Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans
TO STUDY GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS
WITH RESPECT TO
UNITED STATES SENATE
TOGETHER WITH ADDITIONAL, SUPPLEMENTAL, AND SEPARATE
APRIL 26 (legislative day, April 14), 1976
POLITICAL ABUSE OF INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION
OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE
TO STUDY GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS
WITH RESPECT TO
UNITED STATES SENATE
TOGETHER WITH ADDITIONAL, SUPPLEMENTAL, AND SEPARATE VIEWS
APRIL 26 (legislative day, April 14), 1976
POLITICAL ABUSE OF INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION
The Committee finds that information has been collected and disseminated
in order to serve the purely political interests of an intelligence agency or
the administration, and to influence social policy and political action.
(a) White House officials have requested and obtained politically useful
information from the FBI, including information on the activities of political
opponents or critics.
(b) In some cases, political or personal information was not specifically
requested, but was nevertheless collected and disseminated to administration
officials as part of investigations they had requested. Neither the FBI nor
the recipients differentiated in these cases between national security or law
enforcement information and purely political intelligence.
c) The FBI has also volunteered information to Presidents and their staffs,
without having been asked for it, sometimes apparently to curry favor with
the current administration. Similarly, the FBI has assembled intelligence on
its critics and on political figures it believed might influence public attitudes
or Congressional support.
(d) The FBI has also used intelligence as a vehicle for covert efforts to
influence social policy and political action. (Think OWC)
Elaboration of Findings
The FBI's ability to gather information without effective restraints gave it
enormous power. That power was inevitably attractive to politicians, who
could use information on opponents and critics for their own advantage,
and was also an asset to the Bureau, which depended on politicians for
support. In the political arena, as in other facets of American life touched by
the intelligence community, the existence of unchecked power led to its abuse.
By providing politically useful information to the White House and congressional
supporters, sometimes on demand and sometimes gratuitously, the Bureau buttressed
its own position in the political structure. At the same time, the widespread -- and
accurate -- belief in Congress and the administration that the Bureau had available to
it, derogatory information on politicians and critics created what the late Majority
Leader of the House of Representatives, Hale Boggs, called a "fear" of the Bureau:
Freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of action for men in public life
can be compromised quite as effectively by the fear of surveillance as by
the fact of surveillance. 1
Information gathered and disseminated to the White House ranged from purely
political intelligence, such as lobbying efforts on bills all administration opposed
and the strategy of a delegate challenge at a national political convention, to "tidbits"
about the activities of politicians and public figures which the Bureau believed
"of interest" to the recipients.
Such participation in political machinations by an intelligence agency is totally
improper. Responsibility for what amounted to a betrayal of the public trust
in the integrity of the FBI must be shared between the officials who requested
such information and those who provided it.
The Bureau's collection and dissemination of politically useful information was
not colored by partisan considerations; rather its effect was to entrench the
Bureau's own position in the political structure, regardless of which party was
in power at the time. However, the Bureau also used its powers to serve ideological
purposes, attempting covertly to influence social policy and political action.
In its efforts to "protect society," the FBI engaged in activities which necessarily
affected the processes by which American citizens make decisions. In doing
so, it distorted and exaggerated facts, made use of the mass media, and attacked
the leadership of groups which it considered threats to the social order.
Law enforcement officers are, of course, entitled to state their opinions about
what choices the people should make on contemporary social and political issues.
The First Amendment guarantees their right to enter the marketplace of ideas
and persuade their fellow citizens of the correctness of those opinions by
making speeches, writing books, and, within certain statutory limits, supporting
political candidates. The problem lies not in the open expression of views, but
in the covert use of power or position of trust to influence others. This abuse
is aggravated by the agency's control over information on which the public and
its elected representatives rely to make decisions.
The essence of democracy is the belief that the people must be free to make
decisions about matters of public policy. The FBI's actions interfered with the
democratic process, because attitudes within the Bureau toward social change
led to the belief that such intervention formed a part of its obligation to protect
society. When a governmental agency clandestinely tries to impose its views of
what is right upon the American people, then the democratic process is undermined.
White House officials have requested and obtained politically useful information
from the FBI, including personal life information on the activities of political
opponents or critics.
Presidents and White House aides have asked the FBI to provide political or
personal information on opponents and critics, including "name checks" of
Bureau files. 2 They have also asked the Bureau to conduct electronic surveillance
or more limited investigations of such persons. The FBI appears to have complied
unquestioningly with these requests, despite occasional internal doubts about
their propriety. 3
Precedents for certain political abuses go back to the very outset of the domestic
intelligence program. In 1940 the FBI complied with President Roosevelt's request
to file the names of people sending critical telegrams to the White House. 4
There is evidence of improper electronic surveillance for the White House in
the 1940s. 5 And an aide to President Eisenhower asked the FBI to conduct
a questionable name check. 6 In 1962, the FBI complied unquestioningly with
a request from Attorney General Kennedy to interview a steel executive and
several reporters who had written stories about a statement by the executive. 7
As part of an investigation of foreign lobbying efforts on sugar quota
legislation in 1961 and 1962, Attorney General Kennedy requested wiretaps
on a Congressional aide, three executive officials, and two American lobbyists,
including a Washington law firm. 8
Nevertheless, the political misuse of the FBI under the Johnson and Nixon
administrations appears to have been more extensive than in previous years.
Under the Johnson administration, the FBI was used to gather and report political
intelligence on the, administration's partisan opponents in the last days of the
1964 and 1968 Presidential election campaigns. In the closing days of the
1964 campaign, Presidential aide Bill Moyers asked the Bureau to conduct
"name checks" on all persons employed in Senator Goldwater's Senate office,
and information on two staff members was reported to the White House. 9
Similarly, in the last two weeks of the 1968 campaign, the Johnson White House
requested an investigation (including indirect electronic surveillance and direct
physical surveillance) of Mrs. Anna Chennault, a prominent Republican leader,
and her relationships with certain South Vietnamese officials. 10 This investigation
also included an FBI check of Vice Presidential candidate Spiro Agnew's long
distance telephone call records, apparently at the personal request of President
Another investigation for the Johnson White House involved executive branch
officials who took part in the criminal investigation of former Johnson Senate
aide Bobby Baker. When Baker's trial began in 1967, it was revealed that one
of the government witnesses had been "wired" to record his conversations
with Baker. Presidential aide Marvin Watson told the FBI that Johnson was quite
"exercised," and the Bureau was ordered to conduct a discreet "run down" on
the former head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division and four Treasury
Department officials who had been responsible for "wiring" the witness.
The Bureau was specifically insisted to include any associations between those
persons and Robert Kennedy. 12
Several Johnson White House requests were directed at critics of the war in
Vietnam, at newsmen, and at other opponents. According a Bureau memorandum,
White House aide Marvin Watson attempted to disguise his, and the President's
interest in such requests asking the FBI to channel its replies through a lower
level White House staff member. 13
In 1966, Watson asked the FBI to monitor the televised hearings of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee on Vietnam policy and prepare a memorandum
comparing statements of the President's Senate critics with "the Communist
Party line."14 Similarly, in 1967 when seven Senators made statements criticizing
the bombing of North Vietnam, Watson requested (and the Bureau delivered)
a "blind memorandum" setting forth information from FBI files on each of the
Senators. Among the data supplied were the following items:
Senator Clark was quoted in the press as stating that the three major threats
to America are the military-industrial complex, the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
and the Central Intelligence Agency.
Senator McGovern spoke at a rally sponsored by the Chicago, Committee for a
Sane Nuclear Policy, a pacifist group. Senator McGovern stated that the "United
States was making too much of the communist take-over of Cuba."
[Another Senator now deceased] has, on many occasions, publicly criticized United
States policy toward Vietnam. He frequently speaks before groups throughout
the United States on this subject. He has been reported as intentionally entering
into controversial areas so that his services as a speaker for which he receives a fee,
will be in demand. 15
The Johnson administration also requested information on contacts between
members of Congress and certain foreign officials known to oppose the United
States presence in Vietnam. According to FBI records, President Johnson
believed these foreign officials had generated "much of the protest concerning
his Vietnam policy, particularly the hearings in the Senate." 16
White House requests were not limited to critical Congressmen. Ordinary citizens
who sent telegrams protesting the Vietnam war to the White House were also
the subject of Watson requests for FBI name check reports. 17 Presidential aide
Jake Jacobsen asked for name checks on persons whose names appeared in the
Congressional Record as signers of a letter to Senator Wayne Morse expressing
support for his criticism of U.S. Vietnam policy. 18 On at least one occasion,
a request was channeled through Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who supplied
Watson (at the latter's request) with a summary of information on the National
Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. 19
Other individuals who were the subject of such name check requests under the
Johnson Administration included NBC Commentator David Brinkley, 20 Associated
Press reporter Peter Arnett, 21 columnist Joseph Kraft, 22 Life magazine
Washington bureau chief Richard Stolley, 23 Chicago Daily News Washington
bureau chief Peter Lisagor, 24 and Ben W. Gilbert of the Washington Post. 25
The Johnson White House also requested (and received) name check reports on
the authors of books critical of the Warren Commission report; some of these reports
included derogatory information about the personal lives of the individuals. 26
The Nixon administration continued the practice of using the FBI to produce
political information. In 1969 John Ehrlichman, counsel to President Nixon,
asked the FBI to conduct a "name check" on Joseph Duffy, chairman of Americans
for Democratic Action. Data in Bureau files covered Duffy's "handling arrangements"
for an antiwar teach-in in 1965, his position as State Coordinator of the
group "Negotiation Now" in 1967, and his activity as chairman of Connecticut
Citizens for McCarthy in 1968. 26a
Presidential aide H. R. Haldeman requested a name check on CBS reporter Daniel
Schorr. In this instance, the FBI mistakenly considered the request to be for a full
background investigation and began to conduct interviews. These interviews made
the inquiry public. Subsequently, White House officials stated (falsely) that Schorr
was under consideration for an executive appointment. 27 In another case, a Bureau
memorandum states that Vice President Agnew asked the FBI for information about
Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, then head of the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference, for use in "destroying Abernathy's credibility." 28 (Agnew has denied
that he made such a request, but agrees that he received the information.) 29
Several White House requests involved the initiation of electronic surveillance.
