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Research Paper on the Pentagon Papers Case

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Research Paper on the Pentagon Papers Case
Albo 1
Harrison Albo
Mrs. Knotts
3 English H
February 27, 2012
The Pentagon Papers Case
In the past, there has always been conflict between the free press and the government. This conflict was very evident in the Pentagon Papers case, also known as New York Times Co. v. United States. Historically, the Supreme Court has disagreed on the limitations that can be placed on the First Amendment. The Supreme Court faced these issues in the case of The New York Times. The newspaper obtained a copy of a Defense Department report that explained government deception in the Vietnam War. The Pentagon Papers emerged when the American people disagreed on the United States involvement in the war. Under the First Amendment, The New York Times argued for the right to publicize the Pentagon Papers. In 1971, a Supreme Court ruling allowed The New York Times and The Washington Post to publish classified Pentagon Papers without the risk of government censure.
In the mid-1960s, the public and a few government officials became critical of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. In 1967, Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense, demanded evaluation of the involvement of the United States in the war. A team of thirty-six people took more than a year to write a seven thousand-page report called “History of U.S. Decision-Making Process on Vietnam Policy” (Cengage, par.12). This top-secret report was also
Albo 2 known as the Pentagon Papers. Daniel Ellsberg, a former Marine Corps Company Commander and economist with the Defense Department, helped prepare the report. At first he was in agreement with America’s involvement in Vietnam. After a two-year volunteer tour of Vietnam, and witnessing innocent civilians getting killed, Ellsberg changed his views. He decided that the United States needed to be informed that continuing the war would lead to excessive casualties, and the outcome would most likely not be victorious. In 1969, Ellsberg copied sections of the report and released

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