Anthony Russo, a researcher who helped leak the Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers to the media and spurred wider questioning of the war, has died, police said.
Russo, 71, died Wednesday in his native Suffolk, police records technician Susan Hart said Sunday. The cause was not immediately made public.
The case known as the Pentagon Papers began when Daniel Ellsberg, a top military analyst disillusioned with American policy, decided to release a top-secret, 47-volume Defense Department study of the U.S. role in Indochina over three decades. Russo helped him reproduce and distribute copies.
Ellsberg first offered the study to several members of Congress and government officials before deciding to leak it to newspapers. His action was branded by President Richard Nixon as treason.
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The government initially tried to stop publication of the Pentagon Papers, first in The New York Times and then in The Washington Post, prompting a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision barring prior restraint of free expression.
Ellsberg and Russo were charged with espionage, theft and conspiracy for the leak. In 1973, a federal judge dismissed the case, ruling the government was guilty of misconduct, including a break-in at the office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist denounced as having been orchestrated by White House officials seeking to discredit him.