Daniel Ellsberg and the
Pentagon Papers
Protest of a Different Sort
According to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger,
“The most dangerous man in America.”
In the 1960s, Ellsberg is an “insider”
In his own words, the “crime” -On the evening of October 1, 1969, I walked out past the
guards' desk at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica,
carrying a briefcase filled with Top Secret documents, which
I planned to photocopy that night. The documents were part
of a 7,000-page Top Secret study of U.S. decision-making in
Vietnam, later known as the Pentagon Papers. The rest of
the study was in a safe in my office. I had decided to copy it
all and make it public: perhaps through Senate hearings, or
the press if necessary. I believed this course, especially the
latter possibility, would probably put me in prison for the
rest of my life.
NYTs and Washington Post Obtain Copies
“I surrendered to arrest and eventually faced
indictment on twelve felony charges, facing a possi
115 years in prison.”
Traitor or Hero? -- “Perhaps the greatest whistleblower in American history.”
What kind of war was Vietnam?
Civil War? Different groups within a country fight
for control
War of Conquest? One independent country tries
to take over another independent country
War of National Liberation? War to gain
independence from a colonial power
War of Imperialism? War for the resources of a
smaller, weaker country
Cold War conflict? Communism v. capitalism.
US vs. USSR/China

Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers