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IN FOCUS – Deep State Blackmail


This week marks the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the national holiday established to commemorate his life.  It is a fitting time to reflect on a particular tool of tyrants that the FBI weaponized against King — blackmail.

Just two days after King’s now-iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, assistant FBI director William Sullivan wrote, “We must mark him now … as the most dangerous Negro of the future of this Nation…”  To implement its plan, the FBI embarked on a vast wiretapping operation of King. “Attorney General Robert Kennedy gave consent … to break into King’s office and home installing phone taps and bugs to track the leader’s movements and conversations….”  Although the recordings may not have produced what was expected — further evidence of King’s association with members of the Communist Party — they did reveal details about his extramarital affairs.

David J. Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize winning author who had written a highly regarded 1981 book, The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr., felt obliged to investigate the charges.  His conclusions were King “allegedly had sexual relations with at least 40 women, from prostitutes to people within his inner circle.”  How would the FBI use this lurid information which they obtained by illegal means?   Agents sent King a cassette with “allegedly incriminating audio recordings”  and with that cassette, they sent an anonymous note, threatening to reveal his moral indiscretions.  What is truly remarkable is that the letter concluded:  “You have just 34 days…. There is but one way out for you.”  That language has been generally interpreted as an invitation to avoid embarrassment by committing suicide.

The invitation to suicide may be unique, but Deep State blackmail is not.  J. Edgar Hoover kept in his own office suite what were known as his “Official and Confidential Files.”

In 1975, the Church Committee, referencing FBI and CIA spying on King and many others, noted that covert programs have been used “to disrupt the lawful political activities of individual Americans and groups and to discredit them, using dangerous and degrading” retaliatory tactics which are abhorrent in a free and decent society.

Most American’s probably would not mind the Deep State directing its surveillance and blackmail in defense of the nation, but it is often used in defense of the Deep State.  When Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stated that Trump was “being really dumb” for challenging the intelligence agencies, he warned:  “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”  One of those ways is blackmail.  Whistleblower after whistleblower has revealed how U.S. intelligence agencies have compiled compromising information on politicians, military officers, and generally anyone in a position of power an agency may want to keep on a short leash.

In 2009, former FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds testified under oath, providing “detailed allegations include bribery, blackmail, espionage and infiltration of the U.S. government of, and by current and former members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking State and Defense Department officials and agents of the government of Turkey.”  The transcript of her testimony alleged agents had secretly videotaped a Democrat congresswoman in a lesbian affair, for potential blackmail purposes.

In 2020, we learned that the FBI had spied on Congressman Darin LaHood (R-CO).  Last year, a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinion was released which asserted the FBI had spied on a U.S. Senator, a state senator and a state court judge (all of whom are as yet unnamed).

Congressman Tim Burchett (R-TN) recently stated that members of Congress have been blackmailed to block the release of the list of names connected with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.  Burchett alleged that intelligence agencies intentionally entrap politicians into compromising positions in order to obtain their political allegiance.

“This is how it works: You’re out of the country, out of town … and some, whatever you’re into — comes up to you, They’re very attractive and laughing at your jokes.  Next thing you know, you’re in the hotel room with them naked.  You’re getting ready to make a key vote, and some well dressed person comes up and whispers in your ear, ‘Hey man, there’s tapes out on you, and you really ought not to be voting for this thing.’”  

How many members of Congress, governors, mayors, or others would choose humiliation over a secret, last-minute change of mind?

Young people considering a career in politics would be well advised to understand that any invitation to immoral or illegal behavior might not be based on that person’s appearance or brilliance.  It may be coming from an agent of the Deep State seeking to build up a file to be used in the future.  If a young person does not want to be subject to threats, it would be wise to follow the rule: “Don’t do anything you won’t want to appear on the front page of the New York Times.”

Editor’s Note: To read the articles in this series, please click here.

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