Naval War College Review


Ken Hagan


For Americans who were adults during the Vietnam War, the name Daniel Ellsberg is portentous; it either suggests a whiff of treason or connotes heroic patriotism. Ellsberg is a Marine Corps veteran, Harvard Ph.D., former senior official in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, a highly regarded analyst for the RAND Corporation, and a civilian observer of platoon-level combat in Vietnam who defiantly chose to “walk point” with the troops he was observ- ing. In March 1971, Ellsberg released to the New York Times a seven-thousand- page, highly classified Department of Defense history of American involve- ment in Vietnam. Covering the war from the Truman administration through the Tet offensive of early 1968, this study became known as “The Pen- tagon Papers” when the New York Times began publishing it on 13 June.