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MATT LABASH WAS apparently so busy looking for clothing and hairstyles he could ridicule that he was at a near-total loss in understanding—and reporting responsibly on—the significance of the recent conference of the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA) held in Washington (“Oswald’s Ghosts,” The District Line, 10/27).
For those of your readers who may be interested, COPA is, first and foremost, devoted to government accountability. Naturally, there is interest in whodunit, but there is also widespread understanding that it is premature to draw conclusions while lots of information about the case is still withheld by our government.
Thanks to the efforts of COPA organizers, some of its members, and lots of other concerned citizens, we have an unprecedented law (the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act) requiring government agencies to release to the public files that have been kept secret for years. We are in the middle of that process now, and a central focus of the conference was to update members and interested persons about what has been learned from releases to date. It is unfortunate, therefore, that Labash contented himself with critiquing style and sounding out a few disaffected attendees, and made little effort to report on conference highlights.
If there had been the same press interest in the Kennedy assassination that there was in Watergate, the case might have been cracked years ago. It’s probably too late for good investigative reporting to crack the case now, after 32 years. But it is definitely not too late for responsible journalists to report to the American people on the significance of newly released information that our government has withheld from us for years.