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The interagency CACTUS program served as the conduit between CIA’s Operation CHAOS and FBI’s COINTELPRO

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.

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Bayard Rustin was being investigated by the FBI while, unbeknownst to the Bureau, he was working for the CIA

Bayard Rustin was being investigated by the FBI while, unbeknownst to the Bureau, he was working for the CIA

Bayard Rustin was many things: He was a key organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, an advocate for Soviet Jewry, and, “a convicted homosexual,” according to his Federal Bureau of Investigation file. Despite being what many would consider a textbook lefty, Rustin also moonlighted for the Central Intelligence Agency. While that might seem like an irreconcilable contradiction for a man who sat in prison for two years because he refused to serve in World War II, but contradictions aren’t there to be reconciled, they’re there to confound.

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J. Edgar Hoover’s gambit to force his enemies into retirement came close to ending his career

J. Edgar Hoover’s gambit to force his enemies into retirement came close to ending his career

When J. Edgar Hoover forced William “Bill” Sullivan, the Bureau’s domestic intelligence chief, into retirement he set into motion a chain reaction which nearly forced him into retirement as well.

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FBI never investigated man court found culpable for Martin Luther King Jr. assassination

FBI never investigated man court found culpable for Martin Luther King Jr. assassination

While some aspects of the investigation into the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. remain unknown to the public - such as NSA’s tracking of James Earl Ray - others are unknowable simply because they were never properly investigated. The most egregious example is Loyd Jowers, who in 1993 confessed to participating in an alleged conspiracy to, with the U.S. government and the mafia, kill Dr. King, and was found culpable in court. While the Department of Justice denied the veracity of these claims, the FBI, however, never investigated the matter and have no files on the man.

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1977 report found the FBI had engaged in gross misconduct while surveilling Martin Luther King, Jr.

1977 report found the FBI had engaged in gross misconduct while surveilling Martin Luther King, Jr.

A report intended to clear the FBI of any wrongdoing in the Martin Luther King, Jr. murder investigation instead uncovered the extent to which Hoover’s Bureau had engaged in illicit, illegal activity in their personal vendetta against the civil rights leader.

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