The interagency CACTUS program served as the conduit between CIA’s Operation CHAOS and FBI’s COINTELPRO
A little known but extremely important part of the history of domestic surveillance by intelligence agencies is the CACTUS program. CACTUS was a highly classified channel used by agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to transmit information about “the New Left, Black Militants and related matters.” This channel was never disclosed in the Church Committee reports, even when the reports discuss information that was transmitted through CACTUS.
FBI leadership claimed Bureau was “almost powerless” against KKK, despite making up one-fifth of its membership
In testimony before the Church Committee, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Deputy Director acknowledged that the Bureau at one point made up as much as one-fifth of the Klu Klux Klan’s total membership - but were still powerless to curtail the KKK’s violence. His testimony also acknowledged police participation in Klan violence, and that the Bureau had three times as many “ghetto informants” as they did those targeting white supremacist domestic terrorists.
While the FBI file for Timothy Leary has several interesting pieces of information, what really stands out are some conspicuous - and revealing - absences.