The Search Continues
It was 22 years ago when I had my first conversation with Harold Weisberg, who was then Frederick County’s No.1 amateur investigator into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Weisberg was something of a celebrity in the growing JFK conspiracy movement, having written a book denouncing the Warren Commission investigation, so he was the go-to phone call for any local reporter doing a story about the assassination.
I recall Weisberg was in a curt mood that day because he had been doing many media interviews regarding JFK, Oliver Stone’s new movie about the assassination and its aftermath. Weisberg was no fan of the movie and its conclusion that a broad conspiracy of government officials, military leaders and defense contractors were behind the assassination. Weisberg thought Stone’s work was sloppy and potentially even harmful to legitimate research. In a letter to the director that year, Weisberg brandished JFK “a trashy obscenity in which you trivialize and commercialize” the assassination. No one ever accused Harold Weisberg of holding back.
Nonetheless, Weisberg had time on that particular day to talk to a young reporter, even one who had to be educated on many of the details of the assassination. He certainly had his information together—investigation documents, official correspondence and other assassination materials—much of which he acquired by filing numerous Freedom of Information Act requests with the FBI, CIA and other government entities over the years. The yield from those requests was stored in rows of file cabinets in his home.
Being young and naïve, it was my hope that Weisberg would give me the answers, that he had cracked the case. I wanted him to tell me who killed JFK. His conclusion only raised more questions: The JFK investigation was such a bungled mess, almost from the minute the bullets were fired on Dealey Plaza, that it would be impossible to ever find the truth. But that didn’t stop him from investigating, filing, pestering and questioning.
I had a few more conversations with Weisberg over the years and it was always interesting to hear him talk about JFK. I admired him for his sincerity, self-confidence and mostly his tenacity. He died in 2002, but I thought about him earlier
this year when we started planning a story about the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. The natural location for this story was Hood College, which had received Weisberg’s vast collection of documents after his passing.
Take a look inside the The Harold Weisberg Archive in Mary Haugen Thayer’s story “Case Closed … and Opened,” which begins on page 64. It examines the collection and the role it continues to play for researchers, journalists and others still searching for the answers about what really happened on Nov. 22, 1963.
I hope you enjoy the story and the many others in this month’s issue. Have a safe and happy November.