At first glance, the Warren Commission's version of how Oswald got his Mannlicher-Carcano into the Texas School Book Depository seems unimpeachable. Dallas Police found a large, homemade paper sack in the sniper's nest. The brown bag was just long enough to hold the disassembled rifle, and was similar in appearance to the bag Oswald carried to work that morning. The FBI determined that the sack was identical and made from the wrapping paper found in the shipping department of the Depository.
Only two people saw Oswald carry the paper sack that morning: Buell Wesley Frazier (who drove Oswald to work) and his sister Linnie Mae Randle. Both describe the bag as being much shorter than the 38 inch bag found in the Depository, far too short to fit the rifle even in it's disassembled state.
Randle was the first to observe Oswald carrying the sack as he walked over to Frazier's car and placed the package on the back seat. Randle told the FBI:
The largest component of the disassembled rifle
is the stock, which measures approximately 36 inches. There is
no way that it could fit in the package that Randle described.
Warren Commission lawyer Joseph Ball asked Randle about the length
of the package, and asked her to fold it to the proper size:
Mr. BALL. What about length?
Mrs. RANDLE. You mean the entire bag?
Mr. BALL. Yes.
Mrs. RANDLE. There again you have the problem of all this down here. It was folded down, of course, if you would take it from the bottom--
Mr. BALL. Fold it to about the size that you think it might be.
Mrs. RANDLE. This is the bottom here, right. This is the bottom, this part down here.
Mr. BALL. I believe so, but I am not sure. But let's say it is.
Mrs. RANDLE. And this goes this way, right? Do you want me to hold it?
Mr. BALL. Yes.
Mrs. RANDLE. About this.
Mr. BALL. Is that about right? That is 28 1/2 inches.
Mrs. RANDLE. I measured 27 last time.
Mr. BALL. You measured 27 once before?
Mrs. RANDLE. Yes, sir.
So once again, she places the size of the bag
well short of the 36 inches necessary to hold the rifle. Just
before this exchange, Ball realized that Oswald could never have
carried a 38 inch package in the manner that Randle described,
and tried to get her to testify that he was holding the middle
of the package and not the top. However, Randle immediately corrected
Mr. BALL. What was he carrying?
Mrs. RANDLE. He was carrying a package in a sort of a heavy brown bag, heavier than a grocery bag it looked to me. It was about, if I might measure, about this long, I suppose, and he carried it in his right hand, had the top sort of folded down and had a grip like this, and the bottom, he carried it this way, you know, and it almost touched the ground as he carried it.
Mr. BALL. Let me see. He carried it in his right hand, did he?
Mrs. RANDLE. That is right.
Mr. BALL. And where was his hand gripping the middle of the package?
Mrs. RANDLE. No, sir; the top with just a little bit sticking up. You know just like you grab something like that.
Mr. BALL. And he was grabbing it with his right hand at the top of the package and the package almost touched the ground?
Mrs. RANDLE. Yes, sir.
How does Randle's description of the sack compare with her brother's??? Frazier noticed the package twice -- once when he looked at the back seat, and then when he and Oswald were walking from the parking lot to the Depository. Like his sister, Frazier described the package to the FBI on December 1, 1963:
Both Frazier and Randle, the only two people to see Oswald with the paper bag, indicated to the FBI that the bag was about 27 inches. Keep in mind that these estimates were not rough guesses, but actual measurements based on the way Oswald held the bag, and how much of the back seat the package occupied. And there is no possible way that Oswald could have fit a 36-inch package between him armpit and the palm of his hand. Frazier told the Warren Commission:
Mr. BALL. The dark bag is Commission Exhibit No. 142.
When you were shown this bag, do you recall whether or not you told the officers who showed you the bag--did you tell them whether you thought it was or was not about the same length as the bag you saw on the back seat?
Mr. FRAZIER. I told them that as far as the length there, I told them that was entirely too long.
