Skip to main content

Full text of "Final report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, United States Senate : together with additional, supplemental, and separate views"

See other formats


.1 Governm( 
I Documenl 

700 BoylfUm Street 
Boston, MA 02117 





TurcHascd with Staie U-unds 


v4l-^<-S-'i'-i •«'-^' ■**■-! 



94th Congress "I SFNATE -f Report 

2d Session j "' I No. 94-755 




BOOK III fin= °5^^R^M£Nr ^^ 








April 23 (under authority of the order of April 14), 1976 


For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office 
Washington. D.C. 20402 - Price $7.65 


FRANK CHURCH, Idaho, Chairman 
JOHN G. TOWER, Texas, Vice Chairman 
PHILIP A. HART, Michigan HOWARD H. BAKER, Jr., Tennessee 



ROBERT MORGAN, North Carolina RICHARD S. SCHWEIKER, Pennsylvania 

GARY HART, Colorado 

William G. Miller, Staff Director 

Frederick A. O. Schwarz, Jr., Chief Counsel 

Curtis R. Smothers, Counsel to the Minority 

Audrey Hatry, Clerk of the Committee 




Letter of Transmittal v 

COIXTELPRO : The FBI's Covert Action Programs Against American 

Citizens 1 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Case Study 79 

The FBI's Covert Action Program To Destroy The Black Panther Party— 185 

The Use of Informants In FBI Intelligence Investigations 225**^ 

Warrantless FBI Electronic Surveillance 271 

Warrantless Surreptitious Entries : FBI "Black Bag" Break-ins And —^* 

Microphone Installations 353 

The Development of FBI Domestic Intelligence Investigations 373 -— 

Domestic CIA and FBI Mail Oix^ning 559 

CIA Intelligence Collection About Americans : CHAOS Program And The 

Office of Security 679 

National Security Agency Surveillance Affecting Americans 733 

Improper Surveillance of Private Citizens By The Military 785 

The Internal Revenue Service : An Intelligence Resource and Collector 835 

National Security, Civil Liberties, And The Collection of Intelligence : A 

Report On The Huston Plan 921 

Staff List 987 



On behalf of the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental 
Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, and pursuant to 
the mandate of Senate Resolution 21, I am transmitting herewith to 
the Senate thirteen detailed staff reports, set forth in this volume, 
Avhich supplement Book II of the Committee's final report entitled 
Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans, These staff reports 
present, in substantially greater detail, the results of the Committee's 
inquiry into various areas which were highlighted in the final report. 

Once again I want to gratefully acknowledge the great effort, dedica- 
tion, and talent of the Committee staff. The principal authors and edi- 
tors of these reports are indicated in Appendix C of Book II of the 
final report. 

Finally, I want to express the deep appreciation of the Committee to 
Senator Walter F. Mondale for his excellent supervision of the i)repa- 
ration of these reports as Chairman of the Domestic Intelligence 

Frank Church, 






I. Introduction and Summary 3 

A. "Counterintelligence program": a misnomer for domestic 

covert action 4 

B. Who were the targets? 4 

1. The five targeted groups 4 

2. Labels without meaning 4 

C. What were the purposes of COINTELPRO? 5 

1 . Protecting national security 5 

2. Preventing violence 6 

3. Maintaining the existing social and political order 6 

D. What techniques were used? 7 

1. The techniques of wartime 7 

2. Techniques carrying a serious risk of physical, emo- 

tional, or economic damage 9 

E. Legal restrictions were ignored 10 

F. Command and control 11 

1. 1956-71 11 

2. Post-1971 12 

G. Termination 12 

1. The grey area between counterintelligence and inves- 

tigation 12 

2. Is COINTELPRO continuing? 13 

3. The future of COINTELPRO 14 

II. The Five Domestic Programs 15 

A. Origins 15 

B. The programs 16 

1. CPUSA 16 

2. The 1960 expansion 17 

3. Socialist Workers Party 17 

4. White hate 18 

5. Black nationalist-hate groups 20 

6. The Panther directives 22 

7. New Left 23 

8. New Left directives 24 

III. The Goals of COINTELPRO: Preventing or Disrupting the Exer- 

cise of First Amendment Rights 27 

A. Efforts to prevent speaking 28 

B. Efforts to prevent teaching 29 

C . Efforts to prevent writing and publishing 30 

D. Efforts to prevent meeting 31 

IV. COINTELPRO techniques 33 

A. Propaganda 34 

1 . Reprint mailings 34 

2. "Friendly" media 35 

3. Bureau-authored pamphlets and fliers 37 

B. Efforts to promote enmity and factionalism within groups or 

between groups 40 

1 . Encouraging violence between rival groups 40 

2. Anonymous mailings 43 

3. Interviews 44 

4. Using informants to raise controversial issues 44 

5. Fictitious organizations 45 

6. Labeling targets as informants 46 


IV. COINTELPRO Techniques— Continued Page 

C. Using hostile third parties against target groups 49 

D. Disseminating derogatory information to family, friends, and 

associates 50 

E. Contacts with employers 56 

F. Use and abuse of Government processes 57 

1 . Selective law enforcement 57 

2. Interference with judicial process 58 

3. Candidates and political appointees 59 

4. Investigating committees 60 

G. Exposing "Communist infiltration" of groups 60 

V. Command and Control : The Problem of Oversight 62 

A. Within the Bureau 62 

1. Internal administration 62 

2. Coordination 62 

3. Results 62 

4. Blurred distinction between counterintelligence and 


5. Inspection 

B. Outside the Bureau: 1956-71 

1 . Executive branch 

2. The Cabinet 

3. Legislative branch 

C. Outside the Bureau : Post-197 1 

VI. Epilogue 



COINTELPRO is the FBI acronym for a series of covert action 
programs directed against domestic groups. In these programs, the 
Bureau went beyond the collection of intelligence to secret action de- 
signed to "disrupt" and "neutralize" target groups and individuals. 
The techniques were adopted wholesale from wartime counterintelli- 
gence, and ranged from the trivial (mailing reprints of Reader's 
Digest articles to college administrators) to the degrading (sending 
anonymous poison-pen letters intended to break up marriages) and the 
dangerous (encouraging gang warfare and falsely labeling members 
of a violent group as police informers) . 

This report is based on a staff study of more than 20,000 pages of 
Bureau documents, depositions of many of the Bureau agents involved 
in the programs, and interviews of several COINTELPRO targets. 
The examples selected for discussion necessarily represent a small per- 
centage of the more than 2,000 approved COINTELPRO actions. 
Nevertheless, the cases demonstrate the consequences of a Government 
agency's decision to take the law into its own hands for the "greater 
good" of the country. 

/COINTELPRO began in 1956, in part because of frustration wdth 
Supreme Court rulings limiting the Government's power to proceed 
overtly against dissident groups; it ended in 1971 with the threat of 
public exposure.^ In the intervening 15 years, the Bureau conducted 
a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing the 
exercise of First Amendment rights of speech and association, on the 
theory that preventing the growth of dangerous groups and the propa- 
gation of dangerous ideas would protect the national security and deter 

Many of the techniques used would be intolerable in a democratic 
society even if all of the targets had been involved in violent activity, 
but COINTELPRO went far beyond that. The unexpressed major 
premise of the programs was that a law enforcement agency has the 
duty to do W'hatever is necessary to combat perceived threats to the 
existing social and political order. \ 

'■ On March 8, 1971. the FBI resident agency in Media, Pennslyvania. was broken 
into. Documents stolen in the break-in were widely circulated and published by 
tlie press. Since some documents carried a "COINTELPRO" caption — a word 
unknown outside the Bureau — Carl Stern, a reporter for XBC, commenced a 
Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to compel the Bureau to produce other docu- 
ments relating to the programs. The Bureau decidefl Ijecause of "security 
reasons" to terminate them on April 27, 1971. (Memorandum from C. D. Brennan 
to W. C. Sullivan, 4/27/71 ; Letter from FBI headquarters to all SAC's, 4/28/71.) 

" The Bureau's direct attacks on speaking, teaching, writing, and meeting are 
discussed at pp. 28-33, attempts to prevent the growth of groups are set forth 
at pp. 34^^0. 


A. '■'■CounterinfelUgence Program'''' : A Misnomer for Domestic Covert 

COINTELPRO is an acronym for "counterintelligence program." 
Counterintelligence is defined as those actions by an intelligence 
agency intended to protect its own security and to undermine hostile 
intelligence operations. Under COINTELPRO certain techniques the 
Bureau had used against hostile foreign agents were adopted for use 
against perceived domestic threats to the established political and 
social order. The formal programs which incorporated these tech- 
niques were, therefore, also called "counterintelligence." ^^ 

"Covert action" is, however, a more accui-ate term for the Bureau's 
programs directed against American citizens. "Covert action" is the 
label applied to clandestine activities intended to influence political 
choices and social values.^ 

B. Who Were the Targets 1^ 

1. The Five Targeted Groups 

The Bureau's covert action programs were aimed at five perceived 
threats to domestic tranquility : t!he "Communist Party, USA" pro- 
gram (1956-71) ; the "Socialist Workers Party" program (1961-69) ; 
the "White Hate Group" program (1964-71) ; the "Black Nationalist- 
Hate Group" program (1967-71) ; and the "New Left" program 

2. Labels Without Meaning 

The Bureau's titles for its programs should not be accepted un- 
critically. They imply a precision of definition and of targeting which 
did not exist. 

Even the names of the later programs had no clear definition. The 
Black Nationalist program, according to its supervisor, included "a 
great number of organizations that you might not today characterize 
as black nationalist but which were in fact primarily black." ^^ In- 
deed, the nonviolent Southern Christian Leadership Conference 
was labeled as a Black Nationalist "Hate Group." ^ Nor could anyone 
at the Bureau even define "New Left," except as "more or less an at- 
titude." ^ 

Furthermore, the actual targets were chosen from a far broader 
group than the names of the programs would imply. The CPUSA 
program targeted not only Party members but also sponsors of the 

'"■ For a discussion of U.S. intelligence activities against hostle foreign in- 
telligence operations, see Report on Counterintelligence. 

"^ See Senate Select Committee Reiwrt, "Alleged Assassination Plots Involving 
Foreign Leaders" and Staff Report : "Covert Action in Chile.' 

^'' Black Nationalist Supervisor deposition, 10/17/75, p. 12. 

* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's. 8/25/67, p. 2. 

° New Left Supervisor's deposition, 10/28/75, p. 8. The closest any Bureau docu- 
ment comes to a definition is found in an investigative directive : "The term 
'New Left' does not refer to a definite organization, but to a movement which 
is providing ideologies or platforms alternate to of existing communist 
and other basic revolutionary organizations, the so-called 'Old Left.' The New 
Left movement is a loosely-bound, free-wheeling, college-oriented movement 
spearheaded by the Students for a Demorcatic Society and includes the more 
extreme and militant anti-Vietnam war and anti-draft protest organizations." 
(Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs. 10/28/68; Hearings. Vol. 6, 
Exhibit 61. p. 669.) Although this characterization is longer than that of the 
New Left Supervisor, it does not appear to be substantively different. 

National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities 
Committee "^ and civil rights leaders allegedly under Communist in- 
fluence or simply not ''anti-Communist." ^ The Socialist Workers 
Party program included non-SWP sponsors of antiwar demonstra- 
tions which were cosponsored by the SWP or the Young Socialist Al- 
liance, its youth group.** The Black Nationalist program targeted a 
range of organizations from the Panthers to SNCC to the peaceful 
Southern Christian Leadership Conference,** and included most black 
student groups.^" New Left targets ranged from the SDS ^^ to the In- 
teruniversity Committee for Debate on Foreign Policy ,^^ from all of 
Antioch College ("vanguard of the New Left") ^^ to the New Mexico 
Free L^niversity " and other "alternate" schools,^^ and from under- 
ground newspaj^ers ^*'' to students protesting university censorship of 
a student publication by carrying signs with four-letter words on 

C. What Were the Purposes of GOINTELPROf 

The breadth of targeting and lack of substantive content in the 
descriptive titles of the programs reflect the range of motivations for 
COINTELPKO activity : protecting national security, preventing 
violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order by 
"disrupting" and "neutralizing" groups and individuals perceived 
as threats. 

1. Protecting National Security 
The first COINTELPKO, against the CPUSA, was instituted to 
counter what the Bureau believed to be a threat to the national security. 
As the chief of the COINTELPRO unit explained it : 

We were trying first to develop intelligence so we would know 
what they were doing [and] second, to contain the threat. . . . 
To stop the spread of communism, to stop the efi^ectiveness 
of the Communist Party as a vehicle of Soviet intelligence, 
propaganda and agitation.^^'' 

Had the Bureau stopped there, perhaps the term "counterintel- 
ligence" would have been an accurate label for the program. The ex- 

° Memorandum from FBI Head(iuarters to Cleveland Field Office, 11/6/&4. 

^ One civil rights leader, the subject of at least three separate counterintel- 
ligence actions under the CPUSA caption, was targeted because there was no 
"direct evidence" that he was a communist, "neither is there any substantial 
evidence that he is anti-c(mimunist." One of the actions utilized information 
gained from a wiretap ; the other two involved dissemination of i)ersonal life in- 
formation. (Memorandum from J. A. Sizoo to W.C. Sullivan, 2/4/64 ; Memorandum 
from New York Field Office to VIM Headquarters. 2/12/64 ; Memoranda from 
FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office. 3/26/64 and 4/10/64 : Memorandnni 
to New York Field Offic'e from FBI Headquarters. 4/21/64 ; Memorandum from 
FBI Headquaters to Baltimore Field Office, 10/6/65. ) 

^Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cleveland Field Office, 11/29/68. 

* FBI Headquarters memorandum. 8/2.V67, p. 2. 

"Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to .lackson Field Office, 2/8/71, pp. 

"INIemorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office. 10/.31/68. 

" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office. 10/26/66. 

"Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cincinnati Field Office, 6/18/68. 

" Memorandum frcmi FBI Headquarters to Albuquerque Field Office, 3/1J/69. 

" IVIemorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office. 7/2.V60. 

"Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Pittsburgh Field Office, 11/14/69. 

"Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 11/-J/68. 

""COINTELPRO Unit Chief deposition, 10/16/75. p. 14. 


pansion of tlie CPUSA program to non-Communists, however, and 
the addition of subsequent programs, make it clear that other pur- 
poses were also at work. 

2. Preventing Violence 

One of these purposes was the prevention of violence. Every Bureau 
witness deposed stated that the pur-pose of the particular program or 
programs with which he was associated was to deter violent acts by 
the target groups, although the witnesses differed in their assessment 
of how successful the programs w^ere in achieving that goal. The pre- 
ventive function was not, however, intended to be a product of specific 
proposals directed at specific criminal acts. Rather, the programs were 
aimed at groups which the Bureau believed to be violent or to have the 
potential for violence. 

The programs were to prevent violence by deterring membership 
in tlie target groups, even if neither the particular member nor the 
group was violent at the time. As the supervisor of the Black National- 
ist COINTELPRO put it, "Obviously you are going to prevent vio- 
lence or a greater amount of violence if you have smaller groups." 
(Black Nationalist supervisor deposition, 10/17/75, p. 24.) The COIN 
TELPRO unit chief agreed : "We also made an effort to deter or 
counteract the propaganda . . . and to deter recruitment where we 
could. This was done with the view that if we could curb the organiza- 
tion, we could curb the action or the violence within the organiza- 
tion." ^''' In short, the programs were to prevent violence indirectly, 
rather than directly, by preventing possibly violent citizens from 
joining or continuing to associate with possibly violent groups.^* 

The prevention of violence is clearly not, in itself, an improper 
purpose ; preventing violence is the ultimate goal of most law enforce- 
ment. Prosecution and sentencing are intended to deter future crimi- 
nal behavioi', not only of the subject but also of others who might 
break tlie law. In that sense, law enforcement legitimately attempts 
the indirect prevention of possible violence and, if the methods used 
are proper, laises no constitutional issues. When the government goes 
beyond traditional law enforcement methods, however, and attacks 
group membership and advocacy, it treads on ground forbidden to it 
by the Constitution. In Brandenherg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969), the 
Supreme Court held that the government is not permitted to "forbid 
or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or law violation except where 
such advocacy is directed toward inciting or producing imminent law- 
less action and is likely to incite or produce such action." In the ab- 
sence of such clear and present danger, the government cannot act 
against speech nor, presumably, against association. 

3. MaintainiTig the Existing Social and Political Order 
Protecting national security and preventing violence are the pur- 
poses advanced by the Bureau for COINTELPRO. There is another 
purpose for COINTELPRO which is not explicit but which offers 

"" Unit Chief deposition, 10/16/75, p. ZA. 

'" "Possibly violent" did not necessarily mean likely to be violent. Concededly 
non-violent groups were targeted because they might someday change; Martin 
I.uther King, Jr. was targeted because (among other things) he might "abandon 
his supposed 'obedience' to 'white, liberal doctrines' (non-violence) and embrace 
black nationalism." (Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 3/4/68, 
p. 3.) 

the only explanation for those actions which had no conceivable ra- 
tional relationship to either national security or violent activity. 
The unexpressed major premise of much of COINTELPRO is that 
the Bureau has a role in maintaining the existing social order, and 
that its effoits should be aimed toward combating those who threaten 
that order.i^ 

The "New Left" COINTELPRO presents the most striking exam- 
ple of this attitude. As discussed earlier, the Bureau did not define the 
term "New Left," and the range of targets went far beyond alleged 
"subvei-sives" or "extremists." Thus, for example, two student par- 
ticipants in a "free speech" demonstration were targeted because they 
defended the use of the classic four-letter word. Significantly, they 
were made COINTELPRO subjects even though the demonstration 
"does not appear to be inspired by the New Left" because it "shows 
obvious disregard for decency and established morality." ^° In another 
case, reprints of a newspaper article entitled "Rabbi in Vietnam Says 
Withdrawal Not the Answer" were mailed to members of the Vietnam 
Day Committee "to convince [them] of the correctness of the U.S. for- 
eign policy in Vietnam." -^ Still another document inveighs against the 
"liberal press and the bleeding hearts and the forces on the left" which 
were "taking advantage of the situation in Chicago surrounding the 
Democratic National Convention to attack the police and organized 
law^ enforcement agencies." -- Upholding decency and established 
morality, defending the correctness of U.S. foreign policy, and attack- 
ing those who thought the Chicago police used undue force have no 
ajjparent connection with the expressed goals of protecting national 
security and preventing violence. These documents, among other's 
examined, compel the conclusion that Federal law enforcement offi- 
cers looked upon themselves as guardians of the status quo. The at- 
titude should not be a surprise; the difficulty lies in the choice 
of weapons. 

D. What Techniques Were Used? 

1. The Techniques of Wartime 
Under the COINTELPRO programs, the arsenal of techniques 
used against foreign espionage agents was transferred to domestic 
enemies. As William C. Sullivan, former Assistant to the Director, 
put it. 

This is a rough, tough, dirty business, and dangerous. It was 
dangerous at times. No holds were barred. . . . We have used 
[these techniques] against Soviet agents. They have used 
[them] against us. . . . [The same methods were] brought 
home against any organization against which w^e were tar- 
geted. We did not differentiate. This is a rough, tough busi- 

Mr. Sullivan's description — rough, tough, and dirty — is accurate. In 
the couree of COINTELPRO's fifteen-year history, a number of in- 

^^ This attitude toward change is apparent in many of those Bureau activities 
investigated by the Committee. It played a large part in the Martin Luther King, 
Jr. case, which is the subject of a separate report. 

^ FBI Headquarters memorandum, 11/4/68. 

" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 11/1/65. 

" Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr. 8/29/64, pp. 1-8. 

** William C. Sullivan testimony, 11/1/75, pp. 97-98. 


dividual actions may have violated specific criminal statutes ; ^* a num- 
ber of individual actions involved risk of serious bodily injury or 
death to the targets (at least four assaults were reported as "re- 
sults") ; ^^ and a number of actions, while not illegal or dangerous, can 
only be described as "abhorrent in a free society." '^^ On the other hand, 
many of the actions were more silly than repellent. 

The Bureau approved 2,370 separate counterintelligence actions.^^ 
Their techniques ranged from anonymously mailing reprints of news- 
paper and magazine articles (sometimes Bureau-authored or planted) 
to group members or supporters to convince them of the error of their 
ways,^* to mailing anonymous letters to a member's spouse accusing 
the target of infidelity; ^^ from using informants to raise controver- 
sial issues at meetings in order to cause dissent,^" to the "snitch jacket" 
(falsely labeling a group member as an informant) ,^^ and encourag- 
ing street warfare between violent groups; ^- from contacting mem- 
bers of a "legitimate group to expose the alleged subversive back- 
ground of a fellow member,^^ to contacting an employer to get a tar- 
get fired ; ^* from attempting to arrange for reporters to interview 
targets with planted questions,^^ to trying to stop targets from speak- 
ing at all; ^^ from notifying state and local authorities of a target's 
criminal law violations,^' to using the IRS to audit a professor, not 
just to collect any taxes owing, but to distract him from his political 
activities. ^^ 

'* A memorandum prepared for the Justice Department Committee which 
studied COINTELPRO in 1974 stated that COINTELPRO activities "may" have 
violated the Civil Rights statute, the mail and wire fraud statutes, and the pro- 
hibition against divulging information gained from wiretaps. (Memorandum 
to H. E. Petersen, 4/25/74.) Internal Bureau documents show that Bureau 
officials believed sending threats through the mail might violate federal extor- 
tion statutes. (See, e.g.. Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Newark Field 
Office, 2/19/71.) Such threats were mailed or telephoned on several occasions. 

■' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Chicago J'ield Office, 1/30/70. 

^^ Hearing of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Constitutional Rights 
11/20/74, p. 11. The Petersen Committee, composed of Department of Justice 
attorneys and Bureau agents, was formed in 1974 at the request of Attorney 
General Saxbe to investigate COINTELI'RO. Its conclusions are discussed on 
pp. 73-76. 

" 3,247 actions were proposed. 

^ E.g., Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 

^^ E.g., Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 

^^ E.g., Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 

"■^ E.g., Memorandum from Newark Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 7/3/69. 
The term "snitch jacket" is not part of Bureau jargon ; it was used by those 
familiar with the Bureau's activities directed against the Black Panther Party 
in a staff interview. 

" E.g., Memorandum from Columbia Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/4/70. 

'^ E.g., Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Chicago Field Office. 8/2/68. 

" E.g., Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cleveland and Boston Field 
Offices, 5/5/64. 

^ E.g., Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 

*'E.g., Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office, 

^^E.g., Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 

'^E.g., Memorandum from Midwest City Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 


^, Techniques Carrying A SeHous Risk of Physical^ Emotional, 
or Economic Damage. 
The Bureau recog^iized that some techniques were more likely than 
others to cause serious physical, emotional, or economic damage to the 
targets. Any proposed use of those techniques was scrutinized care- 
fully by headquarters supervisory personnel, in an attempt to balance 
the "greater good" to be achieved by the proposal against the known 
or risked harm to the target. If the "good'' was sufficient, the proposal 
was approved.^'' For instance, in discussing anonymous letters to 
spouses, the agent who supervised the New Left COINTELPRO 
stated : 

[Before recommending approval] I would want to know 
what you want to get out of this, who are these people. If it's 
somebody, and say they did split up, what would accrue from 
it as far as disrupting the New Left is concerned ? Say they 

broke up, what then 

[The question would be] is it worth it ? ^^* 

Similarly, with regard to the "snitch jacket" technique — falsely 
labeling a group member as a police informant — the chief of the Racial 
Intelligence Section stated : 

You have to be able to make decisions and I am sure that 
labeling somebody as an informant, that you'd want to make 
certain that it served a good purpose before you did it and not 
do it haphazardly. ... It is a serious thing. ... As far as 
I am aware, in the black extremist area, by using that tech- 
nique, no one was killed. I am sure of that.*" 

Moore was asked Avhether the fact that no one was killed was the 
result of "luck or planning." He answered : 

"Oh, it just happened that way, I am sure." *^ 

It is thus clear that, as Sullivan said, "No holds were barred," *^ 
although some holds were weighed more carefully than others. 
When the willingness to use techniques which were concededly dan- 
gerous or harmful to the targets is combined with the range of pur- 
poses and criteria by which these targets were chosen, the result is 
neither "within bounds'' nor "justified" in a free society.*^ 

™ Mechanically, the Bureau's programs were administered at headquarters, 
but individual actions were proposed and usually carried out by the field. A 
field proposal under the COINTELPRO caption would be routed to a special 
agent supervising that particular program. During most of COIXTELPRO's 
history that supervisor was a member of the section at the Domestic Intelligence 
Division with investigative responsibility for the subject of the proposal. The 
supervisor's recommendation then went up through the Bureau hierarchy. Pro- 
posals were rarely approved below the level of Assistant Director in charge of 
the Division, and often were approvetl by one of the top three men in the Bureau. 

^'"' New Left supervisor testimony, 10/28/75, pp. 72, 74. 

*« George C. Moore testimony, 11/3/75, p. 62. 

" Moore, 11/3/75, p. 64. 

*= Sullivan, 11/1/75, p. 97. 

" James B. Adams testimony, 11/19/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, pp. 73, 75. 


E. Legal Restrictions Were Ignored 

What happened to turn a law enforcement agency into a law viola- 
tor? Why do those involved still believe their actions were not only 
defensible, but right ? ** 

The answers to these questions are found in a combination of factors : 
the availability of information showing the targets' vulnerability 
gathered through the unrestrained collection of domestic intelligence ; 
the belief both within and without the Bureau that it could handle 
any problem; and frustration with the apparent inability of tradi- 
tional law enforcement methods to solve the problems presented. 

There is no doubt that Congress and the public looked to the Bureau 
for protection against domestic and foreign threats. As the COINTEL 
PRO unit chief stated : 

At this time [the mid-1950s] there was a general philosophy 
too, the general attitude of the public at this time was you did 
not have to worry about Communism because the FBI would 
take care of it. Leave it to the FBI. 

I hardly know an agent who would ever go to a social affair 
or something, if he were introduced as FBI, the comment 
would be, "we feel very good because we know you are han- 
dling the threat.-' We were handling the threat w^ith what 
directives and statutes were available. There did not seem to 
be any strong interest of anybody to give us stronger or better 
defined statutes.*^ 

Not only was no one interested in giving the Bureau better statutes 
(nor, for that matter, did the Bureau request them), but the Supreme 
Court drastically narrowed the scope of the statutes available. The 
Bureau personnel involved trace the institution of the first formal 
counterintelligence program to the Supreme Court reversal of the 
Smith Act convictions. The unit chief testified : 

The Supreme Court rulings had rendered the Smith Act 
technically unenforceable. ... It made it ineffective to prose- 
cute Communist Party members, made it impossible to prose- 
cute Communist Party members at the time.*^ 

This belief in the failure of law enforcement produced the subsequent 
COINTELPROs as well. The unit chief continued : 

" The unit chief stated : "The Bureau people did not think that they were doing 
anything wrong and most of us to this day do not think we were doing anything 
wrong." (Unit chief, 10/16/75, p. 102.) Moore felt the same way: "I thought I 
did something very important during those days. I have no apologies to make 
for anything we did, really." (Moore 11/3/75, p. 25.) 

*' Unit chief. 10/16/75, pp. 11, 12. 14. 

"* Unit chief, 10/10/75, pp. 12-14, Deputy Associate Director Adams' testimony 
on COINTELPRO noted that "interpretations as to the constitutionality of [the 
Smith Act of 1940] leave us with a statute still on the books that proscribes cer- 
tain actions, but yet the degree of proof necessary to operate under the few 
remaining areas is such that there was no satisfactory way to proceed." (Adams 
testimony, 11/19/75. Hearings, Vol. 6. p. 71.) In fact, the Smith Act decisions 
did not come down until 1957. Perhaps the witnesses were referring to Commu- 
nist Party v. Subversive Activities Control Board. 351 T".S. 115 (1956), which 
held that testimony by "tainted" Government witnesses required remanding the 
case to the Board. 


The other COINTELPRO programs were opened as the 
threat arose in areas of extremism and subversion and there 
were not adequate statutes to proceed against the organiza- 
tion or to prevent their activities.*^ 
Every Bureau witness deposed agreed that his particular 
COINTELPRO was the result of tremendous pressure on the Bureau 
to do something about a perceived threat, coupled with the inability of 
law enforcement techniques to cope with the situation, either because 
there were no pertinent federal statutes,** or because local law enforce- 
ment efforts were stymied by indifference or the refusal of those in 
charge to call the police. 

Outside pressure and law enforcement frustration do not, of course, 
fully explain COINTELPRO. Perhaps, after all, the best explanation 
was proffered by George C. Moore, the Racial Intelligence Section 
chief : 

The FBI's counterintelligence program came up because there 
was a point — if you have anything in the FBI, you have an 
action-oriented group of people who see something happen- 
ing and want to do something to take its place.*^ 

F. Command and Control 

1. 1956-71 

While that "action-oriented group of people" was proceeding with 
fifteen years of COINTELPRO activities, where were those respon- 
sible for the supervision and control of the Bureau ? Part of the answer 
lies in the definition of "covert action" — clandestine activities. No one 
outside the Bureau was supposed to know that COINTELPRO ex- 
isted. Even within the Bureau, the programs were handled on a "need- 
to-know" basis. 

Nevertheless, the Bureau has supplied the Committee with docu- 
ments which support its contention that various Attorneys General, 
advisors to Presidents, members of the House Appropriations Sub- 
committee, and, in 1958, the Cabinet were at least put on notice of the 
existence of the CPUSA and White Hate COINTELPROs. The 
Bureau cannot support its claim that anyone outside the FBI was 
informed of the existence of the Socialist Workers Party, Black 
Nationalist, or New Left COINTELPROs, and even those letters or 

" Unit chief, 10/16/75, p. 15. 

*^ One witness also pointed out that while the federal antiriot and antibomb- 
ing statutes were not passed until 1968. inadequate statutes were not the only 
problem. Statutes directed at specific criminal acts would only have served to 
allow prosecution after the crime ; they would not have prevented the act in the 
first place. He also stated that he did not believe it would be possible to pass 
a statute which would have given the Bureau the tools necessary to prevent 
violence by disrupting the growth of violence-prone organizations — "because of 
something called the United States Constitution." When askefl whether that an- 
swer implied that preventing the growth of an organization is unconstitutional, 
he answeretl, '"I think so." (Black Nationalist superA-isor. 10/1/75. pp. 25-26.) 
He was the only Bureau witness who had reser\'ations about COIXTELPRO's 
constitutionality. Another witness gave a more typical response. When asked 
whether anybody at any time during the course of the programs discussed their 
constitutionality or legal authoritv. he replied. "No, we never gave it a thought." 
(Moore, 11/3/75. p. 83.) 

*' Moore, 11/3/75, p. 79. 


briefings which referred (usually indirectly) to the CPUSA and 
White Hate COINTELPROs failed to mention the use of techniques 
which risked physical, emotional, or economic damage to their targets. 
In any event, there is no record that any of these officials asked to 
know more, and none of them appears to have expressed disapproval 
based on the information they were given. 

As th% history of the Domestic Intelligence Division shows, the 
absence of disapproval has been interpreted by the Bureau as suffi- 
cient authorization to continue an activity (and occasionally, even 
express disapproval has not sufficed to stop a practice). Perhaps, 
however, the crux of the "command and control" problem lies in the 
testimony by one former Attorney General that he was too busy to 
know what the Bureau was doing,^"' and by another that, as a matter 
of political reality, he could not have stopped it anyway.^^ 

2. Post-1971 
Whether the Attorney General can control the Bureau is still an 
open question. The Petersen Committee, which was formed within 
the Justice Department to investigate COINTELPRO at Attorney 
General Saxbe's request, worked only with Bureau-prepared 
summaries of the COINTELPRO files.^^ Further, the fact that the 
Department of Justice must work with the Bureau on a day-to-day 
basis may influence the Department's judgment on Bureau activities.^^ 

G. Termination 

If COINTELPRO had been a short-lived aberration, the thorny 
problems of motivation, techniques, and control presented might be 
safely relegated to history. However, COINTELPRO existed for 
years on an "ad hoc" basis before the formal programs were instituted, 
and more significantly, COINTELPRO-type activities may continue 
today under the rubric of "investigation." 

1. The Grey Area Between Counterintelligence and Investiga- 

The word "counterintelligence" had no fixed meaning even before 
the programs were terminated. The Bureau witnesses agreed that there 
is a large grey area between "counterintelligence" and "aggressive 
investigation," and that headquartere supervisors sometimes had diffi- 
culty in deciding which caption should go on certain proposals.^* 

Aggressive investigation continues, and may be even more disrup- 
tive than covert action. An anonymous letter (COINTELPRO) can 
be ignored as the work of a crank ; an overt approach by the Bureau 

^ Ramsey Clark testimony, 12/3/7.5, Hearings, A^ol. 6, p. 249. 

" Nicholas deB. Katzenbach testimony. 12/3/75. Hearings. Vol. 6, p. 217. 

^- These summaries were the point of departure for the Select Committee's 
investigation but were deemed unsatisfactory for a complete inquiry. 

^ For instance, the Department is defending litigation commenced against 
the Bureau by COINTELPRO victims who happen to have received their files 
through Freedom of Information Act requests. More such litigation may arise 
as more targets learn of Bureau actions taken against them. 

^The New Left supervisor stated, "[The COINTELPRO caption was] as much 
as it was anything else, and administrative device to channel the mail to the Bu- 
reau . . . we get back to this old argument between the supervisors — not argu- 
ment, but discussion, between the supervisors, it falls on yours, no, it doesn't, it's 
yours." (New Left Supervisor, 10/28/75, p. 49.) 


("investigation'') is not so easily dismissed.^'^ The line between infor- 
mation collection and harassment can be extremely thin. 

2. Is COINTELPRO Continuing f 
COINTELPKO-type activities which are clearly not within the 
"grey area" between COINTELPRO and investigation have continued 
on at least three occasions. Although all COINTELPROs were offi- 
cially terminated "for security reasons'- on April 27, 1971, the docu- 
ments discontinuing the program provided : 

In exceptional circumstances where it is considered counter- 
intelligence action is warranted, recommendations should be 
submitted to the Bureau under the individual case caption to 
which it pertains. These recommendations will be considered 
on an individual basis.^*' 

The Conmiittee requested that the Bureau provide it with a list of 
any "COINTELPRO-type" actions since April 28, 1971. The Bureau 
fii-st advised the Committee that a review failed to develop any infor- 
mation indicating post-termination COINTELPRO activity. Subse- 
quently, the Bureau located and furnished to the Committee two 
instances of COINTELPRO-type operations.^^ The Committee has 
discovered a third instance; four months after COINTELPRO was 
tei-minated, information on an attorney's political background was 
furnished to friendly newspaper sources under the so-called "INIass 
Media Program," intended to discredit both the attorney and his 
client. ^^ 

The Committee has not been able to determine with any greater 
precision the extent to which COINTELPRO may be continuing. Any 
proposals to initiate COINTELPRO-type action would be filed under 
the individual case caption. The Bureau has over 500,000 case files, 
and each one would have to be searched. In this context, it should be 

^ The Bureau can and does reveal its interest in the subjects of investigation 
to employees, family members, and neighbors. The Black Nationalist super- 
visor explained, "Generally speaking, we should not be giving out information 
to somebody we are trying to get information from. As a practical matter some- 
times we have to. The mere fact that you contact somebody about someone 
gives them the indication that the FBI is interested in that person." (Black 
Nationalist deposition, 10/17/75, p. 16). See also the statement of the Social 
Workers Party, 10/2/7.5, which details more than 200 incidents involving its 
members since COINTELPRO's termination. The SWP believes these to be as 
disruptive as the formal SWP COINTELPRO. 

^Memorandum from Charles D. Brennan to William C. Sullivan, 4/27/71. 
Hearings, A^ol. 6, Exhibit 5.5-3. 

" In one instance, a field office was authorized to contact the editor of a South- 
ern newspaper to suggest that he have reporters interview Klan members and 
write an article based on those interviews. The editor was also furnished informa- 
tion on Klan use of the polygraph to "weed out FBI informants." According to 
the Bureau, "subsequent publication of the Klan's activities resulted in a number 
of Klan officials ceasing their activities." (Letter from FBI to the Senate Select 
Committee 10/24/75.) The second case involved an anonymous letter and de- 
rogatory newspaper clipping which were sent to a Black Panther Party office in 
the Northeast to discredit a Panther leader's abilities. (Letter from FBI to the 
Senate Select Committee, 9/24/75.) 

^ It should be noted that Charles Colson spent seven months in jail for similar 
activity involving the client. 


noted that a Bureau search of all field office COINTELPRO files 
revealed the existence of five operations in addition to those known to 
the Petersen comnnttee.^^ A search of all investigative files might be 
similarly productive. 

3. The Future of COINTELPRO 
Attitudes within and without the Bureau demonstrate a continued 
belief by some that covert action against American citizens is permis- 
sible if the need for it is strong enough. Wlien the Petersen Committee 
report on COINTELPRO was released, Director Kelley responded, 
"For the FBI to have done less under the circimistances would have 
been an abdication of its responsibilities to the American people." 
He also restated his "feeling that the FBI's counterintelligence pro- 
grams had an impact on the crises of the time and, therefore, that they 
helped to bring about a favorable change in this country'." ^^ In his 
testimony before the Select Committee, Director Kelley continued to 
defend COINTELPRO, albeit with some reservations : 

What I said then, in 1974, and what I believe today, is that 
the FBI employees involved in these programs did Avhat they 
felt was expected of them by the President, the Attorney Gen- 
eral, the Congress, and the people of the United States. . . . 

Our concern over whatever abuses occurred in the Coun- 
terintelligence Programs, and there were some substantial 
ones, should not obscure the underlying purpose of those 

We must recognize that situations have occurred in the past 
and will arise in the future where the Government may well 
be expected to depart from its traditional role, in the FBI's 
case, as an investigative and intelligence-gathering agency, 
and take affirmative steps which are needed to meet an immi- 
nent threat to human life or property.*^'- 

Nor is the Director alone in his belief that faced with sufficient 
threat, covert disruption is justified. The Department of Justice pro- 
mulgated tentative guidelines for the Bureau which would have per- 
mitted the Attorney General to authorize "preventive action"' where 

*' Letter from Attorney General Edward H. Levi to the Senate Select Commit- 
mittee, 5/23/75. These Included: (1) 37 actions authorized between 1960 and 
1971 "aimed at militant groups which sought Puerto Rican independence;" (2) 
"Operation Hoodwink," from October 1966 to July 1968, "aimed at putting orga- 
nized crime elements in competition with the Communist Party USA;" (3) a 
1961 program targeted against "a foreign-dominated group;" (4) two actions 
taken between January 1969 and March 1971 against "a foreign nationality group 
in the United States;" and (5) seven actions between 1961 and 1968 against 
members, leaders, and factions of "a foreign communist party." 

The FBI's operations against "a foreign communist party" indicate that the 
Bureau, as well as the CIA, has engaged in covert action abroad. 

"" Clarence M. Kelley testimony. House Civil Rights and Constitutional Rights 
Subcommittee hearings. 11/20/74, pp. 44—45. This sitatement appears to be an 
explicit recognitifm that one purpose of COINTELPRO was to influence political 

"Clarence M. Kelley testimony, 12/10/75, Hearings. Vol. 6, p. 283, 284. 
Affirmative legal steps to meet an imminent threat to life or property are, of 
course, quite proper. The difficulty with the Director's statement, juxtaposed 
as it was with a discussion of COINTELPRO. is that the threats COINTELPRO 
purported to meet were not imminent, the techniques used were sometimes 
illegal, and the purposes went far beyond the prevention of death or destruction. 


there is a substantial possibility that violence will occur and "prose- 
cution is impracticable."' Although those guidelines have now been 
dropped, the principle has not been rejected. 


A. Orighis 

The origins of COINTELPRO are rooted in the Bureau's jurisdic- 
tion to investigate hostile foreign intelligence activities on American 
soil. Counterintelligence, of course, goes beyond investigation; it is 
affirmative action taken to neutralize hostile agents. 

The Bureau believed its wartime counterattacks on foreign agents 
to be eifective — and what works against one enemy will work against 
another. In the atmosphere of the Cold War, the American Communist 
Party was viewed as a deadly threat to national security. 

(in 1956, the Bureau decided that a formal counterintelligence pro- 
gram, coordinated from headquarters, would be an eifective weapon in 
the fight against Communism. The firet COIXTELPRO was there- 
fore initiated.^^ 

The CPUSA COINTELPRO accounted for more than half of all 
approved proposals.^M^The Bureau personnel involved believed that 
the success of the program — one action was described as "the most 
effective single blow ever dealt the oi-ganized communist move- 
ment'" ^^ — made counterintelligence techniques the weapons of choice 
whenever the Bureau assessed a new and, in its view, equally serious 
threat to the country. 

As noted earlier, law enforcement frustration also played a part 
in the origins of each COINTELPRO. In each case, Bureau wit- 
nesses testified that the lack of adequate statutes, uncooperative or 
ineffective local police, or restrictive court rulings had made it impos- 
sible to use traditional law enforcement methods against the tar- 
geted groups. 

Additionally, a certain amount of empire building may have been 
at work. Under William C. Sullivan, the Domestic Intelligence Divi- 
sion greatly expanded its jurisdiction. Klan matters were transferred 
in 1964 to the Intelligence Division from the General Investigative 
Division; blax^k nationalist groups were added in 1967; and, just as 
the Old Left appeared to be dying out,*'*' the New Left was gradually 
added to the work of the Division's Internal Security Section in the 
late 1960s. 

Finally, it is significant that the five domestic COINTELPROs 
were started against the five groups which were the subject of inten- 
sified investigative ])rograms. Of course, the fact that such intensive 
investigative programs were started at all reflects the Bureau's proc- 
ess of tlireat assessment : the greater the threat, the more need to 

•*" Memorandum from Alan Belmont to L. V. Boardman, 8/28/56, Hearings, 
vol. 6, exhibit 12. 

^^ 1,388 of a total of 2,370. 

^ Excerpt from materials prepared for the FBI Director's briefing of the House 
Appropriations Subcommittee, FY 1966, p. 2. 

^ According to Sullivan, membership in the Communist Party declined steadily 
through the '60s. When the CPUSA membership dropped below a certain figure, 
Director Hoover ordered that the membership figures be classified. Sullivan 
believes that this was done to protect the Bureau's appropriations. (Sullivan, 
11/1/7.-), pp. 33-34.) 


know about it (intelligence) and the more impetus to counter it 
(covert action), Mor-e important, however, the mere existence of 
the additional information gained through the investigative pro- 
grams inevitably demonstrated those particular organizational or 
personal weaknesses which were vulnerable to disruption. COIN 
TELPRO demonstrates the dangers inlierent in the overbroad col- 
lection of domestic intelligence; when information is available, it can 
be — and was — improperly used. 

B. The Programs 

Before examining each program in detail, some general observa- 
tions may be useful. Each of the five domestic COINTELPROs had 
certain traits in common. As noted above, each program used tech- 
niques learned from the Bureau's wartime efforts against hostile 
foreign agents. Each sprang from frustration with the perceived 
inability of law enforcement to deal with what the Bureau believed 
to be a serious threat to the country. p]ach program depended on an 
intensive intelligence effort to provide the information used to dis- 
rupt the tai'get groups. 

The programs also differ to some extent. The White Hate program, 
for example, was very piecisely targeted ; each of the other programs 
spread to a number of groups which do not appear to fall within any 
clear parameters." In fact, with each subsequent COINTELPRO, 
the targeting became more diffuse. 

The White Hate COINTEEPRO also used comiparatively few 
tecliniques which carried a risk of serious physical, emotional, or eco- 
nomic damage to the targets, while the Black Nationalist COIN 
TELPRO used such techniques extensively. The New Left COIN 
TELPRO, on the other hand, had the highest proportion of proposals 
aimed at preventing the exei-eise of free speech. Like the progression 
in targeting, the use of dangeious, degrading, or blatantly uncon- 
stitiitional techniques also appears to have become less restrained with 
each subsequent program. 

1. GPU 8 A. —The first official COINTELPRO program, against 
the Communist Party, USA, was started in August 1956 with Direc- 
tor Hoover's approval. Although the formal program was instituted 
in 1956, COINTELPRO-type activities had gone on for years. The 
memorandum recommending the program refers to prior actions, 
constituting "harassment," which were generated by the field during 
the course of the Bureau's investigation of the Communist Party.^* 
These prior actions wei-e instituted on an ad hoe basis as the oppor- 
tunity arose. As Sullivan testified, "[Before 1956] we were engaged in 
COINTELPRO tactics, divide, confuse, weaken in diverse ways, an 
organization. . . . [Before 1956] it was more sporadic. It depended 
on a given office. . . ." "° 

In 1956, a series of field conferences was held to discuss the develop- 
ment of new security informants. The Smith Act trials and related 
proceedings had exposed over 100 informants, leaving the Bureau's 

^Tor instance, the Southern Christian Leadership Confereoice was targeted 
as a "Black Nationalist-Hate Group." (Memorandum from FBI headquarters 
to all SAC'S, 3/4/6S. p. 4.) 

"* Memorandum from Alan Belmont to L. V. Boardman, S/2S/56, Hearings, 
Vol. 6. exhibit 12. 

** Sullivan testimony. 11/1/75, pp. 42^3. 


intelligence apparatus in some disarray. During the field conferences, 
a formal counterintelligence program was recommended, partly be- 
cause of the gaps in the informant ranksJ" 

Since the Bureau had evidence that until the late 1940s the CPUSA 
had been "blatantly"' involved in Soviet espionage, and believed that 
the Soviets were continuing to use the Party for "political and intel- 
ligence purposes," ^^ there was no clear line of demarcation in the 
Bureau's switch from foreign to domestic counterintelligence. The 
initial areas of concentration were the use of informants to capitalize 
on the conflicts within the Party over Nikita Khrushchev's denuncia- 
tion of Stalin ; to prevent the CP's efforts to take over (via a merger) 
a broad-based socialist group; to encourage the Socialist Workers 
Party in its attacks on the CP ; and to use the IRS to investigate under- 
ground CP members who either failed to file, or filed under false; 

As the program proceeded, other tai'gets and techniques were de- 
veloj^ed, but mitil 1960 the CPUSA targets were Party membei-s, and 
the techniques were primarily aimed at the Party organization (fac- 
tionalism, public exposure, etc.) 

2. The I960 Expmislon.—ln March 1960, CPUSA COINTELPRO 
field offices received a directive to intensify counterintelligence 
efforts to prevent Conmiunist infiltration ("COMINFIL") of mass 
organizations, ranging from the NAACP '^ to a local scout troop. "^ 
The usual techni(pie would be t-o tell a leader of the organization about 
the alleged Communist in its midst, the target, of course, being the 
alleged Communist rather than the organization. In an increasing 
number of cases, however, both the alleged Communist and the organi- 
zation were targeted, usually by planting a news article about Com- 
munists active in the organization. For example, a newsman was given 
information about Cx>nmumist participation in a SANE march, with 
the express purpose being to discredit SANE as well as the partici- 
pants, and another newspaper was alerted to plans of Bettina Apth- 
eker to join a United Farm Workers picket line.^* The 1960 "COMIN 
FIL" memorandum marks the beginning of the slide from targeting 
CP membei-s to those allegedly under CP "influence" (such civil rights 
leaders as Martin Luther King, Jr.) to "fellow traveler" (those tak- 
ing positions supported by the Communists, such as school integration, 
increased minority hiring, and opposition to HUAC.)" 

3. Socialist Workers Party. — The Socialist Workers Partv 
("SWP") COINTELPRO program was initiated on October 12, 1961, 
by the headquarters supervisor handling the SWP desk (but with 
Hoover's concurrence) apparently on a theory of even-handed treat- 

'"As noted earlier, Bureau personnel also trace the decision to adopt counter- 
intelligence methods to the Supreme Court decisions overturning the Smith Act 
convictions. As the unit cliief put it, "The Supreme Court rulings had rendered 
the Smith Act teclmically unenforceahle. ... It made it ineffective to prosecute 
Communist Party members, made it impossible to prosecute Communist Party 
members at the time." (Unit chief, 10/16/75, p. 14) . 

" T'nit chief, 10/16/75, p. 10. 

■'^ Memorandum from New Haven Field Office to FBI Headtpiarters, 5/2J/60. 

''^Memorandum from Milwaukee Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 7/13/60, 
pp. 1-2. 

""■ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 9/13/68. 

" Sullivan, 11/1/75, p. 29. 


ment: if the Bureau has a program against tlie CP, it was only fair to 
have one against the Trotsky ites. (The COINTELPRO unit cliief, in 
response to a (juestion al)out why the Bureau targeted the SAVP in 
view of the fact that the SWP's hostility to the Coiniuunist Party had 
been useful iu disrupting the CPSIJA, answered, "I do not think that 
the ]^ureau discriminates against subversive organizations.") ^^ 

Tlie program was not given higli priority — only 45 actions were ap- 
proved — and was discontinued in 11)69, two years before the other four 
programs ended. (The SWP program was then subsumed in the New 
Left COINTP^LPRO.) Nevertheless, it marks an imi)ortant departure 
from the CPUS A COINTELPRO: although the SWP had contacts 
with foi-eign Trotskyite groui)s, there was no evidence that the SWP 
was involved in espionage. These were, in C. D. Brennan's phrase, 
"home grown tomatoes." " The Bureau has conceded that the SWP has 
never been engaged in organizational violence, nor has it taken any 
criminal steps towai'd overthrowing the country. ^^ 

Nor does the Bureau claim the SWP was engaged in revolutionary 
acts. The Party was targeted for its rhetoric; significantly, the orig- 
inating letter points to the SWPs "open" espousal of its line "through 
running candidates for public office" and its direction and/or support 
of "such causes as (bistro's Cuba and integration problems arising in 
the South." Further, the American people had to be alerted to the 
fact that "the SWP is not just anothei- socialist group but follows the 
revolutionary principles of Marx, Lenin, and Engles as interpreted 
by Leon Ti'otsky." "^ 

Like the CPUSA COINTELPRO, non-Party members were also 
targeted, particularly when the SWP and the Young Socialist Alliajice 
(the SWP's youth group) started to co-sponsor antiwar marches.*" 

Jf. White Hate.— ThQ Klan (YJINTELPRO began on July 30, 
1964, with the transfer of the "responsibility for development of in- 
formants and gathering of intelligence on the KKK and other hate 
groups" fi-om the General Investigative Division to the Domestic 
Intelligena'. Division. The memorandum recommending the reorgani- 
zation also suggested that "counterintelligence and disruj^tion tactics 
be given further study by DID and appropriate recommendations 
made." «^ 

'" Unit chief, 10/16/75, p. 40. 

"Charles D. Brennan testimony, Senate Select Committee on Campaign Ac- 
tivities. G/13/73. p. 10. 

'' Robert Sliaekleford testimony, 2/6/76, pp. 88-89. 

™ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters. 

*" For example, anonymous letters were sent to the parents of two nonmember 
students participating in a hunger strike against the war at a midwest college, 
because the fast was sponsored by the Young Socialist Alliance. The letters 
warned that the students' participation "could lead to injury to [their] health 
and damage [their] academic standing^ and alerted them to their sons' "involve- 
ment in left wing activities." It was boi)ed that the parents would "protest to the 
college that the fast is being allowed" and that tlie Young Socialist Alliance was 
permitted on campus. (Memorandum from FBI headquarters to Cleveland Field 
Office, 11/29/68.) 

®^ Memorandum from J. H. Gale to Charles Tol.sen, 7/30/64, p. 5. Opinion within 
the Division had been sharply divided on the merits of this transfer. Some saw 
it as an attempt to bring the Intelligence Division's expertise in penetrating 
secret organizations to bear on a problem — Klan involvement in the murder of 
civil rights workers — creating tremendous pressures on the Bureau to solve. 
Traditional law enforcement methods were insufficient because of a lack of 


Accordingly, on September 2, 1964, a directive was sent to seventeen 
field offices instituting a COINTELPRO against Klan-type and hate 
organizations "to expose, disrupt, and otherwise neutr-alize the activi- 
ties of the various Klans and hate organizations, their leadership, and 
adherents." ^^ Seventeen Klan organizations and nine "hate" organiza- 
tions (e.g., American Nazi Party, National States Rights Party, etc.) 
were listed as targets. The field offices were also instructed specifically 
to consider "Action Groups" — "the relatively few individuals in each 
organization who use strong arm tactics and violent actions to achieve 
their ends." *^ However, counterintelligence proposals were not to be 
limited to these few, but were to include any influential member if 
the oppoitunity arose. As the unit chief stated : 

The emphasis was on determining the identity and exposing 
and neutralizing the violence prone activities of "Action 
Groups," but also it was important to expose the unlawful 
activities of other Klan organizations. We also made an effort 
to deter or counteract the propaganda and to deter violence 
and to deter recruitment where we could. This was done with 
the view that if we could curb the organization, we could curb 
the action or the violence within the organization.^* 

The White Hate COINTELPRO appears to have been limited, with 
few exceptions,^^ to the original named targets. No "legitimate" right 
wing organizations were drawai into the program, in contrast with the 
earlier spread of the CPUSA and SWP programs to non membei-s. 
This precision has been attributed by the Bureau to the superior intel- 
ligence on "hate" groups received by excellent informant penetration. 
Bureau witnesses believe the Klan program to have been highly 
effective. The unit chief stated : 

I think the Bureau got the job done. ... I think that one 
reason we were able to get the job done was that we were 
able to use counterintelligence techniques. It is possible that 
we eventually could have done the job without counterintelli- 
gence techniques. I am not sure we could have done it as well 
or as quickly.*" 

This view was shared by George C. Moore, Section Chief of the 
Racial Intelligence Section, which had responsibility for the White 
Hate and Black Nationalist COINTELPROs : 

I think from what I have seen and what I have read, as far 
as the counterintelligence program on the Klan is concerned, 
that it was effective. I think it was one of the most effective 

Federal statutes and the noiieooperation of local law enforcement. Others thought 
that the Klan's activities were essentially a law enforcement problem, and that 
the transfer would dilute the Division's major internal security responsibility. 
Those who opi)Osetl the transfer lost, and trace many of the Division's subsequent 
difficulties to this "substantial enlargement" of the Division's responsibilities. 
("Unit chief, 10/16/75, pp. 4r^-A7.) 

'^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Atlanta Field Office, 9/2/64, p. 1. 

^^ FBI Headquarters memorandum, 9/2/64, p. 3. 

" l^nit Chief, 10/14/75, p. 54. 

*" A few actions were approved against the "Minutemen," when it became 
known that members were stockpiling weapons. 

^ Unit Chief, 10/16/75, p. 48. 


programs I have ever seen the Bureau handle as far as any 
group is concerned.^^ 

J. Black NationaJist-Hate Groups.^^ — In marked contrast to prior 
COINTELPROs, which grew out of years of intensive intelligence 
investigation, the Black Nationalist COINTELPEO and the racial 
intelligence investigative section were set up at about the same time 
in 1967. 

Prior to that time, the Division's investigation of "Negro matters'" 
was limited to instances of alleged Communist infiltration of civil 
rights groups and to monitoring civil rights protest activity. However, 
the long, hot summer of 1967 led to intense pressure on the Bureau 
to do something to contain the problem, and once again, the Bureau 
heeded the call. 

The originating letter was sent out to twenty-three field offices on 
August 25, 1967, describing the program's purpose as 

... to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise 
neutralize the activities of black nationalist, hate-type 
organizations and groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, 
membership, and supportei-s, and to counter their pro- 
pensity for violence and civil disorder. . . . Efforts of the 
various groups to consolidate their forces or to recruit new or 
youthful adherents must be frustrated.*^ 

Initial gi-oup targets for "intensified attention'' were the Southern 
Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Nonviolent Coordinat- 
ing Committee, Revolutionary Action Movement, Deacons for Defense 
and Justice, Congress of Racial Equality, and the Nation of Islam. 
Indi^^duals named targets were Stokely Carmichael, H. "Rap" Brown, 
Elijah Muhammed, and Maxwell Stanford. Tlie targets were chosen 
by conferring with Headquarters personnel supervising the racial 
cases ; the list was not intended to exclude other groups Imown to the 

According to the Black Nationalist supervisor, individuals and or- 
ganizations were targeted because of their propensity for violence or 
their "radical or revolutionary rhetoric [and] actions" : 

Revolutionary would be [defined as] advocacy of the over- 
throw of the Government. . . . Radical [is] a loose term that 
might cover, for example, the separatist view of the Nation of 
Islam, the influence of a group called U.S. Incorporated. . . . 

Generally, they wanted a separate black nation They [the 

NOI] advocated formation of a separate black nation on the 
territory of five Southern states.^" 

"' Moore, 11/3/75, p. 31. 

^ Note that this characterization had no substantive meaning within the 
Bureau. See p. 4. 

*" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAO's. 8/25/67. 

""Black Nationalist supervisor, 10/17/75, pp. 66-67. Tlie supervisor stated that 
individual NOI members were involved with sporadic violence against police, but 
the organization was not itself involved in violence. (Black National super- 
visor, 10/17/75. p. 67.) Moore agreed that the NOI was not involved in organi- 
zational violence, adding that the Nation of Islam had been unju.stly blamed for 
violence in the ghetto riots of 1967 and 1968 : "We had a good informant coverage 
of the Nation of Islam. . . . We were able to take a very ix)sitive stand and tell 
the Department of Justice and tell everybody else who accused the Nation of 


The letter went on to direct field offices to exploit conflicts within and 
between groups ; to use news media contacts to disrupt, ridicule, or dis- 
credit groups; to preclude "violence-prone" or "rabble rouser" lead- 
ers of these groups from spreading their philosophy publicly ; and to 
gather information on the "unsavoiy backgrounds" — immorality, sub- 
versive activity, and criminal activity — of group members.^^ 

According to George C. Moore, the Southeni Christian Leadership 
Conference was included because 

... at that time it was still under investigation because of the 
communist infiltration. As far as I know, there were not any 
violent propensities, except that I note ... in the cover memo 
[expanding the program] or somewhere, that they mentioned 
that if Martin Luther King decided to go a certain way, he 
could cause some trouble. ... I cannot explain it satisfacto- 
rily . . . this is something the section inherited.^^ 

On March 4, 1968, the program was expanded from twenty-three 
to forty-one field offices.^^ The letter expanding the program lists five 
long-range goals for the program : 

(1) to prevent the "coalition of militant black nationalist 
groups," which might be the first step toward a real "Man 
Mau" in America; 

(2) to i3revent the rise of a "messiah" who could "unify, 
and electrify," the movement, naming specifically Martin 
Luther King, Stokely Carmichael, and Elijah Muhammed; 

(3) to prevent violence on the part of black nationalist 
groups, by pinpointing "potential troublemakers" and neu- 
tralizing them "before they exercise their potential for 

(4) to prevent groups and leaders from gaining "respect- 
ability" by discrediting them to the "responsible" Negro com- 
munity, to the white community (both the responsible com- 
munity and the "liberals" — the distinction is the Bureau's), 
and to Negro radicals; and 

Islam . . . [that they] were not involved in any of the riots or disturbances. Elijah 
Muhammed kept them under control, and he did not have them on the streets at 
all during any of the riots." (Moore, 11/3/75, p. 36. ) 

When asked why, therefore, the NOT was included as a target, Mr. Moore 
answered : "Because of the potential, they did represent a potential . . . they 
were a paramilitary type. They had drills, the Fruit of Islam, they had the 
capability because they were a force to be reckoned with, with the snap of his 
finger Elijah Muhammed could bring them into any situation. So that there was 
a very definite potential, very definite potential." (Moore, 11/3/75, p. 37.) 

" The unit chief, who wrote the letter on instructions from his superiors, con- 
cedes that the letter directed field offices to gather personal life information on 
targets, not for "scandalous reasons," but "to deter violence or neutralize the ac- 
tivities of violence-prone groups." (Unit chief, 10/16/75, p. 66. ) 

^ Moore, 11/3/75, pp. .37, 39, 40. 

*•'' Primary targets listed in this second letter are the Southern Christian Lead- 
ership Conference, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Revolution- 
ary Action Movement, Nation of Islam, Stokely Carmichael, H. "Rap" Brown, 
Martin Luther King, Maxwell Stanford, and Elijah Muhammed. CORE was 
dropped for reasons no witness was able to reconstruct. The agent who prepared 
the second letter disagreed with the inclusion of the SCLC, but lost (Black 
Nationalist supervisor, 10/17/75, p. 14.) 


(5) to prevent the long range growth of these organiza- 
tions, especially among youth, by developing specific tactics 
to "prevent these groups from recruiting young people." ^* 

6. The Panther Directives.— T\\& m?ick Panther Party ("BPP") 
was not included in the first two lists of primary targets (August 
1967 and March 1968) because it had not attained national importance. 
By November 1968, apparently the BPP had become sufficiently active 
to be considered a primary target. A letter to certain field offices Avith 
BPP activity dated November 25, 1968, ordered recipient offices to 
submit "imaginative and hard-hitting counterintelligence measures 
aimed at crippling the BPP." Proposals were to be received every two 
weeks. Particular attention was to be given to capitalizing upon the 
differences between the BPP and US, Inc. (Ron Karenga's group), 
which had reached such proportions that "it is taking on the aura 
of gang warfare with attendant threats of murder and reprisals." ^^ 

On January 30, 1969, this program against the BPP was expanded 
to additional offices, noting that the BPP was attempting to create 
a better image. In line with this effort, Bobby Scale was conducting 
a "purge" ^^ of the party, including expelling jwlice informants. 
Recipient offices were instructed to take advantage of tlie opportunity 
to further plant the seeds of suspicion concerning disloyalty among 
ranking officials."^ 

Bui-eau witnesses are not certain whether the Black Nationalist 
program was effective. Mr. Moore stated : 

I know that the . . . overall results of the Klan [COINTEL 
PRO] was nnich more effective from what I have been told 
than the Black Extremism [COINTELPRO] because of the 
number of informants in the Klan who could take action 
which would be more effective. In the Black Extremism 
Group . . . w'e got a late start because we did not have ex- 
tremist activity [until] '67 and '68. Then we had to play 
catch-up. ... It is not easy to measure effectiveness. . . . There 
were policemen killed in those days. There were bombs 
thro\\ni. There were establishments burned with molotov 
cocktails. . . . AVe can measure that damage. You cannot meas- 
ure over on the other side, what lives were saved because 
somebody did not leave the organization or suspicion was 
sown on his leadership and this organization gradually de- 
clined and [there was] suspicion within it, or this organiza- 
tion did not join with [that] organization as a result of a 
black power conference which was aimed towards consolida- 
tion efforts. All we know, either through their own ineptitude, 
maybe it emerged through counterintelligence, maybe, I think 
we like to think that that helped to do it, that there was not 
this development. . . . What part did counterintelligence 
[play?] We hope that it did play a part. Maybe we just gave 
it a nudffe." »« 

"* Memorandum from FBI headquarters to all SAC's, 3/4/68. pp. 3-4. 
°' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Baltimore Field Office, 11/25/68. 
°* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's. 1/30/69. 
"^This technique, the "snitch jacket," was used in all COINTELPRO pro- 
" Moore, 11/3/75, pp. 34, 50-52. 


7. New Left. — The Internal Security Section liad undergone a 
slow transition from concentrating on the "Old I^ft" — the CPUSA 
and SWP — ^to focusing pi-imarily on the activities of the "New 
Left" — a term which had no precise definition within the Bureau.^^ 
Some agents defined "New Tjeff functionally, by connection with 
pi\3tests. Others defined it by philosophy, particularly antiwar 

On October 28, 1968, the fifth and final COINTELPRO was started 
against this undefined group. The pix>gram was triggered in part by 
the Columbia campus disturbance. Once again, law enforcement meth- 
ods had broken down, largely (in the Bureau's opinion) because col- 
lege administrators refused to call the police on campus to deal with 
student demonstrations. The atmosphere at the time was described 
by the Headquartere agent who supervised the New Left 

During that particular time, there was considerable public, 
Administration — I mean governmental Administration — 
[and] news media interest in the protest movement to the ex- 
tent that some groups, I don't recall any specifics, but some 
groups were calling for something to be done to blunt or re- 
duce the protest movements that were disrupting campuses. 
I can't classify it as exactly an hysteria, but there was con- 
siderable interest [and concern]. That was the framework 
that we were working with. ... It would be my impression 
that as a result of this hysteria, some governmental leaders 
were looking to the Bureau.^*^ 

And, once again, the combination of perceived threat, public outcry, 
and law enforcement f niStration produced a COINTELPRO. 

According to the initiating letter, the counterintelligence program's 
purpose was to "expose, disrupt, and otherwise neutralize" the activi- 
ties of the various New Left organizations, their leadership, and ad- 
herents, with particular attention to Key Activists, "the moving forces 
behind the New Left." The final paragraph contains an exhortation to 
a "forward look, enthusiasm, and interest" because of the Bureau's 
concern that "the anarchist activities of a few can paralyze institutions 
of learning, induction centers, cripple traffic, and tie the arms of law 
enforcement officials all to the detriment of our society." The internal 
memorandum rex:?ommending the program further sets forth the Bu- 
reau's concerns : 

Our Nation is undergoing an era of disruption and violence 
caused to a large extent by various individuals generally con- 
nected with the New Left. Some of these activists urge revolu- 
tion in America and call for the defeat of the United States 
in Vietnam. They continually and falsely allege police bru- 

^ As the New Left supervisor put it, "I cannot recall any document that was 
written tleflning New I^ft as such. It is my impression that the characteriza- 
tion of New Left groups rather than being defined at any specific time by docu- 
ment, it more or less grew. . . . Agreeing it was a very amorphous term, he added : 
"It has never i)een strictly defined, as far as I know. ... It is more or less an 
attitude, I ^^•Y>uld think." (New I^eft super^-isor, 10/28/75, pp. 7-8.) 

^~ New Left supervisor, 10/28/75, pp. 21-22. 


tality and do not hesitate to utilize unlawful acts to further 
their so-called causes. 

The document continues : 

The New Left has on many occasions viciously and scurri- 
lously attacked the Director and the Bureau in an attempt 
to hamper our investigation of it and to drive us off the 
college campuses/"^ 
Based on those factors, the Bureau decided to institute a new 

8. New Left Directives. — The Bureau's concern with "tying the 
hands of law enforcement officers," and with the perceived weakness 
of college administrators in refusing to call police onto the campus, 
led to a May 23, 1968, directive to all participating field offices to 
gather information on three categories of New Left activities : 

(1) false allegations of police brutality, to "counter the 
(wide-spread charges of police brutality that invariably arise 
following student-police encounters" ; 

(2) immorality, depicting the "scurrilous and depraved 
nature of many of the characters, activities, habits, and living 
conditions representative of New Left adherents" ; and 

(3) action by college administrators, "to show the value of 
college administrators and school officials taking a firm stand," 
and pointing out "whether and to what extent faculty mem- • 
bers rendered aid and encouragement." 

The letter continues, "Every avenue of possible embarrassment must 
be vigorously and enthusiastically explored. It cannot be expected 
that information of this type will be easily obtained, and an imagina- 
tive approach by your personnel is imperative to its success." "^ 

The order to furnish information on "immorality" was not carried 
out with sufficient enthusiasm. On October 9, 1968, headquarters sent 
another letter to all offices, taking them to task for their failure to 
"remain alert for and to seek specific data depicting the depraved 
nature and moral looseness of the New Left" and to "use this material 
in a vigorous and enthusiastic approach to neutralizing them." ^"^ 
Kecipient offices were again instructed to be "particularly alert for this 
type of data" ^^^ and told : 

^"^ Memorandum from Charles D. Bremian to William C. Sullivan, 5/9/68. 

"' Memorandum from FBI headquarters to all SAC's. 5/23/68. 

^"^ Memorandum from FBI headquarters to all SACs, 10/9/68. 

103 rpjjjg j-jjjjg ^jjg ggj^l offices got the message. One example of information 
furnished under the "Immorality" caption comes from the Boston field office ; 

"[Informant] who has provided reliable information in the past concerning 
the activities of the New Left in the Metropolitan Boston area, has advised that 
numerous meetings concerning anti-Vietnam and/or draft activity are conducted 
by members sitting around the table or a living room completely in the nude. 
These same individuals, botli male and female, live and sleep together regularly 
and it is not unusual to have these people take up residence with a different 
partner after a six or seven month period. 

"According to the informant, the living conditions and habits of some of the 
New Left adherents are appalling in that certain individuals have been known 
to wear the same clothes for an estimated period of weeks and in some instances 


As the current school year commences, it can be expected that 
the New Left with its anti-war and anti-draft entourage will 
make every effort to confront college authonties, stifle mili- 
tary recruiting, and frustrate the Selective Service System. 
Each office will be expected, therefore, to afford this program 
continuous effective attention in order that no opportunity 
will be missed to destroy this insidious movement.^°° 
As to the police brutality and "college administrator" categories, 
the Bureau's belief that getting tough with students and demonstrators 
would solve the problem, and that any injuries which resulted were 
deserved, is reflected in the Bureau's reaction to allegations of police 
brutality following the Chicago Democratic Convention. 

On August 28, 1968, a letter was sent to the Chicago field office 
instructing it to "obtain all possible evidence that would disprove 
these charges" [that the Chicago police used undue force] and to "con- 
sider measures by which cooperative news media may be used to coun- 
teract these allegations." The administrative "note" (for the file) 
states : 

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 pos- 
sible evidence to expose this activity and to refute these false 

In the same vein, on September 9, 1968, an instruction was sent to 
all offices which had sent inforaiants to the Chicago convention dem- 
onstrations, ordering them to debrief the informants for information 
"indicating incidents were staged to show police reacted with undue 
force and any information that authorities were baited by militants 
into using force." "^ The offices were also to obtain evidence of possible 
violations of anti-riot laws.^"^ 

The originating New Left letter had asked all recipient offices to 
respond with suggestions for counterintelligence action. Those re- 

fer months. Personal hygiene and eating habits are equally neglected by these 
people, the informant said. 

"Th%, informant has noted that those individuals who most recently joined 
the movement are in most instances the worst offenders as far as moral and 
personal habits are concerned. However, if these individuals remain in the 
movement for any length of time, their appearance and personal habits appear 
to improve somewhat." (Memorandum from Boston Field Office to FBI Head- 
quarters, 6/13/68.) 

*°* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 10/9/68. 

"" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Chicago Field Office. 8/28/6S. 

"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs. 9/9/68. 

'"" Note that there was no attempt to determine whether the allegations were 
true. Ramsey Clark, Attorney General at the time, testifietl that he did not know 
that either directive had been issued and that "they are highly improper.'' He 
also noted that the Bureau's close working relationship with state and local iwlice 
forces had made it necessarj' to "preempt the FBI" in cases involving the investi- 
gation of police misconduct ; "we found it necessary to use the Civil Rights Divi- 
sion, and that is basically what we did." (Clark, 12/3/75. Hearings Vol. 6. pp. 


spouses were analyzed and a letter sent to all offices on July 6, 1968, 
setting forth twelve suggestions for counterintelligence action which 
could be utilized by all offices. Briefly the techniques are : 

(1) preparing leaflets designed to discredit student demonstrators, 
using photographs of New Left leadership at the respective univerei- 
ties. "Naturally, the most obnoxious pictures should be used" ; 

( 2 ) instigating "personal conflicts or animosities" between New Left 
leaders ; 

(3) creating the impression that leaders are "informants for the 
Bureau or other law enforcement agencies" ; 

(4) sending articles from student newspapers or the "underground 
press" which show the depravity of the New Left to university offi- 
cials, donors, legislators, and parents. "Articles showing advocation 
of the use of narcotics and free sex are ideal" ; 

(5) having members arrested on marijuana charges; 

(6) sending anonymous letters about a student's activities to par- 
ents, neighbor's, and the parents' employers. "This could have the effect 
of forcing the parents to take action" ; 

(7) sending anonymous letters or leaflets describing the "activities 
and associations" of New Left faculty members and graduate assist- 
ants to university officials, legislators. Boards of Regents, and the press. 
"These letters should be signed 'A Concerned Alumni,' or 'A Con- 
cei-ned Taxpayer' " ; 

(8) using "cooperative press contacts" to emphasize that the "dis- 
ruptive elements" constitute a "minority" of the students. "The press 
should demand an immediate referendum on the issue in question" ; 

(9) exploiting the "hostility" among the SDS and other New Left 
groups toward the SWP, YSA, and Progressive Labor Party; 

(10) using "friendly news media" and law enforcement officials to 
disrupt New Left coffeehouses near military bases which are attempt- 
ing to "influence members of the Armed Forces'" ; 

(11) using cartoons, photographs, and anonymous letters to "ridi- 
cule" the New Left; and 

(12) using "misinformation" to "confuse and disrupt" New Left 
activities, such as by notifying members that events have been can- 

As noted earlier, the lack of any Bureau definition of "New Left" 
resulted in targeting almost every anti-war group,"^ and spread to 
students demonstrating against anything. One notable example is a 
proposal targeting a student who carried an "obscene" sign in a demon- 
stration protesting administration censorship of the school newspaper, 

"" Memorandixm from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 7/6/68. 

"* The New Left supervisor confirmed what the documents reveal : "legitimate" 
(nonviolent) antiwar groups were targeted because they were "lending aid and 
comfort" to more disruptive groups. According to the New Xicft supervisor : 

"This [nonviolent groups protesting against the war] was the type of thing 
that the New Left, the violent portion, would seize upon. They could use the 
legitimacy of an accepted college group or outside groTip to further their inter- 
ests." (New Left supervisor, 10/28/75, p. 39) 

Nonviolent groups were thus disrupted so there would be less opportunity for 
a violent group to make use of them and their respectability. Professors active in 
"New Left matters," whether involved in violence or just in general protest, were 
targeted for "using [their] good offices to lend aid and comfort to the entire 
protest movement or to help disrupt the school through [their] programs." (New 
Left .supervisor, 10/28/75, p. 69. ) 


and another student who sent a letter to that paper defending the 
demonstration.^^- In another article regarding "free love" on a univer- 
sity campus was anonymously mailed to college administrators and 
state officials since free love allows "an atmosphere to build up on 
campus that will be a fertile field for the New Left." "^ 

None of the Bureau witnesses deposed believes the New Left COIN 
TELPRO was generally effective, in part because of the imprecise 


The origins of COINTELPRO demonstrate that the Bureau adopt- 
ed extralegal methods to counter perceived threats to national security 
and public order because the ordinary legal processes were believed to 
be insufficient to do the job. In essence, the Bureau took the law into 
its own hands, conducting a sophisticated vigilante operation against 
domestic enemies. 

The risks inherent in setting aside the laws, even though the pur- 
pose seems compelling at the time, were described by Tom Charles 
Huston in his testimony before the Committee : ^^* 

The risk was that you would get people who would be sus- 
ceptible to political considerations as opposed to national 
security considerations, or would construe political con- 
siderations to be national security considerations, to move 
from the kid with a bomb to the kid with a picket sign, and 
from the kid with the picket sign to the kid with the bumper 
sticker of the opposing candidate. And you just keep going 
down the line. ^^^ 

The description is apt. Certainly, COINTELPRO took in a stag- 
gering range of targets. As noted earlier, the choice of individuals 
and organizations to be neutralized and disrupted ranged from the 
violent elements of the Black Panther Party to Martin Luther King, 
Jr., who the Bureau concedes was an advocate of nonviolence; from 
the Communist Party to the Ku Klux Klan ; and from the advocates 
of violent revolution such as the Weathei'men, to the supporters of 
peaceful social change, including the Southern Christian Leadership 
Conference and the Inter-University Committee for Debate on Foreign 

The breadth of targeting springs partly from a lack of definition 
for the categories involved, and partly from the Bureau's belief that 
dissident speech and association should be prevented because they were 
incipient steps toward the possible ultimate commission of an act 
which might be criminal. Thus, the Bureau's self-imposed role as pro- 
tector of the existing political and social order blurred the line be- 

"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters, Minneapolis Field Office, 11/4/68. 

^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office, 8/27/68. 

"* Huston was the Presidential assistant who coordinated the 1970 recom- 
mendations by an interagency committee for expanded domestic intelligence, 
including concededly illegal activity. The so-called "Huston Plan" is the sub- 
ject of a separate report. 

^^ Tom Charles Huston testimony, 9/23/75, Hearings, Vol. 2, p. 45, 


tween targeting criminal activity and constitutionally protected acts 
and advocacy. 

The clearest example of actions directly aimed at the exercise of con- 
stitutional rights are those targeting speakei-s, teachers, writers or 
publications, and meetings or peaceful demonstrations."" Approxi- 
mately 18 percent of all approved COINTELPRO proposals fell into 
these categories."' 

The cases include attempts (sometimes successful) to get university 
and high school teachers fired; to prevent targets from speaking on 
campus; to stop chapters of target groups from being formed; to 
prevent the distribution of books, newspapers, or periodicals; to dis- 
rupt news conferences ; to disrupt peaceful demonstrations, including 
the SCLC's Washington Spring Project and Poor People's Campaign, 
and most of the large antiwar marches ; and to deny facilities for meet- 
ings or conferences. 

A. Efforts to Prevent Speaking 

An illustrative example of attacks on speaking concerns the plans of 
a dissident stockholders' group to protest a large corporation's war 
production at the annual stockholders meeting."" The field office was 
authorized to furnish information about the group's plans (obtained 
from paid informants in the group) to a confidential source in the 
company's management. The Bureau's purpose was not only to "cir- 
cumvent efforts to disrupt the corporate meeting," but also to prevent 
any attempt to "obtain publicity or embarrass" corporate officials. '^^ 

In another case,'^" anonymous telephone calls were made to the edi- 
torial desks of three newspapei-s in a Midwestern city, advising them 
that a lecture to be given on a university campus was actually being 
sponsored by a Communist- front organization. The univereity had 
recently lifted its ban on Communist speakers on campus and was ex- 
periencing some political difficulty over this decision. The express pur- 
pose of the phone calls was to prevent a Communist-sponsored speaker 
from appearing on campus and, for a time, it appeared to have worked. 
One of the newspapers contacted the director of the university's con- 
ference center. He in turn discussed the meeting with the president of 

"'The usual constitutional inquiry is whether the government is "chilling" 
First Amendment rights by indirectly discouraging a protected activity while 
pursuing an otherwise legitimate purpose. In the case of COINTELPRO, the 
Bureau was not attempting indirectly to chill free speech or association ; it was 
squarely attacking their exercise. 

"' The percentage is derived from a cross-indexed tabulation of the Petersen 
Committee summaries. Interestingly, these categories account for 39 percent of 
the approved "New Left" proposals, which reflects both the close connection be- 
tween antiwar activities and the campuses, and the "aid and comfort" theory of 
targeting, in which teachers were targeted for advocating an end to the war 
through nonviolent means. 

iM rpjjp group was composed largely of university teachers and clergymen who 
had bought shares in order to attend the meeting. (Memorandum from Minne- 
apolis Field Oflice to FBI headquarters, 4/1/70.) 

"' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 4/23/70 ; 
memorandum from Minneapolis Field Oflice to FBI Headquarters, 4/1/70. 

'"" Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/26/60; 
Memoranda from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 10/27/60, 10/28/60, 
10/31/60 ; Memorandum from F. J, Baumgardner to Alan H. Belmont, 10/26/60. 


the university who decided to cancel the meeting."^ The sponsoring 
organization, supported by the ACLU, took the case to court, and won 
a ruling that the univereity could not bar the speaker. (Bureau head- 
(juarters then ordered the field office t-o furnish information on the 
judge.) Although the lecture went ahead as scheduled, headquartere 
commended the field office for the affirmative results of its suggestion : 
the sponsoring organization had been forced to incur additional ex- 
pense and attorneys' fees, and had received newspaper exposure of its 
"true communist character." 

B. Efforts to Prevent Teaching 

Teachers were targeted because the Bureau believed that they were 
in a unique position to "plant the seeds of communism [or whatever 
ideology was under attack] in the minds of unsuspecting youth." Fur- 
ther, as noted earlier, it was believed that a teacher's position gave 
respectability to whatever cause he supported. In one case, a high 
school teacher was targeted for inviting two poets to attend a class 
at his school. The poets were noted for their efforts in the draft re- 
sistance movement. This invitation led to an investigation by the local 
police, which in turn provoked sharp criticism from the ACLU. The 
field office was authorized to send anonymous letters to two local 
newspapers, to the city Board of Education, and to the high school 
administration, suggesting that the ACLU should not criticize the 
police for probing into high school activities, "but should rather have 
focused attention on [the teacher] who has been a convicted draft 
dodger." The letter continued, "[the teacher] is the assault on aca- 
demic freedom and not the local police." The purpose of the letter, 
according to Bureau documents, was "to highlight [the teacher's] 
antidraft activities at the local high school" and to "discourage any 
efforts" he may make there. The letter Avas also intended to "show 
support for the local police against obvious attempts by the New 
Left to agitate in the high schools." ^^^ No results were reported. 

In anotlier case,^^^ a university professor who was "an active par- 
ticipant in New Left demonstrations" had publicly surrendered his 
draft card and had been arrested twice (but not convicted) in antiwar 
demonstrations. The Bureau decided that the professor should be 
"removed from his position" at the university. The field office was au- 
thorized to contact a "confidential source" at a foundation which 
contributed substantial funds to the university, and "discreetly suggest 
that the [foundation] may desire to call to the attention of the Univer- 
sity administration questions concerning the advisability of [the pro- 
fessor's] continuing his position there." The foundation official was 
told by the miivei-sity that the professor's contract would not be re- 
newed:!, but in fact the professor did continue to teach. The following 

^^^ It is interesting to note that after the anonymous calls to the newspapers 
giving information on the "communist nature" of the sponsor, the conference 
center director called the local FBI oflBce to ask for information on the speaker. 
He was informed that Bureau records are confidential and that tlie Bureau could 
not make any comment. 

'" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Pittsburgh Field Office, 6/19/60. 

"' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Pittsburgh Field Office, 5/1/70. 


academic year, therefore, the field office was authorized to furnish 
additional information to the foundation official on the professor's 
arrest and conviction (with a suspended sentence) in another demon- 
stration. No results were reported. 

In a third instance, the Bureau attempted to "discredit and neutral- 
ize" a university professor and the Inter-University Committee for 
Debate on Foreign Policy, in which he was active. The field office was 
authorized to send a fictitious-name letter to influential state political 
figures, the mass media, university administrators, and the Board of 
Regents, accusing the professor and "his protesting cohorts" of "giving 
aid and comfort to the enemy," and wondering "if the strategy is to 
bleed the United States white by prolonging the war in Vietnam and 
pave the way for a takeover by Russia." No results were reported.^^* 

C. Ejforts to Prevent WHting and Publishing 

The Bureau's purpose in targeting attempts to speak was explicitly 
to prevent the "propagation" of a target's philosophy and to deter "re- 
cruitment" of new members. Publications and writers appear to have 
been targeted for the same reasons. In one example,^^^ two university 
instructors were targeted solely because they were influential in the 
publication of and contributed financial support to a student "under- 
ground" newspaper whose editorial policy was described as "left-of- 
center, anti-establishment, and opposed [to] the University adminis- 
tration." The Bureau believed that if the two instructors were forced 
to withdraw their support of the newspaper, it would "fold and cease 
publication. . . . This would eliminate what voice the New Left has in 
the area." Accordingly, the field office was authorized to send an 
anonymous letter to a university official furnishing information con- 
cerning the instructors' association with the newspaper, with a warn- 
ing that if the university did not persuade the instructors to cease their 
support, the letter's author would be forced to expose their activities 
publicly. The field office reported that as a result of this technique, 
both teachers were placed on probation by the university president, 
which would prevent them from getting any raises. 

Newspapers were a common target. The Black Panther Party paper 
was the subject of a number of actions, both because of its contents and 
because it was a source of income for the Party.^^'' Other examples in- 
clude contacting the landlord of premises rented by two "New Left" 
newspapers in an attempt to get them evicted; ^^^ an anonymous letter 
to a state legislator protesting the distribution on campus of an under- 
ground newspaper "representative of the type of mentality that is fol- 

^=* Memoranudm from Detroit Field OflBee to FBI Headquarters, 10/11/66; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 10/26/66. 

^^ Memorandum from Mobile Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/9/70 ; memo- 
randum from FBI Headquarters to Mobile Field Office, 12/31/70; memorandum 
from Mobile Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/3/71. 

^^ In one example, a letter signed "A Black Parent" was sent to the mayor, the 
Superintendent of Schools, the Commander of the American I^egion, and two 
newspapers in a northeastern city protesting a high school's subscription to the 
BPP newspaper. The letter was also intended to focus attention on the teacher 
who entered the subscription "so as to deter him from implementing black ex- 
tremist literature and philosophy into the Black History curriculum" of the school 
system. (Memorandum from Buffalo Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/5/70.) 

"' Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/9/68 ; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to SAC, Los Angeles Field Office, 9/23/68. 


lowing the New Left theory of immorality on certain college cam- 
puses"; ^^^ a letter signed "Disgusted Taxpayer and Patron" to ad- 
vertisers in a student newspaper intended to "increase pressure on the 
student newspaper to discontinue the type of journalism that had been 
employed" (an article had quoted a demonstrator's "vulgar lan- 
guage") ; ^^^ and proposals (which, according to the Bureau's re- 
sponse to a staff inquiry, were never carried out) to physically disrupt 
printing plants.""' 

D. Ejforts to Prevent Meeting 

The Bureau also attempted to prevent target groups from meeting. 
Frequently used techniques include contacting the owner of meeting 
facilities in order to have him refuse to rent to the group ; ^^^ trying to 
have a group's charter revoked ; "^ using the press to disrupt a "closed" 
meeting by arriving unannounced ; "^ and attempting to persuade 
sponsors to withdraw funds."^ The most striking examples of attacks 
on meeting, however, involve the use of "disinformation." "^ 

In one "disinformation" case, the Chicago Field Office duplicated 
blank forms prepared by the National Mobilization Committee to End 
the War in Vietnam ("NMC") soliciting housing for demonstators 
coming to Chicago for the Democratic National Convention. Chicago 
filled out 217 of these forms with fictitious names and addresses and 
sent them to the NMC, which provided them to demonstrators who 
made "long and useless journeys to locate these addresses." The NMC 
then decided to discard all replies received on the housing forms rather 
than have out-of-town demonstrators try to locate nonexistent ad- 
dresses."* (The same program was carried out when the Washington 
Mobilization Committee distributed housing forms for demonstrators 
coming to Washington for the 1969 Presidential inaugural cere- 
monies.) ^^' 

In another case, during the demonstrations accompanying inaugura- 
tion ceremonies, the Washington Field Office discovered that NMC 
marshals were using walkie-talkies to coordinate their movements and 

'"" Memorandum from Newark Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/23/69; 
memo rand una from FBI Headquarters to Newark Field Office, 6/4/69. 

'^Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/28/69; 
memorandimi from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 3/27/69. 

130 por example, one proposal requested that the FBI Lab prepare a quart of 
solution "capable of duplicating a scent of the most foul smelling feces avail- 
able," along with a dispenser capable of squirting a narrow stream for a distance 
of approximately three feet. The proposed targets were the physical plant of a 
New Left publisher and BPP publications prior to their distribution. Head- 
quarters instructed the field office to furnish more information about the purpose 
for the material's use and the manner and security with which it would be u.sed. 
The idea was then apparently dropped. (Memorandum from Detroit Field Office 
to FBI Headquarters, 10/13/70 ; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit 
Field Office, 10/23/70.) 

"' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Los Angeles Field Office, 9/23/68. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Antonio Field Office, 5/13/69. 

'^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Indianapolis Field Office, 6/17/68. 

''* :Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 12/30/68. 

'^ One of the 12 standard techniques referred to in the New Left memorandum 
discussed at pp. 25-26, disinformation bridges the line between "counter- 
intelligence" and sabotage. 

''^ Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 9/9/68 ; 
memorandum from Charles Brennan to William C. Sullivan, 8/15/68. 

"' Memorandum from Washington Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/21/69. 


activities. WFO used the same citizen band to supply the marshals with 
misinformation and, pretending to be an NMC unit, countermanded 
NMC orders. "« 

In a third case "^ a midwest field office disrupted arrangements for 
state university students to attend the 1969 inaugural demonstrations 
by making a series of anonymous telephone calls to the transporta- 
tion company. The calls were designed to confuse both the transporta- 
tion company and the SDS leadei-s as to the cost of transportation and 
the time and place for leaving and returning. This office also placed 
confusing leaflets around the campus to show different times and 
places for demonstration-planning meetings, as well as conflicting 
times and dates for traveling to Washington. 

In a fourth instance, the "East Village Other" planned to bomb 
the Pentagon with flowers during the 1967 NMC rally in Washington. 
The New York office answered the ad for a pilot, and kept up the 
pretense right to the point at which the publisher showed up at the air- 
port with 200 pounds of flowers, with no one to fly the plane. Thus, the 
Bureau was able to prevent this "agitational-propaganda activity as 
relates to dropping flowers over Washington." ^*° 

The cases discussed above are just a few examples of the Bureau's 
direct attack on speaking, teaching, writing and meeting. Other in- 
stances include targeting the New Mexico Free Univei-sity for teach- 
ing, among other things, "confrontation politics" and "draft counsel- 
ing training." "^ In another case, an editorial cartoonist for a north- 
east newspaper was asked to prepare a cartoon which would "ridicule 
and discredit" a group of antiwar activists who traveled to North 
Vietnam to inspect conditions there; the cartoon was intended to 
"depict [the individuals] as traitors to their comitry for traveling to 
North Vietnam and making utterances against the foreign policy of 
the United States." ^"'^ A professor was targeted for being the faculty 
advisor to a college group which circulated "The Student As Nigger" 

"* Egil Krogh has .stated to the Committee staff that he wa.s in charge of coordi- 
nating D.C. law enforcement efforts during demonstrations, and gained the 
cooperation of NMC marshals to ensure an orderly demonstration. This law 
enforcement/NMC coordination was effected through the same walkie-talkie 
system the Bureau was disrupting. (Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to 
Washington Field Office, 1/10/69; staff summary of Egil Krogh interview, 
5/23/75. ) 

"* Memorandum from Cincinnati Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/20/68 ; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cincinnati Field Office, 12/29/68. 

""Memoranda from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/15/67, 
9/26/67, and 10/17/67 ; memorandum from FBI Head(iuarters to New York Field 
Office, 9/29/67. By letter of January 14, 1976, the Bureau submitted specific in- 
stances of "action, other than arrest and prosecution, to prevent any stage of [a] 
crime or violent acts from being initiated" which had been taken. The examples 
were intended to aid in developing "preventive action" guidelines. 

One of the examples was the prevention of the publisher's plan to drop flowers 
over the Pentagon : "A plan was thus thwarted which could well have resulted in 
tragedy had another pilot accepted such a dangerous flying mission and violated 
Federal or local regulations in flying low over the Pentagon which is also in tlie 
heavy traffic pattern of the Washington National Airport." The letter does not 
explain why it was necessary to act covertly in this case. If flying over the Penta- 
gon violates Federal regulations, the Bureau could have arrested those involved 
when they arrived at the airport. No informant was involved: the newspaper 
had advertised openly for a pilot. 

"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Albuquerque Field Office, 3/19/69. 

"' Memorandum from Boston Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/22/66. 


on campus."^ A professor conducting a study on the effect and social 
costs of McCarthyism was targeted because he sought information 
and help from the American Institute of Marxist Studies.^^* Contacts 
were made with three separate law schools in an attempt to keep a 
teaching candidate from being hired, or once hired, from getting his 
contract renewed."^ 

The attacks on speaking, teaching, writing, and meeting have been 
examined in some detail because they present, in their purist form, 
the consequences of acting outside the legal process. Perhaps the Bu- 
reau was correct in its assumption that words lead to deeds, and that 
larger group membership produces a greater risk of violence. Never- 
theless, the law draws the line between criminal acts and constitution- 
ally protected activity, and that line must be kept.^^''' As Justice 
Brandeis declared in a different context fifty years ago : 

Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For 
good or for ill, it teaches the whole people, by its example. 
Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a law- 
breaker, it breeds contempt for law: it invites every man 
to become a law unto himself. To declare that in the adminis- 
tration of the criminal law the end justifies the means — to 
declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to 
secure the conviction of the private criminal — w^ould bring 
terrible retiibution. Against the pernicious doctrine this 
Court should resolutelv set its face. Ohnstead v. V.S.^ 277 
U.S. 439, 485 (1927) 


The techniques used in COINTELPRO were — and are — used 
against hostile foreign intelligence agents. Sullivan's testimony that 
the "rough, tough, dirty business" ^*' of foreign counterintelligence 
was brought home against domestic enemies was corroborated by 
George Moore, whose Racial Intelligence Section supervised the White 
Hate and Black Nationalist COINTELPROs : 

You can trace [the origins] up and back to foreign intelli- 
gence, particularly penetration of the group by the individual 
informant. Before you can engage in counterintelligence you 
must have intelligence. . . . If you have good intelligence and 

'" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to El Paso Field Office, 12/6/68. 

*" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Offit'e, 3/19/65. 

"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cleveland and Boston Field Offices. 

*** Mr. Huston learned that lesson as well : 

"We went from this kind of sincere intention, honest intention, to develop a 
series of justifications and rationalizations based upon this . . . distorted view 
of inherent executive power and from that, whether it was direct ... or was 
indirect or inevitable, as I tend to think it is, you went down the road to where 
you ended up, with these people going into the Watergate. 

"And so that has convinced me that you have just got to draw the line at the 
top of the totem pole, and that we would then have to take the risk— it is not 
a risk-free choice, but it is one that, I am afraid, in my judgment, that we do 
not have any alternative but to take." (Hu.ston, 9/23/75, p. 45.) 

"'Sullivan, 11/1/75, pp. 97-98. 


know what it's going to do, you can seed distrust, sow mis- 
information. The same technique is used in the foreign field. 
The same technique is used, misinformation, disruption, is 
used in the domestic groups, although in the domestic groups 
you are dealing in '67 and '68 with many, many more across 
the country . . . than you had ever dealt with as far as your 
foreign groups.^*® 
The arsenal of techniques used in the Bureau's secret war against 
domestic enemies ranged from the trivial to the life-endangering. 
Slightly more than a quarter of all approved actions were intended to 
promote f actionalization within groups and between groups ; a roughly 
equal number of actions involved the creation and dissemination of 
propaganda.^*^ Other techniques involved the use of federal, state, and 
local agencies in selective law enforcement, and other use (and abuse) 
of government processes; disseminating derogatory information to 
family, friends, and associates ; contacting employers ; exposing "com- 
munist infiltration" or support of target groups ; and using organiza- 
tions which were hostile to target groups to disrupt meetings or other- 
wise attack the targets. 

A. Propaganda 

The Bureau's COINTELPRO propaganda efforts stem from the 
same basic j)remise as the attacks on speaking, teaching, writing and 
meeting : propaganda works. Certain ideas are dangerous, and if their 
expression cannot be prevented, they should be countered with Bureau- 
approved views. Three basic techniques were used: (1) mailing re- 
prints of newspaper and magazine articles to group members or po- 
tential supporters intended to convince them of the error of their 
ways; (2) writing articles for or furnishing information to "friendly" 
media sources to "expose" target groups ; ^^° and (3) writing, printing, 
and disseminating pamphlets and fliers without identifying the Bu- 
reau as the source. 

1. Reprint Mailings 

The documents contain case after case of articles and newspaper 
clippings being mailed (anonymously, of course) to group members. 
The Jewish members of the Communist Party appear to have be^n 
inundated with clippings dealing with Soviet mistreatment of Jews. 
Similarly, Jewish supporters of the Black Panther Party received 
articles from the BPP newspaper containing anti-Semitic state- 
ments. College administrators received reprints of a Reader'' s Digest 
article ^^^ and a Barron^s article on campus disturbances intended to 
persuade them to "get tough." ^^^ 

Perhaps only one example need be examined in detail, and that only 
because it clearly sets forth the purpose of propaganda reprint mail- 
ings. Fifty copies of an article entitled "Kabbi in Vietnam Says With- 

"' Moore, 11/3/75, pp. 32-33. 

"° The percentages used in this section are derived from a staff tabulation of 
the Petersen Committee summaries. The numbers are approximate because it was 
occasionally difficult to determine from the summary what the purpose of the 
technique was. 

^™ The resulting articles could then be used in the reprint mailing program. 

"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 11/4/68. 

"'Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Boston Field Office, 9/12/68. 


diawal Not the Answer," described as "an excellent article in support 
of United States foreign policy in Vietnam," were mailed to certain 
unnamed professors and members of the Vietnam Day Committee 
"who have no other subversive organizational affiliations." The pur- 
pose of the mailing was "to convince [the recipients] of the correct- 
ness of the U.S. foreign policy in Vietnam." ^^^ 

Reprint mailings would seem to fall under Attorney General Levi's 
characterization of much of COINTELPRO as "foolishness." ^5* 
They violate no one's civil rights, but should the Bureau be in the 
aiKmymous propaganda business? 

^. '•^FriemLly^^ Media 

Much of the Bureau's propaganda efforts involved giving infonna- 
tion or articles to "friendly" media sources who could be relied upon 
not to reveal the Bureau's intere^ts.^^^ The Crime Records Division of 
the Bureau was responsible for public relations, including all head- 
quarters contacts with the media. In the course of its work (most of 
which had nothing to do with COINTELPRO) the Division assem- 
bled a list of "friendly" news media sources — those who wrote pro- 
Bureau stories.^^*' Field offices also had "confidential sources" (unpaid 
Bureau informants) in the media, and were able to ensure their 

The Bureau's use of the news media took two different forms : plac- 
ing unfavorable articles and documentaries about targeted groups, 
and leaking derogatory information intended to discredit individ- 

A typical example of media propaganda is the headquarters letter 
authorizing the Boston Field Office to furnish "derogatory information 
about the Nation of Islam (NOI) to established source [name 
excised]": ^^® 

^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 11/1/65. 

^ Levi 12/11/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 318. 

^ "Name checks" were apparently run on all reporters proposed for use in the 
program, to make sure they were reliable. In one case, a check of Bureau tiles 
showed that a television reporter proposed as the recipient of information on 
the SDS had the same name as someone who had served in the Abraham Lincoln 
Brigade. The field office was asked to determine whether the "individuals" were 
"identical." The field office obtained the reporter's credit records, voting registra- 
tion, and local police records, and determined that his credit rating was satis- 
factory, that he had no arrest record, that he "stated a preference for one of the 
two major political parties" — and that lie was not, in fact, the man who fought 
in the Spanish Civil War. Accordingly, the information was furnished. (Memo- 
randum from Pittsburgh Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/26/68 ; memoran- 
dum from FBI Headquarters to Pittsburgh Field Office. 1/23/69.) 

^'The Bureau also noted, for its files, those who criticized its work or its 
Director, and the Division maintained a "not-to-contact" list which included the 
names of some reporters and authors. One proposal to leak information to the 
Boston Glohc was turned down because both the newspaper and one of its 
reporters "have made unfounded criticisms of the FBI in the past." The Boston 
Field Office was advised to resubmit the suggestion using another newspaper. 
(Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Boston Field Office, 2/8/68.) 
"' Leaking derogatory information is discu-ssed at p. 50. 

*™ The Committee's agreement with the Bureau governing document production 
provided that the Bureau could excise the names of "confidential .sources" when 
the document.s were delivered to the Committee. Although the staff was permitted 
to see the excised names at Bureau headquarters, it was also agreed that the 
names not be used. 


Your suggestions concerning material to furnish [name] are 
good. Emphasize to him that the NOI predilection for vio- 
lence/^^ 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 tlie Bureau's interest in this matter is completely pro- 
tected by [name].'^'''* 

In another case, information on the Junta of Militant Organizations 
("JOMO", a Black Nationalist target) was furnished to a source at a 
Tampa television station.^^^ Ironically, the station manager, who had 
no knowledge of the Bureau's involvement, invited the Special Agent 
in Charge, his assistant, and other agents to a preview of the half-hour 
film which resulted. The SAC complimented the station manager on 
his product, and suggested that it be made available to civic groups.^^^ 

A Miami television station made four separate documentaries (on 
the Klan, Black Nationalist groups, and the New Left) with materials 
secretly supplied by the Bureau. One of the documentaries, which had 
played to an estimated audience of 200,000, was the subject of an 
internal memorandum "to advise of highly successful results of coun- 
terintelligence exposing the black extremist Nation of Islam." 

[Excised] was elated at the response. The station received 
more favorable telephone calls from viewers than the switch- 
board could handle. Community leaders have commented 
favorably on the program, three civic organizations have 
asked to show the film to their members as a public service, 
and the Broward County Sheriff's Office plans to show the 
film to its officers and in connection with its community serv- 
ice program. 

This expose showed that NOI leaders are of questionable 
character and live in luxury through a large amount of money 
taken as contributions from their members. The extreme 
nature of NOI teachings was underscored. Miami sources ad- 
vised the expose has caused considerable concern to local 
NOI leaders who have attempted to rebut the program at 
each open meeting of the NOI since the program was pre- 
sented. Local NOI leaders plan a rebuttal in the NOI news- 
paper. Attendance by visitors at weekly NOI meetings has 
dropped 50%. This shows the value of carefully planned 
counterintelligence action.^*'^ 

The Bureau also planted derogatory articles about the Poor People's 
Campaign, the Institute for Policy Studies, the Southern Students 
Organizing Committee, the National Mobilization Committee, and a 
host of other organizations it believed needed to be seen in their "true 

^^ Note that Bureau witnesses testified that the NOI was not, in fact, involved 
in organization violence. See pp. 20-21. 
^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Boston Field Office, 2/27/68. 
'"^ Memorandum from Tampa Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 8/5/68. 
^"^ Memorandum from Tampa Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/7/69. 
^*' Memorandum from G. C. Moore to William C. Sullivan, 10/21/69. 


3. Bureau- Authored Pamphlets and Fliers. 

The Bureau occasionally drafted, printed, and distributed its own 
propaganda. These pieces were usually intended to ridicule their tar- 
gets, rather than offer "straight" propaganda on the issue. Four of 
these fliers are reproduced in the following pages. 


a It's tlr.3 to pull th3 chain, brcthera and sisters. Tf 
the psace r.ov;r.;n- in .\r.-.3rlka 1g to ourvlvo, ' the crap Influence 
of the Socialict Workers Party end its b:,::tard youth r;rcu? 
- Youns Socizlist Alliinco - r/.unt be I'lushed frcm .\ew ycte 
once and for all. St£-,r.ant scrco like Freddie Halct:;?.:: and 
Karry ?ir.:^, both r.orr.sers of the SV/? Nat'l Co.--nittoo, :-u2t 
bo Qunpeci, Lec'o r,CL rid of tr.o Carol Llyr.'.ans, (iuj 
Horowitzn end the Jcanr^ Mlr.nlk^ alon.-r; wlvh other SWP shits I 
r>EH/M;D a:.' £NjD to SW? palling: -.vrite :;cw Mc:hc todv'.' n-; n . ■ 
'Suite 900, lOjC Vor.vic.-it Ave., N.v;., '..•aGhin:;ton, D.C. . • 

NOTE : Memorandum from New York Field OflSce to FBI Headquarters, 
1/14/70; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 


C,^C:l^K^•!'•. "TICKJpK'r. FAQ CC NTESV'' JCS^ 
'.r 50I4 Fr.bulous Prlzoal 
■>> Tlothlnf: To Buy! 
« YOU can win I 
•": !!i'.rryl Hurry! 

C'""7C.A"- P.'JLES: Simply pick the fagpiot from the folloulng photon. Print 
your, choice on the entry blank at the bottom of this 
pane and pop It Into the tr.ail. YOU COULD E\SILY WIN I 

> A... 

Hark Rudd 

■■\\ • 

Herbert Harcuao 

Drive DolllnEer Cho Guervera* 


;■ GR/.OT PRIZE Sevir, f.n.T dnya In Hanoi - Expenses paid.I 

if.SECCNT) PRIZE Fcurteen full days In Hanoi I 

<v TaiRD PRIZE A weekend with Josle Duke in A y;enulne 

fire-damaged Columbia University 

•::• FOURTH PRIZE Two weekends with tubby llttlo Joslol 

-;:• ADDITIONAL FRIZES >00 rolls of red toilet tissue, each 

Si-ieat ucarlnR the picture of Chairman Mao 
In livlnR color! 

^XHH^<^•:x^^WIL TODAY^hh^kj 



I'cct Off ice Box 220, Old Chelsea Station, 

New York, Mew York (10011) 

The RiTAL Fan pictured above is • 

Nnrao Address Zip 

•'•Koto: C!ic, unf ortunr.f.oTy, was dlsconnoctod from the world last year.) 

NOTE : Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 
2/7/69; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 2/14/69. 



Murderously Mangles KCBE 


Washlnr t cn. D. C< > Jan. 20 - Speaking in his usual high pitched 
voice, Dave Dellinper, National Chairman of the National 
Kobilizaticn Conr.ittee (KOBE), today clained that the anti- 
inaugural demonstrations called by his crpanization had been 
responsible in getting the Paris peace talks going again, 

Dellinger maae this startling disclosure before an audience 
of nev;sinen in the dingy Hawthorne School which housed many 
of his followers, A cluster of the latter stood behind their 
Guru sniffling and fingering wilted flowers, Dellinger, 
looking pale - more fairy-like than ever - tried to control 
the squeaks in his voice to no avail, "How many demonstrators 
did HCBE bring to the inaugural?", he was asked, 

"At least 10,000, " he answered, 

"Bullshit", was heard in several sections of the room. 

Dellinger shuffled his notes, " Let's make that 5*000." 


