|The Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI was an activist group operational in the US during the early 1970s. Their only known action was breaking into a two-man Media, Pennsylvania office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and stealing over 1,000 classified documents. They then mailed these documents anonymously to several US newspapers to expose numerous illegal FBI operations which were infringing on the First Amendment rights of American civilians. Most news outlets initially refused to publish the information, as it related to ongoing operations and they contended disclosure might have threatened the lives of agents or informants. However, The Washington Post, after affirming the veracity of the files which the Commission sent them, ran a front-page story on March 24, 1971.
"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, a journal associated with the War Resisters League. The documents revealed the COINTELPRO operation, and led to the Church Committee and the cessation of this operation by the FBI. Noam Chomsky has stated:
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.