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Tag: J. Edgar Hoover

Professor Who Admitted to FBI Burglary in Philadelphia Dies

A Washington Post story on what the stolen documents revealed.

A Washington Post story on what the stolen documents revealed.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the seven conspirators who revealed a dirty campaign of intimidation by the FBI in March 1971 by stealing a cache of documents in burglary of an bureau office in suburban Philadelphia died on Nov. 12 at his home in Philadelphia.

John C. Raines, a Temple University religion professor, was 84, the Washington Post reports

During the burglary, the seven conspirators stole documents that showed a campaign of intimidation by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover against civil rights and antiwar activists, communists and other dissenters.

One of the documents revealed an that agents were directed to increasingly interview perceived dissenters “to get the point across there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox.”

The burglars, who called themselves the Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI, disseminated the stolen documents to newspapers.

The leaked reports lead to the formation of the Senate Church Committee, which revealed widespread abuses among intelligence agencies.

Raines kept the explosive secret for 43 years before revealing his identity to a Washington Post journalist, Betty Medsger, who wrote a book-length account of the break-in, “The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI.”

The reported called Dr. Raines’ actions “one of the most powerful acts of resistance in the history of the country.”

Other Stories of Interest

FBI’s Obsession with MLK Paints Falsehoods about Civil Rights Leader

Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy With Martin Luther King Jr. Photo via DOJ.

Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy With Martin Luther King Jr. Photo via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just three weeks before the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the FBI declared in a newly released analysis that the civil rights leader was “a whole-hearted” communist who had a series of affairs, including with folk singer Joan Baez

But historians quickly denounced the 20-page document, dated March 21, saying the FBI’s obsession with King resulted in numerous falsehoods that were later discounted.

The FBI report, which was among the 676 files that the National Archive released Friday, provide detail about one of King’s closest advisers, Stanley Levison, a New York lawyer and businessman who helped finance the Communist Party before meeting the civil rights leader in 1956.

martin luther king fbi documentThe document claimed King was heavily influenced by Levison.

“The course King chooses to follow at this critical time could have momentous impact on the future of race relations in the United States,” the document’s introduction reads. “And for that reason this paper has been prepared to give some insight into the nature of the man himself as well as the nature of his views, goals, objectives, tactics and the reasons therefor.”

But David Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian, dismissed the allegations as false, saying they are the result of then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s unhealthy, if not delusional, obsession with the civil rights leader. 

“The number one thing I’ve learned in 40 years of doing this, is just because you see it in a top-secret document, just because someone had said it to the FBI, doesn’t mean it’s all accurate,” Garrow told The Washington Post, citing the infamous dossier that contains salacious allegations against President Trump. 

Garrow pointed out that King had been under heavy FBI surveillance throughout the 1960s and never found evidence of communist connections.

If anything, the document, titled “MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., A CURRENT ANALYSIS,” provided more insight into the FBI’s preoccupation with the Communist Party and attempts to discredit King.

“I think the number one takeaway historically is how, even in March of 1968, the FBI continues to be bizarrely preoccupied with how important the Communist Party USA is. ... The Communist Party, by 1968, is of no importance to anything,” Garrow said. “These incredibly exaggerated statements of communist influence are exactly what the FBI wants to hear.”

What Hoover failed to pass on to President Lyndon B. Johnson was that King had distanced himself from communists.

“There are things I wanted to say renouncing communism in theory, but they would not go along with it. We wanted to say that it was an alien philosophy contrary to us, but they wouldn’t go along with it,” King told adviser Bayard Rustin in May 1965, when King, Garrow wrote.

JFK Files Reveal FBI’s Fears of a Threat to Kill Lee Oswald

John F. Kennedy, via White House archives.

John F. Kennedy, via White House archives.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI warned Dallas police about a threat to kill Lee Harvey Oswald, but cops didn’t provide adequate protection, according to information found in the release of 2,800 previously classified files relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover issued the warning to police about a potential death threat to Oswald after he was in police custody.

“There is nothing further on the Oswald case except that he is dead,” Hoover wrote on Nov. 24, 1963.  “Last night we received a call in our Dallas office from a man talking in a calm voice and saying he was a member of a committee organized to kill Oswald.”

Hoover continued: “We at once notified the chief of police and he assured us Oswald would be given sufficient protection. This morning we called the chief of police again warning of the possibility of some effort against Oswald and again he assured us adequate protection would be given.

“However, this was not done.”

Hoover indicated he didn’t have “firm” information about Jack Ruby, the man who fatally shot Oswald, but said there were rumors of “underworld activity.”

An FBI scrambled to Oswald’s deathbed but was unable to get a confession.

Less than an hour after Oswald died, Hoover expressed concerns about quelling conspiracy theories about the assassination of JFK.

“The thing I am concerned about, and so is (deputy attorney general) Mr. Katzenbach, is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin,” he said.

Decade-Plus Search for New FBI Headquarters Is Canceled

The FBI's current headquarters in Washington D.C.

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A new FBI headquarters that has been in the works for more than 10 years has been scrapped, leaving agents and employees with no immediate solution to abandoning the crumbling, antiquated J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Among the stubborn snags has been Congress’ failure to provide enough money for a new building in the Washington suburbs. Under the plan, the FBI would trade the J. Edgar Hoover Building for space to build a new headquarters in the suburbs. The total cost to taxpayers was $2 billion.

Another roadblock was the lack of consistent leadership at the FBI and General Services Administration, which plans to announce the cancelation to bidders and in meetings on Capitol Hill this morning, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The 2.8-million-square-foot Hoover Building, which was dedicated in 1975, has been a constant source of frustration for agents and employees who also worry whether the deplorable conditions could cause security issues.

Guardian: Trump Seems Primed to Return the FBI to the Hoover Era

Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover

Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover

By Editorial Board
The Guardian

The country is still reeling after the bombshell report that Donald Trump asked the former FBI director James Comey to shut down the bureau’s investigation into Michael Flynn. Did the president fire Comey to slow down the FBI Russia investigation? Did Trump obstruct justice?

These questions are getting the attention that they deserve. But the focus on Comey’s firing is obscuring the issue of who Trump will hire to replace him – and the threat that this appointment poses to Americans’ civil liberties and civil rights.

Recently, the journalist Ashley Feinberg uncovered Comey’s personal Twitter account; he had used the pseudonym “Reinhold Niebuhr”. Tellingly, the real Niebuhr was a theologian, public intellectual, and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient targeted for FBI surveillance because of his lawful opposition to the Vietnam war.

Niebuhr wasn’t alone. The FBI has a long history of abusing its power to serve political ends. In the early 20th century, J Edgar Hoover created his Radical Alien Division to conduct dragnet surveillance of American immigrants. It surveilled Marcus Garvey to collect evidence used in his deportation to Jamaica. It wiretapped Dr Martin Luther King Jr during the civil rights era. At President Dwight Eisenhower’s direction, Hoover compiled a “list of homosexuals” to root out gay people working for the government.

Comey had serious flaws. But he understood the past misdeeds of the FBI. He kept a copy of the original order to wiretap King on his desk and required new FBI agents and analysts to visit King’s memorial on the National Mall. As Comey put it in 2015, he tried to “to ensure that we remember our mistakes and that we learn from them”.

Trump, on the other hand, seems anxious to return to the Hoover era.

Weekend Series on Crime History: FDR Gives FBI’s J. Edgar The Green Light

Weekend Series on Crime History: Nixon Calls LBJ About Death of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Death of the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover