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Pentagon Papers Released 40 Years After They Are Leaked

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Pentagon Papers Released 40 Years After They Are Leaked

The Pentagon Papers are being released four decades after the documents were leaked to the media.

The National Archives and Records Administration released the papers, including a substantial amount of previously unpublished information.

The National Security Archive at George Washington University describes the release as a milestone in American political history.

The documents shed light on the United States war in Vietnam and the tactics implemented by the Nixon administration to neutralize the leak.

The United States Government released the Pentagon Papers in its entirety on the 40th anniversary of the leaks.

The study, United States-Vietnam Relations 1945-1967, was compiled by a Defense Department task force led by former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.

Thirty-six wonks penned the report, which was meant to detail the events that led to The United States’ involvment in the Vietnam War.

The report also detailed the hang-ups that halted progress and ended the hope of solving the conflict through negotiation.

New Information With Latest Release

The full version of the Pentagon Papers provides a wealth of new information. The declassified volumes show long-suppressed findings compiled by analysts when the conflict was still fresh in their minds.

One study contains a large selection of data on the conflict in North and South Vietnam between 1965 and 1967. Roughly 2,000 pages detail the strategies of the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations.

The National Security Archive has already posted audio recordings and documents central to the overarching story of the Pentagon Papers. Recordings include telephone transcripts in which Nixon tried to restrain the press from covering the leaks. Cases against the New York Times and Washington Post went all the way to the Supreme Court.

The National Security Archive will likely post more as the group discovers more important information about America’s war with Vietnam. The full set of Pentagon Papers will round out many unanswered questions and provide new insight on what led to a prolonged, deadly war in Vietnam.

Originally published on

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Mark R. Whittington, from Houston, Texas, frequently writes on space, science, political commentary and political culture.

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