A memo uncovered in Ronald Reagan’s Federal Bureau of Investigation file reveals the FBI’s concerns that the 1964 film “Seven Days in May,” which depicted an aborted military coup of the U.S. government, would be used as Communist propaganda - and was therefore “harmful to our Armed Forces and Nation.”
The Central Intelligence Agency’s “The World Situation in 1970” report was a strange mixture of realistic concerns, candid admissions, and forced optimism. In one of its more realistically optimistic moments, the CIA reported that the Soviets believed “rational Americans” would want a stable Europe. In response, President Richard Nixon asked if anything could be done to “cause more trouble” instead.
From 1967 to 1970, Black Panther Party founding member and Deputy Minister of Information Elbert “Big Man” Howard went on an international tour to mingle with foreign revolutionary movements, promote the BPP’s agenda, and raise money for the party. Documents released through FOIA following Howard’s death last June show that throughout all his travels - from Japan to Sweden to Algeria - the Federal Bureau of Investigation was tracking him and his activities.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a long history of focusing on left-wing activists and politicians, often to the exclusion of groups of actual concern. This pattern continues to this day, as recently documented by Property of the People. The FBI’s file on Ramparts magazine shows how this attitude reflected in internal communications - unable to take to Twitter, agents were forced to scribble right-wing talking points in copies of the magazine.
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.