Anonymity and the Pentagon Papers

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Journalists defending the right to keep sources anonymous love the cite the Pentagon Papers. Here's Shapiro again:
There have been acrobatic efforts to distinguish between good leaks (say, the Pentagon Papers) and bad leaks (Plame's CIA position). But who is going to make these hair-splitting distinctions? And on what grounds? Those who scream "national security" or even (hysterically) "treason" over the flaming of Plame should recall that these very same arguments were brandished by the Nixon administration against the publication of the Pentagon Papers.

It's absolutely true that the Nixon administration wanted to suppress the Pentagon papers, but remember that although the papers were anonymously sourced, Ellsberg's identity was known extremely early. The Pentagon Papers were published June 13, 1971 and Ellsberg surrendered to the FBI June 28. [*]

For what it's worth, here's Ellsberg himself:

Yet ALL of these methods are worth considering, even the most professiionally risky, when a war's worth of lives are at stake. They range from anonymously or (more effectively) personally providing DOCUMENTS to the "oversight" committeess--least risky, but possible least effective--to providing them to members of other relevant committees, such as Foreign Relations or Armed Services, or to known-sympathetic members of Congress, to, at the other extreme, providing documents in large quantity (after, of course, using your own best professional judgment to exclude any that would, in your cautious opinion, actually endanger individuals or harm national security) to the newspapers, in such quantity that your identity is likely to become known. A press conference is even a possibility; but it is not at all essential to the effectiveness of what you're doing that your own name be made public, as a red flag to the Administration. I myself (see my book) would have greatly preferred to be an anonymous source, rather than to challenge the Administration to prosecute me; I only revealed myself after it was clear they were going to prosecute anyway, and then I revealed myself as the source in order to deflect suspicion, as best I could, from others.

But in any case, the important thing, practically speaking, is to PROVIDE DOCUMENTS. When it comes to contradicting the president, and alerting the public to a situation which, in your best judgment, the national security and many human lives are endangered by the Administration's improper secrecy, concealment and deception, there is no substitute for documents.

Ellsberg was actually charged but he got off after it came out that the Nixon administration had burgled his psychiatrists office in an attempt to dig up dirt on him.

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