RFK Jr.: Dad, JFK Had to Allow Wiretapping of MLK

Presidential candidate says 'politically' they had to do it
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2024 2:30 AM CST
RFK Jr. Defends JFK, RFK on Wiretapping of MLK
Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks during a campaign event, Nov. 14, 2023, in Columbia, SC.   (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was defending his father and uncle's approval of the wiretapping of Martin Luther King Jr. on the eve of the holiday honoring the civil rights leader. In an interview with Politico while he was campaigning in Atlanta on Sunday, RFK Jr. explained that in his view, then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was a "racist" who opposed the civil rights movement and "was out to ruin King." John F. Kennedy, then president, and his brother Robert F. Kennedy, then attorney general, knew all that, according to RFK Jr., but they were "making big bets on King, particularly in organizing the March on Washington. ... [They] were betting not only the civil rights movement but their own careers" and had no choice but to go along with Hoover's wiretapping plan, RFK Jr. says.

Hoover told the Kennedy brothers that he suspected King was a communist, RFK Jr. explains, and then "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." He adds that he believes his uncle would have fired Hoover had he served a second term as president. See the full interview here. (More Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stories.)

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