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Daniel Ellsberg, key figure in Pentagon Papers affair, to visit Newhouse School March 8

February 25, 2011

Wendy S. Loughlin
(315) 443-2785

Daniel Ellsberg, author and senior fellow at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, will visit Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications on Tuesday, March 8, as a guest of the school’s Tully Center for Free Speech. “From the Pentagon Papers to Wikileaks: A Conversation with Daniel Ellsberg” will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium, Newhouse 3. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in SU pay lots.

ellsberg“For nearly 40 years, Daniel Ellsberg has been a beacon for free speech and free press values,” says Roy Gutterman, director of the Tully Center. “We can learn a lot from him about the roles the press, whistleblowers and government critics play in our democracy.”

In 1971, Ellsberg, then a military analyst at the RAND Corp., leaked a classified study of the U.S. government’s involvement in Vietnam to The New York Times, the Washington Post and several other newspapers. At the time of their release, the Pentagon Papers, as the documents collectively became known, were the biggest unauthorized leak of classified documents in U.S. history. The ensuing court battle, in which the federal government attempted to halt The New York Times and the Washington Post from moving forward with reporting on the contents of the papers, was the first time in U.S. history that the federal government sued the press in an attempt to prevent the disclosure of information due to national security concerns. Ultimately, the Supreme Court denied the government’s prior restraint request, allowing the newspapers to move forward with their publication of the details of the report. News coverage on the contents of the classified documents was damaging to several presidential administrations and called into question the United States’ strategy during the Vietnam War.

Now, on the 40th anniversary of the leak, Ellsberg sees parallels between the diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks and the Pentagon Papers.

For more information about Ellsberg’s talk, contact Gutterman at (315) 443-3523 or rsgutter@syr.edu.

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