TrustMovies' only complaint about this fine new documentary is its title. What -- they couldn't have made it any longer? Prac-
tically paragraph-length already, THE MOST DAN-
GEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS at least makes sure you'll know exactly what this engrossing and oddly timely movie is all about.
It was Henry Kissinger, shown at extreme right -- no political pun intended -- with then-Presi-
dent Richard Nixon, who crowned Mr. Ellsberg with that name. If we knew then (the early 70s) what we later learned about Henry, many of us would have dismissed the name-calling out of hand -- along with so much else he said.
On a more personal note, the biggest surprise for me came when Egil "Bud" Krogh, part of the Nixon White House cover-up staff, goes on record in the film with very high praise for Mr. Ellsberg. I knew Krogh glancingly, from Principia College, the very small (500 students, back then) institute of higher learning reserved for those of the Christian Science religion, from which both Krogh and I grad-
uated within a year of each other. A decade later, we had Misters Halderman, Ehrlichman and Krogh (perhaps others, too) connected to the Nixon White House -- all members of this particular faith and all serving near the highest corridors of power.
At the time of Watergate, this Christian Science connection came clearly to the fore, and it in no way surprised those of us disen-
chanted with the religion because, as some of us learned from our Principia experience, the pressure to conform to the group-think of this school and its religion (more often than not right-wing, Repub-
lican and moneyed) was immense. And, yes, yours truly was right there, conforming with the best of them! (A roommate of mine, a non-conformist at that time, headed the Young Democrats group on campus, of which he was, I believe, the only member -- or at least the only member I knew of.) Though separation of church and state was still a "given" at that time, I have always felt that a bit of the barrier to this separation had been chipped away by the Christian Science connection. And so this may explain why I felt such a surge of delight at hearing, toward the end of this excellent documentary, the present-day Mr. Krogh praise Ellsberg and his actions.
President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger c.1970,Courtesy of Air Force Magazine.
Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith, co-directors and co-producers of the film; photo by Lynn Adler/Kovno Communication
Daniel Ellsberg, in uniform in Vietnam, c.1968,
courtesy of Daniel and Patricia Ellsberg.
Daniel Ellsberg (at microphone), his collaborator in the release of the Pentagon Papers Tony Russo (with striped tie) and Patricia Ellsberg, courtesy of AP / Wide World Photos.
Daniel and Patricia Ellsberg, courtesy of Daniel and Patricia Ellsberg.
Daniel Ellsberg, photo by Joseph Daniel/Kovno Communications.