Yes, the release of the Pentagon Papers was treason, rather than patriotism, because it gave away United States interests. With the release of the Pentagon Papers, other nations were able to take the secrets of the United States and use the knowledge of them to their advantage. This was against the interests of the United States, and treason.
The papers were released with the knowledge that doing so would compromise Americans on the ground and it was done so anyway in the interest of journalism. This was a case of journalism going too far to get the story and writers to make names for themselves, it was very careless to do this and in no way patriotic.
I believe that the release of the Pentagon Papers was an act of treason. I think that the incident could have endangered the lives of soldiers and a lot of the citizens of the United States of America. The person responsible for the act should be prosecuted by the law.
As an American citizen the release of the Pentagon Papers was patriotism, but from the governments point of view it was treason. How people view these acts really depends on their perspective. I think our government has a problem with secrecy and I'm sure we only know a fraction of what we should.
A true patriot wants the American people to know what is going on in their government and this is what Daniel Ellsberg did when he revealed the contents of the Pentagon Papers.He knew what was going on was not known by the average citizen and he felt like it was his patriotic duty to let them know which is exactly what he did.