tv Democracy Now LINKTV July 24, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
answers. but the point was, as --ator gravel put it to me, as senator goodell put it to me, "dan, and my business, you can't ridiculous.ook you cannot afford to be laughed at." the top people in the senate --t i mentioned here i'm a some said much the same, "if i could find somebody else to go with me, i would do it, but i can't do it myself. i look foolish. i can afford that." here was a senator not afraid to look foolish. basically, that is the fear that keeps people in line. all their lives. [applause] yous the kind of thing
learned your mothers me to my to get along, go along -- your father's knee. and don't stick out and don't make yourselves look, you know -- don't raise her head, sort of this thing, and look ridiculous. wasn't afraid to do that on a transcendent issue like the draft. i thought, ok, maybe this is a guy. i had met the other once before, i knew them. so i did not know him. i said, ok, he's doing a filibuster. and we were just discussing this. it's not even clear my mind when i had a discussion on mention in a moment, but i do remember very thatly that not knowing the pentagon papers were about to be published by the new york the night of 13 -- june 12, they came out, i was in boston at the time -- and nobody had told me that this was happening, so i had them in my
apartment for the first time ever. i had never allow them to be in our apartment, lest the fbi swooped down and get them. that was my nightmare. i had a number of copies stashed with different people, so i could say even from gel, you know, ok, get one out or get this one out, with my $.10 call that i was allowed, but they couldn't stop it. but i never allowed it to be in my apartment read for once, i had it there because -- and mike did not even know this -- because i intended to communicate with his office on monday to go to washington, not knowing ever coming out in the times, and offer this thing to this man who is conducting the filibuster. so i was quite shocked to learn from a friend in the times that the building was locked down. they were worried about an fbi raid and an injunction, because they were copying the seven -- they were putting out this big study, which i had been told.
so ago, well, that's very interesting. meanwhile, i had these papers in my apartment. the fbi might come any minute, and i howard he had scheduled me in with howard zinn that night, with our families, to go see butch cassidy and the sundance kid. [laughter] and so i called howard, didn't said over the phone, but i said, apartment andour will go from your place. i went there with the papers and asked him if i could dump them in his apartment for that night we had [laughter] which he said, fine. he was one of two people i had known chomsky and howard zinn. the papers came out that night. there wasn't a lot of attention on sunday to them, which everybody was surprised that in the new york times. the tv didn't pick it up and so forth. but on monday, they got
attention and the key thing was, john mitchell, the attorney general, then asked a request of the new york times that they cease publication of this criminal act, stop this. remember, they have lost their law firm already, the lord and day, on the grounds that their lawyers had told him this was treason and a act, and they would represent them. mitchell was confirming that and telling them that they must stop . well, they went ahead. not obey the request. so tuesday, they enjoined the new york times for the first time in our history. we know from the tapes now that nixon had asked mitchell on the tape -- i've heard this -- the day before, on monday, mitchell wanted to put the times on notice. and of course, nixon says, have we ever done this before? and mitchell says, oh, yes, many times.
terrific legal advice from the bond lower -- lawyer. it had never been done in our history, and led to a constitutional battle, which nixon lost in the attorney general lost. but they did enjoying it, and so the question was what to do next. i had not been identified yet, but i decided, on the base of one other person who suggested it to me, that i give it to the washington post. meanwhile, i had called up gravel's office -- i was still able to use a phone, not my home phone, but a payphone -- and said to the person there, is your boss interested in putting out the pentagon -- i didn't say the pentagon papers -- is your boss intending to keep up this filibuster? is he going to stay there? i said, absolutely. i said, well, i've got some material that could keep them reading until the end of the year. [applause] if he's interested in it.
that being the number one story at the moment, he sort of guessed what it was and i think mike will go on from there pre- if he on an informed mike of this possibility. but the question then was how to get them to him. so i will end with the story, which will tie in with -- i can take up the story from there. the question was how to get it to him. i was not in a position to travel at this point. i did arrange with a former colleague from rand, and editor of the washington post to it's been a year or two at rand as a down?tant -- mic's can you hear me? called him up and arranged to have ben come to boston. it is a colorful story which i think is told in the thing you have their. he came to boston, cambridge.
