The United Sates Federal Bureau of Investigation put together a counterintelligence program or "Cointelpro" to investigate and disrupt political dissent within the United States. Cointelpro operations targeted organizations that were thought to have politically radical movements. It started in 1956 and went on until 1971. During the Cold War, the communist and socialist party were targeted by FBI counterintelligence, whose purpose was not only to investigate, but take actions to neutralize any political dissent. As the years went by, the FBI's focus shifted to emerging anti-war and civil rights groups.
These groups were thought of as "communist front organizations". The largest cointelpro campaigns targeted the Social Worker's Party, the "New Left" (which included many anti-war groups such as Students for a Democratic Society and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), and Black nationalists groups such as the Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam. Other groups targeted were the American Indian Movement, Feminists, and gay and lesbian groups. The methods that were used in cointelpro were: infiltration, psychological warfare, harassment through the legal system, and illegal force and violence.The FBI would try to infiltrate organizations by becoming members so they could find out information from the inside.
They would use psychological warfare by spreading misinformation and making anonymous letters and phone calls. One of the FBI's most harmful tactics in cointelpro was harassment through the legal system. They presented false evidence and gave perjured testimony against some activists, while they falsely arrested and imprisoned others. The FBI would also use illegal force and violence to intimidate political dissidents. An example of a cointelpro tactic is the Black Panther Party coloring book that was created by the FBI and sent to sponsors of the organ.