The Cyber-Cave

Reflections on the political, technological, cultural and economic trends of the world

American Politics

‘The question: “is it real?” is less important than. “is it newsworthy?”’ (Daniel J. Boorstin)


Nixon was afraid of firing Hoover from his position at the FBI because Hoover possessed sensitive information (such as sex-scandals) that could ‘pull down the temple’. During the early phases of the Cold War, under Hoover’s direction, the FBI conducted the COINTELPRO operations to bug, infiltrate and often discredit various civil rights movements suspected of having communist ties.
The operations targeted the likes of Martin Luther King (he was sent a letter by the FBI inviting him to commit suicide), Malcolm X, John Lennon.
One common technique to create divisions between civil rights groups was ‘bad-jacketing’- spreading misinformation on some key members to create the impression that they are FBI informers.
A parallel program of domestic surveillance (Operation CHAOS) on civil rights movements was also conducted by the CIA. The CIA also spied on the B’nai’ B’rith to undestand what kind of links they had with the Israeli government [1]. The CIA also created a bogus trash-removal company to collect the discarded mails of the Israeli Embassy.
Operation CHAOS was launched by President Johnson to check whether some of the anti-war movements were linked to foreign governments. The CIA made thousands of files on civil rights groups and on individuals, but it did not find conclusive evidence to support the suspicion that foreign government were fomenting such activities.


Nixon created an unofficial investigative unit called ‘White House plumbers’ to prevent any compromising leak (like the highly damaging ‘Pentagon Papers’) from reaching the media. Some of the plumbers  included the former CIA officer Howard Hunt and the Evangelist Christian Charles Colson. Some of the plumbers were involved in the Watergate break-in plan to tap the DNC headquarters.
Another important insider group (overlapping with the ‘plumbers’) was CREEP (Committee-for-the-Re-Election-of-the-President). The CREEP has been accused of dirty tricks (also known as ‘Ratfucking’) to discredit political opponents in front of the public. An example of such tricks include the leaking of the ‘Canuck letter’-a letter in which Sen. Muskie allegedly mocked Americans of Canadian descent.
An important source of information to journalist Bob Woodward was FBI’s number two Mark ‘Deep Throat’ Flet.
In the famous interview with Frost, Nixon was asked whether he deemed some of his most controversial activities to be legal. To that question, Nixon replied: “Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal” (this answer makes us all think about Juvenile’s phrase comment: “who will guard the guardians?”).


-The 1979-80 Iranian hostage crisis conspiracy (some claim the Reagan team had made a diplomatic deal with Iran to release the hostages only after the 1980 elections. In return the USA would allow Israel to ship weapons to Iran).
-Michael Ledeen and SISMI agent Francesco Pazienza tried to gain compromising information on Billy Carter’s dealings with Gheddafi’s Libya to undermine Jimmy Carter’s 1980 re-election campaign.


[1] ‘The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War’ by Dr. Spencer C. Tucker (ABC CLIO, 2011) p.187

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