Economy

Daniel Schorr's 'Leak' Recalled By Famous Leaker Ellsberg

Daniel Schorr

hide captionIn a September 15, 1976 photo, reporter Daniel Schorr, center, with Lisbeth, his wife beside him, appears before the House Ethics Committee in Washington. 

Bob Daugherty/AP

Remembering Daniel Schorr, who died Friday, his fellow leaker Daniel Ellsberg noted that they each had been confronted with questions about motivation and profit.

In 1976, Schorr leaked the Pike report — the findings of an Intelligence Committee investigation into questionable CIA activities, which the House had voted to keep secret — to the Village Voice. Schorr asked the Voice to make a donation to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

"He asked them, since they were printing it for their profit, to make a contribution to a journalists' defense fund," said Ellsberg, who gained notoriety in 1971 upon leaking the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times and other newspapers.

"I could very well have made such a condition, if I had thought of it, when I gave it to The New York Times," Ellsberg said.

And, he added, he wouldn't have minded if the Times had reimbursed him for all his copying costs. But it was lucky they hadn't. Solicitor General Erwin Griswold, Ellsberg's prosecutor, searched high and low for evidence that he had profited in any way from the leak.

Even Schorr asking for a donation from the Voice raised questions about whether he had profited financially from his leak. He hadn't. But the transaction may have cost Schorr anyway.

At the time, Schorr accused the Reporters Committee, which had put him in touch with a lawyer to aid publication of the report in book form, of having blown his cover.

"I am fully aware," Schorr said, "of the irony of my complaining about leaks."

Committee members denied Schorr's accusations. And, it seems, Schorr didn't hold a grudge.

"He's been totally lovely with us," said Lucy Dalglish, the group's current executive director, who noted that Schorr regularly attended its book and fundraising events. "If he was ticked off at the Reporters Committee, you could have fooled me."

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