History Podcasts

Howard Brennan

Howard Brennan

Howard L. Brennan was standing at the corner of Houston and Elm facing the Texas Book Depository in Dealey Plaza when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Brennan claims he saw Lee Harvey Oswald at the window of the 6th Floor.

He later recalled: "My first instinct was to look back up to that man on the sixth floor... By now the motorcade was beginning to speed up and in only a couple of seconds the President's car had disappeared under the triple underpass. To my amazement the man still stood there in the window! He didn't appear to be rushed. There was no particular emotion visible on his face except for a slight smirk. It was a look of satisfaction, as if he had accomplished what he had set out to do."

Howard Brennan died in 1984. Three years later his account of the assassination, Eyewitness to History was published.

My first instinct was to look back up to that man on the sixth floor. "Was he going to fire again?" I wondered. It was a look of satisfaction, as if he had accomplished what he had set out to do. He seemed pleased that no one had realized where the shots were coming from. Then he did something that puzzled me. Very slowly and deliberatley he set the rifle on its butt and just stayed there for a moment to savor what he had done, like a hunter who had "bagged his buck." Then, with no sense of haste, he simply moved slowly away from the window until he disappeared from my line of vision.

Files said he first met Lee Harvey Oswald in early 1963, in connection with gun-running, in Clinton, Louisiana, via David Atlee Phillips. Both were doing CIA work at the time. There was obviously some government involvement in the assassination, as otherwise they wouldn't have gotten the Secret Service identifications Ruby gave them. Phillips had given him the Remington Fireball for an earlier job.

Files said he saw Frank Sturgis among the crowd of people on Elm Street. He also saw Eugene Brading, whom he had seen at the Cabana with Nicoletti and Rosselli. Files knew Sturgis from anti-Castro activities, as did Rosselli. Files didn't see Oswald at all that day. He and Oswald never discussed the assassination plan.

He would not comment on the murder of J.D. Tippit, except to say that Oswald didn't kill Tippit, and the man who did was still alive at the time of the interview (a later reference possibly referring to the same man indicated he is now in his '80s), and had originally been assigned to kill Oswald. The man came to see Files in Mesquite after the assassination, saying there was a screwup and he had killed a cop...

Problems with the James Files "Confession":

(1) David Atlee Phillips, CIA propaganda expert, would seem an unlikely case officer for a Mob driver and hit man on No Name Key. This seems to be an attempt to tie Files credibly in with Oswald (the Veciana sighting in Dallas of Oswald and Phillips, as Bishop, together), but is doubtful. Also, although John Rosselli was active in Florida preparations for the Bay of Pigs, it is likely that someone other than Phillips introduced him to Files, if Files was at No Name Key. The only thing that sounds much like the real Phillips is the quote near the end about the power of the typewriter.

(2) Lee Harvey Oswald as tour guide.

(3) The plaid reversible coat and the bitten shell casing seem, on the surface, to provide confirmation, but both were details known prior to Files telling his story to anyone. I had heard about the shell well before Files says the fact that it was bitten was discovered (he says 1994). Some people seem to have confused the bitten casing found in the Plaza with the dented casing found in the Depository - these are two separate shell casings.

(4) In connection with Oswald, Clinton and gun-running, David Atlee Phillips again seems inserted artificially into the story here. Oswald and Ruby were both connected to New Orleans people involved in gun-running, but inserting Phillips into the Clinton story is, again, highly doubtful. This is not to say Phillips' role was an innocent one, just that Files seems to be inventing things, or perhaps he was fed inventions.

(5) Files overlooks the fact that the Elm Street crowd was well-photographed. Frank Sturgis was not among the crowd; nor at that point was Eugene Brading in that area; nor was Jack Ruby on the sidewalk below the knoll. None of this is difficult to check. All the relevant photos are in Groden and Trask.

(6) The Secret Service man on the knoll now becomes two men in suits turning people away. There were men turning people away in the area BEFORE the assassination, but not after. It sounds as though Files flubbed some of his borrowed details.

(7) He had documentary evidence, but he destroyed most of it. How convenient.

(8) My guess is that Files was, indeed, Charles Nicoletti's driver, and was involved in the preparations for the Bay of Pigs, but that he is also a good con artist, skillled at blending fact and fiction, which is what I believe he has done here.


Elizabeth Howard

Liz Howard serves as senior counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. Her work focuses on election security. Howard regularly comments for television, radio, and print media on issues relating to election security and election administration and has testified before U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security and in a variety of state legislatures. She has also co-authored multiple Brennan Center reports and white papers: Better Safe Than Sorry (2018), Defending Elections: Federal Funding Needs for State Election Security (2019), Trump-Russia Investigations: A Guide Preparing for Cyberattacks and Technical Failures: A Guide for Election Officials (2019).

Prior to joining the Brennan Center, Howard served as deputy commissioner for the Virginia Department of Elections. During her tenure, she coordinated many election administration modernization projects, including the decertification of all paperless voting systems, implementation of the e-Motor Voter program, and adoption of online, paperless absentee ballot applications, for which the department received a 2017 Innovations in American Government Bright Ideas Award from the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School.

She previously worked as general counsel at Rock the Vote, a nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging young people in politics and as a senior associate at Sandler Reiff in Washington, DC, where she specialized in election law with a focus on voting rights, campaign finance, and postelection disputes. Howard earned her JD from the William & Mary Law School and received the Alumnus of the Year award from the William & Mary Election Law Society.


Howard Brennan - History

TESTIMONY OF HOWARD LESLIE BRENNAN beginning at 3H140.

The CHAIRMAN. The Commission will come to order.
Mr. Brennan, in keeping with our statements, so you will know just what the purpose of the session is, I will read a little statement to you.
The purpose of today's hearing is to hear the testimony of Howard Leslie Brennan, Bonnie Ray Williams, James Jarman, Jr., Harold Norman, Roy S. Truly.

These witnesses were all in the vicinity of the Texas School Book Depository Building at the time of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. They will be asked to provide the Commission with their knowledge of the facts concerning the assassination of President Kennedy.
Would you please rise and be sworn?
Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you give before this Commission will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. BRENNAN. I do.
Mr. CHAIRMAN. You may be seated, Mr. Brennan. Belin will conduct the interrogation.
Mr. BELIN. Mr. Brennan, will you state your name for the record, please?
Mr. BRENNAN. Howard Leslie Brennan.
Mr. BELIN. Where do you live?
Mr. BRENNAN. 6814 Woodward, Dallas 27.
Mr. BELIN. And how old a man are you?
Mr. BRENNAN. 45.
Mr. BELIN. Are you married?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Family?
Mr. BRENNAN. Two children. One grandson.
Mr. BELIN. What is your occupation, Mr. Brennan?
Mr. BRENNAN. Steamfitter.
Mr. BELIN. And for whom are you employed, or by whom are you employed?
Mr. BRENNAN. Wallace and Beard.
Mr. BELIN. Is that a construction company?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. And let me ask you this: How long have you been a steamfitter?
Mr. BRENNAN. Since 1943, I believe.
Mr. BRENNAN. Do you work for one employer, or do you go from job to job?
Mr. BRENNAN. I go from Job to job.
Mr. BELIN. Is that at your direction or at the direction of any union?
Mr. BRENNAN. Local 100 in Dallas.
Mr. BELIN. Mr. Brennan, where were you on the early part of the afternoon of November 22, 1963, say around noon or so?
Mr. BRENNAN. I left a position behind the Book Store, which is a leased part of Katy Yards, which we have fabrication for pipe for the Republic Bank Building. At 12 o'clock I went to the cafeteria on the corner of Main and Record. I believe that is it.
Mr. BELIN. That would be at Main and Record Streets in Dallas?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. And did you have your lunch there?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. And then after lunch, where did you go?
Mr. BRENNAN. I finished lunch and I glanced at a clock--I don't know exactly where the clock is located--and noticed it was 12:18. So I thought I still had a few minutes, that I might see the parade and the President. I walked to the corner of Houston and Elm.
Mr. BELIN. What route did you take to get to Houston and Elm?
Mr. BRENNAN. I went west on Main.
Mr. BELIN. You went west on Main from Record Street to--
Mr. BRENNAN. Houston.
Mr. BELIN. Houston
Mr. BRENNAN. And on the east side of Houston, I walked to Elm.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
Mr. BRENNAN. Crossed the street to the southwest corner of Houston and Elm.
Mr. BELIN. Do you have any estimate about how long it took you to get there?
Mr. BRENNAN. A possibility I would say more or less 4 minutes.
Mr. BELIN. And then what did you do when you got to the southwest corner of Houston and Elm?
Mr. BRENNAN. I stayed around a couple of minutes. There was a man having an epileptic fit, a possibility of 20 yards east--south of this corner. And they

were being attended by some civilians and officers, and I believe an ambulance picked him up.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
Mr. BRENNAN. And I walked over to this retainer wall of this little park pool and jumped up on the top ledge.
Mr. BELIN. You jumped up on the retaining wall?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Now, I hand you what has been marked as Exhibit 477.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 477 for identification.)
Mr. BELIN. I ask you to state if you know what this is.
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Will you please tell the Commission what this is?
Mr. BRENNAN. That is the Book Store at the corner of Houston and Elm.
Mr. BELIN. By the Book Store, you mean the Texas School Book Depository Building?
Mr. BRENNAN. Right.
Mr. BELIN. Now, do you know what
Mr. BRENNAN. That is the retainer wall which I perched on.
Mr. BELIN. All right. This is. the retaining wall on which you perched. I believe that this is actually you sitting on this retaining wall in a picture that we took in Dallas pursuant to your showing us where you were November 22 we took that picture on this past Friday.
Mr. BRENNAN. That is correct.
Mr. BELIN. Which would be the 20th of March. Is that correct?
Mr. BRENNAN. That is correct.
Mr. BELIN. All right. I hand you now what the reporter has marked as Commission Exhibit 478.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 478 for identification.)
Mr. BELIN. I ask you to state, if you know, what this is.
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes. That is the retaining wall and myself sitting on it at Houston and Elm.
Mr. BELIN. You remember that the photographer was standing on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository when that picture was taken On the 20th of March?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes I do.
Mr. BELIN. And the camera is pointed in what direction?
Mr. BRENNAN. South.
Representative Ford. Are those the positions where you were sitting on November 22?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes, sir.
Representative FORD. At about 12
Mr. BRENNAN. From about 12:22 or 12:24 until the time of the assassination.
Representative FORD. In both pictures, that is a true--
Mr. BRENNAN. True location.
Representative FORD. True location of where you were sitting November 22d?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Mr. Brennan, I am going to hand you a negative, which has been marked as Commission Exhibit 479.
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 479 for identification.)
Mr. BELIN. This appears to be a negative from a moving picture film. And I will hand you a magnifying glass--the negative has been enlarged. This negative appears to be a picture of the Presidential motorcade on the afternoon of
November 22d. I ask you to state if you can find yourself in the crowd in the background in that picture.
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes. I am sitting at the same position as I was in the picture taken Friday, with the exception, I believe, my hand is resting on the wall, and Friday my hand, I believe, was resting on my leg.
Mr. BELIN. Well, your legs in this picture, Exhibit 479, I notice, are not dangling on the front side there, is that correct?

Mr. BRENNAN. No.
Mr. BELIN. What were you wearing on November 22d? What clothes were you wearing?
Mr. BRENNAN. Gray khaki work clothes, with a dark gray hard helmet.
Mr. BELIN. Your head here appears to be the highest in the group, a little bit left of center in the upper part of the picture, is that correct?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Does this scene depict the scene as you recollect it on that day,
November 22d?
Mr. BRENNAN. It does.
Mr. BELIN. Mr. Brennan, could you please tell the Commission what happened from the time you sat on that retaining wall, what you saw?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, I was more or less observing the crowd and the people in different building windows, including the fire escape across from the Texas Book Store on the east side of the Texas Book Store, and also the Texas Book Store Building windows. I observed quite a few people in different windows. In particular, I saw this one man on the sixth floor which left the window to my knowledge a couple of times.
Mr. BELIN. Now, you say the window on the sixth floor. What building are you referring to there?
Mr. BRENNAN. That is the Texas Book Store.
Mr. BELIN. I am going to ask you to circle on Exhibit 477 the particular window that you said you saw a man leave and come back a couple of times.
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, I am confused here, the way this shows. But I believe this is the sixth floor, the way those windows are built there right at the present. I am confused whether this is the same window.
Mr. BELIN. You mean because some windows are open below it?
Mr. BRENNAN. No. The way the building is built, it seems like this is more or less a long window with a divider in the middle.
Mr. BELIN. Here is a marking pencil. Will you just mark the window that you believe you saw the man.
All right.
And do you want to put a letter "A", if you would, by that.
All right, now you have marked on Commission Exhibit 477 a circle with the letter "A" to show the window that you saw a man in, I believe you said, at least two times come back and forth.
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes
Mr. BELIN. Did you see any other people in any other windows that you can recollect?
Mr. BRENNAN. Not on that floor.
There was no other person on that floor that ever came to the window that I noticed.
There were people on the next floor down, which is the fifth floor, colored guys. In particular, I only remember two that I identified.
Mr. BELIN. Do you want to mark the window with the circle that you believe
you saw some Negro people on the fifth floor. Could you do that with this marking pencil on Exhibit 477, please?
Mr. BRENNAN. The two that I identified, I believe, was in this window.
Mr. BELIN. You want to put a "B" on that one?
Now, after you saw the man--well, just tell what else you saw during that afternoon.
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, as the parade came by, I watched it from a distance of Elm and Main Street, as it came on to Houston and turned the corner at Houston and Elm, going down the incline towards the railroad underpass. And after the President had passed my position, I really couldn't say how many feet or how far, a short distance I would say, I heard this crack that I positively thought was a backfire.
Mr. BELIN. You thought it was backfire?
Mr. BRENNAN. Of a motorcycle.
Mr. BELIN. Then what did you observe or hear?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, then something, just right after this explosion, made me think that it was a firecracker being thrown from the Texas Book Store. And

