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Fourth Amendment not applicable to domestic military terror ops: 2001 DOJ memo

[JURIST] The US Justice Department advised the Bush administration in October 2001 that the protection against unreasonable searches and seizures enshrined in the Fourth Amendment [text] to the US Constitution did not apply to "domestic military operations" conducted in pursuit of terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks [JURIST news archive]. The October 23, 2001 memo, authored by former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, was referenced in a footnote of a 2003 memorandum [PDF text; JURIST report] on military interrogations, which was made public by the American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday. The Justice Department expressly disavowed the 2001 memo on Wednesday, saying that the department's Office of Legal Counsel has since endorsed a different interpretation. The 2001 memo remains classified and has not been publicly released.

Some federal documents indicate that the 2001 memo related to the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive], but the Bush administration said Wednesday that the memo was not the legal foundation for that program. The DOJ would not reveal when it internally overturned the 2001 opinion, but indicated that a January 2006 white paper released shortly after the New York Times revealed [JURIST report] the domestic surveillance program made clear that the DOJ does not back the opinion that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to domestic military activities. The ACLU said Wednesday that it will seek disclosure of the 2001 memo. AP has more.

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