“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.”
That’s a quote from a Supreme Court ruling in 1972. It’s also apparently a state secret, as the Justice Department tried to black it out on a court document.
It’s part of a complaint brought by the ACLU (.pdf file). One aspect of the Patriot Act is a gag provision that prohibits anyone who receives a National Security Letter (a request for information) from “disclos[ing] to any person that the [FBI] has sought or obtained access to information or records.” The ACLU is contesting this, and their legal documents are subject to redacting by the Justice Department. This quote from the Supreme Court was one of many portions redacted.
If you’ve ever thought about becoming a member of the ACLU, this might be a good time.