The FBI, established in 1908, was for 60 years held unaccountable and untouchable until March 8, 1971, when The Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI, as they called themselves, broke into a small FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, took every file, and shared them with the American public. After the break-in, the group sent the files to journalists at the Washington Post, which published them and shed light on the FBI’s widespread abuse of power. These actions exposed COINTELPRO, the FBI’s illegal surveillance program that involved the intimidation of law-abiding Americans, and helped lead to the country’s first congressional investigation of U.S. intelligence agencies.
The activist-burglars then disappeared into anonymity for forty years. Until now. Never caught, these previously anonymous Americans — parents, teachers and citizens — publicly reveal themselves for the first time and share their story in the documentary 1971.