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Wednesday, August 28, 2013
MLK Speech Led to FBI Surveillance...
Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio has an interesting read today about how after Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I have a dream" speech, the then attorney general, Robert F. Kennedy approved the FBI to wiretap King's phone for the purpose of investigating his "alleged" links to the Communist Party.
At a time when the nation is absorbing revelations of telephone and e-mail surveillance by the National Security Agency, the FBI’s spying on King -- which had no court authorization or oversight -- stands as an example of domestic security gone to excess.
“The FBI’s program to destroy Dr. King as the leader of the civil rights movement entailed efforts to discredit him with churches, universities and the press,” said the report.
It collected information about King’s plans and activities “through an extensive surveillance program, employing nearly every intelligence gathering technique at the Bureau’s disposal,” saidthe report.
“The committee devoted substantial attention to the FBI’s covert action campaign against” King “because it demonstrates just how far the government could go in a secret war against one citizen,” according to the report.
William Sullivan, head of the FBI’s domestic intelligence division during the King surveillance program, told the committee in 1975 that, “No holds were barred. We have used [similar] techniques against Soviet agents. [The same methods were] brought home against any organization against which we were targeted. We did not differentiate. This is a rough, tough business.”
Sullivan reflected the view of top FBI leaders including Director J. Edgar Hoover, in an Aug. 30, 1963, post-speech memo entitled “Communist Party, USA, Negro Question.”