The author examines the counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which aimed to stifle dissent among domestic radical groups from 1956 to 1971.
The New Left was founded in 1962 but by 1968 the movement joined with many other political action groups to achieve one goal, the end of the Vietnam War. Under J. Edgar Hoover's direction, the FBI changed from an intelligence collection agency during World War II to an organization that tried to undermine protest movements such as the New Left. Hoover viewed the New Left as a threat to the American way of life, and the FBI implemented some 285 counterintelligence actions against the New Left. The purpose of COINTELPRO was to infiltrate, disrupt, and otherwise neutralize the entire dissent movement. The author documents the FBI's war against extremist groups on both the left and the right, such as the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Black Panthers, and shows how Hoover employed extensive surveillance against New Left organizations. He argues the FBI got out of control with COINTELPRO and severely damaged American civil liberties in the process. References and notes
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