Havana 7

“The Committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The Committee is unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.”

“The Warren Commission was, in fact, incorrect in concluding that Oswald and Ruby had no significant associations, and therefore its finding of no conspiracy was not reliable.”

“The committee found that Hoffa and at least one of his Teamster lieutenants, Edward Partin, apparently did, in fact, discuss the planning of an assassination conspiracy against President Kennedy’s brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, in July or August of 1962. Hoffa’s discussion about such an assassination plan first became known to the Federal Government in September 1962, when Partin informed authorities that he had recently participated in such a discussion with the Teamsters president.”

Extracts from the U.S. Congressional Committee on Assassinations JFK and Martin Luther King Junior Assassination Report, 1979 (classified until 1992)1

Go to The Table of Contents


  1. The paper version of the JFK Assassination Report would fill a medium sized library and is full of contradictions. Interpreting it is not unlike summarizing the bible, Koran, Bhadgavita, or Buddhist Pali Cannon in a few words – the author’s bias inevitably kicks in. I am understandably biased in what I select. In 1993, I was armed with a pen and enough background information to skim through a copy of the JFK Assassination Report and scribble notes; twenty years later, I used Mirosoft Word’s search features to find where the words Partin, Hoffa, Marcello, Trafficante, Hoover, and Castro were within a few paragraphs of each other, yet I didn’t learn anything more than my original scribbling.

    Here is a key section of the report, downloaded from www.archives.gov and available in a slew of libraries:

    In October 1962, acting under the orders of Attorney General Kennedy, FBI Direhector Hoover authorized a detailed polygraph examination of Partin. In the examination, the Bureau concluded that Partin had been truthful in recounting Hoffa’s discussion of a proposed assassination plan. Subsequently, the Justice Department developed further evidence supporting Partin’s disclosures, indicating that Hoffa had spoken about the possibility of assassinating the President’s brother on more than one occasion.

    In an interview with the committee, Partin reaffirmed the account of Hoffa’s discussion of a possible assassination plan, and he stated that Hoffa had believed that having the Attorney General murdered would be the most effective way of ending the Federal Government’s intense investigation of the Teamsters and organized crime. Partin further told the committee that he suspected that Hoffa may have approached him about the assassination proposal because Hoffa believed him to be close to various figures in Carlos Marcello’s syndicate organization. Partin, a Baton Rouge Teamsters official with a criminal record, was then a leading Teamsters Union official in Louisiana. Partin was also a key Federal witness against Hoffa in the 1964 trial that led to Hoffa’s eventual imprisonment.

    While the committee did not uncover evidence that the proposed Hoffa assassination plan ever went beyond its discussion, the committee noted the similarities between the plan discussed by Hoffa in 1962 and the actual events of
    November 22, 1963. While the committee was aware of the apparent absence of any finalized method or plan during the course of Hoffa’s discussion about assassinating Attorney General Kennedy, he did discuss the possible use of a lone gunman equipped with a rifle with a telescopic sight, the advisability of having the assassination committed somewhere in the South, as well as the potential desirability of having Robert Kennedy shot while riding in a convertible. (34O) While the similarities are present, the committee also noted that they were not so unusual as to point ineluctably in a particular direction. President Kennedy himself, in fact, noted that he was vulnerable to rifle fire before his Dallas trip. Nevertheless, references to Hoffa’s discussion about having Kennedy assassinated while riding in a convertible were contained in several Justice Department memoranda received by the Attorney General and FBI Director Hoover in the fall of 1962.

    Edward Partin told the committee that Hoffa believed that by having Kennedy shot as he rode in a convertible, the origin of the fatal shot or shots would be obscured. The context of Hoffa’s discussion with Partin about an assassination conspiracy further seemed to have been predicated upon the recruitment of an assassin without any identifiable connection to the Teamsters organization or Hoffa himself. Hoffa also spoke of the alternative possibility of having the Attorney General assassinated through the use of some type of plastic explosives.

    The committee established that President Kennedy himself was notified of Hoffa’s secret assassination discussion shortly after the Government learned of it. The personal journal of the late President’s friend, Benjamin C. Bradlee, executive editor of the Washington Post, reflects that the President informed him in February 1963 of Hoffa’s discussion about killing his brother. Bradlee noted that President Kennedy mentioned that Hoffa had spoken of the desirability of having a silenced weapon used in such a plan. Bradlee noted that while he found such a Hoffa discussion hard to believe “the President was obviously serious” about it.

    Partly as a result of their knowledge of Hoffa’s discussion of assassination with Partin in 1962, various aides of the late President Kennedy voiced private suspicions about the possibility of Hoffa complicity in the President’s assassination. The committee learned that Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and White House Chief of Staff Kenneth O’Donnell contacted several associates in the days immediately following the Dallas murder to discuss the possibility of Teamsters Union or organized crime involvement.

