FBI Files: Early Accusations Of J.F.K. Infidelity
published 14/05/1998 at 21:23
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, May 14) -- FBI documents, released by the National Archives, show how John F. Kennedy was haunted for several years by a woman who waged a personal campaign to call attention to his alleged sexual affairs.
The papers include one memo that alleges Kennedy got money from the mob to rescue his 1960
presidential campaign but failed to deliver the protection a mobster expected in return.
The letters and memos, including "raw" information that is often speculation and rumor, are among 1,700 documents released Wednesday.
Several documents center on an effort by Florence Mary Kater to call public attention to what she said was evidence Kennedy was sexually involved with his secretary, Pamela Turnure, while he was a U.S. senator. Turnure later was first lady Jaqueline Kennedy's secretary.
The memos indicate that Kater, of whom little is revealed, sent letters to dozens of news organizations and the FBI beginning in 1959 and through at least 1963. At one point, Mrs. Kater picketed the White House to make her point, a letter said.
Few newspapers paid attention to Kater's charges. A Ku Klux Klan publication, the Thunderbolt, ran an article in May 1963 titled "JFK accused of Adultery," one letter said.
The documents show how in 1959 and again in 1963, the FBI chose not to follow up on what Kater charged, although in one 1959 FBI memo, an agent refers to other allegations "regarding personal immorality on the part of Jack Kennedy."
"You will recall that some months ago, Luther Huston in the Department said he had received from a reliable source information reflecting on Senator Kennedy's sex life," the memo said. "You will also recall that we have detailed and substantial information in Bufiles (Bureau files) reflecting that Kennedy carried on an immoral relationship with another man's wife during World War II."
A 1959 memo said that Kennedy was suspicious that either his phone or Turnure's were tapped and he asked an aide to have the FBI check it. The aide, Kenneth O'Donnell, later told the FBI to disregard the request.
One document quotes a nightclub singer who claimed a drunk John Kennedy attempted to rape her in a West Palm Beach hotel room in 1945. She contacted the FBI with the story in 1966, at the height of the global hysteria and investigation surrounding Kennedy's assassination.
Another 1963 memo deals with speculation about a motive in the kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Jr., suggesting it might have been mobster Sam Giancana retaliating against Sinatra Sr. for failing to protect him from U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
The memo quotes a Las Vegas lawyer who said Giancana gave Sinatra "a bundle of money" to help Kennedy's presidential campaign in the crucial West Virginia primary. In exchange, Giancana expected Sinatra would "be able to keep the heat off" him.
Later, Robert Kennedy built a reputation as a tough, anti-mob attorney general.
The release of the documents was ordered in 1992 by Congress in part to quell the conspiracy theorists who still thrive on the most famous murder in modern American history. Thousands more documents will be released in the years ahead.