Daniel Ellsberg is perhaps best known for leaking the Pentagon Papers, which showed the government's mismanagement and lies about the Vietnam War and helped turn public support against the war.
But these days, the 86-year-old Kensington resident is more concerned about a war that he worries could be coming soon: nuclear war. His new memoir, "Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner," focuses on his time as a nuclear policy analyst and his fears over the current state of nuclear armament.
While it can be tough for Ellsberg to discuss anything other than his worries over a potential nuclear war, we were also able to talk about his favorite movies and hanging out at Stinson Beach.
What is your personal doomsday scenario?
There really are the two existential dangers to our species on a large scale. The climate we're at least aware of, not that we're acting effectively or appropriately on that at all. But people have come to believe that the nuclear danger disappeared with the Cold War. Unfortunately, it didn't. Eighty percent of the weapons were dismantled. The thousands that remain are far more than enough to cause near-extinction.
Which is the greater nuclear threat: North Korea or the United States and Russia?
I think that right now Donald Trump's threats against North Korea are posing a very great threat in that it could cause North Korea madly to lash out preemptively, to try to get retaliation in before they're hit, as almost happened with Russia on more than one occasion.