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J. Edgar Hoover signed off on secret COINTELPRO plan to guide Omaha police

J. Edgar Hoover initialed a plan to guide the Omaha police
J. Edgar Hoover initialed a plan to guide the Omaha police

Omaha Two story: Aug. 22, 1970

Larry Minard, Sr
. was buried on Thursday following one of the largest funerals in the city’s history. The father of five was buried on his 30th birthday, August 20, 1970.

J. Edgar Hoover's initial appears on COINTELPRO memo in Omaha Two case

Minard, an Omaha police officer, had been killed by an ambush bomber, lured to the deadly trap by an anonymous 911 call about a woman screaming at a vacant house.

On August 21, 1970, Paul Young, Omaha Special Agent-in-Charge called FBI Headquarters snd requested a FBI Laboratory Supervisor travel to Omaha “for the purpose of furnishing technical guidance”. to local police.

There was a break in the case the next day when a warrant for murder was issued on August 22, 1970, against 15 year-old Duane Peak, the alleged bomber.

Chairman of the National Committee to Combat Fascism Ed Poindexter was also arrested. The headquarters of the Black Panther affiliate chapter were raided that same day.

The evening of August 22nd the home of Mondo we Langa, then David Rice, was raided and dynamite was purportedly found in the basement. Mondo was in Kansas City speaking at a rally for Black Panther Pete O’Neal who was facing federal gun charges.

In Washington D.C. a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent named W.W. Bradley followed up on a COINTELPRO memo written three days earlier about the killer of Patrolman Minard.

COINTELPRO was J. Edgar Hoover’s illegal, clandestine counter-intelligence operation directed against political activists Hoover disapproved of. The Black Panthers bore the brunt of the sometimes lethal dirty tricks.

Bradley had earlier passed on Omaha Special Agent-in-Charge Paul Young’s recommendation, approved by Hoover, to not issue a laboratory report on the analysis of a recording of Minard’s killer’s voice.

Ivan Willard Conrad
, FBI Laboratory director, called Hoover when he got Bradley’s August 19th memo on the case. Conrad noted Hoover’s approval to withhold a report on the memo, initialing and dating the notation.

Bradley wanted to make sure the correct people were charged with the murder and recommended approving Young’s request to send Headquarters staff to Nebraska to steer the investigation.

In a heavily redacted COINTELPRO memorandum, not released until years later, Bradley wrote to Conrad: “In referenced memorandum [8/17/70] the Director approved a request to assist the Omaha Police Department in captioned case through the use of [REDACTED}.”

More redactions follow then the memo continues: “The SAC [Special Agent-in-Charge] noted that he had been instructed by the Bureau to suggest steps of possible assistance to the Omaha Police in solving the bombings. He advised technical guidance of the type requested would provide maximum immediate assistance particularly since the [REDACTED].”

The COINTELPRO plan to help Omaha police solve the crime by sending out headquarters staff, followed the withholding of a laboratory report on the identity of Larry Minard’s killer thus showing the true purpose of assistance was not aiding a search for truth.

The confidential memo was sent to the same distribution list as Bradley’s earlier memorandum. The plan was reviewed by Hoover personally and the memo bears his “OK” and distinctive “H” initial.

One by one, the COINTELPRO conspirators would add their names to the paper trail of deceit led by the “Master of Deceit“ himself, J. Edgar Hoover.

Also signing the memo sealing the plot to direct the course of the case was George Moore. Although not on the copy list, George Moore was the head of the Racial Intelligence division and daily helped manage the COINTELPRO operation.

Both Bradley and Conrad initialed the document. When Hoover gave his blessing to a counter-intelligence proposal with his own pen his subordinates acted quickly putting their signatures or initials in place.

Back in Omaha the round-up of suspects continues through the weekend. On Sunday there is a rally at Kountze Park to raise bail money for those in custody. A group of 200 listen to activist Ernie Chambers.

Monday morning at 3:42 a.m. the math-science building at the University of Wisconsin in Madison was bombed killing a graduate student. Recent bombings shattered the Midwest heartland in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska putting law enforcement officers on edge.

Meanwhile, Hoover got around to reviewing the COINTELPRO action being planned against Ed Poindexter proposed before the bomb murder. On August 15, 1970, Paul Young wrote to Hoover proposing to exploit an article in the Omaha World-Herald about the local Black Panther chapter. Young wanted to get Poindexter in trouble with the national headquarters for his purported cooperation with “Whitey’s newspaper”, the Omaha World-Herald.

Hoover gave approval to the bogus letter plan but advised: “It is suggested you include several misspellings to make the letter appear more authentic….Take the usual security precautions to insure this letter and mailing cannot be traced to the Bureau.”

Hoover concluded his authorization, “This should be an excellent disruption technique.”

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