Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who copied and leaked to the media thousands of top-secret documents related to the Vietnam War, will speak at Seminole State College of Florida on Thursday, Feb. 17. The event, in the Fine Arts Concert Hall (building G) on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus, begins at 7 p.m.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of the Pentagon Papers, which detailed the U.S. government’s actions in Vietnam through several administrations. Ellsberg will speak about the similarities he sees between his release of the Pentagon Papers and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s release of documents related to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Facing charges under the Espionage Act of 1917, Ellsberg surrendered to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, assuming he’d spend years in prison. However, all charges were dropped in view of the Nixon Administration’s illegal efforts to discredit him, which included breaking into his psychiatrist’s office. Several of the men who conducted that break-in were later implicated in the bungled burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate hotel in Washington, D.C. – the scandal that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation.
Since the end of the Vietnam War, Ellsberg has been a lecturer, writer and activist. In “An Evening with Daniel Ellsberg,” he will discuss his own experience as well as the WikiLeaks controversy, and hold a question-and-answer session.
The public is also invited to attend a showing of “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Concert Hall. The Oscar-nominated documentary traces Ellsberg’s odyssey from Vietnam War strategist to opponent and whistle-blower.
“An Evening with Daniel Ellsberg” is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Seminole State’s Humanities Department and Office of Student Activities. For more information, please contact Professor Vincent Intondi, or call him at 407.404.6073.
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