Jim Garrison and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), Part One
Updated: Oct 9, 2021
After the HSCA began its work, investigators visited Jim Garrison and spent a week interviewing him. He also started writing memos to the HSCA. Here is a list of memos that I have found:
- July 15, 1977 letter about Morgan City.
- July 18, 1977 regarding Thomas Beckham.
- August 16, 1977 letter about the deaths of Guy Banister and Clay Shaw.
- August 25, 1977 letter with questions for Thomas Beckham.
- September 12, 1977 memo listing a variety of leads.
- September 14, 1977 letter regarding Clay Shaw.
- October 20, 1977 memo regarding material allegedly seen at Wray Gill's office following assassination.
- November 8, 1977 letter regarding individuals subpoenaed to the Orleans Parish Grand Jury.
- Undated memo regarding Clay Shaw trip to S.F.; subsequent Shaw trip to Portland, Oregon; and F. Lee Crisman factors with regard to Oregon.
- Undated memo regarding Data Correlations of K.T. [Kerry Thornley] and L.O. [Lee Oswald] locations.
- Undated memo regarding Kerry Thornley.
Today, I am posting his letter to Jonathan Blackmer, dated September 14, 1977, regarding Clay Shaw.
There's a certain sadness and bitterness to this letter. On the first page he talks about the difficulty of presenting his case - "Hell, if we had tried to talk to an American jury back in the late 1960's about the involvement of a domestic intelligence operation - or, to be more accurate, a part of it - in the assassination, we might as well have tried talking to the jury about flying saucers."
Presenting Charles Spiesel as a witness (he was the accountant who said he had been hypnotized for 16 years by various people in New York, and he fingerprinted his daughter whenever she would come back from University to ensure she was the same person), was not his fault - he noted that Spiesel "simply helps illuminate what we were up against..."
In my book, On The Trail of Delusion, I have a chapter on Bill Boxley, a former CIA agent hired by Garrison to give him an insight into the operations of intelligence agencies. Garrison fired Boxley - he was talked into believing he was still working for the CIA - and Garrison now writes that he "so smoothly swiped what was left of our chastity."
He says the New Orleans Establishment "went over me like a steam-roller for suggesting [Shaw] was something less than Albert Schweitzer." He then tells Blackmer he can send more leads on "Mr. Spic & Span" if they have people to follow them up.
Garrison wrote that he had "aristocratically" dismissed a number of credible sources of information because they were too "raffish," because they were drifters, or because they had criminal records. Now, he felt, they were "giving us the best damned leads we had." An intelligence agent might well "employ as his extension for leg work someone who, while reasonably competent, has accumulated a 'record' suggesting he is an outright bum." And so, "a record of arrests - bad checks, vagrancy, thefts, et cetera - is made particularly attractive by a short spell in a mental institution." Garrison's view was that the agency "taught its operatives how to select competent characters with incompetence written in their records." His advice for the HSCA: "Don't let the bad records here and there stampede you."
As you will see tomorrow, several of Garrison's so-called leads were prisoners who wrote him letters. Actually, they all had one thing in common - they wanted help to get out so they could then fully tell their 'story.'