Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower who leaked the “Pentagon Papers” about the Vietnam War, has said that doctors have given him about six months to live after diagnosing him with pancreatic cancer.
The release of thousands of documents to the US media in 1971 by a former military analyst revealed that the United States administration had lied to the public about the war.
The leak changed public perceptions of the conflict and was chronicled in the 2017 Hollywood thriller “The Post,” which detailed the nail-biting behind-the-scenes story of the Washington Post’s publication of the letters.
“On February 17th, without warning, I was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer,” Daniel Ellsberg, 91, said in a statement on Twitter on Thursday.
He said, “I am sorry to inform you that my doctors have given me three to six months to live.”
Daniel Ellsberg wrote that he had decided not to do chemotherapy because it showed no promise.
“I’m assured of fantastic hospice care when I need it,” he said.
Daniel Ellsberg was a government consultant when he leaked 7,000 classified pages that determined – contrary to public assertions by US government officials – that the Vietnam conflict was unwinnable.
The New York Times published the excerpts until President Richard Nixon’s administration obtained a court injunction preventing the newspaper from doing so on grounds of national security. After this the Washington Post took over.
Daniel Ellsberg was charged under the US Espionage Act, but the case ended in a mistrial in 1973 after illegal evidence gathering by the government came to light.
“When I copied the Pentagon Papers in 1969, I had every reason to think that I would spend the rest of my life behind bars. It was a fate I would have gladly accepted if it meant the end of the Vietnam War. Haste would have been, as unlikely as it seemed (and was),” Daniel Ellsberg wrote in his statement Thursday.
“Yet in the end that action—due to Nixon’s illegal responses in a way I could not imagine—had the effect of shortening the war,” he said.
Daniel Ellsberg, a staunch anti-nuclear weapons campaigner, published a massive article in 2017 about the nuclear threat as seen from the inside titled “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner”.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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