The photograph of the rifle below reveals the existence of a paper sack that fits the size description given by Frazier and Randle. A paper bag similar to the 38-inch bag found in the Depository lies next to the Carcano, and using the rifle as a scale, we can approximate its length. The bag matches the length of the rifle from the end of the barrel to the rear of the telescopic sight, which measures 28 inches (see CE 139).
Based on FBI tests, the Warren Commission concluded that the sack was made from paper Oswald took from the Depository's shipping department. However, Frazier testified:
Mr. BALL. On Thursday afternoon when you went home, drove on home, did he carry any package with him?
Mr. FRAZIER. No, sir; he didn't.
The only two people who saw Oswald with the paper sack consistently maintained that the package found on the sixth floor of the Depository was much longer than the package Oswald brought to work on the morning of the assassination. Furthermore, Frazier testified that Oswald did not have any package with him the night before. So how did the paper sack get from the Depository to Ruth Paine's house??? Or did it???
On the afternoon of the assassination, Captain Fritz obtained a sample of the paper from Texas School Book Depository manager Roy Truly. According to the FBI report released to the Warren Commission, the Depository sample matched the paper in the bag found on the sixth floor:
In 1980, researcher Gary Shaw discovered what appeared to be another copy of the FBI report while examining documents in the National Archives. However, the newly discovered version stated that the paper sack did NOT have the same observable characteristics as the test sample:
In their effort to find latent fingerprints, the FBI used a chemical agent that discolored the paper sack found on the sixth floor of the Depository (CE 142). Not wanting to show the discolored bag to the witnesses, the Bureau obtained paper from the Texas School Book Depository shipping department and fashioned a replica bag (CE 364) on December 1, 1963. In order to show that the bags were identical, the FBI compared the paper in the replica sack with the original.
Mr. CADIGAN. Do you want me to discuss this replica sack yet?
Mr. EISENBERG. You mentioned a replica bag?
Mr. CADIGAN. Yes.
Mr. EISENBERG. Could you explain what that is?
Mr. CADIGAN. Yes; this is Commission Exhibit 364. It is a paper sack similar to Commission Exhibit 142. It was made at the Texas School Book Depository on December 1, 1963, by special agents of the FBI in Dallas to show to prospective witnesses, because Commission's Exhibit 142 was dark and stained from the latent fingerprint treatment and they thought that this would--it wouldn't be fair to the witness to ask "Did you see a bag like that?" So they went to the Texas School Book Depository and constructed from paper and tape a similar bag.
Mr. EISENBERG. This was made December 1?
Mr. CADIGAN. December 1, of 1963.
Mr. EISENBERG. Or some 9 or 10 days after the assassination?
Mr. CADIGAN. Yes.
Mr. EISENBERG. Was the paper obtained from the same source?
Mr. CADIGAN. Yes; from the same room.
Mr. EISENBERG. The same room.
Did you examine this paper to see how it compared---that is, the paper in the replica bag, which has already been admitted as Commission Exhibit 364---to see how it compared with the paper in the bag found on the sixth floor of the TSBD, which is Commission's Exhibit 142?
Mr. CADIGAN. Yes.
Mr. EISENBERG. What was your conclusion?
Mr. CADIGAN. That they were different in color, visual color, felting--that is, the pattern that you see through transmitted light, and they were different under ultraviolet light.
Mr. EISENBERG So that these two papers, which were obtained within 9 or 10 days from the same source, could be distinguished by you?
Mr. CADIGAN. Yes.
They didn't match. Cadigan then sets up a UV machine to demonstrate the differences to Allen Dulles.
Mr. EISENBERG. Why don't you compare the sack found at the TSBD and the replica sack obtained 10 days later?
Mr. CADIGAN. Here again all that should be observed is the color under UV of both the paper and tape of the sample and the paper and tape of Exhibit 364.
Mr. DULLES. 364 is the paper bag, isn't it?
