APRIL 23 (under authority of the order of April 14), 1976



COINTELPRO is the FBI acronym
for a series of covert action programs directed against domestic groups. In
these programs, the Bureau went beyond the collection of intelligence to secret
action defined to “disrupt” and “neutralize” target groups
and individuals. The techniques were adopted wholesale from wartime
counterintelligence, and ranged from the trivial (mailing reprints of Reader’s
Digest articles to college administrators) to the degrading (sending anonymous
poison-pen letters intended to break up marriages) and the dangerous
(encouraging gang warfare and falsely labeling members of a violent group as
police informers).

This report is based on a
staff study of more than 20,000 pages of Bureau documents, depositions of many
of the Bureau agents involved in the programs, and interviews of several
COINTELPRO targets. The examples selected for discussion necessarily represent
a small percentage of the more than 2,000 approved COINTELPRO actions.
Nevertheless, the cases demonstrate the consequences of a Government agency’s
decision to take the law into its own hands for the “greater good” of
the country.

COINTELPRO began in 1956, in
part because of frustration with Supreme Court rulings limiting the
Government’s power to proceed overtly against dissident groups; it ended in
1971 with the threat of public exposure. 1 In the intervening 15 years, the
Bureau conducted a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing
the exercise of First Amendment rights of speech and association, on the theory
that preventing the growth of dangerous groups and the propagation of dangerous
ideas would protect the national security and deter violence. 2

Many of the techniques used
would be intolerable in a democratic society even if all of the targets had
been involved in violent activity, but COINTELPRO went far beyond that. The
unexpressed major premise of the programs was that a law enforcement agency has
the duty to do whatever is necessary to combat perceived threats to the
existing social and political order.

A. “Counterintelligence
Program”: A Misnomer for Domestic Covert Action

COINTELPRO is an acronym for
“counterintelligence program.”

Counterintelligence is defined
as those actions by an intelligence agency intended to protect its own security
and to undermine hostile intelligence operations. Under COINTELPRO certain
techniques the Bureau had used against hostile foreign agents were adopted for
use against perceived domestic threats to the established political and social
order. The formal programs which incorporated these techniques were, therefore,
also called “counterintelligence.” 2a

“Covert action” is,
however, a more accurate term for the Bureau’s programs directed against
American citizens. “Covert action” is the label applied to
clandestine activities intended to influence political choices and social
values. 3

B. Who Were the Targets?

1. The Five Targeted Groups

The Bureau’s covert action
programs were aimed at five perceived threats to domestic tranquility: the
“Communist Party, USA” program (1956-71) ; the “Socialist
Workers Party” program (1961-69) ; the “White Hate Group”
program (1964-71) ; the “Black Nationalist-Hate Group” program
(1967-71) ; and the “New Left” program (1968-71).

2. Labels Without Meaning

The Bureau’s titles for its
programs should not be accepted uncritically. They imply a precision of
definition and of targeting which did not exist.

Even the names of the later
programs had no clear definition. The Black Nationalist program, according to
its supervisor, included “a great number of organizations that you might
not today characterize as black nationalist but which were in fact primarily
black.” 3a Indeed, the nonviolent Southern Christian Leadership Conference
was labeled as a Black Nationalist “Hate Group.” 4 Nor could anyone at
the Bureau even define “New Left,” except as “more or less an
attitude.” 5

Furthermore, the actual
targets were chosen from a far broader group than the names of the programs
would imply. The CPUSA program targeted not only Party members but also
sponsors of the National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities
Committee 6 and civil rights leaders allegedly under Communist influence or
simply not “anti-Communist.” 7 The Socialist Workers Party program
included non-SWP sponsors of antiwar demonstrations which were cosponsored by
the SWP or the Young Socialist Alliance, its youth group. 8 The Black
Nationalist program targeted a range of organizations from the Panthers to SNCC
to the peaceful Southern Christian Leadership Conference, 9 and included most
black student groups. 10 New Left targets ranged from the SDS 11 to the
Interuniversity Committee for Debate on Foreign Policy, 12 from all of Antioch
College (“vanguard of the New Left”) 13 to the New Mexico Free
University 14 and other “alternate” schools, 15 and from underground
newspapers 16 to students protesting university censorship of a student
publication by carrying signs with four-letter words on them. 17

C. What Were the Purposes of

The breadth of targeting and
lack of substantive content in the descriptive titles of the programs reflect
the range of motivations for COINTELPRO activity: protecting national security,
preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order by
“disrupting” and “neutralizing” groups and individuals
perceived as threats.

1. Protecting National

The first COINTELPRO, against
the CPUSA, was instituted to counter what the Bureau believed to be a threat to
the national security. As the chief of the COINTELPRO unit explained it:

We were trying first to
develop intelligence so we would know what they were doing [and] second, to
contain the threat…. To stop the spread of communism, to stop the
effectiveness of the Communist Party as a vehicle of Soviet intelligence,
propaganda and agitation. 17a

Had the Bureau stopped there,
perhaps the term “counterintelligence” would have been an accurate
label for the program. The expansion of the CPUSA program to non-Communists,
however, and the addition of subsequent programs, make it clear that other
purposes were also at work.

2. Preventing Violence

One of these purposes was the
prevention of violence. Every Bureau witness deposed stated that the purpose of
the particular program or programs with which he was associated was to deter
violent acts by the target groups, although the witnesses differed in their
assessment of how successful the programs were in achieving that goal. The
preventive function was not, however, intended to be a product of specific
proposals directed at specific criminal acts. Rather, the programs were aimed
at groups which the Bureau believed to be violent or to have the potential for

The programs were to prevent
violence by deterring membership in the target groups, even if neither the
particular member nor the group was violent at the time. As the supervisor of
the Black Nationalist COINTELPRO put it, “Obviously you are going to
prevent violence or a greater amount of violence if you have smaller groups.”
(Black Nationalist supervisor deposition, 10/17/75, p. 24.) The COINTELPRO unit
chief agreed: “We also made an effort to deter or counteract the
propaganda … and to deter recruitment where we could. This was done with the
view that if we could curb the organization, we could curb the action or the
violence within the organization.” 17b In short, the programs were to
prevent violence indirectly, rather than directly, by preventing possibly
violent citizens from joining or continuing to associate with possibly violent
groups. 18

The prevention of violence, is
clearly not, in itself, an improper purpose; preventing violence is the
ultimate goal of most law enforcement. Prosecution and sentencing are intended
to deter future criminal behavior, not only of the subject but also of others
who might break the law. In that sense, law enforcement legitimately attempts
the indirect prevention of possible violence and, if the methods used are
proper, raises no constitutional issues. When the government goes beyond traditional
law enforcement methods, however, and attacks group membership and advocacy, it
treads on ground forbidden to it by the Constitution. In Brandenberg v. Ohio,
395 U.S. 444 (1969), the Supreme Court held that the government is not
permitted to “forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or law
violation except where such advocacy is directed toward inciting or producing
imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”
In the absence of such clear and present danger, the government cannot act
against speech nor, presumably, against association.

3. Maintaining the Existing
Social and Political Order

Protecting national security
and preventing violence are the purposes advanced by the Bureau for COINTELPRO.
There is another purpose for COINTELPRO which is not explicit but which offers
the only explanation for those actions which had no conceivable rational
relationship to either national security or violent activity. The unexpressed
major premise of much of COINTELPRO is that the Bureau has a role in
maintaining the existing social order, and that its efforts should be aimed
toward combating those who threaten that order. 19

The “New Left”
COINTELPRO presents the most striking example of this attitude. As discussed
earlier, the Bureau did not define the term “New Left,” and the range
of targets went far beyond alleged “subversives” or
“extremists.” Thus, for example, two student participants in a
“free speech” demonstration were targeted because they defended the
use of the classic four-letter-word. Significantly, they were made COINTELPRO
subjects even though the demonstration “does not appear to be inspired by
the New Left” because it “shows obvious disregard for decency and
established morality.” 20 In another case, reprints of a newspaper article
entitled “Rabbi in Vietnam Says Withdrawal Not the Answer” were
mailed to members of the Vietnam Day Committee “to convince [them] of the
correctness of the U.S. foreign policy in Vietnam.” 21 Still another document
weighs against the “liberal press and the bleeding hearts and the forces
on the left” which were “taking advantage of the situation in Chicago
surrounding the Democratic National Convention to attack the police and
organized law enforcement agencies.” 22 Upholding decency and established
morality, defending the correctness of U.S. foreign policy, and attacking those
who thought the Chicago police used undue force have no apparent connection
with the expressed goals of protecting national security and preventing
violence. These documents, among others examined, compel the conclusion that
Federal law enforcement officers looked upon themselves as guardians of the
status quo. The attitude should not be a surprise; the difficulty lies in the
choice of weapons.

D. What Techniques Were Used?

1. The Techniques of Wartime

Under the COINTELPRO programs,
the -rsenal of techniques used against foreign espionage agents was transferred
to domestic enemies. As William C. Sullivan, former Assistant to the Director,
put it,

This is a rough, tough, dirty
business, and dangerous. It was dangerous at times. No holds were barred…. We
have used [these techniques] against Soviet agents. They have used [them]
against us. . . . [The same methods were] brought home against any organization
against which we were targeted. We did not differentiate. This is a rough,
tough business. 23

Mr. Sullivan’s description –
rough, tough, and dirty — is accurate. In the course of COINTELPRO’s
fifteen-year history, a number of individual actions may have violated specific
criminal statutes; 24 a number of individual actions involved risk of serious
bodily injury or death to the targets (at least four assaults were reported as
“results” ; 25 and a number of actions, while not illegal or
dangerous, can only be described as “abhorrent in a free Society.” 26
On the other hand, many of the actions were more silly than repellent.

The Bureau approved 2,370
separate counterintelligence actions. 27 Their techniques ranged from
anonymously mailing reprints of newspaper and magazine articles (sometimes
Bureau-authored or planted) to group members or supporters to convince them of
the error of their ways, 28 to mailing anonymous letters to a member’s spouse
accusing the target of infidelity ; 29 from using informants to raise
controversial issues at meetings in order to cause dissent, 30 to the
“snitch jacket” (falsely labeling a group member as an informant) 31
and encouraging street warfare between violent groups ; 32 from contacting
members of a “legitimate group to expose the alleged subversive background
of a fellow member 33 to contacting an employer to get a target fired; 34 from
attempting to arrange for reporters to interview targets with planted
questions, 35 to trying to stop targets from speaking at all ; 36 from
notifying state and local authorities of a target’s criminal law violations, 37
to using the IRS to audit a professor, not just to collect any taxes owing, but
to distract him from his political activities. 38

2. Techniques Carrying A
Serious Risk of Physical, Emotional, or Economic Damage.

The Bureau recognized that
some techniques were more likely than others to cause serious physical,
emotional, or economic damage to the targets. Any proposed use of those
techniques was scrutinized carefully by headquarters supervisory personnel, in
an attempt to balance the “greater good” to be achieved by the
proposal against the known or risked harm to the target. If the
“good” was sufficient, the proposal was approved. 39 For instance, in
discussing anonymous letters to spouses, the agent who supervised the New Left

[Before recommending approval]
I would want to know what you want to get out of this, who are these people. If
it’s somebody, and say they did split up, what would accrue from it as far as
disrupting the New Left is concerned? Say they broke up, what then….

[The question would be] is it
worth it? 39a

Similarly, with regard to the
“snitch jacket” technique — falsely labeling a group member as a
police informant — the chief of the Racial Intelligence Section stated:

You have to be able to make
decisions and I am sure that labeling somebody as an informant, that you’d want
to make certain that it served a good purpose before you did it and not do it
haphazardly. . . . It is a serious thing. . . . As far as I am aware, in the
black extremist area, by using that technique, no one was killed. I am sure of
that. 40

Moore was asked whether the
fact that no one was killed was the result of “luck or planning.” He

“Oh, it just happened
that way, I am sure.” 41

It is thus clear that, as
Sullivan said, “No holds were barred, 42 although some holds were weighed
more carefully than others. When the willingness to use techniques which were
concededly dangerous or harmful to the targets is combined with the range of
purposes and criteria by which these targets were chosen, the result is neither
“within bounds” nor “justified” in a free society. 43

E. Legal Restrictions Were

What happened to turn a law
enforcement agency into a law violator? Why do those involved still believe
their actions were not only defensible, but right? 44

The answers to these questions
are found in a combination of factors: the availability of information showing
the targets’ vulnerability gathered through the unrestrained collection of
domestic intelligence; the belief both within and without the Bureau that it
could handle any problem; and frustration with the apparent inability of
traditional law enforcement methods to solve the problems presented.

There is no doubt that
Congress and the public looked to the Bureau for protection against domestic
and foreign threats. As the COINTELPRO unit chief stated:

At this time [the mid-1950s]
there was a general philosophy too, the general attitude of the public at this
time was you did not have to worry about Communism because the FBI would take
care of it. Leave it to the FBI.

I hardly know an agent who
would ever go to a social affair or something, if he were introduced as FBI,
the comment would be, “we feel very good because we know you are handling
the threat.” We were handling the threat with what directives and statutes
were available. There did not seem to be any strong interest of anybody to give
us stronger or better defined statutes. 45

Not only was no one interested
in giving the Bureau better statutes (nor, for that matter, did the Bureau
request them), but the Supreme Court drastically narrowed the scope of the
statutes available. The Bureau personnel involved trace the institution of the
first formal counterintelligence program to the Supreme Court reversal of the
Smith Act convictions. The unit chief testified:

The Supreme Court rulings had
rendered the Smith Act technically unenforceable…. It made it ineffective to
prosecute Communist Party members, made it impossible to prosecute Communist
Party members at the time. 46

This belief in the failure of
law enforcement produced the subsequent COINTELPROs as well. The unit chief

The other COINTELPRO programs
were opened as the threat arose in areas of extremism and subversion and there
were not adequate statutes to proceed against the organization or to prevent
their activities. 47

Every Bureau witness deposed
agreed that his particular COINTELPRO was the result of tremendous pressure on
the Bureau to do something about a perceived threat, coupled with the inability
of law enforcement techniques to cope with the situation, either because there
were no pertinent federal statutes, 48 or because local law enforcement efforts
were stymied by indifference or the refusal of those in charge to call the

Outside pressure and law
enforcement frustration do not, of course, fully explain COINTELPRO. Perhaps,
after all, the best explanation was proffered by George C. Moore, the Racial
Intelligence Section chief:

The FBI’s counterintelligence
program came up because there was a point — if you have anything in the FBI,
you have an action-oriented group of people who see something happening and
want to do something to take its place. 49

F. Command and Control

1. 1956-71

While that
“action-oriented group of people” was proceeding with fifteen years
of COINTELPRO activities, where were those responsible for the supervision and
control of the Bureau? Part of the answer lies in the definition of
“covert action”– clandestine activities. No one outside the Bureau
was supposed to know that COINTELPRO existed. Even within the Bureau, the
programs were handled on a “need-to-know” basis.

Nevertheless, the Bureau has
supplied the Committee with documents which support its contention that various
Attorneys General, advisors to Presidents, members of the House Appropriations
Subcommittee, and, in 1958, the Cabinet were at least put on notice of the existence
of the CPUSA and White Hate COINTELPROs. The Bureau cannot support its claim
that anyone outside the FBI was informed of the existence of the Socialist
Workers Party, Black Nationalist, or New Left COINTELPROs, and even those
letters or briefings which referred (usually indirectly) to the CPUSA and White
Hate COINTELPROs failed to mention the use of techniques which risked physical,
emotional, or economic damage to their targets. In any event, there is no
record that any of these officials asked to know more, and none of them appears
to have expressed disapproval based on the information they were given.

As the history of the Domestic
Intelligence Division shows, the absence of disapproval has been interpreted by
the Bureau as sufficient authorization to continue an activity (and
occasionally, even express disapproval has not sufficed to stop a practice).
Perhaps, however, the crux of the “command and control” problem lies
in the testimony by one former Attorney General that he was too busy to know
what the Bureau was doing, 50 and by another that, as a matter of political
reality, he could not have stopped it anyway. 51

2. Post-1971

Whether the Attorney General
can control the Bureau is still an open question. The Peterson Committee, which
was formed within the Justice Department to investigate COINTELPRO at Attorney
General Saxbe’s request, worked only with Bureau-prepared summaries of the
COINTELPRO files. 52 Further, the fact that the Department of Justice must work
with the Bureau on a day-to-day basis may influence the Department’s judgment
on Bureau activities. 53

G. Termination

If COINTELPRO had been a
short-lived aberration, the thorny problems of motivation, techniques, and
control presented might be safely relegated to history. However, COINTELPRO
existed for years on an “ad hoc” basis before the formal programs
were instituted, and more significantly, COINTELPRO-type activities may
continue today under the rubric of “investigation.”

1. The Grey Area Between
Counterintelligence and Investigation

The word
“counterintelligence” had no fixed meaning even before the programs
were terminated. The Bureau witnesses agreed that there is a large grey area
between “counterintelligence” and “aggressive
investigation,” and that, headquarters supervisors sometimes had
difficulty in deciding which caption should go on certain proposals. 54

Aggressive investigation
continues, and may be even more disruptive than covert action. An anonymous
letter (COINTELPRO) can be ignored as the work of a crank; an overt approach by
the Bureau (“investigation”) is not so easily dismissed. 55 The line
between information collection and harassment can be extremely thin.

2. Is COINTELPRO Continuing?

COINTELPRO-type activities
which are clearly not within the “grey area” between COINTELPRO and
investigation have continued on at least three occasions. Although all
COINTELPROs were officially terminated “for security reasons” on
April 27, 1971, the documents discontinuing the program provided:

In exceptional circumstances
where it is considered counterintelligence action is warranted, recommendations
should be submitted to the Bureau under the individual case caption to which it
pertains. These recommendations will be considered on an individual basis. 56

The Committee requested that
the Bureau provide it with a list of any “COINTELPRO-type” actions
Since April 28,1971. The Bureau first advised the Committee that a review
failed to develop any information indicating post termination COINTELPRO activity.
Subsequently, the Bureau located and furnished to the Committee two instances
of COINTELPRO-type operations. 57 The Committee has discovered a third
instance; four months after COINTELPRO was terminated, information on an
attorney’s political background was furnished to friendly newspaper sources
under the so-called “Mass Media Program,” intended to discredit both
the attorney and his client. 58

The Committee has not been
able to determine with any greater precision the extent to which COINTELPRO may
be continuing. Any proposals to initiate COINTELPRO-type action would be filed
under the individual case caption. The Bureau has over 500,000 case files, and
each one would have to be searched. In this context, it should be noted that a
Bureau search of all field office COINTELPRO files revealed the existence of
five operations in addition to those known to the Petersen committee. 59 A
search of all investigative files might be similarly productive.

3. The Future of COINTELPRO

Attitudes within and without
the Bureau demonstrate a continued belief by some that covert action against
American citizens is permissible if the need for it is strong enough. When the
Petersen Committee report on COINTELPRO was released, Director Kelley
responded, “For the FBI to have done less under the circumstances would
have been an abdication of its responsibilities to the American people.”
He also restated his “feeling that the FBI’s counterintelligence programs
had an impact on the crises of the time and, therefore, that they helped to
bring about a favorable change in this country.” 60 In his testimony
before the Select Committee, Director Kelley continued to defend COINTELPRO,
albeit with some reservations:

What I said then, in 1974, and
what I believe today, is that the FBI employees involved in these programs did
what they felt was expected of them by the President, the Attorney General, the
Congress, and the people of the United States. . . .

Our concern over whatever
abuses occurred in the Counterintelligence Programs, and there were some
substantial ones, should not obscure the underlying purpose of those programs.

We must recognize that
situations have occurred in the past and will arise in the future where the
Government may well be expected to depart from its traditional role, in the
FBI’s case, as an investigative and intelligence-gathering agency, and take
affirmative steps which are needed to meet an imminent threat to human life or
property. 62

Nor is the Director alone in
his belief that faced with sufficient threat, covert disruption is justified.
The Department of Justice promulgated tentative guidelines for the Bureau which
would have permitted the Attorney General to authorize “preventive
action” where there is a substantial possibility that violence will occur
and “prosecution is impracticable.” Although those guidelines have
now been dropped, the principle has not been rejected.


A. Origins

The origins of COINTELPRO are
rooted in the Bureau’s jurisdiction to investigate hostile foreign intelligence
activities on American soil. Counterintelligence, of course, goes beyond
investigation; it is affirmative action taken to neutralize hostile agents.

The Bureau believed its
wartime counterattacks on foreign agents to be effective — and what works
against one enemy will work against another. In the atmosphere of the Cold War,
the American Communist Party was viewed as a deadly threat to national

In 1956, the Bureau decided
that a formal counterintelligence program, coordinated from headquarters, would
be an effective weapon in the fight against Communism. The first COINTELPRO was
therefore initiated. 63

for more than half of all approved proposals. 64 The Bureau personnel involved
believed that the success of the program — one action was described as
“the most effective single blow ever dealt the organized communist
movement” — made counterintelligence techniques the weapons of choice
whenever the Bureau assessed a new and, in its view, equally serious threat to
the country.

As noted earlier, law
enforcement frustration also played a part in the origins of each COINTELPRO.
In each case, Bureau witnesses testified that the lack of adequate statutes,
uncooperative or ineffective local police, or restrictive court rulings had
made it impossible to use traditional law enforcement methods against the
targeted groups.

Additionally, a certain amount
of empire building may have been at work. Under William C. Sullivan, the
Domestic Intelligence Division greatly expanded its jurisdiction. Klan matters
were transferred in 1964 to the Intelligence Division from the General
Investigative Division; black nationalist groups were added in 1967; and, just
as the Old Left appeared to be dying out, 66 the New Left was gradually added
to the work of the Division’s Internal Security Section in the late 1960s.

Finally, it is significant
that the five domestic COINTELPROs were started against the five groups which
were the subject of intensified investigative programs. Of course, the fact
that such intensive investigative programs were started at all reflects the
Bureau’s process of threat assessment: the greater the threat, the more need to
know about it (intelligence) and the more impetus to counter it (covert action).
More important, however, the mere existence of the additional information
gained through the investigative programs inevitably demonstrated those
particular organizational or personal weaknesses which were vulnerable to
disruption. COINTELPRO demonstrates the dangers inherent in the overbroad
collection of domestic intelligence; when information is available, it can be
— and was — improperly used.

