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Ridge: Consider Using Military To Enforce Law Domestically

by Associated Press, 22 July 2002


Posse Comitatus Act

WASHINGTON -- Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said Sunday that the threat of terrorism may force government planners to consider using the military for domestic law enforcement, now largely prohibited by federal law.

President Bush has called on Congress to thoroughly review the law banning the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines from participating in arrests, searches, seizure of evidence and other police activity on U.S. soil. The Coast Guard and National Guard troops under control of state governors are excluded from the Reconstruction-era law, known as the "Posse Comitatus Act."

Ridge said it "goes against our instincts as a country to empower the military with the ability to arrest," and called the prospect "very unlikely."

But he said the government is wise to examine the law.

"We need to be talking about military assets in anticipation of a crisis event," Ridge said on Fox News Sunday. "And clearly, if you're talking about using the military, then you should have a discussion about Posse Comitatus."

© 2002 Associate Press
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

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