On Monday the National Archives officially declassified the full and unredacted Pentagon Papers, the classified study of the Vietnam War leaked four decades ago. In 1971, defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg leaked the documents to The New York Times by taking them volume by volume from his office and painstakingly copying them.
According to The Associated Press:
The 7,000-page report was the WikiLeaks disclosure of its time, a sensational breach of government confidentiality that shook Richard Nixon’s presidency and prompted a Supreme Court fight that advanced press freedom. Prepared near the end of Lyndon Johnson’s term by Defense Department and private foreign policy analysts, the report was leaked primarily by one of them, Daniel Ellsberg, in a brash act of defiance that stands as one of the most dramatic episodes of whistleblowing in U.S. history.
Though some portions were blotted out, most of what is contained in the reports has been available for years.
Read the full Pentagon Papers from the National Archives’ website.
The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe talked to Alex J. Daverede III, chief of the production division at the Archives’ National Declassification Center, about the process behind releasing the documents.
The New York Times has provided a navigator pointing to audio archives and a timeline of the Pentagon Papers.
To learn more about Daniel Ellsberg, PBS’ POV has posted its documentary, “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers,” here. Frontline examines the battles surrounding the release of the Pentagon Papers.
We’ll have more about what the release means on Monday’s NewsHour broadcast.
(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
If you need something to read or watch you’re in luck: Reporter Molly Finnegan whipped up a list of some of our great Memorial Day related stories.
- ‘The Returning Dead’: “Each night I make a drink and wait for them/ They have become the day’s concluding news” -Wyatt Prunty wrote the “The Returning Dead” as a response to the NewsHour’s Honor Roll [May 31, 2010]
- “War is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.” Between the battles, photographers captured scenes of the Civil War [April 12, 2011]
- “A Memorial Day at a time of war is a unique and freighted thing…” Essayist Anne Taylor Fleming reflects [May 31, 2004]
- “Modern memorials, like modern art, are unassertive, deliberately vague.” -Roger Rosenblatt has some thoughts on our Memorial Days. [May 29, 2000]
- A book about war that has stood the test of time: last year we talked to ‘The Things They Carried’ author Tim O’Brien for the book’s 20th anniversary [April 28, 2010]
- Five scholars discuss the origins and implications of Memorial Day [May 24, 1996]
- Everyone loves dogs,” says Olszak. “All of our dogs remind the guys of their pups at home, so it’s a good morale boost.” A profile of military dogs in Quantico. [May 26, 2011]
- Extended interviews with Maya Lin on the Vietnam War Memorial [May 12, 2009]
- A conversation about the elite WWII force that saved Europe’s monuments from Nazi forces [November 11, 2009]
- RIP Tim Hetherington. Jeffrey Brown spoke to him about his experience covering wars. [November 16, 2010]