On 8 March 1971, eight ordinary citizens broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania. The members of the self-proclaimed Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI picked the lock on the door, took every file in the office, loaded them into suitcases and walked out the front door. Mailed anonymously, these documents started to show up in newsrooms, unleashing fierce debates on whether or not to publish them. Despite demands by the Nixon administration to suppress the story, The Washington Post went to press, uncovering the FBI’s vast and illegal regime of spying and intimidation of Americans exercising their First Amendment rights. This screening will be followed by a Q&A via Skype with director Johanna Hamilton.
Privacy of the individual, secrecy of the state and national security have been in sharp focus in past weeks due to the leak of material from the US’s National Security Agency (NSA). We will be joined by a panel of experts to ask whether it is possible to strike a balance.