The Post (2017) - full transcript

A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
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.




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.


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.


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?


Mrs. Graham, Bob Haldeman.

Yes, hello.

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


What about the Al Haig thing?

No, Times sent the new kid.

The new kid, huh?

You think Sheehan's
onto something.


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.


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.


- 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.

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.


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...


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.


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.


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.


It's gonna be fine, Kay.


Do you know what floor
the newsroom's on?


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.

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?


Everything all right?

- Marg okay?
- Yes, she's fine.

Said the procedure
went very well.

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


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.



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...


We got 'em.

We got 'em.


- 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.




- 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.


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.



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.


The study, the one
they are working off of...

that was commissioned
by Robert McNamara.


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

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.


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."


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.


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."


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.


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.


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.


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 for years.

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

to publish
in the Vineyard Gazette...

did Punch decide to print.

Wouldn't have had
quite the same impact.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


Go and project confidence, Kay.


thank you all for helping make.

The Washington Post
a more robust company.

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.


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.


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?


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



Hold on.

Was it 4580?

Call from another phone.




- 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.


- Who is it?
- It's Ben.



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?


Even with the injunction?


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.


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, 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 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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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,

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...


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


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?


You're sure about that?


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.


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?

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


- 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.


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?


- 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.


I didn't think Kay'd do it.

That's brave.

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


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.


Ben, we got a problem.

You remember this?

- The day before the funeral.
- Yeah.

Wasn't it?


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...


"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.


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...


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.


If so, we could be
held in contempt.


Well, we could all go to prison.

Now putting that aside...

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?


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?



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...


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

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.


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.


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, 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.


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.


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. We win.

We win! And so does The Times!


No shit!

Nice job, Gene.

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

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


Listen up, everybody. Listen up.

Justice Black's opinion.


"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.


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.