Gerald Ford forced to admit the Warren Report
(Posted: February 23, 2004)
Cited under "fair use".
By MIKE FEINSILBER
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (July 2) - Thirty-three years ago, Gerald R. Ford took pen in
hand and changed - ever so slightly - the Warren Commission's key sentence
on the place where a bullet entered John F. Kennedy's body when he was
killed in Dallas.
The effect of Ford's change was to strengthen the commission's conclusion
that a single bullet passed through Kennedy and severely wounded Texas
Gov. John Connally - a crucial element in its finding that Lee Harvey
Oswald was the sole gunman.
A small change, said Ford on Wednesday when it came to light, one intended
to clarify meaning, not alter history.
''My changes had nothing to do with a conspiracy theory,'' he said in a
telephone interview from Beaver Creek, Colo. ''My changes were only an
attempt to be more precise.''
But still, his editing was seized upon by members of the conspiracy
community, which rejects the commission's conclusion that Oswald acted
''This is the most significant lie in the whole Warren Commission
report,'' said Robert D. Morningstar, a computer systems specialist in New
York City who said he has studied the assassination since it occurred and
written an Internet book about it.
The effect of Ford's editing, Morningstar said, was to suggest that a
bullet struck Kennedy in the neck, ''raising the wound two or three
inches. Without that alteration, they could never have hoodwinked the
public as to the true number of assassins.''
If the bullet had hit Kennedy in the back, it could not have struck
Connolly in the way the commission said it did, he said.
The Warren Commission concluded in 1964 that a single bullet - fired by a
''discontented'' Oswald - passed through Kennedy's body and wounded his
fellow motorcade passenger, Connally, and that a second, fatal bullet,
fired from the same place, tore through Kennedy's head.
The assassination of the president occurred Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas;
Oswald was arrested that day but was shot and killed two days later as he
was being transferred from the city jail to the county jail.
Conspiracy theorists reject the idea that a single bullet could have hit
both Kennedy and Connally and done such damage. Thus they argue that a
second gunman must have been involved.
Ford's changes tend to support the single-bullet theory by making a
specific point that the bullet entered Kennedy's body ''at the back of his
neck'' rather than in his uppermost back, as the commission staff
Ford's handwritten notes were contained in 40,000 pages of records kept by
J. Lee Rankin, chief counsel of the Warren Commission.
They were made public Wednesday by the Assassination Record Review Board,
an agency created by Congress to amass all relevant evidence in the case.
The documents will be available to the public in the National Archives.
The staff of the commission had written: ''A bullet had entered his back
at a point slightly above the shoulder and to the right of the spine.''
Ford suggested changing that to read: ''A bullet had entered the back of
his neck at a point slightly to the right of the spine.''
The final report said: ''A bullet had entered the base of the back of his
neck slightly to the right of the spine.''
Ford, then House Republican leader and later elevated to the presidency
with the 1974 resignation of Richard Nixon, is the sole surviving member
of the seven-member commission chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren.
Note bullet hole lower down on back. Had the
bullet which entered at this point been the same bullet which the Warren Report
claims then exited through the knot of JFK's tie, it would have passed well
above John Connally's head.
One thing is clear. That hole is nowhere near
where JFK's neck was. It was in his back.
||Photo of JFK's suit coat,
showing that the bullet hole in the shirt and suit coat line up,
discrediting the Warren Commission claim that the shirt had "bunched
up" around JFK's neck when the bullet hit.
Monday, February 23, 2004 03:21:50 -0800