After graduating from Pennsylvania State University in 1950 he was employed as a manufacturing and sales executive. A member of the Republican Party he was elected to Congress in November, 1960.
From 1975 to 1976, Schweiker was a member of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, headed by Frank Church, investigating illegal domestic activities of the United States government's intelligence agencies.
In its final report the Church committee concluded: “Domestic intelligence activity has threatened and undermined the Constitutional rights of Americans to free speech, association and privacy. It has done so primarily because the Constitutional system for checking abuse of power has not been applied.”
It stated: "The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets." Church argued that the cost of misinforming the world cost American taxpayers an estimated $265 million a year.
In 1976 Antonio Veciana was interviewed by the House Select Committee on Assassinations. The founder of the anti-Castro organization, Alpha 66, he told the committee about his relationship with his Central Intelligence Agency contact, Maurice Bishop. He claimed that in August, 1963, he saw Bishop and Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas. Veciana admitted that Bishop had organized and funded the Alpha 66 attacks on the Soviet ships docked in Cuba in 1963.
Veciana explained the policy: "It was my case officer, Maurice Bishop, who had the idea to attack the Soviet ships. The intention was to cause trouble between Kennedy and Russia. Bishop believed that Kennedy and Khrushchev had made a secret agreement that the USA would do nothing more to help in the fight against Castro. Bishop felt - he told me many times - that President Kennedy was a man without experience surrounded by a group of young men who were also inexperienced with mistaken ideas on how to manage this country. He said you had to put Kennedy against the wall in order to force him to make decisions that would remove Castro's regime."
Schweiker, speculated that Bishop was David Atlee Phillips. Schweiker arranged for Veciana and Phillips to be introduced at a meeting of the Association of Retired Intelligence Officers in Reston. Phillips denied knowing Veciana. After the meeting Veciana told Schweiker that Phillips was not the man known to him as Bishop.
Schweiker was unconvinced by this evidence. He found it difficult to believe Phillips would not have known the leader of Alpha 66. Especially as Phillips had been in charge of covert action in Cuba when Alpha 66 was established. Another CIA agent who worked in Cuba during this period, claimed that Phillips used the code name, Maurice Bishop.
During the investigation Schweiker studied a large number of classified intelligence files. In 1978 he told the author, Anthony Summers: "Either we trained and sent him to Russia, and they went along and pretended they didn't know to fake us out, or in fact, they inculcated him and sent him back here and were trying to fake us out that way."
In 1981 President Ronald Reagan appointed him Secretary of Health and Human Services. During his time in office, he worked to reform Social Security, put greater emphasis on preventive medicine. He proposed reducing Social Security benefits to recipients who retired before age 65, but both Democrats and Republicans in Congress rejected the idea.
From 1983 to 1994, Schweiker served as president of the American Council of Life Insurance, now known as the American Council of Life Insurers. After he retired and lived in McLean, Virginia.
Richard Schweiker died on 31 July, 2015,
Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations in the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963.
Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at President John F. Kennedy. The second and third shots he fired struck the President. The third shot he fired killed the President.
President Kennedy was struck by two rifle shots fired from behind him.
The shots that struck President Kennedy from behind him were fired from the sixth floor window of the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository building.
Lee Harvey Oswald owned the rifle that was used to fire the shots from the sixth floor window of the southeast comer of the Texas School Book Depository building.
Lee Harvey Oswald, shortly before the assassination, had access to and was present on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building.
Lee Harvey Oswald's other actions tend to support the conclusion that he assassinated President Kennedy.
Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy. Other scientific evidence does not preclude the possibility of two gunmen firing at the President. Scientific evidence negates some specific conspiracy allegations.
The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The committee is unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.
The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that the Soviet Government was not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy.
The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that the Cuban Government was not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy.
The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that anti-Castro Cuban groups, as groups, were not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy, but that the available evidence does not preclude the possibility that individual members may have been involved.
The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that the national syndicate of organized crime, as a group, was not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy, but that the available evidence does not preclude the possibility that individual members may have been involved.
The Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency were not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy.
