June 14, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - Call it the granddaddy of WikiLeaks. Four decades ago, a young defense analyst leaked a top-secret study packed with damaging revelations about America's conduct of the Vietnam War. Monday, that study, the Pentagon Papers, finally came out in complete form. It's a touchstone for whistle-blowers everywhere and just the sort of leak that gives presidents fits to this day. Almost from the opening lines, it was apparent that the authors knew they had created a hornet's nest.
August 8, 2006 |
According to recent opinion polls, most Iraqis don't believe that we're making things better or safer in their country. What does that say about the legitimacy of prolonged occupation, much less permanent American bases in Iraq? What does it mean for continued American patrols such as the one last November in Haditha, which, we now learn, led to the deaths of a Marine and 24 unarmed civilians? Questions very much like these nagged at my conscience at the height of the Vietnam War, and led, eventually, to the publication of the Pentagon Papers in the summer of 1971, 35 years ago. As a former Marine commander and defense analyst in 1970, I had exclusive access to highly classified defense documents for research purposes.
October 5, 2010
POV. THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG. 9 tonight, Channel 12. ANYONE WHO believes the subject of "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg" is or was actually dangerous will probably avoid even watching the Oscar-nominated documentary with which PBS' "POV" wraps up its 23rd season tonight. Let's just say they don't call it "POV" - as in "point of view" - for nothing. Produced and directed by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith, this two-hour look at the events leading up to Ellsberg's release of the classified reports about the war in Vietnam that came to be known as the Pentagon Papers is many things: a formidable history lesson, an examination of one man's crisis of conscience, an action movie for wonks, even a love story.
June 16, 1991 |
White House weddings are always fun. America's barely repressed love of royalty flowered elegantly 20 years ago when a June bride named Tricia Nixon was given away by her father, the President, at her marriage in the White House Rose Garden to Edward Finch Cox. The guest list included Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and Ralph Nader, the crusading consumerist who once employed the bridegroom. The next day, June 13, 1971, the Nixon-Cox nuptials were eclipsed in the New York Times by revelations of a study on the war in Vietnam.
February 16, 2008 |
Some historical plays are all about the past, but really good ones are just as much about now. Watching Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers, the lively L.A. Theatre Works production running this weekend at Annenberg Center's Harold Prince Theatre, I was processing Vietnam - and thinking Iraq. Top Secret vigorously maintains that the American press is not just a prodder and inciter; it has a rigorous job to do in order for democracy to work. The play is about the Washington Post's bold 1971 decision to print details from the purloined Pentagon Papers, but it resonates directly into this decade.
July 8, 2005
THE NIXON White House, Watergate and Mark Felt, aka Deep Throat. The Vietnam War, the Pentagon Papers and a source eventually revealed as Daniel Ellsberg. In both cases, reporters protected anonymous sources because they had to. Ellsberg broke the law when he leaked the Pentagon Papers. In this business, being able to have frank but confidential conversations is paramount. That principle is now in danger because of a federal investigation into who leaked that Valerie Plame was a covert CIA agent.
December 24, 1992 |
Let us consider the most flagrant miscarriage of justice since the Rodney King verdict, to wit, the fact that we-the-taxpayers are about to have to pay Richard Nixon, of all people, umpteen godzillion dollars for those damn tapes (I recently promised a reader I'd try to avoid using hell and damn, but this is an emergency). This is not only not right, it stinks to high heaven. Hell. Damn. If the law is right about this one, the law is moronic. What do you mean, Nixon's tapes?
April 2, 2010 |
Dubbed "the most dangerous man in America" by then-Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, Daniel Ellsberg was responsible for the publication of the Pentagon Papers - more than 7,000 pages of top-secret documents that showed the Nixon administration (and the Johnson, Kennedy, Eisenhower, and Truman administrations before it) to be engaged in the deepest sort of deception concerning U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. In Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith's Oscar-nominated documentary, The Most Dangerous Man in America , Ellsberg recounts his own amazing cloak-and-dagger tale: how an ex-Marine, a military adviser, and government consultant connected to top officials in the White House and the Pentagon could no longer live with the lies being perpetrated on the American people.
March 28, 2011
Leonard Weinglass, 77, a crusading lawyer who championed radical and liberal causes and clients in some of the most controversial trials of the 1960s and '70s, including the Chicago Seven and Pentagon Papers cases, died Wednesday of pancreatic cancer in New York. Mr. Weinglass developed a reputation as a firebrand during the Chicago Seven conspiracy case against anti-Vietnam War demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The defendants included Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, and Jerry Rubin.
June 11, 2013 |
Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old National Security Agency contractor who admitted he was behind recent leaks of classified intelligence, has vaulted from obscurity to international notoriety, joining the ranks of high-profile leakers such as Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame. The fact that Snowden stepped forward to acknowledge his leaks to the Washington Post and the Guardian of London rather than wait for the FBI to find him impressed others who have disclosed government secrets.