…[Daniel Ellsberg] attended Harvard University, graduating with a Ph.D. in Economics in 1962 in which he described a paradox in decision theory now known as the Ellsberg paradox. He graduated first in a class of almost 1,100 lieutenants at the Marine Corps Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, and served as an officer in the Marine Corps for two years. During this time, he deployed to Vietnam as a company commander. After his discharge, he became an analyst at the RAND Corporation.
A committed Cold Warrior, he served in the Pentagon from August 1964 under Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (and, in fact, was on duty on the evening of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, reporting the incident to McNamara). He then served for two years in Vietnam working for General Edward Lansdale as a civilian in the State Department, and became convinced that the Vietnam War was unwinnable. He further believed that nearly everyone in the State and Defense Departments felt, as he did, that the United States had no realistic chance of achieving victory in Vietnam, but that political considerations prevented them from saying so publicly. McNamara and others continued to state in press interviews that victory was “just around the corner.” As the war continued to escalate, Ellsberg became deeply disillusioned.
After returning from Vietnam, Ellsberg went back to work at the RAND Corporation. As a Vietnam expert, he was invited, in 1967, to contribute to a top-secret study of classified documents regarding the conduct of the Vietnam War that had been commissioned by Defense Secretary McNamara. These documents, completed in 1968, later became known collectively as the Pentagon Papers. Because he held an extremely high-level security clearance, Ellsberg was one of very few individuals who had access to the complete set of documents. They revealed that the government had knowledge, early on, that the war would not likely be won, and that continuing the war would lead to many times more casualties than was ever admitted publicly. Further, the papers showed that high-ranking officials had a deep cynicism toward the public, as well as disregard for the loss of life and injury suffered by soldiers and civilians…
From the Wiki page on the Pentagon Papers:
…The study was classified as top secret and was not intended for publication. Contributor Daniel Ellsberg, however, turned over most of the Pentagon Papers to New York Times reporter Neil Sheehan, with Ellsberg’s friend Anthony Russo assisting in their copying. The Times began publishing excerpts in a series of articles on June 13, 1971. Street protests, political controversy and lawsuits followed.
To ensure the possibility of public debate about the content of the papers, on June 29, US Senator Mike Gravel (then Democrat, Alaska) entered 4,100 pages of the Papers to the record of his Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds. These portions of the Papers were subsequently published by Beacon Press, the publishing arm of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.
Article I, Section 6 of the United States Constitution provides that “for any Speech or Debate in either House, [a Senator or Representative] shall not be questioned in any other Place”, thus the Senator could not be prosecuted for anything said on the Senate floor, and, by extension, for anything entered to the Congressional Record, allowing the Papers to be publicly read without threat of a treason trial and conviction.
Later, Ellsberg said the documents “demonstrated unconstitutional behavior by a succession of presidents, the violation of their oath and the violation of the oath of every one of their subordinates”. He added that he leaked the papers to end what he perceived to be “a wrongful war”.
The most damaging revelation in the papers was that the U.S. had deliberately expanded its war with carpet bombing of Cambodia and Laos, coastal raids on North Vietnam, and Marine Corps attacks, none of which had been reported by media in the US. The revelations widened the credibility gap between the US government and the people, hurting President Richard Nixon‘s war effort.
The papers also revealed that four administrations, from Truman to Johnson, had misled the public regarding their intentions. For example, Johnson had decided to expand the war while promising “we seek no wider war” during his 1964 presidential campaign. In another example, a memo from the Defense Department under Johnson listed the reasons for American persistence:
“70 %-To avoid a humiliating U.S. defeat…
20 %-To keep [South Vietnam] (and the adjacent) territory from Chinese hands.
10 %-To permit the people of [South Vietnam] to enjoy a better, freer way of life.
ALSO-To emerge from the crisis without unacceptable taint from methods used.
NOT-To ‘help a friend’ ” 
Another controversy was that President Johnson sent combat troops to Vietnam by July 17, 1965, before pretending to consult his advisors on July 21–July 27, per the cable stating that “Deputy Secretary of Defense Cyrus Vance informs McNamara that President had approved 34 Battalion Plan and will try to push through reserve call-up.” In 1988, when that cable was declassified, it revealed “there was a continuing uncertainty as to [Johnson’s] final decision, which would have to await Secretary McNamara’s recommendation and the views of Congressional leaders, particularly the views of Senator [Richard] Russell“…
For anyone interested, here is an online version of the actual Pentagon Papers.
What does any of this ancient Vietnam-era crap have to do with the crises faced today by our country?
Just this — Ellsberg was a creature of the US government’s system, yet when confronted with the duplicity and deceit of our country’s leadership, he took — as a solitary individual — decisive action against that evil.
As this country lurches along its deteriorating path in the greatest long-term threat to American liberty since the 1861-1865 Recent Unpleasantness, where are today’s Ellsbergs?
I am both unsuprised and yet still appalled by the law enforcement reactions to Mike’s recent “Choose Whom You Will Serve” essay. I worked with enough local, state, and Federal law enforcement types during my career to know which way the bulk of those folks will turn come Der Tag.
On that large majority, I will waste no more breath. They have made their choices and so must live with the consequences for themselves and their families, as must I.
But as to the remaining LEOs who do not use their badge and their position as a club against their fellow citizens, I must ask:
If Ellsberg had the courage to do what he did, why haven’t you done the same?
For those of you who work in totalitarian jurisdictions such as California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the District of Columbia:
How can you claim to be a supporter of the Constitution when your very job is to enforce unconstitutional laws, such as those against firearms possession?
You continue to enforce those unconstitutional laws, yet you hold yourselves out to be different than the “Only Ones” — your rougher, more violent, more criminal brethren in blue.
How can that be? Are you truly any different?
On another topic, which pertains to all of you, regardless of jurisdiction:
You either know and/or could find out what the government plans are for crushing civil disorder. You either know or could learn how your jurisdiction plans to infringe on human rights in order to “quell the disturbances.” You either know or could learn about how the US military will operate in conjunction with local, state, and Federal law enforcement, as well as foreign troops, so as to protect your true masters — not the people of the United States, but the bureaucrats and elected so-called “representatives” of the Government.
You know those “emergency plans” exist.
You know that you could obtain access to those plans and leak them to the outside world — just as Ellsberg did nearly forty years ago — to both sound the alarm and to prove just what kind of lying gobs of protoplasm actually are running this country.
Yet you do nothing of the sort.
It’s time to man up, amigos — if you are in fact any different than the majority of your thuggish peers.
It’s time for you to start doing something about stopping the madness of an ever-increasingly militarized police state being erected across this nation.
While it’s nice to hear you promise not to do bad things to the non-.gov Americans in the future, what about getting those unconstitutional plans out into the public domain today and actually prevent those bad things from happening at all?
Have you as much courage as Daniel Ellsberg had?
Man up, sheepdogs.