If you value free speech (and who doesn’t?), this will send a chill down your spine. I know it did mine.
Newsweek, the LA Times and other media outlets are reporting that a Justice Department memo secretly advised the Bush administration that it could suspend First Amendment speech rights if needed to fight the war on terror. The memo on “Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States” was issued in October 2001 and not revoked until seven years later, right before Bush left office.
This memo, released with others this week by the Obama adminstration, also indicated it would be legal to spy on Americans with high tech equipment and deploy the U.S. military within the U.S. itself for operations against terrorists. “We believe these operations generally would not be subject to the constraints of the Fourth Amendment, so long as the armed forces are undertaking a military function,” the memo concludes.
Ah, the Fourth Amendment. What was that one about again? That’s right–unreasonable search and seizures.
And what does this memo say about our beloved First Amendment?
“First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully,” the memo states on Page 24.
See the memo for yourself here.