And, of course, do remember what the first generation of COINTELPRO was all about:
The Committee finds that domestic intelligence activity has been overbroad in that (1) many Americans and domestic groups have been subjected to investigation who were not suspected of criminal activity and (2) the intelligence agencies have regularly collected information about personal and political activities irrelevant to any legitimate governmental interest.
(a) Large numbers of law-abiding Americans and lawful domestic groups have been subjected to extensive intelligence investigation and surveillance.
(b) The absence of precise standards for intelligence, investigations of Americans contributed to overbreadth. Congress did not enact statutes precisely delineating the authority of the intelligence agencies or defining the purpose and scope of domestic intelligence activity. The executive branch abandoned the standard set by Attorney General Stone — that the government’s concern was not with political opinions but with “such conduct as is forbidden by the laws of the United States.” Intelligence agencies’ superiors issued over-inclusive directives to investigate “subversion” (a term that was never defined in presidential directives) and “potential” rather than actual or likely criminal conduct, as well as to collect general intelligence on lawful political and social dissent.
(c) The intelligence agencies themselves used imprecise and overinclusive criteria in their conduct of intelligence investigations. Intelligence investigations extended beyond “subversive” or violent targets to additional groups and individuals subject to minimal “subversive influence” or having little or no “potential” for violence.
(d) Intelligence agencies pursued a “vacuum cleaner” approach to intelligence collection — drawing in all available information about groups and individuals, including their lawful political activity and details of their personal lives.
(e) Intelligence investigations in many cases continued for excessively long periods of time, resulting in sustained governmental monitoring of political activity in the absence of any indication of criminal conduct or “subversion.”
Elaboration of Findings
The central problem posed by domestic intelligence activity has been its departure from the standards of the law. This departure from law has meant not only the violation of constitutional prohibitions and explicit statutes, but also the adoption of criteria unrelated to the law as the basis for extensive investigations of Americans.
what a quaint concept.