Rep. Thompson Blasts RFK Jr. Over MLK Wiretapping Justification

Rep. Thompson Blasts RFK Jr. Over MLK Wiretapping Justification

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., did not share independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s assessment that his father’s authorization of FBI surveillance of Martin Luther King Jr. was necessary. 

“The racist campaign to spy on Martin Luther King, Jr. in an effort to discredit the civil rights movement and stifle America’s march toward racial equality is indefensible,” Thompson told The Hill.

“Attempting to justify or whitewash it in any way is just the latest attempt by extremists in our political system to rewrite history. We can’t allow this dangerous rhetoric to stand and we must call it out clearly when we see it.” 

Robert Kennedy was attorney general at the time then-President John F. Kennedy authorized the FBI to wiretap the civil rights leader.

“They were betting not only the civil rights movement but their own careers. And they knew that Hoover was out to ruin King,” Kennedy told Politico in a previous interview.

“There was good reason for them doing that at the time because J. Edgar Hoover was out to destroy Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement and Hoover said to them that Martin Luther King’s chief was a communist,” Kennedy said.

“My father gave permission to Hoover to wiretap them so he could prove that his suspicions about King were either right or wrong,” he said. “I think, politically, they had to do it.”

The surveillance was approved in 1962 after Hoover persuaded the Kennedy brothers that King was a national security threat, and it remained in place until 1965. The tapings did not show any communist proclivities from King, but they did reveal extramarital affairs, which were used to blackmail the civil rights leader. 

RFK Jr. claimed that JFK would likely have fired Hoover in his second term had he not been assassinated, and he said the trio were betting their careers on Hoover’s suspicions.

“They were betting not only the civil rights movement but their own careers. And they knew that Hoover was out to ruin King,” Kennedy Jr. said.

Kennedy Jr. also said his uncle likely notified King of the FBI surveillance privately.


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Originally Posted on: https://www.newsmax.com/politics/rfk-bennie-thompson-mlk/2024/01/15/id/1149704
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