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4 points about the 1971 FBI break-in

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Reprinted from GlennGreenwald's Blog

The New York Times this morning (Tues, 1//7/2014) has an extraordinary 13-minute video from a team of reporters including the independent journalist Jonathan Franklin, and an accompanying article by Mark Mazzetti, about the heroic anti-war activists who broke into an FBI field office in 1971 and took all of the documents they could get their hands on, and then sent those documents to newspapers, including the New York Times and Washington Post.

Some of those documents exposed J. Edgar Hoover's COINTELPRO program, aimed at quashing internal political dissent through surveillance, infiltration and other tactics. Those revelations ultimately led to the creation of the Church Committee in the mid-1970s and various reforms. The background on the Church Committee's COINTELPRO findings and the "burglary" operation which exposed it is here.

With the statute of limitations elapsed on their "crimes", ones the FBI could never solve, the courageous perpetrators have now unveiled themselves. The NYT  story is based on a new book by Post reporter Betsy Medsger and the forthcoming documentary 1971 (of which my journalistic partner, Laura Poitras, is an Exective Producer). There are four crucial points to note:

(1) Just as is true of Daniel Ellsberg today, these activists will be widely hailed as heroic, noble, courageous, etc. That's because it's incredibly easy to praise people who challenge governments of the distant past, and much harder to do so for those who challenge those who wield actual power today.

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For the past 10 years, I was a litigator in NYC specializing in First Amendment challenges, civil rights cases, and corporate and securities fraud matters. I am the author of the New York Times Best-Selling book, How Would A Patriot (more...)

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Many good points, thank you. But there is a funda... by Daniel Noel on Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014 at 3:13:28 PM
I may be wrong, but my take on the main 9/11 cons... by Paul Easton on Thursday, Jan 9, 2014 at 10:41:53 PM
We shouldn't b... by Douglas Jack on Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014 at 3:30:25 PM
"We knew there would be some gold in their somewhe... by Douglas Jack on Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014 at 4:11:41 PM
This video that Glen mentions is also on Democrac... by Stephen Zimmett on Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014 at 4:19:04 PM
Stephen: Thanks for pointing to these extended Dem... by Douglas Jack on Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014 at 8:22:13 PM
The exposure of former FBI head J. Edgar Hoover by... by Dennie Williams on Thursday, Jan 9, 2014 at 1:13:34 PM
I am certainly grateful to the whistleblowers and... by Paul Easton on Thursday, Jan 9, 2014 at 10:59:01 PM
Paul, We can take the information, which the Citi... by Douglas Jack on Friday, Jan 10, 2014 at 10:15:02 AM