Mr. CADIGAN. 364 is the replica sack obtained on December 1.
Mr. EISENBERG. Ten days later.
Mr. DULLES. That is on the left?
Mr. CADIGAN. Yes.
Mr. DULLES. And the other is the sack?
Mr. CADIGAN. No; the other on your right is the sample of paper obtained on November 22.
Mr. DULLES. November 22, Just after the assassination?
Mr. CADIGAN. Yes,
Mr. DULLES. There is a clear distinction here. The sample to the right, that is, as I understand it, paper obtained on the evening of November 22, has a more, a deeper violet shade, and on the other hand, the tape is much lighter than the tape on the sample obtained 10 days later. That is to say that the sample 16 days later is darker as to the tape but lighter as to the paper. Would you like the opportunity, Mr. Murray?
Mr. MURRAY. No, thank you.
Mr. EISENBERG. We are putting in the sack and 364, the 10-day later sample.
Mr. DULLES. Sack and 10-day later sample. Which is on which side?
Mr. CADIGAN. The Sack is on the left and the replica bag obtained On December 1 is on the right.
Mr. DULLES. Yes. I find there that the sample obtained 10 days later, and the sack which is on the left, that the sample obtained 10 days later shows a lighter shade of purple than the sack, and that the tape shows a darker shade of, I would call it, almost gray as against almost white for the tape which is on the sack.
Mr. EISENBERG. I have no further questions, Mr. Dulles.
So not only is the paper different, but the tape samples exhibit visible differences as well. This is confirmed by Cadigan's own testimony:
Mr. EISENBERG. Now, getting back to the paper bag, 142, and the tape thereon, just for a second, and the tape found on the, obtained from the, TSBD on November 22, Exhibit 677, were the widths of the tapes the same?
Mr. CADIGAN. Similar. They were not exactly the same; no.
Mr. EISENBERG. Can you explain that?
Mr. CADIGAN. Yes; the width of the tape on the paper sack, Exhibit 142, I measured at 3 inches, and the width of the manila tape on Exhibit 677 obtained the night of November 22, I measured as 2.975. There is twenty-five one-thousandths of an inch difference.
Additional confirmation that the bags were made from different paper comes from Michael Paine, who was able to tell the difference immediately:
Mr. LIEBELER. I show you Commission Exhibit 364, which is a replica of a paper sack or package which was found in the School Book Depository, after the assassination. I point out to you that Commission 364 is merely a replica of the actual sack that was found. The actual sack that was found is Commission Exhibit 142, and it has now been discolored because it has been treated by the FBI for fingerprints.
Mr. PAINE. Yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. But there is a part of the package that has not been treated, and I ask you if that part of 142 that has not been treated is similar to Commission Exhibit 364 as far as color and texture are concerned. I want you to examine both of these pieces of paper in any event.
Mr. PAINE. Well, it looks to me as if 364 is a more usual kind of paper, the difference is pretty slight.
Mr. LIEBELER. You do not notice a difference between the two papers, however?
Mr. PAINE. Yes; is seems to me that is unusually crisp; yes, I would say there is a difference.
Mr. LIEBELER And you note that the difference is, 142 is more crisp than 364?
Mr. PAINE. Yes. It seems to me this is the kind of paper, it seems to me this is more common.
Mr. LIEBELER. Referring to 364?
Mr. PAINE. 364, yes.
Mr. LIEBELER. And you think that is a more commonly observed type of paper?
Mr. PAINE. Yes; that is an unusual paper. You don't find paper bags made of that.
All of the rolls of paper in the Texas School Book Depository's shipping department were manufactured by the St. Regis Paper Mill and were part of the same shipment.
Mr. EISENBERG. Have you any information as to whether the paper during the period between November 22 and December 1 used in the TSBD--whether it was the same or different rolls--would have come from the same ultimate manufacturer?