B. The Programs

Before examining each program
in detail, some general observations may be useful. Each of the five domestic
COINTELPROs had certain traits in common. As noted above, each program used
techniques learned from the Bureau’s wartime efforts against hostile foreign
agents. Each sprang from frustration with the perceived inability of law
enforcement to deal with what the Bureau believed to be a serious threat to the
country. Each program depended on an intensive intelligence effort to provide
the information used to disrupt the target groups.

The programs also differ to
some extent. The White Hate program, for example, was very precisely targeted;
each of the other programs spread to a number of groups which do not appear to
fall within any clear parameters. 67 In fact, with each subsequent COINTELPRO,
the targeting became more diffuse.

The White Hate COINTELPRO also
used comparatively few techniques which carried a risk of serious physical,
emotional, or economic damage to the targets, while the Black Nationalist
COINTELPRO used such techniques extensively. The New Left COINTELPRO, on the
other hand, had the highest proportion of proposals aimed at preventing the
exercise of free speech. Like the progression in targeting, the use of
dangerous, degrading, or blatantly unconstitutional techniques also appears to
have become less restrained with each subsequent program.

1. CPUSA. — The first
official COINTELPRO program, against the Communist Party, USA, was started in
August 1956 with Director Hoover’s approval. Although the formal program was
instituted in 1956, COINTELPRO-type activities had gone on for years. The
memorandum recommending the program refers to prior actions, constituting
“harassment,” which were generated by the field during the course of
the Bureau’s investigation of the Communist Party.” These prior actions
were instituted on all ad hoc basis as the opportunity arose. As Sullivan
testified, “[Before 1956] we were engaged in COINTELPRO tactics, divide,
confuse, weaken in diverse ways, all organization. . . . [Before 1956] it, was
more sporadic. It depended on a given office. . . .” 69

In 1956, a series of field
conferences was held to discuss the development of new security informants. The
Smith Act trials and related proceedings had exposed over 100 informants,
leaving the Bureau’s intelligence apparatus in some disarray. During the field
conferences, a formal counterintelligence program was recommended, partly
because of the gaps in the informant ranks. 70

Since the Bureau had evidence
that until the late 1940s the CPUSA had been “blatantly” involved in
Soviet espionage, and believed that the Soviets were continuing to use the
Party for “political and intelligence purposes,” 71 there was no
clear line of demarcation in the Bureau’s switch from foreign to domestic
counterintelligence. The initial areas of concentration were the use of informants
to capitalize on the conflicts within the Party over Nikita Khrushchev’s
denunciation of Stalin; to prevent the CP’s efforts to take over (via a merger)
a broad-based socialist group; to encourage the Socialist Workers Party in its
attacks on the CP; and to use the IRS to investigate underground CP members who
either failed to file, or filed under false names.

As the program proceeded,
other targets and techniques were developed, but until 1960 the CPUSA targets
were Party members, and the techniques were aimed at the Party organization
(factionalism, public exposure, etc.)

2. The 1960 Expansion. — In
March 1960, CPUSA COINTELPRO field offices received a directive to intensify
counterintelligence efforts to prevent Communist infiltration (“COMINFIL”)
of mass organizations, ranging from the NAACP 72 to a local scout troop. 73 The
usual technique would be to tell a leader of the organization about the alleged
Communist in its midst, the target, of course, being the alleged Communist
rather than the organization. In an increasing number of cases, however, both
the alleged Communist and the organization were targeted, usually by planting a
news article about Communists active in the organization. For example, a
newsman was given information about Communist participation in a SANE march,
with the express purpose being to discredit SANE as well as the participants,
and another newspaper was alerted to plans of Bettina Aptheker to join a United
Farm Workers picket line. 74 The 1960 “COMINFIL” memorandum marks the
beginning of the slide from targeting CP members to those allegedly under CP
“influence” (such civil right’s leaders as Martin Luther King, Jr.)
to “fellow travelers” (those, taking positions supported by the
Communists, such as school integration, increased minority hiring, and
opposition to HUAC.) 75

3. Socialist Workers Party. –
The Socialist Workers Party (“SWP”) COINTELPRO program was initiated
on October 12, 1961, by the headquarters supervisor handling the SWP desk (but
with Hoover’s concurrence) apparently on a theory of even-handed treatment: if
the Bureau has a program against the CP, it was only fair to have one against
the Trotskyites. (The COINTELPRO unit chief, in response to a question about
why the Bureau targeted the SWP in view of the fact that the SWP’s hostility to
the Communist Party had been useful in disrupting the CPUSA, answered, “I
do not think that the Bureau discriminates against subversive
organizations.”) 76

The program was not given high
priority — only 45 actions were approved — and was discontinued in 1969, two
years before the other four programs ended. (The SWP program was then subsumed
in the New Left COINTELPRO.) Nevertheless, it marks an important departure from
the CPUSA COINTELPRO: although the-SWP had contacts with foreign Trotskyite
groups, there was no evidence that the SWP was involved in espionage. These
were, in C. D. Brennans phrase, “home grown tomatoes.” 77 The Bureau
has conceded that the SWP has never been engaged in organizational violence,
nor has it taken any criminal steps toward overthrowing the country. 78

Nor does the Bureau claim the
SWP was engaged in revolutionary acts. The Party was targeted for its rhetoric;
significantly, the originating letter points to the SWPs “open”
espousal of its line, “through running candidates for public office”
and its direction and/or support of “such causes as Castro’s Cuba and
integration problems arising in the South.” Further, the American people
had to be alerted to the fact that “the SWP is not just another socialist
group but follows the revolutionary principles of Marx, Lenin, and Engles as
interpreted by Leon Trotsky.” 79

non-Party members were also targeted, particularly when the SWP and the Young
Socialist Alliance (the SWP’s youth group) started to co-sponsor antiwar
marches. 80

4. White Hate. — The Klan
COINTELPRO began on July 30, 1964, with the transfer of the
“responsibility for development of informants and gathering of
intelligence on the KKK and other hate groups” from the General
Investigative Division to the Domestic Intelligence Division. The memorandum
recommending the reorganization also suggested that, “counterintelligence
and disruption tactics be given further study by DID and appropriate
recommendations made.” 81

Accordingly, on September 2,
1964, a directive was sent to seventeen field offices instituting a COINTELPRO
against Klan-type and hate organizations “to expose, disrupt, and
otherwise neutralize the activities of the various Klans and hate
organizations, their leadership, and adherents.” 82 Seventeen Klan
organizations and nine “hate” organizations (e.g., American Nazi
Party, National States Rights Party, etc.) were listed as targets. The field
offices were also instructed specifically to consider “Action Groups”
— “the relatively few individuals in each organization who use strong arm
tactics and violent actions to achieve their ends.” 83 However,
counterintelligence proposals were not to be limited to these few, but were to
include any influential member if the opportunity arose. As the unit chief

The emphasis was on
determining the identity and exposing and neutralizing the violence prone
activities of “Action Groups,” but also it was important to expose
the unlawful activities of other Klan organizations. We also made an effort to
deter or counteract the propaganda and to deter violence and to deter
recruitment where we could. This was done with the view that if we could curb the
organization, we could curb the action or the violence within the organization.

appears to have been limited, with few exceptions, 85 to the original named
targets. No “legitimate” right wing organizations were drawn into the
program, in contrast with the earlier spread of the CPUSA and SWP programs to
non members. This precision has been attributed by the Bureau to the superior
intelligence on “hate” groups received by excellent informant

Bureau witnesses believe the
Klan program to have been highly effective. The unit chief stated:

I think the Bureau got the job
done.. I think that one reason we were able to get the job done was that we
were able to use counterintelligence techniques. It is possible that we eventually
could have done the job without counterintelligence techniques. I am not sure
we could have done it as well or as quickly. 86

This view was shared by George
C. Moore, Section Chief of the Racial Intelligence Section, which had
responsibility for the White Hate and Black Nationalist COINTELPROs:

I think from what I have seen
and what I have read, as far as the counterintelligence program on the, Klan is
concerned, that it was effective. I think it was one of the most effective
programs I have ever seen the Bureau handle as far as any group is concerned.

5. Black Nationalist-Hate
Groups. 88 — In marked contrast to prior COINTELPROs, which grew out of years
of intensive intelligence investigation, the Black Nationalist COINTELPRO and
the racial intelligence investigative section were set up at about the same
time in 1967.

Prior to that time, the
Division’s investigation of “Negro matters” was limited to instances
of alleged Communist infiltration of civil rights groups and to monitoring
civil rights protest activity. However, the long, hot summer of 1967 led to
intense pressure on the Bureau to do something to contain the problem, and once
again, the Bureau heeded the call.

The originating letter was
sent out to twenty-three field offices on August 25, 1967, describing the
program’s purpose as

… to expose, disrupt,
misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities of black
nationalist, hate-type organizations and groupings, their leadership,
spokesmen, membership, and supporters, and to counter their propensity for
violence and civil disorder. . . . Efforts of the various groups to consolidate
their forces or to recruit new or youthful adherents must be frustrated. 89

Initial group targets for
“intensified attention” were the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Revolutionary Action
Movement, Deacons for Defense and Justice, Congress of Racial Equality, and the
Nation of Islam. Individuals named targets were Stokely Carmichael, H.
“Rap” Brown, Elijah Muhammed, and Maxwell Stanford. The targets were
chosen by conferring with Headquarters personnel supervising the racial cases;
the list was not intended to exclude other groups known to the field.

According to the Black
Nationalist supervisor, individuals and organizations were targeted because of
their propensity for violence or their “radical or revolutionary rhetoric
[and] actions”:

Revolutionary would be
[defined as] advocacy of the overthrow of the Government…. Radical [is] a loose
term that might cover, for example, the separatist view of the Nation of Islam,
the influence of a group called U.S. Incorporated…. Generally, they wanted a
separate black nation…. They [the NOI] advocated formation of a separate
black nation on the territory of five Southern states. 90

The letter went on to direct
field offices to exploit conflicts within and between groups; to use news media
contacts to disrupt, ridicule, or discredit groups; to preclude
“violence-prone” or “rabble rouser” leaders of these groups
from spreading their philosophy publicly; and to gather information on the
“unsavory backgrounds” — immorality, subversive activity, and
criminal activity– of group members. 91

According to George C. Moore,
the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was included because

… at that time it was still
under investigation because of the communist infiltration. As far as I know,
there were not any violent propensities, except that I note … in the cover
memo [expanding the program] or somewhere, that they mentioned that if Martin
Luther King decided to go a certain way, he could cause some trouble…. I
cannot explain it satisfactorily . . . this is something the section inherited.

On March 4, 1968, the program
was expanded from twenty-three to forty-one field offices. 93 The letter
expanding the program lists five long-range goals for the program:

(1) to prevent the
“coalition of militant black nationalist groups,” which might be the
first step toward a real “Mau Mau” in America;

(2) to prevent the rise of a
“messiah” who could “unify, and electrify,” the movement,
naming specifically Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael, and Elijah

(3) to prevent violence on the
part of black nationalist groups, by pinpointing “potential
troublemakers” and neutralizing them “before they exercise their
potential for violence;”

(4) to prevent groups and
leaders from gaining “respectability” by discrediting them to the
“responsible” Negro community, to the white community (both the responsible
community and the “liberals” — the distinction is the Bureau’s), and
to Negro radicals; and

(5) to prevent the long range
growth of these organizations, especially among youth, by developing specific
tactics to “prevent these groups from recruiting young people.” 94

6. The Panther Directives. –
The Black Panther Party (“BPP”) was not included in the first two
lists of primary targets (August 1967 and March 1968) because it had not
attained national importance. By November 1968, apparently the BPP had become
sufficiently active to be considered a primary target. A letter to certain
field offices with BPP activity dated November 25, 1968, ordered recipient
offices to submit “imaginative and hard-hitting counterintelligence
measures aimed at crippling the BPP.” Proposals were to be received every
two weeks. Particular attention was to be given to capitalizing upon the
differences between the BPP and US, Inc. (Ron Karenga’s group), which had
reached such proportions that “it is taking on the aura of gang warfare
with attendant threats of murder and reprisals.” 95

On January 30, 1969, this
program against the BPP was expanded to additional offices, noting that the BPP
was attempting to create a better image. In line with this effort, Bobby Seale
was conducting a “purge” 96 of the party, including expelling police
informants. Recipient offices were instructed to take advantage of the
opportunity to further plant the seeds of suspicion concerning disloyalty among
ranking officials. 97

Bureau witnesses are not
certain whether the Black Nationalist program was effective. Mr. Moore stated:

I know that the … overall
results of the Klan [COINTELPRO] was much more effective from what I have been
told than the Black Extremism [COINTELPRO] because of the number of informants
in the Klan who could take action which would be more effective. In the Black
Extremism Group . . . we got a late start because we did not have extremist -
activity [until] ’67 and ’68. Then we had to play catch-up…. It is not easy
to measure effectiveness…. There were policemen killed in those days. There
were bombs thrown. There were establishments burned with molotov cocktails….
We can measure that damage. You cannot measure over on the other side, what
lives were saved because somebody did not leave the organization or suspicion
was sown on his leadership and this organization gradually declined and [there
was] suspicion within it, or this organization did not join with [that]
organization as a result of a black power conference which was aimed towards
consolidation efforts. All we know, either through their own ineptitude, maybe
it emerged through counterintelligence, maybe, I think we like to think that
that helped to do it, that there was not this development. . . . What part did
counterintelligence [play?] We hope that it did play a part. Maybe we just gave
it a nudge.” 98

7. New Left. — The Internal
Security Section had undergone a slow transition from concentrating on the
“Old Left” — the CPUSA and SWP — to focusing primarily on the
activities of the “New Left” — a term which had no precise
definition within the Bureau. 99 Some agents defined “New Left”
functionally, by connection with protests. Others defined it by philosophy,
particularly antiwar philosophy.

On October 28, 1968, the fifth
and final COINTELPRO was started against this undefined group. The program was
triggered in part by the Columbia campus disturbance. Once again, law
enforcement methods had broken down, largely (in the Bureau’s opinion) because
college administrators refused to call the police on campus to deal with student
demonstrations. The atmosphere at the time was described by the Headquarters
agent who supervised the New Left COINTELPRO:

During that particular time,
there was considerable public, Administration — I mean governmental
Administration [and] news media interest in the protest movement to the extent
that some groups, I don’t recall any specifics, but some groups were calling
for something to be done to blunt or reduce the protest movements that were
disrupting campuses. I can’t classify it as exactly an hysteria, but there was
considerable interest [and concern]. That was the framework that we were
working with…. It would be my impression that as a result of this hysteria,
some governmental leaders were looking to the Bureau. 100

And, once again, the
combination of perceived threat, public outcry, and law enforcement frustration
produced a COINTELPRO.

According to the initiating
letter, the counterintelligence program’s purpose was to “expose, disrupt,
and otherwise neutralize,” the activities of the various New Left
organizations, their leadership, and adherents, with particular attention to
Key Activists, “the moving forces behind the New Left.” The final
paragraph contains an exhortation to a “forward look, enthusiasm, and
interest” because of the Bureau’s concern that “the anarchist
activities of a few can paralyze institutions of learning, induction centers,
cripple traffic, and tie the arms of law enforcement officials all to the
detriment of our society.” The internal memorandum recommending the
program further sets forth the Bureau’s concerns:

Our Nation is undergoing an
era of disruption and violence caused to a large extent by various individuals
generally connected with the New Left. Some of these activists urge revolution
in America and call for the defeat of the United States in Vietnam. They
continually and falsely allege police brutality and do not hesitate to utilize
unlawful acts to further their so-called causes.

The document continues:

The New Left has on many
occasions viciously and scurrilously attacked the Director and the Bureau in an
attempt to hamper our investigation of it and to drive us off the college
campuses. 101

Based on those factors, the
Bureau decided to institute a new COINTELPRO.

8. New Left Directives. — The
Bureau’s concern with “tying the hands of law enforcement officers,”
and with the perceived weakness of college administrators in refusing to call
police onto the campus, led to a May 23, 1968, directive to all participating
field offices to gather information on three categories of New Left activities:

(1) false allegations of
police brutality, to “counter the wide-spread charges of police brutality
that invariably arise following student-police encounters”;

(2) immorality, depicting the
“scurrilous and depraved nature of many of the characters, activities,
habits, and living conditions representative of New Left adherents”; and

(3) action by college
administrators, “to show the value of college administrators and school
officials taking a firm stand,” and pointing out “whether and to what
extent faculty members rendered aid and encouragement.”

The letter continues,
“Every avenue of possible embarrassment must be vigorously and
enthusiastically explored. It cannot be expected that information of this type will
be easily obtained, and an imaginative approach by your personnel is imperative
to its success.” 103

The order to furnish
information on “immorality” was not carried out with sufficient
enthusiasm. On October 9, 1968, headquarters sent another letter to all
offices, taking them to task for their failure to “remain alert for and to
seek specific data depicting the depraved nature and moral looseness of the New
Left” and to “use this material in a vigorous and enthusiastic
approach to neutralizing them.” 104 Recipient offices were again
instructed to be “particularly alert for this type of data” 105 and

As the current school year
commences, it can be expected that the New Left with its anti-war and
anti-draft entourage will make every effort to confront college authorities,
stifle military recruiting, and frustrate the Selective Service System. Each
office will be expected, therefore, to afford this program continuous effective
attention in order that no opportunity will be missed to destroy this insidious
movement. 106

As to the police brutality and
“college administrator” categories, the Bureau’s belief that getting
tough with students and demonstrators would solve the problem, and that any
injuries which resulted were deserved, is reflected in the Bureau’s reaction to
allegations of police brutality following the Chicago Democratic Convention.

On August 28, 1968, a letter
was sent to the Chicago field office instructing it to “obtain all
possible evidence that would disprove these charges” [that the Chicago
police used undue force] and to “consider measures by which cooperative
news media may be used to counteract these allegations.” The
administrative “note” (for the file) states :

Once again, the liberal press
and the bleeding hearts and the forces on the left are taking advantage of the
situation in Chicago surrounding the Democratic National Convention to attack
the police and organized law enforcement agencies…. We should be mindful of
this situation and develop all possible evidence to expose this activity and to
refute these false allegations. 107

In the same vein, on September
9, 1968, an instruction was sent to all offices which had sent informants to
the Chicago convention demonstrations, ordering them to debrief the informants
for information “indicating incidents were staged to show police reacted
with undue force and any information that authorities were baited by militants
into using force.” 108 The offices were also to obtain evidence of
possible violations of anti-riot laws. 109

The originating New Left
letter had asked all recipient offices to respond with suggestions for
counterintelligence action. Those responses were analyzed and a letter sent to
all offices on July 6, 1968, setting forth twelve suggestions for counterintelligence
action which could be utilized by all offices. Briefly the techniques are:

(1) preparing leaflets
designed to discredit student demonstrators, using photographs of New Left
leadership at the respective universities. “Naturally, the most obnoxious
pictures should be used”;

(2) instigating “personal
conflicts or animosities” between New Left leaders;

(3) creating the impression
that leaders are “informants for the Bureau or other law enforcement

(4) sending articles from
student newspapers or the “underground press” which show the
depravity of the New Left to university officials, donors, legislators, and
parents. “Articles showing advocation of the use of narcotics and free sex
are ideal”;

(5) having members arrested on
marijuana charges;

(6) sending anonymous letters
about a student’s activities to parents, neighbors, and the parents’ employers.
“This could have the effect of forcing the parents to take action”;

(7) sending anonymous letters
or leaflets describing the “activities and associations” of New Left
faculty members and graduate assistants to university officials, legislators,
Boards of Regents, and the press. “These letters should be signed ‘A
Concerned Alumni,’ or ‘A Concerned Taxpayer'”;

(8) using cooperative press
contacts” to emphasize that the “disruptive elements” constitute
a “minority” of the students. “The press should demand an
immediate referendum on the issue in question”;

(9) exploiting the
“hostility” among the SDS and other New Left groups toward the SWP,
YSA, and Progressive Labor Party;

(10) using “friendly news
media” and law enforcement officials to disrupt New Left coffeehouses near
military bases which are attempting to “influence members of the Armed

(11) using cartoons,
photographs, and anonymous letters to “ridicule” the New Left, and

(12) using
“misinformation” to “confuse and disrupt” New Left
activities, such as by notifying members that events have been cancelled. 110

As noted earlier, the lack of
any Bureau definition of “New Left” resulted in targeting almost
every anti-war group, 111 and spread to students demonstrating against
anything. One notable example is a proposal targeting a student who carried an
“obscene” sign in a demonstration protesting administration
censorship of the school newspaper, and another student who sent a letter to
that paper defending the demonstration. 112 In another article regarding
“free love” on a university campus was anonymously mailed to college
administrators and state officials since free love allows “an atmosphere
to build up on campus that will be a fertile field for the New Left.” 113

None of the Bureau witnesses
deposed believes the New Left COINTELPRO was generally effective, in part
because of the imprecise targeting.


The origins of COINTELPRO
demonstrate that the Bureau adopted extralegal methods to counter perceived
threats to national security and public order because the ordinary legal
processes were believed to be insufficient to do the job. In essence, the
Bureau took the law into its own hands, conducting a sophisticated vigilante
operation against domestic enemies.

The risks inherent in setting
aside the laws, even though the, purpose seems compelling at the time, were
described by Tom Charles Huston in his testimony before the Committee: 114

The risk was that you would
get people who would be susceptible to political considerations as opposed to national
security considerations, or would construe political considerations to be
national security considerations, to move from the kid with a bomb to the kid
with a picket sign, and from the kid with the picket sign to the kid with the
bumper sticker of the opposing candidate. And you just keep going down the
line. 115

The description is apt.
Certainly, COINTELPRO took in a staggering range of targets. As noted earlier,
the choice of individuals and organizations to be neutralized and disrupted
ranged from the violent elements of the Black Panther Party to Martin Luther
King, Jr., who the Bureau concedes was an advocate of nonviolence; from the
Communist Party to the Ku Klux Klan; and from the advocates of violent
revolution such as the Weathermen, to the supporters of peaceful social change,
including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Inter-University
Committee for Debate on Foreign Policy.

