News Release

Whistleblowers Ellsberg, Gun Call for Massive Leaks on Iran


Shortly before the U.S./U.K. invasion of Iraq, in early 2003, Gun was a British government employee when she leaked a U.S. intelligence memo indicating that the U.S. had mounted a spying “surge” against delegations on the U.N. Security Council in an effort to win approval for an invasion of Iraq. President Bush continues to claim, as he claimed then, that “We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq.” (March 8, 2003).

Gun faced two years imprisonment under the British Official Secrets Act, but charges were dropped. She has written the article “Iran: Time To Leak,” which encourages government officials to leak documents to prevent war.
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After Ellsberg revealed the Pentagon Papers — top-secret government documents which showed a pattern of governmental deceit about the Vietnam War — in 1971, the Nixon White House indicted him for a possible 115-year sentence, used the White House “plumbers” to burglarize his doctor’s office, conducted warrentless wiretaps against him and attempted to physically assault him at a Capitol Hill rally.

He has just authored a piece in the forthcoming issue of Harper’s magazine, “The Next War,” in which he writes about his regret over not having leaked such documents in his possession in 1964, before the Johnson administration’s escalation of the war. He now believes such a course of action could have averted the war.

Similarly, he writes that officials in the Bush administration, like Richard Clarke, had they leaked documents showing the duplicity of the Bush administration during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, could well have prevented the war — though he notes the personal cost could have been tremendous.

Now, Ellsberg urges U.S. government officials to disclose internal controversy concerning an attack on Iran. While several government officials are anonymously voicing their concerns in some media outlets about what the Bush administration is planning on Iran, Ellsberg urges disclosure on a scale that would likely reveal the identity of a source.

Ellsberg said today: “Many officials are asking themselves: ‘How much can I put out without being found out?’ They should consider going beyond that and think of what they could achieve by massive disclosure that would sacrifice their clearance and career — but save many lives.”

Ellsberg emphasized that “What is needed is not leaking operational war plans, but rather the full internal controversy, the secret estimates of costs and prospects and dangers of war and nuclear ‘options’ — the Pentagon Papers of the Middle East.”

See Editor & Publisher’s article on Ellsberg’s proposal. Ellsberg is author of the book Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167