Did Bobby Kennedy think Fidel Castro was behind JFK’s assassination?

No, he did not. Robert F. Kennedy suspected organized crime and CIA-backed Cuban exiles might have been complicit in his brother’s death. He did not suspect the Cuban communist leader.

Phil Shenon

Phil Shenon,

Politico propagated this mistake in Philip Shenon’s recent piece about the CIA’s JFK coverup. “Robert Kennedy’s friends and family acknowledged years later that he never stopped fearing that Castro was behind his brother’s death,” Shenon wrote.

I never heard that so I asked David Talbot, author of Brothers, an investigation of what RFK thought of his brother’s death. He replied via email.

“Phil Shenon continues to recycle the myth — long propagated in CIA circles — that Fidel Castro was behind the JFK assassination. He now adds another piece of disinformation, asserting that Robert Kennedy also fell for this CIA propaganda line. This is completely false. I interviewed over 150 close friends, colleagues and family members of Bobby Kennedy, including Kennedy administration officials and insiders, for my book, “Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years.” NONE of them indicated to me that Castro was among Bobby’s leading suspects in the assassination of his brother.”
David Talbot

David Talbot

“Instead, they said that  RFK immediately focused on the CIA and its ANTI-Castro operation as the source of the plot against President Kennedy. My sources included close advisors of Bobby Kennedy like Adam Walinsky, Frank Mankiewicz, Ed Guthman, Richard Goodwin — as well as assassination researchers with whom Bobby Kennedy met during his secret search for the truth. I also interviewed the widow and close associates of Walter Sheridan, Bobby Kennedy’s top investigator ever since his days as the chief of the 1950s Senate rackets probe. Who are Shenon’s sources?

“RFK was fully aware of how politically explosive his search for the truth about Dallas was, considering the enormous power wielded by the U.S. security forces that he suspected, and the criminal underworld elements with whom they were aligned. So he was very careful in his public remarks about the Warren Report, which he privately considered a whitewash. It is clear from my research that Bobby Kennedy was biding his time until he could return to the White House, at which point he planned to use the full powers of the executive branch to track down those in Washington who were responsible for murdering his brother.”

 

15 comments

  1. Ronnie Wayne says:

    JMHO, RFK knew what happened immediately. Maybe not who pulled the triggers but who was responsible. His own later considered response to expose it was Heroic but Deadly.

  2. william rubenstein says:

    In lengthy conversations with John Seigenthaler, Ed Guthman, Frank Mankiewicz, and others, I never got the impression that RFK suspected Castro. And Dick Goodwin makes clear that the only people RFK suspected were “those guys in New Orleans,” presumably meaning anti-Castro hit men ostensibly working for CIA, and therefore at least supposedly under Kennedy’s own control. but probably secretly run instead by Angleton, Helms, Hunt, Phillips (and maybe Harvey). The CIA Inspector General’s report of 1967 is worth looking into on this subject.

  3. John Platko says:

    It seems to me that, right from the beginning, RFK did as much as anybody to limit the investigation into his brothers death.
    From interfering with the autopsy and the Katzenbach letter right up to using his power to discredit Garrison. And Teddy followed his lead in doing the same.

    And it certainly makes no sense to think that RFK was so afraid of the power of the people he thought was involved in killing his brother that he didn’t want to investigate them but instead ran for president, unafraid of that same power.

  4. PKM says:

    If you haven’t already read “Brothers” by David Talbot, do so immediately. That way you can finish it before reading the soon-to-be-released biography by Talbot “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government.”

  5. Photon says:

    Well, you had better look at what personal friend and advisor Arthur Schlesinger stated-that RFK blamed himself precisely because he thought that the Castro attempts prompted a response and that Oswald could have been the agent of that response.
    Nowhere is there any evidence that RFK did not think that Oswald was the only shooter-why not bring that up?
    These claims 45 years after RFK’s death seem based on flimsy speculation, unsupported claims and biased interpretation of second and even third hand testimony .
    Frank Mankiewicz was always a conspiracy supporter. How really close was he to RFK to know what his personal thoughts were? Sheridan’s widow? Didn’t RFK send him down to N. O. verfy that Garrison’s investigation was nothing but a sham by a publicity-hunting phony? Sheridan’s actions would be a better guide to how he and RFK felt about conspiracies, rather that a widow’s recollections a half-century later.
    In the end, what does it matter? Does these opinions of what Bobby really thought change the physical,ballistic and medical evidence in the case? No.
    Actions speak louder than words. RFK had four and a half years as Attorney General and Senator to launch an investigation at a time when nobody could have refused that request. Actually he did not ever ask for more investigation. The most logical reason why he didn’t was to protect the reputation of his brother.One, to avoid any investigation into JFK’s personal life. Two, to obscure the fact that the JFK administration was running ” a Murder,Inc. in the Caribbean “- a policy so sensitive that even JFK’s Vice-President was not aware of it.
    If Johnson thought that Castro got to JFK before Kennedy got to him, why wouldn’t the much more intimately involved RFK have similar speculation? Or perhaps RFK actually did support the Warren conclusions, despite private criticisms ( if unsubstantiated claims about those criticisms are true). There isn’t a single shred of real documented public evidence that he didn’t.

