A CIA map of dissident activities in Indochina published as part of the Pentagon papers
The Pentagon Papers, officially titled United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense, is a United States Department of Defense history of the United States' political-military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. The papers were discovered and released by Daniel Ellsberg, and first brought to the attention of the public on the front page of The New York Times in 1971. A 1996 article in The New York Times said that the Pentagon Papers had demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration "systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress."
More specifically, the 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 Scandalsoon 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.
In June 2011, the entirety of the Pentagon Papers was declassified and publicly released.