Congressmen Want FBI, CIA to Disclose Files On Latino Activists

( – U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro (D-TX) and Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) have requested that the FBI and CIA declassify the documents they have related to the surveillance of Latino leaders during the Civil Rights Movement.

Reps. Castro and Gomez sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director William J. Burns, asking them to release to the public all documents they hold on the surveillance of Latino civil rights leaders. The representatives are seeking clarity on whether the FBI or CIA “tried to sabotage or disrupt” the Civil Rights Movement for Latinos despite their actions being protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

During a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on March 12, Castro asked directors Wray and Burns about releasing the documents. Both Wray and Burns said they would work with Castro and agreed to look into the matter.

The representatives asked that any documents relating to Latino leaders from the 1950s to the 1970s that are still considered classified be declassified to the “maximum extent possible.” In an official letter sent by Castro and Gomez to directors Wray and Burns, they stated that they are seeking information to uncover whether the FBI or CIA was surveilling, targeting, and potentially attempting to sabotage Latino civil rights leaders the way the FBI did so with Black civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Castro and Gomez emphasized that making the documents public would not only create a more “inclusive understanding” of the struggle for civil rights in America, but it would also contribute to the government’s “commitment to transparency.” They added that a greater understanding of past government overreaches would help prevent future overreaches from the government and its agencies in the future.

The issue may hit home for Castro, whose mother, Rosie Castro, was watched by FBI informants for her involvement in the Chicano Movement.

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