Steven Spielberg to direct ‘Pentagon Papers’ film

“For an American to be patriotic is to be loyal to the principles of our Constitution, and the First Amendment. The truth is that the policies of the government is sometimes in conflict with that. In our country, patriotism should not be defined as obedience to an authority. ”

Daniel Ellsberg

Spielberg’s next movie ‘The Post’ is a film about American journalists challenging the US government over whistleblowing documents leaked by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

RELATED POST: US Whistleblowers — Test your ‘Spy’ knowledge with our quiz!

RELATED POST: Obama’s Crackdown on National Security Leaks

RELATED POST: No Presidential Pardon for Ex-CIA Jeffrey Sterling

The movie will cover the Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and publisher Katharine Graham as they challenged the government in the early 70s. (Tom Hanks is set to play Bradlee while Meryl Streep will play Graham.)

The Espionage Act of 1917 makes it a crime to disclose information “relating to the national defense.”

Out of a total ten prosecutions under the Espionage Act against government officials accused of providing classified information to the media, seven have occurred during Obama’s Presidency.

Prior to the Obama administration, there had been only three known cases resulting in indictments in which the Espionage Act was used to prosecute government officials for leaks: Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo 1971, Samuel Morison 1985 and Lawrence Franklin 2005. (There is a ‘similar’ — but rarely discussed  — case dating from 1945.)

The first case (1971) was about the ‘Pentagon papers’: Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo.

The ‘Pentagon Papers’ revealed that the U.S. had secretly enlarged the scale of the Vietnam War with the bombings of nearby Cambodia and Laos, coastal raids on North Vietnam, and Marine Corps attacks, none of which were reported in the mainstream media.

For his disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg was initially charged with conspiracy, espionage, and theft of government property, but the charges were later dropped after prosecutors investigating the Watergate Scandal soon discovered that the staff members in the Nixon White House had ordered the so-called White House Plumbers to engage in unlawful efforts to discredit Ellsberg. [WIKIPEDIA]

PS1: Thomas Drake, Shamai Leibowitz, Chelsea manning, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, Jeffrey Sterling, John Kiriakou are not as well known to the public as Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden. But They deserve credit for what they did. Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone can not cover them all, but surely others could. My feeling is that there is an audience for such movies/documentaries right now… (I wrote this BEFORE I learned the news from WikiLeaks…)

PS2: What a pity that Steven Spielberg gave up on his project to tell the story of Pan Am 103 (Lockerbie)…

REFERENCES

Steven Spielberg to direct Pentagon Papers film with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep — Guardian

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