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FBI’s Kennedy Files Include Many Wild Tales

In 1969, Dean, who would ultimately play a key role in the Watergate scandal, asked the FBI for help to “discreetly find out if [Kopechne] had visited Greece in August, 1968,” and asked for any files the FBI had on her. The FBI ultimately provided Dean not only with information on her trip to Greece, but also her role in a check-kiting scheme operated by Kopechne’s short-term boyfriend.

Still, other files reveal a government sector that revered Kennedy.

“Please make certain that Ted Kennedy gets all the protection he needs. We are down to one Kennedy,” read a June 1968 telegram addressed to Hoover from “Mr. DeLoach,” identified as a representative of Rapid City, S.D., radio and TV transmitter company Tepco Corp., but likely an FBI agent, as the name comes up several times in the documents.

That same month, James J. Rowley, then-director of the Secret Service, asks for additional protection, warning that, “The kind of mind that thinks about political assassinations is likely to find ... the last Kennedy son ... particularly alluring.”

Sirhan Sirhan, Robert Kennedy’s assassin, allegedly plotted to kill Edward Kennedy, too. A man told the FBI that while in prison, Sirhan offered him $1 million and a car to kill the younger Kennedy.

The files also reveal the political landscape of the time. In 1967, when Edward Kennedy chaired the Subcommittee on Refugees and Escapees, the FBI received a tip that he planned to bring 100 Vietnamese children badly burned by napalm during the Vietnam War to the United States. The tipster, whose name has been redacted, “suspected but could not prove that [Kennedy was] plotting to use these children by touring them through the country for political purposes to embarrass” President Lyndon B. Johnson.

After Sen. J. William Fulbright passed along to Hoover a threatening letter he received that was addressed to Kennedy, a note was placed in the FBI file claiming that the Arkansas Democrat “has been critical of the Bureau. He is on the list of persons not to be contacted without Bureau approval.”

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