Back to Thomas' post. I did not know the term Cointelpro, but was certainly aware of much that happened. In particular the things that happened when the Director of the FBI was J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI bio.
I remember the TV show "I Led Three Lives" synopsis here. Many in my family watched it every week.
Even though it was based on a book about spying in the 40's, to me it was happening all around me. I was pretty young. Young enough to believe that the FBI was wonderful and anything they did was all right with me. By the 70's I would finally begin to wonder about civil rights for all. (What can I say, I was wrapped up in my own little life.)
Personally, I don't care whether Dir. Hoover was a cross-dresser, gay, black, or white. None of these types of things interest me until I run across someone who yells the hardest and attacks others for their personal preferences. The thing was that Hoover was black-mailing all kinds of "important" people to get power and to keep power. When he didn't have legitimate cause to go after someone he probably made it up. No one dared try to reign him in at all.
So here is a little research on the FBI under Hoover to get the next generation started.
Dir. Hoover probably did believe His Way was best for the country. This quote may be of interest to you:
"I would have no fears if more Americans possessed the zeal, the fervor, the persistence and the industry to learn about this menace of Red fascism. I do fear for the liberal and progressive who has been hoodwinked and duped into joining hands with the communists..." Testimony of J. Edgar Hoover before HUAC - March 26, 1947I found it Here.
From the same site on Dr. King:
J. Edgar Hoover's obsession with King is also well-documented in FBI files. These files show examples such as the FBI calling Marquette University in 1964 to tell them not to award an honorary degree to King. At Springfield College (Mass.) a month later, the FBI told the college that King's SCLC was "Communist affiliated". J. Edgar & Martin
Hoover's FBI mailed tapes of King's sexual affairs to his wife and tried to blackmail him politically; in an anonymous letter, encouraged him to commit suicide; and, among other disinformation successes, convinced Marquette University officials in 1964 to back out of giving King an honorary degree. [source]
Dir. Hoover appears to be certain he was protecting the country from the evil communists. He was a man of certainty. Speaking of certainty here is one of my spouse' favorite quotations, (probably next to "a woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke." Kipling) often called the certainty quote, which probably applies to Dir. Hoover and upon further thought humans:
The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.(Yeats, Wm. Butler)
Keep that quotation in mind when you are willing to give up some of your civil rights. Or put another way-when you believe that in order to be secure some civil rights must go out the window, who will decide which "little" rights you will give up and who will decide how far to go to protect your security. As we now see with some of the DNA analysis being done, many an innocent person has been found guilty.