NARRATION BY G. ROBERT BLAKEY, CHIEF COUNSEL AND STAFF DIRECTOR
Mr. BLAKEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, there have been several prior attempts to analyze missiles and fragments recovered from the assassination from the standpoint of their metallic makeup to determine, for one possibility, if they have a common origin. In November and December 1963 the FBI applied to the evidence samples a technique called emission spectography. It is a process in which the samples are subjected to intense heat and their metallic composition is determined by the color of the gas that is then emitted. Emission spectography, however, is not highly sensitive and the tests were deemed by the FBI inconclusive. In May 1964 the FBI also performed neutron activation analysis on some of the samples. That is a nuclear method to determine the elements present. An analysis of trace elements found in the sample of similar materials--for example, bullet lead--enables a highly trained scientist to come to a conclusion as to the probability of the samples having a common origin. Nevertheless, "inconclusive" was also the term used by the FBI to describe its neutron activation analysis. The report it submitted to the Warren Commission stated that the tests would not, quote, "permit positively differentiating among the larger bullet fragments and thus positively determining from which of the larger bullet fragments any given small lead fragment may have come," unquote. The Warren Commission did not divulge that the neutron activation analysis had taken place in its final report. Indeed the fact did not become public until the early 1970's. Hopeful that new tests might succeed where old efforts had failed, the committee engaged as a consultant Dr. Vincent P. Guinn, professor of chemistry at the University of California at Irvine. Dr. Guinn had no relation to the Warren Commission. Dr. Guinn analyzed the assassination evidence samples as well as the bullet allegedly fired at General Walker. In his experiments, Dr. Guinn used a high resolution lithium drifted germanium detector, a device that is far more sensitive, and hopefully accurate, than the one used for the FBI test in 1964. Dr. Guinn received an M.B. and an M.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Southern California in 1939 and 1941 and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Harvard University in 1949. Dr. Guinn studied radioisotopes at the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies, Oak Ridge, Tenn., in 1952. He is a fellow of the American Nuclear Society, the American Academy of Forensic Scientists, and he is a member of the American Chemical Society. Dr. Guinn has published numerous scientific articles in the area of activation analysis and forensic chemistry. He has served as an adviser to such agencies as the Atomic Energy Commission and he has made a training film on neutron activation analysis which is in wide use today. It would be appropriate, Mr. Chairman, at this time to call Dr. Guinn.
Chairman STOKES - The committee calls Dr. Guinn. Sir, would you please stand and raise your right hand and be sworn. Do you solemnly swear the testimony you will give before this committee is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, I do. Chairman STOKES. Thank you. You may be seated. The Chair recognizes committee counsel Jim Wolf.
TESTIMONY OF DR. VINCENT P. GUINN
Mr. WOLF - For the record, could you please state your full name?
Dr. GUINN - Vincent P. Guinn.
Mr. WOLF - Where are you currently employed?
Dr. GUINN - As a professor of chemistry, University of California, Irvine campus.
Mr. WOLF - Are you familiar with the technique of analysis of evidence samples known as neutron activation analysis?
Dr. GUINN - Yes; I have been involved in such work for over 20 years.
Mr. WOLF - When did you first personally perform this technique?
Dr. GUINN - About 1956.
Mr. WOLF - Have you testified in legal proceedings before on the applicability of neutron activation analysis to evidence samples?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, on many occasions.
Mr. WOLF - Did you testify in the capacity as an expert witness?
Dr. GUINN - Yes.
Mr. WOLF - In your capacity as an expert witness did you both testify as to samples you had analyzed and performed the analysis on as well as an evaluation of analyses that other people had done?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, both of them.
Mr. WOLF - Approximately how many times have you testified in your capacity as an expert witness?
Dr. GUINN - I would say approximately 50 times.
Mr. WOLF - Generally, Dr. Guinn, why would one subject an evidence sample to neutron activation analysis?
Dr. GUINN - It depends on the kind of evidence sample, but for many kinds the purpose is to detect various elements in the samples and compare specimens to see if they are sufficiently similar in composition that it indicates a high probability of common origin or, if they differ widely, a definite probability of noncommon origin.
Mr. WOLF - So it may be possible, by neutron activation analysis, to determine if two or more unknown evidence specimens are from the same batch or item, is that correct?
Dr. GUINN - That is correct.
Mr. WOLF - To use an example, if a crime had been committed and the victim hit over the head with an ax, and metal fragments were found in the skull of the victim, might you be able to analyze the metal fragments found in the skull to see if they matched the type of ax that was found in a particular person's house who is accused of that crime?
Dr. GUINN - Yes; if one found the same elements at approximately the same concentrations in both, you could establish that there was a good probability that it came from the same type of ax. It wouldn't identify that particular ax because there might have been a hundred or so made of the same batch of metal but it would establish that particular brand and production lot perhaps.
Mr. WOLF - Is it easier for you to state your conclusion that two objects are alike or is it easier to establish the conclusion the two items are not alike?
Dr. GUINN - It is much easier to exclude; if you find two samples that differ markedly, it is easy to say definitively they did not have a common origin. If they look similar in composition, then your first statement is: "They may have a common origin," and you have to look more carefully and look at background data that you have obtained on such materials to try to even estimate a probability that they really do have a common origin.
Mr. WOLF - Briefly, Dr. Guinn, I would like to ask you a few general questions about procedures one would employ to do a neutron activation analysis. If, for example, you had a metal specimen to test, what would you do to that metal specimen to prepare it for testing?
Dr. GUINN - On many kinds of samples it is necessary to remove, as best you can, any external contamination, dust, moisture, or salt from handling and perspiration. You may have to wash them, then dry them, and so on, just to get rid of external, extraneous contamination that would otherwise change the measured composition from what the real material was. That is quite common.
Mr. WOLF - After preparing the sample, you would then insert that sample in a nuclear reactor, is that correct?
Dr. GUINN - You normally place the individual samples in small plastic (polyethylene) vials as a container and, of course, you put that into the nuclear reactor.
Mr. WOLF - And the sample would be made radioactive after it was placed in the nuclear reactor, is that correct?
Dr. GUINN - Yes; in the reactor the purpose is to bombard the sample with neutrons. The neutrons--some of them get captured by the nuclei of the different kinds of atoms in the sample, and that makes some of these radioactive. So when the sample comes out--particularly metal samples--there is no change in weight that you can measure, there is no change in appearance, but the sample is now radioactive and you can then test it with suitable counting equipment.
Mr. WOLF - NOW, radioactive materials decay, is that correct?
Dr. GUINN - Yes. Different radioisotopes have different rates of decay.
Mr. WOLF - Can you explain in layman's terms what "radioactive decay" means?
Dr. GUINN - "Radioactive decay" means that an event occurs in the nucleus of an atom resulting in it releasing energy and penetrating radiation and/or a particle such as a beta particle, which is a high-energy electron. In the process, it changes normally to a stable isotope, of the next element in the case of beta-minus emission. The process of that decay is called "radioactivity" or "radioactive decay." Some elements have a number of different radioisotopes that have been made in the reactor with neutrons. Some of them will only form one radioisotope; some will form two or three. The radioisotopes of different elements are characterized by the energies of the radiations that they emit in the process of decaying and also by their half-lives, which is a measure of how rapidly they decay away.
Mr. WOLF - You are telling us different elements have different radioactive half-lives and, by detecting the radioactive decay of the unknown sample, you would be able to identify the elements present in that sample, is that correct?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, particularly, in practice, by looking at the energies of the gamma rays that are emitted by the sample, rather than actually measuring the halflife. We make use of the halflife but we don't usually actually measure it.
Mr. WOLF - What are some of the different types of materials you have tested by neutron activation analysis for the purpose of comparison?
Dr. GUINN - Well, almost all the kinds of materials you can think of that may get involved in some kind of criminal case--gunshot residues, bullet lead, glass, paint, paper, cloth, oil, greases, and so on and on and on.
Mr. WOLF - How many different types of bullets have you examined by neutron activation analysis?
