Pentagon Papers to be fully declassified

June 10, 2011 at 5:00 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 10 (UPI) -- The Pentagon Papers, a window into U.S. action in Vietnam that has been officially closed for decades, will be declassified, the National Archives said.

The National Archives and the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon Presidential Libraries Monday "will release in its entirety the official Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force (commonly referred to as the Pentagon Papers)," the Archives said in a release Thursday.

"This is the 40th anniversary of the leak of these Papers by The New York Times. Approximately 2,384 pages or 34 percent of the report will be opened for the first time as compared to the Senator (Mike) Gravel (D-Alaska) Edition of the Pentagon Papers, the most common benchmark used in Pentagon Papers discussions," the release said.

While some sections of the documents were leaked to the press, no complete, fully unredacted version of the text has ever been released to the public, The New York Times reported.

"This was a secret history project to try to figure out why we were in such a national security tangle," Timothy Naftali, director of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, told the Times. "And now with all the material together in one place, you can see how our government wrestled with the problem."

"The fact that the Pentagon Papers were still secret is an embarrassment to the United States government," said John Prados, senior fellow at George Washington University's National Security Archive. "You've been able to read them for 40 years, but they're still secret."

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