Following the leak by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks of almost 400,000 secret US army field reports from the Iraq war between 2004 and 2009, tune in to hear Julian Assange at the Frontline Club in conversation with one of the most famous whistle blowers in history, Daniel Ellsberg, who was responsible for the leak of the Pentagon Papers in 1971.
Chaired by Elizabeth Palmer, CBS News correspondent.
Julian Assange is an Australian journalist, programmer and Internet activist, best known for his involvement with Wikileaks, a whistleblower website.
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.
Elizabeth Palmer has been a CBS News correspondent since August 2000. She has been based in London since late 2003, after having been based in Moscow (2000-03). Palmer reports primarily for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.
She has spent much of her CBS News tenure, since the Sept. 11 attacks, reporting on the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and on politics and foreign policy in Iran, Syria and the Middle East.
Why is WikiLeaks releasing documents from the Pentagon, when there is no shortage of corruption elsewhere in the world? Editor-in-chief Julian Assange regards it as an issue of trust, explaining that he considers it the website's responsibility to publish any classified information likely to have a significant impact -- regardless of diplomatic origins.
Julian Assange comments on Private First Class Bradley Manning's alleged involvement in disclosing classified information to WikiLeaks. Assange denies any knowledge of Manning's involvement and claims to have "never heard the name" before he saw media reports on the case.
The Pentagon publicly demanded WikiLeaks "return" the Afghan War Diary, a collection of U.S. military logs the website published online, and any other classified material it has slated for release. But how could the organization effectively return digital documents? Editor-in-chief Julian Assange jokes, "Should we just email 400,000 records back to the Pentagon?"