Man Who Armed Black Panther Party, Richard Aoki, Named as F.B.I. Snitch [Video]
The man who provided The Black Panthers with their weapons was also an F.B.I. informant, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting:
Aoki’s work for the FBI, which has never been reported, was uncovered and verified during research for the book, “Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power.” The book, based on research spanning three decades, will be published tomorrow by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
In a tape-recorded interview for the book in 2007, two years before he committed suicide, Aoki was asked if he had been an FBI informant. Aoki’s first response was a long silence. He then replied, ” ‘Oh,’ is all I can say.”
Later during the same interview, Aoki contended the information wasn’t true.
Asked if this reporter was mistaken that Aoki had been an informant, Aoki said, “I think you are,” but added: “People change. It is complex. Layer upon layer.”
Journalist Seth Rosenfeld is the first to reveal that the man who provided the Panthers with weapons and training was a spy for the U.S. government. A Nov. 16, 1967, intelligence report on the Black Panthers obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request lists Aoki as an “informant” with the code number “T-2.”
Aoki explained himself how he ended up in the role of arming the Black Panthers.
“I had a little collection, and Bobby and Huey knew about it, and so when the party was formed, I decided to turn it over to the group,” Aoki said in the interview. “And so when you see the guys out there marching and everything, I’m somewhat responsible for the military slant to the organization’s public image.”
Aoki committed suicide in 2009 after suffering a bout with a long illness.
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