Discover more from The Kennedy Beacon
Yes, Big Media, JFK and RFK Were the Victims of CIA Plots
By David Talbot, Columnist, The Kennedy Beacon
Since Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced his run for president, the corporate media has trashed him as a “conspiracy monger” for—among other alleged falsehoods— spreading the charge that the CIA was behind the assassination of his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, and his father, Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
Is this another example of Kennedy’s “craziness”? Um, no.
The official Warren Report version of President Kennedy’s violent death is quickly falling apart. Even The New York Times—the tail that wags the rest of the media industry’s dog—reported this weekend on former Secret Service agent Paul Landis, who at age 88 has called the magic bullet story, on which rests the entire 1964 Warren Report, a fabrication.
Landis was riding on the rear bumper of the Secret Service car that was following JFK’s limousine that day in Dallas, so close that he had to duck to avoid being splattered by the president’s skull fragments and brain matter. The explosive Times article—written by the ultimate Timesman, Chief White House correspondent Peter Baker—zipped to dozens of other news outlets around the world. (A better account of Landis’s late confession was published immediately after The New York Times report in Vanity Fair by lawyer and presidential historian, James Robenalt.
If the Times and the rest of the mainstream media keep digging, a lot of worms will wriggle out. Revelations about how the Kennedy brothers battled for peace and justice, and how they drew bitter political opposition. How their national security enemies plotted against them, and how these cold warriors covered up their crimes.
But investigating the Kennedy assassinations takes time and guts. Reporters facing tight deadlines—and censorious editors and publishers—are rarely if ever given enough freedom to thoroughly investigate complex and controversial subjects like this. So, too often, they pull the stories out of their asses. Lately, that means they pile on RFK Jr. and his “wacky” thinking. Because it’s easy; because their overseers encourage it.
I know because I worked in and for several daily newsrooms and magazines. I also quit deadline journalism to spend nearly a decade researching and writing two New York Times-bestselling books about the Kennedy assassinations and the power nexus responsible for these political crimes and their cover-ups.
I interviewed members of the Kennedy brothers’ inner circle, as well as members of the national security state and their spouses and grown children. I interviewed esteemed members of the press like Washington Post legend Ben Bradlee, JFK’s best friend in the Washington press corps, and 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt, who produced the famous Kennedy-Nixon TV debates in 1960. Both men believed JFK was the victim of a powerful conspiracy, but chose to put their careers above solving the epic crimes.
For my books, I also pored over official documents, diaries, day calendars and other material. I read hundreds of volumes about the Kennedy presidency, the CIA, the Cold War and 20th Century history. In other words, I did what any responsible journalist or historian would do. I did my research. And I got to the truth.
So did RFK Jr. Personally scarred by this history, he did his research. When he says the CIA was involved in the murders of his uncle and father, he’s not pulling it out of his ass. He’s saying what any person who takes the time to research—and is uncompromised—would say. The awful truth.
In my book The Devil’s Chessboard, I document how Allen Dulles—the CIA director fired by President Kennedy after the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion—orchestrated the JFK assassination and its whitewash, working from his convenient perch at the Warren Commission with top CIA officers like Richard Helms, James Angleton and William Harvey. (As I point out, Dulles was no rogue; throughout his career on Wall Street and in Washington, he loyally carried out the wishes of his more wealthy and powerful clients.)
As I write in my book Brothers, Robert Kennedy, who served as his brother’s attorney general and knew more about the dark side of American power than any other official of his day, was the first JFK conspiracy theorist. Journalist Jack Newfield, a close friend of RFK, told me: “With that amazing computer brain of his, he put it all together on the afternoon of November 22,” the day in 1963 that President Kennedy was assassinated. Bobby Kennedy figured out that his brother was killed by CIA plotters, using members of the criminal underworld and Cuban exiles. As I reveal in Brothers, RFK planned to reopen the investigation into his brother’s murder if he had been elected president in 1968.
But, of course, Robert Kennedy himself was fatally shot on the night of June 5, 1968, after winning the California primary. My research led me to conclude that assassination was not carried out by Sirhan Sirhan, the man convicted of the crime, but by a shooter posing as one of the security guards charged with protecting RFK that night. (Los Angeles County coroner, Dr. Thomas Noguchi, who performed the autopsy on RFK, and key eyewitnesses also concluded Sirhan did not fire the fatal shot.) The armed “security force” surrounding Bobby Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles was under the control of Robert Maheu, the CIA contractor (and Kennedy hater) charged with recruiting the Mafia to assassinate Fidel Castro.
Have any of the reporters who blithely dismiss RFK Jr.’s statements about the CIA actually investigated the dark web surrounding the Kennedy brothers’ assassinations? Of course not. That would take too much time. And it would rile their bosses.
I interviewed Maheu at his Las Vegas home before he died. I talked to men who worked for him or served alongside him. I read Maheu’s book. I interviewed eyewitnesses who were with the Kennedy entourage when the senator was shot that night in the hotel pantry. RFK Jr. has done his own wrenching research, including visiting Sirhan in prison and exonerating him for killing his father.
What have the journalists who call RFK Jr. “conspiracy-obsessed” done? I assure you—nothing or very little in comparison. They can’t even cite the relevant literature on the subject. These journalists lack the humility of their ignorance.
The 60th anniversary of the JFK assassination is now approaching. Once again, the media is awash in distortions, disinformation and outright lies. There are new books about First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (which don’t explore why she too said “they” killed her husband). There is a Netflix special about Marilyn Monroe, which “reveals” the Kennedy brothers were nothing more than predatory playboys. There’s a new flood of Kennedy exploitation. A Connecticut auctioneer wants to sell a blood-stained seat from the JFK assassination because it’s a “piece of history.”
Decades later, the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers are more than national curiosities. As Adam Walinsky, an aide and speechwriter for Senator Kennedy, wrote not long ago, they were “a savage, concerted assault on American democracy. The consequences still haunt our nation.”
Here’s my advice for the clueless media. Educate yourselves. You can start by reading JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, by James Douglass—a book that RFK Jr. recommends as a good starting place. (I also recommend my own two books on the subject.) You can also watch the enlightening new documentary film series on the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., Four Died Trying, by filmmakers John Kirby and Libby Handros. The series begins streaming this November on JFK’s presidency and murder.
You can also subscribe to JFK Facts, an informative website on the JFK assassination by longtime Kennedy researcher and ex-Washington Post reporter, Jefferson Morley. The journalist regularly breaks stories about the assassination, including the recent revelation that the CIA—which has long maintained that accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was not on its radar—was secretly opening and reading his mail long before the gunfire in Dallas. (The Times’s Peter Baker found the story newsworthy enough to include in his recent report on President Biden’s refusal to abide by the 1992 JFK Records Act and make the CIA release all its information about the assassination.)
Finally, Morley and I will be among the speakers at the “JFK at 60” conference held annually at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University, a forum of scholars, authors and researchers organized by the prominent medical examiner, Dr. Cyril Wecht, one of the grand old men in the Kennedy field, and his son Ben. The conference can be attended in person or accessed through Zoom.
In other words, you have no excuse, journalists. The truth about the Kennedy assassinations is out there, if you can handle it.