Meet the Edward Snowdens of Philadelphia

A famous mystery has finally been solved and Philly’s at the center of it.

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 9.48.25 AM

In 1971, a massive trove of secret F.B.I. documents were stolen from an office in Media, PA. The documents revealed the extent to which J. Edgar Hoover’s agency was spying on ordinary Americans, targeting New Left-aligned groups, among other then-shocking initiatives. The leaks ushered in a new era of regulation regarding domestic surveillance.


The thieves, who leaked their findings to the Washington Post, were never caught. A new book has finally revealed their identities--John and Bonnie Raines, of Philadelphia. (He was a professor of religion at Temple, and she was a schoolteacher.) Their accomplices included a Haverford physicist and other local players. They still live in the Philly area.

Here's a short film the New York Times has released about the heist, the details of which are first becoming public now. Watch here.

[New York Times]

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • JCDavis

    Courageous people. American heros. And this news comes out just after the FBI announced that counterterrorism is now its major focus. Presumably, that makes all Americans terrorist suspects, just as it is with the NSA.