“There are two types of courage involved with what I did. When it comes to picking up a rifle, millions of people are capable of doing that, as we see in Iraq or Vietnam. But when it comes to risking their careers, or risking being invited to lunch by the establishment, it turns out that’s remarkably rare.”

-Daniel Ellsberg

On 13 June 1971, The New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers in collaboration with Daniel Ellsberg, a United States Military Analyst who worked with the RAND Cooperation. The Papers, officially titled the Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force, was a secret study of the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam war which revealed government lies concerning the scale of U.S. activity in Vietnam and the neighboring countries of Cambodia and Laos.

The New York Times had sought legal advice before publishing the study and despite being advised against it, believed in the right of the people to know, and understand their government’s policy. The publication was met with protests around the country, political controversies, and a series of lawsuits.

Ellsberg was charged with espionage, conspiracy, and theft of government property, all of which were dropped on the grounds of the Watergate scandal revealing that the Nixon administration had purposely engaged in unlawful means to discredit Ellsberg.

The Papers revealed the lies and deceit of the government who had not only betrayed its people, but those in its own government. In June 2011, the Pentagon Papers were declassified and released in their entirety to the public.