Did the FBI's Regis Kennedy Know that Clay Shaw worked for the CIA?
Updated: Oct 11, 2021
Bill Davy, in his book Let Justice Be Done, writes: (page 100)
"Coincidentally, in 1967, a Garrison informant reported that New Orleans FBI agent, Regis Kennedy, had confirmed that 'Shaw was a CIA agent who had done work, of an unspecified nature, over a five year span in Italy.'"
"Regis Kennedy also knew Shaw worked for the Agency while he was on the Board of Permindex."
His source is Davy.
Here is the document that they quote:
All we know is what Sciambra writes about Parrott's claims about what Kennedy said:
"She said that REGIS KENNEDY confirmed to her the fact that CLAY SHAW is a former C.I.A. agent who did some work for the C.I.A in Italy over a five-year span."
We have no idea of the context and what Kennedy actually said. What Parrott supposedly claimed is wrong. Shaw was not in Italy over a five-year period.
Here is what Don Carpenter says about this in his book, Man of a Million Fragments, a magisterial biography of Clay Shaw: (page 333)
"This anecdote is a good example of how information from law enforcement informants, and even well-meaning respectable citizens, contained in official-looking memos, must be analyzed for truthfulness and accuracy. Perhaps Regis Kennedy had actually told Betty Parent such a story, but there is no truth to the assertion that Shaw was a former "CIA agent," or that he spent five years in Italy at any time of his life."
Where did the allegation come from? It came from series of article in Paese Sera, a communist-controlled newspaper in Rome, Italy. Here is what they said about Shaw - and this is from translations that are in the Jim Garrison papers:
Note that a lot of what is in this report is just plain wrong. Shaw never said that he "accepted the position 'in exchange for two New Orleans-Rome airline tickets.'" Clay Shaw hated to fly and he would only take trains and boats. Second, there is no truth to the claim that "Clay Shaw, by his own admission, came to Rome during the time preceding the disbanding of the CMC." He never visited Rome on Permindex/CMC business. He turned down every request to attend board meetings.
Lastly, Shaw did not leave the United States two days after the assassination. He left San Francisco a few days after the assassination and went to Portland, Oregon. He then went to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his friends. Shaw then returned to New Orleans in early December. He spoke to the Chamber of Commerce on December 11th. He did not go to Europe.
The Paese Sera stories traveled the globe and appeared in various communist-party newspapers. It even made the mainstream Le Devoir in Montreal, Canada.
Here is an article from L'Humanité, the newspaper of the French Communist Party:
The article says Shaw spent several years in Rome.
Here is a Life Magazine memo with a translation of the article:
The claim that Shaw spent several years in Rome mirrors the claim in the Parrott memo.
Entry for March 22, 1967:
Story about Shaw and CIA appears in Humanite, probably March 8 . . . Giant has copy datelined Rome, March 7, from La Presse Italien . . . It explains Shaw working in Rome in '58 to '60 period . . .
It all originated from Paese Sera.
It seems likely that Betty Parrott heard the report about Clay Shaw living in Rome from people in Garrison's office, and she then asked Regis Kennedy about the article. He probably just told her that he had also seen the report. The so-called confirmation is meaningless, because Shaw had not been in Italy, and there is no evidence that he was a "C.I.A. agent."
In an upcoming post, I will be examining so-called evidence that Shaw was a "contract source" for the CIA. Stay tuned.