activists confess to breaking into federal bureau of investigation office more than forty years ago
by Tim Phillips
On March 8, 1971, eight activists broke into a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) office in Media, Pennsylvania. They stole files regarding the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO), a secret war on dissent involving surveillance, infiltration, snitch-jacketing, intimidation, fabrication of correspondence and publications, disinformation, false arrest and prosecution, and assassination. According to today’s Alabama Public Radio article,
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. … Not long after the burglary, reporter Betty Medsger received an anonymous package at her desk at the Washington Post: secret documents. She published the story.
The activists called themselves the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI. In the FBI’s wide-ranging investigation of the burglary, agents visited one of the eight activists, but he successfully deflected their inquiries. The FBI never determined who was involved.
Today Medsger, the former Washington Post reporter, released a book titled The Burglary, in which several of the activists admit their participation in the break-in.