June 13 - 1971 - The New York Times Publishes the Pentagon Papers

When the United States Department of Defense compiled United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense, the idea was that only a select number of people would see it. This meant it was entirely truthful about the U.S.'s motivations in being in Vietnam and the way the U.S. had conducted the war. Such truthfulness was not a public relations issue unless somehow it got into the public view. Daniel Ellsberg made sure the public did see it. Ellsberg was an analyst for the RAND Corporation who worked on the study and photocopied the whole thing. After going to a number of Senators and other government officials, Ellsberg was finally able to convince the New York Times to publish some of his photocopied material. Immediately christened "The Pentagon Papers" in the media, Ellsberg's leak became a sensation. People found out that multiple Presidential administrations had been lying to the country. Richard Nixon, it turned out, had continued bombing Cambodia and Laos, one of the shocking revelations of the Pentagon Papers. So the Nixon Administration sought to stop the Pentagon Papers leak, which both torpedoed a legal case against Ellsberg and led directly to Watergate.

William Floyd