JFK Assassination

 

An Interview with Mark Lane

Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr.

November 14, 1991

Grover Proctor's review of Mark Lane's book
Plausible Denial
is also published in these pages.

Proctor: Presumably when you undertook to become "a counsel for Lee Oswald" in 1963-64, and later when you wrote Rush to Judgment, you didn't begin with the idea that the CIA had killed President Kennedy. When did you seriously begin to question (to quote your book jacket) "Was the CIA involved in the assassination of JFK?"
LANE: Mark LaneThe first book I wrote, as you know, didn't deal with who did it. It took the Warren Commission Report and compared each of the essential conclusions of the Warren Commission to the evidence which the Warren Commision said it relied upon, and demonstrated that the evidence did not support the conclusions. In addition to that, I did my own interviews, as you know, and showed that [they] even further challenged the Warren Commission conclusions, as did some of the documents. All I was trying to do with Rush to Judgment was, not show who killed the President, but in essence who did not. I was trying to demonstrate that the Warren Commission report, which was an obstacle to going forward for a full investigation, was a fraudulent document. That's all I dealt with.
      I had no idea who killed the president then. I never had an idea at that time. I never speculated for a moment, either when I wrote or when I thought about it or when I talked about it. I never knew; that's all. I did know, of course, that there were powerful forces involved in covering up the facts. I didn't know then, but I know now, that the Central Intelligence Agency reviewed my book Rush to Judgment before I got a copy of it, and what they said about it, and that they thought it was dangerous and had to be stopped. I didn't know that then but I was feeling the effects of the influence of the intelligence organizations through the news media, although I never specifically was able to demonstrate at that point that it was in fact the intelligence organizations which were responsible for what was taking place.
      I suppose [it was] when I first met Marita Lorenz in the mid-70s. I had known about her but I had never met her and never talked to her. I had been living in New York, but I wasn't living in New York at that time. There was a story in the New York Post which said that Frank Sturgis had been arrested because, according to her, he had threatened to kill her and her daughter. It told what her address was. I found her and I interviewed her. Everything she told me, which is in Plausible Denial, everything she has said to the jury in her deposition, everything she has said since then in the videotaped interview, has always been consistent. And so in the mid-70s, I had her position, which was that the CIA had killed President Kennedy, that she was part of the team, and she knew exactly what she was talking about. I had her statement, but there was no forum, no place to publish it.
      Thereafter, when I tried the [Liberty Lobby] case, I knew I was going to call her as a witness if I could find her. That was many years later, and I was able to. I started looking around at other evidence, and then I uncovered this additional evidence, which is the heart of the Mexico City scenario where you see that Earl Warren was briefed. I found that really interesting and corroborative evidence because that alone demonstrates the CIA involvement in the assassination of President Kennedy, and how Warren was manipulated, and how the CIA was setting up Oswald in September 1963 for a crime which was not going to take place for two months. It wasn't a cover-up anymore, it was planning. That alone demonstrated CIA involvement, as did Marita Lorenz' testimony alone demonstrate CIA involvement. But taken together these two separate bodies of evidence, I think, prove conclusively what took place.
      So, taking the long way of answering your question, it was in the mid-70s after talking with Maritz Lorenz that I began to believe that maybe the CIA did it.
Proctor: When I was investigating the Raleigh call, I interviewed Victor Marchetti. He told me that Oswald was acting in a way consistent with his believing that he was working with some intelligence agency. Does this conform to your findings?
LANE: I believe that's true. I believe that Oswald thought he was working for the FBI. I don't know if he was, but of course Waggoner Carr, who was the Attorney General of Texas, told Henry Wade (the Dallas District Attorney) and the Warren Commission that Oswald was working for the FBI and the number assigned to him was 172 or 179. But I think there's no question that Oswald felt he was involved with the FBI. And he may have been, or it may have been CIA operatives saying they were FBI. And they may have fooled him into thinking he was working for the FBI. I think he did have an FBI connection, however, and I think that that was well thought out, because that throws [FBI Chief J. Edgar] Hoover into inaction. Here was a man whose slogan was "Don't embarrass the Bureau," and a missing box of paper clips to him was an embarrassment to the Bureau. And now his employee killed the President -- very embarrassing. And of course they knew that. So I think it was determined by the CIA "We will have someone who will have an FBI connection. That will prevent Hoover from ever looking into this." As it certainly did.
