Summary of "The Sharyl Attkisson Podcast with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr."
- Kennedy's environmental career background
- Biden's most recent fall
- Points of difference from Biden: Censorship, Ukraine, Covid lockdowns
- Would he team up with Trump? (No.)
- My first interview with him 18 yrs ago July 14, 2005 about vaccines and autism
- Plan to ban prescription drug ads on TV
- Unraveling corruption at CDC and other federal agencies
- Redirecting focus to causes of US epidemic of chronic diseases, alternative medicine
- Biden White House censorship
- FBI disinformation against Trump
- Family talk
Below is a transcript of my podcast interview with Presidential Candidate Democrat Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. The transcript is for general reference and may include typographical errors.
Note: Time codes are included to help you locate topics of discussion in the podcast, and are accurate within about a one- to two-minute range.
Robert F. Kennedy: Okay. Well, my name is Robert F. Kennedy:, Jr. I've spent my career as an environmental attorney representing originally commercial fishermen on the Hudson River suing polluters. We created a group [00:01:00] called Riverkeeper and that helped restore the Hudson.
We brought over 500 lawsuits against polluters on the river. We forced polluters to spend about $4 billion remediating the river. And today the Hudson is an international model for ecosystem protection.
It is one of the richest rivers in North America. It produces more pounds of fish [00:01:30] per acre, more by mass per gallon than any other waterway in the North Atlantic.
It's the last refuge for many species that are going extinct elsewhere. It's the only river left in the North Atlantic that still has a strong spawning stocks of all of its anadromous with the migratory fish, migratory species of fish. It's kind of a Noah's Ark kind of species warehouse.
And the miraculous resurrection of the Hudson [00:02:00] has inspired the creation of other Riverkeepers now on 350 waterways in 46 countries. So, each one has a patrol boat. Each one has a full-time bay water keeper, and most of them litigate against polluters.
And in around 2014, I started another group called the World Mercury Project. I helped co-found it and then it later turned into the Children's Health Defense. [00:02:30] Children's Health Defense is a group, it's a leading group that addresses the chronic disease epidemic in children, and tries to add the exposures to toxins that are responsible for the explosion of chronic disease in American children and children all over the world. Although American children are the most affected.
54% of American children are now debilitated by lifetime chronic [00:03:00] diseases including neurotoxic, neurological disease, neurological injuries, neurodevelopmental diseases like ADD, ADHD, speech delay, language delay, ticks, Tourette syndrome, ASD, autism, narcolepsy, and then autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile diabetes, and then allergic diseases like peanut allergies, food allergies, anaphylaxis, [00:03:30] eczema, asthma, et cetera. And I'm now a presidential candidate. So, that's a recap, Sharyl...
Sharyl Attkisson: Just to start with a little bit of news the day we're recording this, did you see the video of poor President Biden just had a pretty hard fall? I think it was an Air Force Academy ceremony.
Robert F. Kennedy: Yes, I did.
Sharyl Attkisson: I mean, just because someone falls, I fall, it doesn't mean much necessarily, [00:04:30] but certainly it continues to raise the question. And I assume part of the reason you're running is there are a lot of people who do think there need to be more choices on the Democrat side next time around.
What are your initial thoughts about that and about... have you officially been told there won't be a debate on the Democrat side?
Robert F. Kennedy: Yeah. The DNC has publicly announced that there won't be any debates and I don't know. [00:05:00] Oh, I doubt if that will change. I think it's not a good thing for democracy. I think it's not a good thing to have the optics at a time in our nation's history when so many Americans are losing faith in the electoral system. They believe that elections are fixed and that they believe that rightfully or wrongfully, and they believe that the whole system is rigged against a little guy.
It's not a good thing [00:05:30] to be making shortcuts in democracy. And we need to have debates. We need to make it that so we're not like the Soviet Union where the party picks the candidates, but there's actually democracy.
There's retail politics that politicians are talking to Americans and barbershops, and nail salons, and diners, and gas stations, and not just carpet bombing [00:06:00] the country with a billion-dollar advertising campaign using money that they've raised from billionaires.
It's important, I think, that we have town halls and that the politicians really talk to people, but I don't know if that's going to happen in the Democratic primaries.