we took a room at the treadway and near harvard square, and my wife and i brought these boxes of ill assorted papers, tremendous stuff we hadn't collated ideally, to him, and we spent the night with him collating and putting them in an order that he could take back with him. and in the morning he had this big box. he didn't have -- he needed a cord for the box and asked the treadway and the motel owner said, well, somebody's been tethering a dog outside. i can give you the dog cord. so we tied up the box and he went off and put it on. my wife and i looked at the television before we went home. we had been all night on this now. this is about 7:00, 8:00 in the morning, and there was our home being -- with some fbi agents knocking on the door on live television.
and they were knocking on the door, so we thought, maybe this isn't the best time, you know, to go back home, actually. [laughter] zion,at had happened, sid who was met at the times for having fired him, had rather quickly found out who their source was, and to get back at them, he had revealed it on a radio show, the barry grace show, the night before. though the fbi was at my door and having seen it on television, i was now in a position to not be caught and to be -- and to put out the other copies. so we didn't go home. we went underground in cambridge. [laughter] the next 13 days, the fbi conducted with the paper said was the biggest manhunt since the lindbergh kidnapping, and they were -- we were in cambridge -- they were all over the world, and the south of france, in california. i had a feeling there was a good deal of something going on,
actually, by the fbi looking for us, but meanwhile we were putting it out to these other newspapers. mention, it's always the times in the post were mentioned, of course, as having had the courage to go along with this, as we spent 13 days putting it out. that's why i was evading the at the i. i had other copies and was putting them out rid the work four injunctions, also the boston globe in the st. louis post-dispatch, before they gave up on injunctions, or there would've been more. altogether, 17 others publish those papers. [applause] oddly, they don't seem to mention as much in their own histories. they don't commemorate this, as were commemorating the beacon press right now, but they should. civilas a wave of disobedience across the country by publishers were being told that they were violating the espionage act, they were committing treason, they were hurting national security.
they read the documents we gave them and decided they didn't agree with that as americans and patriots, and they published them. so it was institutional civil disobedience of a type -- i don't really know of any country or any other journalist, and that's a kind of freedom and courage we need to celebrate and we need to continue. so thank you very much. >> pentagon whistleblower daniel ellsberg. coming up, presidential picks up mike gravel the story from there. but first, our break from the sun by arbor streisand sung for daniel ellsberg. -- sung by barbara streisand for daniel ellsberg. ♪ [music break]
post journalist who had interned gotten them from daniel ellsberg . hethat may just pick up or left off, because it really -- there's a lot of little vignettes, and i'll talk fast, but i want to get all the details out, because i know what you want to know is the inside skinny. you can read the broad lines, but it's what happened about our lives of the time that -- dan calls my office. he talks to my minister at assistant joe. i was down in the senate gym getting a massage breed i was on a table. and of course you can have staff come into the senate. this was hallowed ground. into the senate jim. so he's not going on the door and says, i've got to see the senator, it's an emergency. -- so he is knocking on the door and says, i've got to see the senator and it's an emergency. the masseur says, somebody wants to give you the pentagon papers. i said, man, where is he? he says, he's going to call us
back. i get dressed appropriate. we bolt back to the office and waiting for the call for you at on comes this voice and says, senator, would you read the pentagon papers as part of your filibuster? i, yes, now please hang up. the reason for that is, i have a background in intelligence. i was 23 years old, i was a top-secret control officer. i could classify and i could declassify, and i was 23 years old. so now here are the papers coming at me. i do sense of what they were, with a history, history, and of course i had read what the times of published. behold, dan and i have other conversations. to tell you the truth, our memories are little vague. he informed me about something that i didn't know, and occasionally i had done that with him when he was doing his memoir "secrets." we spent a couple of days, oh, is that what your interpretation of what you think we did? well, no that's mine. as human beings, we all have a
different read on some of the details. the long and short of it is, he called me in a few days, and he was angry. he was on the phone and says, why the hell have it you use the papers? i says, why the hell haven't you got them to me? i don't have them. and he goes back to dan and ben then contact my office. frankly, i did not know who ben was, but he wanted to meet with me. so we meet with each other somewhat secretively on the steps of the capitol, behind a column -- [laughter] in broad daylight. were talking about how are going to move the papers across, then comes bob dole, who is one of my enemies, but were on the same committee, and he walked up and dickie and is slipping behind a column so you can't be seen. i get rid of dole fairly fast. in had his plan to me out the country.
