USAF Steps Back – published 11 Feb 2011

A few days ago I wrote about how the Air Force had overstepped its bounds by officially threatening to prosecute civilian military family members under the Espionage Act if they read Wikileaks on a privately owned computer at home [Air Force Print News Today, “Command Offers Wikileaks Guidance” AFMC Public Affairs report, 3 Feb 2011].

The Air Force leadership needed to be reminded that their reason for being is to assure our liberties, not threaten to throw families in prison for reading.

Apparently, these men realized what a mess they had made, quickly retracted the threat, and said it “was not actually sanctioned by headquarters and was not in keeping with official policy.”

Thank goodness for that. But this matter not yet over. The threat retraction will not be seen by everyone, and it will chill the free exercise of the first amendment.

The Espionage Act is an especially odious law that led to hundred of Americans being thrown in jail during World War One for expressing in public that they were against the war. That such a law exists, to me, is incredible in a land that values liberty, and it should be eliminated.

So before we breathe easy, know that the stage is set for this to happen all over again.

Pete Blome
Chair
Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County