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 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)
Leon Panetta, director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ likely successor, is on Capitol Hill Thursday to answer questions before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Panetta has received support from both sides of the aisle and is all but assured confirmation, but faces questions over the future of a Defense Department managing operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and in light of budget constraints across the government.
The New York Times’ The Caucus blog is liveblogging updates throughout the hearings.
Panetta said he supports “the commitment of the president to try to take action to reduce the deficit,” but did not directly support a proposed $400 billion in defense cuts over the coming decade. President Obama has asked for long-term cuts in the Pentagon’s budget on top of the $78 billion already introduced by Secretary Gates. Panetta said the U.S. didn’t need to “choose between strong fiscal discipline and strong national defense.”
Panetta said the death of Osama bin Laden, the “spiritual leader of al-Qaida,” impacted their operations but that the network remains dangerous and we “have to pay attention to these nodes that are developing” in places like Yemen and North Africa.
He also said the U.S. needs to work on building a “relationship of trust with Pakistanis” because “it is in the interest of both countries” because both nations are threatened by the existence of terrorist groups. Panetta described the U.S.-Pakistan alliance as among the “most critical and yet one of the most complicated and frustrating relationships” the U.S. has.
Answering a question from Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., about the worst-case outcomes for Afghanistan, Panetta said “We not only create another safe haven for al-Qaida and their militant allies, but the world becomes a much more threatened place because of that loss, particularly in that region.”
Addressing concerns about sustainability, Panetta said Afghanistan’s government needs to begin raising the revenue it would need to cover its own expenses.
With regard to U.S.-supported NATO air strikes on Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya and a possible post-Gadhafi political plan, Panetta said “we have a lot more work to do in order to ensure that if Gadhafi does step down, Libya will be a stable country,” but said he felt confident leaders could emerge from the current opposition coalition.
By News Desk
At least 41 people were killed early Wednesday in Yemen’s capital Sanaa in the latest round of clashes between the government forces of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and tribal fighters.
According to the Associated Press, street fighting broke out overnight:
Fighting raged until 5 a.m., and witnesses said Presidential Guard units shelled the headquarters of an army brigade responsible for guarding sensitive government institutions. Army officers who have defected to the opposition say the government suspected the brigade commander was about to join forces with the movement to oust Saleh.
In recent days, supporters of Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, a powerful tribal leader who has sided with protesters against Saleh, have clashed with army units. In retaliation, President Saleh has blocked electricity and water supplies in the neighborhood where al-Ahmar resides.
On Tuesday’s NewsHour, Margaret Warner spoke to Barbara Bodine, former U.S. ambassador to Yemen, and Benard Haykel of Princeton University, about the breakdown of the cease-fire and what’s next for Saleh.
Space Shuttle Endeavour Completes Final Mission
Space Shuttle Endeavour made its final landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a two-week mission to the International Space Station. NASA plans to phase out its space shuttle program this summer, sending Atlantis on its final mission in July.
"It’s sad to see her land for the last time, but she really has a great legacy," said Commander Mark Kelly, whose wife, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is still recovering from being shot in January but was allowed by doctors to travel to Florida to attend the launch.
The NewsHour put your questions before the Endeavour’s crew in a live interview from the International Space Station.