Sharyl Attkisson: If you were going to have a debate where President Biden was involved, what would you be looking forward to in terms of a strong point you think is on your side [00:06:30] or point of difference that you'd be [inaudible 00:06:32]-
Robert F. Kennedy: Well, we have lots of points of difference. I think it's inexcusable that the Democratic Party and a Democratic president was participating from the White House in censoring political opponents and censoring critics of public health policies or other policies, including the foreign policies.
I don't think we should have censorship [00:07:00] at all in this country. And I think it's dangerous for our bill, for our democracy. It's the beginning of... It's the slippery slope toward totalitarianism.
There's never been a time in history when the... speech were the good guys. I differ with President Biden on the war in Iraq. I don't think we should be... The steps that have been taken by this White House have consistently enlarged that war [00:07:30] and made it more deadly for the Ukrainians.
The Ukrainians are being trapped now in this proxy war with Russia between two great powers and are the victims. 350,000 Ukrainians have died, and they are the victims of geopolitical imaginations by neocons in the Biden White House. And of course, Vladimir Putin on the other side.
But the Ukrainians are the victims of this war, [00:08:00] and us fueling the war with Ukrainian bodies is not fueling the geopolitical ambitions in order to oppose Vladimir Putin and to exhaust the Russian army is not a good thing for the Ukraine.
I differ with President Biden on the lockdowns. The lockdowns were cataclysmic for our country. They cost our country $16 trillion. They shifted $4 trillion in wealth from [00:08:30] the middle class in our country to the super rich. And we created a billionaire a day during the pandemic, and the billionaires that came into the pandemic with their money increased their wealth by 30% on average.
And many of those billionaires were Silicon Valley. They titans, like Bill Gates and Jeffrey Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, who were actively censoring with the White House cooperation [00:09:00] criticisms of the lockdowns that were making them regimen.
Jeff Bezos, in effect, was allowed to shut down all of his competitors. 3.3 million American businesses were shut down without due process, without just compensation.
And we were all given a three-year training course on how to use Amazon. And black owned businesses were devastated. 41% of black owned businesses will never [00:09:30] reopen. Many of those business of sweat equity and currency, and... That's just some of the mistakes that I think the Biden White House has made.
Sharyl Attkisson: When you speak about the censorship and the Covid lockdowns, you're in agreement with a good number of conservative voices, but the way the media portrays it, it's sort of like conservatives think that, and liberals think [00:10:00] the other thing.
You think there are a lot of Democrats that agree with you. Maybe we haven't heard as much from them in the media, but there are a lot who are aligned with your line of thought on those things.
Robert F. Kennedy: Well, I run into a lot that are, and they're separated. I mean, there's a lot of Democrats who align with me on the war, but not on the... but are not sure about what happened during Covid [00:10:30] as you...
So, I don't know. I can't tell you how many people of each party are supportive of which issues, but I know I have a lot of...
Our own internal polling shows, and of all the candidates, I'm the strongest among independents [00:11:00] and that I draw a lot of Republicans and a lot of Democrats as well.
Sharyl Attkisson: Well, the funny thing I've heard and love to hear what you say about this, but people Tweeted to me when there's been some discussions about politics going on. They wish you would run with Trump. And I know you've spoken to Trump and met him, but you guys, I won't say are polar opposites. He's not really all that conservative on a lot of topics, but what are your thoughts about people who say that sort [00:11:30] of thing? Have you heard that too?
Robert F. Kennedy: I have heard it. It's not something that I would consider. I have differences, I think, in governing style and a vision for this country than President Trump. But I think I agree with him on a lot of issues.
I agree that we should be winding down the warfare state. I wish when he was president, he had done more to do that and he spoke...
[00:12:00] Many of the provocations that got us into the war with Ukraine were the direct result of his interventions of abandoning the intermediate nuclear missile treaty, walking away from it.
And I guess the objections from the Russians and then putting age's missiles in Romania and Poland and continuing to move NATO to the east, which Russia said was a [00:12:30] red line. And then also training NATO, training the Ukraine for interoperability with NATO and preparation for bringing the Ukraine into NATO.
All those were provocations that he should have been avoiding. And unfortunately, he laid the groundwork for the Ukraine war rather than deescalating, which is what we should have been doing.
Sharyl Attkisson: I don't know if you remember, because [00:13:00] so many people have interviewed you or you've done so many interviews, but my first interview with you was when I was working investigating reporter at CBS.
