THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS
Daniel Ellsberg is a prime example of how one can be a traitor yet a hero at the same time and how one person can go from being the problem to being the solution. “You should not cooperate with evil.” These are words that Ellsberg would come to repeat and learn to live by.
Before the Pentagon Papers even existed or had a name, Ellsberg tells viewers how he was working as a planner for the expansion of the Vietnam War and would regularly falsify military records to save the face of the government. Sounding regretful, he starts to talk about his involvement in the cover up. He mentions a time when he had to seek out concrete evidence of the Viet Cong mistreating our soldiers in order to expand the war efforts as his most shameful experience. Instances such as this would later be gathered and put together in a study led by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
As McNamara’s secret study was starting to come together and the earliest parts were released, Ellsberg got to relive the war from the very beginning stating that it affected him more than he thought it would. He then realized that we had been fighting an American War the entire time and “it wasn’t that we were on the wrong side, we were the wrong side.”
Feeling guilty of being an accomplice, he turned toward Henry David Thoreau’s words “cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence” and decided to give everything up and risk prosecution in order to get these documents into the hands of the public. After being shut down by his peers, Ellsberg spent time copying every document and sent them to the newspapers. He caught the attention of the NY Times and the Washington Post who would be the first to print these documents full of governmental military secrets, later dubbed the Pentagon Papers.
These secrets included the real reasons for US involvement, how they were covering up lies about the military...