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Daniel Ellsberg

short profile

'Pentagon Papers' texts

publication & aftermath

Daniel Ellsberg

image gallery

family & friends

links

               side-profile portrait of Daniel Ellsberg


"We were young, we were foolish, we were arrogant, but we were right."

"There should be at least one leak like the Pentagon Papers every year."

"Look, all administrations, all governments lie, all officials lie, and nothing they say is to be believed. That's a pretty good rule."

"I agree that there are things that should be kept secret."

"Only we, the public, can force our representatives to reverse their abdication of the war powers
that the Constitution gives exclusively to the Congress."

— Daniel Ellsberg


        A native of Chicago, raised in Detroit, Michigan, Daniel Ellsberg served as a company commander in the Marine Corps for two years, then completed a doctorate in economics at Harvard University in 1962. He joined the RAND Corporation's Economics Department as an analyst, and in 1964 was recruited to serve inside the Pentagon under Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Following two years in VietNam for the State Department, Ellsberg eventually returned to RAND.
        At RAND, Ellsberg discovered documents that proved that the involvement of the U.S. in the war in VietNam was deliberately escalated, counter to the government's public statements. Unable to convince sypathetic U.S. Senators to reveal the documents on the Senate floor, Ellsberg, with the assistance of Anthony Russo, copied (the 7,000 pages took a full year to copy) and finally leaked the documents to Neil Sheehan at The New York Times. The newspaper made headlines around the world in June 1971 when the 'Pentagon Papers' a 7,000-page, top-secret study of decision-making about VietNam were released to the public through The New York Times and The Washington Post.

        Heroic 'whistle-blower' Ellsberg's release of the Pentagon Papers set in motion a chain of events that included a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, the arrest and trial of Ellsberg, the crimes of Watergate, and the end of the Nixon presidency and of the VietNam War. The charges against Ellsberg were dismissed in 1973 after it was discovered that President Nixon had authorized White House aides to burglarize Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office in an attempt to discredit Ellsberg. Conspirator Charles Colson was convicted in the Ellsberg burglary, serving seven months in prison; fellow conspirators John Ehrlichman and G. Gordon Liddy were convicted only in connection with the WaterGate burglary.

Daniel Ellsberg official website
Daniel Ellsberg entry at Wikipedia
'Pentagon Papers' entry at Wikipedia


'Pentagon Papers'  Texts

Pentagon Papers / Defense Department History book compiled by Sen. Mike Gravel  "The Pentagon Papers: The Defense Department History of United States Decisionmaking On Vietnam (4 Volumes)" [1971] Compiled by Sen. Mike Gravel
The Federal Government succeeded in blocking publication of even newspaper synopses and brief excerpts from the secret Pentagon Papers. Senator Mike Gravel [Dem-Alaska] had recently received copies of 4,100 pages of the Pentagon Papers, and on the night of 29 June 1971, he convened a special meeting of his Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds and entered those pages into the official record of the subcommittee.
2,553-page Beacon Press 10x6 pb in 4 volumes [6/71] out of print/used
2,899-page Beacon Press 9¼x6¼ hardcover [6/71] out of print/used
Pentagon Papers Secret History of the Vietnam War book by Neil Sheehan  
"The Pentagon Papers: The Secret History of The Vietnam War" [1971]
by Neil Sheehan, Herick Smith, E.W. Kenworthy & Fox Butterfield

'Complete and unabridged' text of the articles in The New York Times by Neil Sheehan
and his team – 'with key documents and 64 pages of photographs'

Kindle Edition from Racehorse Publng [12/2017] for $9.99  12/2017
677-page Bantam Books mass pb [7/71] out of print/used
677-page Bantam Books mass pb [7/71] out of print/many used
Pentagon Papers As Published By The New York Times book  "The Pentagon Papers: As Published By The New York Times" [1971]
810-page book with all of the verbatim text published from the secret documents, ten chapter/articles by
the N.Y. Times reporter team, transcripts of the court proceedings of N.Y. Times v. United States,
60 pages of photographs, glossary, and 32-page index

Quadrangle Books hardcover [7/71] out of print/used
Pentagon Papers (Abridged)  "The Pentagon Papers (Abridged)" [1993]
Edited by George C. Herring

224-page McGraw-Hill 8¼x5½ pb [1/93] out of print/used
Pentagon Papers (Gravel version) in Kindle format  "The Pentagon Papers: The Secret History of The War in Vietnam" for Kindle [2010]
this is the 4-volume Gravel version, in 2,845 pages
Kindle Edition from Red and Black Publrs [1/2010] for $9.99
'Pentagon Papers: (very) Abridged For The Millennial Generation in Kindle format  "Pentagon Papers: Recently Abridged Edition For The Millennial Generation"
for Kindle [2013] by J-Power

Not much here: the 7,000 pages of the original copies were edited down to 3,000 for the public by Senator Gravel, which are here shrunk down to 96 pages!
Kindle Edition from PowerPlayz Publng [12/2013] for $4.99

Pentagon Papers (Gravel version) online etext at Mt. Holyoke College


Publication  &  Aftermath

The Day the Presses Stopped / the Pentagon Papers Case book by David Rudenstine   "The Day The Presses Stopped: A History of The Pentagon Papers Case" [1996]
by David Rudenstine

Univ California Press 8½x5½ pb [7/98] for $38.95
Univ California Press 9½x6½ hardcover [6/96] out of print/used
Inside the Pentagon Papers book edited by John Prados & Margaret Pratt Porter  "Inside The Pentagon Papers" [2004]
Edited by John Prados & Margaret Pratt Porter