Dr. GUINN - Approximately 165 different actual, known brands and known production lots of bullets.
Mr. WOLF - Were these of different calibers as well as manufacturers?
Dr. GUINN - Yes; they covered the full range of calibers as well.
Mr. WOLF - What elements have you found were the most distinct to distinguish among different brands of bullets?
Dr. GUINN - Looking over all of the data that we have obtained and also other people have obtained who have been using the same general approach, we find there are three elements that commonly show up in bullet leads but at widely different concentrations, depending upon which bullet lead it is. These three elements are antimony, silver, and copper. And I would say that that is about the approximate order of importance--that is, antimony being perhaps the most informative or the most critical element to measure; silver, very close to it; copper, somewhat less, though, mainly because copper wouldn't be so bad in and of itself but, in criminal cases, you very frequently are looking at little bits and pieces of bullets, and the original bullets were copper-jacketed and that means some of the fragments you get may have a little bit of copper imbedded in them physically that you can't see and yet it will show up markedly in the analysis. So the copper numbers can often bounce around.
Mr. WOLF - Are other elements found to be present in bullets when you analyze them, apart from antimony, silver, and copper?
Dr. GUINN - Well, many times in bullets, under the conditions that we normally use, you will just see those three. Very often, unless you very carefully clean them, you will find a little bit of sodium and a little bit of chlorine, coming from salt, which may be from perspiration if anybody has handled the specimens, or salt spray in the air if it is anywhere near the ocean, for example. Often you will find a little trace of manganese, not so much that it is common but we happen to be extremely sensitvity for manganese. The main reason for using the activation analysis method is that it is an extremely sensitive method. it will detect very small concentrations, but it doesn't have the same sensitivity for all elements. Some are far more sensitive than others. So we sometimes see a little manganese, occasionally a little aluminum, once in a while some arsenic or tin. That about covers all of the elements that we have ever seen in all bullet leads.
Mr. WOLF - Have you analyzed Mannlicher-Carcano bullets pro- duced by the Western Cartridge Co. (WCC)?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, I have.
Mr. WOLF - When did you do these analyses?
Dr. GUINN - A number of years ago. I believe I started doing the first analyses about 1973. A colleague, not at Irvine but at the University of Kansas, Dr. John Nichols, had been interested in the President Kennedy case for quite some time and he contacted me and said he had been able to acquire boxes of Mannlicher-Carcano ammunition from the four production lots that had been produced by the WCC, and he was wondering if I would be interested in doing analyses on them since I had earlier analyzed a lot of other kinds of bullets. I said yes, and I did, and we found some unusual features about WCC Mannlicher-Carcano ammunition that showed it was different from most kinds of bullets.
Mr. WOLF - Prior to getting into those features, did you examine bullets from every lot produced by the Western Cartridge Co.?
Dr. GUINN - Yes. The Western Cartridge Co. reportedly made 1 million rounds of each of 4 production runs, lots 6,000, 6,001, 6,002, and 6,003. They were made at different times in 1954, and reportedly those are the only lots they ever produced, and we had boxes from each of those lots.
Mr. WOLF - Addressing your analyses, did you find WCC Mannlicher-Carcano bullets differed from most other bullets you had analyzed?
Dr. GUINN - Yes; they did.
Mr. WOLF - How did they differ?
Dr. GUINN - Well, as of the time that I first measured them, they had a lower antimony content than I had encountered prior to that in most other bullets, because a very large percentage of bullets you do look at, commercial ones, are hardened lead, where they deliberatedly add anywhere from half a percent up to perhaps 4 or 5 percent antimony to make the lead much harder. A very large percentage of commercial bullets do have hardened lead. So we have usually found much higher antimony levels than in the WCC Mannlicher-Carcano bullets.
Mr. WOLF - And WCC Mannlicher-Carcano bullets are considered unhardened bullets. Is that correct?
Dr. GUINN - They are definitely unhardened bullets. That puts them down much lower in antimony than most bullets. Subsequently we--in looking at a lot more brands in the interim-did find some others that were also low, some of them lower yet in antimony, but that was one unusual feature. The other unusual feature of the WCC Mannlicher-Carcano is that there seems to be no uniformity within a production lot. That is, even when we would take a box of cartridges all from a given production lot, take 1 cartridge out and then another and then another and then another, all out of the same box--boxes of 20, these were--and analyze them, they all in general look different and widely different, particularly in their antimony content. This is not true of most bullet leads that we have ever looked at before, which are very uniform. In general, if you take most boxes of ammunition--and we published on this; it is in the literature-take a bunch of them out, you can't tell one from the other. They all look like little carbon copies even to activation analysis, but not so with the Mannlicher-Carcano.
Mr. WOLF - Did any of the 165 known brands and lots of bullets you have previously examined have constituent ranges that were the same as the WCC Mannlicher-Carcano bullets in their antimony and silver characteristics?
Dr. GUINN - Yes; the range of the WCC Mannlicher-Carcanos, especially in the antimony content, is so wide that it does encompass some of the others which are down at that low end; and out of 165, there were 4 different groups, 1 U.S. made and 3 foreign made, that fell somewhere in that range.
Mr. WOLF - Addressing the work you did for this committee, Dr. Guinn, where did you obtain the evidence samples that you examined for this committee?
Dr. GUINN - Well, it was during last year. First of all, we made the arrangements in advance, and then in September of last year Mr. James L. Gear of the National Archives brought the samples out. He flew out with them and brought them down with a couple of Federal guards, down to the laboratory, my laboratory at Irvine.
Mr. WOLF - All the samples you examined for this committee were obtained from the National Archives, is that correct?
Dr. GUINN - Yes.
Mr. WOLF - How many items were brought to you from the National Archives for you to first examine?
Dr. GUINN - There were 10 different specimens that had CE numbers and/or FBI Q numbers attached to them--10 different ones.
Mr. WOLF - Did you test all these 10 different items by neutron activation analysis?
Dr. GUINN - No. The first thing we did was for me to look over the samples to see if they were suitable for analysis--if there was anything left there to analyze for one thing, if an analyzable sample could be obtained. Three of them were not suitable.
Mr. WOLF - Which three items were not suitable for analysis?
Dr. GUINN - Let me just check so I can get the proper numbers for them. One was the so-called Dallas curbing sample.
Mr. WOLF - Is that FBI No. Q-6097
Dr. GUINN - Yes; the FBI number was Q-609. That was a piece of curbing that was cut away in Dealey Plaza because it appeared there was a smear that might be from a grazing bullet, and that was brought out to the laboratory. But after looking at it, it was quite apparent that there would be no way--it was just hardly a visible smudge. To get a sample removed from it, you would have to scrape it and you would end up with a sample that was mostly cement. You might be able to detect a little antimony or something like that, but you could never relate it to a particular kind of bullet lead. This had been scraped before by FBI to take their samples for emission spectography, and that is why practically nothing was left.
Mr. WOLF - What are the other samples that were not suitable for analysis?
Dr. GUINN - Another one was FBI Q-3, which has a Commission number, CE-569. That was reportedly a fragment recovered from the front seat of the Dallas limousine.
Mr. WOLF - Why was that not suitable for analysis?
Dr. GUINN - That was a sizable fragment, but it was only the jacket material. The lead that had been inside of it was all gone and, since I was trying to analyze bullet lead, not jacket material, there was nothing left in that one to analyze.
Mr. WOLF - The third item that was unsuitable for analysis was what?
Dr. GUINN - FBI Q-15, which also has CE No. 841. That was reportedly some very tiny particles scraped from the inside surface of the windshield of the Dallas limousine. Apparently in the previous FBI emission spectrographic examinations that little bit of material had been completely used up. We opened the container but we could find nothing in there, noting in there at all, even with magnification.
Mr. WOLF - Addressing the items you did analyze for the Committee, could you describe where the two items in what you have characterized as group 2 were found, Commission exhibit 573 and Commission exhibit 141?
