Posted by: Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr. | 23 April 2018

Enquiring Minds Now Know

Well, here is some interesting news — and keep reading to find the kicker down near the end.

I was recently told that a mass-circulation, national publication was going to carry a story on The Raleigh Call, the small part of the much larger JFK assassination mystery which I have been researching for almost 40 years.

[If “The Raleigh Call” does not ring any bells with you, I have placed a small addendum at the bottom of this essay which will give the bare bones, introductory facts. But meanwhile, back to the “interesting news”…]

Not only did I find out about the forthcoming article, I was told that my research, publications, and lectures were to serve as the basis for it! Seriously??

Stephen Jaffe

Author, researcher Stephen Jaffe

And, as if all of that still weren’t enough, its author is Stephen Jaffe, a highly respected assassination expert — and, as it turned out, a very nice guy.

Jaffe is the last surviving member of the investigative team pulled together by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison to research the assassination. He also worked with attorney and author Mark Lane for many years on Lane’s myriad research topics, and he can be seen as narrator of key parts of Citizen Lane, Pauley Perrette’s engaging biographical documentary film about (and homage to) Lane.

I had the pleasure of getting to know Jaffe by email, text, and phone in the last weeks (as he consulted me for facts, additions, and corrections), while he was putting the finishing touches on the article. He has become quite fascinated by the events and implications of the Raleigh Call (I certainly understand that!), and he told me he was planning to devote an entire chapter to the Call in the book that he is now writing.

How unbelievable and humbling is all that, I ask you?! I certainly never expected this kind of attention for my work.

Ready for it?? Here it comes…

“So, Steve,” I asked him early on, “in what publication is this article going to appear?”

“Oh! Didn’t I say? It’ll be in the National Enquirer.”

Say what?

(In case you didn’t pick up on it, that was the “kicker” I promised at the beginning of this essay.)

And, sure enough, Jaffe’s “enquiring minds” article hit the grocery store shelves this past Friday, and will stay there until April 27. (It’s the issue, dated April 30, with the splashy cover headline: The Woman Who Destroyed Matt Lauer! … sigh!)

Seriously, though, you should allow no prejudice against Jaffe’s new article, or the recent series of articles he has written, based on any feelings you may have about the publication in which they have appeared. Jaffe demanded total content control as a non-negotiable prerequisite of his agreeing to write JFK assassination articles for the Enquirer. And because they really wanted to publish him based on his long and deep research experience, they granted him that. I went back and read Jaffe’s previous articles for the Enquirer, and I found them highly probing, concise, very well written, and welcome additions to the collective body of research.

While Jaffe maintains complete textual control over his articles, he has zero say about the headlines and cover copy. As a result of that and the time deadline and space restrictions imposed by the Enquirer, a couple of errors slipped in unawares. The main error is found in both of the two headlines (on the cover and over the article). “JFK Murder Sensation: Oswald made jailhouse phone call to CIA agent!” If you read Jaffe’s article, you’ll see that the person whom Lee Oswald attempted to call was not CIA, but rather a former Special Agent for U.S. Army Counterintelligence. I think that’s explosive and provocative enough — but I suppose the magazine’s editorial staff thought “CIA” sounded sexier and perhaps more sinister. Even with this, and one or two other small glitches, Jaffe has written a very good piece, and he proved once again what a dedicated truth-seeker and accomplished writer he is.

Anyway… getting back to this ol’ Southern boy — Who’da thought any of this would happen?! Certainly not me.



National Enquirer logo and headline

The Raleigh Call article by Stephen Jaffe


What Was The Raleigh Call?

