Tag Archives: FBI

“It Was Time to Do More Than Protest”: Activists Admit to 1971 FBI Burglary That Exposed COINTELPRO

Interview by Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1/8/14

One of the great mysteries of the Vietnam War era has been solved. On March 8, 1971, a group of activists — including a cabdriver, a day care director and two professors — broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania. They stole every document they found and then leaked many to the press, including details about FBI abuses and the then-secret counter-intelligence program to infiltrate, monitor and disrupt social and political movements, nicknamed COINTELPRO. They called themselves the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI. No one was ever caught for the break-in. The burglars’ identities remained a secret until this week when they finally came forward to take credit for the caper that changed history. Today we are joined by three of them — John Raines, Bonnie Raines and Keith Forsyth; their attorney, David Kairys; and Betty Medsger, the former Washington Post reporter who first broke the story of the stolen FBI documents in 1971 and has now revealed the burglars’ identities in her new book, “The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI.”

Click here to watch the one-hour Part 2 of this interview.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Today, we will spend the rest of the hour unraveling one of the great mysteries of the Vietnam War era. On March 8th, 1971, a group of eight activists, including a cab driver, a daycare director and two professors, broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, and stole every document they found. The activists, calling themselves the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI, soon began leaking shocking details about FBI abuses to the media. Among the documents was one that bore the mysterious word “COINTELPRO.”

AMY GOODMAN: No one involved in the break-in was ever caught. Their identities remained a secret until this week. Today, three of the FBI burglars will join us on the show, but first I want to turn to a new short film produced by the nonprofit news organization Retro Report for The New York Times. It’s titled Stealing J. Edgar Hoover’s Secrets….

continue reading at Democracy Now!

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Chomsky: My CIA file “minor peccadillo” compared to today

By Natasha Lennard, Salon.com, 8/14/13

Exclusive: MIT professor tells Salon his reaction to the news that the CIA kept and destroyed a file on him.

As we noted Tuesday, after years of denial, the CIA finally admitted with the release of a document to Foreign Policy that a surveillance file had been kept on Noam Chomsky, especially during his days as a robust anti-war activist in the 1970′s. The CIA admitted too to having wiped Chomsky’s file from Langley’s record — a legally tenuous action.

Following the revelation, I reached out to the MIT Professor. He he made clear that while the government may have acted unlawfully with regards to their covert surveillance of his actions, such activity is barely a drop in the pond of today’s expansive surveillance state. He wrote:

The only interest, as far as I can see, is that the CIA is barred from domestic surveillance, and that they’re destroying files. Who knows how many and which. But by today’s standards of government malpractice, it’s a minor peccadillo.

read more in “CIA finally admits to spying on Chomsky,” 8/13/13

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FBI Secret Documents Reveal Nationwide Occupy Monitoring

By The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund,  at Reader Supported News, 12 December 2012

FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) pursuant to the PCJF’s Freedom of Information Act demands reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at occupy protests.

The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.

“This production, which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF). “These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity. These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”

“The documents are heavily redacted, and it is clear from the production that the FBI is withholding far more material. We are filing an appeal challenging this response and demanding full disclosure to the public of the records of this operation,” stated Heather Benno, staff attorney with the PCJF…..

continue reading at Reader Supported News

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Trying to Understand the Petraeus Imbroglio

by DocJess, DemConWatch, 11/13/12

It started out not so weird. A rich white guy has an affair. OK, understood. It appears Petraeus did nothing wrong beyond that, which is bad for his marriage, but theoretically started after he was no longer living under the UCMJ, and therefore not subject to prosecution (including a jail term), and the FBI deemed that he hadn’t given away any secrets. I understand that.

Then, there was the paramour, who seems to have threatened a woman she saw as competition. Now that’s bad form, but likely not cause for an FBI investigation. But the other, other, woman, Jill Kelley, had a friend at the FBI. Who sent her shirtless pictures of himself, and then was thrown off the case for becoming obsessed, and is now under investigation himself. Really. So obsessed, by the way, that he went to Eric Cantor and David Reichert because the FBI wasn’t doing “enough”. These two Congressmen didn’t see fit to report anything to the Intelligence Committee. Huh.

But it doesn’t stop with David Petraeus, Paula Broadwell, Jill Kelley and the nameless FBI agent. Now it turns out that General John Allen and Jill Kelley exchanged between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of email in two years while he was supposedly running the war in Afghanistan. Again, really. 24,000 pages would be 2,000 pages a month over two years, or almost 70 pages a day.

Now, I understand the story as something out of high school: John and Jane are going steady, but John is seeing Laura on the side. Laura is okay with this for some reason, but she thinks that John is also seeing Harriet, who is down the chain, and therefore more of a threat than Jane, so she confronts Laura in the girls room at lunch. Laura goes to her brother, who goes to his friends, who are both linebackers on the high school football team. Meanwhile, it turns out that Laura isn’t seeing John, but is actually seeing Bruce, who really should be busy studying for the ACT and SAT because he’s got a shot at Harvard.

The adulterers are all adults and should know better. They are all military in one way or another, and “honour” is supposed to be somewhere in their code. The guys dealt with big deal military secrets, and REALLY should have known better. It appears that they’re all Republicans, which makes a little more sense. But still, I find the whole thing amazing in its cupidity. …

continue reading at DemConWatch

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