The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
The filmmakers’ website offers a trailer, information about the film, links to press coverage of the film and a unique, comprehensive teaching guide — a set of eight lesson plans (for all ages) for educational use with the film.
Daniel Ellsberg’s Website
Daniel Ellsberg’s website contains biographical information, links to articles by and about him, videos of media appearances and commentary on issues such as government transparency, defense and the WikiLeaks scandal.
Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (New York: Viking, 2002)
Daniel Ellsberg’s memoir, which informed The Most Dangerous Man in America, provides a fast-paced personal account of his development from war advisor to peace activist and the dramatic experiences that influenced it.
Test of Loyalty: Daniel Ellsberg and the Rituals of Secret Government (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974)
Author Peter Schrag carefully reports on and analyzes Daniel Ellsberg’s movement from the military industrial complex to civil disobedience and the trial that questioned First Amendment rights.
The Pentagon Papers
The Washington Post. The Pentagon Papers (Full, Searchable Text)
In June 2011, forty years after the first publication of excerpts from the Pentagon Papers in The New York Times, the National Archives and Records Administration declassified and released the documents to the public. Search the full archive online at The Washington Post.
Beacon Press and the Pentagon Papers
Beacon Press, the left-leaning independent publisher that published the Gravel edition of The Pentagon Papers in 1961, provides a history of the papers, reaction to their release and related videos, audio files, documents and photos.
University of Southern California. “Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers.”
The website for the play Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers, produced by the University of Southern California, provides rich background information on Ellsberg and his accomplices, the documents, the courts and the administration.
The Pentagon Papers (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993)
Edited by Vietnam War historian George C. Herring, this volume is an abridged and annotated version of the original Pentagon Papers that gathers the most important portions of the documents, as identified by Herring. Herring also provides context by explaining the documents’ significance, identifying key players and elucidating acronyms and other jargon. A bibliography of works related to the Pentagon Papers is also included.
The Day the Presses Stopped: A History of the Pentagon Papers Case (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996)
Constitutional law professor David Rudenstine presents a gripping, intellectually rigorous account of the history of the Pentagon Papers, from Ellsberg’s leak to the Supreme Court case and its impact on U.S. law.
New York Times Co. v. United States
Cornell University Law School. “New York Times Co. v. United States.”
This legal resource provides the Supreme Court’s opinions on the case in HTML and PDF format.
FindLaw. “New York Times Co. v. United States.”
The full text of the case is provided on this website.
First Amendment Center. “New York Times Co. v. United States.”
A dossier on the case includes audio recordings of oral arguments and a bibliography of articles and other materials about the case.
New York Times v. United States: National Security and Censorship (Landmark Supreme Court Cases, Gold Edition) (Berkeley Heights, N.J.: Enslow Publishers, 2010)
This textbook-like account of the seminal case is intended for students in grade six and above.
The First Amendment
First Amendment Center
The online home of the First Amendment Center, based at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and in Washington, D.C., features research and news on First Amendment issues, analysis by legal specialists, bibliographies, a library of legal cases and related materials and links to dozens of organizations involved in First Amendment issues.
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. “Teach the First Amendment.”
Administered by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, this website provides resources for teachers seeking to improve knowledge and understanding of the First Amendment, including lesson plans and multimedia materials.
The Bill of Rights Institute
A nonprofit based in Virginia, the Bill of Rights Institute develops instructional materials and educational programs for high school teachers and students.
National Constitution Center
The user-friendly website of the National Constitution Center, opened near the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 2003, provides an interactive timeline, a newswire of current stories, searchable databases of Constitution text, coverage of Constitution-related issues and information about Supreme Court cases.
Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment (New York: Basic Books, 2008)
Law professor and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Lewis explores some of the complications of upholding the First Amendment, including issues related to libel law, privacy, obscenity, hate speech, artistic expression and protection of anonymous sources.
Freedom of the Press: The First Amendment: Its Constitutional History and the Contemporary Debate (Bill of Rights Series) (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2008)
Editor and legal scholar Garrett Epps has gathered articles, essays and case studies related to freedom of the press in this volume, one in a series devoted to different aspects of the amendments included in the Bill of Rights. The book, which examines both the history of freedom of the press and the new challenges that may arise in the 21st century, includes writings ranging from historical essays by John Milton, Thomas Jefferson and John Stuart Mill to contemporary treatises by Potter Steward, Alexander Meiklejohn and Robert Bork.
