The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers | Chicago Reader

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith wrote and directed this documentary about Daniel Ellsberg, the defense department analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971. The movie traces a familiar chain of events in the Vietnam war­—the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, the miscalculations of Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara, the Tet offensive and its political fallout, the wider war and apocalyptic resolve of Nixon and Kissinger. Yet Ehrlich and Goldsmith carve out their own little place in the canon by focusing on the ethical journey of one man who refused to shrug off his own responsibility for the war and atoned for it with a seismic act of civil disobedience. The movie becomes particularly prescient as it recounts the debate inside the Times over whether to publish the purloined document; all the arguments rehearsed during this period, regarding national security versus the public's right to know, came back around during the Bush years as the Times reported on the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program and the Treasury Department's Terrorist Finance Tracking Program. 94 min.

Credits

Directors:

  • Judith Ehrlich
  • Rick Goldsmith

Producers:

  • Judith Ehrlich
  • Rick Goldsmith

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