Some time ago Barb asked why Howard Brennan might be granted immunity to
testify before the HSCA and no one seemed to have the answer readily at
hand. Barb and I were both wondering about this after having run across a
document granting him immunity while at the Archives.
I did a search of the NARA database to see what documents where available
on Brennan and have now received the those documents. Here's a brief
rundown on what I have found.
In an outside contact report dated 3/13/78 Record No. 180-10084-10085 the
HSCA located and telephoned Brennan. The report states that:
Quote on -----------------------
"The purpose of this contact was to locate and contact this witness. This
witness stated that the only way he will talk to anyone from this
Committee, is if he is subpenaed."
An additional contact report dated 4/20/78 Record No. 180-10068-10381
Summary of Contact:
I called Mr. Brennan to inform him that he would be subpoened to appear
before our committee on May 2. Prior to informing him of this fact, I
asked him one more time to reconsider his decision not to allow us to
question him at his home, in Texas. He stated that his position had not
changed and that he would only speak to us if we brought him to
Washington. I told him that he would be subpoenaed to testify before our
committee on May 2. He asked what the expense arrangements would be and I
told him that we would pay his plane fare and that we would pay one day's
expenses. I told him he could fly up the evening before and them fly back
to Texas after testifying. At that point, after makingit clear that he was
ready, willing and able to come if the arrangements suited him, he told me
that he would not come up if he had to fly in one day and fly home the
next. In addition, he told me that he was not a "well man" and that he
would only come if his wife could accompany him. I explained to him the
rules by which by which our financial disbursements are governed and told
him that we could not pay him for more than one day's per diem and that we
could not pay his wife's expenses. He told me that he would not come to
Washington and that he would fight any subpoena. He stated that he would
avoid any subpoena by getting his doctor to state that it would be bad for
his health to testify about the assassination. He further told me that
even if he was forced to come to Washington he would simply not testify if
he didn't want to.
Recommended Follow-up (if any):
SUBPOENA AND CONTEMPT IF NECESSARY
It appears that Mr. Brennan was less than happy to cooperate with the
On 4/25/78 a subpoena was issued for Brennan to appear on 5/2/78.
On 4/27/78 Blakey received a letter from Attorney General stating that
they was no objection to the HSCA's application for grant of immunity.
On 5/1/78 Kenneth Klein received a letter from Dr. Eugene Mason (Brennan's
doctor) stating that Brennan has a serious heart disease and recurrent
peptic ulcer disease and is not physically able to come to Washington. He
also said that Brennan could, if he was willing to do so, listen to a
reading of his previous testimony at his home and declare whether or not
the transcript was correct.
On 5/1/78 Brennan's immunity went into effect. The reason given on the
request for immunity form was: "He has made it clear in phone
conversations that he will co-operate with the House Select Committee on
Assassinations only when he wants to do so."
Its apparent that Brennan never did testify before the HSCA. A document
date 6/15/78 indicates that 11 attempts were made between 5/13/78 and
5/19/78 to present Brennan with 5 statements that he had made before they
were finally presented and left with him on the 19th. When the
investigator returned on 5/21/78 to pick up the form that would indicate
that Brennan's statements were accurate, the investigator found that
Brennan refused to sign the form.
Rather curious behavior, imo. Why was Brennan so uncooperative?
Barb Junkkarinen wrote:###Excellent###see below:
> Here's part 2.....a reply to Blakey from the Office of the Attorney
> Office of the Attorney General
> Washington, D.C. 20530
> [stamped APR 27 1978]
> G. Robert Blakey, Esq.
> Chief Counsel
> Select Committee on Assassinations
> House of Representatives
> Washington, D.C. 20515
> Dear Professor Blakey:
> This will confirm that the Department of justice has no objection to
> your application for a grant of immunity for Howard Leslie Brennan.
> The notice required by Title 18 United States Code, Section 6005(b)
> (3) is specifically waived.
> Very truly yours,
> Robert L. Keuch
> Special Counsel to the
> Attorney General
This is important for the future, should the future ever incude another
investigation of this case.Brennan obviously is frightened- still was, 15
years distant from the event.This must be why he made the request.He is, I
think, a member of a large group of people all sharing the fear.Among that
group is the fear that no one will believe them that they did innocently
what they did, at the time.Pretty much everyone caught since in a lie of
any sort has been accused of suspicious complicity in the plot, from the
begining.No wonder they are afraid to speak.
There has been no generosity with the grant of immunity in this case.In
the future, were that to change, many would be the surprising stories
Brennan, as it appears by his request,was afraid that he would get into
trouble if he at last told the truth.He is, I think, a member of a rather
large club.Dean Andrews explained this behaviour years ago.
You are talking fear, here-big events like this scare all the little
peoples lives touched by the event.
If we were less suspicious of all the little people, goes my
recommendation for the future, we would be more generous with their grant
Or am I being too obtuse again?