Homeland Security: The Sworn Duty of Public Officials The United States has a unique position amongst the countries of the world;...
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Concept Development:Political Differences in COINTELPRO Operations
The citizens of a Republic have an expectation that their right to free speech and political participation should not be interfered with by the State. In addition, citizens expect that actions undertaken by the State be subject to public review. The complication between theory and reality comes into play when anti-Republic forces use extra-legal means to achieve political goals. States may choose to employ secrecy and extra-legal means to combat these subversive organizations. This approach leads to conflict between the expectations of the society and the means to protect it. In addition, in any state, representative or not, political influences affect operations of the state. It is possible that these political influences can aligned with subversive organizations and interfere with national security operations. In the case of the United States in the 1960's, the country was under attack from illegal and violent acts by the racist organization, the Ku Klux Klan. At the same time, Leftist terrorist groups that were part of the collective "New Left" movement were also committing violent attacks against America. The FBI initiated operations against both groups. There are several reasons to determine if political influence was responsible for differences in operations between the two goups; first, to identify and remove any political influence from the government that aligns with and abets subversive organizations that commit illegal acts, to determine whether governemt agencies acted improperly, and to determine if government agencies violated the balance between citizen rights and national security.
The following research questions must be answered to explore the basic question:
· Is counter subversion a primary responsibility of the FBI?
· What is subversion?
· What is a legitimate domestic threat?
· Was the Klu Klux Klan a legitimate domestic threat?
· Was the New Left a legitimate domestic threat?
· Were there demonstratable differences in how operations were conducted between the two groups?
· Can politics be demonstrated to account for any of those differences, if such differences exist?
The primary method that will be used is comparative historical inquiry. There will also be some use of phenomenological research, as the viewpoints of Hoover assistants Sullivan and DeLoacha will be examined. There has been some academic work done in examining COINTELPRO operations, particularly in operations ahgainst the New Left. Cunningham, as an example, examines operations against both groups. Drabble specializes in COINTELPRO:WHITE HATE operations, which targeted the Klan. Powers, Gentry, Theoharis, and several others dig into the FBI's history, including the political factors that drove the development of that history. There is what could be seen an endless fountain of government reports. In the first type of government reports, actions of the Klan and the New Left are investigated as a threat to domestic security. The second type of government reports focuses on how the FBI responded to that threat, with many reports focusing on the allged excesses of the program. The third type of government report discusses the legal boundaries that domestic security agencies must act within; this last type of discussion continues today as America faces continued domestic threats from Islam and the Left.
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