There's Something Happening Here: The New Left, the Klan, and FBI Counterintelligence

There's Something Happening Here: The New Left, the Klan, and FBI Counterintelligence

There's Something Happening Here: The New Left, the Klan, and FBI Counterintelligence

There's Something Happening Here: The New Left, the Klan, and FBI Counterintelligence


"Cunningham's landmark study of the FBI's response to Sixties protest couldn't be more timely. We gain fresh and disturbing insight into the culture and dynamics of the agency at a time when once again it has been empowered to monitor political dissidence. We need this history so as to avoid repeating it."--Richard Flacks, author "Making History: The American Left and the American Mind

"Cunningham reveals the programs and priorities of the FBI's domestic surveillance in the 1960s with an eye for the telling detail, and with extensive new research. He shows how the extreme bureaucratic centralization of the agency often handicapped, rather than helped, field agents who had creative ideas about how to pursue the FBI's goals. This is the most important book on how the FBI shapes its agenda and its actions, in relation to targeted groups, in some time. At a time when the FBI is being called on to deal with new public threats, we need the insights of this work."--Jack A. Goldstone, Hazel Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University

"For years political scientists and social movement scholars have theorized and sought, in various ways, to measure 'political repression.' Despite these efforts, the actual social and organizational dynamics that shape repression have largely remained a black box. By fashioning a rich, systematic account of the origins and operation of the FBI's notorious COINTELPRO program, Cunningham has gone a long way toward redressing this problem."--Doug McAdam, co-author of "Dynamics of Contention

"This is a timely book. Cunningham's thoughtful, thoroughly researched history of the FBI's purposeful repression of dissident movements under the COINTELPRO's NewLeft and White Hate programs raises disturbing questions about the FBI's conduct of 'terrorist' investigations dating from the 1970s and intensified in the aftermath of September 11."--Athan Theoharis, author of "Chasing Spie


O n June 11, 1968, the FBI's Newark field office was developing ideas to promote a negative, and outwardly deviant, image of the nation's largest New Left student organization, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The agent in charge of the Newark office submitted a proposal to FBI National Headquarters in Washington, DC, suggesting that the office draw up a leaflet with photographs of “the dirtiest most unkempt SDS demonstrators. ” The photographs would be obtained from “mug shots” taken at a recent student demonstration by the Princeton University Police Department, and below the photos, a caption would read: “The above Princeton students do not and will never represent the student body. ” In Washington, the FBI's Director was in favor of this proposal and, on June 21, requested that the Newark office submit the leaflet to the Bureau for reproduction. The Newark office did so on July 3 but was not satisfied that the demonstrators' “dirty” and “unkempt” appearance sufficiently conveyed the Bureau's intended message. The agent in charge therefore requested that “the aid of the Exhibits Section of the [FBI] Laboratory be solicited to further improve the presentation [of the photographs] by, for example, adding frames or scroll designs around the photos or placing the faces on the shoulders of small sketched apes. ” At the same time, the agent requested that 120 of these embellished pamphlets be sent to an “outspoken member of the Conservative Club at Princeton”—described as “pro-American” and “a supporter of the John Birch Society”—in the hope that she would distribute them at the club's upcoming dinner. These qualifications presumably met the approval of the Director, who approved a modified form of this proposal on July 24, specifying that fifty of the copies be . . .

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