There’s Something Happening Here: The New Left, the Klan, and FBI Counterintelligence

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University of California Press, Mar 10, 2004 - History - 382 pages
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Using over twelve thousand previously classified documents made available through the Freedom of Information Act, David Cunningham uncovers the riveting inside story of the FBI's attempts to neutralize political targets on both the Right and the Left during the 1960s. Examining the FBI's infamous counterintelligence programs (COINTELPROs) against suspected communists, civil rights and black power advocates, Klan adherents, and antiwar activists, he questions whether such actions were aberrations or are evidence of the bureau's ongoing mission to restrict citizens' right to engage in legal forms of political dissent. At a time of heightened concerns about domestic security, with the FBI's license to spy on U.S. citizens expanded to a historic degree, the question becomes an urgent one. This book supplies readers with insights and information vital to a meaningful assessment of the current situation.

There's Something Happening Here looks inside the FBI's COINTELPROs against white hate groups and the New Left to explore how agents dealt with the hundreds of individuals and organizations labeled as subversive threats. Rather than reducing these activities to a product of the idiosyncratic concerns of longtime director J. Edgar Hoover, Cunningham focuses on the complex organizational dynamics that generated literally thousands of COINTELPRO actions. His account shows how--and why--the inner workings of the programs led to outcomes that often seemed to lack any overriding logic; it also examines the impact the bureau's massive campaign of repression had on its targets. The lessons of this era have considerable relevance today, and Cunningham extends his analysis to the FBI's often controversial recent actions to map the influence of the COINTELPRO legacy on contemporary debates over national security and civil liberties.

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User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

This is a sociological analysis of the FBI's campaign against dissident political organizations in the Sixties which seeks to examine the Bureau's limits as an intelligence organization, as opposed to ... Read full review


Counterintelligence Activities and the FBI
The Movements
The Organization of the FBI Constructing White Hate and New Left Threats
Acting against the White Hate and New Left Threats
Wing Tips in Their Midst The Impact of COINTELPRO
The Future Is Now CounterIntelligence Activities in the Age of Global Terrorism
A Typology of COINTELPRO Actions
Organizational Processes and COINTELPRO Outcomes

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Page 24 - The Attorney General has been requested by me to instruct the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice to take charge of investigative work in matters relating to espionage, sabotage, and violations of the neutrality regulations.
Page 24 - This task must be conducted in a comprehensive and effective manner on a national basis, and all information must be carefully sifted out and correlated in order to avoid confusion and irresponsibility. "To this end I request all police officers, sheriffs, and all other...
Page 33 - SECURITY . . .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.
Page 29 - SWP has, over the past several years, been openly espousing its line on a local and national basis through the running of candidates for public office and strongly directing and/or supporting such causes as Castro's Cuba and integration problems arising in the South.

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About the author (2004)

David Cunningham is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University.

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