The Post (2017) Script

Well, take me back down where cool water flow, yeh

Let me remember things I love Dan. Your rifle.

All right, do them all.

First and second squad, too.

Stoppin' at the log where catfish bite Who's the longhair?

That's Ellsberg. Works for Lansdale at the embassy.

He's observing.

I can hear the bull frog callin' me

Wonder if my rope's still hangin' to the tree Let's move out.

Let's go. Moving out.

Love to kick my feet way down the shallow water Shoe fly, dragon fly, get back to your mother I'll take good care of it.

Skip it across Green River


Bravo 27, this is Kilo 4 Tango.

Fire mission. Grid 298471.

Lay down.

Just hang in there, buddy. They're gonna fix you up.

Dan?

Dan?

Dan!

Secretary would like a word. You wanna follow me?

Well, you can say what you want to the President.

I've read every one of Ellsberg's reports... and I'm telling you, it's just not the case.

Dan, you know Mr. Komer.

He's been discussing the war with the President... and, well, his sense is that we've made real progress over the past year... but I've been doing my own review, and it seems to me... that things have gotten worse.

But neither of us have been in the field.

You have, you're the one who knows.

So, what do you say?

Are things better or worse?

Well, Mr. Secretary... what I'm most impressed by is how much things are the same.

You see, that's exactly what I'm saying.

We put another hundred thousand troops into the field, things are no better.

To me, that means things are actually worse.

Thank you, Dan.

Mr. Secretary!

Mr. Secretary! Sir!

How was your trip, sir? Sir.

Good afternoon, gentlemen.

I don't have any prepared remarks... but I'd be very happy to take your questions one at a time.

Jim. Mr. Secretary...

I'm wondering if the trip left you optimistic or pessimistic... about our prospects in this war and our ability to win it.

He asked whether I was optimistic or pessimistic.

Today, I can tell you that military progress over the past 12 months... has exceeded our expectations.

We're very encouraged by what we're seeing in Vietnam.

In every respect, we're making progress.

And I'm especially pleased to have had Bob Komer along for the trip.

So he could see for himself that we've been showing great improvement... in every dimension of the war effort.

Derek.


Good night, Dan.

Good night, Dan. Night, guys.

You okay, Dan?

Yeah. Yeah, thought I'd forgot something.

I didn't.

Next left on Melrose.


We have committed ourselves to the cause... of a just and peaceful world order through the United Nations.

"May 3rd, 1950.

"President Truman approved $10 million

"in military aid to Indochina."

America's leadership and prestige depend... on how we use our power in the interests of world peace.

"I feel concerned about paragraph six...

"which gives authority to control

"general elections in Vietnam."

The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war.

"May 11th, 1961.

"President Kennedy orders

"a full examination by the Defense Department...

"of a possible commitment of U. S. forces to Vietnam."

We are not about to send American boys...

9 or 10,000 miles away from home... to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.

"President Johnson chose to reaffirm the Kennedy policies.

"Military operations should be initiated

"under close political control."


Can we just do the numbers just one more time?

The company's selling how many shares?

1.35 million shares.

And the price range is?

Between $24.50 and $27 per share.

Not exactly a huge difference.

For them. But, you know, the bankers always do fiddle with the prices.

But for us, that's over $3 million... and that represents over five years' salary for 25 good reporters.

Good. But why spend in the newsroom?

You're far less profitable than Gannett or Knight or Ridder.

Gannett and Knight and Ridder own monopoly papers in smaller cities.

And our readers are leaders, you know.

They're educated. They demand more.

That's why we invest in really good reporters.

And so...

Because quality and profitability do go hand in hand.

See? Yeah.

You know all this already. Oh, gosh!

I don't know if I do.

I should get to breakfast. Yeah.

We don't want Paul or Arthur too antsy this afternoon.

No.

Good luck.

And thank you, Fritz. Mmm-hmm.

See you downtown. I'll see you.

You think this is really necessary?

Oh, God, yes.

Darling, you should hear how they talk at these meetings.

It's as if it's in a foreign language.

No, I meant taking the company public.

It seems we are cash poor.

You know, barely solvent.

That's the newspaper business.

That's our newspaper business... and we need the public offering to stay in business and to continue to grow.

That's what Fritz says.

And he also says that the family can maintain control if we...

Anyway, I'm just not sure your grandfather... would have wanted us to give up any control at all.

- Hello? Mrs. Graham?

Yes? This is she.

Please hold for the Chief of Staff.

Who is it?

Haldeman.

Mrs. Graham, Bob Haldeman.

Yes, hello.

We've got a bit of an issue over here.

Oh?

Well, that makes perfect sense.

Do you agree with that?

Without a doubt.

Oh, Jesus.

I'm so sorry.

Sorry, sorry, sorry. Good morning.

So late. I had to get all this stuff together... and then I had an unexpected call.

Well, what is with the suitcase?

Ben, I told you, this is the day.

We're meeting with the bankers today.

Oh, yes. Right, right. You know this.

I bet you every dollar in my wallet that you are the only person... in that boardroom who's read through all that nonsense.

I'm probably the only one who needs to.

What do you think of Neil Sheehan?

Oh, gosh, his coverage of Vietnam is just absolutely marvelous.

Why?

You thinking of trying to steal him from The Times?

I'm not sure we can afford him.

He... He hasn't had a piece in three months.

Oh?

Do you think he's onto something?

Well, I saw Abe at a dinner party last week and he was looking mighty, mighty smug.

Doesn't he always?

So who was it?

Who was what?

Your unexpected call.

Oh, I buried the lede.

The White House.

Haldeman rang. Yeah?

It seems the President has decided not to provide Judith... with credentials to cover the Nixon wedding.

Jesus Christ. Yeah.

They said we could send another reporter.

Oh, yeah? Can't believe that.

I know, I know.

But... But what?

I'm not sure I entirely blame the President on this one, Ben.

No?

Would you want Judith to cover your daughter's wedding?

Well, my daughter's only 10 years old...

I think she burned her bridges when she crashed Julie's reception.

They're being punitive. Her pen is so sharp.

Of course it's punitive. This is punitive.

Of course it's punitive.

She compared Tricia Nixon to a vanilla ice cream cone.

Yeah, she did. Yeah.

I mean, why would her father want Judy to cover his daughter's wedding?

Oh, come on.

I just...

Are you sure we're striking the right tone here, Ben?

Oh, we're gonna do this again?

No. Uh, the New Style section.

Sometimes that stiletto party coverage can be a little mean.

I'm handling it. I'm looking for a new editor.

Yes, are you? Because I know I've talked to you about this before.

You are losing female readership, you know.

And I think you might want to focus more on what women read...

Katharine, keep your finger outta my eye.

You...

These breakfasts were your idea, you know.

Yes. And you are the publisher and you are my boss.

And I, uh... I value the input, but I... I heard you the first three times.

You know, I just think there might be another way... that we could cool it with the White House.

Maybe we could just send somebody else, you know...

Nope, nope. Nope. I'm not gonna send another reporter.

Because it's not hard news, Ben.

It's just a wedding.

It's not just a wedding.

It's a wedding of the daughter of the President of the United States.

Why not let that girl have her day?

And we can't have an administration dictating to us our coverage... just because they don't like what we print about them in our newspaper.

Wonder if Abe cares so passionately about who covers the wedding for his paper.

I don't give a rat's ass what Abe or anybody at The New York Times cares about.

Not true. I give one rat's ass.

Yeah. One retromingent... rat's ass.


Well, it's real important.

Can you get him for me?

Tell them it's from Sheehan. Don't walk.


It's from Sheehan.

Abe, here it is.

Okay, Broder's got Nixon working on his second term.

Osnos has something on G. I. s buying heroin in Saigon... but Ryder's got a rocket on the FBI list of potential subversives.

Save it for the afternoon.

I need Chal and Judith.

Judith!

Is that real, the subversives list?

Oh, yeah. Hoover and Justice keep a copy.

Thousands of names.

Geyelin heard the White House is shutting Judith out.

Yeah, I'm working on that.