Agencies and departments of the U.S. Government performed with varying degrees of competency in the fulfillment of their duties. President John F. Kennedy did not receive adequate protection. A thorough and reliable investigation into the responsibility of Lee Harvey Oswald for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was conducted. The investigation into the possibility of conspiracy in the assassination was inadequate. The conclusions of the investigations were arrived at in good faith, but presented in a fashion that was too definitive.
The Secret Service was deficient in the performance of its duties.
The Secret Service possessed information that was not properly analyzed, investigated or used by the Secret Service in connection with the President's trip to Dallas; in addition, Secret Service agents in the motorcade were inadequately prepared to protect the President from a sniper.
The responsibility of the Secret Service to investigate the assassination was terminated when the Federal Bureau of Investigation assumed primary investigative responsibility.
The Department of Justice failed to exercise initiative in supervising and directing the investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the assassination.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation performed with varying degrees of competency in the fulfillment of its duties.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation adequately investigated Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the assassination and properly evaluated the evidence it possessed to assess his potential to endanger the public safety in a national emergency.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a thorough and professional investigation into the responsibility of Lee Harvey Oswald for the assassination.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation failed to investigate adequately the possibility of a conspiracy to assassinate the President.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation was deficient in its sharing of information with other agencies and departments.
The Central Intelligence Agency was deficient in its collection and sharing of information both prior to and subsequent to the assassination.
The Warren Commission performed with varying degrees of competency in the fulfillment of its duties.
The Warren Commission conducted a thorough and professional investigation into the responsibility of Lee Harvey Oswald for the assassination.
The Warren Commission failed to investigate adequately the possibility of a conspiracy to assassinate the President.
This deficiency was attributable in part to the failure of the Commission to receive all the relevant information that was in the possession of other agencies and departments of the Government.
The Warren Commission arrived at its conclusions, based on the evidence available to it, in good faith.
The Warren Commission presented the conclusions in its report in a fashion that was too definitive.
Louis Stokes: In order to operate your casinos in 1957-58, did you have to pay money to Cuban officials to maintain the operation of your casinos?
Santos Trafficante: We had to pay a license of $25,000 a year and we had to give 50 percent of the take of the slot machines.
Louis Stokes: Can you tell us in late 1958, what was the result of the activities of Castro? How did it affect the tourist and gambling business there in Havana?
Santos Trafficante. You are talking about 1958 before Castro came in?
Louis Stokes: Before he came in, yes.
Santos Trafficante: It wasn't too good, Every other day they had bombs and stuff like that. It was nothing.
Louis Stokes: What effect did it have on the gambling business? How did it affect your business?
Santos Trafficante: Because every day there were bombs put in different spots and the first thing you know, even if there were a couple bombs, before the night was over, there were 200, supposedly, rumors, stuff flying around and people would stay home.
Louis Stokes: I suppose that this then caused the casino operators a great deal of concern, did it not?
Santos Trafficante: I suppose so.
Louis Stokes: And was there fear on the part of the operators that if Castro came to power that he would confiscate these businesses?
Santos Trafficante: No.
Louis Stokes: Was there anticipated at all that he might come to power at that time?
Santos Trafficante: Nobody ever dreamt that he would come to power at that time.
Louis Stokes: Did you or any of the other casino operators take any steps to protect your businesses in the event that he would come to power?
Santos Trafficante: No. There was no question about him taking to power. They used to - in the papers when you would read about him, you would read like he was some kind of a bandit.
Louis Stokes: Did you meet Fidel or Raoul Castro prior to January 1, 1959?
Santos Trafficante: No.
Louis Stokes: When Fidel Castro took over, how soon did he order the casinos to be closed?
Santos Trafficante: Well, even before he reached Havana, because he didn't come down from the mountain until after Batista had left, and he had a walkathon, you would call it, from the mountains to Havana, and they kept interviewing him and he kept saying the casinos would close, statements to that effect, the casinos close without even being notified officially to close. Everything was in a turmoil. There was people all over the streets, breaking into homes, there was complete enmity and the only thing at that time was to try and stay alive.
Louis Stokes: After Castro came to power, did you continue to operate your business as usual?
Santos Trafficante: No, everything was closed.
Louis Stokes: When you left Cuba, where did you next live?
Santos Trafficante: I lived in Miami.
