This case came at a time when America was at unrest. A .
controversial war had divided the country. Opinions and arguments .
about whether the US involvement in Vietnam was warranted occupied the .
minds of American citizens. The people were hungry for information .
regarding the war. The Pentagon Papers, somehow leaked to the New York .
Times and Washington Post, fulfilled this need of the people for .
information. The government's assumption of prior restraint seemed to .
be a major blow to free speech and a sharp addition to the power of .
the government. The appellate courts' indecisiveness brought the .
ultimate decision to the Supreme Court. There was a deep division of .
opinion even among the Justices, and their decision landmarked what .
had been previously uncharted waters. The background to this landmark .
case has at its roots U.S. policies in Southeast Asia. These policies, .
which eventually led to the Vietnam War, were sharply criticized in a .
study authorized by Secretary of State Robert S. McNamara in 1967. .
This 47-volume study, officially named History of United States .
Decision-Making Process on Viet Nam Policy, have come to be known as .
the Pentagon Papers. These papers detailed the entire history of our .
involvement in Vietnam from World War II to the beginning of the Paris .
peace talks. Daniel Ellsberg, an employee of a California think tank, .
was given access to this study. This think tank held Defense .
Department contracts to analyze American strategy in Vietnam. Ellsberg .
had become convinced that our involvement in Vietnam was a mistake, .
and that American forces should be withdrawn immediately. Ellsberg and .
a man named Anthony Russo then photocopied the papers in a Los Angeles .
advertising office. Believing that these papers strongly supported his .
views, Ellsberg delivered a copy of the Pentagon Papers to Senator .
William Fulbright, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. .
Still however, neither party made the papers public.