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UPDATE: The Secret Burglary That Exposed J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI

Jan 07

UPDATE: The Secret Burglary That Exposed J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI

Media, PA is once again featured in the news for its role in revealing FBI activities in the 1970s:

More than 40 years ago, on the evening of March 8, 1971, a group of burglars carried out an audacious plan. They pried open the door of an FBI office in Pennsylvania and stole files about the bureau’s surveillance of anti-war groups and civil rights organizations.Hundreds of agents tried to identify the culprits, but the crime went unsolved. Until now.For the first time, a new book reveals the burglars were peace demonstrators who wanted to start a debate about the FBI’s unchecked power to spy on Americans. And it’s coming out at a time when the country is weighing the merits of surveillance all over again.

The plotters executed their break-in on a night when millions of people sat glued to their TV sets, watching Muhammad Ali square off against Joe Frazier for the heavyweight championship of the world. That 15-round bout was a brilliant distraction exploited by a group of anti-war activists who set out to burgle a small FBI office outside of Philadelphia and expose some of J. Edgar Hoover’s secrets.

Bonnie Raines was one of those activists, and she’s talking publicly about what she did for the first time in 42 years.

Read more about Media’s involvements on the NPR website.

We’re also in a New York Times article:

The burglary in Media, Pa., on March 8, 1971, is a historical echo today, as disclosures by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden have cast another unflattering light on government spying and opened a national debate about the proper limits of government surveillance. The burglars had, until now, maintained a vow of silence about their roles in the operation. They were content in knowing that their actions had dealt the first significant blow to an institution that had amassed enormous power and prestige during J. Edgar Hoover’s lengthy tenure as director.

Photo credit: William J. Smith/AP