COINTELPRO and Covert Operations
COINTELPRO is the acronym used to refer to counterintelligence programs conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to discredit and neutralize organizations considered subversive to U.S. political stability. These programs were covert and often used extralegal means to criminalize various forms of political struggle and derail several social movements in the United States. Contemporary race relations, political activism, and crime fighting are intimately intertwined in the context of these counterintelligence programs. The story of COINTELPRO is important to the study of race and crime because many Americans, including minorities, were the focus of COINTELPRO operations. This entry discusses early counterintelligence programs that target Puerto Ricans and African Americans involved with the Puerto Rican Independence movement and the Black Liberation movement. The FBI has acknowledged conducting COINTELPRO operations between 1956 and 1971. These operations were allegedly abandoned after public and legislative scrutiny, though it remains unclear whether such activities have ...