Univ Press of Kansas 9¼x6¼ pb [5/2004] for $16.39
Univ Press of Kansas 9½x6½ hardcover [5/2004] out of print/used

"The Papers" [Fox/Amblin Ent. - in development for Dec 2017?]  
unofficial title card for Spielberg's Pentagon papers movie  Announced 11/2016: Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson,

"The Post" [Fox/Amblin Ent. Dec 2017]  
Steven Spielberg's 'The Post' 2017 movie starring Tom Hanks & Meryl Streep  Working title: 'The Papers' 'Inspired by true events': A cover-up spanning four U.S. Presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between journalism and government. Co-produced & directed by Steven Spielberg; co-produced & written by Liz Hannah & Josh Singer; music by John Williams; starring Tom Hanks {as Ben Bradlee}, Bob Odenkirk, Meryl Streep {as Kay Graham}, Jesse Plemons, David Cross {as Howard Simons}, Alison Brie, Bruce Greenwood, Michael Stuhlbarg, Matthew Rhys {as Daniel Ellsberg}, Sarah Paulson, Bradley Whitford, Tracy Letts, Zach Woods, Carrie Coon, Curzon Dobell {as Richard Nixon}
DVD/Blu-ray not yet available
full credits at IMDb official movie site movie entry at Wikipedia
watch 11/2017 official trailer [2:32] online at YouTube


Works  By/About  Daniel Ellsberg
browse books by Daniel Ellsberg at Amazon

Risk, Ambiguity, and Decision book by Daniel Ellsberg  "Risk, Ambiguity, and Decision" [2001]
by Daniel Ellsberg

Routledge 9¼x6¼ hardcover [3/2001] for $65.00
Wild Man biography of Daniel Ellsberg by Tom Wells  "Wild Man: The Life & Times of Daniel Ellsberg" [2001]
by Tom Wells

Palgrave Macmillan 9x6 pb [10/2009] for $40.50
Palgrave Macmillan 9¾x6¼ hardcover [6/2001] out of print/40+ used
Secrets memoir by Daniel Ellsberg  "Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam & The Pentagon Papers" [2002] by Daniel Ellsberg
listed in 'L.A. Times 100 Best Books of 2002'; won PEN Center West Award for
'Best Creative Non-Fiction 2002'

Kindle Edition from Penguin Books [2003 edition] for $12.99
Penguin Books 5½x8½ pb [9/2003] for $12.06
Viking 9½x6½ hardcover [10/2002] out of print/used
Pentagon Papers TV movie  "The Pentagon Papers" [Paramount TV special March 2003]
An analyst for RAND Corp. and the U.S. government who supports the war in VietNam becomes disillusioned when he discovers classified Defense Dept. documents that detail the deliberate fabrication of reasons to go to war in Southeast Asia. Convinced that the American people deserve to know the truth, he risks his career, his freedom, and even his life to expose the duplicity of the U.S. war machine. Directed by Rod Holcomb; script by Jason Horwitch; starring James Spader, Claire Forlani, Paul Giamatti, Alan Arkin, Kenneth Welsh, Maria del Mar, Sean McCann, James Downing, Richard Fitzpatrick & Jonas Chernick; script won WGA's Paul Selvin Honorary Award full credits at IMDb movie entry at Wikipedia
Paramount color DVD [2/2004] for $10.25

Most Dangerous Man in America documentary film by Judith Ehrlich & Rick Goldsmith  "The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellsberg and The Pentagon Papers"
[First Run Features Feb 2010]

A former Pentagon insider, armed only with his conscience, steadfast determination, and a file cabinet full of classified documents, decided to challenge the imperial Nixon Presidency, and subsequent events surrounding the so-called Pentagon Papers led directly to WaterGate and the downfall of President Nixon, and hastened the end of the Vietnam War; 92-minute documentary features principals on both sides and declassified audiotapes of President Nixon and his inner circle of advisors Co-produced, co-written & co-directed by Judith Ehrlich & Rick Goldsmith; Oscar nomination for Best Feature Documentary
First Run Features color DVD [2/2010?] for $16.92
full credits at IMDb official movie site

Most Dangerous / Daniel Ellsberg book by Steve Sheinkin  "Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and The Secret History of The Vietnam War"
[ages 10-14; 2015] by Steve Sheinkin

Kindle Edition from Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan [9/2015] for $9.99
Roaring Brook Press hardcover [9/2015] for $14.02


Family  &  Friends
Daniel Ellsberg was born in Chicago in 1931; he released copies of the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times
and the Washington Post and 17 other newspapers in June 1971.

first wife Carol Cummings Ellsberg (divorced)
son Robert Ellsberg [b. 1955]
daughter Mary Ellsberg

second wife Patricia Marx Ellsberg, married 1970
son Michael Ellsberg [b. 1977] official website

fellow whistleblower Anthony J. 'Tony' Russo, Jr. [1936-2008]
official website {given up} entry at Wikipedia


Image  Gallery

Daniel Ellsberg at the mic, circa 1971         Time Magazine cover 18 June 1971 - Pentagon Papers: The Secret War         color photo of Daniel Ellsberg, circa 2015


L i n k s
Daniel Ellsberg official website
Daniel Ellsberg entry at Wikipedia
'Pentagon Papers' entry at Wikipedia
browse books by Daniel Ellsberg at Amazon
Daniel Ellsberg credits at Internet Movie Database

text of Harry Kreisler interview at UC Berkeley, July 1998
Vietnam Veterans of America Pentagon Papers Symposium, June 2001
C-SPAN 'Pentagon Papers 30th Anniversary' one-hour video
transcript of Independent Institute panel on "Secrecy, Freedom & Empire" October 2002
journalist Hedrick Smith's page about the Pentagon Papers


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