Security Reviews of Media Reports on Military Operations: A Response to Professor Lee [open pdf - 132KB]
"This article argues that contrary to what Professor William E. Lee argued in a recent article, the military must follow a consistent policy regarding handling of media during military operations, including security reviews as necessary, but allowing as much media access as possible under operational circumstances. Professor William E. Lee argued in a recent article in this journal that military security reviews of media reports as practiced during the Persian Gulf War and Operation Enduring Freedom were inconsistent with First Amendment freedoms. In his article, Professor Lee conceded 'the notion that the First Amendment right of access developed by the Supreme Court in the context of judicial proceedings does not transfer to wartime military operations.' Professor Lee was correct in his assertion that the military may limit media access to the battlefield. Although litigation on behalf of media organizations has not resulted in a definitive decision regarding media access to the battlefield, there is a line of cases that establishes that the government may limit access to activities when there is a compelling interest to do so. However, to simply limit reporters' access to information or establish ground rules for reporting information about operations, as Professor Lee suggests,8 and then to trust the media to follow those ground rules is, from both a public policy and an operational security standpoint, worse than the security reviews."
Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAGCNet): www.jagcnet.army.mil
The Army Lawyer (November 2004), p.10-17