Serial 174

United States Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Memorandum
Date: 11/20/78
To: Mr, Moore
From: James O. Ingram

Subject: UNSUB; LEO J. RYAN
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE
STATE OF CALIFORNIA – VICTIM;
CONGRESSIONAL ASSASSINATION

On 11/20/78 Assistant Director Moore and I met with Associate Director Adams and reviewed this matter. Mr. Adams stated that he had reviewed in detail the Congressional Assassination, Kidnaping and Assault Statutes, as well as the Department’s analysis of this Statute as set forth in their letter 2/21/71. The Departmental letter sets forth, “The Statute contains no express territorial limitation and relates to activities which directly tend to impair the functioning of an institution vital to the Nation’s Government, we conclude that the Statute has full extra territorial application.” He asked if I had been in touch with Mr. Keuch and I advised that I have attempted to contact Mr. Keuch but he was not expected in his office until 9:00 a.m., on 11/20, and I left a message to have him returned my call. Mr. Adams indicated that he had asked our Legal Counsel for an interpretation and their interpretation is that we do have investigative jurisdiction under the Congressional Assassination Statute.

It was agreed that this matter would be made a Bureau Special; that Deputy Assistant Director Ingram would be in charge and we would send an SAC [Special Agent in Charge] along with the Legal Attaches to be in charge of our handling of requests for investigation from the Guyana Government. It is noted that the State Department had again requested that the FBI said Agents to Guyana.

JOI:emb (2)

CONTINUED – OVER

Memorandum for Mr. Moore
Subject: UNSUB; LEO J. RYAN
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE
STATE OF CALIFORNIA – VICTIM

[Deleted name], Legal Counsel, advised that based upon his review, the FBI has jurisdiction in this case.

I contacted Mr. Keuch and related to him that the FBI felt they had jurisdiction under the Congressional Assassination Statute – Conspiracy and read portions of the Departmental Letter dated 2/21/71. Keuch indicated he was not familiar with the letter but he had assigned Section Chief Al Hantman of the Criminal Division to handle this matter.

I contacted Hantman and he was unaware of the Departmental interpretation. I read portions and he asked who signed it and I told him I understood Will Wilson of the Department. He said they would review this and let us know. I informed Hantman that based upon our interpretation we are proceeding with our investigation under the Congressional Assassination Statute and making it a Bureau Special. Based upon the request of the Guyana Government and State Department and the fact they had no objections we are sending agents to handle any appropriate witnesses under the Foreign Police Cooperation Statute. Hantman said he would be back in touch. I assigned Supervisor [deleted name] to follow this with the Department.

Mr. Adams also advised me that he had discussed with the Director the offering of the FBI’s Disaster Squad to go to Guyana.

On 11/20/78 DAD [Deputy Assistant Director] Ingram telephonically contacted Dr. Robert McMeekin and Captain Robert Thompson of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), and inquired if they would be available to handle an autopsy on Dr. Ryan for the FBI and the cost reimbursable basis based upon our agreement with them. Both indicated they were available and they would send out a three-man team – two pathologists and one photographer. I told them I would be back in contact with them.

On 11/20/78 I contacted Deputy Assistant Secretary of State John Bushnell, 632-9380, who is in charge of the U.S. State Department’s handling of the Guyana situation. I informed him that the Director of the FBI had offered the FBI’s Disaster Squad to send to Guyana if needed. Bushnell stated that the U.S. Government is sending

CONTINUED – OVER

Memorandum for Mr. Moore
Subject: UNSUB; LEO J. RYAN
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE
STATE OF CALIFORNIA – VICTIM

in the Department of Defense Graves Disaster Squad, a 29 member squad, and they would handle identification. I again reminded him that in the event the Guyana Government desired the utilization of the FBI Disaster Squad they were available.

Bushnell advised that at request of Guyana Government and State Department the FBI can send its Legal Attaches and investigators. He was told the FBI at this time could send its two Legal Attaches from Caracas and five other employees commanded by SAC Bill D. Williams from Miami to Guyana. Bushnell stated this was good because they needed some investigators along the border of Guyana to intercept fleeing PT members.

Mr. Bushnell was told this would not be their purpose. These individuals were going to Guyana to work with that government in coordinating leads of that government to be handled in the United States by the FBI and to handle along with those authorities any interviews of witnesses of the murders. We would not act as guards, etc., but strictly on investigations in the country. He agreed and stated that he was so inform John Burke, the Ambassador to Guyana. I asked him about the autopsy and that we would have AFIP handle and Bushnell stated that a pathologist from an American military post, not recalled, was dispatched 11/19 and had performed an autopsy on Congressman Ryan. He said Congressman Ryan had been shot and then as he lay on the ground his head had been shot away. He said the pathologist’s report would be available; but he knows the pathologist had gone into the PT camp and would be unavailable for awhile.

Mr. Bushnell was advised that we had direct lines to their command post; direct lines to the Justice Department command post and the FBI had their command post open 24 hours to receive and dispatch any pertinent information.

Dr. McMeekin and Dr. Thompson, AFIP, were contacted and told that the State Department had an American military pathologist conduct an autopsy on Ryan and the State Department had assured us it was not necessary that the FBI conduct an autopsy.

Originally posted on May 21st, 2018.

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