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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Exclusive: Jim Garrison Interviewed by the HSCA

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

In July and August 1977, Jim Garrison was interviewed by staff members of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. I have five tapes of his interviews and, over the next several weeks, I will be publishing them here for the first time ever.

Here is page one of the HSCA memo on the interviews:

Here is the first of five tapes. And guess what? It's Jim Garrison at his craziest:

This was not the first tape - it was recorded towards the end of the week with Garrison.

Here is a Word document with the transcript:

garrison tape 1 transcript
Download DOCX • 40KB

Here is a .pdf file:

garrison tape 1 transcript
Download PDF • 236KB

The "Watch on Youtube" link points to The auto-generated closed-caption transcript there is less accurate, but it can be searched, and includes time stamps which are live links to the audio.

Here are the highlights:

  • Thornley lied before the New Orleans grand jury when he said he was not in New Orleans when Oswald lived there in spring-summer of 1963. Neighbors would see him with Marina Oswald. (see below for one such document)

  • Garrison saw Thornley at Georgia State University in the mid 1970s and thought he was on drugs. Garrison called him "a beatnik of the lowest order."

  • In 1976 Thornley had a friend give Garrison a 50-page affidavit in which Thornley says he briefly met Guy Banister (to discuss his book) and David Ferrie in the early 1960s. Here is the affidavit.

thornley affidavit
Download PDF • 11.55MB
  • Thornley is Garrison's candidate for the second Oswald.

  • Garrison is flummoxed by Thornley's description of Oswald's height. Garrison claims that both men were 5'11" and that Thornley said Oswald was only 5'5" tall. To Garrison this is proof that Thornley was trying to "disassociate" himself from Oswald.

  • Garrison believes that it is Thornley's body in the Oswald backyard photographs.

  • The FBI interviewed Thornley for a long time the day after the assassination. Garrison claims that their interviews are usually short, so why was this one so long?

  • Thornley left after the assassination for Alexandria, Virginia, even though he still had ten days left on his lease before his rent was due.

  • The landlord found his apartment in disarray with papers everywhere, and some of papers had been watered so that you could not read them.

  • NBC offered Thornley a lot of money for the last chapter of his book, The Idle Warrior.

  • Garrison tries to create an issue with when Thornley started and finished his book.

  • Garrison brings up the statement of Harvey Wade who claimed he saw Oswald at the Carousel Club in Dallas. He might have seen the second Oswald.


Garrison seems totally off his rocker. He makes a huge deal out of Thornley's description of Oswald's height. Garrison doesn't realize that Oswald was not 5'11" but was 5'9". The fact that Thornley described him as being shorter than he himself was is actually correct.

Garrison makes a big deal out of the interview with his landlord, John Spencer. Here is the Spencer document:

Garrison had Thornley testify before the grand jury on February 8, 1968. He could have asked Thornley about why he left his apartment with 10 days left in the month and why the apartment was such a mess. He didn't. The reason was simple. Thornley had a messy breakup with his girlfriend. He changed the locks, but she broke and in damaged a bunch of stuff. Here is what Thornley says about that: (page 59 in Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation, by Adam Gorightly)

"When I moved out of the place after the assassination I was having a full-scale war with Jeanne, who was drawing money (it was turning out) of our joint checking account faster than I (working 12 hours a day under enormous strain as a waiter at Arnaud's) could put it in, without telling me, and Jeanne had just come by and broken in and stolen back her things (which I was keeping as ransom until she paid back some of what she owed me) and so when I left the apartment it looked like a hurricane had struck it. And although I had been planning the move for about a week, for some reason or other I did not tell (my landlord), so I just left him a note apologizing for the mess and telling him he could keep whatever was valuable in the stuff I left behind, as a cleaning fee. So it APPEARED as though I had cleared out in a sudden panic ..."

There was no mystery about Thornley leaving New Orleans. He had a standing offer from a friend to stay at his place in Virginia and he felt it was time to get away from New Orleans. And Garrison knew this because Thornley discussed this with the grand jury.

Garrison made a huge deal in his interview about Thornley telling the Warren Commission that Oswald was 5'5", when, in fact, they were both 5'11". Of course, he is wrong - Oswald was only 5'9". Here is his exact testimony before the Warren Commission:

Does that sound nefarious to you?

This is where Garrison got the height nonsense from:

Garrison believed he found some witnesses who claim that Thornley was seen with Marina. It's interesting that when Thornley testified before the grand jury, Marina was also there, and they didn't recognize each other. Here is a fun document about Thornley and Marina:

Here is the only other document I could find that mentions the Oswalds and Kerry Thornley:

For some reason, Mrs. LaSavia never gave a statement, nor did Garrison call her before the grand jury. Garrison had a complete list of people who lived on the 4900 block of Magazine street and yet he couldn't find anybody to give a statement about seeing the Oswalds with Kerry Thornley.

Harvey Wade brought out more craziness from Garrison. Click here for an entire blog post on Mr. Wade and his allegations.

During his interview, Garrison told the HSCA that Thornley's father was a photo engraver. Perhaps he retouched the backyard photographs? A week after his interview, Garrison sent the HSCA a memo about this.

Jim Garrison was delusional when it came to Kerry Thornley. He charged Thornley with perjury for denying he met Oswald in New Orleans in September 1963. Here is the HSCA conclusion about Thornley:

"Thornley firmly denied contact with Oswald at 544 Camp Street in New Orleans or at any time since his Marine Corps Days. His statements have been corroborated and no evidence has been found to contradict him."

I am working on four more Garrison tapes. I hope to put one tape a week online.

Previous Relevant Blog Posts on Kerry Thornley

Garrison believed that people like Kerry Thornley had a post office box at the main post office because it was a CIA front.

A crazy memo that Jim Garrison sent to the HSCA about Kerry Thornley

Garrison's crazy memo on the military industrial complex with information on Kerry Thornley.

Sylvia Meagher realized that Garrison's charges against Thornley were ridiculous. They exchanged many letters - I present a five-page letter he wrote Meagher along with her reply.

Kerry Thornley debunks Mark Lane

Was there a link between Kerry Thornley and the Jewish Civic Press?

The good Reverend claims he met Thornley in a gay bar.

More proof that Thornley was the second Oswald!

Kerry Thornley's article on Lee Harvey Oswald just a few days after the assassination.

Another Sylvia Meagher letter to Kerry Thornley.

Why did Kerry Thornley leave New Orleans for Virginia?

Jim Garrison claimed that Oswald was a man of the right. But was he?


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