A brief excerpt from

The Raleigh Call and the Fingerprints of Intelligence


         The story presented here takes place in the Dallas jail, 34 hours after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
         It’s Saturday night, November 23, 1963, in the Dallas jail, sometime before 10:00 p.m. Though of course he cannot know it, Lee Oswald has only 12 hours left to live. Around this time, he lets it be known that he wishes to make at least one telephone call. That request set in motion the following train of events.
         Between 10:15 and 10:35 p.m., 43-year-old telephone switchboard operator Alveeta Cave Treon arrived at work on the fifth floor of the Dallas Municipal Building, to begin her 11-to-7 shift. She came in well before her shift began in order to relieve one of the operators who had previously asked to leave early that night. Seated near one end of the ten-position switchboard was another operator, Louise Swinney, and Mrs. Treon took a position near the other end, leaving about four to six seats separating them.
         The following narrative is told from the perspective of, and uses quotes from the testimony by, Mrs. Treon (1920-1999).
         As soon as Mrs. Treon sat down to begin work, Mrs. Swinney told her there would be two men — “I am not sure if she said Secret Service, homicide, or what” — coming to the switchboard room to listen into a call. “They had told her that they would be taking Lee Harvey Oswald to a telephone to let him make a call.” Mrs. Swinney made it quite clear that their superiors had sent instructions for them to cooperate with the men.
         About 10 minutes later, said Mrs. Treon, “a knock came to the door, which is kept locked at night for security purposes. Mrs. Swinney, who was closest to the door, went and unlocked it. Two men identified themselves to her, I think by showing their identification cards. I didn’t remember what they said but I assumed they were the expected law enforcement men. They entered the room and immediately went to the equipment room.”
         As they were the only two operators at the board at that time, Mrs. Treon said she knew that either she or Mrs. Swinney would handle Lee Oswald’s call when it came through.
Lee Oswald in the Dallas jail          “A few minutes after the men went into the private room, a red light came up on the board showing a call from the jail. Mrs. Swinney and I both plugged in simultaneously to take it.” Mrs. Treon was the first to say “Number, please,” but it was Mrs. Swinney who took charge of the call. “[I] let her handle it alone,” Mrs. Treon said later. “I did not unplug. I quit trying to handle the call and let her, but I stayed plugged in with my key open.” This meant that Mrs. Treon could hear everything that was being said to Mrs. Swinney by Lee Oswald.
         Mrs. Treon’s 20-year-old daughter, Sharon — who also worked for the Dallas Police Department, as a records stenographer in the Records Office — had come in to visit with her mother that night, and was sitting in a chair a few feet away from the switchboard. Sharon asked her mother, if it worked out that she handled Lee Oswald’s call, “to make a memorandum of it — a copy of the original ticket — as a souvenir.” When it was clear that Mrs. Swinney was taking the call, Mrs. Treon sat back and listened.
         ‘I Was Dumbfounded.’   Mrs. Treon continued: “I heard her repeat a number to the caller and saw her write down details on a notation pad, which is normal routine. She then closed the key so no one on the line could hear her, then called the two men in the room on a line and said that Oswald was personally placing his call.”
         “I listened and watched very carefully for Mrs. Swinney to place the call with the long distance operator. She appeared very nervous and visibly shaken. For a few minutes she just sat there trembling.” Mrs. Treon would later comment that she understood Mrs. Swinney’s nerves. “I continued watching and listening but she did not place the call.” Because Mrs. Swinney’s key was closed, it was not possible for Oswald or the men in the equipment room to know what was happening, nor whether she had placed the call that Oswald had requested.
         “I was dumbfounded at what happened next. Mrs. Swinney opened the key to Oswald and told him, ‘I am sorry the number doesn’t answer.’ I am pretty certain she said number and not numbers. She then unplugged and disconnected Oswald. Immediately, then, the two men in the equipment room came out, thanked us for our cooperation and left.”
         Mrs. Treon would later say that her “lasting impression of the events that night is that Mrs. Swinney had been instructed by someone to not put the call through to Oswald.” That belief was strengthened, she said, “by the fact that Mrs. Swinney did not leave work as soon as Mrs. Treon came on that night as she usually did. Instead she remained as though she had been assigned to handle the call.”
         In 1978, Captain Will Fritz of the Dallas Police Department was asked by a Congressional investigator if he remembered sending any of his homicide detectives to the Switchboard room to monitor Oswald’s calls. Captain Fritz said he did not remember giving those orders, “but he stated that it still could have happened.” He further noted that Dallas Jail records “show nothing relating to a call from Oswald to John Hurt,” but that would be consistent with the fact that the call was never attempted, and Mrs. Swinney made no official record of Oswald’s request.
         The LD Call Slip.   In 1963, switchboard operators who placed Long Distance (LD) calls for people from inside the jail were required to fill out an LD ticket and turn it in for accounting purposes. However, such tickets were not required to be turned in for long distance calls that did not go through. Mrs. Treon was later asked if she knew what Mrs. Swinney did with the LD ticket she had begun to fill out, but she said he had no idea what had become of that ticket, though the normal thing would have been for her to throw it in the trash.
         However, because she had kept her key open when Mrs. Swinney was talking with Oswald, Mrs. Treon heard and made notes of all the information he had given concerning the call he wished to place. Surell Brady, a Senior Staff Counsel for the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), summarized Mrs. Treon’s version of events this way:

Mrs. Treon stayed on the line. She said she was therefore able to hear everything Oswald said and she is sure he asked for the name John Hurt and gave the two numbers. She said that as she listened she wrote the information down on a regular telephone call slip. However, since Mrs. Swinney actually handled the call, Mrs. Treon signed her [Mrs. Swinney’s] name to the slip she intended to keep as a souvenir. She said the notations on the slip of “DA” and “CA” stand for did not answer and cancelled, because the call was never actually put through. Mrs. Treon said she never retrieved any paper from the wastebasket on which Mrs. Swinney supposedly entered the information.

The Raleigh Call LD phone slip
         Had Mrs. Treon not kept the LD call slip that she filled out as a souvenir, this story would be no more than the most minor of footnotes in the tragedy of the Kennedy Assassination. However, years later, when the identity became known of the man to whom Oswald was trying to place a call, its significance would rise to the “very troublesome” and “deeply disturbing” levels ascribed to it by HSCA Chief Counsel Blakey.

* * * * * * *

To read more about the man in Raleigh, NC that Lee Oswald was trying to call, as well as the implications for this man having been a former Special Army Counterintelligence Agent, you are invited to read the entirety of The Raleigh Call and the Fingerprints of Intelligence by clicking here.






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