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.
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?