I glanced up. And this man that I saw previous was aiming for his last shot.
Mr. BELIN. This man you saw previous? Which man are you talking about now?
Mr. BRENNAN. The man in the sixth story window.
Mr. BELIN. Would you describe just exactly what you saw when you saw him this last time?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, as it appeared to me he was standing up and resting against the left window sill, with gun shouldered to his right shoulder, holding the gun with his left hand and taking positive aim and fired his last shot. As I calculate a couple of seconds. He drew the gun back from the window as though he was drawing it back to his side and maybe paused for another second as though to assure hisself that he hit his mark, and then he disappeared.
And, at the same moment, I was diving off of that firewall and to the right for bullet protection of this stone wall that is a little higher on the Houston side.
Mr. BELIN. Well, let me ask you. What kind of a gun did you see in that window?
Mr. BRENNAN. I am not an expert on guns. It was, as I could observe, some type of a high-powered rifle.
Mr. BELIN. Could you tell whether or not it had any kind of a scope on it?
Mr. BRENNAN. I did not observe a scope.
Mr. BELIN. Could you tell whether or not it had one? Do you know whether it did or not, or could you observe that it definitely did or definitely did not, or don't you know?
Mr. BRENNAN. I do not know if it had a scope or not.
Mr. BELIN. I believe you said you thought the man was standing. What do you believe was the position of the people on the fifth floor that you saw--standing or sitting?
Mr. BRENNAN. I thought they were standing with their elbows on the window sill leaning out.
Mr. BELIN. At the time you saw this man on the sixth floor, how much of the man could you see?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, I could see at one time he came to the window and he sat sideways on the window sill. That was previous to President Kennedy getting there. And I could see practically his whole body, from his hips up. But at the time that he was firing the gun, a possibility from his belt up.
Mr. BELIN. How much of the gun do you believe that you saw?
Mr. BRENNAN. I calculate 70 to 85 percent of the gun.
Mr. BELIN. Do you know what direction the gun was pointing.
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. And what direction was the gun pointing when you saw it?
Mr. BRENNAN. At somewhat 30 degrees downward and west by south.
Mr. BELIN. Do you know down what street it was pointing?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes. Down Elm Street toward the railroad underpasses.
Mr. BELIN. Now, up to the time of the shots, did you observe anything else that you have not told us about here that you can think of right now?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, not of any importance. I don't remember anything else except--
Mr. BELIN. Let me ask you this. How many shots did you hear?
Mr. BRENNAN. Positively two. I do not recall a second shot--
Mr. BELIN. By a second shot, you mean a middle shot between the time you heard the first noise and the last noise?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes that is right. I don't know what made me think that there was firecrackers throwed out of the Book Store unless I did hear the second shot, because I positively thought the first shot was a backfire, and subconsciously must have heard a second shot, but I do not recall it. I could not swear to it.
Mr. BELIN. Could you describe the man you saw in the window on the sixth floor?
Mr. BRENNAN. To my best description, a man in his early thirties, fair complexion, slender but neat, neat slender, possibly 5-foot 10.
Mr. BELIN. About what weight?
Mr. BRENNAN. Oh, at--I calculated, I think, from 160 to 170 pounds.
Mr. BELIN. A white man?

Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Do you remember what kind of clothes he was wearing?
Mr. BRENNAN. Light colored clothes, more of a khaki color.
Mr. BELIN. Do you remember the color of his hair?
Mr. BRENNAN. No.
Mr. BELIN. Now, I believe you said that after the last shot you jumped off this masonry structure on which you were sitting. Why did you jump off?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, it occurred to me that there might be more than one person, that it was a plot which could mean several people, and I knew beyond reasonable doubt that there were going to be bullets flying from every direction.
Mr. BELIN. Then what did you do after that? Or what did you see?
Mr. BRENNAN. I observed to my thinking that they were directing their search towards the west side of the building and down Houston Street.
Mr. BELIN. When you say "they", who do you mean?
Mr. BRENNAN. Law-enforcement officers.
Mr. BELIN. By the west side of the building, you mean towards the underpass or railroad tracks?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. After you saw that, what did you do?
Mr. BRENNAN. I knew I had to get to someone quick to tell them where the man was. So I ran or I walked--there is a possibility I ran, because I have a habit of, when something has to be done in a hurry, I run. And there was one
officer standing at the corner of the Texas Book Store on the street. It didn't seem to me he was going in any direction. He was standing still.
Mr. BELIN. What did you do or what did you say to him?
Mr. BRENNAN. I asked him to get me someone in charge, a Secret Service man or an FBI. That it appeared to me that they were searching in the wrong direction for the man that did the shooting.
And he was definitely in the building on the sixth floor.
I did not say on the sixth floor. Correction there.
I believe I identified the window as one window from the top.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
Mr. BRENNAN. Because, at that time, I did not know how many story building it was.
Representative FORD. But you did say to the policeman it was a window on
the second floor from the top?
Mr. BRENNAN. Right.
Mr. BELIN. And then what happened?
Mr. BRENNAN. He
The CHAIRMAN. May I ask there. By the second floor from the top, do you mean the one directly underneath the top floor?
Mr. BRENNAN. Underneath the top floor, excluding the roof, yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. And then what happened, sir?
Mr. BRENNAN. He said, "just a minute." And he had to give some orders or something on the east side of the building on Houston Street. And then he had taken me to, I believe, Mr. Sorrels, an automobile sitting in front of the Texas Book Store.
Mr. BELIN. And then what happened there?
Mr. BRENNAN. I related my information and there was a few minutes of discussion, and Mr. Sorrels had taken me then across the street to the sheriff's building.
Mr. BELIN. Did you describe the man that you saw in the window?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes I believe I did.
Mr. BELIN. Mr. Brennan, later that afternoon, or the next day, did you have occasion to go down to the Dallas Police Station to try to identify any person?
Mr. BRENNAN. That evening, the Secret Service picked me up, Mr. Patterson, believe, at 6 o'clock, at my home, and taken me to the Dallas Police Station.
Mr. BELIN. All right. Could you tell us what happened there, please?
Mr. BRENNAN. If I might add a part, that I left out a couple of minutes ago--
Mr. BELIN. Go right ahead, sir.

Mr. BRENNAN. As Mr. Sorrels and some more men were discussing this, I mentioned these two colored guys.
Mr. BELIN. Yes.
Mr. BRENNAN. Came out of the book store, running down the steps.
Mr. BELIN. You mean the two
Mr. BRENNAN. That I had previously saw on the fifth floor.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
Mr. BRENNAN. And I immediately identified these two boys to the officers and Mr. Sorrels as being on the fifth floor.
Mr. BELIN. Do you have anything else you wish to add now?
Mr. BRENNAN. No that concludes that.
Mr. McCLOY. They were running out of the building?
Mr. BRENNAN. They came running down the front steps of the building on the Elm street side.
Mr. McCLOY. Did they then disappear in the crowd?
Mr. BRENNAN. No they took them in custody, I suppose, and questioned them.
Representative FORD. The law enforcement officers stopped them, and you did what, then?
Mr. BRENNAN. No. I believe Mr. Sorrels or the Secret Service man stopped them.
I am not sure, but I don't believe an officer of the police department stopped them.
Representative FORD. But you were standing on the steps of the Texas School Book Depository Building talking to whom?
Mr. BRENNAN. Mr. Sorrels and another man, and I believe there was an officer standing there, a police officer.
Representative FORD. And these two Negroes came out of the front door?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes, sir.
Representative FORD. And you did what then?
Mr. BRENNAN. I---
Representative FORD. Spoke to Mr. Sorrels?
Mr. BRENNAN. Spoke to Mr. Sorrels, and told him that those were the two colored boys that was on the fifth floor, or on the next floor underneath the man that fired the gun.
Representative FORD. You positively identified them?
Mr. BRENNAN. I did, at that time.
Mr. BELIN. Is there anything else now up to the time you got down to the Dallas Police Station?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, nothing except that up until that time, through my entire life, I could never remember what a colored person looked like if he got out of my sight. And I always thought that if I had to identify a colored person I could not. But by coincidence that one time I did recognize those two boys.
Representative FORD. Did those two Negro men say in your presence that they had been in the fifth floor window
Mr. BRENNAN. I don't recall. I don't recall.
Mr. BELIN. Is there anything else, sir, now up to the time you got down to the Dallas Police Station?
Mr. BRENNAN. On Friday evening, you are speaking of?
Mr. BELIN. Yes.
Mr. BRENNAN. No.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
What happened when you got down to the Dallas Police Station?
Mr. BRENNAN. Mr. Patterson, if I am correct in the Secret Service that picked me up, directed me to go to the fourth floor, a certain room on that floor.
(At this point, Mr. Warren and Representative Ford withdrew from the hearing room. )
Mr. BRENNAN. I later was introduced to several men-Captain Fritz in Mr. Sorrels office, and several more men. I do not remember their names.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
Before I go any further, do you remember the name of the officer you talked to in front of the School Book Depository Building?
Mr. BRENNAN. I don't believe I ever heard it I do not remember his name.

Mr. BELIN. Are you sure of the names of the Secret Service men you talked to? I believe you mentioned the name Sorrels.
Mr. BRENNAN. I do not know the other man's name.
Mr. BELIN. You believe one of them was Sorrels?
Mr. BRENNAN. I believe one of them was Sorrels.
Mr. BELIN. I think for the record--
Mr. BRENNAN. That is at the building.
Mr. BELIN. Yes, sir.
I think we should offer and introduce Commission Exhibits 477, 478, and 479.
Mr. DULLES. The Chief Justice has asked me to preside in his absence this morning.
They shall be admitted.
(The documents heretofore marked for identification as Commission Exhibits Nos. 477, 478 and 479, were received in evidence.)
Mr. BELIN. By the way, Mr. Brennan, I note that you have glasses with you here today.
Were you wearing glasses at the time of the incident that you related here?
Mr. BRENNAN. No. I only use glasses to see fine print and more especially the Bible and blueprint.
Mr. BELIN. And have you had your eyes checked within the past 2 or 3 years?
Mr. BRENNAN. These here were prescriptioned, I believe, a possibility less than a year before the incident.
Mr. DULLES. Does that mean you are farsighted?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
(At this point, Representative Ford entered the hearing room.)
Mr. BELIN. Has there been anything that has happened since the time of November 22, 1963, that has changed your eyesight in any way?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. What has happened?
Mr. BRENNAN. The last of January I got both eyes sandblasted.
Mr. BELIN. This is January of 1964?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes. And I had to be treated by a Doctor Black, I believe, in the Medical Arts Building, through the company. And I was completely blind for about 6 hours.
Mr. BELIN. How is your eyesight today?
Mr. BRENNAN. He says it is not good.
Mr. BELIN. But this occurred January of this year, is that correct?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Now, taking you down to the Dallas Police Station, I believe you said you talked to Captain Fritz. And then what happened?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, I was just more or less introduced to him in Mr. Sorrels' room, and they told me they were going to conduct a lineup and wanted me to view it, which I did.
Mr. BELIN. Do you remember how many people were in the lineup?
Mr. BRENNAN. No I don't. A possibility seven more or less one.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
Did you see anyone in the lineup you recognized?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. And what did you say?
Mr. BRENNAN. I told Mr. Sorrels and Captain Fritz at that time that Oswald--or the man in the lineup that I identified looking more like a closest resemblance to the man in the window than anyone in the lineup.
Mr. BELIN. Were the other people in the lineup, do you remember--were they all white, or were there some Negroes in there, or what?
Mr. BRENNAN. I do not remember.
Mr. BELIN. As I understand your testimony, then, you said that you told him that this particular person looked the most like the man you saw on the sixth floor of the building there.
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. In the meantime, had you seen any pictures of Lee Harvey Oswald on television or in the newspapers?

Mr. BRENNAN. Yes, on television.
Mr. BELIN. About when was that, do you believe?
Mr. BRENNAN. I believe I reached home quarter to three or something of that, 15 minutes either way, and I saw his picture twice on television before I went down to the police station for the lineup.
Mr. BELIN. Now, is there anything else you told the officers at the time of the lineup?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, I told them I could not make a positive identification.
Mr. BELIN. When you told them that, did you ever later tell any officer or investigating person anything different?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. When did that happen?
Mr. BRENNAN. I believe some days later--I don't recall exactly--and I believe the Secret Service man identified hisself as being Williams, I believe, from Houston. I won't swear to that-whether his name was Williams or not.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
Mr. BRENNAN. And he could have been an FBI. As far as I remember, it could have been FBI instead of Secret Service.
But I believe it was a Secret Service man from Houston.
And I--
Mr. BELIN. What did he say to you and what did you say to him?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, he asked me he said, "You said you couldn't make a positive identification."
He said, "Did you do that for security reasons personally, or couldn't you?"
And I told him I could with all honesty, but I did it more or less for security reasons--my family and myself.
Mr. BELIN. What do you mean by security reasons for your family and yourself?
Mr. BRENNAN. I believe at that time, and I still believe it was a Communist activity, and I felt like there hadn't been more than one eyewitness, and if it got to be a known fact that I was an eyewitness, my family or I, either one, might not be safe.
Mr. BELIN. Well, if you wouldn't have identified him, might he not have been released by the police?
Mr. BRENNAN. Beg pardon?
Mr. BELIN. If you would not have identified that man positively, might he not have been released by the police?
Mr. BRENNAN. No. That had a great contributing factor--greater contributing factor than my personal reasons was that I already knew they had the man for murder, and I knew he would not be released.
Mr. BELIN. The murder of whom?
Mr. BRENNAN. Of Officer Tippit.
Mr. BELIN. Well, what happened in between to change your mind that you later decided to come forth and tell them you could identify him?
Mr. BRENNAN. After Oswald was killed, I was relieved quite a bit that as far as pressure on myself of somebody not wanting me to identify anybody, there was no longer that immediate danger.
Mr. BELIN. What is the fact as to whether or not your having seen Oswald on television would have affected your identification of him one way or the other?
Mr. BRENNAN. That is something I do not know.
Mr. BELIN. Mr. Brennan, could you tell us now whether you can or cannot positively identify the man you saw on the sixth floor window as the same man that you saw in the police station?
Mr. BRENNAN. I could at that time I could, with all sincerity, identify him as being the same man.
Mr. BELIN. Was the man that you saw in the window firing the rifle the same man that you had seen earlier in the window, you said at least a couple of times, first stepping up and then going back?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. About how far were you away from that window at the time you saw him, Mr. Brennan?

