What else did Bobby Kennedy know? Last year, the son and namesake of the late Attorney General Robert Kennedy revealed publicly that his father had considered the Warren Commissionâ€™s final report, which largely ruled out the possibility of a conspiracy in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, to be a â€œshoddy piece of craftsmanship.â€ Robert Jr. said his father suspected that the president had been killed in a conspiracy involving Cuba, the Mafia or even rogue agents of the CIA. Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., a close friend of the Kennedy family, would disclose years later that he was told by Robert Kennedy in December 1963, a month after the presidentâ€™s murder, that the former attorney general worried that the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was â€œpart of a larger plot, whether organized by Castro or by gangsters.â€ Schlesinger said that in 1966, two years after the Warren Commission report, Kennedy was still so suspicious about a conspiracy that he wondered aloud â€œhow long he could continue to avoid comment on the reportâ€”it is evident that he believes it is was poor job.â€
Newly disclosed documents from the commission, made public on the 50th anniversary of its final report, suggest that the panel missed a chance to get Robert Kennedy to acknowledge publicly what he would later confess to his closest family and friends: that he believed the commission had overlooked evidence that might have pointed to a conspiracy.
The documents show the commission was prepared to press Kennedy to offer his views, under oath, about the possibility that Oswald had not acted alone. An affidavit, in which Kennedy would have been required to raise his right hand and deny knowledge of a conspiracy under penalty of perjury, was prepared for his signature by the commissionâ€™s staff but was never used. Instead, the attorney general became the highest ranking government official, apart from President Lyndon Johnson, who was excused from giving sworn testimony or offering a sworn written statement to the commission.
The decision to scrap the affidavit is another example of the extraordinary deference paid to the attorney general and his family by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the commissionâ€™s chairman. In an unsworn August 1964 letter to Warrenâ€”already public and long seen by historians as evasive, if not as an effort to mislead the commission outright about what he really knew and suspectedâ€”Kennedy said he was aware of â€œno credible evidence to support the allegations that the assassination of President Kennedy was caused by a domestic or foreign conspiracy.â€ Kennedyâ€™s private papers, however, suggest he struggled over signing even the unsworn letter to Warren.
There you go, some JFK conspiracy content for you on an early Tuesday morning.