The Burglary That Exposed FBI Surveillance

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

John Edgar Hoover, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States, gives a speech during a testimony before the senate internal security committee, on November 17, 1953. (BOB MULLIGAN/AFP/Getty)

On March 8, 1971, a small group of activists that called themselves the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI staged a break-in of FBI offices in Media, Pennsylvania.

The files they discovered there revealed that J. Edgar Hoover had authorized the wide-scale surveillance and intimidation of anti-war protesters and other dissident groups.

The story of the burglary and the activists behind it is chronicled in former Washington Post journalist Betty Medsger's new book, “The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret F.B.I." Medsger and burglars John and Bonnie Raines spoke with Retro Report producer Bonnie Bertram for a new piece looking back on that break-in and its consequences.


Bonnie Bertram

Produced by:

Mythili Rao


T.J. Raphael

Comments [1]

tom LI

A person can be both a hero and a criminal. Protest usually comes when injustice - thru legal means - arises and people reject it and go out and risk their lives and break the laws. Sometimes its simple laws like congregating without permits. Other times its getting on the front of the bus, or drinking from any fountain ones wishes. And not very often people come in direct conflict with bigger, more encompassing laws. Like tax revolts. (which this nation needs to take place very soon!)

A person like Snowden is both hero and criminal. The issue with his actions is how much punishment is appropriate, and what and how he faces the legal system - as a prisoner of war (on terrorism) or as someone truly only who broke some contractual employment laws.

Jan. 07 2014 03:49 PM

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