Daniel Ellsberg, a former consultant for the Department of Defense who famously leaked “The Pentagon Papers” to the New York Times in 1971, has revealed that he is in the final stages of cancer and does not expect to survive.
“On Feb. 17, without much warning, I was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer on the basis of a CT scan and an MRI,” the 91-year-old whistleblower disclosed on Facebook Thursday.
According to Ellsberg, the cancer was discovered incidentally during a medical examination for a minor issue, and he did not experience any early symptoms. Doctors have informed him that he has three to six months to live. Despite this diagnosis, Ellsberg has stated that he is not interested in receiving chemotherapy.
The Pentagon Papers, officially called the Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force, contained confidential information about the United States’ involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967, including a 20-year war that led to the deaths of nearly 60,000 Americans before the U.S. withdrew in 1975. Ellsberg, who helped draft the 7,000-page report, became disillusioned with the war.
In a Facebook post, the former Marine stated that he is not experiencing any pain and is receiving excellent hospice care. Despite the bleak prognosis, he found a silver lining in his situation.
“My cardiologist has given me license to abandon my salt-free diet of the last six years,” Ellsberg celebrated. “This has improved my quality of life dramatically: the pleasure of eating my former favorite foods!”
Following his diagnosis, Ellsberg, who has written several books, has participated in various webinars and interviews on topics that he finds engaging, such as Ukraine and the First Amendment.
“It turns out that I *live* better under a deadline!” he joked.
According to Ellsberg, he was ready to spend the rest of his life in jail when he leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1969. However, due to investigative misconduct, espionage charges against him were dropped in 1973. The publication of the top-secret information he revealed helped to make the Vietnam War less popular in the United States.
Ellsberg wrote that he considers himself to have led a “very privileged and lucky life” that has given him the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world.