Posted on October 29, 2013

FBI Orders New Agents to See Martin Luther King Memorial

David Ingram, Reuters, October 28, 2013

The new FBI chief on Monday ordered all new agents and analysts to visit the national memorial to late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. as a reminder not to repeat the abuses of the U.S. investigative bureau’s past.

In a similar gesture in 2000, the FBI added a stop at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to its required training for new agents. Both sites, along with FBI headquarters, are in Washington.

FBI Director James Comey said in a speech to FBI employees that he wanted to add a similar reminder from the bureau’s own history.

“It will serve as a different kind of lesson–one more personal to the bureau–of the dangers of becoming untethered to oversight and accountability,” Comey said.

The FBI kept files on King as a potential security threat in the 1950s and 1960s–even wiretapping his phones–because of what the bureau said were suspected ties to communism. Comey called the King investigation an example of “abuse and overreach” in the FBI’s history.