Mr. CADIGAN. It is my understanding that they received a shipment of 58 rolls of paper that were shipped March 19, 1963, from the St. Regis Paper Mill in Jacksonville, Fla., and which lasted them until January of 1964. This would mean on an average, in a 9-month period, a little more than six rolls a month.
Mr. EISENBERG. The inference would therefore be that if the--although the papers in the replica bag obtained on December 1 and the paper in the sample obtained on November 22 are distinguishable by you, they came from the same manufacturer, and--is that correct?
Mr. CADIGAN. That is correct.
Notice that there is no mention of any scientific testing to see if both papers were manufactured by St. Regis. Cadigan assumes the very thing he is trying to prove -- that both samples came from the Texas School Book Depository shipping department and therefore had to be manufactured by St. Regis!!! At the very least, you would expect the world-class FBI crime lab to test samples from the Depository shipping department to see if the differences they observed could also be detected in the remaining rolls.
Cadigan was asked if HE knew if the rolls had been changed between November 22 and December 21, 1963. A fairly simple question, but look how Cadigan responds:
Mr. CADIGAN. Yes; this was a sample taken December 1. I could tell that it was different from this sample, 677, taken on the day of the assassination, and different from the bag, Exhibit 142.
Mr. DULLES. Do you happen to know whether another roll was put in the machine between the 22d and the 1st of December?
Mr. CADIGAN. May we go off the record?
(Discussion off the record.)
The only reason Cadigan wouldn't want to answer the question is if he knew that the rolls had NOT been changed, which would seriously weaken his they're the same even though they're different testimony. Now let's see what happens when they go back on the record:
Mr. EISENBERG. On the record.
Do you know whether the Dallas office of the FBI has attempted to make a determination as to whether the replica paper bag, the paper in the replica paper bag, prepared on December 1, Commission No. 364, was, or may have been, or wasn't taken from the same roll as the replica piece of paper or the sample piece of paper, Exhibit 677, which was obtained from the Depository November 22?
Mr. CADIGAN. Yes.
Mr. EISENBERG. And can you tell us what you understand the results of their investigation to have been?
Mr. CADIGAN. Yes; they were unable to determine whether the paper from the replica sack, Exhibit 364, came from the same roll or a different roll as the known sample obtained November 22, Commission Exhibit 677.
I understand that in the fall, the Depository is busy, and could very well have changed rolls, but no records are kept along that line.
Notice that the question is changed to whether the Dallas Office was able to determine if the rolls had been changed. Cadigan never did answered the original question, whether he knew if the paper had been changed.
Also, his response that the Depository was busy in the fall is somewhat misleading. Another temporary worker (at the other warehouse) had been let go on November 15th. Oswald was hired at the end of the fall rush, and was kept on a bit longer because the other Depository workers were laying the plywood floor (which they wouldn't be doing during the busy season).
Mr. DULLES. Do you recall, Mr. Truly, whether you hired any personnel for work in this particular building, in the School Depository, after the 15th of October and before the 22d of November?
Mr. TRULY. No, sir; I don't recall hiring anyone else other than Oswald for that building the same day that I hired Oswald. I believe, if I am not mistaken, I hired another boy for a temporary job, and put him in the other warehouse at 1917 North Houston.
Mr. DULLES. At a different warehouse?
Mr. TRULY. At a different warehouse. He was laid off November 15th, I believe November 15th, or something like that.
Mr. DULLES. What I was getting at is whether an accomplice could have gotten in in that way. That is why I was asking the question.
Mr. TRULY. No, sir; I don't recall. Actually, the end of our fall rush--if it hadn't existed a week or 2 weeks longer, or if we had not been using some of our regular boys putting down this plywood, we would not have had any need for Lee Oswald at that time, which is a tragic thing for me to think about.
And even though there were 10 days between November 22nd and December 1st, there were only 4 working days due to the assassination and Thanksgiving.
Mr. DULLES. Changed rolls in that time, 10-day period?
