In a deplorable example of special treatment for the politically connected, the FBI is letting Ted Kennedy’s family determine if certain embarrassing records from the late senator’s extensive bureau file should be withheld from the public.
Responding to a newspaper’s public records request, The Justice Department agency is in the process of releasing thousands of pages of files involving the legendary Massachusetts Democrat who died of brain cancer eight months ago. Problem is some of the information from his storied, decades-long political career is likely to upset the family, according to the FBI.
That’s why the feds are giving the Kennedy clan a rare opportunity to raise objections before the public disclosure of his exhaustive and secret FBI file, according to the Boston newspaper that filed the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the documents. The records were requested soon after Kennedy died in August at the age of 77.
It’s unusual for a federal agency to defer to a subject’s family before releasing public records but this involves the Kennedy political dynasty. The family will review all the documents set for release that the FBI deems most likely to upset them, according to an agency source. The bureau also claims that the Kennedys have “privacy concerns” related to the records.
Surely, they want to keep a lid on previously undisclosed information involving the incident that big Teddy is most famous for; the drowning death of his young mistress in 1969. Kennedy recklessly drove off a bridge in Chappaquiddick, east of Martha’s Vineyard, and let his 28-year-old mistress (Mary Jo Kopechne) drown in the pond while he fled the scene to avoid a public scandal.
Kennedy had an expired license and, as was customary for him, he had been drinking at a party before leaving with Kopechne. He later pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a crime but only got a slap on the hand, a two-month suspended jail sentence.
Two decades after the horrific event more light was shed on the cover-up when the foreman of the grand jury that investigated the accident came forward and confessed that the panel was pressured by a judge and a prosecutor not to pursue the case. The foreman said the jury was manipulated and blocked from doing its job.