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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.
The Reverend and the Director: FBI files capture the one and only face-to-face meeting between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King, Jr.
While a not-insignificant percentage of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s activities under Director J. Edgar Hoover were driven by personal vendettas, few were as well-known – or as publicly vicious – as Hoover’s feud with civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. That clash quite literally came to a head on December 1, 1964, when, at the urging of President Lyndon Johnson, Hoover invited King to FBI headquarters for their first - and only - face to face meeting, captured in a ten-page memo in King’s file.
When we last wrote about the Federal Bureau of Investigation file for former head of the American Civil Liberties Union Roger Baldwin, we looked at one of many instances in which Baldwin butted up against Director J. Edgar Hoover on the issue of balancing liberty and security. An earlier section of the file, however, reveals their relationship was relatively tame compared to that of Hoover’s predecessor, who once urged radio stations not to let the “ultra-radicals” at the ACLU broadcast the “rotten propaganda” that they weren’t on the Soviet payroll.