Mr. BRENNAN. Well, at that time, I calculated 110-foot at an angle. But closer surveillance I believe it will run close to 122 to 126 feet at an angle.
Mr. BELIN. I believe that on Friday we paced the distance between the place where you were sitting and the front door of the Texas School Book Depository Building, and it ran about--
Mr. BRENNAN. 93-foot.
Representative FORD. This doesn't have to be now, but I think some time he ought to step by step on a diagram trace his movements from the restaurant until he left the scene of the shooting.
Mr. BELIN. On that particular diagram, Congressman Ford, which is Exhibit No. 361, the intersection of Main and Houston, and of Record and Main is not shown. It would be a little bit to the south.
Representative FORD. But he might be able to show the direction from which he came to get on to the scene.
Mr. BELIN. Yes that he can do.
Representative FORD. And then his movements from there on until he left the area. I think it would be very helpful to tie down the precise places he was from time to time.
Mr. BELIN. I think he might do that right now.
Mr. BRENNAN, I place in front of you Exhibit 361, and I call to your attention that the top appears to be south rather than north, and the arrow north is pointed towards the bottom. And you will notice at the top here, running in what would be an east-west direction, is Elm Street. And you can see running in a north- south direction Houston Street, with the Texas School Book Depository Building noted here in black.
Do you see that?
Mr. BRENNAN. It should be here.
Mr. BELIN. I will turn the map around to show you north and south we can keep it upside down for the moment.
This is Elm Street. To the north is Pacific. Main would be down here off the bottom of the map. And here is Record Street right here. And I believe you said you were at lunch at Record and Main, and then you walked to the south.
I wonder if you might take this pen and kind of, off the street markings, you might start maybe down here at the bottom as to where you had your lunch.
Mr. BRENNAN. This is Main here.
Mr. BELIN. Main would be running there, yes. If you would, put a "D" at that point.
Now, if you would kind of on a line trace your course that you took that day.
All right.
Mr. BRENNAN. I didn't go to the corner.
Mr. BELIN. You didn't go to the corner of Elm and Houston. That would be the southeast corner?
Mr. BRENNAN. I noticed this man having a fit. And I came across at this corner.
Mr. BELIN. Now, would you put the letter "E" where you ended up sitting.
This is on Exhibit No. 361.
Mr. BRENNAN. "E"?
Mr. BELIN. Yes.
Mr. BRENNAN. I believe that would be just about where the retainer wall is.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
So you have put on Exhibit 361 the letter "E" where you were sitting facing the School Book Depository Building.
Representative FORD. I think that it might be helpful to trace it where he went subsequent to that. Mr. BELIN. All right.
Subsequent to the time of the shooting, would you put a line from your point at point "E" to where you went to talk to the police officers and the Secret Service officers?
Mr. BRENNAN. The retaining wall come around here and straight across here.
Mr. BELIN. Will you put an "F" where you talked to him?

Mr. BRENNAN. The car was sitting here. That is where I talked to him. This is where I contacted the officer.
Mr. BELIN. You contacted the officer at "F".
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. And then you went over to a car.
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Would you put your direction to the car and put a "G" on there?
Mr. BRENNAN. I walked down the street hereaways with this officer.
Mr. BELIN. All right, the point from "E" where you walked down the street, that would be walking north on Houston?
Mr. BRENNAN. I don't know however, we walked down this way, but I do remember going in that direction with the officer.
Mr. BELIN. You went to the north on Houston?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes. And then back to
Mr. BELIN. Well, just put a mark in there, and cut it back, if you could, just to show the route of you going north.
Mr. BRENNAN. I don't know exactly however.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
Will you put a mark to "G" at the end? And I believe you said that the car that you talked to the Secret Service agent in was at point "G" approximately?
Mr. BRENNAN. Right.
Mr. BELIN. Now, are these accurate or approximate locations, Mr. Brennan?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, don't you have photographs of me talking to the Secret Service men right here?
Mr. BELIN. I don't believe so.
Mr. BRENNAN. You should have. It was on television before I got home my wife saw it.
Mr. BELIN. On television?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. At this time we do not have them.
Do you remember what station they were on television?
Mr. BRENNAN. No. But they had it. And I called I believe Mr. Lish who requested that he cut those films or get them cut of the FBI. I believe you might know about them. Somebody cut those films, because a number of times later the same films were shown, and that part was cut.
Mr. BELIN. Who would Mr. Lish be with?
Mr. BRENNAN. The FBI.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
We thank you very much for that information.
Is there anything else that you did at point "G" or anywhere else after the time of the assassination before you went to the Sheriff's office?
Mr. BRENNAN. I walked up the steps and stood on the outside of the doorway.
Mr. BELIN. Of what building?
Mr. BRENNAN. Of the Texas Book Store, while the officers or the men that I was with gave some more orders. And then Mr. Sorrels taken me across to the Sheriff's office.
Mr. DULLES. You did not go inside the building?
Mr. BRENNAN. No I did not.
Mr. BELIN. Did you notice any people coming out of the front stairs of the building after these two Negroes came out?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, I recall people going in and out, but a different picture I cannot remember.
Representative FORD. Where were you standing when you identified the two Negroes?
Mr. BRENNAN. On the edge of the street, outer side of the sidewalk, when the two colored boys came out of the building and came down the steps.
Mr. BELIN. Was that at point "G"?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
Now, perhaps on Exhibit No. 478 you can trace your route at least along Houston Street to the time to the place where you were sitting. You recognize the intersection of Main and Houston there?

Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
Could you start there and kind of trace--well, I don't know if you can see all of it.
Mr. BRENNAN. No.
Mr. BELIN. Do the best you can, you can trace along here. Here would be the intersection. of Main and Houston.
Mr. BRENNAN. I came down that side. Now, this street was open at that time.
Mr. BELIN. By this street you mean Houston Street?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes. I don't recall any parked cars there.
Mr. BELIN. Could you make that line a little darker, sir, that you have put on. All right. Now, at that first point, this would be--
Mr. BRENNAN. I believe I walked a little south there, just observing them picking the man up.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
You have marked a line on Exhibit No. 478 heading a little bit south on the west side of Houston street, commencing at the southwest corner of the intersection, which is where you say you walked to watch the man with the epileptic fit, is that it?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, I didn't go up--he was almost center way of the block here. I didn't go up that far.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
And will you put the letter "H" there, if you would?
Mr. BRENNAN. Where I was standing watching the man?
Mr. BELIN. Where you were standing watching the man yes.
Mr. BRENNAN. Right there.
Mr. BELIN. And then where did you go from there?
Mr. BRENNAN. Right there.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
Now, you have taken a line which would be running along the south side of Elm Street there towards the point where you are sitting, and that is in the picture Exhibit 478. And that was the route that you took?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Put the letter "I", if you. would, there, please.
Now, on Exhibit No. 477, I wonder if you would perchance show us after the assassination, or the shooting-- you said you first went over to another side of the wall.
Would it be to the east or to the west there?
Mr. BRENNAN. To the east. This right here is solid concrete.
Mr. BELIN. Is this where you went?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
On Exhibit 477, could you put the letter "J" where you went right after the shooting?
All right.
Now, I believe you said you later stood up and eventually walked across the street to get a police officer. On Exhibit 477, could you put a letter "K" where you believe you went to talk to this police officer, where he was.
It looks like there is a car there now.
So you went from point "J" to point "K", and point "K", on Exhibit 477, would correspond with "F, on Exhibit 361, is that right?
Mr. BRENNAN. Right.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
Now, I wonder if you could perchance show on Exhibit 477 the point that corresponds with point "G" on Exhibit 361, which is where you said you went to the car.
Mr. BRENNAN. This car here--letter what?
Mr. BELIN. "L".
Mr. BRENNAN. That is this car here, sitting approximately where--
Mr. BELIN. I note that this ear that you have marked the "L" is not actually

on the extreme north part of Elm, but really appears to be on that part which is going down to the Freeway.
Mr. BRENNAN. Oh, is that right? Yes you are correct there.
Mr. BELIN. Now, is this accurate, or was it one that you saw parked right in front of the building?
Mr. BRENNAN. Right next to the curb in front of the building.
Mr. BELIN. Would it be behind--you might put the letter "M" to show the car which it is behind now.
Mr. BRENNAN. All right.
Mr. BELIN. You have put the letter "M" on Exhibit 477 to show the car behind the one which the Secret Service car was parked.
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. At this time I believe Exhibits 477, 478 and 479 should be reoffered to show all of the markings that the witness has made on these exhibits.
Mr. DULLES. They shall be admitted as remarked.
(The documents referred to, previously marked for identification as Commission's Exhibit Nos. 477, 478, and 479 were readmitted into evidence.)
Mr. BELIN. And also Exhibit 361 should be reoffered.
Mr. DULLES. What is 361?
Mr. BELIN. It is the large chart which also has been marked on.
Mr. DULLES. It shall be admitted again, remarked.
(The chart referred to, previously marked as Commission's Exhibit No. 361 for identification, was readmitted into evidence.)
Mr. BELIN. Mr. Brennan, in this sixth floor window, where you saw the gun fired, did you see any objects of any kind in the window, or near the window?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes. Through the window, which I referred to as back in the book store building, I could see stacks of boxes.
Mr. BELIN. Now, I hand you what has been marked as Exhibit 480, which appears to be a picture of the Texas School Book Depository Building, which was taken shortly after this time.
I believe on the fifth floor you can see on two of the open windows there some people looking out, and Exhibit 481 is a picture of the east windows on the south side of the fifth and sixth floors, and Exhibit 482 is an enlargement of 481.
First of all, on Exhibits 481 and 482, do you recognize any of these two persons in the fifth floor window as people you saw there?
Mr. BRENNAN. No I do not recognize them.
As positive identification I cannot recognize them.
Now, I see where there is a possibility I did make a mistake. I believe these two colored boys was in this window, and I believe I showed on that other exhibit that they were in this window.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
I am going to hand you now
Mr. BRENNAN. The only thing I said is that they were one window over below the man that fired the gun.
Mr. BELIN. Well, I hand you Commission Exhibit 477, where you marked a "B" at the point there you first said you saw the Negro men. Is this the one you say now you might have been mistaken?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes I believe I was mistaken. I believe the two men that I identified was in this window.
Mr. BELIN. You are pointing to the window to the east of where you have now marked "B"?
Mr. BRENNAN. That I am not positive of. I just remember that they were over one window from below him, which at that time I might have thought this was one window over.
Mr. BELIN. All right. Let me ask you this. On Exhibit 481, does the condition of the opening of the windows in the fifth floor appear to be that which you saw on the afternoon of November 22?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes. These do.
Mr. BELIN. You are pointing to the fifth-floor windows now?

Mr. BRENNAN. But I don't recall this window at the time of the shooting being that low.
Mr. BELIN. Now, by this window you are pointing to the window on the sixth floor?
Mr. BRENNAN. Right.
Mr. BELIN. On Exhibit 481. I wonder if you would mark that with the letter "A"--if you would circle that window. And could you put an "A" on that, if you would.
Now, window A, on Exhibit 481, when you saw it, how high do you believe it was open?
Mr. BRENNAN. I believe that at the time he was firing, it was open just like this.
Mr. BELIN. Just like the windows on the fifth floor immediately below?
Mr. BRENNAN. That is right.
Mr. BELIN. I note in window "A" there appear to be some boxes in the window. To the best of your recollection, what is the fact as to whether or not those boxes as shown in this exhibit appear to be similar to the ones you saw on November 22?
Mr. BRENNAN. No I could see more boxes.
Mr. BELIN. In the window or behind time window?
Mr. BRENNAN. Behind the window.
Mr. BELIN. I am talking in the window itself.
Mr. BRENNAN. No, no. That is--I don't remember a box in the window, these boxes I remember are stacked up behind the window, and they were zigzagged, kind of step down, and there was a space it looked like back of here.
Mr. BELIN. Now, you are pointing to a space which would be on the east side, is that right?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. When you say you don't remember
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, I can see those boxes there now. I don't know whether you can see them or not. It seems like I can see the boxes in that picture.
Am I right?
Mr. BELIN. I don't know, sir. I can't see them on Exhibit 471. That could be the dirty window here.
Mr. BRENNAN. Here they are here. Those boxes there.
Mr. BELIN. Well, here is Exhibit 482.
First of all, I see a box on Exhibit 482, right in the window.
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes I don't recall that box.
Mr. BELIN. Do you recall that it definitely was not there, or just you don't recall whether it was or was not there.
Mr. BRENNAN. I do not recall that being there. So, therefore, I could not say it definitely wasn't there.
Mr. BELIN. You cannot say whether it was or was not?
Mr. BRENNAN. No.
Mr. BELIN. On Exhibit 482, do you want to point an arrow to where you believe you can see boxes back there. Or where you saw boxes.
All right.
Let the record show that Exhibits 480, 481, and 482 were taken by, I believe it is, Underwood or--just a second. Thomas C. Dillard, Chief Photographer of the Dallas Morning News, who was riding in the car with Robert H. Jackson, who has already testified before the Commission, and the deposition of Mr. Dillard will be taken by Mr. Ball and me in Dallas in the first part of April.
And that Exhibits 480, 481, and 482 were taken shortly after the firing of the third shot. I think that this should appear in the record.
I think it should also appear in the record that Exhibit 479 is one of the frames from the Abraham Zapruder movie film.
Mr. Brennan, from the time you first saw the Presidential motorcade turning north on Houston from Main, did you observe the window from which you say you saw the last shot fired at any time prior to the time you saw the rifle in the window?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Well, what I am saying is this. You saw the motorcade turn?

