Daniel Ellsberg is the author of the Pentagon Papers, which chronicled decades of Defense Department involvement in Vietnam and was one of the turning points in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War.
Today, the war in Iraq is fraught with criticism, but there are fewer protests and no internal leaks have had the impact of the Pentagon Papers.
As operations in Iraq continue and the U.S. threatens to attack Iran, Ellsberg compares the two periods, including constitutional issues, and gives his views on the future- The Commonwealth Club of California
Daniel Ellsberg, a former U.S. military analyst employed by the RAND Corporation, sparked a national controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times.
The Pentagon Papers revealed that the government knew early on that the Vietnam War was not likely winnable and would lead to many times more casualties than ever admitted. After failing to persuade a few U.S. Senators to release the papers on the Senate floor, Ellsberg decided to risk prison and leaked the documents to the New York Times. Ellsberg went underground for 16 days before turning himself in. Fortunately, the charges against him were eventually dropped due to gross government misconduct and illegal evidence gathering by the Nixon administration and the notorious White House "Plumbers Unit."
These efforts included breaking into Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office and were undertaken directly by the Nixon White House to smear and discredit Ellsberg in the news media in retaliation for his Pentagon Papers whistleblowing.