Commentary by Gus Russo
. . . [A]ccording to sources close to the Kennedy circle, Bobby contacted "my best friend in the Justice Department," Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Moynihan was charged with resolving two questions: 1) Was the Secret Service bought off on the day of the assassination? and 2) Was Bobby's nemesis Jimmy Hoffa involved? After a short period of involvement on his investigative task, Moynihan reported negatively on both counts. Moynihan was confronted with this allegation by a writer from Ramparts magazine in 1968. According to authors Bill Turner and Warren Hinckle: "Moynihan jumped as if a live grenade was rolling toward him. In CIA fashion, he declared he would neither confirm nor deny his secret mission for Bobby Kennedy. After leaving the room to use the phone, the suddenly unamiable Irishman returned and announced that he had nothing more to say."(1)
In March 1964, Secret Service Agent Mike Howard witnessed an incident that may relate to Bobby's interest in a Hoffa connection. At the time, Howard had been assigned to Jackie Kennedy, with whom he would become quite close. (Howard recalled her having terrifying nightmares. He would often spend the night just outside her bedroom, sometimes rushing in to comfort her when she would wake up screaming, then sit on the edge of her bed until she fell back asleep.) One morning in April 1964, Howard remembered going down to the kitchen in Jackie's house in suburban Virginia, and being startled to see Robert Kennedy there. RFK asked Howard to drive him to a section of Dulles Airport where private planes were parked, and Howard drove onto the tarmac, where Jimmy Hoffa was disembarking from a plane that had just landed.
Approaching each other without shaking hands, Kennedy and Hoffa spoke in conversational tones for some ten minutes. Not wanting to eavesdrop, Howard heard none of the conversation until its end, when he heard Hoffa ask, "Is that all right with you?" "Yes," replied Kennedy. On March 4th, 1964, the Justice Department had just obtained a conviction of Hoffa for complicity in jury tampering, and would push for a second conviction in April, when Hoffa and seven others would go on trial in Chicago for defrauding the Central States Pension Fund of over $20 million. That might have been the subject of the conversation at the airport-but that spring, Robert Kennedy remained too shattered by his brother's assassination to undertake any serious work as Attorney General. There was, of course, another possibility -- the assassination. Did Kennedy want to look into Hoffa's eyes while asking him if he had anything to do with his brother's killing -- as he had done with, among others, John McCone of the CIA?(2)
Although Moynihan declined to divulge any information, other sources, albeit second-hand ones, have disclosed that Bobby Kennedy's next foray into the mystery of his brother's death came after the release of the Warren Commission Report. At that time, Kennedy said, "I just can't believe that guy [Oswald] acted alone. I'm going to contact someone independent of this government to get to the bottom of this." Bobby then contacted a lifelong friend of the Kennedy family, then working in Britain's intelligence agency, known as MI6. The friendship dated back to the days when Papa Joe Kennedy was the US Ambassador to England. Undertaking this highly secretive mission, the MI6 agent contacted two French intelligence operatives who proceeded to conduct, over a three year period, a quiet investigation that involved hundreds of interviews in the United States. One agent was the head of the French Secret Service, Andre Ducret. The second was known only as "Philippe" -- believed to be Philippe Vosjoly, who was a former French Intelligence Chief in the United States. Over the years, Ducret and Philippe hired men to infiltrate the Texas oil industry, the CIA, and Cuban mercenary groups in Florida. Their report, replete with innuendo about Lyndon Johnson and right-wing Texas oil barons, was delivered to Bobby Kennedy only months before his own assassination in June of 1968.
There is no information concerning Bobby's reaction to the document. After Bobby's death, the MI6 agent contacted the last surviving brother, Senator Ted Kennedy, inquiring as to what to do with the material. Teddy said the family wasn't interested. The agent proceeded to hire a French writer by the name of Herve LaMarre to fashion the material into a book. Published in Europe and authored under the pseudonym of "James Hepburn," the book was entitled Farewell, America. It contains highly exaggerated prose combined with a large dose of poetic license. Because the anecdotes about LBJ and others could be considered downright libelous, the book was never published in America. Over the years, however, through private dealers, the book obtained an "underground" distributorship in the United States. One of the dealers approached Dave Powers, Kennedy intimate and curator of the John F. Kennedy Museum, for his opinion of the book. Echoing Moynihan, Powers responded, "I can't confirm or deny the European connection, but Bobby definitely didn't believe the Warren Report."(3)
For more background on the "European Connection," see the notes of former FBI agent William Turner on file at the Assassination Archive and Research Center in Washington, DC. Turner and his partner Warren Hinckle traveled extensively, interviewing a number of those enlisted in the Bobby Kennedy investigation.
From Gus Russo, Live by the Sword
(Baltimore: Bancroft Press, 1998), pp. 574-5, fn. 35
1. Warren Hinckle and William Turner, Deadly Secrets (New York: Thunder's Mouth, 1992), 260.
2. Mike Howard, interview by author, 7 December 1993.
3. Al Navis, interview by author, 19 November 1993. In the 1980's, Navis conducted inquiries about RFK's investigation with members of the Kennedy family inner-circle.
Back to Farewell America commentary menu
Back to main Farewell America menu
Back to JFK literature menu
Back to JFK menu