COINTELPRO Topics

COINTELPRO is an acronym for the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program, which was used in the 1960s to monitor, manipulate and disrupt social and political movements in the United States. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Black Panthers, anti-Vietnam War activists, and the American Indian Movement were among the program’s targets. Democracy Now! has extensively covered COINTELPRO and its aftermath, as well as similar tactics still used against today’s generation of political activists.

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  • We look back at President Nixon’s political dirty tricks and intelligence-gathering operations that had helped Nixon win re-election over McGovern in 1972. [includes rush transcript]
    Jun 02, 2005 | Story
  • Mark Felt — who was exposed this week as Deep Throat — was one of only two FBI officials ever to be convicted for ordering COINTELPRO operations. In 1980 he was convicted for ordering FBI agents to break into the home of Dohrn and other associates of the Weather Underground. He was later pardoned by President Reagan. Jennifer Dohrn discusses the FBI surveillance, break-ins and a secret FBI proposal to kidnap her infant. Democracy...
    Jun 02, 2005 | Story
  • President Bush has admitted he secretly ordered the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans without ever seeking court approval. Famed constitutional attorney Martin Garbus and former intelligence officer Christopher Pyle both say it is an impeachable offense. We also speak with investigative journalist James Bamford about the history of the NSA. Plus, The New York Times exposed the story, but why did they hold it for more than a...
    Dec 19, 2005 | Story
  • Flores Forbes first joined the Black Panther Party when he was 16 years old. He became the youngest member of the Black Panther’s Central Committee and ended up spending nearly five years in prison for an attempted assassination. Flores is now chief strategic officer of the Abyssinian Development Corporation in Harlem. His new memoir is called "Will You Die With Me? My Life and the Black Panther Party." He joins us in our...
    Nov 22, 2006 | Story
  • The Board of Regents of the University of Colorado in Boulder voted 8 to 1 Tuesday evening to fire tenured professor of ethnic studies Ward Churchill on charges of research misconduct. But Churchill maintains that the allegations were a pretext to remove him for his controversial political views. One day after his firing, Churchill calls the charges a sham and vows a suit against the school. [includes rush transcript]
    Jul 25, 2007 | Story
  • Two Nobel Peace Prize laureates are calling for all charges to be dropped against eight former Black Panthers arrested earlier this year for allegedly killing a San Francisco police officer over 35 years ago. Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mairead Maguire said the charges against the San Francisco Eight should be dropped, because the case is based in part on statements made under torture. Harold Taylor, one of the co-defendants, gives a detailed...
    Nov 30, 2007 | Story
  • The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated forty years ago today. He was in Memphis, Tennessee to march with sanitation workers demanding a better wage. We spend the hour on his life and legacy. We hear from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was with King at the Lorraine Motel, where he was killed; Harry Belafonte, who was with Coretta Scott King at the King home in Atlanta on April 4, 1968; Dr. Vincent Harding, a close friend and...
    Apr 04, 2008 | Story
  • We take a look at one of the most famous special Senate investigations of government misconduct. In the mid-1970s, a US Senate committee chaired by Democratic Senator Frank Church of Idaho conducted a massive investigation of the CIA and FBI’s misuse of power at home and abroad. The multi-year investigation examined domestic spying, the CIA’s attempts to assassinate foreign leaders, the FBI and CIA’s efforts to infiltrate and...
    Apr 24, 2009 | Story
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    Back in the Watergate era, the Church Committee documented and exposed extraordinary abuses by the government. Of course some people tried to block its work—Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Sound familiar? We confront a similar challenge today.

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    Apr 29, 2009 | Columns & Articles
  • Dunn1
    Newly declassified documents reveal that an active member of Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance in Washington state was actually an informant for the US military. The man everyone knew as "John Jacob" was in fact John Towery, a member of the Force Protection Service at Fort Lewis. The military’s role in the spying raises questions about possibly illegal activity. The Posse Comitatus law bars...
    Jul 28, 2009 | Story