WASHINGTON, May 14 -
Mr. Speaker, when I went to the Soviet Union in the 1980s, the Communist leaders told me that they believed in and had a free press and they also had free speech. However, I also learned that Soviet law prohibited these freedoms when they jeopardized state secrets--or national security, as we call it in America. The state-secret provision was so broad the Soviet press and speech were gagged and shackled. They certainly were not free.
Now we learn that our Department of Justice improperly seized without notice phone records of over 100 Associated Press journalists--all in the name of national security concerns.
To me, this is a clear violation of the spirit and letter of the First Amendment. These actions border on the Soviet method of legalizing these freedoms but never allowing them. So it's time to revisit U.S. law and require in all cases judicial review where these types of records are seized.
We cannot allow our government to arbitrarily abolish the First Amendment in the name of ``state secrets.''
And that's just the way it is.