Mr. BRENNAN. No not after I saw the motorcade, I did not observe a man or rifle in the window.
Mr. BELIN. Did you observe the window at all until after you heard that first sound which was a backfire or firecracker, at least you thought it was?
Mr. BRENNAN. No.
Mr. BELIN. So you did not observe the window and would not know whether or not there was any man in the window during that period?
Mr. BRENNAN. No.
Mr. BELIN. Well, let the record be clear. The first sound you first thought was what?
Mr. BRENNAN. Backfire of a motorcycle.
Mr. BELIN. And then you later said something about a firecracker.
Did that have reference to the first shot, or something in between the first and last?
Mr. BRENNAN. I positively thought that the first shot was a backfire of a motorcycle. And then something made me think that someone was throwing firecrackers from the Texas Book Store, and a possibility it was the second shot. But I glanced up or looked up and I saw this man taking aim for his last shot. The first shot and last shot is my only positive recollection of two shots.
Mr. McCLOY. Did you see the rifle explode? Did you see the flash of what was either the second or the third shot?
Mr. BRENNAN. No.
Mr. McCLOY. Could you see that he had discharged the rifle?
Mr. BRENNAN. No. For some reason I did not get an echo at any time. The first shot was positive and clear and the last shot was positive and dear, with no echo on my part.
Mr. McCLOY. Yes.
But you saw him aim?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. McCLOY. Did you see the rifle discharge, did you see the recoil or the flash?
Mr. BRENNAN. No.
Mr. McCLOY. But you heard the last shot.
Mr. BRENNAN. The report yes, sir.
Mr. DULLES. Could you see who or what he was aiming at? You testified as to the declination of the rifle, the angle of the rifle. But could you see what
he was firing at?
Mr. BRENNAN. Subconsciously I knew what he was firing at. But immediately I looked towards where President Kennedy's car should be, and there was something obstructing my view. I could not see the President or his car at that time.
And I still don't know what was obstructing my view, because I was high enough that I should have been able to see it. I could not see it.
Mr. BELIN. Mr. Brennan, on one of your interviews with the FBI, they record a statement that you estimated your distance between the point you were seated and the window from which the shots were fired as approximately 90 yards.
At that time did you make that statement to the FBI--and this would be on 22 November. To the best of your recollection?
Mr. BRENNAN. There was a mistake in the FBI recording there. He had asked me the question of how far the shot was fired from too, and also he had asked me the question of how far I was from the shot that was fired. I calculated the distance at the angle his gun was resting that he must have been firing 80 to 90 yards. Now, I--
Mr. BELIN. You mean 80 or 90 yards from where?
Mr. BRENNAN. From Kennedy's position.
Mr. BELIN. But could you see Kennedy's position?
Mr. BRENNAN. No I could not. But I could see before and after.
Mr. BELIN. In that same interview, you stated that you attended a lineup at the Dallas Police Department at which you picked Lee Harvey Oswald as the person most closely resembling the man you observed with the rifle in the

window of the Texas School Book Depository, but you stated you could not positively identify Oswald as the person you saw fire the rifle.
Now, is this an accurate recording of the statement you made to the FBI on or about November 227
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes I believe--
Mr. BELIN. In other words, that part of the FBI statement is correct, as to what you told them?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. What was the fact as to whether you could or could not identify the person, apart from what you told them?
Mr. BRENNAN. Why did I--
Mr. BELIN. No.
What was the fact. Could you or could you not actually identify this person as the man you saw firing the rifle?
Mr. BRENNAN. I believed I could with all fairness and sincerity. As you asked me the question before, had I saw those pictures of Oswald prior, which • naturally I don't know whether it confused me or made me feel as though I was taking unfair advantage or what. But with all fairness, I could have positively identified the man.
Mr. BELIN. Now, on December 17 there appears to be another interview that you had with an agent of the FBI in which you at that time, according to this report, stated that you could now say that you were sure that Lee Harvey Oswald was the person you saw in the window at the time of the assassination, but that when you first saw him in a lineup you felt positive identification was was not necessary, because it was your understanding that Oswald had already been charged with the slaying of Officer Tippit, and you also said that another factor was that you had observed his picture on television prior to the time of identification, and that that tended to cloud any identification you made of Oswald at the police department.
Now, does this December 17 interview accurately record what you told the
FBI with regard to that matter of identification?
Mr. BRENNAN. I believe it does.
Mr. BELIN. Now, later we have an interview on January 7 with the FBI in which at that time the interview records that while you were at home and before you returned to view the lineup, which included the possible assassin of President Kennedy, you observed Lee Harvey Oswald's picture on television, and that you said that this, of course, did not help you retain the original impression of the man in the window with the rifle, but that upon seeing Lee Harvey Oswald in the police lineup, you felt that Oswald most resembled the man whom you had seen in the window.
Now, is that what you told the man on January 7--that Oswald most resembled the man that you had seen in the window?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Does that mean you could not give him a positive identification at that time, but could merely say he most resembled the man in the window?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, I felt that I could. But for personal reasons I didn't
feel like that at that moment it was compulsory and I did not want to give a positive identification at that time.
Mr. BELIN. Now, this last interview was on January 7th. You still felt these personal reasons as recently as January 7th, then?
Mr. BRENNAN. No. I felt better about it. This is the first guy that
Mr. BELIN. No. I am referring now to the last interview you had on January 7th, in which it says that you felt that Oswald most resembled the man you had seen in the window.
Is that what you told them?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
You mean told this man?
Mr. BELIN. On January 7th yes, sir.
Mr. BRENNAN. No I don't believe I told this man in those words. I told him what I had said at the lineup. But he might have misinterpreted that I was saying that again.
Mr. BELIN. In other words--well, I don't want to say in other words.

When you said on January 7th that upon seeing Lee Harvey Oswald in the lineup you felt that Oswald most resembled the man whom you had seen in the window?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Now, I am referring to a statement to the FBI on January 7th of this year.
Mr. BRENNAN. All right.
Mr. BELIN. By that, did you have reference to your own personal recollection, or what you said at the time of the Dallas Police Department lineup?
Mr. BRENNAN. I believe I was referring to what I said at the Dallas Police Department.
Mr. BELIN. On January 7th of this year, what is the fact as to whether or not you could give whether or not you felt on November 22d that the man you saw in the window was the man you saw in the police lineup--not what you told him, but what was the fact?
Mr. BRENNAN. On January 7th, at that time I did believe that I could give positive identification as well as I did later.
Mr. BELIN. You mean in the December interview?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Let me ask you this: You said you saw the man with the rifle
on the sixth floor, and then you said you saw some Negroes on the fifth floor.
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Did you get as good a look at the Negroes as you got at the man with the rifle?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Did you feel that your recollection of the Negroes at that time was as good as the one with the man with the rifle?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes--at that time, it was. Now--the boys rode up with me on the plane of course I recognize them now. But as far as a few days later, I wouldn't positively say that I could identify them. I did identify them
that day.
Mr. BELIN. Well, for instance, when I showed you Exhibit 482, you said that you could not identify
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, the picture is not clear enough, as far as distinct profiles.
Mr. DULLES. Mr. Belin, I don't think you have asked they be admitted as yet.
Mr. BELIN. No, sir. I have one more mark to make on them, sir.
Mr. BRENNAN. The pictures there are not clear enough, the profile is not distinct enough.
Mr. BELIN. All right.
Now, I wonder if you would take on Exhibit 482, if you can kind of mark the way the rifle was at the time you saw it.
Here is a red pencil. If you could put on Exhibit 482 the direction that you saw the rifle pointing, sir.
Mr. BRENNAN. I would say more at this angle. Maybe not as far out as this.
Mr. BELIN. You have put a line, and I have tried to make a little bit darker line.
Mr. BRENNAN. That is as close as I can get it.
Mr. BELIN. This is on Exhibit 482--as to the angle at which you saw the rifle. And you say perhaps it wasn't out of the window as far as this line goes on Exhibit 482, is that correct?
Mr. BRENNAN. Right.
Representative FORD. That is the angle that you believe the rifle was pointed?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. DULLES. And that is from the area in the window from which the rifle was pointing?
Mr. BRENNAN. Right.
Mr. BELIN. Could you tell whether or not any part of the rifle was protruding out of the window?
Mr. BRENNAN. On a straight view like that it looked like it was.
But as I have told investigating officers prior, a person would have to be at an angle to tell how much was protruding out of the window. It did look

at that time that as much was protruding out of the window as there was in the window.
Mr. BELIN. At this time, we offer and introduce into evidence Exhibits 480, 481, and 482.
Mr. DULLES. They will be accepted.
(The documents heretofore marked for identification as Commission Exhibits Nos. 480, 481, and 482 were received in evidence. )
Mr. McCLOY. I have one or two questions, if you are finished, Mr. Belin.
Mr. BELIN. One more question, sir.
Did you ever tell anyone that you were 90 yards away from that window where you saw the gun?
Mr. BRENNAN. No. It was a misunderstanding. My first calculation was that I was about 75-foot out from the window, and the calculation of the window 75-foot up. So the hypotenuse there would be approximately 110-foot. That was my first calculation.
But since we made a step of the grounds Friday, I was farther out than 75 feet. Approximately 93 feet is what we calculated Friday.
Mr. BELIN. One additional question, sir. When did you first see Exhibit 479?
Mr. BRENNAN. This morning.
Mr. BELIN. This morning here.
And on Exhibit 479, who picked the person-out as being you in that picture? Was it you or was it I?
Mr. BRENNAN. I did.
I might add that prior to Friday, no one had ever gave me any information on your evidence whatsoever.
Mr. BELIN. Well, on Friday you and I met for the first time in Dallas--that would be on March 20th.
Mr. BRENNAN. Right.
Mr. BELIN. And we sat down and I asked you just to tell me what happened, is that correct?
Mr. BRENNAN. That is right.
Mr. BELIN. Did I ask you a general question and say, "What happened?" Or did I just ask you repeated questions?
Mr. BRENNAN. No.
Well, you more or less told me to tell it in my own way exactly what happened.
Mr. BELIN. And you just started to tell it, is that correct?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes. I believe that sums it up.
Mr. BELIN. And then we then went outside where you pointed out the place where you were sitting?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Do you remember the doctor that examined your eyes when you had them examined?
Mr. BRENNAN. He is in Port Lavaca. He is the only leading optometrist there.
Mr. BELIN. Would it be Dr. Howard R. Bonar?
Mr. BRENNAN. That is right.
How did you find that out?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, sir, it is on one of your interviews here.
Mr. BRENNAN. Had that question been asked me before?
Mr. BELIN. Yes, it had. On November 22, when you advised that you wore glasses for reading purposes only.
Mr. BRENNAN. That is right, the FBI, Mr. Lish, right?
Mr. BELIN. Yes, sir.
Mr. McCLOY. That examination was before the sand blasting, of course.
Mr. BRENNAN Oh, yes, sir. The sandblasting wasn't until January or early February of this year.
Representative FORD. Did you have your glasses on at the time of the assassination?
Mr. BRENNAN. No.
Mr. McCLOY. You can see better at that distance without your glasses than with them?
Mr. BRENNAN. Oh, yes, much better. Oh, I could put these glasses on and it

is just like looking through a window pane. The upper part is just regular clear.
Mr. DULLES. Do you have some questions, Mr. McCloy?
Mr. McCLOY. Yes I have some questions.
You said you went across the street after having sort of jumped off this retaining wall in order to protect yourself against the possible fusilade of shots.
Mr. BRENNAN. Right.
Mr. McCLOY. Then you went across and picked up a police officer, is that right?
Mr. BRENNAN. Right, sir.
Mr. McCLOY. And then you went with him to the steps of the Texas School Book Depository?
Mr. BRENNAN. Eventually, yes.
Mr. McCLOY. How long did it take you, do you think, from the time of the--when you first got up-- from the time of the last shot, how long would you estimate it would be before you got to the steps of the Texas Book Depository?
Mr. BRENNAN. I could not calculate that, because before I got to the steps of the Texas Book Store, I had already talked to this officer, and he had taken me to the Secret Service men, I had talked to them.
Mr. McCLOY. And you stayed behind the retaining wall for a little while until you saw the coast was clear?
Mr. BRENNAN. Just seconds. I would say from the time the last shot was fired, and me diving off the wall there, and getting around on the solid side, and then running across to the officer, the time element is hard to figure, but it would still be in seconds.
Mr. McCLOY. Then when you got to the officer he took you to a Secret Service man, and then the Secret Service man and you were on the steps of the depository?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Well, we talked at the car, and then when these two colored guys came down the stairway onto the street, I pointed to them, and identified them as being the two that was in the floor below that floor. And then Mr. Sorrels, I think, had to give some orders to someone in the book store. He walked me up the steps, and I stood on the top landing.
Mr. McCLOY. When you were standing on those steps, did you see anyone pass you, or anyone that you could recognize as being--as looking somewhat like
the man that you had seen in the window with the rifle?
Mr. BRENNAN. No, I did not.
Mr. DULLES. Did you give any estimate was it a matter of 5 minutes, 6 minutes, 7 minutes? In general, how long did it take you from the time that you left where you were protecting yourself to the time you were on the front steps? What order of magnitude? 10 minutes?
Mr. BRENNAN. No it was a shorter time than that.
I talked to Mr. Sorrels--I believe it was Mr. Sorrels--and the Secret Service men there I don't believe I talked to them more than 3 to 5 minutes.
Mr. McCLOY. But you had prior to that time talked to the police officer?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. McCLOY. You said the police officer said, "Wait a minute."
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes.
Mr. McCLOY. How long was that?
Mr. BRENNAN. That was quick, too. He gave his orders to some one on that side of the building, and then he had taken me to the Secret Service man.
Mr. McCLOY. Did you have the feeling that the police had put a cordon around the building, and were they keeping people in, or were people coming in and out while you were there?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, I did, by the time I got on the steps of the Texas Book Store I felt like that the place was completely surrounded and blocked by then. But at the time I ran across to this officer, I may have been completely wrong, they may have the Secret Service men and police department, too, may have been directing their search to the building, but I felt as though they were directing their search to the west side of the building.

Mr. McCLOY. You testified, I believe, that you saw them directing their search towards the wrong side of the building, so to speak?
Mr. BRENNAN. yes. That was my thoughts.
Mr. McCLOY. And so that would indicate that at that time they were not blocking that particular entrance at the east side of the building, below the window that you saw the shot fired from?
Mr. BRENNAN. Not according to my calculations.
Mr. DULLES. Any other questions?
Representative FORD. Mr. Chairman, I would suggest that perhaps in the case of Mr. Brennan and other witnesses, if a biography prepared by the individual, looked over by the staff, would not be helpful to include in the record--I don't mean a biography in great depth, but at least an outline of the individual's
background--I think it would be helpful for the record.
Mr. DULLES. We have certain information.
Mr. BELIN. We have certain information in the record right now which we took at the very beginning of the session here this morning.
Representative FORD. Yes, I was present. But I think it is important to have more of a background of his education, experience and I think it is wise to have it for all of the witnesses--not in great depth, but at least a background to show some biographical information.
Mr. BELIN. Would you care to have that prepared by the witness himself, or here in the record?
Representative FORD. I would suggest that it be prepared initially by the witness, checked over by the staff, and then mutually agreed as acceptable
through the witness, and then insert it in the record.
Mr. DULLES. Prior to his testimony?
Representative FORD. Yes.
Mr. BELIN. Would you be willing to furnish us with some kind of an autobiographical sketch of yourself--our date and place of birth, where you went to school, your education, your jobs that you have had, and perhaps it also should include some kind of a physical description as to your approximate height and weight and what-have-you?
Mr. BRENNAN. Not at all. But you sure going to be confused on my jobs, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Because you have gone from one job to another?
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, I worked under the union constitution for the last 20 years, and I have worked for many a contractor.
Mr. BELIN. You mean you just work on contract, and when you are through with that particular construction job, the union would send you to another construction job?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes. Usually a contractor wants me to go to the State of Washington, like I did in California, or he wants me to go to Utah or somewhere like that.
Mr. DULLES. I don't think we need all that detail.
Mr. BELIN. In other words, you have been a steam fitter.
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes, sir.
With the exception of the possibility of 2 years I was in business in California, private business.
Mr. McCLOY. Are you a member of a church?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. McCLOY. What church are you a member of?
Mr. BRENNAN. Baptist.
Mr. McCLOY. You testified you were a Bible reader.
Mr. BRENNAN. Well, I don't read it as much as I should.
Mr. McCLOY. When you do, you have to wear glasses?
Mr. BRENNAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. DULLES. Any other questions?
Mr. BELIN. There have been two or three other questions that have come up here, sir.
One question-- when we visited on Friday in Dallas, what is the fact as to whether or not I told you what to say or you yourself just told me what you wanted to tell me?
Mr. BRENNAN. I told you--you did not instruct me what to say at all. I told


Brennan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Many variations of the name Brennan have evolved since the time of its initial creation. In Gaelic it appeared as "O Braondin," from the word "braon," which has several meanings, possibly meaning "sorrow" in this case.

