Monday, May 11, 2015
#TDIH 11 May 1973 Charges against Daniel Ellsberg dismissed
On May 11, 1973, charges against Daniel Ellsberg for his role in the Pentagon Papers case were dismissed by Judge William M. Byrne, who cited government misconduct.
The Pentagon Papers was the name given to a secret Department of Defense study of U.S. political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967, prepared at the request of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in 1967.
The papers were discovered and released by Daniel Ellsberg, and first brought to the attention of the public on the front page of The New York Times in 1971. A 1996 article in The New York Times said that the Pentagon Papers had demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration "systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress."
More specifically, the papers revealed that the U.S. had secretly enlarged the scale of the Vietnam War with the bombings of nearby Cambodia and Laos, coastal raids on North Vietnam, and Marine Corps attacks, none of which were reported in the mainstream media.
For his disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg was initially charged with conspiracy, espionage and theft of government property, but the charges were later dropped after prosecutors investigating the Watergate Scandal soon discovered that the staff members in the Nixon White House had ordered the so-called White House Plumbers to engage in unlawful efforts to discredit Ellsberg.
In June 2011, the entirety of the Pentagon Papers was declassified and publicly released.