The breadth of targeting
springs partly from a lack of definition for the categories involved, and
partly from the Bureau’s belief that dissident speech and association should be
prevented because they were incipient steps toward the possible ultimate
commission of an act which might be criminal. Thus, the Bureau’s self-imposed
role as protector of the existing political and social order blurred the line
between targeting criminal activity and constitutionally protected acts and

The clearest example of
actions directly aimed at the exercise of constitutional rights are those
targeting speakers, teachers, writers or publications, and meetings or peaceful
demonstrations. 116 Approximately 18 percent of all approved COINTELPRO
proposals fell into these categories. 117

The cases include attempts
(sometimes successful) to get university and high school teachers fired; to
prevent targets from speaking on campus; to stop chapters of target groups from
being formed; to prevent the distribution of books, newspapers, or periodicals;
to disrupt news conferences; to disrupt peaceful demonstrations, including the
SCLCs Washington Spring Project and Poor People’s Campaign, and most of the
large antiwar marches; and to deny facilities for meetings or conferences.

A. Efforts to Prevent Speaking

An illustrative example of
attacks on speaking concerns the plans of a dissident stockholders’ group to
protest a large corporation’s war production at the annual stockholders
meeting. 118 The field office was authorized to furnish information about the
group’s plans (obtained from paid informants in the group) to a confidential
source in the company’s management. The Bureau’s purpose was not only to
“circumvent efforts to disrupt the corporate meeting,” but also to
prevent any attempt to “obtain publicity or embarrass” corporate
officials. 119

In another case, 120 anonymous
telephone calls were made to the editorial desks of three newspapers in a
Midwestern city, advising them that a lecture to be given on a university
campus was actually being sponsored by a Communist-front organization. The
university had recently lifted its ban on Communist speakers on campus and was
experiencing some political difficulty over this decision. The express purpose
of the phone calls was to prevent a Communist-sponsored speaker from appearing
on campus and, for a time, it appeared to have worked. One of the newspapers
contacted the director of the university’s conference center. He in turn
discussed the meeting with the president of the university who decided to
cancel the meeting. 121 The sponsoring organization, supported by the ACLU,
took the case to court, and won a ruling that the university could not bar the
speaker. (Bureau headquarters then ordered the field office to furnish
information on the judge.) Although the lecture went ahead as scheduled,
headquarters commended the field office for the affirmative results of its
suggestion: the sponsoring organization had been forced to incur additional
expense and attorneys’ fees, and had received newspaper exposure of its
“true communist character.”

B. Efforts to Prevent Teaching

Teachers were targeted because
the Bureau believed that they were in a unique position to “plant the
seeds of communism [or whatever ideology was under attack] in the minds of
unsuspecting youth.” Further, as noted earlier, it was believed that a teacher’s
position gave respectability to whatever cause he supported. In one case, a
high school teacher was targeted for inviting two poets to attend a class at
his school. The poets were noted for their efforts in the draft resistance
movement. This invitation led to an investigation by the local police, which in
turn provoked sharp criticism from the ACLU. The field office was authorized to
send anonymous letters to two local newspapers, to the city Board of Education,
and to the high school administration, suggesting that the ACLU should not
criticize the police for probing into high school activities, “but should
rather have focused attention on [the teacher] who has been a convicted draft
dodger.” The letter continued, “[the teacher] is the assault on
academic freedom and not the local police.” The purpose of the letter,
according to Bureau documents, was “to highlight [the teacher’s] antidraft
activities at the local high school” and to “discourage any
efforts” he may make there. The letter was also intended to “show
support for the local police against obvious attempts by the New Left to
agitate in the high schools.” 122 No results were reported.

In another case, 123 a
university professor who was “an active participant in New Left
demonstrations” had publicly surrendered his draft card and had been
arrested twice, (but not convicted) in antiwar demonstrations. The Bureau
decided that the professor should be “removed from his position” at
the university. The field office was authorized to contact a “confidential
source” at a foundation which contributed substantial funds to the
university, and “discreetly suggest that the [foundation] may desire to
call to the attention of the University administration questions concerning the
advisability of [the professor’s] continuing his position there.” The
foundation official was told by the university that the professor’s contract
would not be renewed, but in fact the professor did continue to teach. The
following academic year, therefore, the field office was authorized to furnish
additional information to the foundation official on the professor’s arrest and
conviction (with a, suspended sentence) in another demonstration. No results
were reported.

In a third instance, the
Bureau attempted to “discredit and neutralize” a university professor
and the Inter-University Committee for Debate on Foreign Policy, in which lie
was active. The field office was authorized to send a fictitious name letter to
influential state political figures, the mass media, university administrators,
and the Board of Regents, accusing the professor and “his protesting
cohorts” of “giving aid and comfort to the enemy,” and wondering
“if the strategy is to bleed the United States white by prolonging the war
in Vietnam and pave the way for a takeover by Russia.” No results were
reported. 124

C. Efforts to Prevent Writing
and Publishing

The Bureau’s purpose in
targeting attempts to speak was explicitly to prevent the
“propagation” of a target’s philosophy and to deter
“recruitment” of new members. Publications and writers appear to have
been targeted for the same reasons. In one example, 125 two university
instructors were targeted solely because they were influential in the
publication of and contributed financial support to a student “underground”
newspaper whose editorial policy was described as “left-of-center,
anti-establishment, and opposed [to] the University administration.” The
Bureau believed that if the two instructors were forced to withdraw their
support of the newspaper, it would “fold and cease publication. . . . This
would eliminate what voice the New Left has in the area.” Accordingly, the
field office was authorized to send an anonymous letter to a university
official furnishing information concerning the instructors’ association with
the newspaper, with a warning that if the university did not persuade the
instructors to cease their support, the letter’s author would be forced to
expose their activities publicly. The field office reported that as a result of
this technique, both teachers were placed on probation by the university
president, which would prevent them from getting any raises.

Newspapers were a common
target. The Black Panther Party paper was the subject of a number of actions,
both because of its contents and because it was a source of income for the
Party. 126 Other examples include contacting the landlord of premises rented by
two “New Left” newspapers in an attempt to get them evicted; 121 an
anonymous letter to a state legislator protesting the distribution on campus of
an underground newspaper “representative of the type of mentality that is
following the New Left theory of immorality on certain college campuses”;
128 a letter signed “Disgusted Taxpayer and Patron” to advertisers in
a student newspaper intended to “increase pressure on the student
newspaper to discontinue the type of journalism that had been employed” (an article
had quoted a demonstrator’s “vulgar Ianguage”); 129 and proposals
(which, according to the Bureau’s response to a staff inquiry, were never
carried out) to physically disrupt printing plants. 130

D. Efforts to Prevent Meeting

The Bureau also attempted to
prevent target groups from meeting. Frequently used techniques include
contacting the, owner of meeting facilities in order to have him refuse to rent
to the group; 131 trying to have a group’s charter revoked; 132 using the press
to disrupt a “closed” meeting by arriving unannounced; 133 and
attempting to persuade sponsors to withdraw funds. 134 The most striking
examples of attacks meeting, however, involve the use of
“disinformation.” 135

In one
“disinformation” case, the Chicago Field Office duplicated blank
forms prepared by the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam
(“NMC”) soliciting housing for demonstators coming to Chicago for the
Democratic National Convention. Chicago filled out 217 of these forms with fictitious
names and addresses and sent them to the NMC, which provided them to
demonstrators who made “long and useless journeys to locate these
addresses.” The NMC then decided to discard all replies received on the
housing forms rather than have out-of-town demonstrators try to locate
nonexistent addresses. 136 (The same program was carried out when the
Washington Mobilization Committee distributed housing forms for demonstrators
coming to Washington for the 1969 Presidential inaugural ceremonies.) 137

In another case, during the
demonstrations accompanying inauguration ceremonies, the Washington Field
Office discovered that NMC marshals were using walkie-talkies to coordinate
their movements and activities. WFO used the same citizen band to supply the
marshals with misinformation and, pretending to be an NMC unit, countermanded
NMC orders. 138

In a third case 139 a midwest
field office disrupted arrangements for state university students to attend the
1969 inaugural demonstrations by making a series of anonymous telephone calls
to the transportation company. The calls were designed to confuse both the
transportation company and the SDS leaders as to the cost of transportation and
the time and place for leaving and returning. This office also placed confusing
leaflets around the campus to show different times and places for
demonstration-planning meetings, as well as conflicting times and dates for
traveling to Washington.

In a fourth instance, the
“East Village Other” planned to bomb the Pentagon with flowers during
the 1967 NMC rally in Washington. The New York office answered the ad for a
pilot, and kept up the pretense right to the point at which the publisher
showed up at the airport with 200 pounds of flowers, with no one to fly the
plane. Thus, the Bureau was able to prevent this “agitational-propaganda
activity as relates to dropping flowers over Washington.” 140

The cases discussed above are
just a few examples of the Bureau’s direct attack on speaking, teaching,
writing and meeting. Other instances include targeting the New Mexico Free
University for teaching, among other things, “confrontation politics”
and “draft counseling training.” 141 In another case, an editorial
cartoonist for a northeast newspaper was asked to prepare a cartoon which would
“ridicule and discredit” a group of antiwar activists who traveled to
North Vietnam to inspect conditions there; the cartoon was intended to
“depict [the individuals] as traitors to their country for traveling to
North Vietnam and making utterances against the foreign policy of the United
States.” 142 A professor was targeted for being the faculty advisor to a
college group which circulated “The Student As Nigger” on
campus.”‘ A professor conducting a study on the effect and social costs of
McCarthyism was targeted because he sought information and help from the
American Institute of Marxist Studies. 144 Contacts were made with three
separate law schools in an attempt to keep a teaching candidate from being
hired, or once hired, from getting his contract renewed. 145

The attacks on speaking,
teaching, writing, and meeting have been examined in some detail because they
present, in their purist form, the consequences of acting outside the legal
process. Perhaps the Bureau was correct in its assumption that words lead to deeds,
and that larger group membership produces a greater risk of violence.
Nevertheless, the law draws the line between criminal acts and constitutionally
protected activity, and that line must be kept. 146 As Justice Brandeis
declared in a different context fifty years ago:

Our government is the potent,
the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people, by
its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it
breeds contempt for law: it invites every man to become a law unto himself. To
declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the
means — to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure
the conviction of the private criminal — would bring terrible retribution.
Against the pernicious doctrine this Court should resolutely set its face.
Olmstead v. U.S., 277 U.S. 439,485 (1927)


The techniques used in
COINTELPRO were — and are — used against hostile foreign intelligence agents.
Sullivan’s testimony that the “rough, tough, dirty business” 147 of
foreign counterintelligence was brought home against domestic enemies was
corroborated by George Moore, whose Racial Intelligence Section supervised the
White Hate and Black Nationalist COINTELPROs:

You can trace [the origins] up
and back to foreign intelligence, particularly penetration of the group by the
individual informant. Before you can engage in counterintelligence you must
have intelligence …. If you have good intelligence and know what it’s going
to do, you can seed distrust, sow misinformation. The same technique is used in
the foreign field. The same technique is used, misinformation, disruption, is
used in the domestic groups, although in the domestic groups you are dealing in
’67 and ’68 with many, many more across the country … than you had ever dealt
with as far as your foreign groups. 148

The arsenal of techniques used
in the Bureau’s secret war against domestic enemies ranged from the trivial to
the life endangering. Slightly more than a quarter of all approved actions were
intended to promote factionalization within groups and between groups; a
roughly equal number of actions involved the creation and dissemination of
propaganda. 149 Other techniques involved the use of federal, state, and local
agencies in selective law enforcement, and other use (and abuse) of government
processes; disseminating derogatory information to family, friends, and
associates; contacting employers; exposing “communist infiltration”
or support of target groups; and using organizations which were hostile to
target groups to disrupt meetings or otherwise attack the targets.

A. Propaganda

propaganda efforts stem from the same basic premise as the attacks on speaking,
teaching, writing and meeting: propaganda works. Certain ideas are dangerous,
and if their expression cannot be prevented, they should be countered with
Bureau-approved views. Three basic techniques were used: (1) mailing reprints
of newspaper and magazine articles to group members or potential supporters
intended to convince them of the error of their ways; (2) writing articles for
or furnishing information to “friendly” media sources to
“expose” target groups; 150 and (3) writing, printing, and
disseminating pamphlets and fliers without identifying the Bureau as the

1. Reprint Mailings

The documents contain case
after case of articles and newspaper clippings being mailed (anonymously, of
course) to group members. The Jewish members of the Communist Party appear to
have been inundated with clippings dealing with Soviet mistreatment of Jews.
Similarly, Jewish supporters of the Black Panther Party received articles from
the BPP newspaper containing anti-Semitic statements. College administrators
received reprints of a Reader’s Digest article 151 and a Barron’s article on
campus disturbances intended to persuade them to “get tough.” 152

Perhaps only one example need
be examined in detail, and that only because it clearly sets forth the purpose
of propaganda reprint mailings. Fifty copies of an article entitled “Rabbi
in Vietnam Says Withdrawal Not the Answer,” escribed as “an excellent
article in support of United States foreign policy in Vietnam,” were
mailed to certain unnamed professors and members of the Vietnam Day Committee
“who have no other subversive organizational affiliations.” The
purpose of the mailing was “to convince [the recipients] of the
correctness of the U.S. foreign policy in Vietnam.” 153

Reprint mailings would seem to
fall under Attorney General Levi’s characterization of much of COINTELPRO as
“foolishness.” 154 They violate no one’s civil rights, but should the
Bureau be in the anonymous propaganda business?

2. “Friendly” Media

Much of the Bureau’s
propaganda efforts involved giving information or articles to
“friendly” media sources who could be relied upon not to reveal the
Bureau’s interests. 155 The Crime Records Division of the Bureau was
responsible for public relations, including all headquarters contacts with the
media. In the course of its work (most of which had nothing to do with
COINTELPRO) the Division assembled a list of “friendly” news media
sources — those who wrote pro-Bureau stories. 156 Field offices also had
“confidential sources” (unpaid Bureau informants) in the media, and
were able to ensure their cooperation.

The Bureau’s use of the news
media took two different forms: placing unfavorable articles and documentaries
about targeted groups, and leaking derogatory information intended to discredit
individuals. 157

A typical example of media
propaganda is the headquarters letter authorizing the Boston Field Office to
furnish “derogatory information about the Nation of Islam (NOI) to
established source [name excised)”: 158

Your suggestions concerning
material to furnish [name] are good. Emphasize to him that the NOI predilection
for violence, preaching of race hatred, and hypocrisy, should be exposed.
Material furnished [name] should be either public source or known to enough
people as to protect your sources. Insure the Bureau’s interest in this matter
is completely protected by [name]. 160

In another case, information
on the Junta of Militant Organizations (“JOMO”, a Black Nationalist
target) was furnished to a source at a Tampa television station. 161
Ironically, the station manager, who had no knowledge of the Bureau’s
involvement, invited the Special Agent in Charge, his assistant, and other agents
to a preview of the half-hour film which resulted. The SAC complimented the
station manager on his product, and suggested that it be made available to
civic groups. 162

A Miami television station
made four separate documentaries (on the Klan, Black Nationalist groups, and
the New Left) with materials secretly supplied by the Bureau. One of the
documentaries, which had played to an estimated audience of 200,000, was the
subject of an internal memorandum “to advise of highly successful results
of counterintelligence, exposing the black extremist Nation of Islam.”

[Excised] was elated at the
response. The station received more favorable telephone calls from viewers than
the switchboard could handle. Community leaders have commented favorably on the
program, three civic organizations have asked to show the film to their members
as a public service, and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office plans to show the
film to its officers and in connection with its community service program.

This expose showed that NOI
leaders are of questionable character and live in luxury through a large amount
of money taken as contributions from their members. The extreme nature of NOI
teachings was underscored. Miami sources advised the expose has caused
considerable concern to local NOI leaders who have attempted to rebut the
program at each open meeting of the NOI since the program was presented. Local
NOI leaders plan a rebuttal in the NOI newspaper. Attendance by visitors at
weekly NOI meetings has dropped 50%. This shows the value of carefully planned
counterintelligence action. 163

The Bureau also planted
derogatory articles about the Poor People’s Campaign, the Institute for Policy
Studies, the Southern Students Organizing Committee, the National Mobilization
Committee, and a host of other organizations it believed needed to be seen in
their “true light.”

3. Bureau-Authored Pamphlets
and Fliers.

The Bureau occasionally
drafted, printed, and distributed its own propaganda. These pieces were usually
intended to ridicule their targets, rather than offer “straight”
propaganda on the issue. Four of these fliers are reproduced in the following

NOTE: Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/14/70;
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 1/20/70.

NOTE: Memorandum from New York
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/7/69; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
New York Field Office, 2/14/69.

NOTE: Memorandum from New York
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/21/69; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
New York Field Office, 1/24/69.

NOTE: Memorandum from New York
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/5/69; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
New York Field Office, 8/11/69.

B. Effects to Promote Enmity
and Factionalism Within Groups or Between Groups

Approximately 28% of the
Bureau’s COINTELPRO efforts were designed to weaken groups by setting members
against each other, or to separate groups which might otherwise be allies, and
convert them into mutual enemies. The techniques used included anonymous
mailings (reprints, Bureau-authored articles and letters) to group members
criticizing a leader or an allied group; 164 using informants to raise
controversial issues; forming a “notional” — a Bureau run splinter
group — to draw away membership from the target organization; encouraging
hostility up to and including gang warfare between rival groups; and the
“snitch jacket.”

1. Encouraging Violence
Between Rival Groups

The Bureau’s attempts to
capitalize on active hostility between target groups carried with them the risk
of serious physical injury to the targets. As the Black Nationalist supervisor
put it:

It is not easy [to judge the
risks inherent in this technique]. You make the best judgment you can based on
all the circumstances and you always have an element of doubt where you are
dealing with individuals that I think most people would characterize as having
a degree of instability. 65

The Bureau took that risk. The
Panther directive instructing recipient officers to encourage the differences
between the Panthers and U.S., Inc. which were “taking on the aura of gang
warfare with attendant threats of murder and reprisals,” 166 is just one

A separate report on
disruptive efforts aimed at the Panthers will examine in detail the Bureau’s
attempts to foment violence. These efforts included anonymously distributing
cartoons which pictured the U.S. organization gloating over the corpses of two
murdered Panthers, and suggested that other BPP members would be next, 167 and
sending a New Jersey Panther leader the following letter which purported to be
from an SDS member: 168

“To Former Comrade [name]

“As one of ‘those little
bourgeois, snooty nose’ — ‘little schoolboys’ — ‘Iittle sissies’ Dave
Hilliard spoke of in the ‘Guardian’ of 8/16/69, I would like to say that you
and the rest of you black racists can go to hell. I stood shoulder to shoulder
with Carl Nichols last year in Military Park in Newark and got my a— whipped
by a Newark pig all for the cause of the wineheads like you and the rest of the
black pussycats that call themselves Panthers. Big deal, you have to have a
three hour educational session just to teach those … (you all know what that
means don’t you! It’s the first word your handkerchief head mamma teaches you)
how to spell it.

“Who the hell set you and
the Panthers up as the vanguard of the revolutionary and disciplinary group.
You can tell all those wineheads you associate with that you’ll kick no one’s
‘… a—,’ because you’d have to take a three year course in spelling to know
what an a— is and three more years to be taught where it’s located.

“Julius Lester called the
BPP the vanguard (that’s leader) organization so international whore Cleaver
calls him racist, now when full allegiance is not given to the Panthers, again
racist. What the hell do you want? Are you getting this? Are you lost? If
you’re not digging then you’re really hopeless.

“Oh yes! We are not
concerned about Hilliard’s threats.

“Brains will win over
brawn. The way the Panthers have retaliated against US is another indication.
The score: US-6: Panthers-0.

“Why, I read an article
in the Panther paper where a California Panther sat in his car and watched his
friend get shot by Karenga’s group and what did he do? He run back and write a
full page story about how tough the Panthers are and what they’re going to do.
Ha Ha — B — S –.

“Goodbye [name] baby-and
watch out. Karenga’s coming.

“‘Right On’ as they

An anonymous letter was also
sent to the leader of the Blackstone Rangers, a Chicago gang “to whom
violent type activity, shooting, and the like, are second nature,”
advising him that “the brothers that run the Panthers blame you for
blocking their thing and there’s supposed to be a hit out for you.” The
letter was intended to “intensify the degree of animosity between the two
groups” and cause “retaliatory action which could disrupt the BPP or
lead to reprisals against its leadership.” 169


What’s with this bull—- SDS
outfit? I’ll tell you what they has finally showed there true color White. They
are just like the commies and all the other white radical groups that suck up
to the blacks and use us. We voted at our meeting in Oakland for community
control over the pigs but SDS says no. Well we can do with out them mothers. We
can do it by ourselfs.


Brother Jake

In another case, the Bureau
tried to promote violence, not between violent groups, but between a possibly
violent person and another target. The field office was given permission to
arrange a meeting between an SCLC officer and the leader of a small group described
as “anti-Vietnam black nationalist [veterans’] organization.” The
leader of the veterans’ group was known to be upset because he was not
receiving funds from the SCLC. He was also known to be on leave from a mental
hospital, and the Bureau had been advised that he would be recommitted if he
were arrested on any charge. It was believed that “if the confrontation
occurs at SCLC headquarters,” the veterans’ group leader “will lose
his temper, start a fight,” and the “police will be called in.”
The purpose was to “neutralize” the leader by causing his commitment
to a mental hospital, and to gain “unfavorable publicity for the
SCLC.” 170

At least four assaults — two
of them on women — were reported as “results” of Bureau actions. The
San Diego field office claimed credit for three of them. In one case, US
members “broke into” a BPP meeting and “roughed up” a woman
member. 171

In the second instance, a
critical newspaper article in the Black Panther paper was sent to the US
leader. The field office noted that “the possibility exists that some sort
of retaliatory actions will be taken against the BPP.” 172 The prediction
proved correct; the field office reported that as a result of this mailing,
members of US assaulted a Panther newspaper vendor. 173 The third assault
occurred after the San Diego Police Department, acting on a tip from the Bureau
that “sex orgies” were taking place at Panther headquarters, raided
the premises. (The police department conducted a “research project,”
discovered two outstanding traffic warrants for a BPP member, and used the
warrants to gain entry.) The field office reported that as a “direct
result” of the raid, the woman who allowed the officers into the BPP
headquarters had been “severely beaten up” by other members.”