i said, wait, i got a little more experience than you have. here's how we're going to transfer the papers. you will come at 12:00 at night under the marquee of mayflower hotel in washington, d.c. at 12:00 you park your car there, i will come up with my car read you open your trunk, i'll open mind. i'll pop the papers in and i'll raise off. that's the way we'll do it before god and country and they won't even know what happened. what happens? a group of alaska natives walk by, oh, there's our senator. and now want to come and talk to me. i'm trying to peel them away. [laughter] the papers,with parked my car came back in and ben and i had a coffee. [laughter] i took the papers home. where you going to put them? that's the first time i told my wife at the time, rita, i says i've got the pentagon papers right here rid of course whole
world was trying to catch the papers. are we going to do with them? i says, were going to put them under the bed and sleep on them. i'm dyslexic read i couldn't read all those papers if it took me a year. what happened, started calling staff in. i said, look, you're going to come in and bring a toilet kit. don't tell your wife what you're doing. you're coming to the senator's house. i met them at the door. i said, i've got the pentago papers. you come in, you can't leave until i leave. i won't think ill of you if you don't come in, because there's risks that we don't know anything about. theveryone come in to person said, senator, let me have it. so four or five people for two days were sleeping on the living room floor, and we would go to the papers. the style i used in going through it, i was reading my little portion of it, the first part which is most historic and most interesting. but others would -- i said,
whenever you come across a name, come and show me the name. i would then read around the context and make a judgment of this should be excised or not. we didn't just take a pencil, we took scissors and cut it out so there will be no misunderstanding. i have to bring the papers from my home to the capital, and so i buy to flight bags, you know those old flight bags without wheels read i buy two of those to honor the papers. and so i spend the money, pack them up with two bags like that, and someone to take them to the capital. but now i'm concerned. i called the vietnam veterans of america and say, look, i've got a problem. i need someone to guard my office. i want the most disabled veterans you can find. withd behold, i trudge in my two big bags, heavy, and the staff is walking with me, the cops come and they're looking. why the hell is the senator carrying the bags and the staff is not carrying his bags? we walked to the end of the hall and there are six or seven soldiers in uniform, you know it, ponytails, badges all over,
all in wheelchairs. and they could do wheelies. didn't know what i had. . all they said, go get them from the senator! i about cried from the commitment of these human beings . and they guarded the office. they would have found their bodies that anybody who tried to break in. i had the papers, so i had to go to the floor of the senate. egod a little bit of an trip going on. i wanted to break strom thurmond's record and filibustering. [laughter] [applause] the draft was going to expire at the end of the month, so i wanted to today's, close to 48 hours to break his record. most people don't know -- you a long and those guys used to debate, they're drinking a lot of water and p ride on the floor, right on the senate floor. but i'm a little more culture than that. [laughter] at the doctorsp office and tell them what i've
got going on. so he rigs me up with a colostomy bag with with a little hose down to my ankle, and my administrative assistant's job is going to bleed the colostomy bag. [laughter] it gets better than that. i've got to get somebody to chair, because you can control the floor if you don't control the chair. i go to alan cranston, my closest friend. he says, what you need? i said, i've got the pentagon papers. he says, oh my god, my, you need more than help them you got problems. i said, you just get in the chair by 5:00. will turn around and you do stay in that chair as long as i'm filibustering. and that was our plan. i said, not go down to the doctor's office and get a colostomy bag for it. [laughter] he does that. it was interesting to go into the dynamics of that. lo and behold, i come to the floor of the senate trudging
with these papers next to my desk. i was a freshman, so i was way on the side. me forcame up to committee information and he says, mike, are those the pentagon papers? i looked at them with a blank stare. it was a joke on his part. but i'm i'm looking at him, my god! be talkinggoing to for a couple of days, so i want to tell the staff of the senate, hey, you better clearwire, because you're not getting out of here shortly. your wife,all because you're not getting out of here shortly. they have to start calling the role for coram. there's is only one other senator in the chamber, that was griffin. the democrats-i contra gone to banquet and the republicans had gone home. there are two senators and the chamber. i lay on a quorum call. griffin says, mike, what are you going to do?
