This one really knocked me for a loop. Daniel Ellsberg — a Marine Corps veteran, a State Department official who served in the field in Vietnam, and the man who eventually leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times — has probably seen it all and read it all when comes to the Vietnam War and, more generally the dark underside of American power. And yet, he was shocked by my new book. I still haven’t completely wrapped my head around it, but I’m grateful for the humbling blurb.
“The re-release of the Pentagon Papers is very timely, if anyone were to read it,” Dan Ellsberg, the former RAND Corporation analyst who worked on the report and later provided it to The Times said recently.
The NYT writes: “He said they demonstrate the wisdom of giving war-making powers to Congress — a power that he lamented has been increasingly usurped by the executive branch.
'It seems to me that what the Pentagon Papers really demonstrated 40 years ago was the price of that practice,' Ellsberg said. 'Which is that letting a small group of men in secret in the executive branch make these decisions — initiate them secretly, carry them out secretly and manipulate Congress, and lie to Congress and the public as to why they’re doing it and what they’re doing — is a recipe for, a guarantee of Vietnams and Iraqs and Libyas, and in general foolish, reckless, dangerous policies.'
Mr. Ellsberg said he wished more people would come forward to release information that could stop these wars, praising Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, the military intelligence analyst who is jailed on charges that he leaked a trove of government files to Wikileaks.
'If he did what he’s accused of, then he’s my hero, because I’ve been waiting for somebody to do that for 40 years,' Mr. Ellsberg said. 'And no one has.'”
From the new issue of Columbia Journalism Review, “Unnecessary Secrets: Opening government, from Ellsberg to Manning,” by Sanford J. Ungar , author of The Papers & The Papers: An Account of the Legal and Political Battle Over the Pentagon Papers (which won a George Polk Award in 1972), president of Goucher College in Baltimore and a member of the U.S. Public Interest Declassification Board.