Vietnam-era whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked Pentagon Papers, dies at 92

June 16, 2023  -NEW YORK (AP) — Daniel Ellsberg, the history-making whistleblower who by leaking the Pentagon Papers revealed longtime government doubts and deceit about the Vietnam War and inspired acts of retaliation by President Richard Nixon that helped lead to his resignation, has died. He was 92.

Ellsberg, whose actions led to a landmark First Amendment ruling by the Supreme Court, had disclosed in February that he was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer. His family announced his death Friday morning in a letter released by a spokeswoman, Julia Pacetti.

  • – Like Daniel Ellsberg, others who leaked US government secrets have been seen as traitors and heroes

“He was not in pain, and was surrounded by loving family,” the letter reads in part. “Thank you, everyone, for your outpouring of love, appreciation and well-wishes to Dan in the previous months. It all warmed his heart at the end of his life.”

Until the early 1970s, when he disclosed that he was the source for the stunning media reports on the 47-volume, 7,000-page Defense Department study of the U.S. role in Indochina, Ellsberg was a well-placed member of the government-military elite. He was a Harvard graduate and self-defined “cold warrior” who served as a private and government consultant on Vietnam throughout the 1960s, risked his life on the battlefield, received the highest security clearances and came to be trusted by officials in Democratic and Republican administrations.

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