Serial 1681-33

[Editor’s note: One of the subjects of this serial whose name is deleted is San Francisco Examiner reporter Tim Reiterman. In addition, much of the information deleted in this portion of the FBI report was revealed in the previous section. The deleted information from the memorandum – designated by brackets – which is known to the editor has been indicated by red type.]

[This section of Serial 1681 covers pages 412-416 of the FBI Report of January 12, 1979.]

FD-302

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Date of transcription 12/13/78

[Two lines deleted related to identification of Tim Reiterman] was interviewed in the San Francisco Office of the FBI in the presence of [several names deleted]. He was advised of the official identity of the interviewing agents and stated that he wished to be interviewed regarding the incidents surrounding the missing film from the camera of San Francisco Examiner photographer, Greg Robinson. He advised as follows:

On Saturday, November 18, 1978, after the attack on Congressman Leo J. Ryan, [Reiterman] ran into the jungle adjoining the airstrip. [Reiterman] had been wounded during the attack and hid in the jungle for approximately five minutes. After the tractor on which the gunmen were riding had departed the airstrip, he came out of the jungle. He first observed the body of Congressman Leo J. Ryan and was informed that Ryan was dead. He then observed the body of Don Harris and was informed that Harris was dead. He inquired about Greg Robinson, saw Greg’s body on the ground and verified that Robinson was dead. [Reiterman] then noticed that the camera strap on Robinson’s camera had been cut, but he was uncertain if the strap had been cut by bullets or by a knife. However, both of Robinson’s cameras were still with him on the ground.

[Reiterman] then assisted others in carrying the injured off of the field into tall grass adjoining the airstrip. He noticed that Guyanese men, women and children were gathered at the end of the airstrip. All of a sudden, the Guyanese people began to run off the airstrip and [Reiterman] heard someone shout that the attackers were returning.

[Line deleted] then ran into the jungle and remained there for 30 to 45 minutes. As they were making their way back to the airstrip, they heard an engine and saw an airplane taking off. Afraid that they were being left behind, they made their way quickly to the airstrip. They observed that several members of their party were on the airstrip, along with many Guyanese citizens. The Guyanese were walking around the site of the attack and looking at bodies. It is unknown whether any items were taken from the bodies.

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Personal belongings from the dead, injured and survivors were moved close to a metal check on the airstrip. [Reiterman] recalled seeing Robinson’s camera case among the belongings which were placed outside the shack, but it is unknown which and how many cameras were inside the case. It is noted that the case can hold the three cameras that Robinson had with him on the Guyana trip. At the time of attack Robinson was wearing his two Canon cameras, the Nikon had been put into the case earlier.

The Guyanese citizens then offered their assistance to the survivors and found shelter for the survivors in a disco in nearby Port Kituma [Kaituma]. [Reiterman] carried Robinson’s camera case to the disco and placed the case directly under his seat on the bench. Sometime later in the evening, [two names deleted, including Reiterman, also likely including Carol Boyd] left the disco and returned to the airstrip to attend to the injured members of their party. These injured members had been placed inside a tent on the airstrip, normally used by Guyanese soldiers. Before leaving the disco, [Reiterman] asked [Boyd] to watch Robinson’s bag, as it was located under this bench she was sitting on. When [Reiterman] returned from attending the wounded approximately one hour later, he noted that [Boyd] had changed seats and that the bag had been left unattended. He also noted that Guyanese citizens had remained in the disco, acting as security guards.

Upon his return to the disco, [Reiterman] removed Robinson’s bag from under the bench and took the bag with him to the rear of the disco. He did not sleep that evening and the bag was under his control for the remainder of the evening.

On Sunday morning, November 19, 1978, three or four Guyanese soldiers were sent to the disco to inform survivors that aircraft would be arriving at the airstrip to transport them out of the area. The survivors were then transported to the airstrip and [Reiterman] recalled taking Robinson’s bag with him. He was to be transported on the medical evacuation plane but, because [Boyd] did not wish to be left behind to wait on the arrival of the second aircraft, [Reiterman] gave his seat to [Boyd]. When the second aircraft arrived at the airstrip, he loaded Robinson’s case inside the airplane.

