COINTELPRO (an acronym for COunter INTELligence PROgram) is a series of covert, and at times illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations.The FBI has used covert operations against domestic political groups since its inception, and continues to do so in the present. However, COINTELPRO refers to a specific set of FBI covert operations that took place under the official COINTELPRO label between 1956 and 1971. COINTELPRO tactics included discrediting targets through psychological warfare, smearing individuals and groups using forged documents and by planting false reports in the media, harassment, wrongful imprisonment, and illegal violence including assassination. The FBI's stated motivation was ""protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order.""FBI records show that COINTELPRO resources targeted groups and individuals that the FBI deemed ""subversive"", including anti-Vietnam War organizers, members of black civil rights and nationalist liberation organizations (e.g. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Black Panther Party), feminist organizations, anti-colonial movements (such as Puerto Rican independence groups), and a variety of organizations that were part of the broader ""New Left"".FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover issued directives governing COINTELPRO, ordering FBI agents to ""expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, neutralize or otherwise eliminate"" the activities of these movements and their leaders. Under Hoover, the agent in charge of COINTELPRO was William C. Sullivan. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy personally authorized some of these programs. Kennedy would later learn that he also had been a target of FBI surveillance.