THE PENTAGON: An Excessive Need to Know

Was it an updating of Seven Days in May, Fletcher Knebel's 1962 novel in which the military tries to take over the U.S. Government? According to news accounts, the Pentagon had planted a spy ring in the White House to ransack Henry Kissinger's classified files and copy documents relating to the National Security Council's most sensitive deliberations. The stolen information was then relayed to Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other Pentagon brass.

The bizarre—but basically true —tale raised a host of disturbing questions. Why did the...

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