On March 8, 1971, seven ordinary Americans broke into a poorly guarded FBI regional office in Media, Pennsylvania. They called themselves the Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI, and they had one purpose: to gather evidence that would prove the agency was engaged in a covert and illegal spying campaign against American citizens. For more than 30 years, Director J. Edgar Hoover had maintained an iron grip on the media, and with it, public perception of the Bureau. But as packages of stolen documents began appearing in newsroom mailboxes, followed soon after by front page stories, a very different narrative about the FBI’s activities began to emerge. It would forever shift the balance of public opinion against the Bureau, and signal the beginning of Hoover’s downfall.
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