On May 11, 1973, charges against Daniel Ellsberg for his role in the Pentagon Papers case were dismissed by Judge William Byrne, who cited government misconduct, including attempts to bribe Ellsberg into silence by offering him a high-level position at the FBI. Before his identity was reveled as the person who orchestrated the leaks, Ellsberg had been a top analyst for the RAND Corporation, advising the Defense and State Department.
Ellsberg blew the whistle on the secret actions by the U.S. government in Vietnam by releasing 7,000 classified government documents to The New York Times, which published select information. You can read a number of books and articles about the importance of Ellsberg’s work, but the documentary, The Most Dangerous Man in America, offers the most in-depth look at the historical importance, and scope of government backlash against whistleblowers.
Daniel Ellsberg continues to remain relevant in today’s world, most notably his support of Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks. Manning was arrested while serving in Iraq in May 2010, and is currently awaiting a trial date. His previous detention conditions have been sharply criticized by human rights activists and international organizations as psychological torture.