Apparently on the instructions of President Nixon's aide John Ehrlichman and
Director Hoover, FBI Assistant Director William C. Sullivan arranged for the
microphone surveillance of the hotel room of columnist Joseph Kraft while he
was visiting a foreign country. 30 Kraft was also the target of physical surveillance
by the FBI. 31 There is no record of any specific "national security" rationale
for the surveillance.
Similarly, although the "17" wiretaps were authorized ostensibly to investigate
national security "leaks," there is no record in three of the cases of any national
security claim having been advanced in their support. Two of the targets were
domestic affairs advisers at the White House, with no foreign affairs duties and
no access to foreign policy materials. 32 A third was a White House speechwriter
who had been overheard on an existing tap agreeing to provide a reporter with
background on a presidential speech concerning, not foreign policy, but revenue
sharing and welfare reform. 33
In some cases, political or personal information was not specifically requested,
but was nevertheless collected and disseminated to administration officials
as part of investigations they had requested. Neither the FBI nor the recipients
differentiated in these cases between national security or law enforcement
information and purely political intelligence.
In some instances, the initial request for or dissemination of information was
premised upon law enforcement or national security purposes. However,
pursuant to such a request, information was furnished which obviously could
serve only partisan or personal interests. As one Bureau official summarized its
attitude, the FBI "did not decide what was political or what represented potential
strife and violence. We are an investigative agency and we passed on all data." 34
Examples from the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations
illustrate this failure to distinguish between political and nonpolitical intelligence.
They include, the FBI's reports to the White House in 1956 on NAACP lobbying
activities, the intelligence about the legislative process produced by the "sugar
lobby" wiretaps in 1961-1962, the purely political data disseminated to the
White House on the credentials challenge in the 1964 Democratic Convention,
and dissemination of both political and personal information from the "leak"
wiretaps in 1969-1972.
(i) The NAACP
In early 1956 Director Hoover sent the White House a memorandum describing
the "potential for violence" in the current "racial situation". 35 Later reports
to the White House, however, went far beyond intelligence about possible
violence; they included extensive inside information about NAACP lobbying
efforts, such as the following:
A report on "meetings held in Chicago" in connection with a planned Leadership
Conference on Civil Rights to be held in Washington under the sponsorship
of the NAACP. 36
An extensive report on the Leadership Conference, based on the Bureau's
"reliable sources" and describing plans of Conference delegations to visit
Senators Paul Douglas, Herbert Lehman, Wayne Morse, Hubert Humphrey,
and John Bricker. The report also summarized a speech by Roy Wilkins, other
conference proceedings, and the report of "an informant" that the United
Auto Workers was a "predominant organization" at the conference. 37
Another report on the conference included an account of what transpired
at meetings between conference delegations and Senators Paul Douglas
and Everett Dirksen. 38
A report including the information that two New Jersey congressmen would
sign a petition to the Attorney General. 39
A presidential aide suggested that Hoover brief the Cabinet on "developments
in the South." 40 Director Hoover's Cabinet briefing also included political
intelligence. He covered not only the NAACP conference, but also the speeches
and political activities of Southern Senators and Governors and the formation of
the Federation for Constitutional Government with Southern Congressmen and
Governors on its advisory board. 41
(ii) The Sugar Lobby
The electronic surveillance of persons involved in a foreign country's lobbying
activities on sugar quota legislation in 1961-1962, authorized by Attorney
General Robert Kennedy for the White House, also produced substantial political
intelligence unrelated to the activities of foreign officiaIs. 42
Such information came from wiretaps both on foreign officials and on American
citizens, as well as from the microphone surveillance of the chairman of the House
Agriculture Committee when he met with foreign officials in a New York hotel room.
43 The following are examples of the purely political (and personal) by-product:
A particular lobbyist "mentioned he is working on the Senate and has the
Republicans all lined up." 44
The same lobbyist said that "he had seen two additional representatives on
the House Agriculture Committee, one of whom was 'dead set against us'
and who may reconsider, and the other was neutral and 'may vote for us.' " 45
The Agriculture Committee chairman believed "he had accomplished nothing"
and that "he had been fighting over the Rules Committee and this had interfered
with his attempt to organize." 46
The "friend" of a foreign official "was under strong pressure from the present
administration, and since the 'friend' is a Democrat, it would be very difficult
for him to present a strong front to a Democratic Administration." 17
A lobbyist stated that Secretary of State Rusk "had received a friendly reception
by the Committee and there appeared to be no problem with regard to
the sugar bill." 48
A foreign official was reported to be in contact with two Congressmen's
secretaries "for reasons other than business." The official asked one of
the secretaries to tell the other that he "would not be able to call her that
evening" and that one of his associates "was planning to take [the two
secretaries and another Congressional aide] to Bermuda." 49
The FBI's own evaluation of these wiretaps indicates that they "undoubtedly ...
contributed heavily to the Administration's success" in passing the legislation
it desired. 50
(iii) The 1964 Democratic Convention
Political reports were disseminated by the FBI to the White House from the
1964 Democratic convention in Atlantic City. These reports, from the FBI's "special
squad" at the convention, apparently resulted from a civil disorders intelligence
investigation which got out of hand because no one was willing to shut off
the partisan by-product. 51 They centered on the Mississippi Freedom Democratic
Party's credentials challenge. Examples of the political intelligence which flowed
from FBI surveillance at the 1964 convention include the following: 52
Dr. Martin Luther King and an associate "were drafting a telegram to President
Johnson . . . to register a mild protest. According to King, the President pledged
complete neutrality regarding the selecting of the proper Mississippi delegation
to be seated at the convention. King feels that the Credentials Committee will
turn down the Mississippi Freedom Party and that they are doing this because
the President exerted pressure on the committee along this line." 53
Another associate of Dr. King contacted a member of the MFDP who "said
she thought King should see Governor Endicott Peabody of Massachusetts,
Mayor Robert Wagner of New York City, Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown
of California, Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago, and Governor John W. King
of New Hampshire." The purpose was "to urge them to call the White House
directly and put pressure on the White House in behalf of the MFDP." 54
"MFDP leaders have asked Reverend King to call Governor Egan of Alaska and
Governor Burns of Hawaii in an attempt to enlist their support. According
to the MFDP spokesman, the Negro Mississippi Party needs these two states
plus California and New York for the roll call tonight." 55
An SCLC staff member told a representative of the MFDP: "Off the record,
of course, you know we will accept the Green compromise proposed." This
referred t "the proposal of Congresswoman Edith Green of Oregon." 56
In a discussion between Dr. King and another civil rights leader, the question
of "a Vice- Presidential nominee came up and King asked what [the other leader]
thought of Hugh [sic] Humphrey, and [the other leader] said Hugh Humphrey is not
going to get it, that Johnson needs a Catholic ... and therefore the Vice-President
will be Muskie of Maine." 57
An unsigned White House memorandum disclosing Dr. King's strategy in
connection with a meeting to be, attended by President Johnson suggests
that there was political use of these FBI reports. 58
(iv) The "17" Wiretaps.
The Nixon White House learned a substantial amount of purely political intelligence
from wiretaps to investigate "leaks" of classified information placed on three
newsmen and fourteen executive officials during 1969-1971. 59 The following
illustrate the range
of data supplied:
One of the targets "recently stated that he was to spend an hour with Senator
Kennedy's Vietnam man, as Senator Kennedy is giving a speech on the 15th." 60
Another target said that Senator Fulbright postponed congressional hearings
on Vietnam because he did not believe they would be popular at that time. 61
A well-known television news correspondent "was very distressed over having
been 'singled out' by the Vice President." 62
A friend of one of the targets said the Washington Star planned to do an
article critical of Henry Kissinger. 63
One of the targets helped former Ambassador Sargent Shriver write a press
release criticizing a recent speech by President Nixon in which the President
"attacked" certain Congressmen. 64
One of the targets told a friend it "is clear the Administration will win on
the ABM by a two-vote margin. He said 'They've got [a Senator] and they've
got [another Senator].'." 65
A friend of one of the targets wanted to see if a Senator would "buy a new
amendment" and stated that "they" were "going to meet with" another Senator. 66
A friend of one of the targets described a Senator as "marginal" on the
Cooper-Church Amendment and stated that another Senator might be
persuaded to support it. 67
One of the targets said Senator Mondale was in a "dilemma" over the "trade bill." 68
A friend of one of the targets said he had spoken to former President Johnson and
"Johnson would not back Senator Muskie for the Presidency as he intended to
stay out of politics." 69
There is at least one clear example of the political use of such information.
After the FBI Director informed the White House that former Secretary of Defense
Clark Clifford planned to write a magazine article criticizing President Nixon's
Vietnam policy, 70
White House aide Jeb Stuart Magruder advised John Ehrlichman and H. R.
Haldeman that "we are in a position to counteract this article in any number
of ways." 71
It is also significant that, after May 1970, the FBI Director's letters summarizing
the results of the wiretaps were no longer sent to Henry Kissinger, the President's
national security advisor, but to the President's political advisor, H. R. Haldeman. 72
These four illustrations from administrations of both political parties indicate
clearly that direct channels of communication between top FBI officials and the
White House, combined with the failure to screen out extraneous information,
and coupled with overly broad investigations in the first instance, have been
sources of flagrant political abuse of the intelligence process. 73
The FBI has also volunteered information to Presidents and their staffs,
without having been asked for it, sometimes apparently to curry favor with
the current administration. Similarly, the FBI has assembled information on its
critics and on political figures it believed might influence public attitudes
or Congressional support.
