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   from the issue of October 18, 2007

'Battle for the Pentagon Papers' events begin Oct. 30

The historical docudrama, "Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers," and related lectures will be featured on campus from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2.

Presented by L.A. Theatre Works, the docudrama is about the Washington Post's decision to publish the top-secret study documenting United States involvement in Vietnam. The subsequent trial tested the parameters of the First Amendment, pitting the public's right to know against the government's desire for secrecy. The legal battle between the government and the press went to the Supreme Court.

The play is based on interviews and documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. It follows the debate played out at Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee's home as his staff sorts through the documents and tries to decide if publishing the Pentagon Papers violates national security. The play includes their momentous decision and the legal wrangling that followed - leading to the historic decision that re-affirmed the First Amendment.

"Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. Tickets are $36 and $26, or half price for students with a valid NCard. For more information, go online to or call 472-4747.

The "Pentagon Papers" symposium will also include a number of free and open to the public presentations. Those speakers include:

• A discussion with Anthony Lewis and Robert O'Neil, moderated by Eric Berger, at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 30, Lied Center. O'Neil is director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of the Free Expression at the University of Virginia. Lewis is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and columnist for The New York Times.

• "The Role of the News Media," by Walter Pincus, 3:30 p.m. Oct. 31, Lied Center. Pincus is a Pulitzer Prize winner and national security reporter for the Washington Post.

• "The Need for New Pentagon Papers," by Daniel Ellsberg, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1, Lied Center. Ellsberg is the former Defense Department official who worked on the Top Secret McNamara study of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-68, which later came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. In 1969, he photocopied the 7,000 page study and gave it to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; in 1971 he gave it to 19 newspapers.



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