We think editorial should run something.

I just heard somebody say they're working on that.

Well, if the White House is gonna take a stance like that... don't you think we should plant a flag?

Did you see Sheehan at the Kissinger press conference?

No.

What about the Al Haig thing?

No, Times sent the new kid.

The new kid, huh?

You think Sheehan's onto something.

Yeah.

Well, Neil has been known to disappear.

No, no. I'm telling you, he has something.

You want me to do a little digging?

No, that's below your pay grade.

Intern!

You working on anything important, chief?

Uh, no, Mr. Bradlee.

Well, everything we do is important at The Post.

Yeah. That's $40.

I want you to take the first train up to New York... and go to The Times building on 43rd.

Don't tell them who you work for... but find a reporter by the name of Sheehan.

Uh, Neil Sheehan?

Yeah, yeah, find out what Neil Sheehan is working on.

Is that legal?

Well, what is it you think we do here for a living, kid?

Get a receipt for the tickets.

Yeah.

Morning, Mrs. Graham. Hello, morning.

Hello. Morning, everybody.

Hi, Oz. Mrs. Graham.

Morning, Arthur.

Hello. Hello, everyone.

So, everyone's here.

Hello, Ray. My Galahad. Good morning.

Thank you.

And I used to be the only one who brought his homework to class.

I think we're all here. Should we get started?

Didn't you crash the wedding of Nixon's other daughter to get a story?

Well, I did get a story but I didn't crash Julie's wedding.

No, just the reception afterwards, right?

There is a distinction.

Not to the father of the bride.

He's paying per plate.

I think the American people are paying per plate.

Wait, let's do a story about that.

Yeah, let's... Judith should crash again.

I didn't crash Julie's wedding.

What would you call it, Judith?

Well, I would call it deft reportage.

All right, come on, come on, everybody.

How are we gonna cover this Nixon-Cox wedding?

Uh... Who else is gonna be there?

Here. Judith's got the guest list.

No, I mean of the other press.

The Times, the Sun, the Globe, all the international papers.

All right.

So, we call them, we call all of them... and we say Nixon has shut us out... and then we ask them for their notes.

Ben, there's no way in hell anyone's gonna give me a fill.

No, it'll be an act of solidarity.

They'll be defending the First Amendment.

We'll tell them that the only way to protect the right to publish... is to publish.

I don't understand.

You said we'd set the price at $27.

No, we said there was a range.

And the demand on the road show was soft.

Why not set it at $26? Or $25 even?

Well, Paul, we feel that setting the price at $24.50 would be more prudent.

It's just a couple bucks.

It's not just a couple of bucks.

It's 1.35 million shares... so it is...

Three million.

Over $3 million less. That's a lot to a newspaper.

How many reporters is that?

It's 25.

Let's not get bogged down.

It has to be quite a few.

At least a dozen. Fritz?

It's 25 reporters.

Twenty-five reporters.

Twenty-five reporters.

Gentlemen, we know it's not ideal... but a few of our investors balked at the nature of the company.

They don't like newspapers?

They like Gannett and Knight and Ridder... but frankly they're concerned about your ability to turn a serious profit.

Gannett and Knight and Ridder own monopoly papers in smaller markets.

That's why they're more profitable.

The whole point of the offering is to grow... while investing in the quality of the paper.

Kay and I have talked a great deal about this... and we believe that improving quality... will naturally lead to greater profitability.

Unfortunate.

It's more than unfortunate.

Doesn't this happen all the time?

Bankers lowering the price for their institutional investors.

Fritz, isn't this what we discussed?

I think the family should consider giving up some control.

Maybe another board seat. Absolutely not.

This isn't a surprise, Fritz. Ever since Phil's accident...

Arthur.

No offense, Kay. It's unfortunate... but the buyers are obviously skittish about having a woman in charge... and it's not like it's an easy sell.

It's a local paper with modest margins, modest ambitions.

I think Mr. Bradlee would take issue with that characterization.

Sure, she pads his budget every year.

Call my office. Tell them I'm going to miss my lunch at Occidental.

Another dozen reporters. For what?

To nip at the heels of The Times?

So we can pretend like we're even remotely in the same league?

Make it a five o'clock drink at the Jefferson.

Arthur, Kay was right. Lazard is just trying... to cut a better deal by squeezing us.

Come on, Fritz.

Why do you think that is?

Because they're bankers.

Which is why they want more control.

They want assurances that she's not gonna squander it all.

I mean, come on.

Fritz, Kay throws a great party... but her father gave the paper to her husband.

The only reason she's running things is because he... Because Phil died.

Don't get me wrong, I think she is a lovely woman.

But she got rid of Al Friendly... and brought in a pirate who does nothing but bleed our margins.

I mean, you can't be surprised that the buyers are concerned... that she doesn't have the resolve to turn a serious profit.

Kay, it's your decision... but in my opinion, if you want this to be more than a little family paper... it has to be more than a little family business.

Thank you, Arthur, for your frankness.

All right.

We're set?

All set, Mr. Parsons.

Accident...

It wasn't an accident.

Phil's suicide.

I don't know why people insist on calling it an accident.

Is it to make them feel better?

Or do they think they're being kind?

I don't know, I don't know.

So, do you think I should give up more seats on the board?

Of course not.

We're going to be fine.

Hmm.

This passage in the prospectus, I read it earlier today.

Oh, yes.

"In the unlikely instance of disaster

"or catastrophic event...

"in the week following the initial public offering...

"Lazard Frères and Company retains

"full right to cancel the issue."

It's boilerplate, Kay.

It's standard contractual language.

But, so, the bankers could pull out.

Only if there's a true disaster.

Ben gets hit by a truck... the world runs outta newspaper ink... the truck goes around the block and hits Ben again...

You think one of those is possible.

No, I don't... but, you know, the Nixon White House is nothing if not vindictive.

Just this morning... they barred us from covering Tricia Nixon's wedding.

Somehow, I doubt that will rise to the level of catastrophe.

I know. Rrobably not.

Although, when Ben sets his mind to plunder... it's not hard to imagine something more serious.

Catastrophic events... do occur, you know.

Yeah, but the right to cancel is only for a week.

A week from the public offering.

Seven days after they ring that bell on Tuesday... the deal is done.

Hmm.

It's gonna be fine, Kay.

Jesus.

Do you know what floor the newsroom's on?

Five.

Uh, no, no, six, yeah. Six.

Things are heating up in East Pakistan?

Well, five million refugees could destabilize West Bengal.

So, Lindsay's lowering the boom tomorrow.

They gotta cut 100 million.

Gonna be some blood on the floor of Gracie Mansion.

I heard the Mayors gave it to Nixon in Philly.

Yeah, Tolchin's down there. He's filing.

Take a look at this.

Any of you guys see that piece on the hijacking?

Jeez, there's been another hijacking?

You think six pages is enough?

Well, we got three columns on the front page. I'll take it.

On the flight? On the flight.

Can I help you, Mac?

Just delivering a package to Mr. Meetson.

Mattson. I'll see that he gets it.

I knew a couple whose yacht was shipwrecked in the South Racific.

Hold on, quiet.

I knew a couple whose yacht was shipwrecked in the South Racific.

It looks bleak, so the man asks...

"Does the will take care of the kids?" His wife nods.

"What about your mother?" "Yes."

"Okay, did we donate to Nixon?"

His wife shakes her head. "Yes."

"Did we pledge or give?"

"We pledged."

"Thank God," shouts the man. "Nixon'll find us.

"We're saved!"

Well, speaking of Nixon, I just talked to Kissinger... who was going on about the end of the China embargo.

He's convinced it's a rather clever geopolitical move.

I think this is our cue, ladies.

Someone at this table of luminaries must have an idea what they're up to.

I wonder what his buddy Joe McCarthy would say.

The New Style Section did a lovely piece on Lawrence Durrell.

It's about time Style had a good piece.

I think it's a bit improved.

I hear he's at work on another series of novels.

I hear he's at work on finding a fourth wife.

I will say, he's one of the few individuals... who could probably cozy up to communist China... without fear of major political cost.

