Business as usual or meet the lone gunman(UA-66627984-1)

James W. Bookhout




James W  Bookhout was born August 16, 1914 in Dallas. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in the early 1930s and earned his law degree from Southern Methodist University in 1937.

James Bookhout

Later he served as an FBI Agent from 1942 – 1977. During those years he was in charge of the Major Case Unit.

He moved to Dallas in 1950  and helped solve countless bank robberies and worked behind the scenes on some of Dallas’  most shocking crimes.

Bookhout interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald shortly after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. He did this along with James Hosty in Captain Will Fritz’s office.  Bookhout was called in “to be the eyes and ears of the FBI,” according to his son.


James  Bookhout’s reports require a close examination. He co-writes his first one with James Hosty who sat in on the interrogations of LHO.

Page 2 of this report from Nov 23rd 1963 mentions the following: Oswald stated that he went to lunch at approximately noon and claimed he ate his lunch on the first floor in the lunch room; however he went to the  second floor where the coca cola machine is located and obtained a bottle of coca cola for his lunch. Oswald claimed to be on the first floor when President John F. Kennedy passed the building.

1968 newspaper clipping, thanks to Steve Roe.

James Bookhout (light suit and smoking a pipe). Pic Jim Murray-Black Star. ROKC Scan from the Richard E Sprague collection at the National Archives. Thanks to Denis Morissette for the ID.

But it is his second, solo, report he turns things around:

Oswald stated that on November 22, 1963, at the time of the search of the Texas School Book Depository building by Dallas police officers, he was on the second floor of said building, having just purchased a Coca-cola form the soft-drink machine, at which time a police officer came into the room with pistol drawn and asked him if he worked there. Mr. Truly was present and verified that he was an employee and the police officer thereafter left the room and continued through the building. Oswald stated that he took this Coke down to the first floor and stood around and had lunch in the employee’s lunch room. He thereafter went outside and stood around for five or ten minutes with foreman Bill Shelly.

This second report is obviously a falsification to support the so called second floor lunchroom encounter.


Bookhout in the back of the far right corner wearing dark rimmed glasses and with Winston Lawson of the Secret Service in front of him. Thanks to Denis Morissette.

Bookhout again in the top right corner behind Winston Lawson and Lt. T.L. Baker. Pic.: Fort Worth Star Telegram. Thanks to Steve Roe.


Thanks to Joseph Backes.

Thanks to Joseph Backes.

His Warren Commission testimony states what is common procedure by FBI agents that once the typed up report is sent off the original notes are destroyed.

After Oswald is blown away in the basement, Bookhout also gets a mention by L.G. Montgomery in Larry Sneed’s No More Silence: S.A. Bookhout asked me, “What did you do?” I told him, “You were right there, Bookhout. We handcuffed Oswald; we walked around to the elevator, got on the elevator to go down. Where’d you go? You were right there with us?” He got a little funny and said, “I walked back to the squad room and turned up the squawk box.” I said, “Why?” I don’t remember the exact wording of his response, but it was something to the effect–“to hear the shooting. Didn’t you know that the chief had received a call during the night that Oswald was going to be shot?” “Hell, no,” I said,“ I didn’t!” I was pretty angry at the time.
His whole response, I thought, was very odd.

He passed away in 2009.