history

in March 1971, a group of unidentified people sneaked into the FBI office in Philadelphia, stole more than 1000 confidential documents, and then selectively disclosed some “strong information” to the media.

now the Raines, Bonnie has a sketch drawn by the FBI for her.

43 years ago, American anti war activists did not hesitate to violate the law and opened the dark curtain of the FBI’s monitoring of citizens. Today, they take the initiative to expose their identity in response to the call to ensure that individual rights and freedoms are not infringed by the government.

in March 1971, a group of unidentified people sneaked into the FBI office in Philadelphia, stole more than 1000 confidential documents, and then selectively disclosed some “strong information” to the media. Since director Edgar Hoover, the furious FBI has sent hundreds of agents to arrest suspects across the country in vain.

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43 years later, with the continuous fermentation of the “prism gate” incident, these mysterious people who were once denounced as “shameless thieves” finally reported to their families that their behavior was to fight “large-scale illegal monitoring and intimidation”; They chose to take the initiative to disclose their identity at this moment in order to support Edward Snowden, who is also wanted by the U.S. government for leaking secrets.

the government is bent on its own. Anti war activists take action.

“we should have a plaque there,” said John Raines, who stood outside a real estate company and pointed to the second floor of the Delaware County Court opposite. “It used to be the FBI office. That’s where things happened.” Forty three years ago, Raines and seven like-minded partners “ransacked” the FBI’s Philadelphia office. Today, the statute of limitations of the case has expired. Raines is not worried about the exposure of his identity, but is still proud of the role he once played.

American society was turbulent in the early 1970s. With the U.S. military sinking deeper and deeper into the quagmire of the Vietnam War and the domestic anti war movement in full swing, law enforcement agencies such as the FBI regard public protests as a threat to national security and try their best to stop them. At that time, Philadelphia was already the center of the increasingly heated peace movement, but Bill Davidson, a physics professor at Harvard College who lived there, was still very depressed. In his view, the continued demonstrations had little substantive impact on the government’s decision-making. The turning point of

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happened in the spring of 1970. With then President Nixon admitting that he had sent troops to Cambodia, the United States was excited for a while. On May 4, four Kent State University students who participated in the protest were shot dead in the conflict with the National Guard, which is tantamount to adding fuel to the anti war wave in the United States.

Davidson was inspired to do an “influential event”. After thinking about it, he decided to break into the FBI office and obtain the material evidence that the intelligence giant suppressed the people’s anti war movement. Then he began to select “dedicated and cautious” people from familiar activists to form a reliable team.

in the autumn of the same year, this secret organization without any official agency was officially established. There were nine members in the team, but one of them felt that it was too risky to challenge the heavily guarded FBI office and withdrew. Among the people left behind by

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are taxi drivers in their early 20s and Keith Forsyth, who has the unique skill of unlocking; And the Raines, who have three children, husband John is a professor of religion at Temple University, and wife Bonnie works in kindergarten.

“we did everything we could to stop the Vietnam War – protests, marches, petitions – but it didn’t work. Bonnie told NBC that it was the government’s willful act that forced them to enter the house to steal secrets.

the movie perfect secret stealing operation

In the attic of Raines’ house, the “Rangers” negotiated all the details, worked out a perfect plan, and decided to start on March 8, 1971. The reason for choosing this day is that when the party staged the highly anticipated “battle of the century” between boxing champions Ali and Joe Fraser, they estimated that any security personnel would be “stuck” in front of the radio to listen to the game.

an article in the New York Times said that Bonnie was the first to appear and her task was to “step on the spot”. In order to sneak into the FBI office, Bonnie disguised herself as a college student and came to the door to “interview” in the name of completing her thesis. “I have long, dark, hippie style hair. In order to make myself look quiet, I curled it up and stuffed it into my hat,” she said proudly of her performance that day. “I didn’t leave any fingerprints in the process of stepping on the spot, and no one noticed that I never took off my gloves.”

Bonnie’s camouflage technique has achieved remarkable results – after the crime, the FBI did not find any substantive clues except to draw a portrait that was not very similar to Bonnie herself. “We’ve come to the office to see what’s safe. We’re sure she’s been robbed.” Said Pat Kelly, a retired FBI agent who experienced the case. On the day of the

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operation, fosseth, the master of unlocking, took the lead. According to his memory, most of the process was very smooth, but when he came to the door he had planned to open, he found that the FBI had changed the door lock and had to choose another one temporarily.

“I held my breath, picked up the crowbar, slammed the bolt and opened it all at once,” Forsyth said. Next, the team members filed in, pried open the filing cabinets and boxed the large stacks of data… “We didn’t spend a long time cleaning up,” he said with a smile. When the group left, the office had become a mess. “We all know that we have to get out of here quicklyIt’s too late. ”

like all Hollywood blockbusters that tell the story of God stealing, this group of anti war people, dressed in decent suits and carrying suitcases, strode out of the door of the FBI’s Philadelphia office, boarded the car John had parked at the door and fled. An hour later, they came to an idle farm in the suburbs and immediately began to study the confidential documents they brought out.

