The National Archives and Records Administration releases the Pentagon Papers in full for the first time today. When the papers were leaked by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971, Americans learned the truth behind the U.S.’s involvement in Vietnam for the first time. Exactly 40 years ago, on June 13, 1971, The New York Times published the first in a series of articles based on the Pentagon Papers. The Times' decision to publish the classified documents led to a series of legal battles with the Nixon Administration. The Supreme Court finally decided the case, ruling that under the First Amendment, the Times could freely publish the Pentagon Papers.
Fox Butterfield was one of the first reporters to review the classified documents. He reflects on the experience the impact of the Pentagon Papers 40 years later.