The Bush White House considered bending the Constitution to use U.S. military forces on domestic soil in 2002, an unprecedented move that would've challenged citizens' Fourth Amendment rights, Bush administration officials said Friday.
Vice-President Dick Cheney and other Bush advisers claimed the administration had the right to swoop into a Buffalo, N.Y. suburb to seize potential terror suspects - despite the Constitutional restriction against using domestic military to conduct raids, the New York Times reported.
Though President Bush ultimately rejected the proposal to send troops into the area, advisers said they were acting within their jurisdiction to send the military in to capture the notorious "Lackawanna Six," citing a 2001 national security memo that said the President could use forces domestically in the case of a national safety crisis.
At least one high-level meeting was held to debate sending the military in, according to the Times - and those in favor of the invasion were Cheney and other senior Defense Department officials.
"What would it look like to have the American military go into an American town and knock on people’s door?” the Times reported one former official said in the debate.
“If we had tanks rolling down the streets of our city,” Chief James L. Michel of the Lackawanna police said, “we would have had pandemonium down here.”
Bush eventually sent the F.B.I. after the Lackawanna Six, a group of Yemeni-Americans who pleaded guilty after their arrest to charges of terrorism. The "Six" marked the first time the Bush administration thought it had captured an al-Qaeda cell in the U.S. post-September 11th.