The late Sen. Ted Kennedy -- the sole surviving Kennedy brother after the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy -- received numerous death threats himself, according to documents released by the FBI today after a request made by ABC News under the Freedom of Information Act.
Kennedy was the subject of more than 100 threats through the years from across the country and from a variety of groups -- the Ku Klux Klan, "Minutemen" organizations and the National Socialist White People's Party, the FBI said.
One threat to the police captain in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1965 warned: "Kennedy will not reach city hall tonight."
Another call to the Palm Beach Post-Times in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Feb. 12, 1967, had a similarly eerie message: "Senator Kennedy will be dead by Friday. Thank you."
The threats were often very specific, with one letter warning, "Ted Kennedy number three to be assassinated on Oct. 25, 1968. The Kennedy residence must be well protected on that date."
The documents released today show that the constant drumbeat of threats against Kennedy only grew after the controversial 1969 Chappaquiddick incident that killed Mary Jo Kopechne, the young political staffer who was riding in Kennedy's car when he went off a bridge on Martha's Vineyard in Edgartown, Massachusetts.
A drawing sent to Kennedy in 1970 included the words: "You'll never shake Mary Jo... She will haunt you the rest of her life. You are marked man. A bullet will kill you."
The FBI was constantly sent requests to investigate the accident but the bureau declined, saying it did not have jurisdiction. There was also no request from local authorities for FBI support.
The FBI files include an FBI teletype from the day of the Chappaquiddick incident that contained information from the Edgartown police chief, Dominic Arena. The teletype said, "body of female found in overturned car in water... Mr. Arena confidentially advised that driver of automobile was Senator Edward M. Kennedy who was uninjured. Stated fact Senator Kennedy was driver is not being revealed to anyone."
President Nixon's White House sent a "discreet" request to find out whether Kopechne visited Greece in Aug. 1968. The letter, dated Oct. 17, 1969, stated that Kopechne spent "some time with a young hoodlum who is now behind bars for cashing hot checks."
The files took note of many of the rumors that swirled around about Kennedys, including a tip in 1965 that an Italian outfit wanted to kill Ted and Robert Kennedy by working with some of Frank Sinatra's associates "to arrange for their women to be placed in compromising situations." That rumor was not confirmed.
As part of that investigation, Jacqueline Hammond, the wealthy former wife of a U.S. ambassador to Spain, was said to have "considerable information about sex parties" at which all three Kennedy brothers, Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe were present. The parties were purported to have taken place at the Hotel Carlyle in New York City, where Hammond maintained a room.
There were also wild rumors about an assassination plot hatched by Sirhan Sirhan, in jail for the killing of Bobby Kennedy. An inmate told the FBI that Sirhan offered him $1 million and a car to kill Kennedy in 1977.
Kennedy's office received death threats constantly.