Secrecy News

Declassifying the Pentagon Papers, Finally

The National Declassification Center (NDC) at the National Archives will declassify the full text of the Pentagon Papers as well as the underlying documentation on which they are based, along with investigative material concerning the 1971 leak of the Papers by Daniel Ellsberg, the NDC said yesterday.

“One matter to keep in mind concerning the Pentagon Papers is that there is no complete record of the report in the public domain,” the NDC blog said.

The Pentagon Papers Project “is both an interagency and intra-agency effort.  NARA is working closely with its partners in the intelligence and defense communities, and the Department of Justice to ensure that we make available as much of this historical collection as possible.”

But one wonders why a “project,” complete with inter- and intra-agency coordination, is necessary at all to process defense policy records that were mostly made public 40 years ago.  A better use of public resources would be to wave a wand and simply declare the records open.

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