The Ridenhour Courage Prize

2004

Daniel Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg is best known for leaking a 7,000-page document, which became known as the Pentagon Papers, which revealed that victory in Vietnam was far from certain, despite government assurances to the contrary. The publication of the Pentagon Papers in the New York Times and the Washington Post was a turning point in public opinion against the war.

“Ron Ridenhour’s revelation of My Lai shone a bright spotlight on the way the American military sometimes functions in the field when the enemy is ambiguous and the field of battle especially treacherous,” said Fertel Foundation president Randy Fertel. “Daniel Ellsberg knew a lot about that, too. His revelation of the Pentagon Papers illuminated as never before how the Pentagon and the White House functioned when fighting a war that was both unpopular and unwinnable. Always relevant, these are lessons we are still learning.”