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Secret police – Wikipedia

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United States[edit]

In Mississippi, the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission (or “Sov-Com”) was a state agency given unusual authority by the governor of Mississippi from 1956 to 1977, to investigate and police private citizens in order to uphold racial segregation. This authority was used to suppress and spy on the activities of civil rights workers, along with others suspected of sentiments contrary to white supremacy.[32] Agents from the Sov-Com wiretapped and bugged citizens of Mississippi, and historians identify the agency as a secret police force.[33][34][35] Among other things, the Sov-Com collaborated with the Ku Klux Klan and engaged in jury tampering to harass targets.[36][37] The agency ceased to function in 1973, but was not officially dissolved until 1977.[38][39]

In private writings in 1945, President Harry S. Truman wrote that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (under Director J. Edgar Hoover) had transformed into a secret police force, and compared it to the Gestapo:

We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. F.B.I. is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex life scandles [sic] and plain blackmail when they should be catching criminals. They also have a habit of sneering at local law enforcement officers.[40][41][42]

Beginning a decade later in 1956, Hoover’s FBI began the COINTELPRO project, aimed at suppressing domestic political opponents.[43][44] Among other targets, this included Martin Luther King Jr.[45]