Pentagon Papers released, 40 years later

June 13, 2011 at 1:33 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 13 (UPI) -- The complete Pentagon Papers, a secret history of the Vietnam War, were made public Monday, 40 years to the day after the first leaks were published.

The New York Times' printing of excerpts leaked by Daniel Ellsberg led to a titanic battle with the Nixon administration and a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court expanding freedom of the press.

The full 7,000 pages, some of which Ellsberg withheld because he feared the Nixon administration might use them to sabotage peace talks, were posted by the National Archives on its Web site Monday, USA Today reported. They also will be available for viewing at the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon presidential libraries.

Ellsberg and others have said they do not expect any major new revelations.

In 1967, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara commissioned the Vietnam Study Task Force to chronicle U.S. involvement in Vietnam from 1945 onward. The 47-volume report contained sensitive material exposing American policy failures.

Ellsberg, a former military analyst who had worked on the papers in 1967, began leaking parts of them to the Times early in 1971.

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