And back in the day, I guess, we're talking the early 2000s, the networks and major media were covering the vaccine safety issues. There were many arising, a lot of studies coming out, links to autism being acknowledged by government insiders and in government court cases, and it wasn't...
I guess, the big controversy [00:13:30] it came to be when the pharmaceutical industry and government got involved to make sure those things couldn't be discussed. But I remember one day you made news on something or other, and the evening news for CBS said, "Can you get an interview with Kennedy?"
They assigned me to cover these topics. I didn't know much about them, hadn't gone down the rabbit hole. And I flew up and flew back. I can't remember if you were in New York or Massachusetts, got the story on that day, that night on the evening news. And from there, I really have followed [00:14:00] you in terms of you're really not a top line guy. The littlest detail about these studies and medical facts. I was very impressed because a lot of folks, they don't have the time or maybe the interest or bandwidth to do all that, but you've really dug in and people should know that when they try to discuss and debate you on these topics, there's probably no one that knows them better. So you skip ahead, you had an interview with someone I think from ABC [00:14:30] recently, who I think it's fair to say wouldn't have known probably even a fraction of what you know about the topic of vaccines and tried to tell you that you were wrong about things or that you were putting out disinformation. That must be frustrating too, you're going to have to run against a media that doesn't understand issues as well as you do, some of these issues, and are going to nonetheless declare that they know the truth.
Robert F. Kennedy: Well, anyway, Sharyl, I [00:15:00] feel like you're telling me that I got you fired, which I apologize for, but I know that you did go down that rabbit hole and it caused you your job and it caused you a lot more. I think you are, of all the people in journalism, maybe you and Del Bigtree have shown, and a couple of other people as well, Ben Swan I think is another, but you've shown tremendous courage and [00:15:30] you've dug in and learned the facts and then stuck to, maintained your personal integrity, which ultimately is the only thing we've got at the end of our lives. You're going to be able to face your maker with yours completely intact. So I have such great admiration and affection for you for doing that, but I also apologize to you for any role that I had in your career demise.
Sharyl Attkisson: Well, that is so kind of you. I don't [00:16:00] look back at all upon any negativity like that right now. I stayed at CBS through 2014. I left of my own volition, but yes, it's because they wouldn't cover a variety of stories, honestly, anymore. But that was sort of the beginning of the media overall changing, which I think that's going to probably be a challenge you know you're facing. How do you deal with the media, Trump had the same issue, that's not going to be unbiased or honest [00:16:30] in many cases on topics that you care about or that are important? I'm sure you've already kind of walked through this in your mind how you're going to do that.
Robert F. Kennedy: Yeah. I mean, I'm not going to get any quarter from the mainstream media, but I'll continue to talk to them and I'm basically out to anybody. But the corporate media is going to be opposed to my candidacy, which they should [00:17:00] be because I'm going to do things when I get in the office that are probably going to hurt their business model, including getting pharmaceutical advertisements off of television.
Sharyl Attkisson: That's a very big one.
Robert F. Kennedy: Yeah. [00:17:30] So I expect them to resist with every molecule of energy that they can summon. I don't expect fair play from them and I don't expect honesty from them. But there's other ways that I can reach the public these days. I can reach them through some of the social media, Elon Musk has freed up Twitter so that we can say things [00:18:00] that were once verboten. Then there's a whole new universe of podcasts that reach huge numbers of people, including a lot of young people. To me, it's a really wonderful renaissance. I mean, if you think about it, CNN gets about 300, I don't know, 350,000 viewers a night. Tucker was getting 10 times that, 4.5 million before [00:18:30] he was fired. But Joe Rogan, when he had Peter McCullough on got 40 million. So he gets 100 times what CNN gets. There are many other podcasters that get two, three, 10 or 20 times what CNN gets. So I think there's ways to reach a Americans now without being completely subservient to the mainstream corporate media.
Sharyl Attkisson: [00:19:00] Speaking of which, I mean, it's a complicated equation what's brought us to where we are today with the management of information. With the mess during Covid, I was looking over for a book I'm writing, what CDC thinks its problem was when they had to do a look back not long ago versus what the real problems were, they have yet to address corruption, intentional disinformation, and that's not something unprovable. We've been able to prove that they [00:19:30] were alerted to errors and things that they said and then continued to, after acknowledging the errors, put out disinformation that would, in every case as it happens, tend to press more people toward a vaccine at any cost kind of policies or approach.