Mr. CADIGAN. Yes, sir. Actually there were 4 working days in that period.
Cadigan also looked for evidence that the rifle had been inside the bag, but found none:
Mr. EISENBERG. Mr. Cadigan, did you notice when you looked at the bag whether there were---that is the bag found on the sixth floor, Exhibit 142--whether it had any bulges or unusual creases?
Mr. CADIGAN. I was also requested at that time to examine the bag to determine if there were any significant markings or scratches or abrasions or anything by which it could be associated with the rifle, Commission Exhibit 139, that is, could I find any markings that I could tie to that rifle.
Mr. EISENBERG. Yes?
Mr. CADIGAN. And I couldn't find any such markings.
Mr. EISENBERG. Now, was there an absence of markings which would be inconsistent with the rifle having been carried in the bag?
Mr. CADIGAN. No; I don't see actually, I don't know the condition of the rifle. If it were in fact contained in this bag, it could have been wrapped in cloth or just the metal parts wrapped in a thick layer of cloth, or if the gun was in the bag, perhaps it wasn't moved too much. I did observe some scratch marks and abrasions but was unable to associate them with this gun. The scratch marks in the paper could come from any place. They could have come from many places. There were no marks on this bag that I could say were caused by that rifle or any other rifle or any other given instrument.
Cadigan tries to explain away the absence of marks made by the rifle by suggesting that it might have been wrapped in "...a thick layer of cloth." Of course, no such item was ever found, so to suggest it is a bit disingenuous.
Also significant is that Cadigan doesn't mention finding any oil or grease marks on the inside of the bag. One might expect to find some trace of lubricant transferred to the absorbent paper. Riva modified Carcanos were immersed in a lubricant (Cosmoline) before being transported across the Atlantic Ocean in order to prevent corrosion.
"Riva made twelve shipments, all handled identically. At his workshop in Storo, the rifles were packed in the presence of Italian authorities. Each gun was greased as a protection against possible corrosion, then wrapped in a waxed or coated paper and inserted, along with nine other weapons, in a corrugated cardboard container." (Bloomgarden, The Gun page 108)
"Trucked to Genoa, bathed and coated in Cosmoline, it (C2766) had been insulated from any sea air that might seep into the Elettra Fassio's hold." (Bloomgarden, The Gun page 113)
Furthermore, the FBI's own examination of the rifle determined that the rifle was in a "well-oiled condition" (CE 2974):
Please bear in mind that the rifle was alleged to have been disassembled, making it all the more likely that the "residues on the interior surfaces of the bolt and on the firing pin" would have stained the paper.
Remarkably, none of the sniper's nest photos taken by Lt. Day or Detective Studebaker show the paper bag allegedly found beneath the window. You would think that such an important piece of evidence would have been photographed in place.
The area where the paper sack was allegedly discovered was photographed by DPD, but there is no bag in the photo. (CE 729)
This corresponds to the testimony of the first law enforcement on the scene. Sheriff Luke Mooney, who discovered the sniper's nest, told the Warren Commission:
Mr. BALL. Did you see a paper bag at any other window?
Mr. MOONEY. No, sir; I didn't.
Sgt. Gerald Hill, the first DPD officer to arrive:
Mr. HILL. The only specifics we discussed were this. You were asking Officer Hicks if either one recalled seeing a sack, supposedly one that had been made by the suspect, in which he could have possibly carried the weapon into the Depository, and I at that time told you about the small sack that appeared to be a lunchsack, and that that was the only sack that I saw, and that I left the Book Depository prior to the finding of the gun.
Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig:
Mr. BELIN. Was there any long sack laying in the floor there that you remember seeing, or not?
Mr. CRAIG. No; I don't remember seeing any.
Detective Boyd, who arrived with Captain Fritz before Day and Studebaker:
Mr. BALL. Did you see any brown wrapping paper near the window where the hulls were fou