The bill not only aims to get the FBI to release files on Fred Hampton’s death, but other files related to the organization’s counterintelligence program COINTELPRO.
House Democrat and Illinois Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Rush has introduced a bill pushing the FBI to release secret files on Fred Hampton‘s death.
In a report from CNN, Rush introduced the bill on Tuesday that, if passed, would require the release of files from the FBI’s counterintelligence program COINTELPRO, as well as the removal of J. Edgar Hoover’s name from the FBI headquarters in Washington. Hoover oversaw the FBI during the program.
In a statement about the bill, it makes note of how COINTELPRO led to Hampton’s death, saying that he “was assassinated in his sleep in 1969 in a raid carried out as part of COINTELPRO operation.”
“COINTELPRO was spying on American citizens. Anyone who took a political position against the status quo, anyone who wanted to make America better was subject to being penalized, investigated — and in the case of my friend Fred Hampton, assassinated — by the official legal arm of the federal government,” Rush said in the statement.
“As a victim of COINTELPRO, I want to know, with honesty, with clarity, and with no redactions, the full extent of the FBI’s nefarious operations,” he added. “I want to know the breadth and depth of the conspiracy to assassinate Fred Hampton and how taxpayer dollars were spent on his assassination. I want to know why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a focus of the FBI, why Billie Holiday was a focus of the FBI — I want to know why so many young activists were harassed by the FBI. What was the justification for the impact that it had on their lives?”
The statement also offers more details on what the process would be if the bill is passed, including how “any file related to COINTELPRO operation must be released and made fully public” in six months after the law is enacted.
A resurgence in interest surrounding Hampton’s life and his death has come about amid the release of the film Judas and the Black Messiah. The film centers around the betrayal of Hampton by William O’Neal, an FBI informant.