COINTELPRO, short for Counter Intelligence Program, was a series of covert and often illegal projects conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation ([[FBI]]) from 1956 to 1971. The program aimed to surveil, infiltrate, discredit, and disrupt domestic political organizations that the FBI deemed "subversive." It was established by FBI director [[J. Edgar Hoover]] and primarily targeted [[civil rights]] activists, anti-[[Vietnam War]] protesters, and other political dissidents. # COINTELPRO tactics 1. **Infiltration**: Agents and informants would infiltrate targeted organizations to gather [[intelligence]] and create internal strife. 2. **Psychological warfare**: The FBI sought to discredit targeted individuals and organizations through rumor campaigns, character assassination, and false information. 3. **Harassment through the legal system**: The FBI would use legal means, such as arrests on false charges, to harass and exhaust political activists. 4. **Illegal force**: In some cases, the FBI resorted to violence, including assassination and property destruction, to suppress opposition. # COINTELPRO targets - Civil rights activists like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) - Black nationalist groups like the Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam - The New Left, which encompassed anti-Vietnam War protesters and various socialist and communist organizations - Feminist groups, such as the Women's Liberation Movement - The American Indian Movement - Puerto Rican independence groups COINTELPRO was exposed in 1971 when a group of activists broke into an [[FBI]] field office in Media, Pennsylvania, and stole classified documents detailing the program's existence. The revelation led to a series of [[congress]]ional investigations, including the Church Committee in 1975-76, which investigated intelligence abuses by the FBI and other U.S. agencies. These investigations resulted in the introduction of new guidelines and oversight mechanisms to limit the power of the FBI and protect citizens' civil liberties. COINTELPRO remains a controversial chapter in American history, as it demonstrated the extent to which the government was willing to go to suppress dissenting voices and undermine [[constitution]]ally protected rights.