“everyone is crowded in one room,” John said. “Everyone is sorting out the documents, and there are constant screams: ‘Oh, my God!’, ‘come on, come on’, ‘here, here’.”

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: after the FBI tried to force the civil rights leader to commit suicide,

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looked through hundreds of pages of documents one by one, they picked out the most “hot” part and sent the screened documents to several newspapers in the name of “FBI citizenship investigation committee”, including Betty Metz, then a reporter of the post. According to this powerful information from the sky, a series of heavy reports on how the FBI spied and sabotaged political activities soon came out.

among the materials received by Metz, the most far-reaching is an internal document with a mysterious word: COINTELPRO. At that time, the media and anti war personages did not understand what they meant. It was not until a few years later that NBC obtained more documents under the freedom of information act that the meaning of the word became clear – the anti espionage plan.

from 1956 to 1971, the FBI led by Hoover conducted a large number of monitoring and harassment of groups and individuals he believed to threaten national security, including civil rights leaders, political organizers and suspected Communists. This is the so-called COINTELPRO program. At that time, the United States was filled with “Communist phobia”. Hoover took the limelight and even monitored Martin Luther King Jr.

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all-weather eavesdropping and tracking failed to find the sign of “tonggong” of the civil rights leader, but found the latter’s extramarital affair. Thus, as several anti war figures have seen, several seriously worded letters from the FBI were sent to Dr. Kim anonymously. The letter even threatened to make his extramarital affairs public if he did not commit suicide. “Such behavior as

“can be explained by more than spying on American citizens,” said Loch Johnson, a professor of public and international affairs at the University of Georgia. “The purpose of the anti espionage program is to destroy lives and reputation.”

the scandal of the FBI was exposed and the public opinion was in a great uproar. The US website “Daily Beast” said that the disclosure of the anti espionage plan angered Hoover, the intelligence boss. He arranged 200 agents to form a task force and vowed to find out the theft.

however, the fuss of the FBI didn’t get any return. For the next 43 years, Davidon, Forsyth and Raines lived a quiet life until they took the initiative to break the silence. In January 2014, Betty Metz, who spent many years studying relevant files, published a monograph entitled “Burglary: Discovering Hoover’s Secret” to disclose the causes and consequences of the matter in the most detail.

“the same enemy” is

. As expected by Davidson and others, this adventure had a positive impact. “Many things in that era, including the theft of FBI offices, led the FBI to reform its intelligence collection methods,” admitted FBI spokesman Michael cotan

learned that the anti espionage plan had been accidentally exposed. The public was angry and eager to “put out the fire”. The US Senate established a “church committee” to investigate the FBI’s abuse of power for decades. In its summary report on domestic monitoring issues, the Committee admitted that “too many people have been monitored by too many government agencies, and too much personal information has been mastered”.

in fact, Edgar Hoover, who has been in charge of the FBI for 37 years, has an almost morbid interest in collecting personal privacy. As early as 1960, the FBI set up secret files for 430000 Americans, some of which were locked in Hoover’s own office. It is believed that one of his purposes in collecting these materials is to use them to coerce government officials, parliamentarians and critics to consolidate his position. Former First Lady Eleanor Monroe, a great scientist and movie star Marilyn Monroe are all on his watch list.

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after the Senate issued its investigation conclusions on the abuse of power by the FBI, the US Congress launched a series of reforms on intelligence agencies. The foreign intelligence monitoring Act issued in 1978 is the most important part. The Act prohibits any government department from monitoring American citizens in the territory without the authorization of the court.

however, the game between “national security” and personal privacy will not be completely stopped by the bold actions of a few brave people. After the September 11 incident, the US government once again extended its monitoring hand under the banner of “protecting the public interest and preventing terrorism”. According to Edward Snowden, Verizon communications, one of the major telecommunications service providers in the United States with 121 million users, submits information records to the National Security Agency (NSA) every day.

“we’re back.” Forsyth commented with emotion, “recent events show that the government once again monitors the American people on a large scale. The reason why we stand up is to remind you of the past, remind you of the consequences of the government’s abuse of power, and make a modest contribution to the current domestic debate.”

it is true that some people still disagree with what they have done. “When I walked into the office, I saw the room in a mess and all the drawers were ransacked. Seeing such a situation, my mind was blank,” said former agent pat Kelly. “Recalling the situation at that time, I was still angry. These thieves are criminals, and theft is not a sign of patriotism.”

“I don’t think they have the right to decide without authorizationThe stolen information was made public, “continued the senior agent who has worked for the FBI for 32 years.” these people respect Snowden and think he is a patriot. In my opinion, he is a traitor. ”

“we all know that many people disapprove of what we did. It seems that we were extremely reckless, but at that time, no one in Washington dared to hold Hoover accountable, including senators, representatives and even the president himself.” John Raines was calm in the face of the question. “Obviously, if we don’t do it, I’m afraid no one will do it.” Bill Davidson, the organizer of the

theft, died last November. His daughter Sarah told NBC that her father first told her about it 25 years ago. “He didn’t describe it as theft, he just called it ‘communication action’,” Sarah stressed. “This is not because he is an anarchist, but because he is strongly aware of the rights and freedoms of citizens.”