DANIEL ELLSBERG Biography - People in the News and Media


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Name: Daniel Ellsberg                                                                 
Born: 7 April 1931                                                                   
Daniel Ellsberg (born April 7, 1931) is a former American military analyst           
employed by the RAND Corporation who precipitated a national uproar in 1971 when     
he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of government           
decision-making during the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other               
Ellsberg grew up in Detroit and attended Cranbrook Kingswood School, then             
attended Harvard University, graduating with a Ph.D. in Economics in 1959 in         
which he described a paradox in decision theory now known as the Ellsberg             
paradox. He served as a company commander in the Marine Corps for two years, and     
then became an analyst at the RAND Corporation.                                       
A committed Cold Warrior, he served in the Pentagon in 1964 under Secretary of       
Defense Robert McNamara (and, in fact, was on duty on the evening of the Gulf of     
Tonkin incident, reporting the incident to McNamara). He then served for two         
years in Vietnam working for General Edward Lansdale as a civilian in the State       
Department, and became convinced that the Vietnam War was unwinnable. He further     
believed that nearly everyone in the Defense and State Departments felt, as he       
did, that the United States had no realistic chance of achieving victory in           
Vietnam, but that political considerations prevented them from saying so             
publicly. McNamara and others continued to state in press interviews that             
victory was "just around the corner." As the war continued to escalate, Ellsberg     
became deeply disillusioned.