Quick to judge

Tue Sep 14 15:22:18 EDT 2010

If any of this business about Ernest C. Withers is actually true, and the FBI isn't saying, there is nothing in those released documents that speaks to what is motivating informant #ME 338-R to provide information.  I can tell you from personal knowledge that nearly ALL informants are "developed" through the threat of prosecution and jail.  People do get paid... but that's just to keep them on the hook through the threat of exposure.  People with access to the information the FBI wants do NOT come forward and volunteer it.  Essentially they are somehow vulnerable and are "blackmailed" into the job.  And as you can imagine, they often dance a delicate balance between what the police want, and what they can get away with supplying without actually hurting their friends.

I suggest that if any of this is true, Mr. Withers was as much a victim as anyone else in the civil rights movement.  I do not believe he was a willing betrayer of faith and trust.

P.W. Fenton
KBA Winner
Hudson, Florida

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