What would you do to CDC? The Republicans actually told me if they took over Congress and they only got the House in the last election of course, but they planned to do some very serious oversight. I'm not saying it's over, [00:20:00] but the top to bottom overhaul that even CDC supporters like Larry Gostin think should be done. No one's really even talking about that. They have zero confidence or they don't hold the confidence of many people in the American public, particularly after Covid.
Robert F. Kennedy: Yeah. I mean, I look so forward to going to Atlanta myself and supervising [00:20:30] the overhaul of CDC. I know exactly what to do and I will unravel the corruption there. I know the individuals who need to leave and need to be transferred out of powerful positions. Then I'm going to put people in those positions. A lot of policies, personnel, I'm going to put the people in those positions who are actually concerned with public health rather than pharmaceutical industry profits. [00:21:00] I'm going to change the mission of CDC and make it more, and NIH, by the way and FDA, and direct them toward the problem of solving our chronic diseases, which are much more debilitating and much more devastating to the American public than infectious diseases, far, far more.
In fact, we had the highest death rate in the world from Covid. We have 4.2% of the globe's [00:21:30] population, we had 16% of the Covid deaths with the highest body count of any country in the world. Part of the reason for that is that we have the highest chronic disease rate. So the question is, was it Covid killing those people or was it chronic disease? I would argue that it was chronic disease. CDC itself says that the average death from Covid was in Americans that had on average 3.8 chronic [00:22:00] diseases that were all potentially fatal. So we need to solve our chronic disease issue. If we do that, the infectious disease issue will solve itself.
NIH, it has turned itself into an incubator for pharmaceutical products. It's supposed to be asking questions like, "Where is the autism epidemic coming from? Where is the peanut allergy [00:22:30] coming from? Where are all these autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, where are they coming from?" Why is NIH not doing those studies? Well, we know it's an environmental toxin in each case. It may be [inaudible 00:22:47] anything fit the bill. [inaudible 00:22:51]. I'm [00:23:00] going to change the universities, the way that NIH relates to the universities is going to change. I'm going to bring in these scientific journals to the Justice Department.
I'm going to tell them that we're going to file racketeering cases against them if they don't start real science, pushing pharmaceutical lies, industry lies, stop being a vessel for [00:23:30] mercantile propaganda of the pharmaceutical industry because they're lying to the public, they're lying to physicians. They're causing enormous harm. So those are some of the things that I'm going to do.
Sharyl Attkisson: I think those are huge and from someone like you that has such an understanding of them. Just from the stories I've been assigned to cover over the years, I've been asking the same question. It's almost like we're being distracted by certain things [00:24:00] to not look at root causes. Why when you go in with a cancer diagnosis does virtually no doctor say, "I wonder why your immune system couldn't fight the cancer or what caused the cancer"? They just want to cut off a body part or treat you with a poison. I'm not saying that shouldn't be done. I'm not a doctor. But isn't it important to figure out what's causing all of these things? There was almost virtually no juvenile Crohn's disease, another immune disorder, couple decades [00:24:30] ago. All these things have spiked. These new things like Pott's and juvenile diabetes and all these autoimmune things. Surely, we should be asking the questions about that and the spike in autism. But instead it's been so muddied by the industries that control information and I really think don't want those questions asked or the root causes addressed.
Robert F. Kennedy: Of course not. Because at the end of any, if you start pulling on those strings, at the end [00:25:00] of that string, it's going to be a big shot, it's going to be the chemical industry, it's going to be the pesticide industry, it's going to be the pharmaceutical industry. Those are all the industries that have captured NIH. So they don't want to know the answers to those questions.
Sharyl Attkisson: I'm questioning two journals now and having trouble, surprisingly, I've been able to get corrections in journals before when I've seen [00:25:30] problems, but two right now are so far ignoring me. One is a new study in a neurology journal that my read of it was they studied a lot of patients that had adverse events after Covid vaccine, expected adverse events or ones that have been identified like strokes, and then concluded, to your point earlier, that every patient had preexisting conditions, therefore they seem to exonerate the vaccine. They seem to say, "See, the vaccine couldn't have caused it." All [00:26:00] these people were already sick. My question to them that they're not answering so far is how did they account for the obvious fact that if you are already sick or have preexisting risk factors, that a vaccine of any kind could potentially be riskier for you? I can't get an answer to that, but certainly that should have been addressed in a journal article on this topic.
