Bush Considered Deploying Military for US Terror Arrests

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2009 5:02 AM CDT
Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. presides over the bail hearing of the six suspected al-Qaida terrorists from Lackawanna, NY in this 2002 photo.   (AP Photo/Jane Rosenberg )
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(Newser) – President Bush seriously considered deploying the military to arrest terror suspects in a Buffalo suburb in 2002, former Bush administration officials tell the New York Times. Dick Cheney was in favor of the almost unprecedented deployment of troops on American soil, the officials say, while Condoleezza Rice and others were opposed. Bush ultimately decided to use the FBI to arrest the "Lackawanna Six."

"Frankly, it was a bit of a turf war,” one former senior administration official says. “For a number of people, crossing the line of having intelligence or military activities inside the United States was not worth the risk.” The Constitution and subsequent laws restrict the military from carrying out domestic raids, but Cheney and his allies cited a 2001 Justice Department memo that stated using the military to arrest al-Qaeda suspects was within the president's authority.