Eh, but is Nixon that smart?

He never laughed at one of my jokes.

Oh, Kay, I don't know how you do it.

I don't know how you keep up with it all when you have this day job.

You need to read more books.

Kay, could I have just a word?

Um...

Everything all right?

Marg okay? Yes, she's fine.

Said the procedure went very well.

Oh, good, I've been meaning to...

I...

I wanted to tell you, and I want you to hear from me first... there's an article about me coming out in The Times tomorrow.

It's not flattering.

Running? Me?

Now, you know me better than that.

Three days and three nights and not a word.

Well, I've been very busy.

For all I knew you were lying in the gutter somewhere... with a knife in your back.

Lying in the gutter?

Now, look, sweetheart, I'll tell you what happened.

I was in Birmingham.

Birmingham?

Hello?

Hello, Ben.

Hello, Katharine.

I'm sorry to bother you so late.

Listen, were you able to make any headway with Mr. Sheehan?

No, no. I haven't.

I just had an odd conversation with Bob McNamara... and I think The Times may have a big story tomorrow.

Oh, damn it.

You know, he wouldn't give me any details... but Bob said it was quite detrimental to him and...


Ben!

We got 'em.

We got 'em.

Huh?

Yeah, quite good. The happy couple.

Hey, chief! Mr. Bradlee.

So, did you track down Sheehan?

No, but, I saw a mock-up of tomorrow's front page.

There's a big gap.

Nothing there but the name.

Shit.

Shit.

Shit!

Give us three. Here you go.

Here, here, here. Thank you, thank you.

Thanks, got it.

General Haig, sir.

- Hi, Al. Yes, sir.

What about the casualties last week?

You got that figure yet?

No, sir, but I think it's gonna be quite low.

Fine.

Okay. Nothing else of interest in the world today?

Yes, sir. Very significant... this goddamn New York Times exposé...

...of the most highly classified documents of the war.

You mean that was leaked out of the Pentagon?

The whole study that was done for McNamara.

This is a devastating, uh, security breach... of the greatest magnitude of anything I've ever seen.

Well, what's being done about it then?

Did we know this was coming out?

No, we did not, sir.

I have Doctor Kissinger.

Henry, the thing to me is just unconscionable.

This is treasonable action on the part of the bastards that put it out.

I'm absolutely certain... that this violates all sorts of security laws.

People have gotta be put to the torch for this sort of thing.

Christ! McNamara knew we couldn't win in '65.

That's six goddamn years ago.

Well, at least we got the wedding.

Is anybody else tired of reading the news instead of reporting it?

Do we have any leads?

There's a guy Rhil and I know in Boston... who worked at Defense when McNamara commissioned the study.

All right, call him.

Anybody else?

So that's it?

Our best goddamn lead is coming from editorial?

Well, we are sucking hind tit in our own backyard.

Ben, come on, it's one story.

No, it's 7,000 pages... detailing how the White House has been lying about the Vietnam War for 30 years.

It's Truman and Eisenhower and Jack and LBJ lying.

Lying about Vietnam.

And you think that's one story?

Let's do our jobs.

Find those pages!

Ben, uh...

I might have something. Maybe.

Well, let me know when it's a little less wishy-washy.

I'm gonna go chase down a lead of my own.

Why don't you cut your bangs, just a little bit?

Mummy, I'm right in the middle.

It's a bit hard to read, isn't it?

Harder for you, I imagine.

No.

Why?

These were your people...

McNamara and Kennedy and Johnson.

Well, Jack and Lyndon were your father's friends.

You flew down to Texas with Lyndon the weekend after his convention.

That's your fault. You wanted to see his helicopter land.

And the instant he saw you, he invited you to the ranch.

Oh, well, he just wanted the paper to endorse.

Yes, but my point is you had Steve and Bill waiting at home.

You had houseguests... I know.

...waiting at the farm.

You had nothing but dirty clothes in your suitcase.

How do you know what I had in my suitcase?

Yet you jumped on Air Force One, spent the weekend...

I did not jump.

...swimming and speed-boating...

You and Luvie Pearson said I had to go!

...with Lyndon and Lady Bird.

It's hard to say...

"no" to the Rresident of the United States.

Were you expecting someone?

At this hour?

I hope I'm not too early.

Not at all. Must be urgent.

Where's your sister?

That's my tea, darling.

Where's your sister? Let's go find her.

Let's go find her.

I trust you saw The New York Times.

Hmm.

The study, the one they are working off of... that was commissioned by Robert McNamara.

Yeah.

And if he commissioned it, he might have a copy.

I don't need to tell you that finding a source... it's like finding a needle in a haystack.

I don't need the metaphor.

Well, I haven't been a writer for a while so that old cliche... that was the best comparison I could come up with.

I need a copy of that study, Kay.

Give her the ball, Ben.

Here you go. Thank you.

You know, Ben, as much as I do relish a good investigative assignment...

Bob McNamara is an old friend.

He's going through a lot in his life right now.

I just think he's probably said all he wants to say.

Why do you think?

Why? Why?

Why is he talking to you?

Well, I just told you, he's my friend and...

Is he talking to any other friends?

I'm not sure I appreciate the implication of what you just said.

McNamara is talking to you... because you are the publisher of The Washington Post.

That's not true. No, that is not why.

Because he wants you to bail him out.

Because he wants you on his side.

No, there's no ulterior... No!

Ben, that's not my role. You know that.

I wouldn't presume to tell you how to write about him.

Just as I wouldn't take it upon myself... to tell him he should hand over a classified study... which would be a crime, by the way... just so he can serve as your source.

Our source, Katharine.

No. Uh... No...

I'm not. I'm not going to ask Bob for the study.

All right.

I get it. You have a relationship with Bob McNamara.

But don't you think you have an obligation as well to the paper and to the public?

Let me ask you something.

Was that how you felt when you were palling around with Jack Kennedy?

Where was your sense of duty then?

I don't recall you pushing him particularly hard on anything.

I pushed Jack when I had to.

I never pulled any punches.

Is that right?

'Cause you used to dine at the White House once a week.

All the trips to Camp David.

Oh, and that drunken birthday cruise on the Sequoia you told me about.

Hard to believe you would have gotten all those invitations... if you didn't pull a few punches.

Street protests broke out today across the country... after the publication of more excerpts... from a classified Department of Defense study in The New York Times.

The study, commissioned by former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara... has ignited further debate over the ongoing war in Vietnam... as it makes clear that Kennedy and Johnson... as well as Eisenhower and Truman, deeply misled the country on Vietnam.

The bombshell series has appeared for the last two days in The New York Times.

We don't want your stinking war.

One, two, three, four.

We don't want your stinking war.

I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways Not for what is politic but for what is right.

Right!

Like my brother Mario said...

"There is a time when the operation

"of the machine becomes so odious...

"that you've got to put your body upon the gears...

"and upon the wheels, and upon the levers...

"and you've got to make it stop."

One, two, three four.

We don't want your stinking war.

Someone gives up his life, so that the President... doesn't have to admit something the entire world already knows.

Your dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Rosenthal is at seven in the Oak Room... and then I'll meet you tomorrow morning in the lobby at eight... so you'll have plenty of time to get downtown before the offering.

And the breakfast.

"All designed to meet these five desiderata."

Bagdikian.

It's Harry Rowen.

Hey, uh, let me call you back from outside the newsroom.


Excuse me, are you important?

I'm a general assignment reporter.

Okay.


Uh, I think I got something.

Be my guest.

Can we lose The New York Times from the nut graph?

Ben, they are the source of the story.

Every time I read The New York Times above the fold...

Mr. Bradlee? No.

I feel like somebody's shoving a hot poker up my ass.

All right, just say The Times, and drop it a graph below the fold.

There you go.

That would be less painful.

I think I got something.

"McNaughton had McNamara plan for action."

Well, that's two months before the election.

"Suggested sending large numbers

"of U. S. forces to interlard."

"Interlard"?

Where'd you get these?

Somebody left them on my desk.

