A FRAGMENT OF TRUTH?
News | Press
Reports | Articles -1- -2- | Photos | Test
No JFK Shirt Material on Bullets
.c The Associated Press
By KAREN GULLO
WASHINGTON (AP) - Material found on the bullet that killed President Kennedy did not come from the clothing of Kennedy or John B. Connally, according to tests conducted to shed light on whether a second shooter fired at the president.
A scientific panel concluded in a report released today by the National Archives that material on the nose of a bullet retrieved from Kennedy's limousine consisted of paper fibers and nontextile material that could not have come from Kennedy or Connally's shirt.
If it had, that would have supported theories that a second gunman was involved.
The Justice Department asked the FBI to test the fragments
to determine whether the materials had any relevance to the Warren Commission's conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman.
Connally, the Texas governor, was riding in Kennedy's limousine in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, when the president was shot and killed. One of three shots hit Kennedy and then Connally. The Warren Commission, which conducted the official U.S. government investigation of Kennedy's slaying, concluded that Oswald was the sole gunman. Connally died in 1993.
If the material was from Kennedy's shirt, tie or tie liner, there might have been a ``different trajectory than that previously identified'' by the commission, said John Keeney, acting assistant attorney general, in a January 1996 letter to FBI Director Louis Freeh requesting a bureau investigation of the bullet fragments. The letter was released by the Archives along with the bullet report.
The bullet fragments had been stored for years in a metal
can lined with cotton, but tests showed that material found on the bullet was not the same as the cotton from the
Government scientists also found human skin and tissue on four bullet fragments, ``but it was not possible to establish the precise body areas of origin (e.g. scalp,
torso, limb),'' the report said. DNA analysis of the material was inconclusive.
The panel of scientists from the Archives, the FBI Laboratory, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory had considered getting DNA samples from Kennedy and Connally family members for comparison, but ruled that out after DNA analysis proved inconclusive.
The tests were a piece of unfinished business in the investigation of Kennedy's assassination. The firearms-examination panel of the House Select Committee on
Assassinations had recommended the analysis in 1979, but the recommendation was left out of the committee's final report and the tests were never done.
The tests on the fragments, which are government property, began in September 1998 and were completed last fall.
on JFK Evidence
19 Feb 1999
National Archives Statement on Status of Lab Test on Kennedy
To: National Desk
Contact: National Archives and Records Administration,
Office of Public Affairs, 301-713-6000
WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a statement
today by the National Archives and Records Administration on
status of lab test on Kennedy Assassination evidence:
On August 12, 1998, the National Archives and Records
Administration (NARA) announced that it was working with the
Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board to arrange the analysis
an FBI laboratory of a piece of evidence in NARA's custody
assassination of the former president.
The current status of the investigation is as follows:
Examination of four small pieces of possibly organic material
showed that the material consisted of human tissue in varying
of preservation. Samples were taken from each of the four pieces
were submitted to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory
mitochondrial DNA analysis. The initial tests were inconclusive,
additional samples were submitted for analysis. NARA has monitored
the testing and awaits the final results of the tests. Results
these tests may be compared to DNA samples from other Warren
/U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/
FBI To Test JFK Bullet Fragments
By JOSEPH SCHUMAN
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) The FBI soon should resolve a lingering question
the bullet that killed John F. Kennedy.
An FBI crime lab will try to identify a thread-like material
found on a fragment of
the bullet in one of the Assassination Review Board's last
moves to shed light on
the events of Nov. 22, 1963.
Officials from the National Archives, which has custody of
all evidence from the
assassination and announced the new testing Thursday, said
relevance to investigations of the assassination was unknown.
The examination is
aimed at clearing up a discrepancy left over from a previous
The Firearms Examination Panel of the House Select Committee
Assassinations in 1979 recommended testing the material found
on the nose of the
bullet in the panel's initial typed report. That recommendation
was omitted from the
committee's final printed report, and the Review Board says
it was unable
determine the cause of that omission.
"We're following up on a recommendation made almost 20
years ago," said
Review Board spokeswoman Eileen Sullivan. "We would
like to see that the record
is complete regarding commission exhibit No. 567."
The FBI most likely will test the material next month at its
Archives official Steven Tilley said.
Gerald Posner, author of a 1993 book, "Case Closed,"
Kennedy's death and the inquiries around it, said he doubted
the testing would
shed new light on the case. But he said the testing could help
alleviate a public
impression that the government "has dragged its feet"
in releasing all information
on the assassination.
"Even if it's a big so-what, if it adds some small
answer about physical evidence to
the record, then great," Posner said.
The Archives itself took more than 18 months to decide to
let the bullet undergo
examination after the Review Board requested the test. Tilley
had to determine first whether the tests were worth risking
deterioration of what
they consider to be a piece of history.
The bullet, which tore through Kennedy's head and caused the
fatal injury, was dug
out of the president's limousine by the Secret Service shortly
assassination. To assassination buffs, it is known as the "seat
bullet." A second
shot, the so-called "magic bullet," hit Kennedy
and then Texas Governor John
Connally, while a third hit a nearby curb.
The bullet, now in five fragments, is kept in a plastic bag
inside an acid-free
wooden box at an Archives facility outside Washington.
National Archives preservationists are unwilling to speculate
publicly on what
exactly the fibrous material is, Tilley said. It is unclear
from FBI photos taken at
the time of the shooting whether the material adhered to the
bullet fragment after it
was retrieved, perhaps from the cotton wadding that originally
Also to be examined are four other fragments, pieces of unidentified
material that were at one point considered part of the bullet.
preservationists believe they could be wax, perhaps the kind
used to hold displays
for photographers. They know only that the fragments are not
Tilley stressed that like the Review Board, the National Archives'
concern is only to
make public all information about the assassination.
"We're not in the business of trying to reinvestigate
the assassination," he said.
"What effect it may have on the interpretation of what happened in Dallas
think, up to others."
The Review Board, created by Congress in 1992 to increase
public access to the
assassination's records, will close Sept. 30, regardless of
the new test's results,
Sullivan said. She added that it was important the testing
take place "before we