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FBI Tells of 3 JFK Jr. Kidnapping Threats

Report: The first occurred while Kennedy was in elementary school, the most recent was four years before he died at age 38 in a plane crash.

June 20, 2000|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — In his 38 years of life, John F. Kennedy Jr. was the target of at least three kidnapping threats--the latest just four years before he died in a plane crash, according to FBI records released Monday.

The first one, confirmed by the U.S. government, occurred more than two decades ago when Kennedy was still in elementary school. The 162 newly released records, which Associated Press obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, contain sketchy details about two more threats.

In 1995, someone called the FBI in New York offering information about an alleged plot to kidnap Kennedy in New York City, according to an FBI report dated July 13, 1995. The caller told the FBI that the alleged kidnappers "had determined that Kennedy rode a bicycle in Manhattan and did not have any bodyguards," the report says.

The phrase "armed and dangerous" was typed on several of the FBI documents about the plot. But the individual told the FBI "that he never heard any statements from any of the suspects that suggested they would harm Kennedy," the report says.

Few details about the suspects, who were believed to have some connection to Colombia, could be gleaned from the pages, which were heavily redacted, or blackened out, before their release.

"The security firm that handles security for the Kennedys has been apprised of the potential threat to John F. Kennedy Jr.," one report says. "A representative from the firm advised that Kennedy would be notified."

FBI bureaus in Florida and California were also advised of the alleged kidnapping scheme.

The Washington office of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) was contacted but would not comment on the release of FBI records.

The documents reveal a second kidnapping threat on May 14, 1985, two years after Kennedy graduated from Brown University.

The Herndon, Va., Police Department received a call from an apparently intoxicated white male who told them that "he and seven other individuals intended on kidnapping John Kennedy that evening at 8 p.m."

"You know Massachusetts?" the man added before he abruptly hung up.

The other kidnapping threat occurred in the 1970s.

The U.S. government announced on July 15, 1972, the arrests of eight Greeks on various charges, including allegedly plotting to kidnap Kennedy, who was in elementary school at the time. He was to be abducted while visiting the Greek island of Skorpios, which was owned by his stepfather, Aristotle Onassis, a shipping tycoon.

The FBI records were replete with fuzzy details about the two kidnapping plots. But one report concerned a letter, postmarked Aug. 26, 1994, that Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), received from Worcester, Mass.

"Dear Sen. Biden," the letter said. "You are a traitor."

It was signed "John F. Kennedy Jr."

The handwriting was analyzed. Fingerprints were lifted from the letter. But no suspects were identified, and the case was closed at the end of 1994.

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