Skip to comments.Report: Robert Byrd sought FBI/CIA docs to target civil rights leaders
Posted on 08/04/2012 9:52:57 AM PDT by Kaslin
ABC News, in a rather surprising bit of actual investigative journalism, is covering some newly released documents from our intelligence agencies dating back to the 1960s. In response to an Associated Press FOIA request, the FBI has provided records of some very interesting and potentially highly embarrassing exchanges between a young Senator Robert Byrd, who sought secret documents regarding unnamed civil rights leaders of the time. His actions also managed to spark something of an internal war between two agencies over their inability to keep secret documents under control.
U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd obtained secret FBI documents about the civil rights movement that were leaked by the CIA and triggered an angry confrontation between the two agencies in the 1960s, according to newly released FBI records.
Byrd, who died in June 2010 at age 92, had sought the FBI intelligence while suspecting that communists and subversives were guiding the civil rights cause, the records show. Decades before he became history’s longest-serving member of Congress, or gained the title “King of Pork” for sending federal funds to West Virginia, the Democrat had stalled and voted against major civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s. He also belonged to the Ku Klux Klan while a young man in the 1940s, and the FBI cited that membership while weighing his requests for classified information, the records show…
The FBI had provided Byrd only with publicly available information about three unidentified individuals involved in civil rights matters when he revealed the leaked documents to an FBI agent during a September 1966 meeting, a memo to FBI Deputy Director C.D. DeLoach said.
“Why can’t a United State Senator, the best friend the FBI has in the Senate, get information directly from the FBI which he has already received from a third party,” Byrd was quoted as saying. The memo said Byrd then showed the agent Xerox copies of two secret FBI investigative reports and one internal memo.
While the civil rights leaders in question remain “unnamed” in these documents, it wouldn’t take a vast stretch of the imagination to guess who they might have been. Another item which the documents don’t delve into is the cover story that Byrd used during his “investigation.” While it’s true that there were plenty of officials in a panic over possible communist infiltration back in the day, picturing the likes of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King as card carrying commies is a bit of a stretch. When you combine that with Byrd’s later disavowed membership in the Klan, it certainly looks like racial bias may have been just barely below the surface in his efforts to dig up some dirt on leaders of the civil rights movement.
Another interesting note is how the two agencies worked together to solve the problem back during that era, not to mention the level of civility and professionalism which almost looks alien today.
The records show that Helms’ security chief, Howard Osborne, ran down the leak: Two CIA employees provided the documents to an unidentified Maryland county law enforcement official, who then handed them off to the senator.
Osborne told the FBI that both “he and Mr. Helms are distressed over the incident and that they intend to make an example of the guilty CIA employees to insure that such an incident never occurs again,” a follow-up memo to DeLoach said.
The employees’ final fate is unclear, though the memo said Osborne was confident Helms would support firing one or both of the culprits.
The report is a couple of pages long, but well worth the read. An interesting look through a window into the past.
J. Edgar Hoover was covering for communists? Little hard to believe there...
Unfortunately, Mr. Hoover was into power more than ideology. He denied the existence of the Mob as long as it suited his purpose. The degree to which most of the elected congress critters lived in fear of him and the moves they made to neuter the agency after his death are a tribute to his understanding of power. He is in many ways the sole force that prevented much of the debauchery we see in today’s congress. For that we should thank him.
It’s possible Hoover knew what a low character Byrd was and just ignored him.
He secretly used the Mob to guard our Eastern seaports during WWII.
Strange how all those years Byrd was running the action the MSM didn’t uncover his KKK roots... I’m surprised they’re honest enough to run this...(even through it’s 40 years too late)... In fifty years ABC will do a big expose of Bill Clinton ... may we live so long...
If only 750 pages of his FBI file have been released, we can well imagine what fun stuff was in Mr. Hoover’s private file. Byrd’s only real claim to fame was his ability to ear mark and suck up funds, including considerable funding for the FBI Automated Fingerprint Lab in WV.
I am unable to find one real important piece of legislation ever drafted by Byrd even though he was the longest serving Senator.
Are you kidding? There are FBI files on it. How did Marxism jump into the black leadership?
That's the problem with the MSM - you can't even read between the lines when they hide critical facts. Bass turds.
He also belonged to the Ku Klux Klan while a young man in the 1940s, and the FBI cited that membership while weighing his requests for classified information, the records show
Attention black folks,the Klan was made up of democrats,including Fulbright,Byrd and *many* others.
Funny how how the MSM didn’t notice Byrd’s Klan activities while he was in the senate.
Until a few years ago - when the internet outed Byrd, the press DID bury Byrd's past. They also were aware of and 'buried' the stuff about John Kennedy, John Edwards ( until a picture was published of him and baby), Bill Clinton etc. In short they cover for dems. I'm always stunned members of the MSM can act shocked when they hear how low the public's opinion of them is...
Look at the eyes under the hood. It is Harry Reid, although I cannot be certain.
Belated thanks for your post - of course you did fail to note the MSM pass on the Bozo in Chief! ;-)