“The FBI, as has since emerged, was deeply involved in covert operations to damage or disrupt radicals it classified as dangerous, whether they were leading protagonists such as Martin Luther King or minor players such as Seberg, who had just given $10,500 to the Panthers.” – Seberg’s phone was tapped. When, in 1970, the FBI discovered that she was pregnant, it decided to see if it could spread a story through the gossip columns that the real father was not Gary but Hewitt. An FBI memo, later disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act and headed Counterintelligence Program Black Nationalist Hate Groups, Racial Intelligence – Black Panther Party, was sent to Hoover himself. “Bureau permission is requested to publicise the pregnancy of Jean Seberg, well-known movie actress, by [deleted] Black Panther party [deleted] by advising Hollywood gossip columnists in the Los Angeles area of the situation,” it read. “It is felt that the possible publication of Seberg’s plight could cause her embarrassment and serve to cheapen her image with the general public.” The memo suggested that a letter from a fictitious person in which the rumour would be planted be sent to gossip columnists. Hoover approved the tactic, although he advised waiting until Seberg was visibly pregnant so that she would not suspect that her phone had been tapped. The first paper to bite was the LA Times whose gossip columnist, Joyce Haber, duly ran the story under the headline of Miss A Rates as Expectant Mother. Although the story did not name Seberg, it gave enough clues for people to identify her: “a handsome European picked her for his wife … the outgoing Miss A was pursuing a number of free-spirited causes among them the black revolution … According [to] all those really ‘in’ international sources, topic A is the babe Miss A is expecting and its father. Papa’s said to be a rather prominent Black Panther.” – How the FBI used a gossip columnist to smear a movie star _ Film _ The Guardian http://ift.tt/1JFTFN8


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