68 episodes

At the height of the Vietnam War, a government insider named Daniel Ellsberg leaked 7,000 pages of classified documents to American newspapers. The Pentagon Papers revealed that Americans had been lied to for decades about the war. Fifty years later, Ellsberg reveals his evolution from Cold Warrior to Whistleblower in the GroundTruth Podcast series The Whistleblower: Truth, Dissent and the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg.

Based at GBH in Boston, the award-winning GroundTruth Podcast has covered global affairs from the War in Afghanistan to rising populist nationalism through shoe-leather, on-the-ground reporting.

GroundTruth The GroundTruth Project

    • News
    • 4.7 • 201 Ratings

At the height of the Vietnam War, a government insider named Daniel Ellsberg leaked 7,000 pages of classified documents to American newspapers. The Pentagon Papers revealed that Americans had been lied to for decades about the war. Fifty years later, Ellsberg reveals his evolution from Cold Warrior to Whistleblower in the GroundTruth Podcast series The Whistleblower: Truth, Dissent and the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg.

Based at GBH in Boston, the award-winning GroundTruth Podcast has covered global affairs from the War in Afghanistan to rising populist nationalism through shoe-leather, on-the-ground reporting.

    Special Message to Listeners

    Special Message to Listeners

    After 10 seasons of the award-winning GroundTruth Podcast, we’re excited about what might come next. 

    But to find the best way forward, we want to hear from listeners like you: What stories do you feel are under-reported and need to be told? What questions do you have about the podcast?

    Give us your feedback and ask us questions about the GroundTruth podcast, about our mission and our vision and our service programs in the field Report for America and more newly launched Report for the World. Your questions might be featured on a special episode.

    And as a special thanks to loyal listeners, we'll send some very cool GroundTruth swag to the first three listeners who leave a voice message.

    Here are the instructions: 


    Call us at (339) 365-3754 and leave the message.
    In that voice message, share with us your feedback about the show: What seasons, episodes or topics you liked, and what you’d like to hear more of in the future. 
    Then, ask me questions about. It can be about the themes of different season , about particular interviews we featured, what we do here at GroundTruth – ask us anything.
    Finally, be sure to leave a call back number so we can get in touch about sending you some swag.

    • 1 min
    The Whistleblower - Epilogue: Truth Is the First Casualty

    The Whistleblower - Epilogue: Truth Is the First Casualty

    In war, truth is the first casualty.

    It's a military maxim attributed to Aeschylus, the father of Greek tragedy. In the lead up to the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and ahead of the withdrawal from a war that became the longest in American history, GroundTruth's founder Charlie Sennott returns to Afghanistan and revisits a conflict he has covered on the ground since its first battles and its first casualties.

    Two decades later, amid an American departure from Afghanistan that many have compared to the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War, Sennott examines the two conflicts: the government's lies and deceptions about Vietnam revealed by Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers, the lessons left unheeded by American leaders during the Afghan war, and why it took us so long to see the mounting lies of that war.

    This episode concludes The Whistleblower, our 10th season of the GroundTruth Podcast, which began with the award-winning series Foreverstan, on-the-ground reporting from Afghanistan examining the first 14 years of the war. Listen to our first season: http://bit.ly/Foreverstan-Podcast

    Now we’re going to take a step back and evaluate this podcast and think about our best way forward. How do we keep going and finding new ways to be there on the ground, telling audio stories that matter in under-covered corners of the world?

    We’d like to hear your thoughts about the podcast. Call us and leave a voice message with your feedback at ‪(339) 365-3754. We listen to everything you send us and we might even share some of them on this podcast.

    The Whistleblower podcast series is part of a wider collaboration with UMass Amherst and GBH, including a two-day conference presented by GroundTruth and UMass Amherst on “Truth, Dissent and the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg,” featuring a conversation between the Pentagon Papers whistleblower himself and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Learn more here: https://bit.ly/UMass-Ellsberg-Archive

    • 18 min
    The Whistleblower - Extra: Into the Archive

    The Whistleblower - Extra: Into the Archive

    A class of college students at UMass Amherst became the first group of researchers to take on Daniel Ellsberg's vast archive. For two students, it's more than a history project: It's a family story.

    We’d like to hear your thoughts about the podcast. Call us and leave a voice message with your feedback at ‪(339) 365-3754. We listen to everything you send us and we might even share some of them on this podcast.

    As we look ahead to Season 11 of the GroundTruth Podcast, we want to feedback from listeners like you: How do we keep going and finding new ways to be there on the ground, telling audio stories that matter in undercovered corners of the world?

    • 18 min
    The Whistleblower - Episode 5: The Doomsday Machine

    The Whistleblower - Episode 5: The Doomsday Machine

    Before he was helping plan the Vietnam War, Ellsberg was working at Rand Corporation as a nuclear war planner. In the late 1950’s and early 60’s, he came across a classified policy document that called for killing a fifth of the human population. “This, to me, was pure evil.” When he was facing trial for releasing the Pentagon Papers, he held another trove of secret documents on the Pentagon’s plans for nuclear war. His plan was to release these, most likely from prison. But in a strange twist, a natural disaster interrupted his plans.

    In the series finale, the whistleblower leaks documents on U.S. nuclear policy in the Taiwan Straits written by his colleague Morton Halperin at the height of the Cold War. The documents, embedded below, are still considered classified, and could put him at risk of prison time.

    This podcast series is part of a wider collaboration with UMass Amherst and GBH, including a two-day conference presented by GroundTruth and UMass Amherst on “Truth, Dissent and the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg,” featuring a conversation between the Pentagon Papers whistleblower himself and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Learn more here: http://umass.edu/ellsberg

    We’d like to hear your thoughts about the podcast. Call us and leave a voice message with your feedback at *‪(339) 365-3754*. We listen to everything you send us and we might even share some of them on this podcast.

    As we look ahead to the next season of the GroundTruth Podcast, we want to feedback from listeners like you: How do we keep going and finding new ways to be there on the ground, telling audio stories that matter in undercovered corners of the world?

    • 40 min
    The Whistleblower - Episode 4: Most Dangerous Man

    The Whistleblower - Episode 4: Most Dangerous Man

    Now facing a possible 115 years in prison, Daniel Ellsberg awaits his federal espionage trial. Meanwhile, Nixon unleashes his Plumbers in an attempt to silence Ellsberg, and Barbra Streisand sings for the defense! In this episode we trace the series of events that tied Daniel Ellsberg’s espionage trial to the fate of Richard Nixon’s presidency.

    This podcast series is part of a wider collaboration with UMass Amherst and GBH, including a two-day conference presented by GroundTruth and UMass Amherst on “Truth, Dissent and the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg,” featuring a conversation between the Pentagon Papers whistleblower himself and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Learn more here: http://umass.edu/ellsberg

    We’d like to hear your thoughts about the podcast. Call us and leave a voice message with your feedback at *‪(339) 365-3754*. We listen to everything you send us and we might even share some of them on this podcast.

    As we look ahead to the next season of the GroundTruth Podcast, we want to feedback from listeners like you: How do we keep going and finding new ways to be there on the ground, telling audio stories that matter in undercovered corners of the world?

    • 34 min
    The Whistleblower - Episode 3: The Presses Roll

    The Whistleblower - Episode 3: The Presses Roll

    On September 30, 1969, Daniel Ellsberg opened his newspaper to a story out of Vietnam that would act as the trigger for copying the Pentagon Papers. We pick up on this wild ride when he offers the papers to members of Congress, who shrugged him off. He then went to the New York Times, the first publication of the papers landed on the front page on June 13th, 1971. Over the next 13 days, an FBI manhunt swept the Boston area for Ellsberg and his wife Patricia. Upon turning himself in, Ellsberg had sent copies of the papers to 17 newspapers around the country.

    This podcast series is part of a wider collaboration with UMass Amherst and GBH, including a two-day conference presented by GroundTruth and UMass Amherst on “Truth, Dissent and the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg,” featuring a conversation between the Pentagon Papers whistleblower himself and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Learn more here: http://umass.edu/ellsberg

    We’d like to hear your thoughts about the podcast. Call us and leave a voice message with your feedback at *‪(339) 365-3754*. We listen to everything you send us and we might even share some of them on this podcast.

    As we look ahead to the next season of the GroundTruth Podcast, we want to feedback from listeners like you: How do we keep going and finding new ways to be there on the ground, telling audio stories that matter in undercovered corners of the world?

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
201 Ratings

201 Ratings

JasonB86 ,

Important history to remember & very well told

This is a great podcast. My dad was a Marine corporal in Vietnam from ‘67 - ‘69, so I’ve always had a interest in the Vietnam War & yet I never really knew this story. Ellsberg is true American hero for standing up & speaking out to expose the lies our govt was telling us. History repeated itself again with the Iraq war, so I hope we can remember this the next time our govt wants to get our country involved in another war & that we stop to question what they’re telling us rather than just taking their word for it. Mark my words, in the not too distant future they’ll be trying to convince us (they’ve actually already begun this convincing in the 50s & 60s) that we’re being threatened by a force that’s from outside our planet - that aliens from another world are trying to destroy us & the entire planet must work together to eliminate this threat. And the real mystery is whether we’ll stop to question that or go along with it.

Chef steve 66 ,

Very informative

Coming of age in the 60’s I was of course aware of Ellsberg but clearly did not know the whole story . Very interesting and from a historical perspective we can trace the peoples distrust of government with a straight line to our involvement in Vietnam . Looking forward to the next post. After what just happened in Afghanistan, not sure many lessons were learned . And here we are…..

asimmon ,

Learning what I missed as a child

I was born in 1962 so I was very young during the Vietnam War, but my parents also shielded me and my siblings from the news. As an adult I am fascinated with events from my younger years that I wasn’t aware of because I was so young and because I was shielded from the news. This podcast looks deeper into the events that happened in my younger years. It’s not just the news and facts of the events but the transformation and humanity of one person guided through the events. It’s also a behind the scenes of the news events which is scary in and of itself but also the possibilities of just how much scarier it could have been if one person, with the support of many others, had not stepped forward into the traffic of the war machine to save the child of our country.

Top Podcasts In News

The New York Times
The Daily Wire
NPR
Cumulus Podcast Network | Dan Bongino
Crooked Media
New York Times Opinion

You Might Also Like

PRX
Slate Podcasts
Wondery
C13Originals | Shining City Audio
The HISTORY Channel
The New York Times

More by WGBH

Molly of Denali
WGBH Educational Foundation
Pinkalicious & Peterrific
MASTERPIECE
NOVA NOW
Classical Performance