Colbert I. King is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post. He is deputy editor of the Post's editorial page.
The East German secret police were even more ruthless and relentless in operations against their own citizens. Political suppression in that communist state was total. There was no room for dissent. Thousands of East Germans were arbitrarily imprisoned for “internal security” reasons.
So it was especially galling to learn upon returning to the states in 1969 that the FBI had a counterintelligence program, known as COINTELPRO, that was, in some ways, as pernicious as the threat we were working against overseas.