"Vfould you belie V6 3»00C?" Silence, Dave i-olled hl5 ey^s 
at the ceilingt "I'm not going to play at numbers, " he chirped, 
"Vihat matters is that KOBE accomplished so much. We did get tho 
peace talks going. We did break some windows in the National 
Geographic Society building. Despite police brutality, our 
brave people managed to throv; cans and sticks at the President," 
His voice went higher - sounding like glass bells in a soft 
summer breeze, "V/e shook the establishment, gentlemen," 

Associated Press stood up, "We understand KOBE is broke. That 
you lost control of the thing. That SDS and many other 
organizations in the peace movement refused to back you. That 
you have no idea how MOBE funds were spent," 

Dellinger put a f infer in his mouth and sucked it 
reflectively. Some minutes passed before he spoke. "MOBE 
is solvent, boys. As of this morning, v/e havo -^l.^h in the 
treasury. The price of peace is high," He tried to look grim, 
"SDS, of course, is Just a bunch of dirty collope kids with grass 
for brains. V/e didn't want them cr need them," He formed his 
lips into a cute bow, "T must go now. We're hitching a rid© 
back to New York to'day unless we csn raise bus fare," 

He shoved four finpers into his mouth and was led slov/ly 
from the room humming "V.'e Shall Overcomo." 

NOTE : Memorandum from New York Field OflSce to FBI Headquarters, 
1/21/69; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 


!S=r-'':(5^ WMk^& ^Mh$9i 

-^iV-'^.-r^ "■ ''''-^^'^■V^:^; \7;; library, not to X . .^ ^ 

(elk (j„,,!,j®~"'i^0g 

«=n.t all ,.».':--''''V, J" r.Iii^,,''^^;; ^K-"'-*., ranr.nS thlrroJ;, »T 

T p;ot the '- '^ w„„fn-H h-nko irv* 'other arm. I Rot 30 

broke r^y •^ r 



roiltn senS for new 


y — ,V, A/ *^ vender If th 
' it-^ .\ In the same 

y/. M'UO'iOTs TOT, A nniocaATic sccisri' - 

NOTE : Memorandum from New York Field OflSce to FBI Headquarters, 
8/5/69 ; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 8/11/69. 

B. Effects to Proinote Enmity and FactioThalism Within Groups or 
Between Groups 
Approximately 28% of the Bureau's COINTELPRO efforts were 
designed to weaken groups by setting members against each other, or 
to separate groups which might otherwise be allies, and convert them 
into mutual enemies. The techniques used included anonymous mail- 
ings (reprints. Bureau-authored articles and letters) to group mem- 
bers criticizing a leader or an allied group ; ^•'^ using informants to 
raise controversial issues; forming a "notional" — a Bureau-run 
splinter group — to draw away membership from the target organiza- 
tion; encouraging hostility up to and including gang warfare, be- 
tween rival groups; and the "snitch jacket." 

1. Encouraging Violence Between Rival Groups 
The Bureau's attempts to capitalize on active hostility between tar- 
get groups carried with them the risk of serious physical injury to 
the targets. As the Black Nationalist supervisor put it : 

It is not easy [to judge the risks inlierent in this technique]. 
You make the best judgment you can based on all the circum- 
stances and you always have an element of doubt where you 
are dealing with individuals that I think most people would 
characterize as having a degree of instability."^ 

The Bureau took that risk. The Panther directive instructing re- 
cipient officers to encourage the differences between the Panthers and 

^*' This technique was also used in disseminating propaganda. The distinction 
lies in the purpose for which the letter, article or flier was mailed. 
"^ Black Nationalist supervisor, 10/17/75, p. 40. 


U.S., Inc. which were "taking on the aura of gang warfare with 
attendant threats of murder and reprisals," ^"^ is just one example. 
A separate report on disruptive eft'orts aimed at the Panthers will 
examine in detail the Bureau's attempts to foment violence. These 
efforts included anonymously distributing cartoons which pictured the 
U.S. organization gloating over the corpses of two murdered Panthers, 
and suggested that other BPP member-s would be next,^**' and sending 
a New Jersey Panther leader the following letter which purported to 
be from an SDS member : ^^^ 

"To Former Comrade [name] 

"As one of 'those little bourgeois, snooty nose' — 'little 
schoolboys' — 'little sissies' Dave Hilliard spoke of in the 
'Guardian' of 8/16/69, I would like to say that you and the 
rest of you black racists can go to hell. I stood shoulder to 
shoulder with Carl Nichols last year in Military Park in 

Newark and got my a whipped by a Newark pig all for the 

cause of the wineheads like you and the rest oi the black 
pussycats that call themselves Panthers. Big deal ; you have to 
have a three hour educational session just to teach those . . . 
(you all know what that means don't you ! It's the first word 
your handkerchief head mamma teaches you) how to spell it. 

"Who the hell set you and the Panthers up as the vanguard 
of the revolutionary and disciplinary group. You can tell all 
those wineheads you associate with that you'll kick no one's 
'. . . a — ,' because you'd have to take a three year course in 
spelling to know what an a — is and three more years to be 
taught where it's located. 

"Julius Ivester called the BPP the vanguard (that's leader) 
organization so international whore Cleaver calls him racist, 
now when full allegiance is not given to the Panthers, again 
racist. What the hell do you want? Are you getting this? 
Are you lost? If you're not digging then you're really hope- 

"Oh yes! We are not concerned about Hilliard's threats. 

"Brains will win over brawn. The way the Panthers have 
retaliated against US is another indication. The score : US-6 : 

"Why, I read an article in the Panther paper where a 
California Panther sat in his car and watched his friend get 
shot by Karenga's group and what did he do? He run back 
and write a full page story about how tough the Panthers are 
and what they're going to do. Ha Ha — B S . 

"Goodbye [name] baby — and watch out. Karenga's com- 

^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Baltimore Field Office. 11/25/68. 

"' Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/20/69 ; 
memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 3/27/69 ; memo- 
randum from FBI Headquarters to San Diego Field Office, 4/4/69. 

^** Memorandum from Newark Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 8/2.^/69. 
According to the proposal, the letter would not be t.vped by the field office .steno- 
graphic pool because of the language. The field office also used asterisks in its 
communication with headquarters which "refer to that colloquial phrase . . . 
which implies an unnatural physical relationship with a material parent." Pre- 
sumably the phrase was used in the letter when it was sent to the Panthers. 


" 'Right On' as they say." 

An anonymous letter was also sent to the leader of the Blackstone 
Rangers, a Chicago gang "to whom violent type activity, shooting, 
and the like, are second nature," advising him that "the brothers that 
run the Panthers blame you for blocking their thing and there's sup- 
posed to be a hit out for you." The letter was intended to "intensify the 
degree of animosity between the two groups" and cause "retaliatory 
action which could disrupt the BPP or lead to reprisals against its 
leadership." «» 

Editor : 

What's with this bull SDS outfit? I'll tell you what 

they has finally showed there true color Wliite. They are 
just like the commies and all the other white radical groups 
that suck up to the blacks and use us. We voted at our meeting 
in Oakland for community control over the pigs but SDS says 
no. Well we can do with out them mothers. We can do it by 


Soul Brother Jake 

In another case, the Bureau tried to promote violence, not between 
violent groups, but between a possibly violent person and another 
target. The field office was given permission to arrange a meeting 
between an SCLC officer and the leader of a small group described as 
"anti- Vietnam black nationalist [veterans'] organization." The leader 
of the veterans' group was known to be upset because he was not 
receiving funds from the SCLC. He was also known to be on leave 
from a mental hospital, and the Bureau had been advised that he 
would be recommitted if he were arrested on any charge. It was be- 
lieved that "if the confrontation occurs at SCLC headquarters," the 
veterans' group leader "will lose his temper, start a fight," and the 
"police will be called in." The purpose was to "neutralize" the leader 
by causing his commitment to a mental hospital, and to gain "un- 
favorable publicity for the SCLC." ^'° 

At least four assaults — two of them on women — were reported as 
"results" of Bureau actions. The San Diego field office claimed credit 
for three of them. In one case, US members "broke into" a BPP 
meeting and "roughed up" a woman member.^'^^ 

In the second instance, a critical newspaper article in the Black 
Panther paper was sent to the US leader. The field office noted that 
"the possibility exists that some sort of retaliatory actions will be 
taken against the BPP." ^'^^ The prediction proved correct; the field 
office reported that as a result of this mailing, members of US assaulted 
a Panther newspaper vendor.^^^ The third assault occurred after the 

"* Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/12/69; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Chicago Field Office, 1/30/69. 

"" Memorandum from I'hiladelphia Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 
11/25/68; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Philadelphia Field Office, 

^^ Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/10/60, 
p. 4. 

"' Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/12/69. 

"' Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters^, 11/12/69. 


San Diego Police Department, acting on a tip from the Bureau that 
"sex orgies" were taking place at Panther headquarters, raided the 
premises. (The police department conducted a "research project," dis- 
covered two outstanding traffic warrants for a BPP member, and used 
the warrants to gain entry.) The field office reported that as a "direct 
result" of the raid, the woman who allowed the officers into the BPP 
headquarters had been "severely beaten up" by other members.^^* 

In the fourth case, the New Haven field office reported that an in- 
formant had joined in a "heated conversation" between several group 
members and sided with one of the parties "in order to increase the 
tension." The argument ended with members hitting each other. The 
informant "departed the premises at this point, since he felt that he 
had been successful, causing a flammable situation to erupt into a 
fight." "^ 

2. Anonymous Mailings 

The Bureau's use of anonymous mailings to promote factionalism 
range from the relatively bland mailing of reprints or fliers criticizing 
a group's leaders for living ostentatiously or being ineffective speakers, 
to reporting a chapter's infractions to the group's headquarters in- 
tended to cause censure or disciplinary action. 

Critical letters were also sent to one group purporting to be from 
another, or from a member of the group registering a protest over a 
proposed alliance. 

For instance, the Bureau was particularly concerned with the al- 
liance between the SDS and the Black Panther Party. A typical ex- 
ample of anonymous mailing intended to separate these groups is a 
letter sent to the Black Panther newspaper : ^^® 

In a similar vein, is a letter mailed to Black Panther and New Left 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

Since when do us Blacks have to swallow the dictates of the 
honky SDS ? Doing this only hinders the Party progress in 

gaining Black control over Black people. We've been 

over by the white facists pigs and the Man's control over our 
destiny. We're sick and tired of being severly brutalized, 
denied our rights and treated like animals by the white pigs. 
We say to hell with the SDS and its honky intellectual ap- 
proaches which only perpetuate control of Black people by 
the honkies. 

The Black Panther Party theory for community control is 
the only answer to our problems and that is to be followed 
and enforced by all means necessary to insure control by 
Blacks over all police departments regardless of whether they 
are run by honkies or uncle toms. 

The damn SDS is a paper organization with a severe case 
of diarliea of the mouth which has done nothing but feed us 

"* Memorandum from San Diego Field OflBce to FBI Headquarters, 12/3/69. 

"* Memorandum from New Haven Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 2/18/70. 

"* Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 8/27/69 ; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 9/5/69. 

"' Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/10/70; memo- 
randum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 3/3/70. 

69-984 O - 76 


lip service. Those few idiots calling themselves weathermen 
run around like kids on halloween. A good example is their 
"militant" activities at the Northland Shopping Center a 
couple of weeks ago. They call themselves revolutionaries but 
take a look at who they are. Most of them come from well 
heeled families even by honky standards. They think they're 
helping us Blacks but their futile, misguided and above all 
white efforts only muddy the revolutionary waters. 

The time has come for an absolute break with any non- 
Black group and especially those SDS and a return to 

our pursuit of a pure black revolution by Blacks for Blacks. 

Power ! 


These examples are not, of course, exclusive, but they do give the flavor 
of the anonymous mailings effort. 

3. Interviews 

Interviewing group members or supporters was an overt "inves- 
tigative" technique sometimes used for the covert purpose of disrup- 
tion. For example, one field office noted that "other [BPP] weak- 
nesses that have been capitalized on include interviews of members 
wherein jealousy among the members has been stimulated and at the 
same time has caused a number of persons to fall under suspicion and 
be purged from the Party." ^^* 

In another case, fourteen field offices were instructed to conduct 
simultaneous interviews of individuals known to have been contacted 
by members of the Revolutionary Union. The purpose of the coordi- 
nated interviews was "to make possible affiliates of the RU believe that 
the organization is infiltrated by informants on a high level.^^^ 

In a third instance, a "black nationalist" target attempted to or- 
ganize a youth group in Mississippi. The field office used informants 
to determine "the identities of leaders of this group and in interview- 
ing these leaders, expressed to them [the target's] background and 
his true intentions regarding organizing Negro youth groups." Agents 
also interviewed the target's landlords and "advised them of certain 
aspects of [his] past activities and his reputation in the Jackson vi- 
cinity as being a Negro e^ttremist." Three of the landlords asked the 
target to move.^*° The same field office reported that it had interviewed 
members of the Tougaloo College Political Action Committee, an 
"SNCC affiliated" student group. The members were interviewed 
while they were home on summer vacation. "Sources report that these 
interviews had a very upsetting effect on the PAC organization and 
they felt they have been betrayed by someone at Tougaloo College. 
Many of the members have limited their participation in PAC affairs 
since their interview by Agents during the summer of 1968." ^^^ 

Jf.. Using Informants To Raise Controversial Issues 
The Bureau's use of informants generally is the subject of a sepa- 
rate report. It is worth noting here, however, that the use of inform- 

"* Memorandum from Indianapolis Field OflSce to FBI Headquarters, 9/23/69. 

"* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 10/28/70. 

'*" Memorandum from Jackson Meld Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/27/68. 


ants to take advantage of ideological splits in an organization dates 
back to the first COINTELPKO. The originating CUPSA document 
refers to the use of informants to capitalize on the discussion within 
the Party following Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin.^^^ 

Informants were also used to widen rifts in other organizations. 
For instance, an informant was instructed to imply that the head of 
one faction of the SDS was using group funds for his drug habit, 
and that a second leader embezzled funds at another school. The field 
office reported that "as a result of actions taken by this informant, 
there have been fist fights and acts of name calling at several of the 
recent SDS meetings." In addition, members of one faction "have 
made early morning telephone calls" to other SDS members and "have 
threatened them and attempted to discourage them from attending 
SDS meetings." ^^^ 

In another case, an informant was used to "raise the question" 
among his associates that an unmarried, 30-year old group leader 
"may be either a bisexual or a homosexual." The field office believed 
that the question would "rapidly become a rumor" and "could have 
serious results concerning the a;bility and effectiveness of [the target's] 
leadership." ^^^ 

-5. Fictitious Organizations 

There are basically three kinds of "notional" or fictitious organiza- 
tions. All three were used in COINTELPKO attempts to f actionalize. 

The first kind of "notional" was the organization whose members 
were all Bureau informants. Because of tlie Committee's agreement 
with the Bureau not to reveal the identities of informants, the only 
example which can be discussed publicly is a proposal which, although 
approved, was never implemented. That proposal involved setting up 
a chapter of the W.E.B. DuBois Club in a Southern city which would 
be composed entirely of Bureau informants and fictitious persons. 
The initial purpose of the chapter was to cause the CPUSA expense by 
sending organizers into the area, cause the Party to fund Bureau 
coverage of out-of-town CP meetings by paying the informants' 
expenses, and receive literature and instructions. Later, the chapter 
was to begin to engage in deviation from the Party line so that it 
would be expelled from the main organization "and then they could 
claim to be the victim of a Stalinist type purge." It was anticipated 
that the entire operation would take no more than 18 months.^*^ 

The second kind of "notional" was the fictitious organization with 
some unsuspecting (non-informant) members. For example, Bureau 
informants set up a Klan organization intended to attract meml^r- 
ship away from the United Klans of America. The Bureau paid the 
informant's personal expensas in setting up the new organization, 
which had, at its height, 250 members.^®® 

The third type of "notional" was the wholly fictitious organization, 
with no actual members, which was used as a pseudonym for mailing 

^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 9/6/56. 
^ Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 12/12/68, 
p. 2. 
"^ Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/2/70. 
^^ Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 7/9/64. 
'* Memorandum from C. D. Brennan to W. C. Sullivan, 8/28/67. 


letters or pamphlets. For instance, the Bureau sent out newsletters 
from something called "The Committee for Expansion of Socialist 
Thought in America," which attacked the CPUSA from the "Marxist 
right" for at least two years.^®" 

6. Labeling Targets As Infonnants 

The "snitch jacket" technique — neutralizing a target by labeling 
him a "snitch" or informant, so that he would no longer be trusted — 
was used in all COINTELPROs. The methods utilized ranged from 
having an authentic informant start a rumor about the target mem- 
ber/^* to anonymous letters or phone calls,^^^ to faked informants' 
reports. ^^° 

When the technique was used against a member of a nonviolent 
group, the result was often alienation from the group. For example, a 
San Diego man was targeted because he was active in draft counseling 
at the city's Message Information Center. He had, coincidentally, 
been present at the arrest of a Selective Service violator, and had been 
at a "crash pad" just prior to the arrest of a second violator. The 
Bureau used a real informant to suggest at a Center meeting that it 
was "strange" that the two men had been arrested by federal agents 
shortly after the target became aware of their locations. The field 
office reported that the target had been "completely ostracized by 
members of the Message Information Center and all of the other 
individuals throughout the area . . . associated with this and/or 
related groups." ^^^ 

In another case, a local police officer was used to "jacket" the head 
of the Student Mobilization Committee at the University of South 
Carolina. The police officer picked up two members of the Committee 
on the pretext of interviewing them concerning narcotics. By pre- 
arranged signal, he had his radio operator call him with the message, 
"[name of target] just called. Wants you to contact her. Said you have 
her number." ^^^ No results were reported. 

The "snitch jacket" is a particularly nasty technique even when 
used in peaceful groups. It gains an added dimension of danger when 
it is used — as, indeed, it was — in groups known to have murdered 

For instance, a Black Panther leader was arrested by the local police 
with four other members of the BPP. The others were released, but 
the leader remained in custody. Headquarters authorized the field office 
to circulate the rumor that the leader "is the last to be released" because 
"he is cooperating with and has made a deal with the Los Angeles 
Police Department to furnish them information concerning the BPP." 

^" Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to W. C. Sullivan, 1/5/65. 

^'^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Diego Field OflSce, 2/14/69. 

"* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Jackson Field Office. 11/15/68. 

"*" Memorandum from FBI Headquaters to New York Field Office, 2/9/60. 

^°^ Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/17/69 ; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Diego Field Office, 3/6/69; 
memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters 4/30/69. 

'"'Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/31/69; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Diego Meld Office, 2/14/69. 

"* One Bureau document stated that the Black Panther Party "has murdered 
two members it suspected of being police informants." (Memorandum from FBI 
Headquarters to Cincinnati Field Office, 2/18/71. ) 


The target of the first proposal then received an anonymous phone 
call stating that his own arrest was caused by a rival leader.^^* 

In another case, the Bureau learned that the chairman of the New 
York BPP chapter was under suspicion as an informant because 
of the arrest of another member for w^eapons possession. In order 
to "cast further suspicion on him" the Bureau sent anonymous letters 
to BPP headquarters in the state, the wife of the arrested member, 
and a local member of CORE, saying "Danger-Beware-Black Broth- 
ers, [name of target] is the fink who told the pigs that [arrested 
members] were carrying guns." The letter also gave the target's 

In a third instance, the Bureau learned through electronic surveil- 
lance of the BPP the whereabouts of a fugitive. After his arrest, the 
Bureau sent a letter in a "purposely somewhat illiterate type scrawl" 
to the fugitive's half-brother : 

Brother : 

Jimmie was sold out by Sister [name — the BPP leader who 
made the phone call picked up by the tap] for some pig money 
to pay her rent. When she don't get it that way she takes 
Panther money. How come her kid sells the paper in his school 
and no one bothers him. How comes Tyler got busted up by 
the pigs and her kid didn't. How comes the FBI pig fascists 
knew where to bust Lonnie and Minnie way out where they 

—Think baby.^'"' 

In another example, the chairman of the Kansas City BPP chapter 
went to Washington in an attempt to testify before a Senate subcom- 
mittee about information he allegedly possessed about the transfer of 
firearms from the Kansas City Police Department to a retired Army 
General. The attempt did not succeed; the committee chairman ad- 
journed the hearing and then asked the BPP member to present his 
information to an aide. The Bureau then authorized an anonymous 
phone call to BPP headquarters "to the effect that [the target] was 
paid by the committee to testify, that he has cooperated fully with 
this committee, and that he intends to return at a later date to furnish 
additional testimony which will include complete details of the BPP 
operation in Kansas City." ^^^ 

In the fifth case, the Bureau had so successfully disrupted the San 
Diego BPP that it no longer existed. One of the former members, how- 
ever, was " 'politicking' for the position of local leader if the group 
is ever reorganized." Headquarters authorized the San Diego field 
office to send anonymous notes to "selected individuals within the black 
community of San Diego" to "initiate the rumor that [the target]. 

"*• Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/11/69 ; 
memorandum to San Diego Field Office from FBI Headquarters, 2/19/69. 

^°^ Memorandum from New York Meld Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/14/69; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 3/10/69. 

'°« Memorandimi to FBI Headquarters from SAC, Newark, 7/3/69; memo- 
randimi to Newark Field Office from FBI Headquarters, 7/14/69. 

"^ Memorandum from Kansas City Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/16/69; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 11/3/69. 


who has aspirations of becoming the local Black Panther Party Cap- 
tain, is a police informant." ^^^ 

In a sixth case, a letter alleging that a Washington, D.C., BPP 
leader was a police informant was sent "as part of our continuing 
effort to foment internal dissension within ranks of Black Panther 
Party :" ^^^ 

Brother : 

I recently read in the Black Panther newspaper about that 
low dog Gaines down in Texas who betrayed his people to the 
pigs and it reminded me of a recent incident that I should tell 
you about. Around the first part of Feb. I was locked up at 
the local pigpen when the pigs brought in this dude who told 
me he was a Panther. This dude who said his name was [de- 
leted] said he was vamped on by six pigs and was brutalized 
by them. This dude talked real bad and said he had killed 
pigs and was going to get more when he got out, so I thought 
he probably was one of you. The morning after [name] was 
brought in a couple of other dudes in suits came to see him 
and called him out of the cell and he was gone a couple of 
hours. Later on these dudes came back again to see him. 
[Name] told me the dudes were his lawyers but they smelled 
like pig to me. It seems to me that you might want to look 
into this because I know you don't want anymore low-life 
dogs helping the pigs brutalize the people. You don't know 
me and I'm not a Panther but I want to help with the cause 
when I can. 

A lumpen brother 

In a seventh case, the "most influential BPP activist in North Caro- 
lina" had been photographed outside a house where a "shoot out" with 
local police had taken place. The photograph, which appeared in the 
local newspaper, showed the target talking to a policeman. The pho- 
tograph and an accompanying article were sent to BPP headquarters 
in Oakland, California, with a handwritten note, supposedly from a 
female BPP member known to be "disenchanted" with the target, say- 
ing, "I think this is two pigs oinking." ^°° 

Although Bureau witnesses stated that they did not authorize a 
"snitch jacket" when they had information that the group was at that 
time actually killing suspected informants,^''^ they admitted that the 
risk was there whenever the technique was used. 

'** Memorandum to FBI Headquarters from San Diego Field Office, 3/6/70 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Diego Field Office, 3/6/70. 

^"Memorandum from Charlotte Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/23/71 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Charlotte Field Office, 3/31/71. 

^Memorandum from Charlotte Field Office to FBI Headquarters 3/23/71 
memorandum FBI Headquarters to Charlotte Field Office, 3/31/71. 

'^^ In fact, some proposals were turned down for that reason. See, e.g., letter 
from FBI Headquarters to Cincinnati Field Office, 2/18/71, in which a proposal 
that an imprisoned BPP member be labeled a "pig informer" was rejected be- 
cause it was possible it would result in the target's death. But note that just one 
month later, two similar proposals were approved. Letter from FBI Head- 
quarters to Washington Field Office, 3/19/71, and letter from FBI Headquarters 
to Charlotte Field Office, 3/31/71. 


It would be fair to say there was an element of risk there 
which we tried to examine on a case by case basis.^^^ 

IMooi-e added, "I am not aware of any time we ever labeled anybody 
as an informant, that anything [violent] ever happened as a result, 
and that is something that could be measured." Wlien asked whether 
that was luck or lack of planning, he responded, "Oh, it just happened 
that way, I am sure." ^"^ 

G. Using Hostile Third Parties Against Target Groups 

The Bureau's factionalism efforts were intended to separate indi- 
viduals or groups w^hich might otherwise be allies. Another set of ac-' 
tions is a variant of that technique ; organizations already opposed to 
the target gi'oups were used to attack them. 

The American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, for ex- 
ample, printed and distributed under their own names Bureau- 
authored pamphlets condemning the SDS and the DuBois Clubs. 

In another case, a confidential source who headed an anti-Commu- 
nist organization in Cleveland, and who published a "self-described 
conservative weekly newspaper," the Cleveland Times^ was anony- 
mously mailed information on the Unitarian Society of Cleveland's 
sponsorship of efforts to abolish the House Committee on Un-American 
Activities. The source had "embarrassed" the Unitarian minister with 
questions about the alleged Communist connections of other cosponsors 
"at public meetings." ^°* 

It was anticipated that the source would publish a critical article in 
her newspaper, which "may very well have the result of alerting the 
more responsible people in the community" to the nature of the move- 
ment and "stifle it before it gets started." ^"^ 

The source newspaper did publish an article entitled "Locals to Aid 
Red Line," which named the Minister, among others, as a local sponsor 
of what it termed a "Communist dominated plot" to abolish the House 
Committee. ^°^ 

One group, described as a "militant anticommunist right wing orga- 
nization, more of an activist group than is the more well known John 
Birch Society," was used on at least four separate occasions. The Bu- 
reau developed a long-range program to use the organization in "coun- 
terintelligence activity" by establishing a fictitious person named 
"Lester Johnson" who sent letters, made phone calls, offered financial 
support, and suggested action : 

In view of the activist nature of this organization, and their 
lack of experience and knowledge concerning the interior 
workings of the [local] CP, [the field office proposes] that 
efforts be made to take over their activities and use them in 
such a manner as would be best calculated by this office to 

'"' Black Nationalist supervisor, 10/17/75, p. 39. 

"^ Moore, 11/3/15, p. 64. 

-** The minister has given the Select Committee an aflSdavit which states that 
there was an organized attempt by the Bureau's source to disrupt the Church's 
meetings, including "fist fights." Aflidavit of Rev. Dennis G. Kuby, 10/19/7'). 

'^Memorandum from Cleveland Field OflBce to FBI Headquarters, 10/28/64; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cleveland Field OflSce, 11/6/64. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cleveland Field Office, 11/6/64. 


completely disrupt and neutralize the [local] CP, all without 
[the organization] becoming aware of the Bureau's interest 
in its operation. ^°^ 

"Lester Johnson" used the organization to distribute fliers and let- 
ters opposing the candidacy of a lawyer running for a judgeship ^"^ 
and to disrupt a dinner at which an alleged Communist was to speak.^"^ 
"Johnson" also congratulated the organization on disrupting an anti- 
draft meeting at a Methodist Church, furnishing further information 
about a speaker at the meeting,-^" and suggested that members picket 
the home of a local "communist functionary." -^^ 

Another case is slightly different from the usual "hostile third 
party" actions, in that both organizations were Bureau targets. "Op- 
eration Hoodwink" was intended to be a long-range program to dis- 
rupt both La Cosa Nostra (which was not otherwise a COINTELPRO 
target) and the Communist Party by "having them expend their en- 
ergies attacking each other." The initial project was to prepare and 
send a leaflet, which purported to be from a Communist Party leader 
to a member of a New York "family" attacking working conditions at 
a business owned by the family member.^ ^^ 

D. Disseminating Derogatory Information to Family^ FHends^ and 
Although this technique was used in i-elatively few cases it accounts 
for some of the most distressing of all COINTELPRO actions. Per- 
sonal life information, some of which was gathered expressly to be 
used in the programs, was then disseminated, either directly to the 
target's family through an anonymous letter or telephone call, or in- 
directly, by giving the information to the media. 

'•^Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/18/66, p. 2. 

^Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 1/19/67. 

The lawyer was targeted, along with his law firm, because the firm "has a long 
history of providing services for individual communists and communist organi- 
zations," and because he belonged to the National Lawyers Guild. 

"" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 1/16/67. 

^"Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 1/10/67. 

^Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 11/3/66. 

^Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to William C. Sullivan, 10/4/66; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 10/5/66. 

A similar proposal attempted "to cause dissension between Negro numbers 
operators and the Italian hoodlum element" in Detroit. The Bureau had informa- 
tion that black "numbers men" were contributing money to the local "black 
power movement." An anonymous letter containing a black hand and the words 
"watch out" was sent a minister who was "the best known black militant in 
Detroit." The letter was intended to achieve two objectives. First, the minister 
was expected to assume that "the Italian hoodlum element was responsible 
for this letter, report this to the Negro numbers operators, and thereby cause 
them to further resent the Italian hoodlum element." Second, it is also possible 
that [the minister] may become extremely frightened upon receipt of this letter 
and sever his contact with the Negro numbers men in Detroit and might even 
restrict his black nationalist activity or leave Detroit. (Memorandum from the 
Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 6/14/68; Memorandum from FBI 
Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 6/28/68. ) 


Several letters were sent to spouses; three examples follow.^^^ -pj^g 
names have been deleted for privacy reasons. 

The first letter was sent to the wife of a Grand Dragon of the 
United Klans of America ("Mrs. A"). It was to be "typed on plain 
paper in an amateurish fashion." ^^* 

"My Dear Mrs. (A), 

"I write this letter to you only after a long period of pray- 
ing to God. I must cleanse my soul of these thoughts. I 
certainly do not want to create problems inside a family but 
I owe a duty to the klans and its principles as well as to my 
own menfolk who have cast their divine lot with the klans. 

"Your husband came to [deleted] about a year ago and 
my menfolk blindly followed his leadership, believing him to 
be the savior of this country. They never believed the "stories 
that he stole money from the klans in [deleted] or that he is 
now making over $25,000 a year. They never believed the 
stories that your house in [deleted] has a new refrigerator, 
washer, dryer and yet one year ago, was threadbare. They 
refuse to believe that your husband now owns three cars and 
a truck, including the new white car. But I believe all these 
things and I can forgive them for a man wants to do for his 
family in the best way he can. 

"I don't have any of these things and I don't grudge you 
any of them neither. But 3'our husband has been committing 
the greatest of the sins of our Loi'd for many years. He has 
taken the flesh of another unto himself. 

"Yes, Mrs. A, he has been committing adultery. My men- 
folk say they don't believe this but I think they do. I feel like 
crying. I saw her with my own 63^68. They call her Ruby. Her 
last name is something like [deleted] and she lives in the 700 
block of [deleted] Street in [deleted.] I know this. T saw her 
strut around at a rally with her lustfilled eyes and smart aleck 

"I cannot stand for this. I will not let my husband and two 
brothers stand side by side with your husband and this woman 
in the glorious robes of tlie klan. I am typing this because I 
am going to send copys to Mr. Shelton and some of the klans 
leaders that I have faith in. I will not stop until your husband 
is driven from [deleted] and back into the flesh-pots from 
wherein he came. 

^^ Letters were also sent to parents informing them that their children were 
in communes, or with a roommate of the opposite sex ; information on an actress' 
pregnancy by a Black Panther was sent to a gossip columnist ; and information 
about a partner's affair with another partner's wife was sent to the members of 
a law firm as well as the injured spouses. 

Personal life information was not the only kind of derogatory information 
disseminated ; information on the "subversive background" of a target (or family 
member ) was also used, as were arrest records. 

"■"* Memorandum from Richmond Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/26/66. 


"I am a loyal klanswoman and a good churchgoer. I feel 
this problem affects the future of our great country. I hope 
I do not cause you harm by this and if you believe in the 
Good Book as I do, you may soon receive your husband back 
into the fold. I pray for you and your beautiful little chil- 
dren and only wish I could tell you who I am. I will soon, 
but I am afraid my own men would be harmed if I do." 

"A God-fearing klanswoman" 

The second letter was sent to the husband ("Mr. B") of a woman 
who had the distinction of being both a New Left and Black Nation- 
alist target; she was a leader in the local branch of the Women's 
International League for Peace and Freedom, "which group is active 
in draft resistance, antiwar rallies and New Left activities," and an 
officer in ACTION, a biracial group which broke off from the local 
chapter of the Congress of Kacial Equality and which "engaged 
in numerous acts of civil disniption and disobedience." ^^^ 

Two informants reported that Mr. B had been maldng suspicious 
inquiries about his wife's relationship with the Black males in 
ACTION. The local field office proposed an anonymous letter to the 
husband which would confirm his suspicions, although the inform- 
ants did not know whether the allegations of misconduct were true. 
It was hoped that the "resulting marital tempest" would "result in 
ACTION losing their [officer] and the WILPF losmg a valuable 
leader, thus striking a major blow against both organizations." ^^° 

Accordingly, the following letterj^^*** written in black ink, was sent 
to the husband : 

-^ Memorandum from St. Louis Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/30/70. 

="' Memorandum from St. Louis Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/30/70. 
Note that there is no allegation that ACTION was engaged in violence. When 
the target was interviewed by the staff, she was a.sked whether ACTION ever took 
part in violent activities. She replied that someone once spat in a communion cup 
during a church sit-in and that members sometimes used four letter words, which 
was considered violent in her city. The staff member then asked about more con- 
ventionally violent acts, such as throwing bricks or burning buildings. Her 
response was a shocked, "Oh, no! I'm a pacifist — I wouldn't be involved in an 
organization like that." (Staff interview of a COINTELPRO target.) 

"■'"' Memorandum from St. Louis Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/30/70. 


A letter from the field office to headquarters four months later 
reported as a "tangible result" of the letter that the target and her 
husband had recently separated, following a series of marital 
arguments : 


This matrimonial stress and strain should cause her to func- 
tion much less effectively in ACTION. While the letter sent 
by the [field office] was probably not the sole cause of this 
separation, it certainly contributed very strongly.^^^ 

The third letter was sent to the wife of a leader of the Black Libera- 
tors ("Mrs. C"). She was living in their home town with their two 
daughters while he worked in the city. Bureau documents describe 
Mrs. C. as a "faithful, loving wife, who is apparently convinced that 
her husband is performing a vital service to the Black world. . . . 
She is to all indications an intelligent, respectable young mother, who 
is aotive in the AME Methodist Church." 2i« 

The letter was "prepared from a penmanship, spelling style to imi- 
tate that of the average Black Liberator member. It contains several 
accusations which should cause [X's] wife great concern." It was 
expressly intended to produce "ill feeling and possibly a lasting dis- 
trust" between X and his wife ; it was hoped that the "concern over 
what to do about it" would "detract from his time spent in the plots 
and plans of his organization." ^'^^ 

The letter was addressed to "Sister C" : 

'" Memorandum from St. Louis Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/17/70. 
^'' Memorandum from St. Louis Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/14/69, p. 1. 
"^ Memorandum from St. Louis Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/14/ 69, pp. 



The Petersen Committee said that some COINTELPRO actions 
were "abhorrent in a free society." This technique surely falls within 
that condemnation.^^" 

** House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Civil ami Constitutional 
BigMs, Hearings, 11/20/74, p. 11. 


E. Contacts with Erwployers 

The Bureau often tried to get targets fired, with some success.^^^ If 
the target was a teacher, the intent was usually to deprive him of a 
forum and to remove what the Bureau believed to be the added pres- 
tige given a political cause by educators. In other employer contacts, 
the purpose was either to eliminate a source of funds for the individual 
or (if the target was a donor) the group, or to have the employer apply 
pressure on the target to stop his activities. 

For example, an Episcopal minister furnished "financial and other" 
assistance to the Black Panther Party in his city. The Bureau sent an 
anonymous letter to his bishop so that the church would exert pressure 
on the minister to "refrain from assistance to the Black Panther 
Party." ^^^ Similarly, a priest who allowed the Black Panther Party 
to use his church for its breakfast program was targeted ; his bishop 
received both an anonymous letter and three anonymous phone calls 
The priest was transferred shoi'tly thereafter.^^^ 

In another case, a black county employee was targeted because he had 
attended a fund raiser for the Mississippi Summer Project and, on 
another occasion, a presentation of a Negro History Week program. 
Both functions had been supported by "clandestine CP members." The 
employee, according to the documents, had no record of subversive ac- 
tivities ; "he and his wife appear to be genuinely interested in the wel- 
fare of Negroes and other minority groups and are being taken in by 
the communists." The Bureau chose a curiously indirect way to in- 
form the target of his friends' Party membership ; a local law enforce- 
ment official was used to contact the County Administrator in the 
expectation that the employee would be "called in and questioned 
about his left-wing associates." ^^* 

The Bureau made several attempts to stop outside sources from 
funding target operations.^^^ For example, the Bureau learned that 
SNCC was trying to obtain funds from the Episcopal Church for a 
"liberation school." Two carefully spaced letters were sent to the 
Church which falsely alleged that SNCC was engaged in a "fraudulent 
scheme" involving the anticipated funds. The letters purported to be 
from local businessmen approached by SNCC to place fictitious orders 
for school supplies and divide the money when the Church paid the 
bills.^^^ Similar letters were sent to the Interreligious Foundation for 
Community Organizing, from which SNCC had requested a grant for 
its "Agrarian Keform Plan." This time, the letters alleged kickback 
approaches in the sale of farm equipment and real estate.^" 

Other targets include an employee of the Urban League, who was 
fired because the Bureau contacted a confidential source in a foundation 
which fiuided the League; ^^* a lawyer known for his representation 

^ There were 84 contacts with employers or 3 percent of the total. 

''' Memorandum from New Haven Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/12/69. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Diego Field Office, 9/11/69. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 9/29/64. 

^The FBI also used a "confidential source" in a foundation to gain funding 
for a "moderate" civil rights organization. (Memorandum from G. C. Moore to 
W. C. Sullivan, 10/23/68.) 

^^ Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/18/70. 

^ Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/19/70. 

^^ Memoranda from FBI Headquarters to Pittsburgh Field Office, 3/3/69 and 


of "subversives," whose nonmovement client received an anonymous 
letter advising it not to employ a "well-known Communist Party 
apologist" ; --^ and a television commentator who was transferred after 
his station and superiors received an anonymous protest letter. The 
commentator, who had a weekly religious program, had expressed 
admiration for a black nationalist leader and criticized the United 
States' defense policy.^^" 

F. Use and Abuse of Governinent Processes 

This category, which comprises 9 percent of all approved proposals 
includes selective law enforcement (using Federal, state, or local 
authorities to arrest, audit, raid, inspect, deport, etc.) ; interference 
with judicial proceedings, including targeting lawyers who represent 
"subversives"; interference with candidates or political appointees; 
and using politicians and investigating committees, sometimes with- 
out their knowledge, to take action against targets. 

1. Selective Law Enforcement 
Bureau documents often state that notifying law enforcement agen- 
cies of violations committed by COINTELPRO targets is not counter- 
intelligence, but part of normal Bureau responsibility. Other docu- 
ments, however, make it clear that "counterintelligence" was precisely 
the purpose. "Be alert to have them arrested," reads a New Left 
COINTELPRO directive to all participating field offices.^^i Further, 
there is clearly a difference between notifying other agencies of 
information that the Bureau happened across in an investigation — in 
plain view, so to speak — and instructing field offices to find evidence 
of violations — any violations — to "get" a target. As George Moore 
stated : 

Ordinarily, we would not be interested in health violations 
because it is not my jurisdiction, we would not waste our time. 
But under this program, we would tell our informants per- 
haps to be alert to any health violations or other licensing 
requirements or things of that nature, whether there were 
violations and we would see that they were reported.^^- 

State and local agencies were frequently informed of alleged statu- 
tory violations which would come within their jurisdiction.^^^ As 
noted above, this was not always normal Bureau procedure. 

A typical example of the attempted use of local authorities to disrupt 
targeted activities is the Bureau's attempt to have a Democratic Party 
fund raiser raided by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commis- 

''* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office. 7/2/64. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Cincinnati Field Office, 3/28/69. 

^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 10/9/68. 

''' Moore, 11/3/75, p. 47. 

^Federal agencies were also used. For instance, a foreign-born professor 
active in the New Left was deported by the Immigration and Naturalization 
Service at <^he Bureau's instigation. (Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to 
San Diego Field Office, 9/6/68.) The Bureau's use of the IRS in COINTELPRO 
is included in a separate report. Among other actions, the Bureau obtained 
an activist professor's tax returns and then used a source in a regional IRS 
office to arrange an audit. The audit was intended to be timed to interfere with 
the professor's meetings to plan protest demonstrations in the 1968 Democratic 


sion,^^* The function was to be held at a private house : the admission 
charge included "refreshments." It was anticipated that alcoholic 
beverages would be served. A confidential source in the ABC Com- 
mission agreed to send an agent to the fund raiser to determine if 
liquor was being serv^ed and then to conduct a raid.^^^ (In fact, the 
raid was cancelled for reasons beyond the Bureau's control. A prior 
raid on the local fire department's fund raiser had given rise to con- 
siderable criticism and the District Attorney issued an advisory opin- 
ion that such affairs did not violate state law. The confidential source 
advised the field office that the ABC would not, after all, raid the 
Democrats because of "political ramifications.") ^^*^ 

In the second case, the target was a "key figure" Communist. He 
had a history of homosexuality and was known to frequent a local 
hotel. The Bureau requested that the local police have him arrested 
for homosexuality; it was then intended to publicize the arrest to 
"embarrass the Party." Interestingly, the Bureau withdrew its request 
when the target stopped working actively for the Party because it 
would no longer cause the intended disruption.^^' This would appear 
to rebut the Bureau's contention that turning over evidence of viola- 
tions to local authorities was not really COINTELPRO at all, but 
just part of its job. 

2. Interference With Judicial Process 

The Bureau's attempts to interfere with judicial processes affecting 
targets are particularly disturbing because they violate a fundamental 
principle of our system of government. Justice is supposed to be blind. 
Nevertheless, when a target appeared before a judge, a jury, or a 
probation board, he sometimes carried an unknown burden ; the Bureau 
had gotten there first. 

Three examples should be sufficient. A university student who was 
a leader of the Afro American Action Committee had been arrested 
in a demonstration at the university. The Bureau sent an anonymous 
letter to the county prosecutor intended to discredit her by exposing 
her "subversive connections"; her adoptive father was described as 
a Communist Party member. The Bureau believed that the letter 
might aid the prosecutor in his case against the student. Another 
anonymous letter containing the same information was mailed to a 
local radio announcer who had an "open mike" program critical of 

^ The fund raiser 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. (Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco 
Field Office, 10/21/66.) 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 

^ IMd. 

'^Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/23/60; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 3/11/60 ; memo- 
randum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/10/60 ; memoran- 
dum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 11/17/60. 


local "leftist" activity. The letter was intended to further publicize 
the "connection" between the student and the Communist Party.^^s 

In the second example, a Klan leader who had been convicted on 
a weapons charge was out on bail pending appeal. He spoke at a Klan 
rally, and the Bureau arranged to have newsmen present. The result- 
ing stories and photographs were then delivered to the appellate 
judges considering his case.^*** 

The third instance involved a real estate speculator's bequest of 
over a million dollars to the three representatives of the Communist 
Party who were expected to turn it over to the Party. The Bureau 
interviewed the probate judge sitting on the case, who was "very co- 
operative" and promised to look the case over carefully. The judge 
asked the Bureau to determine whether the widow would be willing 
to "take any action designed to keep the Communist Party from 
getting the money." The Bureau's efforts to gain the widow's help in 
contesting the will proved unsuccessful.^*^ 

3. Candidates and Political Appointees 

The Bureau apparently did not trust the American people to make 
the proper choices in the voting booth. Candidates who, in the Bu- 
reau's opinion, should not be elected were therefore targeted. The 
case of the Democratic fundraiser discussed earlier was just one 

Socialist Workers Party candidates were routinely selected for 
counterintelligence, although they had never come close to winning an 
election. In one case, a SWP candidate for state office inadvertently 
protected herself from action by announcing at a news conference 
that she had no objections to premarital sex ; a field office thereupon 
withdrew its previously approved proposal to publicize her common 
law marriage.^*^" 

Other candidates were also targeted. A Midwest lawyer whose firm 
represented "subversives" (defendants in the Smith Act trials) ran 
for City Council. The lawyer had been active in the civil rights move- 
ment in the South, and the John Birch Society in his city had recently 
mailed a book called "It's Very Simple — The True Story of Civil 
Rights" to various ministers, priests, and rabbis. The Bureau received 
a copy of the mailing list from a source in the Birch Society and sent 
an anonymous follow-up letter to the book's recipients noting the 
pages on which the candidate had been mentioned and calling their 
attention to the "Communist background" of this "charlatan." ^^^ The 

^Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 7/22/69; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Minneapolis Field Office, 4/9/69. 
Charles Colson spent seven months in jail for violating the civil rights of a de- 
fendant in a criminal case through the deliberate creation of prejudicial pre- 
trial publicity. 

'^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Miami Field Office, 6/23/66 ; memo- 
randum from Miami Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/30/66. 

^" Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/5/67. The 
Bureau also obtained legal advice from a probate attorney on how the will could 
be attacked ; contacted other relatives of the deceased ; leaked information about 
the will to a city newspaper ; and solicited the efforts of the IRS and state tax- 
ing authorities to deplete the estate as much as possible. 

'"» Memorandum from Atlanta Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 7/13/70. 

'"^ Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/15/65; 
memorandum frotn FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 9/22/65. 

)-984 O - 76 - 5 


Bureau also sent a fictitious-name letter to a television station on 
which the candidate was to appear, enclosing a series of informative 
questions it believed should be asked.^*^ The candidate was defeated. 
He subsequently ran (successfully, as it happened) for a judgeship. 

Political appointees were also targeted. One target was a member of 
the board of the NAACP and the Democratic State Central Commit- 
tee. His brother, according to the documents, was a communist, and 
the target had participated in some Party youth group activities 
fifteen years earlier. The target's appointment as secretary of a city 
transportation board elicited an anonymous letter to the Mayor, with 
carbons to two newspapers, protesting the use of "us taxpayers' money" 
in the appointment of a "known Communist" to a highly paid job; 
more anonymous letters to various politicians, the American Legion, 
and the county prosecutor in the same vein ; and a pseudonymous letter 
to the members of the transportation board, stating that the Mayor 
had "saddled them with a Commie secretary because he thinks it will 
get Mm a few Negro votes.^** 

^. Investigating Committees 

State and Federal legislative investigating committees were occa- 
sionally used to attack a target, sinc-e the committees' interests usually 
marched with the Bureau's. 

Perhaps the most elaborate use of an investigating committee was 
the framing of a complicated "snitch jacket." In October 1959, a legis- 
lative committee held hearings in Philadelphia, "ostensibly" to show 
a resurgence of CP activity in the area.^*^ The Bureau's target was 
subpoenaed to appear before the committee but was not actually called 
to testify. The field office proposed that local CP leaders be contacted to 
raise the question of "how it was possible for [the target] to escape 
testifying" before the committee; this "might place suspicion on him 
as being cooperative" with the investigators and "raise sufficient doubt 
in the minds of the leaders regarding [the target] to force him out of 
the CP or at least to isolate and neutralize him." Strangely enough, the 
target was not a bona fide CP member; he was an undercover in- 
filtrator for a private anti- Communist group who had been a source of 
trouble for the FBI because he kept getting in their way. 

A more typical example of the use of a legislative committee is a 
series of anonymous letters sent to the chairman of a state investigating 
committee that was designated to look into New Left activities on the 
state's college campuses. The target was an activist professor, and the 
letters detailed his "subversive background." 

G. Exposing '''■Communist Infiltration'''' of Groups 

This technique was used in approximately 4 percent of all approved 
proposals. The most common method involved anonymously notify- 

^" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 10/1/65. 

"* Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/24/66; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field Office, 11/3/66. 

^ According to the documents, "operating under the direction of New York 
headquarters," a document was placed in the record by the Committee which 
according to the "presiding officer," indicated that the CP planned to hold its 
national convention in Philadelphia. The field office added, "This office is not 
aware of any such plan of the CP." Memorandum from, Philadelphia Field Office 
to FBI Headquarters, 11/3/59 ; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Phila- 
delphia Field Office, 11/12/59. 


ing the group (civil rights organization, PTA, Boy Scouts, etc.) that 
one or more of its members was a "Communist," ^^ so that it could 
take whatever action it deemed appropriate. Occasionally, however, 
the group itself was the COINTELPRO target. In those cases, the 
information went to the media, and the intent was to link the group 
to the Communist Party. 

For example, one target was a Western professor who was the im- 
mediate past president of a local peace center, "a coalition of anti- 
Vietnam and antidraft groups." He had resigned to become chairman 
of the state's McCarthy campaign organization, but it was anticipated 
that he would return to the peace center after the election. x\<?cord- 
ing to the documents, the professor's wife had been a Communist 
Party member in the early 1950s. This information was furnished to a 
newspaper editor who had written an editorial branding the SDS 
and various black power groups as "professional revolutionists." 
The information was intended to "expose these people at this time 
when they are receiving considerable publicity to not only educate 
the public to their character, but disrupt the members" of the peace 

In another case, the Bureau learned through electronic surveillance 
of a civil rights leader's plans to attend a reception at the Soviet Mis- 
sion to the United Nations. (The reception was to honor a Soviet 
author.) The civil rights leader was active in a school boycott which 
had been previously targeted; the Bureau arranged to have news 
photographers at the scene to photograph him entering the Soviet 

Other instances include furnishing information to the media on 
the participation of the Communist Party Presidential candidate in 
a United Farm Workers' picket line: ^^^ "confidentially" telling estab- 
lished sources of three Northern California newspapers that the San 
Francisco County CP Committee had stated that the Bay area civil 
rights groups would "begin working" on the area's large newspapers 
"in an effort to secure greater employment of Negroes ;" ^^^ and fur- 
nishing information on Socialist Workers Party participation in the 
Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam to "dis- 
credit" the antiwar group by tying it "into the subversive 
movement." ^^^ 

"^Note that the "Communist" label was loosely applied, and might mean only 
that an informant reported that a target had attended meetings of a "front" 
group some years earlier. As noted earlier, none of the "COINTELPRO" labels 
were precise. 

^' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Phoenix Field Office, 6/11/68. 

^Memorandum from William C. Sullivan, 2/4/64; memorandum from FBI 
Headquarters to New York Field Office, 2/12/64. 

^**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 un- 
successfully directed "considerable efforts to prevent hiring" the professor. Ap- 
parently, 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. 

^ Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 4/16/64. 

'^ Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/10/67 ; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 3/14/67. 



A. Within the Bureau 

1. Internal Administration 

The Bureau attempted to exercise stringent internal controls over 
COINTELPRO. All counterintelligence proposals had to be approved 
by headquarters. Every originating COINTELPRO document con- 
tains a strong warning to the field that "no counterintelligence action 
may be initiated by the field without specific Bureau authorization." 
The field would send a proposal under the COINTELPRO caption 
to the Seat of Govermnent — ^^the Bureau term for headquarters — 
where it would be routed to the Section Chief of the section handling 
the particular COINTELPRO program.^^^ 

The recoimiiendation Avould then be attached to the proposal, be- 
ginning the process of administrative review. The lowest level on 
which a proposal could be approved was the Assistant Director, Do- 
mestic Intelligence Division, to whom the Section Chief reported via 
the Branch Chief. More often, the proposal would go through the 
Assistant to the Director and often to the Director himself. 

2. Coordination 

The Counterintelligence programs were coordinated with the rest 
of the section's work primarily through informal contacts, but also 
through section meetings and the Section Chief's knowledge of the 
work of his entire section. 

Further, although the initial COINTELPRO was an effort to cen- 
tralize what had been an ad hoc series of field actions, the programs 
continued to be essentially field-oriented with little target selection by 
headquartei's. However, the Section Chief would attempt to make sure 
targets were being effectively chosen by occasionally sending out di- 
rectives to field offices to intensify the investigation of a particular 
individual or group and to consider the subject for counterintelligence 

3. Results 

Participating field offices were required to send in status letters 
(usually every ninety days) reporting any tangible results. They were 
instructed to resolve any doubts as to whether a counterintelligence 
action caused the observed result in their favor. Nevertheless, results 
were reported in only 527 cases, or 22 percent, of the approved actions. 
When a "good" result was reported, the field office or agent involved 
frequently received a letter of commendation or incentive award.^^* 

^ The CPUSA, SWP, and New Left programs were handled in the Internal 
Security Section; the White Hate program was first handled in a short-lived 
three-man "COINTELPRO unit" which, during the three years of its existence, 
supervised the CP and SWP programs as well, and then was transferred to the 
Esfcremists Section ; the Black Nationalist program was supervised by the Racial 
Intelligence Section. The Section Chief would then route the proposal to the 
COINTELPRO supervisor for each program. Occasionally the Section Chief 
made a recommendation as to the proposal ; more oft«n the supervisor made 
the initial decision to approve or deny. 

'^ No control file was maintained of these directives. Since these directives 
were sent out under the investigative caption, the first time the COINTELPRO 
caption would be used was on the field proposal which responded to the 

^ (Unit chief, 10/16/75, p. 167.) There is no central file of such awards, so the 
number is retrievable only by searching each agent's personnel file. * 


^. Blurred Distinction Between Counterintelligence and In- 

It is possible that some actions did not receive headquarters scrutiny 
simply because the field offices were never told precisely what "counter- 
intelligence" was. Although Bureau procedures strictly required 
COINTELPRO proposals to be approved at headquarters and a con- 
trol file to be maintained both in the field and at headquarters, the 
field offices had no way to determine with any certainty just what was 
counterintelligence and what was investigation. Many of the tech- 
niques overlap : contacts with employers, contacts with family members, 
contacts with local law enforcement, even straight interviewing, are 
all investigative techniques which were used in COINTELPRO ac- 
tions.^^^ More importantly, actions in the Rev. Martin Luther King 
case which cannot, by any stretch of the language, be called "investiga- 
tive" were not called COINTELPRO, but were carried under the 
investigative caption.^^*' 

The Bureau witnesses agree that COINTELPRO has no fixed defini- 
tion, and that there is a large grey area between what is counterintelli- 
gence and what is aggressive investigation. As the Black Nationalist 
supervisor put it, "Basically actions taken to neutralize an individual 
or disrupt an organization would be COINTELPRO ; actions which 
were primarily investigative would have been handled by the investi- 
gative desks," even though the investigative action had disruptive 
effects. ^^^^ Aggressive investigation continues, and in many cases may 
be as disruptive as COINTELPRO, because in an investigation the 
Bureau can and does reveal its interest. An anonymous letter (COIN 
TELPRO) can be discarded as the work of a crank; but if the local 
FBI agent says the subject of an investigation is a subversive an em- 
ployer or family member pays attention. 

5. Inspection 
The Inspection Division attempted to ensure that standard proce- 
dures were being followed. The Inspectors focused on tw^o things : field 
office participation, and the mechanics of headquarters approval. How- 
ever, the Inspection Division did not exercise oversight, in the sense of 
looking for wrongdoing. Rather, it was an active participant in 
COINTELPRO by attempting to make sure that it was being effi- 
ciently and enthusiastically conducted.^^^ 

^ According to Moore, even the "snitch jacket" — labeling a group member as 
an informant when he is not — is not solely a counterintelligence technique, but 
may be used, in an ordinary investigation, to protect a real informant, "Maybe 
. . . you had an informant vphose life was at stake because somebody suspected 
him and the degree of response . . . might be the degree that you would have 
to use in order to sow enough suspicion on other people to take it away from 
your informant." (Moore, 11/3/75, p. 70) 

^ See Dr. Martin Luther King Report. 

'^'- Black Nationalist deposition, 10/17/75, p. 15. 

^^ As Moore put it, "This was a program, and whenever the Bureau had a pro- 
gram, you had to produce results because it was scrutinized by the inspectors, not 
only during your own inspection on a yearly basis, but also scrutinized in the field 
during field inspections." (Moore, 11/3/75, p. 43.) The New Left supervisor, who 
received copies of the inspection reports, stated that "it would be an innocuous 
type report in every instance I can recall." (New Left supervisor, 10/28/75, p. 72) 

For example, one Domestic Intelligence Division inspection report on the 
"White Hate" programs noted under "Accomplishments" that the decline in Klan 
organizations iS attributable to "hard-hitting investigations, counterintelligence 



As the Assistant Director then in charge of the Inspection Division 
testified, the "propriety" of COINTELPRO was not investigated. He 
agreed that his job was to "determine whether the program was being 
pursued effectively as opposed to whether it was proper," and added, 
"There was no instruction to me, nor do I believe there is any instruc- 
tion in the Inspector's manual that the Inspector should be on the alert 
to see that constitutional values are being protected." ^^* 

B. Outside the Bureau: 1956-1971 

There is no clear answer to the question wliether anyone outside the 
Bureau knew about COINTELPRO. One of the hallmarks of 
COINTELPRO was its secrecy. No one outside the Bureau was to 
know it existed.^^'' A characteristic instruction appeared in the Black 
Nationalist originating letter: 

You are also cautioned that the nature of this new endeavor 
is such that under no circumstances should the existence of the 
program be made known outside the Bureau and appropriate 
within-office security should be afforded to sensitive opera- 
tions and techniques considered under the program.^^" 

Thus, for example, anonymous letters had to be written on commer- 
cially purchased stationery; newsmen had to be so completely trust- 
worthy that they were guaranteed not to reveal the Bureau's interest ; 
and, inquiries of law enforcement officials had to be under investigative 
pretext. In approving or denying any proposal, the primary consid- 
eration was preventing "embarrassment to the Bureau." Embarrass- 
ment is a term of art. It means both public relations embarrassment — 
criticism — and any revelation of the Bureau's investigative interest 
to the subject, which may then be expected to take countermeasures.^^^ 


programs directed at them, and penetration ... by our racial informants." Tlie 
report then lists several specific actions, including the defeat of a candidate with 
Klan aflSliations ; the removal from office of a high Klan official ; and the issuance 
of a derogatory press release. (Inspection, Domestic Intelligence Division, 1/8- 
26/71. pp. 15, 17-19.) 

^ Mark Felt testimony, 2/3/76, pp. 56, 65. 

^* For security reasons, no instructions were printed in the Manual. In service 
training for intelligence agents did contain an hour on COINTELPRO, so it may 
be assumed that most agents knew something about the programs. 

For instances in which Attorneys General, the Cabinet, and the House Sub- 
committee on Appropriations were allegedly informed of the existence of the 

"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 8/25/67. 

^ One example of the lengths to which the Bureau went in maintaining 
secrecy may be instructive. The Bureau sent a letter to Klan members purport- 
ing to be from the "National Intelligence Committee" — a super-secret Klan 
disciplinary body. The letter fired the North Carolina Grand Dragon and sus- 
pended the Imperial Wizard, Robert Shelton. Shelton complained to both the 
local postal inspector and the FBI resident agency (which solemnly assured him 
that his complaint was not within the Bureau's jurisdiction). The Bureau had 
intended to mail a second "NIC" letter, but the plans were held in abeyance 
until it could be learned whether the postal insi)ector intended to act on Shelton's 
complaint. The Bureau, therefore, contacted the local postal inspector, using 
their investigation of Shelton's complaint as a pretext, to see what the inspector 
intended to do. The field office reported that the local inspector had forwarded 
the complaint to regional headquarters, which in turn referred it to a Chief Postal 
Inspector in Washington, D.C. The Bureau's liaison agent was then sent to that 
office to determine what action the postal authorities planned to take. He 
returned with the information that the Post Office had referred the matter to the 
Fraud Section of the Department of Justice's Criminal Division, under a cover 


This secrecy has an obvious impact on the oversight process. There is 
some question whether anyone with oversight responsibility outside 
the Bureau was informed of COINTELPRO. In response to the Com- 
mittee's request, the Bureau has assembled all documents available in 
its files which indicate that members of the executive and legislative 
branches were so inf ormed.^*'^ 

1. Executive Branch 
On May 8, 1958, Director Hoover sent two letters, one to the Hon- 
orable Robert Cutler, Special Assistant to President Eisenhower, and 
the other to Attorney General William Rogers, containing the same 
information. The Attorney General's letter is captioned "COMMU- 
fairly explicit notification of the CPUSA COINTELPRO : 

In August of 1956, this Bureau initiated a program designed 
to promote disruption within the ranks of the Communist 
Party (CP) USA . . . Several techniques have been utilized 
to accomplish our objectives. ^''^ 

The letters go on to detail use of informants to engage in controver- 
sial discussions, after which "acrimonious debates ensued, suspicions 
were aroused, and jealousies fomented"; and anonymous mailings of 
anti-communist material, both reprinted and Bureau-prepared, to 
active CP members.^®* (Two examples of the Bureau's product were 
enclosed.) "Tangible accomplishments" achieved by the program were 
"disillusionment and defection among Party members and increased 
factionalism at all levels." ^^^ However, the only techniques disclosed 
were use of informants and anonymous propaganda mailings. There is 
no record of any reply to these letters. 

letter stating that since Shelton's allegations "appear to involve an internal 
struggle" for Klan control, and "since the evidence of mail fraud was somewhat 
tenuous in nature," the Post Office did not contemplate any investigation. Neither, 
apparently, did the Department. The Bureau did not inform either the Postal 
Inspector or the Criminal Division that it had authored the letter under review. 
Instead, when it appeared the FBI's role would not be discovered, the Bureau 
prepared to send out the second letter — a plan which was discontinued when the 
Klan "notional" was proposed. 

Memorandum from Charlotte Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/9/67; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Charlotte Field Office, 5/24/67 ; memo- 
randum from Charlotte Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/31/67; memoran- 
dum from Atlanta Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/7/67 ; memorandum from 
Atlanta Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/13/67 ; memorandum from Birming- 
ham Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/14/67; memorandum from Charlotte 
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/28/67 ; memorandum from FBI Headquarters 
to Atlanta and Charlotte Field Offices. 6/29/67; memorandum from Atlanta 
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/27/67 ; memorandum from Bernard Rachner 
to Charles Brennan, 7/11/67 ; memorandum from Charlotte Field Office to FBI 
Headquarters, 8/22/67; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Charlotte 
Field Office, 8/21/67. 

^ These documents were also made available to the Petersen Committee. The 
Petersen Committee twice asked the Bureau for documents showing outside 
knowledge, and twice was told there were none. Only as the Petersen report was 
ready to go to press did the Bureau find the documents delivered. (Staff inter- 
view with Henry Petersen. ) 

-** ^Memorandum from Director, FBI to the Attorney General, 5/8/58. 

^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to the Attorney General, 5/8/58. 

^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to the Attorney General, 5/8/58. 


On January 10, 1961, letters from the Director were sent to Dean 
Rusk, Robert Kennedy, and Byron R. White, who were about to take 
office as Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Deputy Attorney 
General, respectively. The letters enclosed a top secret summary mem- 
orandum setting forth the overall activities of the Communist Party, 
USA, and stated, "Our responsibilities in the internal security field 
and our counterattack against the CPUSA are also set out in this 
memorandum." ^^^ 

The five-page memorandum contains one section entitled "FBI 
Counterattack." This section details penetration of the Party at all 
levels with security informants ; use of various techniques to keep the 
Party off-balance and disillusioned; infiltration by informants; in- 
tensive investigation of Party members; and prosecution. Only one 
paragraph of that report appears at all related to the Bureau's claim 
that the CPUSA COINTELPRO was disclosed : 

As an adjunct to our regular investigative operations, we 
carry on a carefully planned program of counterattack 
against the CPUSA which keeps it off balance. Our primary 
purpose in this program is to bring about disillusionment 
on the part of individual members which is carried on from 
both inside and outside the Party organization. [Sentence 
on use of informants to disrupt excised for security reasons.] 

In certain instances we have been successful in preventing 
communists from seizing control of legitimate mass orga- 
nizations and have discredited others who were secretly oper- 
ating inside such organizations. For example, during 1959 
we were able to prevent the CPUSA from seizing control of 
the 20,000-member branch of the National Association for 
the Advancement of Colored People in Chicago, Illinois.^*^^ 

The only techniques disclosed were use of informants and COMINFIL 
exposure. There is no record of any replies to these letters. 

On September 2, 1965, letters were sent to the Honorable Marvin 
Watson, Special Assistant to President Johnson and Attorney General 
Katzenbach (whose letter was captioned "PENETRATION AND 
TERS"). These two-paa:e letters refer to the Bureau's success in solv- 
ing a number of cases involving racial violence in the South. They 
then detail the development of a large number of informants and the 
value of the information received from them. 

One paragraph deals with "disruption" : 

We also are seizing every opportunity to disrupt the activities 
of Klan organizations. Typical is the manner in which we 
exposed and thwarted a "kick back" scheme a Klan group was 
using in one southern state to help finance its activities. One 
member of the group was selling insurance to other Klan mem- 
bers and would deposit a generous portion of the premium 
refunds in the Klan treasury. As a result of action we took, the 
insurance company learned of the scheme and cancelled all 
the policies held by Klan members, thereby cutting on u siz- 

^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to the Attorney General, 1/10/61. 

"^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to tiie Attorney General, 1/10/61, p. 4. 


able source of revenue which had been used to finance Klan 

Notifying an insurance company of a kick back scheme involving its 
premiums is not a "typical" COINTELPRO technique. It falls within 
that grey area between counterintelligence and ordinary Bureau re- 
sponsibilities. Nevertheless, the statement that the Bureau is "seizing 
every opportunity to disrupt the activities of Klan organizations" is 
considered by the Bureau to be notification of the White Hate 
COINTELPRO, even though it does not distinguish between the inevi- 
table and sometimes proper disruption of intensive investigation and 
the intended disruption of covert action. 

On September 3, 1965, Mr. Katzenbach replied to the Director's letter 
with a two-paragraph memorandum captioned "Re: Your memo- 
randum of September 2, regarding penetration and disruption of Klan 
organizations." The body of the memorandum makes no reference to 
disruption, but praises the accomplishments of the Bureau in the area 
of Klan penetration and congratulates Director Hoover on the devel- 
opment of his informant system and the results obtained through it. 
The letter concludes : 

It is unfortunate that the value of these activities would in 
most cases be lost if too extensive publicity were given to 
them ; however, perhaps at some point it may be possible to 
place these achievements on the public record, so that the 
Bureau can receive its due credit.^"^ 

The Bureau interpreted this letter as approval and praise of its White 
Hate COINTELPRO. Mr. Katzenbach has said that he has no memory 
of this document, nor of the response. He testified that during his term 
in the Department he had never heard the terms "COINTEL" or 
COINTELPRO, and that while he was familiar with the Klan inves- 
tigation, he was not aware of any improper activities such as letters 
to wives.^^'' Mr. Katzenbach added : 

It never occurred to me that the Bureau would engage in the 
sort of sustained improper activity which it apparently did. 
Moreover, given these excesses, I am not surprised that I and 
others were unaware of them. Would it have made sense for 
the FBI to seek approval for activities of this nature — espe- 
cially from Attorneys General who did not share Mr. Hoover's 
political views, who would not have been in sympathy with 
the purpose of these attacks, and who would not have con- 
doned the methods ? =^^^ 

The files do not reveal any response from Mr. Watson. 

On December 19, 1967, Director Hoover sent a letter to Attorney 
General Ramsey Clark, with a copy to Deputy Attorney General 
Warren Christopher, captioned "KU KLUX KLAN INVESTIGA- 
TIONS—FBI ACCOMPLISHMENTS" and attaching a ten-page 
memorandum with the same caption and a list of statements and pub- 

Memorandum from Director, FBI to the Attorney General, 9/2/65, p. 2. 
Memorandum from Nicholas deB. Katzenbach to J. Edgar Hoover, 9/3/65. 
Nicholas deB. Katzenbach testimony, 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, pp. 206-207. 
Katzenbach, 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 217. 


lications regarding the Ku Klux Klan "and the FBI's role in investi- 
gating Klan matters." The memorandum was prepared "pursuant to 
your conversation witli Cartha DeLoach of this Bureau concerning 
FBI coverage and penetration of the Ku Khix Klan." ^^^ 

The memo is divided into eleven sections: Background, Present 
Status, FBI Responsibility, Major Cases, Informants, Special Proj- 
ects, Liaison With Local Authorities, Klan Infiltration of Law En- 
forcement, Acquisition of Weapons and Dynamite of the Ku Klux 
Klan, Interviews of Klansmen, and Eecent Developments. 

The first statement in the memorandum which might conceivably 
relate to the White Hate COINTELPRO appears under the heading 
"FBI Responsibility": 

. . . We conduct intelligence investigations with the view 
toward infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan with informants,, 
neutralizing it as a terrorist organization, and deterring vio- 

The Bureau considers the word "neutralize" to be a COINTELPRO 
key word. 

Some specific activities which were carried out within the Bureau 
under the COINTELPRO caption are then detailed under the heading 
"Special Projects." The use of Bureau informants to efi^ect the re- 
moval of Klan officers is set forth under the subheadings "Florida," 
"Mississippi," and "Louisiana." More significantly, the "Florida" 
paragraph includes the statement that, "We have found that by the 
removal of top Klan officers and provoking scandal within the state 
Klan organization through our informants, the Klan in a particular 
area can be rendered inefl:'ective." ^^* This sentence, although somewhat 
buried should, if focused upon, have alerted the recipients to actions 
going beyond normal investigative activity. Other references are 
more vague, referring only to "containing the growth" or "controlling 
the expansion" of state Klans.^"^ There is no record of any reply to this 
letter, which Clark does not remember receiving : 

Did [these phrases in the letter] put me on notice ? No. Why ? 
I either did not read them, or if I did read them, didn't read 
them carefully. ... I think I didn't read this. I think perhaps 
I had asked for it for someone else, and either bucked it on 
to them or never saw it.^^® 

"^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to the Attorney General, 12/19/67, p. 1. 

^^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to the Attorney General, 2/19/67, p. 4. 

"* Memorandum from Director, FBI to the Attorney General, 12/19/67, p. 8. 

"^The paragraph under the subheading "Tennessee" includes the statement 
that, through a highly placed Bureau informant, "we were able to control the ex- 
pansion of the Klan." The paragraphs under the subheading "Virginia" states 
that, after the United Klans of America began an intensive organizational effort 
in the state, "We immediately began an all-out effort to penetrate the Virginia 
Klan, contain its growth, and deter violence." The specific examples given, how- 
ever, are not COINTELPRO actions, but liaison with state and local authorities, 
prosecution, cooperation with the Governor, and warning a civil rights worker of 
a plot against his life. The paragraph under the subheading "Illinois" contains 
nothing relating to COINTELPRO activities, but refers to cooperation with 
state authorities in the prosecution of a Klan oflBcial for a series of bombings. 
(Memorandum from Director, FBI, to the Attorney General, 12/19/67, pp. 8-10.) 

"" Clark, 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 235. 


He added, "I think that any disruptive activities, such as those you 
reveal, regarding the COINTEL program and the Ku Klux Klan, 
should be absolutely prohibited and subjected to criminal prosecu- 
tion." 277 

Finally, on September 17, 1969, a letter was sent to Attorney General 
Mitchell, with copies to the Deputy Attorney General and the Assistant 
Attorneys General of the Criminal Division, Internal Security Divi- 
sion, and Civil Division, captioned "INVESTIGATION OF KLAN 
forms the recipients of the "significant progress we have recently made 
in our investigation of the Ku Klux Klan." The one page letter states 
that, "during the last several months,^'^* while various national and 
state leaders of the United Klan of America remain in prison, we have 
attempted to negate the activities of the temporary leaders of the Ku 
Klux Klan." ^'^ 

The only example given is the "careful use and instruction of selected 
racial informants" to "initiate a split within the United Klans of 
America." This split was evidenced by a Klan rally during which 
"approximately 150 Klan membership cards were tacked to a cross 
and burned to signify this breach." ^^^ 

The letter concludes, "We will continue to give full attention to our 
responsibilities in an effort to accomplish the maximum possible neu- 
tralization of the Klan." ^^^ There is no record of any replies to these 

While the only documentary evidence that members of the executive 
branch were informed of the existence of any COINTELPRO has 
been set forth above, the COINTELPRO unit chief stated that he was 
certain that Director Hoover orally briefed every Attorney General 
and President, since he wrote "squibs" for the Director to use in such 
briefings. He could not, however, remember the dates or subject matter 
of the briefings, and the Bureau was unable to produce any such 
"squibs" (which would not, in any case, have been routinely saved). 
Cartha Del^ach, former Assistant to the Director, testified that 
he "distinctly" recalled briefing Attorney General Clark, "generally 

. concerning COINTELPRO.'*' Clark denied that DeLoach's testi- 
mony was either true or accurate, adding "I do not believe that he 
briefed me on anything even, as he says, generally concerning 
COINTELPRO, whatever that means." '^^ The Bureau has failed to 
produce any memoranda of such oral briefings, although it was the 
habit of both Director Hoover and DeLoach to write memoranda for 
the files in such situations.'** 

£. The Cabinet 
The Bureau has furnished the Committee a portion of a briefing 
paper prepared for Director Hoover for his briefing of the Cabinet, 

"' Clark. 12/3/7r), Hearings, p. 221. 

^ The White Hate COINTELPRO had been going on for five years. 

*™ Memorandum from Director, FBI to the Attorney General, 9/17/69. 

"*" Ibid. 

'^ Ibid. 

^' DeLoach, 12/3/75, Hearings. Vol. 6, p. 183. 

"** Clark. 12/3/7.5. Hearings. Vol. 6, p. 232. 

** Unit Chief, 10/14/75, p. 136 ; and 10/21/75, p. 42. 


presided over by President Eisenhower, dated November 6, 1958. 
There is no transcript of the actual briefing. The briefing as a whole 
apparently dealt with, among other things, seven programs which 
are "part of our overall comiterintelligence operations" and which 
are "specific answers to specific problems which have arisen within 
our investigative jurisdiction." Six of the programs apparently related 
to espionage. The seventh deals with the CPUSA : 

To counteract a resurgence of Communist Party influence 
in the United States, we have a seventh program designed 
to intensify any confusion and dissatisfaction among its 
members. During the past few years, this program has been 
most effective. Selective informants were briefed and trained 
to raise controversial issues within the Party. In the process, 
many were able to advance themselves to higher positions. 
The Internal Revenue Service was furnished the names and 
addresses of Party functionaries iWho had been active in the 
underground apparatus. Based on this information, investi- 
gations were instituted in 262 possible income tax evasion 
cases. Anticommmiist literature and simulated Party docu- 
ments were mailed anonymously to carefully chosen mem- 

This statement, although concise, would appear to be a fairly explicit 
notification of the existence of the CPUSA COINTELPRO. There 
are no documents reflecting any response. 

3. Legislative Branch 

The Bureau has furnished excerpts from briefing papers prepared 
for the Director in his annual appearances before the House Appro- 
priations Subcommittee. During the hearings pertaining to fiscal years 
1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1966, and 1967,^^^ these briefing papers 
were given to the Director to be used in top secret, off-the-record testi- 
mony relating to the CPUSA and White Hate COINTELPROs. No 
transcripts are available of the actual briefings, and it is, therefore, 
not possible to dettermine whether the briefing papers were used at all, 
or, conversely, whether the Director went beyond them to give addi- 
tional information. Additionally, portions of the briefing papers are 
underlined by hand and portions have been crossed out, also by hand. 
Some sections are both underlined and crossed out. The Bureau has 
not been able to explain the meaning of the underlining or cross 
marks. However, if the briefing papers were used as written, the Sub- 
committee was informed of the existence of the CPUSA and Klan 

The FY 1958 briefing paper is in outline form. Under the heading 
"auxiliary measures directed against Communist Party-USA" is a 
paragraph entitled "FBI counterintelligence program to exploit 
Party 'split':" 

The Bureau also recently inaugurated a newly devised coun- 
terintelligence program which is designed to capitalize upon 

^Excerpt from FBI Director's briefing to the President and his cabinet, 
11/6/58, pp. 35-36. 

^The actual dates of the hearings would be 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1965, 
and 1966. 


the "split" presently existing in the leadership of the Com- 
munist Party-USA. Among other objectives, efforts are being 
made by the Bureau, through informants and other tech- 
niques, to keep these rifts open, and to otherwise weaken the 
party where possible to do so in an anonymous manner. The 
Internal Kevenue Sei-vice has be«n given the names of 336 
communist underground subjects, so that the agency may be 
able to enteitain prosecutions for filing of false income tax 
returns or other violations within the jurisdiction of that 

The FY 1959 briefing paper on the CPUSA deals primarily with 
informant penetration, but includes the statement that "to counter- 
act [CPUSA] activities the FBI for years has had a planned intensive 
program designed to infiltrate, penetrate, disorganize, and disrupt the 
Communist Party, USA." ^^^ In covering informant activities, the 
paper includes the statement "they [informants] have likewise worked 
to excellent advantage as a disruptive tactic." ^^^ The one specific ex- 
ample cited has been deleted by the Bureau because it tends to identify 
an informant. 

The FY 1960 briefing paper is even more explicit. The pertinent 
section is entitled "FBI's Anti-Communist Coimterintelligence Pro- 
gram." It details use of informants to engage in controversial discus- 
sions "to promote dissension, factionalism and defections" which 
"have been extremely successful from a disruptive standpoint." -*'* One 
paragraph deals with propaganda mailings "carefully concealing the 
identity of the FBI as its source" ; ^"^ another paragraph states that 
"Communist Party leaders are considerably concerned over this 
anonymous dissemination of literature." ^^^ 

The FY 1961 briefing paper, again titled "FBI's Counterintelli- 
gence Program", states that the program was devised "to promote dis- 
sension, factionalism and defections within the communist cause." ^^^ 
The only technique discussed (but at some length) is anonymous 
j)iopaganda mailings. The effectiveness of the technique, according 
to the paper, was proven from the mouth of the enemy that the mail- 
ings "appear to be the greatest danger to the Communist Party, 
USA " ^^^ 

The FY 1963 briefing paper, captioned "Counterinte'lligence Pro- 
gram," is extraordinarily explicit. It reveals that : 

Since August, 1956, we have augmented our regular investiga- 
tive operations against the Communist Party-USA with a 
"counterintelligence program" which involves the applica- 

*' Excerpt from FBI Director's briefing of the House Appropriations Subcom- 
mittee, FY 1959, p. 54. 

^ Excerpt from FBI Director's briefing of the House Appropriations Subcom- 
mittee, FY 1959, p. 58. 

^ Excerpt from FBI Director's briefing of the House Appropriations Subcom- 
mittee, FY 1960, p. 76. 

"" Excerpt from FBI Director's briefing of the House Appropriations Subcom- 
mittee, FY 1960, p. 76. 

"^ Excerpt from FBI Director's briefing of the House Appropriations Subcom- 
mittee, FY 1960, p. 77. 

^Excerpt from FBI Director's briefing of the House Appropriations 
Subcommittee, FY 1961, p. 80. 

^ Excerpt from FBI Director's briefing of the House Appropriations Subcom- 
mittee, FY 1961, p. 81. 


tion of disruptive techniques and psychological warfare di- 
rected at discrediting and disrupting the operations of the 
Party, and causing disillusionment and defections within 
the communist ranks. The tangible results we are obtaining 
through these covert and extremely sensitive operations speak 
for themselves.^^* 

The paper goes on to set forth such techniques as disrupting meet- 
ings, rallies, and press conferences through causing the last-minute 
cancellation of the rental of the hall, packing the audience with anti- 
communists, arranging adverse publicity in the press, and giving 
friendly reporters "embarrassing questions" for Communists they 
interviewed. The briefing paper also mentions the use of newsmen to 
take photographs which show the close relationship between the 
leaders of the CPUSA and officials of the Soviet Union, using inform- 
ants to sow discord and factionalism, exposing and discrediting Com- 
munists in such "legitimate organizations'' as the YMCA and the Boy 
Scouts, and mailing anonymous propaganda. ^^^ 

The briefing paper for FY 1966 again refers to "counterintelligence 
action :" "We have since 1956 carried on a sensitive program for the 
purpose of disrupting, exposing, discrediting, and otherwise neutraliz- 
ing the Communist Party-USA and related organizations." ^^^ The 
paper cites two examples. The first is an operation conducted against 
a Communist Party functionary who arrived in a (deleted) city to 
conduct a secret two-week Party school for local youth. Tlie Bureau 
arranged for liim to be greeted at the airport by local television news- 
men. The functionary lost his temper, pushing the reporter away and 
swinging his briefcase at the cameraman, who was busily filming the 
entire incident. The film was later televised nationally. The second 
technique is described as "the most effective single blow ever dealt 
the organized communist movement." The description has been de- 
leted "as it tends to reveal a liighly sensitive technique." -^^ The 
COINTELPRO unit chief also stated that this one single action suc- 
ceeded in causing a "radical decrease" in CPUSA membership, but 
refused to tell the Committee staff what that action was because it 
involved foreign counterintelligence.^^* 

The final briefing paper, for FY 1967, refers to the CPUSA pro- 
gram and its expansion in 1964 to include "Klan and hate-type or- 
ganizations and their memberships." It continues, "counterintelligence 
action today is a valuable adjunct to investigative responsibilities and 
the techniques used complement our investigations. All information 
related to the targeted organizations, their leaderehip and members, 
which is developed from a variety of sources, is carefully reviewed for 
its potential for use under this program." ^^^ 

=** Excerpt from FBI Director's briefing of the House Appropriations 
Subcommittee, FY 1963. 

^Excerpt from FBI Director's briefing of the House Appropriations 
Subcommittee, FY 1963. 

^Excerpt from FBI Director's briefing of the House Appropriations 
Subcommittee, FY 1966, p. 62. This is the first time the targeting of non-Party 
members can be inferred. 

^Excerpt from FBI Director's briefing of the House Appropriations 
Subcommittee. FY 1966, p. 63. 

=^ Unit chief, 10/16/75, p. 113. 

"** Excerpt from FBI Director's briefing of the House Appropriations 
Subcommittee, FY 1967, p. 71. 


Examples cited are the Bureau's preparation of a leaflet on the 
W.E.B. DuBois Clubs entitled "Target ... American Youth!" spon- 
sored by the VFW ; alerting owners of meeting locations to their use 
by Communists; alerting the Veterans Administration to a Klan 
member's full-time employment in order to reduce his pension, and 
the IKS to the fact that he failed to file tax returns; exposing the in- 
surance kick back scheme also referred to in the 1965 letters to Watson 
and Katzenbach; and increasing informant coverage by duplicating 
a Klan business card given to prospective members.^"" 

C. Outside the Bureau: Post-1971. 

In the fall of 1973, the Department of Justice released certain 
COINTELPRO documents which had been requested by NBC re-- 
porter Carl Stern in a Freedom of Information Act request following 
the Media, Pennsylvania, break-in. In January 1974, Attorney General 
Saxbe asked Assistant Attorney General Henry Petersen to form an 
intradepartmental committee to study COINTELPRO and report 
back to him.^"^ The committee was composed of both Department at- 
torneys and Bureau agents. The Department lawyers did not work 
directly with Bureau documents; instead the Bureau prepared sum- 
maries of the documents in the COINTELPRO control file, which did 
not include the identities or affiliations of the targets, and the Depart- 
ment members were allowed to do a sample comparison to verify the 
accuracy of the summaries. 

A revised and shortened version of the report of the Petersen Com- 
mittee was made public in November 1974. The public report was pref- 
aced by a statement from Attorney General Saxbe which stated that 
while "in a small number of instances, some of these programs in- 
volved what we consider today to be improper activities," most of the 
activities "were legitimate." ^°^' The public version did not examine the 
purposes or legality of the programs or the techniques, although it did 
state some COINTELPRO activities involved "isolated instances" of 
practices that "can only be considered abhorrent in a free society." ^"^ 

The confidential report to Attorney General Saxbe examined the 
legal issues at some length. It emphasized that many COINTELPRO 
activities "were entirely proper and appropriate law enforcement pro- 
cedures." ^°^ These included the following : 

notifying other Government authorities of civil and criminal 
violations of group members ; interviewing such grovip mem- 
bers; disseminating public source material on such individ- 
uals and groups to media representatives; encouraging in- 
formants to argue against the use of violence by such groups ; 
and issuing general public comment on the activities, policies 

**" Excerpt from FBI Director's briefing of the House Appropriations 
Subcommittee, FY 1967, pp. 72-73. 

^* Although portions of the Committee's report were made public in April 1974, 
Petersen has testified that the purpose of the report was simply to inform the 
Attorney General. Tlie inquiry was not intended to be conclusive and certainly 
was not an adversary proceeding. "We were doing a survey rather than con- 
ducting an investigation." (Henry Petersen testimony, 12/11/75, Hearing, Vol. 
6, p. 271.) 

sou William Saxbe sitatement. Civil Rights and Constitutional Rights Sub- 
Committee of the House Committee on the Judiciary, 11/20/74, p. 9. 

'" Petersen committee report, CRCR Hearings, 11/20/74, p. 11. 

** Petersen committee report, CRCR, Hearings, 11/20/74, p. 26. 


and objectives of such groups through testimony at legisla- 
tive hearings and in other formal reports.^"* 

On the other hand, the report concluded that many other COINTEL 
PRO activities designed to expose, disrupt, and neutralize domestic 
groups "exceeded the Bureau's investigative authority and may be said 
to constitute an miwarranted interference with First Amendment 
rights of free speech and associations of the target individuals and or- 
ganizations." ^°^ 

Department attorneys prepared two legal memoranda, one view- 
ing COINTELPRO as a conspiracy to deprive persons of First 
Amendment rights under 18 IT.S.C. 241, and the other rejecting that 
view.^°^ The committee itself reached the following conclusion : 

While as a matter of pure legal theory it is arguable that 
these programs resulted in Section 241 violations, it is the view 
of the committee that any decision as to whether prosecution 
should be undertaken must also take into account several 
other important factors which bear upon the events in ques- 
tion. These factors are : first, the historical context in which 
the programs were conceived and executed by the Bureau 
in response to public and even Congressional demands for 
action to neutralize the self -proclaimed revolutionary aims 
and violence prone activities of extremist groups which posed 
a threat to the peace and tranquility of our cities in the mid 
and late sixties ; second, the fact that each of the COINTEL 
PRO programs was personally approved and supported by 
the late Director of the FBI ; and third, the fact that the in- 
terferences with First Amendment rights resulting from in- 
dividual implemented program actions were insubstantial. 
Under these circumstances, it is the view of the committee that 
the opening of a criminal investigation of these matters is not 

The report also concluded that there were "substantial questions'' as 
to the liability of various former and present officials to civil suit 
"under tort theories of defamation of interference with contract 
rights." 2°« 

The Departmental committee's crucial conclusion was that the inter- 
ferences with First Amendment rights were "insubstantial." It appears 
to have reached that conclusion by ignoring the declared goals of the 
programs : cutting down group membership and preventing the "prop- 
agation" of a group's philosophy. Further, the committee brushed over 
dangerous or degrading techniques by breaking down the categories 
of actions into very small percentages, and then concluded that, if only 
1 percent of the actions involved poison pen letters to spouses, then the 
activity was "insubstantial" as^^mpared to the entirety of COINTEL 
proposals, even though, as to the individuals in that categoiy, the in- 
vasion might be very substantial indeed. 

^ Petersen Committee Report, pp. 26-27. 
'^ Petersen Conunittee Report, p. 27. 
^ Petersen Committee Report, p. 21. 
^' Peterson Committee Report, pp. 21-22. 
^ Petersen Committee Report, p. 22. 


Another weakness in the Petersen committee report is its charac- 
terization as legitimate of such techniques as "leaking" public source 
material to the media, interviewing group membere, and notifying 
other government authorities of civil and criminal violations. The 
term "public source material" is misleading, since the FBI's files con- 
tain a large amount of so-called public source data (such as arrest 
records, outdated or inaccurate news stories) which should not be 
"leaked" outside the Bureau to discredit an individual.^"^ Interviews 
can be conducted in such an intrustive and persistent manner as to 
constitute harassment. Minor technical law violations can be mag- 
nified when uncovered and reported by the FBI to another agency for 
the purpose of disruption rather than objective law enforcement."" 
Claims that a technique is legitimate per se should not be accepted 
without examining the actual purpose and eflfect of the activity. 

Although the Petersen committee's report concluded that "the 
opening of a criminal investigation of these matters is not war- 
ranted." ^" the Committee did recommend broad changes in Bureau 
procedures. First, the report urged that "a sharp distinction ... be 
made between FBI activities in the area of foreign counterintelligence 
and those in the domestic field." ^^^ The committee proposed that the 
Attorney General issue a directive to the FBI : 

prohibiting it from instituting any counterintelligence pro- 
gram such as COINTELPRO without his prior knowledge 
and approval. Specifically, this directive should make it un- 
mistakably clear that no disruptive action should be taken 
by the FBI in connection with its investigative responsi- 
bilities involving domestic based organizations, except those 

^ For instance, the 20-years-past "Communist" activities of a target professor's 
wife were found in "public source material," as were the arrest records of a 
prominent civil rights leader. Both were leaked to "friendly" media on condition 
that the Bureau's interest not be revealed. 

^^° See, e.g., the attempt to get an agent on the Alcohol Beverage Control Board 
to raid a Democratic Party fundraiser. 

"^ Tlie Civil Rights Division refused to endorse this conclusion, although it was 
under heavy pressure from top Department executives to do so. Assistant Attorney 
General J. Stanley Pottinger was first informed of the Petersen committee 
report a week before its public release : and no official of the Civil Rights Division 
had previously examined any of the COINTELPRO materials or summaries. After 
the report's release, the Civil Rights Division was permitted a short time to 
review some of the materials. (Staff summary of interview with Assistant 
Attorney General Pottinger, 4/21/76. ) 

Under these restrictions the Civil Rights Division was not able to review 
"everything in the voluminous files," but rather conducted only a "general survey 
of the program unrelated to specific allegations of criminal violations." Assistant 
Attorney General Pottinger advised Attorney General Saxbe, upon the completion 
of this brief examination of COINTELPRO, that the Division found "no basis for 
making criminal charges against particular individuals or involving particular 
incidents." Although some of the acts reviewed appeared "to amount to technical 
violations," the Division concluded that "without more" information, prosecutive 
action would not be justified under its "normal criteria." However, Pottinger 
stressed that a "different prosecution judgment would be indicated if specific acts, 
more fully known and developed, could be evaluated in a complete factual 
context." (Memorandum from J. Stanley Pottinger, Assistant Attorney General, to 
Attorney General Saxbe, 12/13/74. ) 

^^Petensen Committee Report, Sabcommittee on Civil and Constitutional 
Rights, Hearings, 11/20/74, p. 25. 

69-984 O - 76 


which are sanctioned by rule of law, procedure, or judicially 
recognized and accepted police practices, and which are not 
in violation of state or federal law. The FBI should also be 
charged that in any event where a proposed action may be 
perceived, with reason, to unfairly affect the rights of citi- 
zens, it is the responsibility of the FBI as an institution and 
of FBI agents as individuals to seek legal advice from the 
Attorney General or his authorized representative.^" 

Attorney General Saxbe did not issue such a directive, and the mattei 
is still pending before Attorney General Levi.^" 


On April 1, 1976, Attorney General Levi announced the establish- 
ment of a special review committee within the Department of Justice 
to notify COINTELPRO victims that they were the subjects of FBI 
activities directed against them. Notification will be made "in those in- 
stances where the specific COINTELPRO activity was improper, ac- 
tual harm may have occurred, and the subjects are not already aware 
that they were the targets of CONINTELPRO activities." ^'^ 

The review committee has established guidelines for determin- 
ing which COINTELPRO activities were "improper," but it will 
be difficult to make that determination without giving an official im- 
primatur to questionable activities which do not meet the notification 
criteria. For example, there is little point in notifying all recipients 
of anonymous reprint mailings that they received their copy of a 
Reader^s Digest article from the FBI, but the Department should not 
suggest that the activity itself is a proper Bureau function. Other acts 
which fall within the "grey area" between COINTELPRO and 
aggressive investigation present similar problems.^^*^ 

Nevertheless, a Departmental notification program is an important 
step toward redressing the wrongs done, and carries with it some 

*^* Petersen Committee Report, Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional 
Rights liearings, 11/20/74, p. 28. 

^" Attorney General Levi has proposed a series of guidelines on domestic 
intelligence. A set of "preventive action" guidelines was prepared which would 
have authorized the Bureau to take "nonviolent emergency measures" to "ob- 
struct or prevent" the use of force or violence upon the Attorney Generals' 
authorization. These guidelines have now been abandoned because the Attorney 
General determined that it was not possible to frame general language which 
would permit proper (and indeed ordinary) law enforcement meas-ures such as 
increased guards around building or traffic control during a demonstration while 
preventing COINTELPRO type activity. 

"^^ Department of Justice release, 4/1/76. 

^" The notification guidelines read as follows : 

1. The review of the COINTELPRO files should be conducted by the existing 
Shaheen committee. 

2. An individual should be notified in those instances where an action directed 
against him was improper and, in addition, there is reason to believe he may 
have been caused actual harm. In making this determination in doubtful cases, 
the committee should resolve the question in favor of notification. 

3. Excluded from notification should be those individuals who are known to be 
aware that they were the subjects of COINTELPRO activities. 

4. An advisory group will be created to pass upon instances where the 
committee is uncertain as to whether notification should be given, and otherwise 
to advise the committee as retiue.sted. 

5. The manner of notification should be determined in each case to protect 
rights to privacy. 


additional benefits. For the first time, Departmental attorneys will 
review the original files, rather than relying on Bureau-prepared sum- 
maries. Further, the Department will have acknowledged — finally — 
that COINTELPRO was wrong. Official repudiation of the programs 
is long overdue. 

The American people need to be assured that never again will an 
agency of the government be permitted to conduct a secret war against 
those citizens it consider threats to the established order. Only a 
combination of legislative prohibition and Departmental control can 
guarantee that COINTELPRO will not hapjien again. The notifica- 
tion program is an auspicious beginning. 

6. Notification should be given as the work of the committee proceeds, without 
waiting for the entire review to be completed. 

7. In the event that the committee determines in the process of review that 
conduct suggests disciplinary action or referral of a matter to the Criminal or 
Civil Rights Divisions, the appropriate referral should be made. 

8. No departure from these instructions will be made without the express 
approval of the Attorney General. The committee may request such departure 
only through and with the recommendation of the advisory group. 

(Letter from Department of Justice to the Select Committee, 4/23/76.) 




I. Introduction 81 

II. The COMINFIL Investigation 86 

III. Concern Increases in the FBI and the Kennedy Administration 
Over Allegations of Communist Influence in the Civil Rights 
Movement and the FBI Intensifies the Investigation: January 
1962-October 1963: Introduction and Summary 94 

A. The Justice Department warns Dr. King about advisers 

A and B: January 1962-June 1963 95 

B. Allegations about Dr. King during hearings on the pubUc 

accommodations bill and the administration's response: 

July 1963 98 

C. The Attorney General considers a wiretap of Dr. King and 

rejects the idea: July 1963 100 

D. The Attorney General voices concern over continuing FBI 

reports about Dr. King : July- August 1963 1 02 

E. The FBI intensifies its investigation of alleged Communist 

influence in the civil rights movement: July-September 

1963 104 

IV. Electronic Surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther King and the Southern 

Christian Leadership Conference: Introduction and Summary — 111 

A. Legal standards governing the FBI's duty to inform the 

Justice Department of wiretaps and microphones during 

the period of the Martin Luther King investigation 112 

B. Wiretap surveillance of Dr. King and the SCLC: October 

1963-June 1966 115 

C. Microphone surveillance of Dr. King: January 1964-No- 

vember 1965 120 

1. Reasons for the FBI's microphone surveillance of 

Dr. King 120 

2. Evidence bearing on whether the Attorneys General 

authorized or knew about the microphone sur- 
veillance of Dr. King 123 

a. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy 124 

b. Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach- 126 
V. The FBI's Effort to Discredit Dr. Martin Luther King, 1964: Intro- 
duction and Summary 131 

A. The FBI disseminates the first King "Monograph" and At- 

torney General Kennedy orders it recalled: October 1963- _ 131 

B. The FBI plans its campaign to discredit Dr. King: Decem- 

ber 23, 1963 133 

C. William Sullivan proposes a plan to promote a new Negro 

leader: January 1964 135 

D. FBI Headquarters orders the field offices to intensify efforts 

to discredit Dr. King: April- August 1964 137 

E. Steps taken by the FBI in 1964 to discredit Dr. King 140 

1. Attempts to discredit Dr. King with the White 

House 140 

2. Attempts to discredit Dr. King with the Congress. - 140 

3. Attempts to discredit Dr. King with universities 141 

4. Attempts to discredit Dr. King with churches 142 

5. Attempts to discredit Dr. King with the Pope 142 

6. The attempt to discredit Dr. King during his receipt 

of the Nobel Peace Prize 143 

7. Attempts to block Dr. King's publications 144 

8. Attempt to undermine the National Science Foun- 

dation's cooperation with the SCLC 145 

9. Unsuccessful FBI attempts to locate financial 

improprieties 145 

F. The question of whether Government officials outside of the 

FBI were aware of the FBI's effort to discredit Dr. King. - 146 



VI. The Hoover-King Controversy Becomes Public and a Truce is 

Called: April-December 1964: Summary 154 

A. First steps in the public controversy: April-November 1964. 155 

B. Tapes are mailed to Dr. King: November 21, 1964 158 

C. Attempts by the FBI to "leak" to reporters tape recordings 

embarrassing to Dr. King 161 

D. Roy Wilkins of NAACP meets with DeLoach to discuss 

allegations about Dr. King: November 27, 1964 162 

E. Dr. King and Director Hoover meet: December 1, 1964 163 

F. Civil rights leaders attempt to dissuade the FBI from dis- 

crediting Dr. King: December 1964-May 1965 168 

1. Farmer-DeLoach meeting: December 1, 1964 168 

2. Young- Abernathy-DeLoach meeting: January 8, 

1965 169 

3. Carey- DeLoach meeting: May 19, 1965 171 

VII. The FBI Program Against Dr. King: 1965-68: 

A. Major efforts to discredit Dr. King: 1965-68 172 

1. Attempts to discredit Dr. King with churches 172 

2. Attempts to discredit Dr. King with heads of Gov- 

ernment agencies 173 

3. Attempts to discredit Dr. King by using the press.- 174 

4. Attempts to discredit Dr. King with major political 

and financial leaders 177 

5. Attempts to discredit Dr. King with congressional 

leaders 1 78 

B. COINTELPRO operations against Dr. King 179 

C. The FBI's efforts to discredit Dr. King during his last 

months 180 

D. Attempts to discredit Dr. King's reputation after his death. _ 183 
VIII. Conclusion 183 



From December 1963 until his death in 1968, Martin Luther King, 
Jr. was the target of an intensive campaign by the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation to "neutralize" him as an effective civil rights leader. 
In the words of the man in charge of the FBI's "war" against Dr. 

No holds were barred. We have used [similar] techniques 
against Soviet agents. [The same methods were] brought 
home against any organization against which we were tar- 
geted. We did not differentiate. This is a rough, tough busi- 

The FBI collected information about Dr. King's plans and activi- 
ties through an extensive surveillance program, employing nearly 
every intelligence-gathering technique at the Bureau's disposal. Wire- 
taps, whicih were initially approved by Attorney General Robert F. 
Kennedy, were maintained on Dr. King's home telephone from Octo- 
ber 1963 until mid-1965; the SCLC headquarter's telephones were 
covered by wiretaps for an even longer period. Phones in the homes 
and offices of some of Dr. King's close advisers were also wiretapped. 
The FBI has acknowledged 16 occasions on which microphones were 
hidden in Dr. King's hotel and motel rooms in an "attempt" to obtain 
information about the "private activities of King and his advisers" 
for use to "completely discredit" them.^ 

FBI informants in the civil rights movement and reports from 
field offices kept the Bureau's headquarters informed of developments 
in the civil rights field. The FBI's presence was so intrusive that one 
major figure in the civil rights movement testified that his colleagues 
referred to themselves as members of "the FBI's golden record club." ^ 

The FBI's formal program to discredit Dr. King with Government 
officials began with the distribution of a "monograph" which the FBI 
realized could "be regarded as a personal attack on Martin Luther 
King," * and which was subsequently described by a Justice Depart- 
ment official as "a personal diatribe ... a personal attack without 
evidentiary support." ^ 

Congressional leaders were warned "off the record" about alleged 
dangers posed by Reverend King. The FBI responded to Dr. King's 
receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize by attempting to undennine his re- 
ception by foreign heads of state and American ambassadors in the 
countries that he planned to visit. When Dr. King returned to the 

^ William Sullivan testimony, 11/1/75, p. 97. 

'Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 1/28/64. 

' Andrew Young testimony, 2/19/76, p. 55. 

* Memorandum from Alan Belmont to Clyde Tolson, 10/17/63. 

® Burke Marshall testimony, 3/3/76, p. 32. 



United States, steps were taken to reduce support for a huge banquet 
and a special "day" that were being planned in his honor. 

The FBI's program to destroy Dr. King as the leader of the civil 
rights movement entailed attempts to discredit him with churches, 
universities, and the press. Steps were taken to attempt to convince the 
National Council of Churches, the Baptist World Alliance, and lead- 
ing Protestant ministers to halt financial support of the Southern 
Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and to persuade them that 
"Negro leaders should completely isolate King and remove him from 
the role he is now occupying in civil rights activities." ® When the FBI 
learned that Dr. King intended to visit the Pope, an agent was dis- 
patched to persuade Francis Cardinal Spellman to warn the Pope 
about "the likely embarrassment that may result to the Pope should 
he grant King an audience." ^ The FBI sought to influence universities 
to withhold honorary degrees from Dr. King. Attempts w^ere made to 
prevent the publication of articles favorable to Dr. King and to find 
"friendly" news sources that would print unfavorable articles. The 
FBI offered to play for reporters tape recordings allegedly made from 
microphone surveillance of Dr. King's hotel rooms. 

The FBI mailed Dr. King a tape recording made from its micro- 
phone coverage. According to the Chief of the FBI's Domestic Intelli- 
gence Division, the tape was intended to precipitate a separation be- 
tween Dr. King and his wife in the belief that the separation would 
reduce Dr. King's stature.^'' The tape recording was accompanied by 
a note which Dr. King and his advisers interpreted as a threat to re- 
lease the tape recording unless Dr. King committed suicide. The FBI 
also made preparations to promote someone "to assume the role of 
leadership of the Negro people when King has been completely dis- 
credited." ^ 

Tlie campaign against Dr. King included attempts to destroy the 
Southern Christian Leadership Conference by cutting off its sources 
of funds. The FBI considered, and on some occasions executed, plans 
to cut off the support of some of the SCLC's major contributors, in- 
cluding religious organizations, a labor union, and donors of grants 
such as the Ford Fomidation. One FBI field office recommended that 
the FBI send letters to the SCLC's donors over Dr. King's forged 
signature warning them that the SCLC was under investigation by 
the Internal Eevenue Service. The IRS files on Dr. King and the 
SCLC were carefully scrutinized for financial irregularities. For over 
a year, the FBI unsuccessfully attempted to establish that Dr. King 
had a secret foreign bank account in which he was sequestering funds. 

The FBI campaign to discredit and destroy Dr. King was marked 
by extreme personal vindictiveness. As early as 1062, Director Hoover 
penned on an FBI memorandum, "King is no good." ^ At the August 
1963 March on Washington, Dr. King told the country of his dream 
that "all of God's children, black men and w^hite men, Jews and Gen- 
tiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in 
the words of the old Negro spirittial, 'Free at last, free at last. Thank 

* Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 12/16/64. 

' Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 8/31/&4, p. 1. 

'* Williiini Sullivan testimony, 11/1/75, pp. 104-10r>. 

' Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 1/8/64. 

" Memorandum from James Bland to William Sullivan, 2/3/62. 


God almighty, I'm free at last.' " " The FBI's Domestic Intelligence 
Division described this "demagogic speech" as yet more evidence that 
Dr. King was "the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the 
country." ^^ Shortly afterward, Time magazine chose Dr. King as the 
"Man of the Year,'' an honor which elicited Director Hoover's com- 
ment that "they had to dig deep in the garbage to come up with this 
one." ^' Hoover wrote "astounding" across the memorandum inform- 
ing him that Dr. King had been granted an audience with the Pope 
despite the FBI's efforts to prevent such a meeting. The depth of Direc- 
tor Hoover's bitterness toward Dr. King, a bitterness which he had 
effectively communicated to his subordinates in the FBI, was apparent 
from the FBI's attempts to sully Dr. King's reputation long after his 
death. Plans were made to "brief congressional leaders in 1969 to 
prevent the passage of a "Martin Luther King Day." In 1970, 
Director Hoover told reporters that Dr. King was the "last one in the 
world who should ever have received" the Nobel Peace Prize." 

The extent to which Government officials outside of the FBI must 
bear responsibility for the FBI's campaign to discredit Dr. King is 
not clear. Government officials outside of the FBI were not aware of 
most of the specific FBI actions to discredit Dr. King. Officials in the 
Justice Department and White House were aware, however, that the 
FBI was conducting an intelligence investigation, not a criminal 
investigation, of Dr. King; that the FBI had written authorization 
from the Attorney General to wiretap Dr. King and the SCLC offices 
in New York and Washington; and that the FBI reports on Dr. King 
contained considerable information of a political and pei-sonal nature 
which was "irrelevant and spurious" to the stated reasons for the 
investigation." Those high executive branch officials were also aware 
that the FBI was disseminating vicious characterizations of Dr. King 
within the Government; that the FBI had tape recordings embar- 
rassing to Dr. King which it had offered to play to a White House 
official and to reporters; and that the FBI had offered to "leak" 
to reporters highly damaging accusations that some of Dr. King's 
advisers were communists. Although some of those officials did ask 
top FBI officials about these charges, they did not inquire further 
after receiving false denials. In light of what those officials did know 
about the FBI's conduct toward Dr. King, they were remiss in fail- 
ing to take appropriate steps to curb the Bureau's behavior. To the 
extent that their neglect pennitted the Bureau's activities to go on un- 
checked, tliose officials must share responsibility for what occurred. 

