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By Jay Goldberg
Informal Opinion columns.
Reflections: The Robert F. Kennedy I Knew
Last November a major studio released Bobby, a film about Robert F.
Kennedy. PBS also recently produced a two-part documentary on the life
of President Kennedy’s attorney general. Both are laudatory, as they
should be, but each fails to point out a chink in the armor that
surrounds the myth of RFK as a crusading crimebuster enforcing the
criminal law without fear or favor. The picture painted of RFK as an
unbiased law enforcement officer is not entirely accurate. I witnessed
the slippage, tried to prevent it, and agonized over his behavior.1
RFK was a complex man. He is widely thought to be one of the most
active, effective attorneys general in history, but there is more to the
story. During his tenure, RFK’s direction brought law enforcement
agencies together and pioneered new laws to fight organized crime. As
one senior Justice Department official remarked, however, “When it came
to making a decision, RFK’s first cr
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