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Attorney General Sees Progress in War on Organized Crime

Feb. 13, 1963 - Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy told a Los Angeles press conference today that, although the Justice Department has made gains in its battle against organized crime, it remains a strong “economic and political” force in the nation. Mr. Kennedy said he is visiting Los Angeles and other western cities to confer with U.S. attorneys, investigative agencies, and narcotics enforcement officials. Kennedy said the last Congress passed more legislation dealing with organized crime than any since 1934. There have been a number of important convictions, including those of Mickey Cohen and Frankie Carbo, Kennedy said. “I think we have the laws we need now. I think we are starting to make some progress.” Turning to the issue of subversion, Kennedy said the biggest problem is “espionage by diplomats of Iron Curtain countries.” “The Communist Party USA has little following and exerts no influence,” he said, “but it still poses a threat because it takes orders from a foreign government.” Kennedy said he feels the “greatest internal problem” in the U.S. is segregation. Downstairs from Mr. Kennedy’s press conference, Teamster boss James R. Hoffa was being questioned by a federal grand jury. Kennedy denied he was in Los Angeles in connection with Hoffa’s grand jury appearance.

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