    • bogman says:

      Didn’t RFK, Jr. tell the world his dad’s real thoughts on the WC just a couple of years ago? He called it “a public relations exercise” to calm the public.

      And then the letter he and Jackie had secretly delivered to Kruschev saying they believed JFK was killed by domestic enemies.

      Not good enough evidence for you?

      • Photon says:

        The veracity of Robert Kennedy,Jr. has been open to question for years. Even from his friends and family.

      • BrotherBruce says:

        Nothing is good enough for “it”; Unless you count more disinformation or continued apologizing for Lyndons’s hand picked Commission which so efficiently and diabolically kept the US public from learning the truth about the assassination. Bobby spent 1000 days trying to rid his brother’s administration of the manic-depressive, sociopath who’d blackmailed his way onto the ticket. So, when the hit goes down (in Dallas, TX) while Johnson is curled up on the floor; Do ya really think RFK is going to look past the only monster with the means, motive and opportunity to kill his brother. Puhleeeeeease!

    • J.D. says:

      Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has said that his father did not believe the conclusions of the Warren Report and regarded it as “shoddy.” David Talbot quotes a number of people to the same effect in his book “Brothers,” including fairly credible Kennedy insiders such as Richard Goodwin. We have strong evidence that RFK and Jacqueline Kennedy sent a back-channel message to Soviet leaders telling them that JFK had been taken down by “domestic opponents.” CIA director John McCone told RFK that there were probably two shooters involved in the assassination. These are all credible stories that have been examined previously on JFKFacts:

      http://jfkfacts.org/assassination/news/cia-chief-told-rfk-about-two-shooters-in-dallas/
      http://jfkfacts.org/assassination/quote/dick-goodwin-we-know-the-cia-was-involved-and-the-mafia-we-all-know-that/
      http://jfkfacts.org/assassination/quote/rfk-jackie-to-the-soviets-he-the-assassin-did-not-act-alone/

  6. Arnaldo M. Fernandez says:

    In Brothers, David Talbot quoted Haynes Johnson about RFK commenting over the phone to his Cuban friend, veteran of Bay of Pigs, Harry Ruiz-Williams: “One of your guys did it.” (page 10)within hours after the assassination.
    Johnson brought the confusion on whether RFK told this to him or to Ruiz-Williams, since both were together as the RFK´s call came. Talbot insists in that Johnson clarified RFK said it to Williams, as Johnson originally reported in the Washington Post on April 17, 1981.
    Talbot went further by reasoning RFK thusly was saying “one of OUR guys did it,” since Oswald (who had already broke the news) was connected to the anti-Castro exiles and RFK was overseeing them. And that´s the key to think that the plotters wanted RFK to blame himself,as Dave Phillips literally put in his manuscript The Legacy of AMLASH.

  7. bogman says:

    I’m tired of focusing on solving a crime that was never honestly investigated 50 years go. The questions I have are much simpler and directed at one institution — the CIA:

    Why did the CIA illegally obstruct two federal investigations and an archival release of information in regards to JFK’s assassination? Why do they still fight to hold on to files today and still misdirect/obfuscate on what they know?

    We get those answers and the case is solved, IMHO.

  8. John D says:

    As a Brit, I know our past is littered with mistakes, cover ups and political dishonesty. I always felt that the USA did things better but for the life of me cannot understand why one of the biggest “free” parts of the world cannot force it’s state agencies to tell the full truth. Why are they allowed to refuse to issue relevant documents. Further why do successive Presidents not insist on publishing the facts? In a free society why are documents hidden for over 50 years and am I cynical in believing that many documents will have been lost in fire/floods/earthquakes when release time cannot be further delayed. This is a major stain on the worlds leading free society. This is what one would expect of a hard line communist state.

  9. Matt Grantham says:

    I know Thom Hartmann wrote at least one book on JFK and that he endorsed this theory that RFK believed it was Castro but played a kind of martyr because this supposed truth, if released to the public, might destroy the world or something similar. I might go post over at his board to see if he can clarify

  10. I believe both President John F. Kennedy and his brother Senator Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated by rogue elements within our own government.
    And my own research into Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination actually offers many proofs of the fraud and corruption that actually took place in the Sirhan trial courtroom.
    My question – how do we allow the lies and cover ups to continue?
    Rose Lynn Mangan

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