Nixon aides pressed FBI on Kopechne





Top aides to President Richard M. Nixon asked the FBI to “discreetly’’ look into the background of the young political aide Mary Jo Kopechne, who drowned in 1969 when Edward M. Kennedy’s car careened off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, newly released FBI documents show.
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The thousands of pages of the late senator’s FBI file made public yesterday show that the bureau played no official role in the investigation of the accident, which threatened the Massachusetts senator’s career.

In the weeks after the accident, however, the Nixon administration sought to use the bureau to quietly gather information about Kopechne as part of an effort to damage Kennedy’s reputation and political fortunes, the FBI records show, revealing another level of detail to a previously disclosed campaign against the Massachusetts senator.

In one request, John Dean, then an assistant to Deputy Attorney General Richard Kleindienst, asked the FBI to find out whether Kopechne, who had worked for Senator Robert F. Kennedy, had traveled to Greece in August 1968. Newspaper reports show that Ted Kennedy vacationed in Greece that month with Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of President John F. Kennedy....

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