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Before the airplane was to take off, he decided to take photographs of the airstrip and the airplane that had been disabled during the attack on Congressman Ryan and others. At that point, he opened Robinson’s bag to secure a camera and observed that the two Canon cameras on top were both muddy and one of them was wet. However, the Nikon camera was not muddy and he used it to photograph the disabled plane. He noted that [Carol Boyd] remained inside the aircraft while [Reiterman] took photographs. [Reiterman] is uncertain whether or not he took Robinson’s bag with him while he was photographing the disabled aircraft.

He advised that Robinson’s bag remained within his sight on the flight to Georgetown, Guyana and in the subsequent search of luggage and belongings at the airport.

On the flight to Washington, DC, Robinson’s bag was out of his sight on three brief occasions:

When [Reiterman] left the bag to have his arm bandaged.

When [Reiterman] left his seat for approximately one minute to receive some type of injection.

When the plane stopped in Puerto Rico, he deplaned and telephoned his office.

When he returned to the plane, he tried unsuccessfully to open one of Robinson’s cameras. He was assisted by an Air Force man who was assigned to the flight as a photographer. This Air Force individual emptied the Nikon camera for him.

[Reiterman] discovered that one of Robinson’s Canon cameras had no film in it whatsoever. Film from the Nikon and one of the Canon cameras was removed from the cameras and placed in a compartment in Robinson’s bag, along with other rolls of film. It is unknown whether these other rolls were exposed or new film.

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Upon arrival in Washington, DC, [Reiterman] was met by [name deleted]. [Reiterman] gave [name deleted] seven rolls of film from a compartment in Robinson’s bag, which included the two rolls of exposed film that he had removed from Robinson’s cameras earlier. At the time, he assumed he had given [name deleted] all of the film in Robinson’s bag.

Upon arrival at the hospital, he placed Robinson’s bag inside a room with other survivors and left the room to call his office. [Reiterman] was placed in a hospital room and learned that the Air Force had inventoried Robinson’s bag. The inventory sheet was signed by Staff Sergeant Scoble and witnessed by Master Sergeant William Gardner, III, or William Gordon, III (signature illegible). The inventory sheet makes reference to “five rolls of film” and does not specify whether the film was exposed or not. In addition, the inventory sheet lists Robinson’s passport as being in the bag and the passport number is F230759H (or I). At this point, [Reiterman] learned that Robinson’s bag contained the additional five rolls of film reflected on the inventory sheet. [Reiterman] signed the inventory sheet in order to gain custody of Robinson’s belongings. At that point, Robinson’s belongings were brought into his hospital room and remained in his sight until [Reiterman] arrived in San Francisco on Wednesday, November 23, 1978.

Upon arrival in San Francisco on November 23, 1978, [Reiterman] asked [name deleted] to examine the contents of Robinson’s bag. [Name deleted] found the five rolls of film and it was determined that two roles have been exposed and contained shots of Georgetown.

[Reiterman] advised that he personally shot one roll of film in Guyana, which he gave to Robinson for safekeeping. This roll of film has not been found and he suspects that several rolls of film taken by Robinson are missing. He advised that Robinson used Ilford film, HP-5, ASA400. [Reiterman] examined photographs developed from film found on the body of a deceased person in Jonestown, Guyana, and he advised that none of these photographs appeared to have been taken by Robinson. Upon examination of the negatives from the photographs, it was determined that the film used was not the brand carried by Robinson.

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In [Reiterman’s] opinion, the greatest opportunity for theft of Robinson’s film would have existed on the airstrip after the attack on Ryan and others and when [Reiterman] was hospitalized at Andrews Air Force Base.

[Reiterman] also believed the film could have been taken from Robinson’s body by United States Air Force or by Guyanese having custody of the body. [Reiterman] stated that Robinson’s relatives had reported that Robinson’s money was missing when they received his personal effects and [Reiterman], for this reason, felt it possible that any film in his pockets might also have disappeared.

[Reiterman] believed that the missing film would have contained shots of the Jonestown, Guyana camp residence. He believed that Robinson’s photographs taken prior to the assault on Ryan at the airstrip had being all recovered in developed; however, is not certain what shots were on the missing film.

Originally posted on November 5th, 2017.

Last modified on June 24th, 2019.
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