There have been numerous instances over the past three decades where the
FBI volunteered to its superiors purely political or personal information believed
by the FBI Director to be "of interest" to them. 74
The following are examples of the information in Director Hoover's letters under
the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations. 75
To Major General Harry Vaughn, Military Aide to President Truman, a report
on the activities of a former Roosevelt aide who was trying to influence the
Truman administration's appointments. 76
To Matthew J. Connelly, Secretary to President Truman, a report from a "very
confidential source" about a meeting of newspaper representatives in Chicago
to plan publication of stories exposing organized crime and corrupt politicians. 77
To Dillon Anderson, Special Assistant to President Eisenhower, the advance
text of a speech to be delivered by a prominent labor leader. 78
To Robert Cutler, Special Assistant to President Eisenhower, a report of a
"confidential source" on plans of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt to hold a reception
for the head of a civil rights group. 19
To Attorney General Robert Kennedy, information from a Bureau "source"
regarding plans of a group to publish allegations about the President's personal life. 80
To Attorney General Kennedy, a summary of material in FBI files on a prominent
entertainer which the FBI Director thought "may be of interest". 81
To Marvin Watson, Special Assistant to President Johnson, a summary of data
in Bureau files on the author of a play satirizing the President. 82
As these illustrations indicate, the FBI Director provided such data to
administrations of both political parties without apparent partisan favoritism. 83
Additionally, during the Nixon Administration, the FBI's INLET (Intelligence
Letter) Program for sending regular short summaries of FBI intelligence to the
White House was used on one occasion to provide information on the purely
personal relationship between an entertainer and the subject of an FBI domestic
intelligence investigation. 84
SACs were instructed under the INLET program to submit to Bureau headquarters
items with an "unusual twist" or regarding "prominent" persons.
One reason for the Bureau's volunteering information to the White House was
to please the Administration and thus presumably to build high-level political
support for the FBI. Thus, a 1975 Bureau report on the Atlantic City episode states:
One [agent said], "I would like to state that at no time did I ever consider (it)
to be a political operation but it was obvious that DeLoach wanted to impress
Jenkins and Moyers with the Bureau's ability to develop information which
would be of interest to them." Furthermore, in response to a question as to
whether the Bureau's services were being utilized for political reasons, [another]
answered, "No. I do recall, however, that on one occasion I was present when
DeLoach held a lengthy telephone conversation with Walter Jenkins. They
appeared to be discussing the President's 'image.' At the end of the conversation
DeLoach told us something to the effect, 'that may have sounded a little political
to you but this doesn't do the Bureau any harm.'" 86
In addition to providing information useful to superiors, the Bureau assembled
information on its own critics and on political figures it believed might influence
public attitudes or congressional support. FBI Director Hoover had massive amounts
of information at his fingertips. As indicated above, he could have the Bureau's
files checked on anyone of interest to him. He personally received political
information and "personal tidbits" from the special agents in charge of FBI field
offices.87 This information, both from the files and Hoover's personal sources,
was available to discredit critics.
The following are examples of how the Bureau disseminated information to
discredit its opponents:
In 1949 the FBI provided Attorney General J. Howard McGrath and Presidential
aide Harry Vaughn inside information on plans of the Lawyers Guild to denounce
Bureau surveillance so they would have an opportunity to prepare a rebuttal
well in advance of the expected criticism. 88
In 1960, when the Knoxville Area Human Relations Council in Tennessee
charged that the FBI was practicing racial discrimination, the Bureau conducted
name checks on members of the Council's board of directors and sent the results
to Attorney General William Rogers, including derogatory personal allegations and
political affiliations from as far back as the late thirties and early forties. 89
When a reporter wrote stories critical of the Bureau, he was not only refused
any further interviews, but an FBI official in charge of press relations also spread
derogatory personal information about him to other newsmen. 90
The Bureau also maintained a "not to contact list' of "those individuals known
to be hostile to the Bureau." Director Hoover specifically ordered that
"each name" on the list "should be the subject of memo." 91
This request for "a memo" on each critic meant that, before someone was placed
on the list, the Director received, in effect, a "name check" report summarizing "what
we had in our files" on the individual. 92
In addition to assembling information on critics, name checks were run as
a matter of regular Bureau policy on all "newly elected Governors and
Congressmen." The Crime Records Division instructed the field offices to submit
"summary memoranda" on such officials, covering both "public source information"
and "any other information that they had in their files." 93
These "summary memoranda" were provided to Director Hoover and maintained
in the Crime Records Division for use in "congressional liaison" -- which the
Division head said included "selling" hostile Congressmen on "liking the FBI." 94
It has been widely believed among Members of Congress that the Bureau
had information on each of them. 95
The impact of that belief led Congressman Boggs to state:
"Our apathy in this Congress, our silence in this House,
our very fear of speaking out
in other forums has watered the roots and hastened the growth
of a vine of tyranny
which is ensnaring that Constitution and Bill of Rights
which we are each sworn to uphold."
"Our society can survive many challenges and many threats."
"It cannot survive a planned and programmed fear
of its own government bureaus and agencies. 96
(Congressman Boggs was Cokie Roberts' father.)
The FBI has also used intelligence as a vehicle for covert efforts to
influence social policy and political action.
The FBI's interference with the democratic process was not the result of any
overt decision to reshape society in conformance with Bureau-approved norms.
Rather, the Bureau's actions were the natural consequence of attitudes
within the Bureau toward social change, combined with a strong sense of duty
to protect society-- even from its own "wrong" choices.
The FBI saw itself as the guardian of the public order, and believed that it had
a responsibility to counter threats to that order, using any means available. 97
At the same time, the Bureau's assessment of what constituted a "threat"
was influenced by its attitude toward the forces of change. In effect, the
Bureau chose sides in the major social movements of the last fifteen years,
and then attacked the other side with the unchecked power at its disposal.
The clearest proof of the Bureau's attitude toward change is its own rhetoric.
The language used in internal documents which were not intended to be disseminated
outside the Bureau is that of the highly charged polemic revealing clear biases.
For example, in one of its annual internal reports on COINTELPRO, the Bureau
took pride in having given "the lie" to what it called "the Communist canard" that
"the Negro is downtrodden and has no opportunities in America."
This was accomplished by placing a story in a newspaper in which a "wealthy
industrialist" stated that "the Negro will have to earn respectability and
a responsible position in the community before he is accepted as an equal."
It is significant that this view was expressed at about the same time as the
civil rights movement's March on Washington, which was intended to focus
public attention on the denial of opportunities to black Americans, and which
rejected the view that inalienable rights have to be "earned." 98
The rhetoric used in dealing with the Vietnam War and those in opposition to it
is even more revealing. The war in Vietnam produced sharply divided opinions
in the country; again, the Bureau knew which side it was on. For instance, fifty copies
of an article entitled "Rabbi in Vietnam Says Withdrawal Not The Answer"
were anonymously mailed by the FBI to members of the Vietnam Day Committee to
"convince" the recipients "of the correctness of the U.S. foreign policy in Vietnam." 99
The Bureau also ordered copies of a film called "While Brave Men Die" which
depicted "communists, left-wing and pacifist activities associated with the so-called
'peace movement' or student agitational demonstrations in opposition to the
United States position in Vietnam." The film was to be used for training Bureau
personnel in connection with "increased responsibilities relating to communist
inspired student agitational activities." 100
In the same vein, a directive to the Chicago field office shortly after the 1968
Democratic Convention instructed it to "obtain all possible evidence" that would
"disprove" charges that the Chicago police used undue force in dealing with
antiwar demonstrations at the Convention:
Once again, the liberal press and the bleeding hearts and the forces on the left
are taking advantage of the situation in Chicago surrounding the Democratic
National Convention to attack the police and organized law enforcement agencies....
We should be mindful of this situation and develop all possible evidence
to expose this activity and to refute these false allegations. 101
The Bureau also attempted to enforce its view of sexual morality. For example,
two students became COINTELPRO targets when they defended the use of a
four-letter word, even though the demonstration in which they participated
"does not appear to be inspired by the New Left," because it "shows
obvious disregard for decency and established morality." 102
An anonymous letter purportedly from an irate parent and an article entitled
"Free Love Comes to Austin" were mailed to a state senator and the chairman
of the University of Texas Board of Regents to aid in "forcing the University to
take action against those administrators who are permitting an atmosphere
to build up on campus that will be a fertile field for the New Left." 103
And a field office was outraged at the distribution on campus of a newspaper
called SCREW, which was described as "containing a type of filth that could
only originate in a depraved mind. It is representative of the type of mentality that is
following the New Left theory of immorality on certain college campuses." 104
As these examples demonstrate, the FBI believed it had a duty to maintain the
existing social and political order. Whether or not one agrees with
the Bureau's views, it is profoundly disturbing that an agency of the government
secretly attempted to impose its views on the American people.
(i) Use of the Media
The FBI attempted to influence public opinion by supplying information or
articles to "confidential sources" in the news media. The FBI's Crime
Records Division 105 was responsible for covert liaison with the media
to advance two main domestic intelligence objectives: 106
(1) providing derogatory information to the media intended to generally discredit
the activities or ideas of targeted groups or individuals; and
(2) disseminating unfavorable articles, news releases, and background information
in order to disrupt particular activities.
Typically, a local FBI agent would provide information to a "friendly news source"
on the condition "that the Bureau's interest in these matters is to be kept in
the strictest confidence." 107 Thomas E. Bishop, former Director of the Crime
Records Division, testified that he kept a list of the Bureau's "press friends"
in his desk. 108
Bishop and one of his predecessors indicated that the FBI sometimes refused
to cooperate with reporters critical of the Bureau or its Director. 109
Bishop stated that as a "general rule," the Bureau disseminated only "public
record information" to its media contacts, but this category was viewed
by the Bureau to include any information which could conceivably be obtained
by close scrutiny of even the most obscure publications. 110
Within these parameters, background information supplied to reporters "in most
cases [could] include everything" in the Bureau files on a targeted individual; the
selection of information for publication would be left to the reporter's judgment. 111
There are numerous examples of authorization for the preparation and dissemination
of unfavorable information to discredit generally the activities and ideas of a target; 112
-- FBI headquarters solicited information from field offices "on a continuing basis" for
"prompt ... dissemination to the news media ... to discredit the New Left movement
and its adherents." Headquarters requested, among other things, that:
specific data should be furnished depicting the scurrilous and depraved nature
of many of the characters, activities, habits and living conditions
representative of New Left adherents.
