1971 March 2

Daniel Ellsberg Meets with NY Times, Discusses Giving Them The Pentagon Papers


Daniel Ellsberg, who had secretly made copies of the Pentagon Papers, a history of American involvement in Vietnam, met with a New York Times reporter in Washington, D.C., on this day to discuss giving the Papers to the Times for publication. The Times published excerpts from the Papers on June 13, 1971, setting in motion one of the most dramatic confrontations of the Vietnam War.

On June 15, 1971, the Nixon administration obtained an injunction blocking the Times and the Washington Post (which had also begun publishing stories based on the Papers) from publishing any further stories. The Times appealed and, on June 30, 1971, the Supreme Court overturned the injunction in a landmark freedom of the press case, Times v. United States.

Read Ellsberg’s Memoirs: Daniel Ellsberg, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (2002)

Learn more: John Prados and Margaret Pratt Porter, Inside the Pentagon Papers (2004)

Read: Tom Wells, Wild Man: The Life and Times of Daniel Ellsberg (2001)

Watch the documentary about Ellsberg: The Most Dangerous Man in America (2009)

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