FBI failed to protect 'freedom riders' in 1961

J. Edgar Hoover knew in advance of a 1961 Ku Klux Klan attack on a group of "freedom riders" in Birmingham, Ala., but the FBI failed to protect the civil rights activists, according to the New York Times. Quoting a Justice Department report, the newspaper said FBI agents knew about and apparently covered up the fact that the bureau's chief Klan informant during the 1960s was involved in several such attacks. But the department found no evidence to suggest the informant, Gary Thomas Rowe Jr., was involved in a series of racial killings while on the bureau payroll from 1960 to 1965, the newspaper said in a dispatch from Birmingham.

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