All these guys sound like they sleep with a damn thesaurus.

So McNaughton was secretly suggesting to McNamara... to provoke the North so we'd have grounds for escalation? Yep.

Yeah, it was in The Times article.

It was a good piece. You should check it out.

It was well-written. Jesus Christ.

Give it to someone who can't type 91 words a minute... and have it proofed, okay?

Ben? Yeah?

I think we got something.

What is it?

Jesus Christ.

Shit. Are these part of the pages of the McNamara study?

Where did you get these?

Somebody left them on my desk.

On your desk?

I didn't... It was a woman. A woman?

We got over 100 pages of the McNamara study here.

A hippie woman.

Hey, Debbie, get me Bagdikian.

She had one of those skirts...

He's out. He went somewhere.

Fine.

Probably between 5'4 " and 5'6"...

If these are the real thing, we are back in the ballgame.

It was a tie-dye skirt.

And this is gonna be the front page of tomorrow's paper.

Um... Give it to Marder. It's his lucky day.

My God, the fun.

RAND Corporation.

Harry Rowen, please.

This is Harry.

Harry, it's Ben Bagdikian.

You think someone's bugging your phone?

I think someone might be bugging yours.

Why would someone bug my phone?

If I thought the McNamara study had leaked from RAND...

I'd bug the phone of the president of RAND.

It's a DoD study.

A copy of which was sent to RAND for safekeeping.

Two copies, if I'm not mistaken.

Jesus Christ, Ben, that leak didn't come from us.

You sure about that?

Look, in my experience... guys who want stuff like this out there and have the guts to do it... they're a particular type.

They've got conscience and conviction... but they've also got ego.

Now, there's a guy that we both know, okay?

He was there the same time as I was.

He left right after.

You know who I'm talking about, right?

Isn't he the first guy you thought of when you saw the article in The Times?

Okay, look, I gotta go.

Mr. and Mrs. Rosenthal.

Oh, yes, I see. You're welcome.

I don't wanna push it.

Hi. Ah, Kay.

What a treat!

I'm just going to apologize in advance.

Great to see you.

I'm no fun at all, Abe. I'm just so nervous... about tomorrow at the stock exchange.

And I have to make a big speech.

No, no, no, no. Poor you.

No, going public is a good move for The Post.

Maybe you can even think about expanding.

Try to be more of a national paper.

I wish Abe would let me buy shares.

That's against company policy... but if you're nervous and need distraction...

I do happen to have a copy of today's Times.

Abe!

Unless you read it already.

Oh, you awful man. You really are.

Can we get you something to drink?

Bundy argues for sustained bombing.

Great stuff.

He thinks it'll turn the tide.

This is February of '65.

Jesus Christ.

But by April, they realize it's not gonna cut it... and LBJ sends two battalions.

Great stuff. And get this.

He changes the mission from base security to active combat.

My God. It's a huge shift.

He's widening the war.

But he insists on secrecy.

The American people are not to be told.

All right, okay. So this is the real deal... so how long till you can write it up?

I can have it for Thursday.

Well, what if we pretend you're a reporter, not a novelist?

Uh, I suppose I could pull something together by tomorrow night.

Okay, we can run it on Wednesday.

I know we need to get this out, Ben, but I'd like to spend a minute... going through what we've got on Rolling Thunder.

Go through all the research you want... but so help me God, if we don't have these pages by tomorrow night... we might as well not have them at all.

Too late.

What?

Times already has it.

Well, of course they have it.

"President Johnson decided on April 1, 1965..."

Of course The Times had... Written by Neil Sheehan.

"...because a month of bombing..."

Neil Sheehan's a bastard.

He's been a bastard foryears.

Mr. President, the Attorney General has called a couple times... about these New York Times stories.

You mean to prosecute The Times?

Hell, my view is to prosecute the goddamn pricks that gave it to 'em.

If you can find out who that is.

Yeah, I know.

I mean, could The Times be prosecuted?

Apparently so.

As far as The Times is concerned, hell, they're our enemies.

I think we just oughta do it.

Son of a bitch.

Abe Rosenthal.

Good evening. Their table is right over there, sir.

Brownell and Loeb over at Lord Day and Lord... told Punch in no uncertain terms not to publish.

Only after Scotty Reston threatened to publish in the Vineyard Gazette... did Punch decide to print.

Wouldn't have had quite the same impact.

Jimmy.

We've been asked to refrain from further publication... by the Attorney General.

Nixon's taking us to court?

Kay, I'm sorry...

Oh, no.

Gosh.

Why don't I go get the check?

No, sit tight, don't argue with me.

I'll be right back.

Mr. Rosenthal had to leave on business.

Certainly, we'll put it on his tab.

No, I'll take the bill, but could I trouble you to use your telephone?

But of course, madam.

There's a fella I overlapped with at RAND.

He was a bit of a showboat, but smart.

And he worked for McNamara... and he had opinions on the decision-making that went into Vietnam.

Okay.

Word is, he doved. Pretty hard.

Would he have access to the study?

Pretty sure RAND had a copy.

No shit. All right, well, can you find him?

Thought maybe I'd try.

I've got Mrs. Graham on the line.

Katharine.

Hey, listen, I've got tomorrow's headline.

Oh, Christ, okay, again?

John Mitchell contacted The Times.

Seems the President is going to seek an injunction.

No, shit.

This means that we're in the goddamn ballgame.

Because if The Times gets shut down...

If they get shut down, there is no ballgame. Ballgame's over.

Now, Katharine, anybody would kill to have a crack at this.

Well, sure, but not if it means breaking the law.

If a federal judge stops The Times from publishing... well, I don't see how we could publish... even if we could get hold of a copy.

Ben? You have something?

No.

Okay, so then there's nothing to talk about really.

No, nothing to talk about at all... but thank you for the tip, Mrs. Graham.

What are you still doing here?


Excuse me.

All right.

Oh, there she is.

Hello. How are ya, Kay?

Good morning, everyone. Good to see you.

Hello?

Yeah, I'm looking for Dan Ellsberg.

He doesn't work here anymore.

Do you know where he is now?

No, I don't. Who is this?

Thank you.

And it is my great privilege to welcome The Washington Rost Company... to the American Stock Exchange.

More than a privilege, Mrs. Graham.

This is a real honor.

Hello, this is Karen.

Yeah, I'm looking for Dan Ellsberg.

You got the wrong number.

Speech.

Go and project confidence, Kay.

Gentlemen... thank you all for helping make The Washington Post a more robust company.

Center for International Studies.

Yeah, I'm looking for Dan Ellsberg.

He's not here.

But he still works there?

Yes. Can I take a message?

Uh, tell him Ben Bagdikian called.

Congratulations.

Guys, why don't we get together for a photograph?

Yes. Good idea. Absolutely.

Here we go. Let me see it.

Smile, Kay. Shall I hold it?

You just bought a share of The Post!

I know. I'm so happy.

1.35 million shares at $24.50 a share.

I believe this will not only make The Post solvent... but stronger than it ever has been.

- To The Post! The Post!

He said to call from a secure phone.

Mmm-hmm.

I hear Kennedy said Phil Graham was the smartest man he ever met.

Yeah, for Kay's father to hand her husband the company... says something about the guy.

I thought it said something about the time.

Turn it up.

Good evening. The New York Times late today was barred, at least until Saturday... from publishing any more classified documents... dealing with the cause and conduct of the Vietnam War.

The Times, true to its word... said it would abide by the decision of Federal Judge Murray Gurfein... but will resist a permanent injunction at a hearing Friday.

The Nixon administration have charged that the final two parts of The Times' series... would result in irreparable injury to the national defense.

Hell, why bother fighting the communists?

Think Jefferson just rolled over in his grave.

Have the courts ever stopped a paper from publishing before?

Not in the history of the republic.

Good thing we're not part of this mess.

I'd give my left one to be in this mess.

There's our front page lede tomorrow.

Chal, that's yours.

All right.

Party's over. Let's get back to our jobs.

- Hello? Hi, it's Ben.

- Yes. Dan?

No.

