Differences between the transcript and the videotape of James Files's "confession

    Recently I decided to check the official transcript of James Files's "confession" against the videotape. It was an easy exercise, just following along in the text on Bob Vernon's web site ( http://homes.acmecity.com/music/keyboards/688/confession2.htm ) and stopping the tape to record discrepancies as they were found. I found a bunch of omissions and a few additions. Some were very interesting. Collectively, they showed that the transcript is a worked-over rendition of the videotape. For the sharp-eyed, I note that Bob Vernon claims that the tape is a true unedited copy, but he claims no such thing for the transcript. Having seen that claim for the tape, I automatically assumed the same for the hard copy, but I was wrong. Here is a summary of what I found. It will make you regard the transcript with more caution. Any critical quotes should be checked for accuracy against the tape.
    Omissions. First, there are quite a few omissions. Many are minor details, some simply cleanse the text of redundant words that are commonly found in speech, but some seem to make Files appear more respectable than he was during the interview. Here are some of the omissions.

  1. I [have] raised a family. [Omission shown in brackets.]
  2. La[t]otian army. (Several times)
  3. [And] there was just a handful of Americans working… (Many such cases with and.)
  4. Q. No problem. (Omitted after one of Files's answers.)
  5. someone would handle the loan sharking and [the] booking
  6. Tell me the story…in your [own] words
  7. since the Chianos Bay affair which was [known as] the Bay of Pigs.
  8. and then he asked me what I thought about [with] about Johnny Roselli working with us
  9. and [just] in your own words, tell me
  10. We were just talking, having casual talk about [one thing or another,] the weather and everything.
  11. He asked me [where would you,] if you was to be outside here
  12. and I walked down on the grassy knoll [and looked things over], no one paid any attention
  13. [Q. Excuse me, can we cut? A. Sure.] (At the end of an answer)
  14. After asking Files if he would autograph a picture of him behind the fence (presumably the Moorman photo), the questioner adds I had to ask you that, which is omitted in the transcript.
  15. A. .222 [pistol]
  16. Discussion of microphones omitted from transcription.
  17. Q. Could you give me a full sentence on that? [Johnny…]
  18. Q. [I recall that you mentioned…] Tell me in your own words…
  19. In the middle of one of Files's answers, the questioner interjects Start that sentence with "The only thing that…" In response, Files says As far as I know the only thing that Sam Giancana knew
  20. after they beat [me] up a few times
  21. After Files answers a question with Yes, he did, the questioner interrupts and says Say it by starting with "Charles…" In response, Files continues with Charles Nicoletti knew of my background
  22. I guess I put him through a lot of paces [because]…I couldn't understand his way of thinking
  23. Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't the type of person to [go running] run around
  24. In response to one of Files's answers that ends with …just followed the orders [to shoot Kennedy]…to me…it was like taking out the garbage, the questioner adds That's a good line. The text omits this comment.
  25. Q. …or does that matter to you [, Jim]?
  26. After the question Can you show me exactly using your finger where your shot hit President Kennedy? the following exchange is omitted: A. On whose face? Q. On yours.
  27. A. …on things [that] I have done
  28. Q. Jimmy, in all your years in the service and all the activities [you've been involved in]
  29. Q. …do you have any idea of how many [people] you have killed?
  30. A. …The only party [here] that we are
  31. Q. I'm sorry I asked that [, but it was human interest stuff]…I just
  32. A. …because every time I've been in trouble [a lot of times]
  33. A. …they started out that way in the beginning and [it's still that way;] nothing's ever changed
  34. A. …[But] I don't want to elaborate on the Bible
  35. A. …to everybody…[I mean] even the people around him
  36. A. …he [referring to Nicoletti] was my God back then…[like Sam] he walked on water.
  37. After this exchange Q. So the US government will kill people? A. Definitely… the questioner interjects Say it. In response, files continues the US government will kill people… The interjected instruction is omitted from the transcription.
  38. After the last transcribed answer, the following remark is omitted: Q. Wrap. Can you think of anything else you want to add, brother?


  1. You mentioned to me [at] one time… [Addition shown in brackets.]


  1. I left and I went down a week [earlier] early. [Altered version of original word shown in brackets.]
  2. tell me what happened from November 21, 1963 [until] till the night of November 22, 1963
  3. But when they made that, [it] that was the only change in it.
  4. [Original, cut] Q: Anybody else there you recognized? You told me at one time it looked like "Old Home Week." [Revised, printed] Q. Did you see anybody else there you recognized?
  5. [Original, cut] A. No, I did not know that he was on the sixth floor there. Q. You got to say that "I did not know that Lee Harvey Oswald was [Revised, used] A. I did not know that Lee Harvey Oswald was ["there" omitted] on the 6th floor
  6. Files consistently referred to Officer Tippit as "T.J." instead of "J.D." The transcription changes all the references to "J.D."
  7. "John F. Kennedy" changed to "JFK."
  8. I remember that when the shots [had been] were fired
  9. everyone's [exciting] excited
  10. XP-2100 Fireball (a gross and telling error by Files) changed to XP-100 Fireball.
  11. As the years went by, Sam got killed, I believe, in June 1975… changed to As the years went by, Sam got killed in June, I believe, in 1975… 
  12. A. The other people there has no bearing… is changed to The other people have no bearing
  13. A. …I would do exactly what [just like] I always did
  14. In the middle of one of Files's (transcribed) answers, this is omitted: Q. [pause] I think we may have it. I think we can wrap. I can't think—[break in recording, followed by apparent resumption of same answer (as transcribed): As far as John F. Kennedy goes
  15. A. …he [referring to Nicoletti] could have made a deal for his own life and for security and protection and [but] he didn't

    Grammatical errors.

  1. it's mistakenly transcribed as its.
  2. therefore transcribed as therefor.
  3. severial brain hemorrhage used several times.
  4. Marine Corps transcribed as Marine Corp.
  5. If I hadn't of fired the shot…[of turned into a verb!]
  6. overextended transcribed as over extended.
  7. you going to find… transcribed as …you go into find…


  1. …one of the local hitman instead of one of the local hitmen…
  2.  they go[t] no support whatsoever
  3. i instead of I.

    The net effects of these omissions and alterations are severalfold. First, they make the transcription appear smoother and more flattering to James Files than the true interview was. Second, they remove critical errors by Files, such as giving the Fireball a fictitious numerical designation and using the wrong initials for Patrolman Tippit, that reveal that he was considerably less familiar with the weapon and the man that he claimed to be. And third, they hide the fact that the questioner was coaching Files at several points to say things in the way that the questioner wanted. Thus, readers need to beware that this transcription is not faithful to the original interview. All key points should be checked against the videotape before being used.
    Of course, the overall effect of all this is to considerably weaken Files's credibility. This result is completely consistent with the several points in his story that are incompatible with the validated physical evidence from the assassination. Collectively all this leads to the inevitable conclusion that the "confession" is a carefully crafted hoax. One thing we cannot say, however, is who created the hoax. James Files is clearly lying. Whether Bob Vernon is part of it we cannot tell—he may just have been taken in by the story. Score yet another victory for the power of the physical evidence!

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