Daniel Ellsberg, whose release of secret government documents to The New York Times during the Vietnam War tested the limits of national security and freedom of information, knows a thing or two about being a pariah of the state.
His statement was part of a release from the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. SAAII is a group of former CIA colleagues and other admirers of former intelligence analyst Sam Adams (the revolutionary beer dude), “who hold up his example as a model for those who would aspire to the courage to speak truth to power.”
The group gave Assange their annual award for integrity back in October. “WikiLeaks has teased the genie of transparency out of a very opaque bottle, and powerful forces in America, who thrive on secrecy, are trying desperately to stuff the genie back in.”
Ellsberg rejects the idea that his actions are different than those of Julian Assange. “That’s just a cover for people who don’t want to admit that they oppose any and all exposure of even the most misguided, secretive foreign policy. The truth is that EVERY attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time.”
While Ellsberg was never accused of rape, the American government did put him on trial for theft and conspiracy and attempted to stolen medical files to discredit him smear his mental state.
One difference in this case, is that while Ellsberg and Assange may share the role of enemy #1 to the United States government, Assange has also managed to unite disparate states, banks and other powerful entities from around the globe in wanting to see him silenced.