The Fbi's Counterintelligence Program

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In 1956, the FBI created their counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) to deal with the threat of communism in the United States. Placed within the framework of a fight against subversive activities by agents and organizations, the FBI used the program against anyone they deemed a threat to the American way. The mandate of the program was to destroy the communist infiltration, not by external harassment, but by exacerbating the internal fight currently raging within the party. (Something Happening Here, pg. 27) In the following years, COINTELPRO were used against various other groups and organizations, including what the FBI referred to as “Black Liberation / Black Hate” groups. COINTELPRO against “Black Extremists” officially started…show more content…
Little was also a target of the program. Malcolm was a member of the Nation of Islam (NOI). In March of 1964, Malcolm decided to leave the NOI and start his organization, named the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), this led to a rift between Malcolm and the leader of the NOI, Elijah Muhammad. The FBI decided to use COINTELPRO for two purposes; one was to block any attempts of the OAAU to form alliances with white radical political organizations; the other was to develop and intensify the factionalism that started in the NOI and led to the split by Malcolm X. This factionalism ultimately resulted in the assassination of Malcolm X by a member of the NOI as a consequence of the faction-fighting which led to Malcolm’s split from the NOI. (COINTELPRO Papers pg. 103) Several years later, it was discovered that the FBI instigated the NOI infighting that led to the split, with the use of informants, rumor spreading and the exacerbation of internal disputes. In a memo dated January 22nd, 1969, the Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago branch, Marlin Johnson wrote: “Factional disputes have been developed – the most notable being Malcolm X Little.” (FBI Vault, Cointelpro: black extremists, 10 of 23, pg. 17) This statement implies that the FBI had fostered the rift within NOI with the goal of its destruction, thus leading to the assassination of Malcolm X. The FBI’s success, in this case, resulted in a continued use of this strategy, against other black liberation groups with the purpose of the removal of their leaders by any means
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