Sen. Byrd’s FOI files reveal some interesting history…

The Associated Press filed a request for the late senator’s files, and produced this interesting story on its results:

U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd obtained secret FBI documents about the civil-rights movement that were leaked by the CIA and triggered an angry confrontation between the two agencies in the 1960s, according to newly released FBI records.

Byrd, who died in June 2010 at age 92, had sought the FBI intelligence while suspecting that communists and subversives were guiding the civil-rights cause, the records show…

The FBI released more than 750 pages from its files — many of them with words, sentences or entire paragraphs redacted — in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Associated Press.

The records date to the mid-1950s, when Byrd served in the U.S. House. He was elected to the first of his record nine terms in the U.S. Senate in 1958…

The documents that reveal the September 1966 leak also describe how it sparked outrage among top FBI officials and prompted an internal CIA probe that singled out two agency employees as the culprits.

The episode damaged Byrd’s standing with the bureau, though only briefly, the records show. Numerous documents depict him as an outspoken supporter of the FBI and particularly of J. Edgar Hoover, its longtime director, even toward the end of Hoover’s tenure as criticism of him mounted.

“Byrd said that the Director’s record of public service was unparalleled anywhere and he knew that it would never be possible for any successor to adequately ‘fill his shoes,’ ” one June 1966 memo between top FBI brass said.

The files repeatedly refer to Byrd’s “cordial relations” with the bureau, and include numerous thank-you notes and other friendly exchanges between Byrd and Hoover from the early 1960s until Hoover’s death in 1972.

 

 

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