Whistle-Blowers: A Conversation with Daniel Ellsberg and John Dean

The Open Society Institute National Security Human Rights Campaign is sponsoring an event on September 15th entitled, “Whistle-blowers: A Conversation with Daniel Ellsberg and John Dean.”  The event celebrates the U.S. premiere of the feature documentary, “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.”


Daniel Ellsberg, a former U.S. military analyst employed by the RAND Corporation, sparked a national controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times.  The Pentagon Papers revealed that the government knew early on that the Vietnam War was not likely winnable and would lead to many times more casualties than ever admitted. After failing to persuade a few U.S. Senators to release the papers on the Senate floor, Ellsberg decided to risk prison and leaked the documents to the New York Times.  Ellsberg went underground for 16 days before turning himself in.  Fortunately, the charges against him were eventually dropped due to gross government misconduct and illegal evidence gathering by the Nixon administration and the notorious White House “Plumbers Unit.”  These efforts included breaking into Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office and were undertaken directly by the Nixon White House to smear and discredit Ellsberg in the news media in retaliation for his Pentagon Papers whistleblowing.

John Dean was White House Counsel to President Richard Nixon and became deeply involved in events leading up to the Watergate burglaries and the subsequent Watergate scandal cover-up. Despite his initial involvement, Dean became a key witness for the prosecution and was the first administration official to accuse Nixon of direct involvement with Watergate and the resulting cover-up.  His accusations were confirmed when the secret White House tape recordings were made public.  Dean’s cooperation with the investigation led to a reduction in his prison time.  But for Dean blowing the whistle on Nixon’s misdeeds it is highly questionable whether the Watergate scandal would have resulted in Nixon’s resignation.

Filmmakers Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith will present clips from their film, “The Most Dangerous Man in America.” Ann Beeson, executive director for U.S. Programs at the Open Society Institute and former associate legal director at the ACLU, will moderate a discussion with two of America’s most famous whistleblowers, Daniel Ellsberg and John Dean.  The topic will be the lessons the Vietnam War, Watergate, and the "war on terror" offer about the abuse of power by the executive branch in times of national crisis.

For more information about the event and to RSVP please click here

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