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1971

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1971

Johanna Hamilton (2014)

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On 8 March 1971, while their fellow Americans were glued to a heavyweight boxing bout between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, eight members of the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI broke into the bureau's field office in Media, Pennsylvania. They stole over 1,000 documents that included evidence of COINTELPRO, J Edgar Hoover's counterintelligence programme to infiltrate, intimidate and disrupt groups opposed to the socio-political status quo in the United States. The activists sent photocopies of key papers to the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times. But, while the editors of the latter two publications returned the documents to the FBI, reporter Betty Medsger persuaded the Post's Ben Bradlee (who went on to expose the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate break-in) to run with the story. Here director Johanna Hamilton coaxes co-conspirators Bill Davidon, Bonnie and John Raines, Keith Forsyth and Bob Williamson into reliving their exploits over archival footage and some slick reconstructions of the raid. Her film grips like a thriller but it also amuses with its accounts of FBI agents disguising themselves as hippies in an effort to nail the perpetrators, who only came forward 43 years after the burglary and have never been prosecuted for their actions.

Cast & Crew

Director Johanna Hamilton

Other Information

Language: English Colour and Black and White Theatrical distributor: DocHouse Released on: 5 Jun 2015

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