The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) faced harsh criticism after their social media tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was met with brutal fact-checking through the ‘Community Notes’ feature on X/Twitter.
On a day dedicated to commemorating the assassinated civil rights leader, the FBI’s effort to associate itself with Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy was met with public scrutiny, revealing a history filled with attempts to sabotage King’s life and drive him towards suicide.
The initial post by the FBI seemed innocuous enough, asserting respect and continued commitment to the values Dr. King represented: “This #MLKDay, the #FBI honors one of the most prominent leaders of the Civil Rights movement and reaffirms its commitment to Dr. King’s legacy of fairness and equal justice for all.”
However, the agency’s past was immediately brought into the spotlight by a community note attached to the post that contrasted sharply with the bureau’s message.
“The FBI engaged in surveillance of King, attempted to discredit him, and used manipulation tactics to influence him to stop organizing. King’s family believe the FBI was responsible for his death,” the community notes read.
This #MLKDay, the #FBI honors one of the most prominent leaders of the Civil Rights movement and reaffirms its commitment to Dr. King’s legacy of fairness and equal justice for all. pic.twitter.com/tj9EUoXsFK
— FBI (@FBI) January 15, 2024
The historical context of the FBI’s actions towards Martin Luther King Jr. cannot be understated. They marked MLK Jr. as the “most dangerous Negro.”
“We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security,” FBI Domestic Intelligence Chief William Sullivan wrote in a memo.
It is well-documented that from 1963 to 1968, the FBI engaged in an intense campaign to discredit King, including wiretapping his phones, bugging hotel rooms, and employing informants to gather personal information, according to NPR.
Although the surveillance did not confirm King’s communist affiliations, it did yield numerous recordings of King’s extramarital affairs.
The Bureau went so far as to send King a threatening anonymous letter, accompanied by tapes of his extramarital affairs, pressuring him into suicide.
Sullivan sent the anonymous letter to King’s residence. A fully uncensored version of this letter was allegedly discovered by Yale historian Beverly Gage and made public in the New York Times in November 2014.
The letter reads: “King, like all frauds your end is approaching. You could have been our greatest leader. You, even at an early age have turned out to be not a leader but a dissolute, abnormal moral imbecile. We will now have to depend on our older leaders like Wilkins a man of character and thank God we have others like him. But you are done. Your “honorary” degrees, your Nobel Prize (what a grim farce) and other awards will not save you. King, I repeat you are done.”
The FBI’s surveillance and harassment were a significant part of a campaign authorized by its then-director J. Edgar Hoover, who saw King as a radical threat. Moreover, the legal struggle of King’s family revealed their staunch belief in a vast conspiracy concerning King’s assassination, implicating government agents and the mob, alongside allegations against the FBI itself.
The King family, after a lengthy legal battle against a businessman they alleged to be part of the conspiracy to murder Dr. King, found a semblance of closure when the jury affirmed their claims. Although the Justice Department’s subsequent limited investigation did not yield criminal charges, the King family considered the revelations from the trial to have resolved decades of doubts, knowing the wider public was now privy to the depths of governmental conspiracy against Dr. King.
The widow of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. says she feels vindicated by a jury’s finding in December 1999 that her husband was the victim of a conspiracy, not a lone assassin, and says it is the duty of the Justice Department to look at the information presented in the Memphis case.
William Pepper, the Kings’ lawyer, told jurors Jowers was part of a vast conspiracy involving the Mafia and agents of the federal government. He said King was targeted because of his opposition to the Vietnam War and plans for a huge march on Washington.
A cover-up following the assassination in Memphis in 1968 involved the FBI, CIA, the media and Army intelligence, as well as many state and city officials, Pepper said. He told the jurors they could rewrite history with a conspiracy verdict.
“We’re asking you to send a message…to all of those in power that you cannot get away with it,” Pepper said during his closing argument.
Ray confessed to the murder in 1969 but recanted and spent the rest of his life trying to get a trial. He died from liver disease last year.
Ray’s guilty plea was upheld eight times by state and federal courts. A U.S. House committee concluded in 1978 that Ray was the killer but he may have had help before or after the assassination. The comittee did not find any government involvement in the murder.
The FBI weaponized itself against Martin Luther King Jr. and spied on him, and they are still using the same tactics against President Donald Trump and his supporters.
This is the same corrupt FBI that called Trump and his followers insurrectionists, election deniers, and white supremacists. This is the same agency that has also classified parents protesting at school board meetings and certain Catholic organizations as extremists.
The FBI had MLK under 24/7 surveillance but didn’t know an “assassin” was trailing him? — Same FBI that wiretapped Trump based on a made up dossier from the Clinton campaign, same FBI that lost track of Oswald … Same FBI that lost track of Mohamed Atta … https://t.co/6TC5c5un8G pic.twitter.com/g1NqhIoark
— _̈ 3¾ (@AceFrijole3) January 15, 2024