1960 August 4

FBI COINTELPRO Memo Orders Disruption of Puerto Rican Independence Organizations

 

An FBI memo on this day ordered the Bureau’s notorious COINTELPRO program to disrupt organizations advocating independence for Puerto Rico. COINTELPRO, created on March 8, 1956, was a secret program that engaged in a variety of illegal activities against targeted organizations, including wiretaps, burglaries, theft, the forging of documents, and the dissemination of disruptive disinformation.

COINTELPRO was originally directed at the Communist Party and other Marxist groups, but was later expanded to target the Ku Klux Klan, on July 30, 1964, and “New Left” political groups on May 9, 1968.

Public knowledge about the secret program began to emerge after activists burglarized the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, on March 8, 1971, and then leaked the stolen documents to the media. Only one document had a cryptic reference to COINTELPRO, but that led to further investigative reporting that eventually exposed COINTELPRO. The full story of COINTELPRO was not revealed until the Senate Church Committee investigation of the intelligence agencies that began on January 27, 1975.

Learn more about the Media burglary and the exposure of COINTELPRO: Betty Medsger, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI (2014)

Learn more from the Senate Church Committee report on COINTELPRO (pp. 1–77): http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/contents/church/contents_church_reports_book3.htm

And more: Ward Churchill and James Vander Wall, The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Domestic Dissent (1990)

Still more: Curt Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets (1991)

Find a Day

Go
Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps

Topics

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!