Robert F. Kennedy: Well, it should have been addressed in the clinical trials for the Covid vaccine too. But unfortunately, in the clinical [00:26:30] trials, they excluded people who had chronic diseases. So they weren't testing the vaccine on the American public. They were testing it on basically a population of the Avengers of people who were completely well, and that's what they do with all vaccines. They don't test them on a group that actually looks like the population. Then they seem surprised when the vaccine kills [00:27:00] people with chronic disease like, "We had no knowledge of this. How would we know?" Well, of course you wouldn't know because you didn't test it on those people.
Sharyl Attkisson: Then I was looking at a continuing medical education class that doctors can take to stay current with their specialties. They have to have education. Maybe people don't know that a lot of these are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. Even if the speakers [00:27:30] disclose their affiliations with pharmaceutical companies, somewhere the public doesn't know that their doctors are being taught by industry experts. So let me sum up by saying, this came out today, it was called Updates and Advances in Covid-19 Trends and Prevention in Pediatric Patients. So I'm like, "Oh, what are they saying about kids now that we know virtually no healthy kid has died of Covid, of course, and Covid rarely makes any child sick unless [00:28:00] they already have something severely wrong with them?" Well, this whole slideshow I looked at, Continuing Medical Education for Doctors, was clearly vaccine oriented despite the fact that all the science that's, I think, independent has proven that children shouldn't get the vaccine for Covid. It's not effective, it's not necessary for them. So I looked at who's teaching this, and if you click on the disclosures, teaching this course is a guy named Saul Faust who gets research funding from AstraZeneca, [00:28:30] GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson and Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi, Moderna, Novavax. Then, there's the next guy spoke to give the teach this class to doctors about how good vaccines are for children for Covid. His name's George Casianis. He's a consultant or advisor for Merck Novavax, Pfizer, Sanofi, and four or five others. Point being, there's a whole system, and you've addressed it. [00:29:00] The scientific journals, the academic institutions, our federal agencies, that's just a job that it's hard for me to understand, at this stage, how anybody can really attack that.
Robert F. Kennedy: Yeah. Well, it does seem intractable, but it can be done. We need somebody in the White House who actually has the stomach for that kind of fight and who knows how to do it, who understands [00:29:30] these agencies, who is not intimidated by the agency. The agencies are always going to try to commit civil disobediences, because they want to lock in the corruption. Look at NIH. NIH, if you work for NIH and you work on a drug which they develop, the way it works is they have a $42 billion job budget. They develop drugs, they find molecules in their lab, which that will [00:30:00] kill certain viruses. Then, they market that out. They farm that out to a university, to a researcher, what they call a principal investigator, who's usually the head of a medical school department.
That principal investigator will then investigate it first using animals, so it's monkey trials or something like that, to see if it kills the virus in the monkey and doesn't [00:30:30] kill the monkey. The second phase is, which is called phase one, you test it on human beings, a small number of human beings, and see if it works. Then, you do a large number and you may [inaudible 00:30:45] could pay as much as $20,000 per recruit to the principal investigator. Well, the university takes at least half of that money and sometimes 75%. Then, [00:31:00] the university, if this ends up... After the phase two trial, phase two, you trade it on a larger group of people.
Then, phase three, you test it on thousands of people. Say, for that, they bring in a pharmaceutical company and they sell the drug to that pharmaceutical company. They give half the patent to them. NIH keeps some of the patent. The university keeps some of the patent. The university researcher keeps [00:31:30] some of the patent, and the individuals in NIH who worked on the initial drug also get margin rights for the royalties in the patent. Individual regulators at NIH who are supposed to be regulating this drug, actually, can collect $150,000 a year for the rest of their lives and their children collected and their children, as long as that drug's on the market. They're paying for their boat, their kids' education, their car, [00:32:00] their house by creating new drugs, and they do not want to find problems with those drugs.
The entire regulatory function has been subsumed by these mercantile ambitions of the people who work for these agencies. It's an extraordinarily corrupt system. It is agency capture on steroids. We shouldn't have regulators making money from the drugs they regulate. That's like if we let EPA [00:32:30] get half of its budget from the coal industry and then make money on coal sales and individuals in the EPA making money on coal sales. That's not regulation. We need to end those systems, which are just corrupt in their conception, and we need to turn the regulatory fees back to doing what they need to do, which is to make sure that our drugs are safe and that they're [00:33:00] effective and pharmaceutical industry profits are their last concern.