Field Offices were to be exhorted that "Every avenue of possible embarrassment
must be vigorously and enthusiastically explored." 113
-FBI headquarters authorized a Field Office to furnish a media contact with
"background information and any arrest record" on a man affiliated with
"a radical New Left element" who had been "active in showing films on the
Black Panthers and police in action at various universities during student rioting."
The media contact had requested material from the Bureau which
"would have a detrimental effect on [the target's] activities." 114
-- Photographs depicting a radical group's apartment as "a shambles
with lewd, obscene and revolutionary slogans displayed on the walls" were
furnished to a free-lance writer. The directive from headquarters said:
"As this publicity will be
derogatory in nature and might serve to neutralize the group,
it is being approved." 115
-- The Boston Field Office was authorized to furnish "derogatory information
about the Nation of Islam (NOI) to established source [name excised]":
Your suggestions concerning material to furnish [name] are good. Emphasize
to him that the NOI predilection for violence, preaching of race hatred, and
hypocrisy, should be exposed. Material furnished [name] should be either public
source or known to enough people as to protect your sources. Insure the
Bureau's interest in this matter is completely protected by [name]. 116
One Bureau-inspired documentary on the NOI reached an audience of 200,000. 117
Although the public was to be convinced that the NOI was "violent", the Bureau
knew this was not in fact true of the organization as a whole. 118
-- The Section which supervised the COINTELPRO against the Communist
Party intended to discredit a couple "identified with the Community Party movement"
by preparing a news release on the drug arrest of their son, which was to be
furnished to "news media contacts and sources on Capitol Hill." A Bureau official
observed that the son's "arrest and the Party connections of himself and his
parents presents an excellent opportunity for exploitation.'' The news release noted
that "the Russian-born mother is currently under a deportation order"
and had a former marriage to the son of a prominent Communist Party member.
The release added: "the Red Chinese have long used narcotics to help
weaken the youth of target countries." 119
-- When the wife of a Communist Party leader purchased a new car, the FBI prepared
a news item for distribution to "a cooperative news media source" mocking the leader's
"prosperity" "as a disruptive tactic." The item commented sarcastically that "comrades
of the self-proclaimed leader of the American working class should not allow this example
of [the leader's] prosperity to discourage their continued contributions to Party coffers."120
-- After a public meeting in New York City, where "the handling of the [JFK assassination]
investigation was criticized," the FBI prepared a news item for placement "with a
cooperative news media source" to discredit the meeting on the grounds that "a reliable
[FBI] source" had reported a "convicted perjurer and identified espionage agent
as present in the audience." 121
-- As part of the New Left COINTELPRO, the FBI sent a letter under a fictitious name to
Life magazine to "call attention to the unsavory character" of the editor of an underground
magazine, who was characterized as "one of the moving forces behind the Youth
International Party, commonly known as the Yippies." To counteract a recent Life "article
favorable" to the Yippie editor, the FBI's fictitious letter said that "the cuckoo editor
of an unimportant smutty little rag" should be "left in the sewers." 122
Much of the Bureau's use of the media to influence public opinion was directed
at disrupting specific activities or plans of targeted groups or individuals:
-- In March 1968, FBI Headquarters granted authority for furnishing to a "cooperative
national news media source" an article "designed to curtail success of Martin Luther King's
fund raising" for the poor people's march on Washington, D.C. by asserting that
"an embarrassment of riches has befallen King . . . and King doesn't need the money. 123
To further this objective, Headquarters authorized the Miami Office "to furnish data
concerning money wasted by the Poor People's Campaign" to a friendly news reporter
on the usual condition that "the Bureau must not be revealed as the source." 124
The Section Chief in charge of the Black Nationalist COINTELPRO also recommended
that "photographs of demonstrators" at the march should be furnished; he
attached six photographs of Poor People's Campaign participants at a Cleveland rally,
accompanied by the note: "These show the militant, aggressive appearance
of the participants and might be of interest to a cooperative news source." 125
--As part of the New Left COINTELPRO, authority was granted to the Atlanta Field Office
to furnish a newspaper editor who had "written numerous editorials praising the Bureau"
with "information to supplement that already known to him from public sources
concerning subversive influences in the Atlanta peace movement. His use of this material
in well-timed articles would be used to thwart the [upcoming] demonstrations." 126
-- An FBI Special Agent in Chicago contacted a reporter for a major newspaper to
arrange for the publication of an article which was expected to "greatly encourage
factional antagonisms during the SDS Convention" by publicizing the attempt of "an
underground communist organization" to take over SDS. This contact resulted in an
article headlined "Red Unit Seeks SDS Rule." 127
-- FBI Director Hoover approved a Field Office plan "to get cooperative news media
to cover closed meetings of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and
other New Left groups" with the aim of "disrupting them." 128
-- Several months after COINTELPRO operations were supposed to have terminated,
the FBI attempted to discredit attorney Leonard Boudin at the time of his defense of
Daniel Ellsberg in the Pentagon Papers case. The FBI "called to the attention" of the
Washington bureau chief of a major news service information on Boudin's alleged
"sympathy" and "legal services" for "communist causes." The reporter placed a detailed
news release on the wires which cited Boudin's "identification with Leftist causes"
and included references to the arrest of Boudin's daughter, his legal representation
of the Cuban government and "Communist sympathizer" Paul Robeson, and the
statement that "his name also has been connected with a number of other alleged
communist front groups." In a handwritten note, J. Edgar Hoover directed
that copies of the news release be sent to "Haldeman, A. G., and Deputy." 129
The Bureau sometimes used its media contacts to prevent or postpone the publication
of articles it considered favorable to its targets or unfavorable to the FBI. For example,
to influence articles which related to the FBI, the Bureau took advantage of a close
relationship with a high official of a major national magazine, described in an FBI
memorandum as "our good friend." Through this relationship, the FBI "squelched" an
"unfavorable article against the Bureau" written by a free-lance writer about an FBI
investigation; "postponed publication" of an article on another FBI case; "forestalled
publication" of an article by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and received information
about proposed editing of King's articles. 130
The Bureau also attempted to influence public opinion by using news media sources
to discredit dissident groups by linking them to the Communist Party:
-- A confidential source who published a "self -described conservative weekly
newspaper" was anonymously mailed information on a church's sponsorship of efforts
to abolish the House Committee on Un-American activities. This prompted an article
entitled "Locals to Aid Red Line," naming the minister, among others, as a
local sponsor of what it termed a "Communist dominated plot" to abolish HUAC. 131
-- The Bureau targeted a professor who had been the president of a local peace center,
a "coalition of anti-Vietnam and anti-draft groups." In 1968, he resigned temporarily
to become state chairman of Eugene McCarthy's presidential campaign
organization. Information on the professor's wife, who had apparently associated with
Communist Party members in the early 1950's, was furnished to a newspaper
editor to "expose those people at this time when they are receiving considerable
publicity in order" to "disrupt the members" of the peace organization. 132
-- Other instances included an attempt to link a school boycott with the Communists
by alerting newsmen to the boycott leader's plans to attend a literary reception at the
Soviet mission; 133 furnishing information to the media on the participation of the
Communist Party presidential candidate in the United Farm Workers' picket line; 134
"confidentially" informing established sources in three northern California newspapers
that the San Francisco County Communist Party Committee had stated that civil rights
groups were to "begin working" on the area's large newspapers "in an effort to secure
greater employment of Negroes;" 135 and furnishing information to the media on
Socialist Workers Party participation in the Spring Mobilization Committee
to End the War in Vietnam to "discredit" the antiwar group. 136
(ii) Attacks on Leaders
Through covert propaganda, the FBI not only attempted to influence public opinion
on matters of social policy, but also directly intervened in the people's choice of
leadership both through the electoral process and in other, less formal arenas.
For instance, the Bureau made plans to disrupt a possible "Peace Party" ticket
in the 1968 elections. One field office noted that
"effectively tabbing as communists or as communist-backed the more hysterical
opponents of the President on the Vietnam question in the midst of the
presidential campaign would be a real boon to Mr. Johnson." 137
In the FBI's COINTELPRO programs, political candidates were targeted for disruption.
The document which originated the Socialist Workers Party COINTELPRO noted that
the SWP "has, over the past several years, been openly espousing its line on
a local and national basis through running candidates for public office." The Bureau
decided to "alert the public to the fact that the SWP is not just another socialist group
but follows the revolutionary principles of Marx, Lenin, and Engels as interpreted by
Leon Trotsky." Several SWP candidates were targeted, usually by leaking derogatory
information about the candidate to the press. 138
Other COINTELPRO programs also included attempts to disrupt campaigns.
For example, a Midwest lawyer running for City Council was targeted because he
and his firm had represented "subversives". The Bureau sent an anonymous
letter to several community leaders which decried his "communist background" and
labeled him a "Charlatan." 139 Under a fictitious name, the Bureau sent a letter
to a television on which the candidate was to appear, enclosing a series of
questions about his clients and his activities which it believed should be asked. 140
The candidate was defeated. He later ran (successfully, as it happened) for a judgeship.
