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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. V - Page 451« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of James J. Rowley)

Mr. Rowley.
Yes; I was first informed while addressing a graduating class of our Secret Service school on that day. I was summoned by Mr. Behn to the White House, at which time he told me that the President had been shot. He was then at the hospital, and subsequently we were notified that the President had died; that the Vice President would take the oath of office in the airplane at Love Field.
In the meantime, I asked my deputy, who was in his office while I was at the White House, to arrange with the Immigration Service to close the border, Texas being in close proximity to the border. There might have been a conspiracy or something, we didn't want to take any chances. And then I immediately dispatched an inspector from my staff to the Capitol to protect the Speaker, and directed the other activities as we got the information from Dallas.
Mr. Rankin.
Did you learn in connection with the trip when the assassination occurred that certain of the Secret Service agents had been in the press club and what is called the Cellar, at Fort Worth, the night before?
Mr. Rowley.
Well, that came to my attention through a broadcast that Mr. Pearson made, that the agents were inebriated .the night before at the Fort Worth Press Club. I immediately dispatched Inspector McCann to Fort Worth to investigate the report, and to interview the agents.
Mr. Rankin.
What did you learn?
Mr. Rowley.
I learned that there were nine agents involved at the Press Club. And I might say this--the agents on duty throughout that day had no opportunity to eat. When they arrived at Fort Worth, they were informed that there was a buffet to be served at the Fort Worth Club. This is what I ascertained in personal interviews. Upon going over there, they leaned there was no buffet, and some of them stayed for a drink. Three, I think, had one scotch, and others had two or three beers. They were in and out--from the time they arrived, I would say roughly around 12:30, until the place closed at 2 o'clock.
Now, after that some of them went to the Cellar. This is a place that does not serve alcoholic beverages. They went there primarily, I think, out of curiosity, because this was some kind of a beatnik place where someone gets up and recites, or plays the guitar.
Mr. Rankin.
Did you learn whether or not there were any violations of the regulations of the Secret Service by these men?
Mr. Rowley.
Yes; there was a violation. At that time there was a section in our manual in effect that said that during----
Mr. Rankin.
Will you give us first the number?
Mr. Rowley.
Section 10.
Mr. Rankin.
Is that chapter 1, page 7?
Mr. Rowley.
Chapter 1, page 7; yes, sir.
Mr. Rankin.
Now, will you tell the Commission about what the regulation was?
Mr. Rowley.
"The use of liquor. Employees are strictly enjoined to refrain from the use of intoxicating liquor during the hours they are officially employed at their post of duty or when they may reasonably expect that they may be called upon to perform an official duty."
The one that applies here--"However, all members of the White House detail and special agents cooperating with them on presidential and similar protective assignments are considered to be subject to call for official duty at any time while in travel status. Therefore, the use of intoxicating liquor of any kind, including beer and wine, by members of the White House detail and special agents cooperating with them or by special agents on similar assignments, while they are in a travel status, is prohibited."
Mr. Rankin.
Can you tell the Commission how many men were involved in these trips to the Press Club and the Cellar, where these things were done?
Mr. Rowley.
There were 9 men involved at the Press Club, and there were 10 men involved at the Cellar.
Mr. Rankin.
Now, how many men, of those 10 men, were in the Presidential motorcade on the day of the assassination?
Mr. Rowley.
Four--four men were in the followup car.
The Chairman.
Who were they?
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