The truth now about the big stories then

Stealing J. Edgar Hoover’s Secrets

On March 8, 1971, a group of eight Vietnam War protestors broke into a Federal Bureau of Investigation field office in Media, Pennsylvania and stole hundreds of government documents that shocked a nation.

The stolen memos, reports and internal correspondence provided the first tangible evidence that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI was systematically targeting and harassing hundreds of American citizens then known collectively as “the New Left.”

That discovery eventually led to Congressional investigations, more revelations of secret, illegal FBI actions, and sweeping reforms. But the burglars were never caught — despite a massive five-year investigation by the FBI — and their identities have remained secret – until now.

A new book by Betty Medsger, The Burglary, identifies the Media burglars for the first time. It also details the planning, execution, and consequences of the long-forgotten heist, which was carried out by a group that included college professors, graduate students, and a cab driver. Their story is also chronicled in a new documentary by Johanna Hamilton, 1971.


Related Stories:

New York Times: Burglars Who Took on the FBI Abandon Shadows

The Daily Beast: The FBI File Heist that Changed History

The Week: Watch Ed Snowden’s 1971 precursors discuss burglarizing the FBI

New York Magaazine: Activists Confess to 1971 Burglary That Exposed FBI Surveillance

The Takeaway: The Burglary That Exposed FBI Surveillance

The Nation: Activists Take Credit for Notorious FBI Raid That Spilled Secrets—42 Years Ago

Philadelphia Magazine: Meet the Edward Snowdwns of Philadelphia

Baltimore Sun: For some fine TV journalism, check out this Times ‘Retro’ video

Conversations with Thinkers: Retro Report’s Bonnie Bertram: “Stealing J. Edgar Hoover’s Secrets”

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