Documents from the Federal Bureau Investigation reveal that as part of COINTELPRO, the Bureau once attempted to impersonate a redacted Black Panther Party official in forged letters to expel “fringe” members. That plan was ultimately never brought to fruition, but not due to any last-minute attack of conscience - the FBI had simply run out of stationery.
The one-page document comes from a FOIA request by Joey Del Ponte for COINTELPRO files on the BPP containing the phrase “expulsion letters.” From 1956-1971, the FBI used COINTELPRO -an abbreviated form of “Counterintelligence Program” - to surveill and disrupt numerous political groups (although some aspects of the program continued after its supposed dissolution). Although the original focus of COINTELPRO was on the Communist Party, the program was later expanded to include the BPP, the Nation of Islam, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Socialist Workers Party, amongst others.
This isn’t the first instance that the FBI has targeted political groups with forged or false materials during COINTELPRO. MuckRock previously reported on the FBI’s 1968 anti-Nation of Islam zine, which featured poorly drawn NOI leaders hoarding members’ dues. Vice also reported on a violence-filled The Black Panther Coloring Book that the Bureau allegedly sent out to white families in 1968 (though the former BPP member Akinsanya Kambon has claimed the book as genuine).
Read the coloring book embedded below, and the rest of the expulsion records on the request page.
Image via Wikimedia Commons