Proctor: You dismiss as untrue Canfield and Weberman's identification of two of the so-called Dealey Plaza "tramps" as E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis. Yet, you claim evidence that Hunt and Sturgis were in Dallas that day.
LANE: If one says that that is E. Howard Hunt, it's based not upon testimony by anyone who says he's there, but it's based upon just examination of the picture -- because it looks like him. I took a picture of E. Howard Hunt in 1963 and compared it with that man, and that man was old enough to be Hunt's father. I confronted the people who fingered Hunt as that guy with that statement and they said, "Well, if he had a lot of makeup on, it would totally disguise his look. It could be Hunt." And I said, "Well, yeah, but you say it looks like him. If it doesn't look like him, we don't have anything. And now you're saying you have a reason why it doesn't look like him."
      Furthermore, you have to know Hunt. Hunt was certainly an activist, [but] all of these guys like Hunt and Liddy tend to portray themselves as much more active and macho than they really are in life. Hunt was a propagandist. Hunt was the paymaster for illegal operations by the CIA on the east coast. Hunt was not a gunman. Hunt didn't go behind wooden fences and shoot people. That wasn't his role ever. And so, it doesn't look like him, he [the tramp] was too old, and it wasn't the role he [Hunt] was involved in -- he was the paymaster of this operation.
      We had a lot of evidence. David Belin, who became general counsel and staff director of the Rockefeller Commission, he knew what the evidence was. He is no dummy. He is, in my view, a disreputable person who was trying to deceive the American people, but he's not dumb. He knew. He never called me to testify, or dozens of other people who had information. He called the people with the so-called "tramp photos" to come forward and speak all day long before the Rockefeller Commission, so that he could then say, "They're wrong. It's not Hunt." In other words, this was a photograph which was utilized by the government, and once they could say their analysts proved that Hunt is not in that picture, then the press ran the story, "Hunt Absolved." And then when you try to say Hunt was involved, they say, "Oh no, he's not in the picture." You then say, "Oh no no no, I don't say he was in the picture, but he was involved." "No, no. He's been absolved."
Proctor: It's the Billy Lovelady syndrome.
LANE: Exactly.
Proctor: You take Oliver Stone to task in your book for alterations in the screenplay of his film JFK which you admitted you had not seen. Do you know any more now, and do you stand by your criticisms?
LANE: I still haven't seen it. I only know what the alterations are from his statements. I have the first screenplay. It was a fairly strong screenplay. I know that; I've read that. And then I've read his statements -- and I'm not talking about quotes attributed to him, I'm talking about an article that he wrote -- saying that [former New Orleans district attorney, now Federal judge Jim] Garrison is more arrogant than Attila the Hun, and he's a flawed person, and "I relied not upon Garrison but I relied upon Mark Lane, or the work he has done." Well, I know that's not true. I did meet with him, but when he said he had the right to fictionalize anything I wrote, I said "No, this is American history. Don't fictionalize it. It's a very dramatic story. Just tell the truth." Because I would not agree that he could fictionalize it, we didn't make a deal. Now he is saying he relied upon my work. And in his own articles he says that he is using the Rashomon approach, telling the story from various different viewpoints. Well, before it was told from one viewpoint, and that one viewpoint was a clear presentation that there had been a conspiracy to kill the president and indicating the CIA had been involved. It was Garrison's story; that's what Garrison said at the time in the Shaw case. Yet he says it's now Rashomon. Now I haven't seen it, and I don't think one should criticize it, and I'm not. All I'm saying is by his own admission he has moved from that original position, and I was sorry to see that. But let's wait and see the film.

 

     Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. is a historian and former university Dean who is widely acknowledged as an expert on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He has published numerous articles, lectured extensively, and has frequently been consulted by print and broadcast media.
     While most of his work comprises analysis and interpretation of the assassination research phenomenon, he broke new ground in the investigation in the early 1980's with his work on Lee Harvey Oswald's alleged telephone call from the Dallas jail to a former military counterintelligence agent in Raleigh, N.C.
Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr.



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