Still, he continues his quest. It’s the “morally correct thing to do. I always wanted to make a contribution,” he says.
When asked why he cares so keenly about this issue, why he’s devoted so much time and money to something most people just shrug away with a rueful frown, his normally even-keeled voice rises considerably. “Because it changed the course of history. The last 43 years! There would have been no Vietnam war, where 57,000 Americans died and 300,000 were injured, including my brother. Two million Vietnamese. Nixon wouldn’t have been president. There wouldn’t have been any Bushes. There wouldn’t have been an Iraq War. It’s a matter of integrity. I think the American people, once they learn the truth, will take a big broom and clean house.”
Birth of an obsession
Paul Kuntzler became president of Miller Reporting Co. in 2004. Founded in 1960, and bought in 1980 by Kuntzler’s late partner, Stephen Miller, it is one of the largest court-reporting and transcription services in the world, stenotyping congressional testimony and the proceedings of other high-profile federal agencies.
In 1998, the company transcribed the records of the Assassination Records Review Board, which served as a dragnet for the gathering and release of government records concerning the JFK assassination. It was Kuntzler’s work on this project that, in part, turned what had been a subject of keen curiosity into a near obsession.
And it’s on Miller Reporting letterhead that Kuntzler writes most of his letters to the editors and publishers at the New York Times and the Washington Post. (According to a July article in the Washington Times, Kuntzler racked up nearly $25,000 on his corporate credit card in relation to a Kennedy-assassination roundtable that he sponsored this spring at the famous Willard Hotel, in Washington.)
Two days after I began reporting this story, I received a large box weighing 10 or 12 pounds, mailed from Kuntzler’s office. In it was a folder the size of a small phone book, stuffed with his correspondence with the brass at the Times and the Post. There was a copy of Jim Marrs’s hefty tome Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy, a primary source for Oliver Stone’s film JFK; a dog-eared and marked-up copy of Dr. Charles Crenshaw’s JFK: A Conspiracy of Silence (Crenshaw, an emergency-room doctor at Parkland Memorial Hospital, treated President Kennedy’s wounds); and Gerald Posner’s anti-conspiracy work Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK.
There were also six VHS volumes of The Men Who Killed Kennedy, an incendiary British documentary series that began airing on A&E in 1988; a DVD of fresh footage from Dallas’s WFAA-TV, called JFK: The Story Behind the Story; and some crumbling, yellowing newspapers, one of them the November 23, 1963 issue of the New York Times, screaming: KENNEDY IS KILLED BY SNIPER AS HE RIDES IN CAR IN DALLAS; JOHNSON SWORN IN ON PLANE.
The package contained another issue of the Times, this one dated November 25, 1963, the day after Jack Ruby pumped Lee Harvey Oswald’s stomach with a hot .38 slug. PRESIDENT’S ASSASSIN IS SHOT TO DEATH IN CORRIDOR OF JAIL BY A CITIZEN OF DALLAS: KENNEDY ADMIRER FIRES ONE BULLET, the headline reads. President’s assassin. Not “alleged” assassin, or “accused” assassin. Less than 72 hours after John F. Kennedy was killed, the Times was already sure of its man. Maybe Kuntzler is on to something when he accuses the Gray Lady of whitewashing the truth.