Before there was WikiLeaks, there was Daniel Ellsberg. His 1971 leak of the Pentagon Papers — a secret study detailing the lies of a succession of presidents about the war in Vietnam — nearly landed him in prison for life.
The Park Center for Independent Media presents “An Evening with Daniel Ellsberg” on Wednesday, October 20, in Ford Hall. The Oscar-nominated documentary “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” will be screened at 7 p.m., with Ellsberg speaking at 8:30 p.m. Both the film and lecture are free and open to the public. Ellsberg will sign copies of his books following his talk.
The leak of the Pentagon Papers led to a landmark Supreme Court decision on press freedom. Ellsberg faced criminal charges of espionage, conspiracy and theft, posing a possible sentence of 115 years in prison. A judge later dismissed all charges against him on grounds of governmental misconduct when it was discovered during his trial that the Nixon administration had illegally wiretapped Ellsberg’s phone and burglarized his psychiatrist’s office. This misconduct led to the convictions of several White House aides and figured in the impeachment proceedings against Nixon.
It was Nixon adviser Henry Kissinger who called Ellsberg "the most dangerous man in America." For the last 40 years, Ellsberg has been a powerful advocate of government transparency and aggressive, independent media.
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