WikiLeaks to the Pentagon Papers? Ellsberg connects the dots

UC Berkeley News Center


There they were, seated side by side at the front of the International House auditorium: Lowell Bergman, renowned for ferreting out information, and Daniel Ellsberg, renowned for leaking it. Yet when Bergman told him WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had “indicated that you have a copy” of thousands of once-secret, still-classified documents on a thumb drive — “as part of his insurance policy, in case something happens” — Ellsberg just shook his head slowly, lips sealed in a mischievous smile.

“He’s not talking,” observed the panel’s moderator, KQED reporter Scott Shafer.

Fortunately for those gathered Thursday for a half-day forum on “National Security and Free Speech,” Ellsberg soon proved as outspoken as ever. Nearly 40 years after achieving worldwide fame for releasing the Pentagon Papers, the 80-year-old Ellsberg remains a fervent critic of what he termed the government’s claims of national security “as a kind of synonym for secrecy.”