Assassinations Investigation

April 6, 1979

Report Outline
Congress's Reopened JFK Case
Challenges to Past Findings
Added Causes of Public Doubt
Special Focus

Congress's Reopened JFK Case

Awaited Final Report From House Inquiry

Who killed John F. Kennedy?” is a question that will not go away. In the 15 years since the assassination, a wide variety of theories — some convincing, some bizarre — have been offered to explain how President Kennedy was murdered and why. Today, few Americans are without opinions on the subject. Amid a welter of conflicting speculation, a special Assassinations Committee was established nearly three years ago by the House of Representatives to re-examine the details of the case. But like so many past attempts to solve the mystery of what happened in Dallas, the committee may have raised more doubts than it put to rest.

At the conclusion of its hearings in December, the committee agreed with the basic findings of the Warren Commission — that Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots and the third shot killed the President — but it also announced the results of an acoustical study that seemed to show that four shots, not three, were fired at Kennedy. If the “noise analysis” is correct, a fourth shot would lend credence to the theory that there was another gunman besides Oswald, whom the Warren Commission named the sole assassin. Investigators have determined that Oswald's rifle could not have been fired and reloaded quickly enough for four shots to be fired from it in the 5.6 seconds that elapsed between the time the first and final shots were heard.

“Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy,” the committee said in a summary report issued Dec. 31. The report then concluded that the president was “probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.” There matters have remained while the committee has prepared to issue a final report, which may or may not throw further light on the new questions it has raised. The final report, originally due March 30, is expected to be made public in late April or early May.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Ethics in Government
Jan. 31, 2014  Whistleblowers
Feb. 18, 2011  Lies and Politics
Apr. 30, 2010  Gridlock in Washington
Jun. 22, 2007  Prosecutors and Politics
Jun. 16, 2006  Pork Barrel Politics
May 07, 1999  Independent Counsels Re-Examined
Feb. 21, 1997  Independent Counsels
May 27, 1994  Political Scandals
Apr. 06, 1979  Assassinations Investigation
Dec. 05, 1973  Presidential Impeachment
May 16, 1973  Ethics in Government
May 10, 1961  Secret Societies and Political Action
Jun. 29, 1960  Conflicts of Interest
Oct. 26, 1955  Businessmen in Government
Apr. 07, 1954  Fair Investigations
Apr. 25, 1952  Congressional Immunity
Dec. 05, 1951  Ethics in Government
Jan. 28, 1948  Individual Rights and Congressional Investigations
Jul. 02, 1934  Political Reform and Federal Patronage
Mar. 07, 1924  Congressional Extravagance and the Budget
Nov. 12, 1923  Issues Developed in the Teapot Dome Inquiry
Crime and Law Enforcement
Investigations and Discipline