Saint Brendan or Brenainn (490?-573), of Birr, "which was so called from the abundance of wells there (birr, birra, water), now Parsonstown, in the King's County. He was son of Neman, a poet, and Mansenna, and belonged to the race of Corb Aulam, great-grandson of Rudhraighe, from whom were the Clanna Rudhraighe. " [1]

Another Saint Brendan or Brenainn (484-577), of Clonfert, was born in 484, at Littus li, or Stagnum li, now Tralee, co. Kerry. "He is termed son of Finnloga, to distinguish him from his contemporary, St. Brendan of Birr. " [1]

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Early Origins of the Brennan family

The surname Brennan was first found in County Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh), the former Kingdom of Osraige (Ossory), located in Southeastern Ireland in the province of Leinster, where the family claim descent from Braonan, an Irish Prince, brother of Ceallach, 17th King of Ossory. Braonan later became the King of Ossory, and also King of the Danes of Dublin, and was known as the Prince of Idough. His son, Conglach, in a dispute over the throne of Ossory, was killed near Three Castles, County Kilkenny.

At this point in time, the Brennans were in conflict with Brian Boru (1014), and most historians believe that the family was on the wrong side as allies of the Danish King. After Clontarf, they retained only the principality of Idough, but Anne, daughter of Guidhelgedh, three generations later, married the King of Ossory (Donogh), and the title was still extant even after the Anglo Norman invasion of 1172.

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Early History of the Brennan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Brennan research. Another 124 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1395, 1520, 1600, 1832, 1625, 1693, 1768, 1830 and 1794 are included under the topic Early Brennan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Brennan Spelling Variations

Before widespread literacy came to Ireland, a name was often recorded under several different variations during the life of its bearer. Accordingly, numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name Brennan family name. Variations found include Brennan, McBrennan, Brannon, Brannan, Brannen, Brannin, Brennyn, Brannyn, MacBrennan, Brenan, Branon, Branan, Branen and many more.

Early Notables of the Brennan family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family name at this time was Sir Art O'Brennan of Castlecomer Castle Most Rev. John Brennan (1625-1693), Bishop of Waterford and Archbishop of Cashel John Brennan (1768-1830).
Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Brennan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Brennan migration +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Brennan Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Brennan, a bonded passenger, who arrived in Potomac in 1731
  • David Brennan, who arrived in Maryland in 1774
Brennan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Brennan, who arrived on a ship at New York in 1810 at age 27
  • Bernard Brennan, who landed in New York, NY in 1812 [2]
  • Margaret Brennan, who landed in New York, NY in 1812 [2]
  • Unity Brennan, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [2]
  • Bridget Brennan, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [2]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Brennan migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Brennan Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Laurence Brennan, on record as a laborer in St. John's Newfoundland in 1779 [3]
  • Mr. William Brennan U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1783 [4]
  • Michael Brennan, a fisherman in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, in 1794 [3]
Brennan Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Bernard Brennan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1813
  • Edward Brennan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1816
  • Patrick Brennan, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1821
  • Patrick Brennan, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1823
  • Patrick Brennan, who arrived in Canada in 1829
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Brennan migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Brennan Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Luke Brennan, Irish convict who was convicted in Queen's County, Ireland for life, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 29th November 1801, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1853 [5]
  • Mr. Michael Brennan, Irish convict who was convicted in Queen's County, Ireland, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 29th November 1801, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[5]
  • Mr. Hugh Brennan, Irish convict who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Boyd" on 10th March 1809, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[6]
  • Mr. Patrick Brennan, Irish convict who was convicted in Kildare, Ireland for life, transported aboard the "Boyd" on 10th March 1809, arriving in New South Wales, Australia[6]
  • Miss Mary Ann Brennan, (b. 1788), aged 25, Irish servant who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Catherine" on 8th December 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, she died in 1826 [7]
  • . (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Brennan migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:


Lee Harvey Oswald: Plan, Chaos or Conspiracy?

While the police converged on the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas and doctors at Parkland Hospital began working on the mortally wounded President in Emergency Room No. 1, Lee Harvey Oswald was briskly walking the seven blocks from the depository to the bus stop at Elm and Murphy. At 12:40 p.m. he boarded a bus driven by Cecil J. McWatters. Oswald did not realize it, but a former landlady, Mary Bledsoe, was also on the bus and recognized him immediately. “He looks like a maniac,” she observed.

At just the time that Oswald stepped on the bus, the Secret Service placed a frantic call for a priest to administer the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church to John F. Kennedy.

With all of the police activity in the area around Dealey Plaza, traffic had come to a standstill. At 12:44 p.m., Oswald asked for a transfer, got off the bus, crossed in front of it, and started walking to the Greyhound bus station three-and-a-half blocks away.

As he proceeded, police began broadcasting a description of the shooter based on the eyewitness account of Howard Brennan, a 44-year-old steamfitter who had been watching the presidential motorcade from a concrete retaining wall at the corner of Elm and Houston, with a clear view of the sixth-floor window of the depository building where he saw a man 𠇊 couple of times.”. The description matched Oswald (and hundreds of other young men in Dallas). 𠇊ttention all squads. Attention all squads. At Elm and Houston, reported to be an unknown white male, approximately 30, slender build, height 5�”, 165 pounds. Reported to be armed with what is believed to be a .30-caliber rifle.”

A dispatcher ordered police car No. 10 to patrol the Oak Cliff area. The driver was J. D. Tippit, an eleven-year veteran of the force. Dallas police had recently begun experimenting with the new policy of allowing officers to ride alone in cars patrolling low-crime areas. Tippit had voted for Kennedy and he would have liked to have seen him, but he was also relieved to be far removed from the dangerous and high-stakes job of guarding his safety. �-4,” Tippit radioed back.

At 12:47 p.m. Oswald entered a taxi driven by William Wayne Whaley at the Greyhound bus terminal. Whaley opened the back door for his passenger, but Oswald said he wanted to sit in the front seat𠅊 common practice in the Soviet Union, where the former U.S. Marine had defected in 1959. Oswald told him to take him to the five hundred block of North Beckley. While Oswald was riding in the cab, police once again broadcast a description of the shooter to all cruisers. Whaley, who had not yet heard news of the shooting, asked his passenger about all the police sirens. Oswald did not respond. He rode the entire way in silence. The driver later told investigators he thought Oswald was 𠇊 wino two days off the bottle.”

After the two-and-a-half-mile ride Oswald asked the driver to drop him off at Beckley and Neely, about a ten-minute walk from his boarding house. Why not have the driver take him right to his house? Oswald likely feared that police would have already identified him as the killer and were speeding to his room. He wanted to spy the area and make sure it was safe. “This will do,” he said. The driver pulled over to the curb. The fare was ninety-five cents. Oswald handed the driver $1. “Keep the change,” he said.

It took Oswald nine minutes to make it to the rooming house. The housekeeper, Earlene Roberts, had just learned that the president had been shot when she saw the front door swing open and Oswald come in. “Oh, you are in a hurry,” she said. He ignored her comment, moved quickly past her and into his small room to the left of the living room. There were double doors leading into what had once been a small alcove. The room was about five feet by twelve feet with the bed taking up most of the space. An air conditioner occupied one of the four adjacent windows, which were screened by venetian blinds and lace curtains.

Although it was a warm day, Oswald pulled a white 𠇎isenhower” jacket from the rack, tucked a revolver into the waistband of his pants, and rushed out of the house. He spent a total of four minutes in the house.

During that time, doctors at Parkland Hospital doctors officially declared Kennedy dead. Shortly after 1:00 p.m., attorney general Robert Kennedy received a phone call at his home in Virginia informing him that the wounds his brother suffered proved fatal.

Back at the book depository the supervisor told police that one of his employees was missing. His name: Lee Harvey Oswald.

Oswald left the boarding house at 1:03 p.m., zipping up his jacket to hide his pistol as he walked out the door. Where was he headed? It is clear that his was not a suicide mission. Oswald set up the shooting to allow himself an easy escape (at least as easy an escape as possible from the sixth floor of a building in a crowded downtown area swarming with law enforcement officials). He had a direct frontal shot at the president as the motorcade moved toward the book depository building on Houston Street. Instead, Oswald allowed the car to make the sharp left turn so he could shoot the president from behind, confusing the Secret Service, and allowing an opportunity to escape.

But escape to where? It is impossible to know for sure, but there are a several possibilities. First, there are a group of improbable conspiracy theories. Some have speculated that Oswald planned to meet with his “handlers” at the Texas Theater, where he was to be eliminated as part of a larger plot. Of course, those who maintain Oswald’s innocence accept the version he later told police. He was not in a hurry to go anywhere: he left the building after the shooting because he assumed it would be closed. He went home, grabbed his gun, and went to the theater.

There are a few other scenarios that fall into the same highly improbable category. Some have suggested Oswald was on a broader mission that day and that Kennedy was only his first target. Michigan Congressman Harold Sawyer, a member of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, suggested that Oswald grabbed his handgun at home in order to kill a man who had been identified in the Dallas press as a communist informer. According to Sawyer the man lived only a few blocks from where Oswald later shot and killed officer Tippit during a chance encounter on Tenth Street, just past the Patton Street intersection. There have also been suggestions that Oswald was headed to finish off retired right-wing General Edwin Anderson Walker, whom he had attempted to assassinate in April using the same mail-order rifle used to shoot Kennedy.

A second school of thought, closely associated with those who support the general conclusions of the Warren Commission, maintains Oswald had no plan and was simply improvising. According to Jean Davidson, author of Oswald’s Game, Oswald never even expected to survive leaving the book depository. “He probably assumed that the building would have been surrounded much more quickly than it was and he never would have gotten out of the building alive,” she reflected. Also, he simply did not have time to plan an escape route. Oswald only learned two days earlier that the president would be going past the book depository. If he had given some thought to the escape he would have anticipated that a city bus would have been trapped in the chaos he had created. 𠇊 city bus is not the usual means of escape if someone had planned ahead of time,” she pointed out.

Other serious students of the assassination share this view. John McAdams, the creator of a conspiracy debunking website The Kennedy Assassination Homepage, also believes Oswald had not given serious thought to getting away. “It looks to me like he was improvising,” he told the author. “He never expected to get out of the book depository building without being captured or killed.” Thus, once Oswald left the crime scene and managed to get back to the boarding house to retrieve his pistol, he was essentially lost. “He was just walking around Oak Cliff trying to decide what to do before the police caught him,” recalled McAdams.

A third theory supports the Warren Commission’s conclusions but speculates that Oswald had an escape plan. Gerald Posner, author of Case Closed, concluded Oswald likely “had a plan for how to get out of Dallas.” Posner believes Oswald “was on his way back to Mexico City and the Cuban consulate.” This is a view shared by journalist and author Max Holland, who also believes Oswald was the lone assassin.

Oswald 𠇍idn’t want to go back to Russia any longer,” Posner told the author in 2012. “He only wanted to get to Cuba, where he thought the real revolution was happening. Cuban bureaucrats in Mexico City had refused him a visa to Havana only a month earlier. He intended to show up and say, ‘This is what I’ve done,’ and they would have no choice but to enthusiastically embrace him.”

Oswald had just enough money in his pocket for a one-way bus trip to Mexico City. In an unpublished draft of the Warren Commission report, counsel David Belin suggested that Oswald was only four blocks from catching a Route 55 bus that would have taken him to Lancaster Road, where he could have boarded a southbound Greyhound bus that would have, with connections, traveled to Monterrey, Mexico.

Just as his motives were complicated, so too were Oswald’s movements after the shooting. It is impossible for any single theory to explain all the contradictions of his actions. If Oswald was planning to take a bus to Mexico, why not take one from the main bus terminal downtown? He did not even enter the building, and instead grabbed a taxi just outside the terminal. Also, he would have needed a visa to cross the border. How was he planning to get into Mexico? Finally, he had enough money to pay for the bus ticket, but how was he planning to survive once he reached Mexico?

There are plausible responses to some of these questions. He likely wanted to avoid the central bus terminal because he assumed the police would be looking for him there better to get a bus a little farther out of town. The lack of a visa is harder to explain. Maybe he thought he could talk his way over the border. Of course it is just as likely that he believed someone was going to help him get to Mexico City. Given that he had barely enough money to pay for the bus ticket, and that he had left his entire savings with his wife Marina, it would appear that he expected to be taken care of once he crossed the border.

Former CIA analyst Brian Latell believes offers of assistance may have come from Cuban intelligence. If they had been involved with Oswald, they would have either assigned him a dedicated agent in Dallas or a 𠇌ut up”—someone personally loyal to Castro but with no official status. A dedicated agent would have been authorized to make promises and provide Oswald with assistance getting out of Dallas and the United States. A 𠇌ut up” would have no such official authority, but could still have offered aid. In either case, Oswald would have had support and encouragement from an outside source, and assistance getting across the border.

This explanation still begs the question of why Castro would take the risk of being tied to someone trying to assassinate the President of the United States when he knew it would be suicide if Oswald were caught. Latell speculates that it is most likely Cuban intelligence officers were freelancing that Castro would not have been aware of their efforts to encourage Oswald to follow through on his threat against Kennedy. It seems unlikely, however, that low-level Cuban operatives would have taken on such a risky operation without Castro’s knowledge, and even less likely the Cuban leader would have sanctioned such an operation. Despite the lack of physical evidence, and the heavy weight of logic against this theory, Latell is highly credible and not easily dismissed as a conspiracy crackpot. If he is right, the elusive final answers to the Kennedy assassination are probably locked away, collecting dust in a secure Cuban intelligence archive.

