The Boston Globe today is featuring stories about the release of previously classified FBI files on the late Edward Kennedy. The files, available on the FOIA web site, outline a unique relationship between J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and the Kennedy clan. Boston Globe reporter Farah Stockman writes:

As Hoover’s agents tracked death threats around the world, especially after the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, Hoover seemed to take the job of protecting the last brother personally.

But, at the same time, the FBI went to great lengths to keep tabs on Edward Kennedy, especially as his political star rose. The agency collected thousands of pages of personal and political information that had no apparent national security purpose.

(– Bureau’s file was personal, political, Boston Globe, June 15, 2010)

Excerpts from the files shed light on several major incidents and trends in Ted Kennedy’s career. From associating with “radicals” on a fact finding trip to South America in 1961, to his accident at Chappaquiddick Island in 1969 that resulted in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, to personal correspondence between Kennedy and Hoover regarding Hoover’s friendship with Joe Kennedy, Sr., the FBI documented Kennedy’s movements as both protection for, and surveillance of Kennedy himself.

Open Vault users may find one file on Kennedy’s civil rights involvement and his effort to bring orphaned Vietnamese children to the United States of particular interest. (See 94-HQ-55752 on the FOIA page)

Evidence of Kennedy’s anti-Vietnam sympathies can also be found on Open Vault, in an ABC News clip of his speech to the “Lawyers Against the War” group in 1971. In it he asks

“How many more American soldiers must die? How many more innocent Vietnamese civilians die?”

and argues that President Nixon is prolonging the war to benefit his upcoming election. 

View the video, check out the newly release files, and let us know what you think!

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