Task of the Warren Commission
(Editorial in The Nation, 27 January 1964, page 81)

      The confidence which we have previously expressed in the Warren Commission (The Nation, December 28, 1963, p. 445), has been strengthened by the announcement that J. Lee Rankin has been selected as counsel and that Norman Redlich, of the New York University Law School, will serve as Mr. Rankin’s personal assistant. Further assurance of the thoroughness and skill with which the investigation will be conducted is to be found in the designation of Francis W. G. Adams of New York, Joseph A. Ball of Los Angeles, William T. Coleman, Jr., of Philadelphia, and Albert E. Jenner, Jr., of Chicago, as senior counsel in charge of special phases of the investigation. These are excellent lawyers, men of the highest integrity. Mr. Adams was an incorruptible and effective Police Commissioner of New York City. Joseph A. Ball is an outstanding lawyer with a long record of splendid public service. Such a staff, under the supervision of the Chief Justice and other members of the Commission, and with Mr. Robert Kennedy in charge of the Department of Justice, provides ample assurance that the Commission will ably discharge the extraordinary responsibilities which it has assumed.
Not only is the task the Commission faces inherently difficult; it is made doubly so by the confused state of the public record. The assassination of a President is no ordinary news event. It is not surprising, therefore, that in the initial excitement stories chased stories across the front pages and that this welter of print resulted in much confusion, contradiction, omission, and discrepancy. The Nation has been inundated with letters, manuscripts and communications calling attention to this or that discrepancy or pointing to glaring omissions in the factual record. In the interval since November 22, certain key questions have been raised, for example, about the rifle, the ammunition, the timing of the shots, the marksmanship involved, the role of the Dallas police, possible negligence in precautions taken to guard the President, etc. The expression of these doubts should help the Warren Commission in its work; hypotheses have been suggested, discrepancies have been pinpointed, gaps in the factual record have been noted.
In this issue, Harold Feldman (p. 86) suggests still another possibility—that Oswald may have been an informant for the FBI. The question has been raised by the Texas press (in a story in the Houston Post of January 1), and the FBI has not commented on it. Because of the way in which the FBI has cautioned certain witnesses not to cooperate, it has been impossible for the Texas paper that raised the question, or for the press generally, to verify the facts. By simply dovetailing various news reports, Mr. Feldman raises a question that calls for a finding by the Warren Commission. The article is published not to make a charge, but to raise a question that, in fairness to the FBI and to the public, requires a specific finding.

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