Dr. GUINN - Yes; just for convenience of discussion I have grouped the seven specimens that were analyzed--that I did analyze--into these two groups. Group 2 consisted of just two specimens: FBI Q-8, which also has the Commission No. CE-141. That is what has been referred to recently here, too, as the complete, unfired Western Cartridge Co. 6 1/2-millimeter cartridge reportedly found in the chamber of the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle found in the Texas School Depository Building on November 22, 1963.
Mr. WOLF - And Commission exhibit 573?
Dr. GUINN - Yes; Commission exhibit 573 is the other one, which has an FBI number of Q-188 also. It is a mashed bullet still in the jacket, and it is the one that was reportedly fired atGen. Edwin Walker in April of 1963. I took samples of both of those, of the bullet lead, and analyzed them.
Mr. WOLF - Addressing the five evidence fragments which you examined in which you called group 1, all of which were allegedly found in or near the occupants of the President's limousine, could you give their Commission exhibit numbers and state where they were found, please?
Dr. GUINN - Yes; the first one would be Commission exhibit 399. That is the specimen often referred to as the pristine bullet, reportedly found on the stretcher at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas that afternoon of November 22, 1963. [Interruption from the floor.]
Chairman STOKES - The gentleman in the rear of the room is requested to remove himself from the room. Counsel, you may proceed.
Mr. WOLF - Dr. Guinn, if we could again start with the items that we have placed in group 1 of the items, all found in or near the occupants of the President's limousine, and if you could give their Commission exhibit numbers and the location where they were allegedly found.
Dr. GUINN - The first of the five was CE-399. That is the so-called pristine bullet reportedly found on a stretcher at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. The second was Commission exhibit 567. That was a mashed large bullet fragment still in its jacket reportedly recovered from the front seat of the Dallas limousine. The third one, CE-843, consisted of one larger fragment and one smaller fragment reportedly recovered from President Kennedy's brain at autopsy. The fourth one was CE-842, one larger fragment and two smaller ones reportedly recovered from Governor Connally's wrist during surgery. And the fifth one was CE-840, fragments reportedly recovered from the rear floor of the Dallas limousine.
Mr. WOLF - Was there any lead on any of the evidence samples in the National Archives on the clothing of Governor Connally or President Kennedy that you could subject to neutron activation analysis?
Dr. GUINN - Not so far as I am aware, and I did not analyze any materials from clothing at all, just these bullets or bullet fragments.
Mr. WOLF - In addition to the evidence samples, you also made radioactive known standards of three elements, is that correct?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, the normal procedure is to not only detect elements in sample; but to measure their concentrations quanitatively. To do this, you need to know, for one thing, the weight of the sample and, second, you have to compare the radioactivities that you observe in the activated samples with those from standard samples of known weights of the elements that you are detecting.
Mr. WOLF - And the three standards you used were ones of copper, antimony, and silver, is that correct?
Dr. GUINN - That is correct. Mr WOLF. Mr. Chairman, I would ask at this time to show the witness what has been marked as "JFK exhibit No. F-328," which is a graph of the decay pattern of an anitimony standard, and the decay pattern of Commission exhibit 843, reportedly a fragment recovered from President Kennedy's brain during the autopsy, after each had been activated in the nuclear reactor.
Dr. GUINN - did you prepare these graphs?
Dr. GUINN - Yes; I did.
Mr. WOLF - And addressing yourself to the lower of the two graphs, what does that graph illustrate?
Dr. GUINN - What it shows is the peak in the gamma-ray spectrum, the measured gamma-ray spectrum, from radioactive antimony, the radioisotope antimony 122. It has one principal gamma ray with a certain energy, 564,000 electron volts; and that means as we measure it, it should fall in a certain position, horizontally, on the spectrum. What we see is just an enlarged small portion of the whole spectrum. You may note we have a channel number there and this enlarged portion only ranges from roughly channel Nos. 600 to 700. The entire spectrum goes all the way from channel 1 to channel 4,096. You can see this is just a small part, but any sample that has been activated and counted under these conditions antimony in measurable quantity should show a peak at exactly that location.
Mr. WOLF - And the lower graph, Dr. Guinn, is the graph of the known standard of antimony that was made radioactive, is that correct?
Dr. GUINN - That is correct.
Mr. WOLF - And what does the upper graph illustrate, which is the decay pattern of a fragment reportedly recovered from President Kennedy's brain during the autopsy?
Dr. GUINN - That shows the larger brain sample, which weighed, as it shows there--41.9 milligrams is the sample weight. It was irradiated in the reactor at the same time the standard was, for the same length of time; and then after some time of decay afterward, it was then counted under the same conditions, and you do see you get a peak at the same location--the size of the peak is different because the sample and standard don't have the same amount of antimony, but the location of the peak is the same. That tells us that that sample contains antimony. Of course, in that spectrum, if you were to look at the entire spectrum, you would see other peaks due to copper and so on as well. But we are just looking at the antimony part of the spectrum here.
Mr. WOLF - What is the significance of the fact that the peak of the graph above is directly above the peak of the graph below?
Dr. GUINN - Well, falling in the same channel number means the gamma rays you are measuring have the same energy, within plus or minus about 1,000 electron volts, and that is what helps you identify it.
Mr. WOLF - Mr. Chairman, I would like JFK exhibit No. F-328 admitted into evidence at this point.
Chairman STOKES - Without objection, it may be entered into the record at this point. [JFK exhibit No. F-328 was entered into the record.]
JFK EXHIBIT F-328
Mr. WOLF - Mr. Chairman, I would like to have shown to the witness what has been marked for identification as JFK exhibit 329, which is a photograph depicting the decay pattern of a silver standard and a photograph depicting the decay pattern of a fragment removed from President Kennedy's brain during the autopsy, after each had been activated in the nuclear reactor.
Dr. GUINN - the photograph at the bottom indicates the decay pattern of the known sample of silver, is that correct?
Dr. GUINN - That is correct.
Mr. WOLF - And what does the top graph depict?
Dr. GUINN - It is the same sample that you saw on the previous photograph, the 41.9 milligram sample of material removed from President Kennedy's brain, but activated this time under very different conditions, very rapidly, because we were looking for a very short lived isotope here, namely, the radioactive silver 110, which has a half life of only 24.4 seconds. That means it is rapidly disappearing by decay, dropping in half roughly every 24 seconds. So you must look at it very quickly to see it at all
Mr. WOLF - How does the antimony on the photo peak on the right, JFK exhibit F-329, differ from the antimony on the photopeak on the upper left?
Dr. GUINN - I picked this one particularly to illustrate this point, that even with the high resolution germanium detector you will notice that close to the silver peak of the sample, but not of the silver standard, there is a little peak over to the left, and that is also from radioactive antimony, but it is from a different isotope with a different half life. That is antimony -124 m1, which has a gamma-ray energy of 646,000 electronvolts, which brings it close to the 658,000 electron-volt peak of silver -110. Rather than use this smaller antimony -124 m1 peak, from the short irradiation, to measure the antimony contents quantitatively, I used the much larger peak of antimony -122, from the longer irradiation, to obtain a more precise measurement. With silver there is really only one choice, the short-lived silver -110.
Mr. WOLF - I would move that JFK exhibit F-329 be admitted into evidence.
Chairman STOKES - Without objection, it may be entered into the record. [The above referred to JFK exhibit F-329 follows:]
JFK EXHIBIT F-329
Mr. WOLF - Dr. Guinn, I would now like to turn to some of the results of the analyses you performed for the committee and some of the conclusions you may have obtained. Turning to the items in what you characterized as group 2, first, this consisted of the alleged bullet fired at General Walker and the unfired WCC Mannlicher-Carcano cartridge. Was the unfired WCC Mannlicher-Carcano cartridge similar to the previous WCC Mannlicher-Carcano cartridges you had tested?
Dr. GUINN - First of all, I am looking for the table here. Would you repeat the question, please?
