Complete Pentagon Papers


In 1967, a history of the United States’ involvement in Indochina was commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, who had become increasingly sceptical about the Vietnam War. The work continued for eighteen months, resulting in some 2.5 million words of narrative text and accompanying documents. The study was meant to be kept secret, but was leaked to the New York Times by Daniel Ellsberg, one of the government officials who had worked on it. Lengthy portions were published in 1971 by the New York Times and other newspapers under the title of The Pentagon Papers


Washington, D.C., September 16, 2011 – For the first time ever, all three major editions of the Pentagon Papers are being made available simultaneously online. The posting today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (, allows for a unique side-by-side comparison, showing readers exactly what the U.S. government tried to hide for 40 years by means of deletions from the original text.

To make the most of this new resource, the Archive is unveiling a special contest inviting readers to make their own nominations for the infamous “11 words” that some officials tried to keep secret even this year!

Today’s posting includes the full texts of the “Gravel” edition entered into Congressional proceedings in 1971 by Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) and later published by the Beacon Press, the authorized 1971 declassified version issued by the House Armed Services Committee with deletions insisted on by the Nixon administration, and the new 2011 “complete” edition released in June by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Accompanying the posting is the National Security Archive’s invitation for readers to identify their own favorite nominees for the “11 words” that securocrats attempted to delete during the declassification process for the Papers earlier this year, until alert NARA staffers realized those words actually had been declassified back in 1971. Best submissions for the “11 words” — as judged by National Security Archive experts — will appear in the Archive’s blog, Unredacted, and on the Archive’s Facebook page.


Check out today’s posting at the Archive’s website –


All Three Versions Posted, Allowing Side-by-Side Comparison

What Were the 11 Missing Words?
Enter the National Security Archive’s Reader Contest!

For more information contact:
John Prados – 202/994-7000


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