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Pentagon Papers New York Times headline
Debate Comparison

Publishing Secret Information

After 9/11, the public trusted the government's reports on its action in the war on terror. Yet whistleblowers before and since have leaked classified data they think the public has a right to know about, pitting a free press and government transparency against national security interests.

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Duration
60-90 minutes
Topic(s)
  • Journalism
  • National Security
  • Politics
  • Supreme Court
Grade(s)
  • 9-12
  • College/University

You're Exploring Freedom of Expression

Should top-secret information remain secret?

HISTORICAL ORIGINS
Courtroom sketch of The New York Times v. United States case.
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1971: Pentagon Papers Test Limits of a Free Press

The New York Times publishes a top-secret study of the Vietnam War over government objections and fights a restraining order in court.

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CONTEMPORARY CONSIDERATIONS

2013: Snowden Spills Government Secrets

NSA contractor Edward Snowden cooperates with journalist Glenn Greenwald, shown in photo, to leak classified information from the U.S. government.

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