Former Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura writes in American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies, and More Dirty Lies That the Government Tells Us:

There are two official government reports on the assassination of President Kennedy, and they directly contradict each other. [...] The second was a report fifteen years later by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, concluding that JFK was "probably" eliminated as part of a conspiracy.

Is that an accurate summary of the report by the House Select Committee on Assassinations?

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    I don't have the time to dig into this, but I have a feeling Gov. Ventura's confusion is being caused by the fact that the term "conspiracy" has multiple different definitions. The House Select Committee's definition is most likely the legal one, aka "two or more people acting in concert to commit a crime" whereas Gov. Ventura is using the "US Govt. did it" definition of conspiracy
    – DenisS
    Oct 26, 2020 at 13:07
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    If you want real conspiracy, read about his brother's assassination.
    – paulj
    Oct 28, 2020 at 18:37
  • @OscarBravo "clearly" does not follow from "only plausible."
    – phoog
    Oct 29, 2020 at 23:21
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    @DenisS Well given the official account is that Oswald acted alone, that they did come to the conclusion that it was a conspiracy is remarkable. I very much doubt he's confused about this fact. This is a site supposedly for skeptics, and I still have to point this out. Oct 30, 2020 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


You can read the report of the committee for yourself.

In the summary of findings we do read that

Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy. Other scientific evidence does not preclude the possibility of two gunmen firing at the President.

Based on this they state

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.

However all it means by that is that they believed more than one gunman was involved. (Two people getting together to commit a crime is automatically a 'conspiracy' in law.) The report summary states explicitly that the main organizations accused of conspiring to kill Kennedy were not involved. This includes the Soviet government, the Cuban government, anti-Castro Cuban groups, the Mafia, the Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency.

With regard to the Warren Commission, the report states:

The Warren Commission conducted a thorough and professional investigation into the responsibility of Lee Harvey Oswald for the assassination. The Warren Commission failed to investigate adequately the possibility of a conspiracy to assassinate the President. This deficiency was attributable in part to the failure of the Commission to receive all the relevant information that was in the possession of other agencies and departments of the Government. The Warren Commission arrived at its conclusions, based on the evidence available to it, in good faith.

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    "The report states explicitly that the main organizations accused of conspiring to kill Kennedy were not involved." I think it would be very good for this answer to quote that part(s), since that's exactly the implication the claim makes.
    – user11643
    Oct 26, 2020 at 14:26
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    @Caleth yes, a conspiracy could also comprise non-shooter co-conspirators, so the existence of a conspiracy would not imply multiple shooters. But the point is that the existence of a second shooter does imply a conspiracy, even if there were only the two shooters with nobody else involved. The first two quotes in this answer, taken by themselves without further context, imply nothing more than the probable existence of a second shooter. I haven't read the report, so I don't know whether this answer mischaracterizes it, but knowing DJClayworth's contributions, I doubt that it does.
    – phoog
    Oct 26, 2020 at 20:33
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    Slight nitpick, but it doesn't say as a finding of fact that they were not involved, it says "The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it" that they were not involved. This language appears to be deliberate, as it's only used for that section of the summary.
    – Wossname
    Oct 27, 2020 at 1:34
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    Committees especially legal ones tend to state their conclusions "based on the evidence available " because that's all they can do. It's an admission that if other evidence were to show up they might have to change their conclusion. Oct 27, 2020 at 2:52
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    "But the point is that the existence of a second shooter does imply a conspiracy," Either that, or that JFK was unlucky enough that two different people independently decided to try to kill him at the same place and time.
    – nick012000
    Oct 27, 2020 at 8:00

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