In the fourth case, the New
Haven field office reported that an informant had joined in a “heated
conversation” between several group members and sided with one of the
parties “in order to increase the tension.” The argument ended with
members hitting each other. The informant “departed the premises at this
point, since he felt that he had been successful, causing a flammable situation
to erupt into a fight.” 175

2. Anonymous Mailings

The Bureau’s use of anonymous
mailings to promote factionalism range from the relatively bland mailing of
reprints or fliers criticizing a group’s leaders for living ostentatiously or
being ineffective speakers, to reporting a chapter’s infractions to the group’s
headquarters intended to cause censure or disciplinary action.

Critical letters were also
sent to one group purporting to be from another, or from a member of the group
registering a protest over a proposed alliance.

For instance, the Bureau was
particularly concerned with the alliance between the SDS and the Black Panther
Party. A typical example of anonymous mailing intended to separate these groups
is a letter sent to the Black Panther newspaper: 176 [sic – report did not
contain text of letter. – PW]

In a similar vein, is a letter
mailed to Black Panther and New Left leaders. 177

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Since when do us Blacks have
to swallow the dictates of the honky SDS? Doing this only hinders the Party
progress in gaining Black control over Black people. We’ve been over by the
white facists pigs and the Man’s control over our destiny. We’re sick and tired
of being severly brutalized, denied our rights and treated like animals by the
white pigs. We say to hell with the SDS and its honky intellectual approaches
which only perpetuate control of Black people by the honkies.

The Black Panther Party theory
for community control is the only answer to our problems and that is to be
followed and enforced by all means necessary to insure control by Blacks over
all police departments regardless of whether they are run by honkies or uncle

The damn SDS is a paper
organization with a severe case of diarhea of the mouth which has done nothing
but feed us lip service. Those few idiots calling themselves weathermen run
around like kids on halloween. A good example is their “militant”
activities at the Northland Shopping Center a couple of weeks ago. They call
themselves revolutionaries but take a look at who they are. Most of them come
from well heeled families even by honky standards. They think they’re helping
us Blacks but their futile, misguided and above all white efforts only muddy
the revolutionary waters.

The time has come for an
absolute break with any non-Black group and especially those ——- SDS and a
return to our pursuit of a pure black revolution by Blacks for Blacks.

Power !

Off the Pigs!!!!

These examples are not, of
course, exclusive, but they do give the flavor of the anonymous mailings

3. Interviews

Interviewing group members or
supporters was an overt “investigative” technique sometimes used for
the covert purpose of disruption. For example, one field office noted that
“other [BPP] weaknesses that have been capitalized on include interviews
of members wherein jealousy among the members has been stimulated and at the
same time has caused a number of persons to fall under suspicion and be purged
from the Party.” 178

In another case, fourteen
field offices were instructed to conduct simultaneous interviews of individuals
known to have been contacted by members of the Revolutionary Union. The purpose
of the coordinated interviews was “to make possible affiliates of the RU
believe that the organization is infiltrated by informants on a high level. 179

In a third instance, ‘a
“black nationalist” target attempted to organize a youth group in
Mississippi. The field office used informants to determine “the identities
of leaders of this group and in interviewing these leaders, expressed to them
[the target’s] background and his true intentions regarding organizing Negro
youth groups.” Agents also interviewed the target’s landlords and
“advised them of certain aspects of [his] past activities and his
reputation in the Jackson vicinity as being a Negro extremist.” Three of
the landlords asked the target to move. 180 The same field office reported that
it had interviewed members of the Tougaloo College Political Action Committee,
an “SNCC – affiliated” student group. The members were interviewed
while they were home on summer vacation. “Sources report that these
interviews had a very upsetting effect on the PAC organization and they felt
they have been betrayed by someone at Tougaloo College. Many of the members
have limited their participation in PAC affairs since their interview by Agents
during the summer of 1968.” 181

4. Using Informants To Raise
Controversial Issues

The Bureau’s use of informants
generally is the subject of a separate report. It is worth noting here,
however, that the use of informants to take advantage of ideological splits in
an organization dates back to the first COINTELPRO. The originating CUPSA
document refers to the use of informants to capitalize on the discussion within
the Party following Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin. 182

Informants were also used to
widen rifts in other organizations. For instance, an informant was instructed
to imply that the head of one faction of the SDS was using group funds for his
drug habit, and that a second leader embezzled funds at another school. The
field office reported that “as a result of actions taken by this
informant, there have been fist fights and acts of name calling at several of
the recent SDS meetings.” In addition, members of one faction “have
made early morning telephone calls” to other SDS members and “have
threatened them and attempted to discourage them from attending SDS
meetings.” 183

In another case, an informant
was used to “raise the question” among his associates that an
unmarried, 30-year old group leader “may either a bisexual or a
homosexual.” The field office believed that the question would
“rapidly ‘become a rumor” and “could have serious results
concerning the ability and effectiveness of [the target’s] leadership.”

5. Fictitious Organizations

There are basically three
kinds of “notional” or fictitious organizations. All three were used
in COINTELPRO attempts to factionalize.

The first kind of
“notional” was the organization whose members were all Bureau
informants. Because of the Committee’s agreement with the Bureau not to reveal
the identities of informants, the only example which can be discussed publicly
is a proposal which, although approved, was never implemented. That proposal
involved setting up a chapter of the W.E.B. DuBois Club in a Southern city
which would be composed entirely of Bureau informants and fictitious persons.
The initial purpose of the chapter was to cause the CPUSA expense by sending
organizers into the area, cause the Party to fund Bureau coverage of
out-of-town CP meetings by paying the informants’ expenses, and receive
literature and instructions. Later, the chapter was to begin to engage in
deviation from the Party line so that it would be expelled from the main
organization “and then they could claim to be the victim of a Stalinist
type purge.” It was anticipated that the entire operation would take no
more than 18 months. 185

The second kind of
“notional” was the fictitious organization with some unsuspecting
(non-informant) members. For example, Bureau informants set up a Klan
organization intended to attract membership away from the United Klans of
America. The Bureau paid the informant’s personal expenses in setting up the new
organization, which had, at its height, 250 members. 186

The third type of
“notional” was the wholly fictitious organization, with no actual
members, which was used as a pseudonym for mailing letters or pamphlets. For
instance, the Bureau sent out newsletters from something called “The
Committee for Expansion of Socialist Thought in America,” which attacked
the CPUSA from the “Marxist right” for at least two years. 187

6. Labeling Targets As

The “snitch jacket”
technique — neutralizing a target by labeling him a “snitch” or
informant, so that he would no longer be trusted — was used in all
COINTELPROs. The methods utilized ranged from having an authentic informant
start a rumor about the target member, 188 to anonymous letters or phone calls,
189 to faked informants’ reports. 190

When the technique was used
against a member of a nonviolent group, the result was often alienation from
the group. For example, a San Diego man was targeted because he was active in
draft counseling at the city’s Message Information Center. He had,
coincidentally, been present at the arrest of a Selective Service violator, and
had been at a “crash pad” just prior to the arrest of a second
violator. The Bureau used a real informant to suggest at a Center meeting that
it was “strange” that the two men had been arrested by federal agents
shortly after the target became aware of their locations. The field office
reported that the target had been “completely ostracized by members of the
Message Information Center and all of the other individuals throughout the area
. . . associated with this and/or related groups.” 191

In another case, a local
police officer was used to “jacket” the head of the Student
Mobilization Committee at the University of South Carolina. The police officer
picked up two members of the Committee on the pretext of interviewing them
concerning narcotics. By prearranged signal, he had his radio operator call him
with the message, “[name of target] just called. Wants you to contact her.
Said you have her number.” 192 No results were reported.

The “snitch jacket” is a
particularly nasty technique even when used in peaceful groups. It gains an
added dimension of danger when it is used — as, indeed, it was — in groups
known to have murdered informers. 193

For instance, a Black Panther
leader was arrested by the local police with four other members of the BPP. The
others were released, but the leader remained in custody. Headquarters
authorized the field office to circulate the rumor that the leader “is the
last to be released” because “he is cooperating with and has made a
deal with the Los Angeles Police Department to furnish them information
concerning the BPP.”

The target of the first
proposal then received an anonymous phone call stating that his own arrest was
caused by a rival leader. 194

In another case, the Bureau
learned that the chairman of the New York BPP chapter was under suspicion as an
informant because of the arrest of another member for weapons possession. In
order to “cast further suspicion on him” the Bureau sent anonymous
letters to BPP headquarters in the state, the wife of the arrested member, and
a local member of CORE, saying “Danger-Beware-Black Brothers, [name of
target] is the fink who told the pigs that [arrested members] were carrying
guns.” The letter also gave the target’s address. 195

In a third instance, the
Bureau learned through electronic surveillance of the BPP the whereabouts of a
fugitive. After his arrest, the Bureau sent a letter in a “purposely
somewhat illiterate type scrawl” to the fugitive’s half-brother:


Jimmie was sold out by Sister
[name — the BPP leader who made the phone call picked up by the tap] for some
pig money to pay her rent. When she don’t get it that way she takes Panther
money. How come her kid sells the paper in his school and no one bothers him.
How comes Tyler got busted up by the pigs and her kid didn’t. How comes the FBI
pig fascists knew where to bust Lonnie and Minnie way out where they were.

— Think baby. 196

In another example, the
chairman of the Kansas City BPP chapter went to Washington in an attempt to
testify before a Senate subcommittee about information he allegedly possessed
about the transfer of firearms from the Kansas City Police Department to a
retired Army General. The attempt did not succeed; the committee chairman
adjourned the hearing and then asked the BPP member to present his information
to an aide. The Bureau then authorized an anonymous phone call to BPP
headquarters “to the effect that [the target] was paid by the committee to
testify, that he has cooperated fully with this committee, and that he intends
to return at a later date to furnish additional testimony which will include
complete details of the BPP operation in Kansas City.” 197

In the fifth case, the Bureau
had so successfully disrupted the San Diego BPP that it no longer existed. One
of the former members, however, was “‘politicking’ for the position of
local leader if the group is ever reorganized.” Headquarters authorized
the San Diego field office to send anonymous notes to “selected
individuals within the black community of San Diego” to “initiate the
rumor that [the target], who has aspirations of becoming the local Black
Panther Party Captain, is a police informant.” 198

In a sixth case, a letter
alleging that a Washington, D.C., BPP leader was a police informant was sent
“as part of our continuing effort to foment internal dissension within
ranks of Black Panther Party:” 199

Brother: I recently read in
the Black Panther newspaper about that low dog Gaines down in Texas who
betrayed his people to the pigs and it reminded me of a recent incident that I
should tell you about. Around the first part of Feb. I was locked up at the
local pigpen when the pigs brought in this dude, who told me he was a Panther.
This dude who said his name was [deleted] said he was vamped on by six pigs and
was brutalized by them. This dude talked real bad and said he had killed pip
and was going to get more when he got out, so I thought he probably was one of you.
The morning after [name] was brought in a couple of other dudes in suits came
to see him and called him out of the cell and he was gone a couple of hours.
Later on these dudes came back again to see him. [Name] told me the dudes were
his lawyers but they smelled like pig to me. It seems to me that you might want
to look into this because I know you don’t want anymore low-life dogs helping
the pigs brutalize the people. You don’t know me and I’m not a Panther but I
want to help with the cause when I can.

A lumpen brother

In a seventh case, the
“most influential BPP activist in North Carolina” had been
photographed outside a house where, a “shoot out” with local police
had taken place. The photograph, which appeared in the local newspaper, showed
the target talking to a policeman. The photograph and an accompanying article
were sent to BPP headquarters in Oakland, California, with a handwritten note,
supposedly from a female BPP member known to be “disenchanted” with
the target, saying, “I think this is two pigs oinking.” 200

Although Bureau witnesses
stated that they did not authorize a “snitch jacket” when they had
information that the group was at that time actually killing suspected
informants, 201 they admitted that the risk was there whenever the technique
was used.

It would be fair to say there
was an element of risk there which we tried to examine on a case by case basis.

Moore added, “I am not
aware of any time we ever labeled anybody as an informant, that anything
[violent] ever happened as a result, and that is something that could be
measured.” When asked whether that was luck or lack of planning, he
responded, “Oh, it just happened that way, I am sure.” 203

C. Using Hostile Third Parties
Against Target Groups

The Bureau’s factionalism efforts
were intended to separate individuals or groups which might otherwise be
allies. Another set of actions is a variant of that technique; organizations
already opposed to the target groups were used to attack them.

The American Legion and the
Veterans of Foreign Wars, for example, printed and distributed under their own
names Bureau-authored pamphlets condemning the SDS and the DuBois Clubs.

In another case, a
confidential source, who headed an anti-Communist organization in Cleveland,
and who published a, “self-described conservative weekly newspaper,”
the Cleveland Times, was anonymously mailed information on the Unitarian
Society of Cleveland’s sponsorship of efforts to abolish the House Committee on
Un-American Activities. The source had “embarrassed” the Unitarian
minister with questions about the alleged Communist connections of other
cosponsors “at public meetings.” 204

It was anticipated that the
source would publish a critical article in her newspaper, which “may very
well have the result of alerting the more responsible people in the
community” to the nature of the movement and “stifle it before it
gets started.” 205

The source newspaper did
publish air article entitled “Locals to Aid Red Line,” which named the
Minister, among others, as a local sponsor of what it termed a “Communist
dominated plot” to abolish the House Committee. 206

One group, described as a
“militant anticommunist right wing organization, more of an activist group
than is the more well known John Birch Society,” was used on at least four
separate occasions. The Bureau developed a long-range program to use the
organization in “counterintelligence activity” by establishing a
fictitious person named “Lester Johnson” who sent letters, made phone
calls, offered financial support, and suggested action:

In view of the activist nature
of this organization, and their lack of experience and knowledge concerning the
interior workings of the [local] CP, [the field office proposes] that efforts
be made to take over their activities and use them in such a manner as would be
best calculated by this office to completely disrupt and neutralize the [local]
CP, all without [the organization] becoming aware of the Bureau’s interest in
its operation. 207

“Lester Johnson”
used the organization to distribute fliers and letters opposing the candidacy
of a lawyer running for a judgeship 208 and to disrupt a dinner at which an
alleged Communist was to speak. 209 “Johnson” also congratulated the
organization on disrupting an antidraft meeting at a, Methodist Church,
furnishing further information about a speaker at the meeting 210 and suggested
that members picket the home of a local “communist functionary.” 211

Another case is slightly
different from the usual “hostile third party” actions, in that both
organizations were Bureau targets. “Operation Hoodwink” was intended
to be a long-range program to disrupt both La Cosa Nostra (which was not
otherwise a COINTELPRO target) and the Communist Party by “having them
expend their energies attacking each other.” The initial project was to
prepare and send a leaflet, which purported to be from a Communist Party leader
to a member of a New York “family” attacking working conditions at a
business owned by the family member. 212

D. Disseminating Derogatory
Information to Family, Friends, and Associates

Although this technique was
used in relatively few cases it accounts for some of the most distressing of
all COINTELPRO actions. Personal life information, some of which was gathered
expressly to be used in the programs, was then disseminated, either directly to
the target’s family through an anonymous letter or telephone call, or
indirectly, by giving the information to the media.

Several letters were sent to
spouses; three examples follow. 213 The names have been deleted for privacy

The first letter was sent to
the wife of a Grand Dragon of the United Klans of America (“Mrs. A”).
It was to be “typed on plain paper in an amateurish fashion.” 214

“My Dear Mrs. (A),

“I write this letter to
you only after a long period of praying to God. I must cleanse my soul of these
thoughts. I certainly do not want to create problems inside a faintly but I owe
a duty to the klans and its principles as well as to my own menfolk who have
cast their divine lot with the klans.

“Your husband came to
[deleted] about a year ago and my menfolk blindly followed his leadership,
believing him to be the savior of this country. They never believed the
“stories that he stole money from the klans in [deleted] or that he is now
making over $25,000 a year. They never believed the stories that your house in
[deleted] has a new refrigerator, washer, dryer and yet one year ago, was
threadbare. They refuse to believe that your husband now owns three cars and a
truck, including the new white car. But I believe all these things and I can
forgive them for a man wants to do for his family in the best way he can.

“I don’t have any of
these things and I don’t grudge you any of them neither. But your husband has been
committing the greatest of the sins of our Lord for many years. He has taken
the flesh of another unto himself.

“Yes, Mrs. A, he has been
committing adultery. My menfolk say they don’t believe this but I think they
do. I feel like crying. I saw her with my own eyes. They call her Ruby. Her
last name is something like [deleted] and she lives in the 700 block of
[deleted] Street in [deleted.] I know this. I saw her strut around at a rally
with her lustfilled eyes and smart aleck figure.

“I cannot stand for this.
I will not let my husband and two brothers stand side by side with your husband
and this woman in the glorious robes of the klan. I am typing this because I am
going to send copys to Mr. Shelton and some of the klans leaders that I have
faith in. I will not stop until your husband is driven from [deleted] and back
into the flesh-pots from wherein he came.

“I am a loyal klanswoman
and a good churchgoer. I feel this problem affects the future of our great
country. I hope I do not cause you harm by this and if you believe in the Good
Book as I do, you may soon receive your husband back into the fold. I pray for
you and your beautiful little children and only wish I could tell you who I am.
I will soon, but I am afraid my own men would be harmed if I do.”

“A God-fearing

The second letter was sent to
the husband (“Mr. B”) of a woman who had the distinction of being
both a New Left and Black Nationalist target; she was a leader in the local
branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, “which
group is active in draft resistance, antiwar rallies and New Left
activities,” and an officer in ACTION, a biracial group which broke off
from the local chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality and which
“engaged in numerous acts of civil disruption and disobedience.” 215

Two informants reported that
Mr. B had been making suspicious inquiries about his wife’s relationship with
the Black males in ACTION. The local field office proposed an anonymous letter
to the husband which would confirm his suspicions, although the informants did
not know whether the allegations of misconduct were true. It was hoped that the
“resulting marital tempest” would “result in ACTION losing their
[officer] and the WILPF losing a valuable leader, thus striking a major blow
against both organizations.” 216

Accordingly, the following
letter, 216a written in black ink, was sent to the husband:

A letter from the field office
to headquarters four months later reported as a “tangible result” of
the letter that the target and her husband had recently separated, following a
series of marital arguments:

This matrimonial stress and
strain should cause her to function much less effectively in ACTION. While the
letter sent by the [field office] was probably not the sole cause of this
separation, it certainly contributed very strongly. 217

The third letter was sent to
the wife of a leader of the Black Liberators (“Mrs. C”). She was
living in their home town with their two daughters while he worked in the city.
Bureau documents describe Mrs. C. as a “faithful, loving wife, who is
apparently convinced that her husband is performing a vital service to the
Black world. . . . She is to all indications an intelligent, respectable young
mother, who is active in the AME Methodist Church.” 218

The letter was “prepared
from a penmanship, spelling style to imitate that of the average Black
Liberator member. It contains several accusations which should cause [X’s] wife
great concern.” It was expressly intended to produce “ill feeling and
possibly a lasting distrust” between X and his wife; it was hoped that the
“concern over what to do about it” would “detract from his time
spent in the plots and plans of his organization.” 219

The letter was addressed to
“Sister C”:

The Petersen Committee said
that some COINTELPRO actions were “abhorrent in a free society.” This
technique surely falls within that condemnation. 220

E. Contacts with Employers

The Bureau often tried to get
targets fired, with some success. 221 If the target was a teacher, the intent
was usually to deprive him of a forum and to remove what the Bureau believed to
be the added prestige given a political cause by educators. In other employer
contacts, the purpose was either to eliminate a source of funds for the
individual or (if the target was a donor) the group, or to have the employer
apply pressure on the target to stop his activities.

For example, an Episcopal
minister furnished “financial and other” assistance to the Black
Panther Party in his city. The Bureau sent an anonymous letter to his bishop so
that the church would exert pressure on the minister to “refrain from
assistance to the Black Panther Party.” 222 Similarly, a priest who
allowed the Black Panther Party to use his church for its breakfast program was
targeted; his bishop received both an anonymous letter and three anonymous
phone calls. The priest was transferred shortly thereafter. 223

In another case, a black county
employee was targeted because he had attended a fund raiser for the Mississippi
Summer Project and, on another occasion, a presentation of a Negro History Week
program. Both functions had been supported by “clandestine CP
members.” The employee, according to the documents, had no record of
subversive activities; “he and his wife appear to be genuinely interested
in the welfare of Negroes and other minority groups and are being taken in by
the communists.” The Bureau chose a curiously indirect way to inform the
target of his friends’ Party membership; a local law enforcement official was
used to contact the County Administrator in the expectation that the employee
would be “called in and questioned about his left-wing associates.”

The Bureau made several
attempts to stop outside sources from funding target operations. 225 For
example, the Bureau learned that SNCC was trying to obtain funds from the
Episcopal Church for a “liberation school.” Two carefully spaced
letters were sent to the Church which falsely alleged that SNCC was engaged in
a “fraudulent scheme” involving the anticipated funds. The letters
purported to be from local businessmen approached by SNCC to place fictitious
orders for school supplies and divide the money when the Church paid the bills.
226 Similar letters were sent to the Interreligious Foundation for Community
Organizing, from which SNCC had requested a grant for its “Agrarian Reform
Plan.” This time, the letters alleged kickback approaches in the sale of
farm equipment and real estate. 227

Other targets include an
employee of the Urban League, who was fired because the Bureau contacted a
confidential source in a foundation which funded the League; 228 a lawyer known
for his representation of “subversives,” whose nonmovement client
received an anonymous letter advising it not to employ a “well-known
Communist Party apologist”; 229 and a television commentator who was
transferred after his station and superiors received an anonymous protest
letter. The commentator, who had a weekly religious program, had expressed
admiration for a black nationalist leader and criticized the United States’
defense policy. 230

F. Use and Abuse of Government

This category, which comprises
9 percent of all approved proposals includes selective law enforcement (using
Federal, state, or local authorities to arrest, audit, raid, inspect, deport,
etc.) ; interference with judicial proceedings, including targeting lawyers who
represent “subversives”; interference with candidates or political appointees;
and using politicians and investigating committees, sometimes without their
knowledge, to take action against targets.

