FBI’s plan to send forged letters to expel Black Panther Party members was thwarted by a lack of stationery
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 the right stationery.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s COINTELPRO investigation of Ramparts magazine appears to have been sparked by a combination of their exposés on Central Intelligence Agency, their contacts at press outlets like the Soviet-controlled TASS, and their interviews with foreign leaders and officials. The Bureau described these interviews as placing the Ramparts reporters as being “under the guidance of Egyptian propaganda and intelligence personnel” and felt that “the average reader” would see the resulting article as “pro-Nasser, anti-Israel and anti-U.S.” For the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office, this perception created an opportunity for the Bureau to sow dissent among Rampart’s staff, subscribers, and donors.
Accuracy In Media isn’t an organization that MuckRock is particularly fond of, but its Federal Bureau of Investigation file is full of some of our favorite things: debates over what an FBI file actually says and complaints about FOIA denials.
Throughout the ’60s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s infamous COINTELPRO operations targeted what it called “Black Nationalist Hate Groups,” for surveillance, infiltration, and ultimately, disruption. It was to that end in March 1968 that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent a memo to the New York field office, authorizing the use of the Bureau’s secret weapon against the Nation of Islam: the zine.