Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and CIA Director John McCone (photo credit: CIA)
Why did Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy believe that his brother President John F. Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy, as his son recently said?
Did RFK have any evidence for his belief, asked readers of the widespread coverage of RFK Jr.’s comments?
It turns out RFK had it on good authority that two people were involved.
Jackie Kennedy’s private thoughts about Dallas
Defenders of the semi-official theory of JFK’s assassination sometimes suggest that anyone who disagrees is deluded or dishonest. Dale Myers and Gus Russo have dubbed the benighted souls “the conspirati,” a term intended to convey disdain for those allegedly emotionally needy or intellectually incompetent people who doubt the claim that one man killed JFK for no reason.
The problem with this trope, alas, is the facts. There were plenty of astute observers of American power in 1963 who rejected the official theory of a “lone nut” and concluded President Kennedy had been killed by his enemies.
Here are six six U.S. government insiders in 1963 who suspected a JFK was killed by a conspiracy.
“I asked him [RFK], perhaps tactlessly, about Oswald. He said that there could be no serious doubt that he was guilty, but there was still argument whether he did it by himself or as part of a larger plot, whether organized by Castro or by gangsters. He said that the FBI thought he had done it by himself, but that McCone thought there were two people involved in the shooting.”
— Arthur Schlesinger writing about a conversation with Robert Kennedy on Dec. 5, 1963, quoted in Schlesinger’s Journals: 1952-2000, p. 214.
Tim Yaccarino wrote to call my attention to his JFK blog, JFKennedy1963.com, which he launched last September.
I check it out and learned a few things didn’t know, like:
There was a book about Robert Kennedy published in 1962 called “Assistant President.”
The runaway winner of the best-read JFK Facts story for the second week in a row is Bill Simpich’s investigation of Oswald’s wallet.
The Top 5: Read more
This isn’t news but it’s still newsworthy.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., environmentalist activists and son of Robert F. Kennedy, made news when spoke in Dallas in January 2013 to say his father doubted that his father was killed by one man for now reason.
Now he’s gone a step further in a blurb for the paperback edition of James Douglass’s JFK and the Unspeakable.
“I came to the conclusion that there was some sort of conspiracy, probably involving the mob, anti-Castro Cuban exiles, and maybe rogue CIA agents.”
– RFK’s press secretary Frank Mankiewicz, quoted in David Talbot’s Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, p. 312.
In 2014, most Americanns are barred by law from visiting Cuba, the island nation closest to America. When it comes to Cuba, Amrica’s vaunted ideals of “free trade” are frankly repudiated by the government in Washington which justifies violation Americans’ freedom to travel in the name of supporting democracy and human rights.
A half century ago, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy came to believe that the ban on travel to Cuba was “inconsistent with “our views of a free society,” as these historic documents collected by the non-profit National Security Archive reveal..
“Perhaps there was only one assassin, but he did not act alone …. Dallas was the ideal location for such a crime.”
— William Walton, a friend of the Kennedys’, speaking on behalf of Robert and Jacqueline Kennedy. Walton delivered his message in Moscow to Georgi Bolshakov, who had been a backchannel to the Soviet leadership and was asked to repeat it to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. This incident occurred a week after the assassination.
The story was told first in Timothy Naftali and Alexsandr Furskenko’s “One Hell of a Gamble.“ Naftali is the director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California. The story is also recounted in David Talbot’s “Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years.”
A faithful reader calls attention to one practical step the U.S. government can take in 2014 to contribute to public understanding of the JFK assassination story: declassify the papers of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy from 1963-64.
The blog of the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) is seeking comment on declassification priorities for the National Archives.
The first reports are coming in on the new RFK files made public last week by the JFK Library. Here’s one from the U.K. Daily Mail Online. Read more
In a victory for the JFK research community, the JFK Library announced today that it has made public 26 boxes of long-secret files held by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Read more
After his brother was shot dead in Dallas on Nov. 22 1963, the Attorney General suspected the CIA, the Mafia and anti-Castro Cubans, according to an excellent article in the The Boston Globe.
It was the Robert F. Kennedy, the president’s brother, notes Mark Lane, author of “Rush to Judgment,” one of the first books criticizing the Warren Commission report. In a speech today at the Duquesne Univerisity JFK conference, Lane recounted that on the day JFK was killed, RFK asked CIA director John McCone if agency personnel were involved. McCone said no.
Lane’s work has been subject of much criticism but he is correct on this point.