Excerpted from “Lee Harvey Oswald: 48 Hours to Live,” by Steven M. Gillon. Published by Sterling Publishing. Pick up a copy wherever books are sold.


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Why we are here.

You are here because you are curious. Curious about a history, a radio station, a relative, a co-worker or a part of your own past. This historical blog started out as a timeline on an Excel worksheet nothing more. It was going to be a timeline of the legendary WAPE in Jacksonville. That would be me in search of a part of my own past. In search of the origin of the music coming out of the little black Jade brand transistor radio given to me by my grandmother. A radio which spent many summers on the white sands of Myrtle Beach parked in front of the Jade Tree and Sandpiper motels. That radio which was always tuning between WTGR in Myrtle Beach and WAPE Jacksonville.

The simple timeline has become is a journal of stories with an album of cherished family photographs. Not my family, but that of the Brennan family of Alabama. But not just the Brennan’s, you see the folks that worked at their stations were more than just employees, they considered themselves family too.

What it has also become is more than a history of one radio station. You see, each radio station was somehow linked to the other. It became impossible to talk about one without knowing a little something about another. I guess these radio stations were family too.

While this work has grown in scope and depth more than I could have ever imagined, it is, and will be by no means complete. Everyday there is a new photo, an undiscovered piece of audio or a new story shared. The one thing that I hope to achieve is to record first-hand accounts of those who were there, and leave that record for all who visit.


Brennan History and Legacy Employees

We understand the value of adaptation, but we also recognize the importance of retaining who we have always been as a company: our values, our strong culture, and the way we do business remain the same.

Focused on quality since our inception in 1919, we take pride in its rich history and continued legacy over the next 100 years.
We respect and appreciate all the people who helped build our company.

Learn about the talented, innovative, dedicated leaders (and family) of Brennan -- our Legacy Employees.

100 YEARS AND JUST GETTING STARTED

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JOURNEY TO 100 YEARS

What began as a partnership between brothers, has turned into a nationally recognized marine solutions company celebrating its 100th year in business. Learn about our journey here!

THE JAMES FRANCIS (JIM) BRENNAN LEGACY

Jim Brennan personified the culture that we cherish to this day. Known for his honesty and fairness, Jim always treated people with respect. Learn more about the team of brothers who founded our company.

THE JIM O'NEILL LEGACY

Former employee, Jim O’Neill, built a great reputation by naturally exhibiting all these attributes throughout his long career at Brennan. We're honored to share Jim's story with you.

THE GARY DONDLINGER LEGACY

Gary is a straight shooter. Just about anyone who has worked with Gary over the years has experienced his unwavering ability to say what’s on his mind. We're excited to share a bit of Gary "Farmer" Dondlinger's story with you.

The Vic Buhr Legacy

Innovation is one of our core tenets at Brennan. Perhaps there is no one individual here who embodies this tenet as much as Vic Buhr. This story examines the 30-year history and innovative leadership impact of Vic Buhr.

We're always adding History

Check back every quarter for more information on Brennan Legacy Employees. Our talented team has so many stories to tell, thank you for letting us share them!


Brennan as Director of CIA under the Obama-Biden Administration

In a packed CIA headquarters lobby, then Vice-President Biden welcomed Brennan as new CIA director: “It’s absolutely terrific to have John, who is a friend and colleague of many years, back here to lead what I consider to be the crown jewel of the Intelligence Community—and that’s the Central Intelligence Agency.” (April 12, 2013) [Source: cia.gov]

Brennan sheds very little light, generally, on his close relationship with Obama, which according to The New York Times, was as close a bond between a president and CIA Director as there has been in American history.

Brennan and Obama were so close that Obama found himself “finishing Brennan’s sentences,” according to one historical account. [Source: cnn.com]

He does though make an interesting admission regarding Cuba when he writes that the “goal of normalized relations as envisioned by President Obama” was that Cuba’s “repressive security practices, political oppression and socialist economy would fade from view.” [Italics added.] The normalization policy by implication was not altruistic, but designed as part of the U.S.’s long-standing program of regime change.

Brennan’s own counter-revolutionary outlook is exemplified in his anger that, at a ceremony marking the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Havana, Alejandro Castro would extoll the heroism of his father Raul, and Uncle Fidel, during the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.

Brennan is further upset that Alejandro presented him with an inscribed copy of his book, The Price of Power, which he dismisses as a “289-page screed” detailing the “intemperance, and vice of the United States towards Cuba and other worldwide victims of American imperialism.”

Saudi officials are more to Brennan’s liking despite their support for Islamic terrorism and the criminal invasion of Yemen, which was carried out with high-tech U.S. weapons. Brennan in Undaunted recounts an interesting conversation in which Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) boasted about “finishing off the Houthis [rebels in Yemen] in a couple of months,” though sheds no new light otherwise on the U.S.-Saudi relationship and war.

Brennan meets with Egyptian dictator Fatah al-Sisi who cooperated with the U.S. in the War on Terror. Tens of thousands of people have been killed or tortured during his rule. [Source: theintercept.com]

Befitting his position, Brennan is further evasive about the massive covert operation he helped oversee to arm the Free Syrian Army and other jihadi groups in an effort to topple the nationalist government of Bashir al-Assad. He does repeat, though, politically charged claims about Assad’s use of chemical weapons that have never been verified.[6]

Brennan’s deceptiveness extends to his suggestion that Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni cleric and U.S. citizen assassinated in a drone strike, was behind the mass shooting at Fort Hood Texas by Nidal Malik Hasan that killed thirteen U.S. soldiers. Al-Awlaki was found to have exchanged emails with Hasan who had worshipped at his mosque in suburban Virginia, but an FBI inquiry into Awlaki’s criminal culpability in the shooting was dropped, and the FBI concluded Hasan had acted alone.[7]

In a chapter entitled “A Tortured Senate Report,” Brennan dismisses as partisan a Senate report that exposed CIA torture methods under the rendition program during the Bush era.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D- Calif.) subsequently accused Brennan and the CIA of engaging in “illegal and unconstitutional breaches” by searching the computers and spying on Senate Select Committee on Intelligence staffers who had helped compile the report. Brennan’s moral indignation in his book predictably focuses on Feinstein and a 2019 film depicting these events called The Report which he derides for being “way beyond the pale.”

In one of his last acts as CIA Director, Brennan oversaw the writing of a report by the major intelligence agencies which claimed to have “high confidence” that Russia hacked the computers of the Democratic National Committee and supported Donald J. Trump in the 2016 election. The report, however, did not provide any significant evidence to support its own allegations and merely provided “an assessment” which journalist Robert Parry notes is “an admission” that the classified information blaming Russia was “less than conclusive because, in intelligence world speak, to ‘assess’ actually means to ‘guess.’”[i][8]

Russia Gate is best understood as a major volley in a long war between the social democratic wing of the U.S. intelligence establishment, led by Brennan and Obama, and the neofascist wing, which is aligned behind Trump.

Most troubling has been the politicization of the intelligence agencies and their interference in partisan domestic politics—which Brennan claims to vehemently oppose. Russia Gate has also contributed to a Russophobic climate driving a new Cold War.

Early into Trump’s presidency, Brennan issued a public warning to Trump about his Russia policy, telling Fox News: “I think Mr. Trump has to understand that absolving Russia of various actions that it’s taken in the past number of years is a road that he, I think, needs to be very, very careful about moving down.”[9] When an unelected intelligence official can intimidate a president into backing away from efforts at diplomatic engagement, then democracy has been destroyed and a permanent warfare state institutionalized.

Brennan has promoted disinformation about Russia and the Russia Gate narrative from his perch as a commentator on supposedly liberal MSNBC. [Source: americanindependent.com]

Brennan’s place in history is generally as an heir to past agency directors who have abused constitutional liberties, deceived the public, and carried out policies that helped devastate Third World countries.

His memoir, Undaunted, shows him to be a particularly close contemporary of Richard Helms (1966-1973), who helped protect the agency’s secrecy, as opposed to William Colby (1973-1976), who went public with information that appears to have led to his assassination.[10]

The comparison between Brennan and Speer becomes resonant when one considers Brennan’s fixation with career advancement and service to power, his disregard for the human consequences of the policies he is tasked with carrying out, and his effort to institutionalize state killing under the drone war through a bureaucratic process that applies heavily sanitized language.

What is so dangerous about the two “organizational men” ultimately is the normalcy through which they carry out their duties and satisfaction that they gain from bureaucratic triumphs and advancement irrespective of the human costs. Their psychological archetype enables large-scale killing machines to operate expeditiously, now and into the foreseeable future.

[1] See Bradley R. Simpson, Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and U.S.-Indonesian Relations, 1960-1968 (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2008).

[2] Ironically, Brennan’s future boss, President Barack Obama, was in Indonesia at the same time as a pre-teen living with his mother and step-father, Lolo Soetoro, who served in the anti-PKI pogroms and worked as a liaison between the Suharto regime and Western oil companies. Obama at least acknowledged in his memoir the atrocities going on and hypocrisy of the oil companies, even if whitewashing his own family’s role in the genocide. See Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, rev. ed. (New York: Broadway Books, 2004).

[3] David C. Wills, The First War on Terrorism: Counter-Terrorism Policy during the Reagan Administration (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003).

[4] See Edward S. Herman, “Lockerbie and the Propaganda System: Release of Al-Megrahi Evokes Selective History,” Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, October 1, 2009 John Ashton, Megrahi: You Are My Jury: The Lockerbie Evidence (London: Birlinn, 2012) http://www.lockerbietruth.com/.

[5] For Obama’s complicated family history and allegations of ties to the CIA, see Wayne Madsen, The Manufacturing of a President: The CIA’s Insertion of Barack H. Obama, Jr. into the White House (Self-Published, 2012) Jeremy Kuzmarov, Obama’s Unending Wars (Atlanta: Clarity Press Inc., 2019).

[6] For discussion and key investigations and sources, see Jeremy Kuzmarov, Obama’s Unending Wars: Fronting the Foreign Policy of the Permanent Warfare State (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2019).

[7] Kuzmarov, Obama’s Unending Wars, 154 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Fort_Hood_shooting#Anwar_al-Awlaki.

[8] Jeremy Kuzmarov and John Marciano, The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2018), 34.

[9] Quoted in Kuzmarov and Marciano, The Russians Are Coming, Again, 34.

[10] See Thomas Powers, Richard Helms: The Man Who Kept the Secrets (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979) Randall B. Woods, Shadow Warrior: William Egan Colby and the CIA (New York: Basic Books, 2013).


Tim Smith takes a new look at Howard Brennan&rsquos testimony before the Warren Commission and analyzes how the interlocutors questioned and guided Brennan to achieve their preconceived goals. This assessment causes him to ask, &ldquoDid EVEN the Warren Commission Believe Howard Brennan?&rdquo

Howard Leslie Brennan was born on March 20, 1919, in Oklahoma. One does not have to travel very far through the assassination literature to discover him. He appeared in front of the Warren Commission 3 times, all on the same day. There are also 2 affidavits connected to him as well. It is our job to sort through all of this and see if we can make any sense of his testimony. He was the poster boy, who supposedly identified Oswald in the sixth-floor window. So, in that sense, he is vitally important. His testimony, like so many others, is a metaphor on how the Warren Commission treated their witnesses: steered them a particular direction when they didn&rsquot say what the Commission wanted to hear, ignored and moved on when they were obviously lying, ignored them when they said things that were at variance with what the Commission wanted to hear, or created hypotheticals that had nothing to do with the case and end up being red hearings diverting away from the real evidence at hand. Read through the testimonies of the medical personnel and see how many times Arlen Specter guides the witnesses down a path that leads nowhere, or better yet, creates hypotheticals in an attempt to get them to say something they really didn&rsquot. Brennan will be no different. Again, keep in mind, he is their Golden Ticket, because his description eventually leads to the identification and arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald. Let&rsquos see how this worked itself out that weekend and beyond.

Brennan testified, on March 24, 1964, at around 9:00 a.m. in Washington, D.C. His testimony resumed twice that day in the presence of other witnesses who gave testimony on that day. This was common, as all three autopsy doctors were in the same room during each of their testimonies. It was common for the Commission, but ridiculous and should not happen in a murder investigation. Warren Commission members present for Brennan were Earl Warren, Representative Gerald Ford, John McCloy, and Allen Dulles also present were chief counsel J. Lee Rankin, senior counsel Norman Redlich, and junior counsels David Belin and Joseph A. Ball, and finally Charles Murray, &ldquoobserver.&rdquo It is interesting to note who was not there, namely Richard Russell, Hale Boggs and John Sherman Cooper. As some critics have pointed out, these three had their differences with the majority. And, in fact, Russell filed a dissenting report at the final Commission executive session meeting. Were these differences manifest in their lack of attendance?

As noted above, also present in the hearing room were Bonnie Ray Williams, Harold Norman, James Jarman, Jr., and Roy Truly. Notice has been taken of the absurdity of such a process, as Williams, Norman, and Jarman, who were friends, were not about to criticize each other. It just was not going to happen.

Brennan remarked that upon his arrival into Dealey Plaza, &ldquothere was a man having an epileptic fit, a possibility of 20 yards east&mdashsouth of this corner. And they were being attended by some civilians and officers and I believe an ambulance picked him up.&rdquo (3H 141-142) We know that the person in question is Jerry Belknap, who did have an &ldquoapparent&rdquo seizure, but upon arriving at Parkland hospital decided to not stay but instead left. He did pay the medical expenses for his short trip to the hospital, but it remains somewhat of a mystery as to what was happening. So much so, that someone should have interviewed him and attempted to find out what was really going on with Belknap that day, if anything. It just seems odd.

Brennan then told David Belin, who was the main interlocutor for questioning him, that he &ldquojumped up on the top ledge.&rdquo (3H 142) The witness was referring to the retaining wall around the reflecting pool opposite the Book Depository. But it an odd statement, because his inarticulateness makes it sound like he literally jumped on the top ledge and was standing, which he wasn&rsquot and that there is more than one ledge, which there isn&rsquot. He simply sat down, which I will assume is what he meant in all of his unletterdness.

