Electronic Assassinations Newsletter

Issue #2 "New Discoveries in the Recently Released Assassination Files"

Appendix G
The Allegation that Guinn Did Work for the Warren Commission

Wallace Milam


1. When he presented Dr. Guinn as an expert witness, Chief Counsel Blakey stated: "Dr. Guinn had no relation to the Warren Commission." (HSCA, Vol I, p. 490)

2. Blakey's unusual statement grew out of allegations that Dr. Guinn did neutron activation work on paraffin casts of Lee Harvey Oswald's hand and cheek while working for General Dynamics in 1964! Guinn is quoted extensively about the work in the New York World Telegram & Sun, August 28, 1964.

Dr. Vincent P. Guinn, 46, head of the activation analysis program of the general atomic division of General Dynamics Corp., has been working on the problem with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"I cannot say what we found out about Oswald because it is secret until the publication of the Warren report...

The newspaper goes on to report that Guinn had urged the FBI to conduct neutron activation tests in the Kennedy case. The story containing these references ran under the United Press International byline and was datelined Glasgow, Scotland, where Guinn was presenting a paper on activation analysis.

3. When Dr. Guinn testified, Congressman Fithian asked him about reports of a prior connection to the Warren Commission:

FITHIAN. Dr. Guinn, this is not meant to be an embarrassing question, but I think I must ask it. Mr. Chairman, a recent article in the New Times magazine stated that you had worked for the Warren Commission and, therefore, your conclusions for this committee would be implicitly biased.

Did you ever work for the Warren Commission or work for the FBI in connection with the analysis of these evidence samples?

GUINN. Neither one. I think Mr. Wolf called my attention to the existence of this article, which I haven't seen, and I don't know where they got their misinformation, but I never did anything for the Warren Commission, and although I know people in the FBI, I have never done any work for them. (HSCA, Vol. I, p. 556, emphasis added)

4. FBI documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Bureau was sensitive to the statements made in the New York newspaper and moved immediately to show that Guinn had not done work for the Warren Commission but had been misquoted. On September 18, 1964, Guinn's superior at the Atomic Energy Commission was contacted by Special Agent John Gallagher (who was in charge of the FBI's own neutron activation tests, performed in 1964 but kept secret). Guinn was then contacted by the superior, who passed on the Bureauís and the Commissionís concerns about the newspaperís alleged errors.

5. As a result, Guinn wrote an indignant letter to the World-Telegram & Sun's editor on September 25, 1964, just as the Warren Report was being made public. In it, Guinn stated that he had been grossly misquoted and misrepresented. "In my opinion, the person who is responsible for the version that you published should be thoroughly bawled out--it is the worst job of reporting I have ever seen," Guinn wrote. Guinn then proceeded to point out serious errors in the newspaper account, including blatant cases of false attribution of quoted materials. He concluded his letter, "All in all, I think your newspaper should hang its face in shame for publication of such garbled and erroneous nonsense." Guinn's letter is included as part of the FBI memorandum.

6. It appears that Guinn may well have been misquoted, though it is difficult to imagine a wire service and/or newspaper having the audacity to manufacture such sensational quotes and statements. At the very least, when Guinn denied under oath before HSCA in 1978 that he had ever worked with the FBI or on the Kennedy case, he was being consistent with the position he took in his letter of September 25, 1964, and was not contradicting his record in the case, but was implicitly contradicting the account published in the World Telegram & Sun.


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