Ex-FBI Agent Coleen Rowley Breaks Silence on Leonard Peltier and COINTELPRO

The first FBI agent close to the Leonard Peltier case is calling for his freedom. Coleen Rowley recounts, in this wide-ranging and exclusive interview, her time as an agent in the Minneapolis field office. For nearly 50 years, the FBI has indoctrinated its agents on a specific version of events that led to Leonard Peltier’s arrest, conviction, and imprisonment. The mentality then, Rowley argues, is little different than the mentality today. That’s why she decided to break the silence and is calling on President Joe Biden to grant Leonard Peltier executive clemency.

Rowley gives us an insider’s view of the FBI and how the dark and violent history of COINTELPRO, which targeted civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and social movements like the Black Panthers and AIM, didn’t end in 1971. It morphed and evolved over the years and continued well into the U.S. war on terror. Despite attempts at reform and accountability, the FBI continues its ongoing persecution of political prisoners like Leonard Peltier and the unarmed Water Protectors at Standing Rock.

Watch the full interview with Coleen Rowley above.

Feature photo | Former FBI agent Coleen Rowley speaks outside FBI headquarters in Washington, Jan. 17, 2011, during a demonstration in support of Chelsea Manning. Jacquelyn Martin | AP

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