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Daniel Ellsberg: The most dangerous man in America

This week, a high-ranking spokesman for WikiLeaks, the self-described “whistle-blowing website,” stepped down, citing a disagreement over the direction of the organization. You’ll remember the website’s controversial release this past summer of secret documents revealing facts about the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan, which included the names of Afghans working with the United States.

At the time, people compared the WikiLeaks dustup to the release of the Pentagon Papers by Vietnam War whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. And even Ellsberg himself made the comparison. But there is at least one difference: The release, in 1971, of the top-secret U.S. government study on the prosecution of the war in Vietnam shook the country, while the Wikileaks release created only a brief flurry.

At the time, Henry Kissinger called Daniel Ellsberg “the most dangerous man in America,” and nearly 40 years later, the PBS series POV will present a documentary of the samename. Ellsberg joined Need to Know to discuss the film and his decision to release the Pentagon Papers in light of recent events.


POV: The “Most Dangerous Man in America” airs Tuesday, October 5

POV: Filmmakers Rick Goldsmith and Judith Ehrlich on the parallels between Vietnam War and Afghanistan

Watch the trailer:

See more POV.