the fatal bullet was not discussed or evaluated in the Report because it would have negated the Commission’s final conclusions.