The “Pentagon Papers” is the name commonly used to refer to the Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1967. The New York Times and the Washington Post began publishing portions of the report in 1971, which led to the first-ever federal injunction to stop a publication when the administration of President Richard Nixon claimed publication constituted a threat to national security. In a 6–3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the government had not met the “heavy burden” of proof required in cases where the government wants to restrain speech prior to publication. This entry first discusses the report, its publication, and the government efforts to stop publication. It ...

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