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First Amendment and National Security

The issue before the Court is whether the First Amendment permits an injunction to be granted so as to forbid publication of information by the Melville Morning Milk, pursuant to a provision of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, which provides that a restraint is permissible when the Act has been violated to the endangerment of national security. In order to decide this issue, the Court must also determine whether the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 is overbroad and/or vague and therefore unconstitutional, and, if the Act is not overbroad and/or vague, whether national security will, in fact, be damaged by publication of this information. This Court believes that the extraordinary circumstances in the case at bar warrant the extreme measure of prior restraint and therefore justify the imposition of an injunction of publication.

The basic facts of the case are uncomplicated. A member of the United Nations' inspection team, John Nozei, discovered a small nuclear device designed to deliver a massive dose of lethal biological chemicals in Iraq, a country known to be both aggressive and hostile to U.S. interests. After a month had lapsed with no mention of the discovery in the media, Mr. Nozei called a newspaperman and friend, Horace Necksis, at the Melville Morning Milk and informed him of his discovery. He later proceeded to deliver both pictures and plans of the nuclear device in direct contravention of an oath of secrecy not to disclose "any information or intelligence gleaned by him in the course of his official duties." Nozei's superiors reminded him of his oath when they initially learned of the discovery, and Nozei further reminded Necksis of the provision of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, wherein is provided that the Attorney General may obtain an injunction on publication when he believes that the Act has been violated to the endangerment of national security. Both Nozei and Necksis were again cautioned by the Attorney General's ...

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First Amendment and National Security. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:20, December 02, 2020, from