Mr. WOLF - Was the unfired WCC Mannlicher-Carcano cartridge that you tested similar to the previous ones you had tested independent of the work you did for this committee?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, sir; the key elements, the antimony and the silver, were in the same range as the other WCC MannlicherCarcano samples. The antimony was definitely down at the lower end and the silver was up at the upper end, but it was in the same general range.
Mr. WOLF - And what was the composition you found in your analysis of the Walker bullet fragment?
Dr. GUINN - About 17 parts per million antimony. Each value has a little uncertainty to it, but just stating the numbers, 17 parts per million antimony, and 20.6 parts per million silver, in the Walker bullet.
Mr. WOLF - Was this similar to the composition of the unfired WCC Mannlicher-Carcano cartridge?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, sir; the unfired WCC Mannlicher-Carcano cartridge which we took apart, took a little sample out of the lead; and put back together again, instead of 17 parts per million antimony it was 15, instead of 20.6 parts per million silver, it was 22.4. These are well within the ranges of slight variation that you get from within such materials.
Mr. WOLF - In your professional opinion, Dr. Guinn, is the fragment removed from General Walker's house a fragment from a WCC Mannlicher-Carcano bullet?
Dr. GUINN - I would say that it is extremely likely that it is, because there are very few, very few other ammunitions that would be in this range. I don't know of any that are specifically this close as these numbers indicate, but somewhere near them there are a few others, but essentially this is in the range that is rather characteristic of WCC Mannlicher-Carcano bullet lead.
Mr. WOLF - Turning to what has already been placed on the exhibit board and labeled at table 1 and marked for identification as JFK exhibit F-330, Dr. Guinn, was this chart prepared by you?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, it was.
Mr. WOLF - Does this chart represent the results you obtained during your tests of the evidence specimens?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, for these five evidence specimens, this chart lists all of the information obtained, even for a few traces of elements for which we find no real significance. But, for the sake of completeness they are all listed. There are some eight elements listed for each sample.
Mr. WOLF - I move that JFK exhibit No. F-330 be admitted into evidence.
Chairman STOKES - Without objection, it may be received. [The above referred JFK exhibit No. F-330 follows:]
JFK EXHIBIT F-330
Mr. WOLF - Dr. Guinn, addressing your attention to the column labeled "percentage lead," what does this indicate?
Dr. GUINN - Lead is one of the elements that we can detect with activation analysis, but not with great sensitivity. However, if you have dealings with samples that are mostly lead, you don't need great sensitivity to at least detect it, et cetera, but even here the precision of measurement is not great, and if you look at the numbers you will see percent of lead is shown as plus or minus 2, plus or minus 3, or even plus or minus 4 percent. You will note that they all come out about in the range of 100. All this really shows is that these metal fragments that we were looking at indeed were lead fragments, they weren't steel fragments, for example, or something else; they were lead.
Mr. WOLF - What does the PPM prior to the listing for each of the other elements indicate?
Dr. GUINN - PPM is just the abbreviation for parts per million by weight. One part per million is only one ten-thousandth of a percent.
Mr. WOLF - Dr. Guinn, based on these results, do you have an opinion as to what type of bullets these fragments were from?
Dr. GUINN - Once again, every one of these samples is in the same range, which is an unusual range, as the background WCC Mannlicher-Carcano samples that we have looked at from all four production lots. These five fall right in the midrange, in fact. They are not the highest; they are not the lowest of the antimony range, and the same is true of the silver.
Mr. WOLF - It is your opinion then that these all are fragments from WCC Mannlicher-Carcano bullets?
Dr. GUINN - I think that is their most likely origin, yes.
Mr. WOLF - Looking at these results, can you determine how many bullets these evidence specimens came from?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, that is the really interesting part of this. I don't suppose people in back can see, or you up there can see, the numbers on the chart very well, but you have the report to look at. If you look at these five that are listed up here, and you first of all look at the prime or key element, which is antimony, you find of the five samples, that there are two of them that are up somewhere around 800 parts per million, and you find three others that are down just a shade over 600 parts per million. Now, after each number there is shown a plus or minus. This is only the uncertainty of that particular measurement from what we call the counting statistics. That uncertainty we can measure.
Mr. WOLF - Dr. Guinn. Before we go into a more technical explanation, can you just from looking at the results, state what is the number of bullets that these evidence specimens came from?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, sir, I can.
Mr. WOLF - What is the number of bullets, in your opinion?
Dr. GUINN - These numbers correspond to two bullets. Two of the samples have indistinguishable compositions, indicating that they came from the same bullet, and the other three particles are evidently samples from another bullet.
Mr. WOLF - So it is your opinion that the evidence specimens represent only evidence of two bullets, is that correct? Dr. GUINN. Yes, sir, there is no evidence for three bullets, four bullets, or anything more than two, but there is clear evidence that there are two.
Mr. WOLF - And which specimens that correspond, respectively, of the two bullets?
Dr. GUINN - Using the CE numbers, the 399 specimen, which is the so-called stretcher or pristine bullet--it has various names-agrees in composition both in its antimony and its silver with CE-842, which are the fragments reportedly recovered from Governor Connally's wrist.
Mr. WOLF - Is it your testimony that CE-399 and CE-842, the so called pristine bullet, and the fragments removed from Governor Connally's wrist during surgery, both came from the same bullet?
Dr. GUINN - Yes. One, of course, is almost a complete bullet so it means that the 842 fragments came from, in this case, the base of the bullet.
Mr. WOLF - Dr. Guinn, am I correct that technically you cannot today testify to the complete validity of the so-called single bullet theory because there was no lead left in the back wound of the President or around the President's throat that would allow you to examine it and, therefore possibly determine that CE-399 passed through the President?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, reportedly there were no lead fragments found in the back-to-throat wound of the President, and hence no specimens to be analyzed, so I know nothing about that particular wound.
Mr. WOLF - You can, however, today state for the first time scientifically that CE-399 did cause the injuries to Governor Connally's wrist?
Dr. GUINN - Yes sir, those two match so closely that I would say that such was the case. 505
Mr. WOLF - What is the degree of confidence and certainty with which you can state this conclusion?
Dr. GUINN - I wish that I could put a number on it, as we often can do, that is, calculate a probability, but we really don't have the background information to make a numerical calculation in this case. One can only show what information we do have, and that is that you simply do not find a wide variation in composition within individual WCC Mannlicher-Carcano bullets, but you do find wide composition differences from bullet to bullet for this kind of bullet lead. Thus, when you find two specimens that agree this closely, you can say it looks indeed like they are pieces from the same bullet.
Mr. WOLF - Would you state that your conclusion is more probable than not, highly probable, or what is the degree of certainty of your conclusion?
Dr. GUINN - I would say highly probable, yes. I would not want to say how high, whether it was 99 percent or 90 percent or 99.9 percent. I can't make a calculation like that.
Mr. WOLF - You would state it is highly probable that the injuries to Governor Connally's wrist came from the so-called pristine bullet?
Dr. GUINN - .That is correct.
Mr. WOLF - Were you present yesterday during the testimony of Dr. Wecht?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, sir; I was.
Mr. WOLF - Did you hear Dr. Wecht testify, in response to questions from counsel, that in his opinion it was impossible for CE-399 to have caused the injury to Governor Connally's wrist, even if it hit nothing else, because CE-399 would have had to show more deformity?
Dr. GUINN - Yes; I heard him make that statement.
Mr. WOLF - Dr. Guinn, on the basis of your scientific analysis, do you believe Dr. Wecht to have been correct?
Dr. GUINN - Well, I think that is his opinion, but like many opinions and many theories, sometimes they don't agree with the facts.
Mr. WOLF - Dr. Guinn, have you prepared a report for the committee which completely describes your work for the committee and your conclusions?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, sir.
Mr. WOLF - Do you have that report with you?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, sir. It is right here.
Mr. WOLF - Mr. Chairman, I move that Dr. Guinn's report be marked as JFK exhibit No. F-331 and introduced into evidence.
Chairman STOKES - Without objection it may be introduced at this point. [The above referred to JFK exhibit F-331 follows:]
Mr. WOLF - Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions of Dr. Guinn.
Chairman STOKES - The Chair now recognizes the gentleman from Indiana, Mr. Fithian, for such time as he may consume.
Mr. FITHIAN - Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Dr. GUINN, we are happy to have your expertise assisting the panel. I am holding in my hand a lead pencil, and I have now broken the point from this lead pencil. Would you tell me is this enough for you to analyze by your process?
Dr. GUINN - Well, that is a different kind of material.
Mr. FITHIAN - I know. Dr. GUNN. It is called pencil lead; but it is actually graphite-not lead.
Mr. FITHIAN - Sizewise?
Dr. GUINN - Sizewise, that is plenty. For materials such a bullet lead, to be specific, any sample that weighs anywhere between 1 and 50 milligrams is sufficient or plenty. Such an amount represents a rather tiny sample of lead, but it is all we need.
Mr. FITHIAN - Now, if this were not graphite, and if it were bullet lead, and it contained a variety of these elements that you have described here today, antimony, silver, and so forth, would your neutron activation analysis sort out the count sufficiently accurately to tell us which elements are in that particle?
Dr. GUINN - It won't tell you all the elements that may be in them, but it will usually give you numerical results for a number of elements that will become detectably radioactive and readily identified; yes.
Mr. FITHIAN - As I understand it, this is from one pass through the equipment, simultaneously you read out several different elements?
Dr. GUINN - That is true. Usually when you activate a sample for a certain length of time in the reactor, wait a while, and then count the sample, you see peaks from a number of radioactive elements. Then if you take the same sample, if you wish, and do it over again, but this time irradiate longer and wait longer, then all of the isotopes you saw before you won't see this time because you have waited long enough that they are all gone, and now you will see some longer lived isotopes that were not there detectably before but now they are. So you don't usually just do an activation and a count once, but you usually do it two or three times, if you are trying to look for a large number of elements.
Mr. FITHIAN - You used the term counting equipment. Could you explain that for those of us who are laymen in this?
Dr. GUINN - There are many kinds of radioactive detection devices which are usually loosely called counters. The most common one most people know about is a Geiger counter. If these same samples, after activating them, had been held near a Geiger counter, you would hear the Geiger counter ticking away. Unfortunately, the Geiger counter is, No. 1, not very sensitive for gamma radiation, and, No. 2, it can't tell one gamma ray from another. You have to go to a more elaborate detector. The kind, for example, that was used by the FBI in 1964, which was the only useful kind that was available then, was a scintillation detector. That is solid detector, it absorbs gamma rays better, so it is more efficient, and also the size of the output pulse from the detector is proportional to the gamma ray energy it has absorbed. So with such a detector one has the possibility of using what we call a multichannel analyzer to look at the output pulses, sort them into their sizes, and get a spectrum with peaks.
Mr. FITHIAN - The current equipment is generations removed from the 1964 equipment?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, sir. The old scintillation detectors are still useful for some purposes, but the difficulty is that in a spectrum obtained from it, each of the peaks is typically about 20 times wider than the peaks from a modern germanium detector. We say that means that the older scintillation detector has very poor energy resolution. In the chart example that shows the silver--110 peak, with a little antimony--124m1 peak next to it, for example, with a scintillation detector all you would see would be one broad peak that included both of them, and you wouldn't know that you really were looking at two gamma rays, of two different energies. The germanium detector, the more modern type, which wasn't available generally in 1964, is a high-resolution detector, it is of a new generation of detectors, and that was really one of the primary reasons for wanting to reanalyze these samples, but now with much more modern equipment.
Mr. FITHIAN - Just for the record, before I ask the additional questions, in your answer to counsel Wolfs question you used the phrase that the WCC Mannlicher-Carcano bullets were made of unhardened lead. You were referring only to the lead core and not to the hardened copper jacket?
Dr. GUINN - That is correct. The specifications for those bullets were that they were to be made of No. 0 soft lead, unhardened, that was at least 99.85 percent lead.
Mr. FITHIAN - One of the most serious questions facing the panel is the identification of the "pristine" bullet with the fragment taken from Governor Connally, in the wrist wound area. I realize the importance of your conclusion that the fragments removed during the surgery from Governor Connally's wrist were from the "pristine" bullet, and I realize the difficulty of saying you are absolutely certain to the exclusion of all other possibilities, but I am wondering if you could go any further than you have, in terms of certainty of the comparison of those two specimens?
Dr. GUINN - I don't think that I can in the sense of putting a percent probability or something like that. All I can say is that those two specimens, CE-399 and 842, agree so closely in their antimony concentration and their silver concentrations that I could not distinguish one from the other. However, I can clearly distinguish those two from the other three specimens. They are different. They are still WCC Mannlicher-Carcanos; but they represent a different WCC Mannlicher-Carcano bullet.
Mr. FITHIAN - And so it is your testimony that it is very unlikely that these were fragments from two different bullets?
Dr. GUINN - It would be extremely unlikely. You can imagine that certainly there are some WCC Mannlicher-Carcano bullets that are of essentially the same composition, and hence that the pristine bullet might be one bullet that just happened to have the same composition as a different bullet that fractured the wrist, for example, but it is very, very unlikely.
Mr. FITHIAN - But the scientific term that you used, is it extremely unlikely?
Dr. GUINN - Extremely unlikely, or very improbable, however you prefer.
Mr. FITHIAN - To your knowledge, has any other scientist to date linked the so-called pristine bullet to the injuries?
Dr. GUINN - Not that I am aware of; no.
Mr. FITHIAN - Equally important, as your conclusions concerning Governor Connally's wrist injuries and the "pristine" bullet, is the second conclusion you make, and that is that there is no evidence of a third, fourth, or fifth bullet represented in any of the fragments that you tested?
Dr. GUINN - That is correct.
Mr. FITHIAN - And therefore, it is highly likely--is that the term you used to Mr. Wolf--that all fragments tested match up with two bullets and two bullets only?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, sir. The other three samples that we have been referring to--one being the fragments recovered from President Kennedy's brain, and then two different groups of particles found on the floor of the limousine--those three specimens are indistinguishable from one another, but markedly different from CE-399 and 842. So there is only evidence for the presence of two different bullets.
Mr. FITHIAN - I understand that the Warren Commission did emission spectrography tests on many of the same items you have tested with neutron activation analysis. How does the neutron activation analysis process, just in brief layman's terms, differ, and what are the advantages or disadvantages of the two methods of testing?
Dr. GUINN - Well, they have some similarities and they have some differences. They are both methods of elemental analysis. They will both detect down into what we call the trace element range, approaching parts per million, let's say, and they will both detect a number of elements more or less simultaneously in the specimens. Now, where they differ is that for most elements, at least, we can detect much lower concentrations by activation analysis. In other words, activation analysis is more sensitive for most elements. What is perhaps even more important, though, is that activation analysis, when it measures something, measures it very quantitatively. Emission spectrography does not. I have a copy of all of the FBI raw data from those measurements, and they list things like magnesium, a trace; chromium, a very slight trace; and things like that. No numbers. So you can't make any kind of quantitative comparisons by looking at information of that sort. And the remaining difference is that the emission spectrographic method is destructive. You normally would like to have about 10 milligrams of samples, which isn't a great deal, but that 10 milligrams is totally consumed, it is vaporized and it is gone, whereas the way we analyze bullet-lead samples, at least, and many other kinds, by activation analysis, the method is nondestructive. These same samples I analyzed, if somebody didn't agree with the numbers, they could come back and do them all over again on the same specimens.
Mr. FITHIAN - Your results then could be verified by others?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, sir, all the samples I activated and analyzed were turned right back over to the Archives, and they are right back there, and they could be reanalyzed.
Mr. FITHIAN - Dr. Guinn, this is not meant to be an embarrassing question, but I think I must ask it. Mr. Chairman, a recent article in the New Times magazine stated that you had worked for the Warren Commission and, therefore, your conclusions for this committee would be implicitly biased. Did you even work for the Warren Commission or work for the FBI in connection with the analysis of these evidence samples?