The FBI now agrees that its efforts to discredit Dr. King were 
unjustified. The present Deputy Associate Director (Investigation) 
testified : 

Mr. Adams. There were approximately twenty-five inci- 
dents of actions taken [to discredit Dr. King] ... I see no 
statutory basis or no basis of justification for the activity. 

The Chairman. Was Dr. King, in his advocacy of equal 

^^ Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King during the March on Washington, 

" Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 8/30/63, p. 1. 

^ Hoover note on United Press International release, 12/29/63. 

" Time magazine, 12/14/70. 

"Bill Moyers testimony, 3/2/76, pp. 17-18. 


rights for black citizens, advocating a course of action that 
in the opinion of the FBI constituted a crime? 

Mr. Adams. No, sir. 

The Chairman. He was preaching non-violence was he not, 
as a method of achieving equal rights for black citizens? 

Mr. Adams. That's right . . . Now as far as the activities 
which you are asking about, the discrediting, I know of no 
basis for that and I will not attempt to justify it.^^ 

The FBI conducted its investigation of Dr. King and the SCLC 
under an FBI manual provision — called COMINFIL — permitting 
the investigation of legitimate noncommunist organizations, sus- 
pected by the FBI of having been infiltrated by communists, to 
determine the extent, if any, of communist influence. The FBI's 
investigation was based on its concern that Dr. King was being 
influenced by two persons — hereinafter referred to as Adviser A and 
Adviser B — that the Bureau believed were members of the Com- 
munist Party. 

Officials in the Justice Department relied on the FBI's representa- 
tions that both of these advisers were communists, that they were in a 
position to influence Dr. King, and that Adviser A in fact exercised 
some influence in preparing Dr. King's speeches and publications. 
Burke Marshall, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights from 
1961-1965, testified that he "never had any reason to doubt [the FBI's] 
allegations concerning [Adviser A]." He recalled that the charges 
aibout Adviser A were "grave and serious," and said that he believed 
Attorney General Kennedy had permitted the investigation to pro- 
ceed because: 

Stopping the investigation in light of those circumstances 
would have run the risk that there would have been a lot of 
complaints that the Bureau had been blocked for political 
reasons from investigating serious charges about communist 
infiltration in the civil rights movement.^^ 

Edwin Guthman, Pr^ss Secretary for the Justice Department from 
1961 through 1964, testified that Attorney General Robert Kennedy 
"viewed this as a serious matter," that he did not recall "that any of 
us doubted that the FBI knew what it was talking about," and that al- 
though the question of whether Adviser A was influencing Dr. King 
was never fully answered "we accepted pretty much what the FBI 
reported as being accurate." ^^ 

We have been unable to reach a conclusion concerning the accuracy 
of the FBI's charges that the two Advisers were members of the Com- 
munist Party, USA or under the control of the Party during the FBI'^ 
COMINFIL investigation. However, FBI files do contain informa- 
tion that Adviser A and Adviser B had been members of the Commu- 
nist Party at some point priorto the opening of the COMINFIL in- 
vestigation in October 1962. FBI documents provided to the Commit- 
tee to support the Bureau's claim that both men were membere of the 
Communist Party at the time the COMINFIL investigation was 
opened are inconclusive. Moreover, the FBI has stated that it cannot 

^ James Adams testimony, 11/19/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 65. 

" Marshall, 3/3/76, p. 55. 

" Edwin Guthman testimony, 3/16/76, p. 16. 


provide the Committee with the full factual basis for its charges on 
the grounds that to do so would compromise informants of continuing 
use to the Bureau. 

Without access to the factual evidence, we are unable to conclude 
whether either of those two Advisers was comiected with the Commu- 
nist Party when the "case" was opened in 1962, or at any time there- 
after. We have seen no evidence establishing that either of those 
Advisers attempted to exploit the civil rights movement to carry out 
the plans of the Communist Party. 

In any event, the FBI has stated that at no time did it have any 
evidence that Dr. King himself was a communist or connected with 
the Conmiunist Party. Dr. King repeatedly criticized Marxist philoso- 
phies in his writing and speeches. The present Deputy Associate Di- 
rector of the FBI's Domestic Intelligence Division, when asked by the 
Committee if the FBI ever concluded that Dr. King was a communist, 
testified, "No, sir, we did not." ^° 

The FBI's COMINFIL investigation appears to have centered 
almost entirely on discussions among Dr. King and his advisers 
about proposetl civil rights activities rather than on whether those 
advisers were in fact agents of the Communist Party. Although the 
FBI conducted disruptive programs — ^^COINTELPROs — against al- 
leged communists whom it believed were attempting to influence civil 
rights organizations, the Bureau did not undertake to discredit the 
individual whom it considered Dr. King's most "dangerous" adviser 
until more than four years after opening the COMINFIL investiga- 
tion.^^ Moreover, when a field office reported to FBI headquarters in 
1964 that the Adviser was not then under the influence and 
control of the Communist Party, the FBI did not curtail either its 
investigations or discrediting program against Dr. King, and we have 
no indication that the Bureau informed the Justice Department of 
this finding.22 Rather than trying to discredit the alleged communists 
it believed were attempting to influence Dr. King, the Bureau adopted 
the curious tactic of trying to discredit the supposed target of Com- 
munist Party interest — Dr. King himself. 

Allegations of communist influence on Dr. King's organization must 
not divert attention from the fact that, as the FBI now states, its 
activities were unjustified and improper. In light of the Bureau's 
remarks about Dr. King, its reactions to his criticisms, the viciousness 
of its campaign to destroy him, and its failure to take comparable 
measures against the Advisers that it believed were communists, it is 
highly questionable whether the FBI's stated motivation was valid. It 
was certainly not justification for continuing the investigation of Dr. 
King for over six years, or for carrying out the attempts to destroy 

Our investigation indicates that FBI officials believed that some of 
Dr. King's personal conduct was improper. Part of the FBI's efforts 
to undermine Dr. King's reputation involved attempts to persuade 
Government officials that Dr. King's personal behavior would be an 
embarrassment to them. The Committee did not investigate Dr. King's 

' Adams, 11/19/75, Hearings. Vol. 6. p. 66. 
Airtel from FBI Director to New York Office, 3/18/66. 
Memorandum from SAC, New York to Director, FBI, 4/14/64. 


personal life, since such a subject has no proper place in our investiga- 
tion. Moreover, in order to preclude any further dissemination of 
information obtained during the electronic surveillances of Dr. King, 
the Committee requested the FBI to excise from all documents sub- 
mitted to the Committee any information which was so obtained. 
We raise the issue of Dr. King's private life here only because it may 
have played a part in forming the attitudes of certain FBI and admin- 
istration officials toward Dr. King. 

Many documents which we examined contained allegations about 
the political affiliations and morality of numerous individuals. We 
have attempted to be sensitive to the privacy interests of those individ- 
uals, and have taken care not to advance the effort to discredit them. 
We have excised many of the Bureau's characterizations from the doc- 
uments quoted in this report. In some cases, however, in order fully to 
explain the story, it was judged necessary to quote extensively from 
Bureau reports, even though they contain unsupported allegations. 
We caution the reader not to accept these allegations on their face, but 
rather to read them as part of a shameful chapter in the nation's 

The reader is also reminded that we did not conduct an investigation 
into the assassination of Dr. King. In the course of investigating the 
FBI's attempts to discredit Dr. King, we came across no indication 
that the FBI was in any way involved in the assassination. 


In October 1962 the FBI opened its investigation of the Southern 
Christian Leadership Conference and of it's president, Dr. 
Martin Luther King, Jr. The investigation was conducted under an 
FBI manual provision captioned "COMINFIL" — an acronym for 
communist infiltration — which authorized investigations of legitimate 
noncommunist organizations which the FBI believed to be influenced 
by communist party members in order to determine the extent of the 
alleged communist influence.^^ These wide-ranging investigations were 

^FBI Manual Section 87e. The Section in effect at tlie time the FBI initi- 
ated its investigation of Dr. King and the SCLC was captioned, "Legitimate 
Noncommunist Organizations that are Communist Infiltrated," and provided 
in part : 

"(1) No investigation should be conducted without prior Bureau approval. 

"(2) Investigations should be handled most discreetly by experienced agents. 

"Advse Bureau promptly under caption 'COMINFIL (name of organization)' 
when one of the following exists and include your recommendation for instituting 
an investigation. 

"(a) The Communist Party has specifically instructed its members to infil- 
trate the organization. 

"(b) Communist Party members have infiltrated the organization in suf- 
ficient strength to influence or control the organization. 

"(7) Data concerning following topics should be fully developed and re- 
ported on : 

"(a) Basis for investigation and fact that our investigation is directed solely 
toward establishing extent of Communist Party infiltration, or that organiza- 
tion is specific target for infiltration, and that Bureau is not investigating legiti- 
mate activities of organization. 

"(b) Address of organization. 

"(c) Brief characterization of organization, including total membership. 

"(d) Principal oflScers of organization. 


conducted with the knowledge of the Attorney General and were pred- 
icated on vague executive directives and broad statutes.^* 

The FBI kept close watch on Dr. King and the SCLC long before 
opening its formal investigation. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover 
reacted to the formation of the SCLC in 1957 by reminding agents 
in the field of the need for vigilance : 

In the absence of any indication that the Communist Party 
has attempted, or is attempting, to infiltrate this organization 
you should conduct no investigation in this matter. However, 
in view of the stated purpose of the organization, you should 
remain alert for public source information concerning it in 
connection with the racial situation.-^^ 

In May 1962 the FBI had included Dr. King on "Section A of the 
Reserve Index" as a person to be rounded up and detained in the 
event of a "national emergency." ^'^ During this same period the FBI 

"(e) Communist Party program to infiltrate this organization and influence 
its policy. 

"(f) Results of this program, including Communist Party afliliations of 
oflScers and members." 

Clarence Kelley, the present Director of the FBI, was asked by the Com- 
mittee : 

"Taking the current manual and trying to understand its applicability laid 
against the facts in the Martin Luther King case, under section 87 permission 
is granted to open investigations of the influence of non-subversive groups, 
and the first sentence reads : "When information is received indicating that 
a subversive group is seeking to systematically infiltrate and control a non- 
subversive group or organization, an investigation can be opened.' " 

"Now, I take it that is the same standard that was used in opening the 
investigation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the 1960's, 
so that investigation could still be opened today under the current FBI 

Mr. Kelley. "I think so." 

(Clarence Kelley testimony, 12/10/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 308.) 

" See Report, on the Development of FBI Domestic Investigations, p. 479. 

^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to Special Agent in Charge, Atlanta, 
9/20/57. The "stated purpose" of the SCLC was to organize a register-and- 
vote campaign among Negroes in the South. (Trezz Anderson, Pittsburgh 
Courier, 8/17/57.) Considerable "public source" information was recorded 
in FBI files both before and after this date. 

*" The action memorandum stated that Dr. King's name "should be placed in 
Section A of the Reserve Index and tabbed communist." (Memorandum 
from Director, FBI, to SAC, Atlanta, 5/11/62.) Persons to be listed in Section A 
of the Reserve Index were described by the FBI as people "who in time of 
national emergency, are in a position to influence others against the national 
interest or are likely to furnish material financial aid to subversive elements due 
to their subversive associations and ideology." The types of persons to be listed 
in Section A included : 

"(a) Professors, teachers or leaders ; 

"(b) Labor union organizers or leaders ; 

"(e) Writers, lecturers, newsmen, entertainers, and others in the mass media 

"(d) Lawyers, doctors, and scientists; 

"(e) Other potentially influential persons on a local or national level; 

"(f) Individuals who could potentially furnish material financial aid." See 
Committee staff report on Development of FBI Domestic Intelligence 

Dr. King was placed on the Reserve Index despite the fact that as late as 
November 1961 the Atlanta Field OflBce had advi.sed FBI Headquarters that there 
was "no information on which to base a security matter inquiry." (Airtel from 
SAC, Atlanta, to Director, FBI, 11/21/61.) 

ordered its field offices to review their files for "subversive" infor- 
mation about Dr. King and to submit that information to FBI head- 
quarters in reports ''suitable for dissemination." ^'^ 

The Bureau had apparently also been engaged in an extensive sur- 
veillance of Dr. King's civil rights activities since the late 1950s 
under an FBI program called "Racial Matters." This program, which 
was unrelated to COMINFIL, required the collection of "all perti- 
nent information" about the "proposed or actual activities" of indi- 
viduals and organizations "in the racial field." ^^ Surveillance of Dr. 
King's civil rights activities continued under the Racial Matters pro- 
gram after the COMINFIL case was opened. Indeed, the October 
1962 memorandum which authorized the COMINFIL case specifically 
provided that "any information developed concerning the integra- 
tion or racial activities of the SCLC must [also] be reported 
[under a] Racial Matters caption." ^^ 

The first FBI allegations that the Communist Party was attempt- 
ing to infiltrate the SCLC appeared in a report from the FBI to 
Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, dated January 8, 1962.^*^ The 
report stated that one of Dr. King's advisers — hereinafter referred 
to as "Adviser A" — was a "member of the Communist Party, USA." ^^ 
Within a few months FBI reports were describing another of Dr. 
King's associates — hereinafter referred to as "Adviser B" — as a "mem- 
ber of the National Committee of the Communist Party." ^^ The 
allegations concerning these two individuals formed the basis for 
opening the COMINFIL investigation in October 1962, 

It is unclear why the FBI waited nine months to open the COMIN 
FIL investigation.^ The Bureau might have been hoping to acquire 
new information from microphone and wiretap surveillance of Ad- 
viser A's office, which was initiated in March 1962.^* However, it does 

^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to SAC, Atlanta, 2/27/62. The instructions 
did not define what was meant by "subversive." Reiwrts from field offices during 
the ensuing months considered as "subversive" such information as the fact that 
Dr. King had been one of 350 signers of a petition to abolish the House Committee 
on Un-American Activities. ( FBI Report, New York, 4/13/62. ) These instructions 
to the field were issued on the first day of Dr. King's trial in which he and seven 
hundred other civil rights demonstrators were charged in Albany, Georgia^_with 
parading without a permit. (Atlanta Constitution, 2/28/62, p. 1.) 

^ FBI Manual Section 122, p. 5. This policy was later interpreted as requiring 
"coverage" of demonstrations, meetings, "or any other pertinent information 
concerning racial activitv." (Memorandum from I)irector, FBI to SAC, Atlanta, 
6/27/63. ) 

^ Memorandum from Director, FBI, to SAC, Atlanta, 10/23/62, p. 2. 

'" On the same day the Southern Regional Counsel — a respected civil rights 
study group — issued a report criticizing the Bureau's inaction during civil rights 
demonstration that were then occurring in Albany, Georgia. This report is dis- 
cussed at pp. 8{^90. 

^ Memorandum from Director, FBI, to Attorney General, 1/5/62. 

'^Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 10/22/62. 

^FBI headquarters first requested the field oflSces for recommendations con- 
cerning whether a COMINFIL investigation should be opened on July 20, 1962. 
This was the same day on which oflBcials in Albany, Georgia, sought a judicial 
ban against demonstrations led by Dr. King, alleging that Negroes had been en- 
dangering the lives of police oflScers "and agents of the Federal Bureau of In- 
vestigation." (New York Times, 7/22/62). 

'^A microphone was installed in Adviser A's oflBce on March 16, 1962 (Airtel 
from ,SAC, New York to Director, FBI, 3/16/62) and a wiretap was installed 
on his office telephone on, 3/20/62 (Airtel from SAO, New York to Director, FBI, 
3/20/62). The wiretap was authorized by the Attorney General (Memorandum 
from Director, FBI to Attorney General, 3/6/62) . The microphone was approved 


not appear that these surveillances collected any additional informa- 
tion bearing on the FBI's characterization of Adviser A as a "com- 

Despite tJie goals and procedures outlined in the COMINFIL sec- 
tion of the FBI Manual, the Bureau's investigation of Dr. King did not 
focus on whether any of his advisers were acting under Communist 
Party discipline and control or were working to enable the Comnui- 
nist Party to influence or control the SCLC.^ The microphone which 
had been installed in Adviser A's office in March 1962 was discontinued 
before the COMINFIL investigation began/*' and, although wiretap 
coverage of Adviser A continued — and even intensified ^^ — the infor- 
mation obtained appears to have related solely to his advice to Dr. 
King concerning the civil rights movement and not at all to the alleged 
Comnumist Party origins of that advice.^*^ Two FBI reports prepared 
in succeeding years which summarize the FBI's information about 
Adviser A do not contain evidence substantiating his purported rela- 
tionship with the Communist Party .^^ 

Without full access to the Bureau's files, the Committee cannot de- 
termine whether the FBI's decision to initiate a COMINFIL investi- 
gation was motivated solely by sincere concerns about alleged com- 
munist infiltration, or whether it was in part influenced by Director 
Hoover's animosity toward Dr. King. The FBI Director's sensitivity 
to criticism and his attitude toward Dr. King are documented in sev- 
eral events which occurred during the period when the FBI was con- 
sidering initiating the COMINFIL investigation. 

As early as February 1962, Director Hoover wrote on a memorandum 
that Dr. King was "no good." *° 

In January 1962 an organization called the Southern Regional 
Council issued a report criticizing the Bureau's inaction during civil 
rights demonstrations in Albany, Georgia.*^ An updated version of 
that report was released in November 1962. A section entitled "Where 
was the Federal Government" made the following observations about 
the FBI: 

only at the FBI division level (Memorandum from James Bland to William Sul- 
livan, 3/2/62). 

^ FBI Manual Section 87, pp. 12-13, 83-85. Former Assistant Director Sullivan 
testified : "If a man is not under the discipline and control of the Communist 
Party, ipso facto he is not really a member of the Communist Party. The Party 
demands the man's complete discipline, the right of complete discipline over a 
Party member. Tliat is why they have the graduations, you see, the fellow- 
traveler, not a Party member, because he would not accept the entire discipline 
of the Party. The sympathizer, another graduation of it, what we call the dupe, 
the victim of Communist fronts and so forth. The key — I am glad you raised this 
question — the key to membership is does this man accept completely the Party 
discipline. If he does not, he is not regarded as a genuine member." (Sullivan, 
11/1/75, p. 18.) 

"' It was discontinued on August 16, 1962. See Airtels from SAC, New York to 
Director, FBI, 8/16/62 and 11/15/62, and Memorandum from Director, FBI to 
SAC, New York, 11/23/62. 

^ The Attorney General authorized a wiretap on Adviser A's home telephone in 
November 1962 (Memorandum from Director, FBI to Attorney General, 

^ E.g., Memorandum from Director, FBI, to Attorney General Kennedy. 

^ Indeed, in April 1964 a field office reported that Adviser A was not under the 
influence of the Communist Party. Memorandum from SAC New York to Director, 
FBI, 4/14/64. 

*" Memorandum from James Bland to William Sullivan, 2/3/62. 

" Special Report, Southern Regional Council, 1/8/62. 


— There is a considerable amount of distrust among Al- 
bany Negroes for local members of the Federal Bureau of In- 

— With all the clear violations by local police of constitu- 
tional rights, with undisputed evidence of beatings by sheriffs 
and deputy sheriffs, the FBI has not made a single arrest on 
behalf of Negro citizens. 

— The FBI has [taken] dozens of affidavits from Negro 
citizens complainmg that their constitutional rights had been 
violated by city and county officials. But eight months later, 
there was no sign of action on these charges. 

— The FBI is most effective in solving ordinary crimes, 
and perhaps it should stick to that.^^ 

Newspaper coverage of the report's allegations were forwarded to 
Bureau headquartere by the Atlantic office. Although Bureau rules 
required prompt investigation of allegations such as those in the South- 
ern Regional Council's Report, no investigation was undertaken.*^ 
Before even receiving the full report. Bureau officials were describing 
it as "slanted and biased," and were searching their files for inforaia- 
tion about the report's author.** 

Shortly after the Report was issued, newspapers quoted Dr. King as 
saying that he agi'eed with the Report's conclusions that the FBI had 
not vigorously investigated civil rights violations in Albany. Dr. King 
reportedly stated : 

One of the great problems we face with the FBI in the 
South is that the agents are white Southerners who have been 
influenced by the mores of the community. To maintain their 
status, they have to be friendly with the local i^olice and 
people who are promoting segregation. 

Every time I saw FBI men in Albany, they were with the 
local police force.*^ 

FBI headquarters was immediately notified of Dr. King's re- 
marks.*** After noting that Dr. King's comments "would appear to 
dovetail with information . . . indicating that King's advisors are 
Communist Party (CP) members and he is under the domination of 

*^ "Albany, A Study of Racial Responsibility," Southern Regional Council, 

" Item #17, FBI Response to Senate Select Committee, 10/15/75. FBI rules 
provided that allegations about Bureau misconduct had to be investigated and 
that "every logical lead which will establish the true facts should be completely 
run out unless such action would embarrass the Bureau. . . ." 

** Memorandum from Alex Rosen to Alan Belmont, 11/15/62. The updated 
report was received at headquarters on December 5, 1962. (Memorandum from 
SAC, Atlanta to Director, FBI, 12/4/62. ) 

"^Atlanta Constitution, 11/19/62^^ p. 18. In 1961 a report issued by the U.S. 
Commission on Civil Rights, entitled "Justice," had addressed the problem 
of FBI agents investigating local law enforcement oflScials and reached a similar 
conclusion, including mistrust of the FBI by southern Blacks. 

*« Memorandum from SAC, Atlanta, to Director, FBI, 11/19/62. 


the CP," *' Bureau officials decided to contact Dr. King in an effort to 
"set him straight." *^ 

The FBI's effort to contact Dr. King consisted of a telephone call 
to the SCLC office in Atlanta by Cartha D. DeLoach, head of the 
FBI's Crime Records Division, and one by the Atlanta Special Agent 
in Charge. Both calls were answered by secretaries who promised to 
ask Dr. King to return the calls. When Dr. King did not respond, 
DeLoach observed : 

It would appear obvious that Rev. King does not desire to 
be told the tiiie facts. He obviously used deceit, lies, and 
treachery as propaganda to further his own causes ... I see 
no futlier need to contacting Rev. King as he obviously does 
not desire to be given the truth. The fact that he is a vicious 
liar is amply demonstrated in the fact he constantly associates 
with and takes instructions from [a] . . , member of the Com- 
munist Party."*^ 

Two years later — in late 1964 — ^the Director was refusing to meet with 
Dr. King because "I gave him that opportunity once and he ignored 
it." ^° 

William Sullivan, who was head of the Domestic Intelligence 
Division during the investigation of Dr. King, testified : 

[Director Hoover] was very upset about the criticism that 
King made publicly about our failure to protect the Negro in 
the South against violations of the Negro civil liberties, and 
King on a number of occasions soundly criticized the Direc- 
tor. . . . Mr. Hoover was very distraught over these criticisms 
and so that would figure in it. ... I think behind it all was the 
racial bias, the dislike of Negroes, the dislike of the civil 
rights movement. ... I do not think he could rise above 

'*'' Memorandum from Alex Roseu to Alan Belmont, 11/20/62. 

"' Memorandum from Alan Belmont to Clyde Tolson, 11/26/62. A decision was 
made that Dr. King should be contacted by both Assistant Director DeLoach 
and As.sistant Director William Sullivan "in order that there will be a witness 
and there can be no charge of provincialism inasmuch as Cartha D. DeLoach 
comes from the South and Mr. Sullivan comes from the North." (Ibkl.) 

*• Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr, 1/15/63. FBI officials 
also "interviewed" or otherwise contacted various newspaper publishers to set 
[them] straight" about Dr. King's remarks. (Memorandum from Alex Rosen to 
Alan Belmont, 1/17/63.) One of the publishers contacted was described as "im- 
pres.sed with the Director" and as being on the "Special Correspondents List." 
(Letter from Cartha DeLoach to one of the publishers, 11/29/62, p. 3.) 

The FBI also took steps to "point out" the "evasive conduct of King" to the 
Attorney General and Civil Rights Commission. (Letter, FBI Director to Attorney 
General, 1/18/63; Letter, FBI to Staff Director, Commission on Civil Rights, 

^' Note on memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 

^William Sullivan testimony, 11/1/75, p. 62. Sullivan's assessment must be 
viewed in light of the feud that subsequently developed between Sullivan and 
Hoover and which ultimately led to Sullivan's dismissal from the FBI. That feud 
is discussed in the committee's final report. 


The FBI sent frequent reports about Dr. King's plans and activities 
to officials in both the Justice Department and the White House from 
the initiation of the COMINFIL investigation until Dr. King's death 
in 1968. Despite the fact that the investigation of Dr. King failed to 
produce evidence that Dr. King was a communist, or that he was being 
influenced to act in a way inimical to American interests, no responsi- 
ble Government official ever asked the FBI to terminate the investiga- 
tion. Their inaction appeai-s to have stemmed from a belief that it was 
safer to permit the FBI to conduct the investigation than to stop the 
Bureau and run the risk of charges that the FBI was being muzzled 
for political reasons. 

Burke Marshall testified that the "charges" made by the Bureau 
against Adviser A "were grave and serious." The Kennedy Admin- 
istration had been outspoken in its support of Dr. King, and ordering 
the FBI to terminate its investigation would, in Marshall's opinion, 
"have run the risk" that there would have been a lot of complaints that 
the Bureau had been blocked for political reasons fix>m investigating 
serious charges about communist infiltration in the civil rights 
movement. ^^ 

Edwin O. Guthman, Press Chief for the Justice Department under 
Attorney General Kennedy, testified that Robert Kennedy viewed the 
charges about Adviser A : 

as a serious matter and not in the interest of the country 
and not in the interest of the civil rights movement. . . . The 
question of whether he was influencing King and his contacts 
with King, that was a matter which was not fully decided, 
but in those days we accepted pretty much what the FBI 
reported as being accurate.^^ 

Guthman testified that he was told by Kennedy in 1968 that Kennedy 
had approved wiretap coverage of Dr. King's home and of two SCLC 
offices in October 1963 because "he felt that if he did not do it, Mr. 
Hoover would move to impede or block the passage of the Civil Rights 
Bill . . . and that he felt that he might as well settle the matter as to 
whether [Adviser A] did have the influence on King that the FBI 
contended. . . ." ^^ Attorney General Keimedy's reasons for approving 
the wiretaps are discussed at length in a subsequent chapter.^^ Of 
relevance here is the support which Guthman's observations lend to 
Marshall's recollection that Attorney General Kennedy permitted the 
COMINFIL investigation to continue from concern about the truth 
of the FBI's charges and about the political consequences of terminat- 
ing the investigation. 

The Johnson Administration's willingness to permit the FBI to 
continue its investigation of Dr. King also appears to have involved 
political considerations. Bill Moyers, President Johnson's assistant, 
testified that sometime around the spring of 1965 President Johnson 
"seemed satisfied that these allegations about Martin Luther King 
were not founded." Yet President Johnson did not order the investi- 
gation terminated. When asked the reason, Moyers explained that 
President Johnson : 

'" Marshall, 3/3/76, p. 55. 

^ Edwin Guthman testimony, 3/16/76, p. 16. 

" Guthman, 3/16/76, p. 5. 

"' See pp. 115-116. 


was very concerned that his embracing the civil rights move- 
ment and Martin Luther King personally would not backfire 
politically. He didn't want to have a southern racist Senator 
produce something that would be politically embarassing 
to the President and to the civil rights movement. We had lots 
of conversations about that. . . . Johnson, as everybody knows, 
bordered on paranoia about his enemies or about being 
trapped by other people's activities over which he had no 

Intelligence repoi-ts submitted by the Bureau to the White House 
and the Jutice Department contained considerable intelligence of po- 
tential political value to the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations. 
-The Attorneys General were informed of meetings between Dr. King 
and his advisers, including the details of advice that Dr. King received, 
the strategies of the civil rights m.ovement, and the attitude of civil 
rights leadere toward the Administrations and their policies.^'' The 
implications of this inside knowledge were graphically described by 
one of Dr. King's legal advisers, Hari-y Wachtel : 

The easiest example I can give is that that if I'm an attorney 
representing one side, negotiating and trying to achieve some- 
thing, and if the Attorney on the other side had information 
about what my client was thinking and what we were talking 
about, it would become a devastatingly important impedi- 
ment to our negotiation, our freedom of action.^* 

Burke Marshall, however, described the Bureau's reports about Dr. 
-King and the SCLC as "of no use: it was stupid information." He 
elaborated : 

I was in touch with Martin King all the time about all 
kinds of information that went way beyond what was report- 
ed by the Bureau about what he was going to do, where he was 
going to be, the wisdom of what he was going to do, who he 
was going to do it with, what the political situation was. The 
Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Dr. King 
were in some sense close associates of mine. [Information of 
the type included in FBI reports] was all information that I 
would have had any way.^^ 

^ Bill Meyers testimony, 3/2/76, p. 22. 

^'The FBI files are replete with examples of politically valuable intelligence 
about Dr. King that was sent to the Justice Department and the White House. 
For instance, in May 1963, at a critical point in the Congressional debate over 
the public accommodations bill. Hoover informed the Attorney General of a dis- 
cussion between Dr. King and an adviser '•concerning a conference which Rev- 
erend King reportedly has requested with you and the President." The discus- 
sion was reported to have centered on the Administration's sensitivity over its in- 
ability to control the racial situation and on the need to maintain the pace of 
civil rights activities "so that the President will have to look for an alternative." 
Dr. King was said to believe that the President would then be receptive to ideas 
from Dr. King which would provide a solution to "his problem, [his] fear of 
violence . . . ." Dr. King was said to have stated that if a conference with the 
President could not be worked out, then the movement M'ould have to be "en- 
larged," and that "he would like to put so much pressure on the President that 
he would have to sign an Executive Order making segregation unconstitutional." 
(Memorandum from Director, FBI to Attorney General, 5/31/63.) 

"* Harry Wachtel testimony, 2/27/76, p. 12. 

* Burke Marshall, 3/3/76, p. 54 ; 56-57. 


196 2-OCTOBER 1963 

Introduction and Swnvmary 

This chapter explores developments in the Martin Luther King case 
from the period preceding the FBI's opening of the COMINFIL in- 
vestigation in October 1962 through the FBI's decision to intensify 
its investigation of suspected communist influence in the civil rights 
movement in October 1963. Particular emphasis is placed on the inter- 
nal reasons for the FBI's intensification of its investigation of Dr. 
King and on the interplay between the Justice Department and the 
FBI during this period. 

In summary, the evidence described in this chapter establishes that 
the FBI barraged the Justice Department with a stream of memo- 
randa concerning the Communist Party's interest in the civil rights 
movement and Dr. King's association with two individuals, referred 
to in this report as Advisers A and B, who were alleged to have strong 
ties to the Party.*"* In response to the Bureau's warnings, the Justice 
Department endeavored to convince Dr. King to sever his relations 
with those individuals, but met with only mixed success. Dr. King 
continued to turn to Adviser A for advice; Adviser B, whose asso- 
ciation with Dr. King and allegedly with the Communist Party had 
been picked up by the press in late 1962, publicly announced his resig- 
nation from the SCLC in early July 1963, although he apparently 
continued to associate with Dr. King on an informal basis. 

During hearings over the administration's proposed public accom- 
modations bill in July 1963, critics of the bill charged that the civil 
rights movement, and Dr. King in particular, were influenced by Com- 
munists. Dr. King's plans for a civil rights march on Washington in 
August were receiving increasing publicity. On July 16, the Attorney 
General raised with the FBI's Justice Department liaison, Courtney 
Evans, the possibility of a wiretap on Dr. King and one of his legal 

The following day the FBI sent an analysis of its COMINFIL 
information to the Justice Department. The administration decided to 
continue its public support of Dr. King. During the ensuing week, the 
President informed the press that there was no evidence that civil 
rights demonstrations were Communist-inspired; the Attorney Gen- 
eral announced that the FBI had no evidence that any civil rights 
leaders were controlled by Communists; and the Attorney General 
rejected the FBI's request for authority to wiretap Dr. King. 

In August 1963, the Justice Department received a report from 
the FBI which apparently contained allegations extremely imfavor- 
able to Dr. King. The Attorney General told Courtney Evans that he 
faced impeachment if the report was "leaked," and demanded that it 
be resubmitted with a cover jnemorandum detailing the factual basis 
for the allegation. The memorandum submitted in response to that 
request contained no information concerning Dr. King that had not 
already been known to the Attorney General in July, but the Attorney 
General permitted the investigation to proceed. 

•^ The memoranda also contained information about the civil rights movement 
of considerable political value to the administration. 


In late July 1963, the FBI opened a file entitled "Communist In- 
fluence in Racial Matters," and closely monitored preparations for the 
August 28 Civil Rights March on Washington. The FBI's Domestic 
Intelligence Division informed Director Hoover shortly before the 
March that Communist influence in the civil rights movement was 
negligible. The Director disagreed. The head of the Domestic Intelli- 
gence Division, William Sullivan, responded by recommending more 
intense FBI surveillance of the civil rights movement. 

A. The Justice Department Warns Dr. King About Advisers A and 
B : Jmiuat-y 1962-Juiie 1963 

The Kennedy administration's concern over FBI allegations that 
Communists were influencing the civil rights movement led the Justice 
Department to make several attempts to persuade Dr. King to sever 
his relations with Advisers A and B. In January 1962, Hoover first 
warned Attorney General Kennedy that Advisor A, a member of the 
Communist Party, U.S.A., "is allegedly a close adviser to the Reverend 
Martin Luther King." ^^ Shortly afterwards, Assistant Attorney Gen- 
eral Burke Marshall of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Di- 
vision told Dr. King that the Bureau claimed Adviser A was a com- 
munist and advised that they break off relations.*^^ According to an 
FBI memorandum, Deputy Attorney General Byron R. White also 
considered speaking with Dr. King about Adviser A, but decided 
against doing so when told by the FBI that revealing too much of the 
FBI's information might tip off Dr. King or Adviser A to the identity 
of certain FBI informants.^* 

Dr. King gave no indication of breaking off relations with Adviser 
A, who was a close friend and trusted advisor. He did, however, appar- 
ently consider the adverse effects on the civil rights movement that 
his association with Adviser B might cause.^^ In June 1962 the FBI 
intercepted a conversation ^® in which Adviser A recommended that 
Dr. King informally use Adviser B as his executive assistant, noting 
that "as long as Adviser B did not have the title of Executive Direc- 
tor, there would not be as much lightning flashing around him." Dr. 
King was reported to have agreed, remarking that "no matter what 
a man was, if he could stand up now and say lie is not connected, then 
as far as I am concerned, he is eligible to work for me." ^'' 

On October 8, 1962, the FBI's Domestic Intelligence Division pre- 
pared a memorandum summarizing accounts that had previously 
appeared in newspapers concerning Adviser B's alleged Communist 
background and his association with Dr. King. The Division for- 
warded the memorandum to Cartha D. DeLoach, head of the Crime 
Records Division, the FBI's public relations arm, for "possible use 
by his contacts in the news media field in such Southern states as 
Alabama where Dr. King has announced that the next targets for 

^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to Attorney General 1/8/62. 

•* Burke Marshall testimony, 3/31/76, p. 10. 

** Memorandum from Courtney Evans to Alan Belmont, 2/6/62. 

*^ Allegations concerning Adviser B's membership in the Communist Party had 
received wide publicity in the newspapers. There were no such press allegations 
about Adviser A. 

°* Adviser A's phones were covered by FBI wiretaps. See p. 88. 

" Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Head(iuarters, 8/21/62. p. 6. 


integration of universities are located." DeLoach's signature and the 
notation, "handled, Augusta (illegible), Atlanta, 1-/19" appear on 
the recommendation.^* 

The article was apparently disseminated, because an October 25, 
1962, article in the Augusta Chronicle described Adviser B as a mem- 
ber of the CPUSA's National Committee who was serving as Dr. 
King's "Acting Executive Director." Dr. King publicly responded, 
on October 30, that "no person of known Communist affiliation" 
could serve on the staff of the SCLC and denied any knowledge that 
Adviser B had Communist affiliations. Dr. King also announced Ad- 
viser B's temporaiy resignation from the SCLC pending an SCLC 
investigation of the allegations. 

A stream of memoranda from the FBI, however, warned the Jus- 
tice Department that Adviser B continued as an associate of Dr. 
King despite his apparent resignation from the SCLC. In December, 
Director Hoover was cautioning the Attorney General that Adviser B 
continued to "represent himself as being affiliated with the New York 
Office of the SCLC and, during late November and early December 
1962, was actively engaged in the work of this organization." ^^ A few 
days later, the Attorney General was informed that Advisers A and 
B were planning a "closeted . . . critical review" with Dr. King con- 
cerning the direction of the civil rights movement. Kennedy penned on 
the memorandum : "Burke — this is not getting any better." ^° 

In early February 1963, Dr. King asked the Justice Department 
for a briefing on Adviser B's background, apparently in response to 
newspaper articles about Adviser B resulting from the Bureau's cam- 
paign to publicize Adviser B's relationship with Dr. King. Assistant 
Attorney General Marshall noted in a memorandimi that he had "been 
in touch with the Attorney General on this matter and is anxious to 
have it handled as soon as possible." "^ Sometime later in Februai-y, 
Marshall spoke with Dr. King about severing his association with Ad- 
visers A and B. Memoi-anda from Director Hoover to the Justice De- 
partment during the ensuing months, however, emphasized that Dr. 
King was maintaining a close relationship with both men. Those 
memoranda to the Justice Department contained no new information 
substantiating the charges that either was a member of the Communist 
Party, or that either was carrying out the Party's policies.^^ 

^Memorandum from F. J. Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 10/8/62, p. 2. 
The memorandum bears the caption "Communist Party, USA, COINTBLPRO." 
This is the first indication of a counterintelligence program directed against Ad- 
viser B. Adviser A became the subject of such a program in 1966. For a discussion 
of the FBI's COINTELPRO eflfort, see staff report on COINTELPRO. 

** Memorandum from Director, FBI to Attorney General, 1/23/63, p. 1. 

'"Memorandum from Director, FBI to Attorney General, 1/10/63. The At- 
torney General was subsequently told that Adviser B, Dr. King, and Adviser A 
conferred with other members of the SCLC on January 10 and 11. (Memorandum 
from Director, FBI to Burke Marshall, 1/31/63.) 

" Memorandum from Alex Rosen to Alan Belmont. 2/4/63. 

'^ On March 10 the Attorney General was informed that Adviser A and Dr. 
King had engaged in a lengthy conversation concerning an article that Dr. King 
was preparing for The Nation. (Memorandum from Director, FBI to Attorney 
General, 3/12/63.) On June 3, the Director sent the Attorney General a nine- 
page "concise summary" of information about Adviser A, emphasizing his role 
as Dr. King's adviser. (Memorandum from Director, FBI to Attorney General, 
6/3/63.) An FBI memorandum in early June reported a discussion between 


The Attorney General's concern over Dr. King's association with 
the two advisers continued. A memorandum by Hoover states that on 
June 17, 1963 : 

The Attorney General called and advised he would like to 
have Assistant Attorney General Burke Marshall talk to 
Martin Luther King and tell Dr. King he has to get rid of 
[Advisers A and B], that he should not have any contact with 
them directly or indirectly. 

I pointed out that if Dr. King continues this association, he 
is going to hurt his own cause as there are more and more 
Communists trying to take advantage of [the] movement and 
bigots down South who are against integration are beginning 
to charge Dr. King is tied in with Communists. I stated I 
thought Marshall could very definitely say this association is 
rather widely known and, with things crystalizing for them 
now, nothing could be worse than for Dr. King to be associ- 
ated with it.^^ 

Marshall subsequently spoke with Dr. King about Advisers A and 
B.^* In a follow-up memorandum written several months later Marshall 
stated : 

... I brought the matter to the attention of Dr. King very 
explicitly in my office on the morning of June 22 prior to a 
scheduled meeting which Dr. King had with the President. 
This was done at the direction of the Attorney General, and 
the President separately [and] strongly urged Dr. King that 
there should be no further connection between Adviser B and 
the Southern Christian Leadei*ship Conference. Dr. King 
stated that the connection would be ended.^^ 

Dr. King later told one of his associates that the President had told 
him "there Avas an attempt (by the FBI) to smear the movement on 
the basis of Communist influence. The President also said, 'I assume 
you know you're under very close surveillance.' " ''^ 

Adviser A and Dr. King concerning whether Dr. King would appear on a tele- 
vision program in connection with a projected article in the Saturday Evening 
Post. Dr. King accepted Adviser A's recommendation that he read the article 
before committing himself because the reporter "raised a lot of questions about 
[Adviser B] and that kind of thing." (Memorandum from Director, FBI to 
Attorney General, 6/7/63.) 

"" Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Clyde Tolson, Alan Belmont, Cartha 
DeLoach, Alex Rosen, William Sullivan. 6/17/63. During this period the Attorney 
General requested a report from the Internal Security Division concerning Dr. 
King. The reply, dated June 28. cited Advisers A and B as the chief sources of 
alleged Oommimist influence on Dr. King. (Memorandum from J. Walter Yeag- 
ley to the Attorney General, 6/28/63. ) 

'* Andrew Young, who was present at the meeting with Burke Marshall, testi- 
fied that Marshall had said that the Bureau had informed the Justice Depart- 
ment that there was in fact C' influence in the civil rights movement, 
and had explicitly mentioned Adviser A. When Young asked Marshall for proof, 
he said that he had none, and that he "couldn't get anything out, of the Bureau." 
Young recalled that Marshall had said, "We ask (the Bureau) for things and 
we get these big memos, but they don't ever really say anything." Young testified 
that Marshall "was asking us to disassociate ourselves from [Adviser A] alto- 
gether." (Andrew Young testimony, 2/19/76, pp. 40-44) 

^* Memorandum from Burke Marshall to J. Edgar Hoover, 9/12/63. 

" Young, 2/19/76, p. 40. 

Marshall's and the President's warnings did not go unheeded. On 
July 3, 1963, Dr. King sent the Attorney General a copy of a letter 
to Adviser B bearing that date." In that letter, Dr. King stated that 
an investigation by the SCLC had proven the charges concerning Ad- 
viser B's association with the Communist Party groundless, but that 
his permanent resignation was necessary because "the situation in 
our country is such that . . . any allusion to the left brings forth an 
emotional resjDonse which would seem to indicate that SCLC and the 
Southern Freedom Movement are Communist inspired." ^^ 

B. Allegations About Dr. King During Hearings on the Public 
Accommodatio'ns BUI and the Administration'' s Response: 
Jidy 1963 

Allegations of Communist influence in the civil rights movement 
were widely publicized in the summer of 1963 by opponents of the ad- 
ministration's proposed public accommodations bill. On July 12, 1963, 
Governor Ross E. Barnett of Mississippi testified before the Senate 
Commerce Committee that civil rights legislation was "a part of the 
world Communist conspiracy to divide and conquer our country from 
within." "'' Barnett displayed a photograph entitled "Martin Luther 
King at Communist Training School" taken by an informant for the 
Georgia Commission of Education, which showed Dr. King at a 1957 
Labor Day Weekend seminar at the Highland Folk School in Mont- 
eagle, Tennessee with three individuals whom he alleged were com- 
munists. When Senator Mike Monroney challenged the accuracy of 
this characterization, Barnett stated that he had not checked the al- 
legations with the FBI and suggested that the Commerce Committee 
do so. The FBI subsequently concluded that the charges were false.^^ 

Later that day. Senator Monroney asked Director Hoover for his 
views on whether Dr. King and the leaders of other civil rights organi- 
zations had Communist affiliations.*^ Senator Warren G. Magnuson 
also asked Hoover about the authenticity of the photograph, 
the status of the Georgia Commission on Education, and the nature of 
the Highlander Folk School.*- Director Hoover forwarded these 
requests and similar inquiries from other Senators to the Justice 

" Letter from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Adviser B, 7/3/63. 

'* King letter, 7/3/63, which concluded : "We certainly appreciate the years of 
unselfish service which you have put into our New York Office and regret the ne- 
cessity of your departure. Certainly yours is a significant sacrifice commensurate 
with the sufferings in jail and through loss of jobs under racist intimidation. We 
all pray for the day when our nation may be truly the land of the free. May GU>d 
bless you and continue to inspire you in the service of your fellowman." 

" Ross Barnett testimony, Senate Commerce Committee, 7/12/63, p. 1. 

*"The FBI informed the Justice Department that none of those individ- 
uals were Communist Party members, and that there was no evidence sup- 
porting t-he charge that the school was a communist training center. (Memo- 
randum from Milton Jones to Cartha DeLoach, 7/16/63, p. 2). 

Congressman Andrew Young, then an adviser to Dr. King, testified that the 
Highlander Folk School photograph had been frequently used to smear Dr. King 
in the South. Congressman Young's testimony that the School was not a Commu- 
nist institution was consistent with the FBI's conclusion (Andrew Young testi- 
mony, 2/18/76, p. 53 ) . 

*' Letter from Senator Mike Monroney to J. Edgar Hoover, 7/12/63. 

*^ Letter from Senator Warren G. Magnuson to J. Edgar Hoover, 7/16/63. 


Departments^ with a memorandum summarizing the COMINFIL 

information about SCL : 

In substance, the Communist Party, USA, is not able to as- 
sume a role of leadership in the racial unrest at this time. 
However, the Party is attempting to exploit the current 
racial situation through propaganda and participation in 
demonstrations and other activities whenever possible. 
Through these tactics, the Party hopes ultimately to pro- 
gress from its current supporting role to a position of active 
leadersliip. [Emphasis added.] 

In the same memorandum, Director Hoover brought up the subject 
of Advisers A and B's alleged Communist affiliations. He claimed that 
the Communist Party had pinned its hopes on Adviser A, and that 
although Adviser B had resigned from the SCLC, he continued to 
associate with Dr. King.** 

On July 15, Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama testified 
before the Senate Commerce Committee in opposition to the Civil 
Eights bill, berating officials for "fawning and pawing over such 
people as Martin Luther King and his pro-Communist friends and 
associates." Wallace referred to the picture displayed by Governor 
Barnett three days before and added : 

Recently Martin Luther King publicly professed to have 
fired a known Communist, [Adviser B], who had been on his 
payroll. But as discovered by a member of the US Congress, 
the public profession was a lie, and Adviser B had re- 
mained on King's payroll.®'^ 

On July 17, the President announced at a news conference : 

We have no evidence that any of the leaders of the civil 
rights movement in the United States are Communists. We 
have no evidence that the demonstrations are Communist- 
inspired. There may be occasions when a Communist takes 
part in a demonstration. We can't prevent that. But I think 
it is a convenient scapegoat to suggest that all of the difficul- 
ties are Communist and that if the Communist movement 
would only disappear that we would end this.^^ 

** Tolson urged Hoover to let the Attorney General respond to these reports ; 
otherwise, Hoover might be called before the Committee to testify concerning 
"current racial agitation." The Director noted on the bottom of the memoran- 
dum, "I share Tolson's views." Memorandum from Clyde Tolson to the Director, 

" Memorandum from Director, FBI to Attorney General, 7/17/63. 

^ Wallace introduced into the record a copy of an article from the Birming- 
ham News, "King's SCLC Pays [Adviser B.] Despite Denial," June 30, 1963. 
The article stated that Dr. King had told reporters that Adviser B had not been 
associated with the SCLC since December 1962. but that a "highly authorized 
source" revealed that Dr. King was continuing to accept Adviser B's .services 
and to pay his expenses. The article also reported allegations about Adviser B's 
association with the Communist Party. 

^' Public Papers of the Presidents, John F. Kennedy, p. 574. 


On July 23, Robert Kennedy sent to the Commerce Committee the 
Justice Department's response to the queries of Senators Monroney 
and Magnuson : 

Based on all available evidence from the FBI and other 
sources, we have no evidence that any of the top leaders of the 
major civil rights groups are Communists, or Communist con- 
trolled. This is true as to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., about 
whom particular accusations were made, as well as other 

It is natural and inevitable that Communists have made 
efforts to infiltrate the civil rights groups and to exploit the 
current racial situation. In view of the real injustices that 
exist and the resentment against them, these efforts have been 
remarkably unsuccessful.®* 

Burke Marshall, who aided in formulating these responses for the 
Justice Department, told the Committee that rumors of communist 
infiltration in the civil rights movement had caused the Administra- 
tion considerable concern. 

At that point, in some sense the business was a political 
problem, not from the point of view of the support that the 
civil rights movement was giving the administration or any- 
thing like that, but how to be honest with the Senators with 
this problem facing us and at the same time not to give ammu- 
nition to people who for substantive reasons were opposed to 
civil rights legislation. 

Generally, for years the civil rights movement in the South 
and to some extent in some quarters in the North . . . were con- 
stantly referred to as communist infiltrated, communist in- 
spired, radical movements. ... So that the political problem 
that I would identify with this whole situation would be that 
and not a question of whether or not there was support given 
the Administration by civil rights groups in the South.®'' 

C The Attorney General Considers a Wiretap of Dr. King and 
Rejects the Idea : July 1963 

On July 16, 1963, the day after Governor Wallace's charges that 
Dr. King was dominated by Communists and the day before the Presi- 
dent's denial of Communist influence in the civil rights movement, the 
Attorney General raised with Courtney Evans the possibility of wire- 
tap coverage of Dr. King. According to Evans' memorandum about 
this meeting : 

The AG was contacted at his request late this afternoon. 
He said that ... a New York attorney who has had close asso- 
ciation with Martin Luther King, and with [Adviser A] had 
been to see Burke Marshall about the racial situation. Ac- 

^ Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, who had also inquired of the FBI about 
Dr. King, was orally briefed by Nicholas Katzenbach and Courtney Evans on 
November 1, 1963. According to a memorandum by Evans, the Attorney General 
had made several attempts to draft a reply to Senator Russell's inquiries, and had 
finally settled on an "innocuous" written reply and an oral briefing. (DeLoach to 
Mohr, 2/5/76). 

*» Burke Marshall testimony, 3/3/76, p. 13. 


cording to the AG, [the attorney] had indicated he had some 
reservations about talking with [Adviser A] on the phone. 
Marsliall thought he mi^ht have been referring to a possible 
pht^ne tap, and passed it off by telling [the New York at- 
torney] this was something he would have to take up with 
[Adviser A.] 

The purpose of the AG's contact was that this brought 
to his attention the possibility of effecting technical coverage 
on both [the New York attorney] and Martin Luther King. 
I told the AG that I was not at all acquainted with [the New 
York attorney], but that, in so far as Dr. King was concerned, 
it was obvious from the reports that he was in a travel status 
practically all the time, and it was, therefore, doubtful that 
a technical surveillance on his office or home would be very 
productive. I also raised the question as to the repercussions 
if it should ever become known that such a surveillance had 
been put on Dr. King. 

The AG said this did not concern him at all, that in view 
of the possible Communist influence in the racial situation, 
he thought it advisable to have as complete coverage as 
possible. I told him, under the circumstances, that we would 
check into the matter to see if coverage was feasible, and, 
if so, would submit an appropriate recommendation to him.^° 

Keports from the FBI offices indicated that wiretaps were feasible,^^ 
and Director Hoover requested the Attorney General to approve wire- 
taps on phones in Dr. King's home, SCLC offices,^^ ^nd the New York 
attorney's home and law office.^^ 

On July 24, the day after his letter to the Commerce Committee 
exonerating Dr. King, the Attorney General informed Evans that 
he had decided against technical surveillance of Dr. King but had ap- 
proved surveillance of the New York Attorney.^* 

The Attorney General informed me today that he had been 
considering the request he made on July 16, 1963, for a 
technical surveillance on Martin Luther King at his home 
and office and was now of the opinion that those would be 

At the time the Attorney General initially asked for such 
a surveillance, he was told there was considerable doubt that 
the productivity of such surveillance would be worth the 
risk because King travels most of the time and that there 
might be serious repercussions should it ever become known 

^ Memorandum from Courtney Evans to Alan Belmont. 7/16/63. The New 
York attorney was described by the FBI as a counsel to Dr. King, and an activist 
in civil rights matters. (Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney 
General, 7/22/63.) 

"' Airtel, from SAC Atlantic to Director FBI. 7/24/63 : "Technical surveillance 
feasible with full security." 

" Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General, 7/23/63. 

" Memorandum, J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General, 7/22/63. 

*^ The only evidence of communist ties of the New York attorney that the FBI 
appears to have given the Attorney General was an informant's allegation that in 
l!t.~)3 and 1954 he had been an active member of the Labor Y'outh League, an 
organization which had been cited as "subversive" under Executive Order 
10450 (Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney (General ). 


the Government had instituted this coverage. These were the 
very thoughts that the Attorney General expressed today in 
withdrawing his request. 

With reference to the other technical surveillance requested 
at the same time, namely, the one on [the New York at- 
torney], the Attorney General felt this was in a different 
category and we should go forward with this coverage. It is 
noted that this was previously approved in writing by the 
Attorney General. 

. . , We will take no further action to effect technical cover- 
age on Martin Luther King, either at his home or at his oflSice 
at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, in the 
absence of a further request from the Attorney General.^^ 

In June 1969, Director Hoover told a reporter for the Washington 
Evening Star that Attorney General Kennedy had "request-ed that the 
telephones of Dr. King be covered by electronic devices and was per- 
suaded by our people not to do it in view of the possible reper- 
cussions," and because Dr. King's constant traveling made a wiretap 
impractical.^® When the Committee asked Courtney Evans whether 
the idea of installing a wiretap originated with the Attorney General, 
he testified : 

No, this is not clear in my mind at all. The record that has 
been exhibited to me really doesn't establish this definitely, 
although that inference can be drawn from some of the memo- 
randa. But it is my recollection, without the benefit of any 
specifics, that there was much more to it than this. And I 
have the feeling that there were pressures existing in time to 
develop more specific information that may have had a 
bearing here. 

Q. Pressures emanating from where and upon whom ? 

A. I think from both sides, the Bureau wanted to get more 
specific information, and the Department wanted resolved 
the rather indefinite information that had been received 
indicating the possibility of Communist influence on the Dr. 
King movement.^^ 

Z>. The Attorney General Voices Concern Over Continuing FBI 
Re/ports About King : July- August 1963 

Following the appearance of an article on July 25, 1963, in the 
Atlanta Constitution^ titled "One-time Communist Organizer Heads 
Rev. King's Office in N.Y.," Dr. King announced that an SCLC inves- 
tigation of Adviser B indicated that he had "no present connection 
with the CP nor any sympathy with its philosophy." Dr. King ex- 
plained that Adviser B had been on the SCLC staff on a temporary 
basis since his resignation in December 1962, but that he had left the 
SCLC on June 26, 1963, by "mutual agreement" because of concern 

^ Memorandum from Courtney Evans to Alan Belmont, 7/25/63. 
** Jeremiah O'Leary, The Evening Star, 6/19/69 ; Hoover memorandum for 
record. 6/19/69. 

" Courtney Evans testimony, 12/1/75, pp. 7-8. 


that his affiliation with the integration movement would be used 
against it by "segregationists and race baiters." 

The Justice Department, however, continued to receive reports 
from the FBI that Dr. King was continuing his association with Ad- 
visers A and B.^^ Shortly after Attorney General Kennedy's July 23 
response to the Commerce Committee, Courtney Evans : 

Advisor B, [deleted]. 

pointed out to Marehall the undesirability of making the spe- 
cific comments ... as to giving complete clearance to Martin 
Luther King as Marshall had had the full details as to King's 
association with [Adviser A] and [Adviser B.] 

Marshall said that he was most appreciative of our warning 
him about these pitfalls and he would be guided accordingly 
in any future statements. He added that he would also appre- 
ciate our continuing to highlight for him any information 
concerning communist activity in the Negro movement." "° 

On July 29, Director Hoover sent the Justice Department a report 
from the New York Office entitled "Martin Luther King, Jr. : Affilia- 
tion with the Communist Movement." ^°^ The entry under the caption, 
"Evidence of Communist Party Sympathies," has been deleted by the 
FBI from copies of the report given to the Committer on the grounds 
that it might compromise informants. It was a general characteriza- 
tion and ran for only one and one-half lines. A memorandum from 
Courtney Evans described Attorney General Kennedy's reaction: 

The Attorney General stated that if this report got up to 
the Hill at this time, he would be impeached. He noted if this 
report got out, it would be alleged the FBI said King was 
[excised by the FBI]. 

The Attorney General went on to say that the report had 
been reviewed in detail by Assistant Attorney General Burke 
Marshall who had told him there wasn't anything n^w here 
concerning King's alleged communist sympathies but that it 
was the timing of the report and its possible misuse that con- 
cerned him. The Attorney General went on to say that he 
didn't feel he could fully trust everyone in the Internal Secu- 
rity Division of the Department. 

t pointed out to the Attorney General that first of all this 
report was classified secret and was just a summary report 
to bring our files and that of the Department's up to date. He 
said that while this was undoubtedly true, the submission of 
the report at this time in this form presented definite hazards. 
He therefore asked that the report be resubmitted to him with 
a cover memorandum setting forth the exact evidence avail- 

"* On July 17. in the midst of publicity concerning Dr. King's association with 
Adviser B, Director Hoover informed the Attorney General that although Ad- 
viser B had formally resigned from the SCLC, he was continuing his associa- 
tion with Dr. King. (Memorandum from Director, FBI, to Attorney Gteneral, 

^'^ Memorandum from Courtney Evans to Alan Belmont, 7/29/63. 

^"^Report of Special Agent: Martin Luther King, Jr.: Affiliation with the Com- 
munist Movement, 7/22/63. 


able to support the statement that King has been described 
[excised by the FBI]. "2 

The reason for Attorney General Kennedy's reaction is unclear.^"^ 
It may be that he feared a "leak" of the FBI's allegations concerning 
communist influence over Dr. King would be particularly embarrass- 
ing in light of the Administration's recent statements in support of 
Dr. King. The Attorney General's insistence on a supplemental 
memorandum detailing the underlying evidence, coupled with the tone 
of the memorandum, also suggests that he was anxious to get to the 
bottom of the charges. 

Hoover resubmitted the report with a cover letter stating in part : 

In this connection, your attention is invited to my letter of 
February 14, 1962, in captioned matter and to my letter of 
July 17, 1963, captioned "Request from Senator Monroney 
Concerning Current Racial Agitation," both of which contain 
information to the effect that Adviser A has characterized 
King [deleted by FBI].i»* 

The relevant portions of the February 14, 1962, memorandum and 
the July 17, 1963, memorandum have been deleted from copies sup- 
plied to the Committee. It is clear, however, that the Attorney Gen- 
eral had be«n aware of whatever information those memoranda con- 
tained when he had decided not to approve the King wiretaps the 
previous month. 

Despite the FBI's failure to produce any new evidence to substan- 
tiate its apparently unfavorable characterization of Dr. King, the 
question of whether Advisers A and B continued to influence Dr. King 
remained a matter of concern to the Justice Department. On Aug- 
ust 20, 1963, Evans reported : 

Today the Attorney General asked if we would continue to 
keep him closely informed of information received relative 
to Advisers B's contact with Martin Luther King. He had 
specific reference to our letter of August 2, 1963. 

It appears that the Attorney General is receiving conflict- 
ing advice within the Department proper as to whether there 
is sufficient evidence of a continuing contact between King 
and Adviser B to justify some action. The Civil Rights Divi- 
sion has expressed the thought that nothing need he done by 
the Department. On the other hand, Andrew Oehmann, the 
Attorney General's Executive Assistant, has counseled him 
that in his judgment there is ample evidence there is a con- 
tinuing relationship which Martin Luther King is trying to 

E. The FBI Intensifies Its Investigation of Alleged Communist 
Influence in ths Civil Rights Movement: July-Se'ptember 1963 

On July 18, 1963, in response to intelligence reports that the Com- 
munist Party was encouraging its members to participate actively in 

^"* Memorandum from Courtney Evans to Alan Belmont, 8/1/63. 
^"* Burke Marshall testified that he could not recall this incident. Burke Mar- 
shall testimony, 3/3/76, p. 25. 
^°* Memorandum from Director.^FBI to Attorney general, 8/2/63. 
^"^ Memorandum from Courtney*Evans to Alan Belmont, 8/20/63, 


the forthcoming March on Washington, the FBI opened a file captioned 
"Communist Influence in Racial Matters." Field offices were advised : 

it is reasonable to assume that the future will witness a 
strong effort on the part of the CPUSA to inject itself into 
and to exploit the struggle for equal rights for Negroes. 
Therefore, during the investigation of the CPUSA, each re- 
cipient office should be extremely alert to data indicating in- 
terest, plans, or actual involvement of the Party in the 
current Negro movement. This matter should be given close 
attention and the Bureau kept currently advised.^**® 

The results of voluminous reports from field offices around the coun- 
try concerning the plans of the Communist Party and "other subversive 
groups" were summarized by the Domestic Intelligence Division in a 
report dated August 22, 1963.^°^ That report concluded that there was 
no evidence that the March "was actually initiated by or is controlled 
by the CP," ^"* although the Party had publicly endorsed the March 
and had urged members to "clandestinely participate" in order to 
"foster the illusion that the CP is a humanitarian group acting in the 
interest of the Negro." The Party's tactics were summarized : 

CP leaders have stressed the fact that the March is not the 
be all and end all in itself. Events which subsequently flow 
from the March will be of utmost importance, such as follow- 
ing up in contacts now being made by CP members working in 
support of the demonstration. Utilizing the March, the Party 
has three basic general objectives : 

(1) Participation by CP members through legitimate 

(2) Attempt to get the Party line into the hands of sym- 
pathizers and supporters of the March through distribution 
of "The Worker" and Party pamphlets. 

(3) Utilize the March as a steppingstone for future Party 
activity through contacts now being made by Party members 
involved in the March."^ 

The next day the Domestic Intelligence Division submitted to the 
Director a 67-page Brief detailing the CPUSA's efforts to exploit the 
American Negro, and finding virtually no successes in these efforts. A 
synopsis observed : 

(1) "The 19 million Negroes in the United States today 
constitute the largest and most important racial target of the 
Communist Party, USA. Since 1919, communist leaders have 
devised countless tactics and programs designed to penetrate 
and control Negro population." The "colossal efforts" focused 
around "equal opportunity," and efforts were presently being 

'*■ Memorandum from Director, FBI to Special Agents in Charge, 7/18/63, p. 2. 

^•"Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 8/22/63, 
p. 1. 

^'^ Baumgardner memorandum, 8/22/63, p. 1. The report noted that Adviser A 
was critical of the Party's role in the civil rights movement and that he had said 
he did not consider himself under the control of the Party in his dealings with 
Dr. King. 

^•^ Baumgardner memorandum, 8/22/63, p. 2. 


made with "limited degrees of success" to infiltrate legitimate 
Negro organizations. " [T] here is no known substantial imple- 
mentation of Communist Party aims and policies arrwng 
Negroes in the labor field.'''' 

(2) ^^ While not the insUgator and presently unable to direct 
or control the coming Negro August 28 March on Washing- 
ton, D.C., communist officials are planning to do all possible to 
advance communist aims in a supporting role." 

(3) "Despite tremendous sums of money and time spent by 
the Communist Party, USA, on the American Negro during 
the past 44 years, the Party has failed to reach its goal loith 
the Negroes.'''' 

(4) "There has been an obvious failure of the Communist 
Party of the United States to appreciably Infltrate^ influence, 
or control large 7iumbe7S of American Negroes in this coun- 
try .. . The Communist Party in the next few years may 
fail dismally with the American Negro as it has in the past. 
On the other hand, it may make prodigious strides and great 
success with the American Negroes, to the serious detriment of 
our national security. Time alone will tell." "° 

William Sullivan, who then headed the Domestic Intelligence Divi- 
sion of the FBI, testified that this "Brief" precipitated a dispute 
between Director Hoover and the Domestic Intelligence Division over 
the extent of communist influence in the civil rights movement, and 
that the resulting "intensification" Avas part of an attempt by the 
Intelligence Division to regain Hoover's approval,"^ The documentary 
evidence bearing on the internal FBI dispute is set forth below, with 
Sullivan's explanation of what occurred. Sullivan's comments, how- 
ever, should be considered in light of the intense personal feud that 
subsequently developed between Sullivan and Director Hoover, and 
which ultimately led to Sullivan's dismissal from the Bureau. While 
Sullivan testified that the intensified investigation of the SCLC was 
the product of Director Hoover's prodding the Domestic Intelligence 
Division to conform its evidence to his preconceptions, the documen- 
tary evidence may also be read as indicating that the Domestic Intel- 
ligence Division was manipulating the Director in a subtle bureau- 
cratic battle to gain approval for expanded programs. 

Sullivan testified that a careful review of the files in preparation for 
writing the "Brief" revealed no evidence of "marked or substantial" 
Communist infiltration of the movement, and that he had instructed 
his assistant to "state the facts just as they are" and "then let the 
storm break." "^ Sullivan said he had known that Hoover would be 
displeased with his conclusions because Hoover was convinced the civil 
rights movement was strongly influenced by communists. Sullivan's 
prediction was borne out by Hoover's observations, scrawled across 
the bottom of the memorandum : 

This memo reminds me vividly of those I received when 
Castro took over Cuba. You^ontended then that Castro and 
his cohorts were not communists and not influenced by com- 

"° Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 8/23/63, 
p. 1 {Emphasis added]. 

'" William Sullivan testimony, 11/1/75, p. 12. 
^" Sullivan, 11/1/75, p. 13. 


munists. Time alone proved you wrong. I for one can't ignore 
the memoes . , . re King, Advisers A and B . . . et al. 
as having only an infinitesimal eft'ect on the efforts to exploit 
the American Negro by the Communists."^ 

Sullivan recalled: 

This [memorandum] set me at odds with Hoover ... A few 
months went by before he would speak to me. Everything was 
conducted by exchange of written communications. It was 
evident that we had to change our ways or we would all be 
out on the street.^" 

The Director penned sarcastic notes on subsequent memoranda from 
the Domestic Intelligence Division. In the margin of a report that 
over 100 Communist Party members were planning to participate 
in the March on Washington, the Director wrote, "just infinitesi- 
mal!""^ A preliminaiy report on possible communist influence on 
the March noted that Party functionaries were pleased with the 
March, believed it would impress Congress, and that a "rally of 
similar proportions on the subject of automation could advance the 
cause of socialism in the United States." Director Hoover remarked, 
"I assume CP functionary claims are all frivolous." "'^ Sullivan tes- 
tified : 

the men and I discussed how to get out of trouble. To be in 
trouble with Mr. Hoover was a serious matter. These men were 
trying to buy homes, mortgages on homes, children in school. 
They lived in fear of getting transferred, losing money on 
their homes, as they usually did. In those days the market 
was not soaring, and children in school, so they wanted 
another memorandum written to get us out of this trouble we 
were in. I said I would write the memorandum this time. The 
onus always falls on the person who w^rites a memorandum."' 

On August 30, Sullivan wrote his apologetic reply : 

The Director is correct. We were completely wrong about 
believing the evidence was not sufficient to determine some 
years ago that Fidel Castro was not a communist or under 
communist influence. On investigating and writing about 
communism and the American Negro, we had better remember 
this and profit by the lesson it should teach us. 

. . . Personally, I believe in the light of King's powerful 
demagogic speech yesterday "^ he stands head and shouldere 
over all other Negro leaders put together when it comes to 

"* Baumgardner memorandum, 8/23/63, p. 3. 

"* Sullivan, 11/1/75, p. 20. 

^'^ Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 8/26/63, 
p. 1. 

"'Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 8/29/63, 
p. 3. 

^" Sullivan, 11/1/75, p. 22. 

"^The "demagogic speech" was Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech. When 
showTi this entry by the Committee, Sullivan testified : 

"I do not apologize for this tactic. You either had to use this tactic or you did 
not exist. I put in this memorandum what Hoover wanted to hear. He was so 
damn mad at us." (Sullivan, 11/1/75, p. 29) 

69-984 O - 76 - 8 


influencing great masses of Negroes. We must mark him now, 
if Ave have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro 
of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of com- 
munism, the Negro and national security. 

. . . [I]t may be unrealistic to limit ourselves as we have 
been doing to legalistic proofs or definitely conclusive evi- 
dence that would stand up in testimony in couit or before 
Congressional Comm'ttees that the Communist Party. ITSA, 
does wield substantia] influence ovei- Negroes which one day 
could become decisive. 

We regret greatly that the memorandum did not measure 
up to what the Director has a right to expect from our 

Sullivan testified concerning this memorandum : 

Here again we had to engage in a lot of nonsense which 
we ourselves really did not believe in. We either had to do 
that or we would be finished. ^^° 

The memorandum stated that "The history of the Communist Party, 
IT.S.A., is replete with its attempts to exploit, influence and recruit 
the Negro." After reading this entry. Sullivan testified : 

These are words that ai-e very significant to me because I 
know what they mean. We build this thing . . . and say all this 
is a clear indication that the Party's favorite target is the 
Negro today. When you analyze it. what does it mean ? How 
often has it been able to hit the target ? . . . We did not discuss 
that because we would have to say they did not hit the target, 
hardly at all.^^^ 

In an apparent fuither effort to please the Director, Sullivan recom- 
mended, on September 16, 196-3, "increased coverage of communist in- 
fluence on the Negro.'' His memorandum noted that "all indications" 
pointed toward increasing "attempts*' by the Party to exploit racial 
unrest. The field was to "intensify" coverage of communist influence 
on Negroes by giving "fullest consideration to the use of all possible 
investigative techniques.'' 

Further, we are stressing the urgent need for imaginative 
and aggressive tactics to be utilized through our Counter- 
intelligence Program — these designed to attempt to neutral- 
ize or disrupt the Party's activities in the Negro field.^^^ 

Hoover rejected this proposal with the remarks : 

No. I can't understand how you can so agilely switch your 
thinking and evaluation. Just a few weeks ago you contended 
that the Communist influence in the racial movement was in- 
efi^ective and infinitesimal. This — notwithstanding many 
memos of specific instances of infiltration. Now you want to 
load the Field down with more coverage in spite of your re- 

"" Memorandum from William Sullivan to ^lan Belmont. 8/30/63. p. 1. 

''" Sullivan. 11/1/7.5, p. 30. 

"' Sullivan testimony, 11/1/75, p. 41. 

"^ Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 9/16/63. 


cent memo depreciating C.P. influence in racial movement. I 
don't intend to waste time and money until you can make up 
your minds what the situation really is.^^^ 

Sullivan testified that he had interpreted Hoover's note to mean that 
the Director was : 

egging us on, to come back and say, "Mr. Hoover, you are 
right, we are wrong. There is communist infiltration of the 
American Negro. We think we should go ahead and carry on 
an intensified program against it." He knew when he wrote 
this, he knew precisely what kind of reply he was going to 

Sullivan responded in a memorandum to the Deputy Associate 
Director, Alan Belmont : 

On returning from a few days leave I have been advised 
of the Director's continued dissatisfaction with the manner 
in which we prepared a Brief on [communist influence in 
racial matters] and subsequent memoranda on the same sub- 
ject matter. This situation is very disturbing to those of us in 
the Domestic Intelligence Division and we certainly want to 
do everything possible to correct our shortcomings. . . . The 
Director indicated he would not approve our last SAC letter 
until there was a clarification and a meeting of minds relative 
to the question of the extent of communist influence over 
Negroes and their leaders .... 

As we know, facts by themselves are not too meaningful, 
for they are somewhat like stones tossed in a heap as con- 
trasted to the same stones put in the form of a sound edifice. 
It is obvious that loe did not jmt the proper interpretation 
upon the facts whieh we gave to the Director. [Emphasis 

As previously stated, we are in complete agreement with 
the Director that communist influence is being exerted on 
Martin Luther King, Jr., and that King is the strongest of 
the Negro leaders . . . [w]e regard Martin Luther King to 
be the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the 

May I repeat that our failure to measure up to what the 
Director expected of us in the area of Communist-Negro 
relations is a subject of very deep concern to us in the Domes- 
tic Intelligence Division. We are disturbed by this and ought 
to be. I want him to know that we will do everything that is 
humanly possible to develop all facts nationwide relative to 

'^ Director Hoover's note on Baumgardner memorandum. 9/16/63. p. 2. Hoover 
fl commented on the transmittal slip : 

"I have certainly been misled by previous memos which clearly showed com- 
, munist penetration of the racial movement. The attached is contradictory of all 
j that. We are wasting manpower and money investigating CP effort in racial 
I matter if the attached is coiTect. (Memorandum from Clyde Tolson to the Direc- 
tor. 9/18/63.) 

''' Sullivan, 11/1/75. p. 46. 


communist penetration and influence over Negro leaders and 
their organizations.^^^ 

Sullivan resubmitted his proposed intensification instructions to the 
field. This time the Director agreed. 

The intensification was put into effect by an SAC letter dated Octo- 
ber 1, 1963, which contained the usual allusion to "efforts" and "at- 
tempts" by the Communist Party to influence the civil rights move- 
ment, but which said nothing about the absence of results : 

The history of the Communist Party, USA (CPUSA), is 
replete with its attempts to exploit^ m:fluence and recruit 
the Negro. The March on AVashington, August 28, 1963, was 
a striking example as Party leaders early put into motion 
efforts to accrue gains for the CPUSA from the March. The 
presence at the March of around 200 Party members, ranging 
from several national functionaries headed by CPUSA Gen- 
eral Secretary Gus Hall to many rank-and-file members, is 
clear indication of the Party's favorite target (the Negro) 

All indications are that the March was not the "end of the 
line" and that the Party will step up its efforts to exploit 
racial unrest and in every possible way claim credit for itself 
relating to any "gains" achieved by the Negro. A clear-cut 
indication of the Party's designs is revealed in secret informa- 
tion obtained from a most sensitive source that the Party 
plans to hold a highly secretive leadership meeting in Novem- 
ber, 1963, which will deal primarily with the Negro situation. 
The Party has closely guarded plans for Gus Hall to under- 
take a "barnstorming'' trip througli key areas of the country 
to meet Party people and thus better prepare himself for the 
November meeting. 

In order for the Bureau to cope Avith the Party's efforts 
and thus fulfill our responsibilities in the security field, it is 
necessary that we at once intensify our coverage of communist 
influence on the Negro. Fullest consideration should be given 
to the use of all possible investigative techniques in the in- 
vestigation of the CP-USA, those communist fronts through 
which the Party channels its influence, and the many individ- 
ual Party members and dupes. There is also an urgent need 
for imaginative and aggressive tactics to be utilized through 

^ Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont. 9/25/63, p. 1. Sullivan 
named the "changing situation in the Communist Party-Negro relations area" as 
the reason for a more intense investigation of communist influence in racial 
matters : 

"During the past two weeks in particular there have been sharp stepped-up 
activities on the part of communist officials to infiltrate and to dominate Negro 
developments in this country. Further, they are meeting with successes." 

A review of the Bureau files for the month prior to Sullivan's memorandum 
reveals no increase in CPUSA activity or any success on its part. The only rele- 
vant entries indicate : 

(1) At a meeting on .30. leading Party functionaries termed the 
March on Washington a 'success,' and discussed what action to take to advance 
civil rights legislation. Demonstrations were discussed, but none were planned. 
(Memorandum from Director, FBI, to Attorney General, 9/5/63). 

(2) On August 30. Adviser B was observed spending an hour in the building 
housing the New York SCLC oflSces. (Memorandum from Director, FBI to Attor- 
ney General, 9/5/63). 



our Counterintelligence Program for the purpose of attempt- 
ing to neutralize or disrupt the Party's activities in the Negro 
field. Because of the Bureau's responsibility for timely dis- 
semination of pertinent information to the Department and 
other interested agencies, it is more than ever necessary that 
all facets of this matter receive prompt handling/^" 

The instruction to use "all possible investigative techniques" appears 
to have dictated the intensification of the COMINFIL investigation 

This was consistent with Sullivan's assurance to Director Hoov^er at 
the end of September that "we will do everything that is humanly 
possible to develop all facts nationwide relative to the Communist 
penetration and influence over Negro leaders and their organizations." 

The emphasis on "imaginative and aggressive tactics" to disrupt 
Communist Party activities in the Negro field appears to have in- 
volved an expansion of the COINTELPRO operation already under- 
way against the Connnunist Party. In 1956, the Bureau had ini- 
tiated a COINTELPRO operation against the Communist Party, 
USA, with the goal of "feeding and fostering" internal friction Mathin 
the Party. The program was soon expanded to include "preventing 
communists from seizing control of legitimate mass organizations, 
and . . , discrediting others who [are] secretly operating inside such 
organizations." ^" The October 1, 1963 "intensification" instruction 
emphasized this latter objective of disiiiption.^^^ 

The intensification order appeai-s to have been more a product of 
preconceptions and bureaucratic squabbles ^^^thin the FBI than a 
response to genuine concerns based on hard evidence that communists 
might be influencing the civil rights movement. Because Director 
Hoover is deceased, the (^ommittee was able to obtain onlv one 
side of the story. Sullivan's version depicts the Domestic Intelligence 
Division executing an about-face after Director Hoover rejex'ted its 
conclusion that evidence did not indicate significant communist influ- 
ence, reinterpreting its original data to reach conclusions the Director 
wanted to hear, and then basing its recommendations for action on the 
new "analysis." However, the memoranda could also support a conten- 
tion that the Domestic Intelligence Division misled Director Hoover in 
order to maneuver him into supporting expanded domestic intelligence 


Introduction and Sunvmary 

In October 1963, Attorney General Robert Kennedy approved an 
FBI request for permission to install wiretaps on phones in Dr. King's 

"•Director, FBI to SAC, 10/1/63. [Emphasis added.] 

"' The history of COINTELPRO— FBI's counterintelligence operations to dis- 
rupt various domestic dissident groupKS — is discussed in a separate staff report. 
Adviser B had been the target of one such COINTELPRO operation in 1962, when 
the Bureau attempted to generate a series of newspaper articles designed to ex- 
pose his alleged Party background. See pp. 9.5-96. 

*" The use of COINTELPRO techniques to discredit Dr. King is discussed in 
the ensuing chapters. 


home and in the SCLC's New York and Atlanta offices to determine 
the extent, if any, of "communist influence in the racial situation." The 
FBI construed this authorization to extend to Dr. King's hotel rooms 
and the home of a friend. No further authorization was sought until 
mid- 1965, after Attorney General Katzenbach required the FBI for 
the first time to seek renewed authorization for all existing wiretaps. 
The wiretaps on Dr. King's home were apparently terminated at that 
time by Attorney General Katzenbach; the SCLC wiretaps were 
terminated by Attorney General Ramsay Clark in June 1966. 

In December, 1963 — three months after Attorney General Kennedy 
approved the wiretaps — ^the FBI, without informing the Attorney 
General, planned and implemented a secret effort to discredit Dr. King 
and to "neutralize'' him as the leader of the civil rights movement. 
One of the first steps in this effort involved hiding microphones in 
Dr. King's hotel rooms. Those microphones were installed without 
Attorney General Kennedy's prior authorization or subsequent noti- 
fication, neither of which were required under practices then current. 
The FBI continued to place microphones in Dr. King's hot«l rooms 
until November 1965. Attorney General Katzenbach was apparently 
notified immediately after the fact of the placement of three micro- 
phones between May and November 1965. It is not clear why the FBI 
stopped its microphone surveillance of Dr. King, although its decision 
may have been related to concern about public exposure during the 
Long Committee's investigation of electronic surveillance. 

This chapter examines the legal basis for the wiretaps and micro- 
phones, the evidence surrounding the motives for their use, and the 
degree to which Justice Department and White House officials were 
aware of the FBI's electronic surveillance of Dr. King. 

A. Legal Standards Governing the FBPs Duty to Infonn the Justice 
Department of Wiretaps and Microphones During the Period of 
the Martin Luther King Investigation 

The FBI's use of wiretaps and miciophones to follow Dr. King's 
activities must be examined in light of the accepted legal standards 
and practices of the time. Before March 1965, the FBI followed differ- 
ent procedures for the authorization of wiretaps and microphones. 
Wiretaps required the approval of the Attorney General in advance. 
However, once the Attorney General had authorized the FBI to initi- 
ate wiretap coverage of a subject, the Bureau generally continued the 
wiretap for as long as it judged necessary. As former Attorney General 
Katzenbach testified : 

The custom was not to put a time limit on a tap, or any wiretap 
authorization. Indeed, I think the Bureau would have felt 
free in 1965 to put a tap on a phone authorized by Attorney 
General Jackson before World War II.^^° 

In "national security" cases, the FBI was free to carry out micro- 
phone, surveillances without first seeking the approval of the Attorney 
General or infoi-ming him afterward. The Bureau apparently derived 
authority for its microphone practice from a 1954 memorandum sent 
by Attorney General Brownell to Director Hoover, stating: 

Nicholas Katzenbach testimony, 11/12/75, p. 87. 


It is clear that in some instances the use of microphone sur- 
veillance is the only pK)Ssible way to uncovering the activities 
of espionage agents, possible saboteurs, and subversive per- 
sons. In such instances I am of the opinion that the national 
interest requires that microphone surveillance be utilized by 
the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This use need not be 
limited to the development of evidence for prosecution. The 
FBI has an intelligence function in connection with internal 
security matters equally as important as the duty of develop- 
ing evidence for presentation to the courts and the national 
security requires that the FBI be able to use microphone 
surveillance for the proper discharge of both such functions. 
The Department of Justice approves the use of microphone 
surveillance by the FBI under these circumstances and for 
these purposes. ... I i-ecognize that for the FBI to fulfill its 
important intelligence function, considerations of internal 
security and the national safety are paramount and, therefore, 
may compel the unrestricted use of this technique in the na- 
tional interest.^^^ 

The Justice Department was on notice that the FBI's practice was 
to install microphones without first informing the Justice Department. 
Director Hoover' told Deputy Attorney General Bryon White in May 

in the internal security field we are utilizing microphone 
surveillances on a restricted basis even though trespass is nec- 
essary to assist in uncovering the activity of Soviet intelli- 
gence agents and Communist Party leaders. ... In the inter- 
est of national safety, microphone surveillances are also uti- 
lized on a restricted basis, even though trespass is necessary, 
in uncovering major criminal activities.^^^ 

A memorandum by Courtney Evans indicates that he discussed 
microphones in "organized crime cases" with the Attorney General in 
July 1961 : 

It was pointed out to the Attorney General that we had taken 
action with regard to the use of microphones in [organized 
crime] cases and ... we were nevertheless utilizing them in 
all instances where this was technically feasible and where 
valuable information might be expected. The strong objec- 
tions to the utilization of telephone taps as contrasted to 
microphone surveillances was stressed. The Attorney General 
stated he recognized the reasons why telephone taps should 
be restricted to national-defense-type cases and he was pleased 
we had been using microphone surveillances, where these ob- 

^ Memorandum from the Attorney General to the Director, FBI, "Micro- 
phone Surveillance," 5/20/54. Attorney General Brownell's memorandum au- 
thorizing "unrestricted use" of microphone surveillance in national security eases 
was prompted by the Supreme Court's decision in Irvine v. California, 347 U.S. 128 
(1961). in which the Court denounced as "obnoxious" the installation of a micro- 
phone in a criminal susi>ect's bedroom. 

^ Memorandum from Director, FBI. to Deputy Attorney General Byron White, 


jections do not apply, wherever possible in organized crime 

The Justice Department later summarized this practice in a brief to 
the Supreme Court : 

Under Departmental practice in effect for a period of years 
prior to 1963, and continuing into 1965, the Director of the 
Federal Bureau of Investigation was given authority to ap- 
prove the installation of devices such as [microphones] for 
intelligence (but not evidentiary) purposes when required 
in the interest of internal security or national safety, includ- 
ing organized crime, kidnappings, or matters wherein human 
life might be at stake."* 

On March 30, 1965, at the urging of Attorney General Katzenbach, 
the FBI adopted a uniform procedure for submitting both wiretaps 
and microphones to the Attorney General for his approval prior to in- 
stallation. Director Hoover described the new procedures in a memo- 
randum to the Attorney General : 

In line with your suggestion this morning, I have already 
set up the procedure similar to requesting of authority for 
phone taps to be utilized in requesting authority for the place- 
ment of microphones. In other words, I shall forward to you 
from time to time requests for authority to install micro- 
phones where deemed imperative for your consideration and 
approval or disapproval. Furthermore, I have instructed 
that, where you have approved either a phone tap or the 
installation of a microphone, you will be advised when such 
is discontinued if in less than six months and, if not discontin- 
ued in less than six months, that a new request be submitted 
by me to you for extension of the telephone tap or microphone 

One week later Katzenbach sent to the White House a proposed 
Presidential directiv^e to all Federal agencies on electronic surveillance. 
This directive, formally issued by President Johnson on June 30, 
1965, forbade the nonconsensual interception of telephone communica- 
tions by Federal j>ersonnel, "except in connection with investigations 
related to the national security" and then only after obtaining the 
written approval of the Attorney General. The directive was less 
precise concerning microphone surveillance: 

Utilization of mechanical or electronic devices to overhear 
nontelephone conversations is an even more difficult problem. 

"' Memorandum from Courtney Evans to Alan Belmont, July 7, 1961. A Bureau 
memorandum by Director Hoover several years later states that Evans subse- 
quently gave then Senator Robert Kennedy a letter, dated February 17, 1966, 
stating that Evans had never discussed the use of microphones with Kennedy and 
that Evans "did not know of any written material that was sent to you (Ken- 
nedy)" concerning microphone surveillances. The letter from Evans to Kennedy 
was released to the press. Director Hoover concluded in his memorandiun report- 
ing this incident that in view of Evans "disregard for the truth and duplicity 
toward the FBI, he should not be contacted without prior Bureau approval." 
(Memorandum, J. Edgar Hoover, Re: Courtney A. Evans, Person Not To Be 
Contacted, December 15, 1966. ) 

"' Black V. United States 38.5 U.S. 26 (1966). 

''^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to Attorney General, 3/30/65, p. 2. 


which raises substantial and unresolved questions of con- 
stitutional interpretation. I desire that each agency conduct- 
ing such investigations consult with the Attorney General 
to ascertain whether the agency's practices are fully in accord 
with the law and with a decent regard for the rights of 

B. Wiretap Surveillance of Dr. King and the SCLC: October 1963- 
June 1966 

On September 6, 1963, Assistant Director William Sullivan first 
recommended to Director Hoover that the FBI install wiretaps on Dr. 
King's home and the offices of the Southern Christian Leadership Con- 
ference."' Sullivan's recommendation was apparently part of an at- 
tempt to improve the Domestic Intelligence Division's standing with 
the Director by convincing him that Sullivan's Division was concerned 
about alleged communist influence on the civil rights movement and 
that the Division intended, as Sullivan subsequently informed the 
Director, to "do everything that is humanly possible" in conducting its 
investigation. "* 

Sullivan's recommendation was viewed with scepticism by the FBI 
leadership since Attorney General Kennedy had rejected a similar 
proposal two months earlier. Associate Director Clyde Tolson noted 
on the memorandum containing Sullivan's proposal : "I see no point 
in making this recommendation to the Attorney General in view 
of the fact that he turned down a similar recommendation on July 22, 
1963.""^ Director Hoover scrawled below Tolson's note: "I will 
approve though I am dizzy over vacillation as to influence of 
CPUSA." "° 

In late September 1963 the FBI conducted a survey and concluded 
that wiretap coverage of Dr. King's residence and of the New York 
SCLC office could be implemented without detection.^*^ On October 7, 
citing "possible communist influence in the racial situation," Hoover 
requested the Attorney General's permission for a wiretap "on King at 
his current address or at any future address to which he may move" 
and "on the SCLC office at the current New York address or to any 
other address to which it may be moved." ^*^ Attorney General Ken- 
nedy signed the request on October 10 and, on October 21, also ap- 
proved the FBI request for coverage of the SCLC's Atlanta office. ^'^^ 

Two memoranda by Courtney Evans indicate that the Attorney Gen- 
eral was uncertain about the advisability of the wiretaps. On Octo- 
ber 10, the Attorney General summoned Evans to discuss the FBI's 
request for the wiretaps on Dr. King's home telephone and the New 
York SCLC telephones. Evans wrote : 

^ Lyndon B. Johnson, Presidential Directive, 6/30/65. 

"'Memorandum from James Bland to William Sullivan, 9/6/63. 

"* Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 9/25/63, p. 5. The 
dispute between Sullivan and Hoover, and the intensification which developed 
from it, are described pp. 104 et. seq. 

"■ Memorandum from James Bland to William Sullivan, 10/4/63, attachment. 

^^ Bland memorandum, 10/4/63, attachment. 

'" Bland memorandum. 10/4/63, p. 1. 

^^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Robert Kennedy, 

"'Hoover memorandum, 10/7/63; Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to 
Attorney General Robert Kennedy, 10/18/63. 


The Attorney General said that he recognized the import- 
ance of this coverage if substantial information is to be de- 
veloped concerning the relationship between King and the 
communist party. He said there was no question in his mind 
as to the coverage in New York City but that he was worried 
about the security of an installation covering a residence in 
Atlanta, Georgia. He noted that the last thing we could af- 
ford to have would be a discovery of a wiretap on King's 

I pointed out to the Attorney General the fact that a resi- 
dence was involved did not necessarily mean there was any 
added risk because of the technical nature of the telephone 
system. . . . After this discussion the Attorney General said 
he felt we should go ahead with the technical coverage on 
King on a trial basis, and to continue it if productive results 
were forthcoming. He said he was certain that all Bureau 
representatives involved would recognize the delicacy of this 
particular matter and would thus be even more cautious than 
ever in this assignment. . . ."* 

According to Evans' memorandum, the Attorney General signed the 
authorization for the wiretap immediately after this conversation. 

Another memorandum by Evans describes the Attorney General's 
reaction on approving the Bureau's request for a wiretap on the 
Atlanta SCLC office a week later : 

The Attorney General is apparently still vacillating in his 
position as to technical coverage. ... I reminded him of our 
previous conversation wherein he was assured that all possible 
would be done to insure the security of this operation. 

The Attorney General advised that he was approving [the 
wiretaps] but asked that this coverage and that on King's 
residence be evaluated at the end of thirty days in light of the 
results secured so that the continuance of those surveillances 
could be determined at that time.^^^ 

Wiretaps were installed on the SCL-C's New York office on Octo- 
ber 24, 1963, and at Dr. King's home and the SCLC's Atlanta office 
on November 8, 1963. The FBI made an internal evaluation of the 
wiretaps in December 1963 and decided on its own to extend the 
wiretaps for three months. Reading the Attorney General's authori- 
zation broadly, the FBI construed permission to wiretap Dr. King "at 
his current address or at any future address" to include hotel room 
phones and the phone at the home of friends with whom he tempo- 
rarily stayed. The FBI installed wiretaps, without seeking further 
authorization, on the following occasions : 

Location - — Installed Discontinued 

King's Atlanta home.. Nov. 8,1963 Apr. 30, 1965 

A friend's home Aug. 14,1964 Sept. 8,1964 

Hyatt House Motel, Los Angeles.. Apr. 24, 1964 Apr. 26, 1964 

Hyatt House Motel, Los Angeles July 7,1964 July 9,1964 

Claridge Hotel, Atlantic City.. Aug. 22,1964 Aug. 27,1964 

SCLC Atlanta headquarters Nov. 8,1963 June 21, 1966 

SCLC Nev» York headquarters Oct. 24,1963 Jan. 24,1964 

July 13,1964 July 31.1964 

'** Memorandum from Courtney Evans to Alan Belmont, 10/10/63. 
^*" Memorandum from Courtney Evans to Alan Belmont, 10/21/63. 


The Committee was not able to ascertain why Attorney General Ken- 
nedy approved the FBI's request for wiretaps in October 1963 after 
refusing an identical request in July 1963. Burke Marshall, Ken- 
nedy's assistant in charge of civil rights affairs, testified that he could 
not recall ever having discussed the matter with the Attorney General. 
It was his opinion, however, that the decision had been influenced by 
events arising out of concern about possible communist influence in the 
civil rights movement that had been widely publicized during the 
hearings on the Public Accommodations Act in the summer of 1963. 
Marshall recalled that Dr. King had made a "commitment" to the 
Attorney General and to the President to "stop having any communi- 
cation" with Advisers A and B. Subsequently, 

information came in, not as far as Adviser B, but as far 
as Adviser A was concerned, that that commitment w^as not 
lived up to, and I have assumed since, although I do not re- 
member discussing it with Kobert Kennedy, that the reason 
that he authorized the tap . . . was that he wanted to find out 
what was going on. 

From his point of view, Martin Luther King had made a 
commitment on a very important matter . . . [and] King had 
broken that commitment. So therefore the Attorney General 
wanted to find out whether [Adviser A] did in fact have 
influence over King, what he was telling King, and so forth."^ 

Marshall's answer to a question concerning whether anyone in the 
Justice Department ever considered asking the FBI to discontinue 
the investigation of Dr. King also sheds some light on why the Attor- 
ney General might have decided to approve the wiretaps : 

Not that I know of. [The FBI's allegations concerning Ad- 
^dser A] were grave and serious, and the inquiries from the 
Senate and from the public, both to the President and to the 
Attorney General, as well as the Bureau, had to be answered 
and they had to be answered fully. Stopping the investiga- 
tion in light of those circumstances Avould have run the risk 
that there would have been a lot of complaints that the Bureau 
had been blocked for political reasons from investigating seri- 
ous charges about communist infiltration in the civil rights 

Edwin O. Guthman, the Justice Department Public Relations Chief 
during Robert Kennedy's tenure as Attorney General, told the Com- 
mittee that he had spoken with then Senator Robert Kennedy about 
the wiretap when it was revealed in a Jack Anderson story in 1968. 
According to Guthman, Robert Kennedy told him : 

he had been importuned or requested by the FBI over a pe- 
riod of time to wiretap the phones of Dr. King, specifically 
wiretap the phones, as I recollect, at the headquarters of the 
Southern Christian Leadership Conference and, I think, 

"' Burke Marshall testimony, 3/3/76, p. 20. The "commitment on a very impor- 
tant matter" had been Dr. King's promise to sever his relations with Adviser A. 
'" Marshall, 8/3/76. p. 55. 


Martin Luther King's home, but I'm not certain about 


Robert Kennedy said that he finally agreed in the fall of 
1963 to give the FBI permission to wiretap the phones, and 
my clear recollection on this is that his feeling was that if he 
did not do it, Mr, Hoover would move to impede or block the 
passage of the civil rights bill, which had been introduced in 
the summer of 1963, and that he felt that he might as well 
settle the matter as to whether (Adviser A) did have the in- 
fluence on King that the FBI contended. . . . My recollection 
is that there had been a number of conversations with King by 
Burke Marshall and Robert Kennedy, and I think President 
Kennedy had indicated to King that he ought not to have any- 
thing to do with (Adviser A). My understanding and recol- 
lection is that King said he would, and then each time the FBI 
would come ba<*k and say, he's still in contact with (Adviser 
A) ... Robert Kennedy viewed this as a serious matter and not 
in the interest of the country and not in the interest of the 
civil rights movement, if the FBI information was accu- 

Guthman testified that he could not recall Kennedy's elaborating 
on the steps that he had feared Director Hoover would take against 
the civil rights legislation if he had not agreed to the wiretap, 
against the civil rights legislation if he had not agreed to the wireta}), 
but gave his own opinion that "Hoover's influence on the Hill could 
be considerable and it could have been a form of public statement or 
conferring with Senators in that area." ^^^ 

It is also not clear why Attorney General Kennedy insisted that the 
wiretaps be evaluated after 30 days and then failed to complain wlien 
the FBI neglected to send him an evaluation. Evans, after reviewing 
his memorandum stating that the Attorney General required the FBI 
to evaluate the wiretaps after 30 days, testified that he assumed the 
Attorney General had "expected the Bureau to . . . submit the results 
of that evaluation to him." When asked if the Attorney General had 
ever inquired into whether the evaluation had been made, Evans 
testified : 

I am reasonably certain he never asked me. I would point out, 
however, that the assassination of President Kennedy fol- 
lowed these events reasonably close in point of time, and this 
disrupted the operation of the Office of the Attorney Gen- 

In March 1965 Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach requested the 
FBI to submit all of its wiretaps for reauthorization.^^^ He testified : 

In late April 1965, in accordance with this program, I re- 
ceived a request from the Bureau to continue a tap on Dr. 
King's personal phone. I ordered it discontinued. It is, how- 
ever, possible that a request for the continuation of a pre- 
existing tap on the headquarters of the Southern Christian 

Edwin O. Guthman testimony, 3/16/76, pp. 5. 1.5-17. 
' Guthman testimony, 3/16/76, p. 17. 

Courtney Evans testimony, 12/1/75, p. 15. 
'■ Nicholas Katzenbach testimony, 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 210. 


Leadership Conference was made about the same time, and 
I may have approved that tap. I do not recall the date or the 
circumstances which would have led me to do so."' 

Documents provided to the Committee by the FBI reflect that in 
early April 1965 the Atlanta office inforaied headquarter-s that it was 
discontinuing the wiretap on Dr. King's home because he was moving. 
On April 19 the Director authorized a survey to determine if a wire- 
tap could be placed on the phone in Dr. King's new residence with 
"full security." The Director's memorandum also stated that "After 
receipt of results of survey and Atlanta's recommendations, a memo- 
randum will be prepared along with any necessary correspondence 
with the Attorney Greneral." "* A memorandum from the Atlanta 
office the next month states: "On [May 6, 1965], Mr. Sullivan tele- 
phonically advised that the installation of this Tesur [technical sur- 
veillance] was not authorized at this time." "^ 

The Bureau has been unable to find a record of any discussions be- 
tween FBI officials and Attorney Katzenbach concerning this wiretap, 
and there are no memoranda in the Bureau files which indicate the 
reason that the wiretap on Dr. King's new home was not authorized. 

The FBI terminated the wiretap on the New York SCLC office in 
January 1964, only two months after it had been installed, "for lack 
of productivity." ^^^ The wiretap was reinstalled in July 1964 and 
discontinued later that month because "the office moved." ^^^ No fur- 
ther wiretaps were placed on the New York office. 

The wiretap on the Atlanta SCLC office was reviewed by Attorney 
General Katzenbach on October 27, 1965, and received his approval. 
A Bureau memorandum recommending continuation of the coverage 
in April 1966 was returned with a notation by Katzenbach, dated 
June 20, 1966, stating : "I think this coverage should be discontinued, 
J, particularly in light of possible charges of a criminal nature against 
5 [certain SCLC employees]." ^•'^^ Technical coverage was discontinued 
the following day."° 

Attorney General Ramsey Clark turned down two requests by the 
FBI for wiretaps on the phones of the SCLC, once on January 3, 1968, 
and again on January 17, 1969.^*^ Clark wrote the Director concern- 
ing the 1968 request : 

I am declining authorization of the requested installation of 
the above telephone surveillance at the present time. There 
has not been an adequate demonstration of a direct threat to 
national security.^^^ 

Clark's refusal to authorize an SCLC wiretap in 1969 occurred two 
days before he left office, at the termination of the Johnson Admin- 

"" Katzenbach. 12/3/75. Hearings, p. 210. 

*" Memorandum from Director, FBI, to SAC. Atlanta, 4/19/65. 

^ Memorandum from SAC, Atlanta to Director, FBI, 5/19/65. 

"•Memorandum from SAC. New York to Director, FBI, 1/27/64. 

"*' Memorandum from Director, FBI, to SAC, New York, 8/7/64. 

"" Memorandum from Director, FBI to Attorney General, 6/22/66. The charges 
had nothing to do with Dr. King. 

^^ Memorandum from .Joseph Sizoo to Files. 6/23/66. 

^*^ Memorandum from Ramsey Clark to J. Edgar Hoover, 1/3/68 ; memorandum 
from Ramsey Clark to J. Edgar Hoover, 1/17/69. 

"" Clark memorandum, 1/3/68. 

120 ' 

ist ration. Less than a month later the Director informed the Atlanta , 
office that an SCLC wiretap "is in line to be presented to the new At- |p 
torney General, and a survey, with full security assured ... is desir- jcf 
able." ^^^ FBI files contain no indication of the disposition of this final jde 
request. |lli 

ARY 1964-NOVEMBER 1965. 
From January 1964 through November 1965, the FBI installed at 
least 15 hidden microphones in hotel and motel rooms occupied by 
Martin Luther King. "* The FBI has told the Committee about the ht 
following microphone surveillances : M 

— Willard Hotel, Washington, D.C. (Jan. 5, 1964) . '* 

— Shroeder Hotel, Milwaukee (Jan. 27, 1964) . 

—Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu ( Feb. 18, 1964) . 

— Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles (Feb. 20, 1964) . 

—Hyatt House Motel, Los Angeles (Feb. 22, 1964) . 

— Statler Hotel, Detroit (Mar. 19, 1964). 

—Senator Motel, Sacramento (Apr. 23, 1964). 

—Hyatt House Motel, Los Angeles (July 7, 1964) . 

—Manger Hotel, Savannah, Ga. (Sept. 28, 1964) . 

—Park Sheraton Hotel, New York (Jan. 8, 1965). 

— Americana Hotel, New York (Jan. 28, 1965) . 

—Sheraton Atlantic Hotel, New York (May 12, 1965) . 

— Astor Hotel, New York (Oct. 14, 1965). 

—New York Hilton Hotel, New York (Oct. 28, 1965). 

—Americana Hotel, New York (Nov. 29, 1965).^*^ 

/. Reasons for the FBPs Microphone SurveillaTwe of Dr. King. 
The wiretaps on Dr. King's home telephone and the phones of the 
SCLC offices were authorized by the Attorney General for the stated! 
purpose of determining whether suspected communists were influenc- 
ing the course of the civil rights movement. FBI documents indicate 
that the microphone coverage, (which was initiated without the 
knowledge of the Attorney Generals, in cgnformance with practice 
then current), was originally designed not only to pick up information 
bearing on possible Communist influence over Dr. King, but also to 
obtain information for use in the FBI's secret effort to discredit Dr, . 


^"^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to SAC, Atlanta. 2/14/69. 

^ Witnesses have indicated that other microphones might have been used tO' 
cover the activities of Dr. King and his associates, although those microphones 
might have been placed by local law enforcement officers. Bureau documents i 
indicate that the New York and Miami police did in fact place microphones in 
Dr. King's hotel rooms. (Memorandum from Director. FBI to Special Agent in 
Charge, New York, 5/7/65; Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to Wil- 
liam Sullivan, 5/27/66). Congressman Andrew Young, who was one of Dr. King's 
chief aides, testified : "We found a bug in the pulpit in a church in Selma, Ala- 
bama, in 1965, and we didn't even move it or destroy it. We took it out from under 
the pulpit, taped it on top of the pulpit, and Reverend Abemathy called it, 'this 
little do-hickey' and he said, *I want you to tell Mr. Hoover, I don't want it under 
here where there is a whole lot of static, I want him to get it straight,' and he 
preached to the little bug." (Andrew Young testimony, 2/19/76, p. 55.) 

'"= Letter from FBI to Senate Select Committee, 7/24/75, pp. 4-5. (The Bureau 
also authorized the installation of a microphone at the Park Sheraton Hotel in 
New York on March 29, 1965, but Dr. King did not stay at the hotel and the 
coverage was terminated.) 


King as the leader of the civil rights movement. ^*"' By 1965, 
references to discrediting efforts had been dropped, and documents 
requesting authorization for microphones mentioned only the purpose 
of obtaining information about possible communist influences. ^^'^ The 
details of the Bureau's efforts to undermine Dr. King are discussed in 
the ensuing chapters. 

The first microphones were installed about two weeks after a Decem- 
ber 23, 1963, FBI conference at which methods of "neutralizing" Dr. 
King were explored."^ Microphone surveillance was again discussed 
at an all-day conference at FBI Headquarters in February 1964, 
attended by representatives of the FBI laboratory "preparatory to 
effecting coverage of the activities of Martin Luther King, Jr., and 
his associates in Honolulu." ^^^ Justifying the need for microphone 
coverage, the Chief of the FBI's Internal Security Section wrote that 
the FBI was "attempting" to obtain information about "the [private] 
activities of Dr. King and his associates" so that Dr. King could be 
"completely discredited." ^^° 

The FBI memorandum authorizing the placement of the first micro- 
phone on Dr. King — at the Willard Hotel in early January 1964 — gave 
as a basis "the intelligence and counterintelligence possibilities which 
thorough coverage of Dr. King's activities might develop. . . ." ^^^ 
The Willard Hotel "bug" yielded 19 reels of tape. A memorandum 
summarizing the tapes was sent to the Director with William Sullivan's 
recommendation that it be shown to Walter Jenkins, President John- 
son's Special Assistant, "inasmuch as Dr. King is seeking an appoint- 
ment with President Johnson." ^" Cartha D. DeLoach, Assistant to 
the Director, showed the summary memorandum to Jenkins, and later 
wrote : 

I told Jenkins that the Director indicated I should leave this 
attachment with him if he desired to let the President person- 
ally read it. Jenkins mentioned that he was sufficiently aware 
of the facts that he could verbally advise the President of 
the matter. Jenkins was of the opinion that the FBI could 
perform a good service to the country if this matter could 
somehow be confidentially given to members of the press. I 

^^ See, for example, Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 
1/6/64 ; memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 1/28/64. 
Some Bureau witnesses have suggested that the microphones were installed only 
to intercept conversations between Dr. King and other individuals, such as Ad- 
viser A. to determine the extent of communist influence over King. The Bureau, 
however, wias unable to produce any evidence that it had anticipated meetings be- 
tween Dr. King and Adviser A or between Dr. King and any other of his advisers 
whom the Bureau alleged had communist connections on the initial occasions 
when microphones were used. 

'" Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 10/29/65 ; 
memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 11/29/65. 

'"Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 1/13/64. This con- 
ference and the FBI's attempts to discredit King are discussed infra, pp. 133 
et seq. 

"'Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan. 2/4/64. 

"" Baumgardner memorandum, 1/28/64. 

'"Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 1/6/64. 

"' Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 1/13/64. The memo- 
randum did not indicate how the information had been obtained. 


told him the Director had this in mind, however, he also be- 
lieved we should obtain additional information prior to dis- 
cussing: it with certain friends.^" 

The FBI was apparently encouraged by the intelligence afforded by 
"bugs" and by the White House's receptiveness to that type of infor- 
mation. A microphone was installed at the Shroeder Hotel in Mil- 
waukee two weeks later, but was declared "unproductive'' because 
"there w^ere no activities of interest developed." ^^* Dr. King's visit to 
Honolulu in mid-February 1964 was covered by a squad of 
surveillance experts brought in for the occasion from San Francisco. 
One of these experts was described in a Bureau memorandum as the 
"most experienced, most ingenious, most unruffled, most competent 
sound man for this type of operation in the San Francisco Office;" 
another was chosen because he had "shown unusual ingenuity, persis- 
tence, and determination in making microphone installations;" and a 
third had "been absolutely fearless in these types of operations for 
over twelve years." ^^^ More than twenty reels of tape were obtained 
during Dr. King's stay in Honolulu and his sojourn in Los Angeles 
immediately aftei'ward.^^*' Diiector Hoover agreed to send a copy of a 
memorandum describing the contents of the tapes to Jenkins and 
Attorney General Kennedy in order to : 

remove all doubt from the Attorney General's mind as to the 
type of person King is. It will probably also eliminate King 
from any participation in [a memorial for President Kennedy 
which the Attorney General was helping to arrange].^" 

Dr. King's stay in Los Angeles in July 1964 was covered by both 
wiretaps and microphones in his hotel room. The wiretap was intended 
to gain intelligence about Dr. King's plans at the Republican National 
Convention. Microphone surveillance was requested to attempt to ob- 
tain information useful in the campaigns to discredit him.^^^ Sulli- 
van's memorandum describing the coverage was sent to Hoover with 
a recommendation against dissemination to the White House or the 
Attorney General : 

as in this instance it is merely repetitious and does not have 
nearly the impact as prior such memoranda. We are continu- 
ing to follow closely King's activities and giving considera- 
tion to every possibility for future similar coverage that will 
add to our record on King so that in the end he might be dis- 
credited and thus be removed from his position of great stat- 
ure in the Negro community. ^^^ 


™ Memorandum from Cartha D. DeLoach to J. Edgar Hoover, 1/14/64. .Jenkins 
told members of Committee staff in an informal interview that he had never 
suggested disseminating derogatory material about Dr. King to the press. (Staff 
summary of interview with Walter Jenkins, 12/1/75, p. 2.) The Committee did 
not take Jenkins testimony because Jenkins informed the Committee that he 
was ill. 

™ Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 1/28/64. 

"* Airtel, Special Agent in charge, San Francisco, to FBI Director, 2/25/64. 

""The FBI also covered Dr. King's activities with photographic surveillance. 

"' Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 3/4/64. 
The memorandum did not show how the information had been obtained. 

"'Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 7/2/64. 

""Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 7/15/64. 


Hoover wrote on the memorandum, "Send to Jenkins." The sum- 
mary memorandum and a cover letter were sent to Jenkins on 
July 17.^«° 

It should also be noted that Dr. King's activities at the Democratic 
National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey in August 19B4 
were closely monitored by the FBI. Microphones were not installed 
on that occasion, although wiretaps were placed on Dr. King's hotel 
room phone. The stated justification for the wiretap was the investi- 
gation of possible communist influence and the fact that Dr. King 
"may indulge in a hunger fast as a means of protest.'' ^^^ A great deal 
of potentially useful political information was obtained from this 
wiretap and disseminated to the White House.^^^ 

The memorandum authorizing microphone coverage of Dr. King's 
room in Savannah, Georgia during the annual SCL(^ conference in 
September and October 1964 described surveillance as necessary be- 
cause it was "expected that attempts will again be made to exert in- 
fluence upon the SCLC and in particular on King by communists." ^^^ 

The seven "bugs'' in Dr. King's rooms during visits to New York 
from January to November 1966 were justified in contemporaneous 
internal FBI memoranda by anticipated meetings of Dr. King with 
several people whom the FBI claimed had affiliations with the Com- 
munist Party.^** No mention was made of the possibility of obtaining 
private life material in memoranda concerning these "bugs." ^^^ 

2. Evidence Bearing on Whether the Attorneys General Au- 
thorized or Knew Ah out the Microvhone SuT^eillance of 
Dr. King 

In summary, it is clear that the FBI never requested permission for 
installing microphones to cover Dr. King from Attorney General Ken- 
nedy, and there is no evidence that it ever directly informed him that 
it was using microphones. There is some question, however, concerning 
whether the Attorney General ultimately realized that the FBI was 
using "bugs" because of the nature of the information that he was 
being sent. 

Evidence concerning Attorney (xeneral Katzenbach's knowledge of 
microphone surveillance of Dr. King is contradictory. In March 1965, 
Katzenbach required the FBI for the first time to seek the Justice 
Department's approval for all microphone installations. The FBI has 
given the Committee documents which indicate that Katzenbach was 

^^ Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Walter Jenkins, 7/17/64. 

'^^ Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 8/21/64. 

'"'The FBI's surveillance of Dr. King and other civil rights leaders at the 
Atlantic City Democratic National Convention is discussed at length in a separate 
staff report dealing with electronic surveillance. 

^^ Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan. 9/28/64. 

'** Memoranda from Joseph Sizoo to William Sullivan. 1/8/65, 1/29/^5, and 
5/13/65 ; memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont. 10/14/65 ; memo- 
randa from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 10/29/65 and 11/29/65. 

'*^ Possible reasons that the mention of the collection of private life material 
was dropped from FBI memoranda during this period include (1) the "truce" 
t>etween Dr. King and the FBI after December 1964 (see, pp. 163 et seq.) and 
(2) the fact that after May 1965 the FBI was required to inform the Attorney 
General of microphone surveillance and did not want to leave a "paper record" 
referring to the FBI's program to discredit Dr. King. 

69-984 O - 76 


informed shortly after the fact of three microphone installations on 
Dr. King, that he did not object to those installations, and that he 
urged the FBI to use caution in its surveillance activities. Katzenbach 
does not now recall having been informed about the FBI's micro- 
phone surveillance of Dr. King. 

(a) Attorney General Robert F. KeuTiedy. — The FBI makes no 
claim tliat Attorney General Kennedy was expressly informed about 
the microphones placed in Dr. King's hotel rooms. The only FBI claim 
that Attorney General Kennedy might have been aware of the micro- 
phones is a Domestic Intelligence Division memorandum written in 
December 1966, which states : 

concerning microphone coverage of King, Attorney General 
Robert F. Kennedy was furnished the pertinent information 
obtained, perusal of which would indicate that a microphone 
was the source of this information.^^** 

Next to this entry. Hoover wrote: "'when?" A memorandum from the 
Domestic Intelligence Division a few days later explained : 

Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy was furnished an eight 
page "Top Secret" memorandum . . . dated March 4, 1964. 
This memorandum is a summary of microphone coverage . . . 
in the Willard Hotel, Washington, D.C. ; Hilton Hawaiian 
Village, Honolulu, Hawaii ; Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, 
California; and the Hyatt House Hotel, Los Angeles, Cali- 
fornia. The wording of the memorandum is couched in such 
a manner that it is obvious that a microphone was the 

The question of whether Attorney General Kennedy suspected 
that the FBI was using microphones to gather information about 
Dr. King must also be viewed in light of the Attorney GeneraFs express 
authorization of wiretaps in the King case on national security 
grounds, and of the FBI's practice— known to officials in the Justice 
Department — of installing microphones in national security cases 
without notifying the Department. We have examined the Bureau's 
claim with respect to Attorney General Kennedy's possible knowledge 
about the microphones and have found the following evidence. 

As noted above, on January 13, 1964, William Sullivan recom- 
mended to Hoover that President Johnson's assistant, Walter Jenkins, 
be given a copy of a memorandum detailing information discovered 
through the Willard Hotel bug.^^* Sullivan expressed doubts, how- 
ever, about whether the Attorney General should be given the in- 
formation : 

The attached document is classified "Top Secret" to mini- 
mize the likelihood that this material will be read by someone 
who will leak it to King. However, it is possible despite its 
classification, the Attorney General himself may reprimand 
King on the basis of this material. If he does, it is not likely 

'*■ Memorandum from Charles Brennan to William Sullivan, 12/15/66, p. 2. 
"' Memorandum from Charles Brennan to William Sullivan, 12/19/66. 
'"^ Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 1/13/64. This incident 
is discussed, at p. 121. 


we will develop any more such information through the 
means employed. It is highly important that we do develop 
further information of this type in order that we may com- 
pletely discredit King as the leader of the Negro people. 

Next to Sullivan's recommendation that Courtney Evans hand-deliver 
a copy of the memorandum to the Attorney General, Director Hoover 
wrote : "No. A copy need not be given the A.G."' ^®^ 

Jenkins was subsequently shown a copy of the report, but was not 
told the source of the information. 

Shortly after the Honolulu bug, Sullivan changed his mind and 
recommended that the Attorney General be informed of information 

fathered by both the Willard and Honolulu bugs to "remove all doubt 
rom the Attorney General's mind about the type of person King 
is." ^®" Sullivan suggested : 

Mr. Evans personally deliver to the Attorney General a 
copy of the attached "Top Secret" memorandum. It is also 
believed that Mr. Evans should indicate to the Attorney Gen- 
eral that if King was to become aware of our coverage of him 
it is highly probable that we will no longer be able to develop 
such information through the means employed to date and 
that we, of course, are still desirous of continuing to develop 
such information. 

Director .Hoover wrote next to this recommendation "O.K.'" A notation 
in the margin states: "Done. 3/10/64. E[vans]."' ^^^ The memorandum 
sent to the Attorney General did not state the source of the informa- 
tion that it contained. 

When shown Sullivan's memorandum by the Committee, Courtney 
Evans testified that he did not recall delivering the memorandum about 
Dr. King to the Attorney General, but that "I assume I must have in 
view of this record." ^^^ He doubted that he had spoken with the At- 
torney General about the substance of the memorandum, however, be- 
cause "if I did have a conversation with him, I believe I would have 
written a memorandum as to that conversation." "^ When asked if he 
recalled ever telling the Attorney General that the memorandum con- 
tained information obtained through microphone coverage, Evanr- 
testified : 

No, T do not. And considering the tenor of the times then, 
I would probably have been very circumspect and told him 

"• Sullivan memorandum. 1/13/64. Sullivan's remarks rn this passage under- 
score the tension generated hj the mutually inconsistent policies of the FBI 
and the Justice Department toward Dr. King. Sullivan viewed the FBI's task 
as gathering information with which to discredit Dr. King. He perceived the At- 
torney General's goal was to prevent Dr. King from being discredited. Sullivan 
feared that if the Attorney General were told of the derogatory information about 
Dr. King, the Attorney General might reprimand Dr. King. Thus, the FBI would 
be thwarted in its goals if it gave the Attorney General information which he 
needed to ensure that Dr. King not be discredited. 

"" Baumgardner memorandum, 3/4/64. See p. 122. The memorandum also 
stated : "We avoided mentioning specific dates as to when it took place or men- 
tion of when the information was received — ^thus to avoid, if possible, a ques- 
tion being raised by the Attorney General as to why he was not told earlier of 
the Willard incident." 

^°^ Baumgardner memorandum, 3/4/64. p. 2. 

^^ Courtney Evans testimony. 12/1/75, p. 20. 

'•" Evans, 12/1/75, p. 20. The FBI has told the Committee that no such memoran- 
dum exists in its files. 


exactly what I was instructed to tell him and nothing 
more. ... I think it is a matter of record that the relation- 
ship between the Attorney General and the Director had 
deteriorated to the point that they weren't speaking to each 
other. And consequently I felt that it was essential that I 
followed these instructions very explicitly.^^* 

A memorandum from Evans dated September 11, 1964, indicates 
that the Attorney General had in fact received the summary mem- 
orandum, but sheds no light on whether he was told the source of the 
information : 

Before leaving office, Attorney General Kennedy instructed 
his Executive Assistant, Harold Reis, to return to the Bu- 
reau copies of top secret memoranda submitted to him by 
the FBI . . . on March 4, 1964, and June 1, 1964, as Mr. 
Kennedy did not feel this material should go to the general 
Department files. These memoranda deal with activities of 
Martin Luther King. Reis accordingly handed these mem- 
oranda to me. They are attached.^^^ 

It is uncertain whether the Attorney General understood the source 
of the information after reading the FBI summary memoranda. 
Evans to^d the Committee that he never received any indication that 
the Attorney General suspected the FBI was following Dr. King's 
activities with hidden microphones, and surmised that the Attorney 
General might have assumed the information was the product of live 
informants, or surveillance by local law enforcement agencies.^®® 
Walter Jenkins, who also read these memoranda, told the Committee 
that he had not suspected that the FBI had obtained the informa- 
tion in them by using microphones.^''^ Bill Moyers, President John- 
son's Assistant, also saw several of the memoranda concerning Dr. 
King, and testified that he had not realized that the FBI had col- 
lected the information through microphones. He told the Committee, 
however, that "the nature of the general references that were being 
made, I realized later, could only have come from that kind of 
knowledge unless there was an informer in Martin Luther King's 
presence a good bit of the time.^^^ 

(b) Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katsenbach.— Four FBI doc- 
uments appear to indicate that Attorney General Katzenbach was 
informed about the FBI's microphone surveillance of Dr. King. Kat- 
zenbach testified that he could not recall having been informed of the 
surveillance, and stated that it w^ould have been inconsistent with his 
claimed disapproval of a wiretap on Dr. King's home at the same time. 
The Bureau's position appears in a Domestic Intelligence memoran- 
dum listing the wiretaps and microphones installed in the investigation 
of Dr. King : 

Attorney General Katzenbach was specifically notified of 
three of these microphone installations. In each of these three 

'°* Evans, 1/21/75, pp. 21-22. 

"^ Memorandum from Courtney Evans to Alan Belmont, 9/11/64. 

^ Evans 12/1/75, pp. 21-22. 

^^ Staff summary of Walter Jenkins interview, 1976, p. 3. 

"* Bill Moyers testimony, 3/2/76, p. 89. 


instances the Attorney General was advised that a trespass 
was involved in the installation.^^" 

The Bureau maintains that Attorney General Katzenbach was advised 
of microphone placements in Dr. King's hotel rooms on the following 
occasions : 

On May 13, 1965, the New York field office installed a microphone 
in Dr. King's suite at the Sheraton Atlantic Hotel in New York, 
pursuant to authorization from an Inspector in the Domestic Intelli- 
gence Division, apparently without Director Hoover's prior knowl- 
edge. According to a contemporaneous memorandimi, the New York 
office had only a few houi-s notice of Dr. King's arrival and needed 
to install the microphone "immediately." ^o" A memorandum dated 
May 17, addressed to the Attorney General and signed by Director 
Hoover, stated : 

On May 12, 1965, information was obtained indicating a meet- 
ing of King and his advisors was to take place in New York 
on that date. Because of the importance of that meeting and 
the urgency of the situation, a microphone surveillance was 
effected on May 13 . . .^o^ 

On October 14, 1965, a microphone was installed in Dr. King's 
room in the Astor Hotel in New York. This installation was approved 
b^ William Sullivan, head of the Domestic Intelligence Division, again 
without Director Hoover's prior knowledge, "on New York's assur- 
ance that full security was available, and since time was of the essence'' 
(Sullivan claimed that the FBI had learned of Dr. King's plan to visit 
New York only a few hours before.) -'^^ On his memorandum inform- 
ing Assistant to the Director Alan Belmont of the microphone place- 
ment, Sullivan wrote : "Memo to AG being prepared." A memorandum 
to the Attorney General, dated October 19 and signed by Director 
Hoover, stated that the Astor Hotel surveillance had been placed 
because of the "importance" of Dr. King's meeting with his advisers 
in New York "and the urgency of the situation." ^°^ 

On November 9, 1965, a microphone was installed in Dr. King's 
room in the Americana Hotel in New York. A Domestic Intelligence 
Division memorandum of that date states : 

On New York's assurance that full security was available 
and since time was of the essence [as the FBI had learned of 
Dr. King's planned visit to New York on that day], New 

York was told to go ahead with the installation Inasmuch 

as the installation will be made today (11/29/65) and deac- 
tivated immediately upon King's departure, probably 
11/30/65, we will promptly submit a memorandum to the 
Attorney General advising when the installation was made 
and when it was taken off .2°* 

""Memorandum from Charles Brennan to William Sullivan, 12/15/75, p. 2. 

*°" Memorandum from Joseph Sizoo to William Sullivan, 5/13/65. 

*^ Memorandimi from Director, FBI to Attorney General, 5/17/65. 

**■ Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 10/14/65. 

"^^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to Attorney General, 10/19/65. 

*°* Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 11/29/65. 


A memorandum to the Attorney General, dated December 1, 1965, 
and bearing Director Hoover's signature, stated that "a microphone 
surveillance was effected November 29, 1965 on King . . . and was dis- 
continued on November 30, 1965." The reason for the installation was 
the "importance of the meeting and the urgency of the situation 
. . . ." ^°^ 

The FBI has given the Committee copies of the three memoranda 
to Attorney General Katzenbach informing him that microphones 
had been placed on Dr. King's rooms. Each is initialed "N deB K" 
in the upper right hand corner. When shown these memoranda, Katzen- 
bach testified : "Each of these bears my initials in what appears to be 
my handwriting in the place where I customarily initialed Bureau 
memoranda.'' ^^^ He denied, however, any recollection of having 
received the memoranda.^"' 

The Bureau also supplied the Committee with a transmittal slip 
dated December 10, 1965. 

Mr. Hoover — 

Obviously these are particularly delicate surveillances and 
we should be very cautious in terms of the non-FBI people 
w^ho may from time to time necessarily be involved in some 
aspect of installation. 

N deB K ^« 

Katzenbach identified the handwritten note as his, and testified 
that although he recalled writing the note, he could not recall why 
he had written it. When asked if he recalled the "delicate surveil- 
lances" mentioned in the note, Katzenbach told the Committee: 

I don't recall, and I have nothing in my possession that 
has served to refresh my recollection, and nothing has been 
shown to me by the Committee staff that serves to refresh 
my recollection. 

Q. In your opinion, could this note have referred to the 
three mentioned electronic surveillances against Dr. King? 

Mr. Katzenbach. On its face it says that it did ... it 
would seem to me that would be a possibility. I point out 
that it could refer to almost anything. My opinion is obvi- 
ously, since I don't recall getting the first three, that this was 
not associated with it, and I really don't have enough recol- 
lection of what was associated with it to say. I did see Mr. 

^^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to Attorney General, 12/1/65. 

^ Nicholas Katzenbach testimony, 12/3/7.5, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 211. 

^ When asked if he thought his initials in the corner of the three documents 
were forgeries, Katzenbach testified : "Let me be just as clear about that as 
I can. I have no recollection of receiving these documents, and I seriously 
believe that I would have recollected them had I received them. If they are my 
initials and if I put them on, then I am clearly mistaken in that recollection." 
(Katzenbach. 12/3/75. Hearings, p. 227.) 

^ Memorandum from Nicholas Katzenbach to J. Edgar Hoover, 12/10/65. 
The Bureau asserts that the transmittal slip, which bears an FBI secretary's 
notation "Martin Luther King," was located in the FBI's Martin Luther King 
file. The serial number for filing on the transmittal slip is immediately sub- 
sequent to the serial number of the December 1 notification. The Bureau has 
informed the committee, however, that there is no evidence that the two 
memoranda were ever attached to one another, or that anything was attached 
to the transmittal slip when it came to the Bureau. 


Helms on that date. AVhether it related to soinethinj; he asked 
for, I don't know.^"" 

Katzenbach added that he was : 

puzzled by the fact that the handwritten note, if related to 
the December 1 memorandum from the Director, is written 
on a separate piece of paper. It was then, and is now, my con- 
sistent practice to write notes of that kind on the incoming 
piece of paper, provided there is room to do so.^" 

The documentary evidence — the three notices that a microphone 
had been placed on a room occupied by Dr. King shortly before, and 
the note in Katzenbach's handwriting referring to "delicate surveil- 
lances" which the FBI states was sent to the Bureau with the last of 
the notices — indicates that Attorney General Katzenbach knew of the 
microphone surveillance but did not order it halted. Katzenbach, in 
denying any knowledge of the microphones, pointed to two factors 
mitigating against the likelihood of his having permitted the surveil- 
lance to continue once learning of it: his rejection of a wiretap on 
Dr. King's new home in April 1965, the fact that his handwritten not« 
urged caution in future surveillances, and that no microphone sur- 
veillances were carried out after the date of the note.^^^ 

Katzenbach's position throughout his testimony before the Commit- 
tee is best summarized by a portion of a written, sworn statement that 
he submitted at the time of his public appearance : 

These memoranda do not indicate on their face the Bureau 
sought any prior authorization, or state any reasons why it 
was not sought. They appear to present me with information 
after the fact and request no authority to perform similar 
surveillances in the future. I believe the Bureau knew full well 
that I would not authorize the surveillances in question, not 
only because of the circumstances surrounding Dr. King, but 
particularly because the bugs were to be placed in a hotel 
room. That is among the worst possible invasions of privacy 
and would demand the strongest conceivable justification. In- 
deed, I believe this position had been made clear in written 
memoranda to the Bureau dating back to the 1950s, and I 
have a clear recollection of being critical of the Bureau for 
installing a bug in the bedroom of a leading member of the 
Mafia. I reaffirmed this position to the Bureau sometime in 
1965 or 1966, but that reaffirmation may have postdated these 

Finally, I cannot recall any memoranda at any time inform- 
ing me that the Bureau had installed a tap or a bug without 

""* Katzenbach. 12/3/75, Hearings, p. 229. Katzenbach also told the Committee : 
"My calendar does show that on that date I had a meeting alone \\\t\i the Deputy 
Director of the CIA. Mr. Helms, which he had requested the previous afternoon. 
The meeting was a brief one and would be consistent with a request by the CIA 
for domestic surveillances by the FBI. I rarely saw Mr. Helms alone, and he 
did on one or two occasions make such a request. But I have no recollection of 
the subject matter of that particular meeting and cannot, therefore say that this 
handwritten note is related to it." (Katzenbach, 12/3/75. Hearings, p. 211.) 

"" Katzenbach, 12/3/75, Hearings, p. 211. 

^' Katzenbach, 11/12/75, pp. 75-76. 


my prior authorization. While I authorized Mr. Hoover to do 
so in emergency circumstances in a memorandum written in 
the summer of 1965, not only does the May memorandum pre- 
date that authorization, but there is nothing in the memo- 
randa which suggests that on any of these occasions was there 
an "emergency." Further, my calendars, which are in the 
possession of the Committee, indicate my general avail- 
ability 212 to the Bureau on two occasions involving these 
memoranda, and my total availability to the Bureau on the 
third. Nor do I have any recollection that the "emergency" 
procedure was ever invoked by the Bureau during my term 
in office. 

Obviously I do not believe that I received these memo- 
randa. Equally obvious is the fact that if I initialed them, I 
am mistaken in my belief. ^^^ 
Although apparently no microphones were placed in Dr. King's 
hotel rooms after the November 29, 1965 "bug" at the Americana Hotel, 
the Domestic Intelligence Division did make one further attempt to 
install a microphone. A memorandum from William Sullivan to Cartha 
DeLoach, then Assistant to the Director, dated January 21, 1966, states 
that Sullivan had authorized the New York office to "bug" King's room 
during an anticipated three-day stay. Clyde Tolson wrote across this 
memorandum, "Remove this surveillance at once. 1/21," and Hoover 
added his "yes." Tolson added a note on the bottom of the memoran- 
dum, complaining, "No one here approved this. I have told Sullivan 
again not to institute a mike surveillance without the Director's ap- 
proval." Hoover wrote next to this comment, "Right." ^^ 

-^^ Katzenbaeh wrote in a footnote, asterisked after this reference to his "gen- 
eral availability" : "For communications purposes, it was my consistent practice 
to be met by Bureau agents whenever I traveled. In addition, I kept the White 
House operator informed of how to reach me at all times. In the first occasion, 
I left my oflBce for a flight to Chicago at 2 :30 p.m. and was, as a practical matter, 
unavailable to the Bureau only during the two-hour flight. On the .second occa- 
sion, I left my office at 12 :85 p.m. for a one-hour flight to New York, and was 
similarly unavailable only during the flight. On the third occasion, I was in my 
Washington oflBce all day, and thus always available to the Bureau." 

-"Katzenbaeh, 12/3/75. Hearings, pp. 211-212. 

^'Memorandum from William Sullivan to Cartha DeLoach, 1/21/66. The 
significance of this memorandum is unclear. Hoover's and Tolson's strong reactions 
to Sullivan's approval of a microphone on King's room — an action which Sullivan 
had taken several times before — may have been in response to the "delicate 
surveillances" warning of the Attorney General, or an added caution in light of 
the Long Committee investigation into electronic surveillance. (The Long Com- 
mittee investigation is discussed in the Committee Staff Report about electronic 
surveillance.) It is perhaps significant that on the same day that Tolson ordered 
Sullivan to remove the "bug" from Dr. King's hotel room, C. D. DeLoach met 
with Senator Long and, according to a memorandum by DeLoach. secured Senator 
Long's promise not to call any FBI witnesses to testify before his Subcommittee. 
DeLoaeh's account of that meeting states: 

"While we have neutralized the threat of being embarrassed by the Long Sub- 
committee, we have not yet eliminated certain dangers which might be created 
as a result of newspaper pressure on^iiong. We therefore must keep on top of 
this situation at all times." (Memorandum from C. D. DeLoach *^t C. Tolson, 
1/21/66. Ordering Sullivan to remove the microphone in Dr. King . . tel room, 
which would have proven extremely embarrassing if it had been disco \ered, 
might have been one of Tolson's responses to DeLoaeh's warning. ) 



Introduction and Summary 

In December 1963, a meeting was convened at FBI headquarters to 
discuss various "avenues of approacli aimed at neutralizing: King as 
an effective Negro leader." Two weeks later, FBI agents planted the 
first microphones in Dr. King's hotel rooms in an "attempt" to obtain 
information about the private "activities of Dr. King and his asso- 
ciates" so that Dr. King could be "completely discredited." That same 
week, the head of the Domestic Intelligence Division recommended 
the promotion of a new "national Negro leader" who could "over- 
shadow King and be in the position to assume the role of the leader- 
ship of the Negro people when King has been completely discredited." 

The FBI's effort to discredit Dr. King and to undermine the SCI.C 
involved plans touching on virtually every aspect of Dr. King's life. 
The FBI scrutinized Dr. King's tax returns, monitored his financial 
affairs, and even tried to establish that he had a secret foreign bank 
account. Religious leaders and institutions were contacted in an effort 
to undermine their support of him, and unfavorable material was 
"leaked" to the press. Bureau officials contacted members of Congress, 
and special "off the record" testimony was prepared for the Director's 
use before the House Appropriations Committee. Efforts were made 
to turn White House and Justice Department Officials against Dr. 
King by barraging them with unfavorable reports and, according to 
one witness, even offering to play for a White House official tape 
recordings that the Bureau considered embarrassing to King. 

This chapter examines not only the Bureau's efforts to discredit Dr. 
King, but the degree to which officials in other branches of the Govern- 
ment were responsible for those actions. K few months before the FBI 
held its December 1963 conference at which its program against Dr. 
King was apparently formulated, the Director distributed a "mono- 
graph" about Dr. King to the heads of several Governmental agencies. 
Attorney General Kennedy ordered it immediately withdrawn. During 
the course of the following year, the FBI sent several intelligence re- 
ports bearing on Dr. King's private life to the White House and Jus- 
tice Department. Although government officials outside the FBI were 
not aware of the extent of the FBI's efforts to discredit Dr. King, 
officials of the Justice Department and of the White House did knoAv 
that the FBI had offered tape recordings and derogatory information 
about Dr. King to reporters. The Attorney General went no further 
than complaining to the President and accepting a Bureau official's 
representation that the allegations were not true. President Johnson 
not only failed to order the Bureau to stop, but indeed cautioned it 
against dealing with certain reporters who had complained of its 

A. The FBI Disseminates the First King ^'■Monograph'''' and Attorney 
Geifieral Kennedy Orders It Recalled : October 1963 

On October 15, 1963, William Sullivan forwarded to Assistant Di- 
rector Alan Belmont for his approval a monograph entitled "Commu- 
nism and the Negro Movement — A Current Analysis." He proposed 


that it be distributed to the Attorney General, the White House, CIA, 
State Department, Defense Department, and Defense Department in- 
telligence aoencies.^^^ Sullivan testified that the purpose of the mono- 
graph was to "discredit King." ^^^ 

Belmont submitted the monograph to the Director with a note 
stating : 

The attached analysis of Communism and the Xegro move- 
ment is highly explosive. It can be regarded as a personal 
attack on Martin Luther King. There is no doubt it will have 
a heavy impact on the Attorney General and anyone else to 
whom we disseminate 

The memorandum makes good reading and is based on in- 
formation from reliable sources. We may well be charged, 
however, with expressing opinions and conclusions, particu- 
larly with reference to some of the statements about King. 

This memorandum may startle the Attorney General, par- 
ticularly in view of his past association with King, and the 
fact that we are disseminating this outside the Department. 
He may resent this. Nevertheless, the memorandum is a power- 
ful warning against Communist influence in the Negro move- 
ment, and we will be carrying out our responsibility by dis- 
seminating it to the people indicated in the attached memo- 

The monograph was distributed on October 18, 1963. One week later, 
the Attorney General called Courtney Evans and stated that he had 
just learned that the Army had received a copy of a report about Dr. 
King's alleged communist activities. Evans reported to Belmont : 

He was obviously irritated. He went on to ask if the Army 
got copies of all reports submitted to him. . . . The Attorney 
General asked what responsibilities the Army had in relation 
to the communist background of Martin Luther King. I told 
the Attorney General . . . that the Army had an interest in 
communist activities particularly in relation to racial matters 
because the military had to be called on if civil disturbances 
arising out of such matters went beyond the ability of civilian 
authorities. This explanation seemed to serve no purpose.^^* 

Director Hoover recorded in a memorandum of the same date : 

The Attorney General called and advised me there was a lot 
of talk at the Pentagon regarding the docmnent. . . . The At- 
torney General anticipated that this information would leak 
out as the military didn't like the Negroes. 

The Attorney General felt we should get back all copies of 
the document. I told him ... we would get them from all agen- 

^" Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 10/15/63. 

"' William Sullivan testiiaony, 11/1/75, p. 49. 

'^^ Memorandum from Alan Belmont to Clyde Tolson, 10/17/63. Hoover wrote in 
the margin "We must do our duty" and "I am glad you recognize a't last that 
there exists such influence." Copies were sent to the Attorney General, the White 
House, the Secretary of State, the Director of Certtral Intelligence, the Secretary 
of Defense, the Director of Naval Intelligence, the Army Assistant Chief of Staff 
for Intelligence, and the Department of Special Investigations of 'the Air Force. 

^* Memorandum from Courtney Evans to Alan Belmont, 10/25/63. 


cies to which they were disseminated I also told him if any 

newspapers asked about this, no comment would be made and 
no mention would be made that such a document existed.^^^ 

All copies were recovered by October 28. 

Burke Marshall, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil 
Rights Division under Robert Kennedy, told the Committee that the 
monograph was : 

a personal diatribe ... a personal attack without eviden- 
tiary support on the character, the moral character and 
person of Dr. Martin Luther King, and it was only peripher- 
ally related to anything substantive, like whether or not there 
was communist infiltration or influence on the civil rights 
movement. ... It was a personal attack on the man and went 
far afield from the charges [of possible communist 
influence]. "° 

Marshall recalled that he had been very "irritated" about the mono- 
graph and that the Attorney General had "thought it was outrageous." 
He remembered that the Attorney General had ordered the mono- 
graph withdrawn, but did not know if the Attorney General had taken 
any further steps to reprimand the Bureau.^-^ 

B. The FBI Plans Its Campaign To Discredit Dr. King : December 23^ 

On December 23, 1963, a nine-hour conference was held at FBI 
headquarters to discuss Martin Luther King. In attendance were As- 
sistant Director Sullivan, Internal Security Section Chief Frederick 
Baumgardner, three other FBI headquarters officials, and two agents 
from the FBI's Atlanta Field Office. 

A prepared list of twenty-one proposals was presented and dis- 
cussed. The proposals raised the possibility of "using" ministers, "dis- 
gruntled" acquaintances, "aggressive" newsmen, "colored" agents. Dr. 
King's housekeeper, and even suggested using Dr. King's wife or 
"placing a good looking female plant in King's office." ^" An 
account of the meeting written by William Sullivan emphasized that 
the Bureau must take a "discreet approach" in developing informa- 
tion about Dr. King for use "at an opportune time in a counterintelli- 

'^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to Clyde Tolson, Alan Belmont, .John 
Mohr, Cartha DeL-oach, Alex Rosen, and William Sullivan, 10/25/63. 

"^ Burke Marshall testimony, 3/3/76. p. 32. Carl T. Rowan, then Director of 
USIA, was sent a copy of the monograph. In a newspap'er article in 1969. Rowan 
wrote, "(p)erhaps this is the time for me to reveal that I have read the FBI 
reports based on electronic surveillance of the late Nobel Prize-winner. I know 
how much dirt the FBI has dug up. and 90 percent of it is barn-yard gossip that 
has nothing to do with 'internal security' or 'Marxist influences.'" (Carl T. 
Rowan, "FBI Won't Talk About Additional Wiretappings," The Washington 
D.C. Evening Star, 6/20/69, p. A-13) 

*" Marshall testimony, 3/3/76, p. 34. 

"""FBI work paper, "Questioms To Be Explored at Conference 12/23/63 re: 
Communist Influ'ence in Racial Matters." 

The Bureau subsequently considered the possibility of getting Detroit police- 
men to raid Dr. King's hotel room in March 1964 and kept abreast of the Miami 
police force's plans to raid Dr. King's hotel room in 1966 (Unsigned Bureau 
memorandum, "For Telephonic Briefing of Detroit Office ;" Airtel, Miami Office to 
Director, FBI, 5/23/66). 


gence move to discredit him." It was generally agreed that the Bureau 
should make use of "all available investigative techniques coupled with 
meticulous, planning, boldness, and ingenuity, tempered only with 
good judgment," but that "discretion must not reach the point of 
timidity." "3 

Sullivan's memorandum reported that the following decisions were 
made at the conference : 

(1) We must determine and check out all of the employees 
of the SCLC. 

(2) We must locate and monitor the funds of the SCLC. 

(3) We must identify and check out the sources who con- 
tribute to the SCLC. 

(4) We must continue to keep close watch on King's per- 
sonal activities. 

(5) We will, at the proper time when it can be don© with- 
out embarrassment to the Bureau, expose King as an op- 
portunist who is not a sincere person but is exploiting the 
racial situation for personal gain. 

(6) We will explore the ])ossibility of utilizing additional 
specialized investigative techniques at the SCLC office. 

Sullivan described the purpose of the meeting as 

To explore how best to carry on our investigation to pro- 
duce the desired results without embarrassment to the Bu- 
reau. Included in our discussion was a complete analysis of 
the avenues of approach aimed at neutralizing King as an ef- 
fective Negro leader and developing evidence concerning 
King's continued dei:)endence on communists for guidance 
and direction.^^* 

Precisely what prompted the Bureau to decide upon this drastic 
new approach is still unclear. 

William Sullivan was asked by the Committee whether tactics, such 
as placing female "plants," were common practices of the FBI. Sulli- 
van testified that they were : 

common practice among intelligence services all over the 
world. This is not an isolated phenomenon. . . . This is a 
common practice, rough, tough, dirty business. Whether we 
should be in it or not, that is for you folks to decide. We are 
in it ... . No holds were barred. We have used that technique 
against Soviet agents. They have used it against us. 

Question. The same methods were brought home? 

Mr. Sullivan. Brought home against any organization 
against which we were targeted. We did not differentiate. 
This is a rough, tough business. 

Senator Mondale. Would it be safe to say that the tech- 
niques we learned in fighting . . . true espionage in World 

^^ Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 12/24/63. Six months 
later, in April 1964. FBI headquarters was still instructing agents in the field to 
"continue to gather information conc'erning King's personal activities ... in 
order that we may consider using this information at an opportune time in a 
counterintelligence move to discredit him" and to consider the possibility of 
"utilizing contracts in the news media field." (Memorandum from FBI Director 
to Atlanta Office, April 1, 1964) 

'=" Sullivan memorandum, 12/24/63. 



War II came to be used against some of our own American 
citizens ? 

Mr. Sullivan, That would be a correct deduction.^^^ 

Sullivan testified that the plans formulated at the December 24, 
1963 meeting were in accord with "Mr. Hoover's policy." "^ After 
reviewing the memoranda, Sullivan emphasized, 

I want to make this clear, this is not an isolated phenomenon, 
that this was a practice of the Bureau down through the 
years. I might say it often became a real character assassina- 

Sullivan was asked by the Committee whether he or any other em- 
ployees of the Bureau ever objected to using these tactics. Sullivan 
responded : 

Not to my recollection ... I was not ready at that time to 
collide with him. Everybody in the Division went right along 
with Hoover's policy. I do not recall anybody ever raising 
a question. 

. . . never once did I hear anybody, including myself, 
raise the question, is this coui-se of action which we have 
agreed upon lawful, is it legal, is it ethical or moral? We 
never gave any thought to this realm of reasoning, because 
we were just naturally pragmatists. The one thing we were 
concerned about will this course of action work, will it get 
us what we want, will we reach the objective that we desire 
to reach? 

As far as legality is concerned, morals or ethics, was never 
raised by myself or anybody else. ... I think this suggests 
really in government we are amoral.^^* 

On December 29, 1963, less than a week after the FBI conference, 
Time magazine chose Dr. King as the "Man of the Year," describing 
him as the "unchallenged voice of the Negi'o people . . . [who] has 
infused the Negroes themselves with the fiber that gives their revolu- 
tion its true stature." ^^^ Hoover wrote across the memorandum in- 
forming him of this honor: "They had to dig deep in the garbage 
to come up with this one." ^^^ 

C. William Sullivan p?'oposes a phn to promote a new negro leader: 
January 1961^ 

On January 6, 1964 — about two weeks after the FBI's conference 
•to plan methods of "neutralizing" Dr. King's influence and to gather 
information about D. King's personal life — the FBI installed the 
microphone in Dr. King's room at the Willard Hotel. As explained 
in the preceding chapter, additional microphones soon followed; 

^ Sullivan, 11/1/75, p. 97. 
** Sullivan, 11/1/75, p. 85. 
*" Sullivan, 11/1/75, p. 87. 
="" Sullivan, 11/1/75, pp. 92-93. 

*^ United Press International release, 12/29/63, regarding 1/3/64 Time cover 
*"• UPI release, 12/29/63. 


physical and photographic surveillance was initiated; special 
Headquarters ''briefings'' were held; "dry runs" were planned; 
and the most sophisticated and experienced Bureau personnel were 
deployed to gather information that might be used in a concerted 
effort to destroy Dr. King's influence. 

Two days after the installation of the Willard Hotel microphones, 
Assistant Director William Sullivan proposed that the FBI select 
a new "national Negro leader" as Dr. King's successor. In proposing the 
plan, Sullivan stated: 

It should be clear to all of us that Martin Luther King 
must, at some propitious point in the future, be revealed to 
the people of this country and to his Negro followers as 
being what he actually is — a fraud, demagogue and scoundrel. 
When the true facts concerning his activities are presented, 
such should be enough, if handled properly, to take him off 
his pedestal and to reduce him completely in influence. When 
this is done, and it can be and will be done, obviously much 
confusion will reign, particularly among the Negro people. 
. . . The Negroes will be left Avithout a national leader of 
sufficiently compelling pei-sonality to steer them in the proper 
direction. This is what could happen, but need not happen 
if the right kind of a national 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 the leadership 
of the Negro people when King has been completely dis- 

For some months I have been thinking about this matter. 
One day I had an opportunity to explore this from a philo- 
sophical and sociological standpoint with [an acquaintance] 
whom I have known for some years. ... I asked [him] to 
give the mattei* some attention and if he knew any Negro of 
outstanding intelligence and ability to let me know and we 
would have a discussion. [He] has submitted to me the name 
of the above-captioned person. Enclosed with this memoran- 
dum is an outline of [the person's] biography which is truly 
remarkable for a man so young. On scanning this biography, 
it will 'be seen that [he] does have all the qualifications of the 
kind of a Negro I have in mind to advance to positions of na- 
tional leadership. . . . 

If this thing can be set up properly without the Bureau in 
any way becoming directly involved, I think it would be not 
only 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 higlily placed contacts of the FBI who might be 
very helpful to further such a step. These can be discussed in 
detail later when I have probed more fully into the 
possibilities ^^^ 

When Sullivan was shown this memorandum by the Committee, he 
testified : 

Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 1/8/64. 


I'm very proud of this memorandum, one of the best mem- 
oranda I ever wrote. I think here I was showing some con- 
cern for the country,^^^ 

Sullivan sought the Director's approval "to explore this whole mat- 
ter in greater detail." The Director noted his own "o.k." and added: 

I am glad to see that "light" has finally, though dismally 
delayed, come to the Domestic Int. Div. I struggled for 
months to get over the fact that the communists were taking 
over the racial movement but our experts here couldn't or 
wouldn't see it.^^^ 

It is uncertain whether the FBI took steps to implement Sullivan's 
plan. The FBI files contain no additional memoranda on the subject. 
The successor for Dr. King proposed in Sullivan's memorandum has 
told the Committee that he was never contacted by the FBI, and that 
Ije was not aware of the FBI's plans for him or of any attempts by the 
FBI to promote him as a civil rights leader.^^* 

D. FBI Headquarters Orders the Field Oifices To Intensify Efforts 
to Discredit Dr. King : April -August 196 If 

On April 1, 1964, in response to a suggestion from the Atlanta field 
office for another conference in AVashington to plan strategy against 
Dr. King, FBI Headquarters ordered the Atlanta and New York 
offices to : 

give the matter of instant investigation a thorough analysis 
with a view toward suggesting new avenues of investigation 
and intensification in areas already being explored. Bear in 
mind the main goals of this matter; namely, determining the 
extent of the communist influence in racial matters and taking 
such action as is aqjpropriate to neutralize or completely dis- 
credit the effectivness of Martin Luther King. Jr., as a Negro 
leader. . . . ^^^ [Emphasis added.] 

Headquarters listed several areas "having potential for further 
inquiry" : 

possibilities of anonymous source contacts, possibilities of uti- 
lizing contacts in the news media field; initiating discreet 
checks relative to developing background information on 
employees of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference 
(SCLC) ; remaining alert to the possibility of capitalizing 
on any disgnmtled SCLC employee; the possibility of de- 
veloping information concerning any financial dealings of 
King which may be illegal ; and the development of sub- 
versive information pertaining to SCLC employees."'' 

The Atlanta Office responded with several ideas for "how the ef- 
fectiveness of Kins: can be neutralized or discredited.^^^ 

**• 'Sullivan. 11/1/75, p. 149. 
**" Sullivan memorandum, 1/8/&4. 

*** Staff interview. 11/17/75. Thi.s note by Director Hoover should be read in light 
of his "feud" with the Domestic Intelligence Division described pp. 104 et seq. 
*^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to SAC Atlanta, 4/1/64. 
"* Director. FBI memorandum. 4/1/64. 
'^ Memorandum from SAC, Atlanta to Headquarters, 4/14/64, p. 11. 


— Determining whether a "rift" was developing between Dr. King 
and Roy Wilkins, head of the NAACP, and if so, using newspapers 
friendly to the Bureau to "feed pertinent subversive connections and 
dealings of King to Wilkins." 

— "Furnishing to friendly newspapers on an anonymous basis, cer- 
tain specific leads where he may develop the necessary data so that 
he may further write critical news stories." 

— "Discreetly investigate the background of twelve key (SCLC) 
employees and associates in an effort to obtain some weakness that 
could be used for counter-intelligence activities." 

— "Injection of false information with certain discontented (SCLC) 

— Sending letters to SCLC's financial donors, written on SCLC sta- 
tionei-y fabricated in the FBI laboratory and bearing Dr. King's signa- 
ture, advising the donors that the IRS was checking SCLC's tax 
records. "It is believed that such a letter of this type from SCLC 
may cause considerable concern and eliminate future contributions." 

— Placing a pretext call to an SCLC creditor to impress him with 
the "financial plight" of the SCLC so that he "may be incited into 
collection efforts." 

— Examining Dr. King's checking accounts and credit card accounts 
to develop information about his financial affairs. 

— Making a survey to determine whether to install a "trash cover" 
of the SCLC office in Atlanta."^^ 

The Atlanta office also assured the Bureau that it would continue 
to explore the possibility of technical coverage of an Atlanta apart- 
ment frequently used by Dr. King, although coverage would involve 
several security problems.^^^ 

Shortly after these proposals were submitted, the Director ex- 
pressed "the Bureau's gratitude" to the Atlanta agents for their "ag- 
gressive imagination looking toward more and better ways of meeting 
the problems involved" in the investigation.^*" 

The New York office submitted only a few new suggestions, assert- 
ings that "It is felt that [our] coverage is adequate." -*^ To this the 
Dir^Qtor replied : 

The Bureau cannot adjudge as adequate any coverage wliich 
does not positively provide to the Bureau 100 percent of the 
intelligence relating to the communist influence in racial mat- 

^^ SAO, Atlanta memorandum, 4/14/64. 

^The FBI overcame similar security problems in another city where hotel 
room coverage of Dr. King was desired by supplying "lead" information to 
newsmen "in order that they might determine if they could develop suflBcient 
facts to cause an expose of King." 

^" Memorandum from Director, FBI to SAC, Atlanta, 4/24/64. The Domestic 
Intelligence Division ultimately approved taking preliminary steps for possible 
anonymous mailings to the newsman and to install coverage on any new apart- 
ments that King might lease. The other suggestions were rejected because they 
did "not appear desirable and/or feasible for direct action by the Bureau at this 
time." (Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 5/6/64.) 

="" Memorandum from SAC, New York to Director, FBI, 4/14/64, p. 2. Those 
suggestions essentially included increasing coverage of the New York SCLC office 
and sending an anonymous letter to a disaffected SCLC employee "to cause dis- 
ruption in the New York office." The anonymous letter was ultimately mailed. 
(Memorandum from Director, FBI, to SAC, New York, 4/20/64.) 


tei-s. Obviously, we are not securing all the information that 
is pertinent and needs to be secured. Our coverage, therefore, 
is not deemed adequate.'-^ *^ 

With respect to the New York office's conclusions about a civil rights 
leader and associate of Dr. King, who was also under close Bureau 
scrutiny for alleged "subversive" ties, the Director wrote : 

The Bureau does not agree with the expressed belief of the 
New York office that [ ] is not sympathetic to the Party 

cause. While there may not be any direct evidence that 
[ ] is a conununist, neither is there any substantial evi- 

dence that he is anticommunist.^*^ 

Surprisingly, the Bureau did not even comment on the statement 
of the New York office that Adviser A was "not now under CP dis- 
cipline in the civil rights field." ^^^ 

In June 1964 a special unit was established in the Bureau's Internal 
Security Section to handle exclusively "the over-all problem of com- 
munist penetration with the racial movement." 2"*^ The memorandum 
justifying the special unit pointed out that "urgency for the FBI to 
'stay ahead' of the situation is tied to pending civil rights legislation 
and foreseeable ramifications arising out of the complex political situ- 
ations in an election year where civil rights and social disturbances will 
play a key role in campaign efforts and possible election results." ^''^ 

In August the Bureau issued new instructions directing the field "to 
broaden its efforts relating to communist influences in the racial 
field." 2*" The term "communist," the field was told, "shou^ld lie inter- 
preted in its broadest sense as including persons not only adhering to 
the principles of the CPUSA itself, but also to such splinter and off- 
shoot groups as the Socialist Workers Party, Progressive Labor and 
the like." -*^ The Director pointed out : 

The news media of recent months mirror the civil rights 
issue as probably the number one domestic issue in the politi- 
cal spectrum. There are clear and unmistakable signs that we 
are in the midst of a social revolution with the racial move- 
ment as its core. The Bureau, in meeting its responsibilities in 
this area, is an integral part of this revolution. . . .^^^ 

The Special Unit that had been established in June was made a per- 
manent unit. 

'^Memorandum from Director, FBI. to SAC, New York, 4/24/64. 

=^ Director, FBI memorandum, 4/24/64, p. 2. 

-" SAC, New York memorandum, 4/14/64. A detailed, comprehensive, 163-paKe 
internal Headquarters working paper, entitled "Communist Party, USA, Negro 
Question, Communist Influence in Racial Matters," dated April 27, 1964. includes 
14 pages dealing solely with Adviser A, but does not include the information 
received from New York just two weeks earlier that Adviser A "is not now 
under CP discipline in the civil rights field." 

^" Unsigned FBI Memorandum. Addendum by Inspection Division, 6/4/64. 

'^Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 5/20/64, 
addendum by Inspection Division, p. 1. 

^' Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 8/25/64. 

^ Memorandum from Director, FBI, to SAC, Atlanta, 8/28/&4, p. 6. 

'^' Director, FBI memorandum, 8/28/64, pp. 1-2. 

E. Steps Taken hy the FBI in 196 1^ to Discredit Dr. King 

The FBI's program to "neutralize" Martin Luther King as the leader 
of the civil rights movement went far beyond the planning and collec- 
tion stage. The Committee has discovered the following attempts by 
the FBI to discredit Dr. King in 1964. 

1. Attempts to Di.scredit Dr. King with the White Hotise 

As set forth in the preceding chapter, a memorandum summarizing 
the contents of the Willard Hotel tapes was shown to presidential 
assistant Walter Jenkins in January 1964 "inasmuch as King is seek- 
ing an appointment with President Johnson." ^^^ The summary of in- 
formation obtained from surveillance at the Willard, Honolulu, and 
Los Angeles hotels was sent to the Wliite House and to the 
Attorney General in March 1964 in order to "remove all doubt from 
the Attorney General's mind as to the type of person King is." -" A 
third memorandum derived from microphone surveillance was sent to 
the White House in July.^^^ 

2. Attempts to Discredit Dr. King With the Congress 

In January 1964, Director Hoover gave off -the- record testimony 
before the House Appropriations Committee. His precise comments 
are not known. The briefing paper prepared for his appearance by the 
Domestic Intelligence Division, however, indicates that Director 
Hoover was prepared to represent to the Committee that Dr. King's 
advisers were communists and that Dr. King engaged in improper 

The Director's off-the-record briefing had an immediate impact. 
The FBI was soon told that the members of the Committee were "very 
concerned regarding the background" of Dr. King, and that some 
members of the Committee felt that the President should be requested 
to instruct the USIA to withdraw a film dealing favorably with the 
August 1968 March on Washington. They were reported to be "par- 
ticularly disturbed and iiked at the fact that Martin Luther King 
appears to predominate the film." "^^^ 

In March 1964 Cartha DeLoach, Assistant to the Director, reported 
that he had been approached by Representative Howard Smith (D- 
Va.), Chairman of the House Rules Committee. According to De- 
Loach's memorandum. Representative Smith said that he had heard 
about the Director's remarks before the Appropriations Committee. 
Congressman Smith was reported to have asked for information for 
a speech about Dr. King on tlie floor of the House. DeLoach declined 
to furnish the required information, but recommended to the Director 

^ SuUivan memorandum, 1/13/64, p. 2. 

^^ Baumgardner memorandum, 3/4/64. 

'"= See Chapter IV. 

^^ Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 1/22/64, 

^' Memorandum from X. P. Callahan to John Mohr, 1/31/64. 

Carl Rowaii told a Committee staff member that shortly before hi.s appoint- 
ment as Director of USIA was announced, he had been invited to the White 
House for a Sunday evening dinner with the President and Mrs. .Johnson to 
view the film about the March. Rowan said that when the President asked him 
if he was going to distribute the film. Rowan replied that if he could not. "you 
have to find yourself a new Director." Rowan recalled that the President replied. 
"That's good enough for me." Rowan recalled that after the film had been dis- 
tributed, he had been called aside by Congressman Rooney. who repeated stories 
about Dr. King that had been given to him by the Bureau. Rowan stated that 
Rooney had specifically mentioned the bugging of Dr. King's .suite at the Willard 
Hotel. (Staff Interview of Carl T. Rowan, 8/29/75) 


that Congressman Smith might be useful in the future because a 
speech by him about Dr. King would be picked up by "newspapers all 
over the Nation." "^ 

In a television interview several years later. Congressman Rooney 
stated : 

Now you talk about the FBI leaking something about Mar- 
tin Luther King. I happen to know all about Martin Luther 
King, but I have never told anybody. 

IxTERViEWER. How do you know everything about Martin 
Luther King ? 

Representative Rooney. From the Federal Bureau of 

Interviewer. They've told you — gave you information 
based on tapes or other sources about Martin Luther King? 

Representative Rooney. They did. 

Interviewer. Is that proper? 

Representative Rooney. Why not ? ^^^ 

3. Attempts to Discredit Dr. King with Universities 
In early March 1964, the Bureau learned that Marquette University 
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin contemplated awarding Dr. King an honor- 
ary degree. A memorandum noted : 

It is shocking indeed that the possibility exists that King 
may receive an Honorary Degree from the same institution 
which honored the Director with such a degree in 1950. . . . 
By making pertinent information available to [a University 
official] at this time, on a strictly confidential basis, we will 
be giving the University sufficient time to enable it to take 
postive action in a manner which might avoid embarrassment 
to the University.-^" 

The university official was briefed by an FBI agent on Dr. King's 
background and assured the Bureau that Dr. King would not be 
considered for an honorary degree. The result of this FBI project is 

In April 1964, tlie FBI learned that Dr. King had been offered an 
honorar}' degree by Springfield College. DeLoach visited Senator 
Leverett Saltonstall, who was a member of the board of the College, 
in an effort to convince him to influence the College to withdraw its 
offer. According to DeLoach, Senator Saltonstall promised to speak 
with an official of the College. The College official was reported to 
have subsequently visited DeLoach,-^* but to have said that he would 
be unable to "uninvite" Dr. King because the information concerning 

** Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr, 3/16/64, p. 2. Hoover 
wrote on DeLoach's memorandum : "Someone on Senator [.sic] Rooney's commit- 
tee certainly betrayed the secrecy of the 'off-the-record' testimony I gave re : King. 
I do not want anything on King given to Smith nor anyone else at this time." 

^Interview with Congressman Rooney. NBC News' "First Tuesday." 6/1/71. 

"^Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 3/4/64. 
The officer who handled this assignment was given a letter of commendation by 
the Director and a monetary award. 

^DeLoach had originally intended not to contact the College official because 
of his "close association with (Sargent) Shriver." Senator Saltonstall, however, 
requested the College official to confer with DeLoach. 


Dr. King had to be held in confidence, and the board of trustees was 
governed by "liberals." ^^^ 

4. Attempts to Discredit Dr. King with Churches 

On June 12, 1964, AVilliam Sullivan wrote a memorandum stating 
that he had been contacted by tlie General Secretary of the National 
Council of the Churches of "Christ. Sullivan reported that, "I took 
the liberty of advising [him] confidentally of the fact that Dr. Martin 
Luther King not only left a great deal to be desired from the stand- 
point of Connnunism, but also from the standpoint of personal con- 
duct." Sullivan observed : 

I think that we have sowed an idea here which may do some 
good. I will follow up on the matter very discreetly to see 
what desirable results may emanate therefrom.-*'" 

Sullivan met again with tlie General Secretary in mid-December 
1064 and reported that the General Secretary had assured him "steps 
have been taken by the National Council of the Churches of Christ to 
make certain froin this time on that Martin Luther King Avill never 
get 'one single dollar' of financial support from the National Council." 
Sullivan reported that the Secretary stated that he had discussed 
Dr. King's background with some "key" protestant clergymen who 
were "liorrified." Sullivan also noted that the Secretary said that he 
also intended to discuss the matter with Roy AVilkins to persuade 
"Wilkins "that Negro leaders should completely isolate King and 
remove him from the role he is now occupying in civil rights 
activities." -''^ 

On December 8, 1964, the Director authorized the disclosure of infor- 
mation about Dr. King's personal life to an influential member of the 
Baptist World Alliance (BWA), so that he could pass the informa- 
tion along to the General Secretary of BWA, and to BWA Program 
Committee members, to prevent the Committee from inviting Dr. King 
to address the BWA's 1965 Congress in Miami Beach. The Director 
rejected a proposal, however, for "arranging for [certain BWA mem- 
bers] to listen to sources we have concerning this matter." -"^ 

5. Attempts to Discredit Dr. King irith the Pope 

On August 31, 1964, the FBI learned that Dr. King, who was going 
to be touring Europe in September, might have plans to visit the Pope. 
Internal Security Section Chief Baumgardner observed : 

It would be shocking indeed for such an unscrupulous 
character as King to receive an audience with the Pope. It is 
believed that if a plan to see the Pope is in the making, it 
ought to be nipped in the bud. We have considered different 
possibilities for meeting this problem and believe that the 
best one would be to have Assistant Director Malone of the 
New York office personally contact Francis Cardinal Spell - 
man and on a highly confidential basis bring to the Cardinal's 
attention the fact that King i^to visit Rome 

"'Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr, 4/8/64. DeLoach stated 
that he would "deny any such information had been furnished" if the official 
told anyone that the FBI had briefed him. 

-^ Memorandum from "William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 12/16/64. 

™' Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 12/16/64. 

^ Memorandum from Milton .Tones to Cartha DeLoach, 12/8/64, 


Malone should be able to impress upon the Cardinal the 
likely embarrassment that may result to the Pope should he 
grant King an audience and King is later discredited.^*'^ 

On September 8, Baumgardner reported : 

Malone called today and stated that he had discussed the 
situation with (^ardinal Spellman over the weekend and 
he said that the (\xrdinal took instant steps to advise the 
Vatican against granting any audience to King . . . Cardi- 
nal Spellman is going to Rome next week . . . and thus mil 
be on the scene personally and further insure that the Pope is 
not placed in an embarrassing position through any contact 
with King."*** 

The FBI's efforts were to no avail. The Pope met with Dr. King. The 
Director wrote across the memoranda informing him of that meeting, 
"astounding," and "I am amazed that the Pope gave an audience to 
such a [excised by FBI].^*'^ The Director then initiated inquiiies into 
the reason for the failure of this project. 

6. The Attempt to Discredit Dr. King During His Recei/pt of 
the Nohel Peaee Prize 

On October 14, 1964, Martin Luther King was named to win tlie 
Nobel Peace Prize. He received the prize in Europe on December 10, 
1965. The FBI took measures to dampen Dr. King's welcome, both in 
Europe and on his return home. 

On November 22, 1964 — two weeks before Dr. King's trip to receive 
the prize — the Domestic Intelligence Division assembled a thirteen- 
page updated printed version of the monograph which Attorney Gen- 
eral Kennedy had ordered recalled in October 1963.-"^ A copy was sent 
to Bill Moyers, Special Assistant to the President, on Deceml)er 1, 1964, 
with a letter requesting his advice concerning whether the monograph 
should also be distributed to "responsible officials in the Executive 
Branch." ^®^ Moyers gave his permission on December T,^*'* and copies 
were distributed to the heads of several executive agencies.^'^'^ 

Information about Dr. King's private life was also made available 
to United Nations representatives Adlai Stevenson and Ralph Bunche, 
who the Bureau had learned were being considered as possible par- 

^ Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 8/31/64, 
V. 1. 

The Chief of the Security Section recommended : 

"If approved, Assistant Director Malone should personally orally brief Francis 
Cardinal Spellman in accordance with the attached Top Secret summary [con- 
taining information about Dr. King's private life] . . . This is the same summary 
we previously used in preventing King's receiving an honorary degree from 
Marquette University." (Baumgardner to Sullivan, 8/31/64. ) 

^Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 9/8/64 

^Director's notes on UPI release, 9/8/64, and .Vew York Herald Tribune, 

"^ Memorandum from WilUam Sullivan to Abin Belmont. 11/22/64. See pp. 131, 

'^ Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Bill Moyers, 12/1/64. 

^ Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr, 12/7/64. 

^Copies were distributed to Acting Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, 
the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Director of the CIA. and the heads of 
the Military Intelligence agencies, as well as to FSIA. 


ticipants at the December 1964 "welcome home" reception for Dr. 

Three days after Vice President-elect Humphrey participated in 
one of the "welcome home" receptions for Dr. King in New York, the 
Bureau sent him a copy of the updated King monograph and a sep- 
arate memorandum entitled "Martin Luther King, Jr. : His Personal 
Conduct.'' 27- On December 8, 1964, the Bureau decided to brief Gov- 
ernor Nelson Rockefeller about Dr. King's private life and alleged 
Communist associations, apparently to dissuade the Governor from 
taking part in ceremonies connnending Dr. King for having received 
the Nobel Prize.^" 

Upon learning that Dr. King might meet with a certain foreign 
leader, FBI headquarters instructed the FBI representative in that 
country to brief the proper authorities alx)ut Dr. King.^'* The United 
States ambassadors in London and Oslo were briefed about Dr. King 
because "the Ambassadors might consider entertaining King while 
he is in Europe to receive the Nobel Peace Prize" and it might be 
possil)le to "forestall such action by the Ambassadors if they were 
briefed." The ambassadoi-s in Stockholm and Copenhagen were also 
briefed because "King is also to visit those cities." ^^^ 

On November 10, 1964, the FBI learned that the United States 
Information Agency was considering requesting Dr. King to engage 
in a one-week lecture tour in Europe following his receipt of the Noble 
Prize. Hoover approved the Domestic Intelligence Division's recom- 
mendation that USIA be furnished with the latest critical Bureau 
reports about Dr. King.^^'' 

7. Attempts to Block Dr. King's Publicatio7is 
On September 11, 1964, the FBI learned that Dr. King intended to 
publish an article in a major national publication. The Domestic Intel- 
ligence Division noted that it did not know "what line King will take 
in the article or what its specific stands will be," but, nonetheless rec- 
ommended that "it would be well to prevent any publication of his 
views." '''' 

The task of preventing publication was assigned to an agent with 
contacts at the magazine who had "forestalled'' the publication of an 
article by Dr. King in that magazine earlier in 1964.-^^ 

The agent subsequently reported that he had contacted an official 
of the magazine in late September. According to the agent, the 
official had agreed to "endeavor to assist" the FBI, and had been 
briefed about King, but was unable to block publication because 
a contractual agreement had already been made.^'''' The FBI did ap- 
parently have some influence at the magazine, however, because a mem- 
orandum reporting the incident concludes : 

"" Untitled memorandum. 11/12/64. 

"^ Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Hubert Humphrey, 12/21/64. 

'"^ Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan. 12/S/64. 

^* Cable from Director, FBI to Legat, 11/10/64. 

"'"' Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan. 11/30/64. 

*'' Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 11/12/64. 

'^"Memorandum from Frederick Baumg'ardner to William Sullivan, 9/11/64. 

^'^ Baumgardner memorandum, 9/11/64. 

'"* Memorandum to Cartha DeLoach, 11/3/64. 


In connection with this [magazine] article by King, our 
sources have indicated that since he was awarded the Nobel 
Peace Prize he has attempted through some of his associates 
to change the [magazine] article in an effort to soften criti- 
cism made by him against other civil rights groups and 
leaders. King feared that such criticism would cause difficul- 
ties in the civil rights movement. The [magazine], however, 
has resisted King's efforts to make these changes.^'*" 

In February 1964, the Director alerted the field offices that Dr. King 
was writing a new book, and noted that "it is entirely possible that 
with the publication of the book the Bureau may desire to take some 
action, possibly in the counterintelligence area or otherwise, which 
may be designed to discredit King or otherwise neutralize his 
effectiveness . . ." ^^^ 

The field offices were instructed to maintain information relating 
to the preparation and publication of the book. The FBI files indicate 
that this information was collected, but it is not clear whether it w^as 
ever used. 

8. Attempt to Under-mine the National Science Fovmdation^s 

Cooperation with the SCLC 
The FBI sent the National Science Foundation (NSF) a copy of the 
second printed monograph on King in order to convince the NSF to 
remove the SCLC from "the NSF program to obtain qualified Negro 
students from southern schools."' ^^" 

9. Unsuccessful FBI Attempts to Locate Financial Improprie- 

In early January 1964, the Chief of the Internal Security Section of 
the Domestic Intelligence Division, Frederick J. Baumgardner, rec- 
ommended that "examination of recent income tax returns of King 
might well reveal information which could assist the Bureau in its 
efforts to discredit King or neutralize his effectiveness." ^^^ The In- 
telligence Division subsequently acquired from the Internal Revenue 
Service copies of income tax returns for the prior five years of Dr. 
King, the SCLC, and the Gandhi Society,^^ an organization which 
the FBI stated "augmented" the fund-raising activities of the 
SCLC.285 The Intelligence Division of the IRS told the Bureau that 
"IRS had very carefully scrutinized King's returns in the past but 
had not been able to establish a cause of action against him." ^*® How- 
ever, the IRS assured the FBI that Dr. King's current returns would 

"*• FBI memorandum, 11/3/64, p. 21. 

^^ Memorandum from Director, FBI, to Special Agent in Charge, New York, 

**• Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 12/17/64, 
p. 2. 

*^ Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 1/8/64. 
Baumgardner observed that it was "essential that our current requests of the 
IRS ... be handled in a manner which would provide for optimum security so 
that neither King nor any other unauthorized individuals may become aware of 
the Bureau's interest and so that no embarrassment may come to the Bureau." 

^** A wiretap had been placed on the Ghandi Society in July, 1963. 

'^ Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 3/25/64. 

^'"Memorandum from Daniel Brennan to William Sullivan, 3/27/64. 


be scrutinized "very carefully to determine whether any violations ap- 
pear.'- -*' None did. 

Undeterred, the Director informed the field offices that "the Bureau 
believes that more than ever it would be most desirable to identify any 
bank where [King] may have an account . . . and consider an audit 
of such account." ^*** 

One effort to uncover derogatory information about Dr. King was 
conceived by the Supervisor in charge of the King case during a golf 
game.-*^ A remote acquaintance of the Supervisor mentioned that he 
had heard from a friend that an acquaintance had said tiiat Dr. King 
had a numbered account in a foreign bank with a balance of over one 
million dollars. The Supervisor suggested to Sullivan: 

If we can prove that King is hoarding large sums of money, 
we would have available possibly the best information to date 
which could be used to discredit him, especially in the eyes of 
his own people .... we may take the action to discredit 
King ourselves through friendly news sources, or the like, or 
we might turn the information over to the Internal Revenue 
Service for possible criminal prosecution.-^" 

The plan was approved by Director Hoover and an inquiry was 
initiated. By December 1965, the investigation into a possible foreign 
bank account was described by the Director as "the most important 
presently pending'' facet of the King investigation."!'^ The investiga- 
tion was droi)ped shortly afterward, however, when it developed that 
the initial source of the allegation informed the FBI that "it was 
merely a wild conclusion that had been previously drawn by someone 
whose identity he does not now recall.'' ^^^ 

F. The Question of Whether Goremment Oificials Outside of the FBI 
Were Aware of the FBFs Effort to Discredit Dr. King 

There is no doubt that the responsible officials in the Kennedy and 
Johnson administrations were aware of the FBI's COMINFID in- 
vestigation involving Dr. King and the SCLC and that the wiretaps 
used by the FBI to collect its information were authorized under 
procedures existing at the time. While there is some question con- 
cerning whether officials outside of the FBI were aware that the FBI 
was using microphones to cover Dr. King's activities, there is no doubt 
that the product of the microphone surveillance was widely dis- 
seminated within the executive branch. Indeed, dissemination of the 
printed "monograph" about Dr. King to several executive agencies 
was expressly approved by Bill Moyers, President Johnson's assistant, 
in January 1965. 

^ Brennan memorandum, 3/27/64. On the bottom of this memorandum, Hoover 
wrote "What a farce !" 

^ Memorandum from Director. FBI to Special Agent in Charge. New York. 

^ It should be noted that the Super\'i.sor in charge of the King case is still in 
a high position with the FBI and handled the committee's documents requests in 
the King case investigation. 

^ Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 6/29/6.5. 

^*^ Memorandum from Director, FBI, to Special Agent in Charge, New Orleans, 

^^ Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan. 12/10/6.5. 


The Committee has been unable to determine the extent to which 
the FBI's eli'ort to discredit Dr. King and the SCLC by disseminating 
unfavoi-able information outside of the Government was suspected 
or known about by Government officials responsible for supervising 
the FBI. The Coinmittee requested the FBI to provide any informa- 
tion in its possession reflecting that any Presidents or Attorneys 
General during the relevant periods were awaie of any FBI efforts to 
"discredit" or "neutralize" Dr. King. The Bureau replied: 

A review of the King file in response to other items in- 
cluded in the request and a polling of all Headquarters per- 
sonnel involved in that and previous reviews did not result 
in the location or recollection of any information in FBIHQ 
files to indicate any of the aforementioned individuals were 
specifically aware of any efforts, steps or plans or proposals 
to "discredit" or "neutralize" King. 

It is, of course, evident that much infoi-mation develoi)ed 
in the course of the King case involving him in activities of 
interest to the White House and to re])resentatives of the 
Depai'tment of Justice, including Attorneys General Kennedy 
and Katzenbach, as well as Assistant Attorney General 
Mai"shall, was such that it could conceivably have been the 
opinion of one or more of the above individuals that such 
information was being provided to "discredit" or "neutralize" 

Nicholas Katzenbach, Burke Marshall, Walter Jenkins, and Bill 
Moyers have told the Committee that they did not realize that the 
FBI was engaged in a concerted effort to disciedit Dr. King, and that 
to the best of their knowledge, Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon 
Johnson, as well as Attorney General Robeit Kennedy, w ere not aware 
of that effort. There was no evidence that the FBI's program to dis- 
credit Dr. King was authorized outside of the FBI. There is evidence, 
however, that officials responsible for suj^ervising the FBI received 
indications that such an effort to discredit Dr. King might be taking 
place, and failed to take adequate steps to prevent it. President John- 
son and his Attorneys General wei-e aware at least of Bureau attempts 
to disseminate unfavorable reports about Dr. King to the press. Top 
Executive Branch officials have told the Committee that they had 
believed that the FBI had tape recordings embarrassing to Dr. King, 
and that the FBI had offered to play those tapes both to a government 
official and to reporters. The evidence reveals a disturbing attitude of 
unconcern by responsible officials and a failure on their part to make 
approj^riate corrective measures. As Nicholas Katzenbach explained 
to the Committee : 

Nobody in the Department of Justice connected with Civil 
Rights could possibly have been unaware of Mr. Hoover's 
feelings (against Dr. King). Nobody could have been un- 
aware of the potential for disaster which those feelings em- 
bodied. But, given the realities of the situation, I do not 

Tetter from FBI to the Senate Select Committee. 11/6/75. 


believe one could have anticipated the extremes to which it 
was apparently carried.^^** 

The following incidents have played a part in our determination 
that high officials of the Executive Branch must share responsibility 
for the FBI's effort against Dr. King. 

( 1 ) As described in the previous chapter, a summary memorandum 
containing information gathered from the FBI microphone placed in 
Dr. King's room in the Willard hotel was shown to Presidential 
Assistant Walter Jenkins by Cartha DeLoach on January 14, 1964. 
According to DeLoach's contemporaneous account of that meeting: 

Jenkins was of the opinion that the FBI could perform a 
good service to the country if this matter could somehow be 
confidentially given to members of the press. I told him the 
Director had this in mind, however, also believed we should 
obtain additional information prior to discussing it with cer- 
tain friends.^^^ 

DeLoach testified that he could not recall the meeting with Jenkins, 
but that the memorandum should accurately reflect his conversation.-®*' 

Jenkins told the Committee staff in an unsworn interview that he 
did not recall the meeting described in DeLoach's memorandum, but 
that he had no reason to doubt that he had read the summary memoran- 
dum which DeLoach claims Jenkins saw. Jenkins expressly denied, 
however, that he had suggested that the information in the summary 
memorandum should be "leaked'" to the press, or that either he or 
President Johnson had ever suggested that information about Dr. 
King should be "leaked" to anyone. He added, however, that he might 
have used words to the effect that "this is something people should 
know about" — referring to people in the Government — which could 
have been misinterpreted by DeLoach. He did not recall DeLoach 
telling him that the Director ultimately planned to leak this informa- 
tion to "certain friends." ^^^ 

(2) A February 5, 1964 FBI memorandum reports a conversation 
between Edwin Guthman, the Justice Department's press secretary, 
and John Mohr of the Domestic Intelligence Division. According to 
Mohr's memorandum, Guthman told Mohr that he had heard that 
a reporter was preparing an article about Dr. King's alleged Com- 
munist affiliations. 

Guthman stated he was quite concerned inasmuch as it 
appeared there had been a leak from the FBI in connection 
with this matter. He told me the Attorney General had been 
most hopeful that there would be no "leaks" concerning 

From the tone of Guthman's entire remarks, it would ap- 
pear he had two thoughts in mind without actually stating 
such thoughts. These thoughts were (1) that the Attorney 

=»" Hearings. Vol. 6, p. 209. 

^'^ Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to .T. Edgar Hoover. l/14/ft4. This 
memorandum is also discussed pp. 121-122. 

'** Cartha DeLoach testimony. 11/2.5/75, p. 150. 

^ Staff summary. Walter .Jenkins interview. 12/1/75. pp. 1-2. .Tenkins said thnt 
he was physically unable to undergo the strain of a sworn and transcribed 


Greneral is most anxious that information concerning King 
not be released; and (2) that the Attorney General's connec- 
tions with King, and his defensive statements concerning 
King to Congress in Civil Rights hearings, would certainly 
injure the Attorney General's political chances for the 

(H)e told me once again the Attorney General was not 
worried about what an exposure of King could do to him. 
He stated he and the Attorney General are only trying to 
protect FBI sources of information.^^^ 

The memorandum states that Guthman was told "there had been no 
leaks from the FBI concerning Dr. Martin Luther King," and that 
Guthman had responded that "he had no proof whatsoever that the 
FBI had furnished information to the newspapers concerning King." 
Guthman testified that he recalled the Justice Department had "sus- 
pected that the information had been leaked by the FBI." When asked 
the basis for that suspicion, he said that "we felt that the question of 
King and the association with [Advisers A] was a matter which was 
rather tightly held since it was not something of general knowl- 
edge." 2"^ Guthman said that he could "not specifically" recall a reac- 
tion by Attorney General Kennedy to this "leak" : 

except to be somewhat displeased over it. But that was in a 
sense all in a day's work and I don't recall anything 

Guthman testified that he did not rex^all any further efforts to deter- 
mine whether the FBI had in fact leaked the story.^"^ 

Guthman testified that DeLoach's memorandum "distorted" his 
remarks. Guthman said that his visit had been motivated, not by con- 
cerns about Kennedy's political future, but rather by a concern to pro- 
tect FBI sources.^"^^ A memorandum dated February 5, 1964, by Guth- 
man, does not mention a meeting with Mohr, but does contain an 
account of a meeting between Guthman and Cartha DeLoach on tlie 
previous day. 

We both agreed that it was inevitable that King's connec- 
tions with (Adviser A) would ultimately become public. I 
told DeLoach that our concern was over the FBI's source and 
that we had no other concern as to what the Attorney Gen- 
eral had said or what our actions had been in connection ^vith 
Martin Luther King. 

DeLoach said he thought we should be concerned in view of 
what the Attorney General had said on the subject. I pointed 
out that anything the Attorney General had said had been 
cleared with the FBI. I told Deke that our record in this mat- 
ter could stand any scrutiny and that both Senator Russell 

* Memorandum from John Mohr to Cartha DeLoach, 2/5/64. Hoover wrote 
next to the last paragraph quoted above, "There has never been such solicitude 
in the past." 

'* Edwin Guthman testimony, 3/16/76, p. 13. 

*^ Guthman. 3/16/76, p. 12. 

"^ Guthman, 3/16/76, p. 20. 

"">" Guthman, 3/16/76, p. 22. 


and Senator Monnoney had been fully apprised of the facts 
last summer or last f all.^°^ 

A memorandum by Courtney Erans later that day reports that 
Evans discussed this matter with Assistant Attorney General Burke 
Marshall, who said that he did not intend to tell the reporter anything 
about Dr. King, but that "if he developed anything at all with regard 
to [the reporter's] source of information, he would pass this along to 
us . . ." Evans' memorandum also notes, "According to information 
developed by our Atlanta office on February 4, 1964, [the reporter] had 
in his possession what appeared to be a blind memoiundum containing 
information as to [Adviser A's alleged connections with the Commu- 
nist Party]." ^"^ 

A memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to Director Hoover dated 
February 18, 1964, apparently alludes to this incident and provides 
some insight into the political implications of the FBI's investigation 
of Dr. King. According to DeLoach's memorandum, Walter Jenkins 
and Bill Moyers of the White House told him that Burke Marshall had 
called and "indicated that the Attorney General had thought it highly 
advisable for the President to see the Department of Justice file on 
Martin Luther King . . . to make certain that the President knew all 
about King." 3°" 

The memorandum states that Marshall then : 

told Moyers that he wanted to give the White House a little 
warning. He stated that he personally knew that the FBI 
had leaked information concerning Martin Luther King to a 
newspaper reporter. Marshall told Moyers that he thought 
the AVhite House should know this inasmuch as information 
concerning King would undoubtedly be coming out before 
the public in the near future. 

Director Hoover wrote next to this entry. "Marshall is a liar." ^°^ 

The memorandum reports that Jenkins told DeLoach that he 
thought the Attorney General was concerned with "being on record 
with the President with the fact that although he has, for political 
purposes, defended King, he wants the President to realize that he, 
the Attorney General, is well aware of King's Communistic back- 
ground." ^°^ 

The Director's handwritten note states: "Katzenbach did his dirt 
against us before Warren Commission and now Marshall is trying to 
poison the W(hite) H(ouse) about FBI." ^o^ 

Neither Burke Marshall nor Bill Moyers recalled the events de- 
scribed in DeLoach's memorandum. Marshall testified, however, about 
an incident involving the FBI's leaking information to a reporter 
that may well have been the same incident. Marshall recalled that 
sometime in 1964, a reporter told him that the Atlanta office of the 
FBI had given him information unfavorable to Dr. King. Marshall 
said that he phoned the Bureau official with whom he normally con- 

' Memorandum, Edwin Guthman, 2/5/64. 
' Memorandum from Courtney Evans to Alan Belmont, 2/5/64. 
Memorandum from Cartha DeTx>ach to ,T. Edgar Hoover, 2/18/64. 
DeLoach memorandum, 2/18/64. 
DeLoach memorandum, 2/18/64. 
DeLoach memorandum, 2/18/64. 



ducted business and said, "I'm informed by a reporter that your people 
in Atlanta have (jiven this information about Martin Luther King, and 
that I think it is outrageous." The official at first said, "I don't believe 
it," but promised to inquire further. He later called and said, "The 
Director wants you to know that you're a . . . damned liar." Marshall 
told the Committee, "It was very difficult with the Bureau because 
if you said that they were leaking derogatory information, they would 
say, 'no, we're not.' " ^"* 

(3) Bill Moyers, President Johnson's assistant, testified that some- 
time during the "hurley-burley disorganized period" shortly after 
President Kennedy's assassination and prior to President Johnson's 
state of the Union address, he heard laughter inside Walter Jenkins' 
office. Moyers inquired and was told by a secretary that an FBI agent 
had come to the office and offered to play for Jenkins a tape recording 
which would have been personally embarrassing to Dr. King. Jenkins 
refused to listen to the tape. A week later, the same FBI agent again 
came to the White House and offered to play the tape for Jenkins, 
and again Jenkins refused to listen to it.^"^ 

Jenkins told the Committee that he did not recall ever having been 
offered tapes by the FBI, and did not know of anyone on the White 
House staff who had been.^^° 

In addition to this incident, Moyers testified that he had been 
generally aware that the FBI reports about Dr. King included infor- 
mation of a personal nature, unrelated to the purpose of the FBI's in- 
vestigation. When asked if he had ever asked the FBI why it was dis- 
seminating this type of material to the \\niite House, Moyers re- 
sponded : 

I don't remember. I just assumed it was related to a fallout 
of the investigations concerning the communist allegations, 
which is what the President was concerned about. 

Question. Did you ever question the propriety of the FBI's 
disseminating that type of information ? 

Answer. I never questioned it, no. I thought it was spurious 
and irrelevant ... If they were looking for other alleged com- 
munist efforts to embarrass King and the President, which is 
what the President thought, Kennedy or Johnson, it would 
just seem natural that other irrelevant and spurious infor- 
mation would come along with that investigation. 

Qiiestion. And you found nothing improper about the 
FBI's sending that information along also ? 

Answer. Unnecessary ? Improper at that time, no. 

Question. Do you recall anyone in the IMiite House ever 
questioning the propriety of the FBI's disseminating this 
type of material ? 

Answer. I think . . . there were comments that tended to 
ridicule the FBI's doing this, but no.^" 
Moyers testified that he had not suspected that the FBI was cov- 
ering Dr. King's activities with microphones, although he con- 

^ Burke Marshall testimony, 3/3/76, pp. 46-47. 

**BilI Movers testimony, 3/2/76, p. 19, staff summary of Bill Moyers Inter- 
view, 11/24/75. 
^^ Jenkins (staff summary), 12/1/75, p. 4. 
^ Moyers, 3/2/76, p. 17. 


ceded, "I subsequently realized I should have assumed that. . . . The 
nature of the general references that were being made I realized 
later could only have come from that kind of knowledge unless 
there was an informer in Martin Luther King's presence a good bit 
of the time." ^^- 

(4) According to Nicholas Katzenbach, on November 25, 1964, the 
Washington Bureau Chief of a national news publication told him 
that one of his reporters had been approached by the FBI and given 
an opportunity to listen to some "interesting" tapes involving Dr. 
King.=*i=* Katzenbach told the Committee : 

I was shocked by this revelation, and felt that the Presi- 
dent should be advised immediately. On November 28, I flew, 
with Mr. Burke Marshall, the retiring head of the Civil 
Rights Division, to the LB J Ranch. 

On that occasion he and I informed the President of our 
conversation with the news editor and expressed in very 
strong terms our view that this was shocking conduct and po- 
litically extremely dangerous to the Presidency. I told the 
President my view that it should be stopped immediately and 
that he should personally contact Mr. Hoover. I received the 
impression that President Johnson took the matter very seri- 
ously and that he would do as I recommended. 

On the following Monday, I was informed by at least one 
other reporter, and perhaps two, of similar offers made to 
them the prior week. I spoke to the Bureau official who had 
been identified as having made the offer and asked him about 
it. He flatly denied that any such offer had been made or that 
the FBI would engage in any such activity. Thereupon I 
asked at least one of the reporters — perhaps all of them — 
whether they would join me in confronting the Bureau on this 
issue. They declined to do so. 

I do not know whether President Johnson discussed this 
matter with Mr. Hoover, or what, if anything, was said. How- 
ever, I was quite confident that that particular activity 
ceased at that time, and I attributed it to Mr. Johnson's inter- 
vention. From that time until I left the Justice Department I 
never heard from any person of subsequent similar activity 
by the Bureau, and I assumed it had ceased. I should add only 
this: I believed that the tapes in question were not tapes re- 
sulting from Bureau surveillance but tapes acquired from 
State law enforcement authorities, and that such a representa- 
tion was made to the reporter at the time.^^* 

Katzenbach testified that Cartha Del^ach was the Bureau official 
whom the reporters had identified as having offered the tapes. Katzen- 
bach said that he had contacted DeLoach on his own volition, and that 
he did not tell DeLoach that he had discussed the matter with the 
President. He said that when he asked DeLoach if the Bureau had 

'"" Moyers. 3/2/76. p. 17. 

^^ The two newsmen turned down the Bureau's offer. 

''^ Nicholas Katzenbach testimony. 12/3/75. Hearings. Vol. 6. p. 210. 


been offering to play tape recordings concerning Dr. King to report- 
ers, DeLoach "told me rather angrily they were not.'' ^^^ 

Burke Marshall, when questioned by the Committee about these 
events, testified that the same two reporters had also informed him 
that Director Hoover was offering to play tape recordings of Dr. King. 
He testified that he had assumed the reporters "were telling the truth, 
that these tape recordings existed, and that they were being leaked by 
the FBI." 316 He testified that he had not suspected that the FBI had 
produced the tapes itself from microphone coverage, but that he had 
assumed the FBI had acquired the tape recordings from Southern law 
enforcement agencies. 

It did not occur to me that the FBI would go around placing 
microphones in Dr. King's hotel . . . The notion that they 
would plant the microphone, that they had a whole system of 
surveillance of that sort, involving illegal entry and trespass 
and things like that, did not occur to me. I would not have put 
it past the local police, but I considered at the time — except 
for Mr. Hoover himself — that the Bureau was a tightly con- 
trolled, well-run, efficient, law abiding law enforcement 
agency, that it didn't do things like that, and therefore, it 
didn't occur to me that they had done it.^^^ 

Marshall recalled that he and Katzenbach had flown to President 
Johnson's ranch in Texas and had told the President that the FBI was 
offering the tape recordings to reporters. Marshall said that the Presi- 
dent was "shocked," and that the "convereation was in the context of 
it being very important and a very' nasty piece of business that had 
to be stopped." Mai*shall did not know, however, what action the 
President subsequently took, if any, and could not remember whether 
the President had voiced an intention to take any specific action.^^^ 

DeLoach, when asked if he had ever discussed the contents of tape 
recordings or surveillances of Dr. King with membei-s of the press, 
testified: "I don't recall any such convei-sations." "^ DeLoach did 
state, however, that he had known about the tape recordings of Di'. 
King. He testified that one such tape recording had been in his office on 
one occasion, and that "it was so garbled and so terrible, I mean from 
the standpoint of fidelity, that I told them to knock it off' and take 
it back." 320 

The only record of this epis'^de in the FBI files is a memorandum 
by DeLoach dated December 1, 1964, stating in part: 

Bill Moyers, while I was at the AMiite House, today, advised 
that word had gotten to the President this afternoon that [the 
newsman] was telling all over town . . . that the FBI had 
told him that Martin Luther King was [excised]. [The 
newsman] according to Moyers, had stated to several people 

"" Nicholas Katzenbach testimony, 11/12/75. pp. 97-98. 

"" Marshall testimony, 3/3/76, p. 39. 

*" Marshall testimony, 3/3/76, p. 43. 

'" Marshall testimony. 3/3/76, p. 43. 

"" DeLoach testimony, 11/25/75, p. 156. 

"" Del^oach testimony, 11/25/76, p. 188. 


that, "If the FBI will do this to Martin Luther King, they 
will undoubtedly do it to anyone for personal reasons." 

Moyei-s stated the President wanted to get this word to ns 
so we would know not to trust [the newsman]. JNIoyere also 
stated that the President felt that [the newsman] lacked in- 
tegrity and was ceilainly no lover of the Johnson administra- 
tion or the FBI. I told Moyere this was certainly obvious.-^^^ 

DeLoach testified that he could not recall the events surrounding 
this memorandum. Bill ^Movers, after reviewing DeLoach's memo- 
randum, testified that he i-ecalled nothing about the incident involving 
the newsman or about Katzenbach's and Marshall's discussion with 
the President. He did not recall ever having heard that the Bureau 
had offered to play tape recordings of Dr. King to reporters, or ever 
having discussed the matter with DeLoach. He testified, however, that 
DeLoach's memorandum : 

sounds very plausible. I'm sure the President called me or he 
told me to tell hiui whatever [DeLoach's document reflects]. 

Question. Did the President tell you that he undei-stood 
that [the newsman] was saying all over town that the Bureau 
had been offering tapes? 

Answer. I can't remember the details of that. You know, I 
can't tell you the number of times the President was sounding 
off at [the newsman].''" 

When asked if it would be fair to conclude that the President had com- 
plained to JNloyers about the newsman's revealing that the Bureau 
had offered to play tapes rather than about the fact that the Bureau 
had such tapes and had offered to play them, Movers replied, "It would 
be fair to conclude that, I don't recall if that was exactly the way the 
President said it.'' ^^^ 

called: APRIL-DECEMBER 19 6 4 


Director Hoover's dislike for Di*. King, which had been known with- 
in the Bureau since early 1962,-^ became a matter of public record in 
November 1964 when Director Hoover described Dr. King at a meet- 
ing with women reporteis as the "most notorious liar'' in the country. 
Dr. King responded that the Director was obviously "faltering" under 
the responsibilities of his office. The FBI immediately intensified its 
secret campaign against Dr. King, offering to play the tapes from 
microphone surveillance of Dr. King to reporters and to leak stories 
concerning him to the press. The FBI also sent a tape recording made 
from the microphone surveillance to Dr. King, with a warning which 
Dr. King and his close associates interpreted as an iiu-itation to 

The public aspects of the dispute peaked ii^ December 1964, shortly 
before Dr. King went to Europe to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Pr. 

^-^ Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr, 12/1/64. 
^- Bill Moyers testimony, 3/2/76, p. 8. 
"^^ Moyers testimony, 3/2/76, p. 9. 

'^^ As early as February 1962, the Director had informed the Domestic Intelli- 
gence Division : "King is no good anyway." 


King publicly announced that it was time for the controverey to end, 
and arranged a meeting with Director Hoover to seal a tnice. The 
FBI's public criticism stopped, but the Bureau's secret campaign to 
discredit Dr. King continued. Believing that Dr. King's downfall 
would severely harm the entire movement for racial equality, several 
prominent civil rights figures met with FBI oflicials to voice their con- 
cern and seek assurances from the FBI that the attacks on Dr. King 
would stop. 

A. First Steps in the Public Controversy April-Nov ember 196^ 

Although the FBI had been covertly engaged in a massive campaign 
to discredit Dr. King for several months, the fact that the FBI was 
the source of allegations about communist influence in the civil rights 
movement did not become public until the release of Director Hoover's 
off-the-record testimony before the House Appropriations Committee 
in April 1964. The Director was quoted in the press as having testi- 
fied that " 'Communist influence does exist in the Negro movement' and 
can influence 'large masses' of people." ^^^ Dr. King immediately issued 
a forceful reply : 

It is very unfortunate that Mr. J. Edgar Hoover, in his 
claims of alleged communist infiltration in the civil rights 
movement, has allowed himself to aid and abet the salacious 
claims of southern racists and the extreme right-wing 

We challenge all who raise the "red" issue, whether they 
be newspaper columnists or the head of the FBI himself — to 
come forward and provide real evidence which contradicts 
this stand of the SCLC. We are confident that this cannot be 

We affirm that SCLC is unalterably opposed to the mis- 
guided philosophy of communist. 

It is difficult to accept the word of the FBI on commu- 
nist infiltration in the civil rights movement, when they have 
been so completely ineffectual in resolving the continued may- 
hem and brutality inflicted upon the Negro in the deep south. 
It would be encouraging to us if Mr. Hoover and the FBI 
would be as diligent in apprehending those responsible for 
bombing churches and killing little children as they are in 
seeking out alleged communist infiltration in the civil rights 
movement. ^2® 

In early May 1964, Director Hoover made the following response to a 
qiiestion from United Presss International concerning whether any 

** New York Times, 4/22/64. p. 30. 

'*■ FBI transcription of Dr. King's statement to press, Memorandum from Wil- 
liam Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 4/23/64. Another FBI memorandum which dealt 
with Dr. King's statement indicated the Bureau's opinion that someone "high in 
the Administration not known to us . . . apparently agreed with Dr. King's press 
release." Sullivan's report about Dr. King's statement pointed out that "King 
quoted the AG against the Director, to the effect that it is to be expected that 
communist will try to infiltrate civil rights movements, but they had not suc- 
ceeded in making the expected impact." (Memorandum from William Sullivan 
to Alan Belmont, 4/23/64. ) 

69-984 O - 76 


communists were in positions of leadership in the civil rights 
movement : 

Let me first emphasize that I realize the vast majority of 
Negroes have rejected and recognize communism for what it 

The existence and importance of the communist influence 
in the Negro movement should not be ignored or minimized, 
nor should it be exaggerated. The Communist Party will use 
its forces either in the open forum of public opinion or 
through its sympathizers who do not wear the badge of com- 
munism but who spout some of the same ideas carried in the 
Communist Party line. This is the influence which is capable 
of moving large masses of loyal and dedicated citizens toward 
communist objectives while being lured away from the true 
issues involved. It is up to the civil rights organizations them- 
selves to recognize this and face up to it.^^^ 

On May 11, Dr. King appeared on the news program, "Face the 
Nation." He denied communists had infiltrated decision-making posi- 
tions in the civil rights movement or the SCLC and remarked that it 
was "unfortunate" that "such a great man" as Director Hoover had 
made allegations to that effect. Dr. King added that the Director 
should more appropriately have remarked on how surprising it was 
that so few Negroes had turned to communism in light of the treatment 
they had received. Dr. King said that the Justice Department had 
warned him of only one suspected communist in the SCLC, and that 
he had fired that individual.^^s 

The feud between Director Hoover and Dr. King heightened on No- 
vember 18, 1964, with the Direector's public allegation that Dr. King 
was the "most notorious lia,r" in the country. Director Hoover made 
that comment during a meeting with women reporters in the context 
of explaining how FBI agents were assigned in civil rights cases. 
According to a memorandum of the meeting written by DeLoach : 

[The Director] stated it was a common belief in some circles 
that Special Agents in the South were all, without exception, 
southern bom agents. As a matter of fact, 70% of the agents 
currently assigned to the South were born in the North. He 
stated that the "notorious" Martin Luther King had at- 
tempted to capitalize on this matter by claiming that all 
agents assigned to the Albany, Georgia, Resident Agency 
were southern born agents. As a matter of fact, 4 out of 5 of 

*" Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to Edwin Guthman, 5/14/64, p. 4. 
Director Hoover's answer was initially submitted to Guthman, the Attorney 
General's Special Assistant for Public Information. Guthman strongly objected to 
the answer because it "put communist influence in the civil rights movement out 
of perspective." He then had a lengthy conference with DeLoach, and the answer, 
quoted above, was agreed upon. (Memorandum from Edwin Guthman to Cartha 
DeLoach, 5/12/64; DeLoach memorandum, 5/14/64.) 

^* Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 5/11/64. 
The Headquarters agent who reported on the television program added the com- 
ment : "King's obvious reference was to the 'removal' of (Adviser B) from the 
SCLC. As expected, King lied about being warned of anyone else because he had 
been warned about (Adviser A) and has nevertheless maintained a close associa- 
tion with (Adviser A)." (Baumgardner memorandum, 5/11/64.) 


the agents assigned to the Albany, Georgia, Resident Agency 
were northern born. The Director stated he had instiiicted 
me to get in touch with Reverend King and line up an ap- 
pointment so that King could be given the true facts. He 
stated that King had refused to give me an appointment and, 
therefore, he considered King to be the most "notorious liar" 
in the country.^^^ 

When the reporters asked Director Hoover for more details about 
Dr. King, 

he stated, off the record. "He is one of the lowest characters 
in the countr}'.'' There was an immediate inquiry as to whether 
he could be quoted on the original statement that Martin 
Luther King was a liar and he stated. "Yes — that is public 
record." ^^° 

Nicholas Katzenbach, who was then Acting Attorney General, testi- 
fied that he talked with Director Hoover about that press conference 

[Hoover] told me that it was not his practice to have press 
conferences, had not done so in the past, and would not do so 
again in the future. Perhaps the depth of his feeling with 
respect to Dr. King was revealed to me by his statement that 
he did not understand all the publicity which the remark had 
attracted because he had been asked a simple question and 
given a simple truthful answer.^^^ 

Some of Dr. King's advisers drafted a strong response, one of which 
would have "blown Hoover out of the water, calling him every name 
in the book." ^^^ Before they had an opportunity to release the state- 
ment, Dr. King, who was then in Bimini, issued the following public 
reply : 

I cannot conceive of Mr. Hoover making a statement like this 
without being under extreme pressure. He has apparently fal- 
tered under the awesome burden, complexities and responsi- 
bilities of his office.^^^ 

Dr. King also sent a telegram to Director Hoover, which was made 
public, stating : 

I was appalled and surprised at your reported statement 
maligning my integrity. What motivated such an irresponsi- 
ble accusation is a mystery to me. 

'^ Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr. 11/18/64. p. 6. 

'^ DeLoach memorandum, 11/18/64, p. 10. DeLoach told the Committee about 
the incident : "I passed Mr. Hoover a note and told him that if he really felt that 
way, he should keep it off the record. He paid no attention to that note. I passed 
him a second note and made the same statement and he paid no attention to that, 
and on the third occasion that I passed him a note, he said out loud to the women 
that 'DeLoach tells me I should keep these statements concerning King off the 
record, but that's none of his business. I made it for the record and you can use 
it for the record.' " ( Cartha DeLoach testimony, 11/25/75, p. 169. See also 
DeLoach testimony, 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 173. ) 

"^ Katzenbach testimony, 12/.3/75. Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 210. 

^ Harry Wachtel testimony, 2/27/76. p. 42. 

«* New York Times, 11/20/64, p. 18. 


I have sincerely questioned the effectiveness of the F.B.I, in 
racial incidents, particularly where bombing's and brutalities 
against Negroes are at issue . . . 

I will be happy to discuss this question with you at length 
in the near future. Although your statement said you have at- 
tempted to meet with me. I have sought in vain for any record 
of such a request.^^* 

Dr. King also criticized Director Hoover in a press inter-view on the 
same day for "following the path of appeasement of political powers 
in the South." ^•''s 

The Domestic Intelligence Division prepared an analysis of the 
allegations in Dr. King's telegram, emphasizing the events two years 
earlier which the FBI had interpreted as a refusal by Dr. King to be 
interviewed.^^® Sullivan recommended against replying to Dr. King's 
charges or meeting with Dr. King. The Director penned his agreement 
on Sullivan's memorandum : 

O.K. But I can't understand why we are unable to get the true 
facts before the public. We can't even get our accomplish- 
ments publislied. We are never taking the aggressive, but 
above lies remain unanswered. ^^^ 

The following day, the FBI mailed a tape recording from the Wil- 
lard Hotel microphone surveillance to Dr. King accompanied by a 
letter which Dr. King and his associates interpreted as an invitation 
to suicide. 

B. TappH Are Mailed to King: Novemher '2U 196If 

Sometime in mid-November 1964^ a decision was made at FBI Head- 
quartere to mail a tape recording made during microphone surveillance 
of Dr. King to the SCLC office in Atlanta. William Sullivan, who was 
responsible for the proiect, testffied that he first learned of the plan 
when Alan Belmont, Assistant to the Director, told him that Dii-ector 
Hoover wanted one of the King tapes mailed to Coretta King to 
precipitate their separation, therebv diminishing Dr. King's stature. 
Belmont told Sullivan that the FBI laboratory would "sterilize the 
tape to prevent its being traced to the Bureau.'' Sullivan Avas to have 
the tape mailed from a southern state.^^* 

Sullivan told the Committee that he had opposed the plan because 
it would warn Dr. King that his activities were being covered by micro- 
phones. According to SuUivan, Belmont agreed that the plan was 
unwise, but said that he had no power to stop it because the orders had 
come from Hoover and Tolson.''^^ 

''^ New York Times, 11/20/64, p. IS. 

'^^ New York Times. ll/20/&i, p. m 

^ That incident is described at pp. 89-91. 

'" :Memorandum from Alex Rosen to Alan Belmont, 11/20/64, p. 4. Director 
Hoover remarked on another memorandum, "I have no intention of seeing King. 
I gave him that opportunity once and he ignored it." 

"^William Sullivan testimony, 11/1/7.5, pp. 104-10.5. The Willard Hotel tape 
was railed in from the Washington field office on November 19, 1964. The de- 
cision at Headquarters would have been made sometime earlier, probably as a 
result of the "notorious liar" controversy. 

*" Sullivan, 11/1/75, p. 105. 


The FBI technician who prepared the tape told the Committee that 
he had been ordered to produce a "composite" tape from coverage of 
hotel rooms in Washington, D.C, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. 
After the tape was completed, a copy was left with Sullivan.^^*' 

Sullivan testified that he ordered a "tight-lipped . . . reliable" 
agent to fly to Tampa, Florida to mail a package to Coretta King. He 
did not tell the agent that the package contained the Kin^ tape.^" The 
agent testified that he flew to Miami and then called Sullivan, who in- 
structed him to address the package to Martin Luther King, Jr. The 
agent said that he mailed the package from a post office near the 
Aliami airport. ^^^ A travel voucher provided to the Committee by the 
FBI indicates that the agent flew to Miami on November 21, 1964. 

Congressman Andrew Young, who was then Dr. King's assistant, 
recalled that the tape arrived at the SCLC Headquarters in Atlanta 
sometime before December 1964. Congressman Young said that the 
office personnel assumed the tape contained another of Dr. King's 
speeches; it was stored for a while, and later sent to Dr. King's home 
along with several other tapes."*^^ Dr. King, Congressman Young, and 
some others listened to the tape sometime after Dr. King had returned 
from receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, probably in January 1965. Con- 
gressman Young testified that he probably destroyed the tape several 
years later. 

Congressman Young recalled that the tape was of "very poor- qual- 
ity, very garbled," but that at least part of it appeared to have been 
made during a conversation between Dr. King and other civil rights 
leaders at the Willard Hotel. He testified that none of the comments 
on the tape related to the commission of a crime or to "affection" for 
communism. "It was personal conversation among friends."''** 

According to Congressman Young a letter had accompanied the 
tape, stating that the tape would be released in 34 days and threatening 
"there is only one thing you can do to prevent this from happening." 
Congressman Young said that when he and Dr. King read the letter, 
"we assumed that the letter and the tape had been mailed 34 days 
before the receipt of the Nobel Prize, and that this was a threat to 
expose Martin just before he received the Nobel Prize." Congressman 
Young testified : 

I think that the disturbing thing to Martin was that he 
felt somebody was trying to get him to commit suicide, and 
because it was a tape of a meeting in Washington and the 
postmark was from Florida, we assumed nobody had the 
capacity to do that other than the Federal Bureau of Inves- 

*" Staff summary of [FBI Technician] inten'iew, 7/25/75, p. 5. The tape which 
was ultimately sent to Dr. King, however, may have consisted of the Willard 

^ Sullivan, 11/1/75, p. 106. 

**' Staff summary of [FBI Agent] interview, 4/23/75. The agent recalled that 
the package, which was marked "fragile," did not have a return address. Sulli- 
van remembered that the agent had commented that he had had trouble mailing 
the package because it had no return address, but that he had "talked his way 
around it." (Sullivan, 11/1/75, p. 109.) 

'*' Andrew Young testimony. 2/19/76, pp. 6-9. Young recalled that the package 
containing the tape had a Florida postmark. 

^ Young, 2/19/76, p. 7. 

'^ Young, 2/19/76, p. 8. 


Both Young and Ralph Abeniathy, who also heard the tape and read 
the letter, interpreted it as inviting Dr. King to take his own life.^^*^ 
William Sullivan testified that he could not recall such a letter.^^^ 
The FBI provided the Committee with a copy of a letter which was 
found in Sullivan's office files following his discharge in 1971.^^^ The 
letter stated in part : 

King, look into your heart. You know you are a complete 
fraud and a greater liability to all of us Negroes. White people 
in this country have enough frauds of their own but I am sure 
they don't have one at this time that is any where near your 
equal. You are no clergyman and you know it. I repeat that 
you are a colossal fraud and an evil, vicious one at that. . . . 

King, like all frauds your end is approaching. You could 
have been our greatest leader. . . . But you are done. Your 
"honorary" degrees, your Nobel Prize (what a grim farce) 
and other awards will not save you. King, I repeat you are 
done. . . . 

The American public, the church organizations that have 
been helping — Protestants, Catholics and Jews will know you 
for what you are — an evil beast. So will others who have 
backed you. You are done. 

King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know 
what it is. You have just 34 days in which to do (this exact 
number has been selected for a specific reason, it has definite 
practical significance). You are done. There is but one way 
out for you. You better take it before your filthy fraudulent 
self is bared to the nation. 

Andrew Young stated that the last paragraph of this letter was 
identical AA-ith the letter that had been sent to the SCLC headquartere, 
but that the other portions of the letter appeared to be an earlier draft 
of the letter that he had seen.^^^ Sullivan testified that he did not re- 
call ever having seen the document, although it was "possible" that he 
had something to do with it and simply cannot remember.^"^" Sullivan 
also testified that he could not recall any conversations at the FBI con- 
cerning the possibility of Dr. King's committing suicide. After read- 
ing the last paragraph of the letter, he conceded that it could be inter- 
preted as an invitation to suicide, although so far as Sullivan knew, 

^" Young, 2/19/76, p. 8 ; staff summary of Ralph Abernathy interview, 11/19/ 
7.-), p. 3. 

'" Sullivan. 11/1/75, p. 112. 

348 rpj^p Bureau said it could not find a copy in any of its other files. 

