“When it comes to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the list of important, seemingly credible public figures who count themselves as conspiracy theorists is long and impressive,” Phil Shenon writes in today’s Washington Post.
And now a former Warren Commission investigator has come out to say he no longer believes in the Commission’s finding. Charles Shaffer, former prosecutor who served Robert Kennedy’s representative to the Warren Commission, is a “Mafia done it” man.
Shaffer’s opinion isn’t particularly well-informed, but it is important. Shenon’s story matters more as a sign that the taboo against saying JFK was killed by his political enemies is fading, even in the upper ranks of the Justice Department, even in the newsroom of the Washington Post.
Shaffer bases his opinion on the statements of Mafia attorney Frank Ragano who says that crime boss Santos Trafficante boasted of killing Kennedy. The problem is that Ragano’s statements cannot be corroborated.
A faithful reader calls attention to Anthony Summers’ judicious treatment of the matter in his excellent book, Not in Your Lifetime.
“While some have expressed belief in Ragano’s account, this author finds the Trafficante ‘confession’ story dubious. The author looked into whether Trafficante was where Ragano said he was on the day Ragano said he met with him, and decided it was unlikely, if not impossible. Exposing Ragano as a liar, however, would not dispose of the ‘Mob dunnit’ theory — nor of the notion that Trafficante and Marcello played some part in Kennedy’s murder. For more detail on the author’s probe of the Ragano story, see “Ghosts of November,” Vanity Fair, December 1994.”