i said, i'm discontinuing my filibuster on the draft. but i had always done that because man filled set up a two track. mind you, i filibustered for five months. it can only happen because mansfield said it up without anybody seeing his velvet hands. i says, that she says, what are you doing at night? i says, well, i want to make a big show because the draft is about to expire. he goes back to his desk and thinking and thinking. theit 30 minutes to let staff notify they will be there for part of the evening. and lo and behold, i make a unanimous consent to remove a quorum call. he objects. the minute he did that, i knew i just been harpooned. all i could think is, my mind: goodman don't win. good men don't win. i was so angry. he says, mike, what are you doing? i started swearing at him. you cannot believe. by that time, he knew something was afoot. so he went to the republican cloak room and said,
stay away from the senate, telling all the republicans. i'm sending my trips to go out there get the democrats to come back from the banquet. --t goes on till about nine 9:30, 10:00 written we could not get a coram. rothstein says, senator, were stuck. so i grabbed -- he says, but our attorneys think that the plan be . we grab the bags, trudge back to the office. by this time, the vietnam vets are out there another something serious afoot because a lot of media is following us. i said, what's our plan? senator, it's interesting. there's not much hope, but we do a one president we could follow. and that a president, believe it or not, the house un-american activities committee, for those of you who know what that means. he says, what they were doing is they will go around the country and they would immediately call a hearing so they could grab somebody, pull him up, swear him in, and get him to talk.
he says, what you could do -- now mind you, i'm a freshman -- you're chairman of the committee, subcommittee. that was the buildings and grounds committee. [applause] say, whatbehold, they you could do is convene a anding of this committee you would still be within the umbrage of the senate. so i said, fine, let's do that somebodywe had to have testified. we typed up the notice that i'm a chairman, calling hearing, slip it under the doors of the senators who are not there, that i'm notifying them of the hearing, the that that's covered legally. the peas group calls a big, spend out from upper new york. he doesn't know what it's about. all they tell him on the telephone is, senator gravel needs you to come and testified a very important hearing. down andressed, comes we convene. by this time, were upstairs and one of the senate chambers,
committee rooms, and the whole phalanx of the media. comesen congressman dowd up i'm sitting there with my two black bags and my staff assistant. i gaveled the meeting to order. congressman, can i help you? i understand what to testify. he says, yes, i like to get a federal building in my district. i said, i know you need that building in and i'd love to give you a federal building in your district, but our governments broke. we don't have any money. and the me tell you were broke, because were squandering all this money in southeast asia. they may tell you how we got into and i hauled out the papers and put them on the table and i'm reading. [applause] a gets better than that read i read for an hour. now i'm dyslexic. i haven't slept for three or four days.
i'm reading and a breakout sobbing. it's about 12:00 at night and i'm sobbing and i can get control of myself. here's what's going through my head. a journalist on one of the networks the next morning -- this is a bizarre occurrence the night before. gravel was very bizarre. he cried. what i was sobbing over -- i've been to walter reed a month or ire before to walk around and couldn't take it. i couldn't take it emotionally to look at the wounded read i can handle macro problems, but not micro, so lo and behold, i kept saying to myself, my god, i love my country. my country is committing immoral acts. reason for the killings. i am sobbing. as a dyslexic i am reading rogue. , senator, i think you've lost it. and the understatement of the year. i keep sobbing.
