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King Speech Brought Him Under FBI Scrutiny

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” inspired the world. It also galvanized the Federal Bureau of Investigation into undertaking one of its biggest surveillance operations in history.

Initially approved in October 1963 by then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the FBI’s wiretap and hidden-microphone campaign against King lasted until his assassination in April 1968. It was initially justified to probe King’s suspected, unproven links to the Communist Party, morphing into a crusade to “neutralize” and discredit the civil rights leader.

The speech’s impact on the FBI was first outlined in a 1976 report of the U.S. Senate “Select Committee To Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities,” known by its popular nickname, the “Church Committee,” after Idaho Democrat Frank Church.

Source: Bloomberg. Read full article. (link)

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