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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pentagon Papers Redux?

Over the past couple of days, I’ve read a number of articles exploring whether the WikiLeaks information dump can be compared to the leak of the Pentagon Papers. Some seem to bring up the Pentagon Papers in an effort to place the WikiLeaks controversy into historical perspective. Other articles draw a clear parallel between the WikiLeaks disclosures and the public airing of the contents of United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967, as the Pentagon Papers were otherwise known. Still other pieces seek to refute any connection between WikiLeaks founder’s Julian Assagne’s actions and Daniel Ellsberg’s motivations in leaking the Pentagon Papers.

This blog isn’t the forum for that debate. However, here you will find some resources that will help you understand it. The U.S. Department of Defense’s reading room provides full text copies of the Pentagon Papers and their footnotes. Famous Trials, a digital collection created by Douglas O. Linder at University of Missouri Kansas City law school contains a number of links and a selected bibliography related to Ellsberg’s trial under the Espionage Act of 1917. That 1973 case would end in a dismissal on the grounds of governmental misconduct.

The photo at top of Daniel Ellsberg comes from the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. The photo below f WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange comes from the Associated Press.

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