A memo from J. Edgar Hoover to the FBI Field Offices initiated COINTELPRO action against the New Left. This memo is quoted from Reunion by Tom Hayden, NY: Random House, 1988.
FBI MEMORANDUM 5/14/68
TO: SAC (Special Agent in Charge-Albany)Counter Intelligence Program: Internal Security: Disruption of the New Left
The purpose of this program is to expose, disrupt, and otherwise neutralize the activities of the various new left organizations, their leadership, and their adherents. It is imperative that activities of those groups be followed on a continuous basis so that we may take advantage of all opportunities for counter intelligence and also inspire action where circumstance warrant. The devious maneuver, the duplicity of these activists must be exposed to public scrutiny through cooperation of reliable news media sources, both locally and at the seat of government. We must frustrate every effort of these groups and individuals to consolidate their forces or to recruit new or youthful adherents. In every instance, consideration should be given to disrupting organized activity of these groups and no opportunity should be missed to capitalize on organizational or personal conflicts of their leadership.
Offices which have investigative responsibility for KEY ACTIVISTS should specifically comment in the initial letter to the bureau regarding these individuals. These offices are aware these individuals have been identified as the moving forces behind the new left.
No counter-intelligence action may be initiated by the field without specific bureau authorization.
The bureau has been closely following the activitites of the new left and the Key Activists and is highly concerned that the anarchistic activities of a few could paralyze institutions of learning, induction centers, cripple traffic, and tie the arms of law enforcement officials. All to the detriment of our society. The organizations and activists who spout revolution and unlawfully challenge society to obtain their demands must not only be contained, but must be neutralized. Law and order is mandatory for any civilized society to survive. Therefore, you must approach this endeavor with a forward look, enthusiasm, and interest in order to accomplish our responsibilities. The importance of this new endeavor, cannot and will not be overlooked.