Village Voice December 4th, 2003 5:00
J. Edgar Hoover Back at the 'New' FBI
Classified FBI Bulletin Reveals Tactics at Protests
Americans of a certain age remember the FBI's counter-intelligence operation, COINTELPRO,
which, during its years of operation from 1956 to 1971, surveilled, infiltrated, manipulated, and tried to provoke criminal
activities by entirely lawful civil rights and anti-war demonstrators exercising their First Amendment rights to oppose government
In the 1970s, the Senate Select Committee to Study Government Operations With Respect
to Intelligence Activities so exposed FBI director J. Edgar Hoover's relentless violations of the Bill of Rights, very much
including the First Amendment, that Attorney General Edward Levi葉he best constitutionalist in that office in our history容stablished
new FBI guidelines to keep its agents within the bounds of the Constitution. ...
Ashcroft's overturning of the Levi FBI guidelines was perpetrated publicly in May
2002, when he set new FBI guidelines in the spirit of COINTELPRO. As a May 31, 2002, New York Times editorial charged:
The FBI now has "nearly unbridled power to poke into the affairs of anyone in the United States, even when there is no evidence
of illegal activity." ...
Analyzing [the] classified confidential FBI memorandum, FBI Intelligence Bulletin
no. 89, (of which I too have a copy), the October 15, 2003, Times quotes ACLU executive director Anthony Romero: "This
bulletin confirms that the federal government is targeting innocent Americans engaged in nothing more than lawful protest
and dissent. . . . "
Will somebody in the elite Washington press corps ask George
W. Bush if he's heard about the fifth freedom in the First Amendment, "the right of the people peaceably to assemble"?