Daniel Ellsberg is a lecturer, writer, activist, and whistleblower. A former analyst at the RAND corporation, he was an official in the Defense and State Departments under President Lyndon Johnson, and from 1965-1967 served in Vietnam studying pacification programs. By 1969, believing the Vietnam War unjust, Ellsberg photocopied a top-secret 7,000-page study of U.S. decision-making in Vietnam, also known as the Pentagon Papers. In 1971, he leaked them to the New York Times and eighteen other newspapers. The government charged Ellsberg with twelve felony counts with a possible sentence of 115 years, but the case was dismissed in 1973 when Watergate inquiries exposed criminal misconduct against Ellsberg by the Nixon White House.
In the decades since, Ellsberg has been arrested scores of times for acts of civil disobedience in opposition to U.S nuclear and foreign policy. His books include The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner (2017) and Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (2002).