The COINTELPRO operations were a set of discrete programs aimed at certain movements; mostly versus Leftist groups, but the Klan and other right-wing groups were targeted as well. COINTELPRO operations were intended to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, neutralize or otherwise eliminate" these movements. There is a great deal of misinformation about these programs; the common meme is that the government was trying to silence the anti-war movement (Nixon did institute an Operation CHAOS targeted at the anti-war movement run by CIA and the Army, however). The base of much of this misinformation is that much of the "research" done on COINTELPRO has been conducted by Ward Churchill, a leftist whose bias can be understood in his characterization of the victims of the 9/11 attacks as "little Eichmanns"
One of the primary methods the FBI used in COINTELPRO was the discrediting of the targeted movements by providing derogatory information to journalists, which is one of the methods discussed in the Drabble article.