Skip to content

This MLK Day, Remember How The FBI Targeted Him

The FBI paid tribute to civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday after it spent a decade trying to destroy him.

Share

The FBI paid tribute to civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday to commemorate the federal holiday honoring the assassinated leader’s birthday.

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”’” the bureau wrote in a Twitter post. “This [MLK Day], and every day, the #FBI remains dedicated to service and committed to protecting our communities.”

Except the agency wasn’t dedicated to protecting MLK. In fact, the peaceful pioneer of 20th-century civil rights was targeted by the law enforcement agency as a domestic enemy. The FBI once told King in a letter to kill himself.

King, the FBI wrote in a memo highlighted by a new documentary out last fall, was “the most dangerous Negro in America,” and warranted the “use [of] every resource at our disposal to destroy him” after King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.

Two months later, then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy authorized wiretaps of MLK’s Atlanta residence and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) offices under the pretense of investigating ties to communism. In what’s become typical of agency probes, however, the bureau went on to expand its surveillance operation by tapping hotel rooms King visited. Collecting blackmail information on King’s extramarital affairs, the goal was to ruin his reputation and stifle the movement.

As King’s rise continued to bring change to a segregated country, criticism of the FBI came with it. The SCLC president condemned the law enforcement agency for its apathy toward civil rights abuses, angering the bureau’s leaders who were eager to bring him down.

After then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called King the “most notorious liar in the country,” during a 1964 press conference over King’s criticism, the agency sent a letter to King with tape recordings of the civil rights leader’s promiscuity in a D.C. hotel. The letter said that with a 34-day deadline “before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation,” King ought to kill himself to save from embarrassment.

The FBI investigated King up until his assassination in 1968, with the “suicide letter” not coming to light until nearly 10 years later when it was revealed by the Senate Church Committee. When brought to light from former FBI domestic intelligence chief William Sullivan’s files, Sullivan evaded responsibility and blamed Hoover.

When the agency was sued for its King surveillance saga in 1977, a federal judge blocked records requests and ordered that relevant documents be sent to the National Archives where they remain under seal until 2027.

The story of the FBI being weaponized to routinely investigate political opponents with virtually no accountability is continuing to replay itself decades later.

After agency operatives orchestrated a years-long witch hunt to undermine former President Donald Trump as a puppet of Russia, the FBI is now being used to target political dissidents to the Biden regime.

On Tuesday, FBI officials revealed to Senate lawmakers that the bureau is creating a new “Domestic Terror Unit,” inspired by the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6 last year. The same officials in the same hearing repeatedly refused to disclose how many agency informants were involved in the violence hysterically branded by Democrats as an “insurrection.” Agency officials also refused to offer details on its military-style raids conducted on Jan. 6 defendants.

Meanwhile, officials have colluded with the House Democrats’ Select Committee on Jan. 6 to bar genuine oversight of the executive agency or probe security failures amid the Capitol unrest.