It was 40 years ago today, on June 13, 1971, that The New York Times published excerpts from the Pentagon Papers, the until-then secret history of the Vietnam War commissioned by DoD. That set in motion an earth-shattering series of events: the first-ever time the government went to court to stop publication of a newspaper story; the Supreme Court ruling against the government, and the Nixon administration setting up a secret group, nicknamed “the Plumbers, ” to try to ferret out who leaked the documents. That latter lead directly to the Watergate scandal that forced Nixon from office in 1974.
Today, June 13, 1971, the National Archives officially declassified the Pentagon Papers and is making all 7, 000-pages available on line.
“This was a secret history project to try to figure out why we were in such a national security tangle, ” Timothy Naftali, the director of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum said. “And now with all the material together in one place, you can see how our government wrestled with the problem.
Take a look at the National Archives web page .