''" The letter given to the Committee by the FBI was single spaced ; Andrew 
Young testified that Dr. King had received "a double spaced letter and it was 
about a page and a half. It was typed in a very old typewriter, very bad typing." 
He was certain, however that the last paragraph of the two letters were nearly 
identical. The one sent to Dr. Kiirg "was simplified and has shorter, simpler 
sentences, but essentially said the same thing, especially the part about 'there's 
only one thing left for you to do. . . .' I remember that vividly." (Young, 
2/19/76. p. 36) 

^ Sullivan, 11/1/75, p. 112. Sullivan suggested that the letter might have 
been "planted" in his files. 


the FBI's goal was simply to convince Dr. King to resign from the 
SCLC, not to kill himself.3^1 

When asked by the Committee what had ultimately happened to 
the letter received by Reverend King, Andrew Young testified : 

I'm not really sure about this now, but I think we discussed 
something about a letter with DeLoach — I'm not certain 
whether it was DeLoach or the local FBI agents — and they 
said they would be glad to look into it. They said, whenever 
we got any of these kind of threatening letters, to send them 
to them, and they would be glad to investigate. That letter 
may have been sent back to DeLoach.^'^- 

C. Attempts hy the FBI to ^'•Leak" to Re]>orters 7' ape Recordings 
Emharrasshig to Dr. King 

After Director Hoover denounced Dr. King as a "notorious liar" in 
mid-November, the FBI apparently made several attempts to "leak" 
tape recordings concerning Dr. King to newsmen. One offer involving 
the Bureau Chief of a national news publication has been discussed at 
length in the preceding chapter.^^-^ David Kraslow, another reporter, 
has told a (^ommittee staff member, that one of his "better sources at 
the Bureau" offered him a transcript of a tape recording about Dr. 
King. Kraslow said that his source read him a portion of the transcript 
on the phone, and claimed that it came from a "bug" operated by a 
Southern police agency. Kraslow said that he declined the offer.^^* 

It is not known how many other reporters were approached by the 
FBI during that period ; Nicholas Katzenbach testified that at least 
one other reporter had informed him of a similar Bureau offer,^^^ and 
other witnesses, such as James Fai-mer, have mentioned additional 
"leaks" from the Bureau.^^^ 

°^ One FBI witness testified that he interpreted the "34 days" to refer to 
Christmas, and that the FBI had apparently hoped Dr. King would resign for 
Christmas. (James Adams testimony. 11/19/75, Hearings. A"ol. 6. pp. 66-68.) 
When asked about this interpretation, Andrew Young testified : 

"We didn't think of that. We thought that he was talking about committing 
suicide, and we tied the date to the Noble Prize. . . . That is the way we dis- 
cussed it; to commit suicide, or that he was going to be publicly humiliated 
just at the moment of his receipt of the Noble Prize." (Andrew Young, 2/19/76, 
p. 37) 

Carl Rowan stated during a staff interview that he had been informed by 
a reliable source, whom he declined to identify, that the decision to mail the 
tape recording and letter had been made during a meeting at which Director 
Hoover was present. Rowan's source said that the Director was "livid" over 
Dr. King's receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize, and that methods of preventing Dr. 
King from receiving the Prize were di.scussed at the meeting. According to the 
source, there was a discussion at the meeting concerning allegations that Dr. 
King had tried to commit suicide when he was young (such allegations had 
api)eared in the news media — e.g. Time 1/3/64, p. 14), and that he still had 
suicidal tendencies. The source told Rowan that the participants in the meeting 
had concluded that if the tape were mailed. Dr. King might be .so distressed that 
lie would commit suicide. (Staff summary of Carl Rowan interview. 8/29/75. 
I>. 2.) 

^^ Young. 2/19/76. p. 38. Young's conference with DeLoach is di.scussefl p. 169. 
p. — . 

■"^•^ See p. 152 et seq. 

^ Staff .summary, David Kraslow interAiew. 

"•^ Katzenbach. 11/12/75. p. 91. Katzenbach was unable to recall the identity 
of the reporter. 

^^ James Farmer Staff Interview. 11/13/75, p. 5. 


D. Roy Wilkins of NAACP meets with DeLocmh to discuss a. 
ahout Dr. King : November ^l .,199k 

On November 24, 1964, Director Hoover gave a speech at Loyola 
University in Chicago in which he referred to moral laxness in civil 
rights group. On November 27, Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary of 
NAACP, phoned DeLoach and requested a meeting. Wilkins told the 
Committee that he had been disturbed by Hoover's Loyola University 
speech a few days before, and that he had realized Hoover had been 
referring to Dr. King because of rumors then circulating that the 
FBI had developed "derogatory" material about Dr. King. Wilkins 
was spurred into meeting with DeLoach by pointed inquiries from 
several reporters about whether Director Hoover's remarks had been 
directed toward Dr. King. Wilkins described his motivation in re- 
questing the meeting as "protecting the civil rights movement." He 
said that Dr. King did not learn of his meeting with DeLoach until 
over a week after it had occurred.^^" 

DeLoach and Wilkins have given the Committee differing accounts 
of what was said at their meeting. DeLoach's version is summarized 
in a letter that he sent to President Johnson on November 30, 1964: 

Wilkins said that . . . the ruination of King would spell the 
downfall of the entire civil rights movement . . . Wilkins indi- 
cated that [if allegations concerning King's personal conduct 
and supposed connections with communists were publicized] , 
many of his Negro associates would rise to his defense. He 
felt, however, that many white people who believe in the civil 
rights movement and who yearly contribute from $500 to 
$50,000 to this movement would immediately cease their finan- 
cial support. Tliis loss, coupled with the loss of faith in King 
by millions of Americans, would halt any further progress of 
the civil rights movement.^^^ 

A memorandum by DeLoach written shortly after the meeting states*. 

I told him . . . that if King wanted war we certainly would 
give it to him. Wilkins shook his head and stated there was no 
doubt in his mind as to which side would lose if the FBI really 
came out with all its ammunition against King. I told him the 
ammunition was plentiful and that while we were not respon- 
sible for the many rumors being initiated against King, we 
had heard of these rumors and were certainly in a position to 
substantiate them.^^" 

DeLoach's memorandum stated that the meeting had concluded with 
Wilkins' promise to "tell King that he can't win in a battle with the 
FBI and that the best thing for him to do is to retire from public life." 
Wilkins told the Committee that DeLoach's description of the meet- 
ing was "self serving and filled with inaccuracies" and denied De- 
Loach's description of his remarks as "pure invention." ^^<* Wilkins 
stated that he had expressed his concern that accusations about Dr. 
King would cripple the civil rights movement, noting that if charges 

Staff summary, Roy Wilkins interview, 11/23/75, p. 1. 

Letter, Hoover to President, 11/30/64. 

' Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr, 11/27/64, p. 2, 
' Wilkins staff summary, 11/23/75, p. 2. 


were publicly levied against Dr. King, the black community would 
side with Dr. King and the white community with Director Hoover. 
AVilkins said that he advised DeLoach tiiat the FBI shouUl not over- 
react to Dr. King's criticisms and that he considered Dr. King's criti- 
cism of the FBI's failure to vigorously enforce the civil rights laws to 
be totally justified. AVilkins told the (^ommittee that although he had 
considered the meeting a ''success" at the time, after reading De Loach's 
memorandum he realized that he had failed to convey the impression 
that he had intended, since DeLoach had clearly misinterpreted his 

^\nien DeLoach was asked by the Committee if the "ammunition'' 
he had threatened to use against Dr. King was the tape recordings, 
Delx>ach replied, "I don't know what I had in mind, frankly, it's been 
so long ago, I can't recall." -^^^ Wilkins did not remember DeLoach 's 
use of the term "ammunition," but did recall that DeLoach frequently 
alluded to "derogatory information," although Wilkins was unclear 
whether DeLoach was referring to allegations about Dr. King's per- 
sonal conduct or about Communist infiltration of the SCLC.^^^ 

The following day, an official of the Domestic Intelligence Division 
proposed to William Sullivan, head of the Division, that several lead- 
ing membei-s of the Black comnumity should be briefed about Dr. 
King by the FBI "on a highly confidential basis.'' It was proposed 
that "the use of a tape, such as contemplated in your memorandum, 
together with a transcript for convenience in following the tape," 
should be used. 

"The inclusion of U.S. Govermnent officials, such as Carl 
Rowan or Ralph Bunch, is not suggested as they might feel 
a duty to advise the White House of such contemplated meet- 
ing. . . . This group should include such leadership as would 
be capable of removing King from the scene if they, of their 
own volition, decided this was the thing to do after such a 
briefing." ^^^* 

E. Dr. King and Director Hoover Meet: Dece/mher U 106 If 

According to one of Dr. King's legal counsels, Harry Wachtel, sev- 
eral prominent civil rights leaders told Dr. King of their concern that 
public controversy with Director Hoover would hurt the civil rights 
movement, but ])romised to support Dr. King should such a confronta- 
tion occur. Wachtel recalled that Dr. King and his staff pondered "how 
to defuse this and prevent it from be-^ominfj; the principal focus of the 
struggle. Hoover vei-sus King," which "could only have lead to a divi- 
sion and thus a dilution of the growing strength of the civil rights 
movement.'" Wachtel testified : 

Everything pointed toward the problem of how Hoover would 
respond if Dr. King said in effect, "you're a liar; prove your 
case. If you call me a liar, prove it." Everv lawyer worth his 
salt knows this is the beginning of the Alger Hiss type of 
dilenuna. Libel and slander litigation or public debate of 

'''Wilkins (staff summary). 11/23/75, p. 2. 

'"Cartha DeLoach testimony. 11/25/75. p. 173. 

^ Wilkins (staff .summary) . 11/23/75. i>. 2. 

'"^ (Memorandum from .T. A. Sizoo to W. C. Sullivan. 12/1/64.) 


famous personalities can easily lead to destruction of an on- 
going movement. You end up spending your time fighting 
over "tiiith as a defense." ^''* 

Dr. King and his advisers settled on an approach to the problem, and 
on the evening of November 80, 1964, at a public meeting in honor of 
his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King announced his intention 
to meet with Director Hoover to iron out their differences. 

I do not plan to engage in public debate with Mr. Hoover and 
I think the time has come for all this controversy to end, and 
for all of us to get on with the larger job of civil rights and 
law^ enforcement.^*^^ 

According to Andrew Young, who was then Dr. King's Executive 
Assistant, the meeting was arranged by Dr. Archibald Carey, a close 
friend of both DeLoach and Dr. King, at King's request.^'^*' 

Young recalled that Dr. King had been surprised by Director 
Hoover's "most notorious liai-" allegation and wanted to find out what 
was at the heart of the problem. '^''^ Walter Fauntroy, who said that his 
recollection of events surrounding the meeting was "fuzzy,"' added that 
Dr. King had also been motivated by a desire to bring to the Direc- 
tor's attention complaints of Southern SCLC workers concerning the 
lack of FBI protection during civil rights demonstrations.^"* 

The meeting between Dr. King and Director Hoover took place at 
8 :80 p.m. on the afternoon of December 1, 1964. Dr. King was accom- 
panied by Ralph Abernathy, Secretary of the SCLC; Andrew Young, 
Dr. King's Executive Assistant ; and Walter Fauntroy, the SCLC rep- 
i-esentative in Washington. Director Hoover Avas accompanied by 
Cartha DeLoach. 

DeLoach detailed the meeting in a twelve-page memorandum which 
Young and Abernathy described as "substantially" accurate, find- 
ing fault chiefly with the praise of Director Hoover and of the FBI 
which Deljoach attributed to Dr. King. According to the DeLoach 
account. Dr. King said : 

(he) wanted to clear up any misunderstanding which might 
have occurred. He stated that some Negroes had told him that 
the FBI had been ineffective, however, he was inclined to dis- 
count such criticism. Reverend King asked that the Direc- 
tor please understand that any criticism of the Director and 
the FBI which had been attributed to King w^as either a mis- 
quote or an outright misrepresentation. He stated this par- 
ticularly concerned Albany, Georgia. 

Reverend King stated he personally appreciated the great 
work of the FBI which had been done in so manv instances . . . 
Reverend King stated he has never made any personal at- 

'^^ Harry Waehtel testimony. 2/27/76. p. 46. 
'"' United Press International release. 12/1/64. 

^ Andrew Young testimony, 2/10/76, p. 13. Carey's recollection supports this 
account. (Staff summary of Archibald Carey inteiTiew, 11/21/75.) 
^" Staff summary of Andrew Young interview, 11/19/75, p. 1. 
^•^ Staff summary of Walter Fauntroy interview, 11/17/75, p. 1. 


tack upon Mr. Hoover . . . Reverend King said that tlie Di- 
rector's report to the President this summer on rioting was 
a very excellent analysis. 

Reverend King stated he has been, and still is very con- 
cerned regarding the matter of communism in the civil rights 
movement. Reverend King stated that from a strong philo- 
sophical point of view he could never become a communist 
. . . He claimed that when he learns of the identity of a com- 
munist in his midst he immediately deals with the problem 
by removing this man. He stated there have been one or two 
communists who were engaged in fund raising for the SCLC. 
' Reverend King then corrected himself to say that these one 
or two men were former communists and not Party members 
at the present time . . . He stated that he had insisted that 
[Adviser B] leave his staff because the success of his organiza- 
tion . . . was far more important than friendship with [Ad- 
viser B.] ^^^ 

According to Young, the meeting opened with a simple exchange 
of greetings — not with the excessive praise of the Director reflected in 
DeLoach's memorandum — and then Director Hoover proceeded to 
give a monologue that lasted for some fifty-five minutes. DeLoach's 
summary memorandum beai"S out Young's characterization of the 
meeting as essentially a briefing by Director Hoover on FBI opera- 
tions relating to civil rights.^^" 

^^ Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr, 12/2/64. pp. 1-2. 
"" After rei>orting Dr. King's opening remarks to Director Hof)ver, the para- 
graphs from the bottom of the second page to the end of *the memorandum begin : 
"The Director interrupted King of state . . . 
"The Director told King and his associates . , . 
"The Director told Reverend King that the FBI . . . 
"The Director told King that many cases . . . 

"The Director made it clear to Reverend King and his associates . . . 
"The Director made reference to Reverend King's allegation . . . 
"The Director made reference to the recent case in . . . 
"The Director explained that there is a great misunderstanding today . . . 
"The Director spoke of the FBI's .successful i>enetration of the KKK . . . 
"He spoke of the FBI's case in Louisiana . . . 
"The Director told the group that . . . 
"The Director explained that in Alabama . . . 
"The Director told Reverend King and his associates that . . . 
"The Director made it very clear to Reverend King and his associates . . . 
"The Director told Reverend King he desired to give him some advice . . . 
"The Director told Reverend King that in due time . . . 
"The Director praised the Georgia papers that . . . 
"The Director told King that he wanted to make it verj- clear . . . 
"The Director explained that we have . . . 
"The Director .spoke once again of the necessity of . . . 
"The Director spoke of a . . . 

"Reverend King interrupted the Director at this point and asked . . . 
"The Director told Reverend King and liis associates . . . 
"The Director mentioned that he wanted to make it very plain that . . . 
"The Director proudly spoke of the ability of Agents to . . . 
"The Director spoke of the Mack Charles Parker case in . . . 
"The Director told Reverend King that in many instances . . . 
"Reverend Abemathy stated that the Negroe.s have a real problem in . . . 
"The Director explained that . . . 
"Reverend Al>emathy .stated that . . . 
"The Director stated that . . . 
"The Director reiterated that . . . 
''The Director interrupted King and briefly detailed five cases . . . 


Congressman Young testified that neither the Director's pointed cri- 
ticism of Dr. King nor the possibility that the FBI was spreading 
rumors about Dr. King was raised at the meeting.^'^ Neither Young nor 
Abernathy recalled any hint of bhickmail, but Abernathy did remember 
quite clearly that at one point Hoover "gave King a lecture reminding 
him that he was a man of the cloth" and a national leader, and that he 
should "behave himself." Abernathy did not discern any hint that Dr. 
King had not lived up to the expected standards. He said that Dr. King 
remained "very calm," thanked Director Hoover for the reminder, and 
agreed that it was important for a national leader to set a moral exam- 
ple. Abernathy said that the Director then told Dr. King, "If you 
haven't done anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry 
about.'' ^'■' 

Although DeLoach's memorandum of the meeting states that Dii-ec- 
tor Hoover and Dr. King discussed possible Communist influence in 
the SCLC, Andrew Young testified : 

He never brought up the subject of Communism at all . . . 
(Adviser A's) name never came up, and there was never any 
discussion in our meeting about Communism or Communist 

DeLoach described the meeting to the Committee as follow^s : 

I fully expected it to be a confrontation. However, to the con- 
trary, it was more or less of a love feast with Mr. Hoover tell- 
ing Dr. King that Dr. King is a symbol of leadership for 12 
million Negroes and should be caieful about his associations 
and about his personal conduct, and Dr. King telling Mr. 
Hoover that he had not wished to cast any reflection upon the 
FBI and had no intention of doing so in the future. In other 
words, it was a vei-y peaceful meeting. (DeLoach, p. 170) ^"* 

^' Young. 2/19/73. p. 14. 

'"- Staff smmnary of Ralph Al>ernath.v interview, 11/14/75, p. 2. Upon reflection, 
Abernath.v statetl that he was uncertain whether this latter exchange had oc- 
curred at the December 1 meeting or at some other meeting. However, he could 
not recall any other meeting between Dirwtor Hoover and Dr. King at which he 
was present. DeLoach's memorandum account of the meeting does not mention 
this exchange, and Andrew Young could not recall it. 

In 1970, when the Bureau received a series of inquiries following a .series of 
stories in the suggesting that Director Hoover had "blackmailed" Dr. King 
at the December 1964 meeting by threatening to "expose"' hfe alleged "extramari- 
tal activities," the FBI prepared a form letter stating : 

"I received your letter of and would like to assure that the FBI does not 

engage in l)lackmail activities. Also, there is not one .shred of truth in the allega- 
tion that this Bureau blackmailed Martin Luther King." 

="" Young, 2/19/76. p. 19. 

"' DeLoach, 11/2.^/75, p. 170. 

Time magazine subsequently carried two accounts of the Hoover-King meeting. 
According to the December 14, 1970~issue of Time, Director Hoover described the 
meeting as follows : 

"I got a wire from the Reverend King in New York. He was getting read.v to 
get the Nobel Prize. He was the last one in the world who should ever have re- 
ceived it. He wired asking to see me. I held him in complete contempt because of 
the things he said and because of his conduct. First I felt I shouldn't see him, but 
then I thought he might become a martyr if I didn't. King was very suave and 
smooth. He sat right there where you're sitting and said, he never criticized the 
FBI. I said, Mr. King — I never called him reverend — stop right there, you're lying. 
He then pulled out a press release that he said he intended to give to the i)ress. I 
said, don't show it to me or read it to me. I couldn't understand how he could have 


Andrew Young agreed that there had been 

not even an attitude of hostility. In fact. Hoover was very 
disarming in that he congratulated Dr. King for having won 
the Nobel Prize, and as far as we are concerned, this was not 
the same man that called Martin a notorious liar. We at- 
tributed it to the fact of his age and the kinds of possible 
fluctuations that are possible with people under pressure in 
advanced years.^^^ 

Young also told the Committee that within a few weeks of the meet- 
ing, the FBI announced that it had arrested suspects in the summer 
murder of three civil rights workers in the South. "So in a sense we 
were reassured that the FBI was doing its law enforcement job, and we 
hoped the personal tensions, as far as Dr. King was concerned, were 
over and done." ^'^ 

Harry Wachtel said that Dr. King and his advisors had vieAved the 
meeting as a success because it had "defused" the FBI's attacks in 
time to permit Dr. King to travel to Europe and receive the Nobel 
Prize. Wachtel believed that Dr. King's response to Hoover's chal- 
lenge prevented the FBI from succeeding in what Wachtel viewed as 
an attempt to promote disputes and factionalism among the civil rights 
leaders : 

The factionalism that the FBI sought to create was wide- 
spread. It came out in the Committee's record that they were 
even seeking a new leader. In CIA terms, you find yourself a 
new^ president of a country who is in your control . . . They 
were applying to domestic affairs the type of factionalism 
that they had w^orked on so successfully. . '. . And you had to be 
around to know that it didn't take much to disrupt this deli- 
cate marriage of the leadership of the civil rights move- 

A memorandum written by DeLoach on December 12, 1964, indi- 
cates that the FBI also viewed the feud with Dr. King as having 
quieted. In response to an inquiry from William Sullivan concerning 

prepared a press release even before we met. Then he asked if I would go out and 
have a photograph taken with him. and I said I certainly would mind. And I said, 
if you ever say anything that is a lie again. I will brand vou a liar again. Strange 
to say. he never attacked the Bureau again for as long as lie lived." 

The exchange which Director Hoover reported to Time magazine does not ap- 
pear in DeLoach's detailed memorandum of the meeting. Young also denied the 
Director's account, and noted that "there was a public Hoover that made remarks 
about Dr. King that were more on that tone. I)ut in the meeting, none of that kind 
of attitude or none of those statements were made." (Young, 2/19/75, p. 17.) 

The August 17, 1970 issue of Time magazine states : 
■ "Hoover. Time learned, explained to King just what damaging private detail he 
I had on the tapes, and lectured him that his morals should be those befitting a 
Nobel Prize winner. He also suggested that King should tone down his criticism 
of the FBI." 

Yojnig testified, "there was nothing like that at the meeting." (Young. 2/19/76, 
P- 17) and DeLoach's memorandum of the meeting does not report such a 

''' Young. 2/19/76, p. 15. 

'- Young. 2/19/75, p. 14. 

'" Wachtel, 2/27/76. p. 48. 


whether the remainder of the tape recordings about Dr. King should 
be transcribed, DeLoach responded : 

I fully agree that the work should eventually be done, partic- 
ularly if an additional controversy arises with King. I see no 
necessity, however, in this work being done at the present time 
inasmuch as the controversy has quieted down considerably 
and we are not in need of transcripts right now ... I would 
recommend that we hold off doing this tremendous amount of 
work until there is an actual need.^^^ 

F. Civil Rights Leaders Attempt To Dissiuade the FBI From Dis- 
crediting Dr. King: December 1961^-May 1965 

1. Farmer-DeLoach Meeting: December 7, 196If 

On December 1, 1964 — apparently immediately following Hoover's 
meeting with Dr. King "^ — James Farmer, National Director of the 
Congress of Racial Equality, met with DeLoach to convince him not to 
launch a smear campaign against Dr. King. Farmer explained the 
circumstances leading up to the meeting to the Committee as follows. 

During the last week in November 1964, Farmer met with the editor 
of a New York newspaper who said that he had been with an FBI 
agent when Director Hoover's accusation of Dr. King as a "notorious 
liar," was reported. The editor told Farmer that the Agent had re- 
marked, "the Chief has finally gotten it off his chest." The Agent then 
went into a "tirade" against Dr. King. A few days later, Farmer was 
told by a reporter from the New York Post that stories about Dr. King 
were being repeated in journalistic circles. Shortly afterwards. Farmer 
was informed that a conservative columnist was preparing a deroga- 
tory story about Dr. King, and that the FBI was prepared to back up 
his allegations. 

Farmer told the Committee that a CORE staff member had verified 
this rumor with an FBI contact who reportedly said "the chief j, 
wants Farmer to know" that he had no interest in "getting Farmer, || 
Whitney Young, or Roy Wilkins^only King." ^^° | 

Farmer then called DeLoach, whom he considered to be a "man of », 
his word," and asked for a private conference. Before the meeting, 
Farmer met with Dr. King and told him about the allegations. Dr. 
King approved Farmer's meeting with DeLoach, but did not tell 
Farmer that he was intending to meet with Director Hoover. 

On December 1, Farmer conferred with DeLoach in the back seat b 
of a limousine while driving around Washington, D.C. Farmer told the li 
Committee that DeLoach Ibegan the conversation by remarking, "I !I) 
know why you wanted to come down here." He recalled that DeLoach 

^^ DeLoach memorandum, 12/10/64, addendum. Director Hoover wrote on tlie 
memorandum. "I think it should he'ctone now while it is fresh in the minds of the 
specially trained agents." A notation states : "Done. We have prepared 321 pp. 
of tran.scripts. 3/26/65." 

"* DeLoach's memorandum of the meeting sets it at .5 p.m., after the King- 
Hoover meeting. Farmer, however, said that DeLoach left the King-Hoover 
meeting to confer with him. (Staff summary of James Farmer interview, 
11/13/75, p. 5.) 

^ Farmer (staff summary), 11/13/75, pp. 1-2. 


said that the FBI did have evidence which supported the rumors about 
Dr. King, but that the Bureau was not "peddling" the information.^^^ 
DeLoach's memorandum of that meeting states : 

Farmer told me that he had heard from a number of news- 
men that the FBI planned to expose Reverend King by 
tomorrow, Wednesday, December 2, 1964. He stated that he 
and King had had a lengthy conference last night in New 
York City and that it had been agreed that Farmer should 
come down to see me and prevent this action being taken if 
at all possible. He stated he knew that King had made a 
sudden decision to come down also and that he hoped that 
King's meeting with the Director had been an amiable one. 
I told him that it had been. 

I told Farmer that we, of course, had no plan whatsoever 
to expose Reverend King. I told him that our files were 
sacred to us and that it would be unheard of for the FBI 
to leak such information to newsmen. I told him I was com- 
pletely appalled at the very thought of the FBI engaging in 
such endeavors 

I again repeated that we had never entertained the idea 
to expose Reverend King ; however, I wanted Farmer to defi- 
nitely know that the campaign of slander and vilification 
against the Director and the FBI should stop without any 
delay. I told him that if this war continued that we, out of 
necessity, must defend ourselves. I mentioned that I hoped 
it would not be necessary for the FBI to adopt defensive 
tactics. Farmer got the point without any difficulty what- 
soever. He immediately assured me that there would be no 
further criticism from him. He stated he felt certain there 
would be no further criticism from King. 

Farmer was shown DeLoach's memorandum by the Committee. He 
denied that he had assured DeLoach that his or* Dr. King's criticism 
of the FBI would cease, that there had been any discussion of "war- 
fare," and he stated that he did not know what the reference to his 
"getting the point" meant.^*^ 

2. Y oimg-Ahemathy-DeLoach Meeting: January 8, 1965 

On January 8, 1965 — shortly after the tape and letter were brought 
to the attention of the leaders of the SCLC — Andrew Young and 
Ralph Abernathy, at Dr. King's urgings, requested a meeting with 
Director Hoover. 

Both Young and Abernathy told the Committee that the purpose 
of the meeting was to determine why the FBI was antagonistic toward 
Dr. King and to stem continuing attacks against Dr. King's character. 
Young said that the meeting was prompted by the receipt of the tape 
and letter.^^* Abernathy confirmed this account, and added that al- 

Farmer (staff summary ) , 11/13/75, pp. 2-4. 

*• Farmer (staff summary) , 11/13/76, p. 4. 

^ Young, 2/19/76, p. 20. Young testified that : 

'We asked for the meeting because even though we thought that Hoover 
wasn't as bad as he seemed publicly, and we thought this was just a sort of lapse 
in his behavior, we still kept getting reports from the press about stories that 
were still being told, and we received the tape." 


though they had not assumed that the FBI had sent the tape itself, 
they did believe that the FBI had at least known about the tape and 
could help in terminating the campaign of personal abuse directed 
against Dr. King.^^^ 

DeLoach, rather than Director Hoover, met with Young and Aber- 
nathy. Abernathy told the Committee that he had made it unmis- 
takably clear to DeLoach they were concerned about charges bearing 
on Dr. King's pereonal conduct.^^^ DeLoach's memorandum of the 
meeting states : 

Eeverend Abernathy spoke very generally, pointing out 
that people were always "making charges" and "innuendoes" 
against Mr. King. . . . Reverend Young said it looked like 
there were some attempts to smear and ruin the civil rights 
movement; that just lately there has been some new evidence 
in this regard and that very obviously the activities of Mr. 
King and the SCLC are under close surveillance 

[Young] said he did feel though there must be some sort of 
concerted organized campaign that was being directed against 
King and the SCLC. ... 

Reverend Abernathy stated that there were three points 
they had wanted to discuss; commmiist infiltration, allega- 
tions that King was getting rich on the civil rights move- 
ment and the third point had to do with allegations about 
the personal life and moral character of King. . . . Abernathy 
said that he was not going to make allegations against the 
FBI but that some things were gping on they just could not 

Reverend Young said that King had been receiving letters 
charging him with immorality, that these letters attacked 
his personal life. 

Reverend Young said that he was deeply concerned about 
irresponsible usage of personal information on the part of 
scandalmongers and wondered if there could be any "leaks" 
from the Government, He was assured that there were no leaks 
from the FBI, that the Director ran a tight organization and 
that any irresponsibility on the part of any agent would not 
'be tolerated.^^" 

Andrew Young testified that he "thought" that he had mentioned the 
letter and tape recording that had been received by Dr. King. He re- 
called that DeLoach 

denied everything. He denied that an FBI agent would ever 
talk to the press about anything. 

Question. Did you bring up the issue of whether the FBI 
was tapping Dr. King's phone, SCLC's phone, or bugging 
Dr. King? _ 

Young. Yes, we did. He assured us that was not true.^^^ 

^ Abernathy (staff summary), 11/14/75. pp. 2-3. 

'«• Abernathy (staff summary) , 11/14/75, p. 2. 

**^ Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr, 1/11/65, pp. 1-3. 

^ Young, 2/19/76, p. 38. 


3. Carey-DeLoach Meeting : May 19^ 1965 

On May 19, 1965, Dr. Archibald J. Carey, Jr., then a Chicago 
attorney who was well acquainted with Dr. King, DeLoach, and 
Director Hoover, met with DeLoach to "mediate" in what he re- 
garded as an unfortunate dispute among his friends. Dr. Carey told 
the Committee staff that Dr. King had first brought to his attention 
rumors about Dr. King's "communist sympathies" and personal con- 
duct during a weekend visit to Chicago some time in May 1965. On that 
occasion, Dr. King told Dr. Carey that the FBI was trying to dis- 
credit him and might release stories to the press regarding his per- 
sonal life in the near future. Dr. Carey told the Committee that 
Dr. King did not ask him to talk with the FBI about their attempt 
to discredit him, but rather that he had volunteered to "see what he 
could do." Dr. King gave his assent.^*^ 

DeLoach, in a memorandum of the meeting, wrote that "Carey 
told me that he wanted to enlist the sympathies of the FBI in not 
letting any effort to discredit King occur." DeLoach said that he 
had told Dr. Carey that "the FBI had plenty to do without being 
responsible for a discrediting campaign against Keverend King." 
DeLoach ended the memorandum with the comment : 

Dr. Carey is the third individual that King has had come to 
see us relative to requesting that we not expose him. Roy 
Wilkins, Jim Farmer, and Reverend Abernathy have all 
been here for the same purpose. It is obvious that King is 
becoming very disturbed and worried about his background, 
else he would not go to such great efforts to have people ap- 
proach the FBI. I did not commit the FBI in any manner 
insofar as exposing King is concerned. To the contrary, I 
let Carey flatly know of King's derelictions insofar as false 
allegations against us are concerned and of the fact that 
King and other civil rights workers owed the FBI a debt 
of gratitude they would never be able to repay .^^° 

Director Hoover wrote on the memorandum, "Well handled." 

Dr. Carey told the Committee staff that he contacted Dr. King 
after the meeting and suggested that criticizing the FBI was not 
the best strategy for the civil rights movement. Dr. Carey said that 
he had asked lx)th Dr. King and Director Hoover not to alienate each 
other. He also said tliat he had been concerned less with the truth 
or falsity of any of the allegations that were made than with ending 
the dispute.^^"" 

^ Staff summary of Archibald Carey interview 12/21/75, pp. 1-2. DeLoach 
in a memorandum concerning his meeting with Dr. Carey, wrote that Dr. Carey 
had said : 

"He had come to .see us on belialf of Martin Luther King. He added that King 
was in Chicago last weekend and stayed in Carey's home, and at that time 
indicated every evidence of great disturbance. King told Carey he had been 
reliably informed there was a ma.ssive effort to discredit him by the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation. This effort is to begin this week." (Memorandum from 
Cartha DeLoach to John Mohr, ."j/19/6.5, p. 1) 

Dr. Carey told the Committee that DeLoach had exaggerated Dr. King's concern 
over these rumours in his memorandum. 

^ DeLoach memorandum, .5/19/65, p. 2. 

a^oa Carey (staff summary), 11/21/75, p. 3. 

69-984 O - 76 - 12 



The public dispute between Dr. King and Director Hoover ended 
with their December 1, 1964, meeting. The Bureau's covert attempts 
to discredit Dr. King and undermine his influence in the civil rights 
movement did not cease, however, but continued unabated until Dr. 
King's death.^^^ Although the intensity of the FBI's campaign against 
Dr. King appears to have been reduced somewhat in 1966 and 1967, 
Dr. King's public stand against the war in Vietnam in mid-1967 re- 
vived the FBI's attempt to link Dr. King and the SCLC with com- 

A. Major Eff&rts to Discredit Dr. King: 1965-1968 

1. Attempts to Discredit Dr. King With Churches 

On February 1, 1965, The Domestic Intelligence Division learned that 
Dr. King was scheduled to speak at the Davenport, Iowa, Catholic 
Interracial Council's banquet and receive a "Pacem in Terris" award 
in memory of Pope John. Internal Security Section chief Frederick 
Baumgardner observed, "it is shocking indeed that King continues to 
be honored by religious groups." ^^^ Baumgardner recommended that 
Assistant Director Malone contact Francis Cardinal Spellman and 
suggest that "in the end it might well be embarrassing to the Catholic 
Church for having given honors to King." The Director noted on the 
memorandum, "I see no need to further approach Spellman" ; he was 
apparently alluding to the unsuccessful attempt to sabotage Dr. King's 
audience with the Pope through Spellman's intervention. There is no 
record of any further action. 

In February 1966 Dr. King held a press conference following a 
meeting with the Eeverend John P. Cody, Archbishop of the Chicago 
Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, and announced that he and 
Cody were in agreement on general civil rights goals and that he hoped 
priests and nuns in Chicago would participate in SCLC programs. 
The Domestic Intelligence Division subsequently recommended that a 
special agent acquainted with the Archbishop brief him about Dr. 
King to aid "the Archbishop in determining the degree of cooperation 
his archdiocese will extend to King's program in Chicago and [to] 
result in a lessening of King's influence in Chicago." ^^ 

The Archbishop was briefed on February 24, 1966, "along the lines 
discussed with Assistant Director Sullivan." ^* The agent who con- 
ducted the briefing wrote that he felt "certain that [Cody] will do 
everything possible to neutralize King's effect in this area." ^^^ 

In April 1966 the FBI Legal Attache in Paris requested permission 
to inform the pastor of the American Church in Paris of Dr. King's 
background "in an effort to convince him that his continued support 
of Martin Luther King may result in embarrassment for him and the 

*" Even after Dr. King's death, the FBI tried to tarnish his public image. See 
pp. 183. 

^Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 2/1/65. 

^ Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 2/18/66. 

=^ Memorandum from SAC, Chicago, to Director, FBI, 2/24/66. Sullivan had 
apparently suggested that the Archbishop be informed about alleged communist 
influence on Dr. King and about Dr. King's private life. 

^ SAC, Chicago memorandum, 2/24/66. 


American Church in Paris." ^^'^ The pastor was briefed on May 9, 1966. 
According to the agent who conducted the briefing, the pastor was 
skeptical about the FBI allegations, but promised to keep the informa- 
tion in mind for future dealings with Dr. King.^^^ 

2. Attempts to Discredit Dr. King With Heads of Government 

In March 1965 the FBI contacted former Florida Governor LcRoy 
Collins. Collins was then Director of the Community Relations Serv- 
ice, Department of Commerce, a j)osition the Bureau viewed as "some- 
thing of a 'mediator' in problems relating to the racial field." ^^^ The 
jFBI told Collins that Corretta King had criticized his participation 
in developments in Selma, Alabama and had said that Collins was 
"blinded by prejudice." A copy of the December 1964 monograph 
about Dr. King was also sent to Collins, "in view of [his] important 
position relative to the racial movement." ^^^ 

Also in March 1965 the FBI learned that the Internal Revenue Serv- 
ice intended to invite Dr. King as one of 19 guest lecturers at a series 
of seminars on Equal Employment Opportunities. When the IRS 
requested routine name checks on the 19 individuals, Director Hoover 
approved a Domestic Intelligence Division request to send the IRS a 
copy of the December 1964 monograph ; normal procedures were fol- 
lowed in checking the other 18 people.*"" 

In December 1966 Domestic Intelligence Director William Sullivan 
reported that he had met with Ambassador U. Alexis Johnson during 
a tour of the FBI's Legal Attache Office in Japan and was surprised 
to learn that Johnson was unaware of allegations that communists were 
influencing Dr. King. Sullivan recommended that Johnson be sent a 
copy of the monogi-aph about Dr. King "because of his position." *"^ 
Director Hoover approved the plan, and a copy of the monograph 
was sent to the FBI Legal Attache in Tokyo for hand-delivery to the 

Dr. King publicly announced his opposition to American involve- 
ment in the war in Vietnam in a speech at New York's Rivei-side 
Church on April 4, 1967. Six days later, Charles Brennan of the Do- 
mestic Intelligence Division recommended the circulation of an up- 
dated draft of the King monograph to the White House. Brennan's 
memorandum states that the revised monograph contained allegations 
about communist influence over Dr. King as well as pereonally deroga- 
tory allegations.*"^ 

Director Hoover approved and copies of the revised monograph were 
sent to the White House, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of De- 

^ Memorandum from LBGAT, Paris, to Director, FBI, 4/14/66. 

^Memorandum from LEGAT, Paris, to Director, FBI, 5/9/66. 

^ Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 3/23/65. 

^ Baumgardner memorandum, 3/23/65. 

*** Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 3/31/65. 
The delivery was made shortly thereafter (Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover 
to Internal Revenue Service, 4/2/65). 

*»' Memorandum from William Sullivan to Cartha DeLoach, 12/19/66. 

"*" Memorandum from Director, FBI to LEGAT, Tokyo, 12/28/66. 

** Memorandum from Charles Brennan to William Sullivan, 4/10/67. 


fense, the Director of the Secret Service, and the Attorney General .^°* 
A copy was subsequently sent to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, 
who had been interested in "King's activities in the civil rights move- 
ment but recently had become quite concerned as to whether there are 
any subversive influences which have caused King to link the civil 
rights movement with the anti-Vietnam War movement.'' The Do- 
mestic Intelligence Division recommended that a copy be given to the 
Marine Commandant because "it is felt would definitely be to the bene- 
fit of [the Commandant] and to the Bureau. . . ." *°^ 

In February 1968, FBI Headquarters learned that Dr. King planned 
a "Washington Spring Project" for April 1968. According to a Do- 
mestic Intelligence Division memorandum, the Director suggested that 
the King monograph be again revised. That memorandum noted: 

Bringing this monograph up-to-date and disseminating it 
at high level prior to King's "Washington Spring Project" 
should serve again to remind top-level officials in Government 
of the wholly disreputable character of King. . . . 

Because of the importance of doing a thorough job on this, 
we will conduct an exhaustive field review to bi'ing together 
the most complete and up-to-date information and to present 
it in a hard-hitting manner.^ '^" 

The revised monograph, dated March 12, 1968, was disseminated to 
the White House, the Attorney General, and the heads of various gov- 
ernment intelligence agencies.*"^ 

3. Attempts to Discredit Dr. King By Using the Press 
Despite Cartha DeLoach's assurances to Andrew Yoimg and Ralph 
Abernathy that the FBI would never disseminate information to the 
press, the Bureau continued its efforts to cultivate "friendly" news 
sources that would be willing to release information unfavorable to 
Dr. King. Ralph McGill, the pro-civil rights editor of the Atlanta 
Constitution, was a major focus of the Bureau's attentions. The Bu- 
reau apparently first furnished McGill with derogatory information 
about Dr. King as part of an attempt to dissuade community leaders 
in Atlanta from participating in a banquet planned to honor Dr. King 
upon his return from the Nobel Prize ceremonies. After a meeting 
with McGill, William Sullivan reported that McGill said that he had 
stopped speaking favorably of Dr. King, that he had refused to take an 
active part in preparing for the banquet, and that he had even taken 
steps to undermine the banquet. McGill's version of what transpii-ed 
will never be known, since ]\IcGill is deceased. According to Sullivan's 
memorandum, however : 

Mr. McGill told me that following my first discussion with 
him a few weeks ago he contacted a banker friend in Atlanta 
who was helping to finance the banquet to be given King next 
Wednesday night. The banker was disturbed and said he 

^"^ Letters from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General ; Director, U.S. Secret 
Service ; the Secretary of State ; the White House ; and the Secretary of Defense, 

^•^ Memorandum from Charles Brennan to "William Sullivan, 8/30/67. 

*^ Memorandum from George Moore to William Sullivan, 2/29/68. 

^•^ Memoranda from George Moore to William Sullivan, 3/11/68 and 3/19/68. 


would contact some other bankers also involved and see if sup- 
I>ort could be quietly withdrawn. McGill's friend and some of 
the bankers did take steps to withdraw but this was very 
quickly relayed to bankers in Haiti who were on the thres- 
hold of an important financial deal with the Atlanta, Georgia, 
bankers. They took the position that if the Atlanta bankers 
did not support the Martin Luther King party, their finan- 
cial deal with these Georgia bankers was off. ... As a result 
they got cold feet and decided to go ahead with financing 
King's party. 

McGill told me that . . . , a Catholic leader in Georgia, an 
Episcopal clergyman and a Jewish rabbi are also quite active 
in support of this party for King ... I told him that ... he 
might want to explore very confidentially and discreetly the 
subject matter with these three men. . . . 

McGill told me that he thinks it is too late now, especially 
in view of the financial interest of the Georgia bankers in 
the Haiti deal, to prevent the banquet from taking place. 
However, McGill said he would do what he could to encourage 
key people to limit their praise and support of King as much 
as possible. 

McGill also told me that he is taking steps through [a 
Negro leader] to get key Negro leaders to unite in opposition 
to King and to gradually force him out of the civil] rights 
movement if at all possible.*"^ 

The FBI subsequently told the White House that McGill : 

believes that the very best thing that could happen would be 
to have King step completely out of the civil rights move- 
ment and public life for he feels that if this is not done, 
sooner or later King will be publicly exposed. Mr. McGill 
believes that an exposure of King will do irreparable harm 
to the civil rights movement in which he, Mr. McGill, and 
others are so interested and have worked so hard for; and 
likewise it will do injury to different citizens of the country 
who have been supporting King. . . *^° 

In late May 1965, a reporter from United Press International re- 
quested the Bureau for information about Dr. King for use in a series of 
articles about the civil rights leader. The Special Agent in Charge in 
Atlanta recommended that the Bureau give the reporter both public 
source and confidential information about Dr. King because the re- 
porter "is the UPI's authority in the South on the Negro movement 
and his articles carry a great deal of influence and [the SAC did not 
believe] that he would prepare anything flattering or favorable to 
King." The Director approved a recommendation that the reporter be 
supplied with a public source document and with a "short summa- 
tion" of allegations concerning communist influence over Dr. King to 
be used "merely for orientation purposes." *" 

** Memorandum from William Sullivan to Alan Belmont, 1/21/65. 
*"• Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Bill Moyers, 1/22/65. 
'"Memorandum from Joseph Sizoo to William Sullivan, 5/24/65. 


In October 1966, the Domestic Intelligence Division recommended 
that an article "indicting Kiiig for his failure to take a stand on the 
[black power] issue and at the same time exposing the degree of com- 
munist influence on him" be given to a newspaper contact "friendly" 
to the Bureau, "such as . . . [the] Editor of U.S. News and World 

It is felt that the public should again be reminded of this com- 
munist influence on King, and the current controversy among 
civil rights leaders makes this timely to do so.^^^ 

Attached to the memorandum was a proposed article which noted 
that the efforts of several civil rights leaders to denounce "Black 
Power" had been "undermined by one man in the civil rights move- 
ment who holds in his hands the power to silence the rabble rousers and 
to give the movement renewed momentum." The article attributed Dr. 
King's equivocation to his advisers, who were alleged to have had 
affiliations with the Communist Party or organizations associated with 
the Party. Dr. King's decision to oppose the Vietnamese war was also 
attributed to these advisers.^" 

One project involving the mass media which the FBI felt had been 
particularly successful was its attempt to prevent Dr. King from ob- 
taining contributions from James Hoffa of the Teamsters Union. In 
October 1966, the FBI discovered that Dr. King planned to meet with 
Hoffa, but that Dr. King had wanted to avoid publicity because, in 
the words of the Bureau : 

Disclosure of King's transparent attempt to blackmail Hoffa 
with the large Negro membership of Hoffa's union, to solve 
the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's financial 
problems, would cause an uproar among leaders of organiza- 
tions having large Negro memberships; pointing out their 
own vulnerability to such a squeeze by any unscrupulous civil 
rights leader. This potential collusion between large labor 
unions and the civil rights movement could also react to the 
detriment of the Negro in that through large financial dona- 
tions, an unscrupulous labor leader could subvert the legiti- 
mate aims and objectives of the civil rights movement to his 
own purposes.*^* 

The Crime Records Division prepared an article for public release 
raising the question of "who really gets squeezed when these two 
pythons get together." ^i^' The Domestic Intelligence Division also 
recommended : 

a Bureau official be designated now to alert friendly news 
media of the meeting once the meeting date is learned so that 

*" Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 10/27/66. 

^" Director Hoover's "O.K." appears at the bottom of the memorandum. There 
is also a note stating, "U.S. News and World Report will not use article of this 
nature." It is not known whether the article was actually distributed. 

"* Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 10/28/66. 

*" Memorandum from Charles Brennan to Frederick Baumgardner, William 
Snilivan. attached to Baumgardner memorandum, 10/28/66. 


arrangements can be made for appropriate press coverage of 
the planned meeting to expose and disrupt it.^" 

Director Hoover's "O.K." appeal's below that recolmmendation. 

On discovering that the meeting was about to occur, the Crime 
Records Division notified a reporter for the Nem York Daily News 
and a national columnist. "News photographers and wire services are 
also being alerted to give coverage. . . ." ^^^ 

A Crime Records Division memorandum on the following day re- 
ported that "in view of publicity in the New York Daily News regard- 
ing this proposed meeting, King and his aides had decided that it would 
be unwise to meet with Hoffa." The Bureau then notified reporters that 
Dr. King was coming to Washington, D.C. The reporters "cornered" 
Dr. King as he came off the plane and quizzed him about the proposed 
meeting. The Crime Records Division reported these events to the 
Director with the assessment that "our counterintelligence aim to 
thwart King from receiving money from the Teamsters has been quite 
successful to date." Director Hoover initialed the memorandum re- 
porting this news, "Excellent." *^^ 

In March 1967 Director Hoover approved a recommendation by the 
Domestic Intelligence Division to furnish "friendly" reporters ques- 
tions to ask Dr. King. The InteHigen'ce Division believed that Dr. 
King would be particularly "vulnerable" to questions concerning his 
opposition to the war in Vietnam, and recommended that a reporter 
be selected to interview Dr. Kin^ "ostensibly to (Question King about 
his new book," but with the objective of bringing out the foreign- 
policy aspects of Dr. King's philosophy. 

This could then be linked to show that King's current policies 
remarkably parallel communist efforts. This would cause ex- 
treme embarrassment to King.^^o 

In October 1967 the Domestic Intelligence Division recommended 
that an editorial in a Negro magazine, which criticized Dr. King for 
his stance on the Vietnam war, be given to "friendly news sources." 
The purpose of the dissemination was to "publicize King as a traitor 
to his country and his race" and to "reduce his income" from a series of 
shows given by Harry Belafonte to earn funds for the SCLC. The 
recommendation was approved by the Director and is marked 
"Handled 10/28/67." *^' 

4. Attempts to Discredit Dr. King With Mdj&r Political and 
Financial Leaders 
In March 1965 the FBI learned that a "Martin Luther King Day" 
was being planned in a major city. The Domestic Intelligence Division 
recommended that the Special Agent in . Charge "personally meet 
with the Governor and brief him concerning King" in order to "in- 
duce him to minimize the affair and especially the award for King." 

*" Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 11/3/66. 

"^ Memorandum from Robert Wick to Cartha DeLoach, 11/8/66. 

*" Memorandum from Robert Wick to Cartha DeLoach, 11/9/66. 

*^ Memorandum from Charles Brennan to William Sullivan, 3/8/67. The pro- 
posal was given Director Hoover's "O.K." and a handwritten note in the margin 
initialed by the Chief of the Crime Records Division states, "handled." 

*** Memorandum from George Moore to William Sullivan, 10/18/67. 


The Domestic Intelligence Division memorandum was initialed by 
the Director and bears the handwritten notation, "handled 3-5-65, 

In October 1966 the FBI learned that Dr. King had met with 
McGeorge Bundy, then Director of the Ford Foundation, and received 
a tentative offer of a grant for the SCLC. The Domestic Intelligence 
Division decided that officials of the Foundation might not be aware 
of the "subversive backgrounds of King's principal advisers," but 
that if they were briefed, "this might preclude any assistance being 
granted." Director Hoover approved a plan to have a former FBI 
agent, who was then a vice-president of the Ford Motor Company, 
approach Bundy.*^^ The ex-agent was contacted, briefed on Dr. King, 
and according to DeLoach, "stated he would personally contact Bundy 
in an effort to put a stop to King receiving any funds from the Ford 
Foundation." ^^^ 

In a memorandurii dated October 26, 1966, DeLoach reported that 
the ex-agent had contacted Bundy, but that Bundy had refused to 
talk with him about Dr. King, saying that he would only talk with 
a person having first-hand knowledge about Dr. King, and would not 
listen to rumors. DeLoach recommended that the FBI not directly ap- 
proach Bundy, since "it is doubtful that contact with him by the FBI 
will convince him one way or another." Director Hoover wrote on 
DeLoach's memorandum, "Yes. We would get no Avhere with 
Bundy." '^'^ 

5. Attempts to Discredit Dr. King With Congressional Leaders 
According to a memorandum by Assistant to the Director DeLoach, 
Speaker of the House John McCormack requested a briefing about 
Dr. King's background and activities in August 1965. DeLoach re- 
ported that he briefed McCormack for 45 minutes about Dr. King's 
private life and about possible communist influence over Dr. King. 
According to DeLoach, McCormack stated that "he now recognized 
the gravity of the situation and that something obviously must be 
done about it." ^^^ McCormack was not interviewed by the committee 

Not all Consressional inquiries about Dr. King, however, were an- 
swered by the Bureau. For example, in January 1968, DeLoach re- 
ported that he had met with Senator Robert C. Byrd at the Senator's 
request. DeLoach's memorandum of the meeting states that the Sen- 
ator expressed concern over Dr. King's plan for demonstrations in 
Washington, D.C. during the summer and said that it was time Dr. 
King "met his Waterloo." DeLoach's memorandum states that Sen- 
ator Bvrd asked if the FBI would prepare a speech about Dr. King 
which he could deliver on the floor of the Senate. DeLoach declined 
to provide anv information that was not on the public record, al- 

^ Memorandum from Frederick Baumgardner to William Sullivan, 3/2/65. 

*^ Memorandum from Frederick Baumsrardner to William Sullivan, 10/24/66. 

^* ^Temorandum from Oartha DeLoach to Clyde Tolson. 10/26/66. 

*^ Memorandiim from Cartha DeLoach to Clyde Tolson. 10/26/66. DeLoach's 
memorandum noted: "I personally feel that Bundy is of the pseudo-intellec- 
tual. Ivy Leagnie group that has little respect for the FBI." Bundy confirmed 
that he had been approached concerning Dr. King and that he had refused to 
talk about Dr. King. 

** Memorandum from Cartha DeLoach to .Tohn Mohr, 8/14/65. 


though he did promise to keep the Senator infonned of new public 
source items.*^^ The Committee staff did not interview Senator Byrd. 

B. COINTELPRO Operations Against Dr. King and His Associates 
The FBI elevated its activities against Dr. King and his associates 
to the status of formal counterintelligence programs (COINTEL 
PRO) during this period."^* In July 1966, the Director instructed 
the New York field office that "immediate steps should be taken 
to discredit, expose, or otherwise neutralize Adviser A's role as a 
clandestine communist." ^^^ An agent was assigned full-time to "care- 
fully review the [Adviser A] case file seeking possible counterintel- 
ligence approaches." He reported that there was no derogatory in- 
formation on Adviser A's personal life,*^° and that the only "effective 
way to neutralize [him] is by public exposure" of his alleged Com- 
munist Party associations.^^^ None of the FBI's efforts against Ad- 
viser A appear to have met success. 

The FBI considered initiating a formal COINTELPRO to dis- 
credit Dr. King and Dr. Benjamin Spock in Mav 1967 when rumore 
developed concerning the possibility that King and Spock might run 
as "peace" candidates in the 1968 presidential election. The New York 
field office recommended postponing the effort to expose "communist 
connections" of persons associated with King and Spock until they had 
formally announced their candidacy.*^^ The Chicago field office pro- 
posed waiting until the summer of 1968, reasoning that by then the 
Administration would have either resolved the Vietnam conflict or, 
if not, the Communist Party would be emphasizing the peace theme, 
and exposure of Communist Party links with the King-Spock cam- 
paign "would doubtlessly be appreciated by the Administration." ^^^ 
While the Chicago field office felt that the Bureau should not "rule 
out" the use of "flyers, leaflets, cards and bumper stickers" to discredit 
the King-Spock ticket, it recommended "the use of a political column- 
ist or reporter for this purpose." ^^* Apparently no steps were taken 
to implement the plan. 

In August 1967 the Bureau initiated a COINTELPRO captioned 
"Black Nationalist — Hate Groups." This program is extensively de- 
scribed in the Staff Report on COINTELPRO. The document initiat- 
ing the program states : 

"" Memorandum from Oartha DeLoach to Clyde Tolson, 1/19/68. 

^"^ COINTELPRO is discussed at len^h in the Staff Report on COINTELPRO. 

*^ Memorandum from Director, FBI to SAC, New York, 7/18/66. Allegations 
concerning Adviser A's suspected Communist Party aflBliations are discussed 
at pp. 149^150. 

isorpjjg complete absence of any derogatory information on Adviser A's per- 
sonal life did not prevent the Bureau from attempting to develop such informa- 
tion. In October 1967 the New York oflSce informed Washington it would "con- 
tinue its efforts to place [Adviser A] in a compromising position" with a woman 
acquaintance. (Memorandum from SAC New York to Director. FBI. 10/7/66.) 

*"" Memorandum from SAC. New York to Director, FBI. 8/15/66. 

"" Memorandum from SAC, New York to Director, FBI, 2/25/67. 

^ Memorandum from SAC The field oflBce noted : "Effectively tabbing as com- 
munists 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. .Tohnson." 

"^ Memorandum from SAC, Chicago to Director, FBI, 6/1/67. The Chicago 
oflBce observed : "It is emphasized that this person should be respected for his 
balance and fair-mindedness. An article or series by an established conservative 
would not adequately serve our purposes." 


The purpose of this new counterintelligence endeavor is to 
expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize 
the activities of black-nationalist, hate-type organizations and 
groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership and 
supporters, and to counter their propensity for violence 
and civil disorder. 

Intensified attention under this program should be afforded 
to the activities of such groups as the Student Nonviolent 
Coordinating Committee, Southern Christian Leadership 
Conference, Kevolutionary Action Movement, the Deacons 
for Defense and Justice, Congress of Eacial Equality, and the 
Nation of Islam. [Emphasis added.] ^^^ 
The Domestic Intelligence Division expanded the Black National- 
ist-Hate Groups COINTELPRO in February 1968, The instructions 
to the field offices listed as a "goal" : 

Prevent the rise of a "messiah" who could unify and elec- 
trify the militant black nationalist movement. Malcolm X 
might have been such a "messiah;" he is the martyr of the 
movement today. Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael, 
and Elijah Muhammed all aspire to this position. Elijah 
Muhammed is less of a threat because of his age. King could 
be a real contender for this position should he abandon his 
supposed "obedience" to "white, liberal doctrines" (nonvio- 
lence) and embrace black nationalism. . . .*^^ 

The SCLC was retained as a "primary target" of the COINTELPRO, 
and Martin Luther King's name was added to the list of persons who 
were targets. 

The supervisor of the Black Nationalist COINTELPRO. told the 
Committee that he could recall no counterintelligence activities di- 
rected against the SCLC, but that several were taken against Dr. 

C. The FBPs Ejforts to Discredit Dr. King During His Last Months 

Between 1965 and early 1967, the files indicate that Bureau concern 
about Dr. King had decreased. This concern was revived by Dr. King's 
April 4, 1967, speech at New York's Riverside Church, in which he 
opposed the Administration's position in Vietnam. The FBI inter- 
preted this position as proof he "has been influenced by communist 
advisers," and noted that King's remarks were "a direct parallel of 
the communist position on Vietnam." *^^ K week after the speech tlie 
FBI sent the White House and the Justice Department a revised edi- 
tion of the printed King monograph. 

In early December 1967 Dr. King announced plans to hold demon- 
strations in major American cities, including Washington, D.C., to 
spur Congress into enacting civil rights legislation. The FBI followed 
closely developments in Dr. King'sJ'Washington Spring Project" for- 
warding to the White House information concerning Adviser A's 

Memorandum from Director, FBI to Special Agents in Charge, 8/25/67. 
Memorandum from Director, FBI to Special Agents in Charge, 3/4/68. 
Testimony, 10/17/75, p. 14. 
Memorandum from Charles Brennan to William Sullivan, 4/10/67. 


fund-raising activities and Dr. King's plans to tape a lecture series for 
a foreign television system, allegedly to raise funds for the pi-oject/*" 

In February 1968 the FBI again revised the King monograph and 
distributed it to certain officials in the Executive Branch. The Domestic 
Intelligence Division memorandum recommending the new monograph 
stated that its dissemination "prior to King's 'Washington Spring 
Project' should serve again to remind top-level officials in Govern- 
ment of the wholly disreputable character of King." **^ 

In early March, the Bureau broadened its Black Nationalist-Hate 
Groups COINTELPRO explicitly to include Dr. King.^" Toward the 
end of the month, the FBI began to disseminate information to the 
press "designed to curtail success of Martin Luther King's fund 
raising campaign for the Washington Spring Project." Tlie first of 
many plans included circulating a story 

that King does not need contributions from the 70,000 i>eople 
he solicited. Since the churches have oif ered support, no more 
money is needed and any contributed would only be used by 
King for other purposes. This item would need nation-wide 
circulation in order to reach all the potential contributors and 
curtail their donations.**^ 

On March 25, the Bureau approved a plan to mail an anonymous 
letter to a civil rights leader in Selma, Alabama, who was "miffed" 
with Dr. King, and a copy of that letter to a Selma newspaper, hoping 
that the newspaper might interview the leader about its contents. The 
Bureau described the purpose of the letter as calling 

to the attention of [tlie civil rights leader] that King is merely 
using the Negroes of the Selma area for his own personal 
aggrandizement ; that he is not genuinely interested in their 
welfare, but only in their donations; that in all probability 
the individuals going to Washington for the Spring Project 
will be left stranded without suitable housing or food. The 
letter should also play up the possibility of violence.*** 

There is no indication in FBI files that the letter was mailed. 

During the latter part of March, Dr. King went to Memphis, Ten- 
nessee, where a strike by Sanitation Workers had erupted into violent 

A March 28, 1968, Domestic Intelligence Division memorandum 
stated : 

A sanitation strike has been going on in Memphis for some 
time. Martin Luther King, Jr., today led a march composed 
of 5,000 to 6,000 people through the streets of Memphis. King 
was in an automobile preceding the marchers. As the march 
developed, acts of violence and vandalism broke out including 
the breaking of windows in stores and some looting. 

**" Memorandum from George Moore to William Sullivan, 12/18/67; memo- 
randum from Director, FBI to LEGAT, 12/21/67. 

**^ Memorandum from George Moore to William Sullivan, 2/29/68. 

"^ See discussion, supra, p. 180. 

*" Memorandum from George Moore to William Sullivan, 3/26/68. 

"* Memorandum from SAC, Mobile to Director, FBI, 3/25/68; memorandum 
from Director, FBI to SAC, Mobile, 4/2/68. 


This clearly demonstrates that acts of so-called nonviolence 
advocated by King cannot be controlled. The same thing could 
happen in his planned massive civil disobedience for Washing- 
ton in April. 


Attached is a blind memorandum pointing out the above, 
which if you approve, should be made available by Crime 
Records Division to cooperative news media sources. 

The memorandum carried Director Hoover's "O.K." and the notation, 
''handled on 3/28/68." *« 

On March 29, 1968, the Domestic Intelligence Division recommended 
that the following article be furnished to a cooperative news source : 

Martin Luther King, during the sanitation workers' strike 
in Memphis, Tennessee, has urged Negroes to boycott down- 
town white merchants to achieve Negro demands. On 3/29/68 
King led a march for the sanitation workers. Like Judas lead- 
ing lambs to slaughter King led the marchers to violence, and 
when the violence broke out. King disappeared. 

The fine Hotel Lorraine in Memphis is owned and patron- 
ized exclusively by Negroes but King didn't go there for his 
hasty exit. Instead King decided the plush Holiday Inn 
Motel, white owned, operated and almost exclusively patron- 
ized, was the place to "cool it." There will be no boycott of 
white merchants for King, only for his followers.**® 

On April 4, Dr. King returned to Memphis. This time he registered 
at the Lorraine Hotel. We have discovered no evidence that the FBI 
was responsible for Dr. King's move to the Lorraine Hotel.**^ 

*" Memorandum from George Moore to William Sullivan, 3/28/68. An article 
about violence in ttie sanitation strike, published in the Memphis Commercial 
Clarion on March 29, 1968, echoed the wording of the FBI memorandimi, although 
there is no proof that the FBI was responsible for the article. The article stated : 

"Yesterday's march, ostensibly a protest on behalf of the city's striking sanita- 
tion workers, was generally considered to be a 'dress rehearsal' by Dr. King for 
his planned march on "Washington April 22." (Memphis Commercial Clarion, 

"" Memorandum from George Moore to William Sullivan, 3/29/68. 

*" Dr. King's associates and the FBI both deny that this last effort to discredit 
Dr. King influenced his decision to move to the Lorraine Hotel. Dr. Ralph Aber- 
nathy, who was with Dr. King during his last days, told the Committee that he 
had not been aware of any newspaper articles criticizing Dr. King for staying at 
the Holiday Inn during his visit the previous week. He was certain that the Lor- 
raine had not been chosen because of any articles that might have appeared and 
said that Dr. King always stayed at the Lorraine when he visited Memphis, with 
the exception of the prior visit. In that instance. Dr. King had been brought to 
the Holiday Inn liy police following a riot during the sanitation strike. (Staff sum- 
mary of Ralph Abernathy interview, 11/19/75, p. 2.) 

A handwritten note on the FBI memorandum criticizing Dr. King for staying 
at the Holiday Inn states: "handled, 4-3-68." The FBI questioned the agent 
who wrote "handled" on the memorandum and informed the Committee that he 
did not recall the memorandum, and did not know whether "handled" indicated 
that he had disseminated the article or simply cleared the memorandum through 
the Crime Records Division of the FBI. 

According to the FBI, Dr. King checked into the Lorraine Hotel at 10 :30 a.m. 
on April 3. The FBI has concluded that "the notation indicating that the pro- 
posed furnishing of information to news media was 'handled' on April 3, 1968, 
would, of course, preclude any such information from appearing in the press 
prior to King's checking into the Hotel Lorraine. . . ." 


D. Attempts to Discredit Dr. King's Reputation After His Death 

The FBI's attempts to discredit Dr. King did not end with his 
death. In March 1969 the Bureau was informed that Congress was 
considering declaring Dr. King's birthday a national holiday, and 
that members of the House Committee on Internal Security might be 
contacting the Bureau for a briefing about Dr. King. The Crime 
Records Division recommended briefing the Congressmen because they 
were "in a position to keep the bill from being reported out of Com- 
mittee" if "they realize King was a scoundrel." DeLoach noted : "This 
is a delicate matter — but can be handled very cautiously." Director 
Hoover wrote, "I agree. It must be handled very cautiously y **^* 

In April 1969 FBI Headquarters received a recommendation for a 
counterintelligence program from the Atlanta Field Office. The nature 
of the proposed program has not been revealed to the Committee. 
A memorandum concerning the plan which the Bureau has given 
to the Committee, however, notes that the plan might be used "in 
the event the Bureau is inclined to entertain counterintelligence action 
against Coretta Scott King and/or the continuous pix)jection of the 
public image of Martin Luther King. . . ." **"" The Director informed 
the Atlanta office that "the Bureau does not desire counterintelligence 
action against Coretta King of the nature you suggest at this time.^** 


Although it is impossible to gauge the full extent to which the 
FBI's discrediting programs affected the civil rights movement, the 
fact that there was impact is unquestionable. 

Rumors circulated by the FBI had a profound impact on the 
SCLC's ability to raise funds. According to Congressman Andrew 
Young, a personal friend and associate of Dr. King, the FBI's effort 
against Dr. King and the SCLC "chilled contributions. There were di- 
rect attempts at some of our larger contributors who told us that they 
had been told by agents that Martin had a Swiss bank account, or that 
Martin had confiscated some of the monies from the March on Wash- 
ington for his personal use. None of that was true." **^ Harry Wachtel, 
one of Dr. King's legal counsels who handled many of the financial and 
fund raising activities of the SCLC, emphasized that the SCLC was 
always in need of funds. "Getting a grant or getting a contribution 
is a very fragile thing. A grant delayed has a very serious impact on 
an organization whose financial condition was pretty rough." ^^^ 
Wachtel testified that the SCLC continually had to overcome rumors 
of poor financial management and communist connections. 

The material . . . stayed in the political bloodstream all the 
way through to the time of Dr. King's death, and even after. 
In our efforts to build a King Center, it was around. It was 
like a contamination.*^^ 

"■'^ Memorandum from Milton Jones to Thomas Bishop, 3/18/69. [Emphasis in 

**"• Memorandum from SAC, Atlanta to Director. FBI, 4/3/69. 
"* Memorandum from Director, FBI to SAC, Atlanta, 4/14/69. 
''•Young, 2/19/76, pp. 25-26. 
*^ Wachtel, 2/27/76, pp. 31-32. 
*^ Wachtel, 2/27/76, p. 49. 


The SCLC leadership assumed that anything said in meetings or 
over the telephone would be intercepted by wiretaps, bugs, or in- 
formants. Ironically, the FBI memorandum reporting that a wiretap 
of the SCLC's Atlanta office was feasible stated : 

In the past when interviews have been conducted in the 
office of Southern Christian Leadership Conference certain 
employees when asked a question, in a half joking manner 
and a half serious manner replied, "You should know that 
already, don't you have our wires tapped?" It is noted in the 
past, State of Georgia has conducted investigations regard- 
ing subject and Southern Christian Leadership Conference.^^^ 

Harry Wachtel commented on the impact constant surveillance on 
members of the SCLC : 

When you live in a fishbowl, you act like you're in a fish- 
bowl, whether you do it consciously or unconsciously. ... I 
can't put specifics before you, except to say that it beggars 
the imagination not to believe that the SCLC, Dr. King, and 
all its leaders were not chilled or inhibited from all kinds of 
activities, political and even social.*^^ 

Wachtel also pointed out the ramifications stemming from the Gov- 
ernment's advance knowledge of what civil rights leaders were 
thinking : 

It is like political intelligence. It did not chill us from saying 
it, but it affected the strategies and tactics because the people 
you were having strategies and tactics about were privy to 
what you were about. They knew your doubts. . . . Take 
events like strategies in Atlantic City. . . . Decision-making 
concerning which way to go, joining one challenge or not, 
supporting a particular situation, or not, had to be limited 
very strongly by the fact that information which was ex- 
pressed by telephone, or which could even possibly be picked 
up by bugging, would be in the hands of the President.^^* 

Perhaps most difficult to gauge is the personal impact of the 
Bureau's programs. Congressman Young told the Committee that 
while Dr. King was not deterred by the attacks which are now known 
to have been instigated in part by the FBI, there is "no question" but 
that he was personally affected : 

It was a great burden to be attacked by people he respected, 
particularly when the attacfe engendered by the FBI came 
from people like Ralph McGill. He sat down and cried at the 
New York Times editorial about his statement on Vietnam, 
but this just made him more determined. It was a great 
personal suffering, but since we don't really know all that 
they did, we have no way of knowing the ways that they 
affected us.^^^ 

' Memorandum, Special Agent in Charge, Atlanta, to Director, FBI, 10/10/63. 
Wachtel, 2/27/76, pp. 10, 19. 
Wachtel, 2/27/76, p. 10. 
Young, 2/19/76, p. 16. 



Introduction 187 

A. The effort to promote violence between the Black Panther Party and 

other well-armed, potentially violent organizations 188 

1. The eflFort to promote violence between the Black Panther 

Party and the United Slaves (US), Inc 189 

2. The effort to promote violence between the Blackstone Rangers 

and the Black Panther Party , 195 

B. The effort to disrupt the Black Panther Party by promoting internal 

dissention 198 

1. General efforts to disrupt the Black Panther Party member- 

ship 198 

2. FBI role in the Newton-Cleaver rift 200 

C. Covert efforts to undermine support of the Black Panther Party and to 

destroy the party's public image 208 

1. Efforts to discourage and to discredit supporters of the Black 

Panther Party 208 

2. Efforts to promote criticism of the Black Panthers in the mass 

media and to prevent the Black Panther Party and its 
sympathizers from expressing their views 213 

D. Cooperation between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local 

police departments in disrupting the Black Panther Party 220 




In Aufjust 1967, the FBI initiated a covert action program — 
COINTELPRO — to disrupt and "neutralize" organizations which 
the Bureau characterized as "Black Nationalist Hate Groups," ^ The 
FBI memorandum expanding the program described its goals as : 

1. Prevent a coalition of militant black nationalist 
groups. ... 

2. Prevent the rise of a messiah who could \mify and elec- 
trify the militant nationalist movement . . . Martin Luther 
King, Stokely Carmichael and Elijah Muhammad all aspire 
to this position. ... 

3. Prevent violence on the part of black nationalist 
groups. . . . 

4. Prevent militant black nationalist groups and leaders 
from gaining respectability by discrediting them. . . . 

5. . . . prevent the long-range growth of militant black 
nationalist organizations, especially among youth." ^ 

The targets of this nationwide program to disrupt "militant black 
nationalist organizations" included groups such as the Southern 
Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Nonviolent 
Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Revolutionary Action Move- 
ment (RAM), and the Nation of Islam (NOI). It was expressly 
directed against such leaders as Martin Luther King, Jr., Stokley 
Carmichael, H. Rap Brown. Maxwell Stanford, and Elijah 

The Black Panther Party (BPP) was not among the original 
"Black Nationalist" targets. In September 1968, however, FBI Di- 
rector J. Edgar Hoover described the Panthers as : 

"the greatest threat to the internal security of the country. 
"Schooled in the Marxist-Leninist ideology and the teaching 
of Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse-tung. its members 
have perpetrated numerous assaults on police officers and have 
engaged in violent confrontations with police throughout the 
country. Leaders and representatives of the Black Panther 
Party travel extensively all over the United States preaching 
their gospel of hate and violence not only to ghetto residents. 

' For a description of the full range of COINTELPRO programs, see the staff 
report entitled "COINTELPRO: The FBI's Covert Action Programs Against 
American Citizens." 

' Memorandum from G. C. Moore to W. C. Sullivan. 2/29/68, pp. 3-4. 


69-984 O - 76 - 13 


but to students in colleg:es, universities and high scliools as 
well." ^ 

By July 1969, the Black Panthers had become the primary focus of 
the program, and was ultimately the target of 238 of the total 295 
authorized "Black Nationalist" COINTELPEO actions.* 

Although the claimed purpose of the Bureau's COINTELPRO 
tactics was to prevent violence, some of the FBI's tactics against the 
BPP were clearly intended to foster violence, and many others could 
reasonably have been expected to cause violence. For example, the 
FBI's efforts to "intensify the degree of animosity" between the BPP 
and the Blackstone Rangers, a CTiicago street gang, included sending 
an anonymous letter to the gang's leader falsely informing him that 
tlie Chicago Panthers had "a hit out" on him.^ The stated intent of the 
letter was to induce the Ranger leader to "take reprisals against'" the 
Panther leadei-ship.*^ 

Similarly, in Southern California, the FBI lamiched a covert effort 
to "ci-eate further dissension in the ranks of the BPP." ^ This effort 
included mailing anonymous letters and caricatures to BPP members 
ridiciding the local and national BPP leadership for the express pur- 
pose of exacerbating an existing "gang war" between the BPP and 
an organization called the United Slaves (ITS). This "gang war" re- 
sulted in the killing of four BPP membere by membere of US and in 
numerous beatings and shootings. Although individual incidents in 
this dispute cannot be directly traced to efforts by the FBI, FBI offi- 
cials were clearly aware of the violent nature of the dispute, engaged 
in actions which they hoped would prolong and intensify the dispute, 
and proudly claimed credit for violent clashes between the rival fac- 
tions which, in the words of one FBI official, resulted in "shootings, 
beatings, and a high degree of unrest ... in the area of southeast 
San Diego." ^ 

James Adams, Deputy Associate Director of the FBI's Intelligence 
Division, told the Committee: 

None of our programs have contemplated violence, and the 
instructions prohibit it, and the record of turndowns of rec- 
ommended actions in some instances specifically say that we 
do not approve this action because if we take it it could result 
in harm to the individual." 

But the Committee's record suggests otherwise. For example, in 
May 1970, after US organization members had already killed four 
BPP members, the Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles FBI 
office wrote to FBI headquarters : 

Information received from local sources indicate that, in 
general, the membership of the Los Angeles BPP is physical - 

" New York Times. 9/8/68. 

* This figure is based on the Select Committee's staff study of .Justice Depart- 
ment COINTELPRO "Black Nationalist" summaries prepared by the FBI during 
the Petersen Committee inquiry into COINTELPRO. 

■' Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 1/13/69. 
« Ihid. 

''Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Baltimore Field Office (and 13 
other offices). 11/2.5/68. 

^ Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/16/70. 

* James Adams testimony. 11/19/75, Hearings. Vol. 6, p. 76, 


ly afraid of US members and take premeditated precautions 
to avoid confrontations. 

In view of their anxieties, it is not presently felt that the 
Los Angeles BPP can be prompted into what could result in 
an internecine struggle between the two organizations. . . . 

The Los Angeles Division is aware of the mutually hostile 
feelings harbored between the organizations and the fii-st 
opportunity to capitalize on the situation will be maximized. 
It is intended that US Inc. will be appropriately and discreet- 
ly advised of the time and location of BPP activitievS in order 
that the two organizations might he hr ought together and 
thus grant nature the opportunity to take her due course. 
[Emphasis added.] ^" 

This report focuses solely on the FBI's counterintelligence program 
to disrupt and "neutralize" the Black Panther Party. It does not exam- 
ine the reasonableness of the basis for the FBI's investigation of the 
BPP or seek to justify either the politics, the rhetoric, or the actions 
of the BPP. This report does demonstrate, however, that the chief 
investigative branch of the Federal Government, which was charged 
by law with investigating crimes and preventing criminal conduct, 
itself engaged in lawless tactics and responded to deep-seated social 
problems by fomenting violence and unrest. 

A. The Effort to Promote Violence Between the Black Panther Party 
and Other WelJ-Anned, Potentially Violent Organizations 

The Select Committee's staff investigation has disclosed a nimiber 
of instances in which the FBI sought to turn violence-prone organi- 
zations against the Panthere in an effort to aggravate "gang warfare." 
Because of the milieu of violence in which members of the Panthers 
often moved we have been unable to establish a direet link between 
any of the FBI's specific efforts to promote violence and particular 
acts of violence that occurred. "We have been able to establish beyond 
doubt, however, that high officials of the FBI desired to promote 
violent confrontations between BPP members and membei-s of other 
groups, and that those officials condoned tactics calculated to achieve 
that end. It is deplorable that officials of the United States Govern- 
ment should engage in the activities described below, however danger- 
ous a threat they might have considered the Panthers; equally dis- 
turbing is the pride which those officials took in claiming credit for 
the bloodshed that occurred. 

1. The Effort to Promote Violence Between the Black Panther 

Party and the Vnited SUres (UjS), Inc. 

FBI memoranda indicate that the FBI leadership was aware of a 

violent power stiiiggle between the Black Panther Party and the 

United Slaves (US) in late 1968. A memorandum to the head of the 

FBI's Domestic Intelligence Division, for example, stated : 

On 11/2/68, BPP received information indicating US 
members intended to assassinate Leroy Eldridge Cleaver . . . 

^"Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/26/70. 
pp. 1-2. 


at a rally scheduled at I^os Angeles on 11/3/68. A Los 
Angeles racial informant advised on 11/8/68 that [a BPP 
mem'ber] had been identified as a US infiltrator and that 
BPP headquarters had instructed that [name deleted] should 
be killed. 

During BPP rally, US members including one [name 
deleted], were ordered to leave the rally site by LASS mem- 
bers (Los Angeles BPP Security Squad) and did so. US 
capitulation on this occasion prompted BPP members to 
decide to kill [name deleted] and then take over US orga- 
nization. Members of LASS . . . were given orders to elimi- 
nate [name deleted] and [name deleted]." 

This memorandum also suggested that the two US members should 
be told of the BPP's plans to "eliminate" them in order to convince 
them to become Bureau informants.^^ 

In November 1968, the FBI took initial steps in its program to 
disrupt the Black Panther Party in San Diego, California by ag- 
gravating the existing hostility between the Panthers and US. A 
memoj-andum from FBI Director Hoover to 14 field offices noted a 
state of "gang warfare" existed, with "attendant threats of murder 
and reprisals," between the BPP and US in southern California and 
added : 

In order to fully capitalize upon BPP and US diiferences 
as well as to exploit all avenues of creating further dissention 
in the ranks of the BPP, recipient offices are instructed to 
submit imaginative and hard-hitting counterintelligence 
measures aimed at crippling the BPP.^^ 

As the tempo of violence quickened, the FBI's field office in San 
Diego developed tactics calculated to heighten tension between the hos- 
tile factions. On January 17, 1969, two members of the Black Panther 
Party — Apprentice "Buchey" Cartel- and John Huggins — were killed 
by US members on the UCLA campus following a meeting iuA^olving 
the two organizations and university students." One month later, the 
San Diego field office i-equested permission from headquarters to mail 
derogatory cartoons to local BPP offices and to the homes of promi- 
nent BPP leaders around the country.^^ The purpose was plainly 
stated : 

The purpose of the caricatures is to indicate to the BPP 
that the US organization feels that they are ineffectual, in- 
adequate, and riddled with graft and corruption.^*^ 

In the first week of March, the first cartoon was mailed to five BPP 
members and tAvo underground papers, all in the San Diego area." 
According to an FBI memorandum, the consensus of opinion within 

" Memorandum from G. C. Moore to W. C. Sullivan, 11/5/68. 

" Ihid. An earlier FBI memorandum had informed headquarters that "sources 
have reported that the BPP has leit a contract on Kareng-a [the leader of US] 
liecause they feel he has sold out to the esta'blishment." (Memorandum from 
Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/25/68, p. 1.) 

" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Baltimore Field Office (and 13 
other field offices), 11/25/68. 

" Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 1/20/69. 

"^ Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/20/69. 

" IMd. 

" See memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/12/69. 


the BPP was that US was responsible and that the mailing consti- 
tuted an attack on the BPP by US.^^ 

In mid-March 1969, the FBI learned that a BPP member had been 
critically wounded by US members at a rally in Los Angeles. The 
field office concluded that shots subsequently fired into the home of 
a US member were the results of a retaliatory raid by the BPP.^^ 
Tensions between the BPP and US in San Diego, however, appeared 
to lessen, and the FBI concluded that those chapters were trying 
"to talk out their diiferences."' The San Diego field office reported : 

On 3/27/69 there was a meeting between the BPP and US 
organization. . . . Wallace [BPP leader in San Diego] . . . 
concluded by stating that the BPP in San Diego would not 
hold a grudge against the US members for the killing of the 
Panthers in Los Angeles (Huggins and Carter). He stated 
that he would leave any retaliation for this activity to the 
black community. . . . 

On 4/2/69, there was a friendly confrontation between US 
and the BPP with no weapons being exhibited by either side. 
L'S members met with BPP members and tried to talk out 
their differences.-" 

On March 27, 1969 — the day that the San Diego field office learned 
that the local BPP leader had promised that his followers "would 
not hold a grudge" against local US members for the killings in Los 
Angeles — the San Diego office requested headquarters' approval for 
three more cartoons ridiculing the BPP and falsely attributed to US. 
One week later, shortly after the San Diego office learned that US 
and BPP members were again meeting and discussing their differ- 
ences, the San Diego field office mailed the cartoons with headquarters' 
approval. 2^ 

On April 4, 1969 there was a confrontation between US and BPP 
members in Southcrest Park in San Diego at which, according to an 
FBI memorandum, the BPP membei-s "ran the US members off." ^^ 
On the same date, L^S members broke into a BPP political education 
meeting and roughed up a female BPP member.^^ The FBI's Special 
Agent in Charge in San Diego boasted that the cartoons had caused 
these incidents : 

The BPP members . . . strongly objected being made fun of 
by cartoons being distributed by the US organization (FBI 
cartoons in actuality) . . . [Informant] has advised on several 
occasions that the cartoons are "really shaking up the BPP." 
They have made the BPP feel that US is getting ready to 
move and this was the cause of the confrontation at South- 
crest Park on 4/4/69.^* 

" Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/12/69. p. 4. 

''Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 3/17/69. 

^ Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 4/10/69. 

^ Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/27/69. 

** Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/10/69, p. 4. 

'^ lUd. 



The fragile truce had ended. On May 23, 1969, John Savage, a mem- 
ber of the BPP in Southern California, was shot and killed by US 
member Jerry Home, aka Tambuzi. The killing was reported m an 
FBI memorandmn which stated that confrontations between the 
groups were now "ranging from mere harrassment up to and includ- 
ing beating of various individuals/' ^^ In mid-June, the San Diego 
FBI office informed Washington headquarters that membere of the 
US organization were holding firearms practice and purchasing large 
quantities of ammunition : 

Reliable information has been received . . . that membei^ of 
the US organization have purchased ammunition at one of the 
local gun shops. On 6/5/69, an individual identified as [name 
deleted] purchased 150 rounds of 9 MM aimnunition, 100 
rounds of .32 automatic ammunition, and 100 rounds of .38 
special ammunition at a local gun shop. [Name deleted] was 
tentatively identified as the individual who was responsible 
for the shooting of BPP member [name deleted] in Los An- 
geles on or about 3/14/69.^*^ 

Despite this atmosphere of violence, FBI headquarters authorized 
the San Diego field office to compose an inflammatory letter over the 
forged signature of a San Diego BPP member and to send it to BPP 
headquarters in Oakland, California.^^ The letter complained of the 
killing of Panthers in San Diego by US members, and the fact that 
a local BPP leader had a white girlfriend.^^ 

According to a BPP bulletin, two Panthers were wounded by US 
gunman on August 14, 1969, and the next day another BPP member, 
Sylvester Bell, was killed in San Diego by US members.^'' On August 
30, 1969, the San Diego office of US was bombed. The FBI believed 
the BPP was responsible for the bombing.^" 

The San Diego office of the FBI viewed this carnage as a positive 
development and informed headquarters: "Efforts are being made 
to determine how this situation can be capitalized upon for the benefit 
of the Counterintelligence Program. . . ." ^^ The field office further 
noted : 

In view of the recent killing of BPP member Sylvester Bell, 
a new cartoon is being considered in the hopes that it will 
assist in the continuance of the rift between BPP and US.^^ 

The San Diego FBI office pointed with pride to the continued vio- 
lence between black groups : 

Shootings, beatings, and a high degree of unrest continues 
to prevail in the ghetto area of southeast San Diego. Al- 
though no specific counteFintelligence action can be credited 
w^th contributing to this overall situation, it is felt that a 

^^ Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/.5/69, p. 3. 
^Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 6/13/60. 
"Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Diego Field Office, 6/17/6fl. 
^Memorandimi from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/6/69. 
^Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/20/69. 
'"Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/18/69. 
'^ Ihid, p. 3. 
"V&tfZ., p. 1. 


substantial amount of the unrest is directly attributable to 
this program. [Emphasis added.] -^^ 

111 early September 1969, the San Diego field office informed head- 
quarters that Karenga, the Los Angeles US leader, feared assassina- 
tion by the BPP.^* It received permission from headqiiai-tei-s to 
exploit this situation by sending Karenga a letter, purporting to be 
from a US member in San Diego, alluding to an article in the BPP 
newspaper criticizing Karenga and suggesting that he order I'eprisals 
against the Panthers. The Bureau memorandum which originally 
proposed the letter explained : 

The article, wliich is an attack on Ron Karenga of the US 
organization, is self-explanatory. It is felt that if the follow- 
ing letter be sent to Karenga, pointing out that the contents 
of the article are objectionable to members of the US orga- 
nization in San Diego, the possibility exists that some sort 
of retaliatory action will be taken against the BPP. . . .^^ 

FBI files do not indicate whether the letter, which was sent to 
Karenga by the San Diego office, was responsible for any violence. 

In January 1970, the San Diego office prepared a new series of 
counterintelligence cartoons attacking the BPP and forwarded them 
to FBI headquarters for approval.^*' The cartoons were composed to 
look like a product of the US organization. 

The purpose of the caricatures is to indicate to the BPP that 
the US Organization considers them to be ineifectual, in- 
adequate, and [considers itself] vitally superior to the 


One of the caricatures was "designed to attack" the Los Angeles 
Panther leader as a bully toiward women and children in the black 
community. Another accused the BPP of "actually instigating" a re- 
cent Los Angeles Police Department raid on US headquarters. A 
third cartoon depicted Karenga as an overpowering individual "who 

has the BPP completely at his mercy " ^^ 

On Januaiy 29, 1970, FBI headquarters approved distribution of 
these caricatures by FBI field offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, and 
San Francisco. The authorizing memorandum from headquartei-s 
stated : 

US Incorporated and the Black Panther Party are oppos- 
ing black extremist organizations. Feuding between repre- 
sentatives of the two gi-oups in the past had a tendency to 
limit the effectiveness of both. The leaders and incidents de- 
picted in the caricatures are known to the general public, 
particularly among the Negroes living in the metropolitan 
areas of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. 

The leadere and members of both groups are distrusted 
by a large number of the citizen within the Negro commu- 

^ Ibid., p. 2. 

°* Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/3/69. 

® Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/12/69. 

'"Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/23/70. 

'" IMd., p. 1. 



nities. Distribution of caricatures is expected to strengthen 
this distrust.^'* 
Bureau documents provided to the Select Committee do not indicate 
whether violence between BPP and US members followed the mail- 
ing of this tliird series of cartoons. 

In early May 1970, FBI Headquarters became aware of an article 
entitled "Karenga King of the Bloodsuckers" in the May 2, 1970, 
edition of the BPP newspaper wliich "vilifies and debases Karenga 
and the US organization." ^ Two field offices received the following 
request from headquarters: 

[sjubmit reconnnendation to Bureau . . . for exploitation 
of same under captioned program. Consider from two 
aspects, one against US and Karenga from obvious subject 
matter; the second against BPP because inherent in article 
is admission by BPP that it has done nothing to retaliate 
against US for killing of Panther members attributed to 
US and Karenga, an admission that the BPP has been 
beaten ait its own game of violence.^^ 

In response to this request, the Special Agent in Charge in Los 
Angeles reported that the BPP newspaper article had already re- 
sulted in violence, but that it was difficult to induce BPP members 
to attack US members in Southern California because they feared 
US members.^^ The Los Angeles field office hoped, however, that 
"internecine struggle" might be triggered through a skillful use of 
informants within both groups: 

The Los Angeles Division is aware of the mutually hostile 
feelings harbored between the organizations and the first 
opportunity to capitalize on the situation will be maximized. 
It is intended that US Inc. will be appropriately and dis- 
cretely advised of the time and location of BPP activities 
in order that the tico organizations might he brought to- 
gether and thus grant nature the opportunity to take her 
due course. [Emphasis added.] " 

The release of Huey P. Newton, BPP Minister of Defense, from 
prison in August 1970 inspired yet another counterintelligence plan. 
An FBI agent learned from a prison official that Newton had told 
an inmajte that a rival group had let a $3,000 contract on his life. 
The Los Angeles office presumed the group was US, and proposed 
that an anonymous letter be sent to David Hilliard, BPP Chief of 
Staff in Oakland, purporting to be from the person holding the 
contract on Newton's life. The proposed letter warned Hilliard not 
to be around when the "unscheduled appointment" to kill Newton 
was kept, and cautioned Hilliard not to "get in my way."** 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Diego Field Office, 1/29/70. 
*° Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Los Angeles and San Francisco 
Field Offices, 5/15/70. 
" lUd. 

*- Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/26/70. 
" lUd., pp. 1-2. 
"Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/10/70. 


FBI headquarters, however, denied authority to send the letter 
to Hilliard. Its concern was not that the letter might cause violence 
or that it was improper action by a law enforcement agency, but that 
the letter might violate a Federal statute: 

Wliile Bureau appreciates obvious eft'ort and interest ex- 
hibited concerning anonymous letter . . . studied analysis of 
same indicates implied threat therein may constitute extor- 
tion violation within investigative jurisdiction of Bureau 
or postal authorities and may subsequently be embarrassing 
to Bureau.*^ 

The Bureau's stated concern with legality was ironic in light of the 
activities described above. 

2. The Effort To Promote Violence Between the Blackstmie 
Rangers and the Black Panther Party 
In late 1968 and early 1969, the FBI endeavored to pit the Black- 
stone Rangers, a heavily armed, violence-prone organization, against 
the Black Panthers.*'^ In December 1968, the FBI learned that the 
recognized leader of the Blackstone Rangers, Jeff Fort, was resisting 
Black Panther overtures to enlist "the support of the Blackstone 
Rangers."' *' In order to increase the friction between these groups, 
the Bureau's Chicago office proposed sending an anonymous letter 
to Fort, informing him that two prominent leaders of the Chicago 
BPP had been making disparaging remarks about his ''lack of com- 
mitment to black people generally." The field office observed: 

Fort is reportedly aware that such remarks have been 
circulated, but is not aware of the identities of the indi- 
vidual responsible. He has stated that he would "take care 
of" individuals responsible for the verbal attacks directed 
against him. 

Chicago, consequently, recommends that Fort be made 
aware that [name deleted] and [name deleted] together with 
other BPP members locally, are responsible for the circula- 
tion of these remarks concerning him. It is felt that if Fort 
were to be aware that the BPP was responsible, it would 
lend impetus to his refusal to accept any BPP overtures to 
the Rangers and additionally might residt in Fort having 

*^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Los Angeles Field Office, 9/30/70. 

"There is no question that the Blackstone Rangers were well-armed and 
violent. The Chicago police had linked the Rangers and rival gangs in Chicago 
to approximatelv 290 killings from 1965-69. Report of Captain Edward Buckney. 
Chicago Police Dept., Gang Intelligence Unit, 2/23/70, p. 2. One Chicago police 
officer, familiar with the Rangers, told a Committee staff member that their 
governing body, the Main 21, was responsible for several ritualistic murders 
of black youths in areas the gang controlled. ( Staff .summary of interview with 
Renault Robinson, 9/25/7.5. ) 

"'Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/16/68. 
Forte also had a well-earned reputation for violence. Between September 1964 
and .January 1971, he was charged with more than 14 felonies, including murder 
(twice), aggravated battery (seven times), robbery (twice), and contempt of 
Congress. (Select Committee staff interview of FBI criminal records.) A De- 
cember 1968 FBI memorandum noted that a search of Forte's apartment had 
turned up a .22 caliber, four-shot derringer pistol. (Memorandum from Chicago 
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/12/68, p. 2.) 


active steps taken to exact some form of retribution toward 
the leadership of the BPP. [Emphasis added.] *^ 

On about December 18, 1968, Jetf Fort and other Blackstone 
Rangers were involved in a serious confrontation with members of 
the Black Panther Party. 

During that day tAvelve members of the BPP and five known mem- 
bers of the Blackstone Rangers were arrested on Chicago's South 
Side.^^ A report indicates that the Panthers and Rangers were arrested 
following the shooting of one of the Panthers by a Ranger.*''^ 

That evening, according to an FBI informant, around 10 :30 p.m., 
approximately thirty Panthers went to the Blackstone Rangers' head- 
quarters at 6400 South Kimbark in Chicago. Upon their arrival Jeff 
Fort invited Fred Hampton, Bobby Rush and the other BPP members 
to come upstairs and meet with him and the Ranger leadership.**"" The 
Bureau goes on to describe what transpired at this meeting : 

. . . everyone went upstairs into a room which appeared to 
be a gymnasium, where Fort told Hampton and Rush that 
he had heard about the Panthers being in Ranger territory 
during the day, attempting to show their "power" and he 
wanted the Panthers to recognize the Rangers "power." 
Source stated that Fort then gave ordere, via walkie-talkie, 
whereupon two men marched through the door carrying 
pump shotguns. Another order and two men appeared car- 
rying sawed off carbines then eight more, each carrying a .45 
caliber machine gun, clip type, operated from the shoulder 
or hip, then others came with over and under type weapons. 
Source stated that after this procession Fort had all Rangers 
present, approximately 100, display their side arms and about 
one half had .45 caliber revolvers. Source advised that all 
the above weapons appeared to be new. 

Source advised they left the gym, went downstairs to an- 
other room where Rush and Hampton of the Panthers and 
Fort and two members of the Main 21 sat by a table and dis- 
cussed the possibility of joining the two groups. Source re- 
lated that Fort took oft' his jacket and was wearing a .45 
caliber revolver shoulder holster with gun and had a small 
caliber weapon in his l>elt. 

Source advised that nothing was decided at the meeting 
about the two groups actually joining forces, however, a de- 
cision was made to meet again on Christmas Day. Source 
stated Fort did relate that the Rangers were behind the 
Panthers but were not to be considered members. Fort wanted 
the Panthers to join the Rangers and Hampton wanted the 
opposite, stating that if the Rangers joined the Panthers, 
then together they would be able to absorb all the other Chi- 
cago gangs. Source advised Hampton did state that they 
couldn't let the man keep the two groups apart. Source ad- 

** Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/16/68, p. 2. 
^ Letter Head Memorandum, 12/20/68. 

^"^ From confidential FBI intenuew with inmate at the House of Correction, 
26th and California St. in Chicago, 11/12/69. 
'"" Letterhead Memorandum, 12/20/68. 


vised that Fort also gave Hampton and Kush one of the 
above .45 caliber machine guns to ''try out." 

Source advised that based upon conversations during this 
meeting, Fort did not appear over anxious to join forces with 
the Panthers, however, neither did it appear that he wanted 
to terminate meeting for this purpose.^'"' 

On December 26, 1968 Fort and Hampton met again to discuss the 
possibility of the Panthers and Rangers working together. This meet- 
ing was at a South Side Chicago bar and broke up after several 
Panthere and Rangers got into an argument.^^" On December 27, 
Hampton received a phone call at BPP Headquarters from Fort tell- 
ing him that the BPP had until December 28, 1968 to join the Black- 
stone Rangers. Hampton told Fort he had until the same time for the 
Rangers to "join the BPP and they hung up.*''^ 

In the wake of this incident, the Chicago office renewed its proposal 
to send a letter to Forte, infoniiing FBI headquarters : 

As events have subsequently developed . . . the Rangers 
and the BPP have not only not been able to for-m any alliance, 
but enmity and distrust have arisen, to the point where each 
has been ordered to stay out of the other territory. The BPP 
has since decided to conduct no activity or attempt to do 
recruiting in Ranger territory.^" 

The proposed letter read : 

Brother Jeff : 

I've spent some time with some Panther friends on the 
west side lately and I know what's been going on. The 
brothers that run the Panthers blame you for blocking their 
thing and there's s-u'pi)osed to he a hit out for you. I'm not a 
Panther, or a Ranger, just black. From what I see these Pan- 
thers are out for themselves not black people. I think you 
ought to know what they're up to, I know what I'd do if I was 
you. You might hear from me again. 

(sgd.) A black brother you don't know. 
[Emphasis added.] ^^ 

The FBI's Chicago office explained the purpose of the letter as follows : 

It is believed the above may intensify the degree of ani- 
mosity between the two groups and occasion Forte to take 
retaliatory action which could disrupt the BPP or lead 
to reprisals against its leadership. 

Consideration has been given to a similar letter to the 
BPP alleging a Ranger plot against the BPP leadership ; 
however, it is not felt this would be productive principally 
because the BPP at present is not believed as violence prone 
as the Rangers to whom violent type activity — shooting and 
the like — is second nature.^^ 

■""^ Ihid., pp. 3-4. 

'*"* FBI Special Agent Informant Report. 12/30/68. 

*•• Ihid. 

™ Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, lAO/69. 

^Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/13/69, p. 1. 

^' ma. 

On the evening of January 13, 1969, Fred Hampton and Bobby 
Kiish appeared on a Chicago radio talk show called "Hot Line." Dur- 
ing the course of the program Hampton stated that the BPP was in 
the "process of educating the Blackstone Rangers.'' ^^a Shortly after 
that statement Jeff Fort was on the phone to the radio program and 
stated that Hampton had his facts confused and that the Rangers 
were educating the BPF.'^^" 

On January 16, Hampton, in a public meeting, stated that Jeff Fort 
had threatened to blow his head off if he came within Ranger 

On January 30, 1969, Director Hoover authorized sending the anon- 
ymous letter.^^ While the Committee staff could find no evidence link- 
ing this letter to subsequent clashes between the Panthers and the 
Rangers, the Bureau's intent was clear.^* 

B. The Effort To Disrupt the Black Panther Party hy Promoting 
Internal Dissension 

1. General Efforts to Disrupt the Black Panther Party Mem- 

In addition to setting rival groups against the Panthere, the FBI 
employed the full range of COINTELPRO techniques to create rifts 
and factions, within the Party itself which it was believed would 
"neutralize" the Party's effectiveness.^^ 

Anonymous letters were commonly used to sow mistrust. For exam- 
ple, in March 1969 the Chicago FBI Field Office learned that a local 
BPP member feared that a faction of the Party, allegedly led by 
Fred Hampton and Bobby Rush, was "out to get" him.^^ Headquar- 
ters approved sending an anonymous letter to Hampton which was 
drafted to exploit dissension within the BPP as well as to play on 
mistrust between the Blackstone Rangers and the Chicago BPP lead- 
ership : 

Brother Hampton : 

Just a word of warning. A Stone friend tells me [name 
deleted] wants the Panthers and is looking for somebody to 
get you out of the way. Brother Jeff is supposed to be in- 
terested. I'm just a black man looking for blacks working to- 
gether, not more of this gang banging,^" 

"-" Memorandum from Special Agent to SAC, Chicago. 1/15/69. 

■==" Ihu\. 

^=' Memorandum from Special Agent to SAC, Chicago, 1/28/69, reporting on 
informant reiwrt. 

^'Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Chicago Field Office. 1/30/69. 

^ There are indications that a shooting incident between the Rangers and 
the Panthers on April 2, 1969, in a Chicago suburb may have been triggered 
by the FBI. According to Bobby Rush, coordinator of the Chicago BPP at the 
time, a group of armed BPP members had confronted the Rangers because 
Panther William O'Neal — who has^ since surfaced as an FBI informant — had 
told them that a Panther had been shot by Blackstone Rangers and had insisted 
that they retaliate. This account, however, has not been confirmed. (Staff sum- 
mary of interview with Bobby Rush, 11/26/75.) 

''^The various COINTELPRO techniques are described in detail in the Staff 
Report on COINTELPRO. 

^Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/24/69. 

"'Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Chicago Field Office, 4/8/69. 


Bureau documents indicate that during this time an informant with- 
in the BPP was also involved in maintaining the division between the 
Panthers and the Blackstone Rangers.^"^ 

In December 1968, the Chicago FBI Field Office learned that a 
leader of a Chicago youth gang, the Mau Man's, planned to complain 
to the national BPP headquarters about the local BPP leadership and 
questioned its loyalty.^^ FBI headquarters approved an anonymous 
letter to the Mau Mau leader, stating : 

Brothei- [deleted] : 

I'm from the south side and have some Panther friends 
that know^ you and tell me what's been going. I know those 
two [name deleted] and [name deleted] that run the Panthei-s 
for a long time and those mothers been with every black outjfit 
going where it looked like they was something in it for them. 
The only black people they care about is themselves. / heard 
too they're sweetheajis and that [name deleted] has worked 
for the man that's why he's not in Viet Nam. Maybe that's 
why they're just playing like real Panthers. I hear a lot of 
the brothers are with you and w^ant those mothers out but 
don't know how. The Panthei's need real black men for 
leaders not freaks. Don't give up brothers. [Emphasis 
added.] =^ 

A black friend. 

The FBI also resorted to anonymous phone calls. The San Diego 
Field Office placed anonymous calls to local BPP leaders naming other 
BPP members as "police agents." According to a report, from the field 
office, these calls, reinforced by rumors spread by FBI informants 
within the BPP, induced a group of Panthers to accuse three Party 
members of working for the police. The field office boasted that one 
of the accused membeis fled San Diego in fear for his life.*'" 

The FBI conducted harassing interviews of Black Panther mem- 
bers to intimidate them and drive them from the Party. The Los 
Angeles Field Office conducted a stringent interview program 

in the hope that a state of distract [sic] might remain among 
the members and add to the turmoil presently going on within 
the BPP." 

The Los Angeles office claimed that similar tactics had cut the mem- 
bership of the United States (US) by 50 percent.*'^ 

"' Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/28/69. 

=' Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 12/30/68. 

'* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Chicago Field Office, 1/30/69. 

"" Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquartei-s, 3/12/69. 

The FBI had success with this technique in other cases. For example, the FBI 
placed another anonymous call to Stokely Carmichael's residence in New York 
City. Carmichael's mother was informed falsely that several BPP members were 
out to kill her son, and that he should "hide out." The FBI memorandum report- 
ing this incident said that Mrs. Carmichael sounded "shocked" on hearing the 
news and stated that she would tell Stokely when he came home. The memo- 
randum observed that on the next day, Stokely Carmichael left New York for 
Africa. (Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/9/68, 
p. 2.) 

*" Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/17/69, 
p. 1. 

*^ Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/3/69. 


FBI agents attempted to convince landlords to force Black Panther 
members and offices from their buildings. The Indianapolis Field Office 
reported that a local landlord had yielded to its urgings and promised 
to tell his Black Panther tenants to relocate their offices.*'^ The San 
Francisco office sent an article from the Black Panther newspaper to 
the landlord of a BPP member who had rented an apartment midei 
an assumed name. The article, which had been wiitten by that member 
and contained her picture and true name, Avas accompanied by an anon- 
ymous note stating, "(false name) is your tenant (true name)"^* 
The San Francisco office secured tlie eviction of one Black Panther 
who lived in a public housing project by informing the Housing Au- 
thority officials that she was using his apartment for the BPP Free 
Breakfast Program.®^ When it was learned that the BPP was con- 
ducting a Free Breakfast Program "in the notorious Haight-Ashbury 
District of San Francisco," the Bureau mailed a letter to the owners 
of the building : 

Dear Mr. (excised) : 

I would call and talk to you about this matter, but I am not 
sure how you feel, and I do not wish to become personally em- 
broiled with neighbors. It seems that the property ow^ners on 
(excised) Street have had enough trouble in the past without 
bringing in Black Panthei-s. 

Maybe you are not aware, but the Black Panthei-s have 
taken over (address deleted). Perhaps if you drive up the 
street, you can see what they are going to do to the property 
values. They have already plastered a nearby garage with big 
Black Panther posters. 

— A concerned property owner.*^'' 

The Bureau also attempted to undermine the morale of Panther 
members by attempting to break up their marriages. In one case, an 
anonymous letter was sent to the wife of a prominent Panther leader 
stating that her husband had been having alf airs with several teenage 
girls and had taken some of those girls with him on trips.*'^ Another 
Panther leader told a Committee staff member that an FBI agent had 
attempted to destroy his marriage by visiting his wife and showing 
photographs purporting to depict him with other women.^^ 

2. FBI Role in the Newton -Cleaver Rift 
In March 1970, the FBI initiated a concerted program to drive a 
permanent w^edge between the followers of Eldridge Cleaver, who was 
then out of the country and the supporters of Huey P. Newton, who 

^ Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/8/69. The 
FBI discovered that the Indianapolis BPP would have difficulty in new quarters 
because of its financial plight, a fact which was discovered hj monitoring its 
bank account. (Memorandum froiiT^Indianapolis Field Office to FBI Head- 
quarters, 9/23/69. ) 

" Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 9/15/69. 

•^■^ Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headouarters. 

"Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 

•" Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/26/68. 

"^The Bureau documents presented to the Committee do not record of this 


was then serving a prison sentence in California."^ An anonymous 
letter was sent to Cleaver in Algeria stating that BPP leaders in Cali- 
fornia were seeking to undercut his influence. The Bureau subse- 
quently learned that Cleaver had assumed the letter was from the then 
Panther representative in Scandanavia, Connie Matthews, and that 
the letter had led Cleaver to expel three BPP international repre- 
sentatives from the Party J° 

Encouraged by the apparent success of this letter, FBI headquar- 
ters instructed its Paris Legal Attache to mail a follow-up letter, again 
written to appear as if Matthews was the author, to the Black Panther- 
Chief-of-8taff, David Hilliard, in Oakland, California. The letter al- 
leged that Cleaver "has tripped out. Perhaps he has been working too 
hard," and suggested that Hilliard "take some immediate action before 
this becomes more serious." The Paris Legal Attache was instructed to 
mail the letter : 

At a time when Matthews is in or has just passed through 
Paris immediately following one of her trips to Algiers. The 
enclosed letter should be held by you until such an occasion 
arises at which time you are authorized to immediately mail 
it in Paris in such a manner that it cannot be traced to the 

Tn early May, Eldridge Cleaver called BPP national headquarters 
from Algeria and talked with Connie Matthews, Elbert Howard, and 
Roosevelt Hilliard. A Bureau report stated : 

Various items were discussed by these individuals with Hil- 
liard. Connie Matthews discussed with Hilliard "those letters" 
appearing to relate to the comiterintelUgence letters, which 
have been submitted to Cleaver and Hilliard purportedly 
by Matthews 

It appears . . . that [Elbert Howard] had brought copies 
of the second counterintelligence letter to David Hilliard 
with him to Algiers which were then compared with the . . . 
letter previously sent to Cleaver in Algiers and that . . . dis- 
cussed this situation. . . J^ 

The San Francisco Field Office reported that some BPP leaders sus- 
pected that the CIA or FBI had sent the letters, while others sus- 
pected the Black Panther members in Paris. A subsequent FBI 
memorandum indicated that suspicion had focused on the Panthers 
in Europe.^^ 

On August 13, 1970— the day that Huey Newton was released from 
prison — the Philadelphia Field Office had an informant distribute a 
fictitious BPP directive to Philadelphia Panthers, questioning New- 

*° In September 1969, FBI Headquarters had encouraged the field offices to 
undertake projects aimed at splitting the BPP on a nationwide basis. (Memoran- 
dum from FBI Headquarters to Newark, New York, and San Francisco Field 
Offices, 9/18/69.) 

™ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Legat, Paris and San Francisco 
Field Office, 4/10/70. 

"/&«/., pp. 1-2. 

" Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 5/8/70. 

" Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters 5/28/70. 


ton's leadership ability.^* The Philadelphia office informed FBI 
Headquarters that the directive : 

stresses the leadership and stren^h of David Hilliard and 
Eldridge Cleaver while intimating Huey Newton is useful 
only as a drawing card. 

It is recommended this directive ... be mailed personally 
to Huey Newton with a short anonymous note. The note would 
indicate the writer, a Community Worker in Philadelphia for 
the BPP, was incensed over the suggestion Huey was only 
being used by the Party after founding it, and wanted no part 
of this Chapter if it was slandering its leaders in private.^^ 

Headquarters approved this plan on August 19, 1970.^^ 

FBI officials seized on several incidents during the following months 
as opportunities to advance their program. In an August 1970 edition 
of the BPP newspaper, Huey Newton appealed to "oppressed groups," 
including homosexuals, to "unite with the BPP in revolutionary 
fashion." ^^ FBI headquarters approved a plan to mail forged letters 
from BPP sympathizers and supporters in ghetto areas to David Hil- 
liard, protesting Newton's statements about joining with homosexuals, 
hoping this would discredit Newton with other BPP leaders.^® 

In July and August 1970, Eldridge Cleaver led a United States dele- 
gation to North Korea and North Vietnam. Ram'parts editor Robert 
Soheer, who had been a member of the delegation, held a press con- 
ference in New York and, according to the Bureau, glossed over the 
Panther's role in sponsoring the tour.^^ The New York office was au- 
thorized to send an anonymous letter to Newton complaining about 
Sheer's oversight to strain relations between the BPP and the "New 
I^ft.'' ^° On November 13, 1970, the Los Angeles field office was asked 
to prepare an anonymous letter to Cleaver criticizing Newton for not 
aggressively obtaining BPP press coverage of the BPP's sponsorship 
of the trip.®^ 

In October 1970, the FBI learned that Timothy Leary, who had 
escaped from a California prison where he was serving a sentence for 
possessing marijuana, was seeking asylum with Eldridge Cleaver in 
Algiers. The San Francisco field office, noting that the Panthers were 
officially opposed to drugs, sent Newton an anonymous letter call- 
ing his attention to Cleaver "playing footsie" with Leary.*- In Janu- 
ary when Cleaver publicly condemned Leary, FBI headquarters ap- 
proved sending Newton a bogus letter from a Berkeley, California 
commime condemning Cleave i- for "divorcing the BPP from white 
revolutionaries." *^ 

■' Memorandum from Philadelphia Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/13/70. 

7 Ihid., pp. 1-2. 

'* Memorandum from FBI Headiiuarters to Philadelphia and San Francisco 
Field Offices, 8/19/70. 

" Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/31/70, 

" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 9/9/70. 

■' Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/21/70. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco and New York Field 
Office, 10/29/70. 

*' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Los Angeles Field Office, 11/3/70. 

*' Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/28/70. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco and New York Field 
Offices, 2/5/71. 


In December 1970, the BPP attempted to hold a Revolutionary Peo- 
ples' Constitutional Convention (RPCC) in Washington, D.C. The 
Bureau considered the convention a failure and received reports that 
most delegates had left it dissatisfied.^* The Los Angeles FBI field 
office suggested a letter to Cleaver designed to 

provoke Cleaver to openly question Newton's leadership ... It 
is felt that distance and lack of personal contact between New- 
ton and Cleaver do offer a counterintelligence opportunity 
that should be probed. 

In view of the BPP's unsuccessful attempt to convene a 
Revolutionary People's Constitutional Convention (RPCC), 
it is suggested that each division which had individuals attend 
the RPCC write numerous letters to Cleaver criticizing New- 
ton for his lack of leadership. It is felt that, if Cleaver re- 
ceived a sufficient number of complaints regarding Newton it 
might . . . create dissension that later could be more fully 

FBI headquarters approved the Los Angeles letter to Cleaver and 
asked the Washington field office to supply a list of all organizations 
attending the RPCC.^^ A barrage of anonymous lettei-s to Newton and 
Cleaver followed : 

Two weeks later, the San Francisco office mailed Newton an anony- 
mous letter, supposedly from a "white revolutionary,'' complaining 
about the incompetence of the Panthers who had planned the confer- 
ence.^'^* The New York office mailed a complaint to the BPP national 
headquarters, purportedly from a black student at Columbia Univer- 
sitv who attended the RPCC as a member of the University's student 
Afro- American Society,^*^" The San Francisco office sent a letter con- 
taining an article from the Berkeley Barh to Cleaver, attacking New- 
ton's leadership at the RPCC. Mailed with the article was a copy of 
a letter to Newton criticizing the RPCC and bearing the notation : 

Mr. Cleaver, 

Here is a letter I sent to Huey Newton. I'm sincere and hope 
you can do something to set him right and get him off his 

In January 1971, the Boston office sent a letter, purportedly from a 
"white revolutionary," to Cleaver, stating in part : 

** Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and 
Washington Field Offices, 12/15/70. 

•^ Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/3/70, 
p. 2. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and 
Washington Field Offices. 12/15/70. A list of 10 organizations whose memhers at- 
tended the RPCC was forwarded to the FBI offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, 
Detroit, New York, and San Francisco. (Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to 
Atlanta (and 5 other Field Offices), 12/31/70.) There is no indication concerning 
how the Bureau obtained this list. 

^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 

•^"Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/14/70. 

^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 1/6/71. 

69-984 O - 76 - 14 


Dear Kevolutionary Comrade : ■ j i 

The people's revolution in America was greatly impeded 
and the stature of the Black Panther Party, both nationally 
and internationally, received a major setback as an outcome 
of the recent Revolutionary People's Constitutional Conven- 
tion. ... 

The Revolutionary People's Constitutional Convention did 
little, if anything, to organize our forces to move against the 
evils of capitalism, imperialism and racism. Any unity or 
solidarity which existed between the Black Panther Party 
and the white revolutionary movement before the Conven- 
tion has now gone down the tube. . . . 

The responsibility of any undertaking as meaningful and 
important to the revolution . . . should not have been dele- 
gated to the haphazard ways of [name deleted] whose title 
of Convention Coordinator . . . places him in the . . . posi- 
tion of receiving the Party's wrath . . . Huey Newton him- 
self (should) have assumed, command. . . . 

The Black Panther Party has failed miserably. No longer 
can the Party be looked upon as the "Vanguard of the Revo- 

Yours in Revolution, 

Lawrence Thomas, 

Students for a Democratic Society. 

Memorandum from Boston Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/8/71. This let- 
ter was sent to Cleaver through Oakland BPP headquarters to determine whether 
the BPP in California would forward the letter to him. {Ibid. ) 

One letter to Cleaver, written to appear as if it had come from Con- 
nie Matthews, Newton's personal se^'retary read in part : 

Things around headquarters are dreadfully disorganized 
with the comrade commander not making proper decisions. 
The newspaper is in a shambles. No one knows who is in 
charge. The foreign department gets no support ... I fear 
there is rebellion working just beneath the surface. ... 

We must either get rid of the Supreme Commander [New- 
ton] or get rid of the disloyal members.*^' 

In a January 28, 1971, evaluation, FBI headquarters noted that 
Huey Newton had recently disciplined high BPP officials and that he 
prepared "to respond violently to any question of his actions or poli- 
cies." The Bureau believed that Newton's reaction was in part a "result 
of our counterintelligence projects now in operation." 

*' Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/18/70. 
FBI headquarters authorized this letter on January 21, 1971 stating that the 
Bureau must now seize the time and "immediately" send the letter. (Memo- 
randum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 1/21/71, p. 2.) 
Shortly afterward, a letter was sent to Cleaver from alleged Puerto Rican po- 
litical allies of the BPP in Chicago, The Young Lords. 

What do we get. A disorganized Convention, apologetic speakers and flunkys 
who push us around, no leadership, no ideas, no nothing. . . . [Y] our talk is nice, 
but your ideas and action is nothing. . . . You are gone, those you left behind 
have big titles but cannot lead, cannot organize, are afraid to even come out 
among the people. The oppressed of Amerikka cannot wait. We must move with- 
out you. . . . (Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 
1/19/71; memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Chicago and San Francisco 
Field Offices, 1/27/71.) 


The present chaotic situation within the BPP must be ex- 
ploited and recipients must maintain the present high level 
of counterintelligence activity. You should each give this mat- 
ter priority attention and immediately furnish Bureau rec- 
ommendations . . . designed to further aggravate the dis- 
sention within BPP leadership and to fan the apparent dis- 
trust by Newton of anyone who questions his wishes.®^ 

The campaign was intensified. On February 2, 1971, FBI headquar- 
ters directed each of 29 field offices to submit within eight days a pro- 
posal to disrupt local BPP chapters and a proposal to cause dissention 
between local BPP chapters and BPP national headquarters. The di- 
rective noted that Huey Newton had recently expelled or disciplined 
several "dedicated Panthers" and 

This dissention coupled with financial difficulties offers an ex- 
ceptional opportunity to further disrupt, aggravate and pos- 
sibly neutralize this organization through counterintelligence. 
In light of above developments this program has been intensi- 
fied ... and selected offices should . . . increase measurably 
the pressure on the BPP and its leaders.^^ 

A barrage of anonymous lettei-s flowed from FBI field offices in 
response to the urgings from FBI headquarters. A fictitious letter to 
Cleaver, signed by the "New York 21," criticized Newton's leadership 
and his expulsion of them from the BPP.^'' An imaginary New York 
City member of the Youth Against War and Facism added his voice 
to the Bureau's fictitious chorus of critics of Newton and the RPCC.'*^ 
An anonymous letter was sent to Huey Newton's brother, Melvin New- 
ton, warning that followers of Eldridge Cleaver and the New York 
BPP chapter were planning to have him killed.'^'- The FBI learned 
that ]Melvin Newton told his brother he thought the letter had been 
written by someone "on the inside" of the BPP organization because 
of its specificity.^^ Huey Newton reportedly remarked that he was 
"definitely of the opinion there is an informer in the party right in the 
ministry." ^^^ 

On February 19, 1971, a false letter, allegedly from a BPP official 
in Oakland, was mailed to Don Cox, a BPP official close to Cleaver in 
Algeria. The letter intimated that the recent death of a BPP member 
in California was the result of BPP factionalism (which the Bureau 
knew was not the case.) The letter also warned Cleaver not to allow 
his wife, Kathleen, to travel to the United States because of the pos- 
sibility of violence.^* 

A letter over the forged signature of "Big Man" Howard, editor 
of the BPP newspaper, told Cleaver : 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and 
San Francisco Field Offices, 1/28/71. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to 29 Field Offices, 2/2/71. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York and San Francisco Field 
Offices, 2/3/71. 

*' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to New York Field Office, 2/3/71. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 2/10/71. 

^ Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 2/12 71. 

93a rpj^g pgj ^yj^g g^jlg ^Q Y)e specific because of its wiretaps on the pliones of Huey 
Newton and the Black Panther headquarters. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 2/19/71. 


Eldridge : 

[Name deleted] told me Hiiey talked with you Friday and 
what he had to say. I'm disgusted with things here and the 
fact that you are being ignored, ... It makes me mad to learn 
that Huey now has to lie to you. I'm referring to his fancy 
apartment which he refers to as the throne. ... 

I can't risk a call as it would mean certain expulsion. You 
should think a great deal before sending Kathleen. If I could 
talk to you I could tell you why I don't think you should.^^ 
The San Francisco office repoi-ted to headquarters that because of 
the various covert actions instituted against Cleaver and Newton 
since November 11, 1970 : 

fortunes of the BPP are at a low ebb. . . . Newton is positive 
there is an informant in Headquarters. Cleaver feels isolated 
in Algeria and out of contact with Newton and the Supreme 
Commander's [Newton's] secretary (Connie Matthews) has 
disappeared and been denounced.^^ 

On April 8, 1976 in Executive Testimony Kathleen Cleaver testified 
that many letters, written to appear as if they had come from BPP 
members living in Califoi-nia caused disruption and confusion in the 
relationship between the Algerian Section and the BPP leadership 
in Oakland. She stated : 

We did not know who to believe about what, so the general 
effect, not only of the letters but the whole situation in which 
the letters were part was creating uncertainty. It was a very 
bizarre feeling.**®^ 

On February 26, 1971, Eldridge Cleaver, in a television interview, 
criticized tlie expulsion of BPP members and suggested that Pan- 
ther Chief-of-Stafl' David Hilliard be removed from his post. As a 
result of Cleaver's statements, Newton expelled him and the "Inter- 
communal Section of the Party" in Algiers, Algeria.^' 

On March 25, 1971, the Bureau's San Francesco office sent to 
various BPP "Solidarity Committees'' throughout Europe bogus let- 
ters on "f ascsimiles of BPP letterhead" stating : 

"^ Memorandum from EBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field OflSce, 2/24/71. 
The phone call from Cleaver to Newton mentioned in this letter had been in- 
tercepted by the FBI. An FBI memorandum commented that the call had been 
prompted by an earlier Bureau letter purporting to come from Connie Mat- 
thews: "The letter undoubtedly provoked a long distance call from Cleaver to 
Newton which resulted in our being able to place in proper per.spective the 
relationship of Newton and Cleaver to obtain the details of the Geronimo [Elmer 
Pratt] Group and learn of the disafEections and the expulsion of the New York 
group." (Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 
2/25/71. ) ^__ 

^ Memorandum from San FranciscolTeld Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/25/71. 

"•^ Kathleen Cleaver testimony, 4/8/76, p. 34. 

^ Memorandum from San Franci-sco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/2/71. 
FBI headquarters instructed the SAC, San Francisco to mail Cleaver a copy of 
the March 6 edition of the BPP newspaper which announced his expulsion from 
the BPP. along with an anonymous note saying, "This is what we think of 
punks and cowards." (Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco 
Field Office, 3/10/71.) 


To Black Panther Embassies, 

You have received copies of February 13, 1971 issue of The 
Bhick Panther declaring [three BPP members] as enemies 
of the People. 

The Supreme Servant of the People, Huey P. Newton, with 
concurrence of the Central Committee of the Black Panther 
Party, has ordered the expulsion of the entire Interconnnunal 
Section of the Paity at Algiers. You are advised that 
Eldridge Leroy Cleaver is a murderer and a punk without 
genitals. D.C. Cox is no better. 

I^eroy's running dogs in New York have been righteously 
dealt with. Anyone giving any aid or comfort to Cleaver and 
his jackanapes will be similarly dealt with no matter where 
they may be located. 

[Three BPP international representatives, names deleted] 
were never membei-s of the Black Panther Party and will 
never become such. 

Immediately report to the Supreme Commander any 
attempts of these elements to contact you and be guided by 
the above instructions. 

Power to the People 
David Hilliard, Chief of Staff 
For Huey P. Newton 
Supreme Commander.^^ 

On the same day, FBI headquarters formally declared its counter- 
intelligence program aimed at "aggravating dissension" between New- 
ton and Cleaver a success. A letter to the Chicago and San Francisco 
Field Offices stated : 

Since the differences between Newton and Cleaver now 
appear to be irreconcilable, no further counterintelligence 
activity in this regard will be undertaken at this time and 
now new targets nuist be established. 

David Hilliard and Elbert "Big Man" Howard of National 
Headquarters and Bob Rush of Chicago BPP Chapter are 
likely future targets. . . . 

Hilliard's key position at National Headquarters makes 
him an outstanding target. 

Howard and Rush are also key Panther functionaries; and 
since it was necessary for them to affirm their loyalty to New- 
ton in "The Black Panther" newspaper of 3/20/71, they must 
be under a certain amount of suspicion already, making them 
prime targets. 

San Francisco and Chicago furnish the Bureau their com- 
ments and recommendations concerning counterintelligence 
activity designed to cause Newton to expell Hilliard, Howard 
and Rush.^9 

■*" This letter was contained in a memorandum from San Francisco Field Office 
to FBI Headquarters, 3/16/71, pp. 1-2. 

"" Memorandimi from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco and Chicago Field 
Offices, 3/25/71. 


C. Covert Efforts To UThdermine Support of the Bl<ick Panther Party 
and to Destroy the Party^ Public Image 

1. Efforts To Discourage and To Discredit Supporters of the 
Black Panthers 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's program to "neutralize" 
the Black Panther Party included attempts to deter individuals and 
groups from supporting the Panthers and, when that could not be 
accomplished, often extended to covert action targeted against those 

The Bureau made a series of progressively more severe efforts to 
destroy the confidence between the Panthers and one of their major 
California supporters, Donald Freed, a writer who headed an or- 
ganization of white BPP sympathizers called "Friends of the Pan- 
thers." In July 1969, the Los Angeles Field Office sent the local BPP 
office a memorandum bearing Freed's name and address to "Friends 
of the Panthers." Written in a condescending tone and including a 
list of six precautions whites should keep in mind when dealing with 
Panthers, the memorandum was calculated to cause a "rift between 
the Black Panther Party and tlieir assisting organizations." "° A few 
days later, the Bureau had leaflets placed in a park near a BPP- 
sponsored national conference in Oakland, California, alleging that 
Freed was a police inf ormant.^°^ 

The FBI viewed with favor an intensive local investigation of Freed 
for "harboring" and "possession of illegal firearms." 

It is felt that any prosecution or exposure of either Freed or 
[name deleted] will severely hurt the BPP. Any exposure 
will not only deny the Panthers money, but additionally, 
would cause other white supporters of the BPP to withdraw 
their support. It is felt that the Los Angeles chapter of the 
BPP could not operate without the financial support of 
white sympathizers.^"- 

The Bureau's Los Angeles Division also arranged for minutes of 
a BPP support group to be provided to the BPP when it was learned 
that statements of members of the support group were critical of 
Panther leaders.^^^ 

The FBI attempted to disaffect another BPP supporter, Ed Pearl 
of the Peace and Freedom Party, by sending him a cautionary letter 
bearing a fictitious signature. A Bureau memorandum describing the 
letter says: 

The writer states that although he is not a member of the 
BPP, he is a Mexican who is trusted by BPP members. The 
writer advises that he has learned from BPP membei*s that 
certain whites in the PFP who get in the w^ay of the Panthei-s 
will be dealt with in a violent manner. The' object sought in 
this letter is to cause a breach between the PFP and the BPP. 
The former organization had been furnisliing money and 
support to the latter.^*^* 

101 M^°^ora(ndiim from FBI Headquarters to Los Angeles Field Office, 7/25/69. 
j^ Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 7/28/69. 
103 M^Diorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/24/69. 
Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/29/69, 
p. 1. 
^"* Memorandum from G. C. Moore to W. C. Sullivan, 12/27/68. 


Famous entertainnieiit pei-sonalities who spoke in favor of Panther 
goals or associated with BPP members became the targets of FBI 
programs. When the FBI learned tliat one well-known Hollywood 
actress had become pregnant during an affair with a BPP member, 
it rejx)rted this information to a famous Hollywood gossip columnist 
in the form of an anonymous letter. The stoi-y was used by the Holly- 
Avood coluimiist.^"'^ In June 1970, FBI headquarters approved an 
anonymous letter informing Hollywood gossip columnist Ai-my 
Archerd that actress Jane Fonda had appeared at a BPP f luid-raising 
function, noting that "It can be expected that Fonda's involvement 
with the BPP cause could detract from her status with the general 
public if reported in a Hollywood 'gossip column.' '" ^°^ The wife of 
a famous Hollywood actor was targeted by the FBI when it discovered 
that she was a financial contributor and supporter of the BPP in Los 
Angeles.^"' A caricature attacking her was prepared by the San Diego 
FBI office.^«« 

A famous entertainer was also targeted aftei- the Bureau concluded 
that he suppoited the Panthers. Two COINTELPRO actions against 
this individual were approved because FBI headquarters "believed" 
they : 

would be an effective means of combating BPP fmid-raising 
activities among liberal and naive individuals.^"^ 

The Bureau also contacted the employers of BPP contributors. It 
sent a letter to the President and a Vice-President of Union Carbide in 
January 1970 after learning that a production manager in its San 
Diego division contributed to the BPP. The letter, which centered 
around a threat not to purchase Union Carbide stock, stated in part : 

Dear Mr. [name deleted] : 

I am writing to you in regards to an employee in your San 
Diego operation, [name deleted]. . . . 

I am not generally considered a flag-waving exhibition- 
ist, but I do regard myself as being a loyal American citizen. 
I, therefore, consider it absolutely ludicrous to invest in any 
corporation whose ranking employees support, assist, and 
encourage any organization which openly advocates the vio- 
lent overthrow of our free enterprise system. 

It is because of my firm belief in this self-same free enter- 
prise, capitalistic system that I feel morally obligated to 
bring this situation to your attention. 

Sincerely yours, 

T. F. Ellis 

Post Office Box . 

San Diego, California "° 

^°^ Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office, to FBI Headquarters, 6/3/70. 

'"* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Los Angeles Field Office, 6/25/70. 

""Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/3/70. 

'"* Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/2/70. 

^°* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 3/5/70. 

""Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/22/70. 
The name "T. F. Ellis" is completely fictitious and the Post Office Box could not 
have been traced to the FBI. 


The response of Union Carbide's Vice President was reported in a 
San Diego Field Office memorandum : 

On 3/21/70, a letter was received from Mr. [name deleted], 
Vice President of the Union Carbide Corporation, concern- 
ing a previously Bureau-apjHOved letter sent to the Union 
Carbide Corporation objecting to the financial and other sup- 
port to the I^PP of one of their employees, [name deleted]. 
The letter indicated that Union Carbide has always made it 
a policy not to become involved in personal matters of their 
employees unless such activity had an adverse affect upon 
that particular employee's perf ormance."^ 
One of the Bureau's prime targets was the BPP's free "Breakfast 
for Children" program, which FBI headquarters feared might be a 
potentially successful effort by the BPP to teach children to hate 
police and to spread "anti-white propaganda." ^^^ In an admitted at- 
tempt "to impede their contributions to the BPP Breakfast Program,'' 
the FBI sent anonymous letters and copies of an inflammatoi-y Black 
Panther Coloring Book for children to contributors, including Safe- 
way Stores, Inc., Mayfair Markets, and the Jack-In-The-Box Cor- 

On April 8, 1976 in Executive Testimony a former member of the 
BPP Central Steering Committee stated that when the coloring book 
came to the attention of the Panther's national leadership, Bobby 
Seale ordered it destroyed because the book "did not correctly reflect 
the ideology of the Black Panther Party . . ." ^" 

Churches that permitted the Panthers to use their facilities in the 
free breakfast program were also targeted. When the FBI's San Diego 
office discovered that a Catholic Priest, Father Frank Curran, was 
permitting his church in San Diego to be used as a serving place for 
the BPP Breakfast Program, it sent an anonymous letter to the 
Bishop of the San Diego Diocese informing him of the pricvst's ac- 
tivities.^^5 In August 1969, the San Diego Field Office requested per- 
mission from headquarters to place three telephone calls protesting 
Father Curran's support of the BPP program to the Auxiliary Bishop 
of the San Diego Diocese : 

All of the above calls will be made from "parishioners" ob- 
jecting to the use of their church to assist a black militant 
cause. Two of the callers will urge that Father Curran be re- 
moved as Pastor of the church, and one will threaten suspen- 
sion of financial support of the church if the activities of 
the Pastor are allowed to continue. 

Fictitious names will be utilized in the event a name is re- 
quested by the Bishop. It is felt that complaints, if they do 
not effect the removal of Father Curran . . . will at least 
result in Father Curran becoming aware that his Bishop is 

'" Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/1/70. 

"^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 7/30/69. 

"' Ibid. ; Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 

"' K. Cleaver, 4/8/76, p. 16. 

^''Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/29/69; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Diego Field Office, 9/9/69. 


cognizant of his activities and will thus result in a curtail- 
ment of these activities."" 

After receiving permission and placing the calls, the San Diego office 
reported : "the Bishop appeared to be . . . quite concerned over the 
fact that one of his Priests was deeply involved in utilization of church 
facilities for this purpose." "^ 

A month later, the San Diego office reported that Father Curran 
had been transferred from the San Diego Diocese to "somewhere in 
the State of New Mexico for permanent assignment." 

In view of the above, it would appear that Father Curran 
has now been completely neutralized. 

The BPP Breakfast Program, without the prompting of 
Father Curran, has not been renewed in the San Diego area. 
It is not anticipated at this time that any efforts to re-estab- 
lish the program will be made in the foreseeable future.^^^ 

In another case, the FBI sent a letter to the superior of a clergyman 
in Hartford, Connecticut who had expressed support for the Black 
Panthers, which stated in part : 

Dear Bishop : 

It pains me to have to write this letter to call to your at- 
tention a matter which, if brought to public light, may cause 
the church a great deal of embarrassment. I wish to remain 
anonymous with regard to the information because in divulg- 
ing it I may have violated a trust. I feel, however, that what 
I am writing is important enough that my conscience is clear. 

Specifically, I'm referring to the fact that Reverend and 
Mrs. [name deleted] are associating with leaders of the Black 
Panther Party. I recently heard through a close friend of Rev- 
erend [name deleted] that he is a revolutionist who advocates 
overthrowing the Government of the United States and that 
he has turned over a sizable sum of money to the Panthers. 
I can present no evidence of fact but is it possible Reverend 
[name deleted] is being influenced by Communists? Some 
statements he has made both in church and out have led me to 
believe he is either a Communist himself, or so left-wing that 
the only thing he lacks is a card. 

I beseech you to counsel with Reverend [name deleted] and 
relay our concern over his political philosophies which among 
other things involves association with a known revolutionist, 
[name deleted], head of the Black Panther Party in New 
Haven. I truly believe Reverend [name deleted] to be a good 
man, but his fellow men have caused him to go overboard 
and he now needs a guiding light which only you can 


A Concerned Christian."^ 

"* Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/29/69. 

'" Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 9/18/69. 

"'Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/6/69, 
p. 3. 

"° Memorandum from New Haven Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/12/69, 
p. 3. 


Anonymous FBI mailings were also sent to public officials and 
persons whose help might sway public opinion against the BPP. In 
December 1969, the FBI mailed Bureau-reproduced copies of BPP 
"Seasons Greetings" cards to ten FBI field offices ^^o with the follow- 
ing instructions : 

Enclosed for each office are 20 copies of reproductions of 
three types of Black Panther Party (BPP) "seasons greetings 
cards" which depict the violent propensities of this organiza- 
tion. You should anonymously mail these cards to those news- 
paper editors, public officials, responsible businessmen, and 
clergy in your territory who should be made aware of the 
vicious nature of the BPP.^^^ 
The San Francisco office mailed its cards to several prominent local 
persons and organizations.^-- 

The Bureau also targeted attorneys representing Black Panther 
members. In July 1969, the Los Angeles Field Office suggested that a 
break between the BPP membership and Charles Garry, an attorney 
who frequently represented BPP members, might be accomplished by 
planting a rumor that Garry, Bobby Scale, and David Hilliard were 
conspiring to keep BPP leader Huey Newton in jail.^^^ This proposal 
was rejected by FBI headquarters out of concern that the Bureau 
might be recognized as the source of the rumor.^^* Headquarters did 
suggest, however : 

Los Angeles should review the ideas set forth . . . especially 
as they pertain to Charles Garry, Bobby Seale, and David 
Hilliard, and prepare a specific counterintelligence proposal 
desigiied to create a breach between the BPP and Garry, 
Consider such things as anonymous commimications and 
anonymous telephone calls as well as cartoons and other logi- 
cal methods of transporting your idea.^^^ 

When the San Francisco Division learned that Gariy intended to 
represent Bobby Seale at the Chicago 7 trial, it sent the Chicago office 
transcripts of hearings before the House Committee on Un-American 
Activities and the California State Senate's Report on Un-American 
Activities, which allegedly showed that Garry was connected with the 
Communist Party. It was intended to distribute this material "to co- 
operative news media in that city." ^^"^ 

^-"The offices were Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles, 
Newark, New Haven, New York, San Diego, and San Francisco. 

^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Baltimore (and 9 other Field 
Offices), 12/24/e9, p. 1. 

^^^ These included the Mayor; the Glide Foundation (church foundation); 
Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco ; Episcopal Diocese of California ; Lu- 
theran Church; Editor, San Francisco Chronicle; Editor, San Francisco 
Examiner; United Presbyterian Church. San Francisco Conference of Christians 
and Jews ; San Francisco Chamber of Commerce ; San Francisco Bar Association ; 
and San Francisco Board of Supervisors. (Memorandum from San Francisco 
Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/12/70.) 

'^^ Memorandum from Los xVngeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 7/1/69. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Los Angeles Field Office, 7/14/69. 


^^ Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquartrs, 10/6/69. 


Similarly, when two local BPP leaders filed suit against the San 
Diego Police Department charging harassment, illegal arrest, and 
illegal searches, the San Diego Field Office reviewed its files 

to determine if any public source information is available 
which describes [the attorney's] activities in behalf of CP 
(Communist Party) activities. If so, an appropriate request 
will be forwarded to the Bureau concerning a possible letter to 
the editor and/or an editorial.^^^ 

The FBI also sought to destroy community support for individual 
BPP members by spreading rumors that they were immoral. This idea 
was originally advanced in an August 1967 memorandum from FBI 
headquarters to all major field offices : 

Many individuals currently active in black nationalist orga- 
nizations have backgrounds in immorality, subversive ac- 
tivity, and criminal records. Through your investigation of 
key agitators, you should endeavor to establish their unsavory 
backgrounds. Be alert to determine evidence of misappropria- 
tion of funds or other types of personal misconduct on the 
part of militant nationalist leaders so any practical or war- 
ranted counterintelligence may be instituted.^^* 

An example of "successful" implementation of this program was a 
1970 report from the San Diego Field Office that it had anonymously 
informed the parents of a teenage girl that she was pregnant by a 
local Panther leader : 

The parents showed extreme concern over a previously un- 
known situation and [name deleted] was forced to resign 
from the BPP and return home to live. It also became gen- 
eral knowledge throughout the Negro community that a BPP 
leader was responsible for the difficulty being experienced by 
[name deleted]. ^^^ 

The field office also considered the operation successful because the 
mother of another girl questioned the activities of her own daughter 
after talking with the parent the agents had anonymously contacted. 
She learned that her daughter, a BPP member, was also pregnant, and 
had her committed to a reformatory as a wayward juvenile.^^" 

•2. Efforts To Promote Criticism of the Black Panthers in tlie 
Mass Media and To Prevent the Black Panther Party and 
Its Sympathizers from Expressing Their Vieios 
The FBI's program to destroy the Black Panther Party included 
a concerted effort to muzzle Black Panther publications to prevent 
Panther members and persons sympathetic to their aims from express- 
ing their views, and to encourage the mass media to report stories un- 
favorable to the Panthers. 

^ Memoraudum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 1/2/70. 

"'Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Albany (and 22 other Field Of- 
fices ), 8/25/67, p. 2. 

^^ Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/17/70, 
p. 3. 

"" md., p. 5. 


In May 1970, FBI headquarters ordered the Chicago, Los Angeles, 
Miami, Newark, New Haven, New York, San Diego, and San Fran- 
cisco field offices to advance proposals for crippling the BPP news- 
paper, The Black Panther. Immediate action was deemed necessary 
because : 

The Black Panther Party newspaper is one of the most 
effective propaganda operations of the BPP. 

Distribution of this newspaper is increasing at a regular 
rate thereby influencing a greater number of individuals in 
the United States along the black extremist lines. 

Each recipient submit by 6/5/70 proposed counterintelli- 
gence measures which will hinder the vicious propaganda be- 
ing spread by the BPP. 

The BPP newspaper has a circulation in excess of 100,000 
and has reached the height of 139,000. It is the voice of the 
BPP and if it could be effectively hindered it would result m 
helping to cripple the BPP. Deadline being set in view of the 
need to receive recommendations for the purpose of taking 
appropriate action expeditiously."^ 
The San Francisco Field Office submitted an analysis of the local 
Black Panther printing schedules and circulation. It discouraged dis- 
ruption of nationwide distribution because the airline company which 
had contracted with the Panthers might lose business or face a law 
suit and recommended instead : 

a vigorous inquiry by the Internal Kevenue Service to have 
"The Black Panther" report their income from the sale of 
over 100,000 papers each week. Perhaps the Bureau through 
liaison at SOG [seat of government] could suggest such a 
course of action. It is noted that Internal Revenue Service at 
San Francisco is receiving copies of Black Panther Party 
funds and letterhead memoranda. 

It is requested that the Bureau give consideration to dis- 
cussion with Internal Revenue Service requesting financial 
records and income tax return for '"The Black Panther." ^^^ 

The San Diego Field Office, while noting that the BPP newspaper 
had the same legal immunity from tax laws and other state legislation 
as other newspapers, suggested three California statutes which might 
be used against The Black Panther. One was a State tax on printing 
equipment; the second a "rarely used transportation tax law"; and 
the third, a law prohibiting business in a residential area.^^^ 

The San Diego Field Office had a more imaginative suggestion how- 
ever; spray the newspaper printing room with a foul-smelling 
chemical : 

The Bureau may also wishr to consider the utilization of 
"Skatol", which is a chemical agent in powdered form and 
when applied to a particular surface emits an extremely 
noxious odor rendering the premises surroimding the point of 
application uninhabitable. Utilization of such a chemical of 

"^Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Chicago (and seven other Field 
Offices), 5/15/70. 

"- Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/22/70. 
'"^ Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/20/70. 


course, would be dependent upon whether an entry could be 
achieved into the area which is utilized for the production of 
"The Black Panther." "^ 

The San Diego Division also thought that threats from another 
radical organ izat ion against the newspaper might convince the BPP 
to cease publication : 

Another possibility which the Bureau may wish to consider 
would be the composition and mailing of numerous letters 
to BPP Headquarters from various points throughout the 
count i-y on stationary [sic] containing the national emblem 
of the Minutemen organization. These lettei-s, in several dif- 
ferent forms, would all have the common theme of warning 
the Black Panthers to cease publication or drastic measures 
would be taken by the Minutemen organization. . . . 

Utilization of the Minutemen organization through direc- 
tion of informants within that group would also be a very 
effective measure for the disruption of the publication of this 

On another occasion, however, FBI agents contacted United Air- 
lines officials and inquired about the rates being charged for transport- 
ing the Black Panther magazine. A Bureau memorandum states that 
the BPP was being charged "the General Rate" for printed material, 
but that in the future it would be forced to pay the "full legal rate 
allowable for newspaper shipment." The memorandum continued : 

Officials advise this increase . . . means approximately a 
forty percent increase. Officials agree to determine consignor 
in San Francisco and from this determine consignees 
throughout the United States so that it can impose full legal 
tariff. They believe the airlines are due the differences in 
freight tariffs as noted above for past six to eight months, and 
are considering discussions with their legal staff concerning 
suit for recovery of deficit. . . . (T) hey estimate that in New 
York alone will exceed ten thousand dollars."^ 

In August 1970, the New York Field Office reported that it w^as con- 
sidering plans: 

directed against (1) the production of the BPP newspaper; 
(2) the distribution of that newspaper and (3) the use of 
information contained in particular issues for topical counter- 
intelligence proposals. 

The NYO [New York Office] realizes the financial benefits 
coming to the BPP through the sale of their newspaper. 
Continued efforts will be made to derive logical and practical 
plans to thwart this crucial BPP operation."^ 

A few months later, FBI headquartei-s directed 39 field offices to dis- 
tribute copies of a column written by Victor Riesel, a labor cohunnist. 

"■^^ Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/20/70, p. 2. 
"" IMd., p. 3. 

"'Memorandum from New Yorlc Field Office to FBI Headquarters and San 
Francisco Field Office, 10/11/69. 

^^ Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 8/19/70. 


calling for a nationwide union boycott against handling the BPP 

Enclosed for each office ai-e 50 reproductions of a column 
written by Victor Riesel regarding the Black Panther Party 

Portions of the column deals with proposal that union 
members refuse to handle shipments of BPP newspapei-s. 
Obviously if such a boycott gains national support it will 
result in effectively cutting off BPP propaganda and finances, 
therefore, it is most desirable this pi-oposal be brought to at- 
tention of members and officials of unions such as Teamsters 
and others involved in handling of shipments of BPP news- 
papers. These shipments are generally by air freight. The 
column also deals with repeated calls for murder of police 
that appear in BPP paper ; therefore, it would also be desir- 
able to bring boycott proposal to attention of members and of- 
ficials of police associations w^ho might be in a position to 
encourage boycott. 

Each office anonymously mail copies of enclosed to offi- 
cials of appropriate unions, police organizations or other in- 
dividuals within its territory who could encourage such a 

Handle promptly and advise Bureau of any positive re- 
sults noted. Any publicity observed concerning proposed boy- 
cott should be brought to attention of Bureau. 

Be alert for any other opportunities to further exploit 
this proposal.^^^ 

Bureau documents submitted to the Select Committee staff do not 
indicate the outcome of this plan. 

On one occasion the FBI's Racial Intelligence Section concocted 
a scheme to create friction between the Black Panthers and the Na- 
tion of Islam by reducing sales of the NOI paper, Muhammed Speaks : 

While both papers advocate white hate, a noticeable loss 
of revenue to NOI due to decreased sales of their paper 
caused by the BPP might well be the spark to ignite the fuel 
of conflict betw^een the two organizations. Both are extremely 
money conscious. 

We feel that our netw^ork of racial informants, many of 
whom are directly involved in the sale of the NOI and BPP 
newspapers, are in a position to cause a material reduction in 
NOI newspaper sales. Our sources can bring the fact of reve- 
nue loss directly to NOI leader, Elijah Muhammad, who 
might well be influenced to take positive steps to counterpxt 
the sale of BPP papers in the Negro community. We feel 
that with careful planning and close supervision an open 
dispute can be developed between the two organizations.^^^ 

FBI headquarters promptly forwarded this suggestion to the field 
offices in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco with the express 
hope that Elijah Muhammed might be influenced "to take positive 

Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to SAC's in 39 cities, 11/10/70. 
Memorandum from G. C. Moore to W. C. Sullivan, 6/26/70. 


steps to counteract the sale of BPP newspapers in the Negro com- 
munity." ^*° The following month, the Chicago Field Office advised 
against using informants for this project because animosity wafi al- 
ready developing between the BPP and NOI, and any revelation of a 
Bureau attempt to encourage conflict might serve to bring the BPP 
and NOI closer together.^*^ 

Numerous attempts were made to prevent Black Panthers from 
airing their views in public. For example, in Febniary 1969, the FBI 
joined with the Chicago police force to prevent the local BPP leader, 
Fred Hampton, from appearing on a television talk show. The FBI 
memorandum explaining this incident states : 

the [informant] also enabled Chicago to further harass the 
local BPP when he provided ijiformation the afternoon of 
1/24/69 reflecting that Fred Hampton was to appear that 
evening at local TV studio for video tape interview. . . . The 
tape was to be aired the following day. 

Chicago was aware a warrant for mob action was outstand- 
ing for Hampton in his home town and the above informa- 
tion . . . was provided the May wood Police Department with 
a suggestion that they request the Chicago Police Department 
to serve this arrest warrant. This was subsequently done with 
Hampton arrested at television studio in presence of 25 BPP 
members and studio pei-sonnel. This caused considerable em- 
barrassment to the local BPP and disinipted the plans for 
Hampton's television appearance.^*^ 

Headquarters congratulated the Chicago Field Office on the timing of 
the arrest "under circumstances which proved highly embarrassing 
to the BPP." "3 

The Bureau's San Francisco office took credit for preventing Bobby 
Seale from keeping a number of speaking engagements in Oregon and 
Washington. In May 1969, while Seale was traveling from a speaking 
engagement at Yale University to begin his West Coast tour, a bomb- 
ing took place in Eugene, Oregon which the FBI suspected involved 
the Black Panthers. The San Francisco Field Office subsequently 
reported : 

As this was on the eve of Scale's speech, this seemed to be 
very poor advance publicity for Seale. ... It w^as . . . de- 
termined to telephone Mi-s. Seale [Bobby Scale's mother] 
claiming to be a friend from Oregon, Ijearing the warning that 
it might be dangerous for Seale to come up. This was done. 

Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Seale reported this to BPP head- 
quarters, claiming an unknown brother had sent a warning 
to Bobby from Oregon. Headquarters took this very seriously 
and when Bobby arrived shortly thereafter, he decided not to 
go north with "all the action going on up there." He subse- 
quently cancelled a trip to Seattle. It is believed that the 

''*' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Chicago, New York, and San 
Francisco Field Offices, 6/26/70. 
"' Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 7/15/70. 
"^ Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/10/69. 
'" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Chicago Field Office, 2/20/69. 


above mentioned telephone call was a pivotal point in persuad- 
ing Seale to stay home.^" 
The San Francisco office reported that not only had Seale been pre- 
vented from making his appearances, but that he had lost over $1,700 
in "badly needed" fees and that relations between Seale and "New 
Left" leaders wdio had been scheduled to appear with him had become 

In December 1969, FBI headquartere stressed to the San Francisco 
Field Office the need to prevent Black Panther speaking engagements : 

Several recent communications received at the Bureau indi- 
cate the BPP is encouraging their branches to set up speaking 
engagements at schools and colleges and the showing of films 
in order to raise money. . . . San Francisco should instruct 
[local FBI] office covering to immediately submit to the Bu- 
reau for approval a counterintelligence proposal aimed at pre- 
venting the activities scheduled. . . . 

The BPP in an effort to bolster its weak financial position 
is now soliciting speaking engagements and infomiation has 
been developed indicating they are reducing their monetary 
requirements for such speeches. We have been successful in 
the past through contacts with established sources in prevent- 
ing such speeches in colleges or other institutions."^ 

In March 1970, a representative of a Jewish organization contacted 
the San Francisco FBI Field Office when it learned that one of its local 
lodges had invited David Hilliard, BPP Chief -of -Staif, and Attorney 
Charles Garry to speak. San Francisco subsequently reported to 
headquarters : 

Public source information relating to David Hilliard, Garry, 
and the BPP, including "The Black Panther" newspaper it- 
self, w-as brought to [source's] attention. He subsequently 
notified the [FBI] office that the [name deleted] had altered 
their arrangements for this speech and that the invitation to 
Hilliard was withdrawn but that Charles Garry was per- 
mitted to speak but his speech was confined solely to the re- 
cent case of the Chicago 7."*^ 

The FBI exhibited comparable fervor in disseminating informa- 
tion unfavorable to the Black Panthers to the press and television 
stations, A directive from FBI headquarters to nine field offices in 
January 1970 explained the program : 

To counteract any favorable support in publicity to the 
Black Panther Party (BPP) recipient offices are requested 
to submit their observations and recommendations regarding 
contacts with established and reliable sources in the television 
and/or radio field who might be interested in drawing up a 
program for local consumption depicting the true facts re- 
garding the BPP. 

'" Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/26/69. 
^^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 12/4/69. 
"* Memorandum from San FrancLsco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 



The suggested program would deal mainly with local BPP 
activities and data furnished would be of a public source 
nature. This data could be implemented by information on 
the BPP nationally if needed. . . . 

All offices should give this matter their prompt considera- 
tion and submit replies by letter.^*' 

Soon afterward, the Los Angeles office identified two local news 
reportei-s whom it believed might be willing to help in the effort to 
discredit the BPP and received permission to 

discreetly contact [name deleted] for the purpose of ascer- 
taining his amenability to the preparation of a program 
which would present the true facts about the Black Panther 
Party as part of a counterintelligence effort."^ 

Headquarters also suggested information and materials to give to a 
local newsman who expressed an interest in airing a series of pro- 
grams against the Panthers."^ 

In July 1970, the FBI furnished information to a Los Angeles TV 
news commentator who agreed to air a series of shows against the 
BPP, "especially in the area of white liberals contributing to the 
BPP."' ^°^ In October, the Los Angeles Division sent headquarters a 
copy of an FBI-assisted television editorial and reported that an- 
other newsman was preparing yet another editorial attack on the 

In November 1970, the San Francisco Field Office notified the Direc- 
tor that Huey Newton had "recently rented a luxurious lakeshore 
apartment in Oakland, California.-' The San Francisco office saw 
''potential counterintelligence value'' in this information since this 
apartment was far more elegant than "the ghetto-like BPP 'pads' and 
community centers utilized by the Party." It was decided not to 
"presently" leak "this information to cooperative news sources," be- 
cause of a "pending special investigative technique." ^^^ The informa- 
tion was given to the San Francisco Examiner^ however, in Febiiiary 
1971, and an article was published stating that Huey P. Newton, BPP 
Supreme Commander, had moved into a $650-a-month apartment 

"^Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office (and 8 
other offices), 1/23/70. The San Diego office had already made efforts along the 
lines proposed in this memorandum. In November 1969 it requested permission 
from headquarters to inform two newscasters "'for use in editorials" that the 
sister and brother-in-law of a Communist Party member were believed to be 
members of the local Black Panthers. The office also propose<l preparing "an 
editorial for publication in the Copley press." (Airtel from SAC. San Diego to 
Director, FBI. 11/12/69.) Tlie San Francisco office had also leaked information 
to a iian Francisco Examiner reporter, who wrote a front-page story complete 
with photographs concerning "the conversion by the BPP of an ai)artment into 
a fortress." (Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headtpiarters, 

"^ Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/6/70 ; 
memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Los Angeles Field Office 3/5/70 (this 
memorandum bears Director Hoover's initials). 

"° Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Los Angeles and San Francisco 
Field Offices, 5/27/70. 

'*• Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 9/10/70. 
p. 2. 

'" Memorandum from Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/23/70. 

^^ Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 


overlooking Lake Merritt in Oakland, California, under tlie assumed 
name of Don Pemi.^'^^ Headquarters approved anonymously mailing 
copies of the article to BPP branches and ordei-ed copies of the article 
for "divisions with BPP activity for mailing to newspaper editors." ^^^ 
The San Francisco office informed FBI headquarters later in Feb- 
ruary that 

BPP Headquarters was beseiged with inquiries after the 
printing of the San Francisco Examiner article and the 
people at lieadquarters refuse to answer the news media or 
other callers on this question. This source has further reported 
that a representative of the Richmond, Virginia BPP con- 
tacted headquarters on 2/18/71, stating they had received a 
xeroxed copy of . . . the article and believed it had been 
forwarded by the pigs but still wanted to know if it was 

D. Cooperation Between the Federal Bureau of Investigation anxl 
Local Police Departments in Disimpting the Black Panther 

The FBI enlisted the cooperation of local police departments in 
several of its covert action programs to disrupt and "neutralize" the 
Black Panther Party, The FBI frequently w^orked with the San 
Diego Police Department, supplying it with informant reports to 
encourage raids on the homes of BPP members, often with little or no 
apparent evidence of violations of State or Federal law.^^*' 

Examples are numerous. In February 1969, the San Diego Field 
Office learned that members of the local BPP chapter were following 
each other to determine if police informants had infiltrated their 
organization. The field office passed this information to the San 
Diego police with the suggestion that BPP members engaged in these 
surveillances might be followed and arrested for violations of "local 

'^ Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to San Francisco Field Office, 

^^ Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 
2/18/71. In a February 1971 report on recent COINTELPRO activity, the San 
Francisco Division described the San Francisco Examiner article as one of its 
"counterintelligence activities." This report said that because of the article, 
Newton had given an interview to another San Francisco daily to try to explain 
his seemingly expensive lifestyle. The report also states that copies of the article 
were sent to "all BPP and NCCF [National Committee to Combat Fascism] 
offices in the United States and to three BPP contacts in Europe." (Memorandum 
from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/25/71.) 

^ The suggestion of encouraging local police to raid and arrest members of 
so-called "Black Nationalist Hate Groups" was first put forward in a February 
29, 1968 memorandum to field offices.This memorandum cited as an example of 
successful use of this technique : "The Revolutionary Action Movement ( RAM ) . 
a pro-Chinese Communist group, was active in Philadelphia, Pa., in the summer 
of 1967. The Philadelphia office alerted local police who then put RAM leaders 
under close scrutiny. They were arrested on every possible charge until they 
could no longer make bail. As a result, RxVM leaders spent most of the sum- 
mer in jail and no violence traceable to RAM took place." (Memorandum from 
G. C. Moore to W. C. Sullivan, 2/29/68, p. 3.) 


Motor Vehicle Code laws." ^" When the San Diego Field Office re- 
ceived reports that five BPP members were living in the local BPP 
headquarters and "having sex orgies on almost a nightly basis,'' it in- 
formed the local police with the hope that a legal basis for a raid could 
be found.^^^ Two days later, the San Diego office reported to head- 
quarters : 

As a result of the Bureau-approved information furnished 
to the San Diego Police Department regarding the "sex 
orgies" being held at BPP Headquarters in San Diego, which 
had not previously been known to the Police Department, 
a raid was conducted at BPP Headquarters on 11/20/69. 
[Name deleted], San Diego Police Department, Intelligence 
Unit, advised that, due to this information, he assigned two 
officers to a research project to determine if any solid basis 
could be found to conduct a raid. His officers discovered two 
outstanding traffic warrants for [name deleted], a member 
of the BPP, and his officers used these warrants to obtain 
entry into BPP Headquarters. 

As a result of this raid [6 persons] were all arrested. 
Seized at the time of the arrests were three shotguns, one 
of w^hich was stolen, one rifle, four gas masks and one tear 
gas canister. 

Also as a result of this raid, the six remaining members 
of the BPP in San Diego were summoned to Los Angeles on 

11/28/69 Upon their arrival, they were informed that due 

to numerous problems with the BPP in San Diego, including 
the recent raid on BPP Headquarters, the BPP Branch in 
San Diego was being dissolved. 

Also, as a direct result of the above raid [informants] 
have reported that [name deleted] has been severely beaten 
up by other members of the BPP due to the fact that she 
allowed the officers to enter BPP Headquarters the night 
of the raid.^^^ 

A later memorandum states that confidential files belonging to the 
San Diego Panthers were also "obtained" during this raid.^^° 

In March 1969, the San Diego Field Office informed Bureau head- 
quarters : 

information was made available to the San Diego Police 
Department who have been arranging periodic raids in the 

^"' The San Diego office reported to headquarters : "As of one week ago, the 
BPP in San Diego was so completely disrupted and so much suspicion, fear, 
and distrust has been interjected into the party that the members have taken 
to running surveillances on one another in an attempt to determine who the 
'police agents' are. On 2/19/69, this information was furnished to the San 
Diego Police Department with the suggestion that possibly local Motor Vehicle 
Code laws were being violated during the course of these surveillances.' " 
(Alemorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters 2/27/69.) 

"^ Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/10/69. 
Headquarters told the San Diego office that if there was no legal basis for 
a raid, it should "give this matter further thought and submit other proposals 
to capitalize on this information in the counterintelligence field." (Memoran- 
dum from FBI Headquarters to San Diego Field Office, 11/18/69, p. 1. ) 

^^ Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/3/69, 
pp. 2-3. 

^*" Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 2/17/70. 


hope of establishing a possession of marijuana and dangerous 
drug charge [against two BPP members]. . . . 

The BPP finally managed to rent the Rhodesian Club at 
2907 Imperial Avenue, San Diego, which will be utilized for 
a meeting hall, A request will be forthcoming to have the 
San Diego Police Department and local health inspectors 
examine the club for health and safety defects which are 
undoubted by [sic] present.^''^ 

The San Diego office also conducted "racial briefing sessions" for the 

San Diego police. Headquarters was informed : 

It is also felt that the racial briefing sessions being given 
by the San Diego Division are affording tangible results for 
the Counterintelligence Program. Through these briefings, 
the command levels of virtually all of the police departments 
in the San Diego Division are being apprised of the identi- 
ties of the leaders of the various militant groups. It is felt 
that, although specific instances cannot be attributed directly 
to the racial briefing program, police officers are much more 
alert for these black militant individuals and as such are con- 
tributing to the over-all Counterintelligence Program, 
directed against these groups.^**^ 

The Conmiittee staff has seen documents indicating extensive coop- 
eration between local police and the FBI in several other cities. For 
example, the FBI in Oakland prevented a reconciliation meeting 
between Huey Newton's brother and former Panthers by having the 
Oakland police inform one of the former Panthei'S that the meeting 
was a "set up." The San Francisco office concluded : 

It is believed that such quick dissemination of this type of 
information may have been instrumental in preventing the 
various dissidents from rejoining forces Avith the BPP.^^^ 

Another Bureau memorandum reflected similar cooperation in I^s 
Angeles : 

The Los Angeles office is furnishing on a daily basis informa- 
tion to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office Intelligence 
Division and the Los Angeles Police Department Intelli- 
gence and Criminal Consj)iracy Divisions concerning the 
activities of the black nationalist groups in the anticipation 
that such information might lead to the arrest of these mili- 

Information from Bureau files in Chicago on the Panthers was given 
to Chicago police upon request, and Chicago Police Department files 
were open to the Bureau.'^^ A Special Agent who handled liaison be- 
tween the FBI's Racial MatterSu^Squad (responsible for monitoring 
BPP activity in Chicago) and the Panther Squad of the Gang In- 
telligence Unit (GIU) of the Chicago Police Department from 1967 
through July 1969, testified that he visited GIU between three and 

"' Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/26/69. 
"' Memorandum from San Diego Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 12/1.5/69. 
"" Memorandum from San Francisco Field Office to FBI Headquarters. 4/21/69. 
'•" Memorandum Los Angeles Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/1/69. 
'*" Special Agent deposition, 2/26/75. p. p. 90. 


five times a week to exchange information/^'^ The Bureau and Chicago 
Police both maintained paid informants in the BPP, shared in- 
formant information, and the FBI provided information which was 
used by Chicago police in planning raids against the Chicago BPP/"^ 
According to an FBI memorandum, this sharing of informant 
information was crucial to police during their raid on the apartment 
occupied by several Black Panther members which resulted in the 
death of the local Chairman, Fred Hampton, and another Panther: 

[Prior to the raid] , a detailed inventory of the weapons and 
also a detailed floor plan of the apartment were furnished 
to local authorities. In addition, the identities of BPP mem- 
bers utilizing the apartment at the above address were fur- 
nished. This information was not available from any other 
source and subsequently proved to be of tremendous value in 
that it subsequently saved injury and possible death to police 
officers participating in a raid ... on the morning of 12/4/69. 
The raid was based on the information furnished by the 
informant . . .^"^ [Emphasis added.] 

'"* Special Agent deposition, 2/26/75, p. 84. The Agent also testifietl that other 
FBI agents in the Racial Matters Squad were also involved in the "free flow 
of information between the Racial ^Matters Squad and GIU," and that at one 
time or another, every agent had exchanged information with GIU. 

"' Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/3/69, p. 2 ; 
memorandum from Special Agent to Chicago Field Office, 12/12/69. 

'** Memorandum from Chicago Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 12/8/69. 




I. Introduction and Summary 227 

A. Summary of facts 228 

1 . The extensive use of intelligence informants 228 

2. The unpublished standards for the use of inteUigence 

informants 228 

B. Policy and constitutional issues raised by the use of intelligence 

informants 230 

C. The lack of judicial treatment of intelligence informant issues. 231 

D. The scope of the committee's investigation 233 

II. The Nature of tJie Intelligence Informant Technique 233 

A. Case histories of particular informants 233 

1. Mary Jo Cook — FBI informant in the Vietnam Vet- 

erans Against the War 235 

a. Background 235 

b. Cook'^ instructions 236 

c. The scope of Cook's reporting 236 

d. Cook's taking of WAW documents. 237 

e. Reporting on non-WAW groups and indi- 

viduals 238' 

2. Gary Rowe— FBI informant in the Ku Klux Klan_-- 239 

a. The use of intelligence informants to report 

Klan violence and criminal activity 239 ^ 

b. The scope of Rowe's reporting 241 i 

c. The issue of participation in criminal or violent ) 

activity 243 ' 

B. Examples of intelligence informant coverage of groups subject 

to intelligence investigations 244 

Case No. 1 — Citizens panel on the merits of an anti- 
ballistic missile system (1969) 245 

Case No. 2 — Dr. Carl Mclntyre's American Christian 

Action Council (1971) 246 

■Case No. 3— Detroit Black Panther Party (1970) -246? 

Case No. 4 — National Conference on Amnesty (1974) ._- 247 • ' 
Case No. 5 — Public meeting opposing U.S. involvement 

in Vietnam war (1966) 247,r— 

Case No. 6— Black Nationalist group (1968) 24S. 

Case No. 7 — Investigation of "free universities" (1966) .-. 249 
Case No. 8 — Washington, D.C. Black Panther Party 

(1970-1971) 24^ 

Case No. 9 — Women's Liberation Movement (1969) 250 

Case No. 10— Socialist Workers Party (1949 to date)..- 251:j^ 

Case No. 11— Ku Klux Klan 251^^ 

C. Special FBI informant programs 252 

1. The ghetto informant program 252 

2. The plant informant program (1940-69) 255 

3. The American Legion contact program (1940-54) 255 

(©L The use of informants at colleges and universities 255,^_. 

\J 1. Present FBI policy 255 \ 

2. The background to present policy 256 \ 

a. Initial guidelines for use of campus informers. - 256 \ 

b. The 1967 restrictions 257 

c. Hoover's resistance to new pressure for relaxed 
restrictions on campus informants 257 

d. The Huston plan's recommendation for ex- 
panded campus informant coverage 258 

e. The removal of the age restriction 259 




III The Intelligence Informant Program— Size, Administration, and Page 

Standards 260 

A. The number of intelligence mf ormants ^bU 

B. The FBI administrative system for intelligence mf ormants. _ . 2b 1 
c! Standards for the use of intelligence informants 262 

1 . Criteria for the decision to use informants 2b6 

2. Limits on the information an informant may report-- 264 

3. Limits on an informant's conduct and behavior 266 



The dangere to a free society that are implicit in the use of secret 
intelligence informers have long been recognized. In his Constitu- 
tional History of England^ written in the mid-19th century, Sir 
Thomaa May observed: 

Men may be without restraints upon theii- liberty ; they may 
pass to and fro at pleasure : but if their steps are tracked by 
spies and informers, their words noted down for crimination, 
their associates watched as conspirators — who shall say that 
they are free ? ^ 

May pointed to the use of informers by "continental despotisms," 
noting that "the freedom of a country may be measured by its immu- 
nity from this baleful agency." - 

On the other hand, law enforcement officials see informants^ as a 
highly effective technique — one justified by the public's interest in the 
detection of crime and the prosecution of criminals. FBI officials testi- 
fied to the Committee that informants "pi-ovide one of the best and 
most complete fonns of coverage" in their investigations.'* Foi-mer 
Attorney General Katzenbach testified that the use of intelligence 
informants in the mid-1960s to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan — a tech- 
nique urged upon the FBI by President Johnson, Attorney Geneiul 
Robert Kennedy, and ]\Ir. Katzenbach — was a principal factor in 
stopping repeated acts of criminal violence. 

This Appendix, pursuant to the Committee's mandate under 
Senate Resolution 21, focuses on the use of informants in FBI intelli- 
gence investigations who are recruited, paid and directed by Bureau 
Special Agents. The Committee did not examine the use of infonnants 
in FBI criminal investigations nor did the Committee examine in- 
stances of the "walk-in" who volunteers information to the FBI on a 
one-time basis. As discussed in more detail below, paid and directed 
intelligence infonnants are extensively used in FBI domestic intelli- 
gence investigations of groups and individuals. These intelligence 
informants are the subject of this Appendix. 

The use of informants to collect intelligence on Americans is not 
confined to the FBI. The Committee also examined the use of intelli- 

^T. May, Constitutional History of England (1863), p. 275. 

^The term "informant" is used throughout the remainder of this report. That 
is the term employed in the statute which provides that appropriations for the 
Deiiartment of Justice are available for payment of "infonnants," 28 U.S.C. 
§ 524, and is also the term which the FBI employs in its directives. 

' Memorandum from the FBI to Senate Select Committee, 11/25/75, Exhibit 
33, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 444. 



gence informants by other governmental agencies. In the late 1960s, 
informants and undercover agents were used by the CIA and Army 
Intelligence to secretly penetrate domestic groups. In 1968, about 1500 
Army intelligence agents were engaged in monitoring and penetrating 
civilian activity in the United States ; although a 1971 Defense Depart- 
ment directive now generally limits the military's collection of infor- 
mation about private groups and individuals, the directive permits the 
military to secretly penetrate civilian groups where approved by the 
Defense Department. See the Appendices on Improper Surveillance 
of Prvvate Citizens ly the Military and CIA Intelligerwe Activities 
Regarding Americans. In addition, the Internal Revenue Sei-vice uses 
informants for intelligence purposes. See the IRS Report: p. 863, 
"Selective Enforcement for Non-Tax Purposes." 

A. SumMiury of Facts 

1. The Extensive Use of Intelligence Infoi^rvaiits 
The paid and directed informant is the most extensively used tech- 
nique in FBI domestic intelligence investigations. Infonnants were 
used in 85 percent of the domestic intelligence investigations an- 
alyzed in a recent study by the General Accounting Office.^ By com- 
parison, electronic surveillance was used in only 5 percent of the cases 
studied. The FBI places strong emphasis on informant coverage in in- 
telligence investigations, instiiicting agents to "develop reliable in- 
formants at all levels and in all segments" of groups under investiga- 

(The Committee's investigation revealed that the FBI was using 

mbire than 1,500 domestic intelligence informants as of June 30, 1975-3 

rThe FBI budget for Fiscal Year 1976 programmed a total of $7,401,- 

000 for the intelligence informant program, more than twice the 

amomit allocated for the oi-ganized crime informant program.* ) 

The number of intelligence informants has been substantially larger 
in previous years because of the "Ghetto Informant Program," which 
at its height comprised over 7,000 informants. The FBI began the 
Ghetto Informant Program in 1967 in the context of the urban riots 
and violence of the mid-1960's, and in response to instructions from the 
White House and the Attorney General. Although "ghetto" inform- 
ants were initially used as "listening posts" to provide infonnation on 
the planning or organizing of riots and civil disturbances, many were 
eventually given specific assignments to attend public meetings of 
"extremists" and to identify bookstores and othere distributing "ex- 
tremist literature". The FBI terminated the program in 1973 after 
sharp debate within the Bureau over the program's effectiveness and 
the propriety of the listening post concept. 

0?iierally, there are two types of intelligence informants : those the 
FBI first recruits and then inserts into investigated group under 
investigation, and those who are^lready members of such a group and 
are "turned" or recruited as FBI informants. 

^ General Accounting Office, Domestic Intelligence Operations of the FBI 

I FBI Manual of Instructions Section 87 B (6) , hereinafter cited as "FBI, MOI". 

■ FBI Memorandum to Senate Select Committee, 11/28/75. 

^ Memorandum, "FBI overall Intelligence Program FY 1977 compared to FY 
1976." The intelligence informant program includes payments to informants for 
services and expenses as well as FBI personnel and support costs and overhead. 


\Iii addition to paid and directed informants, the FBI uses "con- 
fidential sources," defined in the FBI Manual of Instructions as per- 
sons who furnish the FBI information available to them through 
their position, such as "bankers, telephone company employees, and 
landlords." ^ Confidential sources were used in 50 jjercent of the cases 
analyzed by the GAO, ranking behind informants and local law en- 
forcement officials as the third most used techniques in intelligence 
cases. As of June 1975, there were l,i^54 confidential sources approved 
by FBI headquarters for domestic intelligence purposes^ 

£. The Unpublished Standards for the Use of Intelligence 

The standards for the use of intelligence informants are contained 
in internal FBI directives that are not available to the public. 

The FBI Manual of Instructions sets few limits on the scope of 
intelligence informant reporting, phe Manual proscribes only the re- 
porting of communications between an attorney and client, legal 
"defense plans or strategy," "employer-employee relationships" 
(where an informant is connected with a labor union), and "legitimate 
institution or campus activities" in schools.^'* The Manual contains 
no standard limiting an informant's reporting to information relating 
to the conmiission of criminal offenses or even to violent or potentially 
violent activity. In fact, intelligence informants report on virtually 
every aspect of a group's activity serving, in the words of both EB^I 
officials and an informant, as a "vacuum cleaner" of information.^^ ' 

FBI officials recognized this broad scope of informant reporting as 
a problem area, pointing out that it produces "too much information" 
in FBI files."^ They expressed their belief that an informant should 
report to some degree the lawful aspects of a group's activity in 
order to permit an accurate picture to be drawn. But they did recog- 
nize the need "to narrow down" informant reporting from its pres- 
ent broad scope. ^^ 

The Manual does not set independent standards which must be 
supported by facts before an organization can be the subject of in- 
formant coverage.[Once the criteria for opening a regular intelligence 
investigation are met, and^e case is opened, informants can be used 
without any restrictions.^^'^rrhere is no specific determination made as 
to whether the substantial intrusion represented by informant coverage 
is justified by the governments interest in obtaining information. 
There is nothing that requires that a determination be made of 
whether less intrusive means will adequately serve the government's 
interest. There is also no requirement that the decisions of FBI offi- 
cials to use informants be reviewed bv anyone outside the Bureau. In 

"FBI, MOI Sec. 107, A (4). 

"" FBI deposition, 2/10/76, p. 12. 

" FBI, MOI, Sees. 107 D(2d), U(lb). 

''James Adams testimony 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 135; Mary Jo Cook 
testimony 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 111. 

"" Adams, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 135. 

"^ Adams, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 135. 

^^ Under a Manual provision adopted in 1973, established informants may sup- 
ply information in a preliminary investigation, but new informants may not be 
recruited. (FBI, MOI, Sec. 87. B(4c).) The Attorney General'.s draft guidelines 
for domestic intelligence investigation similarly provide that only established in- 
formants may be used in preliminary investigations. {Draft Guidelines for Do- 
mestic Security Investigations, 12/0/75, Sec. II (E)(G).) 


short, intelligence informant coverage has not been subject to the 
standards which govern the use of other intrusive techniques such as 
wiretapping or other forms of electronic surveillance. (Compare the 
requirements for use of electronic surveillance and wiretaps discussed 
in "Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans"; Part IV. )/ 
B. Policy and Constitutional Issues Raised hy tlie Use of IntelligeTice 

The use of informants and confidential sources in intelligence in- 
vestigations of domestic groups and citizens can raise important policy 
and Constitutional issues. Unlike investigations of specific criminal 
activity, intelligence investigations frequently have involved continu- 
ous surveillance across a broad spectrum of activity. Where "intelli- 
gence" rather than evidence of particular criminal activity is collected, 
informants and confidential sources give the FBI a large amount of 
information dealing with the lawful political and personal activity of 
citizens. Former FBI informants infiltrated into organizations testified 
that they reported "any and everything" they saw or heard pertaining 
to the group's members,^^ and that they took membership lists, finan- 
cial data, and other records and gave them to the FBI. This testimony 
w^as confirmed by the FBI agents to whom they reported. As one agent 
testified, his informant "told me everything she knew" about the politi- 
cal organization she infiltrated." 

Under the Bill of Eights, particularly the First and Fourth Amend- 
ments, our Constitution protects freedom of speech and political asso- 
ciation and the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and 

In the light of the protections guaranteed by our Constitution, the 
use of informants for intelligence purposes raises three principal 
issues : 

( 1 ) The first issue concerns whether informants should be used at all 
in intelligence investigations,^'^ and, if so, under what circumstances. 
The use of informants in the investigation of groups and individuals 
involved in political activity may chill the exercise of First Amend- 
ment rights. For example, citizens interested in attending a meeting of 
a political group either to join or to express support for a lawful 
interest they share with the group, may be deterred by the fear that 
their attendance would mark them as a member in an informant's eyes. 
They may fear an informant's report will prevent their gaining a job 
requiring a security clearance, even though in fact they supported no 
unlawful activity. x\lthough citizens may not know that a secret 
informant is reporting on a particular group, the mere existence of 
the FBI intelligence informant system can be sufficient to cause them 
to curtail their exercise of First Amendment rights for fear they will 
be reported to the FBI. 

(2) The second issue concerns^ the scope of an informant's report- 
ing. Should an informant report only indications of ci'iminal or violent 
activity, or should he report all aspects of a group's activity and the 

" Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 116, Cook, 12/2/75, Hearings, vol. 6, p. 111. 

" Special Agent, 11/20/75, p. 55. 

^ This Report focuses solely on the informant technique as used in intelligence 
investigations. It does not address the question of whether intelligence investiga- 
tions are themselves consistent with Constitutional guarantees and sound law 
enforcement policy or can be made so by appropriate standards and controls. See 
the Committee's Report on Domestic Intelligence and the Findings, Conclusions 
and Recommendations in that Report. 


personal lives of individuals in the interest of intelligence? In this 
connection, there is the further question of whether an informant 
should be permitted to take the confidential records and documents of 
a group or individual (such as membership lists or financial data) 
and give them to the FBI, when the Government cannot properly 
obtain them through statutory disclosure requirement, subpoena, or 
search w\arrant. 

(3) Finally, there is the issue of an informant's conduct and be- 
havior. The Committee heard testimony on the difficulties inherent 
in an informant reporting on violent and criminal activity. To be 
in a position to report, the informant may have to participate in the 
unlawful activity to some degree. As one FBI handling agent testified 
of an informant in a violence-prone element of the Ku Klux Klan, "he 
couldn't be an angel and be a good informant.^*^ Where such an in- 
formant is paid and directed by the FBI, the Government may be 
placed in the at least unseemly posture of involvement through its 
agents in the activity it is seeking to prevent. At the extreme, the Gov- 
ernment's informant may be held to have acted as an agent provoca- 
teur, that is, an agent of the Government who has provoked illegal or 
violent activity. 

C. The Lack of Judicial Treatment of Intelligence Informant Issues 
These issues have rarely been before the courts. This is in part due 
to the nature of secret intelligence informant activity. Members of a 
group will seldom learn that an FBI intelligence informant has been 
in their midst or has copied their records for the FBI because intelli- 
gence investigations almost invariably do not result in prosecutions.^^ 
Without knowledge of an informant's activity and in the absence of a 
prosecution, a group or its members will not come before a court to 
raise Constitutional objections. Consequently, there are few court deci- 
sions and those that do exist usually concern criminal, rather than in- 
telligence informants. In Hoffa v. United States,^^ a criminal case 
involving charges of bribing a jury, the Supreme Court held that an 
informant's testimony concerning a defendant's conversations could 
not be considered the product of a search where the defendant had con- 
sented to the presence of the individual who served as an informant. 
The facts did not, however, present the issue of whether an inform- 

jtSpecial Agent, 11/21/75, p. 12. 

/" Only 16 of the domestic intelligence cases reviewed by the General Account- > 
iilg Office — or less than 3 percent^were referred to a U.S. attorney or to localU^ 
authorities for possible prosecution. Of the 16 referrals for criminal violations,' 
onb' 7 were prosecuted. (GAO Study, p. 3.3) 

fEven where there are grounds for prosecution in a domestic intelligence case, 
such as acts of violence, the decision may be made to forego prosecution rather 
than surface an informant. The informant's continued reporting from within an 
organization may be deemed more valuable than a particular prosecution. This 
in turn may lead to the use of illegitimate action to prevent violence, such as thai 
employed in the FBI's "COINTELPRO" operation. ( See COIXTELPRO Report. )/ 
*'385 U.S. 293 (1966). The Hoffa court stated : "The risk of . . . being betrayed 
by an informer or deceived as to the identity of one with whom one deals is 
probably inherent in the conditions of human society. It is the kind of risk we 
necessary assume whenever we speak." In another criminal case, Lewis v. 
United States, 385 U.S. 206 (1966), the Court, in declining to rule that the use of 
undercover agents is unconstitutional per se, stated : "In the detection of many 
tyiies of crime, the Government is entitled to use decoys and to conceal the 
identity of its agents." 


ant's surreptitious taking of documents for the Government consti- 
tuted an unlawful search. 

The Select Committee's investigation has revealed for the first tnne 
the extremely broad scope of FBI intelligence informant surveillance 
and reporting. The Supreme Court has yet to be presented with the 
types of factual situations— such as intensive informant coverage of 
lawful political activity and personal matters — which may produce the 
chilling of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. Moreover, 
apart from particular cases which may come before a court, the over- 
all effect on the exercise of First Amendment rights in the society at 
large may be very great where it is known that a large-scale intelli- 
gence informant system is operating. No court has seen the overall pat- 
tern of FBI intelligence informant coverage of citizens and groups. 
Consequently, courts have been unable to assess the full impact of the 
informant system on the exercise of constitutionally protected rights. 

A U.S. Army surveillance system was challenged on First Amend- 
ment grounds in Laird v. Tatum^ but the Court described the informa- 
tion gathered in that case as "nothing more than a good newspaper 
reporter would be able to gather by attendance at public meetings and 
the clipping of articles from publications availaible on any news- 
stand." 1^ 

In a more recent case, the California Supreme Court held that secret 
surveillance of classes and group meetings at a university through the 
use of undercover agents was "likely to pose a substantial restraint 
upon the exercise of First Amendment rights.'" ^^ Citing a number of 
U.S. Supreme Court opinions, the California Supreme Court stated in 
its unanimous decision : 

In view of this significant potential chilling effect, the 
challenged surveillance activities can only be sustained if [the 
Government] can demonstrate a "compelling" state interest 
which justifies the resultant deterrence of First Amendment 
rights and which cannot be served by alternative means less 
intrusive on fundamental rights."^ 

^* In a .5-4 decision, tlie Court lield only that a complaint that First Amendment 
rights were chilled by "the mere existence, without more" of an Army intelli- 
gence activity alleged to be broader than necessary did not present a justiciable 
controversy in Federal court. Because the complaint failed to allege more specific 
harm than mere subjection to governmental scrutiny, it failed to state a Federal 
claiai. 408U.S. 1, 9 (1972) 

(However, Justice IVIarshall, sitting as a Circuit Justice, held that a Federal 
claim under the First Amendment was stated in Socialist Workers Party v. 
Attorney General, 419 U.S. 1315 (1974). There, Justice Marshall foimd that alle- 
gations of a "chilling effect" on First Amendment rights were sufficiently specific 
to satisfy jurisdictional requirements where it was complained that FBI in- 
formants were to monitor a public meeting of the Socialist Workers Party. The 
complaint stated that FBI informant coverage would have the concrete effect of 
dissuading delegates from participating in the convention and lead to possible 
loss of employment for those identified by the informants as attending. Although 
Justice Marshall refused to grant an injunction against the use of informants at 
the convention, he did prohibit the Government from transmitting any informa- 
tion obtained at the convention to nongovernmental entities and left to a trial on 
the merits the question of whether the claimed "chill" was substantial enough to 
justify permanent injunctive and monetary relief."^ 

-" White V. Davis, 533 Pac. Rep. 2d, 222, 232 (Cfelifomia Supreme Court, 1975). 

'' 533 Pac Rep. 2d, at 232. 


D. The Scope of the Committee\s Investigation 

Before turning to the discussion below, two points as to the Com- 
mittee's investigation must be noted. 

First, in recognition of the sensitive nature of the informant tech- 
nique, inchiding the risk of exposure or physical harm to present and 
former informants, the Committee worked out procedures with the 
cooperation of the Attorney General and the FBI to protect the in- 
tegrity of the FBI's operations while assuring the Committee's ability 
to conduct a thorough investigation. For example, while materials on 
full FBI intelligence investigations were examined, including infor- 
mant reports on target groups and particular incidents, the names and 
identities of informants were not revealed unless they had previously 
been made public through court proceedings or the informant's own 

Second, as noted above, the Committee's investigation focused on 
the use of FBI-paid and directed intelligence informants and FBI- 
approved confidential sources, not criminal informants, one-time 
"walk-ins" or citizens who provide information to FBI Special 
Agents on their own initiative. In short, the Committee's investigation 
dealt not with the citizen's right to communicate with a law enforce- 
ment agency, but with a specific and substantial government intelli- 
gence program employing individuals who are paid and directed by 
the FBI Intelligence Division. It is in this sense that the discussion 
that follows uses the term "intelligence informant." 

The discussion below is in two parts. To illustrate the nature of the 
intelligence informant technique, Part One examines the case histories 
of two former FBI intelligence informants. Part One also sets out 
eleven additional examples of informant coverage in domestic intel- 
ligence investigations and describes the "Ghetto Informant Program," 
conducted from 1967 to 1973, as well as other past FBI informant pro- 
grams directed towards specific concerns. 

Part Two discusses tlie size and scope of the FBI intelligence in- 
formant program and the standards that' exist for the use of intel- 
ligence informants. 


A. Case Histories of Particul-ar Infor^nants 

To provide an understanding of the intelligence informant tech- 
nique, two case studies are presented. The first case study involves a 
former FBI "subversive" informant in the Vietnam Veterans Against 
the War, Mary Jo Cook. The second case study involves a former FBI 
"extremist" informant in the Ku Klux Klan, Gary Rowe. Before turn- 
ing to those cases, the FBI's definitions of subversive and extremist 
informants are set foith below. 

Subversive Infommnts. — The FBI classifies its paid and directed 
intelligence informants into two categories, "subversive" and "extrem- 
ist," corresponding to the two types of domestic intelligence investiga- 


tions. "Subversive"' " informants are those used in the investigation of 
"subversive activities,"' defined in Section 87 of the FBI Manual as 
"activities aimed at overthrowing, destroying, or undermining the 
Government of the United States or any of its political subdivisions" 
by illegal means-'^* Section 87 has been applied to the activities of the 
Communist Party and a wide variety of other organizations which 
the FBI believes have revolutionary characteristics. During the Viet- 
nam War, investigations of individuals labeled "Key Activists" were 
conducted under Section 87, in which informant coverage was stressed. 
For example, in January 1968, instructions went out to ten major field 
offices to designate certain persons as "Key Activists." They were 
defined as "individuals in the Students for a Democratic Society and 
the anti-Vietnam war groups [who] are extremely active and most 
vocal in their statements denouncing the United States and calling for 
civil disobedience and other forms of unlawful and disruptive acts." ^* 
There was to be "an intensive investigation" of each "key activist": 

Because of their leadership and prominence in the "new 
left" movement, as well as the gr-owing militancy of this 
movement, each office must maintain high-level informant 
coverage on these individuals so that the Bureau is kept 
abreast of their day-to-day activities as well as the organiza- 
tions they are affiliated with, to develop information regard- 
ing their sources of funds, foreign contacts, and future 

Extremist Informants. — "Extremist" informants ^^^ are those used 
in the investigation of "extremist" activities, defined in Section 122 of 
the FBI Manual in the same way as subversive activities but also 
including "denying the rights of individuals under the Constitu- 
tion." ^'^ In practice, "extremist" investigations have concerned vio- 
lence-prone groups composed of members of one or another race. Sec- 
tion 122 is intended to cover what the Bureau calls "White Hate" 

^A subversive informant (sometimes referred to as an "internal security" 
informant) , is defined in the FBI Manual as : 

"Individual actively engaged in obtaining furnishing current information on 
security or intelligence matters exclusively for Bureau whose identity must be 
protected. Such person should be member or attend meetings of subversive orga- 
nization, or be in such position relative to subversive organization that he is able 
to provide current information of value. (FBI, MOI, Sec. 107, I, A(l).)" 

=^FBI, MOI, Sec. 87.A(4). 

"=* Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 1/30/68. 

'^'^ An extremist informant is defined in the FBI Manual as : 

"An individual whose identity must be protected and who is actively engaged in 
obtaining and furnishing current information on extremist matters exclusively 
to the Bureau. Extremist informants include any individual : 

"a. Wiio is a member of or attends meetings of an extremist group (white, 
black, or Indian) which has a propensity for violence or which strives to deny 
individuals certain constitutional rights through the use of force, violence, or 
intimidation ; 

"b. Who is in a position to obtain and provide current information of value 
concerning such organizations ; 

"c. Or who furnishes information on extremists who may or may not be mem- 
bers of extremist groups but are engaged in planning or carrying out any type 
of guerrilla warfare against established institutions, which may be in violation 
of local, state, or Federal laws." (FBI, MOI, Sec. 130, A (1).) 

=*■ FBI, MOI, Sec. 122 A(l-e). 


groups, such as the Ku Klux Khan, and "Black Nationalist Hate" 
groups, such as the Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam. It 
also applies to some American Indian grouj^s such as the American 
Indian Movement, as well as a variety of terrorist organizations 
engaged in "urban guerrilla warfare," ^^ 

In the case of organizations of blacks, informant coverage in Sec- 
tion 122 investigations extended beyond the Black Panthers. In the 
fall of 1970, the FBI decided to include "evei-y Black Student Union 
and similar group regardless of their past or j)resent involvement in 
disordere." ^^ The initial proposal for informant coverage called for 
"preliminary inquiry through established sources and informants to 
detennine background, aims and purposes, leaders and Key Activ- 
ists." -" It was estimated this would cause FBI field offices to open 
4,000 cases on both groups and individuals. The subsequent instruc- 
tions to the field offices stressed the need to investigate Black Student 
Unions and similar groups and to "target informants and sources to 
develop information regarding these groups on a continuing basis . . . 
and to develop such coverage where none exists." ^" 

The case histories illustrating the activity of FBI's subversive and 
extremist intelligence informants are presented below. 

1. Mary Jo Cook — FBI Informant in the Vietnam Veterans 
Against the Wai' 

In Jime 1973, Mary Jo Cook was recruited by the FBI field office 
in Buffalo, New York to serve as a paid and directed informant in 
the Buffalo chapter of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War 

a. Background. — The FBI made limited investigations in 1967 
and 1968 to determine if the Communist Party or other "subversive" 
elements were directing or controlling the VVAW but concluded that 
there was no such outside influence.^^ 

In August 1971, a full investigation of the VVAW was opened on 
the basis of reports that Communist youth groups were infiltrating 
the VVAW and the alleged involvement of some VVAW members 
in illegal demonstrations; militant antiwar activity by the VVAW, 
including repoi-ted links with foreign elements, was also a basis for 
the full investiffation.^^ FBI concern centered on the national office 

"'FBI, MOI, Sec. 22(A). 

^ Memorandum of the Executives Conference 10/29/70. 


^"'Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 11/4/70. 

"" Cook, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6 p. 112. 

^ FBI Memorandum to Senate Select Committee, 12/2/75 ; Hearings, Vol. 6, 
Exhibit 72. 

'"In a Memorandum to the Committee, the FBI described the basis for the 
opening of the full investigation as follows : 

"[In August 1971] information from a variety of sources dictated the need to 
determine the extent of control over VVAW by subversive groups and/or vio- 
lence-prone elements in the antiwar movement. Sources had provided informa- 
tion that VVAW was stockpiling weapons, VVAW had been in contact with 
North Vietnam officials in Paris, France, VVAW was receiving funds from for- 
mer CPUSA members and VVAW was aiding and financing U.S. military de- 
serters. Additionally, information had been received that some individual chaj)- 
ters throughout the country had been infiltrated by the youth groups of the 
CPUSA and the SWP. A trend of increased militancy developed within the 
VVAW and the possibilities of violence escalated within the organization. Dur- 
ing December 1971, VVAW members forcibly and illegally occupied or sur- 

( Continued) 

69-984 O - 76 - 16 


of the VVAW, which the FBI saw as adopting Marxist- Leninist doc- 
trine and anti-imperialist positions. 

The FBI's investigation of local VVAW chapters was, in part, de- 
signed to determine the extent to which they were following the posi- 
tion of the VVAW national office or were being infiltrated by Com- 
munist elements.^* 

b. CooFs Instructions. — From her initial meeting with the FBI 
agent who recruited her, Cook understood that she was to serve 
as both a reporter of information and a moderating force in the 
VVAW. Cook testified that she understood she was to act as "a voice 
of reason ... a guiding force in the organization and keep things 
calm, cool and collected." ^^ Cook testified : 

The major understanding that I got from the meeting was 
that VVAW-WSO was an organization primarily of veterans 
who were possible victims of manipulation. They had been 
through the Vietnam War. They had legitimate readjust- 
ment needs, and the Bureau was afraid that they could become 
violent or could become manipulated in a cause or social con- 
cern, and they wanted me to go in there and participate in 
the organization and make sure that the veterans didn't get 
"ripped off".^'' 

Cook's handling agent similarly testified that one of the main pur- 
poses of placing Cook in the VVAW chapter was to neutralize any 
violence or illegal activities, as well as to report them.^^ 

c. The Scope of Gook^s Reporting. — As to her reporting function. 
Cook testified that she was to report virtually everything about the 
VVAW and its members. She stated that: 

... I was to go to meetings, write up reports ... on what 
happened, who was there ... to try to totally identify the 
background of every person there, what their relationships 
were, who they were living with, who they were sleeping with, 
to try to get some sense of the local structure and the local 
relationships among the people in the organization.^^ 

The FBI Special Agent to whom Cook reported similarly testified 
as to the broad scope of Cook's reporting: "She told me everything 
she knew about the Buffalo chapter of the VVAW." '^ 

To obtain the type of information desired by the FBI, Cook testi- 
fied that she took a leadership role in the VVAW. The FBI asked her 
to go to as many regional and national meetings of the VVAW as 
possible to "get a good sense of how the local chapter fit in [the] 
national organization".-*" Cook stated "it was a very democratic proc- 

( Continued) 

rounded public buildings and national inpnuments in New York City, Philadelphia, 
Austin, Texas, and Washington, B.C." FBI Memorandum to Senate Select 
Committee, 12/2/75, pp. 2-3 ; Hearings, Vol. 6, Exhibit 72. 

^ Adams, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 135. Cook had expressed an interest in being 
an FBI informant to a close friend who was an informant with the VVAW for 
the FBI. Cook's friend put her in touch with an FBI agent. (Cook, 12/2/75, Hear- 
ings, p. 110. ) 

"^ Cook, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 110, 111. 

^ Special Agent, 11/20/75, p. 47. 
^ Cook, 12/2/75. Hearings, p. 111. 
^ Special Agent, 11/20/75, p. 55. 
*" Cook, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 121. 


ess [in the WAW] so that there was no way that T could . . . fulfill 
the request of the FBI . . . without actually becoming elected leader- 
ship in the chapter".*^ 

The scope of Cook's intelligence reporting, including identities of 
individuals, personal matters, and lawful political activity, is illus- 
trated by the following FBI summaries ^' of two reports given the 
FBI by Cook: 

Report No. 1 

Report concerns a meeting of the WAW/WSO Women's 
Group held November 5, 1973, in Buffalo, New York. Nine 
women attended, all named in the report. One woman had 
been the girlfriend of an individual named in the report who 
was associated with the Martin Sostre Defense Committee 
and lived with him for a while. Report concluded with plans 
for a men's group meeting to be held later. 

Report No. 2 

Report concerns a meeting of the WAW/WSO Steering 
Committee held 11/10/73. Five identified individuals were 
present. There w^as a discussion of finances and some displeas- 
ure at the financial record system. Plans for a benefit at a bar 
were discussed. Information was presented concerning a news- 
letter to be mailed out which will discuss the VVAW/WSO's 
position on amnesty, the upgrading of discharges, information 
about a strike at a Buffalo firm. 

Some objections were raised concerning the wording of 
some WAW/WSO objectives. 

Plans for a future coalition meeting organized by two indi- 
viduals were discussed, the same coalition that worked on the 
Impeach Nixon rally. 

Matters concerning possible new members and/or attendees 
at future meetings were discussed. Plans for a WAW/WSO 
team on a television sports quiz show were discussed. 

One member raised four criticisms of the WAW/WSO, 
all listed. One member wrote a regional newsletter. 

d. Cook^s Taking of WAW Documents. — Besides reporting in de- 
tail on WAW members and meetings, Cook also took WAW docu- 
ments and gave them to the FBI.*^ For example. Cook testified that 
she gave the FBI WAW mailing lists, thus providing the FBI with 
the names of many individuals outside of the smaller number of peo- 
ple who attended WAW meetings.** 

In addition to the mailing lists which Cook gave to the FBI, she 
also took a number of other WAW documents, including papers re- 

^^The Committee had full access at FBI Headquarters to the reports of the 
intelligence informants whose cases were examined. In view of the FBI's posi- 
tion that delivery to the Committee of these reports would endanger the security 
of the FBI's relations with present informants, it was agreed that FBI Special 
Agents would prepare summaries of those informant reports to be referred to at 
the public hearings or in the Committee's Report. The Committee staff verified 
these summaries for accuracy and completeness against the full informant 

" Cook, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 112. 

" Ibid. 


lating to legal defense matters. As Cook's FBI handling agent testi- 

She brought back several things . . . various position papers 
taken by various legal defense groups, general statements of 
. . . the WAW, legal thoughts on various trials, the Gaines- 
ville (Florida) 8 . . . the Camden (New Jersey) 9 . . . various 
documents from all of these groups.**" 

Cook also gave the FBI a confidential legal manual prepared by 
WAW attorneys as a guide for legal defense strategy and methods 
should WAW members be arrested in demonstrations or other polit- 
ical activity.*^ As discussed in more detail below, the FBI Manual 
provides that legal defense matters are not to be reported by inform- 
ants. However, the FBI interprets this provision as prohibiting only 
the reporting of privileged attorney-client communications or legal 
defense matters in connection with a specific trial. Since the WAW 
legal manual was intended for general use, rather than in connection 
with a particular case, the FBI considered that the WAW manual 
did not fall within the prohibition. 

e. Re-porting on Non-VVAW Groups and Individuals. — In addi- 
tion to reporting on the WAW itself, Cook also reported on those 
individuals and groups who worked on political issues in conjunc- 
tion with the WAW : 

Senator Hart : . . . did you report also on groups and indi- 
viduals outside the [WAW], such as other peace groups 
or individuals who were opposed to the war whom you came 
in contact with because they were cooperating with the 
[WAW] in connection with protest demonstrations and 
petitions ? 

Ms. Cook: ... I ended up reporting on groups like the 
United Church of Christ, American Civil Liberties Union, 
the National Lawyers Guild, liberal church organizations 
[which] quite often went into coalition with the [VVAW].*^* 

As a result of this broad reporting scope. Cook estimated that 
she identified as many as 1,000 people to the FBI in the 18 months 
she worked as an informant.*" Cook estimated that sixty to seventy 
percent of these 1,000 people were non veterans who had participated 
with the WAW in various political eft'orts.*^ 

In November 1974, Cook quit her work as an informant because 
of her belief that the WAW was engaged in lawful political 
activity and her conclusion that she could not in conscience inform 
on its members and others working with them.*^ Cook concluded that 
the Buffalo WAW Chapter was working towards ending the in- 
volvement of U.S. in Vietnam, amnesty for draft resisters, upgrading 
military discharges, and betterTiealth and drug treatment for Viet- 
nam veterans.*^ 

*"" Special Agent 11/20/75, pp. 15-16. 
*' Cook deposition, 11/14/75, p. 36. 
^■^ Cook, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 119. 
" Cook, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 112. 
" Cook, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 120 
« Cook, 12/2/75, Hearings, pp. 112-114. 
*" Cook, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 119. 


Cook testified : 

... I started talking witli the FBI about all of the contradic- 
tions that I was starting to see. I didn't understand what my 
involvement was anymore ... I didn't see the reason for my 
continuance ... [I said to the FBI] these people don't need 
me functioning in their midst, and if you can't give me assur- 
ances that the information that I am giving you, which you 
seem to strip the context away from isn't going to be used 
against these people, then I cannot continue . . . and they 
could not give me any assurance that this information would 
not be used against people. . . .^° 

2. Gcui^y Rome — FBI Infoi^mant in the Ku Klux Klan 

Gary Rowe worked as an FBI informant in the Birmingham, Ala- 
bama chapter of the Ku Klux Klan from 1959 until March 1965, when 
he surfaced to testify as an eyewitness to the killing of a civil rights 
worker, Mrs. Viola Liuzzo, by Klan members.^^ 

Rowe's activity as an FBI informant illustrates the distinction be- 
tween an informant's reporting of information relating to violence or 
criminal activity and the reporting of general intelligence. On the one 
hand, Rowe provided the FBI with a great deal of information on 
Klan violence and criminal activity. At the same time, however, Rowe 
reported virtually every aspect of Klan activity, regardless of its rela- 
tion to actual or potential violence or criminal offenses. In addition, 
on a number of occasions Rowe participated in Klan violence in order 
to be in a position to report its occurrence to the FBI. Consequently, 
even though Rowe was able to report significant violence and criminal 
activity, his case highlights two principal issues: 1) the question of 
overbreadth in intelligence informant reporting, and 2) the govern- 
ment's participation or unseemly involvement through its paid and 
directed informants in the violent or criminal activity it is investigat- 

a. The Use of Intelligence Informants to Repo7't Klan Violence and 
Ciiminal Activity. — In testimony before the Committee, former At- 
torney General Nicholas Katzenbach emphasized the violent acts com- 
mitted by some Ku Klux Klan members in the South during the years 
Rowe was an FBI informant : 

The central point of . . . my testimony is that some Klan 
members in those states, using the Klan as a vehicle, were en- 
gaged in repeated acts of criminal violence. It had nothing 
to do with preaching a social point of view : it had to do with 
proven acts of violence.^^ 

™ Cook, 12/2/75, Hearings, pp. 112-113. In 1974, investigations of a number of 
VVAW chapters were closed. The FBI Memorandum to the Committee stated : 

"In 1974, FBI field offices were instructed to analyze the chapters and regions 
in their respective territories. If the local organization did not subscribe to the 
policies of the National Office and were not Marxist-Leninist groups advocating 
the overthrow of the Government, the investigation of the local organization was 
to be terminated. . . . Many of the investigations of the various chapters were 
closed, not because they were no longer active, but because of their apparent 
failure to follow the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary posture of the National 
Office." (FBI Memorandum to Select Committee, 2/2/76, p. 5; Cook, Hearings, 
Exhibit 72.) 

" Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 115. 

^ Katzenbach Testimony, 12/3/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 207. 


Katzenbach stated that to deal with the problem of Klan violence, At- 
torney General Robert Kennedy had suggested to President Johnson 
an intensified use of FBI informants in the Klan, along the lines em- 
ployed by the FBI against Commmiist groups, Katzenbach quoted 
from a letter Robeit Kennedy had sent to the President in mid- 1964 
just prior to the murders of three civil rights workers in Mississippi : 

The unique difficulty as it seems to me to be presented by the 
situation in Mississippi (which is duplicated in parts of Ala- 
bama and Louisiana at least) is in gathering information on 
fundamentally lawless activities which have the sanction of 
local law enforcement agencies, political officials and a sub- 
stantial segment of the white population. The techniques fol- 
lowed in the use of specially trained, special assignment 
agents in the infiltration of Communist groups should be of 
value. If you approve, it might be desirable to take up with 
the Bureau the possibility of developing a similar effort to 
meet this new problem.^^ 

And Katzenbach pointed out that informants were critical to the solu- 
tion of the murders of the three civil rights workers : "That case could 
not have been solved without acquiring informants who were highly 
placed members of the Klan." ^* 

Katzenbach emphasized his view that the use of FBI informants in 
the Klan sliould be viewed as a criminal investigation technique, point- 
ing out that, in the case of the Klan, "these techniques were designed 
to deter violence — to prevent murder, bombings, and beatings. In my 
judgment, they were successful." ^^ At the same time, he indicated the 
disruptive results that "an effective informant program" ^'^ may pro- 
duce. He stated : 

It is true that the FBI program with respect to the Klan 
made extensive use of informers. That is true of virtually 
every criminal investigation with which I am familiar. In an 
effort to detect, prevent, and prosecute acts of violence. Presi- 
dent Johnson, Attorney General Kennedy, INIr. Allen Dulles, 
myself and others urged the Bureau to develop an effective 
informant program, similar to that which they had developed 
with respect to the Communist Party. It is true that these 
techniques did in fact disrupt Klan activities, sowed deep 
mistrust among the Klan members, and made Klan members 
aware of the extensive informant system of the FBI and the 
fact that they were under constant observation.^^ 

Rowe played a critical role in the solution of the murder of Mrs. 
Viola Liuzzo, Owing to his close relationship to Klan leaders, Rowe 
was asked to accompany several Klansmen in an unspecified mission 
against those participating in a^-civil rights march in Alabama in 
March, 1965. Rowe reported this invitation to his P^BI liandling agent, 
who told him to go and report what occurred.^'** As a result, Rowe 

' Ibid, p. 214. 

Ibid, p. 215. 

Ibid, p. 207. 
'•" Rowe deposition, 10/17/75, pp. 32-33. 


was an eyewitness to the murder of Mrs. Liuzzo, and reported the 
crime to the FBI within hours of its occurrence. Subsequently, Rowe's 
testimony was a critical element in the ultimate conviction of the 
Klansmen responsible for the killing-^** 

b. The Scope of Bowels Reporting/. — Rowe's assignment, according 
to the FBI Special Agent who recruited him ^^ and served as his first 
handling agent, was 

to gather information as to members, leaders, because I did 
not know who they were, if he could get the number of Klav- 
erns ... in the Birmingham area, and just keep in touch with 
me as to the activities that occurred. That was his initial 

I wanted information that would be of assistance to make 
a determination as to the violent nature of the organization. 
This would be, violations of civil rights, things of this na- 
ture . . . you certainly can't get it on the outside. '^° 

C^The murder of Mrs. Liuzzo took place in 1965; from tlie outset of his in- 
rmant activity in 1961, Rowe provided the FBI with a great deal of informa- 
tion on planned and actual violence by the Klan throughout his years as an 
infornmnt. (Rowe, 12/2/75, Vol. 6, pp. 117-ll.S; Adams, 12/2/75, Vol. 6, 142-143). 
Only rai-ely, however, did Rowe's information lead to the prevention of violence 
or arrests of Klan members. 

There were several reasons for this, including the diflBculty of relying on local 
police to enforce the law against the Klan in the early 1960's, the failure of 
the Federal Government to initially mobilize its own res«|urces, and the role of 
the FBI as an inve.S'tigative rather than police organization.^ 

Former Attorney General Katzenbach pointed out that^ at the outset of the 
1960s, when Rowe began his work as an informant, "neither the [Justice] 
Department nor the Bureau fully appreciated the significance or indeed the 
genesis of the retreated acts of violence and bloodshed" committed by the Klan 
and that Federal efforts against Klan violence "did not crystallize" imtil the 
murder in June 1964 of three civil rights workers in Mississippi. (Katzenbach, 
12/8/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, pp. 213-214) and FBI Deputy Director Adams 
testified : 

"We do not have police powers like the United States Marshalls do . . . We are 
the investigative agency of the Department of Justice and during these times the 
Department of Justice had us maintain the role of an investigative agency. 
We were to furnish the information, to the local police, who had an obligation 
to act. We furnished it to the Department of Justice." (Adams, 12/2/75, Vol. 6, 
pp. 142-143.) 

Katzenbach and Adams pointed out that in the early 1960s, local police in 
parts of the South refu.sed to act on information the FBI provided about Klan 
violence. Katzenbach testified : 

". . . because local law enforcement organizations— the traditional first line of 
defense against (and the Bureau's primary source of information about) such 
violence — were infiltrated by the very i)ersons who were responsible for much 
of the violence, the net effect was that there was in many sections of the South a 
total absence of any law enforcement whatsoever." (Katzenbach. 12/3/75, 
Hearings, Vol. 6, pp. 213-214.) 

"" Rowe was not a member of the Klan or sympathetic with Klan objectives when 
he was recruited to serve as an informant. In his initial interviews with the 
FBI Special Agent who recruited him, Rowe indicated "he was not in favor of 
the things the Klan did". (Special Agent No. 1. 11/19/75, p. 7.) Rowe had previ- 
ously served in the United States Marine Corps, enlisting at the age of 14. (Rowe, 
12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 115.) During his initial talks with the FBI. Rowe 
stated he wanted to work in law enforcement and to serve his country ; the FBI 
told Rowe that to serve as an FBI informant in the Klan would enable him to do 
both of these things. (Special Agent No. 1, 11/19/75, p. 6.) 

*• Special Agent No. 1, 11/19/75, p. 8. 


In practice, Rowe testified that he reported to the FBI "any and 
everything that I observed or lieard pertaining to any Klansmen." ^'^ 
This broad scope of Rowe's reporting was confirmed by the FBI agents 
to whom he reported. As one agent testified : 

... he furnished us infoi-mation on the meetings and the 
thoughts and feelings, intentions and ambitions, as best he 
knew them, of other members of the Klan, both the rank and 
file and the leadership.-^^ Special Agent No. 3, 11/21/75, p. 7. 

According to another of Rowe's FBI handling agents, Rowe's mission 
was "total reporting," including membership lists, financial matters, 
and political positions, as well as Klan violence.^^ Rowe also testified 
that, in line with his "total reporting" instructions he reported inti- 
mate details of the personal lives of Klan members.*'* 

Rowe was able to give the FBI extensive information about Klan 
membership as a result of his position in the "Klan Bureau of Investi- 
gation," the Klan's security and investigative arm.'''^ Rowe did most of 
the investigation of prospective members in the Birmingham area, 
and would regularly make their applications available to his FBI 
handling agent, who would copy the applications before returning 
them to Rowe.'^^ 

In addition, Rowe took Klan membership lists and gave them to the 
FBI. Rowe's handling agent testified as to the way such lists were 
taken : 

I remember one evening during the course of a meeting that 
was going on . . . he called my home and said I will meet you 
in a half an hour ... I have a complete list of everybody that 
I have just taken out of the files, but I have to have it back 
within such a length of time. 

Well, naturally I left home and met him and had the list 
duplicated forthwith, and back in his possession and back in 
the files with nobody suspecting.®^ 

Rowe also reported on political matters relating to the Klan.*'^ Dur- 
ing a campaign for mayor in Birmingham, Rowe was instructed to 
attend public political meetings to assess the candidates' position on 
integration, and to identify Klan members present and the extent to 
which they were actively engaged in the campaign.*"' Rowe also reported 
on "National Conventions" of the Klan, closed meetings at which 
officers were elected and Klan positions determined."" 

°' Rowe, 12/2/75, Vol 6, p. 116. 

'^ Special Agent No. 3, 11/21/75, p. 7. 

"^ Special Agent No. 2, 11/21/75, p. 4. Rowe also carried out certain activities 
designed to disrupt the Klan. In early 1964, Rowe testified, liis FBI handling 
agent told him of the "COINTEL" or counterintelligence program of the FBI 
against the Klan. (See COINTELPRO^leport). In connection with the COINTEL 
program. Rowe sought to disrupt the campaign of a Klansman w-ho was a can- 
didate for city ix)lice commissioner by spreading innuendo that the Klansman was 
a homosexual. (Rowe Depsoition, 10/17/75, pp. 14-15.) Rowe also testified 
that he was instructed to plant stories calculated to cause divorces and marital 
problems among Klansmen. {Ibid., p. 17) 

^ Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, A^ol. 6, p. 116. 

*" Rowe, 12/2/75, Vol. 6, p. 116. 

"' Rowe Deposition. 10/17/75, p. 21. 

"' Special Agent No. 1, 11/19/75, p. 10^11. 

''Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 116; Special Agent No. 2, 11/21/7.5, p. 4. 

"' Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 116 : Rowe deposition, 10/17/75, p. 11. 

™ Rowe deposition, 10/17/75, p. 23. 


In addition to Klan activities, Rowe reported on the activities of 
other organizations to the FBI. iVs a member of the "Klan Bureau of 
investigation,'' Eowe was instructed by the Klan to attend and report 
on meetings of civil rights groups. Rowe gave the information he devel- 
oped on these civil rights organizations to the FBI as well, even 
though this fell outside the area of reporting on Klan activities'^ 

c. The Issue of Participation in Oriminal or Violent Activity. — In 
addition to general intelligence, Rowe was particularly instructed to 
report any instances of planned or actual violence by the Klan.'^^ Merely 
attending Klan meetings as an ordinary member did not put Rowe in 
a position to observe the planning for, or occasion of violence, by the 
Klan." As Rowe's FBI handling agent testified, "to gather informa- 
tion [on violence] you have to be there." '* 

Consequently, the FBI instructed Rowe to join a smaller group of 
Klan members, a so-called "Action Group", which conducted violent 
acts against blacks and civil rights workers.^'^ 

At the outset, Rowe's handling agent had instructed him that "under 
no conditions sliould I participate in any violence whatsoever." '"^ Al- 
though these instructions continued to be formally reiterated to Rowe, 
Rowe and his FBI handling agents understood that for Rowe to be able 
to report Klan violence, he would have to be present for — and at times 
might be involved in — ^that violence. 

Rowe testified as to a number of instances where he and other Klans- 
men had "beaten people severely, had boarded buses and kicked people 
otf; had went in restaurants and beaten them with blackjacks, chains, 
pistols." " 

K. l^or example, on one occasion, Rowe gave the FBI advance warning 
tfTat Klan members were planning to assault and beat blacks attending 
a country fair. His FBI handling agent instructed him "to go and see 
what happened." ^^ To accomplish this, Rowe accompanied the Klans- 
men to the fair, where, to preserve his cover, he participated in the 
resulting violence.^" On another occasion, Rowe's throat was cut while 
he was participating with other Klansmen in large-scale violence 
against Freedom Riders at the Birmingham bus depot in May, 1961.^° 

Rowe described how he and other Klansmen used "baseball bats, 
clubs, chains, and pistols" in attacking the Freedom Riders (Rowe, 
12/2/75, p. 1867) . Rowe recalled that, when he asked why there was no 
apparent action on his reports of the impending violence, his FBI 
handling a^ent told him "who the hell are we going to report it to? . . . 
the [Birmmgham] police department helped set [the violence] up. 

'' Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 116. 

" Special Agent No. 1, 11/19/75, p. 8 ; Rowe, Hearings, 12/2/75, p. 116. 

" Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 116-117. 

■' Special Agent No. 1, 11/19/75, p. 4. 

'' Adams, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 144 ; Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 116-117. 

™ Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 116 ; Special Agent No. 1, 11/19/75, p. 9. Rowe's 
first FBI handling agent testified : 

"My specific instructions to [Rowe] were that he was not to be involved in any 
violence. He was not to be involved in any criminal activity, that if he was in- 
volved in any such activity, that I nor anyone else would come to his rescue." 
( Special Agent No. 1, 11/19/75, p. 9) . 

" Rowe deposition, 10/17/75, p. 12. 

'' Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 117. 


'" Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 118. 


We are an investigating agency not an enforcement agency. All we do 
is gather information."'' *f 

The resulting dilem^rfa was described by one of Rowe's FBI handling 
Agents : / 

... it is kind of difficult to tell him that we would like you 
to be there on deck, observing, be able to give us information 
and still keep yourself detached and miinvolved and clean, 
and that was the problem that we constantly had. 

. . . I'm sure he was pi-esent many, many times, when he 
participated in things, and I'm sure he reported them at that 
time, but we certainly cautioned him against that.^^ 
Although Rowe's participation in Klan violence was practically 
an inherent feature of his informant's role, the FBI took particular 
care in at least one instance that Rowe did not suggest or lead violent 
activity. In April 1964, several yeai^s after Rowe joined the Klan 
''Action Group," the Birmingham Field Office reported that Rowe 
had become an Action Group squad leader. Bureau Headquartei-s or- 
dered that Rowe resign this leadei*ship position or be discontinued as 
an informant. '^^ The Bureau further advised the Field Office : 

in those cases where you have an infoi-mant who is a member 
of a violent squad . . . you should insure that the informant 
understands he is not to direct, lead, or instigate any acts of 

Nevertheless, even these instructions did not extend to iiiling out 
Rowe's participation in violence, but rather only leading or directing 
violent acts. The essential characteristic of Rowe's status was ex- 
pressed by the following testimony of his FBI handling agent: 

If he happened to be with some Klansman and they decided 
to do something, he couldn't be an angel and be a good in- 

B. Examples of Intelligence Infornvant Coverage of Groups Subject 
to Intelligence Investigations 

In addition to the case histories of the informants described above, 
the nature of the intelligence informant technique can also be illus- 
trated by other examples of informant coverage in domestic intelli- 
gence investigations. The cases of informant coverage set out below 
indicate the types of information intelligence informants produce for 
FBI files. 

In summary, these cases further demonstrate the extremely broad 
scope of informant reporting, including both lawful political activity 
and details of the personal lives of citizens. For example, informants 

^Rowe, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 118; . . . The reasons for the lack of response 
by the FBI and the Federal Government to Klan violence at the outset of the 
1960s have been described above. The 1961 violence at the Birmingham bus depot 
did lead to a decision by the Kennedy Administration to send U.S. marshals to 
Alabama to protect the Freedom Riders as they proceeded to other cities. (Adams, 
12/2/75, Hearings, p. 142-143.) 

'' Si>ecial Agent No. 3, 11/21/75, pp. 16-17. 

*' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Birmingham Field Office 4/17/64. 

^ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Birmingham Field Office 5/4/64. 

'' Special Agent No. 3, 11/21/75, p. 12. 


in the Women's Liberation Movement (Case No. 9, below) reported the 
identities of women wlio belonged to Women's Liberation groups at 
several Midwest universities, and statements made by women concern- 
ing the personal reasons that motivated them to participate in the 
Women's Movement. Informant coverage of lawfid political activity is 
also shown in Case No. 1 which involved a public meeting held by a citi- 
zens group to debate the merits of developing a certain U.S. missile. 
Several cases presented below involve instances where informants in 
violence-prone groups provided information that led to arrests and 
prosecutions or the prevention of violence. (See Case Nos. 3, 6, and 8 
below.) The Socialist Workers Party (Case No. 10, below) is an exam- 
ple of informant coverage and intelligence surveillance that continued 
uninterrupted for many years, despite the fact that for more than three 
decades the group has committed no criminal acts.*^ 

Case No. 1 — Citizens Panel on the Merits of an Anti-Ballistic 
Missile System {1969) 

An FBI informant and two FBI confidential sources repoited on a 
meeting of a Washington, D.C., group that expressed concern about 
the development of the Anti-Ballistic Missile System (ABINI) in the 
late 1960s.-^ The meeting was targeted for informant coverage because 
the Daily World, a communist newspaper, had commented on the 
formation of the group.** The informant repoiied on plans for the 
meeting which was to be held in a high school auditorium where the 
merits of development of the ABM would be debated, and on publicity 
materials distributed at churches and schools. The informant also re- 
ported that the speakers for the debate would include, on the "pro side," 
a Defense Department official and a Defense Department consultant 
and on the "con side" a political science professor and a well-known 
scientist.*'' A confidential FBI source reported on the past and present 
residence of the person who had applied to rent the auditorium and 
on his current position in the militaiy. Another confidential source 
informed the FBI of the anti-Vietnam war and anti-ABM articles 
being distributed at the meeting.»° The informant and source reports 
on plans for the meeting and on the meeting itself were disseminated 
by teletype to the ^Y\\\iQ House, the Vice President, the Attorney Gen- 
eral, the Secret Serv^ice, the State Department, the CIA, and various 
military intelligence agencies.^^ A subsequent report described plans 
for a similar meeting in the District of Columbia and included the 
names of prominent D.C. politicians who planned to attend.^^ 

*" Shackelford, 2/2/76, p. 89. 

" Adams, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 137. 

^ Adams, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 138. 

"* Memorandum from Alexandria Field Office to Washington Field Office 6/3/69. 

~ Memorandum from Alexandria Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/5/69. 

'memorandum from Alexandria Field Office to FBI Headquarters 6/3/69. 
With resiject to this intelligence investigation, FBI Deputy Associate Di- 
rector Adams testified that, due to the notice in the Daily World communist news- 
paper, the FBI "took a quick look" at the group, and "the case apparently was 
opened on May 28, 1969, and closed June 5 saying there was no problem with this 
organization." (Adams, 12/2/75, Hearings, p. 138.) 

"' Memorandum from Alexandria Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 6/5/69. 


Case No. 2 — Dr. Carl Mclntyre's American Christian Action 
Cowieli {1971) 

An FBI confidential source and an informant reported information 
about the formation of this group by Dr. Mclntyre. The group was 
established to act as a counter to various liberal groups and to the 
"Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam". The initial report 
from a confidential source mentioned plans to picket NBC-TV studios 
in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and named all the 
members of the Board of Di recto rs.^^ Subsequent reports from an in- 
formant described the group's plans to oppose the President's trip to 
China and to support prayer in the public schools.^'" The informant 
also reported on the group's convention held jointly with Dr. Mcln- 
tyre's missionary group and on plans for the group's future organiza- 
tion and activities.'** 

Case No. Z— Detroit Black Panther Party 1970 

An FBI extremist informant involved in an intelligence investiga- 
tion of the Detroit Black Panther Party, (BPP) furnished advance in- 
formation regarding a planned ambush of Detroit police oifieex'S which 
enabled the Detroit Police Department to take action to prevent in- 
jury or death to the officers. The information led to the arrest of eight 
persons and the seizure of a cache of weapons. The informant also furn- 
ished information resulting in the location and confiscation by Bureau 
agents of approximately fifty sticks of dynamite available to BPP, 
which likely resulted in saving of lives and jirevenWg property 
damage.^^ \ 

On June 20, 1970, the infonnant furnished the names of three BPP 
members who were supposed to carry out the ambush on June 27, 
1970 and reported that otliei-s whose identity he did not. know would 
also be involved. This information was furnished to the Detroit Police 
Depaiiment who in turn monitored the ambush site. On June 27, 1970, 
the informant advised that the plamied ambush of j)olice officers would 
definitely take place that night, shoitly after midnight. On June 28, 
1970, two Detroit police officers, wliile patrolling on the east side of 
Detroit a few minutes after midnight, were fired upon by snipers. 

Immediately after the shooting, Detroit police officers arrested the 
three individuals identified by the informant and charged them with 
assault with intent to commit murder. In addition, three other indi- 
viduals were arrested in connection with this shooting. A cache of 
weapons and ammunition was recovered from the residence of one of 
those arrested.^*^ 

On July 25, 1970, the informant advised that a member of the Detroit 
National Committee to Combat Fascism, and another individual, whom 
he believed to be a member of4lie Wliite Panther Party, stole some 
dynamite on or about July 11, 1970. The informant was directed to 
ascertain the location of this dynamite. He later determined that it had 
been stored at the farm of the second individual's mother. The inform- 

' Memorandum from Washington Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/19/71. 
'" Memorandum from Tampa Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/19/72. 

' Joseph Deegan testimony, 2/13/76, p. 54. 

FBI Response to Select Committee Request for Documents. 


ant further advised that the mother did not share her son's radical 
views and had no knowledge that the dynamite was on her farm. On 
September 16, 1970, the mother gave Bureau agents permission to 
search her property. Approximately fifty sticks of dynamite were 

Case No. 4 — National Conference on Amnesty {1974) 

Several FBI informants provided information on a national con- 
ference held to support amnesty for veterans of the Vietnam war. Tlie 
FBI targeted the conference for informant coverage because of other 
informant reports that the Vietnam Veterans Against the War were 
instrumental in organizing the conference and might attempt to take 
it over.^^ The informant's reports identified the various church and 
civil liberties groups who sponsored and organized the conference, as 
well as the participation of a draft evader and several "subversives." ^^ 
The reports described the topics for workshops at the conference, and 
the organization of a steering committee which would include dele- 
gates from families of men killed in Vietnam and Congressional staff 

Case No. 5 — Puhlic Meeting Opposing U.S. hivol/veme^it in Vietnam 
War {1966) 

Informants were used extensively in FBI investigations of possible 
Communist links to the antiwar movement. An example is the FBI's 
coverage of various antiwar teach-ins and conferences sponsored by 
the Universities Committee on Problems of War and Peace. A forty- 
one page report from the Philadelphia office — based on coverage by 
thirteen informants and confidential sources — described in detail 
a "public hearing on Vietnam." "^ A Communist Party official 
had "urged all CP members" in the area to attend, and one of the 
organizers was alleged to have been a Communist in the early 1950's. 
Upon receipt from an informant of a list of the speakers, the FBI 
culled its files for data on their backgrounds. One was described by a 
source as a Young Socialist Alliance "sympathizer." Another was a 
conscientious objector to military service. A third had contributed 
$5,000 to the National Committee to Abolish the House Committee 
on Un-Amei'ican Activities. A speaker representing the W.E.B. 
DuBois Club was identified as a Communist."^ The FBI covered the 
meeting with an informant who reported practically verbatim the re- 
marks of all the speakers, including the following : 

the Chairman of the Philadelphia Ethical Society 
a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union 
a representative of the United Electrical Workers 
a spokesman for the Young Americans for Freedom 
a member of the staff of the "Catholic Worker" 

' Wannall, 12/2/75, p. 139-140. 

Memorandum from Louisville Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 11/21/74. 
" Ibid. 

" Memorandum from Philadelphia Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/22/66. 
'^ IMd. 


a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Churcli 
a minister of the Episcopal Church 

a representative of the Philadelphia Area Committee to 
End the War in Vietnam 

a Professor of Industrial Economics at Columbia 

a representative of the Inter-University Committee for 
Debate on Foreign Policy 

a member of Women's Strike for Peace who had traveled 
to Noith Vietnam 

a member of Women's International League for Peace and 
Freedom who had visited South Vietnam 
a chaplain from Rutgers University 

a professor of political science from Villanova University 
another member of Young Americans for Freedom 
the former Charge d'Atfaires in the South Vietnamese 
Embassy "^ 
This informant's report was so extensive as to be the equivalent of 
a tape recording, although the FBI report does not indicate that the 
informant was "wired." Another informant reported the remarks of 
the following additional participants : 

an official of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy 

a minister of the Church of the Brethren 

a Unitarian minister 

a representative of United World Federalists 

a member of Students for a Democratic Society 

a member of the Socialist Workers Party 

a spokesman for the W. E. B. DuBois Clubs ^°* 

The report was prepared as a Letterhead JNIemorandum with four- 
teen copies for possible dissemination by the FBI to other Executive 
Branch agencies. Copies were disseminated to military intelligence 
agencies, the State Department, and the Internal Security and Civil 
Rights Divisions of the Justice Department."^ 

Case No. ^— Black Nationalist Gmiq) {^1968) 

On July 22, 1968, in connection with an intelligence investigation 
of a Cleveland black nationalist group called "New Libya," an ex- 
tremist informant reported that a cache of rifles and automatic weap- 
ons was in the hands of group members. The informant was later able 
to determine where these weapons were located and that the group 
was formulating plans for disturbances in Cleveland and other cities. 
On July 23, 1968. a racial disturbance broke out in Cleveland trig- 
gered by the Black Libya group. The riot lasted three days and re- 
sulted in a number of policeand civilian deaths. The informant's 
information was relayed to appropriate agencies prior to the out- 
bui"st of violence. 

I hid. 
■ Memorandiun from Philadelphia Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 3/2/66. 

I 249 

The informant's advance reports were instrumental in successful 
prosecutions on first degree murder charges against "New Libva" 

Case No. 7 — Investigation of '■'•Free Universities'^ {J 966) 

The FBI used informants in investigations of "Free l^niversities'' 
in proximity to college campuses to determine whether they were con- 
nected with "subversive" groups. For example, when an aiticle ap- 
peared in a Detroit newspaper stating that a "Free University" was 
being formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and that it was "anti-institu- 
tional," FBI Headquarters instructed the Detroit field office to "as- 
certain through established sources [i.e., informants already in place] 
the origin of this group and the identity of the individuals who are 
responsible for the formation of the gi'oup and whether any of these 
individuals have subvei"sive backgrounds." "' A note on the instruc- 
tion pointed out that even if there was no specific prior indication of 
Communist involvement, established informants were to be used in 
investigations of such "free imiversities" : 

Several "Free Universities" have be^n formed in large cities 
recently by the Communist Party and other subversive 
groups. We are therefore conducting discreet investigations 
through established sources regarding all such "Free Univer- 
sities" that come to the Bureau's attention to determine 
whether they are in any way connected with subversive 

Based on the reports of five informants and confidential sources, the 
field office prepared a ten-j^age letterhead memorandum describing in 
detail the f onnation, curriculum content, and associates of the group — 
including several members of Students for a Democratic Society and 
the Socialist Workers Party."^ Although no further investigation was 
recommended, the report was disseminated to local military intelli- 
gence and Secret Service offices, military intelligence and Secret Serv- 
ice headquarters in Washington, the State Department, and Internal 
Security Division of the Justice Department.^" 

Case No. 8—Washinfft(m, B.C. Black Panther Party {1970-1971) 

An informant of the Richmond FBI Field Office reported a con- 
spiracy by leaders of the Washington, D.C., Chapter of the Black 
Panther Party (BPP) and leaders of the Richmond Inf onnation Cen- 
ter (RIC), an affiliate of the BPP, to steal and transport, weapons 
from Richmond, Virginia, to Washington, D.C. Five pereons were 
ultimately indicted by a federal grand jury. A subsequent trial resulted 
in the conviction of four of the individuals. 

On May 14, 1970, the informant reported that in Richmond, Vir- 
ginia, a leader of the Black Panther Party asked a leader of the 


'08 FBI Memorandum in Response to Select Committee Request. 

''" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to Detroit Field OflBce, 2/17/66. 

'°* Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/15/66. 
"" Memorandum from Detroit Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 4/15/66. 


Richmond Infonnation Center if he was in a position to obtain guns 
for the Washington BPP chaptei-.^^i pj^x investigation failed to de- 
velop any further information regarding guns. However, on Janu- 
ary 8, 1971, a recently developed informant advised that around April 
1970 four individuals from the Richmond area had burglarized a pri- 
vate residence. Seven weapons were stolen during the burglary. The 
informant advised that on November 3, 1970, the guns were then 
transported from the Richmond area to Washington, D.C., by rented 

Case No. d—WoTnen's Liberation Movement {1969) 

Informants were a principal source of information in the FBI's 
investigation of the Women's Liberation Movement. For example, in 
the spring of 1969, th& New York field office drew largely on informant 
reporting to describe the Movement's basic philosophy and to report 
particular meetings in the New York area. In describing one such 
meeting, the report stated : 

On [ ]69, infonnant, who has furnished reliable infor- 
mation in the past, advised that a WLM meeting was held on 
[ ]69, at [ ] New York City. Each woman at this 

meeting stated why she had come to the meeting and how she 
felt oppressed, sexually or otherwise. 

According to this informant, these women are mostly con- 
cerned with liberating women from this "oppressive society." 
They are mostly against marriage, children, and other states 
of oppression caused by men. Few of them, according to the 
infonnant, have had political backgrounds. The infonnant 
stated that a mailing list was passed around at this meeting 
for WLM and the "Red Stockings," another women's 

Similarly, the Kansas City Field Office used infonnant reports to 
describe the extent of Women's Liberation Movement activity and 
to identify individual members at three universities in the Field Office 
territoiy : the University of Missouri at Kansas City, the University 
of Missouri at Columbia, and the University of Kansas at Lawrence. 
The level of detail as to personal identities of persons participating 
in the Women's Movement at University of Missouri, Kansas City, is 
illustrated by the following passage from the Field Office Report : 

[informant] indicates membei-s of Women's Liberation Move- 
ment campus group who are now enrolled as students at Uni- 
versity of Missouri, Kansas City, are [five names deleted]. Of 
these five, [infonnant] said [names deleted] are indicated to 
be at least potential "New Left Radicals." [Informant] noted 
that [names deleted], nof^urrently students on the tJMKC 
campus, are reportedly roommates at . . . Kansas City."* 

'"Memorandum from Alexandria Field OflBce to FBI Headquarters, 5/22/70. 
"- Ihid. 

^^ Memorandum from New York Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 5/28/69, p. 2. 
"^^ Memorandum from Kansas City Field Office to FBI Headquarters, 10/20/70. 


Case No. 10 — Socialist Workers Party {191fi to date) 

FBI informants are operating within the Socialist Workers Party 
(SWP) as part of the FBI's long-tenn intelligence investigation of 
the SWP."^ Informants report the political jwsitions taken by the 
SWP with respect to such issues as the "Vietnam War," "racial mat- 
ters," "U.S. involvement in Angola," "food prices," and any SWP 
effoits to support a non-SWP candidate for political office."'' To en- 
able the FBI to develop background information on SWP leaders, in- 
formants report certain personal aspects of their lives, such as marital 
status."' The informants also report on SWP cooperation with other 
groups who are not the subject of separate intelligence investiga- 

The intelligence investigation of the SWP began in 1940 as a result 
of the SWP's description of itself as a Marxist-Leninist "combat" 
organization which foresaw the inevitability or desirability of violence 
should revolutionai-y conditions arise in the United States."'' The FBI 
conceded, however, that since shortly after its fonnation the SWP has 
not committed any violent acts, nor have its expressions "constituted 
an indictable incitement to violence." ^-° Nevertheless, the FBI's in- 
telligence investigation of the SWP — and the use of informants against 
the party and its members — has continued from 1940 to the present 

Case No. 11 — Ku KVax Klan 

As part of its COINTEL Program of using covert action against 
domestic groups,^^^ the FBI assisted an informant in the Ku Klux Klan 
in his efforts to set-up a new state- wide Klan organization independent 
of the regular Klan. The FBI saw the formation of a rival group as an 
opportunity to promote dissension in the regular Klan both at the 
state and national levels. In approving the operation, FBI headquar- 
ters stated its belief that "if a death-dealing blow can be dealt to the 
[state Klan], the entire Klan organization in the United States will 
collapse." 1^2 The FBI indicated that if the new Klan organization was 
"successful in obtaining a sizable following," it would be "controlled" 
by the FBI "through our informant." ^-^ 

"^ Shackelford, 2/2/76, p. 89. 

"" Ihid., p. 91. 

"' lUd., p. 90. 

"« lUd., p. 92. 

"" lUd., pp. 88-89. 

'^ Ihid., p. 89. In 1942, the conviction a year earlier of 18 SWP members 
for violation of the Smith Act was upheld on appeal. Dunne v. Vnited States, 
138 F.2d 137 (8th Cir. 1943), cert den. 320 U.S. 790 (IMS). In upholding 
the conviction, however, the appellate court relied on a precedent which has since 
been expressly repudiated by the Supreme Court. In Dennis v. United States, 
341 U.S. 494 (1951) the Supreme Court abandoned the "bad tendency" standard 
followed by the appellate court in Dunne in favor of a standard whereby speech 
must present a grave and probable danger of bringing about a prohibited act 
before a conviction may be sustained. 

^^For a full treatment of the FBI's COINTEL (counterintelligence) program, 
which involved covert actions against groups and individuals, see COINTELPRO 

^^ Brennan to Sullivan [date deleted for security reasons]. 

^ Memorandum from field office to FBI Headquarters [date deleted for security 
reasons] . 

69-984 O - 76 - 17 


Two years after the formation of the new Klan group, a status re- 
port by the FBI Field Office described the operation as "successful" 
in capitalizing on the opportunity to "further disrupt [the regular 
Klan] and to entice members of the regular Klan into the new Klan 
organization. At that time, the new Klan group had issued several 
dozen charters (although in many instances no chapter was in fact or- 
ganized) and included nearly 200 members. The report stated fur- 
ther that the new Klan organization would be phased out when it had 
"ione its ultimate damage to the regular Klan." ^"^ 

The Committee's investigation revealed that this tactic risked in- 
creasing violence and racial tension. The Director of the State Bureau 
of Investigation testified that there were dangerous confrontations 
between the two Klan groups. He testified as to one such occasion "in 
which the two groups met in force, and both elements had . . . guns, 
including shotguns . . . they were physically armed and facing each 
other." ^2*^ The FBI informant in the rival Klan group also called 
for violence against blacks. The State Bureau of Investigation Direc- 
tor further testified that he witnessed the FBI informant address a 
Klan rally attended by several thousand persons and heard the inform- 
ant state : "We are going to have peace and order in America if we have 
to kiU every Negro." "*^ 

G. Special FBI Informant Programs 

In addition to the use of informants in particular domestic intelli- 
gence investigations of groups or individuals, the FBI has conducted 
special programs to develop informants for general reporting pur- 
poses. These were (1) the Ghetto Informant Program (1967-1973) ; 
(2) the development of informants in defense industrial facilities 
under the Plant Informant Program (1940-1969) and (3) the 
American Legion Contact Program (1940-1954). These programs are 
outlined below. 

1. The Ghetto Informant Program 

This program was begun in 1967 to develop informants who would 
provide general intelligence on the potential for violence and civil 
unrest in black urban areas."^ In July 1973, after considerable debate 
within the FBI over the program's propriety, value, and cost, the pro- 
gram was terminated by Director Kelley, with instructions to field 
offices that ghetto informants were to be either included in the regular 
FBI informant categories (subversive, extremist or criminal) or 

As of September 1972, there were 7,402 ghetto informants. Fig- 
ures for previous years were: 1971—6,301; 1970—5,178; 1969 — 4,067."^ 

FBI officials saw the Ghetto Informant Program as their response 
to the possibility that the urban riots and violence that occurred in the 
summer of 1967 might be repeated and the express desire of White 
House and Justice Department officials for advance warnings."^ In 

'^ Memorandum from field office to FBI Headquarters [date deleted for secu- 
rity reasons]. 

'=^" Deposition of Director, State Bureau of Investigation, 4/1/76, p. 36. 

"^•' /&u/.. p. r,2. 

"^ Memorandum from Moore to Sullivan, 10/11/67; memoranda from FBI 
Headquarters to all SACs. 10/17/67. 

"« Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs. 7/31/73. 

^ FBI Memoranda in Response to Select Committee Request, 8/20/74. 

^ Memorandum from Moore to Sullivan, 10/11/67. 


September 1967 Attorney General Ramsey Clark wrote to FBI Direc- 
tor Hoover : 

There persists ... a widespread belief that there is more 
organized activity in the riots than we presently know about. 
We must recognize, I believe, that this is a relatively new area 
of investigation and intelligence reporting for the FBI and 
the Department of Justice. We have not heretofore had to 
deal with the possibility of an organized j^attern of violence, 
constituting a violation of federal law, by a group of persons 
who make the urban ghetto their base of operation and w^hose 
activities may not have been regularly monitored by existing 
intelligence sources. 

In these circumstances, tve must make certain that every 
attempt is being Tnade to get all information hearing upon 
these prohlems; to take every step possible to determine 
whether the rioting is pre-planned or organized ; and^ if so, to 
determine the identity of the people and interests involved; 
and to deter this activity by prom2>t and vigorous legal action. 

As a part of the broad investigation which must necessarily 
be conducted . . . sources or informants in hlack nationalist 
organizations, SNCC and other less publicized groups should 
be developed and expanded to determine the size and purpose 
of these groups and their relationship to other groups, and 
also to determine the whereabouts of persons who might be 
involved in instigating riot activity in violation of federal 
law}"^^ [Emphasis added.] 

In announcing the program to FBI Field Offices, Director Hoover 
stated that "it is imperative and essential that the Bureau learn of any 
indications of advance planning or organized conspiracy on the part 
of individuals or organizations in connection wdth riots and civil 
disturbances." ^^° 

As originally conceived, a "ghetto informant" was to act as a "listen- 
ing post" rather than an informant who actively sought information or 
who infiltrated particular groups.^^^ The FBI defined a ghetto inform- 
ant as "an individual who lives or works in a ghetto area and has access 
to information regarding the racial situation and racial activities in his 
area which he furnishes to the Bureau on a confidential basis." "^ A 
1972 Inspection Division memorandum noted that the concept of a 
ghetto informant "includes the proprietor of a candy store or barber- 
shop" in an urban ghetto area.^^^ 

At the outset of the program, ghetto informants, in contrast to reg- 
ular subversive or extremist informants, were not given specific as- 
signments or directed to infiltrate groups. As the program developed, 
however, this changed. A Bureau document described this change : 

The "listening post" concept was expanded and ghetto in- 
formants are now utilized to attend public meetings held by 
extremists, to identify extremists passing through or locating 

*^ Memorandum from Attorney General Ramsey Clark to Director, FBI, 
'^ Memoramidum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 10/17/67, p. 8. 
'^^ Memorandum from Moore to Miller, 9/8/72. 
^^ Memorandum from Moore to Brennan, 10/27/70. 
^^ Memorandum from Inspection Division, 11/24/72. 


in the glietto area, tx) identify purveyors of extremist litera- 
ture as well as given specific assignments where appropri- 
In addition to specific assignments to report indications of poten- 
tial violence, ghetto informants were focused on "Afro-American type 
bookstores." A Philadelphia Field Office directive to Special Agents 
listed the following such assignment as suitable for ghetto informants : 
"Visit Afro- America-type bookstores for the purpose of determining 
if militant extremist literature is available therein and, if so to iden- 
tify the owners, operators, and clientele of such stores." ^^^ 

The "listening post" concept of the Ghetto Informant Program 
became the subject of sharp debate within the FBI in 1972. The FBI 
Inspection Division criticized the program for counting a ghetto in- 
formant's report that there was no indication of civil unrest in his 
area as "positive" information. The Inspection Division observed that 
"negative information is not counted as positive information in any 
other informant program." ^^® The Inspection Division further stated : 

Some Ghetto Informants have in the past furnished informa- 
tion in extremist or criminal matters. This has been recog- 
nized as a by-product of the Ghetto Informant Program. A 
more meaningful approach to this whole problem might be to 
concentrate more heavily in ghetto areas to develop proven 
Security, Extremist, Revolutionary Activities, and Criminal 
Informants upon whom we can then rely to keep us advised 
of civil disturbance plans as a steady by-product to the in- 
formation they are regularly furnishing on domestic intelli- 
gence or criminal matters.^^^ 

The Inspection Division further noted that there might be "justifiable 
apprehension" outside the FBI regarding the "listening post" concept. 

... we have some concern of justifiable apprehension that 
might be expressed by the Congress or the public if this 
program were to be described in terms out of context with our 
real intentions. We could fully defend informants providing 
us regularly with information directly related to our juris- 
dictional responsibilities and using them for "by-product" in- 
formation on civil unrest. It would be much more difficult 
to defend establishment of ghetto or urban listening posts all 
over the country with a possible by-product of information 
directly within our jurisdiction.^"' 

The Inspection Division concluded that ghetto informants who had 
proven to be productive informants "should be converted to the ap- 
propriate substantive informant program to which their services 
relate." "« 

On July 31, 1973, Director Kelley terminated the Ghetto Informant 
Program, eliminating the category of "ghetto informant" and in- 
structing that "no individual will be operated as an [extremist inf orm- 

^^ Memorandum from Moore to Miller, 9/27/72. 

^^ SAO memorandum, 8/12/68, re : Racial Informants. 

^^ Memorandum from Inspection Division, 11/24/72. 

'"^ Ibid. 

"^■^ Ibid. 

"« Ibid. 


ant] solely because he is in a 'listening post' position." ^^'-^ Under the 
revised extremist informant program, extremist activity and potential 
violence were to be monitored through regular extremist informants. 

■2. The Plant Informant Program {1940-1969) 
This program developed out of discussions in October, 1938 among 
the Army, Navy, and FBI as to which entity would have responsibility 
for the security of defense industries against espionage and sabo- 
tage."" As a result of these discussions, it was decided^ that the FBI 
would assume the responsibility. 

The program was begun in September 1940, when FBI Field Offices 
were instracted to develop confidential sources in defense plants iden- 
tified to the FBI on lists submitted by the Army and Navy.^" By 
September, 19-42, there were 23,746 such confidential sources in 3,879 
defense plants.^*^ 

The program was cut back sharply after World War II, but con- 
tinued in existence until its t'Crmination in March, 1969.^** Generally, 
the confidential sources in the program were used as a point of contact 
and potential source of information in investigations of suspected 
espionage matters.^** 

3. The American Legion Contact Program {19Jfi-195Ji) 
Tliis program arose out of a proposal submitted by the American 
Legion to the Attorney General in 1939. Wlien Wor-ld War II broke 
out in Europe, the American Legion submitted to the Attorney Gen- 
eral a proposal to use its local posts to investigate and report mdica- 
tions of subversive or espionage activity. ^*^ The Attorney General 
turned down the proposal but referred it to the FBI for comment. The 
FBI came forward with an alternative plan, which in essence called 
for the use of local American Legion post members as potential "confi- 
dential sources" in their communities."" After background checks, such 
sources were to be used to provide information without payment on 
domestic security matters."^ The FBI proposal was approved by the 
Attorney General and the American Legion in November 1940.^*^ The 
program was terminated on August 17, 1954. FBI Field Offices how- 
ever were instructed to maintain contact with American Legion of- 
ficials in their areas.^*® 

D. The Use of Informants at Colleges and Universities 
1. Present FBI Polim/ 
In the course of its domestic intelligence investigations, the FBI 
regularly uses students, teachers and school officials at colleges and 
universities as informants and confidential sources. 

'" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 7/31/73. 

^" FBI deposition, 2/10/76, p. 22. 

''"■ Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 9/23/40. 

^*" Ibid., p. 24. 

'" Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 3/25/69. 

'" FBI deposition, 2/10/76, p. 23. 

'"^ lUd., p. 20. 

'"* lUd., p. 20. As discussed in greater detail at p. 260 below, confidential sources 
are defined by the FBI manual as individuals who furnish information "available 
to them through their employment or position in the community." 

"^ imd. 

^*^ Ibid., p. 21. 

"' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SACs, 8/17/54. 


Under present FBI policy, there are two measures that apply solely 
to the use of campus informants. Students under 18 years of age may 
not be used as informants in other than "highly unusual circum- 
stances" and justification for their use must be submitted to Bureau 
Headquarters.^^° Second, student informants and confidential sources 
are requested to sign a statement that they are "volmitarily" submit- 
ting information because of their "concern over individuals and groups 
that may be inimical to interests of U.S. Govemment".^^^ The state- 
ment also provides that the student informant or source "understands 
[the] FBI has no interest in legitimate institution or campus activi- 
ties." ^^^^ However, the Manual does not further explain or specify 
the distinction between relevant matter in intelligence investigations 
and such "legitimate activity." 

The FBI Manual emphasizes that, despite these two measures re- 
quiring "care" in the use of campus informants, FBI Field Offices must 
have "well-planned [informant] coverage" at colleges and universities. 
The Manual provides: 

Each office must have continuous and well-planned program 
to obtain necessary coverage at institutions of learning so 
that Bureau can fulfill its obligations. Care with which this 
must be done in no way lessens responsibility of each field 
office to have proper coverage.^^^ 

•2. The Backgroimd to Present Policy 

FBI policy on the use of informants and sources at colleges and 
universities underwent a number of changes between 1965 and 1970, 
the period of campus unrest. In 1967 as a result of the Katzenbach 
Report on CIA involvement with student groups, FBI Director 
Hoover cut back sharply on the use of campus informants, imposing 
a number of restrictions on their use. Later, despite strong pressure 
from the Justice Department for more intelligence on campus groups. 
Hoover initially refused to relax these restrictions. Gradually, how- 
ever, the restrictions were lifted and indeed in September 1970 the 
age limit for campus informants (and all infonnants) was lowered 
from 21 to 18. 

The development of FBI policy on campus informants in the crit- 
ical period 1965-1970 is reviewed below. 

a. Initial Guidelines for Use of Camjms Informants. — FBI field 
offices had been instructed as early as 1965 to intensify their investi- 
gation of "subversive activity" among student gi'oups.^^^ In 1967, 
however, the FBI became concerned that its intelligence activity on 
college campuses might be exposed by the controversy over CIA links 
with the National Student Association.^^^ Therefore, field offices were 

^•^ FBI, MOI See. 107 U(l) (a). 

^' FBI, MOI See. 107 U(l) (b). 

^^ lUd. 

"= FBI, MOI See. 107, U (3). 

'^ SAC Letter No. 65-44, 8/17/65. 

^^ Referring ito the exposure of CIA involvement with the National Student 
Association, the FBI informed its field oflBces : 

"It is possible that this current controversy could focus attention on the 
Bureau's investigation of student groups on college campuses." (SAC Letter No. 
67-13, 2/21/67.) 


advised to conduct campus investigations in a "most discreet and 
circumspect'' manner : 

You should . . . bear in mind that in our continuing investiga- 
tions to keep abreast of subversive influence on campus groups, 
in discharging our responsibilities in the internal security 
field, such investigations should be conducted in a most dis- 
creet and circumspect manner. Good judgment and common 
sense must prevail so that the Bureau is not compromised or 
placed in an embarrassing position.^^^ 

Field offices were reminded that existing FBI policy required appiX)V'al 
from headquarters before investigating individuals or groups "con- 
nected with an institution of learning," before interviewing students 
or faculty members, and before developing a student or faculty mem- 
ber "as an informant source." These interviews or contacts were also 
to "be made away f ix>m the campus." ^^^ 

b. The 1967 Restrictions. — When the Katzenbach Committee issued 
its repoi-t on CIA involvement with student groups, FBI Director 
Hoover canceled all outstanding authorizations "to contact students, 
graduate students, and professors of educational institutions in secu- 
rity matte i*s . . . [including] established sources, informants, and 
other sources." Field Offices were instructed to request new authority 
from FBI headquarters "where contacts with such individuals are 
particularly important and necessary." ^^'^ 

Shortly after the 1967 cutback in campus coverage, however, the 
FBI formally characterized the Students for a Democratic Society 
for the first time, stressing its "subversive" connections. As intelli- 
gence investigations of SDS chapters expanded, FBI officials realized 
that the restrictions on campus contacts "impose problems for the 
field." i^« 

Field Offices w ere advised to stress "the development of noncampus 
informants and sources" to maintain intelligence coverage of "sub- 
versive" activity at educational institutions."^ Shortly thereafter, the 
restriction was lifted for contacts on campuses with "established 
sources functioning in an administrative capacity such as a Registrar, 
Director of Admissions, Dean of Men, Dean of Women and Security 
Officer, and their subordinates." Headquarters approval, however, 
was still required to contact students or professors.^^" 

C. Hoover's Resistance to Neio Pressure for Relaxed Restrictions on 
Carnifus Informants. — The urban riots of the summer of 1967 greatly 
intensified FBI domestic intelligence operations. Equally important, 
the Detroit and Newark riots brought other agencies of the Federal 
Government into the picture. A Presidential Commission was estab- 
lished to study civil disorders and the Attorney General reexamined 
statutes on sedition, conspiracy and insurrection. Consequently, the 
Internal Security Division asked the FBI : 

SAC Letter No. 67-13, 2/21/67. 
' SAC Letter No. 67-13, 2/21/67. 
SAC Letter No. 67-20, 4/7/67. 
SAC Letter No. 67-24, 5/2/67. 
SAC Letter No. 67-24, 5/2/67. 
SAC Letter No. 67-29, 5/24/67. 


to furnish us with the names of any individuals who appear 
at more than one campus either before, during, or after any 
active disorder or riot and the identities of those pereons from 
outside the campus who might be instigatoi-s of these inci- 
The FBI w^as asked to use not only its "existing sources," but also 
"any other soui-ce you may be able to develop . . ." ^^^ 

Despite the pressure for greater intelligence about campus groups, 
Director Hoover decided "that additional student informants cannot 
be developed." ^^^ Nevertheless, the FBI field offices were instructed to 
intensify their efforts : "It is . . . recognized that with the graduation 
of senior classes, you will lose a certain percentage of your existing 
student informant coverage. This decreasing percent of coverage will 
not be accepted as an excuse for not developing the necessary 
information." ^^* 

One way to achieve this result without the FBI itself recruiting 
additional student informants was to have local police do so. Thus, 
when field officers were reminded of the need for gathering intelligence 
so that the Justice Department could be provided "data regarding 
developing situations having a potential for violence," FBI Headquar- 
ters stressed the need for "in-depth liaison with local law enforcement 
agencies." ^"^ 

In September 1969. the restriction on recruitment of new campus 
informants was finally relaxed, although field officers were still for- 
bidden to develop informants under the age of 21. Procedures were 
instituted, however, "for tight controls and great selectivity in this 
most sensitive area". Field offices were given the following instruction : 

Upon initial contact with a potential student informant or 
source, informant or source should be requested to execute 
brief signed written statement for the field file to the effect 
that such individual has voluntarily furnished information to 
the FBI because of his concern of [sic] individuals and groups 
acting against the interests of his government and that he 
understands that the FBI is not interested in the legitimate 
aOtivities of educational institutions. 

Field offices were also to submit quarterly reports assessing the pro- 
ductivity of each student informant so as "to justify the continued 
utilization of the source." ^^^ 

d. The Huston Plants Recommendation for Expanded Campus In- 
formant Coverage. — FBI Intelligence Division officials were gi'eatly 
dissatisfied with these restrictions, particularly the age restriction on 

^*" Memorandum from Assistant Attorney General J. Walter Yeagley to the 
Director FBI, 3/3/69. 

'* SAC Letter No. 69-16, 3/11/69. _ 

'** Ihid. 

^^ SAC Letter 69-44, 8/19/69. Local police use of intelligence undercover agents 
in college classrooms in California was held by the California Supreme Court to 
likely "pose a substantial restraint ujwn the exercise of First Amendment 
rights." ( White v. Davis, 533 Pac Rep. 2d., 222, 232. California Supreme Court, 

^^ SAC Letter No. 69-55, 9/26/69. 


students informants,^*'^ This dissatisfaction surfaced in June 1970 as 
the Intelligence Community developed recommendations (the "Hus- 
ton Plan") for President Nixon for the relaxing of restrictions on 
domestic intelligence operations.^^^ Among other items, the Huston 
Plan recommended to the President : 

Present restrictions should be relaxed to permit expanded 
coverage of violence-prone campus and student- related 
groups. ^^^ 

Over Hoover's specific objection, this recommendation had also been 
contained as an option in the earlier Special Report of the intelligence 
agencies which led to the Huston Plan. In the Special Report, Hoover 
noted his objection in the following words : 

The FBI is opposed to removing any present controls and 
restrictions relating to the development of campus sources. 
To do so would severely jeopardize its investigations and 
could result in charges that investigative agencies are inter- 
fering with academic freedom.^'" 

e. The Reinoval of the Age Restriction. — Despite Hoover's recorded 
opposition in June 1970 to expanded campus informer coverage and 
President Nixon's ultimate decision not to implement the Huston Plan, 
in September 1970 the FBI lifted the principal restriction on campus 
informant use. On September 15, 1970, the FBI authorized its field 
offices "to develop student security and racial informants who are 18 
years of age or older." ^^^ FBI Headquarters pointed out to the field 
that the removal of the age restriction presented the field "with a tre- 
mendous opportunity to expand your coverage." ^^^ 

The expanded campus coverage called for by FBI Headquarters was 
quickly implemented at the Field Office level as part of the FBI's 
effort to have New Left campus groups think "there is an FBI agent 
behind evei-y mailbox." ^'^ On September 16, 1970 — ^the day following 
the Headquarters letter lifting the age restriction — ^the Philadelphia 
Field Office for example, advised its agents : 

The Director has okayed PSI's [potential security inform- 
ants] and Si's [security informants] age 18 to 21. We have 
been blocked off from the critical age group in the past. Let us 
take advantage of this opportunity.^^* 

^ Special Report of the Interagency Committee on Intelligence (Ad Hoe), the 
"Huston Plan," 6/70, (Hearings, Vol. 2, Exhibit No. 1.) p. 34. 

'* See the Detailed Report on the Huston Plan. 

^^ Huston Plan, p. 36. 

"° Huston Plan, p. 36. 

^" SAC Letter 70-^8, 9/15/70. 

"' SAC Letter 70-48, 9/15/70. 

"^ Memorandum from Philadelphia Field Office, to FBI Headquarters. 9/16/70. 
The Philadelphia Field Office pointed out that on September 10 and 11, 1970, a con- 
ference at FBI Headquarters on the New Left had reached a consensus that FBI 
interviews with persons on campuses might result in identification of new campus 
informants and "will further serve to get the point across there is an FBI agent 
behind every mailbox." (Ibid.) 

"* Ibid. 



A. The Number of Intelligence Informants 

As of June 30, 1975, the FBI was using over 1,500 domestic intel- 
ligence informants/" There were 1,040 FBI regular informants 
approved by Bureau Headquarters (another 554 were in probationary 
status pending establishment of their reliability ).^^*^ The FBI pro- 
grammed a total of $7,401,000 for its intelligence informants program 
in Fiscal Year 1976. This amount is more than double the amount the 
FBI programmed for its organized crime informant program in 

In addition to paid and directed informants, the FBI uses con- 
fidential and panel sources in its intelligence investigations. Con- 
fidential sources are defined by the FBI as individuals who fumish the 
FBI information available to them through their employment or posi- 
tion in the community.^^ The FBI Manual cites as examples of con- 
fidential sources "bankers, telephone company employees, and land- 
lords." "« 

In practice, FBI Field Offices designate individuals as confidential 
sources who are logical and convenient points of contact and informa- 
tion. The source then becomes a matter of administrative record and 
is available to all agents in the Field Office, minimizing the need 
for an agent to start from scratch in selecting persons to interview 
when the need arises.^^° Confidential sources are not usually informed 
that they have been so designated, nor are they usually paid for any 
information they provide.^*^ As of June 1975, there were 605 confi- 
dential extremist sources, and 649 confidential subversive sources. 
(By comparison, in 1973 there were 837 confidential sources and, in 
1972, 684 confidential subversive sources.) ^"* 

Panel sources are defined as individuals who are not involved in an 
investigated group but who "will attend its public gatherings on behalf 
of FBI for intelligence purposes or as potential witnesses." ^^'^^ Panel 
sources were first developed to meet the need for witnesses in the course 
of Smith Act trials of Communist Party members in the 1950s. In those 
trials, it was necessary to prove, for example, simple facts as to the 
existence of the Communist Party, the dates and places of public 
meetings held by the Party, and similar matters. To avoid surfacing 

™ Memorandum from the FBI to the Senate Select Committee, 11/28/75.. 

"' By comi>arison, in 1971 the FBI had 1,731 regular informants, nearly 700 
more than in 1975, and, as of 1972, 7,482 informants in the Ghetto Informant Pro- 
gram. The decline since 1971 in the number of regular informants is largely at- 
tributable to the decline in dissident political activity with the end of the Vietnam 
War and the institution of somewhat stricter standards for the opening or contin- 
uation of domestic intelligence investigations. As discussed above, the Ghetto 
Informant Program was discontinued in 1973. 

'" E^I, Overall Intelligence Program, FY 1977 Budget Compared to FY 1976. 
The cost of the intelligence informant program comprises payments to inform- 
ants and FBI personnel, and overhead costs. 

"*FBI, MOI Sec. 107, A (4). 

™FBI, MOI Sec. 107, A (4). 

^ FBI deposition, 2/10/76, p. 13. 

'^ FBI deposition, 2/10/76, pp. 10-12. 

^^^ Ibid. 

181b J^J^ JJQJ gp^, -^^Q^ ^ 


regular informants within the Party to establish such facts, panel 
sources were developed. Panel sources are used for similar purposes 
today.^®2 ^g Qf 1975^ there were approximately 200 panel sources.^^^ 

As discussed in more detail above, there were 7,482 informants in 
the Ghetto Informant Program in 1972, the year before its termination. 

B. The FBI Adrrdnistrative System for Intelligence Informants 

The FBI administers its intelligence informants through a cen- 
tralized system from Bureau Headquarters. FBI Special Agents may 
not operate or pay informants and sources without approval of FBI 
Headquarters or the Special A^ent in charge of a Field Office. FBI 
Headquarters approval is required to designate an individual as a 
potential subversive informant.^^* 

All potential informants are subjected to a background check. 
Military records, police files, and employment and credit history are 
typical items reviewed.^^^ The results of this background investiga- 
tion are submitted to Bureau Headquarters. Potential extremist in- 
formants may be operated on the personal authority of the Special 
Agent in Charge at the Field Office level, unless the individual is in a 
sensitive position where his disclosure as an informant "could cause 
inordinate concern to the Bureau," is a member of or may soon join an 
extremist organization, or has a criminal or other unsavory back- 
ground. ^^^ In such instances, FBI Headquarters' authority must be 
obtained, along with a statement outlining the intended use of the 

Although titled "potential" informants, such individuals neverthe- 
less provide the FBI with intelligence information during this initial 
stage and are paid for what they supply.^^^ 

Special Agents in Charge may pay an informant up to $400 on their 
own authority ; ^^^ after that amount has been expended Bureau Head- 
quarter authorization is required for any additional payments.^^° 
Although there is no formal ceiling on payments for services (i.e., 
information provided) FBI informants average approximately $100 
a month, with the most valuable and productive informants, such as 
Rowe and Cook, earning in the range of $30O-$400 monthly.^^^ 

FBI Headquarters approval is required to raise both potential sub- 
versive and extremist informants to regular informant status. The 
request must be initialed by the Field Office SAC or his Deputy.^''^ 

In addition, every six months FBI Headquarters reviews a com- 
pleted form on each informant submitted by the Field Office. The form 
summarizes the informant's activities, his pay, the type of informa- 
tion supplied (including the percentage verified from other sources) 
and an assessment of his value. On the basis of this report, and a 

"' FBI deposition, 2/10/76, pp. 16-17. 

'•^ Ihid. 

^^ FBI, MOI Sec. 107, D(l). 

^«=FBI, MOI, Sec. 107.C. 

^^ FBI, MOI, Sec. 130, C(l and 2). 

'^ FBI, MOI, Sees. 107, C ; 103, D(l) . 

'^ FBI, MOI, Sec. 107, D (5). 

'""FBI, MOI, Sec. 107, 1 (2a). 

'"" FBI, MOI, Sec. 107, L(3). 

'"' FBI deposition, 2/10/75, p. 6 ; Cook, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 12. 

'"^ FBI, MOI, Sec. 106, D(10). 


comparison of the informant's information with that of others in simi- 
lar circumstances, a monthly payment limit is established for the next 
six-month period.^^^ 

There are periodic reviews of informant activities in addition to 
those described above. The FBI Manual provides that every sixtv days 
the SAC or his deputy are to review each informant's file/^* In addi- 
tion, the Inspection Division reviews informant files during its annual 
inspections of each Field Office.^^^ 

To operate confidential and panel sources, FBI Headquarters ap- 
proval is also required. Background investigations are also performed 
on these sources and the results submitted to Bureau Headquarters.^®^ 

Each informant is assigned a "handling agent," an FBI Special 
Agent who is in contact with the informant on a regular basis, re- 
ceives the informant's information, and pays him, usually on a 
monthly basis. The Manual provides that the handling agent "should 
not only collect information, but direct the informant, be aware of his 
activities, and maintain such close a relationship that he knows in- 
formant's attitude towards the Bureau." ^^^ 

The FBI Manual contains detailed provisions for the correction 
of false information.^'''^ If it is learned an informant has given false 
information, "all communications which have been disseminated to 
(FBI HQs), other Bureau offices and to outside agencies must be 
corrected." "^ In addition, corrective letters are to be written to amend 
any reports which contain the incorrect information. Moreover, a 
control file is to be established and a letter to FBI HQs must be sent 
which is to be used "to check all pertinent Bureau files to see that 
necessary corrective action has been taken." ^"^ 

The Manual also provides that informants must submit written 
reports or sign transcriptions of their oral reports.^^®^ A limited ex- 
ception to this rule exists for extremist informants who may submit 
oral reports in cases of imminent violence.^®®*' 

G. Standards for the Use of Intelligence Informants 

There are three types of standards for intelligence informants. 
These are (a) the criteria that govern the decision to use informants 
against groups and individuals; (b) the limits that are set on the 
type of information an informant may report to the FBI; and (c) 
the limits that are placed on an informant's conduct. 

At present, the standards for intelligence informants are contained 
in internal FBI directives. There are no statutes or published gov- 
ernment regulations to govern the use of intelligence informants. 

"■^ FBI, MOI, Sec. 107, L(3). 

^** letter from the FBI to the Senate Select Committee, 12/2/75, Hearings, 
Vol. 6, Exhibit 33. 

^*<' FBI, MOI Sees. 107, R (5), S(2) _ 

'TBI, MOI Sees. 107, R(.5), S(2). 

"^' The process for verifying any informant's information is a continuous one 
in which the Handling Agent cross checks an informant's reports through other 
sources and separate investigation. Memorandum from the FBI to the Senate 
Select Committee, 12/2/75, p. 4. ) 

"«FBI,MOISec. 107, Q(4). 

^ FBI, MOI Sec. 107, Q (9) . 

'*" FBI, MOI Sec. 107 ( G ) , 130 ( M ) 

'*" FBI, MOI Sec. 130(M-ld) 


Unlike wiretap and electronic surveillance, which are subject to 
an elaborate system of review and approval by the Department of 
Justice and the courts, there is no review outside the FBI of decisions 
on intelligence informants. Thus, decisions as to intelligence inform- 
ant coverage — e.g., the number of informants to be used in an invevStiga- 
tion, the scope and duration of their reporting — are made exclusively 
by FBI officials. In addition, since the standards for informant use 
are in internal FBI directives, it is also within the discretion of FBI 
officials to change these standards. 

1. Critena for the Decision to Use Informants 
Under the FBI Manual, once a full intelligence investigation of a 
group or individual is opened, informants can be used without limita- 
tion. In a preliminary investigation, established informants may sup- 
ply information, but new informants may not be recruited.^"" 

Since September 1973, the FBI has distinguished between full intel- 
ligence investigations and preliminary ones, and has imposed differing 
limitations on the length, scope, and sources of information for pre- 
liminary investigations. A preliminary investigation may be under- 
taken when the subject's involvement in subversive or extremist activi- 
ties is questionable or unclear to further define his involvement and 
to determine whether a statutory basis exists for a full investigation. 
A preliminary investigation is supposed to be confined to a review of 
public source docimients, record checks, and established sources and 
informants. The General Accounting Office Study on FBI domestic 
intelligence operations found, however, that in practice, FBI Field 
Offices have not adequately distinguished between the two types of in- 
vestigations.2''^ In particular, the GAO found that the limits on the 
use of informants in preliminary investigations was subject to varying 
interpretations and loose observance. The GAO Study stated : 

Although the Manual of Instructions confines the scope 
of preliminaries to the use of established sources, our review 
of the cases showed that the 10 field offices generally used the 
same sources in the preliminary cases as full-scale cases. 

Most of the field offices interpreted "established sources" 
broadly and did not believe the type of investigation placed 
restrictions on who was contacted. An "established source" 
was generally described by the field offices as 'being any source 
previously used by the Bureau. In addition, some field of- 
fices indicated that information could come from whatever 
source — established or otherwise — which is necessary to estab- 
lish a subject's identity and subversive or extremist affilia- 

Under current standards, full domestic intelligence investigations 
may be opened on groups and individuals — and thus informants may 
be recruited and targeted against them — if (1) they have, or allegedly 

'FBI, MOI Sec. 87, (F). 
GAO Study, p. 27. 
GAO Study, pp. 113-114. 


have, violated certain statutes; ^°^ (2) they are "engaged in activities 
which may result in" a violation of these statutes, (3) they advocate 
activities which trmy result in a violation of these statutes.^"* 

Informants may also infiltrate groups who are not the subject of 
intelligence investigations under certain circumstances. The FBI 
Manual provides that if a group which is the subject of a subversive in- 
vestigation is seeking "to systematically infiltrate and control" an- 
other group, an intelligence investigation of the infiltration (as op- 
posed to the second group itself) may be opened.-°^ Informants may 
join or participate in the activities of the second group if requested 
by the first group. 

In addition, subversive investigations under Section 87 of the FBI 
Manual examine any significant connections or cooperation between a 
group under investigation and any other groups.^"*^ 

Thus, under this standard, informants in the group under investiga- 
tion may report on those who happen to w^ork with the group or its 
members under investigation, even if the cooperation involves lawful 

In summary, the scope of informant coverage may extend to (1) 
groups that are the subject of intelligence investigations; (2) groups 
which an investigated group is attempting to infiltrate or control ; and 
(3) groups having "significant connections," or which cooperate with 
investigated groups. 

2. Limits on the Information an Informant May Report 

There are few limits on the information an informant may report 
to the FBI. The FBI Manual does not limit an intelligence informant's 
reporting to information relating to the planning or commission of 
criminal offenses or violence. As indicated by the case histories ex- 
amined earlier, informants are expected to report virtually everything 
they observe regarding a group or individual's activity to fulfill their 
intelligence purpose. 

One rationale for this unlimited reporting w^as expressed by FBI 
officials in their testimony to the Committee. In response to a question 
as to the desirability of limiting an informant's reporting to informa- 
tion pertaining to violence or criminal activity. Deputy Associate 
Director Adams stated : 

Here is the problem that you have w^ith that. When you're 
looking at an organization, do you report only the violent 

^ For subversive intelligence investigations, the principal statutes are 18 U.S.C. 
2383-85 relating to rebellion or insurrection, seditious conspiracy, and advocat- 
ing the overthrow of the government. The same statutes are involved in extremist 
investigations as well as the Civil Rights Act, 18 U.S.C. 241. 

^FBI Manual of In.struction. Section 87, A.(l)(4); Section 122, A.(l)(2). 
Section 87, A. ( 1 ) dealing with subversive investigations, provides, for example : 

"Investigations conducted under this section are to be directed to the gather- 
ing of material pertinent to a determination whether or not the subject has 
violated, or is engaged in activities which may result in a violation of [certain 
statutes] or in fulfillment of Departmental instructions." [Emphasis added.] 

The manual further provides that "subversive organization" or "subversive 
movement" denotes a (FBI, MOI Sec. 107,A(4) ) group "which is known to . . . 
advocate subversive activities." [Emphasis added.] Subversive activities are 
defined in terms of activities which violate or mav violate relevant statutes. 
(FBI, MOI Sec. 107,A(1).) 

205 FBI, MOI, Sec. 87, B.4. 

'^FBI, MOI Sec. 107,B(3-9) 


statements made by the group or do you also show that you 
may have one or two violent individuals, but you have some 
of these church groups tliat were mentioned, and others, that 
the whole intent of the group is not in violation of the statutes. 
You have to report the good, the favorable along with the un- 
favorable, and this is a problem. We wind up with informa- 
tion in our files. We are accused of being vacuum cleaners, 
and [we] are a vacuum cleaner. If you want to know the real 
purpose of an organization, do you only report the violent 
statements made and the fact that it is 'by a small minority, 
or do you also show^ the broad base of the organization and 
what it really is ? "°^ 

However, FBI officials indicated that new limits on the scope of an 
informant's reporting were needed. As Adams stated ". . . we have to 
have guidelines . . . we have to narrow down [informant report- 
ing] because we recognize we do wind up with too much information in 
our files.2o^» 

The FBI Manual does proscribe the reporting of certain types of 
information. First, informants are not to report certain legal defense 
information. The Manual states intelligence informants should de- 
cline to assist in legal defense matters or to "handle an assignment 
where such information is readily available." ^"'^ If an informant can- 
not avoid involvement, his handling agent is to instruct the inform- 
ant "not to report any information pertaining to defense plans or 
strategy," ^"^ The Manual's limitations on legal-related information are 
as follows : 

If an informant is present in conversation between an attor- 
ney and individual under criminal indictment, he should im- 
mediately leave. If he is unable to do so and inadvertently 
learns of defense plans or strategy, he is not to report the 
substance of any conversation to the FBI. Additionally, the 
informant is not to engage in or report the substance of a con- 
versation with a criminal defendant dealing with the offense 
for which the defendant is under indictment.^^*' 
The FBI interprets these provisions as prohibiting only the report- 
mg of privileged attorney-client communications or legal defense mat- 
ters in connection with a specific proceeding. So-called "standard" 
legal defense information, such as manuals for general use in legal 
matters, can be taken by an informant and given to the FBI. The 
meaning of legal "defense plans or strategy" is not defined in the FBI 
Manual and can lead to varying interpretations of what can be re- 
ported. Thus, as indicated above, Cook's FBI handling agent testifi- 
fied he took from Cook papers discussing legal matters involving the 

She brought back several things . . . various position papers 
taken by various legal defense groups, general statements of 
... the VVAW, legal thoughts on various trials, the Gaines- 

^ James Adams testimony, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6, p. 135. 

=*"" Ibid. 

""TBI, MOI Sec. 107, A (12). 

=^ Ibid. 

"» FBI, MOI Sec. 107, F(12e) 


ville (Florida) 8 ... the Camden (New Jersey) 9. . . . Vari- 
ous documents from all of these groups.-^^ 

Cook also testified that she gave the FBI a confidential legal 
manual prepared by VVAW attorneys as a guide for legal defense of 
WAW members in the event of prosecution for dissident activity .^^^ 
Since this manual did not derive from an attorney-client communica- 
tion in connection with a specific court proceeding, the FBI considered 
the WAW legal defense manual could be taken. 

Besides the above limit on legal information, the only other limita- 
tions in the FBI Manual on reporting concern informants in labor 
unions and at colleges and universities. The Manual states that if an 
informant "is connected in any manner with labor union, inform him 
that Bureau is not interested in employer-employee relationships as 
such and is only concerned with obtaining information on infiltration 
of unions by subversive elements." ^^^ Similarly, student informants or 
sources at colleges and univereities are to be told that the FBI "has 
no interest in legitimate institution or campus activities." ^^* 

3. Limits on an Lnformant's Conduct and Behavior 
The FBI Manual contains provisions dealing with the "direction 
and control of informants." The Manual states : 

Contacting Agent should not only collect information but 
direct informant, be aware of his activities. . . . 

Close control must be exercised over activities of inform- 
ants to obtain maximum results and prevent any possible 
embarrassment to Bureau.^^^ 

The Manual speaks of exercising control in order to obtain "maxi- 
mum results" and prevent "embarrassment" to the Bureau; it does 
not, however, contain any guidelines as to the limits on informant 
conduct with respect to violence or illegal conduct. 

The FBI points to the limits on FBI Special Agents as the means 
by which g-uidelines for intelligence informants are applied. The 
FBI memorandum to the Committee states: "Specifically, informant 
development and handling are extensively discussed in the FBI's 
training programs and there is no question as to Special Agents being 
aware that informants cannot be directed to perform a function that 
the Special Agent may not legally i:)erform." ^" The FBI memoran- 
dum also points to the FBI Rules and Regulations which state that 
FBI employees "must not engage in any investigative activity which 
could abridge in any way" constitutional rights of citizens.^^^ 

These limits apply to FBI Agents and employees in their handling 
of informants. However, the FBI does not consider informants as 
FBI employees or "undercover agents," and informants are so 
advised.2^^ Thus, these limits are not directly applicable to informants. 

"" Special Agent 11/20/75, pp. 15-16r^ 
^ Cook deposition, 11/14/75, p. 36. 
^^ FBI, MOI See. 107D(2d). 
""* FBI, MOI, See. 107U (1-b) . 
^'Manual, Section 107, F(4) (7). 
=^° FBI Memorandum, 2/2/76, p. 3. 

^' FBI, MOI Sec. 107,0 ( 7 ) . 


On December 23, 1974, FBI Headquarters reiterated the rules for 
FBI employee conduct by the Director to all FBI Field Offices and 
further stated: "You are reminded that these instructions relate to 
informants in the internal security [domestic intelligence] field and 
no informant should be operated in a manner which would be in con- 
tradiction of such instructions." ^^^ This instruction appeai-s to be the 
only written provision applying FBI employee conduct standards 
to informants."" Prior to the issuance of this instruction in 1974, 
there were no formal or specific provisions relating to informant con- 
duct in FBI directives. The resulting effect on FBI agent direction of 
informants can be illustrated by two additional case^'The fii-st case 
involved an FBI infonnant in a group of anti-war protestors. In 
August 1970, this group broke into the Camden, New Jersey, Draft 
Board, after several months of planning and preparation. The in- 
formant, Eobert Hardy, testified that he provided essential direction 
and materials to the group, making the break-in possible. Hardy 
testified : 

Everything they learned about breaking into a building or 
climbing a wall or cutting glass or destroying lockers, I 
taught them. I got sample equipment, the type of windows 
that we would go through, I picked up off the job and taught 
them how to cut the glass, how to drill holes in the glass so 
you cannot hear it and stuff like that, and the FBI supplied 
me with the equipment needed. The stuff I did not have, the 
[FBI] got off their own agents.^^^ 

Second, in late 1966 or early 1967 the FBI Field Office in San Diego, 
California was approached by one Howard Berry Godfrey. Godfrey 
testified that he was "approached'' by a member of a nght-wing 
paramilitary group to join. The Committee received varying informa- 
tion concerning why Godfrey contacted the FBI and at whose initia- 
tive the informant relationship arose.^" In any event, Godfrey and 
the FBI entered into a relationship in 1967 by which Godfrey would 
provide the Bureau information. This relationship was formalized in 
August of 1967 when Godfrey was officially "approved" by the FBI's 
Washington Headquarters as an infoi-mant. 

Godfrey's relationship with the FBI lasted over five years, terminat- 
ing in November of 1972. Godfrey was paid varying amounts from 
1967 through 1970 when he began to receive $250 per month plus up 

="' Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all SAC's, 12/23/74. 

^ FBI oflScials testified, however, that it is unwritten Bureau practice to in- 
struct informants that they are not to engage in violence or unlawful activity and, 
if they do so, they may be prosecuted. F^I Deputy Associate Director Adams 
testified : 

". . . we have informants who have gotten involved in the violation of the law, 
and we have immediately converted their status from an informant to the sub- 
ject, and have prosecuted, I would say, offhand . . . around 20 informants. . . ." 
(Adams, 12/2/75, Hearings, Vol. 6. p. 150.) 

"^ Hardy testimony, 9/29/75. pp. 16-17. 

'^ Staff summary of Howard Berry Godfrey interview, 1/18/76. 

69-984 O - 76 


to $100 per month in expenses.^" He continued at that level until his 

Godfrey's case study, albeit dealt with here briefly, illustrated a 
number of the issues which wove their way through the Committee's 
inquiry into the FBI's use of informants. The first issue is control 
over the informant by the Bureau. In accord with FBI procedure, 
Godfrey always was assigned to a principal case agent. The Com- 
mittee's investigation determined, however, that the actions of God- 
frey and his cohorts in the San Diego area were rife with destruction 
and violence. There is little evidence, other than Godfrey's less than 
convincing claims, that he actually prevented any violence or destruc- 
tion from occurring. As a member of the District Attorney's office 
told the Committee : 

They [the FBI] couldn't control him [Godfrey]. Godfrey's 
actions went well beyond those which Ave would allow any 
informant operating under this office to become involved 

For a large part of his time as an FBI informant, the responsibility 
for monitoring Godfrey was in the hands of a single FBI agent. 
Moreover, under Bureau procedure, the reports of the informant 
are only sent to Washington every six months. And, the reports in 
the case of Godfrey were largely "form" type responses, providing 
an inadequate basis for any reviewing authority in Washington to 
determine Godfrey's usefulness. 

The second overriding issue present in the Godfrey case study was 
how the Bureau could pi-event the informant from actually inciting, 
encouraging or participating in violence and/or destruction without 
losing his utility as an informant. Godfrey admits to participating in 
some violence and destruction and the record suggests that he may 
have participated in even more than he now admits to.^^^ 

Examples of the types of actions Godfrey and/or the Secret Army 
were involved in include firebombing, smashing windows, placing 
stickers bearing SAO or Minutemen symbols on cars and buildings, 
propelling lug nuts through windows with sling shots, and breaking 
and entering."8 

Upon questioning by the Committee, all FBI agents who dealt 
with Godfrey testified that while Godfrey was specifically instructed 
never to engage in illegal acts such as firebombings, etc., they rec- 
ognized that this was often difficult if not impossible to accomplish. 
One FBI agent put it this way : 

Well, I remember almost on a daily basis, this matter would 
come up. What can I do such and such. And I've said, well, 
obviously you can't do that. Stay with them as long as you 

^*It should be noted, however, that Godfrey did not always receive exactly 
$250; it often depended upon the degree of his activity. 

^As earlier referenced, the average FBI informant salary was $100 per month. 
Staff summary of member of San Diego District Attorney's office interview. 

^" Staff summary of Godfrey interview, 1/18/76. 

"'Indeed, the literature of the Secret Army features a pamphlet which 
instructs the public in the art of burglary complete with diagrams of "forced 
entry of building." 

can and then find some logical excuse to bow out at the last 
minute. But he was never asked by me to participate in any- 
thing that I would consider illegal or that I think that he 
would consider illegal and to the best of my recollection, 
during our association. I can't recall anything specific . . . 
Now there were occasions when I know that he didn't get out 
of it. He might have been in one, he had to go and be involved 
or he would have been out of the group. I really don't re- 
member anything right definite at this time but there were 
several of those cases, no question about it.^^'' 

And, Godfrey himself described his instructions as: 

Q. Was there ever a conversation in which [you and the 
FBI agent] decided [that] while you would attempt to stay 
out of [a violent or destructive activity] if it came down to 
either getting involved in it, or having to just leave the scene 
[with] a number of questions [being] asked later, under 
those circumstances that you would go ahead and do the 
particular activity ? 

A. Yes.^^o 

The SAO's actions escalated to a level of violence and destruction 
where Godfrey's name had to be revealed as an FBI informant. Two 
events precipitated this. The first was the shooting of Paula Tharp, 
who was in the residence of the San Diego State ITniversity professor 
Peter Bohmer. Briefly, while Godfrey and an SAO associate were 
"on a surveillance'' of Bohmer's residence (instituted by Godfrey), the 
associate, according to Godfrey, picked up a gun Godfrey had under 
the seat of his car and fired shots into the Bohmer house, one of which 
struck Ms. Tharp. 2^^ Previously the SAO and Godfrey had singled 
out Professor Bohmer in their literature for special attention: 

For any of our readers who may care to look up Red Scum, 
and say hello, here is some information that may help. His 
address is 5155 Muir, Ocean Beach, telephone number is 
222-7243, he drives a dark blue 1968 VW Sedam, California 
licence DKY 147. Just to make sure you talk to the right guy 
hei'e is his description : he has dark brown shoulder length 
hair, green eyes, weight is about 160 lbs. and he is 5 '10" tall. 
Now in case any of you don't believe in hitting people who 
wear glasses, to be fair I guess we will have to tell you he 
wears contact lences. [sic] 

The significant factor for the Committee's analysis of FBI in- 
formants is that even this shooting incident did not immediately 
terminate Godfrey as an informant. Rather the FBI records show 
that Godfrey remained on the Bureau payroll until November, 1972. 

"" Staff summary of FBI Agent #1 interview, 1/22/76, pp. 26-27. 

^° Staff summary of Godfrey interview, 1/18/76, pp. 54-55. 

^^ Tliis incident is not only a matter of pending civil litigation but Godfrey's 
SAO associate was convicted in a criminal trial in San Diego. The details of the 
shooting are a matter of public record in the trial transcript. 


Aiid, it was not until the second major act of destruction that God- 
frey was "surfaced" as an inf ormant.^^^ 

The second major act of destruction which occurred was the bomb- 
ing of the Guild theatre in San Diego. According to Godfrey, the 
bombing was perpetrated by his subordinate in the SAO, one Wil- 
liam Yakopec.'^^ Godfrey participated in the SAO sale of some ex- 
plosives to Yakopec. Yet, he promptly notified the FBI of Yakopec's 
alleged involvement in the Guild Theatre bombing. Yakopec, who 
maintains his innocence, was subsequently indicted and convicted 
of the bombing offenses in the local courts of San Diego. 

Godfrey testified publicly at both the Yakopec and Hoover trials 
and was thereafter re-located to another part of California and 
ceased to serve as an FBI informant. Godf i-ey's use as a Government 
informant is now in litigation. 

The intelligence informant technique is not a precise instrument. 
By its vei-y nature, it risks governmental monitoring of Constitu- 
tionally-protected activity and the private lives of Americans. Un- 
like electronic surveillance and wiretaps, there are few standards 
and no outside review system for the use of intelligence informants. 
Consequently, the risk of chilling the exercise of First Amendment 
rights and infringing citizen privacy is increased. In addition, 
existing guidelines for informant conduct, particularly with respect 
to their role in violent organizations and FBI use of intelligence in- 
formants to obtain the private documents of groups and individuals, 
need to be clarified and strengthened. 

^- Godfrey did turn over the weapon to his FBI supervisor after the shooting. 
The FBI did tell a representative of the San Diego police department that they 
had an informer who was a witness to the shooting, but neither this information 
nor the existence of the gun was furnished to the unit of the San Diego Police 
Department which investigated the Tharp shooting for several months. 

^^ Godfrey testified before a San Diego grand jury that Yakopec was a "lieu- 
tenant in my — an assistant San Diego County commamder." 




I. Introduction 273 

II. Presidential and Attorney General Authorization for Warrantless 

Wiretapping 277 

A. Pre-1940 277 

B. 1940tol968 279 

1. The Roosevelt administration 279 

2. The Truman administration 282 

3. The Eisenhower administration 283 

4. The Kennedy administration 285 

5. The Johnson administration 285 

C. The Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1968 288 

D. Justice Department Criteria for Warrantless Wiretaps: 1968 

to 1975 289 

1. 1968-72 289 

2. The Keith case: 1972 290 

3. 1972-75 291 

III. Presidential and Attorney General Authorization for Warrantless 

Microphone Surveillance 293 

A. Pre-1952 294 

1. 1931-1942 294 

2. 1942-1952 294 

B. 1952 to 1965 295" 

C. 1965 to the Present 298 

IV. An Overview of FBI Electronic Surveillance Practice 300 

A. Extent of FBI Electronic Surveillance: 1940 to 1975 300 

1. Annual totals for wiretaps and microphone installa- 

tions 301 

2. FBI policy on the maximum number of simultaneous 

electronic surveillances 301 

B. Requests, Approvals, and Implementation 303 

1 . The request and approval process 303 

2. Implementation of wiretaps and bugs 304 

C. The ELSUR Index 305 

D. Congressional Investigation of FBI Electronic Surveillance 

Practices : The Long Subcommittee 307 

V. Warrantless FBI Electronic Surveillance of Foreign Intelligence and 

Counterintelligence Targets within the United States 310 

A. Purpose and Value as an Investigative Technique 311 

B. Foreign Surveillance Abuse Questions 312 

1 . Dissemination of domestic inteUigence from incidental 

overhears 313 

2. Indirect targeting of American citizens through 

electronic surveillance of foreign targets 314 

VI. Warrantless FBI Electronic Surveillance of American Citizens 315 

A. Electronic Surveillance Predicated on Subversive Activity.-- 316 

B. Electronic Surveillance Predicated on Violent Activity 318 

C. Electronic Surveillance Predicated on Leaks of Classified 

Information 32 1 

D. Electronic Surveillance Predicated on Other Grounds 328 




VII. Domestic Surveillance Abuse Questions 332 

A. Questionable and Improper Selection of Targets 332 

1. Wiretaps under the "domestic security" standard 332 

2. Microphone surveillance under the "national in- 

terest" standard 334 

3. Wiretaps and microphone surveillances under the 

five criteria based on Section 25 11 (3) 335 

4. Electronic surveillance of journalists, attorneys, and 

persons involved iii the domestic political process. _ 339 

B. Procedural Violations 342 

C. Collection and Dissemination of Information Irrelevant to 

Legitimate Governmental Objectives 344 

1. Personal information 344 

2. Political information 345 



Technological developments in this century have rendered the most 
private conversations of American citizens vulnerable to interception 
and monitoring by government agents. The electronic means by which 
the Government can extend its "antennae"' are varied : microphones 
may be secretly planted in private locations or on mobile informants; 
so-called "spike mikes" may be inserted into the wall of an adjoining 
room; and parabolic microphones may be directed at speakers far 
away to register the sound weaves they emit. Telephone conversations 
may be overheard without the necessity of attaching electronic devices 
to the telephone itself or to the lines connecting the telephone with the 
telephone company. An ordinary telephone may also be turned into an 
open microphone — a "miketel" — capable of intercepting all con- 
versations within hearing range even w^hen the telephone is not in 

Even more sophisticated technology permits the Government to 
intercept any telephone, telegram, or telex communication which is 
transmitted at least partially through the air, as most such com- 
munications now are. This type of interception is virtually undetect- 
able and does not require the cooperation of private communications 

Techniques such as these have been used, and continue to be used, 
by intelligence agencies in their intelligence operations. Since the 
early part of this century the FBI has utilized wiretapping and 
"bugging" techniques in both criminal and intelligence investigations. 
In a single year alone (1945), the Bureau conducted 519 wiretaps and 
186 microphone surveillances (excluding those conducted by means of 
microphones planted on informants).^ Until 1972, the Bureau used 
wiretaps and bugs against both American citizens and foreigners 
within the United States — without judicial warrant — ^to collect for- 
eign intelligence, intelligence and counterintelligence information, to 
monitor "subversive" and violent activity, and to determine the sources 
of leaks of classified information. The FBI still uses these techniques 
without a warrant in foreign intelligence and counterintelligence 

The CIA and NSA have similarly used electronic surveillance tech- 
niques for intelligence purposes. The CIA's Office of Security, for 
example, records a total of fifty-seven individuals who were targeted 
by telephone wiretaps or microphones within the United States be- 
tween the years 1947 and 1968.^ Of these, thirty were employees or 
former employees of the CIA or of another federal agency who were 
presumably targeted for security reasons; four were United States 

^Attorney General Edward H. Levi testimony, 11/6/75, Hearings, Vol. 
p. 68. 
* OflSce of Security, Domestic SurveiUance summary, undated. 



citizens unconnected with the CIA or any federal agency.^ One of the 
primary responsibilities of the National Security Agency (NSA) is to 
collect foreign "communications intelligence." To fulfill this responsi- 
bility, it has electronically intercepted an enormous number of inter- 
national telephone, telegram, and telex communications since its in- 
ception in the early lOSO's.^ 

Electronic surveillance techniques have understandably enabled 
these agencies to obtain valuable information relevant to their legiti- 
mate intelligence missions. Use of these techniques has provided the 
Government with vital intelligence, which would be difficult to acquire 
through other means, about the activities and intentions of foreign 
powers, and has provided important leads in counterespionage cases. 

By their very nature, however, electronic surveillance techniques 
also provide the means by which the Government can collect vast 
amounts of information, unrelated to any legitimate governmental in- 
terest, about large numbers of American citizens. Because electronic 
monitoring is surreptitious, it allows Government agents to eavesdrop 
on the conversations of individuals in unguarded moments, when they 
believe they are speaking in confidence. Once in operation, electronic 
surveillance techniques record not merely conversations about criminal, 
treasonaible, or espionage- related activities, but all conversations about 
the full range of human events. Neither the most mundane nor the 
most personal nor the most political expressions of the speakers are 
immune from interception. Nor are these techniques sufficiently precise 
to limit the convereations overheard to those of the intended subject 
of the surveillance : anyone who speaks in a bugged room and anyone 
who talks over a tapped telephone is also overheard and recorded. 

The very intrusiveness of these techniques implies the need for strict 
controls on their use, and the Fourth Amendment protection against 
unreasonable searches and seizures demands no less. Without such con- 
trols, they may be directed against entirely innocent American citizens, 
and the Government may use the vast range of information exposed by 
electronic means for partisan political and other improper purposes. 
Yet in the past the controls on these techniques have not been effective; 
improper targets have been selected and politically useful information 
obtained through electronic surveillance has been provided to senior 
administration officials. 

Until recent years. Congress and the Supreme Court set few limits 
on the use of electronic surveillance. When the Supreme Court first 
considered the legal issues raised by wiretapping, it held that the war- 
rantless use of this technique was not unconstitutional because the 
Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement did not extend to the seizure 
of conversations. This decision, the 1928 case of Olmstead v. United 
States^ 277 U.S. 438, arose in the context of a criminal prosecution, 
and it left agencies such as the Bureau of Proliibition and the Bureau 
of Investigation (the former name of the FBI) free to engage in the 
unrestricted use of wiretapping^ in both criminal and intelligence 

' Office of Security, Domestic SurveiHancie summary, undaited. 
* See generally the Select Committee's Report on NSA. 


Six years later, Congress imposed the first restrictions on wiretapping 
in the Federal Communications Act of 1934,^ which made it a crime for 
"any pei-son" to intercept and divulge or publish the contents of wire 
and radio communications. The Supreme Court subsequently construed 
this section to apply to federal agents as well as ordinary citizens, and 
held that evidence obtained directly or indirectly from the interception 
of wire and radio communications was inadmissible court." But Con- 
gress acquiesced in the Justice Department's interpretation that these 
cases did not prohibit wiretapping /;er se, only the divulgence of the 
contents of wire conmiunications outside the federal establishment,^ 
and government wiretapping for purposes other than prosecution 

Tlie Supreme Court reversed its holding in the Olmstead case in 
1967, holding in Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), that the 
Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement did apply to electronic 
surveillances. But it expressly declined to extend this holding to cases 
"involving the national security." * Congress followed suit the next 
year in the Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1968," which established a 
warrant procedure for electronic surveillance in criminal cases but in- 
cluded a provision that neither it nor the Federal Communications 
Act of 1934 "shall limit the constitutional power of the President" ^° — 
a provision which has been relied upon by the Executive Branch as 
permitting "national security" electronic surveillances. 

In 1972, the Supreme Court again addressed the issue of warrant- 
less electronic surveillance. It held in United States v. United States 
Distnct Courts 407 U.S. 297 (1972), that the constitutional power of 
the President did not extend to authorizing warrantless electronic sur- 
veillance in cases involving threats to the "domestic security." The 
Court distinguished — ^but remained silent on — the question of warrant- 
less electronic surveillance where there was a "significant connection 
with a foreign power, its agents or agencies." " 

Without effective guidance by the Supreme Court or Congress, ex- 
ecutive branch officials developed broad and ill-defined standards for 
the use of warrantless electronic surveillance. Vague terms such as 
'"subvei-sive activities," "national interest," "domestic security,'" and 
"national security" were relied upon to electronically monitor many in- 
dividuals who engaged in no criminal activity and who, by any ob- 

"47U.S.C. 605. 

« Nardone v. United States, 302 U.S. 397 (1937) ; 308 U.S. 338 (1939). 

^ See pp. 278-279. 

'389U.S. at358n. 23. 

* 18 U.S.C. 2510-20. 

'"18 U.S.C. 2511(3). 

"407 U.'S. at 309 n. 8. United States v. United States District Court remains 
the only Supreme CJourt case dealing with the issue of warrantless electronic sur- 
veillance for intelligence purposes. Three federal Courts of Appeal have con- 
sidered this issue since 1972, however. The Third Circuit and the Fifth Circuit 
both held that the President may constitutionally authorize warrantless elec- 
tronic surveillance for foreign counterespionage and foreign intelligence purposes. 
{United States v. Butenko, 494 F.2d 593 (3d Cir. 1974), cert, denied sub nom. 
Ivanov V. United States, 419 U.S. 881 (1974) ; and United States v. Brown, 484 
F.2d 418 (5th Cir., 1973), cerf. denied 415 U.S. 960 (1974).) The Court of Appeals 
for the District of Columbia held unconstitutional the warrantless electronic sur- 
veillance of the Jewish Defense League, a domestic organization whose activities 
allegedly affected UJS.JSoviet relations but which was neither the agent of nor in 
collahoration with a foreign power. (Zweibon v. Mitchell, 516 F.2d 594 (D.C. 
Cir. 1975) (en bone).) See p. 292. 


jective standard, represented no genuine threat to the security of the 
United States. 

The secrecy which has enshrouded the warrantless use of this tech- 
nique moreover, facilitated the occasional violation of the generally 
meager procedural requirements for warrantless electronic surveil- 
lance. Since the early 1940's, for example, Justice Department policy 
has required the approval of the Attorney General prior to the insti- 
tution of wiretaps; ^^ such approval has been required prior to the 
institution of microphone surveillances since 19&5." This requirement 
has often been ignored for wiretaps and bugs,^* and it was not even 
applied to NSA's electronic monitoring system and its program for 
"Watch Listing" American citizens. From the early loco's until 1973, 
NSA compiled a list of individuals and organizations, including more 
than one thousand American citizens and domestic grouj)s, whose com- 
munications were segregated from the mass of communications inter- 
cepted by the Agency, transcribed, and frequently disseminated to 
other agencies for intelligence purposes. The Americans on the list, 
many or whom were active in the anti-war and civil rights movements, 
were placed there by the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Defense Depart- 
ment, and the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs without 
judicial warrant, without prior approval by the Attorney General, 
and without a determination that they satisfied the executive branch 
standards for warrantless electronic surveillance.^^ For many years 
in fact, no Attorney General even knew of this project's existence.^^ 

Electronic monitoring by the National Security Agency and the 
CIA, however, is outside the scope of this Report. This Report focuses 
exclusively on the FBI's use of electronic surveillance ; NSA's moni- 
toring system is described at length in the Committee's Report on 
NSA.. Because the legal issues and the FBI's policy and practice re- 
garding consensual monitoring devices such as "body recordere" are 
distinct from those of nonconsensual wiretaps and microphone instal- 
lations," the Report is also confined to the latter forms of electronic 

^ See p. 283. 

" See p. 298. 

" See pp. 342-343. 

*^ See generally, NSA Report : Sec. II. 

^* NSiA Report : Sec. II. 

"Consensual electronic surveillance, where one party to the conversation con- 
sents to the monitoring, has ibeen held by the Supreme Court not to be covered 
by the Fourth Amendment. (United States v. White, 401 U.S. 745 (1971.) How- 
ever, the Committee has discovered that the FBI used such techniques in un- 
justified circumstances and with inadequate controls. 

In 1970, all FBI field oflSces were instructed that "iSpecial Agents in Charge 
(SACs) may, on their own initiative, authorize the use of concealed recording 
devices by a Special Agent or proven source in covering public appearances by 
black and New Left extremists except when such appearances are at educa- 
tional institutions." (Memorandum from FBI Headquarters to all field offices, 

In view of the broad meaning given the term "black and New Left ex'tremists" 
by the Bureau at that time, this policy vested wide discretion in the field to 
use consensual electronic surveillance to record lawful political expression. 
Bureau informants could be "wired" to record everything they heard at a public 



FBI use of warrantless wiretapping for limited purposes has re- 
ceived the approval of Presidents and Attorneys General consist- 
ently — with only one three month exception in 1940 — from 1931 to 
the present day. The legal theories advanced to justify the use of this 
technique, however, have been developed almosit entirely by the execu- 
tive branch itself, and have been "legitimized" largely by the reluc- 
tance of Congress and the Supreme Court to confront directly the argu- 
ments presented by executive officers. 

The evolution of executive branch wiretapping policies from 1924 
to 1975, and of the legislative and judicial reaction to these policies, 
is summarized below. 

A. Pre-1940 

Justice Department records indicate that the first time an Attorney 
General formally considered the propriety of warrantless wiretapping 
for either law enforcement or intelligence pui-poses, he found it to be 
"unethical :" in 1924, Attorney General Harlan Fiske Stone ordered 
a prohibition on the use of this technique by Justice Department per- 
sonnel, including those of the Bureau of Investigation (the original 
name of the Federal Bureau of Investigation).^^ To implement this 
policy, the Director of the Bureau of Investigation, with the approval 
of Stone's successor. Attorney General John G. Sargent, included the 
following section in the Bureau's Manual- of Rules and Regulations : 

Unethical tactics : Wiretapping, entrapment, or the use of any 
other improper, illegal, or unetliical tactics in procuring in- 
formation in connection with investigative activity will not be 
tolerated by the Bureau.^'' 

This prohibition only applied to the Justice Department. During 
the 1920's, wiretapping was extensively used by the Bureau of Prohi- 
bition, then a part of the Department of the Treasury, in its investi- 
gations of violations of the National Prohibition Act. In Olrmtead v. 
United States^ 277 U.S. 438 (1928), criminal defendants charged with 
violating this Act challenged the Bureau of Prohibition's use of this 
technique, but the challenge was unsuccessful. In that- case, the Court 
held that evidence obtain^ from wiretapping which did not involve a 

meeting, and there was no requirement that the technique be limited to the inves- 
tigation of possible crime. 

In 1972, however. Attorney General Richard Kleindienst issued a directive 
to all federal agencies, including the FBI, stating : 

"All federal departments and agencies shall, except in exigent circum- 
stances . . . , obtain the advance authorization of the Attorney General or any 
designated Assistant Attorney General before using any mechanical or elec- 
tronic device to overhear, transmit, or record private conversations other than 
telephone conversations without the consent of all the participants. Sucli au- 
thorization is required before employing any such de\ice, whether it is carried 
by the cooperating participant or whether it is installed on premises under the 
control of the participant." (Memorandum from Attorney General Kleindienst 
to the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, 10/16/72.) 

''' Memorandum from William Olson, Assistant Attorney General for Internal 
Security, to Attorney General Elliot Richardson, undated. 

" FBI Manuul of Rules and Regulations, Rule change issued 3/1/28. 


physical intrusion or trespass was admissible and that wiretapping 
was not unconstitutional because the Fourth Amendment's protections 
did not apply to the seizure of conversations. The Bureau of Prohibi- 
tion continued thereafter to employ this technique in its investigations, 
but the restrictive policy of the Justice Department remained 
unchanged for the next three years. 

In 1930, the Bureau of Prohibition was transferred from the Treas- 
ury Department to the Justice Department, and the differing policies 
regaixiing wiretapping posed a problem for Attorney General Wil- 
liam B. Mitchell. "[T]he present condition in the Department cannot 
continue," he wrote. "We cannot have one Bureau in which wiretap- 
ping is allowed and another in which it is prohibited." ^^ He ultimately 
resolved his dilemma by permitting both the Bureau of Investigation 
and the Bureau of Prohibition to engage in wiretapping with senior 
level approval for limited purposes. 

On February 19, 1931, instructions were issued at the direction of 
Attorney General Mitchell stating that no wiretap should be instituted 
without the written approval of the Assistant Attorney General in 
charge of the particular case, and that such approval would only be 
given in cases "involving the safety of victims of kidnappings, the 
location and apprehension of desperate criminals, and in espionage 
and sabotage and other cases considered to be of major law enforce- 
ment importance." -^ The Manual provision relating to wiretapping 
was consequently altered to read as follows : 

Wiretapping: Telephone or telegraph wires shall not be 
tapped unless prior authorization of the Director of the 
Bureau has been secured.^^ 
Three years later. Congress' first pronouncement on wiretapping 
threatened to invalidate the policy enunciated by Mitchell : in June 
1934, Congress enacted Section 605 of the Federal Communications 
Act, 47 U.S.C. 605, which made it a crime for "any person" to inter- 
cept and divulge or publish the contents of wire and radio communica- 
tions. The Supreme Court construed this section in 1937 to apply to 
Federal agents and held that evidence obtained from the interception 
of wire and radio communications was inadmissible in court.^^ 
The Court elaborated on this decision two years later, holding that 
not only was evidence obtained from such interceptions inadmissible, 
but that evidence indirectly derived from such interceptions was 
equally inadmissible.^* 

The Justice Department did not interpret these decisions as pro- 
hibiting the interception of wire communications per 56, however; 
only the interception and divulgence of their contents outside the 
federal establishment was considered by the Department to be un- 
lawful.^^ Even after the Nardone decisions, the Department continued 
to authorize warrantless wiretapping, albeit with the recognition 

'^ Memorandum from William Olson to Elliot Richardson, undated. 

=^ lUd. 

^ FBI Manual of Rules and Regulations, Rule change issued 2/19/31. 

=^ Nardone v. United States, 302 U.S. 397 (1937) . 

^ Nardone v. United States, 308 U.S. 338 ( 1939) . 

'"For example, letter from Attorney General Robert Jackson to Rep. Hatton 
Summers, 3/19/41. This interpretation was undercut by the Third Circuit in 
1974. United States v. Butenko, 494 F.2d 593 (3d Cir., 1974), cert, denied sui nom. 
Ivanov V. United States, 419 U.S. 881 (1974) . 


that evidence obtained through the use of this technique would be in- 
admissible in court. 

B. mo to 1968 

1. The Roosevelt Administration 

Shortly after taking office in 1940, Attorney General Robert H. 
Jackson reversed the existing Justice Department policy concerning 
wiretapping. By Order No. 3343, issued March 15, 1940, he prohibited 
all wiretapping by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the previ- 
ously operative Manual section, which described wiretapping as an 
unethical practice, was reinstated at his direction. 

Jackson's prohibition proved to be short-lived, however, for less 
than three months later President Franklin D. Roosevelt informed 
the Attorney General that he did not believe the Supreme Court in- 
tended the 1939 Nardone decision to prohibit wiretapping in "matters 
involving the defense of the nation." The President sent the following 
memorandum to Attorney General Jackson, granting him authority to 
approve wiretaps on "persons suspected of subversive activities against 
the Government of the United States :" 

I have agreed with the broad purpose of the Supreme 
Court decision relating to wiretapping in investigations. 
The Court is undoubtedly sound both in regard to the use of 
evidence secured over tapped wires in the prosecution of 
citizens in criminal cases ; and it is also right in its opinion 
that under ordinary and normal circumstances wiretapping 
by Government agents should not be carried on for the ex- 
cellent reason that it is almost bound to lead to abuse of civil 

However, / am convinced that the Supreme Court never 
intended any dictum, in the particular case which it decided 
to apply to grave matters involving the defcTise of the 

It is, of course, well known that certain other nations have 
been engaged in the organization of propaganda of so-called 
"fifth column" in other countries and in preparation for sabo- 
tage, as well as in actual sabotage. 

It is too late to do anything about it after sabotage, assassi- 
nations and "fifth column" activities are completed. 

You are, therefore, authorized and directed in such cases 
as you may approve, after investigation of the need in each 
case, to authorize the necessary investigating agents that 
they are at liberty to secure information by listening devices 
directed to the conversation or other communications of 
persons suspected of subversive activities against the Govem- 
Tnent of the United States^ including suspected spies. You are 
requested furthermore to limit these investigations so con- 
ducted to a minimum and to limit them insofar as possible 
to aliens.^s 

°° Franklin D. Roosevelt, Confidential Memorandum for the Attorney General, 
.5/21/40. [Emphasis added.] Francis Biddle, who became Attorney General in 
1941, stated later : 

"The memorandum was evidently prepared in a huriy by the President per- 
sonally, without consultation, probably after he had talked to Bob [Attorney 



In 1940 and 1941, several bills were introduced in Congress to 
authorize electronic surveillance for the purpose Roosevelt articulated 
in his letter to Jackson and for other purposes as well. One of these 
was a joint resolution introduced by Representative Emmanuel Cel- 
ler authorizing the FBI "to conduct investigations, subject to the 
direction of the Attorney General, to ascertain, prevent, and frustrate 
any interference with the national defense by sabotage, treason, sedi- 
tious conspiracy, espionage, violations of neutrality laws, or in any 
other manner." ^^ This resolution would have lifted Section 605's ban 
on wiretapping for such investigations. 

Both President Roosevelt and Attorney General Jackson endorsed 
such legislation. Roosevelt wrote to Representative Thomas Eliot on 
February 21, 1941, "I have no compunction in saying that wire tap- 
ping should be used against those persons, not citizens of the United 
States, and those few citizens who are traitors to their country, who 
today are engaged in espionage or sabotage against the United 
States . . ."28 

The Justice Department also informed Congress about the theory 
that had been developed to rationalize ongoing electronic surveil- 
lance under Section 605. Attorney General Rot^rt Jackson advised 
Representative Hatton Summers on March 19, 1941, "The only offense 
under the present law is to intercept any comnmnication and divulge 
or publish the same . . . Any person, with no risk of penalty, may 
tap telephone wires . . . and act upon what he hears or make any 
use of it that does not involve divulging or publication." ^9 

The import of these two statements was undoubtedly clear to the 
members of the House Judiciary Committee to whom they were ad- 
dressed. The FBI would use wiretaps in the investigation of espionage 
and sabotage, despite the Federal Communications Act, since the 
results of the wiretaps would not be "divulged" outside the govern- 
ment. Legislation was needed only in order to use wiretap-obtained 
evidence or the fruits thereof in criminal prosecutions ; a new statute 
was not necessary if the purpose of wiretapping was to gather intelli- 
gence that would not be used in court.^" 


General Jackson]. It opened the door pretty wide to wiretapping of anyone sus- 
pected of subversive activities. Bob didn't like it, and, not liking it, turned it over 
to Edgar Hoover without himself passing on each case. When it came to my turn 
I studied the applications carefully, sometimes requesting more information, occa- 
sionally turning them down when I thought they were not warranted." (Francis 
Biddle, In Brief Authority, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, N.Y. 1967, 
p. 167.) 

" House Joint Resolution 553, 5/27/40. 

^ Letter from President Roosevelt to Rep. Thomas Eliot, 2/21/41. 

29 Letter from Attorney General Jackson to Rep. Hatton Summers, 3/19/41. 
[Emphasis added.] 

" FBI Director Hoover strongly opposed any legislation requiring a judicial 
warrant for wiretapping. He told Attorney General Jackson in 1941: 

"Wire-tapping, in my estimation, should only be used in cases of kidnaping, 
extortion, espionage and sabotage. It is, therefore, imperative that the use 
of it not be known outside of a very limited circle if the best results are to be 
obtained. We are dealing with realities in this matter, and we must recognize 
that many times United States Attorneys' offices are not as close-mouthed as 
they should be and that matters handled therein do become known to certain 
favored representatives of the press, with the result that items appear in 
columns that are many times alarmingly correct. Likewise, we know that there 
are certain Federal Judges who are not as close-mouthed as they should be 


This policy was explicitly acknowledged several months later. After 
an incident where labor leader Harry Bridges discovered he was 
under surveillance, Attorney General Francis Biddle announced that 
FBI agents were, in fact, authorized to tap wires in cases involving 
espionage, sabotage, and serious crimes such as kidnapping after firet 
securing the permission of the FBI Director and the Attorney Gen- 
eral.^^ At the same time Attorney General Biddle advised FBI Direc- 
tor Hoover: 

A good deal of my press conference yesterday was con- 
sumed in questions about wiretapping. I refused to comment 
on the Bridges incident, on the ground that it would be 
improper for me to comment on a case now pending before 

I indicated thajt the stand of the Department would be, 
as indeed it had been for some time, to authorize loire- 
tapping in espionage^ sabotage^ and kidnaping cases, where 
the circumstances warranted. I described Section 605 of the 
Communications Act, pointing out that under the Statute 
interception alone was not illegal; that there must be both 
interception and divulgence or publication; that the Courts 
had held only that evidence could not be used which resulted 
from wiretapping; that the Courts had never defined what 
divulgence and publication was; that I would continue to 
construe the Act, until the Courts decided otherwise, not to 
prohibit interception of communications by an agent, and 
his reporting the result to his superior officer, as infraction 
of the law; that although this could be said of all crimes, 
as a matter of policy wiretapping would be used sparingly, 
and under express authorization of the Attorney General.^^ 

about matters brought before them and certainly, in those cases in which wire- 
tapping would be used, if limited to the few violations that I have referred 
to, they are so interesting and so mysterious that I fear it would encourage 
the Sherlock Holmes complex that many persons have, to whisper about what 
is being done, and then the value of the wiretapping would be completely lost. 
That is why I feel that the Attorney General of the United States should be 
the Executive OflScial designated to authorize the use of this procedure in 
certain specific tyi)es of investigations, and that these types of investigations 
should be very definitely limited and restricted." Memorandum from Director 
Hoover to the Attorney General, 1/27/41. 

'^New York Times, 10/9/41. Former Attorney General Francis Biddle re- 
called a meeting with President Roosevelt regarding the FBI wiretap on Harry 
Bridges : 

"When all this came out in the newspapers I could not resis-t suggesting to 
Hoover that he tell the story of the unfortunate tap directly to the President. 
We went over to the White House together. F.D.R. was delighted; and, with 
one of his great grins, intent on every word, slapped Hoover on the back when 
he had finished, 'By . . ., Edgar, that's the first time you've been caught with 
your pants down!' The two men liked and understood each other," (Biddle, In 
Brief Authority, p. 166.) 

^ Francis Biddle, Attorney General, Confidential Memorandum for Mr. Hoover, 
10/9/41. [Emphasis added.] 

In a memorandum to Attorney General Biddle shortly before this press con- 
ference, Director Hoover stated, "It was my understanding in our conversation 
with the President that the matter of estaJblishing technical surveillance was to 
be continued . . ." (Memorandum from Hoover to Biddle, 10/2/41.) 

Assistant Solicitor General Charles Fahy also wrote a memorandum to Attor- 
ney General Biddle prior to the press conference which attempted to justify 



2. The Truman Adminktration 
The permissible scope of wiretapping was expanded after World 
War II by President Truman to include "cases vitally aflectmg the 
domestic security, or where human life is in jeopardy." The documen- 
tary evidence suggests, however, that this expansion was madvertent 
on Truman's part and that he actually intended simply to continue 
in force the policies articulated by President Koosevelt m 1940. 

By memorandum of July 17, 1946, Attorney General Tom Clark 
asked President Truman to renew Roosevelt's authorization for war- 
rantless wiretapping issued six years earlier. Attorney General Clark 
quoted from that authorization but omitted the portion of Roose- 
velt's letter which read : "You are requested furthermore to limit these 
investigations so conducted to a minimum and to limit them insofar 
as possible to aliens." He then stated to President Truman: 

It seems to me that in the present troubled period in inter- 
national affairs, accompanied as it is by an increase in sub- 
versive activity here at home, it is as nece^ary as it was in 
1940 to take the investigative measures referred to in Presi- 
dent Roosevelt's memorandum. At the same time, the country 
is threatened by a very substantial increase in crime. While 
I am reluctant to suggest any use whatever of these special 
investigative measures in domestic cases, it seems to me im- 
perative to use them in cases vitally afecting the domestic 
security, or where hummi life is 171 jeopardy. 

As so modified, I believe the outstanding directive should 
be continued in force ... In my opinion the measures pro- 
posed are within the authority of law, and I have in the files 
of the Department materials indicating to me that my two 
most recent predecessors as Attorney General would concur 
in this view.^^ 
Truman approved the Attorney General's 1946 memorandum, but 
four years later aides to President Truman discovered Clark's incom- 
plete quotation and the President considered returning to the terms of 
the original 1940 authorization. A February 2, 1950, memorandum lo- 

( Continued) 

warrantless wiretaps not only on the interpretation of the 1934 Act, but also 

on the President's power as Commander in Chief. Fahy stated : 

"What has been said . , . seems to me also to leave open the question 
whether the general purpose and content of this statute, notwithstanding the 
rigidness with which the Court has thus far construed its prohibitions, is in- 
tended by Congress to apply to the President as Commander in Chief of the 
Army and Navy. It is my opinion that the Commander in Chief as such may 
lawfully have divulged to him or to someone on his behalf intercepted informa- 
tion relative to the security of the nation. If our armies were in the field 
within the United States, it seems to me very clear that the statute would not 
be construed to prohibit such divulgence. The fact is our Navy is in a sense 'in 
the field' now, engaged in perilous duty. Our general policy against interception 
and divulgence, the nature of the wiretapping, and the abuse to which its use 
lends itself, unite to require that the use to which I think it may be legally 
put, be most carefully circumscribed. But I conclude that divulgence to or on 
behalf of the Commander in Chief with respect to matters relating to the 
military security of the nation is not illegal." (Memorandum from Charles Fahy, 
Asjistant Solicitor General, to the Attorney General, 10/6/41.) 

Letter from Tom C. Clark, Attorney General, to the President, 7/17/46. [Em- 
phasis added.] ' / / L 


cated in the Truman Presidential Library reflects that discovery: 
George M. Elsey, the Assistant Counsel to the President, wrote Trii- 
man that 

Not only did Clark fail to inform the President that Mr. 
Roosevelt had directed the F.B.I, to hold its wiretapping to a 
minimum, and to limit it insofar as possible to aliens, he re- 
quested the President to approve very broad language which 
would permit wiretapping in any case 'vitally affecting the 
domestic security, or where human life is in jeopardy.' This 
language is obviously a veiy far cry from the 1940 directive. 3* 

Elsey recommended in this memorandum that "the President consider 
rescinding his 1946 directive." An order was drafted which closely 
paralleled the Roosevelt's 1940 directive, but for reasons that are un- 
clear it was never issued.^^ 

The wiretapping standards that were expressed in Clark's 1946 
memorandum and approved by President Truman were continued 
under Attorney General J. Howard McGrath. In a 1952 memorandum 
to J. Edgar Hoover, McGrath also made explicit the requirement of 
prior approval by the Attorney General, which had been informally in- 
stituted by Attorney General Biddle in 1941 : 

There is pending, as you know, before the Congress legisla- 
tion that I have reconmiended which would permit wiretap- 
ping under appropriate safeguards and make evidence thus 
obtained admissible. As you state, the use of wiretapping is 
indispensable in intelligence coverage of matters relating to 
espionage, sabotage, and related security fields. Consequently, 
I do not intend to alter the existing policy that wiretapping 
surveillance should be used under the present highly restric- 
tive basis and when specifically authorized by me.^*^ 

3. The Eisenhoioer Administration 
The Government's perceived inability to prosecute in espionage 
and sabotage cases where electronic surveillance had been used, which 
stemmed from the Nardone decisions in the late 1930's, led Attorney 
General Herbert Brownell to press strongly in 1954 for legislation 
to authorize "national security" wiretapping without judicial war- 
rant. Rejecting arguments for a warrant requirement, Brownell con- 

" Memorandum from George M. Elsey to the President, 2/2/50. Harry S. Tru- 
man Library. 

■'= Memorandum from "H. S. T." to the Attorney General, draft dated 2/7/50. 
Harry S. Truman Library. 

=" Memorandum from J. Howard McGrath to Mr. Hoover, 2/26/52. 

McGrath added : "It is requeste<l when any case is referred to the Depart- 
ment in which telephone, microphone or other technical surveillances have been 
employed by the Bureau or other Federal Agencies (when known) that the De- 
partment be advised of the facts at the time the matter is first siibmitted." 

This passage may have referred to the problems that had arisen between the 
FBI and the Justice Department in the prosecution of .Tudith Coplon for attempt- 
ing to deliver government documents to a Soviet agent. The FBI apparently failed 
to inform Federal prosecutors of electronic surveillance of Miss Coplon and the 
Soviet agent, and subsequent disclosure of the surveillance led to reversal of her 
conviction on the grounds that the trial judge improperly withheld the surveil- 
lance records from scrutiny by defense counsel. United States v. Coplon, 185 F. 2d 
629 (2d Cir. 1950) On a second api>eal her conviction was reversed because tele- 
phone conversations between the defendant and her attorney were intercepted 
during the trial. Coplon v. United States, 191 F. 2d 749 (D.C. Cir. 1951). 

3-984 O - 76 


tended that iresponsibility should be centralized in the hands of the 
Attorney General.^^ He also saw a "strong danger of leaks if applica- 
tion is made to a court, because in addition to the judge, you have 
the clerk, the stenographer and some other officer like a law assistant 
or bailiff who may be apprised of the nature of the application."^^ 
Discussing the objectives of "national security" wiretapping, Brownell 
observed : 

We might just as well face up to the fact that the com- 
munists are subversives and conspirators working fanati- 
cally in the interests of a hostile foreign power . . . 

It is almost impossible to "spot" them since they no longer 
use membership cards or other written documents which will 
identify them for what they are. As a matter of necessity, 
they turn to the telephone to carry on their intrigue. The 
success of their plans frequently rests upon piecing together 
shreds of information received from many sources and many 
nests. The participants in the conspiracy are often dispersed 
and stationed in various strategic positions in government 
and industry throughout the country. Their operations are 
not only internal. They are also of an international and in- 
tercontinental character . . . 