Oh, I'm trying to get a hold of a fella I used to know...

617-597-4580.

Okay.

Hold on.

Was it 4580?

Call from another phone.

617-597-4580.

617-597-4580.

Hello?

- Yeah, I'm looking for... Yeah. Hey, Ben, it's Dan.

Dan, it's good to hear your voice.

Yeah, it's been a while.

Yeah.

Who is it? It's Ben.

Ben.

Dan.

The study had 47 volumes.

I slipped out a couple at a time.

Took me months to copy it all.

What the hell?

Well, we were all former government guys.

Top clearance, all of that.

McNamara wanted academics to have the chance to examine what had happened.

He would say to us, "Let the chips fall where they may."

Brave man.

Well, I think guilt was a bigger motivator than courage.

McNamara didn't lie as well as the rest... but I don't think he saw what was coming, what we'd find.

But it didn't take him long to figure out... well, for us all to figure out if the public ever saw these papers... they would turn against the war.

Covert ops, guaranteed debt, rigged elections?

It's all in there. Ike, Kennedy, Johnson.

They violated the Geneva Convention.

They lied to Congress and they lied to the public.

They knew we couldn't win and still sent boys to die.

What about Nixon?

He's just carrying on like all the others.

Too afraid to be the one who loses the war on his watch.

Someone said this at some point... about why we stayed when we knew we were losing.

10% was to help the South Vietnamese.

20% was to hold back the commies.

70% was to avoid the humiliation of an American defeat.

70% of those boys... just to avoid being humiliated?

That stuck with me.

They're gonna come after you, you know.

And I gotta be honest... the bread crumbs weren't too hard to follow.

I know.

They're gonna lock you up, Dan.

Wouldn't you go to prison to stop this war?

Theoretically, sure.

You are gonna publish these documents?

Yeah.

Even with the injunction?

Yes.

Well, then it's not so theoretical then, is it?

I'm gonna go do some work in the studio.

My day was great, thanks for asking.

That picture makes me sad.

Me too.

- Bradlee. I'm in Boston.

I'm gonna need two seats.

Why?

I'm gonna need to buy two seats on the first flight out tomorrow... probably first class.

No shit, you have them?

Well then just get your ass back here... and come straight to the house.

Get Chal and Meg and the others.

I don't want the whole newsroom knowing about this yet.

I gotta go.

Didn't you just invite a bunch of people over?

Yeah.

Yeah, they'll show up sometime tomorrow.

When sometime tomorrow?

Is this a breakfast thing or a lunch thing?

Don't know. Do you need me to get things?

Nah, we'll figure it all out. Okay.

Well, where are you going? Out.

You going to the newsroom? No.

Love you, bear.

I got a cake. I hope it's okay?

Oh, sure, as long as nobody counts the candles.

Uh, sorry to barge in again.

Maybe I should give you a key.

Ah, not here to crash your party.

What's up?

Well, I could use a minute.

So, can I ask you a hypothetical question?

Oh, dear, I don't like hypothetical questions.

Well, I don't think you're gonna like the real one either.

Do you have the papers?

Not yet.

Oh, gosh, because you know... the position that would put me in.

You know, we have language in the prospectus that we've...

Yeah, I know that the bankers can change their mind.

And I know what is at stake.

You know... the only couple I knew that both Kennedy and LBJ wanted to socialize with... was you and your husband and you owned the damn paper.

Of course that's the way things worked.

Politicians and the press, they trusted each other... so they could go to the same dinner party and drink cocktails and tell jokes... while there was a war waging in Vietnam.

Ben, I don't know what we're talking about.

I'm not protecting Lyndon.

No, you got his former Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara... the man who commissioned this study.

He's one of about a dozen party guests... out on your patio. I'm not protecting him.

I'm not protecting any of them.

I'm protecting the paper.

Yeah? Well, I wasn't a stooge for Jack Kennedy.

The night he was assassinated Tony and I were down at the Naval Hospital... so we would be there to meet Jackie when she landed.

She was bringing Jack's body back on the plane from Dallas... and she walked into the room.

She was still wearing that pink suit with Jack's blood all over it.

She fell into Tony's arms and they held each other... for quite a long time.

And then Jackie looked at me and said...

"None of this, none of what you see, "none of what I say...

"is ever going to be in your newspaper, Ben."

And that just about broke my heart.

I never...

I never thought of Jack as a source, I thought of him as a friend.

And that was my mistake.

And it was something that Jack knew all along.

We can't be both. We have to choose.

And...

And that's the point.

The days of us all smoking cigars together down on Pennsylvania Avenue are over.

Your friend McNamara's study proves that.

The way they lied.

The way they lied.

Those days have to be over.

We have to be the check on their power.

If we don't hold them accountable, I mean, my God, who will?

Well, I've never smoked a cigar... and I have no problem holding Lyndon or Jack... or Bob or any of them accountable.

But we can't hold them accountable if we don't have a newspaper.

When I get my hands on that study... what are you going to do, Mrs. Graham?

Oh, uh...

Happy birthday, by the way.

Oh, that's not what I heard.

Am I right?

Hi. Good morning. Club soda.

Enjoy your flight. Yes, thank you.

Sir, I'm gonna need to put your seat in the full upright position before takeoff.

Yeah.

Must be precious cargo.

Yeah. It's just government secrets.

Rlease fasten your seatbelt. Thank you.

You know why we're here? Beats me.

Hi, Marina. Hi.

Do you want lemonade? Little early for me.

Loosen up, I'm buying.

What kinda lemonade do you have there?

Uh... It's the one with the lemons in it.

Okay.

There you go.

Phil, help me out.

Grab my briefcase.

Is that...? Yep.

It's not the full report but it's over 4,000 pages of it.

Are these in order? I don't think so.

There are no page numbers.

Yeah, that's where the top secret stamps were.

My source had to cut 'em off.

I was supposed to retire on Friday.

Ben, how we supposed to comb through

4,000 pages of material?

They're not even loosely organized?

The Times had three months.

There's no way we can possibly get this done.

He's right. We've got less than eight hours.

We could shoot for city. Then we'd have ten.

Hey, hey, hey. For the last six years we've been playin' catch-up... and now thanks to the President of the United States... who, by the way, is taking a shit all over the First Amendment... we have the goods.

And we don't have any competition.

There's dozens of stories in here.

The Times has barely scratched the surface.

We have ten hours 'til the deadline... so we dig in.

I think this memo's from McNamara.

"It is my belief that there should be

"a three- or four-week pause in bombing."

Wait, wait, wait. I saw the other half of that memo.

Anyone have the back half of a cable from Dulles in '54?

I thought I saw one from July.

Yeah, here it is. "The reasons for this belief...

"are that we must lay a foundation

"in the mind of the American public."

That's it! That's it!

So Johnson wasn't trying to make peace.

He was just manipulating the public?

Eyes out for a suspension in bombing from when?

'65 to '68.

What about a memo from Eisenhower's special committee on Indochina?

Uh, Meg read a part of one to me.

Meg?

Anybody see a mention of the RAND Viet Cong study?

Yeah, I think this might be from your RAND study.

"VC are deeply committed.

"South Vietnam is a lost cause."

Whoa! There you go. Bingo.

All right. Meg, I need the...

Yeah, I put it on the shelf.

Couple of piles. We're getting somewhere.

All right, it's 1:30. Four o'clock story conference.

Can I interest anyone in some lemonade?

Yes! Does it have vodka in it?

I don't put vodka in my lemonade.

Go easy on the kid.

Why not?

How much, sweetheart? A quarter.

It's 50 cents.

Inflation. Price is going up.

Mr. Bradlee.

Roger Clark.

Oh, you're Roger Clark?

It's nice to meet you in person.

You are our senior legal counsel.

Yes, we've spoken on the phone.

My voice should sound familiar.

When did you finish law school?

I graduated... Rhetorical question.

You know, the guy we had before you is now Secretary of State.

I did not know that.

A little joke, perhaps not the time.

What exactly can I help you with...

So, why would the CIA Director send a memo on war policy?