Speaking Freely: Trials of the First Amendment (New York: Viking, 2005)
Attorney Floyd Abrams, a member of the legal team representing The New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case, has fought for First Amendment rights for more than 30 years, including in such high-profile cases as journalist Judith Miller’s 2005 C.I.A. leak case. In this book, he discusses some of his most important cases, explaining his strategies and the cases’ lasting importance.
The Ellsberg-Russo Trial
The New York Review of Books. “Defending Ellsberg and Russo.”
In 1972, the New York Review of Books published this letter from Russo and Ellsberg’s counsel, Stanley K. Sheinbaum, pleading their case to the media and soliciting funds for their legal expenses. Sheinbaum writes, “Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo deserve better of the American people. They have good legal counsel. Their trial will be a crucial test of the right of the people to know about illegal actions of government officials.”
The Zinn Reader: Writings on Disobedience and Democracy (New York: Seven Stories Press, 1997)
This volume of essays by famed historian of the United States Howard Zinn includes “Testifying at the Ellsberg Trial,” about his experience as one of the “radical witnesses” in the case.
The nonprofit institution’s website offers information about its history, leadership, structure and recent research.
Soldiers of Reason: The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008)
Author Alex Abella, with the cooperation of the normally secretive RAND Corporation, gives a thorough history of the think tank, particularly its role in the Vietnam and Iraq Wars. Also discussed are the development and pervasiveness of rational choice theory and how much the RAND Corporation’s research and activities have affected Americans.
Legacy of the Pentagon Papers
Government Accountability Project
A nonprofit founded in 1977, the Government Accountability Project seeks to promote corporate and government accountability by “protecting whistleblowers, advancing occupational free speech and empowering citizen activists.” The website offers information about food safety, homeland security and the environment, the organization’s recent activities and ways to support whistleblowers.
National Whistleblowers Center
The nonprofit, nonpartisan National Whistleblowers Center is an advocacy organization that has supported whistleblowers in court and before Congress since 1988, boasting victories in environmental protection, nuclear safety, government ethics and corporate accountability. The website includes a resource center on whistleblower rights, a speakers bureau of experts and former whistleblowers and a national attorney referral service run by the National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund, a sister group that also publishes the Whistleblowers Protection Blog.
United States Department of Labor. “The Whistleblower Protection Program.”
The Whistleblower Protection Program, located under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), outlines protections for whistleblowers. Publications available on the website explain whistleblower protections in various industries and methods for filing a complaint with OSHA in the case of a violation.
Whistleblowers: Broken Lives and Organizational Power (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2001)
Author C. Fred Alford, a professor of government at the University of Maryland, examines what happens to whistleblowers after they come forth with their allegations. Speaking with dozens of whistleblowers and their families, lawyers and therapists, he finds that ultimately few are actually viewed as heroes or martyrs, few effect lasting change and many find themselves isolated as a result.
Whistleblowers: Exposing Corruption in Government and Industry (New York: Basic Books, 1989)
Husband and wife team Myron Peretz Glazer and Penina Migdal Glazer, professors of sociology and anthropology and history, respectively, tell the stories of 64 whistleblowers, from the high-profile, such as Daniel Ellsberg and Frank Serpico, who exposed police corruption, to the little known. Based on extensive research and interviews, the book describes not only the whistleblowers’ conviction and devotion, but also the retaliation some of them face.
POV. “Regarding War.”
On POV’s Regarding War blog, soldiers, veterans and journalists share their stories from Afghanistan, Iraq and other war zones. The blog features personal stories and opinions from those who have first-hand knowledge of past and current conflicts. Those at home directly affected by a family member serving in the military also contribute. The blog is intended to serve as a place where ideas are exchanged and experiences are related in an effort to gain better understanding of the realities and effects of war. Visitors to the site are invited to share their thoughts, raise questions and join the conversation by leaving comments on the posts.
POV. “Re: Vietnam: Stories Since the War.”
This now-archived website was originally designed as a gathering place for personal stories and a forum for dialogue about the Vietnam War’s legacy.
POV. “The Camden 28.”
How far would you go to stop a war? The Camden 28, which aired on POV in 2007, recalls a 1971 raid on a Camden, N.J. draft board office by Catholic Left activists protesting the Vietnam War. Arrested at the site in a clearly planned sting, the protesters included four Catholic priests, a Lutheran minister and 23 others. The Camden 28 reveals the story behind the arrests — a provocative tale of government intrigue and personal betrayal — and also covers the ensuing legal battle, which Supreme Court Justice William Brennan called “one of the great trials of the 20th century.” Thirty-five years later, the participants take stock of the motives, fears and cost of their activism — and its relevance to the United States today. (September 11, 2007)
PBS. “The Sixties: The Years That Shaped a Generation.”
