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Restoring the Republic, But Not Through the Candidates

Complete video at: "Pentagon Papers" leaker Daniel Ellsberg criticizes both John McCain and Barack Obama for resisting efforts to reign in Executive powers. ----- Daniel Ellsberg is the author of the Pentagon Papers, which chronicled decades of Defense Department involvement in Vietnam and was one of the turning points in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War. Today, the war in Iraq is fraught with criticism, but there are fewer protests and no internal leaks have had the impact of the Pentagon Papers. As operations in Iraq continue and the U.S. threatens to attack Iran, Ellsberg compares the two periods, including constitutional issues, and gives his views on the future - The Commonwealth Club of California Daniel Ellsberg was born in Detroit in 1931. After graduating from Harvard in 1952 with a B.A. Summa cum Laude in Economics, he studied for a year at King's College, Cambridge University, on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. Between 1954 and 1957, Ellsberg spent three years in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as rifle platoon leader, operations officer, and rifle company commander. From 1957-59 he was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows, Harvard University. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics at Harvard in 1962 with his thesis,Risk, Ambiguity and Decision. In 1959, he became a strategic analyst at the RAND Corporation, and consultant to the Department of Defense and the White House, specializing in problems of the command and control of nuclear weapons, nuclear war plans, and crisis decision-making. He joined the Defense Department in 1964 as Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs) John McNaughton, working on Vietnam. He transferred to the State Department in 1965 to serve two years at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, evaluating pacification on the front lines. On return to the RAND Corporation in 1967, he worked on the Top Secret McNamara study of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-68, which later came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. In 1969, he photocopied the 7,000 page study and gave it to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; in 1971 he gave it to the New York Times, Washington Post and 17 other newspapers. His trial, on twelve felony counts posing a possible sentence of 115 years, was dismissed in 1973 on grounds of governmental misconduct against him, which led to the convictions of several White House aides and figured in the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon. Since the end of the Vietnam War he has been a lecturer, writer and activist on the dangers of the nuclear era and unlawful interventions.
Length: 06:58


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