is the author of Secrets:
A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. He was born
in Detroit in 1931. After graduating from Harvard in 1952 with a
B.A. Summa cum Laude in Economics, he studied for a year
at King's College, Cambridge University, on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship.
and 1957, Ellsberg spent three years in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving
as rifle platoon leader, operations officer, and rifle company commander.
he was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows, Harvard University.
He earned his Ph.D. in Economics at Harvard in 1962 with his thesis,
Ambiguity and Decision.
In 1959, he
became a strategic analyst at the RAND Corporation, and consultant
to the Department of Defense and the White House, specializing in
problems of the command and control of nuclear weapons, nuclear
war plans, and crisis decision-making.
He joined the
Defense Department in 1964 as Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary
of Defense (International Security Affairs) John McNaughton, working
on Vietnam. He transferred to the State Department in 1965 to serve
two years at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, evaluating pacification
on the front lines.
On return to
the RAND Corporation in 1967, he worked on the Top Secret McNamara
study of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-68, which later came
to be known as the Pentagon Papers. In 1969, he photocopied the
7,000 page study and gave it to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee;
in 1971 he gave it to the New York Times, Washington Post
and 17 other newspapers. His trial, on twelve felony counts posing
a possible sentence of 115 years, was dismissed in 1973 on grounds
of governmental misconduct against him, which led to the convictions
of several White House aides and figured in the impeachment proceedings
against President Nixon.
Since the end
of the Vietnam War he has been a lecturer, writer and activist on
the dangers of the nuclear era and unlawful interventions.
his Web site.