Today marks the 50th anniversary of an event that exposed FBI abuses and mass surveillance under former Director J. Edgar Hoover. On March 8, 1971, a group of activists broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, where they stole — and later leaked — documents detailing the secret Counterintelligence Program to monitor, infiltrate and disrupt social and political movements, nicknamed COINTELPRO. In 2014, Democracy Now! spoke with three members of the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI — just after they made their identities public for the first time. Keith Forsyth, who served as designated lock-picker during the break-in, was hoping to speed the end of the Vietnam War.
Keith Forsyth: “The war was escalating and not deescalating. And I think what really pushed me over the edge was, shortly after the invasion shortly after the invasion of Cambodia, there were four students killed at Kent State and two more killed at Jackson State. And — I’m sorry, I’d think I’d have this down after all these years. And that really pushed me over the edge, that it was time to do more than just — than just protest and just march with a sign.”