COINTELPRO (an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program) was a series of covert, and often illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic organizations deemed "subversive".
On March 8, 1971, a group of anonymous
activists broke into the small, two-man office of the Federal Bureau
of Investigation in Media, Pa., and stole more than 1,000 FBI
documents that revealed years of systematic wiretapping, infiltration
and media manipulation designed to suppress dissent. The
Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI, as the group called
itself, forced its way in at night with a crowbar while much of the
country was watching the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight. When agents
arrived for work the next morning, they found the file cabinets
Within a few weeks, the documents began to show up -- mailed anonymously in manila envelopes with no return address -- in the newsrooms of major American newspapers.
COINTELPRO tactics included discrediting targets through psychological warfare, planting false reports in the media, smearing through forged letters, harassment, wrongful imprisonment, extralegal violence and assassination. Covert operations under COINTELPRO took place between 1956 and 1971, however the FBI has used covert operations against domestic political groups since its inception. READ MORE
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