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(CNN) -- FBI wiretaps have "given us the most powerful and persuasive source of all for seeing how utterly selfless Martin Luther King was," as a civil rights leader, according to a leading civil rights scholar.
"You see him being intensely self-critical. King really and truly believed that he was there to be of service to others. This was not a man with any egomaniacal joy of being a famous person, or being a leader," said Pulitzer Prize-winning scholar David Garrow in a recent interview wit
But they did reveal embarrassing details about King's sex life -- details the FBI was able to use against him.
The FBI paper trail spells out in detail the government agency's concerted efforts to derail King's efforts on behalf of the civil rights movement.
The FBI's interest in King intensified after the March on Washington in August 1963, when King delivered his "I have a dream speech," which many historians consider the most important speech of the 20th century. After the speech, an FBI memo called King the "most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country."
The bureau convened a meeting of department heads to "explore how best to carry on our investigation [of King] to produce the desired results without embarrassment to the Bureau," which included "a complete analysis of the avenues of approach aimed at neutralizing King as an effective Negro leader."
In September, Kennedy consented to the technical surveillance. Kennedy gave the FBI permission to break into King's office and home to install the bugs, as long as agents recognized the "delicacy of this particular matter" and didn't get caught installing them. Kennedy added a proviso -- he wanted to be personally informed of any pertinent information.
King's associates confirm there were at least two cases in which FBI surveillance caught King in compromising circumstances.
The first incident involved King at a party at the Willard Hotel in Washington. The FBI recorded the party and captured the sounds of a sexual encounter in the room afterwards. The second incident occurred during King's stay in a hotel in Los Angeles, California. There, agents heard another drunken gathering in which King told an off-color joke about the recently assassinated President John F. Kennedy.
When King learned he would be the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, the FBI decided to take its harassment of King one step further, sending him an insulting and threatening note anonymously. A draft was found in the FBI files years later. In it the FBI wrote, "You are a colossal fraud and an evil, vicious one at that." The letter went on to say, "The American public ... will know you for what you are -- an evil, abnormal beast," and "Satan could not do more."
The letter's threat was ominous, if not specific: "King you are done." Some have theorized the intent of the letter was to drive King to commit suicide in order to avoid personal embarrassment. "King, there is only one thing left for you to do," the letter concluded. "You know what it is ... You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation."
I never heard about any of these things mentioned. Not that I don't believe you, I just haven't researched JFK's presidency very much. I was under the impression he was a pretty good, honest guy...But i guess thats what they want you to think, right?
Originally posted by budski
I'm not sure how anyone COULD respect JFK.
Imagine the scene;
JFK comes bakc to the oval office after another of his "assignations" and sits around with his brother and their cronies plotting to put poison in cigars, or sink a ship, or crash a remote controlled plane in order to remove castro or start a war so he could be removed.
Now this, on the other hand, I agree with. Not so hot, JFK...
It wouldn't surprise me one little bit if JFK were involved in the plot on some level, even if it were just "do what you gotta do, but don't tell me"
For sure, for sure.
On the other hand, MLK was a man to be respected - and not just as a black leader, also as a thoroughly decent human being.