    As noted in the account of Ruby’s telephone records, the committee confirmed the existence of several contacts between Ruby and associates of Hoffa during the period of October and November 1963,(349) including one Hoffa aide whom Robert Kennedy had once described as one of Hoffa’s most violent lieutenants. (350) Those associates, Barney Baker, Irwin Weiner and Dusty Miller, stated that Ruby had been in touch with them for the sole purpose of seeking assistance in a nightclub labor dispute.

    The committee learned that Attorney General Kennedy and his aides arranged for the appointment of Charles Shaffer, a Justice Department attorney, to the Warren Commission staff in order that the possibility of Teamster involvement be watched. Shaffer confirmed to the committee that looking into Hoffa was one purpose of his appointment.

    Yet, partly as a result of the Commission’s highly circumscribed approach to investigating possible underworld involvement, as well as limited staff resources, certain areas of possible information relating to Hoffa–such as the Ruby telephone calls–were not the subject of in-depth investigation. Nevertheless, in a lengthy Commission memorandum prepared for the CIA in February 1964, the Teamsters Union had been listed first on a list of potential groups to be investigated i
    n probing “ties between Ruby and others who might have been interested in the assassination of President Kennedy.”

    After 15 years of collecting more information and correcting mistakes from the mistaken 1964 Warren Report, in 1979 The Congressional Committee on Assassinations committee concluded that the three men with motive, means, and opportunity to orchestrate President Kennedy’s assassination were Jimmy Hoffa, Carlos Marcello, and Santos Trafficante Junior; though they admit the improbability of a person as astute as Hoffa acting on his opportunities.

    As in the cases of Marcello and Trafficante, the committee stressed that it uncovered no direct evidence that Hoffa was involved in a plot on the President’s life, much less the one that resulted in his death in Dallas in November 1963. In addition, and as opposed to the cases of Marcello and Trafficante, Hoffa was not a major leader of organized crime. Thus, his ability to guarantee that his associates would be killed if they turned Government informant may have been somewhat less assured. Indeed, much of the evidence tending to incriminate Hoffa was supplied by Edward Grady Partin, a Federal Government informant who was with Hoffa when the Teamster president was on trial in October 1962 in Tennessee for violating the Taft-Hartley Act.

    It may be strongly doubted, therefore, that Hoffa would have risked anything so dangerous as a plot against the President at a time that he knew he was under active investigation by the Department of Justice.

    Finally, a note on Hoffa’s character. He was a man of strong emotions who hated the President and his brother, the Attorney General. He did not regret the President’s death, and he said so publicly. 

    Hoffa’s hatred of the Kennedy’s was legion. For decades, the public battle between Bobby, whom Hoffa always called “Booby,” was so fierce it was dubbed “The Blood Feud,” hence the title of the 1983 film staring Brian Dennehy Big Daddy, Robert Blake as Hoffa, and handsome daytime soap opera heartthrob as Bobby (the real people were fresh in America’s minds, so actors were chosen to be as close to physical appearances and temperaments as possible – the first Zeroxes of what would become blurred copies of copies and evolve into Scorcese’s 2019 “The Irishman”). What remains unquestioned is the unshakable hatred between Hoffa and the Kennedy’s, especially Bobby. When the president was shot, Hoffa ordered all American flags in Teamster headquarters across the country be flown at full mast; and of Bobby, who had been appointed US Attorney General by his big brother the president, Hoffa gleefully said, “He’s just another lawyer now.”

    Even Bobby’s 1968 assassination wouldn’t soften Hoffa’s hatred: his two autobiographies published in the 1970’s are full of taunts at the ghost of his old nemisis. Hoffa vanished from a Detroit parking lot the afternoon of 30 July 1975, a year or so before the Congressional Committee on Assassinations was formed. By the time of their 1979 conclusions, Hoffa was officially declared dead. I Had he been alive, and though I never met him, I believe he would have been flattered to have his hatred of the Kennedys documented in national archives for the rest of history, records anyone can download and reread and ponder.

    But, the assassination report is flawed, too. In 1979, they only knew what they knew. It’s interesting to me that no one questioned why the FBI was monitoring Big Daddy as far back as 1962, independent of Hoffa, nor did it deeply ponder possible involvement by J. Edgar Hoover, Vice-President (and then appointed President) Johnson, Richard Nixon, or key members of the FBI and CIA. From my perspective, beginning a kid who overheard a lot of family lore while otherwise focused on wrestling Hillary Clinton, I’ve pondered the blatant oversight of a few lines buried in the mountain of paperwork:

    The committee also believed it appropriate to reflect on the general question of the possible complicity of organized crime members, such as Trafficante or Marcello, in the Kennedy assassination, and to try to put the evidence it had obtained in proper perspective.

    The significance of the organized crime associations developed by the committee’s investigation speaks for itself, but there are limitations that must be noted. That President Kennedy’s assassin and the man who, in turn, murdered him can be tied to individuals connected to organized crime is important for one reason: for organized crime to have been involved in the assassination, it must have had access to Oswald or Ruby or both.

    For as long as I can remember, I’ve pondered Big Daddy’s role in the assassination; hence, my 2019 trip to Cuba to see what others may have overlooked.