8. 1984 ARRIVED WHILE THE PRESS AND POPULACE
On March 9, 1984, NEW YORK TIMES columnist William Safire happily reported
that Reagan's sweeping new censorship law, NSDD-84, had been temporarily
withdrawn due to too much Congressional opposition to the use of lie
detectors and lifelong censorship requirements.
Throughout the rest of 1984, the NEW YORK TIMES and the WASHINGTON
POST printed articles that alternately praised Congress for resisting
a deplorable attempt to gag American citizens with prior restraint and
chiding the Reagan administration for its ill-advised attempts to deprive
federal employees of their constitutional rights.
As late as December 28, 1984, the TIMES would report "Under pressure,
the Reagan Administration has withdrawn National Security Directive
Unfortunately, the information was inaccurate and the celebration was
When the 98th Congress adjourned in October, 1984, the Reagan administration
bas successfully put in force the largest censoring apparatus ever known
in the United States.
Now, for the first time, more than three and a half million federal
employees in the 12 largest federal agencies are required to submit
their speeches, articles, and books for pre-publication review by their
superiors for the rest of their lives.
While columnists debated the "relative" veracity of George
Orwell's dark predictions for 1984, Ronald Reagan seized the initiative,
tore up the Bill of Rights, and flushed it down the toilet with an audacity
that would have flabbergasted Orwell. And the press missed the story.
In yet another typically Orwellian twist, also unheralded by the press,
the American Civil Liberties Union joined Barry Goldwater and the CIA
in pushing for passage of HR 5164, a Congressional measure designed
to free the CIA from the troublesome intrusions of the Freedom of Information
Further, while there is increasing solid scientific evidence proving
the unreliability of lie detector tests, the Pentagon is expanding and
enforcing its use of them. Commenting on Pentagon lie detector tests,
Texas Congressman Jack Brooks said: "a coin toss would be more
accurate ... use of polygraphs may create a false sense of security
and actually weaken our defense." Nonetheless, Defense Department
use of lie detector tests has grown steadily in recent years -- from
12,904 in 1980 to 21,000 in 1983, the latest year for which figures
BILL OF RIGHTS JOURNAL, December 1984, "They've Got A Secret,"
by Angus Mackenzie, pp 25-229; MEDIAFILE, November 1984, "CIA,
Congress Draw FOIA Curtain," by Angus Mackenzie; EDITOR & PUBLISHER,
1/19/85, "Pentagon Use of Lie-Detector Tests Grows;" NEW YORK
TIMES, 12/28/84, "Censorship of Its Employees Would Harm Government,"
by Thomas Ehrlich.