Thursday saw questions raised about the F.B.I’s decisions after the exoneration of two men wrongfully convicted in the assassination attempt on Malcolm X. During the investigation of the murder, J. Edgar Hoover, the F.B.I’s long-serving director at the time, was also present.
A motion to vacate the convictions, filed by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, said numerous F.B.I. The defense was not able to access any reports, including one that mentioned federal informants who were present at the ballroom where Malcolm X died.
The documents suggest the bureau, on Mr. Hoover’s orders, purposely kept information about its informants secret from the local authorities.
“We now have reports revealing that on orders from director J. Edgar Hoover himself, the F.B.I. Multiple witnesses were not allowed to tell police and prosecutors that they were F.B.I. informants,” Mr. Vance said in court on Thursday.
The F.B.I. and Mr. Hoover in Malcolm X’s killing have come under scrutiny before. and Mr. Hoover in Malcolm X’s killing have come under scrutiny before. In 1964, one year before the civil rights leader was killed, Mr. Hoover wrote to the agency’s office in New York, asking it to “do something about Malcolm X,” according to one F.B.I. document that was released many years ago.
The documents unearthed during the Manhattan district attorney’s review of the trial offered other new details. Four F.B.I. agents were involved in the investigation. The motion stated that interviews with a witness to murder who was a federal informant were summarized in four F.B.I. reports. It did not name the witness.
Another document, dated February 25, 1965, stated that the bureau had instructed its local offices to not disclose to the New York Police the fact any witnesses were federal informants. The motion to vacate the convictions stated.
Mr. Vance’s review found no evidence that the killing was orchestrated by the government. It did not answer questions about the roles of the federal government or the police in the assassination.
An F.B.I. spokesman said on Wednesday that the agency cooperated with the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation but declined to comment on its outcome. Mr. Hoover died in 1972.
The inability of investigators not to resolve questions about F.B.I. roles remains a problem. and New York police played added to demands for a broader investigation into Malcolm X’s assassination, as the co-founder of the Innocence Project, which participated in the review, called for on Thursday.
Barry Scheck, co-founder, stated that the exoneration was an acknowledgment by the F.B.I. and police had “suppressed exculpatory evidence,” and that if they had not done so, “the history of the Civil Rights Movement in this country” would have changed.
Source: NY Times