1. Selective Law Enforcement

Bureau documents often state
that notifying law enforcement agencies of violations committed by COINTELPRO
targets is not counterintelligence, but part of normal Bureau responsibility.
Other documents, however, make it clear that “counterintelligence”
was precisely the purpose. “Be alert to have them arrested,” reads a
New Left COINTELPRO directive to all participating field offices. 231 Further,
there is clearly a difference between notifying other agencies of information
that the Bureau happened across in an investigation — in plain view, so to
speak — and instructing field offices to find evidence of violations — any
violations — to “get” a target. As George Moore stated:

Ordinarily, we would not be
interested in health violations because it is not my jurisdiction, we would not
waste our time. But under this program, we would tell our informants perhaps to
be alert to any health violations or other licensing requirements or things of
that nature, whether there were violations and we would see that they were
reported. 232

State and local agencies were
frequently informed of alleged statutory violations which would come within
their jurisdiction. 233 As noted above, this was not always normal Bureau

A typical example of the
attempted use, of local authorities to disrupt targeted activities is the
Bureau’s attempt to have a Democratic Party fund raiser raided by the state
Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. 234 The function was to be held at a
private house: the admission charge included “refreshments.” It was
anticipated that alcoholic beverages would be served. A confidential source in
the ABC Commission agreed to send an agent to the fund raiser to determine if
liquor was being served and then to conduct a raid. 235 (In fact, the raid was
cancelled for reasons beyond the Bureau’s control. A prior raid on the local
fire department’s fund raiser had given rise to considerable criticism and the
District Attorney issued an advisory opinion that such affairs did not violate
state law. The confidential source advised the field office that the ABC would
not, after all, raid the Democrats because of “political
ramifications.”) 236

In the second case, the target
was a “key figure” Communist. He had a history of homosexuality and
was known to frequent a local hotel. The Bureau requested that the local police
have him arrested for homosexuality; it was then intended to publicize the
arrest to “embarrass the Party.” Interestingly, the Bureau withdrew
its request when the target stopped working actively for the Party because it
would no longer cause the intended disruption. 237 This would appear to rebut
the Bureau’s contention that turning over evidence of violations to local
authorities was not really COINTELPRO at all, but just part of its job.

2. Interference With Judicial

The Bureau’s attempts to
interfere with judicial processes affecting targets are particularly disturbing
because they violate a fundamental principle of our system of government.
Justice is supposed to be blind. Nevertheless, when a target appeared before a
judge, a jury, or a probation board, he sometimes carried an unknown burden;
the Bureau had gotten there first.

Three examples should be
sufficient. A university student who was a leader of the Afro American Action
Committee had been arrested in a demonstration at the university. The Bureau
sent an anonymous letter to the county prosecutor intended to discredit her by
exposing her “subversive connections”; her adoptive father was
described as a Communist Party member. The Bureau believed that the letter
might aid the prosecutor in his case against the student. Another anonymous
letter containing the same information was mailed to a local radio announcer
who had an “open mike” program critical of local “leftist”
activity. The letter was intended to further publicize the
“connection” between the student and the Communist Party. 239

In the second example, a Klan
leader who had been convicted on a weapons charge was out on bail pending
appeal. He spoke at a Klan rally, and the Bureau arranged to have newsmen
present. The resulting stories and photographs were then delivered to the
appellate judges considering his case. 240

The third instance involved a
real estate speculator’s bequest of over a million dollars to the three
representatives of the Communist Party who were expected to turn it over to the
Party. The Bureau interviewed the probate judge sitting on the case, who was
“very cooperative” and promised to look the case over carefully. The
judge asked the Bureau to determine whether the widow would be willing to
“take any action designed to keep the Communist Party from getting the
money.” The Bureau’s efforts to gain the widow’s help in contesting the
will proved unsuccessful. 241

3. Candidates and Political

The Bureau apparently did not
trust the American people, to make the proper choices in the voting booth.
Candidates who, in the Bureau’s opinion, should not be elected were therefore
targeted. The case of the Democratic fundraiser discussed earlier was just one

Socialist Workers Party
candidates were routinely selected for counterintelligence, although they had
never come close to winning an election. In one case, a SWP candidate for state
office inadvertently protected herself from action by announcing at a news
conference that she had no objections to premarital sex; a field office thereupon
withdrew its previously approved proposal to publicize her common law marriage.

Other candidates were also
targeted. A Midwest lawyer whose firm represented “subversives”
(defendants in the Smith Act trials) ran for City Council. The lawyer had been
active in the civil rights movement in the South, and the John Birch Society in
his city had recently mailed a book called “It’s Very Simple — The True
Story of Civil Rights” to various ministers, priests, and rabbis. The
Bureau received a copy of the mailing list from a source in the Birch Society
and sent an anonymous follow-up letter to the book’s recipients noting the
pages on which the candidate had been mentioned and calling their attention to
the “Communist background” of this “charlatan.” 242 The
Bureau also sent a fictitious-name letter to a television station on which the
candidate was to appear, enclosing a series of informative questions it
believed should be asked. 243 The candidate was defeated. He subsequently ran
(successfully, as it happened) for a judgeship.

Political appointees were also
targeted. One target was a member of the board of the NAACP and the Democratic
State Central Committee. His brother, according to the documents, was a
communist, and the target had participated in some Party youth group activities
fifteen years earlier. The target’s appointment as secretary of a city
transportation board elicited an anonymous letter to the Mayor, with carbons to
two newspapers, protesting the use of “us taxpayers’ money” in the
appointment of a “known Communist” to a highly paid job; more
anonymous letters to various politicians, the American Legion, and the county
prosecutor in the same vein; and a pseudonymous letter to the members of the
transportation board, stating that the Mayor had “saddled them with a
Commie secretary because he thinks it will get him a few Negro votes. 244

4. Investigating Committees

State and Federal legislative
investigating committees were occasionally used to attack a target, since the
committees’ interests usually marched with the Bureau’s.

Perhaps the most elaborate use
of an investigating committee was the framing of a complicated “snitch
jacket.” In October 1959, a legislative committee held hearings in
Philadelphia, “ostensibly” to show a resurgence of CP activity in the
area. 245 The Bureau’s target was subpoenaed to appear before the committee but
was not actually called to testify. The field office proposed that local CP
leaders be contacted to raise the question of “how it was possible for [the
target] to escape testifying” before the committee; this “might place
suspicion on him as being cooperative” with the investigators and
“raise sufficient doubt in the minds of the leaders regarding [the target]
to force him out of the CP or at least to isolate and neutralize him.”
Strangely enough, the target was not a bona fide CP member; he was an
undercover infiltrator for a private anti-Communist group who had been a source
of trouble for the FBI because he kept getting in their way.

A more typical example of the
use of a legislative committee is a series of anonymous letters sent to the
chairman of a state investigating committee that was designated to look into
New Left activities on the state’s college campuses. The target was an activist
professor, and the letters detailed his “subversive background.”

G. Exposing “Communist
Infiltration” of Groups

This technique was used in
approximately 4 percent of all approved proposals. The most common method
involved anonymously notifying the group (civil rights organization, PTA, Boy
Scouts, etc.) that one or more of its members was a “Communist,” 246
so that it could take whatever action it deemed appropriate. Occasionally,
however, the group itself was the COINTELPRO target. In those cases, the
information went to the media, and the intent was to link the group to the
Communist Party.

For example, one target was a
Western professor who was the immediate past president of a local peace center,
“a coalition of anti-Vietnam and antidraft groups.” He had resigned
to become chairman of the state’s McCarthy campaign organization, but it was
anticipated that he would return to the peace center after the election.
According to the documents, the professor’s wife had been a Communist Party member
in the early 1950s. This information was furnished to a newspaper editor who
had written an editorial branding the SDS and various black power groups as
“professional revolutionists.” The information was intended to
“expose these people at this time when they are receiving considerable
publicity to not only educate the public to their character, but disrupt the
members” of the peace organization. 247

In another case, the Bureau
learned through electronic surveillance of a civil rights leader’s plans to
attend a reception at the Soviet Mission to the United Nations. (The reception
was to honor a Soviet author.) The civil rights leader was active in a school
boycott which had been previously targeted; the Bureau arranged to have news
photographers at the scene to photograph him entering the Soviet Mission. 248

Other instances include
furnishing information to the media on the participation of the Communist Party
Presidential candidate in a United Farm Workers’ picket line: 249
“confidentially” telling established sources of three Northern
California newspapers that the San Francisco County CP Committee had stated
that the Bay area civil rights groups would “begin working” on the
area’s large newspapers “in an effort to secure greater employment of
Negroes;” 250 and furnishing information on Socialist Workers Party
participation in the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam to
“discredit” the antiwar group by tying it “into the subversive
movement.” 251


A. Within the, Bureau

1. Internal Administration

The Bureau attempted to
exercise stringent internal controls over COINTELPRO. All counterintelligence
proposals had to be approved by headquarters. Every originating COINTELPRO
document contains a strong warning to the field that “no
counterintelligence action may be initiated by the field without specific
Bureau authorization.” The field would send a proposal under the
COINTELPRO caption to the Seat of Government — the Bureau term for headquarters
— where it would be routed to the Section Chief of the section handling the
particular COINTELPRO program. 252

The recommendation would then
be attached to the proposal, beginning the process of administrative review.
The lowest level on which a proposal could be approved was the Assistant
Director, Domestic Intelligence Division, to whom the Section Chief reported
via the Branch Chief. More often, the proposal would go through the Assistant
to the Director and often to the Director himself.

2. Coordination

The Counterintelligence
programs were coordinated with the rest of the section’s work primarily through
informal contacts, but also through section meetings and the Section Chief’s
knowledge of the work of his entire section. Further, although the initial
COINTELPRO was an effort to centralize what had been an ad hoc series of field
actions, the programs continued to be essentially field-oriented with little
target selection by headquarters. However, the Section Chief would attempt to
make sure targets were being effectively chosen by occasionally sending out
directives to field offices to intensify the investigation of a particular
individual or group and to consider the subject for counterintelligence

3. Results

Participating field offices were
required to send in status letters (usually every ninety days) reporting any
tangible results. They were instructed to resolve any doubts as to whether a
counterintelligence action caused the observed result in their favor.
Nevertheless, results were reported in only 527 cases, or 22 percent, of the
approved actions. When a “good” result was reported, the field
office, or agent involved frequently received a letter of commendation or
incentive award. 254

4. Blurred Distinction Between
Counterintelligence and Investigation

It is possible that some
actions did not receive headquarters scrutiny simply because the field offices
were never told precisely what “counterintelligence” was. Although
Bureau procedures strictly required COINTELPRO proposals to be approved at
headquarters and a control file to be maintained both in the field and at
headquarters, the field offices had no way to determine with any certainty just
what was counterintelligence and what was investigation. Many of the techniques
overlap: contacts with employers, contacts with family members, contacts with
local law enforcement, even straight interviewing, are all investigative
techniques which were used in COINTELPRO actions. 255 More importantly, actions
in the Rev. Martin Luther King case which cannot, by any stretch of the
language, be called “investigative” were not called COINTELPRO, but
were carried under the investigative caption. 256

The Bureau witnesses agree
that COINTELPRO has no fixed definition, and that there is a large grey area
between what is counterintelligence and what is aggressive investigation. As
the Black Nationalist supervisor put it, “Basically actions taken to
neutralize an individual or disrupt an organization would be COINTELPRO;
actions which were primarily investigative would have been handled by the
investigative desks,” even though the investigative action had disruptive
effects. 256a Aggressive investigation continues, and in many cases may be as
disruptive as COINTELPRO, because in an investigation the Bureau can and does
reveal its interest. An anonymous letter (COINTELPRO) can be discarded as the
work of a crank; but if the local FBI agent says the subject of an
investigation is a subversive an employer or family member pays attention.

5. Inspection

The Inspection Division
attempted to ensure that standard procedures were being followed. The
Inspectors focused on two things: field office participation, and the mechanics
of headquarters approval. However, the Inspection Division did not exercise
oversight in the sense of looking for wrongdoing. Rather, it was an active
participant in COINTELPRO by attempting to make sure that it was being
efficiently and enthusiastically conducted. 257

As the Assistant Director then
in charge of the Inspection Division testified, the “propriety” of
COINTELPRO was not investigated. He agreed that his job was to “determine
whether the program was being pursued effectively as opposed to whether it was
proper,” and added, “There was no instruction to me, nor do I believe
there is any instruction in the Inspector’s manual that the Inspector should be
on the alert to see that constitutional values are being protected.” 258

B. Outside the Bureau:

There is no clear answer to
the question whether anyone outside the Bureau knew about COINTELPRO. One of
the hallmarks of C01NTELPRO was its secrecy. No one outside the Bureau was to
know it existed. 259 A characteristic instruction appeared in the Black
Nationalist originating letter:

You are also cautioned that
the nature of this new endeavor is such that under no circumstances should the
existence of the program be made known outside the Bureau and appropriate
within-office security should be afforded to sensitive operations and
techniques considered under the program. 260

Thus, for example, anonymous
letters had to be written on commercially purchased stationery; newsmen had to
be so completely trustworthy that they were guaranteed not to reveal the
Bureau’s interest; and inquiries of law enforcement officials had to be under investigative
pretext. In approving or denying any proposal, the primary consideration was
preventing “embarrassment to the Bureau.” Embarrassment is a term of
art. It means both public relations embarrassment — criticism — and any
revelation of the Bureau’s investigative interest to the subject, which may
then be expected to take countermeasures. 261

This secrecy has an obvious
impact on the oversight process. There is some question whether anyone with
oversight responsibility outside the Bureau was informed of COINTELPRO. In
response to the Committee’s request, the Bureau has assembled all documents
available in its files which indicate that members of the executive and
legislative branches were so informed. 262

1. Executive Branch

On May 8, 1958, Director
Hoover sent two letters, one to the Honorable Robert Cutler, Special Assistant
to President Eisenhower, and the other to Attorney General William Rogers,
containing the same information. The Attorney General’s letter is captioned
explicit notification of the CPUSA COINTELPRO:

In August of 1956, this Bureau
initiated a program designed to promote disruption within the ranks of the
Communist Party (CP) USA … Several techniques have been utilized to
accomplish our objectives. 263

The letters go on to detail
use of informants to engage in controversial discussions, after which
“acrimonious debates ensued, suspicions were aroused, and jealousies
fomented”; and anonymous mailings of anti-communist material, both
reprinted and Bureau-prepared, to active CP members. 264 (Two examples of the
Bureau’s product were enclosed.) “Tangible accomplishments” achieved
by the program were “disillusionment and defection among Party members and
increased factionalism at all levels.” 265 However, the only techniques
disclosed were use of informants and anonymous propaganda mailings. There is no
record of any reply to these letters.

On January 10, 1961, letters
from the Director were sent to Dean Rusk, Robert Kennedy, and Byron R. White,
who were about to take office as Secretary of State, Attorney General, and
Deputy Attorney General, respectively. The letters enclosed a top secret
summary memorandum setting forth the overall activities of the Communist Party,
USA, and stated, “Our responsibilities in the internal security field and
our counterattack against the CPUSA are also set out in this memorandum.”

The five-page memorandum
contains one section entitled “FBI Counterattack.” This section
details penetration of the Party at all levels with security informants; use of
various techniques to keep the Party off-balance and disillusioned;
infiltration by informants; intensive investigation of Party members; and
prosecution. Only one paragraph of that report appears at all related to the
Bureau’s claim that the CPUSA COINTELPRO was disclosed:

As an adjunct to our regular
investigative operations, we carry on a carefully planned program of
counterattack against the CPUSA which keeps it off balance. Our primary purpose
in this program is to bring about disillusionment on the part of individual
members which is carried on from both inside and outside the Party
organization. [Sentence on use of informants to disrupt excised for security

In certain instances we have
been successful in preventing communists from seizing control of legitimate
mass organizations and have discredited others who were secretly operating
inside such organizations. For example, during 1959 we were able to prevent the
CPUSA from seizing control of the 20,000-member branch of the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Chicago, Illinois. 267

The only techniques disclosed
were use of informants and COMINFIL exposure. There is no record of any replies
to these letters.

On September 2, 1965, letters
were sent to the Honorable Marvin Watson, Special Assistant to President
Johnson and Attorney General Katzenbach (whose letter was captioned
These two-page letters refer to the Bureau’s success in solving a number of
cases involving racial violence in the South. They then detail the development
of a large number of informants and the value of the information received from

One paragraph deals with

We also are seizing every
opportunity to disrupt the activities of Klan organizations. Typical is the
manner in which we exposed and thwarted a “kick back” scheme a Klan
group was using in one southern state to help finance its activities. One
member of the group was selling insurance to other Klan members and would
deposit a generous portion of the premium refunds in the Klan treasury. As a
result of action we took, the insurance company learned of the scheme and cancelled
all the policies held by Klan members, thereby cutting on a sizable source of
revenue which had been used to finance Klan activities. 268

Notifying an insurance company
of a kick back scheme involving its premiums is not a “typical”
COINTELPRO technique. It falls within that grey area between
counterintelligence and ordinary Bureau responsibilities. Nevertheless, the
statement that the Bureau is “seizing every opportunity to disrupt the
activities of Klan organizations” is considered by the Bureau to be
notification of the White Hate COINTELPRO, even though it does not distinguish
between the inevitable and sometimes proper disruption of intensive
investigation and the intended disruption of covert action.

On September 3,1965, Mr.
Katzenbach replied to the Director’s letter with a two-paragraph memorandum
captioned “Re: Your memorandum of September 2, regarding penetration and
disruption of Klan organizations.” The body of the memorandum makes no
reference to disruption, but praises the accomplishments of the Bureau in the
area of Klan penetration and congratulates Director Hoover on the development
of his informant system and the results obtained through it. The letter

It is unfortunate that the
value of these activities would in most cases be lost if too extensive
publicity were given to them; however, perhaps at some point it may be possible
to place these achievements on the public record, so that the Bureau can
receive its due credit. 269

The Bureau interpreted this
letter as approval and praise of its White Hate COINTELPRO. Mr. Katzenbach has
said that he has no memory of this document, nor of the response. He testified
that during his term in the Department he had never heard the terms
“COINTEL” or COINTELPRO, and that while he was familiar with the Klan
investigation, he was not aware of any improper activities such as letters to
Wives. 270 Mr. Katzenbach added:

It never occurred to me that
the Bureau would engage in the sort of sustained improper activity which it
apparently did. Moreover, given these excesses, I am not surprised that I and
others were unaware of them. Would it have made sense for the FBI to seek
approval for activities of this nature — especially from Attorneys General who
did not share Mr. Hoover’s political views, who would not have been in sympathy
with the purpose of these attacks, and who would not have condoned the methods?

The files do not reveal any
response from Mr. Watson.

On December 19, 1967, Director
Hoover sent a letter to Attorney General Ramsey Clark, with a copy to Deputy
Attorney General Warren Christopher, captioned “KU KLUX KLAN
INVESTIGATIONS — FBI ACCOMPLISHMENTS” and attaching a ten-page memorandum
with the same caption and a list of statements and publications regarding the Ku
Klux Klan “and the FBI’s role in investigating Klan matters.” The
memorandum was prepared “pursuant to your conversation with Cartha DeLoach
of this Bureau concerning FBI coverage and penetration of the Ku Klux
Klan.” 272

The memo is divided into
eleven sections: Background, Present Status, FBI Responsibility, Major Cases,
Informants, Special Projects, Liaison With Local Authorities, Klan Infiltration
of Law Enforcement, Acquisition of Weapons and Dynamite of the Ku Klux Klan,
Interviews of Klansmen, and Recent Developments.

The first statement in the
memorandum which might conceivably relate to the White Hate COINTELPRO appears
under the heading “FBI Responsibility”:

. . . We conduct intelligence
investigations with the view toward infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan with
informants, neutralizing it as a terrorist organization, and deterring
violence. 273

The Bureau considers the word
“neutralize” to be a COINTELPRO key word.

Some specific activities which
were carried out within the Bureau under the COINTELPRO caption are then
detailed under the heading “Special Projects.” The use of Bureau
informants to effect the removal of Klan officers is set forth under the
subheadings “Florida,” “Mississippi,” and
“Louisiana.” More significantly, the “Florida” paragraph
includes the statement that, “We have found that by the removal of top
Klan officers and provoking scandal within the state Klan organization through
our informants, the Klan in a particular area can be rendered
ineffective.” 274 This sentence, although somewhat buried should, if
focused upon, have alerted the recipients to actions going beyond normal
investigative activity. Other references are more vague, referring only to
“containing the growth” or “controlling the expansion” of
state Klans. 275 There is no record of any reply to this letter, which Clark
does not remember receiving:

Did [these phrases in the
letter] put me on notice? No. Why? I either did not read them, or if I did read
them, didn’t read them carefully…. I think I didn’t read this. I think perhaps
I had asked for it for someone else, and either bucked it on to them or never
saw it. 276

He added, “I think that
any disruptive activities, such as those you reveal, regarding the COINTEL
program and the Ku Klux Klan should be absolutely prohibited and subjected to
criminal prosecution.” 277

Finally, on September 17,1969,
a letter was sent to Attorney General Mitchell, with copies to the Deputy
Attorney General and the Assistant Attorneys General of the Criminal Division,
Internal Security Division, and Civil Division, captioned “INVESTIGATION
OF KLAN ORGANIZATIONS-RACIAL MATTERS (KLAN),” which informs the recipients
of the “significant progress we have recently made in our investigation of
the Ku Klux Klan.” The one page letter states that, “during the last
several months, 278 while various national and state leaders of the United Klan
of America remain in prison, we have attempted to negate the activities of the
temporary leaders of the Ku Klux Klan.” 279

The only example given is the
“careful use and instruction of selected racial informants” to
“initiate a split within the United Klans of America.” This split was
evidenced by a Klan rally during which “approximately 150 Klan membership
cards were tacked to a cross and burned to signify this breach.” 280

The letter concludes, “We
will continue to give full attention to our responsibilities in an effort to
accomplish the maximum possible neutralization of the Klan.” 281 There is
no record of any replies to these letters.

