BERKELEY — Seth Rosenfeld, author of “Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power,” will speak on Wednesday, Sept. 19, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Sibley Auditorium in the Bechtel Engineering Center on the UC Berkeley campus.

Seth Rosenfeld

Rosenfeld will have an on-stage conversation with Logan Distinguished Professor in Investigative Reporting Lowell Bergman of the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

The author has made headlines in recent weeks with his assertion that Richard Aoki, a Japanese American who was active with the Black Panther Party and other groups labeled “radical” by the government in the late 1960s, was an FBI informant.

The book will be available for purchase. Admission is free, but RSVPs are required. Contact Julie Hirano at (510) 642-3394 or email For directions to UC Berkeley and a campus map, visit

While working as an investigative reporter for The San Francisco Examiner and The San Francisco Chronicle, Rosenfeld sued the FBI four times over the past 30 years to obtain confidential records under the Freedom of Information Act regarding the agency’s covert campus activities at UC Berkeley during the 1960s, eventually compelling the FBI to release more than 250,000 pages from its files.

Rosenfeld recreates the history of how FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover worked closely with then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan to undermine student dissent, arrest and expel members of Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement, and fire the University of California’s liberal president, Clark Kerr.

Rosenfeld’s narrative focuses on three men: Kerr, who played a role in guaranteeing all Californians access to higher education; Mario Savio, the charismatic student activist who led the Free Speech Movement; and the ambitious Reagan, who was a more active FBI informer in his Hollywood days than previously known.

Rosenfeld says the FBI’s counterintelligence program took tactics originally developed for use against foreign adversaries during the Cold War and turned them on domestic groups whose politics the agency considered “un-American.”

To hear an interview with Rosenfeld on KQED-FM’s “Forum,” click here.

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