The shocking government leak that changed everything in 1971 | CNN
June 10, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 19.6%. 1 min read.
Historian Nicole Hemmer looks back on Daniel Ellsberg's leak of the Pentagon Papers 50 years after their publication in the New York Times and Washington Post and reflects on how timely this episode's legacy remains in 2021.
Fittingly, the announcement came just a week before the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Pentagon Papers, the treasure trove of leaked documents that revealed the long history of government lies about the Vietnam War.
Even decades later, the story of the Pentagon Papers remains the stuff of high drama – a military analyst on the run from the FBI, the Nixon administration fighting to censor the New York Times, the public revelation of a vast government conspiracy to hide the stalled progress and massive scale of an increasingly unpopular war.
When the Times began publishing excerpts of the papers on June 13, 1971, the Nixon administration first asked the paper to voluntary halt publication, then barred it from publishing, the first time in more than a century that the federal government had used prior restraint to censor a newspaper in the United States.
Nor did the publication of the Pentagon Papers and their revelations that the government had known it could not win the war lead to a US withdrawal; that would not happen until 1973.
And it was recently revealed that the Trump administration seized records from the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN in its leak investigations.
But while there is not much Biden can do about those partisan attacks, he can address the problems revealed by the Pentagon Papers, of government officials not only lying to the country but hiding behind a veil of national security and top-secret classifications to conceal the truth.