Dr. GUINN - Neither one. I think Mr. Wolf called my attention to the existence of this article, which I haven't seen, and I don't know where they got their misinformation, but I never did anything for the Warren Commission, and although I know people in the FBI, I have never done any work for them.
Mr. FITHIAN - But it is correct, isn't it, that the Warren Commission had the FBI perform neutron activation analysis measure- ments on the bullet-lead specimens in 1964?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, sir.
Mr. FITHIAN - How did you find this out?
Dr. GUINN - Well, it was rather interesting because both Dr. John Nichols and I felt that activation analysis of the bullet-lead specimens in the President Kennedy case should be done, and he in particular was trying to persuade J. Edgar Hoover, first, and later Clarence Kelley, that these things should be done. He made no progress with them, and then quite accidentally there turned up in the Archives a letter from J. Edgar Hoover to J. Lee Rankin, in July 1964, stating that indeed the FBI had made activation analysis measurements on these samples. Until then, this fact was totally unknown to us, so, therefore, after that we requested the results, because, the letter didn't give any numerical results; it just said that the analyses had been done and the results were generally inconclusive. This again took quite some time, and it was only finally, under the amended Freedom of Information Act, that Dr. Nichols was able to obtain the some 70 pages of raw data copied out of the FBI records, from the FBI. I then took all of those data and recalculated them from scratch.
Mr. FITHIAN - I want to come back to that data in just a moment; because I think it is very, very, important for us to explore that with you, but let me ask, prior to doing that, do you know why the existence of these tests was never divulged until recently?
Dr. GUINN - No; I certainly don't know why. I can just speculate. The letter states that--if I may just read this one last little short sentence in it--this is from J. Edgar Hoover to the Warren Com* mission. It states: While minor variations in composition were found by this method, these were not considered sufficient to permit positively differentiating among the larger bullet fragments and thus positively determining from which of the larger bullet fragments any given small lead fragment may have come. I believe probably that the FBI and the Warren Commission both felt that this didn't prove anything, in their opinion, and, therefore, didn't need to be noted. Since we had been asking them for quite sometime to perform such analyses, we rather thought it would have been nice if they had told us, instead of our eventually finding out accidentally.
Mr. FITHIAN - Mr. Chairman, I would like the record to show that the witness, Dr. Guinn, was reading the last paragraph of a letter from J. Edgar Hoover to J. Lee Rankin, the General Counsel to the President's Commission, the so-called Warren Commission, dated July 8, 1964, and delivered by courier service. I would ask that the entire letter be made a part of this exhibit as JFK exhibit No. F-332.
Chairman STOKES - Without objection, it may be entered into the record. [The above referred to JFK exhibit No. F-332 follows:]
Dr. GUINN - May I comment--I will give you this copy of the letter--but it does have stamped on it, which of course wasn't there originally, John Nichols stamp when he received it, in November 1973, and he also wrote in himself one little handwritten line. Those were not in original, but otherwise it is a copy of the original letter.
Mr. FITHIAN - So, for the record, then, the handwritten notation between paragraphs two and three, which read "He did not examine the copper, zinc jackets and fragments," was written by Prof. John. Nichols and were not a part of the original letter when we received it?
Dr. GUINN - I guess that was John Nichols little note from him to me that he put in there.
Mr. FITHIAN - With regard to that important paragraph that says, "These are inconclusive," I would like now to ask you, Dr. Guinn, if you could tell us what your findings were when you looked at the same 70 pages of raw data, and prior to that, are you aware or do you know who and how this neutron activation analysis work was done and whether this was a common practice of the FBI or just how this came about?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, I have subsequently found out most of the details of it. The FBI work was done in May 1964, at which time the FBI laboratory had not done any prior activation analysis work, so far as I am aware. But in the same elemental analysis group, where such work would normally fall, they asked Mr. Jack Gallagher (John F. Gallagher) of their staff, whom I know, to take these bullet lead specimens down to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Mr. FITHIAN - To where?
Dr. GUINN - To the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Oak Ridge, Tenn., where they have all the nuclear facilities, and so on, they are quite good, and they do a lot of activation analysis work, although not usually connected with crime investigation, but for other purposes. He took the samples down there. Two of the people down there, who were highly conversant in activation analysis, but not in forensic work, and Mr. Gallagher, who was highly conversant in forensic work but not in activation analysis work, worked together. He actually did all of the measure* ments, but with the two Oak Ridge people showing him how to do it and how to calculate the results, et cetera, since this really was his first experience in this field.
Mr. FITHIAN - Are you saying this was the first neutron activation analysis work done by the FBI?
Dr. GUINN - So far as I am aware, it was; yes.
Mr. FITHIAN - This is the first that they had ever done?
Dr. GUINN - Two years later, in 1966, they set up a regular activation analysis group in the FBI laboratory, which it still operates. But at that time, it was their first, direct contact with the method, I believe. At any rate, Jack Gallagher, in a period of some days there, did go ahead and analyze the samples, and he calculated the results, and he obtained a lot of numerical results. When I obtained all of these data and went through the calculations, my initial reaction was pretty much the same as theirs, or his.
Mr. FITHIAN - That is, it was inconclusive?
Dr. GUINN - The numbers appeared to bounce everywhere. Any one sample just didn't seem to be consistent. To just pick an example here, for one particular specimen, one time he measured it, and found it to be 977 parts per million antimony. Another time he measured it, but the result was only 676. The numbers just bounced around. He measured each sample a number of times under somewhat different conditions, but this shouldn't make any difference, you should get essentially the same number every time, merely somewhat different with uncertainties. My initial reaction was thus, exactly the same as his. At that time I just went through all of the data quickly and initially could not make any sense of it. I concluded they had done careful work, in general, but it somehow didn't make sense. Then I did my own analyses here and found very definitely that the samples fell into the two groups, two bullets, so then I asked my self, as far as I know, even though they had more antiquated equipment at that time, these analyses were done well, why can't you get the same results out of their data, and I went back through a second time, and in a very detailed way, and I tried a little bit different approach, and I think I figured out finally what was wrong with their original work, which they were not aware of and I wasn't initially either. If you take the numbers that they obtained on the whole group of samples and you only look at them under one set of measurement conditions, that is, you don't look at all the conditions for the moment, but just look at one set of conditions, 10 and behold, it is exactly the same result.
Mr. FITHIAN - The same result as what?
Dr. GUINN - As what I found in my own measurements.
Mr. FITHIAN - How do you mean?
Dr. GUINN - CE-399 matches CE-842 in each of the four sets of conditions that he used, and the other three specimens match one another and are different from the other two every time. But if you look at all the numbers at once, everything is varying so much you don't get the picture at all. But once you sort them out this way then the same result comes out as what I obtained--a little fuzzier picture of course, because his detector didn't have the sharp resolution of the modern germanium detector. But, of course, hindsight is much better than foresight. I didn't get this out of his data either until after I had my own data. In a sense it is confirming.
Mr. FITHIAN - Are you testifying then, Dr. Guinn, that a more in-depth reading of the 1964 neutron activation analysis data would have led equally trained scientists to the conclusion that there were in fact fragments from only two bullets that were tested?
Dr. GUINN - Yes; the data were there but they were not interpreted as far as they could have been taken.
Mr. FITHIAN - Using the charts that you provided the committee, and they have been previously admitted into evidence, would you just briefly summarize for me how the readings of your equipment might be more accurate, more specific, than those of the FBI? Let me see if I can understand this as a layman. As I understand the process, what you do is you take a particle of something and you put it in some kind of little---
Dr. GUINN - Container. Mr. FITHIAN [continuing]. Container. And you put that inside the nuclear reactor and you bombard it with trillions of neutrons per second?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, sir.
Mr. FITHIAN - And then you remove it from the reactor, and in some time frame thereafter, the unstable atomic nuclei that have been created, each by the absorption of a neutron, from the extra neutrons that you have bombarded the sample with, undergo radioactive decay, with the emission of gamma rays of characteristic, or identifying energies. Am I roughly correct?
