Time for Another Round of JFK Intrigue, Miami-Style

People have spent the last four decades speculating about the Kennedy assassination, but an online magazine editor may have written the most comprehensive book on the subject to date. David Talbot of fame recently published Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years.

The book begins on the day JFK was shot, with then-attorney general Bobby Kennedy's reaction: his suspicion immediately turned to South Florida. "One of your guys did it," Bobby Kennedy told Enrique "Harry" Ruiz Williams, a Cuban exile and close friend.

Here's an excerpt from the book:

The attorney general was supposed to be in charge of the clandestine war on Castro -- another daunting assignment JFK gave him, after the spy agency's disastrous performance at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961. But as he tried to establish control over CIA operations and to herd the rambunctious Cuban exile groups into a unified progressive front, Bobby learned what a swamp of intrigue the anti-Castro world was. Working out of a sprawling Miami station code-named JM/WAVE that was second in size only to the CIA's Langley, Va., headquarters, the agency had recruited an unruly army of Cuban militants to launch raids on the island and even contracted Mafia henchmen to kill Castro -- including mob bosses Johnny Rosselli, Santo Trafficante and Sam Giancana, whom Kennedy, as chief counsel for the Senate Rackets Committee in the late 1950s, had targeted. It was an overheated ecosystem that was united not just by its fevered opposition to the Castro regime, but by its hatred for the Kennedys, who were regarded as traitors for failing to use the full military might of the United States against the communist outpost in the Caribbean.

This Miami netherworld of spies, gangsters and Cuban militants is where Robert Kennedy immediately cast his suspicions on Nov. 22.

Talbot told Riptide recently that he doesn't think Cuban exiles orchestrated the plot to kill JFK; however, "South Florida is a very, very important center in this story." Talbot made several visits to South Florida during the reporting of his exhaustive book. Among his many interviews were chats with some elderly anti-Castro exiles who have mellowed since their Bay of Pigs days.

Check this book out for a good beach read that involves some old fashioned CIA espionage and Cuban/Mafia intrigue. Hey, it beats cracking open Diary of a South Beach Party Girl, doesn't it? --Tamara Lush

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Frank Houston