Sharyl Attkisson: How about alternatives? Right now, as you stated, the money is in coming up with a treatment for something, certainly not preventing it, because that would take money out of the pockets of some of these same companies, if you could do something that would avoid the child from getting the juvenile diabetes, for example. Someone's got to fund that stuff, and right now, the government's not, I'm saying there's no [00:33:30] studies, but certainly the research priorities aren't toward these things that wouldn't make a pharmaceutical company a lot of money. There's just not a priority for that kind of research, but it's probably the most important kind that should be conducted.
Robert F. Kennedy: Let's be honest too. We should be funding a national research on alternative medicine, on integrative medicine, on ways to strengthen the immune system, on [00:34:00] all these alternatives that have been on dietary changes, on exercise, and even osteopathic solutions, chiropractic solutions, naturopathic solutions. Let's look at them. Let's apply science to them. Let's not just look at molecules that may be profitable for the drug companies. There are expired [00:34:30] drugs that have been shown to have miraculous, including ivermectin, that it's patent expired, costs 5 cents a pill. It had a miraculous curative impact on Covid, but it had to be suppressed, because it was competing with high value medications that represented big profit centers for the pharmaceutical companies. We need to change [00:35:00] the way that NIH operates completely around. We need to elevate people in those agencies who are actually deeply, deeply concerned and deeply thoughtful about public health and have open minds and are not locked into a pharmaceutical paradigm and into a pharmaceutical profit chain.
Sharyl Attkisson: [00:35:30] Two more topics I'd love to address. One of them is concern among the American public about not just their loss of faith in our medical public health agencies, but also in Department of Justice and, in some respects, Department of Education. You can look at our intel agencies and people really feel... A good percentage survey show not just one side of the political spectrum feel like there's a corruption or a systemic problem inside [00:36:00] these agencies. I'll just say, I just got a FOIA response, Freedom of Information Act request, this is one tiny slice of the problem, the federal agencies thumbed their nose at the law and nothing happens to them.
I've been asking for the after-action reports on the withdrawal from Afghanistan. We own that information. The lessons learned, basically, which is done after every military action. Couldn't get it after Benghazi, which I think is in violation of law, but they just wouldn't give it. I got two pages today, [00:36:30] several years after asking for it. Two pages from the military. The first page is entirely redacted, there's no date on it, and the second page says pretty much nothing. I don't know. I just look at anybody trying to get information that we own from our federal agencies, including when Congress tries, I'm not sure they try all that hard, but what do you do about that? Do you see it as a big issue as I do, as a member of the press? What are your thoughts on that?
Robert F. Kennedy: Well, there's [00:37:00] a bunch of different issues you raise. One is transparency in government, and that should be something that I have a great interest in, across all the agencies. I've probably filed thousands of freedom of information requests, and it's a absolutely critical part of democracy. The agencies, now, have all these ways of stonewalling it. You can litigate and you can win that litigation, [00:37:30] but it takes years and it takes a lot of money. The other issue is that the agencies are actually corrupt. They're doing things they're not supposed to be doing. The federal enforcement agencies we saw, from the Twitter files, that FBI was illegally censoring people at the direction of the White House. They had their own portals and Twitter, and you had FBI and CIA people who were involved in the censorship.
[00:38:00] Then, the Durham report has come out. I'm not a friend of Donald Trump's, but what we're seeing, we see 50 CIA agents who sign a letter saying that the Hunter Biden story is a fake, it's a Russian disinformation. Either they deliberately lied or they said something with a certainty that they shouldn't have. [00:38:30] Either way, the CIA is prohibited from participating in American politics. and this was a disinformation campaign against a political candidate. That is wrong. It doesn't matter who the candidate is, it is wrong. It should not happen in America.
We also know that FBI was involved in creating disinformation as well. [00:39:00] The sealed report and all of that stuff. There was a complete collapse of law enforcement function, and law enforcement did what everybody at the beginning, when we created the CIA in 1947. Everybody was concerned that if we created a secret spy agency, it would ultimately begin trying to rule American politics the way that the Gestapo and the KGB and the [00:39:30] Stasi and Slovak did in totalitarian nations, and that it was inconsistent with the Democratic and open society to have these secret spy groups. They were antithetical to democracy and would end up destroying it.
