Steven Spielberg’s new film The Post, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, opens today. While it is entertaining, it is hardly the full story of Daniel Ellsberg and the publication of the Pentagon Papers.
Long before Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Wikileaks, there was Daniel Ellsberg. Forty-six years after the release of the Pentagon Papers, he is once again front and center in the issues we are talking about. Ken Burns controversially chose not to include Ellsberg in his look back at Vietnam. Steven Spielberg has made the Pentagon Papers the ultimate macguffin of his new film The Post, with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.But Ellsberg, when he left Rand Corporation in 1971, took with him more than the Pentagon Papers.
Watergate is the quintessential conspiracy, one that went all the way to the White House and took down a presidency. But it is a story that is almost always provided without context, and with no mention of certain key facts. J Edgar Hoover died only a couple of months before the Watergate break-in, so the FBI was in the midst of a succession crisis when they were hit with the most controversial investigation in their history.
In 1971 DOD analyst and RAND Corporation employee Daniel Ellsberg leaked The Pentagon Papers - the DOD's Top Secret history of the Vietnam War. This is one of the biggest and most famous leaks in history, but there remain huge questions about why this happened. Was Ellsberg a genuine whistleblower? Or were the Pentagon Papers leaked as part of a distraction and disinformation campaign?
Recently, a number of influential authors and researchers into the nature of democracy and the security state gathered for lunch at the home of Peter Dale Scott, who’s credited with coining the phrase “deep politics.”