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  • Fred Litwin

"JFK Revisited" Misleads on Admiral Burkley and the HSCA

Updated: Apr 19

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, greatly misleads viewers on Admiral George Burkley and his interactions with the HSCA.

Screen shot from JFK Revisited


Here is an excerpt from a transcript: (1:01:28)


Whoopi Goldberg: The one physician present at both Parkland Hospital and the Bethesda morgue was George Burkley, Kennedy's personal doctor. Arlen Specter did not depose George Burkley, but Burkley did an interview with the JFK Library in 1967, and was asked this question:


Question: Do you agree with the Warren Report on the number of bullets that entered the President's body?


Burkley: I would not care to be quoted on that.


Dr. Donald Miller: The reason he didn't say anything was he was intimately involved in the coverup.


Whoopi Goldberg: Burkley signed the autopsy descriptive sheet with the bullet in the back at the level of T3. He also signed Kennedy's death certificate, which also placed that wound in the back. That death certificate is not in the Warren Commission volumes and the descriptive sheet in the Commission volumes does not have Burkley's signature. In 1977, through his lawyer, he wrote a letter to Richard Sprague, Chief Counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. He said he had information indicating that "others besides Oswald must have participated" in the assassination.


Whoopi Goldberg: He was willing to talk about it at this time. Sprague, who made clear his intention to fully investigate the CIA's involvement, was forced out two weeks later. Dr. Burkley submitted a written statement to the House Select Committee but there is no official record of him being deposed as a witness.


Douglas Horne: In 1982, he told JFK researcher Henry Hurt "I know there was more than one gunman." And when Henry Hurt tried to recontact Burkley for more details, Burkley cut him off at the knees, "I don't want to talk about it anymore."


Douglas Horne: The very next year, Burkley talked to Michael Kurtz, another JFK researcher, told him that he knew there was a conspiracy to kill the President and that he recalled an exit wound in the back of President Kennedy's head. Now that's a very significant statement, that the only doctor we know of who was present at both Parkland, for treatment, and at Bethesda, during the autopsy, told Michael Kurtz in 1983 that Kennedy had an exit wound in the back of his head. When Kurtz tried to recontact Burkley, Burkley cut him off at the knees, "I don't want to talk about this anymore." Dr. Burkley was deceased by the time the Review Board was impaneled. So then [ARRB General Counsel] Jeremy [Gunn] decided, well, we can ask the executor of his estate, his daughter, to sign a waiver so that we could go to the law firm, that Mr. Illig used to work for, since he was deceased also, and see if there were any records in the files of Mr. Illig that would have revealed what it was he wanted to tell the HSCA, in detail. And she said she would do that.


Douglas Horne: And then Jeremy called her on the phone, she had completely changed her mind and adamantly refused to sign it and terminated the phone call.

Screen shot from JFK Revisited


JFK Revisited makes it appear that the Warren Commission never got information from Dr. Burkley:


Whoopi Goldberg: The one physician present at both Parkland Hospital and the Bethesda morgue was George Burkley, Kennedy's personal doctor. Arlen Specter did not depose George Burkley ...


In fact, Warren Commission Exhibit 1126 is a nine-page report from Burkley of his activities related to the assassination.


JFK Revisited also makes it appear that Admiral Burkley never spoke to the HSCA:


Whoopi Goldberg: He was willing to talk about it at this time. Sprague, who made clear his intention to fully investigate the CIA's involvement, was forced out two weeks later. Dr. Burkley submitted a written statement to the House Select Committee but there is no official record of him being deposed as a witness.


Admiral Burkley was interviewed by the HSCA in August 1977:


Here we can see why Burkley was reticent to talk about bullets in his oral history interview with the Kennedy Library. He states:

Dr. Burkley said the doctors didn't section the brain and that if it had been done, it might be possible to prove whether or not there were two bullets. Dr. Burkley thinks there was one but concedes the possibility of there having been two.

Dr. Burkley might well have decided that the oral history interview was not the time nor place to talk about his thoughts on sectioning Kennedy's brain.


After all, Dr. Burkley's speciality was "internal medicine and cardiology." He was not a forensic pathologist and he understood the need for an autopsy.


Dr. Burkley also signed an affidavit for the HSCA after a second interview:





So Burkley was interviewed and submitted a signed affidavit. If this language is not what a deposed witness would sign, it's a distinction without a difference:

I understand that this affidavit may be introduced and received into evidence by the Select Committee on Assassinations of the United States House of Representatives, and may lead them to make various findings of fact, and the statutes applicable to Congressional investigations, including but not limited to those concerning false statements, obstruction, or misleading, would subject me to criminal penalties for not telling the whole and complete truth in this affidavit.

I am not surprised that JFK Revisited did not include this quote in the so-called documentary:

I saw President Kennedy's wounds at Parkland Hospital and during the autopsy at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. There was no difference in the nature of the wounds I saw at Parkland Hospital and those I observed at the autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

Why did Burkley even mention this? I will examine this in a future post.


The House Select Committee on Assassinations interviewed Burkley and he also gave them a statement. If he had wanted to share a belief that "others besides Oswald may have participated" he had plenty of opportunity to do so.


Stay Tuned: Several more posts about Admiral Burkley to come...


Previous Relevant Blog Posts on JFK Revisited


"JFK Revisited" Misleads on Admiral George Burkley and Conspiracy Theorists

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Steve Roe Blog Posts on JFK Revisited


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"Stone/DiEugenio hatch another Bogus Mystery with Sinister Strap/Sling Mounts on Oswald's Rifle"


JFK Revisited: Tripping on the Stairs

Oliver Stone claims that Oswald could not have been in the sniper's nest on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Steve Roe exposes Stone's mistakes.


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