NY TIMES BEGAN PUBLICATION OF THE PENTAGON PAPERS 42 YEARS AGO TODAY
New York City (JFK+50) The New York Times began publication of the PENTAGON PAPERS*, the Department of Defense's top secret study of the American government's involvement in Vietnam, 42 years ago today, June 13, 1971.
Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara authorized the study on June 17, 1967 but reportedly did not pass along this information to either President Lyndon B. Johnson or Secretary of State Dean Rusk.
The papers were kept in a safe at the Pentagon but were smuggled out in parts by anti-war defense employee Daniel Ellsberg**.
Photo by Jacob Appelbaum (2006)
*The Pentagon Papers contained 3000 pages of historical analysis and 4000 pages of original documents.
It was classified as TOP SECRET-SENSITIVE.
The PP revealed the United States Government had expanded the war in Vietnam by bombing Cambodia and Laos and had conducted coastal raids on North Vietnam.
They also revealed that 4 presidential administrations (Truman-Eisenhower-Kennedy-Johnson) had misled the public as to its intentions in Southeast Asia.
The PPs, published by the NY Times in 9 excerpts and commentaries in 1971, was declassified in 2011 and released to the Nixon, JFK and LBJ Libraries.
**Daniel Ellsberg was born in Chicago in 1931 and grew up in Detroit. He graduated from Harvard in 1952, served in the Marine Corps and received his PhD in Economics from Harvard in 1962.
Ellsberg went to work in the Pentagon in August 1964 and worked 2 years in Vietnam under General Edward Lansdale.
Working at RAND CORPORATION in 1967, he contributed to the Pentagon Papers.
In August 1969, however, Ellsberg became troubled that...
"My government was involved in an unjust war that was going to continue and get larger. Thousands of young men were dying each year."