Bloomberg News just received a leaked copy of a classified report about U.S. strategy in Iran. The report indicated that the next time that President Trump concludes that Iran has attacked U.S. assets (including drones, commercial ships, and computer systems in addition to military targets), the administration will order that U.S. armed forces institute a blockade of all Iranian ports and prevent all traffic in or out of Iranian ports. The blockade would only end when the Iranian government agreed to dismantle its nuclear program and consent to free elections conducted under international supervision.
The report also discussed the specifics of how the military would accomplish the blockade and it included the various opinions of high-ranking military officers, and analysts in the defense and state department about the costs, risks, and benefits of such a blockade. (Some of these opinions concluded that the risks would be minimal and that Iran would be forced to capitulate. Other opinions suggested that the blockade would provoke a long, drawn out war with costs and casualties projected to exceed the cost of the Iraq war, perhaps even resulting in Russian and/or Chinese military forces coming to Iran’s defense.
Suppose the Trump Administration wanted to get an injunction preventing the publication of this report on national security grounds. The administration claims that the publication of this strategy would alert the Iranian government and others who are hostile to U.S. interests about the possible change in strategy and give them an opportunity to prepare for the U.S. blockade. It would also give anti-war opponents in the U.S. an opportunity to protest and attempt to change U.S. policy.
Answer the first two questions based on the Iran scenario. Then answer the third question, based on the U.S. v U.S. District Court case.
- Based on the per curiam opinion in the Pentagon Papers case (p. 97-100), what would the government need to prove in order to get an injunction in this case?
- Select one concurring or dissenting opinion in the Pentagon Papers case (pp. 99-100). Based on that opinion, would the First Amendment prevent the government from getting an injunction?
3. Brief U.S. v U.S. District Court (pp. 107-08).