Because they weren't calling it a war yet.

Okay, I've got turkey with mustard.

Roast beef with horseradish.

Howard, come look at this. Chal, you've gotta see this.

It's a full analysis of McNamara's changing view of the war.

Does it say anything about why he does?

So we knew they were gonna assassinate Diem.

Yeah, and we did nothing to stop it.

I think I got something on McNamara on the fireplace.

The other fireplace.

Murrey, where's the back half of this one?

What's the thing you just gave me?

Tell me these aren't the classified documents from the McNamara study.

4,000 pages of 'em.

Hungry? I need to use a phone.

There's one in the other room.

Two. Is that it?

This is it. This is it.

Hmm?

This is the other half of it.

Oh, my God.


Hi. Thanks for letting me drop by.

Marg still napping? Yeah.

Do you mind if we talk in the sunroom?

Just so I can hear her if she wakes.

No, of course not. I can't stay long.

I've got a big event at the house later.

I guess you've read everything now.

Yes, I have. I have, yes.

And I went over it again this morning.

All of it.

And I just...

Forgive me, Bob, I know you're dealing with so much... but it's just so hard to try to make sense of why.

Of how you could have done all these things.

How you could just lie to us all.

Well, it's easy for the papers to characterize us as liars.

We were just trying to push back...

No, but you let it go on and on and on.

My son is home now and safe, thank God.

But you watched him go.

You knew we couldn't win over there... for years and years and years, and yet you let me... you let so many of our friends send our boys off.

Kay, we were doing the best we could.

It was domino theory, containment... and eventually we felt that military pressure was the only thing... that was gonna drive Ho Chi Minh to the table.

Our decision-making process was...

Flawed.

It was flawed. That's what your study said.

Yes.

I do believe that you were trying to do your best... and I know how difficult it can be to make choices that will...

That's kind of you.

Well, what comes next might not be so kind.

You have the papers.

Let's just say...

I may have a big decision to make.

They will argue it's a violation of the Espionage Act.

That is a felony, Ben.

That's only if the documents we print could damage the United States.

There's a federal judge in New York who seems to think that they could.

Well, I've got six seasoned journalists in the next room... who've been reporting on this war for the last ten years... and I'll lay odds that they have a better idea... of what could damage the United States than some judge... who is just now wading into this territory for the first time.

"Wading." Is that a metaphor for Vietnam?

Okay. Ben, look, we know your reporters are talented.

But The New York Times spent three months going over these documents.

You've got, what, seven hours now until the paper goes to press?

Can you honestly tell me that that is enough time... to make sure not a single military plan, not a single U. S. soldier... not a single American life will be put in harm's way?

That this will do no damage to the United States if you publish?

Yes.

You're sure about that?

No!

That's why I've called you guys.

Look, Kay, I know why The Times ran the story but you need to understand... the study was for posterity.

It was written for academics in the future... and right now we're still in the middle of the war.

The papers can't be objective.

And I suppose the public has a right to know... but I would prefer that the study not be made widely available... until it can be read with some perspective. You understand.

Mmm.

We've been through a lot, haven't we?

You and Marg were there for me... at the lowest point of my life.

You helped me, you selected my entire board... you're my most trusted advisor... my dear friend.

But my feelings about that and about you... can't be part of this decision to publish or not.

I'm here asking your advice, Bob... not your permission.

Well, then as one of your most trusted advisors... and someone who knows how much you care about this company...

I'm worried, Kay.

I worked in Washington for ten years, I've seen these people up close.

Bobby and Lyndon, they were tough customers, but Nixon is different.

He's got some real bad people around him.

And if you publish he'll get the very worst of them.

The Colsons and the Ehrlichmans and he'll crush you.

I know he's just awful, but I...

Nixon's a son of a bitch! He hates you.

He hates Ben.

He's wanted to ruin the paper for years... and you will not get a second chance, Kay.

The Richard Nixon I know will muster the full power of the presidency... and if there's a way to destroy your paper, by God, he'll find it.

Rublish information that harms national security.

I told you, there is nothing in there.

If there is, the paper will be prosecuted.

Isn't that why you're here?

Yes, Ben, but if we lose...

With what we pay you, you really shouldn't lose.

Ben, you need to listen to them.

Hey, Fritz. Good to see you.

This is about the future of the company and ensuring there is one.

That's a little melodramatic, don't you think?

Melodramatic? You're talking about exposing years of government secrets.

I can't imagine they're gonna take that lightly.

You could jeopardize the public offering.

You could jeopardize our television stations.

You know a felon can't hold a broadcast license.

You think I give two shits about the television stations?

You should. They make a hell of a lot more money than you do... and without that revenue we'll be forced to sell.

If the government wins and we're convicted...

The Washington Post as we know it will cease to exist.

If we live in a world where the government can tell us what we can and cannot print... then The Washington Post as we know it has already ceased to exist.

What if we wait?

What if we hold off on printing today and instead we call the Attorney General... and we tell him that we intend to print on Sunday?

That way we give them and us time to figure out the legality of all of it... while the court in New York decides The Times' case.

You're suggesting we alert the Attorney General... to the fact that we have these documents... that we're going to print in a few days?

Well, yes, that is the idea.

Yeah, well... outside of landing the Hindenburg in a lightning storm... that's about the shittiest idea I've ever heard.

Oh, boy.

Oh, here's the man of the hour.

Kay.

For you.

I'm found.

Thank you, Kay.

You didn't have to go through all this trouble.

No, we had to turn them away at the door.

Didn't we, dear?

Thanks. Oh.

Gene. Mrs. Graham.

So, everything okay?

Uh, it's gotten pretty hot over at Ben's house.

Oh, things are not going well?

No. Ben and Mr. Beebe are at real loggerheads.

Fritz and Ben on opposite sides?

I made a commitment to publish these papers.

Excuse me. Pardon me.

The whole staff will revolt, if we don't publish.

Meg, I hardly think people are gonna resign.

Enjoying the fight?

Yeah, who's winning?

Nixon. I didn't see him come in.

Really? He's got his hand so far up Fritz's ass.

Where is Fritz?

That is not at all what I'm saying. No.

Not in so many words, but you're a bunch of lawyers.

Will you cut through the shit!

Is the profanity necessary?

If we're not gonna publish, why are we busting our rear ends, Ben?

Just keep writing.

Can you stop playing Chopsticks?

We're not gonna get it wrong!

What's up there, Fritz?

Calling Kay.

I'm sorry, Ben. I know you want this.

There will be another one.

Like hell there will be.

Given the sensitive circumstances...

Sensitive circumstances? Really?

How would you describe it?

Uh, well, we're trying to make a story.

Hello. Hello, I'm making a telephone call.

Yeah, well, it's my house.

- So I'll be on the call. All right, Ben.

I just want to thank you all for coming out this evening... to help me launch Harry Gladstein... and his new sailboat... into the Chesapeake Bay.

And into his very well earned retirement.

Let me just tell you a little bit about why I'm so wild about Harry.

Mrs. Graham. It's Mr. Beebe on the phone.

In 1949, wasn't it?

Uh, Phil Graham first brought Harry to the company.

I'm afraid they need you now. And I remember, he told me...

Mrs. Graham.

They need you now.

Oh, dear. I'm so sorry.

Forgive me, Harry. Yeah.

I think I'll have to suspend.

Well, you're paying the overtime.

I'll be right back.

I'm so sorry, Mrs. Graham.

Yeah.

We should wait.

Yeah, I understand, Ben, but if you wait a day...

Fritz on the phone for me? We should be on this call.

Well, there's an extension in the living room.

Liz, show them where, please? Thank you.

Hello, Fritz?

Hello, Kay. Would you like me to catch you up?

I say we can, he says we can't.

There, you're caught up.

- Ben... Hello, it's Art.

Well, Ben, there are concerns here that are frankly above your pay grade.

Well, there's a few above yours, Art, like fucking freedom of the press.

Let's just be civil if we can.

Do you think Nixon is going to be civil?

He is trying to censor the goddamn New York Times.

Yes, The Times, not The Post.

