Video Statement by Pentagon Papers Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg

See also: Beyond Snowden: New Group to Clear a Path for More Whistleblowers

I’m very happy to join with other whistleblowers in supporting an organization called ExposeFacts, whose aim is to encourage whistleblowing and independent journalism, and preserve democracy.

All governments lie, and they all like to work in the dark as far as the public is concerned, in terms of their own decision-making, their planning — and to be able to allege, falsely, unanimity in addressing their problems, as if no one who had knowledge of the full facts inside could disagree with the policy the president or the leader of the state is announcing.

A country that wants to be a democracy has to be able to penetrate that secrecy, with the help of conscientious individuals who understand in this country that their duty to the Constitution and to the civil liberties and to the welfare of this country definitely surmount their obligation to their bosses, to a given administration, or in some cases to their promise of secrecy.

And as someone who served four different administrations, two Republican and two Democrat, I can say that when officials are assured that they will not be held accountable for their decision-making or for their choices or for their arguments or their considerations, even very intelligent men and women are capable of making crazy policies — stupid, disastrous — as we saw in Vietnam, and in Iraq, and right now on the subject of the climate.

The ability to know every aspect of a source’s dealings with a journalist, or with a member of Congress, really is a deadly threat to democracy. ExposeFacts is an organization that intends to counter that effect by making it more possible — in the face of this technological onslaught — to making it more possible for sources to tell their truths when government is off the rails here and to make it possible for us to get it back on track, to hold people accountable — in other words, to preserve democracy itself and its benefits, which are very very great. I’m proud to be a supporter of this organization, and I look forward to the change in atmosphere that it can bring about.

– Daniel Ellsberg