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HSAC Report excerpt on Col. Jones. 

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From Page 184

The committee did obtain evidence that military intelligence personnel may have identified themselves as Secret Service agents or that they might have been misidentified as such. Robert E. Jones, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who in 1963 was commanding officer of the military intelligence region that encompassed Texas, told the committee that from 8 to 12 military intelligence personnel in plain-clothes were assigned to Dallas to provide supplemental security for the President's visit. He indicated that these agents had identification credentials and, if questioned, would most likely have stated that they were on detail to the Secret Service. (30)

The committee sought to identify these agents so that they could be questioned. The Department of Defense, however, reported that a search of its files showed "no records * * * indicating any Department of Defense Protective Services in Dallas."(31) The committee was unable to resolve the contradiction.

(4) Conclusion.--Based on its entire investigation, the committee found no evidence of Secret Service complicity in the assassination.

Page 221

(17) Oswald's military intelligence file--On November 22, 1963,
soon after the assassination, Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Jones, op-
erations officer of the U.S. Army's 112th Military Intelligence Group
Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Tex. contacted the FBI
offices in San Antonio and Dallas and gave those offices detailed in-
formation concerning Oswald and A. J. Hidell, Oswald's alleged alias.
(208) This information suggested the existence of a military intelli-


222

gence file on Oswald and raised the possibility that he had intelligence
associations of some kind. (209)

The committee's investigation revealed that military. intelligence
officials had opened a file on Oswald because he was perceived as a
possible counterintelligence threat. Robert E. Jones testified before the
committee that in June 1963 he had been serving as operations officer
of the 112th Military Intelligence Group at Fort Sam Houston, Tex. 33
Under the group's control were seven regions encompassing five States:
Texas, Louisiana. Arkansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Jones was
directly responsible for counterintelligence operations, background in-
vestigations, domestic intelligence and any special operations in this
five-State area. (210) He believed that Oswald first came to his atten-
tion in mid-1963 through information provided to the 112th MIG by
the New Orleans Police Department to the effect that Oswald had been
arrested there in connection with Fair Play for Cuba Committee ac-
tivities. (211) As a result of this information, the 112th Military
Intelligence Group took an interest in Oswald as a possible
counterintelligence threat.(212) It collected information from local
agencies and the military central records facility, and opened a file
under the names Lee Harvey Oswald and A.J. Hidell.(213) Placed in this
file were documents and newspaper articles on such topics as Oswald's
defection to the Soviet Union, his travels there, his marriage to a
Russian national, his return to the United States, and his pro-Cuba
activities in New Orleans.

Jones related that on November 22, 1963. while in his quarters at
Fort Sam Houston, he heard about the assassination of President
Kennedy. (215) Returning immediately to his office, he contacted MIG
personnel in Dallas and instructed them to intensify their liaisons with
Federal, State and local agencies and to report back any information
obtained. Early that afternoon, he received a telephone call from
Dallas advising that an A.J. Hidell had been arrested or had come
to the attention of law enforcement authorities. Jones checked the
MIG indexes, which indicated that there was a file on Lee Harvey
Oswald, also known by the name A. J. Hidell.(216) Pulling the
file, he telephoned the local FBI office in San Antonio to notify the
FBI that he had some information. (217) He soon was in telephone
contact with the Dallas FBI office, to which he summarized the docu-
ments in the file. He believed that one person with whom he spoke
was FBI Special-Agent-in-Charge J. Gordon Shanklin. He may have
talked with the Dallas FBI office more than one time that day. (218)

Jones testified that his last activity with regard to the Kennedy
assassination was to write an "after action" report that summarized
the actions he had taken, the people he had notified and the times of
notification. (219) In addition, Jones believed that this "after action"
report included information obtained from reports filed by the
military intelligence agents who performed liaison functions with the
Secret Service in Dallas on the day of the assassination. (220) This
"after action" report was then maintained in the Oswald file.(221)
Jones did not contact, nor was he contacted by, any other law enforce-
-------------------------------------
33 Questions had been raised about the contents of some FBI
communications on November 22, 1963, that reflected information allegedly
provided by military intelligence. In his testimony, Jones clarified several
points and corrected several errors in these communications.

223

ment or intelligence agencies concerning information that he could pro-
vide on Oswald. (222) To Jones' knowledge, neither the FBI nor any
law enforcement agency ever requested a copy of the military intelli-
gence file on Oswald. (223) To his surprise, neither the FBI, Secret
Service, CIA nor Warren Commission ever interviewed him. (224) No
one ever directed him to withhold any information; on the other hand,
he never came forward and offered anyone further information rele-
vant to the assassination investigation because he "felt that the infor-
mation that [he] had provided was sufficient and ...a matter of
record. ..."(225)

The committee found Jones' testimony to be credible. His statements
concerning the contents of the Oswald file were consistent with FBI
communications that were generated as a result of the information
that he initially provided. Access to Oswald's military intelligence
file, which the Department of Defense never gave to the Warren
Commission, was not possible because the Department of Defense
had destroyed the file as part of a general program aimed at
eliminating all of its files pertaining to nonmilitary personnel.

