Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives
See the full report (on Kennedy assassination and MLK, Jr. assassination) here:
The Committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F.
Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The Committee is unable to identify the other
gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.
Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once simply defined conspiracy as "a partnership in criminal
purposes." (1) That definition is adequate. Nevertheless, it may be helpful to set out a more precise definition. If
two or more individuals agreed to take action to kill President Kennedy, and at least one of them took action in
furtherance of the plan, and it resulted in President Kennedy's death, the President would have been assassinated
as a result of a conspiracy.
The committee recognizes, of course, that while the work "conspiracy" technically denotes only a "partnership
in criminal purposes," it also, in fact, connotes widely varying meanings to many people, and its use has vastly
differing societal implications depending upon the sophistication, extent and ultimate purpose of the
partnership. For example, a conspiracy to assassinate a President might be a complex plot orchestrated by
foreign political powers; it might be the scheme of a group of American citizens dissatisfied with particular
governmental policies; it also might be the plan of two largely isolated individuals with no readily discernible
Conspiracies may easily range, therefore, from those with important implications for social or governmental
institutions to those with no major societal significance. As the evidence concerning the probability that
President Kennedy was assassinated as a result of a "conspiracy" is analyzed, these various connotations of the
word "conspiracy" and distinctions between them ought to be constantly borne in mind. Here, as elsewhere,
words must be used carefully, lest people be misled.
It might be suggested that because of the widely
varying meanings attached to the word "conspiracy," it ought to be avoided. Such a suggestion, however, raises another
objection-- the search for euphemistic variations can lead to a lack of candor. There is virtue in seeing something for what
it is, even if the plain truth causes discomfort.]
A conspiracy cannot be said to have existed in Dealey Plaza unless evidence exists from which, in Justice
Holmes' words, a "partnership in criminal purposes" may be inferred. The Warren Commission's conclusion that
Lee Harvey Oswald was not involved in a conspiracy to assassinate the President was, for example, largely
based on its findings of the absence of evidence of significant association (2) between Oswald and other
possible conspirators and no physical evidence of conspiracy.(3) The Commission reasoned, quite rightly, that