Spies, sex, Mafia hit men and James Bond-like killing devices. They sound like the stuff of an Ian Fleming novel or a movie thriller. But these are true-life details from America’s first foray into the assassination business—a rather messy affair, as 007 might say.
They can be found, many for the first time, in recently declassified files about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The JFK files, released by the National Archives in batches since last year, have already been picked over for signs of any new information about Kennedy’s death in Dallas. (To the chagrin of conspiracy theorists, the documents contain little evidence that anyone besides gunman Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible for the tragedy.) But far less noticed were the files’ fascinating new insights about another much-debated Cold War conspiracy: a top-secret killing plan centered on the CIA’s recruitment of gangsters Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli to