DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Stupid

JFK And Those Naked Gals...

FBI recorded third-hand account of purported yacht photo

Another TMZ exclusive

View Document

About JFK And Those Naked Gals...

UPDATE: TMZ falls for JFK photo hoax.

DECEMBER 28--Stories about Senator John F. Kennedy cavorting on a yacht with a harem of naked women have floated around for about 50 years, and were even memorialized in an FBI memo obtained years ago by The Smoking Gun. Now that a photo ("that could have changed history," TMZ blares) has surfaced purporting to show someone who "appears" to be JFK sunning himself while nude gals cavort nearby, a review of the bureau document is in order.

The one-page FBI memo, a copy of which you'll find here, was written in April 1960 by Cartha "Deke" DeLoach to John Mohr, a top aide to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. In the memo, DeLoach recounts a meeting that had occurred a day earlier in his Washington, D.C. office.

The meeting was attended by DeLoach, FBI official Harold Leinbaugh, and James Dowd, a Department of Justice prosecutor who was then preparing a fraud prosecution against Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. During the meeting, Dowd provided third-hand information on Kennedy "on a strictly confidential basis," according to DeLoach. The information "passed along" by Dowd came from a male contact with whom Dowd had met the prior year (that man appears to have come by his JFK information from a janitor or security guard working in the Senate office building).

Dowd's contact, whose name the FBI redacted before it released the memo pursuant to a Freedom of Information request, told Dowd that he was concerned about Kennedy's presidential aspirations and believed that the politician was "extremely vulnerable and had shown 'damn poor judgment.'" To apparently underline this poor judgment, Dowd's source told of a photograph that was supposedly "openly displayed" on Kennedy's desk in his U.S. Senate office. The image showed "Senator Kennedy and other men, as well as several girls in the nude. It was taken aboard a yacht or some type of pleasure cruiser."

Dowd's source's source was particularly disturbed since "other members of the guard and cleaning forces were aware of the photograph" and that JFK's "'extracurricular activities' were a standard joke around the Senate Office Building." The FBI memo, of course, does not question the harebrained claim that a married politician/presidential aspirant would proudly display a photo of himself surrounded by several naked women. Nor did Hoover's deputies seem to doubt that the source's source's source was "checking offices in the Senate Building one night" when he happened upon a photo that could have, um, changed history. (1 page)