Interview with William O'Neal

Did you ever think, or did Mitchell ever try to convince you, that the Black Panthers were a threat to national security? I mean, you understand what, what the FBI's position was?


Well, I think Mitchell, the relationship between I and Mitchell concentrated on the local activities. We talked very, very little about what was going on nationally early on in the game. Later on, when Bobby Seale and the guys would come to town, it took on a national scope, but right then and there we were concentrated on the local chapter. And later on I understood that his thinking, in that regard. He wanted me to build up some credibility within the Black Panther Party, so he gave me a lot of room, a lot of leash at that point. He let me become a Panther before I became an FBI informant. I mean, I didn't just go right in, rifling drawers, he, he directed me into the Panthers and then when I got there he backed off, and he let them work on me a while. And slowly it worked, I became a Black Panther in a way. I forgot the, the, the scope of me being there. In fact, I didn't really know why I was there, I just knew I was to report, but I really didn't have anything to report, early on in the game, so I concentrated mainly on Panther duties. I lived the life of a Panther. I li--