We're watching that right now, and we need extreme reform within those agencies. We need to get them out of American politics. We need severe sanction for people who break the law. [00:40:00] Unfortunately, as you point out, those people end up getting promoted. The person who masterminded the cover-up of the Guantanamo Bay torture tapes was Avril Haynes, who is now the top spy in the country. There were so many CIA agents who were angry at her for breaking the law, and those agents were made the fool. The most corrupt agent [00:40:30] in the agency actually has got promoted to run to be the top spy in America. She's the DNI, the director of National Intelligence. She sits on the National Security Council, which managed the Covid epidemic.
She was also the same agent who presided over event 201, this very suspicious pandemic, coronavirus pandemic, simulation that took [00:41:00] place in October of 2019, 3 months before we were told that coronavirus pandemic was actually circulating. Her function there was to collaborate with the other co-host, George Gao, the director of the Chinese CDC. Anybody can go on YouTube and watch this. They conduct a discussion on the last seminar of the day, that's seminar number four, about how to censor information and particularly if people start [00:41:30] talking about a lab leak, how to shut down those people and censor them. Avril Haynes says, "Not only do we have to censor them on social media, but we have to," quote, "flood the zone with authoritative voices." In other words, propaganda. She's talking there about propagandizing the American people and shutting down the set, and it's exactly what they did three months later when coronavirus actually came to public attention. [00:42:00] These very, very strange things that she's involved in. And then she ends up managing the coronavirus response in the White House and we can't keep elevating the people who are the most corrupt people in our government.
Sharyl Attkisson: Wow, I didn't know that level of detail. That's amazing. I can't wait to talk to you more on my TV show Full Measure in the fall when we come back for Season 9, by the way. But lastly, [00:42:30] we're of the same generation you and I, so I'm sure you won't mind if I tell you something you already know. There are a lot of younger people today that know the Kennedy name but not much beyond that there was a President Kennedy. And can you give me just a little history of where you fit into the Kennedy family for people who are listening that have never looked into that? And anything you want to say about that? Is your interest in politics now at all [00:43:00] inspired in part because of family? Or just tell us a little bit about that.
Robert F. Kennedy: Well I mean briefly the history of my family, all of my grandparents came over in 1848 from Ireland which was the year of the potato famine. So millions of Irish died of starvation because the British was holding the grain for export and big warehouses wouldn't feed them. [00:43:30] And many were driven out of Ireland to America an Australia. My great-grandparents from both sides, great-great-grandparents came to Boston. My great-grandfather, Honey Fitz, John Honey Fitz Fitzgerald, they called him that because he had a beautiful voice that sounded like honey, became the first Irish Catholic Mayor of Boston. And the [00:44:00] Irish came over and for 600 years, it had been illegal for them to participate in politics in Ireland which was a colonial, the first British colony. And they took to politics like a starving man take the food and they took over Boston. My great-grandfather was an Irish Catholic mayor. His daughter, Rose Kennedy, married my grandfather, Joseph Kennedy, [00:44:30] who went to Harvard. He was the best baseball player in Boston and he went into banking. He made a fortune. Right out of Harvard, he made a fortune in banking. It's often said that he was a bootlegger but that is just a lie. That was spread beginning in 1966 by the CIA actually, by a specific CIA agent who was charged [00:45:00] with taring the Kennedy name. My grandfather and Rose Kennedy had nine children. He married the mayor's daughter, they had nine children. And his eldest son, Joe, was killed in World War II. He was a pilot and he volunteered for a mission, a very dangerous mission, to pilot the first remote controlled airplane which was an air bomb. And [00:45:30] it blew up when they turned on the remote control. His daughter, my grandfather's eldest daughter, Kick, her husband was also killed on the [inaudible 00:45:40] in the first days of the war. And then she subsequently died in an airplane crash.
