Snowden avant la lettre:
Burglars of Media, Pennsylvania FBI building in 1971, reveal themselves after 42 years
They can no longer be prosecuted for what happened, and a book came out describing the whole story. The book is written by Betty Medsger, one of the first journalists to have received the stolen documents. The documents contained hard evidence on the FBI’s spying on political groups.
They were never caught, and the stolen documents that they mailed anonymously to newspaper reporters were the first trickle of what would become a flood of revelations about extensive spying and dirty-tricks operations by the F.B.I. against dissident groups.
The burglars had, until now, maintained a vow of silence about their roles in the operation. They were content in knowing that their actions had dealt the first significant blow to [the FBI].
Unlike Mr. Snowden, who downloaded hundreds of thousands of digital N.S.A. files onto computer hard drives, the Media burglars did their work the 20th-century way: they cased the F.B.I. office for months, wore gloves as they packed the papers into suitcases, and loaded the suitcases into getaway cars. When the operation was over, they dispersed. Some remained committed to antiwar causes, while others, like John and Bonnie Raines, decided that the risky burglary would be their final act of protest against the Vietnam War and other government actions before they moved on with their lives.
(Keith Forsyth, John Raines, Bonnie Raines, William C. Davidon)
In late 1970, a mild-mannered Haverford College physics professor privately asked a few people this question: “What do you think of burglarizing an FBI office?” In remarkable detail and with astonishing depth of research, Betty Medsger reveals the never-before-told full story of the history-changing break-in at the Media, Pennsylvania, FBI offices. Through their exploits, a group of unlikely activists exposed the shocking truth that J. Edgar Hoover was operating a shadow Bureau engaged in illegal surveillance and harassment of the American people.
The Burglary brings the activists, who have kept their secret for forty-three years, into the public eye for the first time—including, new to this edition, the recent discovery of the eighth and final member of the team. The burglars’ story of personal sacrifice and civil disobedience is a vital episode in the American whistle-blower tradition that includes the Pentagon Papers, Watergate’s Deep Throat, and, most recently, Edward Snowden and the NSA.