Daniel Ellsberg, the man who altered the history of the Vietnam War with the release of the Pentagon Papers, was on hand for a screening of the condensed version of the award-winning documentary, The Most Dangerous Man in America, accompanied with a lively Q&A. Also with us for our discussion were the film producers Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith.
The film is a riveting look at a defining moment in American history when, Daniel Ellsberg, then a RAND Corporation employee and a Pentagon Analyst, made the decision at the great risk to his own life and liberty to release the classified report exposing details of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam to The New York Times and other newspapers. The Pentagon Papers revealed that our government had knowledge early on that the war would be an unlikely win, and that continuing the war would lead to many more casualties.
Daniel Ellsberg worked on the top secret McNamara study of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-1968, 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, The 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 contributed to the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon.
Judith Ehrlich is an American film director. She is best known for co-directing the 2009 documentary The Most Dangerous Man in America, which was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 82nd Academy Awards and was screened at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.
Rick Goldsmith is a producer and writer, known for The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (2009), Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw (2015) and Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press (1996).