Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. attorney general from 1960 to 1964 and a presidential candidate in 1968, came under special scrutiny by the FBI because the bureau’s aging but popular director, J. Edgar Hoover, considered him a political enemy. The materials in this file document not only many of Robert Kennedy’s activities but also Hoover’s enmity toward him. In addition to coverage of Kennedy’s public appearances and speeches, the file includes allegations of an affair between him and Marilyn Monroe and details of his trip to Alabama to meet with Governor George C. Wallace. The second half of the file documents the infamous public feud over wiretapping, in which Hoover released to the press memorandums suggesting that Kennedy had authorized wiretaps as early as 1961.
The strength of Hoover’s dislike for the young Kennedy is borne out by the unusually large number of marginal notes written by Hoover on bureau memorandums in the file. This collection thus sheds light on the careers of both Hoover and Robert Kennedy, plus the bureaucratic resistance the Kennedy administration faced in its attempts at reform in the 1960s.