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The Bullet Holes in the
President’s Jacket and Shirt

by E Martin Schotz

The simplest and perhaps most elegant proof of conspiracy which demolishes the Warren Report involves a correlation of what the Warren Commission claimed was the path of Commission exhibit #399, the “magic bullet,” with the holes in the back of the President’s jacket and shirt. Contradicting the Commission’s claim that a bullet entered the back of the President’s neck are the positions of two overlapping bullet holes, one five and three-eighths inches down from the collar line of the back of the President’s suit jacket, the evidence, reproduced below, appeared in the FBI’s Supplemental Report to the Warren Commission of January 13, 1964. This Supplemental Report, as well as the initial FBI Summary Report of December 9, 1963, did not appear in the 26 volumes of Warren Commission exhibits.

Two encounters that defenders of the Warren Report had over this issue speak volumes.

Arlen Specter Really Doesn’t Remember

Vincent Salandria very early alerted Gaeton Fonzi to the jacket and shirt issue, so that Fonzi was prepared to explore the issue when he held a taped interview with the former Warren Commission Counsel Arlen Specter, now Senator Arlen Specter, the author of the “magic bullet theory.” In The Last Investigation, Fonzi reports the encounter which occurred about a year after Specter completed his work for the Commission.

Supplemental Report exhibit 59
Supplemental Report exhibit 59: the back of the President’s suit Jacket, showing position of bullet entrance hole.

Supplemental Report exhibit 60
Supplemental Report exhibit 60: the back of the President's shirt, showing position of bullet entrance hole

At one point Fonzi asks Specter to explain how holes down in the back of the President’s shirt and jacket could have been caused by a bullet entering the back of his neck:

Specter: Well, that difference is accounted for because the President was waving his arm. (He got up from his desk and attempted to demonstrate his explanation on me, pulling my arm up high over my head.) Wave your arm a few times, wave at the crowd. (He was standing behind me now, jabbing a finger into the base of my neck.) Well, see, if the bullet goes in here, the jacket gets hunched up. If you take this point right here and then you strip the coat down, it comes out at a lower point.
Fonzi: A lower point?
Specter: Well, not too much lower on your example, but the jacket rides up
Fonzi: What about the shirt?
Specter: Same thing.

Was Specter saying there was no inconsistency between the Commission’s location of the wound and the holes in the clothing?

Specter: No, not at all. That gave us a lot of concern....
Fonzi: But where did it go in the back?
Specter: Well, the back hole, when the shirt is laid down, comes . . . aah . . . well, I forget exactly where it came, but it certainly wasn’t higher, enough higher to ... aah . . . understand the ... aah ... the angle of decline which ...
Fonzi: Was the hole in the back of the shirt lower than the hole in the front of the neck of the shirt? (The President had had a throat wound made by a bullet that pierced his tie and made a hole in the front of the shirt at the throat.)
Specter: Well, I think, that ... that if you took the shirt without allowing for it being pulled up, that it would either have been in line or somewhat lower.
Fonzi: Somewhat lower?
Specter: Perhaps, I ... I don’t want to say because I don’t really remember. I got to take a look at that shirt.

I found it difficult to believe that Arlen Specter didn’t take a very close look at that shirt - and that jacket - at the time of the investigation and that these factors didn’t indelibly stick in his mind: Kennedy was one of the best-tailored presidents ever to occupy the White House, and if it is possible - but not probable - that he was wearing a suit jacket baggy enough to ride up five or six inches in the back when he waved his arm, it is inconceivable that a tightly buttoned shirt could have done the same thing.

And the Abraham Zapruder film shows Kennedy wasn’t waving his hand higher than the level of his forehead before he was shot.

After those interviews with Arlen Specter, my belief in ... [the] Government would never be the same.

The Evening the Government Refused to Get Dressed

The problem of the position of the bullet holes in the jacket and shirt were also the source of consternation for another Warren Report defender, Professor Jacob Cohen, from Brandeis University, who found himself in the company of Vincent Salandria in a panel discussion/debate sponsored by the Universalist Unitarian Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in December of 1966.

In the midst of the discussion that evening, in which Cohen was attempting to defend, the “single bullet theory,” Salandria pulled out of his briefcase a shirt and jacket with holes positioned in the same location as they had been in Kennedy’s jacket and shirt. Moving toward Cohen with the shirt and jacket, Salandria handed him the clothes and urged him to put the clothes on and demonstrate to the audience just how the government believed it was possible to get that shirt and jacket to ride up as they claimed it had.

Much to the amusement of the audience, Cohen responded by hurling the clothes back at Salandria. It seems the “government” preferred not to get dressed in its fallen emperor’s clothes.

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