A Contract on Castro

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: The mob wanted Fidel Castro out of the way so badly in the early 1960's, it turned down $150,000 of the CIA's money and offered to do the hit for free, newly declassified documents show. According to a May 1962 memo summarizing a CIA briefing of then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy, crime boss Sam Giancana and side kick John Rosselli refused to take $150,000 the CIA put up to assassinate the Cuban leader. The memo, to be included in an upcoming State Department volume entitled "Cuba, 1961-62," also shows that at least two assassination attempts were made with CIA-supplied lethal pills and organized crime muscle in early 1961. Interestingly, then-CIA director of security Sheffield Edwards wrote in the memo that knowledge of the plots was "kept to a total of six persons, " indicating that the White House may have been kept in the dark. While the CIA received the mob's services free of charge, it got what it paid for: a string of failures in the attempt to snuff out the Beard.