Legendary whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, the former analyst who released the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, offered some well-timed advice Sunday when he appeared on NPR’s On the Media. In an interview with host Brooke Gladstone, he urged government insiders to leak information about a potential build-up of U.S. troops in Afghanistan:
“There are a lot of people looking at estimates that are being withheld from the public … They should ask themselves, did my oath to uphold and support the Constitution really permit me to keep quiet when I see the public being lied to?
“I’m sure there are many people in the Pentagon and the CIA and the White House who are in my shoes right now. My advice to them is, don’t do what I did, don’t reveal it six years from now, don’t wait till the escalation has occurred. Instead, they should do what I wish I had done in 1965, which is to the tell the public what I believed right then: That my president was making a terrible mistake, that Congress should hold hearings, Congress should demand the truth and Congress should set him straight.”
Less than 24 hours later, Ellsberg’s contemporary Bob Woodward had this scoop:
The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warns in an urgent, confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict “will likely result in failure,” according to a copy of the 66-page document obtained by The Washington Post.