There’s an entry titled Justice Department Censors Supreme Court Quote up over at The Memory Hole that shows the DOJ isn’t limiting their use of redactions—blacking out parts of documents released under the Freedom Of Information Act—to information that could be considered damaging to national security as is the usual reason given, but to anything they just plain don’t like.
The Justice Department tipped its hand in its ongoing legal war with the ACLU over the Patriot Act. Because the matter is so sensitive, the Justice Dept is allowed to black out those passages in the ACLU’s court filings that it feels should not be publicly released.
Ostensibly, they would use their powers of censorship only to remove material that truly could jeopardize US operations. But in reality, what did they do? They blacked out a quotation from a Supreme Court decision:
“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 mind reels at such a blatant abuse of power (and at the sheer chutzpah of using national security as an excuse to censor a quotation about using national security as an excuse to stifle dissent).
Indeed, as The Memory Hole article notes, this gives you good reason to question the validity of any redactions that appear on documents after being censored by the DOJ. Is the omitted info a real danger to national security or just something the DOJ would rather you didn’t know about because they didn’t like what it said? One of the more troubling aspects of the current administration has been its tendency to smile and waft its palms while enjoining you to trust them ‘cause they know what’s best for you. This is the sort of thing that really makes my blood boil.
Link found via Boing Boing.