The interview takes a turn and with a quick sleight of hand a moment of monumental proportion is lost. Belin shows Brennan CE-479 and notices that Brennan&rsquos legs are not dangling on the front side, which they would be if he was sitting and facing north toward the Texas School Book Depository. Listen to the exchange:

Mr. BELIN: All right. I hand you now what the reporter has marked as Commission Exhibit 478. (The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 478 for identification.)

Mr. BELIN: I ask you to state, if you know, what this is.

Mr. BRENNAN: Yes. That is the retaining wall and myself sitting on it at Houston and Elm.

Mr. BELIN: You remember that the photographer was standing on the front steps of the Texas School Book Depository when that picture was taken on the 20th of March?

Mr. BELIN: And the camera is pointed in what direction?

Representative Ford: Are those the positions where you were sitting on November 22?

Warren Commission Hearings Volume XVII p. 197 (CE-477 and CE-478)

Warren Commission Hearings Volume XVII p. 198 (CE-479)

Howard Brennan facing east looking over his left shoulder (color slide of Z-188)

As we shall see, this is not true, but Belin clearly let it slide, because Brennan was one of their stars. This preempted them from questioning Brennan about the real facts underlying his testimony. That function was left to researchers and they revealed the shenanigans of the witnesses and far worse, the Warren Commission itself. His testimony was not only believed that day, but was blessed with the imprimatur of the Warren Commission. Belin, had to know this was not accurate, because he noted that Brennan&rsquos legs were &ldquonot dangling on the front side there, is that correct?&rdquo Brennan replied they were not. But Belin did not press the matter. He quickly moved on to ask Brennan what he was wearing on that fateful day. This is your next question after wondering why Brennan&rsquos legs aren&rsquot seen, as they should have been, had he been where he said he was sitting.

Belin had showed him one negative, (couldn&rsquot the FBI provide photos or at least a decent diagram for Brennan to respond to regarding his location?) or one frame from the Zapruder film&mdashseems to be Z-188&mdashwhich absolutely shows him looking east toward the jail and not north, where he is positioned during the reenactment photo shoot. Belin handed him a magnifying glass. The negative had been enlarged. (Not by much if a magnifying glass is needed, although Brennan by this time had suffered diminished eyesight due to an accident.) Listen to how Warren Commission Counsel David Belin broaches the topic:

&ldquoThis appears to be a negative from a moving picture film [Z-188, approximately&mdashand keep in mind, the negative of which he was handed had already been published in Life magazine as a color photo]. And I will hand you a magnifying glass&mdashthe negative has been enlarged. This negative appears to be a picture of the Presidential motorcade on the afternoon of November 22 nd . I ask you to state if you can find yourself in the crowd in the background in that picture.&rdquo

From his previously noted reply, Brennan also knew that exhibits CE-477 and CE-478&mdashwhich were recreations shot in March&mdashwere inconsistent with what he was swearing to. The actual photo, CE-479, shows Brennan sitting on the ledge of the reflecting pool, facing east towards Houston Street, not north toward the Texas Schoolbook Depository. Yet, note what author Richard Trask writes: &ldquoBrennan had been sitting on the concrete retaining wall by the north reflecting pool and was facing the Book Depository.&rdquo (Richard Trask, Pictures of the Pain: Photography and the Assassination of President Kennedy, p. 493) That is rubbish and Trask must know it. He has a keen eye for detail and often brings out matters that the casual reader would not necessarily notice. It is clear from a collection of Zapruder frames that Brennan was, in fact, facing east and had to lean his left arm well back to look over his shoulder to see Kennedy&rsquos car when it was in front of the Depository. Brennan would pose, on March 20 (his birthday), sitting right in the middle of the concrete wall looking into the Depository, and again, David Belin caught him lying. Yet when the Warren Commission staffers placed Brennan for purposes of understanding his visual abilities on November 22 nd , they went along with this deception. They moved him a full 90 degrees and approximately 25 feet, around the concrete wall at the north end of the reflecting pond, so that Brennan, for &ldquowitness credibility&rdquo was sitting directly in front of the door of the Texas School Book Depository, facing north.

At least one early critic seems to have noted this departure from the record. Josiah Thompson included a photo to verify that fact on page 185 of Six Seconds in Dallas. The photos on that page show the Presidential limousine passing between the center of the concrete wall and the front door of the Book Depository&mdashand nobody is sitting there.

Researcher Dale Myers once told me that if I only understood the geography of Dealey Plaza, then and only then, would I truly understand the testimony of Howard Brennan. In his book, With Malice, he says concerning Brennan&rsquos placement in the Plaza as &ldquoperched atop a cement wall directly across from the Book Depository.&rdquo It gives the impression&mdashand I know this because Myers clarified this for me in an email&mdashthat Brennan was directly across from the Depository as in CE-478. Dale Meyers is wedded as much as Belin to Brennan, let us call them the B&B&rsquos.

Reading Belin and Brennan is what leaves informed people aghast when they comprehend Commission assertions, and someone who did as much research as Myers should be cautious not to repeat things which have caused a large segment of the public to lose confidence in the Warren Report. Brennan&rsquos &ldquodirectly across&rdquo from the Depository statement before the Warren Commission is undermined, because the Zapruder frames in 18H always show Brennan facing east. (see 3H 142 and 18H 1-20) And he is looking toward Houston Street, with his back to the camera, and not, as he posed for the Commission, facing north, into the front door of the Texas School Book Depository. Brennan diving behind the wall as the report rang out, would be senseless if he was where the Commission said he was. He wasn&rsquot.

Brennan marked the inaccurate photo that he posed for to show where he &ldquodived&rdquo &ldquoas the gunfire rang out.&rdquo It is not &ldquobehind the wall,&rdquo where Brennan portrayed himself. It&rsquos behind the wall from where he actually was, and by diving, he could not have seen anything in the sixth-floor window, hence, another problem. If he had dived like he said he did, the distance would have been somewhere around 30 to 35 feet! When the dust settles, and it does quickly for Howard Brennan, and you make him your star witness like the Warren Commission did, all bets are off.

His falsehoods began on the afternoon of the assassination to Sheriff Decker&rsquos office, stating the same nonsense he blathered on about before the Commission. In Decker Exhibit 5323 (19H 454-543, passim), Brennan stated the following:

I proceeded to watch the President&rsquos car as it turned left at the corner where I was and about 50 yards from the intersection of Elm and Houston and to a point I would say the President&rsquos back was in line with the last window I have previously described [when] I heard what I thought was a back fire.

To allude that he was tracing the path of the motorcade and saw how the President could be Oswald&rsquos target is absurd based on CE-479, where we can see exactly which direction he is facing and he is not, I repeat, he is not following the movement of the limousine as it turned from Houston onto Elm and proceeded in a westward direction.

Howard Brennan is positioned by William Manchester &ldquodirectly across from Roy Truly&rsquos group at the warehouse entrance.&rdquo There may be some Euclidean truth to that, in that a straight line could be drawn between Truly, et al, and Brennan, but their lines of vision would most assuredly not intersect. As Brennan perjured himself in front of the Warren Commission repeatedly and was caught by Warren counsel David Belin, so Manchester accepts this falsity at face value. One rule of research: check the sources, especially original sources. A lot of embarrassment can be averted if this was done on a more regular basis. Truly, et al, were looking south. Brennan was facing east, as shown in the approximate range of Z-200&mdashthe sequence where Phil Willis is shown stepping briefly off the curb. Brennan is facing the jail and has his left arm well behind him, in order to look over his left shoulder&mdashhad he desired to see Truly and company. There is no evidence he ever did see him during the 26.55 second run of the Zapruder film.

Belin asks him what happened after he first sat down. He goes on to explain he was people and window watching, which is okay, but when the President approached and passes by him, you would expect him, or anyone for that matter to focus on the President and the rest of the motorcade. He is asked to identify the window where he claims to have seen someone and then after some odd remarks by Brennan, he finally circles the window and places the letter A next to it. He says he saw a man in the 6 th floor window and then is asked to describe what he saw. Grab your socks and hold on, you can&rsquot make this stuff up. He says, referring to the shooter in the 6 th floor window:

He was standing up and resting against the left window sill, with gun shouldered to his right shoulder, holding the gun with his left hand and taking positive aim and fired his last shot. As I calculate a couple of seconds. He drew the gun back from the window as though he was drawing it back to his side and maybe paused for another second as though to assure himself that he hit his mark, and then he disappeared. (3H 144)

At this point, I can assure you there is something Brennan did not know. The window is thirteen inches from the floor at its bottom and twenty-six inches from the floor at the top of its opening. Our possibilities are somewhat finite, either the shooter was kneeling down and then stood up or he shot through the glass, which is beyond ridiculous. He saw the man in the window from the waist up, even though the window opening was below the knees of a man between 5&rsquo9&rdquo and 5&rsquo11&rdquo, Oswald&rsquos changing heights.

Yet, according to Brennan, he was able to describe the shooter with precise accuracy and what he was thinking as well. Not sure how Brennan could possibly know the what and the why of the shooter he described. He also did not observe a scope. I&rsquom not sure why he described everything else with almost divine-like accuracy. But then again, he said the colored men he saw on the 5 th floor &ldquowere standing with their elbows on the window sill leaning out.&rdquo (3H 144) One other thing before we leave the B&B show is that he claimed to be able to see the shooter from the hips up. This is now getting beyond ridiculous. Howard Brennan did not identify Lee Oswald and he could only have seen the window in peripheral vision from how he was positioned. By the time of his Warren Commission testimony, his vision was quite poor, mainly because of an accident involving steam after the assassination. On January 31, 1964, he was sandblasted, causing extreme damage to his vision. He was treated for something like 6 hours by a Dr. Black, who said Brennan&rsquos eyesight was not good. He would have had trouble seeing the Book Depository, but I&rsquom not sure his eyes were so badly damaged that he would have forgotten, by a distance of twenty to twenty-five feet where he had been sitting. (3H 147) As a side note, speaking of the Depository, there were several questions asked of Brennan regarding &ldquothe Texas School Book Depository,&rdquo but Brennan continued to testify regarding the &ldquoTexas Book Store.&rdquo His grammar and syntax are among the worst of any witness in terms of command of the English language. Similar disregard for linguistic niceties would be present in the testimony of the limo driver, William Greer, and Mary Bledsoe. With 488 witnesses who appeared before the Warren Commission, this was probably to be expected.

Brennan, at times, seems to be carefully placed that day and when he isn&rsquot, just change the direction and he will be placed where you want him. One photo is taken from the door, straight on, to Brennan. The other is taken from behind, and he hasn&rsquot moved. In a subsequent exhibit, he will mark the spot&mdashbehind the entirety of the cinderblock wall at the corner of Houston and Elm&mdashwhere he &ldquodove&rdquo for cover while he was admittedly watching the assassin take aim for his last shot and then depart the window. Once the assassin left, according to Brennan, he dove for cover&mdasha dive that amounted to approximately 25 feet. The reality of where Brennan was, when coupled with the other fairy tales he told about meeting and greeting all seven commissioners present (there were four), knowing &ldquoGovernor Warren&rdquo well, and the invite to meet Mrs. Kennedy, disqualify him from any pretense to credibility. It is almost as if a &ldquomystery weekend&rdquo was going to be staged, so that it could not be overlooked in the scenario that day, to make him fit into the Commission&rsquos preconceived evidence trail. Again, taken with all his qualifications, Brennan is a metaphor, like so many others.

Let&rsquos briefly mention some of the medical witnesses that fit into the metaphor scenario I have been mentioning, so you can see what I mean. When Specter is questioning Dr. Humes, the lead autopsy doctor, he was talking about the fragments in JFK&rsquos skull and asks a question with a predetermined end. Specter asks, &ldquoWere these all fragments that were injected into the skull by the bullet?&rdquo (2H 353) It was Specter&rsquos very slick and skillful way of limiting the inquiry to one bullet, hence we see the magic bullet in gestation. Even Humes, didn&rsquot say this, but Specter sure did. Specter engaged in his &ldquolet&rsquos assume for a moment,&rdquo just so there is something in the record that at least makes it look like the witness said something they really didn&rsquot. At times, Humes seemed befuddled.

When questioning Dr. Charles Carrico, the good doctor is telling of a 5mm by 8mm wound in the front of the neck. Commissioner Dulles asked, &ldquoWhere did it enter?&rdquo Carrico: It entered&mdashat that time we didn&rsquot know&mdash&hellip&rdquo Dulles (interrupting): &ldquoI see.&rdquo (3H 361-362)

There are times when questioning the medical witnesses Arlen Specter will engage in his &lsquoLet&rsquos assume for a moment,&rdquo in which he asked Carrico, and not just him but successive medical witnesses, to make a variety of postulations. They were all the same: if the President had been shot from behind, in the rear neck, would the wound in the front be an entrance or an exit. Of course, only one answer applies in that case and it matched with what the Commission wanted to hear. (3H 362)

When Specter was interrogating Dr. Kemp Clark, the resident neurosurgeon at Parkland Hospital, he testified to &ldquoa large, gaping wound in the right posterior part, with cerebral and cerebellar tissue being damaged and exposed. (6H 20) Clark would later comment that he thought this was an exit wound. (6H 21) A few pages later, Specter asked, &ldquoNow, you described the massive wound at the top of the President&rsquos head, with brain protruding&hellip&rdquo (6H 25) This all has to be seen for exactly what it is. It isn&rsquot just Howard Brennan committing perjury and it being ignored, because it happened all through the Warren volumes. Just see how Specter directs the choir to get just the right note from each individual, so as to get the same refrain every time: all shots came from behind and the magic bullet is the only reality that explains what happened with those seven wounds to those two men.

Before Dr. Clark is finished, Arlen Specter asks, what has to be, one of the most asinine questions out of the 109,930 that were asked to the 488 witnesses. Specter asks, &ldquoDr. Clark, in the line of your specialty, could you comment as to the status of the President with respect to competency, had he been able to survive the head injuries which you have described and the total wound which he had?&rdquo (6H 26) Clark says the wound was massive and in the back of the head. Specter never buckles and his pressure causes Dr. Clark to realize what is happening and he actually answers this silly question, when everyone and his mother know there was no way JFK could have survived those wounds.