His next son, Jack, was a war hero, was lost at sea when his skipper got cut into by a Japanese destroyer. He rescued his crew. [00:46:00] He came back home a hero. He ran for Congress in 1947 and went to Congress, and then he went to the Senate I think in '56 and he ran for president in 1960. And my father, who was his younger brother, was his campaign manager. And he was the first Irish Catholic President of the United States, he was the 35th president. His brother he named Attorney General. They [00:46:30] had fought the mafia while he was in the Senate, he was on the Rackets Committee. And when they got into office, their principle battle was the Civil Rights Battle. They were allied with Martin Luther King and they fought the great battles to get blacks in the University of Mississippi, University of Alabama, James Meredith. They sent federal troops to Alabama and Mississippi to get those students in. They fought for the Voting Rights Act to [00:47:00] make sure that blacks could vote.
They fought for the Freedom Riders to make sure that Rosa Parks and that all blacks could use public transportation. And then they fought against war. My uncle refused to send combat troops to Vietnam even though he was being urged, he refused to send them to Laos. He refused to get into a war with Khrushchev over the Berlin which his military [00:47:30] apparatus and intelligence agencies wanted. He refused to invade Cuba during the missile crisis in '62 and during the Bay of Pigs in '61. And he sent 16,000 combat troops to Vietnam and then ordered the [inaudible 00:47:49] a month before his death with a national security order. He learned that they were not combat troops, they were advisors. They were mainly Green Berets helicopter pilots [00:48:00] who were trainers. But he learned that 75 of them had died and he said, "No American should die in Asia," in a ground war in Asia and he called them all home. And he was killed three weeks later.
And President Johnson a week after that who took over for him remanded that order and then ended up sending 250,000 troops to Vietnam. Nixon took over after... My father ran against Johnson to end [00:48:30] the war in '68, he won the California Primary Chase Johnson out of the race and would've almost certainly been president. But he was shot in the '68 in the night of his victory in the California Primary. And Nixon then took over, sent 560,000 troops to Vietnam. 56,000 would not come home including many of my friends and my cousin, George Skakel, [00:49:00] who died during the Tet Offensive. And my uncle, Edward Kennedy, became senator in '64 and he served in the Senate for 50 years, one of the oldest serving senators in history. He has more legislation bearing his name than any senator. And he was famous for working on both sides [00:49:30] of the aisle. Many of his best friends were Republicans and he also was a big opponent of war.
So he fought the against the Iraq War, which Joe Biden supported, strongly led to support for, and every other war that we had. So I mean that's the brief history of my family. And my father was one of the youngest children but the first to marry. [00:50:00] And he and my mother, Ethel Skakel, had 11 kids and I'm the third of 11. And I had a brother, Joe, who served in Congress for about 12 years. His son also served, Joey also served in Congress. I have a cousin, Patrick Kennedy, who is Teddy's son who served in Congress. And my cousin, Teddy Kennedy, also served in public office. My sister, Kathleen, has been Governor [00:50:30] of Maryland. And I've got 29 other Kennedy cousins, all of whom are involved in one way or another in public service.
Sharyl Attkisson: Holy cow. That's a lot to keep track of. Did you say Senator Edward Kennedy was your uncle?
Robert F. Kennedy: Yeah, he was my uncle.
Sharyl Attkisson: So when I was working on The Hill for CBS or I'd go there and back, I was assigned there full-time for a year or so for CBS. But I used to see him, I think [00:51:00] he had one or two little teeny dogs that he took to work with him almost every day I guess because I'd see him walk them outside of the Russell building or one of his aides would walk him outside the Russell building.
Robert F. Kennedy: He had a pair of Portuguese water dogs. And he'd always carry a tennis racket so that he could bounce balls to the dogs and they would fetch them. But he couldn't bend over because he was in a [00:51:30] very bad plane crash with Senator Birch Bayh actually in Iowa campaigning. And the pilots were killed. My uncle's back was broken, literally broken in two. And Birch Bayh had to pull him out through the window of the plane. But after that, Teddy had been a great athlete. He was actually drafted by the Green Bay Packers. He was the youngest brother. [00:52:00] But after that, he ended up... Because he just couldn't exercise anymore. He walked those dogs in the Senate and then he'd take them out onto the mall and hit the tennis ball for them and they would fetch it, come back.
Sharyl Attkisson: Well that's really a piece of living history or that was a piece of living history and interesting for me to see as then a younger reporter up on Capitol [00:52:30] Hill. But thank you for all your time and I know we're going to talk some more and on TV as well. But people have been asking me to get you on the podcast because whatever they like about listening to me, they seem to also have the same appeal or interest in you. So here we are.
Robert F. Kennedy: Good to talk to you, Sharyl.