The Bureau attempted to disrupt this subsequent, successful campaign for a judgeship
by using an anticommunist group to distribute fliers and write letters opposing his
In another instance, the FBI attempted to have a Democratic Party fundraising affair
raided by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. The fundraiser was
targeted because of two of the candidates who would be present. One,
a state assemblyman running for reelection, was active in the Vietnam Day Committee;
the other, the Democratic candidate for Congress, had been a sponsor of the
National Committee to Abolish the House Committee on Un-American Activities
and had led demonstrations opposing the manufacture of napalm bombs. 142
Although the disruption of election campaigns is the clearest example, the FBI's
interference, with the political process was much broader. For example, all of the
COINTELPRO programs were aimed at the leadership of dissident groups. 143
In one case, the Bureau's plans to discredit a civil rights leader included an attempt
to replace him with a candidate chosen by the Bureau. During 1964, the FBI began
a massive program to discredit Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to "neutralize" his
effectiveness as the leader of the civil rights movement.144 On January 8, 1964,
Assistant Director William C. Sullivan proposed that the FBI select a new "national
Negro leader" as Dr. King's successor after the Bureau had taken Dr. King "off his
When this is done, and it can and will be done . . . the Negroes will be left
without a national leader of sufficiently compelling personality to steer them in
the right direction. This is what could happen, but need not happen if the right
kind of Negro leader could at this time be gradually developed so as to
overshadow Dr. King and be in the position to assume the role of leadership
of the Negro people, when King has been completely discredited.
I want to make it clear at once that I don't propose that the FBI in any way became
involved openly as the sponsor of a Negro leader to overshadow Martin Luther King....
But I do propose that I be given permission to explore further this entire matter….
If this thing can be set up properly without the Bureau in any way becoming directly
involved, I think it would not only be a great help to the FBI but would be a fine thing
for the country at large. While I am not specifying at this moment, there are various
ways in which the FBI could give this entire matter the proper direction and development.
There are highly placed contacts of the FBI who might be very helpful to further
such a step . . . . 145
The Bureau's efforts to discredit Dr. King are discussed more fully elsewhere. 146
It is, however, important to note here that some of the Bureau's efforts coincided
with Dr. King's activities and statements concerning major social and political issues.
(iii) Exaggerating The Threat
The Bureau also used its control over the information-gathering process to shape
the views of government officials and the public on the threats it perceived to the
social order. For example, the FBI exaggerated the strength of the Communist Party
and its influence over the civil rights and anti-Vietnam war movements.
Opponents of civil rights legislation in the early 1960s had charged that such
legislation was "a part of the world Communist conspiracy to divide and conquer
our country from within." The truth or falsity of these charges was a matter
of concern to the administration, Congress, and the public. Since the Bureau
was assigned to compile intelligence on Communist activity, its estimate was sought
and, presumably, relied upon. Accordingly, in 1963, the Domestic Intelligence Division
submitted a memorandum to Director Hoover detailing the CPUSA's "efforts"
to exploit black Americans, which it concluded were an "obvious failure." 147
Director Hoover was not pleased with this conclusion. He sent a sharp message back
to the Division which, according to the Assistant Director in charge, made it "evident
that we had to change our ways or we would all be out on the street." 148 Another
memorandum was 'therefore written to give the Director "what Hoover wanted to hear."149
The memorandum stated, "The Director is correct;" it called Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism,
the Negro, and national security;" and it concluded that it was "unrealistic" to "limit
ourselves" to "legalistic proofs or definitely conclusive evidence" that the Communist
Party wields "substantial influence over Negroes which one day could become decisive." 150
Although the Division still had not said the influence was decisive, by 1964 the Director
testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee that the "Communist influence"
in the "Negro movement" was "vitally important." "If Only someone with access to the
underlying information would note that the facts could be interpreted quite differently. 151a
A similar exaggeration occurred in some of the Bureau's statements on communist
influence on the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations.
In April 1965 President Johnson met with Director Hoover to discuss Johnson's "concern
over the anti-Vietnam situation." According to Hoover, Johnson said he had "no doubt"
that Communists were "behind the disturbances." 152
Hoover agreed, stating that upcoming demonstrations in eighty-five cities were
being planned by the Students for a Democratic Society and that SDS was "largely
infiltrated by communists and [it] has been woven into the civil rights situation
which we know has large communist influence." 153
Immediately after the meeting, however, Hoover told his associates that the
Bureau might not be able to "technically state" that SDS was "an actual
communist organization." The FBI merely knew that there were "communists in it."
Hoover instructed, however, "What I want to get to the President is the background
with emphasis upon the communist influence therein so that he will
know exactly what the picture is." The Director added that he wanted
"a good, strong memorandum" pinpointing that the demonstrations had been
"largely participated in by communists even though they may not have
initiated them;" the Bureau could "at least" say that they had "joined and
forced the issue." According to the Director, President Johnson was "quite concerned"
and wanted "prompt and quick action." 154
Once again, the Bureau wrote a report which made Communist "efforts" sound like
Communist success. The eight page memorandum detailed all of the Communist Party's
attempts to "encourage" domestic dissent by "a crescendo of criticism aimed at negating
every effort of the United States to prevent Vietnam from being engulfed by communist
aggressors." Twice in the eight pages, for a total of two and a half sentences, it was
pointed out that most demonstrators were not Party members and their decisions were
not initiated or controlled by the communists. Each of these brief statements moreover,
was followed by a qualification: (1) "however, the Communist Party, USA ... has vigorously
supported these groups and exerted influence;" (2) "While the March [on Washington]
was not Communist initiated ... Communist Party members from throughout the nation
participated." [Emphasis added.] 155
The rest of the memorandum is an illustration of what former Assistant Director
Sullivan called "interpretive" memo writing in which Communist efforts and
desires are emphasized without an evaluation of whether they had been
or were likely to be successful.
The exaggeration of Communist participation, both by the FBI and White House staff
members relying on FBI reports, 156 could only have had the effect of reinforcing
President Johnson's original tendency to discount dissent against the Vietnam
War as "Communist inspired" -- a belief shared by his successor. 157
It is impossible to measure the full effect of this distorted perception at the very highest
1 Remarks by Rep. Hale Boggs, 4/22/71, Congressional Record,
Vol. 117, Part 9, P. 11565.
2 A "name check" is not an investigation, but a search of existing FBI files
through the use of the Bureau's comprehensive general name index.
Requests for FBI "name checks" were peculiarly damaging because
no new investigation was done to verify allegations
stored away for years in Bureau files.
A former FBI official responsible for compliance with such requests said
that the Bureau "answered ... by furnishing the White House
every piece of information in our files on the individuals requested."
Deposition of Thomas E. Bishop, former Assistant Director,
Crime Records Division, 12/2/75, p. 144.)
3 Former FBI executive Cartha DeLoach, who was FBI liaison with the White
House during part of the Johnson administration, has stated, "I simply followed
Mr. Hoover's instructions in complying with White House requests and
I never asked any questions of the White House as to what
they did with the material afterwards." (DeLoach deposition, 11/25/75, p. 28.)
On at least one occasion, when a White House aide indicated that President
Johnson did not want any record made by the FBI of a request for a "run-down"
on the links between Robert Kennedy and officials involved in the
Bobby Baker investigation, the Bureau disregarded the order. DeLoach stated
that he "ignored the specific instructions" in this instance because
he "felt that any instructions we received from the White House should be a matter
of record." (DeLoach deposition, 11/25/75, P. 89.)
Former Assistant Director Bishop stated, "Who am I to ask the President
of the United States what statutory basis he has if he wants to know what Information
is in the files of the FBI?"
It was a "proper dissemination" because it was "not a dissemination outside
the executive branch" and because there was "no law, no policy of the Department of
Justice. . . . no statute of the United States that says that was not permissible."
But even if there had been a statute laying down standards, Bishop said
"it wouldn't have made a bit of difference . . . when the Attorney General or the
President asks for it."
Bishop recalled from his "own knowledge" instances where President Kennedy,
Johnson, and Nixon had "called over and asked Mr. Hoover for a memo on certain
people." (Bishop deposition, 12/2/75, pp. 153-154.)
4 Memoranda from Stephen Early, Secretary to the President,
to Hoover, 5/21/40 and 6/17/40.
5 FBI memorandum to Senate Select Committee, 3/26/76; See pp. 36-37.
6 Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Thomas E. Stephens,
Secretary to the President, 4/13/54.
7 Courtney Evans deposition, 12/1/75, p. 39.
8 See pp. 64-65. The tap authorized by Attorney General Kennedy on another high
executive official was not related to political considerations, nor apparently was the tap
authorized by Attorney General Katzenbach in 1965 on the editor of an
anti-communist newsletter who had published a book alleging impropriety by Robert
Kennedy a year earlier.
9 Memorandum from Hoover to Moyers, 10/27/64, cited in FBI summary
10 Bureau files indicate that the apparent "reason" for the "White House interest" was
to determine "whether the South Vietnamese had secretly been in touch with supporters
of Presidential candidate Nixon, possibly through Mrs. Chennault, as President Johnson
was apparently suspicious that the South Vietnamese were trying to sabotage his peace
negotiations in the hope that Nixon would win the election and then take a harder
line towards North Vietnam." (FBI memorandum, subject: Mrs. Anna Chennault. 2/1/75.)
The FBI has claimed that its investigation of Mrs. Chennault was "consistent with FBI
responsibilities to determine if her activities were in violation of certain provisions
of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and of the Neutrality Act."
Direct electronic surveillance of Mrs. Chennault was rejected, according to a
contemporaneous FBI memorandum, because FBI executive Cartha DeLoach pointed out
that "it was widely known that she was involved in Republican political circles and, if it
became known that the FBI was surveilling her this would put us in a most untenable
and embarrassing position." (Memorandum from DeLoach to Tolson, 10/30/68.)
Electronic surveillance was, however, directed at the South Vietnamese officials and was
approved by Attorney General Ramsey Clark. Clark has testified that he did not
know of the physical surveillance aspect of the FBI's investigation, but that
he did authorize the electronic surveillance of the South Vietnamese officials.
(Clark testimony, 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 252.)
