While many Americans were watching a televised title bout between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier nearly 23 years, antiwar activists were breaking into the FBI office in Philadelphia and stealing confidential documents.
What happened that day was largely unknown until the author of a new book convinced five of the eight burglars to detail what happened, the New York Times reports.
The men and women, who can no longer be prosecuted, said they were motivated by the desire to expose the agency for using dirty tricks to spy on dissident groups.
They sent many of the records to newspaper reporters, unveiling widespread, extensive spying.
“When you talked to people outside the movement about what the F.B.I. was doing, nobody wanted to believe it,” said one of the burglars, Keith Forsyth. “There was only one way to convince people that it was true, and that was to get it in their handwriting.”
The new book is called “The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI.”