‘Pentagon Papers’ Figure Running for President 2020

The Story:

Michael Gravel, who is a former Senator (D) from Alaska and at 89 years something of a blast from the political past, is a declared candidate for the Presidential nomination of his party. It is unclear how serious he is about winning — but he is clear about wanting a position on debate stages in order to try to move his party away from an interventionist foreign policy.

Background:

Senator Gravel earned a place in history books in 1971, during the controversy over the so-called “Pentagon Papers,” documents detailing the US escalation of the Vietnam War which had been leaked illegally by Daniel Ellsberg. The New York Times and the Washington Post were printing these papers and the US Justice Department was trying to stop them.

Gravel helped ensure that the papers would remain publicly available when he read from them for hours at a Senate subcommittee hearing he chaired, submitted 4,100 pages of them into the Congressional Record, and then arranged for publication in book form by Beacon Press.

The Thing to Know:

A non-interventionist foreign policy isn’t merely one cause among many for Senator Gravel. It has been his life’s work for half a century.

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