11 FBI executive Cartha DeLoach has stated that a White House aide made the initial
request for the check of telephone company records late one night. According to
DeLoach, the request was "to find out who, either Mr. Agnew or
Mr. Nixon, when they had been in Albuquerque (New Mexico) several days prior
to that, had called from Albuquerque while they were there." When DeLoach
refused to contact the telephone company "late in the evening," President Johnson
"came on the phone and proceeded to remind me that he was
Commander in Chief and he should get what he wanted, and he wanted
me to do it immediately." DeLoach then talked with Director Hoover, who told
him to "stand your ground." The next day, however, Hoover ordered that
the records be checked, but the only calls identified were "made by
Mr. Agnew's staff." These wore reported to the White House. (DeLoach Deposition.
11/25/75, pp. 74-7.5.) Agnew's arrival and departure times in and out of
Albuquerque were also "verified at the request of the White House."
(FBI summary memorandum. subject: Mrs. Anna Chennault, 2/1/75).
12 FBI Director Hoover brought the matter to the attention of the White House
in a letter describing why the FBI had refused to "wire" the
witness (there was not adequate "security") and how the Criminal Division had
then used the Bureau of Narcotics to do so. (Memorandum from Hoover
to Watson, 1/12/67.) This was the instance where FBI executive Cartha DeLoach
made a record, after Watson told him that "the President does not want
any record made." (Memorandum from DeLoach to Tolson, 1/17/67; see also
FBI summary memorandum, 2/3/75.)
13 According to this memorandum, Watson told Cartha DeLoach in 1967
that "he and the President" wanted all "communications addressed to him by
the Director" to be addressed instead to a lower level White House staff member.
Watson told DeLoach that the "reason for this change" was that the staff
member "did not have the direct connection with the President that he had and,
consequently, people who saw such communications would not suspicion (sic)
that Watson or the President had requested such information, nor were interested
in such information." (memorandum from DeLoach to Tolson, 3/17/67.)
14 FBI summary memorandum, subject: Coverage of Television Presentation,
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 1/31/75. Former FBI executive Cartha
DeLoach has stated, regarding this incident. "We felt that it
was beyond the jurisdiction of the FBI, but obviously Mr. Hoover
felt that this was a request by the President and he
desired it to be done." (DeLoach deposition, 11/25/75, P. 58.)
15 Blind FBI memorandum, 2/10/67.
16 President Johnson's request also went beyond "legislators," and included contacts
by any "prominent U.S. citizens." (FBI summary memorandum, subject: Information
Concerning Contacts Between [Certain Foreign officials] and Members or Staff of the
United States Congress Furnished to the White House at the Request of the President,
2/3/75.) The FBI's reports indicated that its information came "through coverage" of the
foreign officials and that the Bureau, in this case, had "conducted no investigation of
members of Congress." (FBI summary memorandum, 2/3/75.) FBI "coverage" apparently
included electronic surveillance.
President Nixon also requested information on contacts between foreign officials and
Congressmen, but his request does not appear to have related to Presidential critics.
Rather, the Nixon request grew out of concern about "an increase in
[foreign] interest on Capitol Hill" which had been expressed to President Nixon
by at least one Senator; and the FBI's report "included two examples of
[foreign] intelligence initiatives directed against Capitol Hill without identifying the
[foreigners] or American involved." (FBI summary memorandum, 2/3/75.)
17 Memoranda from Hoover to Watson, 6/4/65 and 7/30/65.
18 Memorandum from Hoover to Watson, 7/15/66, citing Jacobsen request.
19 Memorandum from Clark to Watson, 4/8/67, enclosing memorandum from
Director, FBI to the Attorney General. 4/7/67. (LBJ Library.)
20 Memoranda from Hoover to Watson, 2/15/65 and 5/29/65.
21 Memorandum from Hoover to Watson, 7/22/65.
22 Memorandum from Hoover to Watson, 1/27/67.
23 Memorandum from Hoover to Watson, 4/6/66.
24 Memorandum from Hoover to Watson, 2/24/66.
25 Memorandum from Hoover to Watson, 4/6/66.
26 Memorandum from Hoover to Watson, 11/8/66; DeLoach, 12/3/75,
Hearings, Vol. 6, pp. 180-182.
26a Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to John D. Ehrlichman, 10/6/69; letter from Clarence
M. Kelly to Joseph Duffy, 7/14/75, enclosing FBI records transmitted under
Freedom of Information Act.
27 House Judiciary Committee Hearings, Book VII, White House Surveillance
Activities (1974), p. 1111.
28 According to Director Hoover's memorandum of the conversation, Agnew asked
Hoover for "some assistance" in obtaining information about Rev. Abernathy. Hoover
recorded: "The Vice President said he thought he was going to have to start destroying
Abernathy's credibility, so anything I can give him would be appreciated. I told him I
would be glad to." (Memorandum from Hoover to Tolson, et a], 5/18/70.) Subsequently,
the FBI Director sent Agnew a report on Rev. Abernathy containing not only the
by-product of Bureau investigations, but also derogatory public record information.
(Letter from Hoover to Agnew, 5/19/70.)
29 Staff summary of Spiro Agnew interview, 10/15/75.
30 Memoranda from Sullivan to Hoover, 6/30/69 and 7/2/69.
31 Memorandum from Sullivan to DeLoach, 11/5/69. The Kraft surveillance
Is also discussed in Part II, pp. 121-122.
32 Coverage in these two cases was requested by neither Henry Kissinger
nor Alexander Haig (as most of the "17" were), but by other White House officials.
Attorney General Mitchell approved the first at the request of "higher authority."
(Memorandum from Hoover to Mitchell, 7/23/69.) The second was specifically requested
by H. R. Haldeman. (Memorandum from Hoover to Mitchell, 12/14/70.
33 This tap was also apparently requested by White House officials other than Kissinger
or Haig. (Memorandum from Sullivan to DeLoach, 8/1/69.)
The "17" wiretaps are also discussed at p. 122.
34 DeLoach, 12/3/75, Hearing-, Vol. 6. p. 180.
35 Memorandum from Hoover to Dillon Anderson, Special Assistant to the President.
1/3/56. This report was also provided to the Attorney General,
the Secretary of Defense. and military intelligence.
36 Memorandum from Hoover to Anderson, 3/2/56.
37 Memorandum from Hoover to Anderson. 3/5/56.
38 Memorandum from Hoover to Anderson, 3/6/56.
39 Memorandum from Hoover to Anderson, 3/7/56. A National Security Council
staff member responsible for Internal security matters summarized these reports as
providing information "regarding attempts being made by the National Association for
the Advancement of Colored People to send instructed delegations to high-ranking
Government officials 'to tactfully draw out their positions concerning civil rights."'
(Memorandum from J. Patrick Coyne to Anderson, 3/6/56.)
40 After consulting the Attorney General, this aide advised the Secretary to the
Cabinet that the FBI had "reported developments in recent weeks in several southern
States, indicating a marked deterioration in relationships between the races, and
in some instances fomented by communist or communist-front organizations."
(Memorandum from Anderson to Maxwell Rabb, 1/16/56.) The Secretary to the Cabinet,
who had "experience in handling minority matters" for the White House, agreed that
"each Cabinet Member should be equipped with the plain facts." (Memorandum from
Rabb to Anderson, 1/17/56.) A National Security Council staff member who handled
internal security matters reported shortly thereafter that the FBI Director was "prepared
to brief the Cabinet along the general lines" of his written communications to the
White House. (Memorandum from J. Patrick Coyne to Anderson, 2/1/56.)
41 Memorandum from Director, FBI, to the Executive Assistant to the Attorney
General, 3/9/56, enclosing FBI memorandum described as the "basic statement"
used by the Director "in the Cabinet Briefing this morning on Racial Tension and Civil
Rights." For a further discussion of the exaggeration of Communist influence on
the NAACP in this briefing, see pp. 250-257, note 151a.
42 The electronic surveillances were generally related to foreign affairs concerns.
See pp. 64 - 65.
43 The Americans include three Agriculture Department officials, the secretary
to the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and two
registered lobbying agents for foreign interests. For Attorney General Kennedy's
relationship to the microphone surveillance of the Congressman, see p. 61, note 233.
One of the wiretaps directed at a registered lobbying agent
was placed on the office telephone of a Washington law firm. (See p. 201)
44 FBI memorandum, 6/15/62.
45 FBI memorandum, 6/15/62.
46 Memorandum from Hoover to Attorney General Kennedy, 2/18/61. This information
came from the Bureau's "coverage" (by microphone surveillance) of the Congressman's
hotel room meeting.
47 FBI memorandum, 2/15/62.
48 Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Robert Kennedy, 3/13/61.
49 Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Robert Kennedy, 3/13/61.
50 Memorandum from W. R. Wannall to W. C. Sullivan, 12/22/66. According to a
Bureau memorandum of a meeting between Attorney General Kennedy and FBI Assistant
Director Courtney Evans, Kennedy stated in April 1961 that "now the law has passed
he did not feel there was justification for continuing this extensive investigation."
(Memorandum from Evans to Parsons, 4/15/61.)
51 There is no clear evidence as to what President Johnson had in mind when, as a
contemporaneous FBI memorandum indicates, he directed "the assignment of the special
squad to Atlantic City." (DeLoach to Mohr 8/29/64) Cartha DeLoach has testified that
Presidential aide Walter Jenkins made the original request to him, but that he said it should
be discussed with Director Hoover and that "Mr. Jenkins or the President, to the best of my
recollection, later called Mr. Hoover and asked that this be done." DeLoach claimed that
the purpose was to gather "intelligence concerning matters of strife, violence, etc." which
might arise out of the credentials challenge. (DeLoach, 12/3/75. hearings, Vol. 6, p. 175.)
52 The operations of the FBI in Atlantic City are described in greater detail
in Section II, pp. 117-119.
