Secret FBI Files 3: Lessons for Today

Phone Company, News Media Feed the FBI

imageimageThe secret files on the Black Panthers in Hartford (1969-1972) reveal the extent of the FBI’s collusion with SNETCo and area TV and radio stations.  On the right is a small portion of the phone calls from the Hartford Panther’s office to the FBI.  On the left is the partial transcript that WDRC provided to the agency from a Panther interview.   Channel 30 also provided video footage of Panther rallies.  United Airlines at Bradley Airport informed the Feds about the airline flights and destinations of specific Panthers.

The Fred Hampton Method of Assassination

imageimageOn the left is a floor plan of the Hartford Panthers’ headquarters.  On the right is a photo  from August 1, 1970 of  a Hartford Police raid on their Barbour Street office.  On December 4, 1969, the Chicago Police used a similar map to raid the BPP residence, killing Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in the process (Hampton was most likely still asleep, drugged by a police informant).

Dirty Words, Dirty Deeds

imageWhen the FBI transcribed a Panther speech, they would leave out the swear words.  Then, they would place those words, listed as “Obscene” in an appendix page.  We can only assume that these protocol allowed Director Hoover the embarrassment of reading the expletives.


imageThis warning on internal FBI documents was repeated again and again, yet none of the information points in any way to discussions or plans to ambush agents.

Friends and Allies

imageThe Panthers had many supporters, as well as those who might want to use their Panther relationship for private gain.  Any time  a donation from a public figure was given to the BPP, and all the local stores that donated to the Free Breakfast Program were all recorded by the FBI.  Read the document on the left and see if you can spot the Hartford Mayor (!) who donated money to the Hartford Panthers.

Read the Files

imageThanks to professor Jack Dougherty of Trinity College, the FBI files are now on line.  The original links provided by the National Archives are not working, you can find valuable information here:

If you find more documents worth posting, or have more information about the Hartford Panthers, let me know.

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