It is therefore neither reasonable nor realistic that Com- 
munists should be allowed to have the free use of every 
modern communication device to carry out their unlawful 
conspiracies, but that law enforcement agencies should be 
barred from confronting these persons with what they have 
said over them.^^ 

The House Judiciary Committee accepted Brownell's reasoning 
and reported out warrantless wiretapping legislation in 1954.**' The 
full House, however, rejected the arguments in support of warrant- 
less wiretapping and amended the bill on the floor to require a prior 
judicial warrant.*^ Without the support of the Justice Department, 
the House bill received no formal consideration in the Senate and 
no serious attempt was again made to enact electronic surveillance 
legislation until the 1960s. 

Because of Congressional deliberations regarding wiretapping, J. 
Edgar Hoover wrote a memorandimi to Attorney General Brownell 
on March 8, 1955, in which he outlined the current FBI policy in that 
area and stated that this policy was based on the May 21, 1940, letter 
from President Roosevelt and the July 17, 1946, memorandum from 
Attorney General Clark, which was signed by President Truman.*^ 
Specifically, he noted that the current policy permitted wiretapping, 
with the prior written approval of the Attorney General, in "cases 
vitally affecting the domestic security or where human life is in 

Hoover also asked Brownell iThe believed the Roosevelt and Truman 
statements constituted sufficient legal authority for wiretapping at the 

'Brownell, The Public Security and Wiretapping, 39 Cornell L.Q. 195 (1954). 

H. Rep. 1461, 4/1/54. 

House Resolution 8649, 100 Cong. Rec. 4653, 4/8/54. 
Memorandum from Director, FBI to the Attorney General, 3/8/55. 


present time, and suggested that if Brownell did not believe they 
did, he "may want to present this matter to President Eisenhower to 
determine whether he holds the same view with respect to the policies 
of the Department of Justice with respect to wiretapping.-' *^ 
Brownell responded that he did not believe it necessary to obtain fur- 
ther approval of the existing practice from President Eisenhower as 
he was of the opinion that President Roosevelt's approval was suffi- 
cient. The Attorney General wrote, in part : 

In view of the fact that I personally explained to the Presi- 
dent, the Cabinet, the National Security Council and the 
Senate and House Judiciary Committees during 1954 the 
present policy and procedure on wiretaps, at which time I 
referred specifically to the authorization letter to the Attor- 
ney General from President F. D. Roosevelt, I do not think 
it necessai-y to reopen the matter at this time. . . . You will 
also remember that I made several public speeches during 
1954 on the legal basis for the Department of Justice policy 
and procedure on wiretaps.** 

Jf. The Kennedy Administration 
The existing policy and procedures for wiretapping continued in 
force through the Kennedy administration. On March 13, 1962, Attor- 
ney General Robert F. Kennedy issued Order No. 263-62, which finally 
rescinded Attorney General Jackson's March 15, 1940, order prohibit- 
ing wiretapping, and noted that this rescission was necessary "in 
order to reflect the practice which has been in effect since May 21, 
1940." *^ This order also changed the Manual provisions relating to 
wiretapping to formally permit use of this technique and reaffirmed" 
the vitality of "[ejxisting instructions to the Federal Bureau of In- 
vestigation with respect to obtaining the approval of the Attorney 
General for wiretapping. . . ."*^ 

5. The Johnson Administration 
During the Johnson administration, the procedures for conducting 
wiretaps were tightened and the criteria for use of this technique were 
altered. Until March 1965, no requirement had existed for the periodic 
re-authorization of wiretaps by the Attorney General : some surveil- 
lances consequently remained in operation for years without review.*^ 
On March 30, 1965, Attorney General Katzenbach therefore suggested 
to J. Edgar Hoover that authorizations for individual telephone taps 
should 'be limited to six months, after which time a new request should 

*" Ibid. 

" Memorandum from the Attorney General to the Director, FBI, 3/16/55. 

" Memorandum from William Olson to Elliot Richardson, undated. 

** Attorney General Order No. 263-62. 3/13/62. 

" A wiretap on Elijah Muhammed leader of the Nation of Islam, which was 
originally approved by Attorney General Brownell in 1957, for example, con- 
tinued until 1964 without subsequent re-authorization. (Memorandum from J. 
Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 12/31/56, initialed "Approved: HB 

As former Attorney General Katzenbach recently testified : "The custom was 
not to put a time limit on a tap, or any wiretap authorization. Indeed, I think 
the Bureau would have felt free in 1965 to put a tap on a phone authorized by At- 
tornev General Jackson before World War II." Nicholas Katzenbach testimony, 
11/12/75, p. 87. 


be submitted for the Attorney General's reauthorization.^^ This sug- 
gestion was immediately implemented by the FBI. 

One week later, on April 8, 1965, Katzenbach sent to the White House 
a proposed Presidential directive to all federal agencies on wiretap- 
ping.^^ This directive, formally issued by President Lyndon Johnson 
in slightly modified form on June 30, 1965,^° revoked Attorney Gen- 
eral Tom Clark's wiretapping standard of "cases vitally affecting the 
domestic security or where human life is in jeopardy." The new direc- 
tive forbade the nonconsensual interception of telephone communica- 
tions by federal personnel within the United States "except in con- 
nection with investigations related to the national security," and then 
only after first obtaining the written approval of the Attorney General. 
The President stated, in part : 

I am strongly opposed to the interception of telephone con- 
versations as a general investigative technique. I recognize 
that mechanical and electronic devices may sometimes be 
essential in protecting our national security. Nevertheless, it 
is clear that indiscriminate use of these investigative devices 
to overhear telephone conversations, without the knowledge or 
consent of any of the persons involved, could result in serious 
abuses and invasions of privacy. In iny view^ the invasion of 
privacy of communications is a highly offensive practice 
which should be engaged in only nihere the national security 
is at stake. To avoid any misunderstanding on this subject in 
the Federal Government, I am establishing the following 
basic guidelines to be followed by all government agencies: 

(1) No federal personnel is to intercept telephone conver- 
sations within the United States by any mechanical or elec- 
tronic device, without the consent of one of the parties in- 
volved (except in connection with investigations related to 
the national security. ) 

(2) No interception shall be undertaken or continued with- 
out first obtaining the approval of the Attorney General. 

(3) All federal agencies shall immediately conform their 
practices and procedures to the provisions of this order.^^ 

Despite this Presidential approval of "national security" wiretap- 
ping. Director Hoover informed Katzenbach on September 14, 1965, 
that he was restricting or eliminating the use of a number of investiga- 
tive techniques by the Bureau 

in view of the present atmosphere, brought about by the un- 
restrained and injudicious use of special investigative tech- 

** Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 3/30/65. 

*' Memorandum from Nicholas Katzenbach to the President, 4/8/65. 

"*• Directive from President Lyndon Johnson to Heads of Agencies, 6/30/65. The 
restriction on wiretapping in Katzenbach's draft order applied to "all federal 
agene[ies]." In the final version, issued by President Johnson, the restriction 
applied to "federal personnel." 

"^Directive from President Johnson to Heads of Agencies, 6/30/65. [Emphasis 
added.] Mr. Katzenbach testified that this order "required the specific approval 
of the Attorney General and referred to all agencies in the Government, and it 
was drafted [as] explicitly ... as one could draft it, although it has proven 
rather diflBcult because of terms like national security to know precisely what 
you are dealing with." (Nicholas Katzenbach testimony, 5/fr/75, p. 15.) 


niques by other agencies and departments, resulting in con- 
gressional and public alarm and opposition to any activities 
which could in any way be termed an invasion of privacy. 
With regard to wiretapping, Hoover wrote that 

[wjhile we have traditionally restricted wiretaps to internal 
security cases and an occasional investigation involving pos- 
sible loss of life, such as kidnapping, I have further cut down , 
on wiretaps and I am not requesting authority for any addi- 
tional wiretaps.^^ 

Katzenbach responded on September 27, with a memorandum setting 
forth what he believed to be appropriate guidelines for the use of the 
techniques Hoover had restricted or eliminated. He noted that "[t]he 
use of wiretaps and microphones involving trespass present more dif- 
ficult problems because of the inadmissibility of any evidence ob- 
tained in court cases and because of current judicial and public at- 
titudes regarding their use." ^^ He continued : 

It is my understanding that such devices will not be used 
without my authorization, although in emergency circum- 
stances they may be used subject to my later ratification. At 
this time I believe it is desirable that all such techniques be 
confined to the gathering of intelligence in national security 
matters, and I will continue to approve all such requests in the 
future as I have in the past, I see no need to curtail any such 
activities in the national security field. 

It is also my belief that there are occasions outside of the 
strict definition of national security ( for example, organized 
crime) when it would be appropriate to use such techniques 
for intelligence purposes. However, in light of the present, 
atmosphere, I believe that efforts in the immediate future 
should be confined to national security, I realize that this 
restriction will hamper our efforts against organized crime 
and will require a redoubled effort on the part of the Bureau 
to develop intelligence through other means,^* 

While suggesting the possibility that warrantless wiretapping might 
appropriately be used at some future time in cases involving organized 
crime, in short, Katzenbach endorsed its use only in "the national 
security field." 

On November 3, 1966, Attorney General Ramsey Clark circulated a 
memorandum to all United States Attorneys in which he reiterated the 
"national security" limitation on wiretapping contained in President 
Johnson's June 30, 1965, directive and in Katzenbach's September 27, 
1965, letter to Hoover. He quoted as follows from the 1966 Supple- 
mental Memorandum to the Supreme Court that had been filed in 
Black V, United States,^^ a criminal case which involved a microphone 
installation : 

Present practice, adopted in July 1965 in conformity with the 
policies declared by President Johnson on June 30, 1965, for 

^* Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 9/14/65. 
'=" Memorandum from Nicholas Katzenbach to J. Edgar Hoover, 9/27/65. 
" Ibid. 
'^SSSU.S. 26 (1966). 


the entire Federal establishment, prohibits the installation 
of listening devices in private areas (as well as the intercep- 
tion of telephone and other wire communications) in all 
instances other than those involving the collection of intelli- 
gence affecting the national security. The specific authoriza- 
tion of the Attorney General must be obtained in each in- 
stance when this exception is invoked. Intelligence data so 
collected will not be available for investigative or litigative 

Clark's subsequent guidelines for the use of wiretapping and elec- 
tronic eavesdropping, issued in June 1967 to the heads of executive 
agencies and departments, reaffirmed the prohibition of wiretapping 
in all but "national security" cases.^^ 

G. The Omnibus Cnme Control Act of 1968 

Although Justice Department policy regarding wiretapping re- 
mained essentially constant from 1965 to 1968, two Supreme Court 
decisions during this period significantly altered the constitutional 
framework for electronic surveillance generally. In Berger v. New 
York, 388 U.S. 41 (1967), and Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 
(1967), the Supreme Court overruled Ohnstead and held that the 
Fourth Amendment did apply to searches and seizures of conversa- 
tions and protected all conversations of an individual as to which he 
had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Katz explicitly left open the 
question, however, whether or not a judicial warrant was required in 
cases "involving the national security." ^^ 

In part as a response to the Berger and Katz decisions. Congress en- 
acted Title III of .the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 
1968, 18 U.S.C. 2510-20. This Act established procedures for obtaining 
judicial warrants permitting wiretapping by government officials,^^ but 
the issue of "national security" wiretaps, which was left open in Katz, 
was similarly avoided. Section 2511(3) of the Act stated that nothing 
in the Omnibus Crime Control Act or the Federal Communications Act 
of 1934 shall limit the constitutional power of the President in certain 
vaguely defined areas. The text of this subsection reads as follows : 

(3) Nothing contained in this chapter or in section 605 of 
the Communications Act of 1934 (48 Stat. 1143, 47 U.S.C. 
605) shall limit the constitutional powers of the President 

"Memorandum from the Attorney General to all United States Attorneys, 
11/3/66, quoting the Supplemental Memorandum to the Supreme Court in Black 
V. United States, filed 7/13/66. 

^' Memorandum from the Attorney General to the Heads of Executive Depart- 
ments and Agencies, 6/16/67. 

As a matter of practice, Attorney General Olark was more restrictive in ai)prov- 
ing wiretaps tha nthe stated policy suggested was necessary. He stated that his 
practice was "to confine the area of approval to international activities directly 
related to the military security of the United States." (Testimony of Ramsey 
Clark, Hearings before the Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Proce- 
dure, Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate (1974).) See p. 349 for 
an example of a request involving purely domestic "national security" consider- 
ations which was turned down by Mr. Clark. 

^^389U.S at3.58n.23. 

^ Wiretapping by private citizens and unauthorized wiretapping by government 
employees was also made a criminal offense. 


to take such measures as he deems necessaiy to protect the 
Nation against actual or potential attack or other hostile 
acts of a foreign power, to obtain foreign intelligence infor- 
mation deemed essential to the security of the United States, 
or to protect national security information against foreign 
intelligence activities. Nor shall anything contained in this 
chapter be deemed to limit the constitutional power of the 
President to take such measures as he deems necessary to 
protect the United States against the overthrow of the 
Government by force or other unlawful means, or against any 
other clear and present danger to the stnicture or existence 
of the Government. The contents of any wire or oral com- 
munication intercepted by authority of the President in the 
exercise of the foregoing powers may be received in evidence 
in any trial hearing or other proceeding only where such 
interception was reasonable, and shall not be otherwise used 
or disclosed except as is necessary to implement that power."" 

Significantly, this subsection dose not define the scope of the Presi- 
dent's constitutional power in the national security area. As the 
Supreme Court noted in the Keith case, it is merely a statement that 
to the extent such powers exist, if they exist at all they override the 
procedural requirements for electronic surveillance that are outlined 
in this statute and in the 1934 Act.*'^ 

D. Justice Defartment Criteria for Warrantless Wiretaps : 1968-1975 
L 1968-1972 
In fields other than national security, the Justice Department was 
obligated to conform with the warrant procedures of the 1968 
statute. But in national security cases, Justice Department policy per- 
mitted — and the Act did not forbid — warrantless wiretapping if the 
proposed surveillance satisfied one or more of the following criteria 
(which paralleled the standards enmiciated in Section 2511(3) ) : 

(1) That it is necessary to protect the nation against actual 
or potential attack or any other hostile action of a foreign 
power ; 

^'A bill drafted by the Justice Department in 1967 would have specifically 
authorized the President to use warrantless electronic surveillance, but it was 
limited to the three foreign-related purposes and would have barred the use of 
information obtained thereby in judicial or other administrative proceedings. 
(Hearings on H.R. 5386 before Subcommittee No. 5 of the House Judiciarj- Com- 
mittee, 90th Cong., 1st Sess. 292 (1967).) 

During the Senate debate on the 1968 Act, an amendment was proposed to 
eliminate the references to tlie domestic security purposes for warrantless elec- 
tronic surveillance. Attorney General Ramsey Clark endorsed the amendment ; 
and the Justice Department stated, "The concept of a domestic threat- to the 
national security is vague and undefinetl. Use of electronic surveillance in such 
cases may be easily abused." (114 Cong. Rec. 14717, 90th Cong., 2d Sess. (1968).) 
The amendment was defeated. 

"^United States v. United States District Court, 407 U.S. 297, 303-04 (1972). 
In so interpreting Section 2511(3), the Court relied in part im its legislative hi.s- . 
tory, which made it clear that the section was not intended to confer any power 
upon the President. The Court quoted the remarks of Senator Philip Hart that 
". . . [N]othing in Section 2511(3) even attempts to define the limits of the 
President's national security power under present law, which I have always 
found extremely vague. . . . Section 2511(3) merely says that if the President 
has such a power, then its exercise is in no way affected by Title III." (407 U.S. 
at 307.) 


(2) That it is necessary to obtain foreign intelligence in- 
formation deemed essential to the security of the United 

(3) That it is necessary to protect national security infor- 
mation against foreign intelligence activities; 

(4) That it is necessary to protect the United States 
against the overthrow of the Government by force or other 
unlawful means ; or 

(5) That it is necessary to protect the United States against 
a clear or present danger to the structure or the existence of 
its Government.*'^ 

Existing procedures for warrantless wiretaps requiring the prior 
written authorization of the Attorney General and subsequent re- 
authorization after 90 days remained in effect after the passage of 
the 1968 Act. 

^. Tlie Keith Case: 197'2 

On June 19, 1972, the Supreme Court decided the so-called Keith 
case, United States v. United States District Court^ 407 U.S. 297 
(1972), which held that the Fourth Amendment required prior judi- 
cial approval for "domestic security" electronic surveillance. The Court 
acknowledged the constitutional power of the President to ''protect 
our Government against those who would subvert or overthrow it by 
unlawful means," *^^ but it held that this power did not extend to the 
authorization of warrantless electronic surveillance directed at a 
domestic organization which was neither directly nor indirectly con- 
nected with a foreign power.''* 

To conform with the Keith decision, the Justice Department there- 
after limited warrantless wiretapping to cases involving a "significant 
connection with a foreign power, its agents or agencies." ^^ A spokes- 
man for the Department stated that such a connection might be shown 
by "the presence of such factors as substantial financing, control by or 
active collaboration with a foreign government and agencies thereof in 
unlawful activities directed against the Government of the United 
States." «^=^ 

'^ Letter from William Olson to Attorney General Elliot Richardson, undated. 

•^407 U.S. at 310. 

**At the same time the Court recognized that "domestic security surveillance 
may involve different policy and practical considerations apart from the surveil- 
lance of 'ordinary crime,' " (407 U.iS. at 322), and thus did not hold that "the 
same type of standards and procedures prescribed by Title III [of the 1968 Act] 
are necessarily applicaWe to this case." (407 U.IS. at 322). The court noted : 

"Given [the] potential distinctions between Title III criminal surveillances 
and those involving domestic security, Congress may wish to consider protective 
standards for the latter which differ from those already prescribed for specified 
crimes in Title III. Different standards may be complete with the Fourth Amend- 
ment if they are reasonable both in relation to the legitimate need of Govern- 
ment for intelligence information aivd the protected rights of our citizens." (407 
U.S. at 322-23). 407 U.S. at 309, 321. 

'^Testimony of Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kevin Maroney, Hear- 
ings Before the Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure 
6/29/72, p. 10. This language paralleled that of the Supreme Court in Keith, 407 
U.S. at 309, n. 8. 

'^'' Maroney Testimony, Hearings before the Senate Subcommittee on Adminis- 
tration Practice and Procedure, 6/29/72, p. 10. 


S. 1972-1975 
The Justice Department's criteria for warrantless electronic surveil- 
lance were next modified in 1975. On Jime 24, 1975, Attorney General 
Edward H. Levi wrote Senators Frank Church and Edward Kennedy 
a letter in which he set forth his standards for warrantless wiretaps. 
He wrote, in part : 

Under the standards and procedures established by the 
President, the personal approval of the Attorney General is 
required before any non-consensual electronic surveillance 
may be instituted within the United States without a judicial 
warrant. All requests for surveillance must be made in writ- 
ing by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation 
and must set forth the relevant factual circumstances that 
justify the proposed surveillance. Both the agency and the 
Presidential appointee initiating the request must be identi- 
fied. Requests from the Director are examined by a special 
review group which I have established within the Office of the 
Attorney General. Authorization will not be granted unless 
the Attorney General has satisfied himself that the requested 
electronic surveillance is necessary for national security or 
foreign intelligence purposes important to national security. 

In addition, the Attorney General must be satisfied that 
the subject of the surveillance is either assisting a foreign 
'power or foreign-hased political groups or plans milawful 
activity directed against a foreign power or foreign-hased 
political group. Finally, he must be satisfied that the mini- 
mum physical intiTision necessary to obtain the information 
will be used. 

All authorizations are for a period of ninety days or less, 
and the specific approval of the Attorney General is again 
required for continuation of the surveillance beyond that pe- 
riod. The Attorney General has also been directed to review 
all electronic surveillance on a regular basis to ensure that the 
aforementioned criteria are satisfied. Pursuant to the man- 
date of United States v. United States District Court^ elec- 
tronic surveillance without a judicial warrant is not con- 
ducted where there is no foreign involvement.^^ 

In his public testimony before the Senate Select Committee on 
Intelligence Activities on November 6, 1975, Attorney General Levi 
again articulated current Dei>artment of Justice criteria for the ap- 
proval of warrantless electronic surveillance. His formulation on that 
date returned to the three foreign-related categories which were based 
on Section 2511 (3) of the 1968 Act, between 1972 and 1975, and a fourth 
category was also added. He stated : 

Requests are only authorized when the requested electronic 
surveillance is necessary to protect the nation against actual or 
potential attack or other hostile acts of a foreign power; to 
obtain foreign intelligence deemed essential to the security of 
the nation; to protect national security information against 
foreign intelligence activities ; or to obtain information cer- 

Letter from Attorney General Edward Levi to Senators Frank Church and 
Edward Kennedy, 6/24/75. [Emphasis added.] 


tified as necessary for the conduct of foreign affairs matters 
important to the national security of the United States.®^ 

In his November 1975 testimony, the Attorney General also omitted 
the phrase in his June 24 letter which would have permitted warrant- 
less electronic surveillance to be directed against American citizens or 
domestic groups which "plan[ned] unlawful activity directed against 
a foreign power or a foreign-based political group." Warrantless elec- 
tronic surveillance, he said, would only be authorized when the sub- 
ject of the proposed surveillance is "consciously assisting a foreign 
power or a foreign-based political group." "^ The elimination of this 
category was apparently due to the decision of the Court of Ap- 
peals for the District of Columbia in Zweihon v. Mitchell^ 516 F. 2d 
594 (D.C. Cir., 1975) {en 6anc), which held unconstitutional warrant- 
less electronic surveillance of a domestic organization that was neither 
the agent of nor collaborator with a foreign power.^^ 

To date, neither Congress nor the Supreme Court has ever squarely 
faced the issue of whether the President may legitimately authorize 
warrantless electronic surveillance in "national security" cases involv- 
ing the activities of foreign powers or their agents. As noted above, 
Section 2511(3) of the 1968 Omnibus Crime Control Act does not rep- 
resent an affirmative grant of power to the President ; it is simply an 
acknowledgement that Congress does not intend to limit or restrict 
whatever constitutional power the President may have in connection 
with "national security" cases. And the Supreme Court in Keith ex- 
plicitly wrote that it only reached the question of the constitutionality 
of "national security" electronic surveillance in cases that involved 
"domestic security." While two federal circuit courts have determined 
that the President may constitutionally authorize warrantless elec- 
tronic surveillance directed against foreign agents or collaborators,^" 
the Supreme Court denied certiorari in both cases and has yet to decide 
the issue. In the absence of a mandate from Congress or the Supreme 
Court, the Justice Department has relied on these circuit court cases to 
support its current standards for warrantless electronic surveillance.'^ 

*' Edward H. Levi testimony, 11/6/75, Hearings, Vol. 5. pp. 70, 71. 

Unlike the first three phrases, the last criterion — "to obtain information certi- 
fied as necessary for the conduct of foreign affairs matters important to the 
national security of the United States" — does not parallel the language of Sec- 
tion 2511(3). 

^ In Ziceibon, the Court of Appeals rejected the defendant former Attorney 
General's theory that a wiretap on a domestic organization was justified as a 
proper exercise of the President's foreign affairs powers when the activities of 
that group adversely affected this country's relations with a foreign power. 

'• United States v. Butenko, 494 F.2d 593 (3d Cir., 1974), cert, denied sub nom. 
Ivcmov V. United States, 419 U.S. 881 (1974) ; and United States v. Brown, 484 
F.2d 418 (5th Cir., 1973). cert, demed 415 U.S. 960 (1974). 

"A Justice Department memorandum states that the current policy of the 
Attorney General is to authorize warrantless electronic surveillance "only when 
it is shown that its subjects are the active, conscious agents of foreign powers." 
This standard "is applied with particular stringency where the subjects are 
American citizens or permanent resident aliens." 

In one instance during 1975, it was decided that there was not suflicient infor- 
mation to "meet these strict standards;" and the Department went to a court 
for "orders approving, for periods of twelve days each, wiretaps of the telephone 
of two individuals." The court issued the orders, according bo this Justice Depart- 


Legislation has recently been introduced, with the support of At- 
torney General Levi, to require a prior judicial warrant for electronic 
surveillance of an "agent of a foreign power." One of seven specially 
designated federal judges would be authorized to issue a warrant upon 
a finding that there is ''probable cause to believe that the target of the 
electronic surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign 
power." The term "agent of a foreign power" is defined as 

(i) a pei'son who is not a permanent resident alien or citi- 
zen of the United States and who is an officer or employee 
of a foreign power ; or 

(ii) a person who, pursuant to the direction of a foreign 
power, is engaged in clandestine intelligence activities, salx)- 
tage, or terrorist activities, or who conspires with, assists or 
aids and abets such a person in engaging in such activities.^^ 

Thus, the legislation would not define the activities which could sub- 
ject an American to electronic surveillance in terms of the federal 
criminal laws. 

The new legislation also would not reach electronic surveillance of 
Americans abroad or other "facts and circumstances . . . beyond the 
scope" of its provisions. Authority for such surveillance would con- 
tinue to be based on whatever may be "the constitutional power of the 
President." In other respects, however, the proposed statute is a sig- 
nificant step towards effective regulation of FBI electronic surveil- 


Warrantless microphone surveillance, while perhaps the most in- 
trusive type of electronic surveillance, has received significantly less 
attention from Presidents and Attorneys General than has warrantless 
wiretapping. The first documentary indication that microphone sur- 
veillance was separately considered by any Attorney General is not 
found until 1952, when Attorney General McGrath prohibited its use 
in cases involving trespass. Two years later. Attorney General Brown- 
ell issued a sweeping authorization for microphone surveillance, even 
when it involved physical trespass, in cases where the Bureau deter- 
mined such surveillance was in the national interest; no prior ap- 
proval by the Attorney General was required. This policy continued 
until 1965, when microphone surveillance was placed on an equal foot- 

ment memorandum, even though "there was not probable cause to believe that 
any of the particular offenses listed in" the provisions of the 1968 Act for court- 
ordered electronic surveillance "was being or was about to be committed." The 
facts supporting the application showed, according to the Department, "an 
urgent need to obtain information about possible terrorist activities" ; that the 
information was "essential to the security of the United States ;" that the infor- 
mation was likely to be obtained by means of the surveillance ; and that it "could 
not practicably be obtained by any other means." The Department has described 
this "ad lioc adjustment" of the 1968 statute as "extremely difficult and less 
than satisfactory." (Justice Department memorandum from Ron Carr, Special 
Assistant to the Attorney General, to Mike Shaheen, Counsel on Professional 
Responsibility, 2/26/76.) 

" S. 3197, introduced 3/23/76. 


ing with telephone surveillance, and since that time the policies for 
both these forms of electronic surveillance have remained identical. 

A. Pre-1952 

1. 1931 to 19Ji2 

The legal status of microphone, as opposed to telephone, surveillance 
was not addressed by the Supreme Court until 1942, and it was not ad- 
dressed by Congress until 1968. It is perhaps for this reason that the 
Justice Department developed no distinct policy on mircophone sur- 
veillance during the first half of the century. 

The OJmstead case in 1928 involved a wiretap rather than a micro- 
phone surveillance. Similarly, the Federal Communications Act of 
1934 was addressed only to the interception of wire and radio com- 
munications; microphone surveillance was not within its ambit. 
Neither Attorney General Mitchell's nor Attorney General Jackson's 
instructions on wiretapping in 1931 and 1940, respectively, encom- 
passed microphone surveillance, and President Eoosevelt's 1940 
authorization and President Trmnan's 1946 authorization were also 
limited to wiretapping. 

An internal Justice Department memorandum from William Olson, 
former Assistant Attorney General for Internal Security, to Attorney 
General Elliot Richardson notes that "[djuring the period 1931-1940, 
it appears safe to assume that microphone surveillances were utilized 
under the same standards as telephone surveillances — 'in those cases 
involving the safety of the victims of kidnapping, the location and ap- 
prehension of desperate criminals, and in espionage, sabotage, and 
other cases considered to be of major law enforcement importance.' " "^ 

2. 191^2-1952 

In 1942, the Supreme Court decided Goldman v. United States^ 316 
U.S. 129, which held in the context of a criminal case that a 
microphone surveillance was constitutional when it did not involve 
physical trespass. Thereafter, the test for the validity of a microphone 
surveillance appeared to be whether or not it involved a trespass.^* 
There is no evidence, however, that an Attorney General gave any 
firm guidance to the FBI in this area until 1952. Although there did 
not appear to be any distinct articulated Justice Department policy 

''' Memorandum from William Olson to Elliot Richardson, undated. 

■'^ In 1944, Alexander Holtzofif, a Special Assistant to the Attorney General, 
prepared a memorandum on "admissibility of evidence obtained by trash covers 
or microphone surveillance" in response to a series of hypothetical questions sub- 
mitted by the FBI. Holtzoff stated that "evidence obtained by an unlawful search 
and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment is not admissible as against 
. . . the i)erson in control of the premises that have been illegally searched." 
He added that "the secret taking or abstraction of papers or other property 
from the premises vi^ithout force is equivalent to an illegal search and seizure." 
However, Holtzoff expressed the view "that microphone surveillance is not 
equivalent to illegal search and seizure" and "that evidence so obtained should 
be admissible" even where "an actual trespass is committed." (Memorandum 
from Holtzoff to J. Edgar Hoover 7/4/44. ) 

Holtzoff disregarded the implication of Goldman v. United States, 316 U.S. 129 
(1942), that microphone surveillance involving trespass would violate the Fourth 
Amendment. Nevertheless, the Goldman case did not deal directly with this 
issue, since it upheld the constitutionality of a microphone surveillance not 
installed by trespass. 


on microphone surveillance for a decade after Goldnnan, J. Edgar 
Hoover summarized FBI practice since Goldman in a 1D51 memoran- 
dum to Attorney General McGrath : 

As you are aware, this Bureau has also employed the use of 
tnicrophone installations on a highly restrictive basis., chief,y 
to obtain intelligence information. The information obtained 
from microphones, as in the case of wiretaps, is not admissible 
in evidence. In certain instances, it has been possible to install 
microphones without trespass, as reflected by opinions ren- 
dered in the past by the Department on this subject matter. In 
these instances, the inforaiation obtained, of course, is treated 
as evidence and therefore is not regarded as purely intelli- 
gence information. 

As you know, in a number of instances it has not been possi- 
ble to install microphones without trespass. In such instances 
the information received therefrom is of an intelligence na- 
ture only. Here again, as in the use of wiretaps, experience 
has shown us that intelligence information highly pertinent 
to the defense and welfare of this nation is derived through 
the use of microphones.^** 

B. 1952 to 1965 

The first clear instruction to the FBI from an Attorney General 
regarding microphone surveillance was issued in 1952. On Febru- 
ary 26, 1952, Attorney General McGrath wrote to Mr. Hoover as 
follows : 

The use of microphone surveillance which does not involve 
a trespass would seem to be permissible under the present state 
of the law. United States v. Goldman., 316 U.S. 129. Such sur- 
veillances as involve trespass are in the area of the Fourth 
Amendment, and evidence so obtained and from leads so 
obtained is inadmissible. 

The records do not indicate that this question dealing with 
microphones has ever been presented before ; therefore, please 
be advised that / cannot authorize the installation of a micro- 
phone involving a trespass under existing lata.'''' 

As a result of this instruction. Hoover declared in a March 4, 1952, 
internal FBI memorandum that he would similarly not approve any 
request for a microphone surveillance in a case involving trespass.^® 
The FBI evidently considered this policy on microphone surveil- 
lance to be too restrictive, however, especially in the area of internal 
security.''^ Under pressure from the FBI — and despite the 1954 

™ Memorandum from Director FBI to the Attorney General, Subject : "Tech- 
nical Coverage," 10/6/51. [Emphasis added.] 

"Memorandum from the Attorney General to J. Edgar Hoover, 2/26/52. 
[Emphasis added.] 

''^ Memorandum from William Olson to Elliott Richardson, undated. 

■"A Justice Department memorandum from Thomas K. Hall, Smith Act Unit 
to William E. Foley, Chief, Internal Security Section, Subject : "Microphone 
Surveillances," 12/22/53, reflects a meeting between Justice Department officials 
and Alan Belmont and Carl Hennrich of the Bureau to determine how the use 
of this technique could be broadened. 


Supreme Court decision in Irvine v. California ^° — Attorney General 
Brownell reversed his predecessor's position. On May 22, 1954, he 
wrote Director Hoover : 

The recent decision of the Supreme Court entitled Irvine v, 
Calif omia^ 347 U.S. 128, denouncing the use of microphone 
surveillances by city police in a gambling case, makes ap- 
propriate a reappraisal of the use which may be made in 
the future by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of micro- 
phone surveillance in connection with matters relating to the 
internal security of the country. 

It is clear that in some instances the use of microphone 
surveillance is the only possible way of uncovering the activ- 
ities of espionage agents, possible saboteurs, and subversive 
persons. In such instances I am of the opinion that the na- 
tional interest requires that microphone surveillance be uti- 
lized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This use need 
not be limited to the development of evidence for prosecution. 
The FBI has an intelligence function in connection with 
internal security matters equally as important as the duty of 
developing evidence for presentation to the courts and the na- 
tional security requires that the FBI be able to use micro- 
phone surveillance for the proper discharge of both such 
functions. The Department of Justice approves the use of 
microphone surveillance by the FBI under these circum- 
stances and for these purposes. 

I do not consider that the decision of the Supreme Court in 
Irvine v. California^ supra, requires a different course. That 
case is readily distinguishable on its facts. The language of 
the Court, however, indicates certain uses of microphones 
which it would be well to avoid, if possible, even in internal 
security investigations. It is quite clear that in the Irvine case 
the Justices of the Suprerne Court were outraged hy what they 
regarded as the indecency of installing a microphone in a 
bedroom. They denounced the utilization of such methods 
of investigation in a gambling case as shocking. The Court's 
action is a clear indication of the need for discretion and 
intelligent restraint in the use of microphones by the FBI in 
all cases, including internal security matters. Obviously, 
the installation of a microphone in a bedroom or in some 
comparably intimate location should be avoided wherever 
possible. It may appear., however., that important intelligence 
or evidence relating to matters connected with the national 
security^ can only be obtained by the installation of a micro- 
phone in such a location. It is my opinion that under such 
circumstances the installation is proper and not prohibited 
by the Supreme Court's decision in the Irvine case. 

... It is realized that not infrequently the question of tres- 
pass arises in connection with the installation of a microphone. 

*'347 U.S. 128 (1954). In Irvine, the Supreme Court held that evidence obtained 
in a criminal case from a warrantless microphone installation involving trespass 
was inadmissible in court. The fact that the microphone had been planted in 
a bedroom particularly offended the court. 


The question of whether a trespass is actually involved 
and the second question of the effect of such a trespass upon 
the admissibility in court of the evidence thus obtained, must 
necessarily be resolved according to the circumstances of each 
case. The Department in resolving- the problems which may 
arise in connection with the use of microphone surveillance 
will review the circumstances in each case in light of the 
practical necessities of investigation and of the national in- 
terest which must be protected. It is my opinion that the 
Department should adopt that interpretation which ^vill 
permit microphone coverage by the FBI in a manner most 
conducive to our national interest. I recognize that for the 
FBI to fulfill its important intelligence function, considera- 
tions of internal security and the national safety are para- 
mount and^ therefore^ may compel the unrestricted use of this 
technique in the national interest.^'^ 

Brownell cited no legal support for this sweeping authorization. 
By not requiring prior approval by the Attorney General for specific 
microphone installations, moreover, he largely undercut the policy 
which had developed for wiretapping. The FBI in many cases could 
obtain equivalent coverage by utilizing bugs rather than taps and 
would not be burdened with the necessity of a formal request to the 
Attorney General. 

On May 4, 1961, Director Hoover wrote a memorandum to Deputy 
Attorney General Byron K. White, in which he informed the Depart- 
ment that the FBI's policy with regard to microphone surveillance 
was based on the 1954 Brownell memorandum quoted above. Hoover 
stated that Brownell had "approved the use of microphone surveil- 
lances with or without trespass," and noted that "in the internal se- 
curity field we are utilizing microphone surveillances on a restricted 
basis even though trespass is necessary to assist in uncovering the ac- 
tivities of [foreign] intelligence agents and Communist Party leaders." 
He continued: "In the interests of national safety, microphone sur- 
veillances are also utilized on a restricted basis, even though trespass 
is necessary, in uncovering major criminal activities. We are using 
such coverage in connection with our investigations of clandestine ac- 
tivities of top hoodlums and organized crime." *- This memorandum 
apparently did not lead to further reconsideration of microphone sur- 
veillance policy by Justice Department officials, and the practice ar- 
ticulated by Hoover continued without change until 1965.*^^ 

*^ Memorandum from the Attorney General to the Director, FBI, 5/20/54. 
[Emphasis added.] 

*^ Memorandum from the Director, FBI to Mr. Byron R. White, Deputy At- 
torney General, 5/4/61. Less than three months earlier, however, the FBI had 
planted a bug in a hotel room occupied by a United States Congressman in con- 
nection with an investigation that was unrelated to either Communist activities 
or organized crime. See pages 329-330. 

^^^ For an account of a subsequent meeting between Attorney General Kennedy 
and the FBI's liaison to the Attorney General regarding certain FBI microphone 
surveillance practices in 1961, see the Committee's Report on Warrantless Sur- 
repitious Entries, Sec. II. 


The Department later summarized the policy during these years in 
the Supplemental Memorandum to the Supreme Court in the case of 
Bluck V. United /States,^^ referred to above. 

The memorandum read, in part : "Under Department practice in ef- 
fect for a period of years prior to 1963, and continuing until 1965, 
the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was given au- 
thority to approve the installation of devices such as that in question 
[a microphone] for intelligence (and not evidentiary) purposes when 
required in the interest of internal security or national safety, in- 
cluding organized crime, kidnappings, and matters wherein human life 
may be at stake. Acting on the basis of the aforementioned Depart- 
mental authorization, the Director approved installation of the device 
involved in the instant case." *^ 

C. 1965 to the Present 

On March 30, 1965, when Attorney General Katzenbach instituted 
the six month limitation on telephone taps, he also expressed the view 
that proposals for microphone surveillances should be submitted for 
the Attorney General's prior approval and that this type of sur- 
veillance should also be limited to six month periods.^^ While Attor- 
neys General since the 1950s had sporadically given their prior ap- 
proval to microphone surveillances, the requirement of such approval 
had never been a consistent policy of the Justice Department, as it 
had been with respect to wiretapping for more than two decades.*^* 
With the immediate implementation of Katzenbach's suggestions, 
therefore, the Justice Department procedures with regard to both wire- 
tapping and microphone surveillance became identical. 

President Johnson's June 30, 1965, directive to all federal agencies, 
which formally prohibited all wiretapping except in connection with 
"national security" investigations and then only with the prior ap- 
proval of the Attorney General, referred to the issue of microphone 
surveillances only tangentially. It read : 

Utilization of mechanical or electronic devices to overhear 
nontelephone conversations is an even more difficult problem, 
which raises substantial and unresolved questions of constitu- 
tional interpretation. I desire that each agency conducting 
such investigations consult with the Attorney General to as- 
certain whether the agency's practices are fully in accord 
with the law and with a decent regard for the rights of 
others. ^^ 

*' 385 U.S. 26 (1966). 

** Supplemental Memorandum for the United States, Black v. United States, 
385 U.S. 26 (1966), submitted by Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall, 7/13/66. 

^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 3/30/65. 

^"^ Mr. Katzenbach testified as follows concerning the requirement he imposed 
on microphone surveillance : 

"Curiously, 'bugs,' which in my jxrdgment are far more serious invasions of 
privacy than are taps, were not subject to the same authorization procedure in 
the Department of Justice until I so directed on March 30, 1965. Theretofore, the 
Bureau had claimed an authority to install bugs at its sole discretion under a 
memorandum from then Attorney General Brownell dated May 20, 1954. I 
thought the claim that Attorney General Brownell's memorandum authorized the 
widespread use of bugs was extremely tenuous." (Katzenbach testimony. Hear- 
ings, Vol. 6, p. 200. ) 

** Directive from President Johnson to Heads of Agencies, 6/30/65. 


Apparently, J. Edgar Hoover did not find his "consultations" with 
the Attorney General to be encouraging. It is noted above that on 
September 14, 1965, the Director infoi-med Katzenbach that, "[i]n 
accordance with the wishes you have expressed during various recent 
conversations with me" and because of public alarm at alleged in- 
vasions of privacy by Federal agencies, he was severely restricting or 
eliminating the use of a number of investigative techniques. Specifi- 
cally with regard to microphone surveillance, he w^rote that "we have 
discontinued completely the use of" this technique ^' — despite Katzen- 
bach's approval of the limited use of microphone surveillance in March 
of that year and despite the absence of a prohibition on the use of the 
technique in the President's June directive. 

It is also noted above in Section II that Katzenbach responded about 
two weeks later with a memorandum setting forth what he believed to 
be appropriate guidelines for the use of the techniques Hoover had re- 
stricted or eliminated. He gave virtually unrestricted authorization 
to the FBI to conduct microphone surveillances not involving trespass, 
writing, "[wjhere such questions [i.e., of trespass] are not raised, I 
believe the Bureau should continue to use these techniques in cases 
where you believe it appropriate without further authorization from 
me." ^^ With regard to microphone surveillances that did involve tres- 
pass, he again treated the use of this technique in a fashion identical 
to warrantless wiretapping: for both he required his prior approval 
(except in "emergency circumstances") and for both the legitimate 
purposes were limited to the gathering of intelligence in "national 
security matters." While he expressed the belief that both wiretaps 
and microphone surveillances involving trespass might at some future 
time be appropriate to use in the area of organized crime, he gave no 
authority for such use at that time. 

The policy set out in Katzenbach's September 27 letter to Hoover 
was reaffirmed by the Justice Department at least three times prior to 
the 1967 Kats decision and the passage of the Omnibus Crime Control 
Act of 1968. 

In the July 1966 Supplemental Memorandum filed in the Black case, 
the Justice Department stated that "[p] resent Departmental practice, 
adopted in July 1965, prohibits the use of such listening devices in all 
instances other than those involving the collection of intelligence af- 
fecting the national security. The specific authorization of the At- 
torney General must be obtained in each instance when this exception 
is involved." This language was quoted by Attorney General Ramsey 
Clark in his November 3, 1966 memorandum to all United States At- 
torneys ^^ and reaffirmed in Clark's 1967 memorandum to heads of 
executive departments."" 

The Katz decision, in December 1967, held that a w^arrantless micro- 
phone installation on the side of a public telephone booth was uncon- 
stitutional in the context of a criminal case. Thus, Justice Departnient 
policy prohibiting microphone surveillances in non-"national security" 

^ Memorandum from the Director, FBI to the Attorney General, 9/14/65. 

"* Memorandum from Nicholas deB. Katzenbach to J. Edgar Hoover, 9/27/65. 

^"^ Memorandum from the Attornev General to all United States Attorneys, 

*• Memorandum from the Attorney General to Heads of Executive Departments 
and Agencies, 6/16/67. 

69-984 O - 76 


cases became a constitutional requirement as well — regardless of 
whether or not the installation involved trespass.^"^ As noted above, 
however, the issue of electronic surveillance in "national security" cases 
was not addressed by the Supreme Court in Katz. 

The 1968 Omnibus Crime Control Act, unlike the Federal Commu- 
nications Act of 1934, applies to both telephone wiretaps and micro- 
phone surveillances. Because of this, and because the Justice Depart- 
ment policy regarding both techniques became virtually identical in 
1965, the description of the evolution of wiretapping policy over the 
past decade applies equally to the technique of microphone surveil- 
lance. In recent years, for all practical purposes, there has been but a 
single policy for both forms of electronic surveillance. 


The preceding two sections have dealt with the legal framework 
and Justice Department policy regarding warrantless wiretapping and 
bugging. This section attempts to provide an overview of FBI elec- 
tronic surveillance practices. Without purporting to explore the full 
range of FBI electronic surveillance practices, a limited number of key 
areas are highlighted in order to suggest the manner in which elec- 
tronic surveillances are conducted. More specifically, this section dis- 
cusses the frequency of FBI use of this technique since 1940; inter- 
nal FBI restrictions on the maximum number of simultaneous 
electronic surveillances; the method by which requests have been 
initiated and approved; the manner in which wiretaps and bugs 
have been instialled; the means by which the FBI has responded to 
the legal obligation to produce electronic sui'veillance records in crimi- 
nal trials; and the traditional reluctance of the FBI to permit outside 
scrutiny <^i its electronic surveillance practices. A discussion of the 
application of the Justice Department's standards for wiretapping 
and bugging to particular cases is I'eserved for Section VII below. 

A. Extent of FBI Electronic Surveillance: 19^0-1975 

While FBI use of warrantless electronic surveillance has not been 
as pervasive as many other investigative techniques such as inform- 
ants, both wiretaps and bugs have b^n strategically utilized in a large 
number of intelligence investigations. The Bureau's reliance on these 
techniques was greatest during World War II and the immediate 
postwar period. During the 1960s and early 1970s, internal FBI policy 
placed a ceiling on the number of simultaneous electronic surveillances 
conducted by the Bureau. This self-restriction did not act to curtail 
all use of this technique, but it apparently frustrated intelligence of- 
ficials in the FBI and other agencies who sought — unsuccessfully — a 
change in this policy through the Huston Plan in 1970. In recent years, 
judicial decisions have severely restricted the use of warrantless elec- 
tronic surveillance against domestic targets, although wiretaps and 
bugs still continue to be commonly used in the area of foreign intelli- 
gence and counterintelligence. 

^^ The Court in Katz rejected the distinction made in Goldnmn, between tres- 
passory and nontrespassory microphone surveillances, and the resulting doctrine 
of "constitutionally protected areas." ". . . [T]he Fourth Amendment," the Court 
wrote in Katz, "protects people, not places." 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967). 


1. Annual Totals for Wii^etaps and Microphone ImtaUations 
According to Justice Department i-ecords, the annual totals of war- 
rantless FBI wiretaps and microphones in operation between 1940 
and 1974 were as follows : 

wiretaps Microphones 















































..... . 174 











































' Attorney General Edward H. Levi testimony, Nov. 6, 1975, hearings, vol. 5, pp. 68-70. The statistics before 1968 encom- 
pass electronic surveillances for both intelligence and law enforcement purposes. Those after 1968, when the Omnibus 
Crime Control Act was enacted, include surveillances for intelligence purposes only; electronic surveillances for law 
enforcement purposes were thereafter subject to the warrant procedures required by the Act. 

Comparable figures for the year 1975, through October 29, are : 121 
telephone wiretaps and 24 microphone installations.^^ 

It should be noted that these figures are cumulative for each year; 
that is, a wiretap on an individual in one year which continued into a 
second year is recorded in both years. The figures are also duplicative 
to some extent, since a telephone wiretap or microphone which was 
installed, then discontinued, and later reinstated is counted as a new 
surveillance upon reinstatement. 

^. FBI Policy on the Mammum Number of Simultaneous Elec- 
tronic Surveillances 
From at least the early 1960s, J. Edgar Hoover placed a ceiling on 
the nmnber of warrantless electronic surveillances that could be in op- 
eration at any one time. As expressed by Charles D. Brennan, who be- 
came Assistant Director in charge of the FBI's Domestic Intelligence 
Division in 1970, ". . . there was always a maximum figure which you 
w^ere not allowed to exceed, and if you recommended an additional 
wiretap, it had to be done with the recognition that in another area you 
would take one off." "" 

«' Levi, 11/6/76, Hearings, Vol. 5, p. 70. 

"-Charles Brennan deposition, 9/23/75, p. 44. An example of this relatively 
frequent occurence is reflected in an FBI memorandum dated June 25, 1962, 
which recommended that seven wiretaps should be instituted in connection with 
the Bureau's "Sugar Lobby" investigation (see pp. 328-330.) 

"As mentioned in memorandum of 6/21/62, for each technical sun-eillance 
installed in instant matter, we will temporarily suspend coverage which we 
have for intelligence purposes on some other establishments so as not fo increase 
total number of technical installations in operation." (Memorandum from W. R. 
Wannall to W. C. Sullivan, 6/2.5/62.) 


Until the mid-1960s, the maximum figure was approximately 
eighty.^^ In response to the 1965 and 1966 investigation by the Senate 
Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure into the use 
of electronic surveillance and other techniques by federal agencies, 
however, Hoover instructed Bureau officials to reduce by one-half 
the number of warrantless electronic surveillances then in effect. 
According to Breiman, the ceiling was lowered out of a concern that 
this subcomittee's "inquiry might get into the use of that technique 
by the FBI. . . ." ^* The number of warrantless wiretaps in the "secu-* 
rity field" was subsequently reduced from 76 to 38, and remained close 
to the latter figure for several years thereafter.^^ 

Intelligence officials both within the FBI itself and in other intelli- 
gence agencies clearly felt constrained by Hoover's policy, and 
through the Huston Plan in 1970 they attempted to raise or eliminate 
the internal limitations on the number of simultaneous electronic sur- 
veillances. The Report that was presented to President Nixon in June 
of 1970 noted: "The limited niunber of electronic surveillances 
and penetrations substantially restricts the collection of valuable in- 
telligence information of material important to the entire intelligence 
community," ^^ and it presented the President with the option of 
modifying "present procedures" to "permit intensification of coverage 
of individuals and groups in the United States who pose a major 
threat to the internal security." ^^ This option was specifically recom- 
mended to the President by Tom Charles Huston.''® 

*' Because this restriction applied only to simultaneous electronic surveillances, 
the ceiling figures are invariably lower than the annual statistics reflected in 
the chart on p. 301. The annual statistics include all electronic surveillances con- 
ducted for any length of time, however brief, during the year indicated. 

^ Brennan deposition, 9/23/75, p. 43. 

■^Brennan deposition, 9/23/75, p. 42. It has been alleged that the number of 
wiretaps was temporarily reduced for a brief period each year during J. Edgar 
Hoover's annual appearances before the House Appropriations Committee so 
that he could report, if asked, a relatively small number of wiretaps in operation. 
(iSee, e.g.. Report of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representa- 
tives, 8/20/74, p. 149.) In one instance involving the so-called "17 wiretaps" 
in February 1971, Hoover did insist that ongoing surveillances should be discon- 
tinued prior to such an appearance. (Memorandum from W. S. Sullivan to Mr. 
Tolson, 2/10/71.) 

But no general pattern of temporary suspensions or terminations during the 
Director's appearances before the House Appropriations Committee is revealed 
by Bureau records. The following figures represent the number of warrantless 
electronic surveillances in operation approximately thirty days prior to, during, 
and approximately thirty days after Hoover's testimony before that committee 
from 1967 to 1972 : 

Before Date of Director's testimony After 

"Retrieval not practicable" Feb. 16, 1967 (38) IVIar. 13, 1967 (42). 

Jan. 15, 1968 (33) Feb. 23, 1968 (33) Mar. 22, 1968 (33). 

Mar. 14, 1969 (46) Apr. 17, 1969 (49) May 15, 1969 (50). 

Feb. 5, 1970 (38) Mar. 5, 1970 (36).. Apr. 6,1970(37). 

Feb. 16, 1971 (33) Mar. 17, 1971 (33) Apr. 17, 1971 (40). 

Jan. 31, 1972 (32)... Mar. 2, 1972 (34).... Mar. 31, 1972 (35). 

(Letter from FBI to Senate Select Committee, 6/9/75.) 

" Special Report : Interagency Committee on Intelligence (Ad Hoc) June 
1970, p. 26. 
"" IMd., p. 28. 
" Memorandum from Tom Charles Huston to H. R. Haldeman, 7/70. 


Director Hoover nonetheless remained strongly opposed to lifting 
restraints on the FBI's use of warrantless electronic surveillance. He 
added a footnote to the electronic surveillance section of the Huston 
Report which read : 

The FBI does not wish to change its present procedure of 
selective coverage of major internal security threats as it 
believes this coverage is adequate at this time. The FBI 
would not oppose other agencies seeking authority of the 
Attorney General for coverage required by them and there- 
after instituting such coverage themselves.^^ 

In part because of Hoover's opposition to the Huston Plan, President 
Nixon, w4io had originally endorsed the recommendations, withdrew 
his approval ^•'^ and the maximum number of electronic sui-veillance 
stayed essentially constant until 1972. 

The policy of placing an arbitrary ceiling on simultaneous warrant- 
less electronic surveillances was apparently terminated after J. Edgar 
Hoover's death in 1972. With the apparent lifting of this self- 
restriction, the number of foreign-related surveillances increased ^" — 
a fact Avhich is reflected in the annual totals listed above. 

B. Requests^ Approvals, and Iwiplenientation 

1. The Request and Approval Process 

Recommendations for the use of electronic surveillance in particu- 
lar cases are typically initiated at the field level of the Bureau, al- 
though at times they have originated with the Attorney General, the 
White House, and the head of another agency.^°^ If Headquarters 
approves a field request, the appropriate field office then conducts a 
feasibility study to determine whether or not the surveillance can be 
conducted with complete security. Upon a favorable security finding, 
the Director personally sends the Attorney General a formal request 
for coverage, setting forth the name and address of the person or per- 
sons to be monitored as well as pertinent facts about the case.^°^ 

According to former Attorney General William Saxbe, the "re- 
quest must contain very detailed information." "* In numerous cases 
in the past, however, the information supplied in the request has 
been minimal at best. For example, several of the so-called "17 wire- 
taps" during the Nixon administration were approved by Attorney 
General John Mitchell despite the lack of any data in the formal 
requests to support the need for the technique's use.^°^ It is possible 

" Sijecial Report : Interagency Committee on Intelligence (Ad Hoc), June 1970, 
p. 28. 

"" ReiK)rt on ttie Huston Plan : Sec. VI, Recision of the Huston Plan : A Time 
for Reconsideration. 

"^ Tlie Keith rase, decided in 1972, inhibited a similar increase in warrantless 
electronic surveillances directed against American citizens connected with 
domestic organizations. 

^•^ For examples of wiretap requests wihich have originated outside the Bureau, 
see pp. 312, 337. 

"®As noted above, the approval of the Attorney General has been required 
prior to the implementation of telephone wiretaps since the early IJMOs and prior 
to the implementation of microphone surveillances since 196.^. 

'""Attorney General William Saxbe testimony before the Subcommittee on 
Criminal Laws and Procedures of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, ex- 
cerpted in Department of Justice press release, 10/2/74, pp. 5, 6. 

'"' See pp. 337-338. 


that these and similarly defective requests submitted to other Attor- 
neys General were supplemented by information imparted orally, but, 
as the District of Columbia Court of Appeals stated in Zioeibon v. 

... we nevertheless note the possibility of abuse when there 
are no written records of the justifications for instituting a 
surveillance. Such lack of records allows a search to be justi- 
fied on information subsequently obtained from the surveil- 
lance and permits the assertion that more information was 
relied on than was in fact the case. Prior judicial approval for 
wiretapping, among other benefits, of course freezes the 
record as to the data upon which the surveillance was based.^*^ 

2. iTrbplementation of Wiretaps and Bugs 

If the Director receives the written approval of the Attorney 
General for a particular surveillance, the field office is instructed to 
implement it. In the case of wiretapping, an agent from the field 
office generally contacts a repiesentative of the local telephone com- 
pany who acts as Government liaison. One such telephone company 
representative in Washington, D.C., testified that he was simply 
orally advised by an agent of the FBI's Washington Field Office that 
authority had been granted to tap a particular telephone number.^°^ 

According to the Washington Field Office supervisor in charge of 
the employees who implemented and monitored "national security" 
wiretaps, the telephone company representative would then assign 
"pair numbers" in the cable comiecting the FBI's Washington, D.C. 
Field Office with the company's central office in the city, and the 
recording and monitoring devices would be attached to the assigned 
cable pair at the field office, where the Bureau monitoring agents were 
located. After the supervisor verified the wiretap by determining that 
the intercepted line was the correct one, he would give the tap a 
symbol number to be used in lieu of the words "telephone surveillance" 
in any later communication.^"^ 

Generally, two agents would conduct the monitoring operation in 
eight-hour shifts. These monitors typically tape-recorded all calls on 
the line and added supplementary notes concerning such items as the 
identity of the caller and the subject of the conversation if unclear 
from the tape.^°^ Each day, they typed up log summaries, which in- 
cluded anything they believed was consequential. Because the monitors 
were not told specifically what to look for, however, the summaries 
tended to be over-inclusive rather than under-inclusive : the supervis- 
ing agent noted, for instance, that any information obtained about 
the subject's sex life or drug use would usually be included in the log 
summaries."" He also stated that he disliked having empty summaries 
for any day, and so issued a general instruction to his monitors that 
an attempt should be made to include at least one item in the log each 

^'^Zweihon v. Mitchell, 516 F. 2d 594, 609 n. 24 (D.G. Oir. 1975). 

^"' Horace R. Hampton, Former Director of Government Communications Serv- 
ice, Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co., 1/27/75, Halperin v. Kissinger, 
Civ. No. 1187-73 (D.D.C.), pp. 12, 13. 

"' FBI Special Agent deposition, 4/7/75, Halperin v. Kissinger, Civ. No. 1187- 
73 (D.D.O.),pp. 10,11. 

"' FBI Special Agent deposition, 4/7/75, pp. 38, 39. 

"* FBI Special Agent deposition, 4/7/75, pp. 40-42. 


day."^ Even if there was no activity, a monitor would still have to file 
a log summary stating "no activity" or "no pertinent activity." ^^^ 

A special squad within the Washington Field Office was responsible 
for implementing microphone installations. According to one Bureau 
agent who served on this sfjuad for a number of years, the authorizing 
document (which, he said, invariably bore J. Edgar Hoover's initials) 
would be transmitted to the field office and shown to him and the 
other members of the squad prior to the installation. Tliis agent stated 
that in the majority of cases he was able to obtain a key to the target's 
premises, either from a landlord, hotel manager, or neighbor. In other 
cases, he simply entered through unlocked doors. He stated that only 
in a small proportion of the cases to which he was assigned was it 
necessary to pick a lock.^^^ Once the bug was planted, it was generally 
necessary for Bureau agents to monitor the conversations from a loca- 
tion close to the targeted premises. 

C. The ELSUR Index 

In the mid-1960s, the Justice Department established a policy of 
filing disclosures in the courts in cases where criminal defendants had 
been monitored by electronic surveillance."* As a result, it became 
necessary to establish a general index of the names of all persons over- 
heard on such surveillances. In September 1966, the Assistant Attor- 
ney General of the Criminal Division informed Director Hoover that : 

In recent months the Department has been confronted 
with serious problems concerning the prospective or continued 
prosecution of individuals who have been the subject of prior 
electronic surveillance. These problems have sometimes arisen 
comparatively late in the investigative or prosecutive process. 
For example, we recently were forced to close an important 
investigation involving major gambling figures in Miami be- 
cause we were advised that the evidence necessary to obtain 
a conviction was tainted 

In view of these experiences, it appears necessary and de- 
sirable that the Department have full knowledge of the extent 
of any device problem at as early a stage of preparation for 
prosecution as possible in order to determine whether a partic- 
ular case may or may not be tainted or what responses will 
be necessary with respect to a motion under Rule 16 to pro- 
duce statements. 

Accordingly, I feel it is imperative for us to establish be- 
tween the Bureau and the Department . . . some sort of 
"early warning" system. This may require the Bureau to set 
up and maintain appropriate indices tvith respect to electronic 
surveillance and ths materials derived therefrom. 

I have discussed this suggestion with the Attorney General 

"' FBI Si>ecial Agent deposition, 4/7/75, pp. 45, 58-59. 

'" FBI Special Agent deiwsition, 4/7/75, pp. 58, 59. 

'" Staff summary of former FBI Special Agent interview, 9/5/75. 

""In AUerrtKtn v. United States, 394 U.S. 165 (1969), the Supreme Court held 
that thi.s policy was constitutionally required. The court held in this case that 
the Government is legally obligated to produce all materials generated by elec- 
tronic surveillance for inspection by the court in criminal cases. 


and the Deputy Attorney General. Both feel that the estab- 
lishment of such indices is necessary. . . ."^ 

In fact, for a number of years prior to this suggestion the Bureau had 
maintained rudimentary indices within each field office, although there 
was no central index and those which existed on the field level were be- 
lieved to be inadequate by Justice Department officials. Because Hoover 
believed the existing system was adequate, he reacted defensively when 
Assistant Attorney General Fred Vinson requested a conference be- 
tween the Department and the Bureau to discuss the details of the 
Justice Department's proposal. The Director penned the following 
notation on the Vinson memorandum : "Since [an indexing system] 
is already operating, I see no need for such a conference. . . . Tell him 
it is already done and see that it is meticulously operated." "® 

About one week later, however, Hoover directed officials at Head- 
quarters to send a teletype to all field offices which had conducted elec- 
tronic surveillances since January 1960."^ These offices were instructed 
to transmit to Headquarters the names of all individuals whose voices 
were monitored through electronic surveillance any time within the 
previous six years, as well as the initial date of the monitoring and the 
identity of the subject against whom the installation was directed. 
Each office was also informed that it had a continuing obligation to 
submit to Headquarters on a weekly basis the names of any additional 
individuals monitored in the future."® 

Tlie Bureau has since maintained a central index at Headquarters, 
referred to as the ELSUR Index, which contains the names of all indi- 
viduals overheard, even incidentally, on both court-ordered and war- 
rantless electronic surveillances. Additional information such as the 
initial date of the monitoring and the identity of the target of the 
surveillance is also included in the index. The method by which this 
index has been compiled, however, raises some questions as to its accu- 
racy and completeness. 

Although the ELSUR Index covers the period January 1, 1960, to 
the present, for example, the FBI's response to a request by the Senate 
Select Committee for the date and location of all electronic overhears 
of Martin Luther King, Jr., conceded that retrieval of some of the 
overhears of King may be impossible. Three factors contributing to 
this difficulty were set forth by the Bureau : 

1. Prior to issuing instructions to field offices in October, 
1966, directing them to submit the names of all individuals 
whose voices have been monitored through a microphone in- 
stalled or a telephone surveillance operated by the offices any- 
time since 1/1/60, additional surveillances on which King 
was monitored are unaccountable for as these surveillance 
logs may have been destroyed. 

2. Prior to the instructions, personnel handling logs may 
have felt that overhears were of no substance or significance 
and consequently were not recorded. 

"^Memorandum from Fred M. Vinson, Jr. to the Director, FBI, 9/27/66. 
[Emphasis added.] 
"" Memorandum from Fred Vinson to the Director, FBI, 9/27/66. 
"' Memorandum from W.G. Sullivan to G. D. DeLoach, 10/4/66. 


3. The setting up of the ELSUR indices was a fieldwide 
project of large proportions and the instructions going to the 
field 10/5/66, were subject to broad interpretation, thus lead- 
ing to possible misinterpretation of these instructions. Also, 
the factor of human error might be involved, thereby causing 
incomplete indices until the mechanics of the procedure were 
ironed out."^ 

In fact, several surveillances of King himself which were known to 
personnel at FBI headquarters were apparently not reflected in the 
ELSUR Index. 

One Special Agent's description of the preparation of ELSUR Index 
cards by FBI monitors suggests that the Index may be incomplete 
even for the post-1966 period. According to this agent, the FBI mon- 
itors are under instructions to prepare ELSUR Index cards for each 
identifiable person who speaks over the intercepted line.^-** Since the 
cards must contain the proper names of these individuals rather than 
phonetic spellings, and since this information is often difficult to obtain 
from an overhear alone, the monitors maintain a separate index of 
phonetic spellings prior to their determination of the proper spelling 
and its entry into the ELSUR Index.^^^ The monitors then attempt to 
confirm the identity of the persons overheard from various research 
aids kept at their disposal, such as telephone books and Congressional 
and federal agency directories, and from discussions with the Bureau 
agents assigned to the substantive cases. In most cases, it is possible to 
make an accurate identification, but when this proves to be impossible, 
the names of unidentified individuals never get entered into the 
ELSUR Index.^^- Sometimes no entry has been made in the ELSUR 
Index even though positive identification was subsequently obtained.^^^" 
Thus, a person could be overheard and this fact would not be revealed 
by a check of the ELSUR Index.^^^ 

D. Congressional Investigation of FBI Electronic Surveillance Prac- 
tices : The Long Suh committee 

The Bureau has traditionally been reluctant to permit Congres- 
sional investigation into its electronic surveillance practices. During 
the 1965 and 1966 inquiry by the Senate Subcommittee on Administra- 
tive Practice and Procedure into the use of electronic surveillance and 
other techniques by federal agencies, the FBI took affirmative steps 
to avoid substantial exposure of such practices to the subcommittee. 
The Bureau's attempt to thwart this subcommittee's investigation 
into the use of mail covers in February and March of 1965 is described 
in the Senate Select Committee's Report on CIA and FBI Mail 

"" Letter from the FBI to the Senate Select Committee, 10/3/75. 

^ FBI Si>eclal Agent deposition, Halperin v. Kissinger, A/l/lo, pp. 15, 16. 

^ FBI Specaal Agent deposition, Halperin v. Kissinger, 4/7/75, p. 19. 

^ FBI Special Agent deposition, Halperin v. Kissinger, 4/7/75, pp. 17-19. 

^» FBI Special Agent deposition, Halperin v. Kissinger, 4/7/75, pp. 53, 54. 

"' In at least two, certain very sensitive surveillances were consciously 
excluded from the ELSUR Index system. See p. 343. While such exclusion has 
been rare, the fact that it occurred twice shows that it is possible to circum- 
vent the entire ELSUR Index system. 


Opening; ^^^ a similar attempt, apparently acquiesced in by the sub- 
committee, was made in the area of electronic surveillance. 

The Bureau's wary attitude toward this investigation is reflected in 
an internal memorandum dated August 2, 1965 : 

Senator [Edward V.] Long [of Missouri] is Chairman of 
the Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and 
Procedure. He has been taking testimony in connection with 
mail covers, wiretapping, and various snooping devices on 
the part of Federal agencies. He cannot be trusted and al- 
though the FBI has not become involved in these hearings, 
our name has been mentioned quite prominently on several 
occasions. . . .^^^ 

When the Subcommittee's investigation began to touch on the Bureau's 
electronic surveillance practices in connection with organized crime 
several months later. Assistant Director Cartha DeLoach and another 
ranking Bureau official personally visited the Subcommittee's chair- 
man. Senator Edward Long of Missouri, to explain to him the FBI's 
practices in the area of electronic surveillance.^^'' This meeting lasted 
approximately one and one-half hours,^^^ and there is no indication in 
the documentary record that any other briefing occurred prior to this 
visit. Nonetheless, an FBI memorandum notes that after the Senator 
"stated that unfortunately a number of people were bringing pressure 
on him to look into the FBI's activities in connection with usage of 
electronic devices," ^^^ DeLoach suggested to him : 

that perhaps he might desire to issue a statement reflecting 
that he had held lengthy conferences with top FBI officials 
and was now completely satisfied, after looking into FBI 
operations, that the FBI had never participated in uncon- 
trolled usa^e of wiretaps or microphones and that FBI usage 
of such devices had been completely justified in all instances.^^^ 

According to this memorandum, Senator Long agreed, and when 
he "stated that he frankly did not know how to word such a release," ^^° 
DeLoach "told him that we would be glad to prepare the release for 
him on a strictly confidential basis." "^ 

The next day, Bureau agents prepared such a statement for Senator 
Long, noting that "it is written from the viewpoint of the Senator 
and his Committee in that it indicates they have taken a long, hard 
look at the FBI and have found nothing out of order — but that they 
will continue looking over our procedures and techniques from time to 
time in the future. Such an approach," it was stated, "is felt to be 
essential if the statement is to have the desired effect. A statement 
reflecting a stronger pro-FBI position might not only prove ineffective 
in thwarting those persons who are exerting pressure on the Sub- 

"^^ CIA and FBI Mail Opening Repor> : Sec, IV, FBI Mail Opening. 

^ Memorandum from M. A. Jones to Mr. DeLoach, 8/2/65. 

"* Memorandum from C. D. DeLoach to Mr. Tolson, 1/10/66. 

^^^ Ibid. 

^'^ Ibid. 

^ Ibid. 


'=■' Ibid. 


committee for a probe of our operations, but it could also bring criti- 
cism and additional pressure on Senator Long." "^ The statement 
written by the Bureau for Senator Tx)ng reads in full : 

As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Administrative 
Practice and Procedure of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 
I instructed my staff at the outset of our activities to include 
the FBI, together with all other Federal agencies, among the 
organizations to be dealt with to ascertain if there had been 
invasion of privacy or other improper tactics in their opera- 
tions. Toward this end, my staff and I have not only con- 
ferred at length with top officials of the FBI, but we have 
conducted exhaustive research into the activities, procedures, 
and techniques of this agency. 

While my staff and I fully intend to carefully review FBI 
operations from time to time in the future, I am at the present 
time prepared to state, based upon careful study, that we are 
fully satisfied that the FBI has not participated in high- 
handed or uncontrolled usage of wiretaps, microphones, or 
other electronic equipment. 

The FBI's operations have been under strict Justice De- 
partment control at all times. In keeping with a rigid system 
of checks and balances, FBI installation of wiretaps and 
microphones has been strictly limited, and such electronic 
devices have been used only in the most important and serious 
of crimes either affecting the internal security of our Nation 
or involving heinous threats to human life. Included among 
these are major cases of murder, kidnapping, and sadism per- 
petrated at the specific insti-uction of leader of La Cosa 
Nostra or other top echelons of the extralegal empire of orga- 
nized crime. 

Investigation made by my staff has reflected no independ- 
ent or unauthorized installation of electronic devices by indi- 
vidual FBI Agents or FBI offices in the field. We have care- 
fully examined Mr. J. Edgar Hoover's rules in this regard 
and have found no instances of violation.^^^ 

As noted above, there is no indication in the record that any briefing 
a;bout electronic surveillance by the FBI occurred prior to the prepa- 
ration of this statement by Bureau agents other than the ninety- 
minute briefing given by DeLoach. No Bureau agents had been called 
to testify before the Subcommittee. It does not appear that any Sen- 
ator or staff members reviewed FBI files on electronic surveillances. 
Nor is there any indication in the record that the Subcommittee ever 
learned of the bugging of a Congressman's hotel room, the bugging 
and wiretapping of Martin Luther King, Jr., or the wiretapping of a 
Congressional staff member, tw^o newsmen, an editor of a political 
newsletter, and a former Bureau agent — all of which had occurred 
within the previous five years."* 

"^ Memorandum from M. A. Jones to Mr. Wick, 1/11/66. 

^^ Memorandum from M. A. Jones to Mr. Wick (attachment) , 1/11/66. 

^** The details of these cases are discussed in Section VI below. 


Ten days after the statement was prepared for Senator Long, 
DeLoach again visited him and "asked him point blank whether or 
not he intended to hold hearings concerning the FBI at any time in 
the future." According to Delx)ach's memorandum : 

He stated he did not. I asked him if he would be willing to 
give us a commitment that he would in no Avay embarrass the 
FBI. He said he would agree to do this.^^^ 

When the Subcommittee's Chief Counsel asked DeLoach at this meet- 
ing "if it would be possible for [DeLoach] or Mr. Gale [another FBI 
Assistant Director] to appear before the Long Subcommittee . . .and 
make a simple statement to the effect that the FBI used wiretaps only 
in cases involving national security and kidnapping and extortion, 
where human life is involved, and used microphones only in those 
cases involving heinous crimes and Cosa Nostra matters," DeLoach 
refused. He wrot« that he informed the Chief Counsel : 

that to put an FBI witness on the stand would be an attempt 
to open a Pandora's box, in so far as our enemies in the press 
were concerned [and] tliat such an appearance as only a 
token witness would cause more criticism than the release of 
the statement in question would ever cause. ^^*^ 

DeLoach noted that Senator Long then stated "he had no plans 
whatsoever for calling FBI witnesses," but that the Chief Counsel 
indicated that he would like to call one former FBI agent who was 
known to DeLoach. According to DeLoach's memorandum regarding 
this meeting, he told the Chief Counsel that this agent "was a first 
class s.o.b., a liar, and a man who had volunteered as a witness only to 
get a public forum," and that the Chief Counsel then reconsidered. 
The memorandum concludes with the observation : 

While we have neutralized the threat of being embarrassed 
by the Long Subcommittee, we have not yet eliminated certain 
dangers which might be created as a result of newspaper pres- 
sure on Long. We therefore must keep on top of this situation 
at all times."^ 

Partly as a result of the Subcommittee's apparently willing "neutral- 
ization" by the Bureau, the FBI's electronic surveillance practices 
were protected from intensive Congressional and public scrutiny until 
the 1970s. 


Foreign agents and foreign establishments within the United States 
have often been, and continue to be, the targets of warrantless FBI 
electronic surveillance. In general, the Fourth Amendment questions 
raised by electronic surveillance of foreigTiers are not as serious as 
those raised by the targeting of American citizens ; and surveillance of 
foreign targets may be less susceptible to the types of abuses that have 
often been associated with wiretapping and bugging of American 

^ Memorandum from C. D. DeLoach to Mr. Tolson, 1/21/66. 


citizens. Because Americans are often overheard on "foreign" taps 
and bugs, however, and because American citizens may also be the 
indirect targets of "foreign" surveillances, the rights of Americans 
may nonetheless be affected even by surveillance of foreign targets. 

Apparently, most warrantless electronic surveillances conducted 
by the FBI in the past fifteen yeai-s have fallen into this broad cate- 
gory. Foreign establishments and foreigners living within the United! 
States have been the subject of wiretaps and bugs far more frecjuently 
than have American citizens connected with domestic organizations, 
for pui-poses ranging from the collection of foreign intelligence and 
counterintelligence information to the detection of terrorist activity."^ 
Since the 1972 Keith decision, which invalidated "domestic security" 
warrantless electronic surveillances, the proportion of foreign targets 
has been even greater. As of November 1975, for example, all existing 
warrantless electronic surveillances were directed against foreigners."® 

The purpose and value of electronic surveillance against foreign 
targets, as well as "domestic" abuse questions which have arisen in this 
context, are discussed below. 

A. Purpose and Value as an Investigative Technique 

Electronic surveillance of foreign targets has been used extensively 
by the FBI for the purpose of collecting foreign counterintelligence 
information. Within the past fifteen years, both wiretaps and bugs 
designed to collect such information have been directed against tar- 
gets in the following categories : "Foreign Establishments," "Foreign 
Commercial Establishments," "Foreign Officials," "Foreign Intelli- 
gence Agents," "Foreign Intelligence Contacts," "Foreign Intelligence 
Agents Suspect," "Foreign Officials' Contact," and "Foreign Intelli- 
gence Agents Business Office." Wiretaps alone have been used against 
"Foreign Intelligence Contact Suspect" and "a [foreign] Exile 
Group;" bugs alone have been used against the "wife of a foreign in- 
telligence contact," a "relative of a foreign intelligence agent suspect," 
a "foreign intelligence agent contact," another "[foreign] exile group," 
and for "coverage of foreign officials." "" 

Electronic surveillance of targets such as these is clearly considered 
by FBI officials to be one of the most valuable techniques for the collec- 
tion of counterintelligence information. According to W. Raymond 
Wannall, the former Assistant Director in charge of the Bureau's 
Domestic Intelligence Division, wir-etaps and bugs directed against 
foreign targets: 

give us a base line from which to operate. . . . Having the 
benefit of electronic surveillance, we are in a position to make 
evaluations, to make assessments, to make decisions as to [the 
conduct of counterintelligence operations]. ... It gives us 
leads as to pei-sons . . . hostile intelligence services are try- 

'* Letter from FBI to Senate Select Committee (attachment), 10/23/75. Some 
of the .surveillances for these purposes targeted Americans, but the FBI has not 
until recently identified surveillance targets according to thdr citizenship or 
resident alien status. 

'^Attorney General Edward H. Levi testimony, 11/6/75, Hearings, Vol. 5, p. 71. 

""Letter from FBI to Senate Select Committee (attachment), 10/23/75. These 
category descriptions are the FBI's, and some may include Americans. 


ing to subvert or utilize in the United States, so certainly it 
is a valuable technique.^*^ 

Some of the surveillances in the categories listed above have also 
been conducted for the primary purpose of collecting "positive" for- 
eign intelligence (which may include economic intelligence) rather 
than counterintelligence information."^^ While the collection of "posi- 
tive" foreign intelligence is outside the FBI's intelligence mandate, 
such surveillances have been responsive to specific requests of the 
Attorney General by the State Department and the CIA, both of which 
have a responsibility for "positive" intelligence."^ 

In addition, the Bureau has electronically monitored foreign fargets 
for the purpose of detecting and preventing violent and terrorist activ- 
ities by foreigners within the United States. Wiretaps have been used 
for such purposes against a "Foreign Militant Group," a "Foreign 
Revolutionary Group," a "Foreign Militant Group Official," and a 
"Propaganda Outlet of the League of Arab States." Microphone sur- 
veillances in the last two of these categories and of an "Arab Terrorist 
Activist," and an "Arab Terrorist Activist Meeting" have been used 
for similar purposes."^ 

B. Foreign Surveillance Abuse Questions 

Even properly authorized electronic surveillances directed against 
foreign targets for the purposes noted above may result in possible 
abuses invohdng American citizens. Because wiretaps and bugs are 
capable of intercepting all conversations on a particular telephone or 
in a particular area, American citizens with whom the foreign targets 
communicate are also overheard, and information irrelevant to the 
purpose of the sui-veillance may be collected and disseminated to senior 
administration officials. 

It is also possible to institute electronic surveillance of a foreigner 
for the primary purpose of intercepting the communications of a 
particular American citizen with that target; since the "foreign" sur- 

^^ W. Raymond Wannall testimony, 10/21/75, pp. 20, 21. The legitimate counter- 
intelligence benefit that accrues to the Bureau through the use of this technique 
would not be reduced if a form of judicial warrant were required prior to the 
implementation of electronic surveillances directed against foreign agents or 
collaborators. See Senate Select Committee Final Report, Book II, Recommen- 
dations 51 and 52. 

Mia President Ford's Executive Order on foreign intelligence .specifically author- 
izes FBI electronic surveillance for this purpose. (Executive Order 11509, 

"^ See, e.g.. Memorandum from R. D. Cotf er to W. C. Sullivan, 3A1/68 ; Draft 
of National Security Council Intelligence Directive No. 9, 5/5/75 version. In the 
early 1970's. for example, the FBI conducted surveillance of a foreign establish- 
ment within the United States at the si)eclfic request of the CIA and with clear- 
ance from the State Department. This installation received the prior approval 
of the Attorney General. (Staff summary of FBI memoranda.) 

As noted above, Ramsey Clark testified that while he was Attorney General, 
his practice was "to confine the area of approval to international activities 
direictly related to the military security of the Uniteid States." (Ramsey Clark 
testimony. Hearings before the Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Practice 
and Procedure (1974).) He stated that he denied requests "to tap Abba Eban 
when he was on a visit to 'this country, an employee of the United Nations Sec- 
retariat, the Organization of Arab Students in the U.S., the Tanzanian Mission 
to the U.N., the ofl^'ce of the Agricultural Counselor at the Soviet Embassy and 
a correspondent of TASS." (Thkl. ) . 

*** Letter from FBI to the Senate Select Committee (attachment), 10/23/75. 


vdllance in this situation can accomplish indirectly what a surveillance 
of the American could accomplish directly, the former may be used to 
circumvent the generally more stringent requirements for surveillances 
of Americans. 

Both of these practices, which clearly affect the rights of the Amer- 
icans involved, have occurred in the past and are discussed below. 

1. Dissemination of DoTnestic Intelligence from Incidental 

Essentially political information — unrelated to the authorized pur- 
pose of the surveillance — has occasionally been obtained as a by- 
product of electronic surveillance of foreign targets and disseminated 
to the highest levels of government. In the early 1960s, for example, 
Attorney General Robert Kennedy authorized the FBI to institute 
electronic surveillances of certain foreign targets in Washington, D.C., 
in connection with the possibly unlawful attempts of a foreign govern- 
ment to influence Congressional deliberations over sugar quota legisla- 
tion.^** From these surveillances, the Attorney General was provided 
with significant information not merely about possible foreign in- 
fluence but about the reaction of key members of the House Agriculture 
Committee to the administration's sugar quota proposal as well.^*^ 

Through the Bureau's coverage of certain foreign establishments 
in Washington, it was also able to supply) two Presidents with reports 
of the contacts between members of Congress and foreign officials. 
According to a 1975 FBI memorandum : 

On March 14, 1906, then President Lyndon B. Johnson in- 
formed Mr. DeLoach [Cartha DeLoach, former Assistant 
Director of the FBI] . . . that the FBI sihould constantly keep 
abreast of the actions of representatives of these [foreign 
countries] in making contacts with Senators and Congressmen 
and any citizens of a prominent nature. The President stated 
he strongly felt that nuich of the protest concerning his Viet- 
nam policy, particularly the hearings in the Senate, had been 
generated by [certain foreign officials] .^*^ 
As a result of the President's request, the FBI prepared a chronologi- 
cal summary — ^based in part on existing electronic surveillances — of 
the contacts of each Senator, Representative, or staff member who 
communicated with selected foreign establishments during the 
period July 1, 1964, to March 17, 1966. This summary— which com- 
prised 67 pages— was transmitted to the ^Vliite House on March 21, 
1966. The cover letter noted that : "based upon our coverage, it appears 
that" certain foreign officials "are making more contacts with" four 
named United States Senators "than with other United States 
legislators." ^^^ 

A second summary was prepared on further contacts between Con- 
gressmen and foreign officials and was transmitted to the White House 
on May 13, 1966. From that date until January 1969, when the Johnson 

^" Memorandum from the Director, FBI for the Attorney General. 2/14/61. Six 
American citizens were also wiretapped in the course of this investigation. These 
surveillances are discussed at pp. 32S-330. 

'*^ FBI summary memoranda, 2/16/01, 6/15/62. 

i« FBI summary memorandum, 2/3/75. 

"^ FBI summary memorandum, 2/3/75. 


administration left office, biweekly additions to the second sununary 
were regularly prepared and disseminated to the White House."^ 

This practice was reinstituted during the Nixon administration. On 
July 27, 1970, Larry Higby, Assistant to H. R. Haldeman, informed 
the Bureau that Mr. Haldeman "wanted any information possessed 
by the FBI relating to contacts between [certain foreign officials] and 
Members of Congress and its staff." "'^ Two days later, the Bureau pro- 
vided the White House with a statistical compilation of such contacts 
from January 1, 1967 to July 29, 1970."^=' As in the case of the informa- 
tion provided to the Johnson White House, no members of Congress 
were targeted directly but many had been overheard on existing elec- 
tronic surveillances of foreign officials in Washington, D.C. 

2. Iindirect Targeting of American Citizens Through Electronic 
Surveillance of Foreign Targets 

There is also evidence that in at least one instance the FBI, at the 
request of the President, instituted an electronic surveillance of a for- 
eign target for the purpose of intercepting telephone conversations 
of a particular American citizen. An FBI memorandum states that 
about one week before the 1968 Presidential election, President John- 
son became suspicious that South Vietnamese Government might sabo- 
tage his peace negotiations in the hope that Presidential candidate 
Richard Nixon would win the election and take a "harder line" to- 
wards North Vietnam. ^^^ More specifically, the President believed 
that Mrs. Anna Chennault, widow of General Clair Chennault and a 
prominent Republican leader, was attempting to persuade South Viet- 
namese officials "from attending the Paris peace negotiations until 
after the election since it would devolve to the credit of the Republican 
Party." ^^^ 

In order to determine the validity of this suspicion, the White House 
instructed the FBI to institute a physical coverage of Mrs. Chennault, 
as well as physical and electronic surveillance of the South Vietnamese 
Embassy. ^^^'^ The electronic surveillance of the Embassy was author- 

**® FBI summary memorandum, 2/3/75. 

^* FBI summary memorandum, 2/3/75. 

^*®* No individual Senators, Congressmen, or staff members were named in the 
statistical summary, however. Nor is there any indication that President Nixon 
or his aides were specifically concerned about the President's critics. Rather, 
the retiuest grew out of concern about "an increase in [foreign] interest on 
Capitol Hill" which was expressed to President Nixon by at least one Senator. 
( FBI summary memorandum, 2/3/75. ) 

150 pgj summary memorandum, 2/1/75. 

151 FBI summary memorandum, 2/1/75. 

*^* Summaries of the information obtained from the physical surveillance of 
Mrs. Chennault were subseqviently disseminated to the White House "in strictest 
confidence." (Memorandum from C. D. DeLoach to Mr. Tol.son, 11/4/68: Tele- 
types from Director. FBI to the AVhite House situation room, 10/30/68, 10/31/68, 
11/1/68. 11/2/68, n/3/6S, 11/4/68.) - 

According to an FBI memorandum, a White House official told Assistant Direc- 
tor Cartha DeLoach that "this .situation may very well 'blow the roof off the 
the political race yet.' " (Memorandum from C. D. DeLoach to Mr. Tolson, 

In addition, the White House requested the FBI to obtain, and the Bureau 
did subsequently obtain, the outgoing telephone toll records of Vice Presidential 
candidate Spiro Agnew while he was campaigning in New Mexico. (Memorandum 
from C. D. DeTyoach to Mr. Tolson. 11/19/68). The apparent purpose of this 
request was to determine whether or not Agnew had communicated with Mrs. 
CJhennault or the South Vietnamese Embassv. (FBI summarv memorandum, 


ized by Attorney General Ramsey Clark on October 29, 1968, installed 
the same day, and continued until January 6, 1969.^^^ 

Significantly, a Bureau memorandum indicates that FBI officials 
Avere ill-disposed toward direct surveillance of Anna Chennault be- 
cause "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 posi- 
tion." ^" Thus, a "foreign" electronic surveillance was instituted to 
indirectly target an American citizen, who, it was apparently believed, 
should not be surveilled directly. 


American citizens and domestic organizations have also been the di- 
rect targets of FBI wiretaps and bugs for intelligence purposes. In- 
deed, the use of these techniques against Americans for such purposes 
has a long history. In 1941, for example. Attorney General Francis 
Biddle approved a wiretap on the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce 
under the standard of "pereons suspected of subversive activities." ^^* 
Four years later, a high official in the Truman administration ^^ and 
a former aide to President Roosevelt ^^^ were both the subject of war- 
rantless electronic surveillance. 

Between 1960 and 1972 numerous American citizens and domestic 
organizations were targeted for electronic surveillance. Most of these 

"^Memorandum from Director, FBI to the Attorney General, 10/29/68; 
Memorandum from Director, FBI to the Attorney General, 10/30/68 ; Memoran- 
dum from Director, FBI to the Attorney General, 3/27/69. Ramsey Clark testified 
that he was unaware of the physical coverage of Mrs. Chennault and did not 
receive reports on her activities. (Ramsey Clark testimony, 12/3/75, Hearings, 
Vol. 6, p. 252. ) There is no indication in the request for this wiretap, which was 
sent to Attorney General Clark, that the White House or the FBI was specifically 
interested in intercepting telephone conversations between Mrs. Chennault and 
South A'ietnamese officials. Mrs. Chennault's name does not appear on this re- 
quest. (Memorandum from Director FBI to the Attorney General, 10/29/68). 

^^ Memorandum from C. D. DeLoach to Mr. Tolson, 10/30/68. In the context 
of the memorandiun, this quotation may relate more directly to close physical 
surveillance of Mrs. Chennault. Direct electronic surveillance of Mrs. Chennault 
was also considered (iMd.), however, and the reason stated in the quotation pre- 
sumably applied to the rejection of the use of that technique against her. 

^Memorandum from Francis Biddle to Mr. Hoover, 11/19/41. This was ap- 
proved in spite of his comment to J. Edgar Hoover that the target organization 
has "no record of espionage at this time." Memorandum from Biddle to Hoover, 

In 1941, J. Edgar Hoover also requested wiretaps on two Americans who were 
members of the Communist Party and on a bookstore which was "engaged in the 
sale of Communist literature and [was] opened by persons connected with the 
Communist Party." (Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Aibtorney 
General, 10/2/41). It appears that these requests were not approved by Attorney 
General Biddle. (Biddle to Hoover, 11/19/41). 

^^ Memorandum from D. M. Ladd to J. Edgar Hoover, 5/23/45. Reports sum- 
marizing information from this wiretap were delivered to two of President Tru- 
man's White House aides. One of the reports included "transcripts of telephone 
conversations between [the official] and .Justice Frankfurter, and between [the 
official] and Drew Pearson." Memorandum from Ladd to Hoover, 5/23/45. (Tliere 
is apparently no record as to who authorized this wiretap.) 

*^A memorandum by J. Edgar Hoover indicates that Attorney General Tom 
Clark "authorized the placing of a technical surveillance" on this individual and 
that, according to Clark, President Truman "was particularly concerned" about 
the activities of this individual "and his associates" and wanted "a very thor- 
ough investigation" so that "steps might be taken, if possible, to see that such 
activities did not interfere with the proper administration of government." 
(Hoover memorandum, 11/15/45.) More than 175 reports summarizing informa- 
tion overheard on this wiretap, which continued until 1948, were delivered to the 
Truman White House. (Memorandum from FBI to Senate Select Committee 
(attachment), 3/26/76.) 

69-984 O - 76 - 21 


warrantless wiretaps and bugs were predicated on the need to protect 
the country against "subversive" and/or violent activities ; many were 
based on the perceived need to discover the source of leaks of classified 
information ; and an undetermined number ^^^ of American citizens 
were wiretapped for other reasons such as the desire to obtain foreign 
intelligence or counterintelligence information.^^^ 

The Keith decision in 1972 sharply restricted the grounds for wire- 
tapping and bugging which had been asserted previously, although it 
did not prohibit warrantless electronic surveillance of American citi- 
zens for foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purposes when a 
substantial connection is shown to exist between the American indi- 
vidual or group and a foreign power.^^^ No Americans were the sub- 
jects of this technique as of November 1975,^*^° but a small number of 
Americans have been electronically monitored since the Keith case on 
the basis of such a foreign connection.^^^ 

This section focuses on warrantless electronic surveillance of Amer- 
ican citizens during the 1960 to 1972 period. It contains a general 
description of surveillances which were instituted because of the per- 
ceived "subversive" or violent nature of the targets, because of leaks 
of classified information, and on various other grounds. In Section 
VII, this Report elaborates on three types of abuse questions which 
have arisen in connection with warrantless electronic surveillance 
of American citizens. 

A. Electronic Surveillance Predicated on Subversive Activity 

Numerous American citizens and domestic organizations have been 
wiretapped and bugged because their activities, while not necessarily 
violent, were regarded as sufficiently "subversive" to constitute a 
threat to the security of the United States. In many of these cases, 
it was believed that the individuals or groups were controlled or fi- 
nanced by, or otherwise connected with, a hostile foreign power. In 
other cases, the surveillances were based only on the possibility that 
the targets, whether consciously or not, were being influenced by 
persons believed to be acting under the direction of a foreign power; 

'^Because the FBI has not always determined the citizenship of electronic 
surveillance targets, it is possible that American citizens are included among 
the "foreign" categories listed in Section V. 

^ These categories are meant to be descriptive only ; they do not constitute 
the Justice Department standards for warrantless electronic surveillance during 
this period. As noted in Section II, the standard for wiretapping until 1965 was 
the "domestic security" standard first articulated by Attorney General Tom 
Clark in 1946 ; the microphone surveillance standard until 1965 was that estab- 
lished by Attorney General Herbert Brownell : the "national interest." From 
1965 until 1968, both wiretapping and microphone surveillances were governed 
by the "national security" standard established by President Johnson and At- 
torney General Nicholas Katzenbach. From 1968 until 1972, the Justice Depart- 
ment relied on criteria based on the five categories set forth in Section 2511 (3) 
of the Omnibus Crime Control Act. These criteria applied to both wiretaps and 
bugs. The application of these standards to particular cases is discussed in 
Section VII. 

"* See the discussion of the Keith case, United States v. United States District 
Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972) p. 290. 

^*' Attorney General Edward H. Levi testimony, 11/6/75. Hearings, Vol. 5, 
p. 71. 

*•* For example, memorandum from Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray to the 
Attorney General, 10/19/72, 


such surveillance typically occurred in the context of COMINFIL 
(Communist infiltration) investigations.^*'^ 

The Communist Party, USA, provides the clearest example of a 
group that was selected for electronic surveillance on the ground of 
foreign-connected "subversive" activities. In addition to a wiretap on 
the Headquarters of the Communist Party, the FBI conducted wire- 
taps in the following target categories : 

Commimist Party Functionaries 
Communist Party Propaganda Outlet 
Communist Party Front Group 
Communist Party Member 
Commmiist Party Affiliate 
Communist Party Publication 

Microphone surveillances are recorded in these categories: 

Communist Party Functionaries 
Communist Party Front Groups 
Communist Party Propaganda Outlets 
Communist Party Front Groups Organizer 
Communist Party Function 
Communist Party Members 
Communist Party Publications 
Coverage of Communist Party Meeting 
Communist Party Youth Activist 
Communist Party Labor Group 
Communist Party Youth Group 
Communist Party Ajfiliate 
Coverage of Communist Party Conference 
Communist Party Apologist ^^^ 

Other groups adhering to a communist ideology have also been 
electronically monitored for similar reasons. According to FBI rec- 
ords, wiretaps were used in cases involving a "Marxist-Leninist Group 
Affiliate," a "Marxist-Leninist Group Leader," and a "Marxist-Leninist 
Group Functionary." Microphone surveillances were also conducted 
against a "Basic Revolutionary Group Founder," a "Marxist-Oriented 
Youth Group," a "Trotskyite Organization," a "Basic Revolutionary 
Group," an "Organizer of a Basic Revolutionary Group," "Marxist- 
Leninist Groups," a "Basic Revolutionary Front Group," a "Basic 
Revolutionary Front Functionary," a "Marxist-Leninist Front Group," 
and a "Marxist-Oriented Racial Organization." One "Trotskyite Or- 
ganization Meeting" was also bugged. ^®* 

Several groups which were believed to have a connection with the 
Communist Party in Cuba and China have been targeted as well. Into 
this category fell wiretaps which were directed against a "Pro-Castro 
Organization," a "Pro-Castro Movement Leader," a "Pro-Castro 
Group Functionary," and a "Pro-Chicom [Chinese Communist] Prop- 

'** See Report on the Development of FBI Domestic Intelligence Investigations 
for an analysis of COMINFIL investigations. 

^""Letter from FBI to Senate Select Committee (attachment). 10/23/75. The 
target category descriptions are the FBI's. 


aganda Outlet;" and microphones directed against "Pro-Castro Or- 
ganizations," a "Pro-Chicom Group," and a "Pro-Cuban American 
Group which travelled to Cuba." ^"^ 

The "subversive activities" predicate was stretched furthest when 
used to support electronic surveillance of American citizens and domes- 
tic organizations not primarily because their own activities were con- 
sidered to be subversive but because they were believed to be adversely 
influenced, whether consciously or not, by persons acting under the 
direction of a foreign power. One example of reliance on such a ra- 
tionale is seen in the wiretapping and bugging of Dr. Martin Luther 
King, Jr., and several of his associates. In October 1963, Attorney Gen- 
eral Robert Kennedy authorized wiretaps on the residence and two of- 
fice telephones of Dr. King on the ground of possible Communist in- 
filtration into the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, of which 
Dr. King was President.^^" The possibility that two of Dr. King's 
advisors may have been associated with the Communist Party, USA, 
led to four additional wiretaps on King and a total of fifteen micro- 
phone installations in his hotel rooms during 1964 and 1965.^^^ Ap- 
parently as part of this COMINFIL (Communist infiltration) investi- 
gation, several of King's associates were also wiretapped and bugged.^^* 

At least three other organizations have been targeted for electronic 
surveillance primarily on the ground of possible Communist infiltra- 
tion. One such organization, believed to have been influenced by the 
Communist Party, USA, was wiretapped in 1962.^"" In 1965, Attorney 
General Nicholas Katzenbach approved wiretaps on both the Student 
Non- Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) ^^° and the Students 
for a Democratic Society (SDS) for similar reasons; ^^^ the former 
group had also been the subject of a microphone surveillance in 1964.^^^ 

B. Electronic Surveillance Predicated on Violent Activity 

Allegations of violent activity, or the threat of violent activity, have 
also served as the predicate for numerous warrantless electronic sur- 
veillance of Americans. 

Most of the wiretaps and bugs which were instituted for this 
reason have been directed against "black extremists" and "black 
extremist organizations." In 1957, for example, Attorney General 

'"^ Letter from FBI to Senate Select Committee (attachment), 10/23/75. 

^"Memoranda from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 10/7/63 and 
10/18/63. See King Report : Sec. IV, Electronic Surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther 
King, Jr. 

'^'" See King Report : Sec. IV, Electronic Surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther King, 
Jr. FBI memoranda make clear, however, that at least some of the microphones 
were planted in Dr. King's hotel rooms for the express purpose of obtaining per- 
sonal information about him. (For example, memorandum from Frederick Baum- 
gardner to W. C. Sullivan, 2/4/64.) On the question of authorization for these 
wiretaps and bugs, see the King Report : Sec. IV, Electronic Surveillance of Dr. 
Martin Luther King, Jr. 

'"^Letter from FBI to Senate Select Committee (attachment), 10/23/75. A 
1964 wiretap and at least one of the 1965 bugs were on individuals other than 
the advisors to Dr. King who were believed to have been associated with the 
Communist Party, USA. Wiretaps on three advisors who had alleged Communist 
links were instituted in 1962 and 1963. 

"'Letter from FBI to Senate Select Committee (attachment). 10/23/75. 

"" Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 6/15/65. 

'" Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 5/25/65. 

"' See p. 335. 


Herbert Brownell authorized a wiretap on Elijah Muhammad, a leader 
of the Nation of Islam, because of the organization's alleged "violent 
nature." "^ This tap, which was never re-authorized until 1964, was 
finally terminated in 1966. A wiretap was also placed on Malcolm X, 
another Nation of Islam leader, in 1964 for essentially the same roa- 
son.^^* Similarly, Attorney General Katzenbach approved a wiretap 
on a "black extremist leader" of the Kevolutionary Action Movement 
in 1965.^"'^ During the firet half of the 1960's, microphone surveillances 
were also directed against a "black separatist group" (one surveillance 
in 1960 and 1961 ; two separate surveillances each year from 1962 until 
1965) and a "black separatist group functionary" ( from 1961 until 
1965). ^^« 

The possibility of violent activity also led to wiretaps on the Black 
Panther Party and one of its leaders in 1969."^ Both of these taps 
continued into 1970, when wiretaps on a "black extremist group affi- 
liate" and two (non-white) "racial extremist groups" were added to 
the list.^^* 1971 apparently represented the high point of wiretapping 
"black extremists:" in that year, there were wiretaps on the Black 
Panther Party (six separate taps as of March 29, 1971),^^'' two (non- 
white) "racial extremist groups," two individuals described as "mili- 
tant black extremist group members" (one of whom was a member of 
SNCC) , two individuals described as "militant black extremist group 
functionaries," and a "racial group member." A wiretap was also 
authorized to cover a "meeting of a militant [black] group." ^^° In 
1972, wiretaps continued to be used against the Black Panther Party 
and one of its leaders, a (non- white) "racial extremist group," a 
"militant black extremist group member," and a "militant black ex- 
tremist group functionary." ^^^ Microphone surveillances during the 
Nixon Administi'atioji year's were directed against the Black Panther 
Party in 1970 and a "I31ack Extremist Group Functionary" (Huey 
Newton, a leader of the Black Panther Party) from 1970 to 1972.^82 

Electronic surveillance based on a "violent activity" predicate was 
certainly not confined to "black extremists," however. In the early 
and mid-1960's, wiretaps were placed on Ku Klux Klan members 
for similar reasons. Two "leaders of a racist organization," one 
of whom was a Klan member suspected of involvement in the bomb- 
ing of a black church in Birmingham, Alabama, were wiretapped in 
1963 and 1964.^^3 Another Ku Klux Klan member was wiretapped in 

"^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 12/31/56, ini- 
tialled "Approved : HB, 1/2/57." In retrospect, however, one FBI supervisor noted 
that while the Nation of Islam had a "potential" for violence, it was not itself 
involved in violence. He stated that "Elijah Muhammad kept them under con- 
trol, and he did not have them on the streets at all during any of the riots [in the 
1960's]." George C. Moore deposition 11/3/75, pp. 36, 39. 

"* Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 4/1/64. 

^'^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 3/3/65. 

"• Letter from FBI to Senate Select Committee, 10/22/75. 

^^ For example, memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 
3/20/69 ; Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 10/7/69. 

'"Letter from FBI to Senate Committee (attachment), 10/23/75. 

"« Memorandum from W. R. Wannall to C. D. Brennan, 3/29/71. 

''"I.etter from FBI to Senate Select Committee (attachment), 10/23/75. 

"• Ibid. 

^""^ Ibid.; Memorandum from W. R. Wannall to C. D. Brennan, 3/29/71. 

'"^IMd.; Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General. 10/9/63. 


1964 and 1965.^8* FBI records also disclose the bugging of The Na- 
tional States Rights Party in 1962.i«^ 

White radical organizations were also the subjects of electronic sur- 
veillance in the late 1960's and early 1970's on the grounds of violent 
or potentially violent activity. A "New Left Campus Group" was both 
wiretapped and bugged in 1969, and the wiretap continued into 1970.i«« 
Three anti-war organizations which were involved in planning the 
November 1969 "March on Washington" were also wiretapped in 
1969.^" In 1970, the Headquarters of the Worker Student Alliance 
(an affiliate of SDS)"* and an individual who was a contact for the 
Weatherman organization were wiretapped.^*'' The tap on the Worker 
Student Alliance continued into 1971 and was supplemented in that 
year by wiretaps on a "New Left Activist", a "domestic protest group," 
and a "violence prone faction of a domestic protest group" (two 
separate wiretaps). ^^° Additional wiretaps and microphone surveil- 
lances during the years 1969 to 1972 fall into the categories : "Investi- 
gation of Clandestine Underground Group Dedicated to Strategic 
Sabotage;" "Weatherman Organization Publication;" "Publication 
of Clandestine Underground Group Dedicated to Strategic Sabotage ;" 
"Leader of Revolutionary Group;" and "Weather Underground Sup- 
port Apparatus." ^^^ 

For several years during the 1960's, Puerto Rican nationalist groups 
and their members were also electronically monitored because of their 
alleged proclivity towards violence. FBI records reveal wiretaps on a 
"Puerto Rican Independence Group" in 1960 and 1962; and on a 
"Puerto Rican Independence Group Member" in 1965. Microphone 
surveillances were placed on a "Contact of Puerto Rican Nationalist 
Party" in 1960; a "Puerto Rican Independence Group Office" in 1963, 
1964, and 1965; a "Puerto Rican Revolutionary" in 1963; and "Pro- 
Puerto Rican Independence Group Activists" in 1964 and 1965.^^^ 

Other organizations were the subject of electronic surveillance be- 
cause they were seen as violent advocates of the interests of a foreign 
power or group. (To the extent an actual connection with a hostile 
foreign power was perceived, they would also be considered "subver- 
sive.' ) These organizations, which were, or may have been, composed 
at least in part of American citizens, are described by the following 
categories: "Pro-Arab Group," "Arab Terrorist Affiliate" "Pro- 
Palestine Group," "Militant Pro-Chicom [Chinese Communist] 
Group," "West Coast Fundraising Front for Arab Terrorist Groups," 
"Arab Terrorist Activist Affiliates," and "Co-Conspirators in Plot to 
Kidnap a Prominent Anti-Castro Cuban Exile." ^^^ 

"^Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 9/28/64; 
Letter from FBI to Senate Select Committee (attachment). 10/23/75. 
'"" Letter from FBI to Senate Select Committee (attachment), 10/23/75. 
'"^ Ibid. 
"' See p. 338. 

^ Memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover to the Attorney General, 3/16/70. 
"" Letter from FBI to Senate Select Committee (attachment), 10/22/75. 
^ Ibid. 

^ Ibid. The category descriptions are the FBI's. 
"'Letter from FBI to Senate Select Committee (attachment), 10/23/75. 


C. Electronic Surveillance Predicated on Leaks of Classified 

Another purpose of warrantless electronic surveillance of American 
citizens during the period 1960 to 1972 was to determine the source of 
perceived leaks of classified information. At least eight separate in- 
vestigations into perceived leaks resulted in the wiretapping or bug- 
ging of nearly thirty American citizens, yet Bureau memoranda reveal 
no case in which the source of any leak was discovered by means of 
electronic surveillance. These investigations are described below. 

Llcryd Norman: 1961.^^*— On June 27, 1961, Attorney General 
Robert Kennedy informed FBI Director Hoover that the most recent 
issue of Newsweek magazine contained an article about American 
military plans in Germany, which, the administration believed, was 
based on classified information. According to an FBI memorandum, 
Kennedy stated that the President had called him to see if it would 
be possible to determine who was responsible for the apparent leak.^*' 
On the same day, and without specific authorization from the At- 
torney General, the FBI placed a wiretap on the residence of Lloyd 
Norman, the Newsweek reporter who wrote the article.^^* Kennedy was 
informed about the tap on June 28, and formally approved it on 
June 30. It was discontinued on July 3, 1961, when "Norman left 
Washington, D.C., for the west coast on a month's vacation [and] 
the only person left at Norman's residence [was] his son." ^^^ 

Hanson Baldioin: 1962. — A July 1962 New York Times article 
about Soviet missile systems by Hanson Baldwin, which the adminis- 
tration also believed was based on classified information, led to the 
installation of wiretaps on the residences of both Baldwin and a New 
York Times secretary. According to contemporaneous Bureau memo- 
randa, these wiretaps were instituted without the prior