Sometime in the late fall/early winter of 1962, a document began circulating among members of the Communist Party USA based in the Chicago area, titled “Whither the Party of Lenin.” It was signed “The Ad Hoc Committee for Scientific Socialist Line.” This was not the work of factionally inclined CP comrades, but rather something springing from the counter-intelligence imagination of the FBI.
A Threat of the First Magnitude tells the story of the FBI’s fake Maoist organization and the informants they used to penetrate the highest levels of the Communist Party USA, the Black Panther Party, the Revolutionary Union and other groups labelled threats to the internal security of the United States in the 1960s and 1970s.
As once again the FBI is thrust into the spotlight of US politics, A Threat of a First Magnitude offers a view of the historic inner-workings of the Bureau’s counterintelligence operations — from generating "fake news" and the utilization of "sensitive intelligence methods" to the handling of "reliable sources" — that matches or exceeds the sophistication of any contenders.
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About the Author
Conor A Gallagher is a researcher and educator from Brooklyn, New York. He has a masters degree from the University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education. He currently lives with his wife Michelle in China where he teaches history.
Their book Heavy Radicals: The FBI's Secret War on America's Maoists was published by Zero in 2015.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Counterintelligence & Informants 013
Prelude: The Shadow of Roman Malinovsky 023
Chapter 1 Morris Childs & His Handlers 029
Chapter 2 The FBI's Maoist Sect 045
Chapter 3 Richard Aoki - The Reliable Source 067
Chapter 4 The Infiltration of "America's Maoists" 091
Chapter 5 Don Wright's Rise in the Revolutionary Union 119
Chapter 6 The FBI's Representative on the National Liaison Committee 139
Chapter 7 The Never-Ending Campaign against James Forman 147
Chapter 8 The Wrecking of the National Liaison Committee 159
Chapter 9 Aftermath 183
Appendix: Select FBI Documents 210