FBI Covert Operations
On December 21, 2007, the New York Times reported that a document was declassified as part of a collection of cold-war documents concerning intelligence issues from 1950 to 1955. (See page 18 of 789.) That document shows that J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), had a plan to suspend habeas corpus and imprison some 12,000 Americans he suspected of disloyalty. This surprised many Americans. It shouldn't have. Despite the public image of the FBI as the nation's premier law enforcement agency, it has always functioned primarily as America's political police. This role includes not only the collection of intelligence on the activities of political dissidents and groups, but often times counterintelligence operations to thwart those activities.