A.J. Daverede wheels a cart loaded with document boxes into his office at the National Archives.
“This is them,” he says. “Eleven boxes constitute the entirety of the report of the Vietnam Task Force. You just start here: box one.”
Forty years ago, on June 13, 1971, The New York Times published portions of these documents, better known as the Pentagon Papers. On Monday, for the first time, the government released all 7,000 pages of the report with no redactions.
The fact that Daverede, who works in the National Declassification Center, is able to open the boxes in the presence of someone without top-level security clearance is an accomplishment. On the blue paper cover of the report, it says “Top Secret ”” Sensitive,” and until Monday, it was.
“This is the real Pentagon Papers,” Daverede says. “This isn’t a reprint. This isn’t a redacted copy. This isn’t what, you know, The New York Times had. This is the real deal.”
Daverede, who grew up during the Vietnam War, was instrumental in making every word of the papers finally available to the public.
WaPo: The Pentagon Papers.
Archive.gov: Pentagon Papers.