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"The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers" Nominated for Oscar was Consultant for Nominee for Best Documentary Feature

Forty years after the leak and subsequent publication of the Pentagon Papers in the New York Times, the story is still as fresh as ever.

In a new documentary film by Kovno Communications, "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon and Papers", septenegarian Daniel Ellsberg educates a new generation about why in 1971 he committed a massive breach of national security by removing a copy of a highly classified, forty volume study on the Vietnam War from the Rand Corporation and sent it to the New York Times for publication. This remarkable story was chosen last week as one of the five Academy Award nominees for Best Documentary Feature.

Early in the research for this film, was contacted in order to obtain copies of all relevant Nixon tape conversations pertaining to the leak and publicaton of the Pentagon Papers, which commenced on June 13, 1971 with a New York Times frontpage article entitled "Vietnam Archive: Pentagon Study Traces 3 Decades of Growing U.S. Involvement."

President Richard Nixon first learned about the publication of the study--which he preferred to call the "McNamara Papers" or "Johnson Papers" in order to distance his administration from the leak--from Alexander M. Haig on June 14, 1971. Following that conversation, several others took place over the next few days, as immediate answers were needed as to how the government should respond, whether the New York Times could be forced to stop publication, and whether the leak and publication raised additional security concerns related to other initiatives taking place. President Nixon was alarmed that ongoing talks with adversaries China and Soviet Union could be jeopardized by the leak, because if those nations did not have confidence that what they were saying to the Americans would remain secret, then both American adversaries and allies would greatly lose confidence in the United States government's ability to manage its own internal affairs.

The following are among the Nixon tape conversations pertaining to the leak and publication of the Pentagon Papers that were provided to Kovno Communications for use in the film. A number of excerpts from these conversations were prominently used in the final version of the documentary.

For a key to participants' names, click here (136k).

Conversation Number



Download Audio
WHT 005-050 06/13/1971 Unk between 12:18 pm and 12:42 pm P, AMH mp3 (2.2m)
WHT 005-058 06/13/1971 1:28 - 1:35 pm P, WPR mp3 (6.5m)
WHT 005-059 06/13/1971 3:09 - 3:22 pm P, HAK mp3 (12.6m)
WHT 005-068 06/14/1971 7:13 - 7:15 pm P, JDE mp3 (2.3m)
WHT 005-070 06/14/1971 7:19 - 7:22 pm P, JNM, HAK mp3 (2.8m)
WHT 005-081 06/15/1971 6:21 - 6:27 pm P, CWC mp3 (5.2m)
WHT 005-086 06/15/1971 6:35 - 6:38 pm P, JNM mp3 (2.0m)
WHT 005-089 06/15/1971 6:44 - 6:47 pm P, WPR mp3 (3.5m)
WHT 005-097 06/16/1971 7:48 - 7:56 pm P, RLZ mp3 (7.4m)
WHT 005-101 06/16/1971 8:22 - 8:25 pm P, JDE mp3 (3.0m)
WHT 005-109 06/17/1971 2:22 - 2:37 pm P, CWC mp3 (12.8m)
WHT 005-113 06/17/1971 6:38 - 6:45 pm P, CWC mp3 (6.5m)
WHT 005-115 06/17/1971 6:55 - 6:56 pm P, CWC mp3 (693k)
WHT 005-117 06/17/1971 7:39 - 7:45 pm P, HAK mp3 (4.8m)
WHT 005-120 06/17/1971 8:10 - 8:11 pm P, CWC mp3 (784k)
WHT 005-121 06/17/1971 8:21 - 8:24 pm P, GRF mp3 (2.8m)
WHT 005-123 06/17/1971 8:25 - 8:28 pm P, FEH mp3 (2.1m)
WHT 005-124 06/17/1971 8:46 - 8:48 pm P, HAK mp3 (1.2m)
WHT 005-127 06/17/1971 9:29 - 9:35 pm P, HRH mp3 (5.5m)
WHT 005-130 06/22/1971 10:24 - 10:30 pm P, RLZ mp3 (4.2m)
WHT 005-131 06/22/1971 10:31 - 10:38 pm P, HAK mp3 (6.3m) wishes Kovno Communications the best of luck in anticipation of the announcement of the Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature on March 7, 2010.


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