In a reference to one of the FBI's darkest chapters, Director James Comey said Monday that all new agents will now be required to visit the Martin Luther King Memorial as a "reminder … of the need for fidelity to the rule of law.''
Comey, seven months into his 10-year term, told the Anti-Defamation League that he was adding the visit to the existing required tour of the Holocaust Museum.
"I think it will serve as a different kind of reminder — one more personal to the bureau — of the need for fidelity to the rule of law and the dangers in becoming untethered to oversight and accountability,'' Comey said.
Prior to King's 1968 assassination, the FBI was engaged in secret surveillance of the civil rights icon, including intercepting his telephone conversations, in an attempt to discredit him.
New agents have been required to tour the Holocaust Museum since the late 1990s, Comey said, "so that they can see and hear and feel, in a palpable, nauseating and gut wrenching way, the consequences of the abuse of power on a massive scale.''
Comey said visits to the MLK memorial also will serve as a reminder that "we will be judged not only on whether we succeed in defeating crime and terrorism, (but) on whether we do so while safeguarding the liberties for which we are fighting.''