53 Memorandum from DeLoach to Jenkins. 8/24/64.
54 Memorandum from DeLoach to Jenkins, 8/25/64.
55 Memorandum from DeLoach to Jenkins, 8/25/64.
56 Memorandum from DeLoach to Jenkins, 8/25/64.
57 Memorandum from DeLoach to Jenkins, 8/25/64.
58 Blind memorandum from LBJ Library bearing handwritten date 8/26/64 and the
typewritten date 8/19/64, Hearings, Vol. 6, Exhibit 68-2, p. 713.
59 In at least two instances. the wiretaps continued on targets after they left the
Executive Branch and became advisers to Senator Edmund Muskie, then the
leading Democratic prospect for the Presidency. See Part II, p. 122.
60 Memorandum from Hoover to Nixon, Kissinger, and Mitchell, 10/9/69.
61 Memorandum from Hoover to Nixon and Kissinger, 12/3/69.
62 Memorandum from Hoover to Nixon and Kissinger, 2/26/70.
63 Memorandum from Hoover to H. R. Haldeman, 6/2/70.
64 Memorandum from Hoover to Haldeman. 9/4/70.
65 Memorandum from Hoover to Nixon and Kissinger, 7/18/69.
66 Memorandum from Hoover to Haldeman, 5/18/70.
67 Memorandum from Hoover to Haldeman, 6/23/70.
68 Memorandum from Hoover to Haldeman, 11/24/70.
69 Memorandum from Hoover to Haldeman, 12/22/70.
70 Memorandum from Hoover to Nixon, Kissinger, and Mitchell, 12/29/69.
71 Memorandum from Magruder to Haldeman and Ehrlichman, 1/15/70. Ehrlichman
advised Haldeman, "This is the kind of early warning we need more of your game
planners are now in an excellent position to map anticipatory action." (Memorandum from
"E" (Ehrlichman) to "H" (Haldeman), undated.) Haldeman responded, "I agree
with John's point. Let's get going." (Memorandum from "H" to "M" (Magruder), undated).
72 Report of the House Judiciary Committee, 8/20/74, p. 147.
73 It should be noted, however, that in at least one case the Bureau did distinguish
between political and non-political information. In 1968, when an aide to Vice
President Humphrey asked that a "special squad" be sent to the Democratic National
Convention in Chicago, Director Hoover not only declined, but he also specifically
instructed the SAC in Chicago not "to get into anything political" but to confine his reports
to "extreme action or violence." (Memorandum from Hoover to Tolson., et al, 8/15/68.)
There were no comparable instructions
at Atlantic City.
74 Former Attorney General Francis Biddle recalled in his autobiography how J. Edgar
Hoover shared with him some of the "intimate details" of what his
fellow Cabinet members did and said, "their likes and dislikes, their weaknesses
and their associations." Biddle confessed that he enjoyed hearing these derogatory and
sometimes "embarrassing" tidbits and that Hoover "knew how to flatter his superior."
(Francis Biddle, In Brief Authority [Garden City: Doubleday, 1962], pp. 258-259.)
A former FBI official has described one aspect of the Bureau's practice:
"Mr. Hoover would say what do we have in our files on this guy? Just what do we have?
Not blind memorandum, not public source information, everything we've got.
And we would maybe write a 25 page memo. When he got it
and saw what's in it, he'd say we'd better send that to the White House and the Attorney
General so they can have in one place everything that the FBI has now on this guy. . . .
(Bishop deposition, 12/2/75, pp. 141-142.)"
75 None of these letters indicate that they were in response to requests, as is the case
with other similar letters examined by the Committee. All were volunteered as matters
which Director Hoover considered to be "of interest" to the recipients.
76 Memorandum from Hoover to Vaughn, 2/15/47.
77 Memorandum from Hoover to Connelly, 1/27/50.
78 Memorandum from Hoover to Anderson, 4/21/55.
79 Memorandum from Hoover to Cutler, 2/13/58.
80 Memorandum from Hoover to Robert Kennedy, 11/20/63.
81 Memorandum from Hoover to Robert Kennedy, 2/10/61.
82 Memorandum from Hoover to Watson, 1/9/67.
83 For additional examples, See Section II, pp. 51-53.
84 Staff memorandum: Review of INLET letters, 11/18/75.
85 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 11/26/69.
86 Memorandum from Bassett to Callahan, 1/29/75.
87 Former FBI official Mark Felt has stated that the SAC's could have sent personal
letters to Hoover containing such "personal tidbits" "to curry favor with him,"
and on one occasion he did so himself with respect to a "scandalous" incident.
(W. Mark Felt testimony, 2/3/76, p. 91.)
The following excerpt from one SAC's letter is an example of political information fed
to the Director: "I have heard several comments and items which I wanted to bring to
your attention. As I imagine is true in all States at this time, the political situation
in [this state] is getting to be very interesting. As you know, Senator [deleted] is coming up
for re-election as is Representative [deleted]. For a long time it appeared that [the Senator]
would have no opposition amount to anything in his campaign for re-election. The
speculation and word around the State right now is that probably [the Representative]
will file for the U.S. Senate seat now held by [the Senator]. I have also been informed that
[the Senator's] forces have offered [the Representative] $50,000 if he will stay out of the
Senate race and run for re-election as Congressman." (Letter from SAC
to Hoover, 5/20/64.)
88 Letter from Attorney General McGrath to President Truman, 12/7/49; letter
from Hoover to Vaughn, 1/14/50.
89 Memorandum from Hoover to Rogers, 5/25/60.
90 Bishop deposition, 12/2/75, p. 211. Bishop stated that he acted on his own, rather
than at the direction of higher Bureau executives. However, Director Hoover did have
a memorandum prepared on the reporter summarizing everything in the Bureau's files
about him, which he referred to when he met> with the reporter's superiors.
(Bishop deposition, 12/2/75, p. 215.)
91 Memorandum from Executives Conference to Hoover, 1/4/50. Early examples
included historian Henry Steele Commager, "personnel of CBS," and former Interior
Secretary Harold Ickes. (Memorandum from Mohr to Tolson, 12/21/49.)
By the time it was abolished in 1972, the list included 332 names,
including mystery writer Rex Stout, whose novel 'The Doorbell Rang" had
"presented a highly distorted and most unfavorable picture of the Bureau."
(Memorandum from M. A. Jones to Bishop, 7/11/72.)
92 Bishop deposition, 12/2/75, p. 207.
93 The field office was also expected to send to headquarters any additional allegations
about the Congressman or Governor which might come to its attention in future
investigations, even if the Congressman or Governor was not himself the "subject"
of the investigation. (Bishop deposition, 12/2/75, pp. 194-200.)
94 Bishop deposition, 12/2/75, pp. 206-7.
95 The FBI is not the only agency believed to have files on Congressmen. According to
Rep. Andrew Young, "in the freshman orientation" of new House members, "one of the
things you are told is that there are seven agencies that keep files on private lives of
Congressmen." (Rep. Andrew Young testimony, 2/19/76, P. 48.)
96 Remarks by Rep. Hale Boggs, House of Representatives, 4/22/71,
Congressional Record, Vol. 117, Part 9, p. 11562.
97 The means used are discussed in the finding on "Covert Action to Disrupt and
Discredit Domestic Groups", as well as the Detailed Reports on COINTELPRO,
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Black Panther Party.
98 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, et al., 8/13/63.
99 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 11/11/65
100 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office et al., 3/9/66.
101 Memorandum from FBI headquarters to Chicago Field Office 8/28/68.
102 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 11/4/68.
103 Memorandum from San Antonio Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/12/68;
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office, 8/27/68.
104 The field office also disapproved of the "hippy types" distributing the newspaper,
with their "unkempt clothes", "wild beards", and "other examples of their nonconformity."
Accordingly, an anonymous letter was sent to a state legislator protesting the distribution
of such "depravity" at a state university, noting that "this is becoming a way of campus
life. Poison the minds of the young, destroy their moral being, and in less than one
generation this country will be ripe for its downfall." (Memorandum from New York Field
Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/23/69; memorandum from FBI Headquarters
to Newark Field Office, 1/69.
105 The Crime Records Division also had responsibility for disseminating information
to cultivate a favorable public image for the FBI -- a practice common to many
government agencies. This objective was pursued in various ways. One section of the
Crime Records Division was assigned to assemble "material that was needed for a
public relations program." This section "developed information for television shows, for
writers, for authors, for newspapermen, people who wanted in-depth information
concerning the FBI." The section also "handled scripts" for public service radio programs
produced by FBI Field Offices; reviewed scripts for television and radio shows dealing
with the FBI; and handled the "public relations and publicity aspect" of the "ten most
wanted fugitives program." The Bureau attempted to assert control over media presentations
of information about its activities. For example, Director Hoover's approval was necessary
before the Crime Records Division would cooperate with an author intending to write
a book about the FBI (Bishop testimony, 12/2/75, pp. 6-8, 18.)
106 Memoranda recommending use of the media for COINTELPRO purposes sometimes
bore the designation "Mass Media Program," which appeared merely to signify the
function of the Crime Records Division as a "conduit'' for disseminating information at the
request of the Domestic Intelligence Division. (Bishop testimony, 12/2/75, pp. 63, 68, 88.)
The dissemination of derogatory information to the media was usually reviewed through
the Bureau's chain of command and received final approval from Director Hoover.
(Bishop testimony, 12/2/75, p. 89.)
107 For example, Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Atlanta Field Office, 10/22/68.
108 Bishop, 12/2/75, p. 33.
109 Cartha DeLoach, who handled media contacts for several years, testified that this
technique was not actually used as much as the Director desired:
If any unfair comment appeared in any segment of the press concerning Mr. Hoover
or the FBI ... Mr. Hoover ... would say do not contact this particular newspaper
or do not contact this person or do not cooperate with this person.... If I had complied
strictly to the letter of the law to Mr. Hoover's instructions, I think I would be fair in
saying that we wouldn't be cooperating with hardly a single newspaper in the United States....
The men down through the years had to overlook some of those instructions and deal
fairly with all segments of the press. (DeLoach testimony, 11/25/75, pp. 213-214.)
