40 Years Later, Pentagon Papers Officially Released

1st Amendment landmark pivotal moment in presidential history
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2011 3:02 AM CDT
Updated Jun 13, 2011 1:40 PM CDT
Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg speaks to reporters outside the Federal Building in Los Angeles in 1973.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The National Archives has at long last published the entire 7,000-page Vietnam report known as the Pentagon Papers. The documents are among the most important in modern presidential history, leading the Nixon administration to crack down on leaks that led to phone taps, break-ins, and arguably even Watergate, the AP reports.

Even the 11 words that Archives officials originally said would be omitted are included in today's release. The Pentagon Papers were a classified report on US involvement in Vietnam commissioned in 1967. They were originally leaked to the New York Times by Daniel Ellsberg, leading to a Supreme Court showdown with the Nixon administration over the First Amendment. “The fact that the Pentagon Papers were still secret is an embarrassment to the United States government,” one researcher tells the Washington Post. “You’ve been able to read them for 40 years, but they’re still secret.”

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