In response to a committee inquiry, the Department of Defense
gave the following explanation for the file's destruction:

1. Dossier AB 652876, Oswald, Lee Harvey, was identified
for deletion from IRR (Intelligence Records and Reports)
holdings on Julian date 73060 (1 March 1973) as stamped on
the microfilmed dossier cover. It is not possible to determine
the actual date when physical destruction was accomplished,
but is credibly surmised that the destruction was accom-
plished within a period not greater than 60 days following the
identification for deletion. Evidence such as the type of dele-
tion record available, the individual clerk involved in the
identification, and the projects in progress at the time of dele-
tion, all indicate the dossier deletion resulted from the imple-
mentation of a Department of the Army, Adjutant General
letter dated 1 June 1971, subject: Acquisition of Information
Concerning Persons and Organizations not Affiliated with the
Department of Defense (DOD) (Incl 1). Basically, the letter
called for the elimination of files on non-DOD affiliated per-
sons and organizations.


2. It is not possible to determine who accomplished the
actual physical destruction of the dossier. The individual
identifying the dossier for deletion can be determined from
the clerk number appearing on the available deletion record.
The number indicates that Lyndall E. Harp was the identify-
ing clerk. Harp was an employee of the IRR from 1969 until
late 1973, at which time she transferred to the Defense Investi-
gative Service, Fort Holdbird, Md., where she is still a civil
service employee. The individual ordering the destruction or
deletion cannot be determined. However, available evidence
indicates that the dossier was identified for deletion under a
set of criteria applied by IRR clerks to all files. The basis for
these criteria were [sic] established in the 1 June 1971 letter.
There is no indication that the dossier was specifically identi-
fied for review or deletion. All evidence shows that the file was

224
reviewed as part of a generally applied program to eliminate
any dossier concerning persons not affiliated with DOD.


3. The exact material contained in the dossier cannot be
determined at this time. However, discussions with all avail-
able persons who recall seeing the dossier reveal that it most
probably included: newspaper clippings relating to pro-
Cuban activities of Oswald, several Federal Bureau of Investi-
gation reports, and possibly some Army counterintelligence
reports. None of the persons indicated that they remember
any significant information in the dossier. It should be noted
here that the Army was not asked to investigate the assassi-
nation. Consequently, any Army-derived information was
turned over to the appropriate civil authority.


4. At the time of the destruction of the Oswald dossier, IRR
was operating under the records disposal authority contained
in the DOD Memorandum to Secretaries of the Military De-
partments, OASD(A), 9 February 1972, subject: Records
Disposal Authority (Incl 2). The memorandum forwards
National Archivist disposal criteria which is similar in nature
to the requirements outlined in the 1 June 1971 instructions.
It was not until 1975 that the Archivist changed the criteria
to ensure non-destruction of investigative records that may
be of historical value. (226)

Upon receipt of this information, the committee orally requested
the destruction order relating to the file on Oswald. In a letter dated
September 13, 1978, the General Counsel of the Department of the
Army replied that no such order existed:

Army regulations do not require any type of specific order
before intelligence files can be destroyed, and none was pre-
pared in connection with the destruction of the Oswald file.
As a rule, investigative information on persons not directly
affiliated with the Defense Department can be retained in
Army files only for short periods of time and in carefully
regulated circumstances. The Oswald file was destroyed rou-
tinely in accordance with normal files management proce-
dures, as are thousands of intelligence files annually.(227)

The committee found this "routine" destruction of the Oswald file
extremely troublesome, especially when viewed in light of the Depart-
ment of Defense's failure to make this file available to the Warren
Commission. Despite the credibility of Jones' testimony, without access
to this file, the question of Oswald's possible affiliation with military
intelligence could not be fully resolved.

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From the Index:

(208) Executive session testimony of Col. Robert E. Jones, Apr. 20, 1978,
House Select Committee on Assassinations, pp. 18-19, 42
(JFK classified document 014677).

 


"[Col. Robert Jones] told the committee that from 8 to 12 military intelligence personnel in plain clothes were assigned to Dallas to provide supplimental security fro the President's visit. He indicated that these agents had identification credentials and, if questioned, would most likely have stated that they were on detail to the Secret Service."

--House Select Committee on Assassinations Report, page 184

Quoted in "The Final Investigation: HSCA and Army Intelligence" by Paul Hoch in THE THIRD DECADE, Vol.1 #5, July 1985, page 6.

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