Former Black Panther Richard Aoki Named an FBI Informant

The man who armed the Black Panthers turns out to have been an FBI informant.

By Jorge Rivas Aug 20, 2012

*[Update: Jamilah King discusses the allegations with activists who worked with Aoki and reviews the long history of state spying on domestic movements.](* The man who armed the Black Panthers turns out to have been an FBI informant. FBI files, uncovered by journalist Seth Rosenfeld, reveal that Richard Aoki, a prominent activist in the 1960s who was the first to supply the Black Panthers with guns and weapons training, was also an undercover FBI source. [The Center for Investigative Reporting has more details:]( > 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." 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." Visit the [Center for Investigative Reporting]( to view their interactive timeline that illustrates how Aoki became an informant.