The Baltimore Sun


Leaked Pentagon Papers

Anthony J. Russo, a shaggy-haired, countercultural, unemployed policy wonk when he teamed up with Daniel Ellsberg, a more button-down anti-war figure, to leak the voluminous, top-secret government history of the Vietnam War called the Pentagon Papers, died Wednesday in Suffolk, Va.

Mr. Ellsberg announced Mr. Russo's death on the Web site antiwar.com. Mr. Russo suffered from heart trouble.

Mr. Russo chafed at being called the "Xerox aide" because of his role in finding a copying machine and working long nights to reproduce the 7,000-page study.

In fact, it was Mr. Russo's words - after weeks of conversations - that had definitively started the enterprise: "Let's do it!" he said, according to Mr. Ellsberg's book Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.

In June 1967, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara set up the Vietnam Study Task Force, ultimately employing 36 analysts and historians, to prepare a classified history of the Vietnam War from 1945 to 1967.

Its 47 volumes revealed conversations at the highest levels of government that sometimes directly contradicted official statements, including the timing and the scale of the U.S. troop buildup.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad