Jim Garrison's Rebuttal


July 15, 1967

On July 15, 1967, Garrison was granted thirty minutes of national television time to respond to an NBC documentary which was highly critical of his investigation. Here is his complete address to the nation in which he outlined his allegations:


The following time period has been made available to District Attorney Jim Garrison of New Orleans to reply to an NBC news program broadcast on June 19. [1967] In that program NBC News examined some of the methods used by Mr. Garrison in his investigation of what he charges was a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. Except for the opening and closing announcements, this program has been prepared under Mr. Garrison's sole supervision. Mr. Garrison.


Tonight I am going to talk to you about truths and about fairy tales; about justice and about injustice. In the months to follow you are going to learn that many of the things which some of the major news agencies have been telling you are untrue. You are going to learn that although you are citizens of the United States, information concerning the cause of the death of your President has been withheld from you.

In the months to come you will learn to your own satisfaction that President Kennedy was not killed by a lone assassin. You will learn that there has been and continues to be a concerted effort to keep you from learning these facts. And you will learn, I assure you, that what I have been trying to tell you and what I am telling you tonight is true.

As children we become accustomed to hearing fairy tales. They are always pleasant stories and they are comforting to hear because good always triumphs over evil. At least this is the way it is in fairy tales.

Fairy tales are not dangerous for our children and are probably even good for them up to a point. However, in the real world in which you and I must live, fairy tales are dangerous. They are dangerous because they are untrue. Anything which is untrue is dangerous. And it is all the more dangerous when a fairy tale becomes accepted as reality simply because it has an official seal of approval, or because honorable men announce that you must believe it or because powerful elements of the press tell you that the fairy tale is true.

The conclusion of the Warren Report, that President Kennedy was killed by a lone assassin, is a fairy tale. This does not mean that the men on the Warren Commission were aware at the time, that their conclusion was totally untrue, nor does it mean necessarily that these men had any sinister motives. It does mean that the conclusion that no conspiracy existed, and that Lee Oswald was the lone assassin is a fiction, and a myth, and that it should be brought to an end.

The people of this country don't have to be protected from the truth. This country was not built on the idea that a handful of nobles, whether located in our Federal agencies in Washington D.C., or in the news agencies in New York should decide what was good for the people to know, and what they should not know. This is a totalitarian concept which presumes that the leaders of our Federal government and the men in control of the powerful press media constitute a special elite which by virtue of their nobility and their brilliance, empower them to think for the people. Personally, I would rather put my confidence in the common sense of the people of this country.

The truth about the assassination of the President has been concealed from you long enough. Those forces which are fighting so hard today to tell you that they have examined the Warren Report and that everything is fine, and that our investigation has uncovered nothing, are not merely going to lose this fight-- they have already lost it.

Now let me tell you why President Kennedy was murdered, and how he was murdered. I also want to give you a few examples which will show you how the conclusion reached by the Warren Commission is totally impossible.

President Kennedy was assassinated by men who sought to obtain a radical change in our foreign policy--particularly with regard to Cuba. You recall that under President Kennedy the Cold War began to thaw and there were new signs of an effort on the part of the Soviet Union and ourselves to understand each other.

On the map, this [Cuba] appears to be merely a large island off the coast of Florida. But for many men it meant a good deal more than this. In 1963 a great variety of interests existed, which not only desired an American supported invasion of Castro's Cuba, but took it for granted that it was inevitable. In the minds of many men, this island represented a tremendous emotional landmark, because they had steered their courses toward it for so long, and with such intensity.

In the fall of 1962 the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred. It was followed by a pronounced new attitude towards Cuba on the part of the United States. Cuba, after this was no longer regarded as an enemy and was no longer regarded as fair game for those men who for one reason or another focused their attention on this island. The new signs of understanding between Russia and the United States continued to develop.

In June of 1963, President Kennedy, addressing students at the American University in Washington told them, "we breathe the same air" as the Russians. He said we should try to live together in peace on this Earth. Well at this point some individuals transferred their hostile attention from Fidel Castro to John F. Kennedy. They planned the President's assassination, and they planned it well.

The evidence indicates that he [President Kennedy] was shot at from two different directions in the rear and also from the right front. We know that shooting was coming from two separate directions in the rear because the President and Governor [John] Connally were hit in the back within a split second of each other--and this necessarily had to happen with two bullets coming from two different rifles.

We know that the President was being shot at from the grassy knoll area on the right front because most of the people in Dealey Plaza heard the shots coming from there--and because at least one of the President's wounds was an entry wound from the front, and because men were seen running from the grassy knoll area immediately afterwards.

That's why the idea of Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone assassin of the President is a fairy tale and should be brought to an end. If you--the people of the United States--will learn the truth; that the President was assassinated by men who were once connected with the Central Intelligence Agency, of course, this might reflect on the dignity of the CIA.

But I happen to believe that our form of government is strong enough to survive the truth. I believe that you are entitled to the truth about how your President was shot down in the streets and how it was done. Instead, some of the most powerful news agencies we have in our country have worked hard to convince you that everything is all right.

They do not tell you that Lee Harvey Oswald's fingerprints were not found on the gun which was supposed to have killed the President. And they do not tell you that nitrate tests exonerated Lee Oswald from the actual shooting by showing that he had not fired a rifle that day. And they do not tell you that it was virtually impossible for Oswald to have taken his fingerprints off the gun, hidden the gun, and gone down four flights of stairs by the time he was seen on the second floor.

Above all, they do not tell you of the overwhelming eyewitness testimony that shots were coming from behind the stone wall on the grassy knoll. In a choice between official dignity and the truth, dignity was given priority and so you have not received the full truth.

This is why there continues to be hundreds of documents still hidden from your eyes and classified as secret, and some of them bear such titles as, "Lee Harvey Oswald's accessibility to information about the U-2"; the Central Intelligence Agency's dossier on Lee Harvey Oswald, and the CIA file on Jack Ruby. You have not been told that Lee Oswald was in the employ of United States intelligence agencies. But this was the case, and so I am telling you.

Why this young uneducated man had learned to speak Russian even before he left the Marines, and there's only one way he could have learned that. Oswald had a higher security rating than his buddies in his Marine unit.

During 12 hours of questioning, to give you another example--12 hours of questioning after the assassination--there is no transcript of Oswald's statements available for you to look at.

Now, it doesn't matter where you live, if somebody in your town steals a 1928 Hupmobile, what he says is written down when he is questioned. However, when the man who has [supposed to have] just killed the President of the United States is questioned for 12 hours, no transcript is available. There's nothing for you to look at. And believe it or not, one of the explanations given is that the room was too small to include a stenographer.

And here's something else--this case has more accidental fires, more burning of paper than any murder case in history.

For example, when Oswald was questioned by a federal agent in August of 1963, the notes of the interview were later burned. You cannot see the notes made by Commander Humes concerning the President's autopsy because he burned them too. One of the questioners of Lee Harvey Oswald during the 12-hour session burned his notes.

And similarly, when the Warren Commission contacted the State Department and said, with regard to Exhibit 948, "We notice that a one-page message from the CIA containing secret information is supposed to be attached to this file and it's missing. Would you please furnish us with a copy of this missing secret document?" The answer given to the Warren Commission was that the secret message about Oswald from the CIA was accidentally destroyed while being thermofaxed.

This spontaneous combustion, incidentally, occurred the day after the President's assassination.

I am not even going to bother to dignify the foolishness which Newsweek and NBC and some of the other news agencies have tried to make you believe about my office. I've been District Attorney of New Orleans for more than five years and we have never had a single case reversed because of improper methods on the part of our staff. Nor do we rush to judgment on half-baked evidence. And the proof of that is the fact that in more than five years not one defendant has walked out of the courtroom in a murder case with an acquittal. Nor have we lost a major case in five years.

Then what is their game? Their game is to fool you. These people want the investigation stopped. They don't want a trial at all. Please believe me. They don't think we're wrong in our investigation. Obviously, if our investigation was as haywire as they would like to have you think, then you would not see such a coordinated barrage coming from the news centers in the east. Why are they so concerned? Why is it that they cannot wait until the trial comes in order to learn what the facts are? Why are they so anxious tohave their own trials?

They know very well that the witnesses they're presenting to you have not been testifying under oath; that they're not being cross-examined as they would be at a trial. And that the opportunities for a timely rebuttal by the State of Louisiana which would exist at a trial have not been provided in their untrue presentations. They know this. In my considered judgment there has been an effort to prejudice in advance the potential jurors in the trial of this case. As a matter of fact, the National Broadcasting Company has already had the trial. The defendant was found innocent, and the District Attorney was

They announced across the nation that my methods were improper. But as their stories, one by one, turn out to be false, they do not reveal this to you -- but simply search hopefully into new areas. For example, Newsweek magazine hada feature article saying that my office attempted to bribe a man named Beauboeuf. It later turned out that his story and their article was totally untrue and the tapes which Newsweek described had been altered.

The police investigators in my office were found innocent of any wrongdoing in a serious investigation conducted by the police department. However, Newsweek has made virtually no mention of that.

Similarly, in its recent effort to make you think that my methods are improper, NBC announced coast to coast that it had located the real Clay Bertrand; that an NBC man had talked to him. This made every newspaper in the country and it inferred once again that in addition to using terrible methods we were off on a wild goose chase. Now when it turned out that this was a total fabrication, and the man whom NBC identified as the real Clay Bertrand hotly denied ever using the name, there was only coast to coast silence on NBC.

NBC presented a professional burglar, whom my office had just recently convicted, and allowed him to make a plainly false presentation that we had tried to get him to climb into the defendant's apartment and plant evidence there. The inference, of course, was that this particular defendant was too lofty a character to participate in my nefarious schemes.

However, recently, when we called him before the New Orleans Grand Jury so that he could tell all about our new venture into the burglary business, he took the Fifth Amendment when asked if his statement on NBC was true. Once again, this was followed by a loud silence from coast to coast on NBC.

As a matter of fact, the Warren Commission's inquiry into the assassination started off with a completely unacceptable philosophy for a democracy like ours. One of its stated objectives was to calm the fears of the people about a conspiracy. But in our country, the government has no right to calm our fears any more than it has, for example, the right to excite our fears about Red China or about fluoridation or about birth control, or about anything.

There is no room in America for thought control of any kind, no matter how benevolent the objective.

Personally, I don't want to be calm about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I don't want to be calm about a President of my country being shot down in the streets. And I don't want to be calm about the fact that for reasons of public policy or national security or any other phony reason, the true facts have been withheld from the people of this country.

If the day has come when it is possible to shoot our President down because some men disagree with his foreign policy--and the day has come that the moment his heart stops beating other considerations take over which conceal the total truth from the citizens of the United States, then the day has come when we have ceased to be a democracy.

I cannot believe that this is so, that the time has come in America when the people no longer control their country.

Yet I must confess that I am appalled by the readiness with which some of the major press media have accepted the great fairy tale without hesitation -- rousing from their stupor only when they have learned that a District Attorney was violating all the rules of etiquette and digging up the truth. They are telling you that black is white when they tell you there is no evidence of a conspiracy. They have to know well the significance of the continued concealment of X-rays and autopsy pictures which if revealed to you would show that the President was hit by rifle fire from more than one direction. And they have to know well of the hundreds of documents which remain classified, secret, and concealed from your view.

And they are making white black when they repeatedly state that my office has used improper methods. They have to know that no D.A.'s office in the United States would dream of operating in the way they suggest. They have to know that for years I have been a strong defender of the rights of individuals.

They have to know all of this, but they have lent themselves to the all-out effort to convince you that the matter has been looked into and anyone who raises a question now is irresponsible or a troublemaker or an enemy of the people. What's that? You say that you are an American citizen and you want to see the autopsy X-rays and you want to see these hundreds of documents that have been withheld from your view and you want to know why these vital notes always ended up being burned?

What's the matter with you? Can't you take the word of these honorable men, who have looked into it for you?

Let me just give you one example that shows you how impossible the single assassination theory is -- which shows you the enormity of the fairy tale which you are supposed to believe in.

Now this is the Warren Commission's own diagram of the route of the bullet through Governor Connally.

[At this point in his presentation, Garrison displayed a diagram (CE 689) that presented the Warren Commission's version of the path of the "magic bullet."]

The bullet had to take this route in order to cause the injuries which he received. Now the important thing to keep in mind is that the Warren Commission itself concedes that if this same bullet was not the one which also went through President Kennedy, then there had to be someone else firing. And the reason for that, just to put it very simply, is that the Zapruder film has shown that all the firing occurred in six seconds, and yet there were a total of eight wounds. Therefore this one bullet has to cause seven wounds, because one missed and one was the fatal shot hitting the President. So by the Warren Commission's own admission, prior to hitting the Governor, this bullet had to go through President Kennedy who is sitting back here. Now you'll notice that the Warren Commission did not attempt to include President Kennedy in the diagram -- they could not because of the total impossibility of this bullet having gone through the President also would be too obvious. In other words, by the evidence of the Warren Commission itself, it is obvious that there was other shooting going on in Dealey Plaza.

Consequently, the Warren Commission has officially concluded that before this bullet came down from the sky as it had to, to hit Governor Connally in all those different places, it entered President Kennedy's body from the rear and came out of his neck.

I might add that the Warren Commission did not try to include the President's picture because that would have shown that the course of the magic bullet would have had to have gone up in the air and come down again in order to end up hitting the Governor

It is by selecting these little portions of each incident and by excluding other portions that the fairy tale is presented to you. However, if they had to show in one diagram the bullet entering the President and then continuing through Governor Connally, you would be able to see the total impossibility of this bullet causing seven wounds

[This section was in Grrison's script, but he skipped over it and it was not broadcast. At the time, Garrison handed out copies of his statement to the press. This portion was included in Garrison's handout, but he did not state the words in the next two paragraphs over the air, although he intended to.]

And now, let's take a look at the magic bullet itself: [Exhibit 399].

This is the magic bullet which is supposed to have caused these wounds, without having its shape altered in any way or without even getting dirty. This bullet, which was found at Parkland Hospital, lying on the floor, went through President Kennedy's back and out of his neck, through Governor Connally's back and out of his chest, into the governor's wrist and out of his wrist and into the governor's leg.

[Garrison had a display with a photo of the "magic bullet."]

Don't ask me to explain to you how it was possible for this to have occurred. They can't really explain it either. But you have to believe it because if this untarnished bullet did not accomplish all this by itself, then it means that someone else had to be shooting at the President and, of course, this would conflict with the official version of the assassination.

[End of scripted, but unspoken portion of Garrison's presentation]

Now, this is just one of many examples which show that the Warren Commission's conclusion is completely impossible. Bullet 399 is another example, the fact that the cartridges in the Tippit case do not match at all the bullets in Tippit's body--one after the other--if I had the total hour to reply which NBC used to try and discredit my office I would be able to go into more matters. But let's sum it up by saying that it is completely impossible to uphold the single assassin theory, if you look at it seriously. Anyone who has done their homework knows that the single assassin theory is totally impossible.

In the final analysis what has been done by the Warren Commission in its investigation, is to take this series of implausibilities and to attempt to prove to you that each one of them is at least mathematically possible. Each one of them is mathematically possible, but not probable. However, it is not mathematically possible for all of these series of implausibilities to have occurred, and this is what they ask you to believe.

It's very much like telling you that it is mathematically possible, for example, for an elephant to hang from a cliff with his tail tied to a daisy. Of course, this is implausible.

But what do they do? They produce an expert who says, "Yes I have made a study of the situation, and this is not a full-grown elephant, and this is a particularly tough kind of daisy. And, therefore, it was mathematically possible."

Now the official truth, as a result of such expert testimony--as a result of the creation of a series of mathematical possibilities is now no longer what actually happened in Dallas, but what has been officially approved.

Well, I say that the matter is not closed--not in this country. I say that the day has not yet arrived when the only reality is power and the ideals on which our country was built are merely words printed on paper.

I believe that those news agencies which have sought to imply that I would use improper methods to gain some sort of fictional political advantage have simply revealed their own cynicism. I believe that in this conflict between truth and power -- and this is exactly what it is all about--that power cannot possibly smash truth out of existence. The people in this country will not let that happen.

If we still live in the same country in which we were born, and I don't think it's changed that much; if this is still the country in which, in the words of our Pledge of Allegiance, there exists, "liberty and justice for all," then this attempt to conceal the full truth from you, in the end, has to be a failure.

In this case I have learned more about the human race than I really wanted to know. And I've learned more about some of our government agencies than I really wanted to know. And I've learned more about some of our press agencies than I cared to know. But I am still naive enough to believe that in America the people make the decisions, not a handful of men in the Washington and New York areas.

And I believe that the people of America want to know the entire truth about how their President was shot down in the streets of Dallas. And I want to assure you, that as long as I am alive, no one is going to stop me from seeing that you obtain the full truth, and nothing less than the full truth -- and no fairy tales.


Time for the preceding program was made available to District Attorney Jim Garrison of New Orleans. The program was prepared under his sole supervision. It constitutes his reply to an earlier NBC News program examining some of the methods Mr. Garrison has used in his investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy.

This program originated in the studios of WDSU-TV in New Orleans.