Warren Commission staffers say they were right 50 years ago

SMU’s Dedman School of Law and John G. Tower Center for Political Studies, along with The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, recently hosted former Warren Commission staffers to discuss the results of their work 50 years ago. The event is part of a yearlong collaboration between SMU and the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza to commemorate the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

By Scott K. Parks

Five distinguished lawyers who worked for the Warren Commission, all gray-headed and amiably confident, sat in a row Friday and pledged allegiance to the conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald alone killed President John F. Kennedy.

“Truth was our only client,” declared Richard M. Mosk, a young California lawyer at the time of the assassination in 1963. “That was the motto of all of us.”

Mosk and his colleagues — Howard P. Willens, W. David Slawson, Burt W. Griffin and Stuart R. Pollak — took part in a symposium sponsored by Southern Methodist University and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

Addressing an audience of nearly 150 at SMU, they reminisced about what it was like to spend nine months working almost 24/7 to produce, in Willens’ view, “the most extensive, thorough criminal investigation” in U.S. history.

In the end, the Warren Commission’s 889-page report named Oswald the lone assassin, making it an instant, and enduring, target for conspiracy theorists. The commission also concluded that Jack Ruby acted alone when he shot and killed Oswald.

Opinion polls have repeatedly found that most Americans believe there was a conspiracy behind JFK’s murder. But most in the audience Friday seemed to accept the lone gunman theory....