[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/26/art.pentagon.papers.gi.jpg caption="Daniel Ellsberg, who played an instrumental role in the release of the Pentagon Papers, is pictured in this file photo."]
Washington (CNN) – It's the phrase on the tip of every Washington journalist's tongue Monday – "The Pentagon Papers."
The whistleblower website WikiLeaks published Sunday night what it says are about 76,000 United States military and diplomatic reports about Afghanistan filed between 2004 and January of this year, a release that immediately drew comparisons to the Pentagon Papers.
It's a convenient analogy, but is it accurate?
In June 1971, the New York Times began publishing a series of articles that became known as the "Pentagon Papers," a set of raw documents that revealed the true depth of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia, and the ways in which the public had been misled by the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Asked by reporters during Monday's White House briefing about the analogy, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the two are not comparable.
"The Pentagon Papers are different in the sense that you are talking about policy documents, these are sort of on the ground reporting of different events. I don't see in any way how they are really comparable," Gibbs said.
Noting that the Pentagon Papers contained significant revelations in terms of policy, Gibbs said that Sunday's publication has not "markedly changed" what "is known, about our relationship and our efforts in both Afghanistan and Pakistan by what is in these documents."
"You don't have some revelation that there is a systematic change of the course of events, that we have stepped up operations in a certain part in the war in Southeast Asia, that we've escalated, that's just not, that's not what these documents are," Gibbs said.
The top secret documents published by the Times sparked a legal battle between the government and newspaper, which was eventually allowed to complete the publication of the documents.
So far, there has been no indication that Obama administration took a similar path of resistance.
"[H]ad only the New York Times had this story would we have made a case and an effort as we have with them and other news organizations not to compromise security? Yes. But understand that the Times was one – the New York Times was one of 3 news organizations that had access to these documents," Gibbs said.
Gibbs also noted that he, along with other members of the administration, met with the New York Times on Thursday, in advance of the paper's publication of the story.