he goes back and i try to get a hold of myself and i can't. he comes back and says, senator, why don't you put it in the record. i sobered up immediately and said, yes, i got power, i'm the chairman of this committee. so i move an ask unanimous consent that i was going to put all of these papers in the record, to put them in the record automatically. bang, that is how it officially got into the record of the united hits of america. [applause] and obviously, the media are going, really. i put the papers back in. we're trudging back to my office and the media is following this, we want the papers, we want the papers! we got a copy of the papers because we want a set for it as we copy them, will turn into you and you set up a pool and you go copy them and distribute them to the world. that's what happened all my long. and that's what's made the supreme court decision moot, which was at 11:00 or 12:00 that very day.
what they did is they said, you could not put on prior restraint, but what you could do, if you published, you'd be at risk. that's what happened. those that published to the risks, but they were prepared to take the risks after that. we scour the country, and this is where the meeting comes in with beacon. we scour the country and could not find one major or minor or anybody that would touch the pentagon papers. we had some inkling that maybe m.i.t. press would. so with my staff, fishman and one other attorney, we go to boston. one handling at the time, and i don't remember, says, senator, i've got bad news for you, m.i.t. press won't touch with a 10 foot pole. and i'm crestfallen. but then he says, i've got news for you: "it's got the money,
and they will publish it. [applause] an air downtown of boston waiting for you if you want to come down and make the deal with them. and i says, let's go. and we had a press conference shortly thereafter and that's when we announced we were going to do it. i was a unitary and even before all this happened in alaska, i can tell you what i feel from press,ress -- beacon for the unitarians and daniel ellsberg. dan likes to say, when i went into service, i was going in to be a spy, but i wasn't getting any action so went in to be a combat effrontery platoon leader. and on the patch on my shoulder said, follow me. well, when i saw dan do what he --, all i can think of here's a guy that's walking up the hill, taking his life in his own hands, and the least i could
do is follow dan ellsberg. >> former alaska senator and democratic presidential candidate mike gravel who got the pentagon papers into the public record. when we come back, the man who allowed the press to take the risk of publishing the top-secret documents. for a copy of today's show, go to democracynow.org. back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
>> ringo starr singing "with a little help from my friends" son for dan ellsberg. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. formero robt west, the president of the unitarian universalist association and beacon press. west agreed despite the considerable political and financial risks involved to publish the papers. my first involvement with the pentagon papers was on a midsummer day in 1971, when the
opentor of beacon press, stair, came into my office. he told me about the 35 publishers who had refused to publish them, and he requested my approval for beacon press to do it. i gave my approval that day, and we started down a path that led through two and half years of government intimidation, harassment, and threat of criminal punishment. beacon published the pentagon papers that october, after having publicly announced its intention in august. was visited gobin by two intelligence agents from
the defense department who, in a meeting gobin described to me as intimidating, tried to dissuade him from publishing the papers. also received a phone call from president nixon, who, after saying what a decent fellow gobin was, pointedly suggested that he was sure gobin would not want to get into trouble by proceeding to publish them. november, ain early vice president of our bank called our uua treasurer to advise us that fbi agents had secretly been working at the bank for the last seven days. they were there with a subpoena from the federal grand jury that called for copies of all uua financial records, which meant every check written and every
check deposited into uua period of 4.5a months, amounting to thousands , including those of all individuals who contributed to our denomination. gravel immediately brought contempt proceedings against the government and succeeded in halting the fbi investigation and examination of our bank records for two months. but agents were authorized to resume their scrutiny on january 10. the next day, the uua filed suit against the fbi, the justice department, and a grand jury, sticking to stop the investigation.
-- seeking to stop the investigation. we emphasized the grounds of religious freedom and freedom of association, as well as freedom of the press. and we succeeded in halting it on a temporary basis. but before all the events had run their course in 1971 -- 1974, we were in federal court on numerous occasions, including the supreme court. fbi agents served grand jury subpoenas on gobin, stair, and treasurer, then withdrew them. u.s. attorney in boston filed a memorandum in court that indicated the strong likelihood that beacon press officials would be prosecuted for criminal like to the. air wasbeen -- gobin st
subpoenaed to appear at the ellsberg trial in california, with me next in line. mistrial thate was declared in the ellsberg case meant we did not have to appear at the federal trial in california. the federal court in boston never allowed the fbi investigation of our bank and no onecontinue, associated with beacon press or prosecuted for criminal activity. [applause] what the government did to us as a continental religious denomination was unprecedented in the history of our nation.
