For some reason, Wim Dankbaar has posted the full 2003 interview with confessed “grassy knoll shooter” James Files on his YouTube channel. In poring over both the 2003 interview and the portion of Files’ videotaped 1994 interview (both included above), as well as through reading the entire transcript of both Files interviews in Dankbaar’s book, “Files on JFK”, I managed to find some inconsistencies between Files’ 1994 and 2003 confessions which would seem to require an explanation.
Basically, the discrepancies center around one major theme – the involvement of the CIA and more specifically agent David Atlee Phillips. In the 2003 confession, Files stated that, upon arriving at a motel in Mesquite, TX, roughly one week before the assassination, he made two calls – one to Charles Nicoletti and one to Phillips, who he claims was his “controller”. In the 1994 confession, Files states that he made only one call to Nicoletti and never mentions a second call to Phillips.
In both the 1994 and 2003 interviews, Files stated that, on the morning of November 22nd, Nicoletti asked him to be his backup shooter. In the 1994 version Files accepted the offer while merely stating to Nicoletti how honored he would be to back him up. However, in the 2003 version, an entirely new dimension was added to the story. The latter version has Files exclaiming “What about Johnny?[Roselli – also in Dallas that day, according to Files]”, after which Nicoletti explains to him that Roselli had been instructed by the CIA to abort the assassination and was therefore reluctant to be a shooter.
In both 1994 and 2003 Files claims that another party other than himself or Oswald was responsible for killing police officer J.D. Tippit, and that this party was actually trying to kill Oswald when Tippit stopped him. However, in the 2003 version, he claims that it was he, Files, who was responsible for the man having been sent to kill Oswald in the first place.
In 1994, Files claimed that Nicoletti had sent Oswald to Files’ motel in Mesquite to show him the area and to give him any general assistance he might need. In 2003, on the other hand, Files claimed Nicoletti had no idea who Oswald was, and that it was Phillips who had sent Oswald to Files’ motel after Files made that second phone call to Phillips on the night he arrived in Dallas. Files claimed in the later interview that he had to explain to Nicoletti on November 22nd who Oswald was, and that the fact that Oswald was a link back to Files who was a link back to Nicoletti made Oswald a serious problem for both of them. It was after that conversation that Files claims Nicoletti in all probability contacted Sam Giancana, who probably contacted David Phillips, who sent the third party to kill Oswald. The third party then ended up “burning a cop” (J.D. Tippit) after he “missed” getting Oswald.
So why was all of this detailed in the latter confession but not in the 1994 confession? Is Files embellishing his story as time goes on? One huge difference I noticed between the two confessions is the demeanor of Files himself. In 1994, he is nervous, defensive, reticent. In 2003, he’s relaxed and at peace. Could it merely be that in 1994 Files was more inclined to minimize evidence of the CIA’s direct involvement in the assassination just to save his own skin? By 2003 he seemed to have figured out that if someone was going to ice him for what he was revealing, they would have done it already. Maybe that’s why he opened up with more specific details relating to David Phillips, the CIA, and their involvement in the hit on JFK.
It’s really up to each individual viewer to decide for himself whether Files is adding embellishments over the years to a tall tale or whether the differences in the two accounts is attributable to Files being less fearful of revealing secrets as time goes by. If you examine the more mundane details of his confessions, you’ll find that they are remarkably consistent, down to the 1963 burgundy Chevrolet he drove down to Dallas and the pancake house he had breakfast in. I haven’t seen any explanation from Dankbaar or from Files himself of the discrepancies I’ve pointed out in Files’ accounts. Perhaps someone can comment with relevant information.