The burglary : the discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's secret FBI

Large Print
Published 2014
Item Details

The never-before-told complete story of the history-changing break-in at the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, by a group of unlikely activists -- quiet, ordinary, hardworking Americans -- that exposed the shocking truth and confirmed what some had long suspected: that J. Edgar Hoover was operating, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, his own shadow Bureau of Investigation. It begins in 1971 in an America being split apart by the Vietnam War. A small group of activists -- eight men and women -- the Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI, inspired by Daniel Berrigan's rebellious Catholic peace movement, set out to use a more active, but nonviolent, method of civil disobedience to provide hard evidence once and for all that the government was operating outside the laws of the land. The would-be burglars were ordinary people leading lives of purpose: a professor of religion and former freedom rider; a day-care director; a physicist; a cab driver; an antiwar activist, a lock picker; a graduate student haunted by members of her family lost to the Holocaust and the passivity of German civilians under Nazi rule. The group removed all of the FBI files and, with the utmost deliberation, released them to various journalists and members of Congress, soon upending the public's perception of the inviolate head of the Bureau and paving the way for the first overhaul of the FBI since Hoover became its director in 1924. The FBI files revealed J. Edgar Hoover's secret counterintelligence program COINTELPRO, set up in 1956 to investigate and disrupt dissident political groups in the United States in order "to enhance the paranoia endemic in these circles," to make clear to all Americans that an FBI agent was "behind every mailbox," a plan that would discredit, destabilize, and demoralize groups, many of them legal civil rights organizations and antiwar groups that Hoover found offensive, as well as black power groups, student activists, antidraft protestors, conscientious objectors. The author, the first reporter to receive the FBI files, began to cover this story during the three years she worked for The Washington Post and continued her investigation long after she'd left the paper, figuring out who the burglars were, and convincing them, after decades of silence, to come forward and tell their extraordinary story.

Large print edition.
927 pages, 27 unnumbered pages (large print) : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 845-924).
In the absence of oversight
Choosing burglary
The team is formed
The burglars in the attic
Time out for White House meeting
With thanks to Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier
Escape to the farm
J. Edgar Hoover's worst nightmare
FBI and burglars in a race
To publish or not to publish
Appropriate for the secret police of the Soviet Union
I'm thinking of turning you in
Being American while black and other insights from media
The subterfuge continues
Cointelipro Hovers
Victory at Camden
Defeat at Camden
The secret FBI emerges
Crude and cruel
Closing cases
Dumbstruck that it meant something
Unconditionally positive
Very pleased ... missing the joy
Building little pockets of life
You didn't do that
Fragile reform
The NSA files
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