Robert Kennedy Struggled With JFK's Assassination

Robert Kennedy was always thinking about his brother's reputation. And Robert Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, the president's widow, from the get-go, want to leave only one image behind and that is of the noble Jack Kennedy who tried to do the right thing. The Camelot figure. Jackie was a master spinner of this image. So, Jackie and Bobby wanted to spin this myth of not necessarily Camelot, but of a president who was noble and above the fray. And didn't dirty his hands. The last thing the needed was some government inquiry into assassination plots.

Difficult to Prove Assassination Theories

ABCNEWS: Who do you think killed President Kennedy, and was there more than one person involved?

Thomas: I believe that Oswald, operating alone, killed President Kennedy. I can't prove it, and I have about a two or three percent doubt in the corner of my mind about that it's conceivable, possible maybe, in a very remote circumstance that either Marcello, the mafia don, somehow had some piece of it, or possibly some fringe Cuban community. But this is an exceedingly marginal possibility and I only raise it because I can't absolutely rule it out.

ABCNEWS: Can we ever be 100 percent certain about what happened in the death of President Kennedy?

Thomas: We'll never know for sure what happened to President Kennedy because it's in the nature of these things that you can't prove every negative and you can't run down every little fact. It's made more complicated by the fact that there was a cover-up. That they covered up all sorts of things. Not to cover up a plot to kill Kennedy, but for their own internal bureaucratic reasons, because Hoover wanted to keep his job, and because Bobby Kennedy didn't want to be embarrassed, or the CIA didn't want to have the public know they were trying to kill somebody.

For a lot of reasons there were all these little cover-ups that add up to a fairly big cover-up that means that we're never gonna know for sure everything that, that might have happened. That's not to say that something did happen, it's just to say that we can't be sure.

Evan Thomas has been the assistant managing editor of Newsweek since 1991. He is the magazine's lead writer on major news stories and the author of many longer features. For 10 years, from 1986 to 1996, Thomas was Newsweek's Washington bureau chief. He is the author of Robert Kennedy: His Life (2000) and The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA (1995).

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