Daniel Ellsberg and Ben Bradlee finally meet





It seemed unbelievable that the two men hadn't yet met.

Their careers had collided in the most public way, shaping the way Americans understood the Vietnam War and the freedom of the press. But when Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and Nixon-era whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg first shook hands, it was in the green room at Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center last night.

Their lives intersected in 1971 when Ellsberg leaked thousands of pages of documents to The New York Times and The Post that illuminated damning secrets about the Vietnam War. But in a Diamondback interview, they chatted like old friends, bringing up mutual acquaintances, travels and trading stories.

After years of telling the story of the Pentagon Papers individually, the two seemed more interested in getting to know each other.



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James W Loewen - 2/9/2008

On Fri. eve. 2/7, I attended the "Conversation" at the U of MD between Daniel Ellsberg and Ben Bradlee. It was riveting. Both men are old -- yet in their intellectual prime. Funny, too. Ellsberg called what US leaders from Truman to Nixon said about Vietnam "lying us into war," and the parallel to Iraq was evident. He also noted that the problem with the press nowadays is that after they finally publish a story, they do not examine why it took them so long, why they believed the official line so long. At the end of the "conversation," the audience awarded them a standing ovation, not only because of their roles in U.S. history, but also for the stimulating evening they had just provided.

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