The cloak-and-dagger figure who likely inspired the TV show Mission: Impossible also planned Robert F. Kennedy's assassination—at least according to a lengthy new book on the subject, the Washington Post reports. In A Lie Too Big to Fail, author Lisa Pease contends that Robert Maheu, an ex-FBI agent and CIA contractor, may have had Sirhan Sirhan hypnotized into firing blanks at Kennedy in June 1968 while the real killers shot the senator from behind. Maheu was indeed a shadowy figure who helped the CIA with jobs they didn't want to handle (like hiring the mob to murder Fidel Castro) and worked as Howard Hughes' right-hand man as the magnate supported CIA missions and purchased big portions of Las Vegas. But was Maheu behind Kennedy's killing?
Pease draws on other authors who see inconsistencies in the official RFK story. Witnesses say Sirhan Sirhan—who still claims he has no memory of shooting the presidential candidate—was in front of Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, while the autopsy shows a bullet wound to the back of Kennedy's head; witnesses also saw shredded paper flying as Sirhan fired (a sign of blanks) and spotted other gunmen behind Kennedy. One of them was a security guard who had worked for Maheu, Pease notes; plus Mahue could have accessed the CIA's mind-control and hypnosis experiments. "It's easier for the police to prosecute the guy they have than the conspiracy they don’t have the details on," Pease tells the Pasadena Weekly. "...Once you tell the first lie, you have to keep telling lies to keep the first lie intact." (Read more assassination stories.)