RFK Jr. Defends Kennedy Surveillance of Martin Luther King Jr.

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Ahead of Martin Luther King Day, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. defended his family’s role in authorizing government surveillance of the civil rights leader. The presidential hopeful told Politico on Sunday that his father, Robert F. Kennedy, who authorized the wiretapping of Martin Luther King Jr. while attorney general, and President John F. Kennedy had a “good reason” for doing so.

In the interview, Kennedy Jr. claimed the administration permitted the wiretapping because they were “making big bets on King, particularly in organizing the March on Washington.” He added that the pair knew J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI director at the time, saw King as a dangerous radical and “was out to ruin” him.

“There was good reason for them doing that at the time,” Kennedy said. “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. My father gave permission to Hoover to wiretap them so he could prove that his suspicions about King were either right or wrong. I think, politically, they had to do it.”

In 2019, declassified FBI documents revealed that the FBI conducted a sustained campaign of surveillance and harassment targeting the Civil Rights movement, including audio surveillance of King. The FBI even sent King a letter suggesting he should kill himself.

Kennedy Jr. said that both his father and the former president were aware that Hoover was a “racist,” adding that he “left no doubt where he stood on those issues.” He told Politico that former President Kennedy planned to fire Hoover during his second term, had he not been assassinated in the fall of 1963. He also said he believed President Kennedy alerted King to the surveillance.

The half-hearted defense should come as no surprise to those following Kennedy Jr.’s recent political ramblings. Last year, he said he didn’t know whether or not he believes the official government explanation about 9/11, including whether al-Qaeda was responsible for the attack, asserting “strange things happened.” He also falsely suggested that millions of deaths in the Great Influenza (or “Spanish flu”) epidemic of 1918 could be attributed to vaccine experiments.


Despite that, Kennedy Jr. is having relative success in his president campaign. The politician announced in October that he was launching an independent, third-party run for the presidency. By November, a new poll showed that Kennedy was polling ahead of Biden and Trump among voters under the age of 45 in key battleground states. The poll, which surveyed 3,662 registered voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, found that Kennedy was favored by 24 percent of respondents in a race between himself, Biden, and Trump.

Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/rfk-jr-kennedy-administration-surveillance-martin-luther-king-1234946825/

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