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Congress in 1979: “Probable conspiracy” behind JFK Assassination

In the wake of Watergate and President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974, a “reform” Congress undertook investigations of the FBI, CIA, and other intelligence agencies–the Church Committee published 14 reports containing its findings. With the public airing of the Zapruder home movie of the JFK assassination showing Kennedy reacting to an apparent shot from the front, there were calls for reinvestigation of this and other political assassinations of the 1960s.

In 1976, the House Select Committee on Assassinations undertook reinvestigations of the murders of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1979, a single Report and twelve volumes of appendices on each assassination were published by the Congress. In the JFK case, the HSCA found that there was a “probable conspiracy,” though it was unable to determine the nature of that conspiracy or its other participants (besides Oswald). This finding was based in part on acoustics evidence from a tape purported to record the shots, but was also based on other evidence including an investigation of Ruby’s underworld connections. The acoustics evidence was disputed by a panel of scientists, but that “debunking” has itself come under attack recently.

The massive internal files of the HSCA were unsealed in the wake of the 1992 JFK Assassination Records Collection Act. Still being digested by researchers, they have shed more light on the assassination itself and also on the conduct of the HSCA’s investigation…


Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives

Summary of Findings and Recommendations

I. Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations in the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Tex., November 22, 1963

A.   Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at President John F. Kennedy. The second and third shots he fired struck the President. The third shot he fired killed the President.

1.     President Kennedy was struck by two rifle shots fired from behind him.

2.     The shots that struck President Kennedy from behind him were fired from the sixth floor window of the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository building.

3.     Lee Harvey Oswald owned the rifle that was used to fire the shots from the sixth floor window of the southeast comer of the Texas School Book Depository building.

4.     Lee Harvey Oswald, shortly before the assassination, had access to and was present on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building.

5.     Lee Harvey Oswald’s other actions tend to support the conclusion that he assassinated President Kennedy.

B.    Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy. Other scientific evidence does not preclude the possibility of two gunmen firing at the President. Scientific evidence negates some specific conspiracy allegations.

C.   The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The committee is unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy…