Is WikiLeaks the Pentagon Papers, Part 2? Parallels, and differences, exist

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A voluminous cache of secret documents is leaked, shedding new light on official statements and drawing into question some of the rationale for America's involvement in a murky, distant and long-running war.

That would accurately describe the publication in 1971 of the Pentagon Papers, the Defense Department's secret history of the Vietnam War that revealed a "credibility gap" between the Johnson administration's public statements and its private actions.

It might also describe the leak Sunday of thousands of official military documents characterizing the U.S. military's prosecution of the war in Afghanistan.

In the wake of the release of the Afghan documents, the link between the two leaks 39 years apart was made by Julian Assange, the Australian who is the key proprietor of WikiLeaks, the whistleblower Web site that posted the documents and orchestrated their simultaneous publication by the New York Times, the Guardian newspaper of Great Britain and Der Spiegel magazine of Germany. It also was made by Daniel Ellsberg, the renegade Rand Corp. researcher who leaked the Pentagon Papers, first to the New York Times and later to The Washington Post and other newspapers....

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