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However, the program was soon enlarged to include disruption of the Socialist Workers Party (1961), the Ku Klux Klan (1964), the Nation of Islam, the Black Panther Party (1967), and the entire New Left socio-political movement, which included antiwar, community, and religious groups (1968).
The program was secret until 1971, when an FBI field office in Media, Pennsylvania was burglarized by a group of left-wing radicals calling themselves the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI. Several dossiers of files were taken and the information passed to news agencies, many of which initially refused to publish the information. Within the year, Director Hoover declared that the centralized COINTELPRO was over, and that all future counterintelligence operations would be handled on a case-by-case basis.[10] Further documents were revealed in the course of separate lawsuits filed against the FBI by NBC correspondent Carl Stern, the Socialist Workers Party, and a number of other groups. A major investigation was launched in 1976 by the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities of the United States Senate, commonly referred to as the "Church Committee" for its chairman, Senator Frank Church of Idaho. However, millions of pages of documents remain unreleased, and many released documents have been partly, or entirely, redacted. Indeed, nonviolent organizations and individuals were targeted because the Bureau believed they represented a "potential" for violence -- and nonviolent citizens who were against the war in Vietnam were targeted because they gave "aid and comfort" to violent demonstrators by lending respectability to their cause. The imprecision of the targeting is demonstrated by the inability of the Bureau to define the subjects of the programs.
The CPUSA program targeted not only Communist Party members but also sponsors of the National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee and civil rights leaders allegedly under Communist influence or deemed to be not sufficiently "anti-Communist".
The Socialist Workers Party program included non-SWP sponsors of anti-war demonstrations which were cosponsored by the SWP or the Young Socialist Alliance, its youth group. The Black Nationalist program targeted a range of organizations from the Panthers to SNCC to the peaceful Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and included every Black Student Union and many other black student groups. New Left targets ranged from the SDS to the InterUniversity Committee for Debate on Foreign Policy, from Antioch College ("vanguard of the New Left") to the New Mexico Free University and other "alternate" schools, and from underground newspapers to students' protesting university censorship of a student publication by carrying signs with four-letter words on them.
Examples of surveillance, legal and illegal, contained in the Church Committee report:[12] President Roosevelt asked the FBI to put in its files the names of citizens sending telegrams to the White House opposing his "national defense" policy and supporting Col.
President Truman received inside information on a former Roosevelt aide's efforts to influence his appointments, labor union negotiating plans, and the publishing plans of journalists. The Kennedy Administration had the FBI wiretap a Congressional staff member, three executive officials, a lobbyist, and a Washington law firm.


President Johnson asked the FBI to conduct "name checks" of his critics and members of the staff of his 1964 opponent, Senator Barry Goldwater. He also requested purely political intelligence on his critics in the Senate, and received extensive intelligence reports on political activity at the 1964 Democratic Convention from FBI electronic surveillance.
The COINTELPRO documents disclose numerous cases of the FBI's intentions to stop the mass protest against the Vietnam War. They planted false media stories and published bogus leaflets and other publications in the name of targeted groups.
Officers of the law gave perjured testimony and presented fabricated evidence as a pretext for false arrests and wrongful imprisonment. They discriminatorily enforced tax laws and other government regulations and used conspicuous surveillance, "investigative" interviews, and grand jury subpoenas in an effort to intimidate activists and silence their supporters.
The FBI specifically developed tactics intended to heighten tension and hostility between various factions the black militancy movement, for example between the Black Panthers, the United Slaves and the Blackstone Rangers. One Black Panther Party leader, Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, was incarcerated for 27 years before a California Superior Court vacated his murder conviction, ultimately freeing him.
Appearing before the court, an FBI agent testified that he believed Pratt had been framed because both the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department knew he had been out of the area at the time the murder occurred. Hoover fired back a memo implying the career ambitions of the agent were directly related to his supplying evidence to support Hoover's view that the BPP was "a violence-prone organization seeking to overthrow the Government by revolutionary means".[32] Hoover was willing to use false claims to attack his political enemies. The Government has often undertaken the secret surveillance of citizens on the basis of their political beliefs, even when those beliefs posed no threat of violence or illegal acts on behalf of a hostile foreign power. The Government, operating primarily through secret informants, but also using other intrusive techniques such as wiretaps, microphone "bugs", surreptitious mail opening, and break-ins, has swept in vast amounts of information about the personal lives, views, and associations of American citizens. Investigations of groups deemed potentially dangerous -- and even of groups suspected of associating with potentially dangerous organizations -- have continued for decades, despite the fact that those groups did not engage in unlawful activity.
Groups and individuals have been harassed and disrupted because of their political views and their lifestyles. Investigations have been based upon vague standards whose breadth made excessive collection inevitable.


Unsavory and vicious tactics have been employed -- including anonymous attempts to break up marriages, disrupt meetings, ostracize persons from their professions, and provoke target groups into rivalries that might result in deaths.
Intelligence agencies have served the political and personal objectives of presidents and other high officials. While the agencies often committed excesses in response to pressure from high officials in the Executive branch and Congress, they also occasionally initiated improper activities and then concealed them from officials whom they had a duty to inform.
Governmental officials -- including those whose principal duty is to enforce the law --have violated or ignored the law over long periods of time and have advocated and defended their right to break the law.
The Constitutional system of checks and balances has not adequately controlled intelligence activities. Until recently the Executive branch has neither delineated the scope of permissible activities nor established procedures for supervising intelligence agencies.
Congress has failed to exercise sufficient oversight, seldom questioning the use to which its appropriations were being put. Several authors have suggested the American Indian Movement (AIM) has been a target of such operations. Retrieved 2008-06-23.A ^ a b "Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans". Special Agent Gregg York: "We expected about twenty Panthers to be in the apartment when the police raided the place. Available at the FBI reading room.^ FBI document, 16 September 1970, Director FBI to SAC's in Baltimore, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Haven, San Francisco, and Washington Field Office. University of California Press, 2001: "Although the FBI officially discontinued COINTELPRO immediately after the Pennsylvania disclosures "for security reasons," when pressed by the Senate committee, the bureau acknowledged two new instances of "Cointelpro-type" operations. The committee was left to discover a third, apparently illegal operation on its own."^ Athan G.



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