The years of the 1960s shaped a generation and sculpted a political landscape, and their influence can still be felt today. The story of the 1960s is illuminated with images of freedom protests, atom bombs, flower power and a nation divided by war. On the program’s website, read a chat with Daniel Ellsberg about that tumultuous decade.
POV. “Regret to Inform.”
In this Academy Award nominated film, which aired in 2000, filmmaker Barbara Sonneborn is compelled to make a brave pilgrimage to the remote Vietnamese countryside where her husband died. She explores the meaning of war and loss on a human level and weaves interviews with Vietnamese and American widows into a vivid testament to the chilling legacy of war. These stories are stirring reminders that battle scars are life-long, but that shared sorrow can inspire healing and reconciliation. (January 4, 2000)
American Experience. “Vietnam: A Television History.”
When this 13-part series first aired on PBS in 1983, it was a seminal television event. The series was edited to 11 hours and rebroadcast in 1997. It won television’s top awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, whose jurors noted, “These 13 hours of spellbinding, journalistically exemplary television have deservedly been called a landmark in American broadcast journalism and the most important and most compelling documentary series ever made. The power and importance of this series will endure.”
American Experience. “Two Days in October.”
Based on the book They Marched Into Sunlight by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Maraniss, this film tells the story of two turbulent days in October 1967 when history turned a corner as 61 men were killed in Vietnam and at the same time a student protest on an American university campus turned violent.
PBS. “The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It.”
American pacifism was part of the political dynamic during World War II, when 40,000 Americans refused to shoulder weapons. This site covers the history of American conscientious objectors.
American Experience. “Emma Goldman.”
Feared as a sponsor of anarchy and revolution, Emma Goldman was vilified in the press as “Red Emma,” “Queen of the Anarchists” and “the most dangerous woman in America.” Goldman was also an outspoken opponent of U.S. involvement in World War I and was arrested and imprisoned for demonstrating against the draft.
PBS. “Battlefield Vietnam.”
This site offers an overview of the war, as well as a timeline of events and in-depth explorations of guerrilla tactics and the air war.
Frontline. “Give War a Chance: Lessons of Vietnam.”
Frontline producer Rick Young interviews Major H.R. McMaster, author of Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies That Led to Vietnam.
Online NewsHour. “Remembering Vietnam.”
This special report commemorates the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War with links to Online NewsHour articles and interviews about Vietnam.
PBS. “Pete Peterson: Assignment Hanoi.”
This companion site to a film that chronicles a former prisoner of war’s return to Vietnam as U.S. Ambassador also features tips for filming in Vietnam.
FRONTLINE World. “Vietnam: Looking for Home.”
Journalist Nguyen Qui Duc returns to Vietnam looking “for home, for a bit of myself, for a country that always exists in my memory.”
Online NewsHour. “U.S.-Vietnam Relations.”
This online report features extensive articles and interviews about the state of U.S.-Vietnam relations.
NOW. “A History of Dissent.”
The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances.” Activists have developed many different means of expressing dissent over the years. This website discusses some of the most powerful examples of protest in the United States.
NPR. “Foreign Policy: How WikiLeaks Can Be Used For Good.”
Charli Carpenter, associate professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, argues that WikiLeaks, and whistleblowing in general, “have enormous potential to save civilian lives in conflict zones — if standards can be created to use them properly.” (August 13, 2010)
Talk of the Nation. “The Value And Consequences Of Leaks.”
WikiLeaks released more than 90,000 classified military documents that detail six years of the war in Afghanistan and paint a bleak picture of the conflict. Leak supporters say the release promotes democracy and open discussion. But critics argue it could threaten national security. Daniel Ellsberg and former C.I.A. spokesman Bill Harlow are featured. (July 26, 2010)
All Things Considered. “‘Top Secret’: The Power And Struggle Of The Press.”
Almost 40 years ago, the battle over the Pentagon Papers pitted national security against the freedom of the press. Now a play, Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers, has opened off Broadway in New York. (March 15, 2010)
Talk of the Nation. “‘Dangerous Man’ Daniel Ellsberg Reflects”
Daniel Ellsberg speaks with Neal Conan about the leaking the Pentagon Papers and the making of the film. (February 18, 2010)
NPR. “Looking Again at America’s ‘Most Dangerous Man.'”
Most people who recognize the name Daniel Ellsberg remember that he’s the Department of Defense insider who turned against the Vietnam War and in 1971 leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times. But who knew Ellsberg was once so pro-war that, despite being a civilian, he actually donned a uniform and led patrols into the Vietnamese jungle? (February 4, 2010)