The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Was Organized Crime Involved?

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<p>The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Was Organized Crime Involved?</p>
<p class=”Body”>One of the most tragic events of the 20th century happened in Dallas, Texas on the afternoon of November 22, 1963, the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK).&nbsp; Since that fateful afternoon, government investigators, scholars, researchers, conspiracy theorists, and even ordinary Americans have wondered what really happened that afternoon near Dealey Plaza.&nbsp; The official story has been, and remains, that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, using a bolt-action rifle, shot three times from a window on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository building killing President Kennedy as he rode by Dealey Plaza.&nbsp; Although plausible, the official story has enough reasonable doubt associated with it to fuel conspiracy theorists who have come up with a plethora of possibilities as to how the assassination of JFK was &ldquo;really&rdquo; carried out.&nbsp; One such theory has it that organized crime in the U.S. was somehow involved because of its alleged involvement in an earlier CIA operation to attempt to kill Fidel Castro.&nbsp; Even though organized crime was allegedly involved in the CIA plot to assassinate Fidel Castro, there is no evidence that it was directly involved in the assassination of JFK because electronic and physical surveillance of the top crime figures revealed no mention of any involvement and there were no ties, alleged or otherwise, between the heads of organized crime and any of the events which happened.</p>
<p class=”Body”>In the immediate aftermath of the assassination, there were rumors, speculations, and other forms of guesswork circulating as to the &ldquo;real&rdquo; story behind the death of JFK.&nbsp; There were even those who spoke of JFK&rsquo;s family ties to the mob through his father, Joseph P. Kennedy who was known to have been a partner in Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana&rsquo;s bootlegging business during the Prohibition era (National Geographic Society, 2013).&nbsp; Apparently, the theory was that Giancana allegedly contributed a substantial amount to JFK&rsquo;s election campaign in 1960 and was less than pleased with the way he was being hounded by Robert F. Kennedy&rsquo;s (RFK) Justice Department, feeling that he deserved better treatment for his financial support.&nbsp; In 1960, politicians were not required to disclose big donations by private donors to their political campaigns, which Giancana apparently was (National Geographic Society, 2013).&nbsp;</p>
<p class=”Body”>Many have speculated what motives organized crime figures of the time might have had for wanting JFK dead.&nbsp; One of the first that comes to mind, does not involve JFK himself but does involve his brother RFK, the head of the largest crackdown on organized crime since the 1930&rsquo;s crusades overseen by J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI.&nbsp; There were many in organized crime who hated Robert and would have actively worked to see him assassinated.&nbsp; However, the only ties JFK had to his brother were familial and professional, which gave him only a peripheral oversight role in RFK&rsquo;s war on crime.&nbsp; Also, RFK&rsquo;s Justice Department, specifically the FBI, maintained electronic and physical surveillance on every major organized crime boss in the entire nation which meant he would have known of any plans to assassinate his brother long before they could have come to fruition.&nbsp; As proof of this fact, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) convened in 1979, as well as the investigation of the Warren Commission in 1964, had found no evidence linking any organized crime figure directly to any conspiracy to kill JFK.&nbsp; However, the HSCA did find that there was sufficient evidence to suggest that some conspiracy was likely responsible for the death of JFK (Wilkes, 1988).&nbsp; However, the HSCA did find that &ldquo;Castro&#39;s Cuba, anti-Castro groups, the national syndicate of organized crime as a group, and the FBI, CIA, and Secret Service&rdquo; (Wilkes, 1988) were not involved in any conspiracy to kill Kennedy.&nbsp; This assertion was later backed up by Ralph Salerno, a retired supervisor of detectives for the New York City Police Department, who served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice and to the House Select Committee on Assassinations in an interview on ABC&rsquo;s World News Tonight program where he stated categorically &ldquo;I reviewed for the Committee [HASC] the electronic surveillances that the FBI had on organized crime figures all over the country at that time, high-ranking members of organized crime. And there was no indication at all of their involvement&rdquo; (ABC News, n.d.).</p>
<p class=”Body”>Even though the complete story behind the JFK assassination may never be known, the business of finding out who was responsible, or at least eliminating organized crime from the list of suspects, has been well established.&nbsp; Electronic surveillance from the period categorically established that none of the major heads of organized crime had any part in, knowledge of, or participation in, the assassination of JFK.&nbsp; However, the HASC did note that there was the possibility of participation by individuals involved in organized crime but that there was no organized or sanctioned movement within the high-ranking members of organized crime to participate or sanction any such act.</p>

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