Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel who read Pentagon Papers into congressional record dies at 91

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Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), who read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record and more than 30 years later ran two unsuccessful campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination, died on Saturday at the age of 91.

The Associated Press reported that Gravel, who served in the Senate from 1968 until 1981, died in Seaside, California this weekend. He was reportedly in failing health.

Gravel was in-part known for his anti-war efforts in the 1970s, according to the AP. He spearheaded a one-man filibuster in opposition to the Vietnam-era draft, and read 4,100 pages of the 7,000 page document, known as the Pentagon Papers, into the Congressional Record.

The Pentagon Papers were the Defense Department’s history of the United States’ early involvement in the Vietnam War, which were leaked to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Former President Richard Nixon’s administration took legal action against the papers in an effort to halt publication of the documents, the cases were ultimately decided in the news organizations’ favor.

Gravel re-entered the political stage in the 2000s, running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 and 2016, both of which were failed attempts, according to the AP.

He was excluded from Democratic debates during his 2008 campaign following fiery comments on stage in 2007, prompting him to run as a Libertarian candidate, according to the AP.


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