Daniel Ellsberg

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Daniel Ellsberg (born April 7, 1931) is a former United States military analyst who, while employed by the RAND Corporation, precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of US government decision-making about the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers.

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Early life and career

Ellsberg was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1931 to Christian Scientist ethnic Jewish parents and raised in a devout Christian atmosphere. He grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and attended Cranbrook School. His mother had wanted her son to be a concert pianist but he stopped playing in July 1946 when she was killed in a car crash, together with his sister, after his father fell asleep at the wheel of the car in which the family was traveling and crashed into a culvert wall.[1]

Ellsberg attended Harvard University on a scholarship, graduating with B.S. in economics in 1952 (summa cum laude). He then studied at Cambridge University on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and one year later he returned to Harvard for graduate school. In 1954, he left Harvard for the U.S. Marine Corps.[2] He graduated first in a class of almost 1,100 lieutenants at the Marine Corps Basic School in Quantico, Virginia.[citation needed] He served as a platoon leader and company commander in the Marine 2nd Infantry Division, and after satisfying his two year Reserve Officer commitment was discharged from the Corps as a first lieutenant in 1957.[2] He resumed graduate studies at Harvard, but after two years he interrupted his academic studies again, to work at RAND, where he concentrated on nuclear strategy.[2] He earned a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard in 1962.[2] His dissertation introduced a paradox in decision theory now known as the Ellsberg paradox.

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