When CODEPINK Co-Founder Jodie Evans told the Paynes about an upcoming screening of The Most Dangerous Man in America, they changed their schedule and showed up for the Thursday night screening and Q&A session with film subject Daniel Ellsberg and his wife, Patricia.
For those of you who might not know this important piece of history, the film documents Ellsberg’s transformation from Defense Department analyst to whistleblower concerning the government cover-ups about the Vietnam War and finally to anti-war and anti-nuclear activist. Ellsberg is specifically known for releasing what became known as the Pentagon Papers, detailing the United States’ involvement in the escalation of the war, which had been denied by the government. The New York Times was the first to release the story and begin publication of the documents and when the Nixon White House shut down the presses, The Washington Post took over. After the White House took actions to shut down The Post, 15 other newspapers took up publishing sections of the Pentagon Papers until the Supreme Court ruled in favor of freedom of the press and the Nixon White House had to withdraw. Ellsberg was jailed but finally acquitted. Now in his late seventies, he and Patricia have continued to speak out against war and in favor of social justice.