1975 July 14

FBI Director Admits to History of Illegal “Black Bag” (Burglary) Jobs


In testimony before the Senate Church Committee on this day, FBI Director Clarence Kelley admitted to a history of FBI burglaries, which the Bureau called “black bag” jobs. FBI “black bag” jobs began around 1940-1941. They were formally approved by the Eisenhower administration on March 8, 1956, as part of the notorious COINTELPRO program.

Director Kelly’s statement was a rare –and perhaps the first-ever– admission of wrongdoing by the FBI.

The Church Committee was established on January 27, 1975, to investigate abuses by the intelligence agencies, including the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA. It’s most sensational revelation involved CIA plots to assassinate leaders of foreign countries, including Fidel Castro of Cuba, which President Gerald Ford banned on February 18, 1976.

Read the Senate Church Committee report on FBI “black bag” jobs (pp. 353–371): http://aarclibrary.org/publib/contents/church/contents_church_reports_book3.htm

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

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