Dr. GUINN - Yes, each radioactive nucleus that undergoes disintegration, which it decides on its own to do, spontaneously, in the typical case emits a beta particle of some energy (which turns out not to be very useful to measure, for detailed reasons), but it also usually emits one or sometimes two or three different gamma rays, gamma rays of different energies. Those we can measure much more easily and exactly, and so those are the ones we look for. The decay of one nucleus may just give one gamma-ray photon. At best it would give one count on that counter. So what we are looking at, of course, are thousands or millions of these disintegrating nuclei, and we accumulate the results. The detector is capable of distinguishing between gamma rays of different energies, and they show up in our spectra as peaks. Whether you are looking for it or not, for example, if somebody gave me a sample and I didn't know it had any antimony in it, if I activated it and looked at it under either of those conditions and saw that peak, at 564 keV, I would know that the sample contained antimony.
Mr. FITHIAN - The antimony peak will always come at the same part of the spectrum?
Dr. GUINN - That is right, that is the characteristic; yes.
Mr. FITHIAN - And, therefore, without any knowledge of what is in it, if you see a peak in that frame of numbers, it has to be antimony?
Dr. GUINN - That is right.
Mr. FITHIAN - And then the height of the peak indicates the quantity?
Dr. GUINN - It is proportional to it. We usually measure the area of the peak instead of its height, because the peaks aren't quite symmetrical, but otherwise you are right.
Mr. FITHIAN - You have said this whole process that you go through does not destroy the material, is that correct?
Dr. GUINN - That is correct.
Mr. FITHIAN - Now, then; did you test exactly the same particles that the FBI tested in 1964?
Dr. GUINN - Well, it turns out I did not, for reasons I don't know, because as they did the analysis, they did not destroy the samples either.
Mr. FITHIAN - So?
Dr. GUINN - The particular little pieces that they analyzed, I could just as well have analyzed over again, but the pieces that were brought out from the Archives--which reportedly, according to Mr. Gear, were the only bullet-lead fragments from this case still present in the Archives--did not include any of the specific little pieces that the FBI had analyzed. Presumably those are in existence somewhere, I am sure nobody threw them out, but where they are, I have no idea.
Mr. FITHIAN - And the 1964 equipment wouldn't have consumed them either?
Dr. GUINN - No.
Mr. FITHIAN - What was the state of the knowledge at that time in terms of storing radioactive materials? Would there have been any prospect that someone not adequately informed, such as perhaps the FBI at that time or law inforcement people, would have been a little leery about keeping radioactive materials in their files?
Dr. GUINN - I wouldn't think so. I am sure by that time they knew enough about the safety aspects that, considering the very small size of samples we are dealing with here, and the very small amount of radioactivity in them, they would have rightly considered them to be perfectly harmless. Also, the little activity in them soon decayed out.
Mr. FITHIAN - So, finally, it is your conclusion that despite what Mr. Hoover said to Mr. Rankin, the FBI data are not really inconclusive, though it appeared to be so to you initially?
Dr. GUINN - That is right, the data really were fundamentally better than they thought, or than I initially thought.
Mr. FITHIAN - The reason I raise that issue, Dr. Guinn, is this. As I understand the critical literature, it falls into two categories with regard to this question. Earlier on, the critics said that the Warren Commission was afraid to do the neutron activation analysis measurements because if they did it, it would show something other than the single bullet theory and thereby would undermine the entire Warren Commission findings. This charge was made in several places in the literature, and I have several examples here to that effect, namely, that the reason for their not doing the neutron activation analysis work at that time was the fear on the part of the Bureau that it would show something other than a single bullet theory, that is, the fragments from Connally's wrist and the "pristine" bullet sample would turn out to be two different bullets.
Dr. GUINN - Yes.
Mr. FITHIAN - In post-1973 literature, after the Freedom of Information Act episode to which you refer, the critics have said that it was done, but with inconclusive results, and since the results were inconclusive, it did not prove that they were from the same bullet, and, therefore, the publication or the publishing of the results were suppressed because it did not support the single bullet theory. That is the reason I raised the question specifically about the FBI data and about your analysis or interpretation of their data.
Dr. GUINN - I don't know anything about any of the peoples involved motives but what I do know is that indeed in 1964 the FBI did do the analyses and according to this letter that we just introduced into evidence, they did not appear to be able to draw any conclusions from the numbers. Looking at them many years later, I can see why that would be possibly the case, but as I say, with the advantage of these new results to guide me in the right direction of how to statistically treat the data they had gotten earlier, lo and behold, they very definitely did agree, with my more recent findings from my own measurements, using more powerful equipment.
Mr. FITHIAN - Now, is there any evidence, in either the FBI interpretation of the test results of 1964 or in your own interpretation of the tests for this committee, that would support the speculation that the "pristine" bullet and the one that hit Connally's wrist are two separate bullets? Is there any evidence in either report?
Dr. GUINN - No, there is no evidence either in my work or the previous FBI work of that. You cannot distinguish one specimen from the other, from the analytical results. Both my findings and the earlier FBI findings give this same result.
Mr. FITHIAN - Going from this conclusion, could the FBI have been able to draw the conclusion of only two bullets being present if someone, anyone there, did not have the kind of expertise in WCC Mannlicher-Carcano ammunition that you have testified or that we understand you possess? Would someone not familiar with that kind of ammunition--could they have drawn the right conclusion?
Dr. GUINN - It would have been certainly much more difficult because, as I say, most kinds of ammunition, other kinds that we have looked at over years, have been so uniform that you can't tell--you literally cannot tell one bullet from another out of the same box. WCC Mannlicher-Carcano bullet lead, however, is different. The concentration range from bullet-to-bullet is tremendous. For example, out of the same box, one bullet may only have 20 parts per million antimony, the next one you take out of the box might be 1,200 parts per million antimony, and each of these values can be measured quite precisely. . Actually, when Jack Gallagher did these measurements, he also analyzed a couple of known WCC Mannlicher-Carcano bullets, just as background samples: One from lot 6,000, one from lot 6,003, but that is all. That is not much of a background to look at; but sure enough, those two, just the two that he looked at were quite different from one another--one was about 90--I have the numbers somewhere here but not handy--one was like 90 parts per million antimony and the other one was something like 700 parts per million. So even the two samples he happened to pick as background samples immediately showed the same thing regarding which we have much more data.
Mr. FITHIAN - So is it your testimony, then, or is it your estimate that the FBI s failure to correctly interpret the 1964 data, which is so disturbing to so many people--would the FBI have had the knowledge and experience in 1964 to correctly interpret the results?
Dr. GUINN - Well, it is a little hard to say. I think they might have been able to, but I think it might have been more difficult for them to at that time since they didn't have an extensive background in activation analysis or interpretation of such results, and they didn't have any experience with WCC Mannlicher-Carcano ammunition, either. For that matter, in 1964 I didn't have any experience with this kind of bullet lead either.
Mr. FITHIAN - We must, I think, Mr. Chairman, clarify one thing for the record. Dr. Guinn, is your interpretation of the FBI data based on the information you obtained through the FBI, as opposed to any secret or otherwise restricted data you obtained through this committee?
Dr. GUINN - No. You are only referring to the FBI data?
Mr. FITHIAN - Yes.
Dr. GUINN - No; the FBI data that I have, copies of all the raw data that Jack Gallagher got, were obtained actually not even by me; they were obtained by Dr. John Nichols from the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act, and then turned over to me; since Dr. Nichols is not an activation analyst. He didn't know what to do with such specialized data--his expertise is in the field of forensic pathology.
Mr. FITHIAN - Therefore any information that has been published either by him or by you no way falls under any restrictions, is that correct?
Dr. GUINN - No, none of this is restricted information.
Mr. FITHIAN - One final line of questioning, Dr. Guinn, and I will subside. Have we done, have you done--as far as your expert knowledge is concerned, have we done all the tests that are possible to ascertain the number of bullets that the fragments came from? Is there anything else that we should do?
