“I was not trying to say that the assassinations of the Kennedys were a form of justice,” Alioto, 58, wrote in a letter this year. (He shared the 1998 document after seeing this reporter’s criticism of Hersh in the magazine Commentary.) “I didn’t regard his book as ‘essentially accurate.’” To stress his purely conjectural intentions, Alioto told Hersh that, on the subject of any moral equivalence between JFK, RFK and their assassins, “I ask the question purely out of curiosity.”
Hersh made his view clear: “You’re right in believing, if that’s what your letter suggested, that there might have been some justice — one reviewer wrote ‘rough justice’ — in John F. Kennedy’s terrible death by assassination, a means he had sought to end Fidel Castro’s life.”
The Dark Side of Camelot, published in 1997, was enormously controversial for its thinly-sourced claims about, and Hersh suffered professional embarrassment when it was revealed that he had been fooled by a series of fake documents bearing the late president’s signature. Hersh was forced to remove mention of the papers from the book’s galleys at the last minute.