There are major Chicago connections in some of the top secret JFK documents released this week.
The Chicago mafia played a big role in the CIA’s attempts to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
While only 2800 records were released – less than 10 percent of the entire collection – they document sordid tales and involve everyone from Martin Luther King Jr to infamous Chicago mobsters.
Many of the memos are handwritten. Most of the Chicago connections come into focus in the 1960s when Robert Kennedy was attorney general and the CIA wanted to take out Castro.
Memos document the mob and “anti-Castro” activity, calling it a “dirty business.”
One shows the CIA wanted to give Castro poison botulism pills.
They hired Chicago mobster Sam Giancana to get one of his “organized crime friends” in Cuba to place the pills in a drink for S150,000. In 2017 that would be about $1.2 million.
When that fell through they hired Giancana again to find a gunman who could go into Cuba and kill Castro.
Giancana, using his new contacts at the CIA, said he suspected his mistress was cheating on him in Vegas. He told the CIA if he was going to help them in Cuba he wanted them to bug her hotel room. And they did it.
Castro escaped unscathed but documents show when Robert Kennedy found out the CIA had been using “mafia people” to get to Castro, he was not happy and warned never do it again without telling the Department of Justice because it would now “be difficult to prosecute such people in the future.”
Handwritten reports also show the CIA was keeping tabs on the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and black activists including Martin Luther King Jr.
In October 1967, an informant told the CIA there were many guns in the black community but he seriously doubted that they would be used for anything other than self-defense against police. But because the underlying causes of the black rebellion were so great outbreaks of violence were inevitable.
The Trump administration says its goal is to eventually make all the documents public after they have been reviewed.