In early 1971, the FBI’s domestic counterintelligence program (code named “COINTELPRO”) was brought to light when a “Citizens Committee to Investigate the FBI” removed secret files from an FBI office in Media, PA and released them to the press. Agents began to resign from the Bureau and blow the whistle on covert operations. That same year, publication of the Pentagon Papers, the Pentagon’s top-secret history of the Vietnam War, exposed years of systematic official lies about the war.
Soon after, it was discovered that a clandestine squad of White House “plumbers” broke into Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office in an effort to smear the former Pentagon staffer who leaked the top-secret papers to the press. The same “plumbers” were later caught burglarizing the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee. By the mid-1970’s Senate and House committees launched formal and lengthy inquiries into government intelligence and covert activities. These investigations revealed extensive covert and illegal counterintelligence programs involving the FBI, CIA, U.S. Army intelligence, the White House, the Attorney General, and even local and state law enforcement, directed against opponents of government domestic and foreign policy. Since then, many more instances of these “dirty tricks” have been revealed.