Divide and Conquer
(ZNS) The Justice Department - after a year-long legal battle - has been ordered to release information about a secret F.B.I. program code-named "Co-Intel-Pro New Left."
"Co-Intel-Pro New Left" is believed to be a covert F.B.I. operation which was designed to cause open antagonism between members of the anti-war movement and the black movement in the late 1960's.
N.B.C, newsman Cari Stern, for the past two years, has been demanding information about the controversial project from the justice department under the freedom of information act. Stern's requests were repeatedly rebuffed.
Stern first learned of the covert program several years ago when he was given an internal F.B.I. memo. That memo detailed an alleged antileft operation being coordinated by the F.B.I. on many college campuses around the United States.
Additional information on "Co-Intel-Pro" was later revealed by former F.B.I. agent Robert Wall, writing in the New York Review of Books. Wall stated that he had been assigned to the program, and that its purpose was "to create dissent among various groups involved in the new left and to prevent them from working together."
The former F.B.I. agent said that one of his assignments on "Co-Intel-Pro" had been to forge a letter to anti-war demonstration leaders in Washington. According to Wall, the forged letter demanded $30,000 in cash from antiwar leaders to be paid to the black
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movement; Wall said that the letter threatened violence if the money was not paid.
The former agent said that the signatures of well-known black leaders on the letter were all forged by F.B.I. agents assigned to "Co-In tel-Pro."
Last week, after waging a yearlong battle in court, Stern won his suit. Federal judge Barrington Parker ordered the Justice Department to release key "Co-Intel-Pro" documents to the press.
The Justice Department has delayed releasing the documents for another 30 days, while it decides whether to appeal judge Parker's decision. However, Stern is expecting to have some of the "Co-Intel-Pro" documents by the end of this month.