It's the same damn thing.

This is an historic fight. If they lose, we lose.

Hello? Is someone on the phone?

This is Phil.

Is that Phil Geyelin?

Uh, yes, Mrs. Graham.

Good. I'd like you to weigh in if you would... because I wanna know what the staff is feeling about this.

Uh, well, frankly, Mrs. Graham...

Ben Bagdikian and Chal Roberts have, uh, both threatened to resign... if we don't publish, that is.

Come on, Kay, what do you expect?

They got nothing to lose.

Due respect, we all have everything to lose if we don't publish.

What will happen to the reputation of this paper?

Everyone will find out we had the study.

Hell, I bet half the town knows already.

What will it look like if we sit on our asses?

It'll look like we were prudent.

It will look like we were afraid!

We will lose! The country will lose! Nixon wins!

Nixon wins this one, and the next one... and all the ones after that, because we were scared.

Because the only way to assert the right to publish is to publish.

Fritz.

Is Fritz there?

Fritz, are you on?

I'm here, Kay.

What do you think?

What do you think I should do?

I think... there are arguments on both sides.

Yeah.

But I guess I wouldn't publish.


Let's go. Let's do it.

Let's go. Let's go, let's go. Let's publish.

What? Phil?

What'd she say?

We go.

She says, we publish.

Hot damn. My God.

Holy shit. Let's get this out.

Holy shit.

I need that, Meg. Sorry.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold your horses.

I need the notes! Sorry.

How many pages is it? 13.

We got two hours to get it to the composing room.

I got it! Almost! Wait one moment. I'm typing.

All right.

Wait, wait, wait. Who's taking it?

I got it.

Call National desk.

Tell them Bagdikian is coming with the story.

Done!

All right. Get it in the paper.

Editorial meeting.

Ben? Yeah? Thanks.

Good job, Murrey.

That it? That's it.

You... You got half an hour.

I'm not sure how much thought you've put into this decision... but we still have time.

The print deadline is not 'til midnight.

I know when the print deadline is.

Look, I'm still learning how to do this, but everything I know about business... tells me you're making a serious mistake here.

One that will cost you and your paper dearly, and hurt every person gathered here.

Not to mention, the hundreds of others who work for you.

I'm just trying to put my thoughts together.

Kay, all I want is what is best for you and your business.

But I just got off the phone with a couple of bankers... and they think it's possible, likely even... that a number of their institutional investors... will pull out if you go ahead and publish.

And if they pull out, Kay...

You got a couple of hours.

For your sake, and for the sake of every one of your employees...

I hope you will reconsider.

Give me the canister.

Get it downstairs... and I want the page editor standing over Lino

'til they got it ready to print.

Okay.

Mr. Bagdikian.

I need to know your source.

I thought I was clear earlier.

Well, we weren't going to press earlier.

Yeah, well, my answer's the same.

"This action has been commenced to enjoin

"The New York Times and their agents...

"from further disseminating or disclosing

"certain alleged top secret documents."

Are you trying to piss me off?

No. Not me. Judge Gurfein.

If you look at the text of his restraining order...

I read his restraining order.

So then you know that if The Times was your source... we would be in direct violation...

I did not get the study from The Times.

You're sure?

We done?

Did you get it from their source?

Excuse me?

Did you get the study from the same source as The Times?

We do not reveal our sources.

"This action has been commenced to enjoin

"The New York Times and its agents..."

I get it! I get it!

If you got the study from the same source that would amount to collusion.

Yeah, we could all be executed at dawn.

And we could be held in contempt of court... which means Mr. Bradlee and Mrs. Graham could go to jail.

Mr. Bagdikian... how likely is it that your source... and The Times source are the same person?

It's likely.

How likely?

Very.

It's very likely. Yes.

What is all this?

Lemonade earnings.

Marina wanted me to put it away for safekeeping.

Oh, wow.

We're publishing.

Wow.

I didn't think Kay'd do it.

That's brave.

Well, she's not the only one who's brave.

Oh.

What have you got to lose?

Uh, my job.

My reputation.

Oh, Ben, please.

We both know this will do nothing but burnish your reputation.

And as for your job... you can always find another one.

Now, if you're trying to make me feel better... there's nicer ways of doing it.

You're very brave.

But Kay...

Kay is in a position she never thought she'd be in.

A position I'm sure plenty of people don't think she should have.

And when you're told time and time again that you're not good enough.

That your opinion doesn't matter as much.

When they don't just look past you.

When, to them, you're not even there.

When that's been your reality for so long... it's hard not to let yourself think it's true.

So, to make this decision... to risk her fortune and the company that's been her entire life... well, I think that's brave.

Bradlee.

Ben, we got a problem.

You remember this?

The day before the funeral. Yeah.

Wasn't it?

Yeah.

I didn't...

I didn't wanna do it... but Fritz said I should go in... and say a few words to the Board.

So, I tried to rehearse something... but it all turned out so awful, and before I knew it... the car was there ready to take me and then you came out.

I remember.

You came out in your little nightgown and your robe.

And you hopped in the car with me.

Gave me this.

Somehow you managed to scribble these notes for me.

So I'd know what to say.

But I don't have my glasses up here.

So, just read it for me. Mummy...

Oh, come on, just... Would you read it to me?

"One, thank them.

"Two, there has been a crisis, "but you know they will carry on.

"Three, never expected to be in this...

"situation.

"Four, going off to clear mind and think about the future.

"Five, no changes at this time, "paper will remain in the family.

"And six, and be carried on in the tradition...

"so well set." So well set.

You know, I just wanted to hold on to the company... for you and Don and Billy and Steve.

You did. You have.

Well...

You know that quote?

That quote...

"A woman preaching is like a dog walking on its hind legs.

"It's not done well...

"and you're surprised to see it's done at all."

Samuel Johnson.

Oh, Mummy. Yeah.

Well, it's a bunch of nonsense.

No, but that's the way we all thought then... you know?

I was never supposed to be in this job.

When my father chose your dad to run the company...

I thought it was the most natural thing in the world.

I was so proud, because you know...

Phil was so brilliant. And he was...

so gifted...

But I thought that was the way it was supposed to be.

Everybody thought that way then.

And I was raising you kids...

and I was happy in my life.

The way it was.

But then when it all fell apart, you know...

When Phil died, it was just...

I was 45 years old and I had never held...

I'd never had to hold a job in my life.

But I just, I loved the paper, you know...

I do.

I do so love the paper.

I don't want it to be my fault.

I don't want to be the one who...

I don't wanna let Phil and my father... and all of you kids and everybody down.

Mrs. Graham?

You ran here? Yeah.

There's been a bit of a... complication.

I didn't understand at first, but now everything is in a different light.

Our source might be the same as The New York Times.

Okay.

If so, we could be held in contempt.

Meaning?

Well, we could all go to prison.

Now putting that aside...

Katharine, I've come to realize... just how much you have at stake.


Paul. Glad you're here.

Fritz is sitting with Mrs. Graham now.

And Ben is here.

Yes, I figured he would be.


Jesus Christ.

Mr. Bradlee, if you knew Mr. Bagdikian received the study... from the same source as The Times...

I didn't know because I'm not in the habit... of asking my reporters who their sources are... and if you'd spent any time at a real goddamn newspaper you'd know why.

You understand he's trying to help you, Ben?

Mrs. Graham, hi.

We can all...

We can all appreciate why Ben wants to publish... and if these papers had come from someone else... we might have been able to skirt the issue.

Anything from the folks upstairs?

No.

We gotta start the run or we won't get to the carriers on time.

I disagreed with you earlier, but I thought it brave. But this?

If we were to publish knowing this, it would just be irresponsible.

Fritz, do you agree?

Well, I don't particularly like the idea of Kay as a convicted felon.

And then there's the issue of the prospectus.

Based on the conversations I've had with my friends at Cravath...

I believe a criminal indictment would qualify as a catastrophic event.

And given the likelihood of indictment now...

Kay, it could...

Yes, I understand.

We have a responsibility to the company... to all the employees and to the long-term health of the paper.