Louis Stokes: Mr. Trafficante, when was the first time you were ever approached by any individual who was affiliated with or working for the CIA?
Santos Trafficante: It was around either the latter part of 1960, or first part of 1961.
Louis Stokes: And can you tell us who was the person who first contacted you?
Santos Trafficante: John Roselli.
Louis Stokes: And where did he approach you?
Santos Trafficante: I think we were in the Fontaine bleau Hotel.
Louis Stokes: And can you give us the date?
Santos Trafficante: No.
Louis Stokes: Can you approximate the time?
Santos Trafficante: I told you it was either the latter part of 1960 or first part of 1961.
Louis Stokes: Did you know Mr. Roselli before that date?
Santos Trafficante: Yes, I had met him.
Louis Stokes: Can you tell us how you knew him?
Santos Trafficante: Well, at this moment I don't remember how I met him but I knew him.
Louis Stokes: And how long had you known him?
Santos Trafficante: I would say about 15 years, 15-16 years.
Louis Stokes: Now, had Mr. Roselli ever had any business interests in Cuba?
Santos Trafficante: No.
Louis Stokes: Over the period of time that you had known him, how often had you and he come into contact?
Santos Trafficante: Very few.
Louis Stokes: Now, did he tell you how he came to be affiliated with the CIA?
Santos Trafficante: No.
Louis Stokes: This first meeting was just between the two of you?
Santos Trafficante: Yes, the first time, yes.
Louis Stokes: Can you tell us the substance of the conversation you had with him?
Santos Trafficante: Well, he told me that CIA and the United States Government was involved in eliminating Castro. And if I would happen, and if Mr. Gener, if Mr. Macho Gener, if I knew about him, knew what kind of man he was. I told him I think he was a good man, he was against Castro anyhow, and that is about it. Then he introduced me to Mr. Maheu, and then Mr. Giancana came into the picture. Mr. Roselli wanted me to be more or less an interpreter in the situation because he couldn't speak Spanish and I can speak Spanish fluently.
Louis Stokes: What was your reaction to killing President Castro?
Santos Trafficante: Well at the time I think that it was a good thing because he had established a communistic base 90 miles from the United States and being that the Government of the United States wanted it done, I go along with it, the same thing as a war, I figure it was like a war.
In 1967, 1971, 1976, and 1977, those 4 years, columnist Jack Anderson wrote about the CIA-Mafia plots and the possibility that Castro decided to kill President Kennedy in retaliation. Mr. Anderson even contends in those articles that the same persons involved in the CIA-Mafia attempts on Castro's life were recruited by Castro to kill President Kennedy. The September 7, 1976 issue of the Washington Post contains one of Mr. Anderson's articles entitled, "Behind John F. Kennedy's Murder," which fully explains Mr. Anderson's position. I ask, Mr. Chairman, that at this point this article be marked as JFK exhibit F-409 and that it be entered into the record at this point.
Mr. Trafficante, I want to read to you just two portions of the article I have just referred to, after which I will ask for your comment. According to Mr. Anderson and Mr. Whitten in this article, it says: Before he died, Roselli hinted to associates that he knew who had arranged President Kennedy's murder. It was the same conspirators, he suggested, whom he had recruited earlier to kill Cuban Premier Fidel Castro. By Roselli's cryptic account, Castro learned the identity of the underworld contacts in Havana who had been trying to knock him off. He believed, not altogether without basis, that President Kennedy was behind the plot. Then over in another section, it says: According to Roselli, Castro enlisted the same underworld elements whom he had caught plotting against him. They supposedly were Cubans from the old Trafficante organization. Working with Cuban intelligence, they allegedly lined up an ex-Marine sharpshooter, Lee Harvey Oswald, who had been active in the pro-Castro movement. According to Roselli's version, Oswald may have shot Kennedy or may have acted as a decoy while others ambushed him from closer range. When Oswald was picked up, Roselli suggested the underworld conspirators feared he would crack and disclose information that might lead to them. This almost certainly would have brought a massive U.S. crackdown on the Mafia. So Jack Ruby was ordered to eliminate Oswald making it appear as an act of reprisal against the President's killer. At least this is how Roselli explained the tragedy in Dallas.