1968: The Global Revolutions

Under Pressure > Hoover Launches COINTELPRO

In the spring of 1968, reacting to the “disruption and violence caused to a large extent by … the New Left,” J. Edgar Hoover informed FBI officers of the creation of a “Counterintelligence Program,” which would come to be known as COINTELPRO. The purpose of the top-secret program was “to expose, disrupt and otherwise neutralize” the activities of protest leaders and organizations. FBI agents used dirty tricks, such as sending fake letters to people’s parents, or publishing counterfeit newspaper articles under activists’ bylines – to discredit them with their comrades and the wider public. In its targeting of black radicals, and especially members of the Black Panther Party, COINTELPRO operations deployed informants, disinformation, entrapment, and direct violence in ways that were vicious, and often lethal.

International News Photo
J. Edgar Hoover, 1950
The New Leader Records

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Confidential Memoranda, 1968
Amiri Baraka Papers

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