Commentary by Edward Jay Epstein
When part of [Epstein's Counterplot] was first published in The New Yorker in July 1968, Garrison responded in his customary style. Calling a press conference, the District Attorney announced that an "intelligence agency of a foreign country . . . successfully penetrated the assassination operation," and that the "detailed information" he had received from this unnamed intelligence agency had "corroborated" statements he had previously made that President Kennedy was assassinated "by elements of the Central Intelligence Agency."(1) He frankly admitted, according to Time, that the timing of the disclosure of the foreign assassination study was "designed to rebut" the charges in the New Yorker article(2) (which he said was part of a "CIA-inspired campaign" to discredit his investigation).(3) The "intelligence study" that Garrison referred to turned out to be nothing more than a pseudonymous manuscript entitled "The Plot" that had been sent to him three months earlier, after the New York Review of Books had rejected it. According to Bethell, Garrison deduced that the manuscript "must have been written by a foreign intelligence agency, and probably the KGB" (the Russian counterpart of the CIA) because it contained "inside information" about the assassination. Actually, a good deal of the "inside information" that Garrison referred to had been, I found, previously published in William Manchester's Death of a President and in Garrison's own Playboy interview. Garrison referred the manuscript to Ramparts, whose editor also decided not to publish it, after it was learned that the author was merely a dissident European writer and not a "foreign intelligence agency." Yet Garrison's deployment of this manuscript was at least tactically effective: the headlines of the New Orleans Times-Picayune on July 12, the day The New Yorker appeared in New Orleans, read: "FOREIGN GROUP HAS FACTS -- DA, CIA ROLE IN JFK DEATH CONFIRMED, HE SAYS."(4)
From The Assassination Chronicles
(New York: Carroll & Graf, 1992), p. 249
1. Times-Picayune, July 12, 1968.
2. Time, August 2, 1968, p. 56.
3. Times-Picayune, July 12, 1968.
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