FOUR decades after the Pentagon Papers began appearing in The New York Times, triggering a constitutional crisis over freedom of the press, the once top-secret study of the Vietnam War is being released.

The Lyndon B Johnson Library at the University of Texas in Austin will unveil the 7,000-page Pentagon report today, with only 11 words remaining secret.

Simultaneous releases are scheduled at the John F Kennedy Library in Boston, the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California and the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.

The Times began publishing the documents June 13, 1971, but a federal judge soon stopped their publication. Other newspapers then began publishing the documents.

A fragmented US Supreme Court eventually struck down the judge’s ruling, leading to a major legal victory for press freedom.