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2002-06-05

"Me and My Shadow": A History of the FBI’s Covert Operations and COINTELPRO

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The House and Senate intelligence committees on Tuesday began their investigation into whether the FBI and CIA overlooked signals that warned of September 11th.

The committees announced they will investigate the government’s overall response to international terrorism dating back to 1986.The New York Times reports this is an extremely broad charter for the review of the September 11 attacks. Congress will go as far back as Ronald Reagan’s administration, when the C.I.A. created its counterterrorism center.

Well today on Democracy Now! we are traveling back in time even further.

We are going to return to the era of the FBI’s domestic so-called 'counter-intelligence' program that we discussed in our first segment.

In early 1971, Cointelpro came to light when a "Citizens Committee to Investigate the FBI" removed secret files from an FBI office and released them to the press. Agents began to resign from the Bureau and blow the whistle on covert operations that went far beyond intelligence gathering. That same year, publication of the Pentagon Papers, the Pentagon’s top-secret history of the Vietnam War, exposed years of systematic official lies about the war. The public exposure of COINTELPRO and other government abuses resulted in a flurry of apparent reform in the 1970s, but domestic covert action did not end.

We turn now to a radio documentary called "Me and My Shadow: Infiltration Of The Left By The US Government." It was produced for Pacifica radio in 1976, just as the outline of the government’s secret war against the left was beginning to emerge. In the documentary, you’ll hear the voices of agent provocateurs–people the FBI hired to engage in violent acts, and to provoke others to do the same.

Tape:

  • "Me and My Shadow," produced by Adi Gevins and narrated by Don Sorta.

Music:

  • He Got Game–Public Enemy.
  • No More I Love You’s–Annie Lennox.

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