The testimony of another witness, Dr. Charles R. Baxter was engaging and tended to slap back at Specter. His observations were quite telling. At one point he said, &ldquo&hellipliterally the right side of his head had been blown off. With this and the observation that the cerebellum was present&mdasha large quantity of brain was present on the cart (6H 41). Baxter continued to describe the right side of the head and what he saw. Specter then asks, &ldquoDid you notice any bullet hole below the large opening at the top of the head?&rdquo (6H 42) There it is again, Specter was constantly referring to the top of the head when talking with the doctors, yet I don&rsquot recall Baxter ever mentioning the top of the head. A massive wound or hole in the back of the head will not work for the Commission and Specter was not about to let that happen.

I will mention one more example of Specter&rsquos shenanigans. When he was questioning Dr. Ronald Jones, he continued with his back of the head reference by the doctor and then his mentioning the top of the head. Jones simply testified to the destruction to the back of JFK&rsquos head, with brain matter hanging out. (6H 63-4, 56)

The point of these examples is that it doesn&rsquot matter if it was a Parkland doctor or Howard Brennan. Brennan is simply one example&mdashbut a good example, because he was their poster boy as to what was seen in the sixth-floor window and the eventual arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald&mdashof how the Warren Commission and their disciples guided witness after witness. It was virtually always down the same path of substituting top for back, not believing the testimony or description of a witness, not recognizing perjury or doing anything about it when they did. They attempted to drive witnesses down a particular narrative road and all in the name of sustaining their lone-nut scenario and single bullet silliness. It&rsquos easy to locate when it is happening, whether it be led by Belin or Specter or Dulles. But its retroactively reprehensible that it was fostered on the American public to conceal the fact that the perpetrators that constructed a coup in 1963.

Lest you think it can&rsquot get any more bizarre, let&rsquos hearken back to Brennan and watch the metaphor continue to blossom. Brennan claimed, after Belin asked him what direction the gun was pointing, that it was 30 degrees downward and west by south. Are you serious? He doesn&rsquot seem to be able to distinguish east from north or standing from sitting, but then we are asked to believe this man, with obvious limited intelligence, can say what direction and the degree of angularity the gun was pointed? Maybe later he would express it in terms of algebraic geometry. Yet recall, he did not observe a scope! Even though he said he saw up to 85% of the rifle. (Vol. III, p. 144)

When Belin asked him how many shots he heard, he remarked that, &ldquopositively two. I do not recall a second shot.&rdquo (3H 144) I don&rsquot mean to nitpick, but really, I heard positively two, but then says he doesn&rsquot recall a second shot! Apparently, the word positively needs to be redefined. Belin tried to bail out his friend, he replies to this contradiction by saying, &ldquoYou mean a middle shot between when you heard the first noise and the last noise?&rdquo How can there be a middle shot between two shots? He then adds he thought the first shot was a backfire. And he then says &ldquo&hellipsubconsciously I must have heard a second shot, but I do not recall it.&rdquo (ibid) Wisely, Belin dropped the subject and asks him for a description of the shooter.

He describes the man he saw in the window as 5 foot 10 inches, 160-170 pounds and white. After the shots were fired, Belin asked him what he did next. Brennan said he asked a police officer, within just a few minutes of the assassination, to get him someone in charge, &ldquoa Secret Service man or an FBI.&rdquo (3H 145) The policeman took him to a Mr. Sorrels, who was sitting in an automobile in front of the TSBD. This is likely another Brennan shenanigan. Secret Service agent Forrest Sorrels went to Parkland hospital with the motorcade and didn&rsquot return to the corner of Houston and Elm for about 25 minutes. Sorrels would subsequently testify that he did not return to Dealey Plaza until 12:55. This means that Brennan&rsquos quite brief interval could have been no less than twenty-five minutes. Brennan would tell Sorrels, &ldquoI could see the man taking deliberate aim and saw him fire the third shot,&rdquo and said &ldquothen he just pulled the rifle back in and moved back from the window, just as unconcerned as you could be.&rdquo (Deposition of Forrest V. Sorrels, 7H 348-349)

This raises a couple of issues. First, on the 12/3/63 Dallas police log of radio transmission, at 12:44 PM, there is a description of the suspect as being 5&rsquo 10&rdquo, white, male about 30, weighing 165, carrying what looked like a 30-30 or some type of Winchester. As we have seen from the time factor involved, it is highly unlikely that Brennan was the source of the &ldquodescription of the alleged assassin.&rdquo But then who was? The sinister quality of this is what is really unsettling. The Dallas police were also horrifying in the area of records keeping that afternoon.

Yet Inspector Harold Sawyer got a description broadcast at 12:44, and it is usually credited to Howard Brennan&rsquos keen observations, although we know he couldn&rsquot have been the origin of such a description, because he was looking in a different direction and diving at the same time. And Sawyer said he did not recall who his witness was. (Michael Benson, Who&rsquos Who in the JFK Assassination, p. 408)

By Brennan&rsquos account, he stated clearly that he had seen an individual with a rifle aim for a shot. Yet Sawyer&rsquos broadcast, as it appears on the Dallas police radio logs, stated to the dispatcher, &ldquoIt&rsquos unknown whether he is still in the building or not known if he was there in the first place.&rdquo (CE-1974) How could this be Brennan?

So, it can be stated that Brennan spoke to Sorrels, but clearly not at the time implied by the Warren Commission. And not before 12:55&mdashafter the &ldquodescription of the suspect&rdquo was broadcast&mdashif, in fact, there had been a suspect in the Texas School Book Depository Building.

Brennan was not the source. And, in fact, after a thorough inquiry, J. Edgar Hoover declined Brennan as the source for Sawyer. (FBI memo from Rogge to Rankin 11/12/64)

Somebody had to be given credit, so the Warren Report placed Brennan &ldquoon Elm Street directly opposite and facing the building.&rdquo (p. 5) And now the Warren Report stated that the broadcast description was &ldquobased primarily on Brennan&rsquos observations&rdquo and that Brennan&rsquos visual accuracy most probably led to the radio alert at 12:45 p.m. (Warren Report, pp. 5, 144, 649)

Primarily? But if it wasn&rsquot Brennan, then who was it? And why don&rsquot we know &ldquowho was it&rdquo? As I have argued, Howard Brennan&rsquos credibility has to be questioned. He would state that he only saw the assassin from the chest and upward, but that is clearly an invention by Brennan, predicated on the fact that he assumed the windows in the Texas School Book Depository were at the normal height where windows would be installed. However, to repeat, the sixth floor Depository windows were thirteen inches above the ground, which means that when &ldquoBrennan&rsquos assassin&rdquo fired and then stood up, Brennan would have had to strain to identify the man&rsquos knees. considering that the window he allegedly fired from began at a height of only thirteen inches above the floor, how could anyone reasonably approximate his height at slightly below six feet? You simply couldn&rsquot.

There is simply too much falsity in his subsequent testimony to the Warren Commission&mdashand they caught him at it, but since his &ldquoseeing the assassin&rdquo was critical, this was overlooked. Again, Brennan, like so many others is a metaphor on how to invent, ignore and guide all of us through the labyrinth of deceit that is the Warren Report.

Please keep in mind that Brennan later wrote a book that was posthumously published. The title of the book was Eyewitness to History, which, as seen above, is almost risible. As I mentioned earlier, he stated that he was good friends with &ldquoGovernor Warren,&rdquo personally gave testimony to all seven members of the Warren Commission, which he did not. Only four were present during his testimony. And he claimed he was guarded by an FBI agent who was a JFK look-alike and doubled for JFK often. And he was asked by Chief Justice Warren if he would like to meet Mrs. Kennedy. This is a widow who was so full of grief that she wouldn&rsquot give her only testimony to the Commission for another four months, but, of course, she would just love to have tea and crumpets with Howard.

Nothing should surprise us about Brennan&rsquos book or testimony. But just keep in mind: this was the Commission&rsquos star witness. When I interviewed Professor Robert Blakey in 1998, who was the Chief Counsel for the HSCA, I asked him why they never called Brennan. He commented that he would have done more harm than good. Yet in Volume 2 of the HSCA volumes on page 3, even they, however, cannot get away from Brennan, when the same Blakey says that Howard Brennan saw a man fire one shot from the depository.

The police lineups rear their head eventually. Oswald, as everyone should recall, protested these assemblies vociferously, because&mdashdue to his dress and age&mdashhe stuck out like a sore thumb. Brennan admitted to seeing Oswald on TV multiple times when he got home, at somewhere between 2:45 &ndash 3:00 p.m., CST. Yet then told the police at the lineup (Brennan was escorted to the Dallas Police Station c. 6:00 p.m.) that he couldn&rsquot positively identify anyone. (3H 148) He then revised his story and said he didn&rsquot identify Oswald, because he thought the assassination might have been part of a Communist plot and so he feared for the safety of his family. Brennan would later state that he feared he would be a target of an international conspiracy if he identified Oswald (Deposition of Forrest V. Sorrels, 7H 354-355). Yet, if he was the courageous patriot the Warren Commission made him out to be, then we would expect him to stand his ground and take his chances. He didn&rsquot. Accordingly, the FBI had to supply him with the &ldquocommunist plot&rdquo excuse, which he then adapted. (Mark Lane, Rush to Judgment, p. 91). Yet, there is further evidence of just how suspect these line ups were. Consider the following:

BELIN: &ldquoDo you remember how many people were in the lineup?&rdquo

BRENNAN: &ldquoNo I don&rsquot. A possibility seven more or less one.&rdquo

No, it&rsquos not even close to being all right. Brennan has just indicated the lineup was somewhere between six and eight individuals. There never was any such thing. We know there were four people in the lineup. It was only four people for each of the lineups in which Lee Harvey Oswald was a participant.

BELIN: &ldquoDid you see anyone in the lineup you recognized?&rdquo

BELIN: &ldquoAnd what did you say?&rdquo

BRENNAN: &ldquoI told Mr. Sorrels and Captain Fritz at that time that Oswald&mdashor the man in the lineup that I identified looking more like a closest resemblance to the man in the window than anyone else in the lineup&hellip&rdquo

BELIN: &ldquoWere the other people in the lineup, do you remember&mdashwere they all white, or were there some Negroes in there, or what?&rdquo

BRENNAN: &ldquoI do not remember.&rdquo

This is Texas in 1963, three months after the March on Washington. Brennan gave a description of a man as 5&rsquo10&rdquo, 160-170 pounds, fair complexion, and slender build. Nobody reminded him that the identification was based on an individual kneeling down, allegedly firing out of a window that was thirteen inches above the level of the floor. Brennan then viewed a skewed lineup, with three better-dressed individuals and did not provide a positive identification of Oswald.

Belin, and this is only my suspicion, actually was fed up with Brennan, with his comments about and his inaccuracy as to his own placement, which Belin challenged without calling him out on it. Belin had to be disappointed, in addition, to Brennan&rsquos &ldquo7 person,&rdquo plus or minus, lineup, which is an illusion. So, he asked, if by chance it had been a bi-racial lineup, which is about as unlikely of an occurrence as Howard Brennan telling the truth.

This needs a context. As Mark Lane noted in Rush to Judgment, although the Warren Report states that Brennan picked Oswald out of a line up, and as noted above, Brennan told Belin the same, this is not backed up in the actual record, that is in the exhibits in the 26 volumes. (Lane, pgs. 11, 91) It would seem to me that if someone thought he had seen the assassin of the President of the United States&mdashbefore seeing him on TV and in the newspapers prior to the lineup&mdashwouldn&rsquot he be so charged up that he would recall every imaginable detail. Maybe not of everything, but certainly of the lineup. Well, Brennan got the number of stand ins in the lineup wrong and he could not recall if there were people of color in it. (Ian Griggs, No Case to Answer, p. 91) There is no mention in the official police record of the line ups that Brennan was present at any of them. (Commission Exhibit 2003, p. 293) Captain Will Fritz, who said he supervised all the line ups, could not recall Brennan being at one. (Volume 4, p. 237) One has to wonder, how long would Brennan have lasted under a real cross examination before the prosecution decided to withdraw him?

In fact, prominent California attorney and junior counsel for the Warren Commission, Joseph Ball, did not believe Brennan. According to Edward Epstein, Ball based his doubt on the failure of Brennan to identify Oswald at a lineup and his similar failure to do so during an FBI interview. He then reversed himself before the Commission. (Epstein, The Assassination Chronicles, p. 143) Ball also was dubious about Brennan&rsquos failure to describe the alleged assassin&rsquos clothing and the fact that Brennan seemed to say the shooter was standing, when the Commission concluded he was kneeling at the window.

Notwithstanding, Joseph Ball, Howard Brennan got his &ldquofifteen minutes.&rdquo Norman Redlich, a very important fixture on the Commission, overrode Ball&rsquos reservations at the insistence of the Commission. (ibid, p. 144)

Brennan said that, after Oswald had been killed, he felt at peace to come forward and identify him as the killer he saw in the 6 th floor window. We have already dealt with the ridiculousness of him being able to identify the person he claimed to see, based on the height of the window, how the person would have had to position himself to fire a rifle and being able to see anything clearly on that day. I&rsquove sat where Brennan actually was on November 22, 1983, and I couldn&rsquot see a damn thing in that window. Sure, it was open to a height of 13 inches, but as we have demonstrated, that would not have helped him see what he claims he saw. Apparently, Brennan was told by a Mr. Lish that film footage of him talking with the Secret Service were cut, seemingly at Brennan&rsquos request, so the Commies wouldn&rsquot track him down and rub out he and his family. Again, I&rsquom speechless.

Belin asked Brennan a series of directional and geography questions and trust me, Brennan is no Rand McNally. Near the end, McCloy asked him if he were a Bible reader and Brennan humbly says that he didn&rsquot read it as much as he should, but that he had to wear glasses when he did. I would certainly agree that Brennan does not suffer from an overdose of Holy Writ.

The curious case of Brennan is a little like Benjamin Button: he gets more childish and infantile as time goes by. It is often like reading the words of a child. He simply makes things up including where he was sitting, to jumping off the ledge about 30 feet, to what he actually saw in the window, to his circus antics when he went to DC to meet with the Commission. If this is their star witness bolstering their case, then they didn&rsquot have a case my friend.

At the end of the day, he had to be a disappointment, even to the Commission. Brennan has now become a symbol, like so many others that were interviewed by the Commission, a symbol for everything that was wrong with the Warren Report. A report based on knowing liars, suborned perjury, bizarre flights of fantasy, all incorporated into a shabby and shoddy investigation. Both Brennan and the Commission are tarred by the same brush. They simply are not kosher. Howard Brennan passed away on December 22, 1983. Like Joseph Ball, I don&rsquot take Brennan seriously. Unlike Ball, I don&rsquot take the Warren Report seriously either.