While the only documentary
evidence that members of the executive branch were informed of the existence of
any COINTELPRO has been set forth above, the COINTELPRO unit chief stated that
he was certain that Director Hoover orally briefed every Attorney General and
President, since he wrote “squibs” for the Director to use in such
briefings. He could not, however, remember the dates or subject matter of the
briefings, and the Bureau was unable to produce any such “squibs”
(which would not, in any case, have been routinely saved). Cartha DeLoach,
former Assistant to the Director, testified that he “distinctly”
recalled briefing Attorney General Clark, “generally … concerning
COINTELPRO. 282 Clark denied that DeLoach’s testimony was either true or
accurate, adding “I do not believe that he briefed me on anything even, as
he says, generally concerning COINTELPRO, whatever that means.” 283 The
Bureau has failed to produce any memoranda of such oral briefings, although it
was the habit of both Director Hoover and DeLoach to write memoranda for the
files in such situations. 284

2. The Cabinet

The Bureau has furnished the
Committee a portion of a briefing paper prepared for Director Hoover for his
briefing of the Cabinet, presided over by President Eisenhower, dated November
6, 1958. There is no transcript of the actual briefing. The briefing as a whole
apparently dealt with, among other things, seven programs which are “part
of our overall counterintelligence operations” and which are
“specific answers to specific problems which have arisen within our
investigative jurisdiction.” Six of the programs apparently related to
espionage. The seventh deals with the CPUSA:

To counteract a resurgence of
Communist Party influence in the United States, we have a seventh program
designed to intensify any confusion and dissatisfaction among its members.
During the past few years, this program has been most effective. Selective
informants were briefed and trained to raise controversial issues within the
Party. In the process, many were able to advance themselves to higher
positions. The Internal Revenue Service was furnished the names and addresses
of Party functionaries who had been active in the underground apparatus. Based
on this information, investigations were instituted in 262 possible income tax
evasion cases. Anticommunist literature and simulated Party documents were
mailed anonymously to carefully chosen members. 285

This statement, although
concise, would appear to be a fairly explicit notification of the existence of the
CPUSA COINTELPRO. There are no documents reflecting any response.

3. Legislative Branch

The Bureau has furnished
excerpts from briefing papers prepared for the Director in his annual
appearances before the House Appropriations Subcommittee. During the hearings
pertaining to fiscal years 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1966, and 1967, 286
these briefing papers were given to the Director to be used in top secret,
off-the-record testimony relating to the CPUSA and White Hate COINTELPROs. No
transcripts are available of the actual briefings, and it is, therefore, not
possible to determine whether the briefing papers were used at all, or,
conversely, whether the Director went beyond them to give additional
information. Additionally, portions of the briefing papers are underlined by
hand and portions have been crossed out, also by hand. Some sections are both
underlined and crossed out. The Bureau has not been able to explain the meaning
of the underlining or cross marks. However, if the briefing papers were used as
written, the Subcommittee was informed of the existence of the CPUSA and Klan

The FY 1958 briefing paper is
in outline form. Under the, heading “auxiliary measures directed against
Communist Party-USA” is a paragraph entitled “FBI counterintelligence
program to exploit Party ‘split’:”

The Bureau also recently
inaugurated a newly devised counterintelligence program which is designed to
capitalize upon the “split” presently existing in the leadership of
the Communist Party-USA. Among other objectives, efforts are being made by the
Bureau, through informants and other techniques, to keep these rifts open, and
to otherwise weaken the party where possible to do so in an anonymous manner.
The Internal Revenue Service has been given the names of 336 communist
underground subjects, so that the agency may be able to entertain prosecutions
for filing of false income tax returns or other violations within the
jurisdiction of that Service.

The FY 1959 briefing paper on
the CPUSA deals primarily with informant penetration, but includes the
statement that “to counteract [CPUSA] activities the FBI for years has had
a planned intensive program designed to infiltrate, penetrate, disorganize, and
disrupt the Communist Party, USA.” 287 In covering informant activities,
the paper includes the statement “they [informants] have likewise worked
to excellent advantage as a disruptive tactic.” 288 The one specific
example cited has been deleted by the Bureau because it tends to identify an

The FY 1960 briefing paper is
even more explicit. The pertinent section is entitled “FBI’s
Anti-Communist Counterintelligence Program.” It details use of informants
to engage in controversial discussions “to promote dissension,
factionalism and defections” which “have been extremely successful
from a disruptive standpoint.” 289 One paragraph deals with propaganda
mailings “carefully concealing the identity of the FBI as its
source”; 290 another paragraph states that “Communist Party leaders
are considerably concerned over this anonymous dissemination of
literature.” 291

The FY 1961 briefing paper,
again titled “FBI’s Counterintelligence Program”, states that the
program was devised “to promote dissension, factionalism and defections
within the communist cause.” 292 The only technique discussed (but at some
length) is anonymous propaganda mailings. The effectiveness of the technique,
according to the paper, was proven from the mouth of the enemy that the
mailings “appear to be the greatest danger to the Communist Party, USA.”

The FY 1963 briefing paper,
captioned “Counterintelligence Program,” is extraordinarily explicit.
It reveals that:

Since August, 1956, we have
augmented our regular investigative operations against the Communist Party-USA
with a “counterintelligence program” which involves the application
of disruptive techniques and psychological warfare directed at discrediting and
disrupting the operations of the Party, and causing disillusionment and
defections within the communist ranks. The tangible results we are obtaining
through these covert and extremely sensitive operations speak for themselves.

The paper goes on to set forth
such techniques as disrupting meetings, rallies, and press conferences through
causing the last-minute cancellation of the rental of the hall, packing the
audience with anticommunists, arranging adverse publicity in the press, and
giving friendly reporters “embarrassing questions” for Communists
they interviewed. The briefing paper also mentions the use of newsmen to take
photographs which show the close relationship between the leaders of the CPUSA
and officials of the Soviet Union, using informants to sow discord and
factionalism, exposing and discrediting Communists in such “legitimate
organizations” as the YMCA and the Boy Scouts, and mailing anonymous
propaganda. 295

The briefing paper for FY 1966
again refers to “counterintelligence action:” “We have since
1956 carried on a sensitive program for the purpose of disrupting, exposing,
discrediting, and otherwise neutralizing the Communist Party-USA and related
organizations.” 296 The paper cites two examples. The first is an
operation conducted against a Communist Party functionary who arrived in a
(deleted) city to conduct a secret two-week Party school for local youth. The Bureau
arranged for him to be greeted at the airport by local television newsmen. The
functionary lost his temper, pushing the reporter away and swinging his
briefcase at the cameraman, who was busily filming the entire incident. The
film was later televised nationally. The second technique is described as
“the most effective single blow ever dealt the organized communist
movement.” The description has been deleted “as it tends to reveal a
highly sensitive technique.” 297 The COINTELPRO unit chief also stated
that this one single action succeeded in causing a “radical decrease”
in CPUSA membership, but refused to tell the Committee staff what that action
was because it involved foreign counterintelligence. 298

The final briefing paper, for
FY 1967, refers to the CPUSA program and its expansion in 1964 to include
“Klan and hate-type organizations and their memberships.” It
continues, “counterintelligence action today is a valuable adjunct to
investigative responsibilities and the techniques used complement our
investigations. All information related to the targeted organizations, their
leadership and members, which is developed from a variety of sources, is
carefully reviewed for its potential for use under this program.” 299

Examples cited are the
Bureau’s preparation of a leaflet on the W.E.B. DuBois Clubs entitled
“Target … American Youth!” sponsored by the VFW; alerting owners of
meeting locations to their use by Communists; alerting the Veterans
Administration to a Klan member’s full-time employment in order to reduce his
pension, and the IRS to the fact that he failed to file tax returns; exposing
the insurance kick back scheme also referred to in the 1965 letters to Watson
and Katzenbach; and increasing informant coverage by duplicating a Klan business
card given to prospective members. 300

C. Outside the Bureau: Post –

In the fall of 1973, the
Department of Justice released certain COINTELPRO documents which had been
requested by NBC reporter Carl Stern in a Freedom of Information Act request following
the Media, Pennsylvania, break-in. In January 1974, Attorney General Saxbe
asked Assistant Attorney General Henry Petersen to form an intradepartmental
committee to study COINTELPRO and report back to him. 301 The committee was
composed of both Department attorneys and Bureau agents. The Department lawyers
did not work directly with Bureau documents; instead the Bureau prepared
summaries of the documents in the COINTELPRO control file, which did not
include the identities or affiliations of the targets, and the Department
members were allowed to do a sample comparison to verify the accuracy of the

A revised and shortened
version of the report of the Petersen Committee was made public in November
1974. The public report was prefaced by a statement from Attorney General Saxbe
which stated that while “in a small number of instances, some of these
programs involved what we consider today to be improper activities,” most
of the activities “were legitimate.” 301a The public version did not
examine the purposes or legality of the programs or the techniques, although it
did state some COINTELPRO activities involved “isolated instances” of
practices that “can only be considered abhorrent in a free society.”
302 The confidential report to Attorney General Saxbe examined the legal issues
at some length. It emphasized that many COINTELPRO activities “were
entirely proper and appropriate law enforcement procedures.” 303 These
included the following:

notifying other Government
authorities of civil and criminal violations of group members; interviewing
such group members; disseminating public source material on such individuals
and groups to media representatives; encouraging informants to argue against
the use of violence by such groups; and issuing general public comment on the
activities, policies and objectives of such groups through testimony at
legislative hearings and in other formal reports. 304

On the other hand, the report
concluded that many other COINTELPRO activities designed to expose, disrupt,
and neutralize domestic groups “exceeded the Bureau’s investigative
authority and may be said to constitute an unwarranted interference with First
Amendment rights of free speech and associations of the target individuals and
organizations.” 305

Department attorneys prepared
two legal memoranda, one viewing COINTELPRO as a conspiracy to deprive persons
of First Amendment rights under 18 U.S.C. 241, and the other rejecting that
view. 306 The committee itself reached the following conclusion:

While as a matter of pure
legal theory it is arguable that these programs resulted in Section 241
violations, it is the view of the committee that any decision as to whether
prosecution should be undertaken must also take into account several other
important factors which bear upon the events in question. These factors are:
first, the historical context in which the programs were conceived and executed
by the Bureau in response to public and even Congressional demands for action
to neutralize the self-proclaimed revolutionary aims and violence prone
activities of extremist groups which posed a threat to the peace and
tranquility of our cities in the mid and late sixties; second, the fact that
each of the COINTELPRO programs was personally approved and supported by the
late Director of the FBI; and third, the fact that the interferences with First
Amendment rights resulting from individual implemented program actions were
insubstantial. Under these circumstances, it is the view of the committee that
the opening of a criminal investigation of these matters is not warranted. 307

The report also concluded that
there were “substantial questions” as to the liability of various
former and present officials to civil suit “under tort theories of
defamation of interference with contract rights.” 308

The Departmental committee’s
crucial conclusion was that the interferences with First Amendment rights were
“insubstantial.” It appears to have reached that conclusion by
ignoring the declared goals of the programs: cutting down group membership and
preventing the “propagation” of a group’s philosophy. Further, the
committee brushed over dangerous or degrading techniques by breaking down the
categories of actions into very small percentages, and then concluded that, if
only 1 percent of the actions involved poison pen letters to spouses, then the
activity was “insubstantial” as compared to the entirety of COINTEL
proposals, even though, as to the individuals in that category, the invasion
might be very substantial indeed.

Another weakness in the
Petersen committee report is its characterization as legitimate of such
techniques as “leaking” public source material to the media,
interviewing group members, and notifying other government authorities of civil
and criminal violations. The term “public source material” is
misleading, since the FBI’s files contain a large amount of so-called public
source data (such as arrest records, outdated or inaccurate news stories) which
should not be “leaked” outside the Bureau to discredit an individual.
309 Interviews can be conducted in such an intrusive and persistent manner as
to constitute harassment. Minor technical law violations can be magnified when
uncovered and reported by the FBI to another agency for the purpose of
disruption rather than objective law enforcement. 310 Claims that a technique
is legitimate per se should not be accepted without examining the actual
purpose and effect of the activity.

Although the Petersen
committee’s report concluded that “the opening of a criminal investigation
of these matters is not warranted,” 311 the Committee did recommend broad
changes in Bureau procedures. First, the report urged that “a sharp
distinction . . . be made between FBI activities in the area of foreign counterintelligence
and those in the domestic field.” 312 The committee proposed that the
Attorney General issue a directive to the FBI:

prohibiting it from
instituting any counterintelligence program such as COINTELPRO without his
prior knowledge and approval. Specifically, this directive should make it
unmistakably clear that no disruptive action should be taken by the FBI in
connection with its investigative responsibilities involving domestic based
organizations, except those which are sanctioned by rule of law, procedure, or
judicially recognized and accepted police practices, and which are not in
violation of state or federal law. The FBI should also be charged that in any
event where a proposed action may be perceived, with reason, to unfairly affect
the rights of citizens, it is the responsibility of the FBI as an institution
and of FBI agents as individuals to seek legal advice from the Attorney General
or his authorized representative. 313

Attorney General Saxbe did not
issue such a directive, and the matter is still pending before Attorney General
Levi. 314


On April 1, 1976, Attorney
General Levi announced the establishment of a special review committee within
the Department of Justice to notify COINTELPRO victims that they were the subjects
of FBI activities directed against them. Notification will be made “in
those instances where the specific COINTELPRO activity was improper, actual
harm may have occurred, and the subjects are not already aware that they were
the targets of COINTELPRO activities.” 315

The review committee has
established guidelines for determining which COINTELPRO activities were
“improper,” but it will be difficult to make that determination
without giving an official imprimatur to questionable activities which do not
meet the notification criteria. For example, there is little point in notifying
all recipients of anonymous reprint mailings that they received their copy of a
Reader’s Digest article from the FBI, but the Department should not suggest
that the activity itself is a proper Bureau function. Other acts which fall
within the “grey area” between COINTELPRO and aggressive
investigation present similar problems. 316

Nevertheless, a Departmental
notification program is an important step toward redressing the wrongs done,
and carries with it some additional benefits. For the first time, Departmental
attorneys will review the original files, rather than relying on
Bureau-prepared summaries. Further, the Department will have acknowledged –
finally — that COINTELPRO was wrong. Official repudiation of the programs is
long overdue.

The American people need to be
assured that never again will an agency of the government be permitted to
conduct a secret war against those citizens it considers threats to the
established order. Only a combination of legislative prohibition and
Departmental control can guarantee that COINTELPRO will not happen again. The
notification program is an auspicious beginning.


1 On March 8,1971, the FBI
resident agency in Media, Pennslyvania, was broken into. Documents stolen in
the break-in were widely circulated and published by the press. Since some
documents carried a “COINTELPRO” caption — a word unknown outside
the Bureau — Carl Stern, a reporter for NBC, commenced a Freedom of
information Act lawsuit to compel the Bureau to produce other documents
relating to the programs. The Bureau decided because of “security
reasons” to terminate them on April 27, 1971. (Memorandum from C. D.
Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 4/27/71; Letter from FBI headquarters to all SAC’s,

2 The Bureau’s direct attacks
on speaking, teaching, writing, and meeting are discussed at pp. 28-33,
attempts to prevent the growth of groups are set forth at pp. 34-40.

2a For a discussion of U.S.
intelligence activities against hostile foreign intelligence operations, see
Report on Counterintelligence.

3 See Senate Select Committee
Report, “Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders” and
Staff Report: “Covert Action in Chile.”

3a Black Nationalist
Supervisor deposition, 10/17/75,1), p. 12.

4 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to all SAC’s, 8/25/67, p. 2.

5 New Left Supervisor’s
deposition, 10/28/75, p. 8. The closest any Bureau document comes to a
definition is found in an investigative directive: “The term ‘New Left’
does not refer to a definite organization, but to a movement which is providing
ideologies or platforms alternate to those of existing communist and other
basic revolutionary organizations, the so-called ‘Old Left.’ The New Left
movement is a loosely-bound, free-wheeling, college-oriented movement
spearheaded by the Students for a Democratic Society and includes the more
extreme and militant anti-Vietnam war and anti-draft protest
organizations.” (Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC’s, 10/28/68;
Hearings, Vol. 6, Exhibit 61. p. 669.) Although this characterization is longer
than that of the New Left Supervisor, it does not appear to be substantively

6 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Cleveland Field Office, 11/6/64.

7 One civil rights leader, the
subject of at least three separate counterintelligence actions under the CPUSA
caption, was targeted because there was no “direct evidence” that he
was a communist, “neither is there any substantial evidence that he is anti-communist.”
One of the actions utilized information gained from a wiretap; the other two
involved dissemination of personal life information. (Memorandum from J.A.
Sizoo to W.C. Sullivan, 2/4/64; Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI
Headquarters, 2/12/64; Memoranda from FBI Headquarters to New York Field
Office, 3/26/64 and 4/10/64: Memorandum to New York Field Office from FBI
Headquarters, 4/21/64; Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Baltimore Field
Office, 10/6/65.)

8 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters
to Cleveland Field Office, 11/29/68.

9 FBI Headquarters memorandum,
8/25/67, p. 2.

10 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Jackson Field Office, 2/8/71, pp. 1-2.

11 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office, 10/31/68.

12 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 10/26/66.

13 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Cincinnati Field Office, 6/18/68.

14 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Albuquerque Field Office, 3/14/69.

15 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office. 7/23/69.

16 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Pittsburgh Field Office, 11/14/69.

17 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 11/4/68.

17a COINTELPRO Unit Chief
deposition, 10/16/75, p. 14.

17b Unit Chief deposition,
10/16/75, p.54.

18 “Possibly
violent” did not necessarily mean likely to be violent. Concededly
non-violent groups were targeted because they might someday change; Martin
Luther King, Jr. was targeted because (among other things) he might
“abandon his supposed ‘obedience’ to ‘white, liberal doctrines’
(non-violence) and embrace black nationalism.” (Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to all SAC’s, 3/4/68, 1). 3.)

19 This attitude toward change
is apparent in many of those Bureau activities investigated by the Committee.
It played a large part in the Martin Luther King, Jr. case, which is the
subject of a separate report.

20 FBI Headquarters
memorandum, 11/4/68.

21 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 11/1/65.

22 Memorandum from Cartha
DeLoach to John Mohr, 8/29/64, pp. 1-8.

23 William C. Sullivan
testimony, 11/1/75, pp. 97-98.

24 A memorandum prepared for
the Justice Department Committee which studied COINTELPRO in 1974 stated that
COINTELPRO activities “may” have violated the Civil Rights statute,
the mail and wire fraud statutes, and the prohibition against divulging
information gained from wiretaps. (Memorandum to H. E. Petersen, 4/25/74.)
Internal Bureau documents show that Bureau officials believed sending threats
through the mail might violate federal extortion statutes. (See, e.g.,
Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Newark Field Office, 2/19/71.) Such threats
were mailed or telephoned on several occasions.

25 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Chicago Field Office, 1/30/70.

26 Hearing of the Subcommittee
on Civil Rights and Constitutional Rights 11/20/74, p. 11. The Petersen
Committee, composed of Department of Justice attorneys and Bureau agents, was
formed in 1974 at the request of Attorney General Saxbe to investigate
COINTELPRO. Its conclusions are discussed on pp. 73-76.

27 3,247 actions were

28 E.g., Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 11/1/65.

29 E.g., Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 11/26/68.

30 E.g., Memorandum from Los
Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/12/68.

31 E.g., Memorandum from
Newark Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 7/3/69. The term “snitch
jacket” is not part of Bureau jargon; it was used by those familiar with
the Bureau’s activities directed against the Black Panther Party in a staff

32 E.g., Memorandum from
Columbia Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/4/70.

33 E.g., Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Chicago Field Office, 8/2/68.

34 E.g., Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Cleveland and Boston Field Offices, 5/5/64.

35 E.g., Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 11/18/69.

36 E.g., Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office, 4/6/70.

37 E.g., Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 11/19/70.

38 E.g., Memorandum from
Midwest City Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/1/68.

39 Mechanically, the Bureau’s
programs were administered at headquarters, but individual actions were
proposed and usually carried out by the field. A field proposal under the
COINTELPRO caption would be routed to a special agent supervising that
particular program. During most of COINTELPRO’s history that supervisor was a
member of the section at the Domestic Intelligence Division with investigative
responsibility for the subject of the proposal. The supervisor’s recommendation
then went up through the Bureau hierarchy. Proposals were rarely approved below
the level of Assistant Director in charge of the Division, and often were
approved by one of the top three men in the Bureau.

39a New Left supervisor
testimony, 10/28/75, pp. 72, 74.

40 George C. Moore testimony,
11/3/75, p. 62.

41 Moore, 11/3/75, p. 64

42 Sullivan, 11/1/75, p. 97.

43 James B. Adams testimony,
11/19/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, pp. 73, 75.

44 The unit chief stated:
“The Bureau people did not think that they were doing anything wrong and
most of us to this day do not think we were doing anything wrong.” (Unit
chief, 10/16/75, p. 102.) Moore felt the same way: “I thought I did
something very important during those days. I have no apologies to make for
anything we did, really.” (Moore 11/3/75, p. 25.)

45 Unit chief, 10/16/75, pp.
11, 12, 14.

46 Unit chief, 10/10/75, pp.
12-14, Deputy Associate Director Adams’ testimony on COINTELPRO noted that
“interpretations as to the constitutionality of [the Smith Act of 1940]
leave us with a statute still on the books that proscribes certain actions, but
yet the degree of proof necessary to operate under the few remaining areas is
such that there was no satisfactory way to proceed.” (Adams testimony,
11/19/75. Hearings, Vol. 6. p. 71.) In fact, the Smith Act decisions did not
come down until 1957. Perhaps the witnesses were referring to Communist Party
v. Subversive Activities Control Board, 351 U.S. 115 (1956), which held that
testimony by “tainted” Government witnesses required remanding the
case to the Board.

47 Unit chief, 10/16/75, p.

48 One witness also pointed
out that while the federal antiriot and antibombing statutes were not passed
until 1968, inadequate statutes were not the only problem. Statutes directed at
specific criminal acts would only have served to allow prosecution after the
crime; they would not have prevented the act in the first place. He also stated
that he did not believe it would be possible to pass a statute which would have
given the Bureau the tools necessary to prevent violence by disrupting the
growth of violence-prone organizations — “because of something called the
United States Constitution.” When asked whether that answer implied that
preventing the growth of an organization is unconstitutional, he answered,
“I think so.” (Black Nationalist supervisor, 10/1/75, pp. 25-26.) He
was the only Bureau witness who had reservations about COINTELPRO’s
constitutionality. Another witness gave a more typical response. When asked
whether anybody at any time during the course of the programs discussed their
constitutionality or legal authority, he replied, “No, we never gave it a
thought.” (Moore, 11/3/75, p. 83.)