the justice department investigated our entire denomination's financial affairs and threatened our association's staff members because one of our departments, beacon press, published one book that was controversial, a text that was already in the public domain. experiencece of our those 35 years ago, to secrecy and deception in government today is patently obvious. example, three of the issues and principles that were involved in our work actions were misuse of power of the justice department, invasion of privacy, and misuse of secrecy by the government.
all of those clearly apply to what is happening today. in his 1972 -- [applause] in his 1972 dissenting opinion in the gravel case, supreme court senator or supreme court storye douglas said, "the of the pentagon papers is a ofonicle of the suppression vital decisions to protect the reputations and political hides of men who work an amazingly successful scheme of deception on the mac and people -- on the american people. g [applause] and he went on to say in that decision he had no choice but to hold that it was the government that is lawless, not the press.
[applause] in 1971, senator gravel road, " the pentagon papers show that we have created a new culture, protected from the influence of american life by the shield of secrecy." and that same year, beacon press editor-in-chief arnold tovell spoke of the pentagon papers aiding those who try to unravel nation how well-meaning could have committed such a colossal blunder in its foreign affairs. closing, i would cite these words from my report to the 1973
words that assembly, could be spoken just as appropriately in this general assembly today -- we in this denomination have confidence in the democratic process. we want to make known our determination to resist every government intrusion upon constitutional liberties and to encourage others to also resist. movement, areious qualified by our nature, by our heritage, and indeed by our recent experience, to play significant significant role at this time in our history to help resist and reverse the ominous trend affecting constitutional liberties.
we can, and we will. [applause] >> robert west, you also paid a personal price, is this right, because her brother worked for the fbi at the time. >> yeah, he was a career -- she agent,0 year career fbi and he's 10 years older than i am. a time when i was going through washington national airport, i would just call him up and say hello. he worked out of the fbi agents office in alexandria. and one night he told me he would appreciate it if i wouldn't call him anymore.
,ut i will say this for him after he retired, we became very close friends, and the man was a liberal. [laughter] [applause] he ended up writing letters against president bush and against the iraq war and the newspapers in different parts of florida. he was a different person. and he was so looking forward to theook coming out, because longest chapter in it is about the pentagon papers, and he kept asking me about it in phone calls. and he died a week before the book was published. >> dan ellsberg, why don't you pick it up from there, and that is how what you did then relates to today. in the last few years, you have
been calling for people, who like you 35 years ago were inside the system, to step outside and to release an equivalent of the pentagon papers. do you think they exist -- the papers and these people who could step forward? course the papers exist. the pentagon papers, the equivalent of them, exist in saves in washington i'm all over washington, not only in the pentagon, but in the cia and the state department and elsewhere. realize the full meaning of those papers in their saves? yes. we know from many leaks and the more set of come out that there were people in the white house -- cia and the pentagon who realized we were being lied into a war, they realize that as early as 2001.
so my message, amy, over the last two years has been to officials in that position, whom there are hundreds, but only in 2001 and 2002, hundreds right now who could prevent a war with iran that is on the tracks right know, and they know would be disastrous. they could put that out with the authority of their position, but especially of documents, at the risk -- the certainty -- of losing their clearances, which would almost or would mean losing their career with the executive branch, possibly, very --ely, subject thing subjecting them to prosecution and conviction, possibly to prison. and by taking that risk, they chance of a high averting a catastrophe that would lead to the deaths of, hundreds of thousands of people and disastrously reduce our security.
they know that. so by taking their own personal risk, like the 5000 people who went to prison as draft resisters in vietnam and by the people here who took risks with their institution and their privacy, by taking that risk they could avert this. so my message is to them -- don't do what i did. don't wait until the war has started. don't wait until the bombs have fallen against around, or earlier, iraq. don't wait until the engine of this war is unstoppable. before the war, take the risk. reveal what you know to be the truth. reveal the truth under the lives of your own bosses and your superiors. ok your oath to the constitution, which every one of those officials took, not to the not toer-in-chief, superior officers, but to the