110 Bishop stated that the Crime Records Division was "scrupulous" in providing
information which could be cited to a "page and paragraph" in a public source.
(Bishop, 12/2/75, pp. 24, 177-178.)
111 Bishop, 12/2/75, pp. 135-136.
112 T. E. Bishop stated that from the FBI documents available to the Committee, it was
impossible to determine whether an article was actually printed after a news release or a
draft article had been supplied to a media source. (Bishop, 12/2/75, p. 86.)
113 Memorandum from C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 5/22/68.
114 Memorandum to Director from SAC Miami, 3/10/70. Bishop testified that he
"would hope'' that in response to the directive to disseminate the target's
"arrest record" the Division would have disseminated only conviction records. Bishop said
that under the Attorney General's guidelines then in effect only conviction records or
arrests which were a matter of public record in a particular jurisdiction were to be
disseminated. Bishop stated that his policy was not to disseminate an arrest record
"especially if that arrest record resulted in an acquittal or if the charge was never
completed ... because that is not, to my mind, anything derogatory against a guy, until
he actually gets convicted." (Bishop testimony, 12/2/75, pp. 163-167, 173.)
115 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Boston Field Office, 1/13/68.
116 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Boston Field Office, 2/27/68.
117 Memorandurn from Tampa Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/7/69.
118 Deposition of Black Nationalist COINTELPRO supervisor, 10/17/75, p, 21;
Deposition of George C. Moore, Chief of the Racial Intelligence Section, 11/3/75. p. 36.
119 Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to W. C. Sullivan, 6/3/63.
120 Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to W. C. Sullivan, 8/9/65.
121 Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to W. C. Sullivan, 2/24/64.
122 Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/16/68.
123 Memorandum from G. C. 'Moore to W. C. Sullivan, 10/26/68.
124 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Miami Meld Office, 7/9/68.
125 Memorandum from G. C. Moore to W. C. Sullivan, 5/17/76.
126 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Atlanta Field Office, 10/22/68.
127 Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/18/69.
128 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Indianapolis Field Office, 6/17/68.
129 FBI Memorandum from Bishop to Mohr, 7/6/71; Bishop testimony, 12/2/75,
Two years earlier the Crime Records Division prepared a sixteen-page memorandum
containing information on "Leonard B. Boudin, Attorney for Dr. Benjamin Spock," written
at the time of Spock's indictment for conspiring to violate the Selective Service
Act. (FBI Memorandum from M. A. Jones to T. E. Bishop, 2/26/68) The memorandum
described "alleged associations and activities of Boudin" related to organizations or
individuals considered "subversive" by the FBI, (Bishop, 12/2/75, pp. 134-135) and
included: names of many of Boudin's clients; citations to magazines and journals in which
Boudin had published articles; references to petitions he had signed; and notes on rallies
and academic conferences at which he had spoken. The memorandum indicated that
"the White House and Attorney General have been advised" of the information on Boudin's
background. Notations on the cover sheet of the memorandum by high Bureau officials
indicate that approval was granted for "furnishing the attached information to one of our
friendly news contacts" but the information was not used until after the "results of appeal
in Spock's case." Bishop did not recall distributing the Boudin memorandum.
(Bishop, 12/2/75, pp. 125-126)
The head of the Crime Records Division speculated that the memorandum was prepared
at the request of a reporter because he did not remember a request from Hoover or from
the Domestic Intelligence Division, which was the normal route for assignments to the
Crime Records Division. Division Chief Bishop testified that he probably instructed
the Division "to get up any public source information that we have concerning
Boudin that shows his connection with the Communist Party or related groups of that nature."
(Bishop, 12/2/75, pp. 131-133)
130 Memorandum from W. H. Stapleton to C. D. DeLoach, 11/5/64.
131 Memorandum from Cleveland Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/28/64;
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cleveland Field Office, 11/6/64.
132 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Phoenix Field Office, 6/11/68.
133 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 2/4/64.
134 The target was not intended to be the United Farm Workers, but a local college
professor expected to participate in the picket line. The Bureau had unsuccessfully
directed "considerable efforts to prevent hiring" the professor. Apparently, the Bureau
did not consider the impact of this technique on the United Farm Workers' efforts.
(Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/12/68;
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 9/13/68.)
135 Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/16/64.
136 Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/10/67;
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 3/14/67.
138 Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/1/67.
Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 10/12/61.
139 Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/1/65;
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 9/22/61,
140 Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/28/65;
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 10/1/65.
141 Memorandum from Detroit Field Office, to FBI Headquarters, 1/19/67.
142 Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office, 11/14/66.
The attempt was unsuccessful; a prior raid on a fire department's fund raiser had
angered the local District Attorney, and the ABC decided not to raid the Democrats
because of "political ramifications."
143 The originating document for the "Black Nationalist" COINTELPRO ordered field
offices to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" the "leadership"
and "spokesmen" of the target groups. The "New Left" originating memo called for efforts
to "neutralize" the New Left and the "Key Activists," defined as "those individuals who are
the moving forces behind the New Left;" the letter to field offices made it clear that the
targets were the "leadership" of the "New Left" -- a term which was never defined.
(Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 8/25/67.)
144 Memorandum from Brennan to Sullivan, 5/9/68; memorandum from FBI
Headquarters to all SAC's, 5/10/68.
145 Memorandum from Sullivan to Belmont, 1/8/64. Although this proposal was
A approved by Director Hoover, there is no evidence that any steps were taken to
Implement the plan.
146 See Martin Luther King, Jr. Report: Sec. V, The FBI's Efforts to Discredit Dr. Martin
Luther King: 1964, Sec. VII, The FBI Program Against Dr. King: 1965-1968.
147 Memorandum from Baumgardner to Sullivan, 8/23/63, p. 1.
148 Sullivan deposition, 11/1/75, p. 20.
149 Sullivan deposition, 11/1/75, p. 29.
150 Memorandum from Sullivan to, Director, FBI, 8/30/63. Sullivan described this
process of "interpretive" memo writing to lead a reader to believe the Communists were
influential without actually stating they were in control of a movement: "You have to spend
years in the Bureau really to get the feel of this.... You came down here to 'efforts', these
'colossal efforts'. That was a key word of ours when we are getting around the facts....
You will not find anywhere In the memorandum whether the efforts were successful
or unsuccessful.... Here is another one of our words that we used to cover up the facts,
'efforts to exploit', that word 'exploit'. Nowhere will you find in some of these memos
the results of the exploitation. [Like] 'planning to do all possible', you can search in vain
for a statement to the effect that their plans were successful or unsuccessful, partly
successful or partly unsuccessful." (Sullivan, 11/1/75, pp. 15-16.)
151 Hearings before the House Appropriations Subcommittee, 88th Cong., 2d Sess.
(1964), p. 309. Director Hoover's statement was widely publicized. (E.g., "Hoover Says
Reds Exploit Negroes," New York Times, 4/22/64, p. 30) it caused serious concern among
civil rights leaders who feared that it would hurt the prospects for passage of the
1964 civil rights bill.
151 (a) Director Hoover had included similar exaggerated statements about Communist
influence in a briefing to the Eisenhower Cabinet in 1956. Hoover had stated,
regarding an NAACP-sponsored conference:
"The Communist Party plans to use this conference to embarrass the Administration by
causing a rift between the Administration and Dixiecrats who have supported it, by forcing
the Administration to take a stand on civil rights legislation with the present Congress. The
Party hopes through a rift to affect the 1956 elections." [Emphasis added.] (Memorandum
from Director, FBI, to the Executive Assistant to the Attorney General, 3/9/56,
Director Hoover did not include in his prepared briefing statement the information
reported to the White House separately earlier that there was "no indication" the NAACP
had "allowed the Communist Party to infiltrate the conference." (Hoover to Dillon Anderson,
Special Assistant to the President, 3/5/56.) According to one historical account, Hoover's
Cabinet briefing "reinforced the President's inclination to passivity" on civil rights legislation.
(J. W. Anderson, Eisenhower, Brownell, and the Congress: The Tangled Origins of the Civil
Rights Bill of 1956-57 [University of Alabama Press, 1964], p. 34.)
152 Memorandum from Hoover to subordinate FBI officials, 4/28/65.
153 Hoover memorandum, 4/28/65.
154 Hoover memorandum, 4/28/65.
155 Letter from Hoover to McGeorge Bundy, Special Assistant to the President (National
Security), 4/28/65, enclosing FBI memorandum, Subject: Communist Activities Relative to
United States Policy on Vietnam.
156 See, e.g., a memorandum from Marvin (Watson) to the President, 5/16/67, quoting
from a Bureau report that: "the Communist Party and other organizations are continuing their
efforts to force the United States to change its present policy toward Vietnam."
157 The report prepared by the intelligence agencies as the basis for the 1970 "Huston
Plan" included the following similar emphasis on the potential threat (and downplaying of the
actual lack of success) :
"Leaders of student protest groups" who traveled abroad were "considered to have
potential for recruitment and participation in foreign-directed intelligence activity."
"Antiwar activists" who had "frequently traveled abroad" were considered "as having
potential for engaging in foreign directed intelligence collection."
The CIA was "of the view that the Soviet and bloc intelligence services are committed
at the political level to exploit all domestic dissidents wherever possible."
Although there was "no hard evidence" of substantial foreign control of "the black
extremist movement," there was "a marked potential" and the groups were "highly
susceptible to exploitation by hostile foreign intelligence services." "Communist intelligence
services are capable of using their
personnel, facilities, and agent personnel to work in the black extremist field."
While there were "no substantial indications that the communist intelligence services
have actively fomented domestic unrest," their "capability" could not "be minimized."
"The dissidence and violence in the United States today present adversary intelligence
services with opportunities unparalleled for forty years." [Emphasis added.] (Special Report,
Interagency Committee on Intelligence (Ad Hoc), June 1970; substantial portions of this report
appear in Hearings, Vol. 2, pp. 141-188.)
Transcription and html by Paul Wolf, 2002.