Mike Gravel was not in the “The Post,” the recently released movie about the Washington Post’s battle to bring government secrets in the Pentagon Papers to light. But in 1971, the former Alaska senator played a role in publicizing them, through a rather creative political maneuver.

Gravel originally wanted to start a filibuster to reveal government lies about the Vietnam War. His plan was to read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional record. But when he was thwarted from using a filibuster, he used his sub-committee on buildings and grounds as a vehicle to do that.   

There’s network news footage of an emotional and overwrought Gravel, going through the documents page by page. Although he did not read them all, he managed to get about 4,000 pages of them into the public record. 

“The Post” has brought renewed interest in the Pentagon Papers scandal and Gravel, who has been out of the political spotlight since his bid for the presidency in 2008.

Today, Gravel lives in California and will turn 88 in May. He says he’s had a lot of attention this year from national media, including a segment on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” 

This week’s "Frontiers" program, airing at 4:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Sunday, revisits Gravel’s career of ups and downs – and some of his out-of-the box political stunts. It also includes some footage of his 1968 campaign film, which changed politics forever in Alaska.

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