‘Who were the real Subversives?’

Daily Cal alumnus Seth Rosenfeld discusses new book on FBI involvement in Free Speech Movement at Berkeley

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Seth Rosenfeld, author of the newly released book “Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals and Reagan’s Rise to Power,” spoke at UC Berkeley Wednesday evening to discuss his new book in which he reveals the “secret history” of the FBI’s involvement on the Berkeley campus in the 1960s.

The event was hosted by the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism at Sibley Auditorium in the Bechtel Engineering Center on campus. Lowell Bergman, Logan Distinguished Professor in Investigative Reporting at the journalism school, facilitated the conversation with Rosenfeld.

During a question and answer period, several audience members questioned Rosenfeld’s assertion that civil rights activist and Black Panther Party member Richard Aoki was an FBI informant. Since the release of the book, Rosenfeld has received a fair amount of criticism in response to this revelation.

Read the documents obtained by Rosenfeld on Aoki and watch a video produced by the Center for Investigative Reporting about Rosenfeld’s research on the civil rights activist.

The following is an excerpt shown in the video of a 2007 interview in which Rosenfeld asks Aoki if he ever worked for the FBI:

Rosenfeld: Am I wrong?

Aoki: I think you are.

Rosenfeld: Yeah. So, would you say it’s untrue, that you ever worked for the FBI, or got paid by the FBI?

Aoki: I would say it.

Rosenfeld: And, I’m trying to understand the complexities about it, and I, and I think —

Aoki: It is complex.

Rosenfeld: I believe it is, and —

Aoki: Layer upon layer.

Stephanie Baer is the editor in chief and president. Contact her at [email protected]