The Pentagon Papers Casebibliotecapleyades.net | Jun 5th
Thirty years ago this month, President Nixon picked up his Sunday New York Times on June 13, 1971 to see the wedding picture of his daughter Tricia and himself in the Rose Garden, leading the left-hand side of the front page.
Next to that picture, on the right, was the headline over Neil Sheehan’s first story on the Pentagon Papers, “Vietnam Archive: Pentagon Study Traces 3 Decades of Growing U.S. Involvement.”
Nixon did not read the story (so he says on tape in his 12:18 p.m. phone call with Alexander Haig).
On Monday evening, June 14, Attorney General John Mitchell warned the Times via phone and telegram against further publication; and on Tuesday June 15, the government sought and won an restraining order against the Times - an injunction subsequently extended to the Washington Post when that paper picked up the cause.
The epic legal battle that ensued culminated on June 30, 1971 in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision to lift the prior restraints - arguably the most important Supreme Court case ever on freedom of the press.
The National Security Archive has now posted on its Web site the following documentation from the Pentagon Papers case - to our knowledge the first time this material has ever been published together:
The court material covers the end of the Pentagon Papers case.
But it is on the beginning of the case that we now have genuinely new evidence, in the form of the Nixon tapes declassified earlier this year pursuant to the lawsuit by University of Wisconsin historian Stanley Kutler and the Public Citizen Litigation Group.
This Electronic Briefing Book also features, for the first time published anywhere, the audio and transcripts of Nixon’s conversations on June 13, 14 and 15 after publication of the Pentagon Papers began.
Archive research associate Eddie Meadows copied the recordings at the National Archives and painstakingly transcribed them, as part of our long-term documentation project on Vietnam, under the direction of Archive fellow John Prados.
This briefing book also includes the relevant excerpts from the following memoirs:
The Secret Briefs and the Secret Evidence:
Shared from Read It Later