49 Moore, 11/3/75, p. 79.

50 Ramsey Clark testimony,
12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6,1).245).

Nicholas deB. Katzenbach
testimony, 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 217.

52 These summaries were the
point of departure for the Select Committee’s investigation but were deemed
unsatisfactory for a complete inquiry.

53 For instance, the
Department is defending litigation commenced against the Bureau by COINTELPRO
victims who happen to have received their files through Freedom of Information
Act requests. More such litigation may arise as more targets learn of Bureau
actions taken against them.

54 The New Left supervisor
stated, “[The COINTELPRO caption was] as much as it was anything else, and
administrative device to channel the mail to the Bureau . . . we get back to
this old argument between the supervisors not argument, but discussion, between
the supervisors, it falls on yours, no, it doesn’t, it’s yours.” (New Left
Supervisor, 10/28/75, p. 49.)

55 The Bureau can and does
reveal its interest in the subjects of investigation to employees, family
members, and neighbors. The Black Nationalist supervisor explained,
“Generally speaking, we should not be giving out information to somebody
we are trying to get information from. As a practical matter sometimes we have
to. The mere fact that you contact somebody about someone gives them the
indication that the FBI is interested in that person.” (Black Nationalist
deposition, 10/17/75, p. 16). See also the statement of the Social Workers
Party, 10/2/75, which details more than 200 incidents involving its members
since COINTELPRO’s termination. The SWP believes these to be as disruptive as
the formal SWP COINTELPRO.

56 Memorandum from Charles D.
Brennan to William C. Sullivan, 4/27/71, Hearings, Vol. 6, Exhibit 55-3.

57 In one instance, a field
office was authorized to contact the editor of a Southern newspaper to suggest
that he have reporters interview Klan members and write an article based on
those interviews. The editor was also furnished information on Klan use of the
polygraph to “weed out FBI informants.” According to the Bureau,
“subsequent publication of the Klan’s activities resulted in a number of
Klan officials ceasing their activities.” (Letter from FBI to the Senate
Select Committee 10/24/75.) The second case involved an anonymous letter and
derogatory newspaper clipping which were sent to a Black Panther Party office
in the Northeast to discredit a Panther leader’s abilities. (Letter from FBI to
the Senate Select Committee, 9/24/75.)

58 It should be noted that
Charles Colson spent seven months in jail for similar activity involving the

59 Letter from Attorney
General Edward H. Levi to the Senate Select Committee, 5/23/75. These included:
(1) 37 actions authorized between 1960 and 1971 “aimed at militant groups
which sought Puerto Rican independence;” (2) “Operation
Hoodwink,” from October 1966 to July 1968, “aimed at putting
organized crime elements in competition with the Communist Party USA;” (3)
a 1961 program targeted against “a foreign-dominated group;” (4) two
actions taken between January 1969 and March 1971 against “a foreign
nationality group in the United States;” and (5) seven actions between
1961 and 1968 against members, leaders, and factions of “a foreign
communist party.”

The FBI’s operations against
“a foreign communist party” indicate that the Bureau, as well as the
CIA, has engaged in covert action abroad.

60 Clarence M. Kelley
testimony, House Civil Rights and Constitutional Rights Subcommittee hearings,
11/20/74, pp. 44-45. This statement appears to be an explicit recognition that
one purpose of COINTELPRO was to influence political events.

61 omitted in original.

62 Clarence M. Kelley
testimony, 12/10/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, 1). 283, 284. Affirmative legal steps to
meet an imminent threat to life or property are, of course, quite proper. The
difficulty with the Director’s statement, juxtaposed as it was with a
discussion of COINTELPRO, is that the threats COINTELPRO purported to meet were
not imminent, the techniques used were sometimes illegal, and the purposes went
far beyond the prevention of death or destruction.

63 Memorandum from Alan
Belmont to L. V. Boardman, 8/28/56, Hearings, vol. 6, exhibit 12.

64 1,388 of a total of 2,370.

65 Excerpt from materials
prepared for the FBI Director’s briefing of the House Appropriations
Subcommittee, FY 1966, p. 2.

66 According to Sullivan,
membership in the Communist Party declined steadily through the ’60s. When the
CPUSA membership dropped below a certain figure, Director Hoover ordered that
the membership figures be classified. Sullivan believes that this was done to
protect the Bureau’s appropriations. (Sullivan, 11/1/75, pp. 33-34.)

67 For instance, the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference was targeted as a “Black Nationalist-Hate
Group.” (memorandum from FBI headquarters to all SAC’s, 3/4/68, p. 4.)

68 Memorandum from Alan
Belmont to L. V. Boardman, 8/28/56, Hearings, Vol. 6. exhibit 12.

69 Sullivan testimony,
11/1/75, pp. 42-43.

70 As noted earlier, Bureau
personnel also trace the decision to adopt counterIntelligence methods to the
Supreme Court decisions overturning the Smith Act convictions. As the unit
chief put it, “The Supreme Court rulings had rendered the Smith Act
technically unenforceable …. it made it ineffective to prosecute Communist
Party members, made it impossible to prosecute Communist Party members at the
time.” (Unit chief, 10/16/75, p. 14).

71 Unit chief, 10/16/75, p.

72 Memorandum from New Haven
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/24/60.

73 Memorandum from Milwaukee
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 7/13/60, pp. 1-2.

74 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 9/13/68.

75 Sullivan, 11/1/75, p. 29.

76 Unit chief, 10/16/75, p.

77 Charles D. Brennan
testimony, Senate Select Committee on Campaign Activities, 6/13/73, p. 10.

78 Robert Shackleford
testimony, 2/6/76, pp. 88-89.

79) Memorandum from FBI

80 For example, anonymous
letters were sent to the parents of two nonmember students participating in a
hunger strike against the war at a midwest college, because the fast was
sponsored by the Young Socialist Alliance. The letters warned that the
students’ participation “could lead to injury to [their] health and damage
[their] academic standing,” and alerted them to their sons’
“involvement in left wing activities.” It was hoped that the parents
would “protest to the college that the fast is being allowed” and
that the Young Socialist Alliance was permitted on campus. (Memorandum from FBI
headquarters to Cleveland Field Office, 11/29/68.)

81 Memorandum from J. H. Gale
to Charles Tolsen, 7/30/64, p. 5. Opinion within the Division had been sharply
divided on the merits of this transfer. Some saw it as an attempt to bring the
Intelligence Division’s expertise in penetrating secret organizations to bear
on a problem — Klan involvement in the murder of civil rights workers –
creating tremendous pressures on the Bureau to solve. Traditional law
enforcement methods were insufficient because of a lack of Federal statutes,
and the noncooperation of local law enforcement. Others thought that the Klan’s
activities were essentially a law enforcement problem, and that the transfer
would dilute the Division’s major internal security responsibility. Those who
opposed the transfer lost, and trace many of the Division’s subsequent
difficulties to this “substantial enlargement” of the Division’s
responsibilities. (“Unit chief, 10/16/75, pp. 45-47.)

82 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Atlanta Field Office, 9/2/64, p. 1.

83 FBI Headquarters
memorandum, 9/2/64, p. 3.

84 Unit Chief, 10/14/75, p.

85 A few actions were approved
against the “Minutemen,” when it became known that members were
stockpiling weapons.

86 Unit Chief, 10/16/75, p.

87 Moore, 11/3/75, p. 31.

88 Note that this
characterization had no substantive meaning within the Bureau. See p. 4.

89 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to all SAC’s, 8/25/67.

90 Black Nationalist
supervisor, 10/17/75, pp. 66-67. The supervisor stated that individual NOI
members were involved with sporadic violence against police, but the
organization was not itself involved in violence. (Black National supervisor,
10/17/75, p. 67.) Moore agreed that the NOI was not involved in organizational
violence, adding that the Nation of Islam had been unjustly blamed for violence
in the ghetto riots of 1967 and 1968: “We had a good informant coverage of
the Nation of Islam…. We were able to take a very positive stand and tell the
Department of Justice and tell everybody else who accused the Nation of Islam
… [that they] were not involved in any of the riots or disturbances. Elijah
Muhammed kept them under control, and he did not have them on the streets at
all during any of the riots.” (Moore, 11/3/75, p. 36.)

When asked why, therefore, the
NOI was included as a target, Mr. Moore answered: “Because of the
potential, they did represent a potential … they were a paramilitary type.
They had drills, the Fruit of Islam, they had the capability because they were
a force to be reckoned with, with the snap of his finger Elijah Muhammed could
bring them into any situation. So that there was a very definite potential,
very definite potential.” (Moore, 11/3/75, p. 37.)

91 The unit chief, who wrote
the letter on instructions from his superiors, concedes that the letter
directed field offices to gather personal life information on targets, not for
“scandalous reasons,” but “to deter violence or neutralize the
activities of violence-prone groups.” (Unit chief, 10/16/75, p. 66.)

92 Moore, 11/3/75, pp. 37, 39,

93 Primary targets listed in
this second letter are the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Revolutionary Action Movement,
Nation of Islam, Stokely Carmichael, H. “Rap” Brown, Martin Luther
King, Maxwell Stanford, and Elijah Muhammed. CORE was dropped for reasons no
witness was able to reconstruct. The agent who prepared the second letter disagreed
with the inclusion of the SCLC, but lost. (Black Nationalist supervisor,
10/17/75, p. 14.)

94 Memorandum from FBI
headquarters to all SAC’s, 3/4/68, pp. 3-4.

95 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Baltimore Field Office, 11/25/68.

96 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to all SAC’s, 1/30/69.

97 This technique, the
“snitch jacket,” was used in all COINTELPRO programs.

98 Moore, 11/3/75, pp. 34,

99 As the New Left supervisor
put it, “I cannot recall any document that was written defining New Left
as such. It is my impression that the characterization of New Left groups
rather than being defined at any specific time by document, it more or less
grew….” Agreeing it was a very amorphous term, he added: “It has
never been strictly defined, as far as I know…. It is more or less an
attitude I would think.” (New Left supervisor, 10/28/75, pp. 7-8.)

100 New Left supervisor,
10/28/75, pp. 21-22.

101 Memorandum from Charles D.
Brennan to William C. Sullivan, 5/9/68.

102 omitted in original.

103 memorandum from FBI
headquarters to all SAC’s, 5/23/68. Memorandum from FBI headquarters to all
SACs, 10/9/68. This time the field offices got the message. One example of
information furnished under the “Immorality” caption comes from the
Boston field office;

“[Informant] who has
provided reliable information in the past concerning the activities of the New
Left in the Metropolitan Boston area has advised that numerous meetings
concerning anti-Vietnam and/or draft activity are conducted by members sitting
around the table or a living room completely in the nude. These same
individuals, both male and female, live and sleep together regularly and it is
not unusual to have these people take up residence with a different partner
after a six or seven month period.

“According to the
informant, the living conditions and habits of some of the New Left adherents
are appalling in that certain individuals have been known to wear the same
clothes for an estimated period of weeks and in some instances for months.
Personal hygiene and eating habits are equally neglected by these people, the
informant said.

“The informant has noted
that those individuals who most recently joined the movement are in most
instances the worst offenders as far as moral and personal habits are
concerned. However, if these individuals remain in the movement for any length
of time, their appearance and personal habits appear to improve somewhat.”
(Memorandum from Boston Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/13/68.)

106 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to all SACs, 10/9/68.

107 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Chicago Field Office, 8/28/68.

108 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to all SAC’s, 9/9/68.

109 Note that there was no
attempt to determine whether the allegations were true. Ramsey Clark, Attorney
General at the time, testified that he did not know that either directive had
been issued and that “they are highly improper.” He also noted that
the Bureau’s close working relationship with state and local police forces had
made it necessary to “preempt the FBI” in cases involving the
investigation of police misconduct’ “we found it necessary to use the
Civil Rights Division, and that is basically what we did.” (Clark,
12/3/75, Hearings Vol. 6. pp. 254-255.)

110 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to all SAC’s, 7/6/68.

111 The New Left supervisor
confirmed what the documents reveal: “legitimate” (nonviolent)
antiwar groups were targeted because they were “lending aid and
comfort” to more disruptive groups. According to the New Left supervisor:

“This [nonviolent groups
protesting against the war] was the type of thing that the New Left, the
violent portion, would seize upon. They could use the legitimacy of an accepted
college group or outside group to further their interests.” (New Left
supervisor, 10/28/75, p. 39)

Nonviolent groups were thus
disrupted so there would be less opportunity for a violent group to make use of
them and their respectability. Professors active in “New Left
matters,” whether involved in violence or just in general protest, were
targeted for “using [their] good offices to lend aid and comfort to the
entire protest movement or to help disrupt the school through [their]
programs.” (New Left supervisor, 10/28/75, p. 69.)

112 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters, Minneapolis Field Office, 11/4/68.

113 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office, 8/27/68.

114 Huston was the
Presidential assistant who coordinated the 1970 recommendations by an
interagency committee for expanded domestic intelligence, including concededly
illegal activity. The so-called “Huston Plan” is the subject of a
separate report.

115 Tom Charles Huston
testimony, 9/23/75, Hearings, Vol. 2, p. 45.

116 The usual constitutional
inquiry is whether the government is “chilling” First Amendment
rights by indirectly discouraging a protected activity while pursuing an
otherwise legitimate purpose. In the case of COINTELPRO, the Bureau was not
attempting indirectly to chill free speech or association; it was squarely
attacking their exercise.

117 The percentage is derived
from a cross-indexed tabulation of the Petersen Committee summaries.
Interestingly, these categories account for 39 percent of the approved
“New Left” proposals, which reflects both the close connection
between antiwar activities and the campuses, and the “aid and
comfort” theory of targeting, in which teachers were targeted for
advocating an end to the war through nonviolent means.

118 The group was composed
largely of university teachers and clergymen who had bought shares in order to
attend the meeting. (Memorandum from Minneapolis Field Office to FBI
headquarters, 4/1/70.)

119 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 4/23/70; memorandum from Minneapolis
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/1/70.

120 Memorandum from Detroit
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/26/60; Memoranda from FBI Headquarters to
Detroit Field Office, 10/27/60, 10/28/60, 10/31/60; Memorandum from F. J.
Baumgardner to Alan H. Belmont, 10/26/60.

121 It is interesting to note
that after the anonymous calls to the newspapers giving information on the
“communist nature” of the sponsor, the conference center director
called the local FBI office to ask for information on the speaker. He was informed
that Bureau records are confidential and that the Bureau could not make any

122 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Pittsburgh Field Office, 6/19/69.

123 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Pittsburgh Field Office, 5/1/70.

124 Memorandum from Detroit
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/11/66; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
Detroit Field Office, 10/26/66.

125 Memorandum from Mobile
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/9/70; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
Mobile Field Office, 12/31/70; memorandum from Mobile Field Office to FBI
Headquarters, 2/3/71.

126 In one example, a letter
signed “A Black Parent” was sent to the mayor, the Superintendent of
Schools, the Commander of the American Legion, and two newspapers in a
northeastern city protesting a high school’s subscription to the BPP newspaper.
The letter was also intended to focus attention on the teacher who entered the
subscription “so as to deter him from implementing black extremist
literature and philosophy into the Black History curriculum” of the school
system. (Memorandum from Buffalo Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/5/70.)

127 Memorandum from Los
Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/9/68; memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to SAC, Los Angeles Field Office, 9/23/68.

128 Memorandum from Newark
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/23/69; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
Newark Field Office, 6/4/69.

129 Memorandum from Detroit
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/28/69; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
Detroit Field Office, 3/27/69.

130 For example, one proposal
requested that the FBI Lab prepare a quart of solution “capable of
duplicating a scent of the most foul smelling feces available,” along with
a dispenser capable of squirting a narrow stream for a distance of
approximately three feet. The proposed targets were the physical plant of a New
Left publisher and BPP publications prior to their distribution. Headquarters
instructed the field office to furnish more information about the purpose for the
material’s use and the manner and security with which it would be used. The
idea was then apparently dropped. (Memorandum from Detroit Meld Office to FBI
Headquarters, 10/13/70; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field
Office, 10/23/70.)

131 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Los Angeles Field Office, 9/23/68.

132 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office, 5/13/69.

133 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Indianapolis Field Office, 6/17/68.

134 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to all SAC’s, 12/30/68.

135 One of the 12 standard
techniques referred to in the New Left memorandum discussed at pp. 25–26,
disinformation bridges the line between “counterintelligence” and

136 Memorandum from Chicago
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/9/68; memorandum from Charles Brennan to
William C. Sullivan, 8/15/68.

137 Memorandum from Washington
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/21/69.

138 Egil Krogh has stated to
the Committee staff that he was in charge of coordinating D.C. law enforcement
efforts during demonstrations, and gained the cooperation of NMC marshals to
ensure an orderly demonstration. This law enforcement/NMC coordination was
effected through the same walkie-talkie system the Bureau was disrupting.
(Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Washington Field Office, 1/10/69; staff
summary of Egil Krogh interview, 5/23/75.)

139 Memorandum from Cincinnati
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/20/68; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
Cinncinnati Field Office, 12/29/68.

140 Memoranda from New York
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/15/67, 9/26/67, and 10/17/67; memorandum
from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 9/29/67. By letter of January
14, 1976, the. Bureau submitted specific instances of “action, other than
arrest and prosecution, to prevent any stage of [a] crime or violent acts from
being initiated” which had been taken. The examples were intended to aid
in developing “preventive action” guidelines.

One of the examples was the
prevention of the publisher’s plan to drop flowers over the Pentagon: “A
plan was thus thwarted which could well have resulted in tragedy had another
pilot accepted such a dangerous flying mission and violated Federal or local
regulations in flying low over the Pentagon which is also in the heavy traffic
pattern of the Washington National Airport.” The letter does not explain
why it was necessary to act covertly in this case. If flying over the Pentagon
violates Federal regulations, the Bureau could have arrested those involved
when they arrived at the airport. No informant was involved; the newspaper had
advertised openly for a pilot.

141 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Albuquerque Field Office, 3/19/69.

142 Memorandum from Boston
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/22/66.

143 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to El Paso Field Office, 12/6/68.

144 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to New York Field Office, 3/19/65.

145 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Cleveland and Boston Field Offices, 5/6/64.

146 Mr. Huston learned that lesson
as well:

“We went from this kind
of sincere intention, honest intention, to develop a series of justifications
and rationalizations based upon this … distorted view of inherent executive
power and from that, whether it was direct … or was indirect or inevitable,
as I tend to think it is, you went down the road to where you ended up, with
these people going into the Watergate.

“And so that has
convinced me that you have just got to draw the line at the top of the totem
pole, and that we would then have to take the risk — it is not a risk-free
choice, but it is one that, I am afraid, in my judgment, that we do not have
any alternative but to take.” (Huston, 9/23/75, p. 45.)

147 Sullivan, 11/1/75, pp.

148 Moore, 11/3/75, pp. 32-33.

149 The percentages used in
this section are derived from a staff tabulation of the Petersen Committee
summaries. The numbers are approximate because it was occasionally difficult to
determine from the summary what the purpose of the technique was.

150 The resulting articles
could then be used in the reprint mailing program.

151 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 11/4/68.

152 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Boston Field Office, 9/12/68.

153 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 11/1/65.

154 Levi 12/11/75, Hearings,
Vol. 6, p. 318.

155 “Name checks”
were apparently run on all reporters proposed for use in the program, to make
sure they were reliable. In one case, a check of Bureau files showed that a
television reporter proposed as the recipient of information on the SDS had the
same name as someone who had served in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. The field
office was asked to determine whether the “individuals” were
“identical.” The field office obtained the reporter’s credit records,
voting registration, and local police records, and determined that his credit
rating was satisfactory, that he had no arrest record, that he “stated a
preference for one of the two major Political Parties” — and that he was
not, in fact, the man who fought in the Spanish Civil war. Accordingly, the
information was furnished. (Memorandum from Pittsburgh Field Office to FBI
Headquarters, 12/26/68; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Pittsburgh Field
Office, 1/23/69.)

156 The Bureau also noted, for
its files, those who criticized its work or its Director, and the Division
maintained a “not-to-contact” list which included the names of some
reporters and authors. One proposal to leak information to the Boston Globe was
turned down because both the newspaper and one of its reporters “have made
unfounded criticisms of the FBI in the past.” The Boston ]Field Office was
advised to resubmit the suggestion using another newspaper. (Memorandum from
FBI Headquarters to Boston Field Office, 2/8/68.)

157 Leaking derogatory
information is discussed at p. 50.

158 The Committee’s agreement
with the Bureau governing document production Provided that the Bureau could
excise the names of “confidential sources” when the documents were
delivered to the Committee. Although the staff was permitted to see the excised
names at Bureau headquarters, it was also agreed that the names not be used.

159 Note that Bureau witnesses
testified that the NOI was not, in fact, involved in organization violence. See
pp. 20-21.

160 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Boston Field Office, 2/27/68.

161 Memorandum from Tampa
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/5/68.

162 Memorandum from Tampa
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/7/69.

163 Memorandum from G. C. Moore
to William C. Sullivan, 10/21/69.

164 This technique was also
used in disseminating propaganda. The distinction lies in the purpose for which
the letter, article or flier was mailed.

165 Black Nationalist
supervisor, 10/17/75, p. 40.

166 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Baltimore Field Office, 11/25/68.

167 Memorandum from San Diego
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/20/69; memorandum from San Diego Field
Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/27/69; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San
Diego Field Office, 4/4/69.

168 Memorandum from Newark
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/15/69. According to the proposal, the
letter would not be typed by the field office stenographic pool because of the
language. The field office also used asterisks in its communication with
headquarters which “refer to that colloquial phrase … which implies an
unnatural physical relationship with a maternal parent.” Presumably the
phrase was used in the letter when it was sent to the Panthers.

169 Memorandum from Chicago
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/12/69: memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
Chicago Field Office, 1/30/69.

170 Memorandum from
Philadelphia Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/25/68; memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Philadelphia Field Office, 12/9/68.

171 Memorandum from San Diego
Meld Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/10/69, p. 4.

172 Memorandum from San Diego
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/12/69.

173 Memorandum from San Diego
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/12/69.

174 Memorandum from San Diego
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/3/69.

175 Memorandum from New Haven
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/18/70.

176 Memorandum from San
Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/27/69; memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Francisco Meld Office, 9/5/69.

177 Memorandum from Detroit
Meld Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/10/70; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit
Field Office, 3/3/70.

178 Memorandum from
Indianapolis Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/23/69.

179 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to all SACs, 10/28/70.

