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)
If we were a newspaper and someone threw a small bomb through the window, crippling our printing press and shutting down operations until we could get a replacement, we’d call the police. But what’s the equivalent of 911 when a cyber attack happens? Who will reimburse us for lost man and woman hours and reports that didn’t get published when actual news was breaking? And will it undermine the trust our viewers and readers place in us? How to place a value on that?
This breach wasn’t done to steal national secrets or money from us, but to express anger over the work of the free press. That work will go on. At Frontline and at the NewsHour, everyone is focused on getting on with their jobs covering the news, the most important developments in the nation and in the world. But we do so feeling violated by a stranger. I guess that makes us wiser, determined to work harder to protect the work we do. And I hope it doesn’t make us, or any other news organization, more cautious."
— Judy Woodruff writes about this week’s hacking attacks on PBS websites and overcoming efforts to silence a free press.