NPR logo FBI Releases Thousands Of Documents About Senator Edward M. Kennedy


FBI Releases Thousands Of Documents About Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Responding to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released thousands of pages of material about the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA).

"This release consists of material from seven FBI files — three Headquarters files and four field division files, totaling more then 2,200 pages," the Bureau says.

It covers the FBI’s relationship with Senator Kennedy from 1961 to 1985. At no point do these files suggest that the FBI investigated Senator Kennedy for a criminal violation or as a security threat. The bulk of this material concerns FBI investigation of threats of violence and other extortion claims against Senator Kennedy and other public officials.

According to NPR's Carrie Johnson, one threat letter, probed by the FBI, says, "Don't run for president or vice president, or you will be shot dead too."

The files also reflect rumors that swirled around the famous Democratic dynasty.

"One tip claimed that mob figures might try to hurt Kennedy's reputation, using their alleged connections to actress Marilyn Monroe and singer Frank Sinatra," Johnson says.

According to the FBI, "limited public source information was collected by the FBI regarding Senator Kennedy’s vehicular accident at Chappaquiddick Island that resulted in the death of Mary Joe Kopechne."

The FBI had no investigative role in this case, since there were no violations of federal criminal law involved. Although there was a mistaken contemporary report about FBI involvement in the case, the Bureau was not asked to provide support to the local police investigation.