The Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI was a leftist activist group operational in the US during the early 1970s. Their only known action was breaking into a two-man Media, Pennsylvania Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) office, and stealing over 1000 classified documents. They then mailed these documents anonymously to several US newspapers. Some news outlets refused to publish the information, as it related to ongoing operations and they contended disclosure may have threatened the lives of agents or informants. "The complete collection of political documents ripped-off from the F.B.I. office in Media, Pa., March 8, 1971" was published for the first time as the March, 1972 issue of WIN Magazine ("Peace and freedom thru nonviolent action"), a journal associated with the War Resisters League. The documents revealed the COINTELPRO operation, and led to the cessation of this operation by the FBI. No member of the group has ever been publicly identified, or apprehended, though noted Yippie organizer Abbie Hoffman has been linkedTemplate:Weasel-inline on several occasions including a suggestion dropped by the character portraying his lawyer in the 2000 film "Steal This Movie".[better source needed]
- "According to its analysis of the documents in this FBI office, 1 percent were devoted to organized crime, mostly gambling; 30 percent were "manuals, routine forms, and similar procedural matter"; 40 percent were devoted to political surveillance and the like, including two cases involving right-wing groups, ten concerning immigrants, and over 200 on left or liberal groups. Another 14 percent of the documents concerned draft resistance and "leaving the military without government permission." The remainder concerned bank robberies, murder, rape, and interstate theft." - Noam Chomsky
Though highly under-emphasizedTemplate:Technical-statement, the theft resulted in the exposure of some of the FBI's most self-incriminating documents, including several documents detailing the FBI's use of postal workers, switchboard operators, etc., in order to spy on black college students and various non-violent black activist groups.