Dr. GUINN - One can always think of other analytical methods, et cetera, that might show up some elements that were not detectable by activation analysis, or you can even--using activation analysis go to the destructive form of the method, but then you destroy the samples. I am sure that is not desirable. I would not recommend any further analytical studies at the present time. I think that the findings that we have are pretty definitive and most other things that one can think of that you could try on the samples might or might not add some additional information. It is questionable. And most of those methods that are really sensitive would destroy or alter the samples or alter their compositions.
Mr. FITHIAN - And I close with this question, then: Since there are no fragments from President Kennedy other than the skull shot, in actual fact, using your scientific methods, you cannot shed any light on whether or not the bullet that passed through Governor Connally also passed through the President; is that a correct statement?
Dr. GUINN - That is correct. These results only show that the CE 399 "pristine" bullet, or so-called stretcher bullet, matches the fragments in his wrist. They give you no information whatsoever about whether that bullet first went through President Kennedy's body, since it left no track of fragment's and, for that matter, it doesn't even say that it went through Governor Connally--through his back, that is--because it left no track of fragments there. At least I have never see or heard of any recovered lead fragments from either of those wounds. The results, merely say that the stretcher bullet matches the fragments in the wrist, and that indicates indeed that that particular bullet did fracture the wrist. It unfortunately can't tell you anything else because there were no other bits and pieces along the other wounds.
Mr. FITHIAN - Then your conclusions are what you just stated as far as the back entrance and throat exit wound of President Kennedy, and as far as the close match of the fragments from Connally's wrist with the "pristine" bullet, and the other conclusion you referred to today is that the particles taken from President Kennedy's skull matches other fragments that were in the car?
Dr. GUINN - That is right, they match one another, but they do not match the Connally samples.
Mr. FITHIAN - And that means there were two bullets?
Dr. GUINN - There were definitely two bullets. There is no evidence for the presence of three, or more.
Mr. FITHIAN - Repeating then, there is no evidence for three bullets. Thank you, Dr. Guinn. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman STOKES - The time of the gentleman has expired. Dr. Guinn, I think I just have perhaps maybe one, maybe two questions. Obviously from your testimony here it is evident, as an expert in neutron activation analysis, that we are talking about a field in which there are relatively few experts; aren't we?
Dr. GUINN - I wouldn't say so any more. It might have been true many years back, but every time we have an international conference we have something like 500 people there, all supposedly and most of them really experts in some phase or another of activation analysis. It has grown to be a field where there are probably altogether a few thousand people who are knowledgeable in the field.
Chairman STOKES - And if we go back to the period of time we are talking about, 1963-64, that period of time, what type of field would there have been then of experts?
Dr. GUINN - Smaller numbers, although even in 1964 we had already had one international conference in the field. We had another one the year after that. So it was obviously already getting to be of some size, but obviously not as many people as there are now. It was still considered to be a relatively new method by some people, at least in 1964, although the method itself was first originated in 1937, way back then. But it couldn't become a really very useful method until the nuclear reactor came along, and that was during World War II, and then it was some years before reactors became very widely available to people; and so it was not until about 1950, you might say, that at least a few places had nuclear reactors and the scintillation detector kind of counting equipment, and then the field began to grow at a pretty good clip.
Chairman STOKES - I have no further questions. At this time, under the rules of our committee, any witness appearing before the committee, at the conclusion of his testimony, is entitled to 5 minutes. During that 5-minute period he may explain, amplify, or in any way expand upon the testimony he has given to our committee. I would like to extend to you such time at this time if you so desire.
Dr. GUINN - Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will just make one comment that I thought we might have brought out before, but we didn't quite get around to it. If any of you start looking at these detailed numbers, there needs to be a little further interpretation. First of all, some of the elements listed in my report, in our experience with all kinds of bullet leads often show up and often don't show up, and they don't seem to be characteristic of anything. Some of them are probably the result of external contamination. For the sake of completeness, I have included all of the elements detected, but I don't think that some of them contribute one way or the other to the characterization of source of the specimens. Also, when you look at the antimony and the silver values to see if these samples match these and these match these, it should be noted that the plus or minus that is shown after each of those numbers is merely the uncertainty of each value calculated from what we call the counting statistics. We can calculate that. The overall measurement uncertainty of that number on that specific sample is somewhat bigger than that, meaning that if we took that identical little piece and did the same experiment over and over again we would get about the same value, but the variation would be somewhat more than that calculated from the counting statistics--perhaps as much as twice larger. It depends on the value. And then, if you are trying to match this piece and this piece-which really both came from the same bullet but you don't know it and you are trying to prove it--you have to take into account another factor--how homogeneous is that bullet? Is every piece that you take from a bullet the same? And the answer is: No; they are not. The individual bullets are fairly homogeneous, but there are significant variations within them. We have a great deal of background data, specifically on WCC Mannlicher-Carcano bullet lead, that isn't in the report, but we use that as the backup which shows that the variation within a bullet is significant. So when you start to compare numbers, it turns out, for example, on the antimony numbers, roughly speaking, if you take the plus or minus that is shown and multiply it by about 6, that will take care of all of those variabilities within the sample, as well as the small measurement uncertainties. The variation within that individual bullet is then taken into account, and then you find out that two samples indeed match one another as closely as could be expected. For example, the CE-399 sample gave a measured value of 833 parts per million antimony, whereas the CE-842 sample showed 797. Well, any grammar school boy will tell you 797 is not the same as 833. But when you consider that the 833 is plus or minus about 50 and the 797 is plus or minus about 50, then you see that you can't distinguish one from the other. They are indistinguishable, but, by the same token, the other samples which are only about roughly 620 plus or minus a smaller amount, in that case about 20 or 30--they very clearly not only match one another, but they also widely differ from this 800 figure. But some of that is explained in the text of the report. You can't just take the numbers from the table and blindly go ahead; you have to read the fine print as well to see that everything is properly taken into account. In any event, though, I think the results have come out in a fairly clean-cut fashion. We didn't predict any particular way they would come out; they just fell out this way. And, as I say it led me to reexamine the FBI data more carefully than I had done earlier. I frankly was very surprised to see that even their data, somewhat fuzzier, et cetera, still fell right into the same picture. So I think the conclusions are well established. Also, as I have stated earlier, fortunately by using this method one does not destroy the samples. The identical samples are still there. They weigh the same; they can be analyzed all over again. All of the radioactivity that we induced in them a year ago has long decayed out, so they could readily be analyzed over again, if desired. Other than that, I just want to say it has been a real pleasure working with the committee and with the staff of the committee, and I thank you very much for inviting me here.
Chairman STOKES - I guess you raised one additional question in my mind. Assuming that your data were presented to another expert in your field, can we assume with a reasonable degree of certainty that the expert will come to the same conclusions that you have?
Dr. GUINN - I believe so; yes. As I say, if you just handed him the table of measured values, he initially might interpret the plus and minuses as meaning the total uncertainty; and, of course, then he would say: Well, 797 is not the same as 833. However, in the text of the report, it is pointed out that the table plus-minus values do not represent the total uncertainty of a sample; it is larger than that. If he took that into account, he would reach the same conclusions;
Chairman STOKES - The Chair recognizes counsel Jim Wolf.
Mr. WOLF - Mr. Chairman, for the record, I would like to note that Dr. Guinn's report has been submitted to an independent consultant for review and evaluation and he completely agreed with the results achieved and reported by Dr. Guinn.
Chairman STOKES - Dr. Guinn, on behalf of our committee, we thank you very much. You have made a very valuable contribution here today and we certainly appreciate all the time you have expended on our behalf. Thank you.
Dr. GUINN - Thank you.
Chairman STOKES - There being no further business to come before the committee today, this committee meeting is adjourned until 9 a.m. Monday morning. [Whereupon, at 5:10 p.m. the committee adjourned, to reconvene at 9 a.m. Monday, September 11, 1978.]