1967 August 25

J. Edgar Hoover Authorizes COINTELPRO Action Against Black Panther Party


FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover on this day authorized a COINTELPRO operation against the Black Panther Party, directing FBI agents to “expose, disrupt, misdirect [and] discredit” the militant African-American group.

COINTELPRO (COunterINtelligence PROgram) was a secret FBI program directed first against the Communist Party but later extended to other groups. The program engaged in illegal actions such as wiretapping, burglaries, theft of documents, and forging documents to discredit the targeted groups. COINTELPRO was not a rogue FBI operation, having been authorized on March 8, 1956, at a meeting of the National Security Council — with neither President Dwight Eisenhower nor Attorney General Herbert Brownell objecting to the planned illegal actions.

The COINTELRO program was first exposed as a result of a burglary of the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, on March 8, 1971, by a group of political activists who stole about 1,000 FBI documents. They then released them to the media (see the book, below). One document contained a cryptic reference to COINTELPRO, and that provided the lead for subsequent investigations.

The full scope of the program was not revealed until the investigations of the Senate Church Committee, which began on January 27, 1975. The Church Committee reports document the fact that presidents approved or were knowledgeable about many FBI abuses.

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

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

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!