The FBI hired 7,000 people to infiltrate and spy on black Americans who were pushing for equal rights.
Ghetto Informant Program - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Ghetto Informant Program (GIP) was an intelligence-gathering operation run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 1967–1973. Its official purpose was to collect information pertaining to riots and civil unrest. Through GIP, the FBI used more than 7000 people to infiltrate poor Black communities in the United States.
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The program was targeted at those likely to have information about ghetto happenings. Thus (according to an internal memo) it included people such as "the proprietor of a candy store or barber shop" in a ghetto area. These informants were "listening posts"—tools for blanket surveillance of a community or area. GIP operated with no oversight from courts or Congress.
Informants monitored "Key Black Extremists" such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, Floyd McKissick, Huey Newton, and more. One of the first major projects involving the GIP was Operation POCAM, the FBI's effort to monitor and disrupt the 1968 Poor People's Campaign. Informants were later asked to report on Afro-American bookstores and investigate the existence of subversive literature.
At least 67 informants were members of the Black Panther Party (BPP), tasked with spreading disinformation as well as sending reports to the FBI. Recent disclosures have suggested that photographer Ernest Withers was a paid FBI informant under the GIP.