Immortalised by the Oliver Stone film, JFK, Garrison and his investigation will be seen as a turning point for the pro- as well as anti-conspiracists. Arguably, Stone turned a fascinating story of Garrison's battles with various forces in his attempt to bring some justice to the Kennedy assassination, into a tirade of theories, which to so many unfamiliar with the subject, were too difficult to digest. Thereafter, Garrison and Stone have become tarred with the same brush of conspiracy obsession.
Unfortunately, much of this ill-informed discrediting over-shadowed and distracted from the achievements of Garrison’s investigation. Indeed, it is self-evident, that those who support the traditional theories, and the Warren Commission in particular, find their most successful strategies in discrediting the conspiracy theorists themselves, rather than their conspiracy theories. There is so much evidence of this in Garrison’s story.
Garrison did however open up much of the investigation, establishing the link with Guy Bannister, David Ferrie and of course, Clay Shaw, who did later admit to being a CIA agent. Garrison uncovered many aspects of the conspiracy and revealed many gaping holes in the Warren Commission. What he failed in was the management and control of the media and authorities. He allowed penetration of his investigative team, he opened his findings prematurely and attacked powerful men like Shaw without any careful thought of his strategy. He laid himself open to being discredited, which he was repeatedly, even to the extent of being prosecuted for intimidating witnesses.
His prosecution of Clay Shaw was a failure in the end, but he did make significant progress in the knowledge base in the assassination and there is no doubt, he acted as a patriot in respect of and concern for his country.