The National Archives finally released the full declassified and un-redacted version of the Pentagon Papers today, 40 years to the date of the New York Times’ groundbreaking publication.
Tonight’s guest, Daniel Ellsberg, a member of the Vietnam Study Task Force that composed documents on the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, famously leaked a photocopies of it to the paper.
Ellsberg said growing concerns that the U.S. was engaged in “unconstitutional behavior by a succession of presidents,” spanning the Truman Administration through the Nixon Administration, caused him to take this risk. Specifically, Ellsberg accused the Pentagon (his former employers) of “lying us into a hopeless war.” He was charged with espionage, but the case was later dismissed.
More recently, countless parallels have been drawn between Ellsberg’s work and that of Private Bradley Manning, another soldier-turned-whistleblower that allegedly leaked classified docs to WikiLeaks.
There’s a really awesome documentary on Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers leak, "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.” In honor of the 40th anniversary, you can watch the whole thing for free online June 13-14. Check out the trailer below.
— By Harry Grabow