Press Releases and Media Advisories

Media Advisory

Monday, April 25, 2011

ATTENTION: Legal, political, and general assignment reporters

National Security and Free Speech: From WikiLeaks to the Pentagon Papers

Contact: Susan Gluss,; 510-642-6936

NPR, along with The New York Times and other news outlets, is reporting on hundreds of classified documents concerning detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The documents were originally leaked to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, and come from the Pentagon's Joint Task Force at Guantanamo.

The impact of WikiLeaks’s continued release of classified information is the topic of a half-day conference on the growing tensions between free speech and national security, transparency and diplomacy. The event is organized by the UC Berkeley School of Law, KQED News, and the UC Berkeley School of Information.

Participants include journalists, advocates, technologists, lawyers, and scholars who will discuss such topics as government transparency, rights of whistleblowers, freedom of the press, and online censorship: the technical and political ability of government tox control information over the Internet. In a nutshell, who controls the “kill switch?”

Speakers include Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst whose decision to leak the Pentagon Papers in 1971 helped drive public opinion against the Vietnam War. The event will close with a free screening of "The Most Dangerous man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers," a documentary film by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith.

Thursday, April 28, 2:00-7:30 p.m. A full schedule of the event is online here.

Chevron Auditorium, International House, 2299 Piedmont Avenue, Berkeley,Calif. See campus map.

Expert panelists include Carlos Osorio, analyst with the National Security Archive; Nicole Wong, associate general counsel at Google; Robert Cole, UC Berkeley Law professor; Chris Palmer, technology director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation; Lowell Bergman, UC School of Journalism professor and correspondent for the PBS documentary series, “Frontline”; and Scott Shafer, KQED host and correspondent. A full list of speakers with bios is online here.

In recent months WikiLeaks has distributed hundreds of thousands of classified documents around the globe, providing an unvarnished view of U.S. foreign policy. The latest trove details prisoner treatment at Guantanamo Bay. Some herald the release of the documents as a victory for free speech and open information, but the Pentagon “strongly condemns the leaking of this sensitive information.” It's a contentious debate that recalls the controversy over the Pentagon Papers, a top secret study that helped turn public opinion against the Vietnam War when it was published in The New York Times in 1971.

For more information, go to or

For information about the conference itself, contact the organizers, Ian Hill (415) 553-2216 or; and David Grady at (510) 642-3702 or

Event co-sponsors include the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology and the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at UC Berkeley Law School; POV, PBS' award-winning nonfiction film series; and The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.