Washington: US President Donald Trump’s administration has released a new batch of documents about President John F Kennedy’s assassination that included a secret FBI analysis which portrayed civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in a negative light.
The 20-page document released on Friday attempts to tie the civil rights leader to various communist influences and alleges financial improprieties at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the African-American civil rights organisation founded by King, reports CNN.
The document also contains insinuations and assertions about King’s personal life, including extramarital affairs and other sexual improprieties.
However, it was not clear whether the authors of the document verified any of the information.
The document has been hidden for nearly 50 years in intelligence agencies’ files about Kennedy’s assassination, even though it makes no mention of the former President who was shot dead in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.
Trump had earlier said that he would release all of the documents associated with Kennedy’s assassination. It was not immediately clear why the release came Friday, CNN reported.
The King document was reviewed by the National Archives and Records Administration’s JFK Task Force in 1994 and marked with an “x” for “total denial” of its release.
The options “release in full” and “release in part” were left blank on the cover page.
Trump ordered the the National Archives to release all the documents. The government released 676 additional documents from the Kennedy assassination files on Friday.
The March 12, 1968, analysis of King portrays him in a negative light and does not attempt to offer a holistic view of the civil rights leader. He was assassinated three weeks later, on April 4, 1968.
The FBI analysis questions whether King should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. It concludes: “These facts about the Nobel Peace Prize winner make his remarks seem incongruous when he replied after winning this cherished award, ‘History has thrust me into this position. It would be both immoral and a sign of ingratitude if I did not face my moral responsibility to do what I can in the civil rights struggle.’”
In another section, the FBI document labels the Southern Christian Leadership Conference “a tax dodge”. It also alleges that many of King’s associates had communist ties, CNN reported.
The document was authored while the FBI was led by Director J. Edgar Hoover, who had investigators trail King and spy on him. Hoover had authorised an extensive surveillance programme on King in the 1960s.
In 1964, a package containing tapes and a letter to King was delivered to his house and opened by his wife, Coretta Scott King. The letter appeared to urge King to commit suicide. It included the line: “There is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days.”
A Senate committee later confirmed the anonymous package had been sent by the FBI.
(With agency inputs)