180 Memorandum from Jackson
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/27/68.

181 Ibid.

182 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to New York Field Office, 9/6/56.

183 Memorandum from Los
Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/12/68. p. 1

184 Memorandum from San Diego
Meld Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/2/70.

185 Memorandum from New York
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 7/9/64.

186 Memorandum from C. D.
Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 8/28/67.

187 Memorandum from F. J.
Baumgardner to W. C. Sullivan, 1/5/65.

188 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Diego Field Office, 2/14/09.

189 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Jackson Field Office. 11/15/68.

190 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to New York Field Office, 2/9/60.

191 Memorandum from San Diego
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/17/69; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
San Diego Field Office, 3/6/69; memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI
Headquarters 4/30/69.

192 Memorandum from San Diego
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/31/69; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
San Diego Field Office, 2/14/69.

193 One Bureau document stated
that the Black Panther Party “has murdered two members it suspected of
being police informants.” (memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cincinnati
Field Office, 2/18/71.)

194 Memorandum from San Diego
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/11/69; memorandum to San Diego Field Office
from FBI Headquarters, 2/19/69.

195 Memorandum from New York
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/14/69; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
New York Field Office, 3/10/69.

196 Memorandum to FBI
Headquarters from SAC, Newark, 7/3/69; memorandum to Newark Field Office from
FBI Headquarters, 7/14/69.

197 Memorandum from Kansas
City Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/16/69; memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 11/3/69.

198 Memorandum to FBI
Headquarters from San Diego Field Office, 3/6/70; memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Diego Field Office, 3/6/70.

199 Memorandum from Charlotte
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/23/71; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
Charlotte Field Office, 3/31/71.

200 Memorandum from Charlotte
Field Office to FBI Headquarters 3/23/71; memorandum FBI Headquarters to
Charlotte Field Office, 3/31/71.

201 In fact, some proposals
were turned down for that reason. See, e.g., letter from FBI Headquarters to
Cincinnati Field Office, 2/18/71, in which a proposal that an imprisoned BPP
member be labeled a “pig informer” was rejected because it was
possible it would result in the target’s death. But note that just one month
later, two similar proposals were approved. Letter from FBI Headquarters to
Washington Field Office, 3/19/71, and letter from FBI Headquarters to Charlotte
Field Office, 3/31/71.

202 Black Nationalist
supervisor, 10/17/75, p. 39.

203 Moore, 11/3/15, p. 64.

204 The minister has given the
Select Committee an affidavit which states that there was an organized attempt
by the Bureau’s source to disrupt the Church’s meetings, including “fist
fights.” Affidavit of Rev. Dennis G. Kuby, 10/19/75).

205 Memorandum from Cleveland
Meld Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/28/64; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
Cleveland Field Office, 11/6/64.

206 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Cleveland Field Office, 11/6/64.

207 Memorandum from Detroit
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/18/66, p. 2.

208 Memorandum from Detroit
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/19/67.

The lawyer was targeted, along
with his law firm, because the firm “has a long history of providing
services for individual communists and communist organizations,” and
because he belonged to the National Lawyers Guild.

209 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 1/16/67.

210 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 1/10/67.

211 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 11/3/66.

212 Memorandum from F. J.
Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan, 10/4/66; memorandum from FBI Headquarters
to New York Field Office, 10/5/66.

A similar proposal attempted
“to cause dissension between Negro numbers operators and the Italian
hoodlum element” in Detroit. The Bureau had information that black
“numbers men” were contributing money to the local “black power
movement.” An anonymous letter containing a black hand and the words
“watch out” was sent a minister who was “the best known black
militant in Detroit.” The letter was intended to achieve two objectives.
First, the minister was expected to assume that “the Italian hoodlum
element was responsible for this letter, report this to the Negro numbers
operators, and thereby cause them to further resent the Italian hoodlum
element.” Second, it is also possible that [the minister] may become
extremely frightened upon receipt of this letter and sever his contact with the
Negro numbers men in Detroit and might even restrict his black nationalist
activity or leave Detroit. (Memorandum from the Detroit Field Office to FBI
Headquarters, 6/14/68; Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field
Office, 6/28/68.)

213 Letters were also sent to
parents informing them that their children were in communes, or with a roommate
of the opposite sex; information on an actress’ pregnancy by a Black Panther
was sent to a gossip columnist; and information about a partner’s affair with
another partner’s wife was sent to the members of a law firm as well as the
injured spouses.

Personal life information was
not the only kind of derogatory information disseminated; information on the
“subversive background” of a target (or family member) was also used,
as were arrest records.

214 Memorandum from Richmond
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/26/66.

215 Memorandum from St. Louis
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/30/70.

216 Memorandum from St. Louis
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/30/70. Note that there is no allegation
that ACTION was engaged in violence. When the target was interviewed by the
staff, she was asked whether ACTION ever took part in violent activities. She
replied that someone once spat in a communion cup during a church sit-in and
that members sometimes used four letter words, which was considered violent in
her city. The staff member then asked about more conventionally violent acts,
such as throwing bricks or burning buildings. Her response was a shocked,
“Oh, no! I’m a pacifist — I wouldn’t be involved in an organization like
that.” (Staff interview of a COINTELPRO target.)

216a Memorandum from St. Louis
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/30/70.

217 Memorandum from St. Louis
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/17/70.

218 Memorandum from St. Louis
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/14/69, p. 1.

219 Memorandum from St. Louis
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/14/69, pp. 2-3.

220 House Judiciary Committee,
Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights, Hearings, 11/20/74, p. 11.

221 There were 84 contacts
with employers or 3 percent of the total.

222 Memorandum from New Haven
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/12/69.

223 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Diego Field Office, 9/11/69.

224 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 9/29/64.

225 The FBI also used a
“confidential source” in a foundation to gain funding for a
“moderate” civil rights organization. (Memorandum from G. C. Moore to
W. C. Sullivan, 10/23/68.)

226 Memorandum from New York
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/18/70.

227 Memorandum from New York
Field office to FBI Headquarters, 8/19/70.

228 Memoranda from FBI
Headquarters to Pittsburgh Field Office, 3/3/69 and 4/3/69.

229 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to New York Field Office, 7/2/64.

230 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters
to Cincinnati Field Office, 3/28/69.

231 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to all SAC’s, 10/9/68.

232 Moore, 11/3/75, p. 47.

233 Federal agencies were also
used. For instance, a foreign-born professor active in the New Left was
deported by the Immigration and Naturalization Service at the Bureau’s
instigation. (Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Diego Field Office,
9/6/68.) The Bureau’s use of the IRS in COINTELPRO is included in a separate
report. Among other actions, the Bureau obtained an activist professor’s tax
returns and then used a source in a regional IRS office to arrange an audit.
The audit was intended to be timed to interfere with the professor’s meetings
to plan protest demonstrations in the 1968 Democratic convention.

234 The fund raiser was
targeted because of two of the candidates who would be present. One, a state
assemblyman running for reelection, was active in the Vietnam Day Committee;
the other, the Democratic candidate for Congress, had been a sponsor of the
National Committee to Abolish the House Committee on Un-American Activities and
had led demonstrations opposing the manufacture of napalm bombs. (Memorandum
from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 10/21/66.)

234 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 11/14/66.

236 Ibid.

237 Memorandum from New York
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/23/60; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
New York Field Office, 3/11/60; memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI
Headquarters, 11/10/60; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field
Office, 11/17/60.

238 omitted in original.

239 memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 7/22/69; memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 4/9/69. Charles Colson spent seven
months in jail for violating the civil rights of a defendant in a criminal case
through the deliberate creation of prejudicial pretrial publicity.

240 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Miami Field Office, 6/23/66; memorandum from Miami Field Office
to FBI Headquarters, 9/30/66.

241 Memorandum from New York
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/5/67. The Bureau also obtained legal advice
from a probate attorney on how the will could be attacked; contacted other
relatives of the deceased; leaked information about the will to a city
newspaper; and solicited the efforts of the IRS and state taxing authorities to
deplete the estate as much as possible.

241a Memorandum from Atlanta
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 7/13/70.

242 Memorandum from Detroit
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/15/65; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
Detroit Field Office, 9/22/65.

243 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 10/1/65.

244 Memorandum from Detroit
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/24/66; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
Detroit Field Office, 11/3/66.

245 According to the
documents, “operating under the direction of New York headquarters,”
a document was placed in the record by the Committee which according to the
“presiding officer,” indicated that the CP planned to hold its
national convention in Philadelphia. The field office added, “This office
is not aware of any such plan of the CP.” Memorandum from, Philadelphia
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/3/59; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
Philadelphia Field Office, 11/12/59.

246 Note that the
“Communist” label was loosely applied, and might mean only that an
informant reported that a target had attended meetings of a “front”
group some years earlier. As noted earlier, none of the “COINTELPRO”
labels were precise.

247 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to Phoenix Field Office, 6/11/68.

248 Memorandum from William C.
Sullivan, 2/4/64; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office,

249 The target was not intended
to be the United Farm Workers, but a local college professor expected to
participate in the picket line. The Bureau had unsuccessfully directed
“considerable efforts to prevent hiring” the professor. Apparently,
the Bureau did not consider the impact of this technique on the United Farm
Workers’ efforts. Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI
Headquarters 9/12/68; Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field
Office, 9/13/68.

250 Memorandum from San
Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/16/64.

251 Memorandum from San
Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/10/67; memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 3/14/67.

252 The CPUSA, SWP, and New
Left programs were handled in the Internal Security Section; the White Hate
program was first handled in a short-lived three-man “COINTELPRO
unit” which, during the three years of its existence, supervised the CP
and SWP programs as well, and then was transferred to the Extremists Section;
the Black Nationalist program was supervised by the Racial Intelligence
Section. The Section Chief would then route the proposal to the COINTELPRO
supervisor for each program. Occasionally the Section Chief made a
recommendation as to the proposal; more often the supervisor made the initial
decision to approve or deny.

253 No control file was
maintained of these directives. Since these directives were sent out under the
investigative caption, the first time the COINTELPRO caption would be used was
on the field proposal which responded to the directives.

254 (Unit chief, 10/16/75, p.
167.) There is no central file of such awards, so the number is retrievable
only by searching each agent’s personnel file.

255 According to Moore, even
the “snitch jacket” — labeling a group member as an informant when
he is not — is not solely a counterintelligence technique, but may be used, in
an ordinary investigation, to protect a real informant, “Maybe . . . you
had an informant whose life was at stake because somebody suspected him and the
degree of response . . . might be the degree that you would have to use in
order to sow enough suspicion on other people to take it away from your
informant.” (Moore, 11/3/75, p. 70)

256 See Dr. Martin Luther King

256a Black Nationalist
deposition, 10/17/75, p. 15.

257 As Moore put it,
“This was a program, and whenever the Bureau had a program, you had to
produce results because it was scrutinized by the inspectors, not only during
your own inspection on a yearly basis, but also scrutinized in the field during
field inspections.” (Moore, 11/3/75, p. 43.) The New Left supervisor, who
received copies of the inspection reports, stated that “it would be an
innocuous type report in every instance I can recall.” (New Left supervisor,
10/28/75, p. 72)

For example, one Domestic
Intelligence Division inspection report on the “White Hate” programs
noted under “Accomplishments” that the decline in Klan organizations
is attributable to “hard-hitting investigations, counterintelligence
programs directed at them, and penetration . . . by our racial
informants.” The report then lists several specific actions, including the
defeat of a candidate with Klan affiliations; the removal from office of a high
Klan official; and the issuance of a derogatory press release. (Inspection,
Domestic Intelligence Division, 1/8-26/71, pp. 15, 17-19.)

258 Mark Felt testimony,
2/3/76, pp. 56,65.

259 For security reasons, no
instructions were printed in the Manual. In service training for intelligence
agents did contain an hour on COINTELPRO, so it may be assumed that most agents
knew something about the programs.

For instances in which
Attorneys General, the Cabinet, and the House Subcommittee on Appropriations
were allegedly informed of the existence of the CPUSA and Klan COINTELPROs.

260 Memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to all SAC’s, 8/25/67.

261 One example of the lengths
to which the Bureau went in maintaining secrecy may be instructive. The Bureau
sent a letter to Klan members purporting to be from the “National
Intelligence Committee” — a super-secret Klan disciplinary body. The
letter fired the North Carolina Grand Dragon and suspended the Imperial Wizard,
Robert Shelton. Shelton complained to both the local postal inspector and the
FBI resident agency (which solemnly assured him that his complaint was not
within the Bureau’s jurisdiction). The Bureau had intended to mail a second
“NIC” letter, but the plans were held in abeyance until it could be
learned whether the postal inspector intended to act on Shelton’s complaint.
The Bureau, therefore, contacted the local postal inspector, using their
investigation of Shelton’s complaint as a pretext, to see what the inspector
intended to do. The field office reported that the local inspector had forwarded
the complaint to regional headquarters, which in turn referred it to a Chief
Postal Inspector in Washington, D.C. The Bureau’s liaison agent was then sent
to that office to determine what action the postal authorities planned to take.
He returned with the information that the Post Office had referred the matter
to the Fraud Section of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, under a
cover letter stating that since Shelton’s allegations “appear to involve
an internal struggle” for Klan control, and “since the evidence of
mail fraud was somewhat tenuous in nature,” the Post Office did not
contemplate any investigation. Neither, apparently, did the Department. The
Bureau did not inform either the Postal Inspector or the Criminal Division that
it had authored the letter under review. Instead, when it appeared the FBI’s
role would not be discovered, the Bureau prepared to send out the second letter
— a plan which was discontinued when the Klan “notional” was

Memorandum from Charlotte
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/9/67; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
Charlotte Field Office, 5/24/67; memorandum. from Charlotte Field Office to FBI
Headquarters, 5/31/67; memorandum from Atlanta Field Office to FBI
Headquarters, 6/7/67; memorandum from Atlanta Field Office to FBI Headquarters,
6/13/67; memorandum from Birmingham Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/14/67;
memorandum from Charlotte Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/28/67; memorandum
from FBI Headquarters to Atlanta and Charlotte Field Offices, 6/29/67;
memorandum from Atlanta Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/27/67; memorandum
from Bernard Rachner to Charles Brennan, 7/11/67; memorandum from Charlotte
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/22/67; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to
Charlotte Field Office, 8/21/67.

262 These documents were also
made available to the Petersen Committee. The Petersen Committee twice asked
the Bureau for documents showing outside knowledge, and twice was told there
were none. Only as the Petersen report was ready to go to press did the Bureau
find the documents delivered. (Staff interview with Henry Petersen.)

263 Memorandum from Director,
FBI to the Attorney General, 5/8/58.

264 Memorandum from Director,
FBI to the Attorney General, 5/8/58.

265 Memorandum from Director,
FBI to the Attorney General, 5/8/58.

266 Memorandum from Director,
FBI to the Attorney General, 1/10/61.

267 Memorandum from Director,
FBI to the Attorney General, 1/10/61, p. 4.

268 Memorandum from Director,
FBI to the Attorney General, 9/2/65, p. 2.

269 Memorandum from Nicholas
deB. Katzenbach to J. Edgar Hoover, 9/3/65.

270 Nicholas deB. Katzenbach
testimony, 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, pp. 206-207.

271 Katzenbach, 12/3/75,
Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 217.

272 Memorandum from Director,
FBI to the Attorney General, 12/19/67, p. 1.

273 Memorandum from Director,
FBI to the Attorney General, 2/19/67, p. 4.

274 Memorandum from Director,
FBI to the Attorney General, 12/19/67, p. 8.

275 The paragraph under the
subheading “Tennessee” includes the statement that, through a highly
placed Bureau informant, “we were able to control the expansion of the
Klan.” The paragraphs under the subheading “Virginia” states
that, after the United Klans of America began an intensive organizational
effort in the state, “We immediately began an all-out effort to penetrate
the Virginia Klan, contain its growth, and deter violence.” The specific
examples given, however, are not COINTELPRO actions, but liaison with state and
local authorities, prosecution, cooperation with the Governor, and warning a
civil rights worker of a plot against his life. The paragraph under the
subheading “Illinois” contains nothing relating to COINTELPRO
activities, but refers to cooperation with state authorities in the prosecution
of a Klan official for a series of bombings. (Memorandum from Director, FBI, to
the Attorney General, 12/19/67, pp. 8 10.)

276 Clark, 12/3/75, Hearings,
Vol. 6, p. 235.

277 Clark, 12/3/75, Hearings,
p. 221.

278 The White Hate COINTELPRO
had been going on for five years.

279 Memorandum from Director,
FBI to the Attorney General, 9/17/69.

280 Ibid.

281 Ibid.

282 DeLoach, 12/3/75,
Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 183.

283 Clark. 12/3/75, Hearings,
Vol. 6, p. 232.

284 Unit Chief, 10/14/75, p.
136; and 10/21/75, p. 42.

285 Excerpt from FBI
Director’s briefing to the President and his cabinet, 11/6/58, pp. 35-36.

286 The actual dates of the
hearings would be 1957, 1968, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1965, and 1966.

287 Excerpt from FBI
Director’s briefing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, FY 1959, p. 54.

288 Excerpt from FBI
Director’s briefing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, FY 1959, p. 58.

289 Excerpt from FBI
Director’s briefing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, FY 1960, p. 76.

290 Excerpt from FBI
Director’s briefing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, FY 1960, p. 76.

291 Excerpt from FBI
Director’s briefing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, FY 1960, p. 77.

292 Excerpt from FBI Director’s
briefing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, FY 1961, p. 80.

293 Excerpt from FBI
Director’s briefing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, FY 1961, p. 81.

294 Excerpt from FBI
Director’s briefing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, FY 1963.

295 Excerpt from FBI
Director’s briefing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, FY 1963.

296 Excerpt from FBI
Director’s briefing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, FY 1966, p. 62.
This is the first time the targeting of non-Party members can be inferred.

297 Excerpt from FBI
Director’s briefing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, FY 1966, p. 63.

298 Unit chief, 10/16/75, p.

299 Excerpt from FBI
Director’s briefing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, FY 1967, p. 71.

300 Excerpt from FBI
Director’s briefing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, FY 1967, pp.

301 Although portions of the
Committee’s report were made public in April 1974, Petersen has testified that
the purpose of the report was simply to inform the Attorney General. The
inquiry was not intended to be conclusive and certainly was not an adversary
proceeding. “We were doing a survey rather than conducting an
investigation.” (Henry Petersen testimony, 12/11/75, Hearing, Vol. 6, p.

301a William Saxbe statement,
Civil Rights and Constitutional Rights SubCommittee of the House Committee on
the Judiciary, 11/20/74, p. 9.

302 Petersen committee report,
CRCR Hearings, 11/20/74, p. 11.

303 Petersen committee report,
CRCR, Hearings, 11/20/74, p. 26.

304 Petersen Committee Report,
pp. 26-27.

305 Petersen Committee Report,
p. 27.

306 Petersen Committee Report,
p. 21.

307 Peterson Committee Report,
pp. 21-22.

308 Petersen Committee Report,
p. 22.

309 For instance, the
20-years-past “Communist” activities of a target professor’s wife
were found in “public source material,” as were the arrest records of
a prominent civil rights leader. Both were leaked to “friendly” media
on condition that the Bureau’s interest not be revealed.

310 See, e.g., the attempt to
get an agent on the Alcohol Beverage Control Board to raid a Democratic Party

311 The Civil Rights Division
refused to endorse this conclusion, although it was under heavy pressure from
top Department executives to do so. Assistant Attorney General J. Stanley
Pottinger was first informed of the Petersen committee report a week before its
public release; and no official of the Civil Rights Division had previously
examined any of the COINTELPRO materials or summaries. After the report’s
release, the Civil Rights Division was permitted a short time to review some of
the materials. (Staff summary of interview with Assistant Attorney General
Pottinger, 4/21/76.)

Under these restrictions the
Civil Rights Division was not able to review “everything in the voluminous
files,” but rather conducted only a “general survey of the program
unrelated to specific allegations of criminal violations.” Assistant
Attorney General Pottinger advised Attorney General Saxbe, upon the completion
of this brief examination of COINTELPRO, that the Division found “no basis
for making criminal charges against particular individuals or involving
particular incidents.” Although some of the acts reviewed appeared
“to amount to technical violations,” the Division concluded that
“without more” information, prosecutive action would not be justified
under its “normal criteria.” However, Pottinger stressed that a
“different prosecution judgment would be indicated if specific acts more
fully known and developed, could be evaluated in a complete factual
context.” (Memorandum from J. Stanley Pottinger, Assistant Attorney
General. to Attorney General Saxbe, 12/13/74.)

312 Petersen Committee Report,
Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights, Hearings, 11/26/74, p. 25.

313 Petersen Committee Report,
Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights hearings, 11/20/74, p. 28.

314 Attorney General Levi has
proposed a series of guidelines on domestic intelligence. A set of
“preventive action” guidelines was prepared which would have
authorized the Bureau to take “nonviolent emergency measures” to
“obstruct or prevent” the use of force or violence upon the Attorney
Generals’ authorization. These guidelines have now been abandoned because the
Attorney General determined that it was not possible to frame general language
which would permit proper (and indeed ordinary) law enforcement measures such
as increased guards around building or traffic control during a demonstration
while preventing COINTELPRO type activity.

315 Department of Justice
release, 4/1/76.

316 The notification
guidelines read as follows:

1. The review of the
COINTELPRO files should be conducted by the existing Shaheen committee.

2. An individual should be
notified in those instances where an action directed against him was improper
and, in addition, there is reason to believe he may have been caused actual
harm. In making this determination in doubtful cases, the committee should
resolve the question in favor of notification.

3. Excluded from notification
should be those individuals who are known to be aware that they were the
subjects of COINTELPRO activities.

4. An advisory group will be
created to pass upon those instances where the committee is uncertain as to
whether notification should be given, and otherwise to advise the committee as

5. The manner of notification
should be determined in each case to protect rights to privacy,

6. Notification should be
given as the work of the committee proceeds, without waiting for the entire
review to be completed.

7. In the event that the
committee determines in the process of review that conduct suggests
disciplinary action or referral of a matter to the Criminal or civil nights
Divisions, the appropriate referral should be made.

8. No departure from these
instructions will be made without the express approval of the Attorney General.
The committee may request such departure only through and with the
recommendation of the advisory group. (Letter from Department (if Justice to
the Select Committee, 4/23/76.