The above letter (written in 2011) was released a few days ago by the family of Malcolm X. It was claimed on Twitter that this was proof that "the FBI assassinated Malcom X". But it's really not that explicit, and much of the content, while being new to many people, is things that were known. It is unfortunately light on details.
January 25, 2011 TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
I Raymond A. Wood being of sound mind and body wish to confess the following:
I was a black New York City undercover police officer from April 1964 through May of 1971. I participated in actions that in hindsight were deplorable and detrimental to the advancement of my own black people. My actions on behalf of the New York City Police Department (BOSSI) were done under duress and fear that if I did not follow the orders of my handlers I could face detrimental consequences. Presently, I am aging with failing health; recently I have learned of the death of Mr. Thomas Johnson and are deeply concerned that with my death his family will not be able exonerate him after being wrongly convicted in the killing of Malcolm X.
The Facts are as follows:
April 17, 1964. I was hired by the New York City police department. Without training I was immediately assigned to the BOSSI investigation unit
My job was to infiltrate civil rights organizations throughout New York City, to find evidence of criminal activity, so the FBI could discredit and arrest its leaders.
After witnessing repeated brutality at the hands of my coworkers (Police), I tried to resign, Instead I was threatened with arrest by pinning marijuana and alcohol trafficking charges on me if I did not follow through with the assignments.
Under the direction of my handlers I was told to encourage leaders and members of civil rights groups to commit felonious acts.
The Statue of liberty bombing idea was created by my supervisor/handler. Using surveillance the agency learned that Bowe and Sayyed were key players in Malcom X's crowd control security detail. It was my assignment to draw the two men into a felonious federal crime, so that they could be arrested by the FBI and kept away from managing Malcolm X's Audubon Ballroom door security on February 21, 1965. On February 16, 1965 The Statue of Liberty plot was carried out and the men were arrested just days before the assassination of Malcolm. At that time I was not aware that Malcolm X was the target.
On February 21, 1965 I was ordered to be at the Audubon Ballroom, where I was identified by witnesses while leaving the scene. Thomas Johnson was later arrested and wrongfully convicted to protect my cover and the secrets of the FBI and NYPD.
I have placed my full confession into the care of my cousin Reginald Wood Jr. I have requested that this information be held until after I have passed away.
It is my hope, that this information is received with the understanding that I have carried these secrets with a heavy heart and remorsefully regret my participation in this matter.
Raymond A. Wood
Consider "Under the direction of my handlers I was told to encourage leaders and members of civil rights groups to commit felonious acts." Wood goes on to describe a type of sting operation that the FBI still carries out today. An undercover operative infiltrates a group that seems dangerous and encourages them to commit a crime like a bombing. They even go as far as supplying fake explosives. Then when the plot has progressed right up to the moment of enactment, they swoop in, arrest everyone, and declare they have foiled a deadly attack.
Wood was involved in such an operation, and his involvement was reported in the press before the assassination. The arrests were made Feb 16 1963, and were reported in the evening papers that day.
Source Desert Sun, Volume 38, Number 167, 16 February 1965 https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=DS19650216.2.11&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN--------1 (and attached)
What's new is the accusation that the men were arrested so they would be "kept away from managing Malcolm X's Audubon Ballroom door security on February 21, 1965", and Wood's claim that "On February 21, 1965 I was ordered to be at the Audubon Ballroom, where I was identified by witnesses while leaving the scene. Thomas Johnson was later arrested and wrongfully convicted to protect my cover and the secrets of the FBI and NYPD."
This last part seems a little odd, as his cover was already blown by being reported in the newspaper. After three months undercover, he would surely have been known by sight to many people other than those arrested. He also does not state what he was doing there, however, Thomas 15X Johnson was identified at the scene as a gunman. So if "Thomas Johnson was later arrested and wrongfully convicted to protect" Wood's cover, then that would imply that Wood himself was a gunman - which seems like it should have been the main point to clarify here.
It's also odd that a three-month sting operation would be set up just to remove two members of Malcolm X's door security detail five days before the regular weekly OAAU meeting at the Audubon. That would give plenty of time to arrange replacements or reschedule. Wood specifically says that this was his assignment.
FBI and police involvement is certainly not out of the question, but this letter is really not clear evidence of what the involvement was.