Government Gag Exposed


The feature below shows the danger of giving the government unchecked power to censor speech in the name of national security. The National Security Letter (NSL) section of the USA Patriot Act contains a gag provision that prohibits anyone who receives an NSL from “disclos[ing] to any person that the [FBI] has sought or obtained access to information or records.” The gag provision continues to prevent the ACLU from disclosing to the public a vast amount of innocuous, non-sensitive information about our constitutional challenge to the NSL power. For example, the government has demanded that the ACLU redact a sentence that described its anonymous client's business as " provid[ing] clients with the ability to access the Internet .” The government even insisted that the ACLU black out a direct quote from a Supreme Court case in our brief. ("The danger to political dissent is acute where the Government attempts to act under so vague a concept as the power to protect 'domestic security.' Given the difficulty of defining the domestic security interest, the danger of abuse in acting to protect that interest becomes apparent.") The ACLU continues to contest the government's redactions in the case. The documents below highlight speech that the government suppressed in the case, but the Court later allowed us to disclose. Here is what the government didn't want you to see. [...] There follows a list of twelve documents. See it at http://www.aclu.org/SafeandFree/SafeandFree.cfm?ID=16275&c=262

© Virginia Metze


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August 2005

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