Then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, with President Richard Nixon, in Washington in 1971. (Associated Press)

Regarding Frank Askin’s Jan. 1 Washington Forum commentary, “Thanks for the surveillance, J. Edgar”:

The FBI gained greater authority to investigate civil rights matters with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After the law’s enactment, investigations revealed that the Soviet KGB, using the Communist Party USA, had infiltrated the civil rights movement in an effort to disrupt U.S. domestic stability and negatively influence U.S. foreign policy.

FBI special agents dedicated their lives to ensure that the movement was not deterred nor covertly influenced by foreign intelligence services; I would have sacrificed my life to further the movement’s cause. Under the leadership of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and directors after him, FBI special agents did and continue to place their lives on the line every day to guarantee the constitutional rights of all Americans without fail.

David A. Espie, Crofton

The writer is a retired FBI special agent.