Absolutely, Kay.

Yes. However, um...

The prospectus also talks about... the mission of the paper, which is...

"outstanding news collection

"and reporting," isn't that right?

Yes.

And...

And it also says... that the newspaper will

"be dedicated to the welfare of the nation...

"and to the, uh, principles of a free press..."

Yes, but...

So, one could argue that the bankers were put on notice.

But Kay, these are extraordinary circumstances.

Are they? Are they? For a newspaper?

One that covers the Nixon White House.

Can you guarantee me that we could go to print... without endangering any of our soldiers?

You can't be considering...

I'm talking to Mr. Bradlee now.

Fritz, you're not gonna let her do this.

She can't go to...

No, now, she can, Arthur.

And it's entirely her decision.

Kay, you're allowing Mr. Bradlee... to lead you to folly.

The legacy of the company is at stake and if you want to protect that legacy...

This company's been in my life... for longer than most of the people working there have been alive.

So, I don't need the lecture on legacy.

And this is no longer my father's company.

It's no longer my husband's company.

It's my company.

And anyone who thinks otherwise... probably doesn't belong on my board.

Can you guarantee me that we can go to...

100%!

All right, then.

My decision stands...

and I'm going to bed.

It's Ben Bradlee. Run it.

Yes, sir.

Start it up.


Let's go! Let's go!

This is not a party, this is a war here!

I've got the Assistant Attorney General.

Put him on.

- Good morning. Good morning.

This is William Rehnquist from the Office of Legal Counsel at Justice.

Yes, sir.

Mr. Bradlee, I have been advised by the Secretary of Defense... that the material published in The Washington Post this morning... contains information relating to the national defense of the United States... and bears a top-secret classification.

As such, the publication of this information... is directly prohibited by the Espionage Act... title 18 of the United States code, section 793.

As publication will cause irreparable injury... to the defense interests of the United States...

I respectfully request that you publish no further information of this character... and advise me that you have made arrangements... for the return of these documents to the Department of Defense.

Well, thank you for the call, Mr. Rehnquist... but I'm sure you understand I must respectfully decline.

I appreciate your time.

What's next?

We're going to court. Today.

If we get a ruling in our favor, or The Times does... we'll be at the Supreme Court sometime next week.

No, I wanna make sure all the dates are locked down between sixth...

We're focusing on Johnson...

I don't want any more articles just about shoes and about dresses.

Well, that's where you're wrong, Al.

I happen to be a woman and I know a few.

Your Honor, the stories published in The Times and now The Post... have created a diplomatic and security disaster for the United States.

How exactly have these papers created a diplomatic disaster?

Why would other countries talk to us in confidence... if secrets like this can be leaked?

So, does this make it difficult for the President to govern?

If the President can't keep secrets, he can't govern.

Nothing less than the integrity of the presidency is at stake.

Yes, I know.

I'm sure it has rattled investors, Jerry.

That's why I'm calling you.

Yes, I understand a number of them have considered pulling out but we feel...

Of course. I stand behind the decision.

Well, you know, one could argue it's raising the profile of The Post.

Would The Post have published military plans for D-Day... if they'd had them in advance?

Well, I don't think there's any comparison between a pending invasion of Europe... and a historical survey of American involvement in the Vietnam War.

The Supreme Court has decided to hold a hearing tomorrow morning... to resolve the tangle of conflicting decisions... over what of the Pentagon Papers can be published and more broadly... the issue of freedom of the press versus government security.

But in agreeing to hear the cases of The New York Times and The Washington Post...

Supreme's granted cert.

Emergency expedited basis.

We're in court with The Times tomorrow.

What are you so happy about?

I always wanted to be part of a small rebellion.

I asked him what he considers... the most important revelations to date from the Pentagon documents.

I think the lesson is the people of this country... can't afford to let the President run the country by himself.

Even foreign affairs any more than domestic affairs, without the help of Congress.

I was struck, in fact, by President Johnson's reaction... to these revelations as close to treason.

Because it reflected to me the sense that what was damaging to the reputation... of a particular administration, a particular individual... was in itself treason.

Which is very close to saying, "I am the State."

But this is a self-governing country.

Ben?

The Constitution provides for a separation of powers...

What on earth are you doing?

They all followed your lead and published the papers.

At least we're not alone.

No matter what happens tomorrow, we are not a little local paper anymore.

Hmm.

I'd be very interested in your opinion.

Sounds good.

All right, I'll see you at the first break.

All right.

I am sorry.

Mrs. Graham, there's an entrance around the side for the appellants.

Oh, thank you very much.

I'm sorry I'm walking so fast.

I was supposed to be here half hour ago... but then I had to make copies of the brief and there was so much traffic... and you just wouldn't think there'd be all these people, you know?

No, you wouldn't. You work for Roger Clark then?

I work for the government.

The Solicitor General's office.

Oh. You're on the other team.

Mrs. Graham...

I probably shouldn't say this.

My brother, he's still over there and...

Well, I hope you win.

Besides, I like someone telling these guys what's what.

But don't tell my boss I said that.

He'd fire me just for talking to you.

Ben. How are ya, kid?

Fritz. Roger.

I told you to be here at eight.

Yes. I was here at eight, but Richard sent me back to make...

Is Richard your boss?

No, but you weren't here so...

I don't want excuses. Just take a seat.

Mrs. Graham.

Morning.

Morning, gentlemen. Good to see you.

Kay. Punch, Abe.

Nice to be on the same side for a change.

I'll tell you what's nice... making the front page of your newspaper on a daily basis.

Must be a lot of people from Boston to Washington reading about us.

Yes... well, I suppose it's appropriate... given what's at stake.

All rise.

The Honorable, the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices... of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Oyez, oyez, oyez.

All persons having business before the Honorable of the Supreme Court...

Mr. Rosenthal. Mr. Rosenthal.

Mr. Sulzberger, do you think they'll decide in your favor?

Well, overall we feel encouraged.

27 congressmen filed amicus briefs on our behalf.

As well as the ACLU...

We should make a statement.

You would think that's her job.

I believe everything we had to say we've already said.

Well, we feel confident...

Meg Greenfield.

Okay.

Everyone, listen up! Listen up!

We've got a decision.

We've got a decision.

Where'd they go? The same place.

The Supreme Court. The decision's in.

The vote is...

6-3.

6-3. We win.

We win! And so does The Times!

Yes!

No shit!

Nice job, Gene.

No gloating! No gloating. I'm just satisfied.

What? I can't hear you. It's too loud.

Okay.

Listen up, everybody. Listen up.

Justice Black's opinion.

Okay.

"The founding fathers gave the free press...

"the protection it must have...

"to fulfill its essential role in our democracy.

"The press was to serve the governed, "not the governors."

Thank you.

That looks great.

You know what my husband said about the news?

He called it the first rough draft of history.

That's good, isn't it?

Oh, well, we don't always get it right, you know?

We're not always perfect, but I think if we just keep on it, you know?

That's the job, isn't it?

Yes, it is.

Oh, Ken Clawson came by to see me earlier.

Oh?

Apparently, Justice is still considering criminal charges against us.

Yeah, well, I bet they are.

And you're not worried.

Nope. No, Katharine, that's your job.

I suppose it is.

Oh, thank God the court ruling was very clear.

Yeah, well, I'm sure Nixon will fall right in line.

Hmm. Good, because you know...

I don't think I could ever live through something like this again.

I want it clearly understood that from now on, ever... no reporter from The Washington Post is ever to be in the White House.

- Is that clear? Absolutely.

Never. Never in the White House.

No church service. Nothing that Mrs. Nixon does.

You tell Connie, "Don't tell Mrs. Nixon,"

'cause she'll approve it.

No reporter from The Washington Post is ever to be in the White House again.

And no photographer either.

No photographer, is that clear?

None ever to be in.

Now that is a total order.

And if necessary, I'll fire you.

- You understand? I do understand.

Okay. All right. Good.


DC police, second precinct.

Yes, hello. This is Frank Wills.

I think we might have a burglary in progress at The Watergate.