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The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
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The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers -- The story of what happens when a former Pentagon insider, armed only with his conscience, steadfast determination, and a file cabinet full of classified documents, decides to challenge an "Imperial" Presidency-answerable to neither Congress, the press, nor the people-in order to help end the Vietnam War.


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Lawrence Lerew (written by) &
Rick Goldsmith (written by) ...
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The story of Daniel Ellsberg and the 'Pentagon papers' See more (19 total) »


Peter Arnett ... Himself - Associated Press Correspondent (archive footage)
Ben Bagdikian ... Himself - Editor, Washington Post
Ann Beeson ... Herself - Associate Legal Director, ACLU
John Dean ... Himself - White House Counsel to President Nixon
Daniel Ellsberg ... Himself
Patricia Ellsberg ... Herself
Robert Ellsberg ... Himself - Daniel's Son
Richard Falk ... Himself - Professor of International Law
Max Frankel ... Himself - Washington Bureau Chief, New York Times
J. William Fulbright ... Himself - Chair Foreign Relations Committee (archive footage)
James Goodale ... Himself - General Counsel, New York Times
Mike Gravel ... Himself - Senator (D-Alaska)

Morton Halperin ... Himself - Supervisor, Vietnam War Study (as Mort Halperin)

Lyndon Johnson ... Himself - President (archive footage)
Randy Kehler ... Himself - Draft Resister
Bud Krogh ... Himself - Director, 'Plumbers' Unit - Nixon White House (as Egil Krogh)
Pete McCloskey ... Himself - Representative, California
Wayne Morse ... Himself - Senator, Oregon (archive footage)

Richard Nixon ... Himself - President (archive footage)
Thomas Oliphant ... Himself - Reporter, Boston Globe (as Tom Oliphant)

Dan Rather ... Himself - Reporter (archive footage)
Tony Russo ... Himself - RAND Analyst
Thomas Schelling ... Himself - RAND Analyst / Nobel Laureate
Hedrick Smith ... Himself - Reporter, New York Times
Janaki Tschannerl ... Herself - Peace Activist
Leonard Weinglass ... Himself - Russo Defense Attorney

Howard Zinn ... Himself - Historian

Directed by
Judith Ehrlich 
Rick Goldsmith 
Writing credits
Lawrence Lerew (written by) &
Rick Goldsmith (written by) &
Judith Ehrlich (written by) &
Michael Chandler (written by)

Produced by
Lynn Adler .... associate producer
Judith Ehrlich .... producer
Jodie Evans .... executive producer
Rick Goldsmith .... producer
Max Good .... assistant producer
Claire Greensfelder .... consulting producer
Karen Payne .... consulting producer
Original Music by
Blake Leyh 
Cinematography by
Vicente Franco 
Dan Krauss 
Film Editing by
Michael Chandler 
Rick Goldsmith 
Lawrence Lerew 
Production Management
Jorge Trelles .... production manager
Sound Department
Nick Bertoni .... sound recordist
James Lebrecht .... supervising sound editor
Alex Wilmer .... sound designer
Animation Department
Eli Noyes .... animation director
Tom Rubalcava .... layout artist (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Michael Chandler .... consulting editor
Jesse Spencer .... on-line editor
Jesse Spencer .... post-production coordinator
Stephen Vittoria .... editor: Theatrical Trailer
Other crew
Lisa Callif .... clearance counsel
Thomas A. Cohen .... legal services
Michael Donaldson .... clearance counsel
Kenn Rabin .... archival consultant

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Additional Details

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92 min

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Anachronisms: (at around 1h 19 mins) Three Black Hawk helicopters are shown disembarking combat-equipped soldiers, ostensibly in Viet Nam. While the first YUH-60 did in fact fly before the fall of Saigon, it was 1976 before three of them had been produced. Production aircraft were not delivered until 1978.See more »
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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
The story of Daniel Ellsberg and the 'Pentagon papers', 18 August 2011
Author: robert-temple-1 from United Kingdom

The leaking of 'the Pentagon papers' about the Vietnam War in 1971 by Daniel Ellsberg, and their publication in the New York Times, was an epochal event in modern American history. At the time, Ellsberg was widely reviled as a traitor, and many still say that about him. This begs the question as to whether one can be a traitor for informing the public of one's own country about what their leaders are doing in their name and with their money. The story of the 'Pentagon Papers' is complicated by the revelations a year later, in 1972, by Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, in his book THE SECRET TEAM. Prouty, who was an even more important whistleblower than Ellsberg, states unequivocally that the 'Pentagon Papers', were fabricated by the CIA as a means of shifting the blame for the unsuccessful Vietnam War onto the US military, whereas the Vietnam War was started by and entirely run by the CIA themselves, and all those generals like Maxwell Taylor who were involved were really CIA employees in uniform; as for the Army, Navy, and Air Force, they supplied men and machines when required, but it was the CIA who ran the whole show. Prouty is at pains to differentiate between the intelligence division of the CIA (of which he apparently approves), which merely collects information, and the special ops part of the CIA, which he claims went out of control in 1955 and became a state within a state which manipulated presidents, cabinet members, and members of Congress with skewed briefings and kept the truth under wraps by unjustifiable secrecy classifications, whose sole purpose was to conceal from Americans what their own secret service was doing and spending. Prouty states that Daniel Ellsberg was a CIA man, despite the many other posts he subsequently held. This is highly likely, because he probably could not have entered the Rand Corporation in 1958 or had so many 'higher than top secret' clearances subsequently if he had not been CIA. In this film, Ellsberg states that he had signed more than a dozen secrecy agreements. Since Ellsberg narrowly missed being jailed for 75 years on one charge, he has clearly never been in any position to state that he was a CIA man, because that would mean breaking a secrecy agreement, and would give his enemies the opportunity to take him back to court again on another charge. Prouty believed that Ellsberg was a knowing participant in a CIA disinformation campaign, and that his being a whistleblower was phoney. It is not really possible to believe that, however, after seeing this revealing documentary film. Yes, he was probably a CIA man, but no, he was probably not a conscious member of a disinformation conspiracy. In other words, he was probably manipulated. But in 'the Shadow World' everyone is manipulated, and even the manipulators themselves are being manipulated by their own insane delusions. That would explain why Ellsberg's phone calls were being monitored for two years before he leaked the documents, and yet the security people just sat back and waited for him to leak them rather than taking pre-emptive steps to stop him doing so. It was all too easy. It was all a setup. I wonder if even Ellsberg knows.

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