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Remembering the burglary that broke COINTELPRO

Remembering the burglary that broke COINTELPRO

On the 48th anniversary of the break-in at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Media, Pennsylvania field office, reporter Betty Medsger reflects on the role of whistleblowers in the pursuit of truth and government transparency.

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Declassified Kissinger memo refers to American "major intrusion" in Vietnamese elections

Declassified Kissinger memo refers to American “major intrusion” in Vietnamese elections

A 1973 National Security Council memo to Henry Kissinger, kept classified for over 35 years, shows the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency took steps to affect the outcome of South Vietnam’s senate elections. According to the memo, “none of these activities were cleared by the NSC,” and also describes the efforts as “a major intrusion on internal [Vietnamese] politics.”

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Decades later, CIA's damage assessment for the "Pentagon Papers" leak is still largely redacted

Decades later, CIA’s damage assessment for the “Pentagon Papers” leak is still largely redacted

A formerly SECRET memo uncovered in the Central Intelligence Agency’s declassified archives shows that a month after the New York Times began publishing what would become known as “The Pentagon Papers,” the Agency set about assessing the damages. Despite the Agency’s admission that much of the information in Daniel Ellsberg’s leaks was decades old, even in the early ’70s, the report remains almost entirely redacted.

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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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