Tag Archive for Martin Luther King

The CIA is still protecting its spy who shadowed Martin Luther King

The CIA shadowed  Martin Luther King during his stay at a Miami hotel in July 1966 with the help of a spy whose identity still remains a secret a half century later.

The revelation is found in a 48-page file on King, portions of which were made public late last year, along with thousands of JFK assassination files.

President Trump has ordered all federal agencies to release the rest of their JFK-related files by April 26, a directive which covers the agency’s King file as well.

Trump’s order, issued last October, exempts from disclosure only “the names and addresses of any mentioned person who is still living.”  So if the CIA’s spy is deceased, his or her name is supposed to be made public this week.

MLK Surveillance

“Surveillance was a joint effort of IDEN A [the spy] and local ODENVY [CIA’s code name for the FBI],” according to a cable from the chief of the agency’s south Florida station. The surveillance took place in July 1966 when King and two associates stayed at a Miami airport hotel.

While the FBI’s surveillance of King is notorious, much less is known about the CIA’s interest in the civil right leader. Such eavesdropping violated the agency’s charter barring operations on U.S. soil.

The cable describes the spy as a “cleared and witting contact,” meaning he or she had a working relationship with the agency at the time. Approximately five lines of text that identify the spy have been blanked out in the document released to the National Archives in November 2017.

The spy listened in on King’s conversations from an adjacent hotel room for six hours.

“References were made to the Florida Gubernatorial Race, a trip to Bimini [an island in the Bahamas] and several miscellaneous sex experiences,” the cable reported.

After King and associates checked out the next day, the CIA’s spy searched their rooms, according to the cable. The informant found a phone message in a trash can asking King to call Harry Wachtel, a New York lawyer who served as King’s legal counsel.

The CIA’s spy claimed, inaccurately, that Wachtel was “an identified member of the Communist Party.” In fact, the FBI only had a report that Wachtel once had been active in the National Lawyer Guild, a leftist organization that some charged was a communist influenced.

The spy also found an envelope bearing the name of an unmarried woman who supposedly stay in the hotel room.

It seems likely that the CIA spying on King’s private life and is hiding the results. Nine of the next ten pages in the King file are completely classified, along with the spy’s name.

The memo supports the idea that the CIA worked with the FBI to obtain defamatory information about the civil rights leader less than two years before he was slain in Memphis on April 4, 1968.


You can read the CIA’s partially declassified King file here.







RFK on MLK: ‘wisdom through the awful grace of God’

Campaigning for president in Indianapolis on April 4, 1968, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy announced the death of Martin Luther King to a waiting crowd and spoke extemporaneously:

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What defenders of LBJ gloss over

Lyndon Johnson was a great American for working with Martin Luther King to secure passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act in 1964-65, as depicted in the movie Selma. So say historian David Kaiser and former Cabinet official Joseph Califano. Yet It is no contradiction to note that Johnson could also be a crude and mean SOB, as Philip Nelson reminds us.

Johnson and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, Nelson writes in OpEdNews:

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LBJ and ‘Selma’: Who gets it right?

Civil rights legislator

According to historian David Kaiser, writing in TIME,  “the portrayal of Lyndon Johnson and his role in the passage of the Voting Rights Act [in the movie “Selma”] could hardly be more wrong. And this is important not merely for the sake of fidelity to the past, but because of continuing implications for how we see our racial problems and how they could be solved.”

But, according to author Philip Nelson, Selma gets LBJ dead right. Writing in Op-Ed News, Nelson and  right-wing political consultant Roger Stone assert:

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King’s speech attracted FBI spying

“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.”

MLK’s speech attracted FBI’s intense attention – The Washington Post.

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