1973 December 6

NBC Reporter Carl Stern Reveals Secret FBI COINTELPRO Documents


NBC reporter Carl Stern, through a Freedom of Information Act request, obtained the first set of documents related to the FBI’s secret and illegal COINTELPRO program. COINTELPRO involved wiretapping, burglaries, thefts, forgeries of documents, and other actions against targeted left-wing political groups. (It did add the KKK to its list of targets on July 30, 1964). COINTELPRO was approved at a meeting of the National Security Council on March 8, 1956, with President Dwight Eisenhower and Attorney General Herbert Brownell in attendance, neither of whom objected to the planned illegal activities.

The existence of COINTELPRO was first discovered in a single document among thousands stolen by a group of anti-Vietnam War activists, who raided the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, on March 8, 1971 and stole about 1,000 documents. Carl Stern pursued the cryptic reference to the program and diligently pursued it through a FOIA request. The full extent of COINTELPRO was revealed by the Senate Church Committee in 1975–76 (see the report, below).

Read: Betty Medsger, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI (2014)

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

Find a Day

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


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!