According to FBI documents, one of the purposes of COINTELPRO was 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.”
Hoover intended to “prevent the rise of a black messiah,” which included leaders such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. The FBI director called Dr. King “the most notorious liar in the country” and “the most dangerous man in America, and a moral degenerate.”
The bureau initiated its surveillance of King during the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, and continued this activity throughout the 1960s. According to J. Edgar Hoover, who waged a personal war against the civil rights leader, King was under communist influence. When Hoover illegally wiretapped what it believed was proof of King’s marital infidelity in a Washington, DC hotel room, the bureau mailed the tape to the civil rights leader’s office and suggested he commit suicide.
Following King’s assassination in 1968, the Black Panther Party was singled out for special attention by the FBI.
The extent of Hoover’s corruption was unknown until after his death— a legacy of employing tactics such as harassment, infiltration, burglaries, illegal wiretaps, spreading rumors, planting evidence, psychological warfare and violence—including murder. Although the bureau purportedly acted in the interests of national security and the prevention of violence, Hoover’s targets were nonviolent. And Hoover amassed a degree of power that no bureau head has been allowed to wield since.
Who has been the latest person deemed a threat to national security? Petreas is a likely candidate. However, this type of survellience is no longer relegated to high profile individuals. Nationally, the “big brother” cameras that have been installed for alleged traffic violations as well as the technology embedded in cellular phones has given the ‘all seeing’ eye more visibility. Though J. Edgar Hoovers tactics may have been questioned, in recent years-it seems that agencies and big business have resurrected the paranoia behind the ingenuity.
The incident that occurred on 9/11 was just the window needed to legalize the once illegal practice of spying on someone without consent. Is it justified?
What are the positives to having universal survellience? Is it an infringement of one’s privacy? What are the implications for our liberties that have been so costly?
It is very interesting that the very one who felt it necessary to spy on perceived threats was the very one who needed watching!